Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Delusional Leadership

-Because there is a lack vision, there is no direction- 

As I looked in his eyes I asked him the question, "How do you rate yourself as a leader on a scale from 1-10?”

His answer?  “About an 8.”

Now, I know you have no idea of whom I am referring to, and it is just as well. The important point is that this is a person who has seen his business decline dramatically, and he has no answers for the slide. The question I asked was to help him personally analyze his leadership with respect to the overall performance of his company. As we continued to talk, it became quite apparent that he did not believe his leadership was the reason for the poor performance.

This is what I call delusional leadership. This is when a leader has lost touch with his team and a connection to his business.  In this case, he did not even see a need to change how he saw himself as a leader. This is delusional thinking.

He attributed the poor performance to others and to bad luck. However, upon closer inspection and introspection, we find that the real reason for the decline of the business is a lack of vision and a lack of accountability from the top to the bottom.

After digging a little deeper, he realized that the quality of his leadership was and is the reason for his company's poor performance. His commitment to addressing his weaknesses as a leader is the key to the future success of his company. 

Great leaders are always assessing their leadership performance and seek out constructive feedback from others to help them to continue to grow. They have to be honest with themselves and personally hold themselves accountable for the results.

How about you? What steps are you taking to grow your leadership? Are you getting the results you are looking for?

If not, it is time that you take a hard look at how you are leading and seek out trusted counsel from others whose leadership and character you trust.

-If you don't know where you are going, how do you know when you get there?-

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

It's About People

I was watching a popular business program on TV, and they were profiling the CEO of a well-known and successful restaurant chain. The interviewer asked the CEO where he saw himself and the company in five years. He answered that it’s not where he sees himself, but where he sees his team and his company.

His answer was refreshing because the temptation for many high level executives is to accept the accolades and bask in the light of their own brilliance. For many, it is so easy to get caught up in believing their own press. Some believe that the success of the business is due solely to their business intelligence. Although it may be one of the reasons for the success of the company, it is critical to remember that people are the backbone of any successful organization.

In that same interview, the CEO also stated that another ingredient that made the restaurants so successful is their commitment to identifying the next leader(s) in the company. The leadership believes that developing bench strength within the organization will result in a sustainable business model that values people first, then profits. One way this is done is through frequent leadership visits to a certain percentage of their restaurants where they make it a point to sit down not only with the managers of the restaurants, but also with each of the hourly employees. They ask them about their supervisors and how they interact with the team. They also ask how the business can improve. This ground level, in-the-field intelligence not only helps the company, but, in the long run, also helps to foster loyalty within the ranks of the restaurant staff.

As leaders it's important for us to really support our people, making sure that we are connecting with them on a regular basis.  One on One interaction, whenever possible, is key to employee engagement.
Leadership like this causes employees to feel valued and to take ownership as clear stakeholders in the success of the business. When employees take ownership in the business, the result is happy customers, happy employees, and increased profitability.

As a leader you will be tempted to go it alone, but never lose sight of the fact that the most important asset you have is your team. It’s about people.