Finding YOUR Voice

I love the book ‘What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There‘ by Marshall Goldsmith.  Our CEO introduced it to me/our organization a year or so ago.  As I see Administrators in Training (AITs) learn, grow, lead I see some of them not understanding a similar truth: ‘What got THEM THERE, Won’t Get You There.’  There are certainly lessons to learn from more experienced leaders that new leaders would be wise to not repeat the hard way.

However, the very essence of leadership is wonderfully defined by Warren Bennis in his classic, ‘On Becoming a Leader.’  He says …

“…no leader sets out to be a leader per se, but rather to express himself freely and fully.  That is, leaders have no interest in proving themselves, but an abiding interest in expressing themselves.  The difference is crucial, for it’s the difference between being driven, as too many people are today, and leading, as too few people do.” On Becoming A Leader,” pg. 5

On Becoming a Leader, Warren Bennis
On Becoming a Leader, Warren Bennis

A friend of mine who is in his second semester of his first year in the school of hard knocks shared this with me and it rang true as I talk to new leaders who are trying to duplicate the ‘voice’ or the ‘vision’ or the ‘religion’ of other leaders before them.

My advice for the new Executive Director is to …

  1. Take the time to earn CREDIBILITY with your team/employees.  How?  Using the 3 Signs of  Miserable Job framework, spend the first couple months with each of your direct reports to get to know them deeply (Anonymous), helping them see the importance of their job (Relevance), and deciding together how to best measure their performance (Measurement).  This shows them how much you care for them and their success.  It builds trust.  It lays the foundation for loyalty.  Which prepares you to establish, with them, the WHAT/VISION.
  2. Instead of using someone else’s vision (unless your passion for it matches or surpasses its creator), empower your team to create a shared vision or direction for your operation.  This process usually takes a couple months if done right.  The creative/participatory process earns the vision/direction immediate buy-in that force-fed vision/direction lacks.

Taking the time to establish the credibility and forming the relationships of trust is the lubricant that allows the establishment of a successful, shared vision of the future.

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Myers Briggs (MBTI) Personality Indicator

  • WHAT: I’m not going to take the time right here to repeat what’s already available.  To understand the basics of MBTI, click here: http://bit.ly/sueD4
  • WHEN: You’re ready to use MBTI with your team when you’re ready to start the very long, hard process of creating a high functioning team.  Don’t bother if you’re looking for the flavor of the month.
  • WHERE: Go offsite.
  • WHY: 2 Reasons … 1) Build Trust on your team and between you and those you lead and 2) Bring the Soap Opera season to an end.1) The foundation for a team to become effective/great is TRUST.  I love the approach Patrick Lencioni teaches in The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team.  Cick here to see his model: http://bit.ly/aVNym.  When I work with a team, the first thing I work on is trust vis-a-vis the MBTI.  People who have been working for years together are startled by the things MBTI teaches them about each other.  I’ve found the MBTI to accelerate the establishment of TRUST faster than anything else.2) I’ve found most of the ‘drama’ that walks in my door as a leader is the soap operatic relationship problems among the people I lead.  I’ve also found that USUALLY the source of the drama is a misunderstanding, ignorance, insensitivity to the differences in other’s personalities.  Furthermore, my ability to win loyalty, manage effectively, and inspire is subtly yet totally undermined by my ignorance, inattention, and/or insensitivity to the individual team members’ different personalities.  THE most effective way to solve those people problems is to attack that source of the problems: misunderstanding each other.
  • HOW: There’s a couple ways to go with this.  And, as with all things, YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR.1) Free: You do some research online; you put a powerpoint together on the history, basics, and application of MBTI; you have your team take a free online assessment like this: http://bit.ly/Jb8Om; you try your best to interpret the results; you try not to do psychological damage since you’re not certified to administer/interpret MBTI results 🙂  Besides the ‘psychological damage’ you cause, you’ll also be spending A LOT of time preparing for the do-it-yourself way.
    2) Expert: Pay a certified practitioner/facilitator.  Depending on the size of your team, you’ll be looking at around $3,000, give or take.  I know of a couple great facilitators.  Contact me if you need a referral.

Here’s a few slides from my MBTI sessions …

 

MBTI & 5 Dysfunctions Of A Team
MBTI & 5 Dysfunctions Of A Team
Extravert v. Introvert
Extravert v. Introvert
4 MBTI preferences
4 MBTI preferences