We’re wired in this era to look for tips, hacks, and cheat codes, particularly for complex challenges. Who doesn’t want a shortcut that delivers the goods?

Yet, some challenges don’t lend themselves to shortcuts. Take managing and leading effectively as cases in point.

Developing as an effective manager and growing as a leader both take time and practice. Sure, you can read a book on managing or attend a leadership course, but mostly, those teach tips and approaches for navigating tasks. They ignore the need to work on you and build a strong foundation emphasizing core principles and highlighting your character for everyone to see.

I see and hear this in my professional development programs where I ask people what they want from the program, and the answers are some variation of: “I’m looking for ideas to help me get better—tips and approaches for the tough tasks.”

I get it, and I respect their interests. However, instead of diving into tools and tips and tricks, I take participants on a journey that focuses first on identifying their motivations as managers and leaders.

  1. Why do you want to manage?
  2. Why should anyone follow you?
  3. How are you prepared to invest yourself in helping others?
  4. What are the values that will guide you in your work?
  5. What do they need from you to succeed?
  6. How will you show you trust and respect them from the start?
  7. When you are done working together, what will they say you did?

These are lofty but important questions that too many don’t take the time to ask and answer. Ignore these issues, and you become a transactional-focused manager breeding little loyalty and suppressing the opportunity for high-performance and growth to emerge.

Without thinking through these questions and their greater meaning for you in your role, all of the tips and tricks in the world won’t help you.

The Bottom-Line for Now:

Define and then live your purpose and principles for managing and leading, and you’ll have unlocked the only cheat code that works.

Art's Signature