Monday, May 20, 2013

Freak Out about Leadership - #Ubuntu

LeadershipFreak consistently writes blog entries on leadership that I have to read. Isn't that great? As a person in a leadership position, I often an expansive gut-check, asking questions that are posed.

Here are some take-aways that Dan Rockwell points out (read the whole blog entry):

  • Incompetent leaders have teams who turn on each other.
  • People, who need control or credit, fight to get it and refuse to give it.
  • Naughty fighting focuses on people. Nice fighting focuses on issues.
  • Past tense conversations never create the future.
  • High performers, who don’t fit, ruin teams. 
Wow, that first one makes me ask, "What kind of leader do I need to be to create conditions that promote teams that interact with each other in real ways?" Perhaps, ensuring that the rules of engagement are clearly marked, that we know how to interact with each other. There are always people on a team who are smarter than everyone else, who know it all...and there are others who resent that, who aren't afraid to push back against injustice, and pretty soon, it's all over. You've spent the meeting arguing about personalities rather than focusing on the issue.

The second one--control or credit--reminds me of folks who are on the hunt to rip up other people when/where they've made a mistake. In these cases, you ask what you really want. If the desire to be right or get credit wins, then that's what happens at the cost of what should have been your real objective (whatever was best for the organization in that situation). Often, it ends up being about personalities, about disagreements.

Even high performers can cause issues, as Dan points out. Having worked with my share of "prima-donnas" who think they are so good that they don't have to learn anything from anyone, you realize that you'd probably settle for a B-player with a great attitude than an A+ player with a crappy attitude.

In fact, that's what one of my assistant superintendents told me. It's all about attitude. When i reflect on how little I know, I'm grateful that my ego hasn't let me forget that I know quite a bit. 

But there are times when I feel at my most knowledgeable, when I'm in expert mode and feeling cocky and's those times I have to hit the brakes and ask, "When did you become a demi-god?" That's when you have to watch out for trouble. 

Today, a new team member was welcomed. On her welcome card, I shared the definition of one of my favorite words--Ubuntu.
'I am what I am because of who we all are'.
You know, I try to remember that most of all.

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