Back on the topic of the Leadership Principles, we’re going to explore one that even Tommy from Rugrats understands: responsibility (or “‘sponsbltee” as he pronounces it). The principle states “seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions.” While it seems relatively straightforward, this principle requires some parsing and deeper exploration. Many managers (which I do work hard to differentiate from leaders) understand they are accountable but few make the leap to being responsible. Responsibility is all about ownership. Accountability is simply being the first person they call when things get screwed up. Big difference. To really understand this principle, I think some fictional examples might be helpful. First we’ll explore the “take responsibility for your actions” clause because it’s simpler then we’ll move into the advanced class about “seeking responsibility.” Accountability and responsibility are somewhat different animals. To make the point, allow me to offer two responses to the same scenario. The situation is the business unit just cratered and completely missed its earnings target. The leader of said unit is called onto the carpet to explain what’s happened. Here are the responses.
https://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.png00Mike Figliuolohttps://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.pngMike Figliuolo2008-10-27 05:03:002018-06-21 14:15:27Leadership Means Seeking Responsibility, Not Chucking People Under The Bus
Do you know what you’re doing? I mean really know what you’re doing? Continuing with our Leadership Principles series of posts, today let’s explore the second principle: be technically and tactically proficient. I realize when you see the word “tactically” you might have the reaction of “gee Mike, I don’t wear camo therefore this doesn’t apply.” Wrong. If you have a job, it applies. This principle is all about knowing how to do your job; how to execute the daily tasks required not only of you but of your team members. How will you coach them or hold them to a standard with a straight face when it’s not something you can do yourself? As far as credibility goes, this is perhaps the most important leadership principle. Your people watch your every move (just like kids do). They imitate your actions and behaviors. They talk about you at the water cooler when you violate this principle. The good news is there are a few very pointed ways you can immediately bring this principle to life.
https://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.png00Mike Figliuolohttps://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.pngMike Figliuolo2008-10-20 05:42:002018-12-21 13:39:53Do You Really Know What You’re Doing? The Second Leadership Principle
Clearly I’ve become infatuated with new technologies that enable better communications (especially with broader audiences). But all of us have fallen into that trap of using technology without first understanding the impact and results we want to get from it. Jim Canterucci and I just co-authored a blog post on this very point. Essentially we’re asking you to think about which comes first: the Twitter or the egg (and our perspective is it’s the egg because you have to understand the results you’re seeking before you start Tweeting or using any other technology). I also encourage you to check out the rest of Jim’s blog and his offerings. He’s an extremely smart guy I’ve been fortunate enough to find on Twitter. I also encourage you to follow Jim and I on Twitter (@Canterucci and @Figliuolo). Doing so will help you learn how we’re leveraging this new technology to expand our networks and our businesses. I hope you enjoy the first of what will be several collaborative efforts between Jim and I. – Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC
https://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.png00Mike Figliuolohttps://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.pngMike Figliuolo2008-10-17 05:22:002018-12-21 13:37:34Communicating Via New Technology: The Twitter or The Egg
In my last post, I opened the conversation about the “original” leadership principles. Number one on the list is know yourself and seek self improvement. Just by virtue of the fact that you’re actively reading this blog, you have clearly taken the first step in that direction (at least I hope you’re here for self improvement and not just irreverent and witty banter). But what’s this principle really about? Knowing yourself. It’s about taking a hard look in the mirror and assessing yourself warts and all. We all have our deficiencies. The difference between the Average Joe/Josephine and a solid leader is the solid leader is honest (sometimes painfully so) in their assessment of self. They first can admit they have weaknesses and they actively move toward fixing them or mitigating their deleterious effects (Yay! It’s been a while since I’ve been able to use “deleterious” in a sentence. Now THAT’S a fun word!). The real challenge here is summoning up the courage to know yourself. There are a few ways you can get started pretty quickly though.
It’s no secret. I’m getting old(er). Every month there’s another gray hair in the goatee. Every year there are a couple of extra pounds. Nothing makes that fact hit home more than a class reunion. I spent the last few days back at alma mater dear, The United States Military Academy at West Point. As cadets, we had a few well-founded perspectives on West Point. It’s the most beautiful place you’ll ever hate. It’s a good place to be… from. The best view of West Point is in your rear-view mirror. Fifteen years after throwing my hat in the air and receiving my diploma, I’ve had the benefit of time to reflect on my experiences at my rockbound highland home. As I’ve grown wiser (and older and fatter and grayer) I’ve come to appreciate the timeless nature of some of the things they teach there. One of my favorites is the “official version” of the leadership principles (as opposed to my unofficial version). These eleven principles span military, business, and organizational leadership. They’re straight-forward and require little explanation. They are: 1. Know yourself and seek self-improvement 2. Be technically and tactically proficient 3. Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions 4. Set the example 5. Know your people and look out for their well-being 6. Keep your people informed 7. Ensure the task is understood, supervised, and accomplished 8. Develop a sense of responsibility in your subordinates 9. Train your people as a team 10. Make sound and timely decisions 11. Employ your unit in accordance with its capabilities Simple, right? One of my favorite books, Ed Ruggero’s The Leader’s Compass eloquently explains these concepts in the appendix (and the main part of the book is more than pretty darn good too – grab a copy). These concepts translate […]
https://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.png00Mike Figliuolohttps://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.pngMike Figliuolo2008-10-13 05:53:002018-12-21 13:46:09Leadership Lessons from West Point
Twice in the last week I’ve heard about “idiot bosses” (all right, maybe more than twice, and if you don’t believe me check out the polls at the bottom of the page). Being the inquisitive guy I am, I probed for the root cause of such comments. Rather than simply asking what the cause is, I decided to probe the symptoms first. “Tell me more about this idiot boss.” “I’m so fed up with him. He’s always on top of everything I do. He nags at me. Sometimes he even goes behind my back on things that I’m responsible for. It seems like everything I do is constantly under a microscope.” “Like how?” (I know – I sounded like a Valley Girl on that one). “The other night I was getting ready to leave and he actually called my cell as I walked out of the building because he wanted to discuss something that happened earlier that morning. He sometimes goes to members of my team, asks them what they’re doing, and then reprioritizes their work or even gives them new projects I’m not aware of. On top of that, he doesn’t even tell me he’s done this and I find out after the fact that my team’s priorities have changed.” “Wow. That’s pretty bad. Lemme tell you what I think you can do here.” “Okay. Shoot.”
https://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.png00Mike Figliuolohttps://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.pngMike Figliuolo2008-10-06 05:03:002018-12-21 13:36:44Detail Oriented Versus Control Freak – Where’s the Line?
Susan Strayer, a friend of mine, posed a question on twitter the other day (by the way, come follow me there – it’s a very cool platform): “Can you sum up your expertise in 140 characters or less?” Great question. A few people took her up on the challenge. Me being an overachiever, I did it in three words. Before I dive in, let me set some context. For some odd reason, headhunters like to talk to me. Maybe it’s because I actually pick up the phone and listen to them. Or maybe because I’ll have them send me a job spec and I’ll forward it along to colleagues who might fit the role (which makes the headhunter’s job infinitely simpler and, incidentally, it gives me first crack at seeing the opportunities before I pass them along). Occasionally though, I’ll talk to them about a role for me. Invariably they ask me to summarize my experience. That’s the moment where Susan’s “twitter pitch” approach comes in really handy. Mine goes something like this: “I like roles where I can demonstrate two things: leadership and impact.” When they ask me to explain and elaborate, I articulate how I view leadership as both people leadership and thought leadership. I can then use that structure to explain roles I’ve been in and how I’ve led in those respective areas. It gives the headhunter an easy framework to understand my experience in that arena.
https://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.png00Mike Figliuolohttps://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.pngMike Figliuolo2008-09-29 05:54:002018-12-21 13:36:05Headhunters, Fingerprints, and Twitter: Defining Your Career Experience
Often project management is criticized for adding overhead to a project (and when executed poorly, it does). Words like documentation and methodology make leadership think of productivity loss and non-value added activity. Project management is rooted in some very good principles, but much like anything else, in its extreme forms it is dangerous. The positive principles I am speaking of are planning out your activities, providing accurate budgets, reaching your goal when you said you would, steering around roadblocks before you hit them, etc. Because of this, project management is growing in popularity every day. So why are some people opposed to it? I am going to explain why leadership doesn’t like project management and show you how to NOT live up to the stereotype. Leadership doesn’t like project management because time spent planning or working on documentation is time not spent working on deliverables. They have trouble connecting the idea that hours of planning and pages of documentation help you achieve the goal faster and cheaper. They simply want the project done faster, cheaper, and leaner. The irony is that project management can do all of this if executed properly.
https://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.png00Mike Figliuolohttps://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.pngMike Figliuolo2008-09-24 09:53:002018-06-21 13:20:12Project Management Without the Paperwork