Boy, did I “open a can of worms”! At a recent family dinner, I posed a question for some fun discussion. I challenged everyone to come up with word pairs that are almost always said together, and they have the word “and” between the two words.
Have you ever noticed when you read or hear something, you may learn some interesting information or knowledge, but when you experience something, you gain understanding?
Prior to October 1989, I thought that I was rocking along pretty well, leading my successful business. I had even served in leadership roles at several non-profit organizations. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was missing one crucial component for effective leadership!
Have you ever noticed when organizations are in trouble, they naturally turn to find new leadership? How often have you seen a sports franchise try to turn things around by hiring a new head coach?
Early in my career, I began looking for information to help me improve my leadership. I knew there was more to leading a company than just occupying the corner office and signing paychecks.
Have you ever thought about your role models and what they are teaching you? Once I started thinking about it, I have had a lot of people in my life, in addition to my dad, who were good role models for me.
Throughout my entire life, I have always been asked to lead. You are probably thinking, “so what?” Here is the interesting part – I never sought out a leadership role in anything. And I think I understand why.
Going back to when I was young boy and over the years, I have observed that my bent, or bias was toward building relationships (leading).
Have you ever played the airport game? I recently took a trip and was forced to “play”. On the return part of my trip, I ran into problems and thus the game began.
First, my flight was delayed, then they changed the gate, then my flight was delayed again, etc, …finally they canceled my flight and left me wondering how to get home – game over!
Some things that happen in life hit you like a tidal wave. My father’s unexpected death was like that for me. The year was 1973. I was 20 years old and a recent university graduate when my father died. That is when I became the new leader of our small family business of five employees.
A second wave of surprise and disbelief hit me when I discovered our business was carrying a huge (I mean a really huge) amount of debt with very little income!
As I began to lead our small company, I realized that there’s a big difference between leadership and management.