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Successful vs. Remarkable Leaders

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Successful vs. Remarkable Leaders

In 1994, Barbra Streisand released an album called “The Concert,” which was the complete audio version of her live concert in Madison Square Garden during that same year.  During one of her introductions to a song, she said, “It’s much easier to criticize than to praise.”  That statement has always stood out to me as I think it’s disappointing that we’re all guilty of pointing the finger at others for their shortcomings more easily than offering praise for their accomplishments.

Think about it.  Which do you recall more of on Facebook or other social media outlets, grievances or cheers?  Unfortunately, you usually read a lot of grievances.  On the news, the majority of the stories contain the negative while there’s usually one overly positive feature and it’s at the end of a newscast.  Sadly, bad news “sells”.

In the workplace, what constitutes the majority of meetings?  Usually, it’s to discuss a problem or something that’s gone wrong.  Don’t get me wrong.  I believe those meetings are valid and necessary.  All I’m saying is that magnifying glasses certainly come out when things go wrong.

I believe that one of the keys to having a positive business model is to find the successes in failures.  I recently read an article on “Leadership Sherlocking”.  It compared “successful” leaders to “remarkable” ones and explained that leaders become Sherlock Holmes when things go wrong.  Here’s what the article listed as 12 things SUCCESSFUL leaders do when things go wrong:

  1. Call “what went wrong” meetings to find out why.
  2. Make calls and send emails to the boss.
  3. Instill urgency.
  4. Explain what matters now.
  5. Make decisions quickly.
  6. Identify and resolve bottlenecks and failure-points.
  7. Assign responsibility.
  8. Devise plans to prevent it from happening again.
  9. Elevate accountability.
  10. Punish if it’s happened before.
  11. Have tough conversations.
  12. Take action quickly and persistently until it’s fixed.

But, what about “Sherlocking” what’s right?  According to the article, lousy leaders use magnifying glasses when things go wrong and wear blindfolds when things go right, a good point in line with The Babs’ quote about it being much easier to criticize than to praise.  So, here’s a list of 12 things REMARKABLE leaders do when things go right:

  1. Call “what went right” meetings.
  2. Send emails to higher ups bragging about the team.
  3. Instill urgency.
  4. Identify behaviors that produce achievement and create success.
  5. Make decisions quickly. Actions follow decisions.  When leaders don’t decide, everyone waits.
  6. Identify expediters, multipliers, and progress makers.
  7. Assign responsibility for useful behaviors.
  8. Devise plans to keep success happening.
  9. Elevate accountability.
  10. Reward if it’s happened before.
  11. Have tough conversations. Determine what needs to continue and what could have been done better.
  12. Take action quickly and persistently until the next milestone is reached.

While some of the same points can be found in both lists, it’s clear which points would yield a more optimistic environment.  So which type of leader do you think you are, successful or remarkable?  What about those around you?  What are some things you can do to elevate your business model to one that’s more remarkable?

Success requires fixing failure, but along the way, you should celebrate imperfect progress.  After all, results and behaviors gain meaning when someone notices, and I believe you should embrace failures as building blocks for success.

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