Stop Hating the People You Serve

It has been too long since I have posted here. My muse has been in absentia, I’m afraid.
Dan Rockwell is a prolific blogger with wonderful insights. This post resonated with me in several contexts, based on some of the hats I wear. It reminded me of the proper attitude I should have toward my students, even the struggling, challenging ones. As a member of my church’s high council, we are increasing our emphasis on ministering and service. This made Dan’s insights doubly important to me, so I am reposting his post.
You may read the original post here.


Leaders get frustrated with the people they serve. You hear them grumble, “What’s wrong with people?” It happens in the business world, education, church world, and governments as well.

Dissatisfaction – apart from loving action – eventually morphs into hate.

10 symptoms of hateful leadership:

  1. Minimizing or ignoring your impact on others.
  2. Peevishness that won’t let go of small issues, faults, or offenses.
  3. Withholding help when you’re able to make work easier for others.
  4. Criticism that points to wrong without working to make something right.
  5. Complaining that camps in the past.
  6. Dispassion for the interest of others.  Self-interest apart from other-interest is hateful.
  7. Comparative bragging.
  8. Unwillingness to adapt to others. You’re a hater if everyone adapts to you.
  9. Smugness when colleagues struggle, fail, or lose reputation.
  10. Temper outbursts and irritability. An irritable leader is a hateful leader.

You might be thinking you don’t hate. You DISLIKE.

Haters protect themselves by defining hate in terms of others. The hateful leadership list is my take on the opposite of love. I thought about love and wrote about the opposite.

Maybe you prefer to use UNLOVING instead of hate. Does that sting less?

7 ways to move toward loving leadership:

  1. Stop trying to control people. Focus on things within your control. Let go of everything else. Helplessness turns to hate.
  2. Expect to pour into others.
  3. Acknowledge that people ARE frail. Hate grows when you forget frailties, both your own and others’.
  4. Show up to serve for the joy of serving.
  5. Determine to spend most of your think-time focused on strengths, talent, opportunities, and the future. If you think focusing on failure and problems will take you where you want to go, you’re a hater.
  6. Celebrate imperfect progress. You’re a hater if nothing is ever good enough.
  7. Every morning start fresh with people, but don’t expect them to perform out of weakness.

What does leadership that seeks the best interest of others look like?


Dan’s question begs careful consideration. You will have to answer this for yourself. I will have to answer this for myself.

Lead faithfully!

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In Memoriam Philip Pumerantz: A Final Tribute to Caring

I posted this tribute to Philip Pumerantz, PhD, on April 15, 2015, shortly after he announced his retirement as President of Western University of Health Sciences. In it, I briefly examined some noteworthy leadership traits that I observed in my limited contact with him.

With the announcement of his passing on December 26, 2017, I felt it was important to revisit this leadership tribute and add a few more thoughts in his honor.

Next to the statue of Dr. Pumerantz, across the Esplanade from the Health Sciences Center, is a fountain with the three building blocks of Western University: Humanism, Caring, and Science. I don’t believe that these were mere words for Dr. Pumerantz; these seemed to be a part of his core values. He was a kind, caring man. That was particularly evident than when he was with his wife, Harriet.

WUHS Fountain

And that caring was extended to the faculty, staff and students of WesternU. He loved the students. He seemed energized by them. In his last few years as President, he insisted on being on stage for all 5 commencement ceremonies. He did his best to stand and congratulate each new doctor. I cannot imagine the superhuman effort that entailed. Having participated in five commencements for the College of Dental Medicine, I can begin to understand his love for the students and his pride in their accomplishments.

I have a close friend who served as a consultant when the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific was being organized. He spoke of Dr. Pumerantz as a shrewd business person, and I don’t believe that this was meant as a negative comment. Indomitability, tenacity, and ambition have also been used to describe him. He has also been referred to as a super salesman. Without that, without the drive that goes along with an unconquerable desire for success, Philip Pumerantz could not have accomplished all that he did.

My original tribute, slightly edited, follows.

 

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Recently, Dr. Philip Pumerantz, President of Western University of Health Sciences, announced his retirement. Even though I have not had the privilege of working directly with him, my nearly six years of contact with him as an employee have provided some valuable lessons.

Dr. Pumerantz founded Western University, starting with the humble beginnings of the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific in 1977. In the intervening years, the university has grown to include nine colleges of various health science disciplines.

These colleges form a well-integrated, innovative university. For example, we have been pioneers in interprofessional education in the health sciences. But each college is also making a name for itself within its own discipline in health education. Our College of Dental Medicine, where I am employed, is a trendsetter in dental education.

Our clinic facility includes clinics for dentistry, podiatric medicine, osteopathic medicine (family practice), optometry, and an interdisciplinary diabetes center, along with a full-service pharmacy. Each is manned by students who are guided by capable faculty and staff.

All of this is noteworthy enough, but by itself, it would not motivate me to consider a tribute. Rather, it is the man himself, Dr. Pumerantz, who inspired me to write this. I believe that we as leaders can learn much from this great man.

 

Allow me to share what has been most significant to me.

Dr. Pumerantz was a man of vision: he was always looking beyond the horizon. He surrounded himself with capable men and women who caught his vision and have helped him to make it a reality. Many of these individuals are innovators in their own right, and have been given the freedom to develop excellence in their own programs.

He was appreciative. Each year, on the anniversary of my hire, I received a thank you note. This was a very pleasant surprise at the end of my first year. In conversations with us, he always seemed to find something to thank us for. His attitude helped me to realize that my contributions do not go unnoticed.

He created a culture of friendship among all university employees. For lack of a better term, he fostered a “Hilton culture” at WesternU, where nearly everyone is happy to help out. Whether it is the maintenance crew, the mailroom staff, security, doctors, or anyone else: we all greet one another and treat each other well. This culture was well established before I joined the faculty, and that made it easier for me to adjust to academia.

Dr. Pumerantz was an example of community involvement and community service. Indeed, this is a key point of our success. We put on health fairs and screenings and serve in many other ways. Applying students must show a track record of service in order to be admitted! Not the least noteworthy here is how we as a university have helped to revitalize downtown Pomona. Because of what Dr. Pumerantz has done in the community, I was once thanked by the Mayor of Pomona for all the good we do for the city.

Dr. Pumerantz was approachable. He didn’t stay in his ivory tower. He often stopped us to chat. Many university presidents can’t be bothered with that. He embodied the principle of MBWA: management by walking around. Many of my co-workers have told stories of kind conversations with him.

Frequently when I was out walking, I heard him call out “Hello, Professor!” He always had questions about how I was doing, how my family was, how the College was doing – he showed an interest. And I always felt appreciated.

At a social event, he stopped me, my wife and my daughter, and praised my efforts in building the university. At that point my daughter wanted to be a veterinarian. When he heard that, he made an effort to track down an administrator who could be a key contact for her. He was unable to locate the individual, but his effort and his concern were very much appreciated.

Dr. Pumerantz was known for his hospitality. He hosted various events for faculty and staff during the academic year. During our orientation week, which he calls Welcome Week, he and his wife hosted an ice cream social because they wanted to greet all the incoming students and thank them for coming here. For many years this was held in his back yard, until we became too big. Now it is held on campus. But in spite of poor health, they continued to attend.

And following our opening ceremonies at the end of welcome week, he hosted a barbecue luncheon for the new students and their families, along with faculty and staff.

Finally, I have never heard Dr. Pumerantz speak publicly without praising his wife, Harriet. She has been his partner and his support, and has shared all of his achievements. He was quick to point out that he would not be where he is without her. If each of us were as quick to praise our spouses, this would be a better world.

 

I suspect that there may be some character flaws lurking beneath the surface. In fact, I suspect Dr. Pumerantz might point that out himself. But I have not worked closely enough with him to observe that. I don’t wish to insinuate anything negative; I just don’t want to claim that he can walk on water. I only know what I have seen; but I have seen enough to make me admire this great man as a leader and as a good person.

I have a deep sense of gratitude for the privilege I have had to work with Dr. Philip Pumerantz, and for the example he has provided to us. His legacy is one that will benefit all of us.

 

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In the two-and-a-half years that have passed since I wrote this tribute, I still feel that deep gratitude for my connection with Dr. Pumerantz, and for the great privilege to be a small part of the remarkable university that he founded.

His passing leaves a hole in the hearts of all who have been a part of WesternU, one which osteopathic medicine cannot heal.

May we all do our best to continue the legacy which he has established, and continue taking the university, and our individual colleges, to new heights. I believe that is what Dr. Pumerantz would want.

I extend my condolences and deepest sympathies to Harriet and the Pumerantz family, and to all who knew and loved Dr. Pumerantz.

Requiescat in pace, Dr. Philip Pumerantz.

 

For further information, please see:

https://www.sbsun.com/2017/12/27/westernu-founding-president-philip-pumerantz-remembered-as-health-care-luminary/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Pumerantz

https://www.dailybulletin.com/2015/09/05/western-universitys-philip-pumerantz-delivered-a-medical-school/

 

Take It to the Limit?

How fast can a person ride on a bicycle? How fast have you gone on a bicycle? I know I’ve broken 50mph (downhill, of course).

In September 2016, Denise Mueller set a new women’s bicycle speed record, 147mph.[1] And she felt that if she had a course two miles longer, she could have beaten the men’s record. Was your top estimate anywhere close to that? I haven’t even gone that fast in a car!

High speed bike

Denise did not place any artificial limits on her potential as she trained. She had realistic goals, proper equipment, and a team that supported her. At the same time, there were certainly risks involved. We can probably draw some leadership lessons from the lead car. I’ll save those for another post.

The Bike

As leaders, we continually set goals for ourselves and for our teams. Our chief aim is continued improvement: we want our performance to become better over time. But are we ever guilty of aiming too low, and holding our team back?

We know that greater expectations lead to improved performance. But have you ever had a leader who tried to limit your expectations? It can be a frustrating experience.

Yes, as leaders, we must help our teams set realistic goals; but this doesn’t mean that we should place artificial limits on our talented team members. We may have some record-breaking talent, but if we restrain them, they will never have a chance to break records.

Mark Sanborn discusses that the human tendency is to limit our disappointments by limiting our expectations.[2] If we expect too much, we will frequently become disappointed. But disappointment rarely follows low expectations.

Sanborn says: “One of the keys to continual improvement is the willingness to risk disappointment, to see disappointment not as a bad thing to be avoided but as proof positive we are aiming higher and striving to get better.”[3] He concludes that highly successful people are more often disappointed than are other people. Why are they successful? They don’t let their disappointments slow them down, or hold them back.

As leaders, we should feel empowered to help our teams become better than their best. We must remember that this improvement is incremental. Elite Olympians don’t double their performance overnight. Frequently their coached improvements come as tenths of seconds are shaved off from their best times.

As leaders and coaches in other fields, we might ask these questions:

  1. What are the best metrics for evaluating your team’s performance? Hint: it is rarely money.
  2. What degree of improvement is appropriate for the tasks performed by your team? Remember the Olympians: the increments should be appropriate for the task and the team.
  3. What type of motivation is most appropriate for your team, including rewards for achieving the objectives? Sometimes a simple “thank you” is sufficient; other times it will be grossly inadequate. On the other hand, if you feel you must hover over your team and crack a whip over them, you will need to examine your “motivational” techniques.
  4. What is an appropriate time frame? It is important to balance the potential for disappointment with the potential for growth, and create a realistic time frame.
  5. Are you risking your own job by risking disappointment? This is a difficult situation for a leader: you may need to temper your risks, but don’t eliminate them.

Now some personal questions from Sanborn[4]:

  1. How do you imagine yourself becoming better than you already are?
  2. How do you overcome the limitation of your experiences?

You cannot help your team grow if you are not growing yourself. Coach Lou Holtz is fond of saying “You are either growing or you are dying.” Choose growth.

A good leader enables his team to become better than their best by setting them up to excel.


Pictures courtesy of Project Speed, via Velo News


[1] For details on how she did it, follow this link: http://www.velonews.com/2016/09/news/ca-woman-rides-her-bicycle-147-mph-a-new-world-record_420507#2gpxGMoWiLSm285y.99.

[2] Sanborn, M. The Potential Principle, p. 9. 2017.

[3] Ibid., p. 9.

[4] Ibid., p. 9.

Presidential BHAG’s

Footprint on moonAs I reflect on those who have served as President of the United States in my lifetime, there have been the good, the great, the mediocre, and the others. The perspective of history will sort that out.

An unspoken expectation is for each President to lead the nation. While each led in some manner, some exhibited strong leadership skills; others were weaker.

We have had the opportunity to visit the Presidential Libraries of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, and while at each one, my thoughts were drawn to President John F. Kennedy. He did something that none of his successors have done, and honestly may not do again. What did he do? He challenged the people of the U.S. to meet a difficult goal. This challenge unified the nation, and we ultimately succeeded.

This challenge was extended to a joint session of Congress on May 25, 1961. Said Kennedy: “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth.”[i]Mecury-Atlas 4

A good leader gives challenges that help his people grow. There are elements to his challenge that leaders can draw from.

  1. Kennedy did his homework. He had some background knowledge. He gave specifics in his challenge. He had an estimate of the costs involved, and was aware of the technology that existed as well as what was needed.
  2. Kennedy knew he could not accomplish this on his own. In fact he lacked the skills required to execute the actions he was proposing. He empowered those who had the necessary skills and challenged: “every scientist, every engineer, every serviceman, every technician, contractor, and civil servant” to give “his personal pledge that this nation will move forward, with the full speed of freedom, in the exciting adventure of space.”[ii] He urged Congress to provide them with the resources to do what he asked.Apollo 11 engineers
  3. He provided a unifying rationale. “Now it is time to take longer strides–time for a great new American enterprise–time for this nation to take a clearly leading role in space achievement, which in many ways may hold the key to our future on earth.”[iii] Remember that this was in response to the Soviet Union developing manned space capabilities, in connection with the Cold War.
  4. He set a deadline for the project. The time frame was demanding, and the goal was not a simple one. But this created a sense of urgency, and work began immediately, and continued in spite of disappointments and disasters. He said that the “risk enhances our stature.”[iv]
  5. He created a spirit of competition. And then he said it wasn’t exactly a competition: “This is not merely a race. Space is open to us now; and our eagerness to share its meaning is not governed by the efforts of others.”[v] This served to motivate everyone involved. And all Americans were involved, in one way or another.Gemini 7 rendezvous with Gemini 6
  6. Kennedy appealed to our patriotism, our “team spirit.” In a speech at Rice University in 1962 which served as an update on progress (another important element) and an announcement of what would become “Mission Control” in Houston, he said: “The exploration of space will go ahead, whether we join in it or not, and it is one of the great adventures of all time, and no nation which expects to be the leader of other nations can expect to stay behind in the race for space.”[vi]
  7. He asked for a firm commitment. This is absolutely critical in achieving a goal, especially an overwhelming goal like Kennedy’s. “Let it be clear that I am asking the Congress and the country to accept a firm commitment to a new course of action, a course which will last for many years and carry very heavy costs.”[vii] There was absolute transparency in his request, long before we started demanding transparency of our leaders.Apollo 14 launch
  8. Finally, he issued a call to action, and a request for all to make the necessary sacrifices to achieve this goal. He knew this was a hard thing to do, and asked us to do it because we do hard things.

“We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.”[viii] He continued, “Space is there, and we’re going to climb it, and the moon and the planets are there, and new hopes for knowledge and peace are there. And, therefore, as we set sail we ask God’s blessing on the most hazardous and dangerous and greatest adventure on which man has ever embarked.”[ix]

Armstrong descends ladder

What was amazing to me as a child now seems somewhat commonplace to most people. There were 135 Space Shuttle missions, and numerous trips to the International Space Station that no longer capture the imagination of the public. But this would not have become so ordinary if President Kennedy had not set his BHAG[x] in motion.

A good leader gives challenges that inspire his people to stretch and grow; a great leader gives challenges that unify and motivate.

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Special thanks to NASA for the images from the gallery at https://images.nasa.gov.

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[i] Speech before a Joint Session of Congress, 25 May 1961. https://www.jfklibrary.org/Research/Research-Aids/JFK-Speeches/United-States-Congress-Special-Message_19610525.aspx

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Ibid. Many of the technologies we take for granted were developed for the space program and later found use in civilian life. Examples include personal computers, microwave ovens, freeze-dried ice cream, and even the satellite systems we rely on for weather and for locating ourselves.

[iv] Ibid.

[v] Ibid.

[vi] Speech at Rice University, 12 September 1962. https://www.jfklibrary.org/Research/Research-Aids/JFK-Speeches/Rice-University_19620912.aspx

[vii] Speech before a Joint Session of Congress, op cit. Remember that he proposing an expenditure of $7-9 billion per year on this project, a fittingly astronomical amount for 1961. At Rice, he proposed an expenditure of $.50 per week for every man, woman and child in the U.S. to continue this endeavor.

[viii] Speech at Rice University, op cit.

[ix] Ibid.

[x] Big Hairy Audacious Goal. This idea came from the book, “Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies” by James Collins and Jerry Porras. Their acronym refers to a long-term, usually large-scale goal that changes the very nature of an organization.

Have You Lost Your Leadership Jingle?

antique_christmas_sleigh_bells_on_a_leather_strap_615af543

This morning, I heard an old Christmas song playing a store: Bobby Vinton singing “The Bell That Couldn’t Jingle.” His recording was released in 1964, but it was written by Burt Bacharach in 1957.[1]

This is a corny Christmas song with a moral, which was a popular genre in the 50’s and 60’s. It is in the musical style of the song factory writers of that era.[2]

But today, a line at the end of the first verse caught my attention: “The bell that couldn’t jingle: it had nothing there inside.” It’s an interesting thought. Most bells have a clapper or a ball to create noise. The poor bell in the song had nothing inside.

How are you jingling as a leader?[3]

Is there something there inside? You may have noticed that at times there truly is “nothing left inside.” Can you recognize when that happens?

How can you regain your lost jingle?

In the song, Santa has Jack Frost freeze the little bell’s teardrop and put it in the bell so that our hero could jingle happily on Santa’s sleigh.[4]

jingle-bells

Here are some suggestions.

  1. Reevaluate and update your goals. If your goals are dated or unrealistic, they can cause you to lose your jingle. Current, relevant goals that are meaningful to you can help bring back some of your jingle.
  2. Reevaluate your motivations in life. This ties in with looking at your goals. Why do you do what do? Is it enough to ring your bells?
  3. Seek feedback from trusted colleagues or a supervisor. Sometimes a second or even a third pair of eyes can help you find out why your bells aren’t jingling. Sometimes your spouse or significant other can chime in and help.
  4. Take time to recharge. Everyone needs a break to regain perspective. Whether you are in search of your lost shaker of salt or your jingle, you won’t find it if your nose is always to the grindstone.
  5. More cowbell. Just kidding. Or maybe not. Sometimes your bell has to be struck from the outside. There are days when we need external help to make our noise.

more_cowbell_grande

If you recognize that your jingle isn’t jingling, take the necessary steps to get your jingle back. Don’t be a ding-a-ling about it.

A good leader can jingle all the way.

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[1] Other recordings include Bobby Helms (1965), Burt Bacharach himself (1967?), and Herb Alpert (1968). Vinton’s was the B-side of Jingle Bell Rock.

[2] I have nothing against Bacharach. His songs are timeless, and he was a good composer with a distinctive sound. But his was among the music that our parents listened to in the 60’s. Need I say more?

[3] I am not referring to the times when the jingling gets annoying.

[4] See, I did say it was corny. And because I live in Southern California, that bell would lose its jingle again when Santa gets here.

Teachable Moments

Some great thoughts on leadership as a parent, a coach, and as a professional!

I Refuse To Follow Your Blog

teachable

I hear a lot of stories in my office that typically leave me shaking my head in disbelief.  One such story took place this morning while two guys were discussing why their daughters decided to quit playing sports.  

Both of them expressed that their children were demoted from starting positions on their respective volleyball teams to second string, and since these little high-school darlings thought they were so much better than the coaches opinions, neither of them wanted to play sports anymore…

so they both quit.  

What left me shaking my head wasn’t that they quit, it was when I heard these two fathers express their views about their daughters.

For some reason the “two most pathetic dad’s in the worldcondoned the actions of their daughters and praised them for standing up for their right to play.

Seriously?  

What’s more, and what I find ironic is that the two pathetic dad’s are…

View original post 600 more words

Hello, My Name is Bob—and I’m an Egomaniac

I love the concept of servant leadership. I believe that this is applicable in any leadership situation. I have even seen military leadership blogs that have discussed its importance in leading the troops.
Blanchard has made this a focus of many recent posts, and this one really resonated with me. Especially the question about recalibrating oneself.
The original post can be read here.

How We Lead

I want to share a method for getting your ego out of the way and clear your path to becoming a servant leader. There are two sides of the human ego that can cause trouble. One is false pride—when you think more of yourself than you should. When this occurs, you spend most of your time looking for ways to promote yourself. The other is fear—when you think less of yourself than you should. In this case, you spend time constantly trying to protect yourself.

I love to start meetings with an Egos Anonymous session. It is a simple but powerful opening activity with a format similar to one used in many 12-step programs. Individuals stand up, introduce themselves, and then share an example of how they have let their ego get in the way of being their best. For example, I would say, “Hi, I’m Ken, and I’m an…

View original post 397 more words

The 4 Hidden Agendas Concealed in Complaints

In the seemingly endless Presidential campaign in the U.S., we are surrounded by chronic complainers. Countless friends complain about the choices (or the lack thereof) available to us. Venom and bile are flowing thick and fast. People become hateful and more and more angry.

But the one constant I have noted, regardless of party affiliation, is that among all the complainers, no one is offering any solutions. The ceaseless yammering is not accomplishing anything, except for fomenting more anger.

Not a very productive activity.

Do you know a chronic complainer? Do you have to work with one? Are you responsible for one?

No one likes being around complainers; we all become uncomfortable when we have to listen to too many complaints. 

How you deal with this as a leader? Dan Rockwell shared some ideas.

This is a repost of his blog post on Leadership Freak.


The 4 Hidden Agendas Concealed in Complaints

The “make it go away” fairy doesn’t exist. Ignored complaints fester.

Uncover the real dissatisfaction before solving complaints.

chronic complainers want to look caring and innocent while talking mean and ugly

The 4 hidden agendas concealed in complaints:

  1. “You should have ….” You caused the problem because you dropped the ball.
  2. “What are you going to do about this?” Whiners want – no expect – you to make it better.
  3. “I’m not happy.” Chronic complainers don’t own the real issue. They want something for themselves.
  4. “I want to look good while I talk bad.” Complainers use compassion as camouflage. They’re complaining because they “care”.

Establish the intent of complaint conversations:

  • What outcome would you like from this conversation? Don’t have conversations when intentions are undeclared, obscure, or unknown. If they don’t know what they want, have them come back when they do.
  • Are you looking for a solution or time to vent? (Ask this when you know and trust each other.) Some issues are solved with an ear.

Second venting sessions are complaints. It’s time to design solutions.

Explore the hidden agenda:

#1. If we could go back…

  • What should have happened to prevent this problem?
  • What could you have done to prevent this problem?
  • What could I have done to prevent this problem?

#2. What would you like me to do about this? Asking doesn’t mean you’re going to do it. It’s the beginning of a conversation about real solutions.

An alternative: What would you like me to do for you?

#3. What needs to happen for you to feel good, when our conversation is over in twenty minutes?

#4. If you don’t mind me asking, “What makes you care about this?” Explore assumptions and values.

Nagging issues intensify with time.

What hidden agendas might complainers have?

How might leaders deal with underlying issues?


The original post may be viewed here.

Equip your crew with the right tools

The question What's in Your Toolbox? asking if you have the skil

As a young Boy Scout, I had the opportunity to lead a group of my peers as a Patrol Leader in the Flaming Arrow Patrol. We developed into a strong patrol, and became good friends. But when I was elected Senior Patrol Leader, it became apparent that I hadn’t ensured for proper leadership succession. In fact, at age 14, I wasn’t even aware of the principle.

On the first campout with the new Patrol Leader, everything was going well until they realized they had forgotten a spatula to turn their pancakes. Since they had already mixed the pancake batter, and were hungry, they came up with a novel idea: scrambled pancakes. The pancakes were stirred with a fork, just like scrambled eggs. The result did not look appetizing, but the guys were hungry, and ate it anyway.  Ask any member of Troop 592 from that era about scrambled pancakes, and you’ll have a good laugh.

And the Flaming Arrows never forgot to have the proper cooking utensils again.

 

The important lesson from the experience is that in order to perform a task effectively, the right tools are necessary. If an individual doesn’t have the right tools, their assignment is destined for failure.

RightTool

Although different tasks require different tools, there are some common tools that must me be available in order to succeed.

  1. Empowerment When given an assignment, whether it be installing a new faucet or leading a team, an individual must be given the authority to perform the task and to make the necessary decisions that will be faced along the way. Without this empowering, the task cannot be completed.
  2. Expectations If you cannot clarify expectations, don’t make the assignment. If I am installing a faucet, the basic expectations are: properly mounted, tight connections, hot water on the left and cold on the right. But what if the client has additional expectations that weren’t conveyed to me?
    In leading a team, some basic expectations will be obvious as well. But what is the ultimate goal? Do I follow a marked path or must I discover my own? If these and other questions are not clarified, the leader may not meet the unspoken expectations.
  3. Education A certain degree of training and orientation is necessary for any job. In any field, it may be assumed that the individual has a basic knowledge of the task at hand. But unlike the journeyman plumber who has installed thousands of faucets, and has access to a basin wrench and other devices to facilitate the job, the new leader may not even have a toolbox, much less the necessary tools to complete the job.
    Education ties in closely with empowerment and expectations. When a new leader is asked to lead a team, the supervising leader should determine the extent of the new leader’s knowledge and make certain to fill in the gaps.
  4. Evaluation How do we measure success? What tools do we use for this? How frequently will the measurements be taken, and how frequently will constructive feedback be given? Just as educators use rubrics to help define success for their students, the elements of success should be well-defined for the new leader.
    When a faucet is installed, the apprentice plumber will require more evaluations than the experienced journeyman will. The expectations at each step should be understood.
    When leading a team, sometimes the specifics are harder to define. But the new leader cannot succeed without understanding what will be evaluated.

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If a new leader is not equipped with the right tools, he may be doomed to failure. Whether it be a pancake turner, a basin wrench, or a thorough understanding of the assignment, the right tools are critical for completing the job.

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Are you giving your crew the right tools? A good leader will ensure that a well-stocked toolbox is available.

The 5 Times Your Leadership Is Guaranteed to Fail

Lolly Daskal is another leadership blogger whom I have been following for some time. Her frequent posts have given me food for thought as I lead, and as I observe others lead.

In this post, she names five key characteristics of a good leader. Everyone has their own list, but I think that these five points are absolutely essential. Read this and see if you don’t agree.

The 5 Times Your Leadership Is Guaranteed to Fail

Posted on 17 May, 2016 by Lolly Daskal

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We all want leadership to be successful. But some circumstances are reliable pointers to failure. Learn what they are and how to avoid them.

Done right, leadership is difficult. It brings great rewards, but at great risk. You have to put yourself on the line—so when you do, you want the best possible odds of success.

In some situations, though, failure is all but guaranteed. Here are five of the most common. Get to know them so you can steer far clear.

  1. When there is no trust. Leadership is about credibility and reliability; to be an effective leader, your followers must have trust in you. That’s why it’s critical to always take responsibility for your actions. Make sure your people feel guided and supported in their work and show that they can trust your leadership.
  2. When there is no character. Leaders build excellence—helping their team become all that they are capable of. To reach that level of excellence requires leadership that is grounded in character. Excellence starts with leaders of strong character who model doing what is right, not what is easy.
  3. When there is no communication. No one ever became a great leader without first becoming a great communicator. Successful leaders connect with people on an emotional level every time they speak. Their words build relationships, teach, and inspire others. Great communication also means listening well and treating your team with candor and honesty.
  4. When there is no respect. You can’t lead anyone who doesn’t respect you, and it’s hard to lead those you don’t also respect. Respect must be first given before its earned. That means thinking about every small thing you do as a leader and how it is perceived. Leaders who know how to give the utmost respect will receive respect, in the form of loyalty and performance.
  5. When there is no ability. To be successful requires tactical and technical proficiency. In any organization it is the leader’s capabilities and performance that set the tone for the team’s engagement. Leadership is empty without an understanding of the work at hand, and the best leaders work constantly to improve their expertise.

How is your own leadership looking? Are you doing what it takes to propel it forward?

Lead from within: Decide what kind of leader you going to be—the kind who is content to think of themselves as the best, or the one of the few greats whose leadership achieves the highest levels.

The original post may be found here.