Character: Is It Necessary In Leadership? (Part One)Written by Brent Filson
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Look at character of leaders you described. You probably described values — or lack of them. (Whenever I ask people to describe a specific leader, they invariably cite values as main elements.) Which values did you admire in leaders you chose? These might include, honesty, integrity, persistence, compassion, wisdom, simplicity, sincerity. To help you do this, read introduction to Marcus Aurelius' Meditations, in which stoic philosopher and Roman emperor (AD 121–180) describes character of people who influenced his own character. His description of Maximus illustrates my meaning: From Maximus I learned self-government, and not to be led aside by anything; and cheerfulness in all circumstances, as well as in illness; and a just admixture in moral character of sweetness and dignity, and to do what was set before me without complaining. I observed that everybody believed that he thought as he spoke, and that in all that he did he never had any bad intention; and he never showed amazement and surprise, and was never in a hurry, and never put off doing a thing, nor was perplexed nor dejected, nor did he ever laugh to disguise his vexation, nor, on other hand, was he ever passionate or suspicious. He was accustomed to do acts of beneficence, and was ready to forgive, and was free from all falsehood; and he presented appearance of a man who could not be diverted from right rather than of a man who has been improved. No man could ever think that he was despised by Maximus, or ever venture to think himself a better man. He had also art of being humorous in an agreeable way. — The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius (Shambhala Publications) Choose five character values that you particularly admired in leaders you described. Then make those values into triggers for action in your leadership, acting on one at a time. In other words, you'll have five actionable value attributes that can help define way you lead. For example, let's say that one of leaders you described was Maximus, and you said his character included cheerfulness (that's a value!), dignity, honesty, generosity, candor, never complaining, and always being ready to forgive. You might choose "always being ready to forgive," but you could choose any one, or a combination, of others. Make it actionable. In other words, think of someone in your leadership sphere whom you have a gripe with, someone you may have wronged or been wronged by, and take action. Seek out that person and "be ready to forgive." See what happens. Don't expect any particular outcome; simply manifest that single character trait and let what happens happen. Understand that I'm not saying you must "be ready to forgive". That's simply one example of how to turn a character trait into action. Choose any trait. Just be sure you described that trait, and that it's something you want to emulate. In this way, you'll begin manifesting character in your day-to-day leadership, and, equally important, you'll be conscious of that manifestation — which vast majority of leaders aren't.
In Part Two, I'll show you how to get results through development of your character.
2005 © The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
The author of 23 books, Brent Filson's recent books are, THE LEADERSHIP TALK: THE GREATEST LEADERSHIP TOOL and 101 WAYS TO GIVE GREAT LEADERSHIP TALKS. He has been helping leaders of top companies worldwide get audacious results. Sign up for his free leadership e-zine and get a free white paper: "49 Ways To Turn Action Into Results," at www.actionleadership.com
Leadership Success and Its Greatest Barrier: the Law of Administrivia Written by Gerald Czarnecki
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Of course, not all administrative work is meaningless or trivial. Indeed, much of success in an organization rests on process and process controls. The science of modern management demands that we have process wrapped around technical work. From Frederick Taylor and his scientific management to Peter Drucker and his focus on management as a profession, we have been told that all that Planning, Organizing, Controlling stuff is essential to success.
The hierarchy of every company needs to know what is happening and how business is running, so even in smallest of companies there will be a seemingly endless string of reports. These reports range from volume counts, to process controls, to financial plans, budgets and actual performance measurements. In any given day, it often seems that we could literally spend most of day completing reports.
If reports and other administrivia activities are all that a work leader has time for, then they will ultimately hamper leader’s effectiveness. Every one of us who are responsible for “getting work accomplished” must spend time being a leader of staff. This means spending “face time” with our associates, helping them understand what is expected of them and making certain that they are competent to achieve results. This is hard work and can be very time consuming, but it is essential work.
Bosses often forget how much time and energy real leadership really takes. Leaders who use planning, organization and control as effective tools to handle work flow will have more time available for leader work. Those who allow administrivia to consume their time and energy will have nothing left for leadership. If administrative work is effective, then you will be free to lead. If it is not, then you will be a less effective leader.
Parts of Law of Administrivia have been recognized for some time. Saul Gellerman wrote in 1968, “The simple fact is that most managerial jobs are already more than full-time jobs. The typical manager has more than enough to worry about. His typical solution is to arrange his problems in order of priority, deal with ones he has time for, and just ignore rest. In other words, that which is urgent gets done and that which is merely important frequently doesn’t.” What we are adding is that frequently urgent is not essential to mission but rather just easier to ask for or to accomplish.
Look at activities you engage in and determine if they are critical to your efforts to succeed. If you are spending time doing tasks other than leadership actions, then you are wasting time. If your efforts to lead are frustrated because you are preoccupied with administrative tasks, then you need to find a way to break loose from constraints of those activities. You will find leader actions need not be so time-consuming that you have no time for anything else. In fact, if you do leader work well, you will have plenty of time for administrative tasks. The only way you are going to break loose is when you realize that leader work is only way to achieve your goals and objectives. It is “good work.” You must fight natural and destructive tendency to be ruled by “The Law of Administrivia.” For more go to www.deltennium.com/articles.php
Mr. Czarnecki helps organizations achieve peak performance through effective leadership, focused strategy, effective organization and sound financial management. He also speaks and conducts seminars on corporate governance and his book, You’re In Charge…What Now? provides work leaders with seven principles for peak performance, all of which tie to the simple to remember mnemonic “L.E.A.D.E.R.S.” http://www.deltennium.com