Much of the writing about leadership leaves out two of the most critical topics: power and politics. That’s a problem, because the political environment defines the playing field and those with the power dominate the organization’s agenda. Ignoring these facts of organizational life is a formula for futility. Here's a checklist of 10 questions to get you started on forming a better picture of your firm's political environment:
The best leaders quickly learn that the difficult messy tasks are the difference-makers. They seek training and coaching and they practice these tasks over and over again in pursuit of competence.
I can tell you with absolute certainty that I didn’t think about my own leadership legacy during the early part of my career. No one does, and that's often a mistake. Here are 3 provocative questions to help bring your future as a leader into focus:
Establishing yourself as a credible and positive leader is important and challenging. Here are some all-too-common missteps of first-time (and even some hapless, experienced) managers. Avoid them in good health!
Almost every person who’s ever held a managerial position has spent time walking on eggshells around a deliberately difficult employee to avoid inciting a confrontation. I describe these individuals as “Boss Bullies.” They’re particularly fond of first-time managers because their tactics tend to work on the new managers for a period of time. Here are 6 ideas to help you navigate this sticky situation:
While the act of delivering constructive feedback doesn’t rank up there with the fear of public speaking (stage fright) or facing an IRS audit (just pure fear), too many managers…especially newly promoted first-timers avoid this activity because it makes them uncomfortable. Here are 9 ideas to help you move beyond your own feedback fright:
You will make many communication mistakes in your formative role as someone responsible for the work of others. It takes time and more than a few mistakes to recognize your need to understand the communication preferences of your team members and to learn to tailor your approach. Here are 4 communication lessons learned the hard way and some guidance for helping you avoid these missteps:
You will cultivate a leadership style over time…in large part by learning from trial and error. You can accelerate the learning process and improve your effectiveness by remembering to adapt your interaction style to the behaviors and preferences of others, while never compromising your commitment to fairness, your firm’s values or your obligation to drive results.
If you’re new to the role of guiding others, here’s the preface to your real job description. Use it in good health and in pursuit of greatness!
Too often and with the best of intentions, we assemble a team of our best and brightest to tackle an important issue and then assuming our job is done and the task is in the hands of these capable people, we step away and wait for the results. And all too often, instead of something magical, what we get back looks and feels a lot like flailing heading towards failing. Here are 4 big reasons why assigning a coach to your project team might be the difference between success and failure: