A Leadership Experience

This past week, I had the privilege of watching a group of leadership program candidates graduate from their experience.  As a Board Member for a local trade association, I was there as this program is a Board sponsored program. 

There were some important lessons that I took away from this dinner, aside from the fact the dinner, was AWESOME!  All of these lessons are more “duh” moments when you sit back and think about it, however, they definitely served as reminders that you have to take the time to get  back to the basics from time to time as leader.

1. Leadership is a journey, not a destination
2. Each person has their individual spin they put on leadership
3. Have a dream; develop a plan; execute on your strategy
4. No two leaders execute in the same manner, nor are their experiences the same
5. Just because leadership styles are different, doesn’t mean one is more right than another
6. If you are learning in a homogeneous environment, you lose diversity in thought and experiences
7. Successful leaders are always networking and exchanging ideas
8. Leaders must be open to differing perspectives and allow results to happen as a consequence of execution
9. Leadership is not about the leader
10. Leaders must take the time to “smell the roses” and celebrate the success of their teams and organizations
11. Leaders need to be facilitators for growth and development, not managers of activities
12. Leaders don’t need to be the smartest person in the room, but they need to have vision and effective communication skills

These 2013 graduates of The Austin Contact Center Association Service Leadership Academy did a great job in their journey.  Several of the graduates are already on their way to successful adventures inside their organizations, but also outside of their organization.  I don’t think that they realize how much they taught this member of the audience.  I hope they do now.

Have a great week!

Listen to be heard

I was watching an excerpt of an interview with Lebron James recently where he spoke about losing last years NBA finals was the worst experience of his career.  He said that experience he was able to turn into a positive situation by ensuring he grew from that experience.
Are athletes the only ones who can draw strength from setbacks and have those negative situations become catalysts for positive future outcomes?  It can be argued that each of us as individuals and as leaders can turn negative situations into positives, we just need to listen and understand how those situations came to be. 

It is easy for leaders to want to “tell”, but the best leaders allow their teams to “experience”.  It is our leadership responsibility to guide people through developing their own experiences, so they can be stronger performers and leaders in the future.

As in the case of an athlete, a coach can preach to a multi million dollar athlete all day, however, it is not until the inexperienced player becomes a seasoned and mature veteran that they really understand and respect the coaching they received early in their careers.  This is why many young, but talented players never are able to win a championship, and why many talented young professionals never reach their full potential. 

Spend more time over the course of the next week listening to your teams, and less time directing.  Hear what they have to say, and they will begin to hear more of what you have to say.  Listen to be heard.

Allowing for experiences is a process.  Allow the process to naturally occur, within a pre-defined framework of established feedback opportunities.  That feedback should be equally provided and needs to allow for a free flow of ideas based upon the experiences obtained since the last feedback opportunity.  Remember, to listen in order to be heard.

Have a great week…