Corner Office: Good Leaders Know People — Including Oneself
As leaders we need to choose staff members we can trust and then judge their work based on whether it accomplishes the goal, not on whether they produce it exactly as we would have. A coach empowers his team to do what it's been equipped to do, but he resists the temptation to do it for his team members. He does not compete on the field with the players but creates the plan and works with the players so they can carry it out. A coach creates a team environment with clear goals and a strong culture of teamwork in which they can succeed.
Putting the right people in the right job and then coaching them to success is only half the equation, however. The leader is the other half. We can cast the right vision and have the right people, but we also have to be the right kind of leaders. We must realize our own strengths and weaknesses, how we are perceived, and how — intentionally or unintentionally — we impact those around us.
Leaders who lack self-awareness are blind, constantly bumping into things because they do not see them. They have a terrible time navigating their jobs because they do not realize the impact they have on others.
We might believe ourselves to be approachable; however, we often underestimate the chilling effect of title and status in large organizations. As leaders, we must acknowledge that the higher we are elevated in leadership, the louder our voices are. That can be a great benefit when we want something accomplished; we can use our position to influence people in positive ways. However, a CEO's whisper can sound deafening and have unintended consequences. I am always amazed that I can make a comment in a meeting about something that should be done — input, not direction — and find out later that whole task forces were formed just because I made an offhand mention.