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Archive for the ‘Association Management Companies’ Category

We explore a lot about leadership in this blog.  Most of the discussions revolve around `characteristics of great leaders’, or `values of great leaders’, even `behaviors’ of great leaders.  We haven’t talked yet about when a great leader decides to step down from his leadership role.

Frankly, I haven’t thought about it much.  Why would I?  After all, I think of great leaders as leading their organization until they decide to retire altogether.

Well, that’s not necessarily true.  I read an interesting article today titled, “CEO Resignations:  Is it Time to Climb Down the Ladder?“.

There are some very interesting thoughts explored in the article and I suspect in the book referenced, Consiglieri: Leading from the Shadows.  I plan to read the book.

Bottom line is this:  this CEO (and probably many others) realized he was no longer happy leading his company as the CEO.  Instead, he found a replacement and helped the replacement by taking a step down from the CEO position but not out of the company altogether.  The concept intrigues me for several reasons.

First, as a hard charging leader, one can burn out.  This concept allows the leader to re-charge by stepping aside but not out of the picture altogether.

Second, it seems this can also be a great transition plan for organizations.  Have the current leader step aside but not out.  Then he can help train and advise the new leader.

Of course this might not work for everyone or every organization.  But the concept is intriguing.

Have any of you felt burn out and changed your leadership position within your company as a result?

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I believe that a team reflects its leader.  By that I mean if a leader is compassionate, his team will be compassionate.  If a leader is grateful, his team will be grateful.  If a leader is a hard worker, his team will work hard.

Identifying and practicing the traits you want your team to possess is an important practice for successful leaders.  I read an interesting article today that addresses this.  You can read it here.

One of the suggestions in this article is that leaders regularly express gratitude for a job well done.  In fact, great leaders regularly find ways to praise their team members.  I know how it makes me feel when someone is genuinely thankful for something I’ve done for them.  It makes me feel like doing it again.

So, why not spread a little of that feeling every day with everyone you come in contact with – your team members, your family, the person serving you coffee at the local Starbuck’s.  I assure you doing so will make those around you happier; it will make you happier; and it will make you a better leader.

Thank you for reading this blog posting.  I hope it made you think about the traits great leaders possess and I hope it encourages you to demonstrate gratitude daily.

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If you study leadership, read about great leaders throughout history, or even if you just think about what you should do (and not do) to be a good leader, you may come away with a very wrong conclusion – that good leaders are always the smartest people in their organization and therefore have all the answers.

If you look a little deeper in your examination of leadership and great leaders though, you will discover that the very best leaders, the ones who were able to sustain greatness for their organizations over long periods of time, were NOT the smartest people in their organization and did NOT have all the answers.

Read this article for more information about what great leaders don’t know.

I may not be a great leader – yet – but I do study leadership and try to apply what I learn to the leadership of my company, my family and myself.  This lesson is one that is very important to learn and one I try to practice daily.

First, good leaders surround themselves with people who are smarter than they are.  At our company we try to find, hire and train people that are just that – smarter than me.  We know that if we have the smartest people on our team, together we can build something great.

Second, good leaders are regularly expected to make important decisions.  People on the team often look to their leaders with the expectation they must have the “answers” – that’s why they get the “big bucks” right?  The fact is, the decisions may be the leader’s to make but the input used to make the decision and the recommendations to be considered should come from the leader’s teammates.

When faced with a decision, I often (though I should always) ask my teammates for their input and recommendations.  I might say, “This is a challenging issue.  Are there any angles we haven’t explored?”  or “What do you recommend?  Why do you recommend that?”  or “If this decision were yours to make alone, what would you do?”.

My teammates feel more like teammates this way and not employees.  My teammates also may have different perspectives on the issue than me.  Getting their input makes the final decision a better one.

So remember – one of the marks of a good leader is knowing that you don’t know everything.  It’s okay not to.  It’s just not okay to act as if you do.

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“Listening is a skill”.  I have used those words many times – mostly saying them to my children when they haven’t done what they were asked to do – not because they’re bad kids, but because they didn’t listen to the instructions.

Listening truly is a skill.  As leaders, one of the most powerful things we can do is listen.  When we truly listen we learn more and we give the person we’re communicating with the impression that we truly care about them and their issue.  When people see that level of caring, they will go the extra mile for us.

I read a great article on listening today.  Click here to read it.

I am going to make a more conscientious effort to be an attentive and active listener in my interactions.  Let’s all do the same and share your results on this blog.

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Good leaders have many common traits and behaviors.  We’ve explored many of them through this blog.

For example, good leaders often surround themselves with good, smart, effective people; good leaders have a sense of purpose and are able to communicate that purpose with those around them; good leaders have certain values they live by and to which they hold themselves accountable.

I also believe good leaders try to make decisions and take actions that they can be proud of.  In other words, good leaders operate so they can “look themselves in the mirror” every day.

Check out this video clip and short blurb from a 2014 NBA Playoff game between the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers.

In the clip, a Pacers player is seen blowing into a Heat players’ face in an apparent attempt to distract the Heat player.  Of course we know ultimately this didn’t work as the Heat won the series and went on to play for the NBA title.  However, I can’t help but wonder how the Pacers player felt the morning after the game when he looked himself in the mirror.  Was he proud of his actions?  or Was he ashamed and embarrassed by his actions?

I guess we’ll never know for sure but I contend that good leaders typically don’t take actions they won’t be proud of and on the occasion they do make a mistake, (because everyone – even good leaders – make them) they address the mistake, apologize for it, take responsibility for it and then move on.  (check out my March 3, 2014 blog post “Hard to Say I’m Sorry and Other Leadership Anthems)

So, if you want to be a good leader – heck even if you just want to be a good person, start thinking about the consequences of your actions before you take them.  Think about what you will see in the mirror tomorrow morning.

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Interesting post recently from the Leadership Freak titled, “32 Things to say to Young Leaders“.  Read the list.  I’m sure you’ll agree with several and disagree with a few; you’ll also probably have more you could add to the list.  One thing should be clear from reading the list, though – Future Leaders are important to your organization and its your job as a current leader to develop them.

Several of the associations we partner with have created “Future Leaders” committees and other networking opportunities.  These give the future leaders of the industry an opportunity to network and learn from each other and to share the issues affecting their professional and sometimes personal lives.  Often the things keeping future leaders up at night are not the same as the things keeping current leaders up.  They definitely have their own needs, their own ways to communicate,  their own beliefs of what is important and what isn’t. We have found these Future Leader committees and other networking opportunities to be very valuable to the future leaders themselves and as a result, the association’s have become more important to the future leaders.

So, the list of things to say to “Young Leaders” was interesting to me.  A few highlights from the list for me are:

  • Tell me what you expect from yourself
  • What’s the next step?
  • What are you learning (from this situation)?
  • What will you do differently next time?
  • Which option feels good to you?  What feels good about it?
  • What did you do today to bring out the best in someone else?

Here are a few more I’ve thought of.  Let me know what you think and start adding to the list.

  • What would you recommend?  Why do you recommend that?
  • That’s a good idea.  Follow it through to its logical conclusion for me.
  • How do you see this situation playing out?
  • Why is this critical?
  • Where do you see this taking us in the next three years?
  • What can we do for you to help you grow in your role with the organization?
  • What three things could we implement to achieve success?
  • Great job.
  • How can we assure the results we expect?
  • If this were your decision to make, what would you do and why?  Then explain your decision and why you are making it.

Bottom line:  People want to feel they play a critical role in the success of their organization.  Future leaders want to learn leadership lessons from current bosses and mentors (the do’s and the don’ts).  Future leaders want to prove themselves and at the same time shape the future of their organization.

 

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Interesting article in Associations Now today.  The article asks the question, ‘Can a company or organization survive without a CEO’?

Read the article here.

I was confident I knew the answer without reading the article – “NO”!

But I read the article anyway.  I guess I was curious more than anything else.

Turns out my instincts were right.  It seems a few organizations have tried to be run without a leader (where the buck stops) but it doesn’t appear they have been resounding successes.  In fact, my impression from the article is that companies that have tried such a model have increased their middle management numbers, decreased their efficiency and created cultures where accountability is questionable.

That’s not to say that new models for leading businesses cannot be found.  In fact, one of the hallmarks of great leaders, in my opinion, is they are constantly thinking about ways to adjust or change their business model to make it better.  Great leaders are always thinking about the culture of their organization and how to make it better; the efficiency of their organization and how to make it even more efficient; the value their organization is delivering to its customers and how to become even more valuable.

Can a company survive without a CEO – probably on the short-term but for the long-haul organizations need a leader who is developing their culture, refining their vision and LEADING the employees to deliver value to their customers.

 

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