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Stop Solving The Wrong Problem (via Dan Rockwell at Leadership Freak)

It was mostly this quote from Peter Drucker that pulled me up:
“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”

Dan Rockwell always value adds though and points out some helpful ways of identifying what the problem actually is, so that you can then invest time and energy into trying to create effective solutions.

Read more at Leadership Freak.


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Giving Guidance, Not Answers (via Dan Rockwell)

Dan Rockwell points out that giving answers gives a wonderful sense of power, but it builds a limiting dependence while guidance nurtures people’s growth and maturity.

At first, giving answers feels powerful, but then you wonder why people beat a path to your door – never mind that they won’t take action without your nod of approval.
Answer-giving creates dependency.
Guidance shows respect, builds confidence, and enables action.
People come to you looking for specific answers. Give them guidance instead.

[Three fruits of guidance:]
#1. Guidance provides a panoramic view.
#2. Guidance enables thinking.
#3. Guidance clarifies responsibility.

Read more at Leadership Freak where Rockwell even provides situations when giving answers is ok.


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Five Common Ways Leaders Undermine Themselves (via Eric Geiger)

Eric Geiger notes five ways leaders undermine themselves.

1. Changing directions continually
2. Not learning
3. Indecision
4. Overpromising
and, lastly,
5. Not living the values
The biggest way leaders undermine themselves is by not living the vision and values they champion. A leader’s lack of commitment to the values that hang on a wall empty those values of any real culture-shaping authority.

Read the explanations of the first four at the original post.

To these I’d add: Trying to spare people the pains and discomforts that always accompany growth and change.


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Leader Or Manager? (via Ron Edmondson)

Short post by Ron Edmondson on the differences between leaders and managers, the need for both, and the strain when someone naturally inclined toward one area ends up functioning in the other.

His thoughts are prompted by a book “Reviewing Leadership”, particularly this quote:

“Leadership and management are two distinct yet related systems of action. They are similar in that each involves influence as a way to move ideas forward, and both involve working with people. Both are also concerned with end results. Yet the overriding functions of leadership and management are distinct. Management is about coping with complexity – it is responsive. Leadership is about coping with change – it too is responsive, but mostly it is proactive. More chaos demands more management, and more change always demands more leadership. In general, the purpose of management is to provide order and consistency to organizations, while the primary function of leadership is to produce change and movement.”

Edmondson:

Too many times we ask good managers to be great leaders or good leaders to be great managers. The problem with being in the wrong fit is we tend to burn out more quickly when we are not able to live out our giftedness. In addition, we frustrate the people we are supposed to be leading or managing and ultimately we keep the organization from being the best it can be.

Read his whole post here.


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Choosing To Address Negative Issues With A Positive Attitude (via Dan Rockwell)

As someone who is not naturally positive a brief post in which Dan Rockwell gave his take-aways from someone called Jon Gordon was very constructive.
One of the points I need to model better and cultivate among our leadership is:

Choose to address negative issues with a positive attitude. Adopt the no complaining rule. Point out problems with forward-facing curiosity and unwavering commitment to make things better.
“Being positive won’t guarantee you’ll succeed but being negative will guarantee you won’t.” Jon Gordon

Read the rest at Leadership Freak.


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Don’t Surprise More Than Necessary (via Gavin Ortlund)

In a post containing five leadership lessons by Gavin Ortlund, I found this one about communicating when change is going happen sums up a lot of principles I use.
It’s about showing respect, building consensus, and avoiding misunderstanding.

Don’t surprise more than necessary.
People don’t like unpleasant surprises. We know this in principle — but how easy it is to forget in practice! We rarely over-communicate, but frequently under-communicate. It is almost instinctive, when we are up in the cockpit flying the plane, to forget to give regular updates to the passengers. But a well-timed “heads up” can do wonders for maintaining harmony and trust throughout the group.

A good leader learns the value of sentences that begin like this:

  • “So you are not surprised when it happens, I want to let you know in advance . . .”
  • “Just as a reminder, to make sure we are all on the same page . . .”
  • “I want to give you an update on the progress since our last meeting so you’re not in the dark . . .”

Here are some practical ways to make sure communication doesn’t slip through the cracks:

  • At the end of every meeting, or every major policy decision, ask the question: “Who would benefit from being informed of our conversation?” And then appoint someone to do the communication.
  • Before announcing a big change or decision publicly, do the hard work of communicating privately as much as is appropriate. Meet with people one-on-one to win them over and build consensus.

Read the whole post at Desiring God.