Search This Blog

Showing posts with label Leadership. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Leadership. Show all posts

Monday, November 01, 2010

Trust and Leadership

I was reading the book "The Truth About Managing People" today and thought I would post a couple of excerpts from the book about leadership.  The link to the book is at the end of this posting.  I highly recommend this book, especially if you manage people, or are a project manager.

In regards to leadership, the book states, "When we trust someone, we assume they'll act honestly and truthfully and be reliable and predictable.  We also assume they won't take advantage of our trust.  Trust is the essence of leadership because it's impossible to lead people who don't trust you. "

Some quotes from the book to gain the trust from others....

Be open

Be fair

Speak your feelings

Tell the truth

Show consistency

Fulfill your promises

Maintain confidences


I think this is a great book.  Enjoy!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Leadership Assessment Questions - How would others rate you?

RATING SCALE - 1 – Strongly Disagree, 2 – Disagree, 3 – Neither Agree or Disagree
4 – Agree, 5 – Strongly Agree

1. Effectively engages others to improve service delivery and follow-through on problem resolution. (Service Delivery)

2. Positively influences the team to translate customer needs into valued deliverables (i.e. work products and services. (Action Focus)

3. Ensures that agreed-upon commitments to internal and external customers are fulfilled. (Customer commitment)

4. Develops strong partnerships throughout the enterprise that foster positive customer relationships. (Organizational Relationships)

5. Stays calm and even-tempered when handling crises, stressful situations, or unexpected developments; does not become cynical, moody, or hostile when times are tough. (Composure)

6. Brings conflict into the open by encouraging constructive two-way communication, focusing on solutions and maintaining positive working relationship with those who disagree. (Conflict Resolution)

7. Builds effective teams by modeling open communication, providing constructive feedback, and encouraging different viewpoints. (Building Effective Teams)

8. Effectively facilitates group discussion by helping groups to define objectives, staying on task, soliciting diverse input, summarizing accomplishments and outlining next steps. (Group Facilitation)

9. Encourages a sense of job ownership by routinely soliciting input from team members, incorporating ideas into actions and holding the team accountable for results. (Empowering Teams)

10. Listens attentively and actively to both what is said and to non-verbal cues; has the patience to hear people out; accurately restates the opinions of others even when he/she disagrees. (Listening)

11. Demonstrates integrity in difficult situations by maintaining a balance between constructively identifying concerns, being upfront and honest, and maintaining respectful work relations. (Acting with Integrity)

12. Consistently acts in line with the best interest of the organization as well as in accordance with organizational policies during both good and tough times. (Ethics)

13. Builds and maintains trusting work relationships by being candid and upfront in a respectful and helpful manner, keeping confidences, following through on commitments, and practicing what is preached. (Building Trust)

14. Listens to complaints, suggestions, concerns, or requests; demonstrates consistency, impartiality, and even-handedness in making decisions. (Fairness)
15. Seeks opportunities to learn and actively works to continuously improve him/herself. Stays up-to-date on current practices and trends in his/her field. (Self Development)

16. Regularly solicits feedback on opportunities to improve oneself or delivery of products and services; implements ideas and suggestions to improve results. (Continual improvement)

17. Manages projects by breaking the work into process steps, establishing appropriate project teams, measuring performance against goals, and evaluating results. (Project Management)

18. Builds individual capacity by providing stretch tasks and assignments. Encourages others to learn and grow. Developing Others)

19. Creates focus by establishing priorities based on business needs; quickly zeros in on the critical few. (Prioritizing)

20. Seeks out and optimizes all available resources to achieve the best results efficiently, consistent with organization objectives. Knows who to involve and when. (Resourcefulness)

21. Effectively aligns fiscal resources to support strategic and business plans. (Fiscal Planning)

22. Effectively aligns technology resources to support strategic and business plans. (Technological planning)

23. Originates new and unique ideas; moves beyond the status quo and looks for better ways of doing things. (Innovation/Creativity)

24. Identifies obstacles and generates potential solutions to achieve challenges. (Problem-Solving)

25. Willing to try unconventional methods and/or to take personal risks to achieve desired outcomes that are consistent with organization objectives. (Risk Taking)

26. Accurately anticipates future trends and consequences. Sees the long-range implications of tactical decisions made today. Has broad knowledge and perspective. Can create competitive and breakthrough strategies and plans. (Strategic Thinking)

27. Considers various resources, obstacles, risks, perspectives, adverse reactions and financial impact when making recommendations and committing to action. (Critical Thinking)

28. Addresses performance issues by providing current, direct, complete, actionable, and developmental feedback to others; lets people know where they stand and supports others with ideas for continual improvement. (Coaching)

29. Takes responsibility and tackles difficult situations without passing them off to someone else; after making a mistake, admits it and either personally makes corrections or seeks assistance from others. (Ownership)

30. Drives for results; pushes ahead and maintains focus when confronted with obstacles. (Results Oriented)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Attributes of Great People

What common behaviors or attributes turn ordinary people into great people?  Here are a few I have assembled from various sources, including Tom Peter’s book "Reinventing Work, The Project 50" .

Great people almost always have had some of the traits below.

They are Risk Takers

They often don’t appear rational

They are obsessed with success (success is clearly defined up front)

Their ideas are often ahead of their time

They can be peculiar, creative, off-the-wall

They are often described as irreverent

They have a burning passion to make their dreams come true

They are determined to make a difference

They have little tolerance for the “the way it has always been done” crowd

They LOVE to go against the grain

They have thick skin

They have charisma

They thrive on chaos and often love to generate chaos

They are great at what they do

They hate J.A.M.S – Just Another Mediocre Success (Tom Peters)

They have a positive influence on the lives of others (not everyone, all the time)

They make lots of mistakes and are quick to admit they made them

They often ask forgiveness vs. permission

They hate, hate, hate politics and petty people. (They will occasionally play the “political” game to get what they want, but they know most career politicians are disingenuous, self-centered, and are only interested in furthering their own careers.)

They are great at marketing

They are often (not always) great listeners

They are masters of the little (important) things

They know how to sell

They hate whiners, complainers, and corporate Dilberts

They aspire to something higher than themselves

They are concerned with doing the “right” thing

They often make lots of people mad (usually the politicians and career procrastinators)

They know how to laugh

They call others out for a lack of commitment or disingenuous behavior

They know that most of the “suits” are empty


Should project managers adopt some/all of these behaviors?  The great ones already have.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Good and Bad Leaders

Why are there so few good leaders in organizations today? While I can't answer that question, I am always willing to chime in with things I have learned and believe.

Good Leaders...

need to have a vision that is different, but still able to be accepted by the masses.

step outside of their comfort zones to make change happen

take risks, make sacrifices, and sometimes pay a cost to achieve their vision

instill confidence in others because they themselves are confident

build consensus

with charisma can change organizations

are encouragers

are positive

have the interests of others above their own

attract followers

bring new perspective to problem solving

are enablers

are an inspiration

Bad Leaders...

drive wedges in between people, teams, and organizational structures

don't stand up for their peers or their subordinates

behave like children when they don't get their way

gossip and spread rumors

don't reward others for their accomplishments

use "technobabble" and jargon to confuse others

believe they are smarter than everybody else

are unaware (sometimes) that most people don't respect them

dictate policy and doctrine almost exclusively via e-mail

are invisible to most of the organization

don't want rules, process, or procedure except for others

prescribe before diagnosing

don't solicit input from others unless it is to validate what they already believe

kill organizations through their arrogance and unwillingness to listen

are silent when they should speak

speak when they should be silent

Bad Leaders are hurting our organizations, our governmental institutions, our local schools, churches, and neighborhoods. Bad leaders ruin opportunities for our kids, run organizations into the ground, and are culture killers.

Do your part to eliminate the "cancerous" effect caused by Bad Leaders. Be a "good" leader by exhibiting the necessary leadership principles and ideals that inspire and motivate others. Don't be just another talking head. Be visible, don't gossip, be respectful of others, build consensus, and most of all be honest in all of your dealings.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Why Is My Project Late?

Design Changes – Design changes during project execution almost always cause delays and impacts to your budget. Once the Scope document has been signed, any changes to the design need to go through your Scope Change Request Process.

Skill Sets – When planning, assumptions are made regarding people's skills. Sometimes these assumptions turn out to be wrong. Also, you will usually have people on your team who are new or are less experienced. These new or lower skilled workers won't be as productive or effective as higher skilled workers. Make sure your project plan has accounted for skill levels.

Unplanned Work or Workarounds – Many times changes must be made to the sequence of planned work. These changes can impact time, cost, budget, and quality. Think about these risks up front and discuss what if any workarounds will be used.

Rework – Rework happens; it is part of project management. Ensure your project plan accounts for rework.

Team Morale – Turnover, project conflict, sick time, vacations all can wreak havoc with your schedule and budget; plan for these things. A happy team is a productive team. Ensure your team is working towards a common goal and not working against each other. Remove disruptive team members from your project if their behavior can't be changed.

Schedules – Trying to do too much in too little time will result in delays. Once you get behind it is very difficult to catch up. Your project will have delays. You need to have contingency plans to get back on track quickly.

Work Environment – Ensure that your team has a proper workspace. Cramming people into poorly designed work spaces will lower productivity.

Tools – Ensure your team has the right tools to do the job. Having the right tool, but not getting into the teams hands at the right time will cause delays in your schedule.

Project Manager Overload – Too many people on a project team without the proper management oversight can cause major problems for the project manager.

Overtime – Adding hours to people's schedules in order to make a deadline will usually do nothing but increase your budget. Adding overtime rarely results in getting a late project back on track.

Executive – Executive apathy can kill your project. People are usually not going to make your project a priority if their boss isn't willing to tell them it is important.

Plan for the above "risks" and you will start to bring your projects in faster, cheaper, with higher quality.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Are You Adding Value and Making a Positive Impact at Work?

How are you conducting yourself at work? Personal conduct flows directly from your character. Your character is radiated to others by what you say and do. What you say and do, and more importantly, what you have said and done in the past forms the basis of how others perceive you. Have you lied or used your power or influence to the detriment of others? Have you put personal relationships or interests above the interests of the organization? Have you used your position to get your way by means that were perceived by others to be unprofessional or unethical? If you answered yes, to any of the above, then you are damaged goods in your organization.

Quote: Unless you have deep roots, you won't bear much fruit – Author Unknown

The workplace demands responsible behaviors from all employees, but especially from its leaders. Leaders must be held accountable to what I call the Leadership Accountability Triangle. The three legs of the triangle are: Process, Communications, and Results. When measuring a leader's performance the three legs should be weighted equally.

One of the legs I will focus on today is Communications. It is irresponsible behavior for project managers and organizational leaders to communicate important topics exclusively using e-mail. When this happens, what they are saying is you and/or your group isn't worth their time.

EMOTIONAL OUTBURST: E-mail is a poor choice to use when relaying important project and/or critical organizational communications. Using e-mail exclusively to relay vital information shows a true lack of leadership and poor management skills.

My opinion is, ditch the e-mail when you need to communicate something important. You aren't so important that you can't take the time to pick up the phone or make a personal visit to communicate an important message. To put this in a real-world light, I have seen multiple situations where departments/divisions were radically reorganized and the leader(s) decided to communicate the change via e-mail. This was a cowardly act, and a horrible example of leadership. I call it Absentee Management by Design.

PERSONAL RANT #1: If you have something important to convey, make a personal visit, or at a minimum pick up the phone. Also, if it isn't worth your time to visit or call, then it probably wasn't that important. If I'm not worth some of your time, your message isn't worth much to me.

Organizations that are successful find ways to communicate effectively and inspire their staff. One way to do this is to create and live by Win/Win Agreements and relationships.

To have a Win/Win relationship you must have:

Desired Results: what will be done and when will it be done (negotiated)

Resources: people, money, organizational

Accountability: performance standards, measures

Consequences: good and bad

Win/Win agreements are about mutual understanding. If you want to understand others, you must listen to them. Not hear them, but listen to them. We can't communicate effectively unless we are listening to each other. If you dictate to me, I stop listening to you. Acknowledge me and validate my feelings, and I will listen to you.

PERSONAL RANT #2: E-mail isn't an effective two-way communication tool. I can't "hear" you and you can't "hear" me because were not talking.

Win/Win agreements require mutual respect. Organizational and personal wisdom are also an important part of crafting effective Win/Win agreements.

I'm sure we can agree (or maybe not) there are lots of "smart" people in our organizations; however smart people don't usually do the hard work. In fact, my experience has been that intelligence rarely equals wisdom. Wisdom is what we must seek when crafting Win/Win agreements. Wise people are your organization's greatest assets; because they are great listeners and are open to new ideas. To quote from, "wisdom is the ability, developed through experience, insight and reflection, to discern truth and exercise good judgment. Wisdom is sometimes conceptualized as an especially well developed form of common sense".

In closing, be wary of what I will call the e-mail preacher. E-mail preachers use the computer as their pulpit to preach their sermons. Remember an effective preacher is a great teacher. Effective teaching doesn't come from a keyboard. It comes from human interaction, a shared learning experience, where there is a feedback loop and an opportunity for face-to-fact dialogue and debate.

PERSONAL NOTE #3: I'm not impressed by the e-mail preachers. If I want to hear a speech (one way conversation) I will attend a political rally.

A visible leader that inspires by example and is available, engaged, and is aligned with the organization's mission and interested in the well-being of his/her subordinates is a rare commodity, but is still sorely needed in today's organizations.

As Stephen Covey says "If you can't inspire others than you are an impediment to progress. Satisfied needs do no motivate. It's only the unsatisfied need that motivates. Next to physical survival, the greatest need of a human being is psychological survival – to be understood, to be affirmed, to validated, to be appreciated".

PERSONAL RANT #4: You can't get validation or inspiration from leaders that communicate important messages via e-mail. Those that aren't seen aren't relevant.

FREE ADVICE TIP # 1: Ensure your behavior is driven by principles not expanding your powerbase. Make commitments, make promises, and then keep them. Acknowledge mistakes quickly and make amends. These are the signs of a true leader. Once done, you can effectively enter into Win/Win agreements.

Lastly, weak leaders, whiners, blame agents, and chronic complainers are commonplace in today's organizations. However, you can choose to take a higher road and make a difference. You can always find something wrong with something or someone; instead, reward somebody for doing something right.

Be an inspiration, not an empty suit or just another talking head.