Leading is not the same as being a leader. Leading means others are willing to follow, not because they have to, but because they want to. Simon Sinek
Exceptional leadership is the heart of a successful organization. Employees need to be able to trust in the skills, strategy, judgment, and motivation of those steering the ship.
Do a search of books on Amazon under the topic of LEADERSHIP and we'll come up with ~190,526 options!
Yet, with all this information / knowledge available focused on leadership, and the BILLIONS of dollars spent on leadership development without meaningful return, indicates leadership is broken. A study by Maritz Research showed ONLY 7 out of 100 of employees (7%) have trust and confidence that their senior leaders aren't looking out for their best interests. How can organizations succeed without the support of their employees? Not many!
In this week's blog, I want to highlight two very powerful LEADership books that provide a framework to be the exceptional LEADer and organization:
First, LEADership is often thrust on people WITHOUT much preparation. The Leadership Contract is a great precursor to those aspiring to LEADership OR a wake-up call to those currently in LEADership positions and wondering, "Why is leadership not what I thought?" or "My leadership results are underwhelming!"
Second, too many leaders or would-be leaders aren't leading. "They're waiting for permission and direction from the executive team on every issue. Or they're acting like bystanders, watching problems persist or projects derail."
Third, LEADers learn the hard way about the Peter Principal. What is the Peter Principal? Observation in an hierarchy, people tend to rise to "their level of incompetence." Thus, as people are promoted, they become progressively less-effective because good performance in one job does not guarantee similar performance in another. Named after the Canadian researcher Dr. Laurence J. Peter (1910-90) who popularized this observation in his 1969 book 'The Peter Principle.'
Fourth, to prepare for when we WILL "hit the ceiling" or "hit a plateau" in our own leadership journey it's Bill Treasurer's book - A Leadership Kick in the Ass! - to the rescue!
Before We Go There - Let's Do a Quick Level-Set to Review the Concept of Leading VS Managing...
Have you ever considered why we think of some people as leaders, and others — who clearly lead their team or head their department — you think of as managers or bosses? This leadership principle - Leading -vs- Managing - makes it tempting to manage without leading – particularly in good times. When the "good times" fade away this phenomenon - assuming leading is leading when what's going on is REALLY managing will catch up to us and, to borrow a phase from Bill Treasurer, "Give us a kick us in the ass!"
So what's the difference between management and leadership? There are three differences:
The Leadership Contract: The Fine Print to Becoming an Accountable Leader
Dr. Venanzio "Vince" Molinaro is a business strategist, author of three books, including The Leadership Contract, and speaker. His own LEADership experience has shaped his leadership philosophies and practices he continues today. Currently, he serves as Global Managing Director at Lee Hecht Harrison a global talent mobility leader. Vince also writes a leadership blog "Leadership Gut Check".
According to Molinaro - the main challenge of leadership is it's poorly understood. Unfortunately, the public associates leadership with scandal and distrust. People in leadership roles often do not understand how to lead. In his book, Molinaro presents a fresh look at leadership, and offers a tangible, concise, and easy-to-understand roadmap and outlines what leadership is:
A Roadmap For the Enlightened...
Leaders are no longer "rulers," nor are they accidental—in today's business climate, leadership is both a trait and a specific set of skills. According to Molinaro, it's about trust, commitment, communication, and drive. This book shows us how to become the leader your organization needs. It goes beyond adopting the habits and practices of an effective leader and puts it in writing to establish a leadership contract that ensures the success of the company. This is the second edition that includes revised and updated coverage of accountability, personal and organizational levels of the leadership contract, Gut Check summary questions after each chapter, and additional opening and closing remarks to provide key insight into what the leadership role entails.
Some of the Takeaways...
The FOUR Terms of the Leadership Contract
1. Leadership IS a decision. Make It!
Molinaro shares EVERY day leaders have opportunities to make leadership decisions yet, do NOT answer the call - it's easier to stay put and play it safe. According to Molinaro there are TWO kinds of Leadership Decisions - BIG D and small d. Both are important. Yet different. BIG D leadership come at critical times in our career and force us to reflect on who we are as a leader and whether we are ready to take on a new leadership role. small d leadership decisions are made in the moment and may seem minor, but over time, they can have a considerable impact on our effectiveness as leader.
We need a strong degree of personal commitment. Ask yourself the Leadership "Am I..." Questions:
2. Leadership IS an obligation. Step up!
As a leader, we need to step up and recognize when we take on a leadership role, it should not be about us. Molinaro believes this partly explains why there is such a low level of trust and confidence in senior leadership. "Employees look to the upper echelons of their organizations and see leaders primarily motivated by personal gain."
Which is why he believes "Leadership needs to be considered its own profession. Medical doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers have professional standards. Leadership needs and establish set of standards, too."
As such, he outlines core obligations of leadership:
The other reason I paired the work of Molinaro and Treasurer is their philosophy about required leaders' actions and attitude. LEADERship...ON Purpose requires courage and persistence to do the hard work of leadership. "There is hard work that we alone as a leader can do and must do, and if we don't do it, we'll save ourselves and our organization's back." Both seem to be aligned, "We'll need resilience, determination, and a deep sense of personal resolve to be effective."
Many leaders don't realize when we avoid the hard work of leadership, we actually end up making ourselves weak. Molinaro goes on to share in his book 10 ways leaders make the hard work harder.
4. Leadership IS a Community. Connect!
Molinaro believes the missed opportunity today leadership is a "community of leaders." "If you can create a strong community of leaders in your organization, it will become your ultimate differentiator." he says.
Let's face it, no one leader can have all the answers today. The workforce, the business dynamics, the world we live in, has become far too complex for one person to be able to lead effectively. To drive the point home, Molinaro emphasizes, "Great risk is taken when a leadership culture is anchored to one leader who is the hero. When it's all rooted in one leader, even if that person is great, it can turn a company upside down and the leader leaves, because nothing sustainable beyond that leader's work has been created."
Leadership is more distributed today and we must leverage the capacity, ingenuity, and commitment of all leaders and employees. (Hint: WHAT ARE YOUR GIFTS?)
Signing a Leadership Contract
Beyond the LEADership concepts outlined, the book takes it one step further, by providing a template for a literal leadership contract. Which is why Molinaro wrote the book - his experience has shown many have signed up for leadership roles without understanding what it truly means to be a leader.
Signing a contract supports an important premise Molinaro outlines, "Leadership is a decision you have to consciously make." No accident, the contract has four components:
1. Decision. Make It!
2. Obligation. Step Up!
3. Hard work. Get Tough!
4. Community. Connect!
Another subtle, yet effective, way this contract can be used is to help those whom are not truly committed to being a leader. Molinaro believes the commitment not to lead is an important additional insight. "There is nothing to feel bad about. It's better to be honest with yourself. One way or another. What's important is you are making a deliberate decision not to lead – and that's an important leadership decision."
The Leadership Contract provides a blueprint for today's leaders, and guides us toward becoming the leader our employees deserve. For more SEE: http://theleadershipcontract.com/
A Leadership Kick in the Ass: How to Learn from Rough Landings, Blunders, and Missteps - Bill Treasurer
Editor's note: portions below adopted from www.getabstract.com
Bill Treasurer - Leadership consultant and the “chief encouragement officer” at Giant Leap Consulting, which helps people and organizations become more courageous - once led a high-diving exhibition team. To get the results, he bullied the divers on his team UNTIL a diver on the team called him out. “If you keep talking down to us,” the diver told Treasurer, “I’ll walk.” This was the kick in the backside Treasurer needed to transform from being a bad leader to being a good one. Now a stand-up leader, Treasurer explains why a leader sometimes needs a good jolt to get on the right path.
“At some point, every leader is confronted with the reality that his or her leadership is seriously and substantially flawed.” shares Treasurer. He goes on to say, “The more genuinely confident and humble you are, the less likely you’ll be to get kicked…most butt kicks are self-inflicted behavioral boomerangs.”
Why Every Leader Occasionally Needs a Swift Kick.
The book reveals leaders fall into two categories:
Being Told About Our Flaws IS Essential to Leadership Growth.
Such kicks can be career changing. Think of them as “transformative humiliation.” Colleagues administer wake-ups in the face of “overly strong or anemically weak leadership.” To accept these jolts as valuable learning experiences, leaders can put “adaptability over obstinacy.” Adaptability is a crucial leadership skill.
Additional "Leadership Kick In the Ass" Take-Aways
Making the Most from Getting Kicked
Unfortunately, as supported by The Leadership Contract, “Organizations…struggle with helping new leaders fully comprehend what it means to lead.”
So, no surprise:
Let's Conclude And Ask Ourselves Tough Questions:
To set yourself / organization up for LEADERship success have BOTH of these LEADership books in your back pocket! The gems of wisdom shared by Dr. Vince Molinaro and Bill Treasurer will bode well for OUR LEADership journey!
My best to your quest!
I believe each of us is a gift. I create trusted relationships where individuals, teams and leaders NAME, CLAIM and AIM their gifts to achieve optimum performance.
Interested to Learn About Yourself or Your Team? Mark is a Certified CliftonStrengths Coach and TotalSDI Facilitator and happy to discuss your situation
SEE Summary List of Other Blogs!
About Mark Myette
I believe each of us is a gift. I create trusted
Based out Roam - Buckhead - 3365 Piedmont Rd NE, Suite 1400 (2nd Floor), Atlanta, GA 30305
Can meet at other Roam locations if appropriate: Alpharetta; Dunwoody; or Galleria