Wednesday, April 30, 2008

You're not a leader . . .

David Foster blogged about the 7 Signs You're Not a Leader on Tuesday. Number 3 on his list hit me directly between the eyes. "You’re not a leader if you don’t like people." he wrote.

OK . . . so I do like people . . . especially when they are doing what I tell them to do and when they are NOT doing something stupid with their technology. But do I really like people?

What about the guy that calls me to his office to help him attach a Word document to an email - for the 10th time in 2 months? What about the gal that installs WeatherBug (again) after she has signed a usage policy that forbids her installing anything at all on her computer? Do I like these people - honestly - normally I do not. They irritate me – they keep me in business – but they still irritate me.

But the greater question is this . . . and this is what I think David is getting at . . . what about one of my direct reports . . . what if they do something to get under my skin? Do I still like them? Good question.

David writes that I must like them to be an effective leader. I think he is right of course. If I don’t like them they will know it and it hurts my credibility with them as a leader. How do I live this out? I’m not typically a patient person – I’m task oriented and when I am on a mission interruptions or distractions get under my skin in a hurry.

I’ve got to learn to stop and put my own agenda on hold. I need to learn to look at things through the eyes of the person standing in front of me. I must learn to love them the way that Jesus would. I need to pray for each of my team members daily – especially if they are getting under my skin. I need to pray daily that God will give me his wisdom and impart to me leadership skills.

I’m glad there are people like David Foster in this world.

1 comment:

Matthew Irvine said...

Dean, those are some timely questions. I actually posted about a seminar 30 minutes after this post (unknowingly)

One of the things the speaker talked about is how many people are in management that shouldn't be. Since we're great at IT, they put us in charge of the IT department.

I'm right in line with you that I cannot stand some of the service calls that I handle. They make me really grumpy, especially the people that feel like they're exempt from filling out a HelpDesk ticket.

However, those are our customers. We need to keep them happy, but they don't have a whole lot to do with our management. The question is simple - are you effective at motivating your team (direct reports) to excel at their jobs? Do you consistently provide feedback, both positive and negative to them?

Then, I loved the "Three P's." The speaker said that every worker needs three P's: Pay, Perks, and Pats on the back. You've got control of the last one.

It's probably harder for us nerd types because we tend to be a bit more introverted than the typical manager.