This week L2L is bringing you a recap of the Top 10 most popular blog posts over the last year. Enjoy Top #6 and 5!
#6 | On Leadership and Leading a Legacy | by Andy Uskavitch
“Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.”
Fifty years ago, on November 18, 1963, President John F. Kennedy made a stop here in Tampa, FL. Who would have had any idea that four days later he would be assassinated in Dallas, TX?
Your Leadership Legacy
I just watched a special on the Tampa visit, and it got me thinking . . . I mean seriously thinking . . . what legacy would I leave behind? What plans would I have, in place, that would keep going after I was suddenly gone?
When a prized leader leaves an organization, you normally hear things about how “he did this” and how “he did that.” But that’s all in the past. Times keep changing. Needs keep changing. Are the things that you DID, lasting through to the future and making an impact?
We all want to be remembered for something. But that’s where the problem starts. “Something” tends to be singular. It’s a definitive. You do it, it’s done, people remember . . . for awhile. Think big – think bigger – – think long-term. You’ve given a lot of time to your employees and your organization.
So why does it have to stop when you leave?
Now don’t confuse this with succession planning. Succession planning is a process for identifying and developing your internal employees with the potential to fill your leadership position(s) in the company. You could have the most detailed succession plan possible but still not leave a lasting legacy.
The key is to THINK of your job in terms of how you will leave it. This provides a different way to look at your work and what you want to accomplish. Instead of focusing on the day-to-day tasks, it helps you to focus on the bigger picture and take a more organizational view of your work. Consider your own job, your team, your department, the leadership, and how all of these pieces are connected to bring the overall organization together.
On Talking and Walking
He uses the example of an iceberg:
As you look at the iceberg, you only see about 10% of it. The other 90% is below the waterline. The portion you see above the waterline represents leadership skills – reproducible by many. Below represents leadership character – practiced by few. The people who talk the talk represent the 10%. The people who walk the talk represent that, along with, the other 90%.
I’m going to use my favorite example again . . . Disney. Walt Disney passed away from lung cancer in 1966, before his vision of Disney World in Florida was realized. After much mourning and wondering where to go from there, his brother and business partner, Roy O. Disney, postponed his retirement to oversee construction of the resort’s first phase.
Walt had vision and plans for the company that extended for years. And, to this day, things are still being developed from Walt’s original visualizations. In fact, it wasn’t decided until well into the construction process to name the resort WALT Disney World, in honor of the man whose ideas and visions brought it to life . . . five years after he passed away.
On Big Shoes and Footprints
So maybe you’re not the owner or the CEO of the organization. What does that matter?
You still have the opportunity to leave some pretty good-sized footprints.
Not trying to blow my own horn here, but at my last two jobs I developed customer service programs, from scratch, that saw great success within the first two months. Now if I had been putting things together month by month, my legacy would have ended when I left.
But I had a whole vision, training materials, schedules, tracking procedures, customer response actions – the whole package. My footprints weren’t in the sand. I “lived on” through the people who took over after me.
The Nurse Bryan Rule
In his book, The Essential Drucker, management guru Peter Drucker told a story about how a hospital adopted what came to be known as “Nurse Bryan’s Rule.”
“A new hospital administrator, holding his first staff meeting, thought that a rather difficult matter had been settled to everyone’s satisfaction, when one participant suddenly asked, ‘would this have satisfied Nurse Bryan?’ At once the argument started all over and did not subside until a new and much more ambitious solution to the problem had been hammered out.
Nurse Bryan, the administrator learned, had been a long-serving nurse at the hospital. She was not particularly distinguished, had not in fact ever been a supervisor. But whenever a decision on patient care came up on her floor, Nurse Bryan would ask, ‘Are we doing the best we can do to help this patient?’ Patients on Nurse Bryan’s floor did better and recovered faster. Gradually, over the years, the whole hospital had learned to adopt what became known as ‘Nurse Bryan’s Rule.'”
— At the time this story took place, Nurse Bryan had been retired for 10 years.
Leading a Legacy
Someday, you’ll look back over your career and ask, “What did I really do?” You’ll regret the opportunities you missed and time you wasted. But you’ll also remember all that you did right. And people will still come up to you and say, “Oh yeah, you’re the one that ______. We still use the guidance from your _____. Our team wouldn’t be as successful without you.”
Ask not what your organization can do for you. Ask what you can do for your organization.
What kind of future for your organization are you looking at? What is important to you? What parts of your work do you most value? Is there a need in the organization you can fill? I would love to hear your thoughts!
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Andy Uskavitch is Leadership Development and Customer Service Specialist
He develops and facilitates Leadership, Motivation & Teambuilding Seminars
Email | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Blog | (727) 568-5433
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#5 | The Seven Pillars of Transparent Leadership | by Tal Shnall
The need for transparency in society is at an all-time high. Trust and transparency are crucial elements to every leader. People have grown tired of dishonesty and want to exist in a work environment that allows one to have greater transparency of words and deeds.
This is accomplished by eliminating the unknowns that continue to crawl into our minds with each relationship we are part of.
Truth Will Set You Free
Today’s employees want to be a part of a workplace culture that delivers the truth every single time. They desire leaders that are proactive in sharing enough information and feedback with their teams.
In other words, they just want trust and transparency so they can be well-informed in their relationships.
People want to know that their leaders have experienced the same challenges and/or how they have overcome personal hardships. People feel closer to their leader when there is openness and clarity with expectations-trust in the day-to-day relationships whether it’s an employee or a customer.
Here are seven powerful things that happen when a leader can be transparent:
1) Being overwhelmingly honest
As a leader who wants to be more transparent, you have to deliver full disclosure of information to your team. It doesn’t help anyone if you are only sharing partial information needed to help our team be more successful.
You have to ask yourself these questions:
- “Am I setting my team up for success?”
- “Am I sharing important information to help them succeed?”
- “Do they have all the pieces to the puzzle to make it a success?”
By taking the time to share all the information needed to make your people successful, they will trust and see transparency throughout the organization. When you share all the information needed, you are preparing the soil for growth and an environment of trust.
2) Delivering bad news well
Delivering bad news must be handled with care but important to share with everyone to build more of the trust and transparency in your organization. Occasionally, there are moments of bad news in every company’s journey to success. Those moments are the most crucial moments to be forthright and honest with your team.
We all heard that phrase that honesty is the best policy. It does apply in delivering bad news as well.
People would not perceive you to be less of a leader if the bad news is a reflection of your leadership and organization direction. Be humble and you will begin to understand that all leaders sometimes have set backs and it’s important to be honest about them. People understand leaders are human and at times need to make adjustments to their leadership approach.
4) Properly handling mistakes
The way leaders handle mistakes can be more important than getting things right the first time. Sometimes leaders think that admitting mistakes would come across as incompetence on their part. Admitting mistakes sends message of courage, accountability and humility.
Mistakes are part of an opportunity to be visible and human as you demonstrate commitment to honesty to your organization.
4) Keeping Promises
When leaders do what they say they will do, they place high value on transparency and trust. They do their part in honoring commitments to their relationships. More importantly, their promises are not hollow and they deliver the goods promised to their team.
In the age of communication, it’s given that many people are going to talk and share a perspective.
The real question is whether that “talk” is the going to be demonstrated by the “walk.”
5) Keeping your composure
Communicating effectively requires composure and grace. Challenges, stress and obstacles are part of every organization. How leaders conduct themselves during the good times and the bad times can be a reflection of their character, competence and eventually their credibility.
Followers expect their leaders to be composed and professional as they are always watching. They are watching for trust even when emotions get high.
6) Letting your guard down
Leaders must remember that if you want to be authentic and sincere, you have to let your guard down to welcome more opportunities for growth. Creating meaningful connections by revealing personal information to your team will always adds value to the context of culture and leadership transparency.
Doing so, requires maturity, self-awareness, and a heighten sense of how people might perceive, dissect and disseminate the information you had to share. Leaders must find those moments of authentic connections to engage with their people as they allow others to know them.
7) Showing others you care
To lead effectively and have a positive influence, your followers must have solid answer to the following question: “Does he care about me?” Leaders must think and work toward ensuring the answer is yes they do care. This is done by the commitment to developing your followers on a daily basis-recognizing them, seeking to know their aspirations and dreams.
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