Building Community Through Better Relationships

Leadership is More than Good Intentions

A long-time, loyal employee finally gets his coveted vice-president promotion. A company man in very sense, he demonstrated integrity and the company’s culture at every step to anyone paying attention. At last, after years toiling on the front lines, earning the respect of his peers, and delivering on assorted tasks, he is an executive. Making this promotion especially gratifying, this new role features being a leader who develops leaders. Surprisingly for the first time in his distinguished career, he spectacularly fails!

In this case, this executive knows the business from the ground up, has worked well with multiple organizational levels, plus has skillfully managed teams and tasks. The problem is that he had not led leaders and was clueless how to start. Regardless of the vice president’s best intentions for his direct reports and his love for the company, he did not have the skills to develop talent to become more effective leaders.

Babysitting talent is common, but true leadership features developing talent that multiplies any singular individual’s capabilities. The objective is to achieve overall high performance. Simply being a good soldier or having the best intentions falls woefully short. So, how does the next identically qualified candidate overcome this shortcoming to sustain a record of superior performance?

  • Find the experts – Operations superstars are not necessarily strategic experts. But through mentors, coursework, coaches, or peer groups new leaders have opportunities to acquire real-time, leadership skills. An alternative that super-sizes the benefit is to make these found experts available to the team.
  • Train people – First and foremost a leader is responsible for results. These results are delivered by subordinates. Training is the delivery method to give subordinate leaders the knowledge and resources to be successful. To maximize the impact, let the subordinate leaders learn and share their valuable lessons among their peers and superiors.
  • Allow failure – Not catastrophic loss, but failure is acceptable. Tom Watson Sr., IBM’s legendary former CEO, once called into his office a subordinate leader who had just managed a project resulting in a $10 million loss. After only receiving stern coaching, the young executive exuded gratitude: “Thank you Mr. Watson, I was afraid you were firing me.” Tom Watson shot back, “Fire you? I just spent $10 million educating you.”

Successful leaders must never overprotect, but communicate confidence, courage and harsh realities to grow their subordinate leaders. Children stumble before they walk. Soldiers endure boot camp. Champions lose along the way to a title. Regardless of how loving and well-intentioned a leader may be, progress requires work! There is no substitute. Leaders solve problems and deliver results. Their success is a product of leveraging others to contribute exponentially. Achieving that goal requires effectively providing the necessary tools to build team strength. Ultimately, a leader’s glory results from those that he leads!

By Glenn W Hunter


December 3, 2012 - Posted by | Better Business, Better Person | , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] Leadership is More than Good Intentions (upliftanother1.wordpress.com) […]

    Pingback by Today’s Methods vs. Tomorrow’s Problems | Kelly Business Advisors, LLC | January 30, 2013 | Reply

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