Our Leaders are not Leading

Our Leaders are not Leading

Leadership Excellence Trust

My wife just got off a phone call with her aunt who lives in a retirement home several hours from here.  When she hung up, my wife broke into tears.

Her aunt has been confined to her room for the past several weeks and has learned that the governor of her state has declared that the lock down will continue for another month.  My wife’s aunt was devastated.  She is 95 years old and the isolation is taking a toll on her.  She said she is not sure she can put up with another month of confinement.

The action by the governor of her state and other community leaders is NOT leadership.  Far from it.

Leadership is about showing compassion and taking risks.  The easy thing for these “so-called” leaders to do is shut everything down.  Then no one can blame them for COVID-19 deaths.  But what about the 90% of the population they are ignoring?  I guess these pseudo leaders believe they won’t be blamed for the suicides or the heart attacks or those who can’t get other forms of medical care.

They won’t be held responsible for the thousands of businesses that close their doors forever and the impact that will have on the millions of people who will lose their livelihood.  No, they will sit in their ivory tower and continue to take the easy way out.

Fortunately, there are some real leaders who use their brains and show leadership.  They implement measures to address all of the issues.  They are sticking their own necks out and allowing businesses to open.  They permit people to leave their homes and enjoy fresh air.  These real leaders have set up task forces to develop innovative solutions to help people return to as much of a normal existence as possible.  That is what leaders do.  They listen to people they are leading and engage in conversations that result in workable solutions.  They don’t take the easy way out and just shut everything down.

Real leaders are compassionate, courageous and caring.

I suppose one good think that will come out of this crisis is that it will reveal how weak and perhaps corrupt many of the elected officials are.  The next time there is an election, will the people vote the pseudo leaders out of office?  They might elect someone who cares for the people entrusted to them.

The Difference a Leader Can Make

Leadership Excellence

vector Goal conceptEffective leaders make things happen through other people, but they do it in a way that instills confidence not fear, pride not humiliation, and a sense of worth.  I have compiled a list of a few things effective leaders do to achieve results

Leaders instill confidence in their teams. One of the primary responsibilities of a leader is to instill confidence.  In his book “The Eighth Habit” Stephen Covey defined leadership as:  “Communicating to people their worth and potential so clearly that they come to see it in themselves.”  Leaders know that people can achieve much more when they realize their potential and have confidence in themselves.  It is the leaders’ job to help their people realize the potential they have and the value they can deliver.  No wonder many leaders see themselves as cheerleaders.

Leaders have the courage to challenge existing processes.  All too often people see existing processes and procedures as constraints.  Many projects have been abandoned because the project team felt they were limited by processes and regulations that limited their ability to reach a goal.  Effective leaders are willing to challenge the processes if and when they feel the processes are not appropriate or have become outdated.  A leader can embolden a team simply by having the courage to challenge these limiting processes.

Leaders take the time to educate and empower their team.  There is nothing that discourages a team faster than to be given a goal but not be given the authority or the knowledge needed to overcome the obstacles standing between them and the attainment of the goal.  Ineffective leaders are more concerned about retaining control than they are in achieving results.  They are afraid to give their people too much power or too much information for fear that they will lose control of the project.  Effective leaders empower their teams and then get out of the way.

Leaders provide the tools their people need to be successful.  The good leaders see their job as removing obstacles that prevent their people from reaching goals.  They see themselves as serving their people by making sure that they have the resources necessary to reach the goals that have been set for them.

Leaders take the time to listen to their people.  Effective leaders listen to their people before acting as opposed to ordering them to take on responsibility for something they don’t believe in.  By simply taking the time to listen to their people, leaders automatically communicate to them that they think their ideas are valuable.  By incorporating their ideas into the plan/vision, the leader solidifies belief in the value of their people, and encourages them to take another step in the direction of achieving their goals.

Leaders motivate their people by recognizing them for their contributions. Exceptional leaders take the time to ensure that they are recognizing the right people for the right reasons.  They understand that their people will work harder and will be more dedicated if they feel that their efforts are appreciated and others are made aware of their contributions.  Strong leaders also understand that recognizing the wrong people for the wrong reasons can be very demoralizing for a team.  When people see others who are undeserving receive recognition, they become demoralized and no longer trust that their leader knows what is going on.

Leaders keep their team focused on their goal despite setbacks.  Setbacks and detours are inevitable in the achievement of any goal.  These setbacks can demoralize an organization and result in the loss of momentum.  Effective leaders are good at helping their team learn from the setbacks, get back on track, and regain momentum.