Leadership, in many ways, is very simple.
Do what you would ask others to do.
I was struck by a story about Judge Raymond Voet. He is renowned for his stance on ringing phones in his courtroom. He levies a $25 fine, and has taken phones from police officers and attorneys alike. On Friday April 12th, as a prosecutor was delivering closing arguments, Judge Voet’s personal cell phone went off.
At the next recess, he held himself in contempt of court, walked to the fines office and paid up.
This is leadership in action.
I’ve been fortunate to work for a few people that modeled strong, but quality leadership . When I was a young recruiter, my boss, Craig Bissett, had a glass office right in the middle of our bull pen. While working late one night, I noticed a cleaner walk into that glass office. I saw Craig stop what he was doing, acknowledge and enter into a conversation with the cleaner. As the cleaner left, he was wearing a big smile.
Marshall Goldsmith and Howard Morgan studied more than 11,000 managers in eight companies. Many reported spending thousands of hours crafting values and mission statements, but ultimately, here’s what they found:
“Companies that do the best job of living up to their values and developing ethical employees, including managers, recognize that the real cause of success – or failure – is always the people, not the words.”
Craig always spoke about showing respect no matter what. That night, he showed me living that value.
Again, this is leadership in action.
Leadership is simple, but simple isn’t always easy.
- Live the value. Don’t just put it in a memo, on a wall or preach it in a meeting.
When you fall short, acknowledge it, apologize, and take appropriate action. Like Raymond Voet tells us: “Judges are humans, we are not above the rules. I broke the rule, and I have to live it.”
Tough to throw stones at that glass office.
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Paying my fines, along the road with you!
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