Is Your Leadership Style Like Making Sausage?

I’m a huge fan of sausages. Whether it be Italian, bratwurst, chorizo, kielbasa, or andouille, I love the seasoning and the snap of the casing when you bite into it. Now I know that the stuff that goes into sausage is of the most undesirable parts of the animal including organs, guts, head, and other parts that I prefer not to think about. I have never had the opportunity to see sausage being made, and as a matter of principle; I don’t want to because I know I’d be grossed out and it would ruin my appetite each time I enjoyed a banger. I choose to remain blissfully ignorant about the sausage making process.

As this relates to leadership, I’ve seen many leaders who are able to get things done but the process in which they do it is ugly. The end result may be positive, but how they got there was filled with unnecessary stress, drama, rework, and wasted energy along the way. In fact, I’ve even seen some leaders who thrive on the chaos; working around the clock, napping in a sleeping bag in their office, surviving on coffee, Cheetos, and Coke. With a successful delivery, the leader rewards and gets rewarded for their delivery heroics and the personal sacrifices made. Now sometimes there truly is a need for participants in a well-planned and run project to burn the midnight oil. It’s not those situations I’m talking about; it’s when the leader fails to deliberately plan and execute the work, resulting in wasted energy, lost productivity, and frazzled nerves. Let me be extremely clear on this: It’s not enough to consistently deliver results but leave a trail of dead bodies in your wake; you need to deliver results through deliberate planning and execution. Now it could be that planning needs to happen concurrent with some execution; I’ve certainly done that when having to work to tight mandated dates from my leadership. When someone says to me, “Well, we got it done,” I ask, “Would your team follow you into battle again?” The answer to that question is a direct reflection on the leader’s ability to deliberately plan and execute the work. I’d love for someone to challenge me on this.

Are you a leader who gets things done but creates unnecessary friction with your team, manager, or stakeholders? Give these four tips a look to help you be a leader who executes without the drama and stress:

  • Deliberately plan work in what/who/when format – When outlining the work to be performed, be precise about what needs to be done, who needs to do it (no assignments to “team”), and when it needs to be done (no “asap” or “tbd”). If there is a tangible work product associated with the what, ensure clarity as to what the work product needs to include.
  • Empower wherever you can – I wrote a book and an article on what I call Intentional Empowerment, which outlines four clear steps on what a leader

Bosses Need Gift Of Better Meeting Leadership

Studies show millions of meetings are held each day in the United States and that thousands of dollars are spent per meeting hour where the meetings include multiple executives as attendees. Are all these meetings a business investment or a waste of time? Sadly many of those same studies indicate the managers attending the meetings felt up to half their time investment was wasted. If meetings are important enough to hold, then why don't the bosses of the organization insist they be better lead?

Can the gift of better meetings be this year ultimate management prize? If meeting leaders can learn to accomplish more in the same amount of time or less, then the answer is most definitively yes. If the answer is yes, then how can this gift of better meetings come about?

There are lots of good training courses and books on meeting management. When looking for a good meeting leadership course, besides using the words "meeting management", search for courses that include some form of lead or facilitate in the course title. Sometimes meeting management course titles seem to be disguised as something else or the meeting training is a component in a larger package offered as a longer workshop. The benefit of taking a course is concentrated effort on learning the tools and techniques along with networking and ideas from other course participants who have the same business world experiences. The main disadvantage is time away from the job to attend the course, which is why many do not take advantage of this formal training option.

Reading and following a book on meeting management is a viable alternative to formal training, if the meeting leader commits to following the guidelines and the book includes examples or usable forms. One option with examples and forms is the new book "RA! RA! A Meeting Wizard's Approach" (ISBN 1-4196-5367-9). This book and others on meeting management may be bought through Amazon or ordered from bookstores. The primary advantage of informal learning from a book is that it is portable and may be read on or off work hours using small segments of scattered time rather than consecutive hours. Books often include the same benefit of tips, tools, and techniques but in a different format than found in a formal course. The disadvantage could be the lack of networking and discussion with other course participants who are learning the meeting leadership material at the same time. However, this disadvantage may be overcome by forming a book study group at the jobsite or having a regular meeting team explore the book's materials and learn better meeting management together.

Going back to the meeting studies, they also show that the number of meetings is increasing and their duration is too. To save dollars, time, and management worry – offer bosses the gift of better meetings as a direction towards higher profits and increased productivity. Better meetings lead to more productive employees, less time and dollar cost wasted, and less cost means higher …