Archive for Management

BOSS or LEADER?

Today’s TEAMTRI Guest Blog is from Dr. Jim Lemoine. Dr. Lemoine is on the research faculty at the State University of New York (SUNY) in Buffalo as part of their Center for Leadership and Organizational Effectiveness. He is an Assistant Professor of Organizations and Human Resources; a Trustee of the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership; a past local, state, and national Career Technical Student Organization officer for FFA, FBLA, and PBL; and a TEAMTRI Alumnus. His research on organizational management has been published in several outlets including the Harvard Business Review. As a researcher, Dr. Lemoine is always looking for organizational partners to study leadership behavior and determine effective approaches to improve outcomes. His email address is jlemoine@buffalo.edu.

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We all know that leadership is important. It’s the primary topic of countless books, speeches, and classes. It’s the focal concern of thousands, maybe millions, of organizational managers. It’s a development area for most every employee in the world, and the one thing we believe can make or break a business, a sports team, or a country. We talk about the need for better leaders, we hear how great leadership can make great differences, and we lament that so many of our institutional leaders do a poor job of leading us.

We know that leadership is important. But something I often wonder is whether we could ever agree on what it actually is.

Imagine you were working with an exchange student from a deeply solitary culture, where people work alone for most of their lives as hermits, without any managers or hierarchy or even teams. He is confused by this word, “leadership,” and asks you what it means. How would you describe it?

A government official once answered that question by saying that leadership is power. I noted that this was a pleasingly simple and easy-to-understand definition, and he nodded agreement. Then I brought up the possibility that a robber might hold him at gunpoint, forcing him to hand over his wallet.

The robber would certainly have power over him, but it would be difficult to argue that the robber was actually ‘leading’ anyone. In the end, we agreed that there was likely more to leadership than just power.

A manager I worked with answered that question by saying that leadership is exhibited when your employees respect you, so they get things done. I told her that I liked the sound of it, but wondered whether this was really leadership itself, or the outcome of leadership? Was it possible that respect and effectiveness were the things that resulted from good leadership, rather than the leadership itself? What, then, are the actual leadership behaviors that would result in these good outcomes?

A senior corporate executive in a training seminar answered that question by saying that leadership is just treating people well. Everyone in attendance liked this definition, but I had to wonder: was that really all leadership was? Surely you could argue that treating people well is part of leadership, but is treating people well really enough to lead them? What about holding them accountable? What about getting things done, as the manager had suggested? The last time I ate at Wendy’s, the salesperson behind the counter treated me very well. Was he leading me?

A janitor at a company I used to work at answered that question by saying that leaders are servants. This was a very different answer than I was used to hearing, so I asked him to tell me more. He told me that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., once said that serving others is the most important definition of greatness, and that by serving others, we teach them to care about us, each other, and the world around them. Through that care, they would be motivated to go forth and accomplish great things.

Personally, I like the janitor’s answer the best. He taught me something that day.

Former U.S. President and World War II General Dwight D. Eisenhower (the first American general to eat meals with his enlisted men, rather than in the officer’s tent) once said that leadership was the art of getting people to do what you want them to do, because they want to do it. And how do you make them want to do, what you want them to do? You don’t coerce, you don’t order, and you don’t merely treat them well: you ask questions, you listen, you help, and you persuade. You learn what their goals are, and you find alignment in how working toward the organization’s goals, or the community’s goals, or even society’s goals, can help you both. You provide them with the training and resources to succeed in your new mutual goals. You push them to ever-higher levels, believing in them and ensuring they have all of the skills and knowledge they need to reach their potentials. You learn from them by listening, and try to teach them what you can in turn. You build their self-confidence, and motivate them to help others just the way you, hopefully, are helping them.

Many have said that there is a leadership crisis in the world. It is difficult to argue with this statement, although this crisis is not a new problem. It is possible that the reason we can’t seem to find good leaders, is that we have not yet agreed on what a good leader is. We are drawn to charismatic and sometimes narcissistic individuals, assuming that their smooth speeches and visionary talking points are the marks of a leader, without thinking through what it is we really want from a leader. We are conditioned to see leadership as a position of power, a title to be held or an honor to be bestowed, rather than something that any of us could do, at any time, from any job. We unfortunately view leadership as something on a pedestal, something distant, rather than something that could be practiced by anyone – like a janitor.

Leadership is about putting the people around you first – being a servant – such that they collectively are able to accomplish goals that they previously could never have attempted. Leaders point the way to those ambitious goals, and help their colleagues find ways to reach them together.

The mark of a great leader is not accolades and awards, but rather that the people around her have grown and succeeded. The great leader is not necessarily the person who is elected to a political post, or the manager who skyrockets up a company’s chain of command: it’s the team member who constantly has to replace his team, because they keep growing and getting promoted.

The boss asks, “What are you going to do today? How are you going to hit your goals? How is the company going to be better, because you were a part of it?” The leader asks, “How can I help you accomplish our goals today?”

Being a boss is as simple as giving orders, promising raises and promotions, and threatening punishments. Being a leader is much more difficult, as you have to be humble, you have to listen, and you have to put your team first.

You have to learn about them, develop them, and show them how they can be even more than what they are.

Would you rather work for a boss or a leader? Would you rather be a boss or a leader?

5 Tips for An Awesome Announcement!

Planning a successful announcement – whether it be for a new product, campaign, or initiative – can be challenging. In today’s crowded digital environment, there is a very real chance that your announcement may get lost in the noise if not planned and executed correctly.

Here are 5 tips for planning and implementing a successful announcement that is sure to get people talking.

1. Plan Ahead

In business, just as in life, planning ahead is crucial to success. When it comes to a big announcement, you will find it helpful to start early and map out exactly what steps need to be taken to roll out your announcement.

One great way to do this is to create a calendar with your team that outlines what and when things need to be done. Planning your campaign in a visual way not only helps you stay on track, but can serve as a way to keep the rest of your team on the same page with deadlines and deliverables.

 

what-success-really-looks-like

 

2. Be Innovative

By definition, innovation is achieving a result in a non-traditional way. When thinking about how to capture people’s attention for your announcement, don’t look too much at what others have done before. Instead, put yourself in your audience’s shoes by asking

  1. Which platforms do they use?
  2. When do they use them?
  3. How do they use them?
  4. What is likely to stand out and grab their attention?

 

By working backwards, you can tailor your specific strategies around their behaviors, thus increasing your chance of successfully getting your message in front of their eyes. If something hasn’t been tried before, maybe it should.

 

3. Create Anticipation

When Apple makes an announcement, they don’t just decide to host an event and hope that people will show up. Instead, they sent out cryptic invitations out ahead of time in hopes of creating a sense of anticipation.

appleeevents6

 

For an announcement, consider creating some teaser content that provides your audience with details about when the big reveal is.

 

In my work in the nonprofit world, Nevada DECA did just that before announcing their state theme.

When Samsung was preparing to announce their new line of innovative smartphone, which they dubbed “The Next Big Thing,” they provided popular bloggers and other tech influencers with an opportunity to test out the new product before it was announced to the public. The result was pivotal: positive reviews flooded the Internet the day of the launch, and people were motivated to get their hands on the phone.

 

When you are planning a big announcement, get a few members and advisors in on it by providing them some details and encouraging them to help spread the news.

5. Maintain Momentum

After the big announcement, don’t let the excitement fade away! Continue creating content that not only reminds people of what was announced but also continues the hype.

 

If you announced a state theme, include that theme in your future social media posts. If you rolled out your community service project, provide updates that remind people to take action. Whatever your big announcement is, concentrating on maintaining the excitement around it.

Good luck!

Leadership Defined: Part 5 of 5

What is leadership? There have been many articles written on this subject over the centuries and still there will be more. A couple of weeks ago I was recognized for over 20 years of service with an organization. In the process, I started to think about just what leadership was and how that definition worked into how I approached each task whether I was in a leadership position or a member of a group or activity.

Part 5:  Is Leadership for Everyone? Three Questions to Ask Yourself

Regardless of your present role of leadership, it is a worthy ambition to obtain more leadership responsibilities. But leadership is not for everyone. In fact, the qualifications may surprise you. They have nothing to do with your net worth, your degrees, or the number of civic clubs you belong to. Leadership isn’t something to be earned. It is recognition of maturity, proven character, and the reputation you have developed both inside and outside the organization.

If you aspire to be a leader, ask yourself:

  • “How well have I managed the other responsibilities I have been entrusted with?”
  • “Have I managed well my physical body, my mind, my family, my resources, my tongue, my reputation?”
  • “Am I hospitable, teachable, mature, worthy of respect, self-controlled, honest in all my dealings, worthy of respect?”

If the answer to these questions is “YES”, then an expanded leadership role may be appropriate for you.

Each of these items could be defined in more depth, but that is not the intent of this discussion. My goal is to help potential leaders focus on what it is to be a good leader and develop those skills needed to make teams successful and accomplish their goals.

About Larry D. Hall

For over 20 years, Larry served as the Executive Director of Oregon DECA and Oregon FBLA-PBL including service as a National Board of Directors member from the Western Region for both organizations. He is recognized as an Honorary Life Member and mentor to many in both associations. He is known as a force for good, advancement, and multiplying leaders wherever he served. Long since retired, many of the initiatives, traditions, and lessons DECA and FBLA-PBL still have in practice today originated under his leadership in the 1980’s, 90’s and 2000’s. That’s great leadership! Email Larry at: lhall299@gmail.com

Leadership Defined: Part 4 of 5

What is leadership? There have been many articles written on this subject over the centuries and still there will be more. A couple of weeks ago I was recognized for over 20 years of service with an organization. In the process, I started to think about just what leadership was and how that definition worked into how I approached each task whether I was in a leadership position or a member of a group or activity.

Part 4:  The Leader’s Role as Guide and Key Coordinator

Sometimes the actual leader of the group is not the person that is the chair or head of the group. Leadership is a revolving phenomenon.

So far I have talked about the person that is the head, the Chair or President. That person needs to recognize that sometimes they are not the “leader” of the group but are always the coordinator or the guide with the task to make sure that the group is headed in the right direction and to manage where the discussion is headed.

Often, members of the group have a better background than the Chair on a specific subject and need to be involved in the decision making process.

In Part 5, Mr. Hall concludes the series “Leadership Defined,” by sharing three questions aspiring leaders need to ask themselves.

About Larry D. Hall

For over 20 years, Larry served as the Executive Director of Oregon DECA and Oregon FBLA-PBL including service as a National Board of Directors member from the Western Region for both organizations. He is recognized as an Honorary Life Member and mentor to many in both associations. He is known as a force for good, advancement, and multiplying leaders wherever he served. Long since retired, many of the initiatives, traditions, and lessons DECA and FBLA-PBL still have in practice today originated under his leadership in the 1980’s, 90’s and 2000’s. That’s great leadership! Email Larry at: lhall299@gmail.com

Leadership Defined: Part 3 of 5

What is leadership? There have been many articles written on this subject over the centuries and still there will be more. A couple of weeks ago I was recognized for over 20 years of service with an organization. In the process, I started to think about just what leadership was and how that definition worked into how I approached each task whether I was in a leadership position or a member of a group or activity.

Part 3:  Good Leaders Conduct Great Meetings

To accomplish anything in a meeting a good leader needs to develop skills in conducting meetings. I needed to carefully plan the agendas so that meetings moved at a good pace while taking enough time to make good decisions.

Some say that you need to use Parliamentary Procedure in conducting meetings and follow the rules in making and passing motions. Strict adherence to this sometimes develops into a win-lose situation. I do believe in using basic parliamentary procedure when you are ready to pass a motion but to not let the process get in the way of good decision making.

A skill that I learned was to develop consensus during a meeting by letting each member of the team provide their input to the topic, discuss the issue until the team reaches a consensus and then entertain a motion to formally adopt the action to be taken. This skill takes some time to learn and it is important to involving the whole group and letting all feel like they are a part of the decision making process.

In Part 4 of the series “Leadership Defined,” Mr. Hall shares about the Leader’s Role as Guide and Key Coordinator.

About Larry D. Hall

For over 20 years, Larry served as the Executive Director of Oregon DECA and Oregon FBLA-PBL including service as a National Board of Directors member from the Western Region for both organizations. He is recognized as an Honorary Life Member and mentor to many in both associations. He is known as a force for good, advancement, and multiplying leaders wherever he served. Long since retired, many of the initiatives, traditions, and lessons DECA and FBLA-PBL still have in practice today originated under his leadership in the 1980’s, 90’s and 2000’s. That’s great leadership! Email Larry at: lhall299@gmail.com