“Bachelor of Science in Business, Major – Management”
… That’s what my diploma said. But in 1983 we were in another “Great Recession” and entry-level management jobs were almost impossible to find. With a little help, I found a role as a programmer for a textile company in my home town and began my years as an individual contributor. Over the next 14 years I went through 3 industries, 4 companies and 8 managers. Though they didn’t know it, during this entire time I was studying those managers. I analyzed their strengths and weaknesses, successes and failures. I was determined that when my turn came to lead, I would have mastered the techniques and be more than ready.
When I finally got that first opportunity as a manager, I had sixteen direct reports. 16! A bit daunting, but I knew I could handle it. I knew how the perfect manager should behave. How they should treat their staff. How they should communicate. I began to apply all that I had learned.
It was a disaster.
My staff hated me. The team was in an uproar. Goals and deadlines were vague memories. And I was completely at a loss as to what I was doing wrong. Thanks to two great mentors and some serious introspection, I began to see the issue. The problem was not the implementation. You see, I was treating my staff exactly the way I wanted to be treated. I was the perfect manager – for me. The problem was the in the assumption. The way I wanted to be treated was not the way they wanted, or needed, to be treated. Thus began the first of my seven principles of leadership – Attune. Attune yourself to the needs of the team and its members.
Over the years, I continued to learn and refine my style. I became a good leader – or so I’m told – and others began to ask advice. My best advice is to understand that a manager’s job has many aspects, but the most important one is leadership. To be a good leader, I believe you must be ALIGNED – aligned with your team, your mission, your peers, your management and your own values. Below are seven principles that I believe can help you focus on your effectiveness as a leader: Continue reading