Yesterday I felt a strong urge to clearly articulate what Character-Based Leadership means to me.
As I wrote it I thought of:
- Leaders that create beautiful symphonies by unleashing the differences and strengths of others.
- Leader that inspire us all to lead at a higher level.
- Leadership decisions that make my blood boil.
- People I am currently serving and people I’ve served.
- Times I’ve led well, and times I’ve failed.
- All that I am and all that I hope to be…
When we announced our plans to move to a giant sandbox on the other side of the world. I promised to share both the beauty and the struggle of our experiences.
It’s been easier to capture the beauty and share it.
- Mostly because it’s energy-filled, it bubbles out and I know that people will be encouraged by it.
Sharing the negative side is tougher.
- Because it’s hard to write about the things that cause frustration and pain without being judgmental.
- And it’s even harder to write about them without feeling negative and heavy. (And that is not something I want to pass on to anyone.)
The reality is that our lives here are both beautiful and hard.
Several years ago I had a long but fun job interview. In that interview I was honest with my prospective employer about my strengths, my passions and my need to be challenged.
I pointed to my historical pattern of two years of achieving in a role, before I got bored and needed to learn something new and needed to make a greater difference. (Which usually meant I moved on…)
The interviewer smiled and nodded and shared that he had the same problem. …Until he came to work in this company…
He had my attention.
I had his attention.
And I got the job.
A variety of conversations over the past few months have me focused on expectations.
- I rave about it when I am a customer and someone exceeds my expectations.
- I prefer to work with people who want to exceed the expectations of their key-stakeholders and customer.
- And I delight in finding ways to provide that kind of service to others.
As a result I’ve historically struggled to be on the receiving end of poor service, and really struggled to work with titled leaders that don’t care about anything but meeting minimum standards.
So imagine living life in a place where:
An owner of a couple of small businesses is frustrated with dwindling profits.
He blames his staff, treats them badly, moves them to different locations, stalls their vacations and refuses to listen to their feedback.
The truth is:
- He has been an absentee owner that has happily collected profits from the businesses while choosing not to be involved in day-to-day operations.
- He hasn’t trained his employees or empowered them to make decisions.
- He has not been engaged with his customers and doesn’t know what they value.
- He hasn’t been proactive about growing his businesses or even keeping up with his competitors.
- His prices are higher than the competition and his facilities are cramped, cluttered, outdated, and equipped with poor quality equipment and tools.