Trick or Treat! The Leadership Lucky 13

halloweenWith the leaves changing and my kids asking to try out their costumes, it can only mean Halloween is just a short few weeks away.  Whether or not you’re not superstitious, here’s my Leadership Lucky 13:

  1. Think and act positively.  Earle Nightingale said we become what we think about.
  2. Match words and actions.
  3. Plan goals.  “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road can take you there.” –Lewis Carroll
  4. Insist on results.  I remember an Intertech board meeting where I was going through a litany of accomplished “to-do’s” for the past quarter.  A board member stopped me and said, “I don’t care what you do.  I care what you delivered.”
  5. Solve problems.  I’ve not seen a dedicated course on solving problems.  The closest I’ve seen is in a Dale Carnegie leadership course where a section was focused on a problem statement… “In what ways can I solve [enter problem here]”, sort worst to first, then get going on execution.
  6. Delegate.  I used to take pride in arriving early, staying late, and doing it myself.  Now I realize delegation is a key part of leadership.  As Tina Fey said, the job of a good leader is hiring the right people and getting out of their way.
  7. Give away credit.  Jim Collins stated “Leaders look out a window when there’s problems and in a mirror when there’s success.”
  8. Correct, correctly.  In private.  With clear examples and not sandwiched between praise.
  9. Care.  In Rudolph Giuliani’s book on leadership he shares “Weddings are optional.  Funerals are mandatory.” I’ve rescheduled sales calls, business meetings, and vacations to be available or present for those going through a rough patch.
  10. Accept the importance of communication.  When in doubt, over communicate.  You can’t hold someone accountable for something you’ve never communicated.
  11. Give meaningful feedback.  “You did a good job” isn’t impactful.  Meaningful feedback is specific and shares what it means to you specifically.
  12. Tell the truth.  My dad told me, “Tom, you’re not smart enough to remember two stories.  Tell the truth.” It also makes life a lot simpler.
  13. Listen.  I asked a board member for the one piece advice to follow in business and life, he paused and said, “Seek first to understand… things aren’t always what you think.”

Tip a hat or raise a glass… here’s to The Lucky 13.