What is a “CAO?” That would be a “Chief Accountability Officer.” And you probably won’t find one in the C-suite of your organization. But there probably ought to be one. In fact, accountability is one of the key functions of a leader when the leader has other leaders who report to them from an administrative perspective.
A History Lesson
For those of you who are lovers of history, you will know or remember that President Harry S Truman had a sign on his Oval Office desk that read: “The Buck Stops Here.” It meant that he accepted responsibility and that he was accountable for all the decisions of his administration. He accepted them for his entire administration. President Truman’s stand still exists in a few organizations today but, unfortunately, it is the exception rather than the rule.
More than Personal Accountability
But my point today is not about accepting personal responsibility. The point I want to make today is that if YOU are a leader, you have a responsibility to hold those around you accountable for their actions or inactions. I am fairly sure that President Truman didn’t let his Cabinet and the rest of his administration run wild and then accept the responsibility and any blame for their actions. That would not be good leadership. He realized that he was ultimately accountable. But, I am sure that he worked with his Cabinet Secretaries and the rest of his administration and that he had expectations of his administration.
The Chief Accountability Officer
What is my role as a leader when it comes to accountability of those who I lead? First of all, accountability for your team does not happen in a vacuum. There are many factors that must be present in order for accountability to be the norm rather than the exception. Continue reading “Leaders and Accountability”
One of the great things about being involved in leadership development and coaching is the opportunity to be constantly learning and developing your own skills in these areas. They say that “you teach that which you need to learn the most.” Although I don’t really subscribe to that theory, there is a thread running through it that resonates within me because of the learning that often goes along with the teaching.
If you’re like most of us, you have probably noticed the buzz word “Coaching” being thrown around a lot in the corporate world. I am a leadership coach. But what does it actually mean? Sometimes when dealing with abstract concepts it is easier to define it by describing what it is not.
What it is not!
Coaching is not leading. Leadership Voices, LLC is all about leadership and about the many ways that leadership is defined and employed. And great leaders will often provide guidelines and advice on how to succeed in certain areas. Typically they will be seeking to help you reach a certain goal, or they wish to rally you and your colleagues to reach this shared goal. Great leaders will often also be great coaches; however, it is still important to understand the differences in the conversations with them.
Coaching is not mentoring. If you’ve ever been a coach or have been coached, and the conversation has steered towards advice on technical or job-specific concepts, then you aren’t being coached – you are being mentored. Mentoring is defined as, “A situation where a senior or more experienced individual is assigned to act as an advisor, counselor or guide’’ (Business Directory, 2014). Yes, mentoring is crucial in any role, however, it is equally as important to understand what mentoring is and why it is being done.
Coaching is not managing. If your manager provides a coaching session for you, and gives you advice on ways to perform your role in a greater capacity, gives you ideas on how to make your sales quota, or tells you how to achieve KPIs, then you are being managed. And if your manager does this with you frequently and an in a positive way, then you have a great manager. However, a great manager is not necessarily a great coach. It’s not that they are bad at what they are doing – quite the opposite. It’s just that they are doing what they are employed to do – manage their team members and ensure that they deliver on the targets set by their own manager.
So, what is coaching?
Continue reading “Leading, Coaching, and Mentoring”
Can you have real leadership in a “value vacuum”?
What do I mean by that? By that, I mean a leadership context that is devoid of values or morals. In an article on “Heroic Leadership” earlier I opined the following: “Values are an integral part of good leadership. To be a true leader, you must take a stand on issues. And that stand must be a moral stand. As leaders, we should be mobilizing and motivating our organizations to higher moral ground even when that may not increase the organization’s profit margin or bottom line”.
What’s goin’ on out there?
Upon further reflection, I am wondering if in addition to a leadership crisis in our society, we just actually be having a moral or values crisis. Could it be that there are just not enough of those who see values that are worthy enough that would make us want to lead others to strive toward reaching those same values? Conversely, could it be that there are not enough of us who see things that have such potential for harm that we will lead others away from those dangerous moral pitfalls?
I would not suggest that only the morally pure would be qualified to lead. For to do so would disqualify all candidates. Nor would I suggest that values-based leadership would be infallible. But, I do believe that leadership is in and of itself a value. Society today would say, “To each his own” or “Live and let live”. Today’s culture does not necessarily see a value in “values-based” leading or in choosing whom they are following based upon a moral assessment of the leader’s character. But, like so many today, I am looking for leaders to rise up with values and morals as their foundation and say “Follow me and I will lead you to higher ground!”
How does this relate to me and my leadership?
Continue reading “The Importance of Values to Leadership”
Almost 2 weeks ago, I discussed team briefings and the importance of communications in the process. But I really didn’t take the time to address the mechanics of conducting a valuable team briefing. So, today, let’s focus on that.
Create the Environment
As the leader, you must establish the proper environment. Think about the environment you want to create for these briefings. It doesn’t necessarily be a super-formal environment. But, it just needs to be a positive environment. People must understand what to expect when they attend one of your team briefings. Here are a few things that make for a good environment:
- Ensure that you understand what is going on in the organization and that you have been properly briefed yourself. Make sure your team leaders know what’s happening at various levels, and with various other teams, throughout the organization.
- Provide training or coaching on how to conduct effective team briefings.
- Recognize and reward supervisors and managers for conducting effective team briefings.
- Brevity is the soul of wit. If you can’t say it in 15 to 30 minutes, then a team briefing is not the right vehicle for a more complex message.
Have a Structure and a Process
As the leader, you must commit to a structure and a process. You have invited the team and they are gathered for information sharing. Continue reading “You Can Conduct Valuable Team Meetings”
And, perhaps more importantly, do you know for sure what it is exactly that “got you here?”. Such is the dilemma that so many leaders and organizations face. They have no idea how they got “here.” And they have no clue how to get “there!”
A Really Good Book
“What Got You Here Won’t Get You There” is the title of Marshall Goldsmith’s book. It was published in 2007 and is available on Amazon via this link. I highly recommend the book. In that book, Goldsmith helps the reader how to handle what he calls the “paradox of success.” Goldsmith says that folks who have achieved success share some common characteristics that have attributed to their success. Unfortunately, it is those same characteristics that will make it difficult for them to adapt and to change to meet the needs of an ever-changing world.
Do you know where you are?
Goldsmith is great and he has sold way more books than I have. But, I see things a little differently from where I sit. My first question is this. Do you even know where you are?
If you don’t even know where you are, you have no way of determining if you are where you want to be. Sounds rather simple and fundamental, doesn’t it? Yet, so many fail to stop and take a look around to see where they are relative to their intended destination. Do you know where you are? Continue reading “Do You Know Where You Are?”
Halloween has just ended and the airwaves are full of Christmas music. Are we just going to bypass Thanksgiving altogether? I certainly hope not. Thanksgiving is a time of reflection for me. It reminds me that the year is nearly over.
At this time of year, many leaders and leadership teams are taking their annual step back to do a deep-dive assessment of their organization’s progress against the goals and objectives of their strategic plans that they established in the early days of 2016. (What? You don’t do that at your organization? Have you ever considered that maybe that is part of what is holding the organization back?)
Take A Look on the Inside
As part of your end-of-year strategic progress review, consider including another area of assessment — one that will require a different kind of evaluation and one that will be much more introspective in nature. Why not take some time to also consider how you personally are progressing as a leader? After all, an organization’s strategic performance is, in large part, a direct reflection of the effectiveness of the person at the top.
If you want to silence a room of pastors, executives or any group of leaders try this small trick. Ask them, “Why would anyone want you to lead them?”[shareable cite=”Kevin Bowser” text=”Want to silence a group of leaders? Ask them, “Why would anyone want you to lead them?” #leadership”]Want to silence a group of leaders? Ask them, “Why would anyone want you to lead them?”[/shareable]
Without fail, the response will most likely be a sudden, stunned hush. All you will hear are knees knocking and crickets chirping. Continue reading “Why Would Anyone Want YOU To Lead Them?”
Are you worthy of respect as a leader? Are you respectful of your followers and those around you? Those are the two topics to consider today as we continue this series of Leadership Basics.
The Respectable Part
Let’s deal with being a person worthy of respect first.
I have often heard the phrase “He just commands respect.” What does that mean? Does it literally mean that I can command you to respect me? How do we gain respect from others? We earn it! So, how do we go about earning respect and being a respectable leader?
How Do You Treat Others? – This very question is dealt with in the second part below where I will discuss being respectful. But, respectFUL leaders are respectABLE leaders. Continue reading “Be Respectable and Be Respectful”
I think that I have mentioned before that I just love a good quote. Today, I return to a quote that I wrote about several years ago. It deals with the need for us to be “compelling” leaders.
Here it is:
“So why do we remember him? We remember him because nothing is more compelling than a good man in an evil time.”
Just let that sink in a moment.
The speaker was Charles Chaput, the archbishop of Philadelphia. And I was listening to a speech given on July 8, 2013, at the National Shrine in Washington, DC. In his speech, he centered his thoughts around a well-known military and political leader.
He quotes from this leader’s own words written while on a military campaign Germany. Apparently, he kept a diary. And some of his words are worth sharing today because they gave rise to Archbishop Chaput’s words that so captivated me. Continue reading “Be Compelling”
In a recent article, I tackled the need for leaders to be “teachable.” And we certainly must be. But leaders must also be teaching — or, in my words, leaders must be a mentor.
Your followers today are the future leaders of tomorrow. As leaders, we have an obligation to those who will come behind us, or in other words, our future to train and mentor tomorrow’s leaders today. The pace of change today is so swift that we must mentor and coach our young leaders through these times. “Trial by fire” may just not be an option in our organizations.
How do we develop and keep the best young leaders?
The answer is to use a formal or even an informal mentoring program. By using an effective mentoring program, you and I can help develop today’s leadership talent and potential into tomorrow’s proven and tested leaders. Organizations that leverage the leadership and experience of senior staff can develop, maintain, and retain the talent that they may already have in-house. [shareable cite=”Kevin Bowser” text=”How do we develop and keep the best young leaders? #lvllc, #leadership”]How do we develop and keep the best young leaders?[/shareable]
What are some things to consider as a leadership mentor?
Continue reading “Be A Mentor”
They are called “Teachable Moments” and we assume that we are the “teacher” in those moments. But, have you ever considered that you might be the one in need of a little teaching?
What exactly is a Teachable Moment?
According to Beth Lewis, “a teachable moment is an unplanned opportunity that arises in the classroom where a teacher has an ideal chance to offer insight to his or her students. A teachable moment is not something that you can plan for; rather, it is a fleeting opportunity that must be sensed and seized by the teacher.”
Did you notice the emphasis on the teacher? In most scenarios, the teacher is the leader. However, in all of my research, I found very little information about the importance of the moment from the student’s perspective. In fact, it was as though the students just stumbled into the moment and thank goodness the teacher was there to save them.
But what if it is the leader that has a teachable moment? Are you, as a leader, teachable? Do you have a humble and open spirit to what others may have to say to you? Are there people in your life who can speak truth, hard truth at times, into your life?
What are the teachable moments for a leader?
Continue reading “Be Teachable”