Tuesday, April 20, 2021

What Makes Leaders Effective?

Focus on three things to make a difference

One of the best leaders I’ve sat under was… a homebuilder! And a great leader. His name is Fred Schum and he:

  • Never seemed to be in a rush, and;
  • He never wasted time, and
  • He got us focused and thrilled to work on projects together.

I was reading some Harvard Business Review (HBR) research about leadership effectiveness, and I thought the article was written about Fred! He did these three things “naturally” and when I commented on his effectiveness he said, “Thanks Rob, but I’m the one who is blessed to work on a team alongside people like you and the others.”

How humble was this guy???

The best performing (most effective) leaders stand out in three ways as noted in the HBR article. You and I should focus on these three areas:

  1. They have a greater sense of “passionate urgency” because they remember why they are doing it. The best leaders are people of action! They don’t sit around, talk and hope. They actually do something to transform their companies. They get people together, they make a decision—and they do it fast. This doesn’t mean they make impulsive decisions! They just don’t waste time being “undecided” about important issues. Pick a direction and get going. If it was a bad direction, change it!

    James Clear (who wrote AtomicHabits) recently said it this way: "Whenever you are stuck searching for the optimal plan, remember: Getting started changes everything."
  2. They “drill down” on what matters most. They see the bigger picture, but they know it only becomes reality when they break it down into a hundred “doable chunks” (that’s they way I say it!). Here is some great advice on how to break it down for yourself:

    When Linda [Kaplan Thaler] and I were writing our new book, we found that a method which we call “mini-tasking,” is especially effective. Instead of laboring away at long tasks, break them up into manageable bites that you can check them off one at a time. The satisfaction of being able to complete more tasks (which is really just a mental trick we play on ourselves) provides greater motivation to make it through to the end.

      ~Robin Koval @ The Power of Small
  3. They focus on others, organizational outcomes, and results. They don’t focus on themselves. They don’t waste time and energy trying to make themselves look good, they are concerned about their people and the company’s results. Most of us have got to become more modest and more humble. I’m trying to do that. The best way is to constantly think about ways to serve others on our teams. It is impossible to be prideful and serve others at the same time—unless you are proving how great you are by your service.

    So bring the energy, break the big vision into small pieces, and focus on your team and results. Do those and you will be unstoppable.

Which are you going to attack first?

Dr. Ro

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