A PERIODIC BULLETIN FROM LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP
ARTICLE: YOU CAN GROW PEOPLE WITHOUT THEM GOING ANYWHERE
There is a notion prevalent in organisations today that in order to grow someone at work you need to promote her, move her to another job or give her new responsibilities. Clearly there are opportunities for a person to grow from all three of these. Yet there is no need to either move a person or reconfigure her role in order for her to grow. Leaders who are aligned to the Care and Growth criteria enable their people to grow on an ongoing and continuous basis in the jobs that they are currently in.
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ARTICLE: MATCHING LEADERSHIP ACTION TO EMPLOYEE CONTRIBUTION
Implementing the Care and Growth model requires nothing less than an inversion of the line of service from “up” to “down” the line. It necessitates cultivating relationships which are subordinate centred, where the primary concern for those in authority is what they can “give” to their people, rather than what they can “get” out of them.
Practically speaking, there are seven “gives” that can be made by a leader at any point in time. What Legitimate Leadership calls the 7 Possibilities are shown below.
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VIDEO: REPLACING SUPER CHICKENS WITH CONNECTED TEAMS
Organisations are often run according to “the superchicken model”, where most value is placed on star employees who outperform others. This nomenclature derives from a study which examined groups of chickens for productivity and siphoned off super performers to see whether they performed better as a group, says Heffernan.
It is easy to measure productivity in chickens because you just count the eggs.
In the event, the group of super performing chickens didn’t do well because they severely pecked each and most died – in other words, individually productive chickens had only achieved their success by suppressing the productivity of the rest.
Likewise having managers who strive to be supermen/woman is not what drives the most high-achieving teams.
A Massachusetts Institute of Technology study found that high performing groups had three characteristics: they showed a high degree of social sensitivity to others; they gave equal time regularly to each team member; and they had more women in them (the exact reason why this had a positive effect is not yet determined).
So, says Heffernan, what is key is social connectedness or social capital – it could be called “helpfulness” – within companies. Simply put, when the going gets tough – as it always will – people need to ask others for support and ideas. And what motivates people is the bonds between them. What matters is the mortar, not just the bricks.
Social connectedness — built every coffee break, every time one team member asks another for help — leads over time to great results. Companies don’t have ideas; only people do.
In practice, this means that the team is vital. And it means that a lot of change has to occur, for instance:
• Management has routinely pitted employees in competition against each other; now
• Money has traditionally been the leading motivating tool; now we need to let people
• Managers have been expected to be heroic soloists who solved complex problems
This has nothing to do with chumminess or accommodating slackers. Conflict within the teams is frequent because candour is safe. This is how good ideas become great ideas.
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WANT TO GET THE JOB DONE? GET A GOOD MANAGER
Want to get the job done? Get a good manager
Leaders are wonderful. Everyone seems to think so. Leaders do the vision thing. They head the organisation. They are admired, rewarded and feted. Leaders lead. Others follow. Managers only manage.
For years, the distinction between leaders and managers has been stacked in favour of leaders; managers have become the poor relations.
Leaders inspire. Managers perspire. It’s as simple as that. Think of Apple pioneer Steve Jobs, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, FedEx founder Fred Smith, Alibaba boss Jack Ma, et cetera.
And great managers? Maybe Sir Alex Ferguson, former manager of Manchester United (pictured), would spring to mind.
But great managers are indispensable to improved performance.
• Leaders set direction; managers plan and budget.
It’s clear that the vision-thing is totally dependent on management capacity if anything is to be achieved.
We have to celebrate the role and what it means to be a great manager. This shouldn’t be difficult. There’s a lot to admire:
• Great managers care; about the task, the results and the people who do the job.
They are also are unafraid. They don’t duck accountability. They know they will be measured and they set up simple, practical yardsticks for every member of their team.
Great managers are disciplined. They show up every day and get the job done.
They know when subordinates are doing a good job and when they’re not. They discriminate on performance, reward and take remedial action.
Great managers are not afraid of hard work. They thrive on it.
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COMMENT ON THIS BY WENDY LAMBOURNE, LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP: Legitimate Leadership has a very clear view of the distinction between management and leadership: management is what you apply to things; leadership pertains to people.
For organisational success and sustained results – organisational excellence, in other words – both management and leadership are required. So the distinction, for us, would be distilled by asking people, “what sounds right to you of the following two statements: you manage the inventory in the warehouse, or, you lead the inventory in the warehouse?”
Obviously, you manage the inventory in the warehouse.
We are total advocates of the view that you should manage things like finances, systems, structures, facilities, et cetera. And we know that organisations which don’t manage tend not to succeed.
But our plea is: please don’t manage people, lead them. Because when you manage people, you reduce them to the status of things.
BOOK REVIEW: RETURN ON CHARACTER – THE REAL REASONS LEADERS AND THEIR COMPANIES WIN, by Fred Kiel
Fred Kiel has produced a report of a superbly crafted piece of research conducted between 2006 and 2013 on 121 CEOs from Fortune 500 and 100 companies, private companies and non-profit organisations.
The bottom line? Companies led by CEOs of good character make more money. The most highly principled CEOs are called “Virtuoso CEOs” by Kiel, and the least principled are called “Self-Focused CEOs”. The Virtuosos achieved nearly five times the return on assets when compared to the Self-Focused, a 9.35% return as against 1.93%.
By character, Kiel is referring to a set of habitually manifest ways of behaving. Anthropologist Donald Brown has drawn a set of four “universal moral principles” from a list of nearly 500 internationally observed behaviours. These are integrity, responsibility, forgiveness, and compassion.
Kiel calls these the “Keystone Character Habits” of leadership. The studies of the Virtuoso versus the Self-Focused CEOs revealed the former were habitually high on these Keystones with the latter habitually lower.
Integrity and responsibility are “head” characteristics. Integrity involves telling the truth, walking the talk, standing up for what is right and keeping promises. Responsibility involves owning one’s personal choices, admitting mistakes and failures, and expressing a concern for the common good.
Forgiveness and compassion are “heart” characteristics. Forgiveness involves letting go of one’s mistakes, letting go of others’ mistakes, and focusing on what is right rather than what is wrong. Compassion involves empathising with others, empowering others, actively caring for others, and committing to others’ development.
Not only would a Virtuoso CEO have to display these characteristics, but his top team would have to do the same. A CEO could not be considered a Virtuoso leader if he is incapable of getting his own team to behave well.
The Self-Focused CEOs, by contrast, were rated by their staff as not trusted to keep their promises (lacking integrity), and often passing blame off on others to protect themselves (failing to take responsibility). They were seen as frequently punishing well-intentioned people for making mistakes (not forgiving), and being especially poor at caring for people (lacking compassion).
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