I spent several years as a bad boss. I reacted poorly to the stress of my new leadership position and I developed a bad temper. I became (more) insensitive, explosive, negative and critical. And I micro managed. Much of what I now read or write about leadership challenges me to apologize to those people who used to work with me.
The change in my leadership came when I started making some attitude adjustments. The first attitude adjustment, focus on others, came about because focusing on myself wasn’t working.
Imagine your team’s ideal future success. When your organization is successful, will your team members individually be successful too? Would the team’s success be perceived as success in the eyes of your team members? Do you know? How do your team mates define success? Is their success wrapped up in making a lot of money for you or the company? Is their success more having time with their family or more money in their own bank account? Do you know how your team members define success?
The key causes for my failures were a lack of understanding of leadership, and a lack of ability to deal with the stress. When I began the first attitude adjustment by adopting an others-focus, I started to become genuinely interested in my team member’s definition of success.I was overwhelmed by how someone criticized every action and decision. So I decided one day to choose who would like working for me. Who would benefit most from their time on my team? I choose to try to make life better for the hardest working and most motivated, energetic and optimistic team members.
I started to learn more about my team and how they defined success. Everyone defines success differently. Some want to move up the organization into management. Others want to make a lot of money. Some dream of doing something totally different than the job they are in.
My goal became to figure out how to reach the company’s goals by helping my team members reach their goals. Years later, I came across the book, The Dream Manager by Matthew Kelly. Kelly explains that everyone has a dream. We just need to help them connect their work energy to their dream and they come to work energized, motivated.
When we focus our leadership on ourselves or our position we lose the race. I started to write battle, but this isn’t a battle. It is a struggle to understand how your teammates define success and how you can align their definition and your definition of success. Don’t let the stress get you. Keep your people front and center in your mind. Find ways to make them successful.