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Successful Leaders Don’t Focus on All the Details

4 Sep

What if a leader’s job is to look at most things out of focus?Leaders Don't Focus on All the Details

Typically, we think leaders should have a strong vision, focus on that vision, and help others focus on that vision.

But what if a leader’s job is to keep most things slightly out of focus?

When we hear words like micromanagement, isn’t that an indication that the particular leader doing the micromanagement has gotten too focused on some particular details of the organization? This leader would better serve the organization by bringing a situation slightly more into focus but not making it crystal clear. She or he should keep most things at an arm’s length, slightly out of focus.

This does not mean that someone else in the organization shouldn’t be focused or even hyper-focused on any particular situation’s details. This is why you have many people serving in different roles in the organization. Everyone is paying attention to different details.

Key Differences between Successful and Unsuccessful Leaders

But leaders need to separate the details important to them from all the rest. Leaders need to become comfortable with letting others manage details in areas out of the leader’s focus.

I suspect this is a key difference between successful and unsuccessful leaders. Successful leaders focus on only the most important details and let others manage the rest. Successful leaders have mastered the art of being comfortable with viewing many parts of the organization slightly out of focus.

Management Philosophy: Things I Don’t Believe

6 Jun

My management philosophy?Management Philosophy- Things I DON't Believe
Here are some things I don’t believe:

I don’t believe in productivity, whether it’s demanding it or measuring it.

I don’t believe in yearly evaluations.

I don’t believe in excuses.

I don’t believe that people prepare well enough for most meetings and I don’t believe that most people treat meetings as if they are important.

I don’t believe in treating customers better than employees or providing better customer service to customers than employees.

I don’t believe that every meeting needs to stick to the exact agenda, especially if that becomes an easy way to avoid conflict or tough questions.

I don’t believe in skill sets.

I definitely don’t believe in skill sets.

I don’t believe age is an indicator of ability.

I don’t believe experience is necessary (though often helpful).

I don’t believe in hiding facts.

I don’t believe in ignoring facts.

I don’t believe that one person’s facts are enough to conclude the truth of the matter.

I don’t believe 100% is ever attainable, thus I don’t believe in launching when things are 100% ready.

I don’t believe in striving for less than 100%.

I don’t believe in management philosophies.

What don’t you believe?

What is Organizational Leadership?

15 Oct

I completed a Master of Science degree in organizational leadership in 2011. I have been asked more than a few times, “What is your degree in?” I found that many elements distinguished my experience and I wanted to share what this study of leadership really meant to me.

The organizational leadership program focused a great deal on ethics. This was a program to learn not just to lead, but to lead in a way that was good, just, and right. These are lofty ideals, yes, but have an urgent importance. Organizational cultures are created by big decisions and influential events, but they are also created by the decisions people make all day, every day.

“Our Small Decisions as Leaders Have Great Effect on the Future”

Our job as leaders is to be conscious of the effect both our large and seemingly small decisions have on the people around us and the organizations we lead. It is easy to forget that today’s decision has effects far into the future. Double this with the short-term success pressures one often faces and it is even harder to make the right decision for long-term success.

One thing leaders can do to combat these pressures is to recognize their own tendencies, personality traits, and needs. What we do under pressure can be very different than what we might do in a less intense situation. Knowing what literally gets our blood boiling is very helpful. Recognizing the potential for a situation to upset us and bring out our fallback responses allows us to prepare better to make better decisions that reflect our better selves.

I also learned that leaders must recognize the strengths, weaknesses, and needs of those they lead. The situational leadership theory we studied was one of my favorite theories and suggested we give a great deal of attention to those we lead. We increase our reach as a leader by empowering others to do great work.

I covered these topics at various levels of detail and through various disciplines within the organizational leadership program. The program gave me the experience of looking critically at myself and reflecting on the decisions I make every day. It enabled me to recognize the important ways leaders affect those around them and how that affect helps bring success or failure.

See also, “The Three Leadership Essentials I’ve Learned”.

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