Tuesday, March 17, 2009

3 Leadership Lessons to Push Through Tough Times

These times demand more of a leader (of a company, a team, a brand, a nonprofit group, whatever you’re leading). And we can all learn from others’ successes and failures.
So I’m pleased to share How Not to Succeed in Business from Businessweek, which offers these three cardinal rules of leadership:

1. First, business leaders gain nothing by showing uncertainty and indecision.
Every leader grapples with a monster of a challenge at some point, and may feel unsure or overwhelmed by complexity. The problem is taking those feelings public. As a leader, your job is to steer and inspire. First thing you need to do is huddle with your trusted advisors, discuss the challenge, probe it, debate it, and formulate the best plan to move the business forward.

2. Second, Business leaders undermine success by talking about the risk of failure.
The best kind of leadership can be found by putting yourself in a can-do mindset. Business leaders know that any strategy they adopt holds the risk of failure-but you can’t win unless you believe you can.

3. Finally, Business leaders cannot indulge bureaucratic data dumpers.
If you want to build leadership in your ranks, make sure your managers don’t bring you stacks of PowerPoint slides describing their problems in bone-crushing detail. Demand that they sort through the data with their team and deliver a decision with their rationale for it in unambiguous terms. If you’ve got a manager working for you who is paralyzed by information, options, and obstacles, you can be sure his people are confused. The only way to break the cycle is by not tolerating leaders who obfuscate with data to avoid taking action.

As a leader at STINSON, I want us to aspire to be trusted advisors – to our clients and to each other. Collectively we know we can win-and that mentality keeps us moving forward, fast-no matter what challenges we face.

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