“Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others.”
~Robert Louis Stevenson
I’ve been reading Boundaries For Leaders by Henry Cloud, great book about growing a culture of leadership. In it, he talks about a leader he was talking to who was complaining about the culture around him. Cloud kept asking questions about why these things were happening, which led the leader to realize the culture was up to him! Finally, the leader was in charge… ridiculously in charge.
Leaders and managers spend a lot of time complaining about how their workplace operates without ever realizing that they are the ones who can fix it. I won’t give you all the details of the book, but two of the principles that will allow you to be ridiculously in charge are what you create and what you allow.
What you create is based on what you aspire to see, the culture you create (intentional or not), the goals you set, the strategy you employ and the leadership you demonstrate. These are usually the things we want.
What you allow are the things you don’t want to happen, but seem to anyway. It’s the things that happen because you don’t work against them. If you never say anything to people about coming to work late, they will come to work late. If you allow people to snipe at each other, sniping will grow as a tactic.
Of the two, what gets the least attention is what you allow. All those irritating things that happen – that you actually allow to happen – that you can’t understand. The things you don’t really want to deal with, because it’ll be too tough or complicated. Also, the things that you do yourself that only become irritating when it happens back to you.
This is one of the easiest to understand books about leadership that I’ve ever seen. Don’t expect to breeze through it, some parts are more difficult than others. You’ll also want to go slow enough give yourself time to absorb it.
One reason I love it is because it challenged me, but then gave me simple, doable answers. We can all improve our leadership skills, even if we’re only leading ourselves. This could be one of the biggest answers to a challenge you’ll find this year.
Alan Mason is currently the COO for K-LOVE & Air1 and partner at Goodratings Strategic Services.