I am constantly looking for new leadership lessons. When I am a student or trainee, I observe how the instructor structures the class, presents information, and keeps the room engaged. As a sports fan, I pay attention to how a coach organizes the team, creates energy toward a shared goal, and adapts to change. Over the last year, I have had one of the richest opportunities as my wife and I began raising our first child, Winnie, who recently turned one.
We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak. – Epictetus, Greek philosopher, ~ 100 AD
A Leadership Reflection
Last week I attended two retirement parties. As I reflected about them afterwards, there were a few key points that they made during their speeches that I would like to share with the group.
Trust is so important. Establishing an environment of trust-based relationships encourages creativity, self initiative, and incredible productivity fostered by a safe culture without fear or politics. When you trust, you are motivated by a desire to help others and advance the cause without imposing your own agenda.
I would like to share my personal reflective journey to date, from the beginning. I was invited to attend the MOR Advanced Leadership Program by my CIO at the beginning of the summer. As one of the newest members of the OIT management/leadership team I immediately had two scenarios go through my mind.
We all attend too many meetings. Some are initiated by others and we attend to contribute. And some are our meetings, designed to further our team’s work. Some of them are productive and some are not. And, everyone I’ve talked to yearns for fewer of them.
I’ve attempted to maintain and effectively use a To Do list for much of my professional life. At the moment, I have an application (Things) on my laptop, my iPhone, and my iPad that keeps the list synchronized. This is really helpful, and would be even more helpful if I was good at keeping the list itself up to date. At the moment, it’s a combination of To Dos for near-term future tasks and an embarrassing list of accumulated items that are important but I’ve not yet scheduled myself to do them.
July 1, 2013 was the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. In the course of that three-day battle, the armies of the North and South deployed some 180,000 troops on the field of battle and suffered some 51,000 casualties and the course of American history was forever changed.
Our Tuesday Reading today is drawn from Robert Steven Kaplan’s new book, What You Really Need to Lead. Kaplan was recently named President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Previously he was the Martin Marshall Professor of Management Practice and a Senior Associate Dean at the Harvard Business School.
Today’s Tuesday Reading, The Five Leadership Lessons of Frank Underwood, is an essay written by Dustin Atkins last June. Dustin is the Director of IT, Sponsored Research & Strategic Communications at Clemson University and is an alumnus of the MOR Leaders Program.
As I sit here before our last dinner and day together as a formal group, I remember our first day together and my inherent skepticism about whether this program would be much different from other leadership programs. I seem to have neglected the obvious difference between one week long leadership programs and eight month long leadership programs in my initial assessment. Although this is a bit late from its original due date, I hope it is now a better read than its original draft state.