Gather in a circle? Ned, are you crazy? This is a workplace not some hand holding kumbaya love fest! No I am not crazy and you don’t have to be part of a kumbaya love fest to pull this off. The circle is the most prevalent geometric shape natural to nature. Everything you see has a circular shape to it; the moon, earth, sun, clouds, trees, animals, (some of us are a little more circular than others) and so on.
What is it about someone that makes them a great leader? Is it their status, outgoing personality, likeability, relatability, vision, ability to create a great strategy and execute it? I’ve always been interested in the subject of leadership and what makes some people so good at it, while others (despite all the classes they take, books they read or coaching they receive) are not. As an avid reader on the topic and observer of others, I find that the foundation of great leadership is self-awareness.
Stripped down to its essentials, business is about one thing: making decisions. Therefore, decision making is an important skill of leaders in all levels of an organization. It’s also one of the toughest and riskiest skills. It is a skill that can be sidetracked by a number of psychological traps that can undermine decisions. These traps can even cause great leaders to make bad decisions at times. Sometimes the cause is bad luck or poor timing, but more often than not bad decisions are the result of biases that as humans we bring into our decision making processes.
Have you ever seen an adult engage in a tantrum usually exhibited by a toddler? Have you ever been the recipient of someone’s silent treatment? Have you ever found yourself doing a favor for someone while wondering how you allowed yourself to be maneuvered into doing something you really didn’t want to do? Most of us have had experience with people who regularly break the rules of polite decorum and who frequently disregard others’ boundaries.
It seems that in every class I teach, I’m asked, “How can I get my direct reports to do what they are supposed to do?” I hear comments like, “I feel like I’m a babysitter” or “No one takes initiative” or “Everyone comes in and dumps their problems on me and expects me to fix them.” These comments are all too common. So how do we get our employees to take initiative and get the job done?