JKWhitehead & Associates

A Leader and A Follower Walked Into a Bar…  Not quite

A Leader and A Follower Walked Into a Bar…  Not quite

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Sometime ago I came across a list of one-liners. I’m not even sure anymore where I found them. They are sayings that occasionally crop up in meetings or other group settings. Some of these will pop into my mind when I need them in a presentation or workshop. As someone involved in Leadership Development, I see many of these being useful for us as leaders, no matter where or what you lead.

  1. When choosing teams, I’ll pick the guy who fouls off ten pitches before striking out over the one who is born on third base and thinks he hit the triple.
  2. If you value talent over character you’ll build a team that cannot get out of their own way.
  3. None of us is as smart as all of us and any idea is a good idea until you find the best idea.
  4. Perhaps the greatest leadership lesson of all time is that you can’t do it alone. The exception is that you can if your goals are small. If you aspire to climb a molehill, you can bumble around all by yourself and make it to the top. But if you want to climb Mount Everest, you had better bring some people with you.
  5. People do what they’re held accountable for. If there is no consequence, then there is no accountability. If you want to change a behavior, you must first change the consequence for that behavior.
  6. You can’t draw out of people what they don’t have. You can’t make them have a good attitude; force them to be driven; give them a transfusion of good character; teach them talent or talk them into being energetic.
  7. Disappointment is easier to handle than anxiety. At least if people know what is wrong they can fix it. It’s being kept in the dark and assuming the worst that eats them up.
  8. Confront performance problems fast. Shovel the piles while they’re small.
  9. There are two ways people can quit your organization: they can physically leave it or stay physically but mentally check out.
  10. When expectations are too low people tend to live down to them. Low expectations presume incompetence and when you presume incompetence you begin to create it.
  11. You can impress people at a distance but to impact them you must get up close.
  12. The cost of training your people cannot be underestimated. But the cost of them remaining as they are should keep you up at night.

These quotes provide one strong message for me – being a leader is about accountability. You are holding yourself accountable when you care and support those who follow you. You are not doing anyone a favour by abdicating your leadership when things get difficult. Being tough can also be fair.

My mantra has always been to respect and trust others until you have an occasion to do otherwise. I also follow the Platinum Rule, which states, “Treat others how they want to be treated.” In other words, find out about the other, their needs and wants and then try to meet them. It’s about them, not you. Some people have a term for this – servant leadership. I think it’s just good old fashion common sense.

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