The Five Declarations of Leadership
Cowardly leaders love hiding in the dark. But, the best we can do is stumble when the lights are out.
Declarations shine light in darkness.
The five light-giving declarations of leadership:
- Declare yourself. Stop hiding, pretending, and losing yourself. People need to know who you are and what you are about. You are a light.
- Declare intentions. Explain intentions behind actions. Help people interpret you and understand what you’re after.
- Declare what you see. You don’t have to declare first but you must declare sometime. Perhaps it’s better to listen before you declare. But, declaring what you see establishes priorities, prevents posturing, clears clutter, honors success, and confronts failure.
- Declare questions, especially if they seem dumb, basic, or obvious.
- Declare what’s important.
The five declarations of leadership enable effective decisions.
Dare to decide:
Indecisive leaders dampen enthusiasm, discourage effort, and derail progress.
- Decide people-decisions are the most important decisions you’ll ever make. Compared to people-decisions, strategy, projects, and systems are easy.
- Decide to depend on others and delight in their progress.
- Decide to surround yourself with talent. Aspire to grow dumber and dumber compared to others at the table.
- Decide to release those closest to the work to make most decisions. Negotiate decision-making power. Determine who should decide and hold everyone to it, including you.
Five tips for making great people decisions:
- Own poor people decisions. Underperformers are your responsibility. You put someone in the wrong role. It’s not their fault, it’s yours. Stop blaming.
- Start slow. Test fit, skills, character, determination, and commitment on small projects. Don’t bet the farm on an unknown.
- Focus on character, capacity, and drive, without these, skill and talent don’t matter.
- Ask, “What would you do?” Explore how they think. Don’t be blinded by what they do.
- Reject know-it-alls. Learners excel. Humble is better than arrogant.
Check out the great list of leadership D’s on the Leadership Freak Facebook Page. While you’re there, add leadership E’s for tomorrow’s post.
The two D’s I chose are “declare” and “decide.” What other “D” words are important to leadership?
How can leaders make effective people-decisions?
I appreciate that humble is better than arrogance. And “know it all” leaders are generally arrogant. And since they believe in command and control, they can not be effective. Such leaders are more position cum power centric than people centric. Humble leaders are people centric. I also believe that determination and devise are important words for leadership. Effective leaders have great determination in what they believe, communicate and do. They try to devise system where people can define their goal, ambition and growth. Leaders make clear path where they follower suppose to follow.
Leaders can make effective people decision by engaging people in decision making process. Such engagement should not be just formality, but willful intention to take their opinion into account. In engagement process, audiences should not feel powerless. Effective leaders make such environment where everyone feel powerful and effective.When such environment is created, leaders can make effective decision that will be people centric.
Love the challenge to make effective people decisions by engaging people in the decision making process. The simplicity of the idea is, perhaps, the reason it’s so often neglected.
I can hardly wait until you get to X and Z…
On another (more serious) note, I’m quite enjoying these. Reading for enjoyment is fun, although reading to get fired up is good, too. 🙂
Thanks Lyn. I’ll be counting on contributions from Facebook for letters like Z and X. Should be “interesting.”
“Own poor people decisions.” Happy to do so, but the storming stage suggests we need to find out what they can do, and see if the outputs matches their promises. Once established, with appropriate levels of coaching (not mentoring if you’re the one to provide performance appraisals)
Wonderful add. Knowing when and how to deal with “pool” people decisions is a challenge. As you indicate, a poor decision today, given time and attention, may become a great decision tomorrow.
The note about declaring intentions behind actions is important. The more I explain my reasoning and intentions behind actions to my team, the more they can start to learn how I think.
My goal is to get them to eventually be able to make decisions on their own, and one thing they should consider when making those decisions is, “What would my leader do in this situation?” If I’ve explained myself on several occasions, they can start to get a pretty good idea of what the answer to that question is.
Thanks Jake. One part of your comment surprised me. “What would my leader do in this situation.” I thought you were going to say, “How would my leader think in this situation.”
Perhaps generically, encouraging people to think like leaders, is central to leadership development. Just thinking outloud.
Well my Deepest Desire(My HP’s Will) is to use DEMOLOGY(study of human behavior)to create a space for a person to Deek(look: see).
Hopefully to DEARTICULATE(to disjoint) their DRAFFISH(worthless) paradigms, you know, ideas and beliefs that when the paradigms shifts are no longer useful. Why use a hoe with your hands when you can use John Deere tractor? Another D word, DUH(people using a hoe with their hands when they could use a John Deere tractor)! hehe
I am hoping to DEOPPILATE( to free from obstruction), in a DECRESCENT(becoming gradually less) so their brains won’t blow up a way for people to see simple Truth!
My hope for DATION(act of giving, conferring or donating) by DEIGESIS(narration of facts) will open the way for a state of DIPSETIC(causing to be thirsty) or a new and better way to get-er done! Even better if they get to DIPSOSIS(pathological great thirst).
Then when they can see the sum total of our Leadership ideas, strategies, books, theorms result in 7 out of 10 people hating their jobs, you know DISBOSOM(to make known; to reveal) the TRUTH to them, to DISILLUDE(to free from illusion) them from now out of date and worthless paradigms!!!!!!!!!!!!! THEN…………….
Hope they have DESIDERIUM(longing or yearning) and supply a DIRIGIBLE(able to be directed) attitude, a DRAGONISTIC(unremitted watchfulness) attitude then their minds can be shaped into a state of DREAMERY(a place favourable to dreams)!
Yeah, Barry Wehmiller 72% employee satisfaction! Us 70% disengaged people! Our stuff DRAFFISH, their stuff pretty pretty pretty good!
Hope that Truth stirs you to a state of DIPSOSIS and we get on to a DREAMERY place of doing better for the people we are entrusted to lead.
I Concur Bombastically!
Shifterp back into the fight for Truth, Justice and People Centric Leadership for all!
You made me dizzy.
So sorry not intended result!
You asked for D words!
Simply, I want to help inspire the most people I can everyday in everyway to be the best people they can be. Driven! There is another D word!!
In order to do that confronting people on what they are doing now that is the stuff holding them back is part of the process. Walk forward one step at a time, no side stepping! The path is clear.
Guess what, they don’t anyways like it!! It’s cool they will hug ya later!!! They like what has become comfortable and familiar even it it keeps them where they say they do not like being.
Then showing them the EXACT way others have gotten what they desire most. Then encouraging them to DO what the others who get their desired results DO. Anything else is just wasting time and time, at least mine is very valuable.
In Leadership a CEO of a 7000 person company that creates 1.5 billion dollars in revenue, a 15% dividend to shareholders and a 72% employee satisfaction rate would love the chance to come here and clarify how he accomplished those Leadedship results. He is interested and willing to share. All he needs is to be asked. Would be real cool to hear from him wouldn’t it?
So if Leadership results like those are what Leaders around here Desire Mr Chapman I believe would love to come by for a chat. Little clarity. Little stories about them and their journey. Sounds cool, huh? Yeah it would be cool.
Or we can just pat each other on the backs for the results we are getting and not be committed to doing better for the people we are entrusted to lead.
Wonder 20 years down the road all the people we could have helped MORE with more effective Leadership strategies but chose not to would say about us?
What do we say to them why we didn’t use a strategy that produces 72% employee satisfaction and 15% divedends? Ah, my bad? Make money and inspire people that love their jobs!! Now WHO is not interested in those results as a Leader? Who? You?
If that is not what you are after as a Leader what are your desired results?
70% people disengaged at work and a 17 trillion dollar national debt? Companies driven by profits not people? Well ok if that is what you are after keep doing EXACTLY what you have been doing cause it is working perfectly!
Why as Leaders did we shortchange them with strategies that produced less results than that?
I owe the people working for me, with me, around me and for A TAD bit better than that! Don’t you?
My answer is and will be I used the best for you and was always open to find better ways to serve you. Driven to serve you, I GROW to SERVE you.
What will you say?
Anyone Anyone Bueller. Bueller???
“Declare intentions.” Yes! If we don’t make our intentions known, others will make them up. If you are not willing to share your intentions people will be hesitant to trust. You will come across as though you have something to hide. Great declaration!
Making effective people-decisions requires “diving in”. One must get involved in the way that others make decisions to understand them. I’m not saying that we should micromanage. Quite the opposite. Take the time to understand the thought process that went into someone else’s decision. Understand them. This information makes it easier to play to strengths for wins and stretch them just past their comfort zones for challenge.
Reblogged this on Ronswithscissors's Blog and commented:
There are some deep and powerful ideas I’d like to capture for myself. What better way than to reblog to my site? Thanks Dan for this great post.
Interesting post. It’s important to surround ourselves with talent, but I don’t think we should aspire to grow dumber compared to others at the table. Why not aspire to grow smarter with them. I think that great leaders are able to use the expertise of others to help them grow and succeed. I think that is the whole point behind collaboration and team learning. We learn together to achieve and grow. I do agree that leaders need to be upfront and honest with people to achieve results. Leaders also need to involve others in the decisions that affect them to inspire a collaboration. I invite you to read my latest post that discusses failed leadership devoid of these important criteria wp.me/p3cfPb-2F .
http://tsihly.wordpress.com …here is the address. Thanks.
Great post, Dan!
I love the idea of leader as light…
Powerful.. and yet simple way to underscore the impact of good leadership.
Thanks for shining your light!
I don’t post online very often, but just wanted to let you know that I appreciate your insights. People need to have their paradigm shifted with respect to leading others, and you’ve been doing a great job at molding those who have a heart for true leadership. Keep up the good work!
I’ll say Development; specially people development. It’s common for me to hear “leaders” say “he/she is smart enough to figure it out alone…” And then they wonder why the individual wasn’t able to perform as expected.
Lots of managers talk about knowledge base buildup but they aren’t willing to invest the time to training and develop people.
I liked the concept of encouraging people to think like leaders in one of your replies. I will ponder on how to make this a habit in my daily work-life.
Thanks for the thoughts Dan. I really like the part about taking responsibility for people that you put in the wrong role and how you must stop blaming others and do something about it.
As always, enjoy your posts.
“Under performers are your responsibility”, now that stopped me in my tracks. Interesting how a sentence can change a mindset.
Thanks Dan for the wonderful choice in today’s post. I would call it “chicken soup for the introvert”.
Working in an academic setting I too often see many great people and good ideas fall by the wayside because of a lack of pride and confidence to speak with clarity and conviction.
Dan I like the part you said about “declare intentions” I think all too often we don’t communicate our vision to our team. We have the plan all worked out in our head, we forget the important part of communication. They end up working day by day instead of incorporating that vision into their daily decisions.
If we do a good job of “declaring our intentions” then we have given them a framework to use their talent and make their own decisions within the skeleton we have provided.
P.S. On a side note if you haven’t seen “Monster University” there are a lot of good leadership and teamwork themes throughout the movie that relate to your last two posts.
So good. I’ve been reading these for quite a while and have shared them a lot. The material, and application of that material, have grown me as a leader. I just wanted to say a quick thank you and keep it up.
SportsTek – Hawaii Territory Manager firstname.lastname@example.org Sent from my iPhone
What do you mean by “aspire to grow dumber and dumber?
Hi Jeffrey, Thanks for asking about dumb and dumber. I use the idea of growing dumber as a comparative not an absolute. Hire people that are smarter than you and comparatively speaking you grow dumber. Keep developing the people around you so that their skill, knowledge, and experience out shines yours. This isn’t to say that you are the dumbest person in the room on all accounts. Leaders should be the smartest people in the room when it comes to making others smarter. HOpe that makes sense.
SUCH good information. I’m loving these posts, thank you! 🙂
I appreciate your insight into underperformance. “You put someone in the wrong role. It’s not their fault, it’s yours”.
I struggled with a previous manager. I was told that I needed to reward employees for their work even though it didn’t meet even low expectations. I tried to explain that after working with the employees for weeks, there was nothing I could identify that would explain the underperformance except refusal to do the requirements of the job. My recommendation was termination, but I was told that I need to find a different way to get team members to work.