Next time you are in a bookstore, check out the carpet in the Leadership-Management-Business section. I bet it is well worn.
Do you know how many times this button is clicked at the Amazon Business Book Section? Hint: a lot.
And check out this ad I saw recently on Amazon's webpage.
For whatever reason--advancement, money, wisdom, improvement, freedom, comfort, authority--we all have our motivation for exploring the genre.
If you are a leader or manager, here's a little secret you may be interested in knowing.
The fastest way for you to improve your leadership skills boils down to a simple math equation. And here it is. . .
Where. . .
X = the number of people who benefit from your leadership.
1 = you.
How do you quantify 'X' ?
X does not necessarily equal every employee that reports to you. Notice how I worded the definition: "people who benefit from your leadership."
Simple way to define. If you asked everyone who reported to you, "Does my leadership contribute to the betterment of our company and to your development as an employee?" that's how you quantify 'X.'
What if the 'X' is zero?
If 'X' is zero that means nobody is benefitting from your leadership as defined above. You should probably quit reading self-help books and go read the simple definition of a leader. Here are three which encompass leadership in my opinion:
Leadership is about articulating visions, embodying values, and creating the environment within which things can be accomplished. Richards and Engel
When the effective leader is finished with work, the people say it happened naturally. Lao Tse
The task of a leader is to get people from where they are to where they have not been.
What if 'X' is negative?
Then you are not in a leadership position. You may resume your regularly scheduled programming.
So what does this mean?
Simple. Your leadership skills will expand faster if your focus is on benefitting others than through self-help. It is simple math. Improving 1 versus improving x + 1. There is no universe where that math doesn't work. It is true as a math equation and it is true in leadership.
So how do I put it to work?
If your focus is where it should be as a leader--improving others--then the next natural question is: "How do I do this?"
It doesn't matter what 21 Laws of Leadership you finally decide on implementing. Nor does it matter where you go In Search of Excellence. Here are the three behaviors that will act as a currency between you and your employees. You give them these three and they'll give you the respect, effort, and trust you need to achieve great things.
(1) Be consistent--in your vision, your communication, your measures, your assessments, and your treatment of employees. Consistency = Safety to employees. In return you get ideas, opinions, effort of confident folks. Without consistency in vision, etc., employees tend to fill in the blanks with whatever makes sense to them.
(2) Be humble--Being humble shows that you have emotional intelligence. Leaders who demonstrate Emotional Intelligence attract employees and customers because they sense you are trying to understand their perspective. In return, you get TRUST--the cornerstone to any great relationship.
(3) Be a coach--to the public and media, Nick Saban seems irritable, regimented, and process driven. Dabo Swinney, on the other hand, comes across as joyful, loose, and people oriented. Behind the scenes, you'll find them more similar than you think. Both coaches have a desire to teach and to develop young men. Whether you are more like Saban or Swinney as a leader is irrelevant. Do your employees know that your intent is to teach and develop them and their careers?
What formula are you using to solve for X?
Want to start improving? Email me your questions at email@example.com.