Medium 9781626563254

The Disciplined Leader

Views: 770
Ratings: (0)
What do the best leaders have in common? As president of MAP, John Manning should know. MAP has helped tens of thousands of top executives accelerate their leadership and management performance. Manning says the answer is one word: discipline. But for Manning, discipline has a very specific meaning.

All leaders have scores of things they could do. But a disciplined leader is one who identifies and focuses on the Vital Few: the 20 percent of activities that will drive 80 percent of the results. And the results that are most important are those tied to the organization's most precious asset: its people.

The Disciplined Leader offers fifty-two succinct lessons to help you home in on your own Vital Few in three critical areas: leading yourself, leading your team, and leading your organization. Each lesson comes with recommended tactics and practical “Take Action!” tips for implementing it, so there are literally hundreds of pieces of must-know, time-tested advice here. The chapters are self-contained, so you can read them in any order and come back to the ones that resonate with you—your own Vital Few! This is a hands-on, nuts-and-bolts guide to leadership practice that's built to inspire action, drive change, and achieve results.

List price: $26.95

Your Price: $20.21

You Save: 25%

Remix
Remove
 

56 Slices

Format Buy Remix

#1 Make the Commitment

ePub

Through life’s lessons, you may have come to realize that when you are truly engaged in something, you naturally focus better and almost always achieve a greater outcome. You may have also noticed that your level of engagement for learning is significantly influenced by how you feel emotionally, mentally, and physically. When these aspects of you are in balance, you feel like you are on fire—nothing can stop you. Yet when things are misaligned, you’re more prone to experience fear or failure, during which discord, imbalance, and even disease can rear their ugly heads and threaten to destroy the body-mind-spirit balance that’s so critical to your well-being.

Change that results in personal growth and achievement is rewarding but rarely easy. For example, when I was very young, my mom enrolled me in swimming lessons at the local city center. To complete the class and be eligible for the next level of lessons, you had to swim the length of the entire pool without grabbing hold of the side. I failed miserably. In fact, I barely let go of the side of the pool during the whole ordeal and was one of just a few kids who didn’t pass. Why? Even though I took the lessons and did the work every week, I wasn’t ready for the big test, and it reminds me of other times in my life when I started something but didn’t hit my goal or finish it. Whenever that has happened, I’ve examined the root cause of my failures and realized I was the culprit. I wasn’t ready for the challenges.

 

#2 Exercise Courage

ePub

The word courage takes its roots in the Latin word cor, which means the “heart.” It should be no surprise that calling upon your courage to overcome whatever challenges you must face, whether in your personal life or leadership journey, will require heart, steadfast bravery, and sheer guts—and not just on occasion. Depending on the habit you’re trying to break, the practice you’re aiming to implement, or the change you’re trying to drive within yourself, invoking your courage may become a regular, even daily practice for you.

Without courage, you may struggle to remain focused on The Vital Few. You will struggle to overcome difficult challenges. Courage is a requirement for facing your fears, doing things differently, and applying any new habits that align with and support your goals.

That said, fear is a natural emotion—we all have it to some degree or another. In fact, many MAP clients struggle with fears of failing. What we help them understand is that having no failures is evidence that someone is too cautious and not taking enough healthy risks in business. But as you’ll come to find, great leadership isn’t just about facing fears but taking positive action in spite of your fears. As you experience success, your confidence will grow, and those fears simply won’t be so frightful anymore.

 

#3 Manage Your Worries

ePub

In your efforts to build greater courage, you might find yourself preoccupied with worry. The origins of the word worry are in the root words for choke or strangle. Worry is a toxic emotional condition that can feel like it’s choking us at times, even though most of what we worry about doesn’t ever happen. Nevertheless, many of us spend a lot of energy on the “what ifs” in life. We often find ourselves thinking about threats, pitfalls, and failures—a mindset that, like fear, can easily spiral out of control and hold you back from reaching your potential.

It’s important for you to spot worry and realize its symptoms. Anxiety and procrastination can paralyze your potential to lead effectively. Chronic worrying can not only keep you from acting when you need to the most, but it can also blow you off an already windy course, prevent goal achievement, and crush dreams. Worse, it may even fuel compulsive and self-defeating behaviors.

MAP had a client whose vice president of human resources was struggling with her boss, the CEO. Specifically, the CEO wasn’t listening to all the recommendations that the VP was making to support the management team. Therefore, the VP was both frustrated and worried. In the end, however, the VP couldn’t control her boss, only her worries. So MAP coached her to invest more energy into those areas and aspects of her work that she could control. The result was reduced stress and anxiety.

 

#4 Know Yourself

ePub

Truly knowing yourself is a powerful lever for initiating personal growth and development. Over the years, many of the best business leaders I’ve worked alongside have always had an excellent sense of themselves—this was a common trait they’ve all shared. They knew their strengths and weaknesses, knew what they were passionate about pursuing personally and professionally, and lived their values.

It’s been said there are several levels of knowledge. Knowing something for certain is the first. The second is thinking you know something. The third is knowing with certainty you do not know something. The fourth is the killer: not knowing that you don’t know something. This last state of knowledge is the most dangerous. What do you not know about yourself that, perhaps, others know all too well?

Some time ago, at one of MAP’s executive workshops, a client learned through his 360-degree feedback that he had a definitive problem with conflict avoidance. He’d hired a couple of friends to work with him, but these friends were now ruining his business and their friendship. Everyone in the company, except the leader, could see that he was afraid to stand up to these co-worker “buddies.” However, once he got to the heart of the feedback and learned that he had a serious aversion to conflict, he went back to his company and changed his ways. Aware of his weakness, he took corrective action to strengthen it and evolved into a highly capable, much more respected leader.

 

#5 Be Truthful

ePub

This book would not be complete without a lesson on truthfulness. Telling the truth is more than just a key aspect to good leadership. It is the best way to live your life. Our level of integrity defines who we are at our core. Truthfulness is the golden thread that binds good lives, good relationships, and our very legacy. Over the course of my career, I have conducted hundreds of job interviews, and most candidates tell me one of their values is integrity. Why? Because being an honest person who speaks and acts truthfully is so integral to living a good life, maintaining wonderful relationships, and establishing that great legacy.

The Disciplined Leader consistently tells the truth. Of course, being truthful is always easier when you are talking about the good stuff at work. Obviously, it’s much more challenging when you’re talking about what’s gone wrong or giving bad news. The longer I live and participate in the business world, the more I realize telling the truth is almost always the correct choice, painful or not. There are ways to communicate with tact; a harsh reality can be delivered in a constructive way.

 

#6 Have Humility

ePub

People love a leader who is confident, but they don’t like leaders who are arrogant. That’s sometimes a hard message to get across to both rising and veteran leaders alike, considering how the media and society often praise and promote celebrities, politicians, and other people who act high-and-mighty. However, there’s really no bigger turnoff than an arrogant leader who behaves entitled or consistently communicates to others that their ideas and opinions don’t matter. Like we said earlier, it isn’t always right to be right.

As someone who is striving to lead effectively, you want to watch out for arrogance. Make a commitment to become conscientious about managing this behavior and balance your ever-growing confidence with steadfast humility. Listen to and value people’s points of view. You’ll learn more from others and naturally attract people, build stronger relationships with them, and earn their respect.

Over the years, MAP has worked with a number of exceptionally talented clients in all the major industries. When we first started working with some of these clients, they were arrogant. The notion they might not know all the answers to their problems was inconceivable to them. Moreover, when they first came to MAP, they were struggling to get the results they wanted from their organizations. Yet they never thought their egos might be a big part of what was in the way. These types of leaders have traditionally been tougher to coach. But some who stuck with the coaching managed to double and triple profits and revenues. What was the common thread in their eventual success? These leaders came to admit they did not have all the answers. They were able to let go of the ego and ask for and accept help.

 

#7 Zero in on Your Values

ePub

It’s not uncommon for me to ask people what their values are and then get delayed responses or blank stares in return. Most people understand they have values, but they just can’t articulate them easily. Why? Unless they’ve been prompted in some professional training exercise, their values are likely to be floating around in their head. They just never took the time to define them by asking which values were most important. If they never really had a clear definition of what a value is, then they struggle with clarifying what their values are.

Yet everyone has values—including you. Values tend to be reflected in your behaviors. For example, when you attend a funeral and a eulogy is given to describe the deceased as a good husband, wife, or friend who went out of the way to help others, this is actually a reflection of that person’s values. This example demonstrates how people lived their lives according to values.

Problems surface when leaders overlook the importance of recognizing and aligning their values in key decision making. In fact, one of MAP’s most seasoned consultants estimates that 70 percent of newly hired CEOs are not successful in a new position because their values and, specifically, how they’re leading and managing according to their values, don’t align with the values of the company that hired them.

 

#8 Recognize Your Talents

ePub

You are unique. Think about it: There are over seven billion people on our planet, and not one of them is identical to you. Study up a bit on the science behind DNA, and you’ll quickly learn just how different you are from others working alongside you. While understanding what makes you unique can give you a leadership edge, realizing what’s extraordinary about you is even better—those unique traits that are particularly special to you. Consistently work to emphasize, develop, or leverage these abilities and you’ll eventually carve out a clearer, greater leadership advantage.

I firmly believe that there’s something extraordinary about everyone. If you want to change and grow, you need to believe this about yourself. When you figure out and trust in how you’re extraordinary, this revelation can create not only real satisfaction but also joy—both of which are powerful and motivating. You can then use this knowledge as a tool for achieving your goals and vision as a leader.

 

#9 Get Out of Your Way

ePub

When people fail in their responsibility to lead themselves, it’s usually not because of something external to them or their situation. It’s due to the fact that they get in their own way. Ever hear of the expression, “He’s his own worst enemy”?

Sure, there are many barriers that can block someone’s path and potential, everything from lack of resources to poor support from the boss or organization. But when you really take a close look at what prevents people from excelling and achieving their dreams, it’s usually due to their own mindsets and actions.

What are some of the common roadblocks? Over the years, MAP has seen clients shortchanging their own development for any number of reasons. For instance, one client had a habit of constantly using bad language both with his staff as well as when communicating in more public situations, such as at industry-wide conferences and speaking engagements. Despite his clear intelligence and status as a leader, people were put off by his abrasive communication style. It prevented his ability to gain sustained respect, build partnerships, and achieve what could have been even more monumental success. He was in his own way.

 

#10 Push beyond the Comfort Zone

ePub

Part of leading yourself is learning when to challenge yourself at strategic moments in your professional life. When I look back at my career, several big professional growth spurts were directly attributable to when I pushed my comfort zone. These were times in which I had little or no experience with a particular area or in a certain subject. I had to learn on the fly as I took on and mastered those new projects or responsibilities, a strategy that enabled me to really accelerate my career. That made me a big believer in the importance of periodically pushing your comfort zone. From a professional standpoint, tackling something new has the power to build your capacity for success and is a great discipline worth pursuing.

MAP once worked with a company that was managing two very different business models: (1) low-margin yet dynamic products that consistently got lots of publicity and attention; and (2) boring but high-margin products that garnered little enthusiasm from the company’s leadership and its staff. As MAP’s consultant was helping the company to identify its Vital Few, everyone realized that as uncomfortable as it made them feel, the company drastically needed to change its resource allocation and start investing heavily in building the lucrative, albeit lackluster division of their business. They all thought it would be super to be “rich and famous” but also agreed that “famous” could—and would have to—wait. The real challenge for everyone was to let go of what was fun and felt comfortable while focusing and building upon this less-riveting yet sturdier business bedrock. In the end, the payoff was huge: just one year later, the company had experienced a seven-figure, bottom-line turnaround.

 

#11 Drop Defensiveness

ePub

It’s part of The Disciplined Leader’s job to sit in the hot seat at times. People will look to us for explanations and hold us accountable for problems. So it’s only normal for us to get a little defensive now and then. But do you ever notice yourself regularly overreacting or becoming hot tempered too often? If so, it’s time to cool off.

Habitually defensive behavior creates an atmosphere in which people walk on eggshells and struggle to communicate—primarily with you. That’s dangerous for your business’s well-being because it can stifle transparency, ideas, and productivity. So discipline yourself to let go of defenses and display confident, noncombative leadership by realizing you are not always right and by welcoming feedback from others. This leadership trait will build your credibility and foster effective, respectful, and forward-thinking communication.

How do you know if you’re too defensive? Unless you’ve had someone say you’ve got a problem, you need to pay attention to your communication style. Early in my career, I could be defensive at times. After deciding to address the issue, I realized it was likely related to my confidence and maturity as a leader. I knew this behavior could eventually improve with experience, wisdom, and time. But I didn’t have time on my side. I couldn’t just wait around in the hopes of getting wiser about managing myself or others. I needed to be effective right away.

 

#12 Eliminate the “Victim” Mentality

ePub

We have all worked around people—perhaps even bosses and other types of leaders—who’ve spent the majority of the time complaining about their job and all other aspects of life. You can spot these classic “victim” types from a mile away. They’re eternally angry, stressed, or mopey, often saying things like, “It’s not my fault,” “I can’t ever do this or that,” and “I don’t know how my life got this way.” These personalities are trapped in a cycle in which they can’t see their contribution to any of their difficulties. They drain positive energy out of the workplace because they’re always having some variation of a bad day. Moreover, positive people have to go out of their way to maneuver around these personalities because the negative energy can be so downright toxic.

If you want to be a well-respected leader, you can’t afford to act or think like a victim. This mindset and its associated behaviors are counter to the mindset and behaviors of strong, effective leaders. Also, good leaders attract people to them, while victims repel people away through the things that they believe, think, say, and do.

 

#13 See Mistakes as Opportunities

ePub

Let’s face it: Everyone fails and falls short at times. We’ve all made mistakes, some of which could have been avoided. Yet how often do we add fuel to the fire by becoming our own worst enemies, overly criticizing ourselves for past transgressions? If you’re like many leaders who tend to excel in life and work, you may find yourself being too self-critical of your mistakes or those innate flaws over which you have very little control. As was mentioned earlier, not having at least one failure may indicate you are overly risk-averse and not taking the occasional educated guess that could yield a big reward.

While taking responsibility for your actions and shortcomings is a healthy practice, dwelling on what’s not perfect about you or what you’ve done wrong is ultimately unproductive. It can hold you back as you try to make progress through these lessons, stifle your self-esteem, and keep you stuck in countless other ways.

So instead of lying awake, stewing all night about how you’ve blown something in life or at work, flip that train of thought and develop a more productive, forward-thinking mindset. Practice viewing your mistakes as opportunities to learn and improve. See each mistake as a catalyst for change. Look for the lesson learned, thinking how you can apply any takeaways to transform your life for the better.

 

#14 Listen More, Talk Less

ePub

In writing about this topic, I couldn’t help but feel a little apprehensive about how my wife Robin would rate me on my ability to listen more and talk less. The need to address my listening skills has been a constant theme in our marriage—an area for improvement in which, let’s hope, I’ve gotten better!

Likewise, in terms of my professional career, my communication skills have needed work over the years, particularly when I was a bit younger. Specifically, to successfully manage people and build relationships, I needed to listen more to others and talk less about myself. As soon as I started making this shift, I became much more aware of what was really going on around me—as if I were seeing work and life in a totally new light. I also learned many new things about people and the organization as a whole. It was incredibly empowering. Yet the real light bulb moment came after I joined MAP and noticed how its consultants are quite proficient in the art of asking good questions and purposefully use this skill whenever they’re coaching clients. Rather than give advice, they ask smart questions, knowing that this coaching style is much more powerful for learning, developing, and generating sustainable change. In alignment with the premise of this book, they practice the 80/20 Rule with this habit, listening 80 percent of the time and talking or asking good questions 20 percent of the time. In doing so, MAP consultants really learn what’s going on with our clients and can better craft solutions to meet their needs.

 

#15 Manage Your Time

ePub

As a leader, there may be times when you feel like you’re going through the motions of your job and life, completing one task after another with no end in sight. Maybe you find yourself reminiscing about “the good old days” when you actually had time to think, dream, or just breathe. If so, you’re not alone. The habit of overcommitting and overscheduling yourself with must-do activities creates a dangerous trap into which leaders commonly fall. Suddenly, you realize you have no energy, no enthusiasm—you’re practically inert, and it’s all your own doing.

When you’re pressed, stressed, and understandably working hard toward achieving your vital goals, you’re not going to be at your best. You’ll miss out on what others are doing around you because you’re too wrapped up in what you’ve got going on. You may also lose your sense of self, perhaps sacrificing once-important dreams, health, and well-being. Being too busy can also create the perception you’re not capable of truly treating yourself right. You’ll make mistakes, and direct reports may then question your credibility and durability as a leader.

 

#16 Tackle the Tough Stuff

ePub

Procrastination can be a real killer when it comes to leading yourself effectively. According to Psychology Today, 20 percent of people are chronic procrastinators.5 They avoid challenging tasks or addressing big issues, even seeking out opportunities for distraction. Procrastination has defeating consequences—some direct, some indirect. These negatives can be tangible, like a missed deadline, as well as intangible, such as irritability from losing sleep over an issue. It’s an enemy that undermines you, your team, and your company’s potential to succeed. Procrastination promotes failure, which can have a serious impact on your organization, its people, and your career as a Disciplined Leader.

At MAP, we work with many leaders who struggle with tackling the tough stuff first. When they lack the experience and confidence needed to do some work activity, they procrastinate, pushing the activity to the back burner. For example, sometimes they put off conversations with their poor-performing employees because they’re not confident they’ll communicate the feedback effectively. We coach these leaders to overcome this challenge because it’s essential to getting the results they need—those tied to their vital goals.

 

#17 Plan Each Day

ePub

You may be familiar with the concept that life is two-thirds planning and one-third delivery. Without question, this thinking about the importance of planning holds true in business. That’s because, as the well-known time-management author Alan Lakein says, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Many reasons or excuses exist for why you might fail to plan: You’re too busy. Too tired. Too stressed. Or you don’t know how or where to start.

Whatever your reasons for not tapping into the power of planning, you need to overcome them. Planning is a disciplined aspect of management that forms needed direction. Planning helps you plot out the best strategies and actions for achieving your vital goals and how to overcome foreseeable obstacles.

In the next lesson, you will receive guidance for a professional development plan that can shape your future. To execute it well, you’ve got to become a disciplined planner on a daily basis. That said, some people view planning as an event that happens sporadically, on an as-needed basis or as a one-time event. But nothing could be further from the truth. Making plans to attack your daily responsibilities will create the focus you need to manage your time and get more done.

 

#18 Write Your Professional Development Plan

ePub

Imagine boarding an old cruise ship setting sail to your favorite destination. As you board the vessel with your loved ones, you are warmly greeted by the crew and staff. You locate your cabin and check out your accommodations. Everything is perfect. You quickly head to the higher deck for a quick toast and to wave bon voyage. You can’t wait for the cast off to sail straight toward your destination. But then the captain comes on the PA system and announces that the cruise is cancelled because he’s discovered the ship has lost its rudder. Without a rudder, there is no way to steer the ship.

Like a ship without a rudder, many of us go through life without any real direction or solid definition of what we want to accomplish. In fact, we spend more time researching and planning for our vacations than our future. But having a professional development plan—a blueprint for where we want to go, what we want to be, and the steps we need to take to achieve it—can make the difference between professional fulfillment and failure. Just like a business plan, your professional development plan should include goals and strategies for success. A solid, yet regularly updated development plan is not only empowering; it fosters discipline for what you want to achieve. It’s a tool that takes you one step closer toward transformative experiences and results.

 

Load more


Details

Print Book
E-Books
Slices

Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Sku
B000000042736
Isbn
9781626563278
File size
8.26 MB
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Sku
In metadata
Isbn
In metadata
File size
In metadata