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Many times leaders are presented with ideas by their teammates.  How they respond to these ideas separates the good leaders from the bad leaders.

Think for a minute about how you responded the last time an idea was presented to you by one of your teammates.  Did you keep a positive look on your face or a negative one?  Were you enthusiastic or dejected?  Did you comment positively on the idea or negatively?

I recently read a blog posting on this topic that was helpful to me.  Click here to read it for yourself.

I like the ten suggested responses to ideas.  Perhaps most of all, I like the notion that no idea is perfect.  If you wait for the perfect idea or try to modify the idea so much in an attempt to make it perfect, you lose the momentum created by the idea in the first place.  I also really like the idea of running a “trial” or a “pilot” for new ideas – in other words, I like the idea, let’s see if it works the way we think it should.

I thought the 4 principles were helpful:  (my summation)

1.  Respecting the idea is respecting the idea creator.

2.  Don’t exaggerate the challenges you anticipate with the idea.

3.  If you change the idea too much, it becomes yours, not theirs.  Don’t steal ideas.

4.  If they own the idea, they will see it through.

Even good leaders can’t be good all the time for sure.  However, hopefully you more often than not encourage the development and presentation of new ideas by your teammates through positive responses.

I recently read an article published in the New York Times about how IBM develops new ideas through a collaborative team effort.  You can read it here.

A critical value most successful teams have is TRUST.  When members of a team trust each other, they can accomplish great things together.

Unfortunately, trust doesn’t always exist on teams.

IBM has developed this interesting collaborative structure for teams that seems to work for them when trust doesn’t exist.  (Be mindful that in this case there isn’t mistrust.  It’s just that their team is either too new, too large or to disparate to have developed trust in each other).

Their collaborative process seems interesting to me.  We may try it the next time we need to find a solution to a challenge in our business.

Just about everyone knows who Lou Holtz is.  Some people love him, others may not care for him (especially if you’re not a Notre Dame fan).  For those who don’t know, Lou Holtz was a very successful (mostly college) football coach.  He is probably best known for coaching Notre Dame from 1986 to 1996.  During that time he lead Notre Dame to an unmatched record and a National Championship.

Coach Holtz credits much of his success to the lessons he learned from his mentors.  He also credits it to a philosophy he honed during his early years of coaching.  While Holtz has many beliefs, he boils the philosophy down to three key points:  Trust, Commitment and Care.

I have heard coach Holtz speak.  He is very motivational.  I recently watched an interview with him on a Golf Channel show called, “Feherty”.

I was pleasantly surprised that coach Holtz’s philosophy to success so closely mirrors the values we believe in at our company.  You see, we have said for twenty years that there are six core values to success in our business – Trust, Commitment, Responsibility, Care, Growth and Enjoyment.

More specifically, we say:

  • Be trustworthy
  • Commit ourselves to each other, our company and the industries we serve
  • Act responsibly
  • Care about others
  • Grow every day
  • Have fun

We try to apply these values in every action we take and every interaction we have.  We believe that doing so leads to success.

Coach Holtz at least agrees with Trust, Commitment and Care – they are his cornerstone values.

What values do you consider critical to success?

I want to recognize one of my mentors and a lifelong leader in today’s blog post.

The founder of my company, almost 40 year association management leader, former political party leader, and my father is being recognized for his leadership within the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) working on conformity assessment issues.

Click here to read more about why Richard W (Dick) Church is receiving the prestigious award Gerald H. Ritterbusch Conformity Assessment Medal. 

I’m very proud of my dad for the leadership he has provided for our family, our company, several national industry trade associations as well as the international standards and conformity assessment marketplace.  Great work dad!

 

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?

Leaders tend to travel frequently – I know I do.  If you are a road warrior, you probably have developed a routine of things you do to make your travel more convenient and as pleasurable as possible.

Here’s an article I recently came across about the rituals of a road warrior.

While I don’t think I’ll ever bring my own candles and light them in my hotel room, I do see a few good ideas:  keeping an extra key in my briefcase, removing the bedspread and taking a key with you when you checkout so you can get back in the room to retrieve what you forgot.

I have had to go back to the front desk on more than one occasion when chasing down a phone charger or toiletry bag.

A few things I routinely do include:

  • Roll my dirty clothes and put them straight into a plastic bag (they take up less room in my bag on the way home)
  • Whenever possible, don’t unpack my suitcase – drawers in hotel rooms can be very dirty
  • Always carry two keys to the room in case one loses its magnetism
  • Leave the TV on when leaving the room so people think someone is in the room

Do you have any ideas to add to the list?

Thank You

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.