The Price of Not Holding Others Accountable

PriceAfter a leadership development seminar I presented in Wisconsin last week, I read an article in a local newspaper that we can all learn from.

Apparently, two Milwaukee police officers decided to sue the city after their complaints to their supervisor(s) of harassment and threats from a fellow officer were ignored.

Unfortunately, the complaints led to retaliation and continued bullying from the fellow officer in question.

Now, I’m not here to lay blame, pick sides or judge anybody involved – the courts can do that.

However, there is a lesson to be reinforced … and that is, leaders must act on behavior inconsistent with company values and policies.

My leadership tip for you this week is to remind you that as a leader you must hold others accountable for their actions, behaviors and performance.

Weak leaders look the other way when they should be holding others accountable.

Exceptional leaders embrace accountability and are effective at holding themselves and others accountable.

Here are 5 – challenges you could be faced with when you’re a leader who struggles with holding people accountable:

Diminishing credibility
Loss of trust and respect
Chaotic work environment
Disengaged employees
Law suits

“Sir Josiah Stamp once said “It is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging our responsibilities.”

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Succession Planning Is Not Complicated

Logo1I love to see headlines like this: Duke Energy Names New CEO.

It drives me to read the story to learn about the company’s succession plan efforts.

Although the article doesn’t highlight succession planning, it’s clear there was a plan. The new CEO has been in a senior role with the company since 2009 which should provide assurance to all stakeholders that a smooth leadership transition will likely occur.

It also pleases me to read statements about the new CEO like, “… was tabbed as a rising star early in her career…”

My take away from the article is the company did a great job in planning the replacement of their CEO. My guess (and hope) is Duke Energy takes succession planning deeper into the organization as well.

Exceptional succession planning provides for the development and retention of top people along with organizational stability.

My leadership tip for you this week is to have you review the strength and heart beat of the succession plan in your area of accountability. Ask yourself these questions:

If an opportunity to advance in my career came available next week, am I properly prepared for it?

If an opportunity to advance in my career came available next week, has my replacement been identified and is he / she properly prepared to take my job?

If an opportunity to advance for someone who reports to me comes available next week, do I have a strong candidate properly prepared to replace them?

The answer to these questions needs to be a resounding yes.

Succession planning is not magic … but here are the main ingredients you’ll need:

1. Determine what you need

2. Identify the candidates that could potentially meet the need

3. Determine the gaps in the candidates skills, knowledge and performance

4. Work towards closing the gaps – coach, train and / or mentor

5. Monitor progress – quarterly and formally

6. Repeat steps 2-5

The planning is not complicated … the rewards come with execution.

Let me know if you need any help.

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It’s Time For An Exceptional (+) Team

Logo1Do you agree with me when I say:

Poor teamwork generally generates poor results.

Good teamwork generally generates good results.

Exceptional teamwork generally generates exceptional results.

Why do you think some teams perform better than others?

I start with this definition of team by authors Katzenbach and Smith;

“A team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals and common approach for which they hold themselves accountable”

If a team is not performing at an exceptional level, you’ll likely find the solution somewhere in the details of this definition. What I mean by that is, the key points in this definition have greater depth to them and they can be further analyzed.

My leadership tip for you this week is to think about what has to be done to have your team perform at the exceptional (+) level.

I’m sure that many of you think your team is already performing at an exceptional level … and you probably are … so there’s really nothing for you to do. It’s your call; I’m suggesting you take it to the next level.

However, if your team isn’t at the exceptional level think about what has to be done to get there first.

Think about your leadership – is it unwavering and consistent

Think about the talent on the team – do you have the best available talent – what one or two things should you change in the recruitment and selection process?

Think about everyone’s role – are the roles correct – does everyone understand and embrace their role – what one or two role adjustments could be made that could make a significant difference?

Think about communication – does the right hand truly know and understand what the left hand is doing? … How about vice versa?

Think about the top 3 to 5 things that are hindering your team’s ability to deliver results – fix them

As the leader it’s your responsibility to ensure your team is positioned to deliver exceptional plus results for your organization or business unit … and you are always accountable for the results.

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Leadership and Accountability

                                                                             I thought I’d share an action item in my recently published book – ‘Sparks – A Business Fable’ which contains over 90 different leadership action items. You can learn more at www.SparksTheBook.com  

There always seems to be someone in the news that is refusing to take accountability for their performance, actions or behaviors. The constant theme seems to be ‘it’s not my fault.’ 

This is a good reminder for leaders; you are accountable for the results of your company … and if you don’t achieve the desired results you can’t blame it on the economy. Don’t blame it on your team either, because although you can delegate responsibility, you can’t delegate accountability.  

However, you can hold people accountable for not successfully completing tasks, projects, assignments as well as their actions, behaviors and performance in their normal responsibilities. Surprisingly, many leaders have a difficult time with this.

Leaders always do the right thing by embracing accountability and are certain to hold others accountable for their performance, actions and behaviors … they mindfully create a culture of accountability.

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Leadership Lessons from “A Tender Warrior”

I’ve never been in the military, but I admire and respect those that are and have been. We hear the men and women in the military serve our country, I think we know what that means … but do we really appreciate the sacrifices they make to serve us?

Do we really appreciate the quality of leadership it takes to be a military officer leading hundreds or thousands of men and women knowing that many days could be their last?

Think about the unwavering character, the communication, the thinking, the caring, the mental toughness and the accountability our military leaders must have.

This little book – “A Tender Warrior” by Lt. General Hal Moore is a quick read and provides valuable insight into authentic leadership. You can read an excerpt here.    You can see a short video here

As individuals, I don’t think we don’t do enough to show our appreciation for their contribution to our livelihoods.  So I encourage you to find time in your busy day to do something special for a Veteran and or a member of the military and their families.

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Polishing the Silver Lining:Bad Economy is Opportunity for Leadership

Leaders continue to look for the ways to survive and thrive  in an adverse economy. There are no shortage of actions or reactions to the pressures we’re challenged with.

For my opinion and advice to business leaders, I was recently interviewed for a leadership article published in a New England Financial newsletter called Foundations.

In the article I recommend leaders concentrate on the most critical elements of a leadership platform –unwavering character, accountability, stellar communication skills, great thinking, mental toughness and caring about people.

You can read my complete views on the issue on pages 2 and 3 of the publication posted on our website  –  here.

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Evaluating Your Leadership Skills and Leadership Behaviors

Was this a good year for you?

Are you happy with the results given the economy?

How do you really know how you or your leadership teams are doing ?

It’s important to find out because if you have a toxic work environment – or a toxic leader on your leadership team – you need to know. When the economy comes back and there are more jobs available for your employees, they will be jumping ship so fast your head will spin.

It’s time for a good old fashion 360° feedback survey for you and your leadership team.  A 360° feedback survey;

•  Measures leadership behaviors and competencies

•  Provides feedback on how others perceive an employee

•  Addresses relevant leadership skills such as communication, planning, and accountability

•  Brings focus on subjective areas such as teamwork, character, and leadership effectiveness 

Do yourself a huge favor … evaluate your leadership skills and leadership behaviors from your employees perspective.

As a leadership development coach and advisor – let me get you started by sending you a free copy of a typical feedback report – just send me an email requesting it – randy@LeadersEdge360.com

You want to strengthen your leadership team don’t you?

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