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Business Leadership Lounge
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Checkmat Offline
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Leadership Lounge
Come here for discussion on leadership, team-building and other concepts related to excelling in business, the military and other organizations.

1) Pro-activity: "With your approval..."

One concept I've been implementing at work lately is coming to my front-line managers with not just a problem, but with a solution.

If you are not in a leadership or managerial position (like I currently am. I am just a line worker) you can still exercise leadership and pro-activity. Too often I've either seen or been guilty of having an issue on my hands at work, and coming to my supervisor empty-handed, eg "Hey boss, XYZ is happening. What should I do?"

Instead of that, I've been having a lot of success with coming to them with both the problem AND the solution, eg "Hey boss, XYZ is happening. With your approval, I'd like to do ABC. Does that work?"

More often than not, my supervisor will blink his eyes once or twice and say "Sure, sounds good." or "Great, do it!"

You can see this sense of surprise and pleasure on their face that they don't have to rack their brains for a solution to the problem I brought them. I've also been given positive feedback like, "I was just going to ask you about that. Thanks for being pro-active."

Not only does this build your leaders' trust in you, but it primes your problem-solving brain to think like a leader.

"There's no such thing as different but equal." -Dante Nero
08-13-2019 12:44 PM
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RedKurrant Offline
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RE: Leadership Lounge
Good idea for a thread Checkmat.

I think it's particularly important to be able to delegate effectively. Presuming you're working in a corporate environment, the best thing to do is to hand over smaller-income accounts to junior members of staff. Not only does this free up your time to work on high-end accounts and potentially work on other projects while at work e.g. a side-business, it also empowers junior colleagues through giving them more responsibility, therefore making you appear as a strong leader.

Since being promoted to a managerial role at work I have been doing this successfully. Whenever I receive a new low-end account, I immediately seek out one of the grads for a 1-on-1 meeting to discuss the project and what work needs to be done. This gives them the opportunity to ask a plethora of questions and aid their understanding of the industry in greater detail. Such an approach is considered to be more beneficial when compared to just handing out small pieces of work over a variety of different projects (which is what some of my colleagues do), as it gives the junior colleague a higher rate of experience, therefore leading to a boost in their confidence.
08-20-2019 04:10 AM
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Checkmat Offline
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RE: Leadership Lounge
(08-20-2019 04:10 AM)RedKurrant Wrote:  Good idea for a thread Checkmat.

I think it's particularly important to be able to delegate effectively. Presuming you're working in a corporate environment, the best thing to do is to hand over smaller-income accounts to junior members of staff. Not only does this free up your time to work on high-end accounts and potentially work on other projects while at work e.g. a side-business, it also empowers junior colleagues through giving them more responsibility, therefore making you appear as a strong leader.

Since being promoted to a managerial role at work I have been doing this successfully. Whenever I receive a new low-end account, I immediately seek out one of the grads for a 1-on-1 meeting to discuss the project and what work needs to be done. This gives them the opportunity to ask a plethora of questions and aid their understanding of the industry in greater detail. Such an approach is considered to be more beneficial when compared to just handing out small pieces of work over a variety of different projects (which is what some of my colleagues do), as it gives the junior colleague a higher rate of experience, therefore leading to a boost in their confidence.

That's an excellent idea. This is what Jocko Willink means when he talks about decentralized command and developing leaders at every level. When you give accounts to junior members to manage, they're given the opportunity to take ownership and grow their managerial skills. Now your team as a whole grows stronger!

Funny anecdote from Catch Me If You Can. The author (an infamous con artist) was posing as a doctor at a hospital. Whenever he would be approached by the residents with a question or problem, he would ask them, "what do you think you should do?" Invariably the resident would have 1000x the medical knowledge and training of the "fake" doctor/con artist and give a reasonable reply. The fake doctor would tell them, "Great, run with that!" and the residents thought the world of him! They felt empowered and trusted by someone they looked to as a leader. Even if they didn't know he was full of shit!

"There's no such thing as different but equal." -Dante Nero
08-20-2019 09:40 AM
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Checkmat Offline
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RE: Leadership Lounge
Had a meeting with our executive director yesterday and 5 other members of our facility to go over a new idea. It just so happened that this topic was an area of expertise by one of our junior guys at the meeting named John. He had years of experience and had already developed a plan for this exact scenario.

However, it always seems like people want to throw their opinions in and be an extra "cook in the kitchen". One guy in particular, a front line manager, was trying to really shove his input down everyone's throats and make his mark on the project. He wanted me to get involved, too. He asked me, "Checkmat, what would YOU do for this?" And part of me was tempted to be a cook in the kitchen, adding more confusion to the mix just to look like a go-getter. But I opted for this answer: "Well, if we didn't have John here to spearhead this, then I'd really have to think about it. But because we have this RESOURCE here, I think we should let him take lead on it and just stay out of his way."

Even though I wasn't in a "leadership position" to delegate this, I felt like this was the best move for the team's mission if we empowered the most capable team member, instead of everyone trying to be the leader of the ship at the same time.

"There's no such thing as different but equal." -Dante Nero
(This post was last modified: 08-20-2019 09:45 AM by Checkmat.)
08-20-2019 09:44 AM
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MustafaJoMama Offline
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RE: Leadership Lounge
The biggest adjustment when changing over from an individual contributor role to a management role is the need to avoid being constantly sucked down into the weeds. This is especially hard if you're now managing a function that you are a subject matter expert in.

You need to keep in mind that your time and energy are finite and you are often better off focusing on solving bigger problems than trying to perfect everyone else's work or chasing down everything that comes across your desk. You will either burn out or miss or misspend what little time you have.
08-20-2019 05:14 PM
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H1N1 Offline
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RE: Leadership Lounge
When looking at management, there is also a question of the circumstances under which you'd be a good leader.

For example, most people make much better "peace time" leaders (stable conditions, settled processes, defined resources etc etc) than war time leaders. There is a difference between a peace time and a war time general (as noted by Moltke, for instance, in the strategic handbook of the Wehrmacht), and the two possess different temperaments and skill sets that make them better suited to their respective environments (neither being better or worse than the other necessarily). Equally, in the corporate environment, it is important to know which camp you are in to get the most out of your career, and avoid being excessively responsible in the wrong set of circumstances for your temperament.

Personally I am a chaos/crisis guy. That's what suits me, it's where all my opportunities these days come from, and where I am able to have the greatest effect/build my reputation most effectively.
09-05-2019 09:24 AM
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General Mayhem Offline
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RE: Leadership Lounge
(09-05-2019 09:24 AM)H1N1 Wrote:  When looking at management, there is also a question of the circumstances under which you'd be a good leader.

For example, most people make much better "peace time" leaders (stable conditions, settled processes, defined resources etc etc) than war time leaders. There is a difference between a peace time and a war time general (as noted by Moltke, for instance, in the strategic handbook of the Wehrmacht), and the two possess different temperaments and skill sets that make them better suited to their respective environments (neither being better or worse than the other necessarily). Equally, in the corporate environment, it is important to know which camp you are in to get the most out of your career, and avoid being excessively responsible in the wrong set of circumstances for your temperament.

Personally I am a chaos/crisis guy. That's what suits me, it's where all my opportunities these days come from, and where I am able to have the greatest effect/build my reputation most effectively.

I've thought about this concept a ton throughout my time in the military and on the civilian side.

I didn't understand this early on but once I had seen myself fail and succeed it started to make sense. I was more of a war time temperament.

There was one point I found myself in a situation where I couldn't be bothered to give a single fuck to put a ton of effort into doing things just to do them. I probably made it worse by mocking things and rebelling against whatever I was supposed to be doing. The assessment of my performance during that time period was middle of the pack.

Meanwhile, I saw others who could take on what I saw as the most meaningless bullshit and do the job like it was life or death. Those people were the peace time leaders.

The issue is that once the pressure is on those people who always make a big deal about the mundane and meaningless tend to make an even bigger deal out of a serious situation. I have seen people like this unravel under pressure. These people live life with the give a fuck meter at mid range, and that gets pegged to the max under stress.

Meanwhile, I found myself thriving under pressure because those situations elevated my give a fuck meter to a point where it would feel like I came alive.

Like H1N1 said, neither is better or worse necessarily. I've met people that run in the middle and they almost seem to do better overall since they can work either situation.

I wouldn't consider my temperament to be the most desirable. I can be downright destructive when there is nothing to care about. This is something I have worked on over the years and improved on quite a bit, which leads me to this.

One of the biggest tips I would give anyone on leadership is that you have to fucking know yourself inside and out. Most people will nod along like they have done an in depth examination of their own capabilities, makeup, and most importantly temperament, but they are almost always lying.

Temperament is word that I love to use when talking about or thinking about myself or the people I happen to be leading. As was already discussed, temperaments vary and you have to know how to handle them so you can allocate your personnel accordingly to accomplish things.

I also like to know the baseline my people run at so I can immediately assess if they are bitching about something because that person is always a whiny little bitch or if it is a serious concern from someone who doesn't normally bitch. I think a lot of leaders understand this in some way.
09-05-2019 04:35 PM
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Checkmat Offline
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RE: Leadership Lounge
(09-05-2019 09:24 AM)H1N1 Wrote:  When looking at management, there is also a question of the circumstances under which you'd be a good leader.

For example, most people make much better "peace time" leaders (stable conditions, settled processes, defined resources etc etc) than war time leaders. There is a difference between a peace time and a war time general (as noted by Moltke, for instance, in the strategic handbook of the Wehrmacht), and the two possess different temperaments and skill sets that make them better suited to their respective environments (neither being better or worse than the other necessarily). Equally, in the corporate environment, it is important to know which camp you are in to get the most out of your career, and avoid being excessively responsible in the wrong set of circumstances for your temperament.

Personally I am a chaos/crisis guy. That's what suits me, it's where all my opportunities these days come from, and where I am able to have the greatest effect/build my reputation most effectively.

How do you operate and succeed in a peacetime/non-crisis environment? For most people this is going to be the default environment they are working in. Even Navy SEALs like Jocko worked the majority of their careers in peacetime environments, making powerpoint presentations and organizing training.

"There's no such thing as different but equal." -Dante Nero
09-06-2019 04:44 PM
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H1N1 Offline
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RE: Leadership Lounge
(09-06-2019 04:44 PM)Checkmat Wrote:  
(09-05-2019 09:24 AM)H1N1 Wrote:  When looking at management, there is also a question of the circumstances under which you'd be a good leader.

For example, most people make much better "peace time" leaders (stable conditions, settled processes, defined resources etc etc) than war time leaders. There is a difference between a peace time and a war time general (as noted by Moltke, for instance, in the strategic handbook of the Wehrmacht), and the two possess different temperaments and skill sets that make them better suited to their respective environments (neither being better or worse than the other necessarily). Equally, in the corporate environment, it is important to know which camp you are in to get the most out of your career, and avoid being excessively responsible in the wrong set of circumstances for your temperament.

Personally I am a chaos/crisis guy. That's what suits me, it's where all my opportunities these days come from, and where I am able to have the greatest effect/build my reputation most effectively.

How do you operate and succeed in a peacetime/non-crisis environment? For most people this is going to be the default environment they are working in. Even Navy SEALs like Jocko worked the majority of their careers in peacetime environments, making powerpoint presentations and organizing training.

I rest, mainly, and read and prepare for the next thing. I am self employed. I go where my kind of work is, and I work across a part of the world where there are plenty of problems. I can still operate fine in a non-crisis environment, but I get restless after any length of time. There are lots of good people who prefer to work under stable conditions. I prefer long periods of high pressure and long hours, followed by brief periods of downtime. That really suits my temperament. Most people have more even constitutions that require a bit more balance in my experience.
09-07-2019 05:08 AM
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