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Let the New Competent Leadership Manual Lead You to Success!

Arendse Bernth, PhD., ACS/ALB
District 46, Div G., Area 72 Governor 2007-2008

Your boss just left your office having spent half an hour telling you that everything you did was wrong and that you are a real idiot. And real idiots don’t last long in this company. You didn’t get a chance to describe the considerations that went into your solution. It’s only Wednesday, but this is the third time this week. You already put in 30 hours this week, and you feel totally drained and can only think of when you can afford to retire.

Your boss just left your office having spent half an hour praising the fact that you attacked a difficult task head-on. She listened to your report on why you chose this specific solution and agreed that this was a good way of handling it, pointing out a few twists and turns that will turn the good solution into a real killer. It’s only Wednesday, but this is the third time this week. You already put in 30 hours this week, but now you feel energized and motivated to work at least another 30 hours before you call it a week.

Which kind of boss do you want to be?

If you don’t know the answer, consider this: “If I ran my set with fear, I would get 1 percent, not 100 percent, of what I get.” Film director David Lynch in his recent book, Catching the Big Fish. Which do you prefer – 1 percent or 100 percent?

Your Vision Needs Leadership Skills

A good leader must have vision. But a good leader must also possess good interpersonal relations skills—it’s not enough to know where you want to go; you must also know how to get your team to help get you there. A good leader must:

Listen. Listening with your ears, as well as your eyes, helps you acquire information, enabling you to identify and clarify issues, make decisions, resolve conflicts, and be creative. Listening also helps team building. Your team members have important contributions to make in how to bring about the team goal. You must listen to their suggestions and carefully evaluate them.

Think critically. Critical thinking is crucial to making good decisions. After gathering information, you must analyze, interpret and understand it before acting. Question the information and determine its quality, and then use logical reasoning to reach conclusions and make decisions.

Give constructive feedback. Fulfillment of your vision is your goal. In order for that to happen, you must provide feedback to team members in a way that enables them to do their best. Team members need to know what they are doing well, what they are not doing well, and how they can improve. Giving performance feedback is a necessary leadership function. And if it is done in a constructive manner, feedback can actually reduce stress for the team members.

Plan well. Your plan is your road map to achieving your vision. It details the goals, strategies, and schedules that will fulfill your vision. It also assigns responsibilities to team members, taking advantage of their skills and giving them opportunities to grow. As the project progresses, you will need to review your plan and, if necessary, revise it.

Manage time efficiently. In order to make the most out of the time available to achieve your vision, you must manage not only your own time carefully, but also that of your team. You must know when to start sub-projects and when they must be completed. And you must be able to fit the unforeseen into your plan.

Delegate. Teamwork allows you to accomplish a greater goal, so you must create a well-working team. Assign specific areas of responsibility to each team member to handle as they see fit.

Facilitate. A team leader must help the team function properly by acting as a “go-between” between members, resolving conflict and clarifying the roles of the team members.

Inspire and motivate. Show the team that the vision is meaningful and attainable, and that everybody’s contribution is needed and appreciated. A motivated team will overcome obstacles of all types to achieve its goals. A good leader creates and maintains an environment where team members are likely to become motivated.

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