Prior to getting started tonight, take a moment to check out the previous business blogs.
Leadership is difficult. The most important thing you can do on your journey to becoming a more well rounded leader is to reflect upon yourself and your own personal actions. There was a period of time in my management journey where I took cues and pages out of the book of people that “had done it before me”.
There was a mishmash of all types of leadership styles that I saw. Some of the leaders yelled. Some of the leaders might fire you before a dime hit the floor. Some leaders lead by example. Some leaders documented, documented, documented — because as this person stated “if you don’t document it, it never happened”. As you can guess, that last method created a tad bit of distrust between management and employee.
I realized my limitations very quickly as a leader. First, I lacked the knowledge of business language. And I set out on a journey reading books about business. Essentially, I kept gravitating towards the pocket MBA type of books. I looked at those books so much, that I decided to just try B-school for myself. This while helping to steer an organization that at the time was only 1 year old.
It was stressful process, working on the degree while managing the business; but I quickly learned that I enjoyed my classes. And the classes where giving me foundational pieces of information that would help me lead a more efficient business. Marketing strategy, operations management, accounting, finance to name a few were books I just kept reviewing.
B-school gave me a perspective on the science of business. At the same time, I was fulfilling a craving desire that I didn’t even realize that I had. Then, I would stumble upon those pesky management classes; that discussed managerial philosophy and the history of the industrial revolution and it’s impact on labor. How do you coach an employee to be productive? What workflows and processes do you need to have in place to effectively retain human beings? The science of business was great. While the sociology and humanism aspects of business were more difficult topics for me to decipher, because those concepts were not as black and white.
I thought about the stressors I had been under. The stress to make things happen, create, and effectively budget while leading the ship. And I realized something…. I had these high expectations of others, and what their performance should look like. However, was I looking in the mirror and evaluating my own performance? I had employed some of the wrong cues in my leadership. The leaders before me meant well, but one size didn’t fit all. I was going to have to employ new tactics to reduce my employee turnover rate.
Was it everyone else’s fault? Did they not understand what I wanted — they just don’t see my vision? Or better yet, was it my fault and I needed to learn how to be a more effective communicator. A better leader?
The moral of this story is this…
1st — Understanding the history of human resource management is by far the chapter of any management book that you must read and re-read and study most closely. Can you hire well, and then after you hire well, can you retain quality people to help fulfill the vision that you see for your organization?
2nd — If you look up one day, and you realize that everyone is making the mistake and people just can’t understand your high standards. Take a moment, pause, and reflect and ask yourself, “are they the problem or am I the problem?” It’s funny how that can happen so quickly. Leaders tend to create a bubble for themselves. Before you know it, you’re living in a bubble where everyone else is wrong, and you’re the only one with all the answers. Remember, theres more than one way to get to a right answer in the “real world.” If you think everyone is crazy and you’re the only one that is right… or better yet, if you find yourself in a time of your life when everyone wants to run from you and you can’t figure it out… Realize that you… Yes, you the magical leader that can do no wrong, needs to reflect and look in the mirror. Take a close look and maybe find some friends and family in your life to remind you of all the times you’ve been wrong!
Two points that I hope you take a moment to consider. I hope that if leadership is the path that you’ve taken, you can always take a moment to re-evaluate yourself. Please make time to be around people that don’t think like you. It will push you to be better and do better. You need the perspective of a lot of people to truly impact the lives of millions.