I based the previous two articles on this series on the black community, or at least my perception of it based on my own background and what I’ve seen over the years. For this article, I’m taking it out of a specific community and looking at these concepts of leadership as a global vision. Well, at least a global corporate vision of sorts, because there are always other concepts of leadership that may not have been addressed previously. That’s what I’m going to touch upon now.

Exploratorium After Dark: Senses
Exploratorium via Compfight

The first concept is the idea of working with and promoting other people. Whenever I’m on a consulting assignment, if good things are acomplished I always share the credit with the people I’m working with. I do that not only because it’s true, but because people love to be recognized whenever they do good things.

Humans are social beings, to the extent that we love knowing that other people appreciate what we do. We also understand that we don’t always have to do everything on our own, and that we’re not expected to know everything all the time. That’s one of the benefits of working with others, so that if you have a question you have someone you can ask, and if someone needs an answer to something that you know you can help them out. If we acknowledge those realities up front, it helps us to know that we need to do both of these more often because nobody can get everything done on their own.

The second concept is trying to achieve quality no matter what’s being done. My dad used to joke about things by saying “it’s good enough for government work.” Actually, most of the time the military has precise directives that must be achieved before something is considered as a job well done. What I see more often than not is that people will tend to do just enough without giving it their all to be even better. When the employees aren’t better, companies aren’t better.

It all starts at the top. If it doesn’t look like the person in charge cares about the outcome being more than just completed, then nobody else is going to care and everybody suffers.

This doesn’t mean that leaders should be overly demanding and expecting perfection. What it does mean is that leaders should expect top quality from everybody who reports to them or everybody that they work with at all times. They need to provide both the training that’s needed so people can perform at their best, and some type of motivation or incentive so that they will want to give as much as they can.

Training is training, and if I have to define that for people then they shouldn’t be in leadership to begin with. Incentives are another matter, because I have seen all types of things used to get people motivated. It doesn’t matter what is used, as long as it’s something that the others feel offers something beneficial; that means it’s not always money.

The third concept takes a little bit more work.

There are a lot of people who feel that the idea of trying to be better than others is a bad thing. I disagree with that, although I do support the belief that if someone has gotten to a point where they can’t be any better and it still serves the purpose of the organization or their needs that there’s no problem with that. It doesn’t negate my belief that it’s always a good thing to try to be better than either someone else or something else; achievement is nothing to sneer at.

Sometimes this involves looking back at the history of the company or the individual to see where they were and where they are now. For instance, when I went into one of my positions as a consultant, there was a weekly dollar amount that administration would look at to determine if they have had a successful cash week. When I got there, I realized that they had a much different problem that needed to be addressed, and I worked with a couple of people to get that taken care of. What happened is that over the course of a few weeks, they took a hit on the weekly cash amount and administration wasn’t necessarily happy with that. I told them that it had to be done otherwise the hospital would be open for an investigation and possible financial penalties that would hurt a lot more than this temporary production in cash.

What ended up happening is that not only did cash come back to the levels it was previously at, but the last week I was there they had the biggest cash week in their history. I knew what the amount was to aim for, and I decided to use it as a rallying point for the people who were there for us to go after before I left. It took some work to find that number, but everybody felt good when they saw what they could do by following legitimate processes.

I don’t see these concepts being discussed all that often, which is why I decided to address them. As I like to say, there are many leadership values and ideas out there, many that we may not think of all that often, yet can be as important as any other concepts towards the ultimate success of leadership.
 

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