These things

a followable story

The Art of Leadership

I”ve often backed away and let my team make decisions on their own to provide a multitude of experiences.  It falls to me to determine a lot of factors to figure a desired outcome.

If I don”t allow myself to pull away and watch a moment unfold then I can”t expect growth within our ranks.  I”m often playing my own head games thinking that my participation may seem as if I am micromanaging or that I may be over-influencing the process.  Truth is…I am nudging my team to find the solutions on their own.  If they fail, I often nudge the other members of the team to provide open and honest feedback so that we build trust within the team.

It happens all the time.  I”m often looked as at the final “approval” and the “last say” when it”s often the opposite is true. Quality and outcome are solely based on the individuals ability to communicate with other team members and creatively use the honest and objective feedback that is provided.

Here are a few qualities of a leader that I subscribe to wholeheartedly.

  1. Follow your gut.  Intuition is a lost art in itself.  We often don”t listen to our gut so we never get good at making it work for us.  As soon as you start making decisions based on your internal subconscious you can begin to utilize it as a tool among a set of tools that drives success.  It”s not a compass, it”s a gauge of subconscious patterns you mind sees and it creates the sensation of “fear”.  Some of us have learned that fear is not a necessarily a negative, but an internal sound we must learn to hear, make adjustments and move forward.  Others feel fear and stop.
  2. Be honest.  No one is more apt to lie to anyone then you are to yourself.  I have an internal policy that I call “Always be right.”  In the sense of levity, what I am saying is simple.  Know the facts.  Opinions are for creative sessions.  Never speak in generalities.  Nothing is Absolute.  In the end, always be truthful.  Honesty has pulled me out of more ditches and plunged me into deeper relationships with clients, friends and family.  I will warn you, honesty is potent and dishonest people scatter like the wind when you focus on an open and honest communication structure.  You will find out who your friends are.
  3. Fail small. Succeed big.  If you can find a scenario where the risk is low and the outcome damage is minimal then step away.  I centered this ideology around watching my 4 year old son reach for hot dishes and get self-earned feedback from a plate that “bit” his fingers.  I find the same “fear” when I look at a scenario coming down the pipe where a client experience is falling apart.  Stepping back can be hard, but the failure of a process or system when dealt with by the team and not the immediate interjection by yourself, can be a big success for the team.  Growth only happens when we overcome something difficult.
  4. Be able to see the future.  I have a strange ability to see into the future.  I often joke about this but it”s completely true.  If you can do this trick I am about to explain properly and get good at it, you too, can see into the future.  What if I told you that your past experiences combined with an obsessive psychoanalysis of patterns can determine the future?  It”s more like forecasting really.  I know the past, I see the current indicators of clients work/reports/success/trends and I know I can influence the outcome.  Ok, fine.  It”s not magic…just some determination mixed with good ole fashioned observation.
  5. Be aware.  Notice everything or miss everything.  I often make people uncomfortable and ask questions that have never been asked before.  I”m the guy that has listened to everything you said and the new paint of the wall and the car you drive that ends up asking you if you”re in the process of moving or bought a new car.  As a salesman, this is inherently built into the social aspect of that talent.  As a leader, awareness is the divider of the leaders who change and leader who maintain.  You can”t change what you are not aware of.

I could go on and on, but this is a blog post.

Leadership is not a directive that can be trained.  Good leaders can get away without having these qualities but I think great leaders lead with their heart and are honest about their limitations.  I”m not the best at what I do but I do believe my team trusts that I”m making the best effort to keep our company moving forward…and in the end, if you”re not moving forward in our business….you”re dead.

Please let me know your thoughts and share with your friends.  I am passionate about leadership and it”s long tail of attributes.  If you”d like to catch lunch or email me, please feel free to contact me at lucas@shafferlabs.com

Cheers!

About the Author

I am a husband to a beautiful wife named Whitney and Dad to a wonderful baby boy. Yay! :) Damien Augustus Shaffer has come into this world on March 15th 2010. In my professional life, I have accumulated over 4 years utilizing a wide range of technologies to develop software solutions for my current employer. Most of this time was spent learning methodical approaches within different environments to broaden my programming knowledge and project planning abilities. These environments include both open source and Windows based development, mainly Web. I also dabble in Social Media and it applications in today's culture and marketplace. I consider it a hobby but some may say its an obsession. ;) I enjoy it immensely.