March 2017

What Were You Thinking!

How many times in a week have you had to say those infamous words—"What were you thinking?" In some instances, you may have said those words daily, particularly with that one special subordinate that never seems to get things right.

"What were you thinking!" Many executives, maybe even you, have said those words out of pure frustration. However, it is an excellent question to ask. It is the right question to ask.

The bottom line for all in leadership positions is to produce results. When the expected results are not being produced, one must know why and make necessary corrections.

Remember results are a function of actions taken. Actions taken are a result of emotions. Emotions are a result of thinking. I recommend the work of Dr. Barbara Braham for greater understanding of Adult Leadership.

In the quest of keeping my writings short and to the point—if your subordinate or team members are not producing the results expected, find out what they are thinking! The issue may be the information you passed. You will not know unless you seriously, not esoterically, ask the question—"What were you thinking?" Get the answer to the question and make the corrections.

Gender Differences—A Worn Out Discussion

I am saddened by the seemingly never-ending discussion on using Gender Differences as an excuse. There are studies commissioned on the physiological differences between men and women. Studies ongoing on the psychological differences between men and women. There are studies on the emotional intelligence differences between men and women.

It may be my age, but I seem to recall a sagacious person saying to me "what defines us separates us."

Here is my take—Women are smarter than men. Men are stronger than women. Women are more in touch with their feelings than men. Men are afraid to face up to having feelings. Now that I have clearly stated the nonsense of what the studies will lead to let's do this...

Put the differences garbage in the trash locker and throw the key away. Keep the field level for all to participate. Enforce fairness. No need to invent anything new. Anyone in possession of excuses to keep a woman, or anyone, out of a position that is not based on performance needs to find another job.

Leaders—one of your greatest responsibilities is to ensure everyone you lead is being trained, educated and given the experience to be successful. That is successful now and in the future.

Good luck, leading is not for wimps or those who are waiting for findings of the next study. Leaders develop leaders. Cowards wait for studies.

Prepare the Team

I am often asked for leadership advice based on my Marine Corps experience for use in business. This section is providing short leadership tips you can use in becoming an Exceptional Leader. Being good on any given day is easy. Being exceptional requires daily effort. Enjoy the read.

Last month I spoke about Self-regulation—know yourself and seek self- improvement.

This month the message is to ensure your team has the capacity to perform the task. I have had too many leaders tell me the subordinate should have known how to carry out the task. When I asked— "what is the evidence of that conviction?" I am told—"it was on the resume."

NOW HEAR THIS—if you did not train or educate the person to perform the task you don't know if they can.

Do not trust a resume. Trust yourself. You develop the abilities of your staff or team. Leaving it to chance is like getting a discounted First Class Ticket on the Titanic. Feels good, nice cabin, but the trip won't end well.

Be a leader, not a passenger.

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