I trust everyone enjoyed the four day weekend.
In today’s MP Message, we will be covering the fourth topic from Jack & Suzy Welch’s book, The Real-Life MBA: Your No-BS Guide to Winning the Game, Building a Team, and Growing Your Career, which is: Leadership.
The word “leadership” can bring to mind a variety of definitions and images. Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” While that may be true at a 20,000 foot level, there are many more nuances which comprise the true meaning of leadership at a deeper level. The Welch’s believe that leadership can be boiled down to two simple things:
- Truth and Trust.
- Ceaselessly seeking the former, relentlessly building the latter.
Truth-and-trust leadership is an overarching approach – an organizing principle – that drives everything leaders do every day, whether they are in staff meetings, performance evaluations, strategy sessions, budget reviews and everything in between.
Truth is a determined pursuit, a personal and unquenchable fire, burning to know what is really happening inside the people – or the company – and out. Truth is bearing down on the assumptions, asking questions which must be answered with rigor. “Where did you come up with those numbers?” “What were the underlying assumptions that got you there?” “What was your thought process in making that determination?” “What kind of technology or situation could disrupt everything you are suggesting?” This is how leaders dig for the truth.
Trust is a muscle that is strengthened by daily exercise. In our world, trust amongst staff is generally developed during meetings. We talk about work and how to get it done, review the competition, devise marketing strategies. But meetings are huge opportunities to build trust if you do them right. This is the platform where you encourage open debate and praise courage when someone says or does something bold, counterintuitive or assumption-challenging. And to take it further, you (lightly) reprimand those who try to silence these ideas. Good leaders keep confidences closely, and in public conversations and private ones, make it clear that everyone is on the same team. They don’t tolerate gossip. And really important is that trust-building leaders tell the same story to everyone all the time. Everyone hears everything, and variations or discrepancies or attempts to spin differently for different audiences can cause trust issues.
Combined, the double helix of truth and trust cracks the code of leadership today.
I hope you enjoyed this installment of the thought leadership coming from The Real Life MBA. Remember, if you’d like to read this book yourself, feel free to visit my bookshelf on Shelfari.com and order it. You can enter the expense under Publications/Subscriptions, with the words “Bill’s Virtual Library Book” in the Description section.