Posts Tagged ‘blame’

I’ve watched more live news coverage in the last week than I have in the last five years. I cut cable several years ago, and I limit myself to daily perusal of the headlines from several credible news outlets, stopping only to read in-depth if it’s a topic I’m interested in or that I need to know.

anthony-fauci-andrew-cuomo-quintessential-leadershipI have had, by listening to the daily briefings on COVID-19 from the White House, the opportunity to see quintessential leadership. And unquintessential leadership.

I’ve also had the chance to see quintessential leadership at the state and local levels, and I’ve also seen unquintessential leadership.

Dr. Anthony Fauci and Governor Andrew Cuomo (New York) have shown a lot of quintessential leadership in the way they have addressed the rapidly-spreading COVID-19 in the United States (New York is now the epicenter, leading the nation in confirmed cases and in deaths). (more…)

How people in leadership positions handle tough stuff situations determines whether they are quintessential leaders or notPeople in leadership positions face “tough stuff” situations routinely. How they handle these kinds of situations gives a lot of insight into whether they are quintessential leaders or not.

The unfortunate reality is that many people who are in leadership positions are not actually leaders.

Generally, people are promoted to leadership positions because of two scenarios with the traditional reward path used by companies and organizations. (more…)

What Transparency Looks LikeOne of the new organizational buzzwords is transparency. Today’s post will talk about what transparency looks like with quintessential leaders and what transparency looks like with everyone else.

You may be surprised to find that transparency among most people in leadership positions is illusionary, conditional, selective, and, in fact, is a lie because it doesn’t exist.

The word transparent at its simplest means to see through. Nothing is obscured, blurry, fuzzy, or out of view. Transparency, then, is the state or condition of being transparent. So anyone or any organization claiming transparency is describing their or its continual state or condition.

But is that true?

In most cases, the answer is “no.” While there is usually a lot of activity and A Smokescreen is Not Transparencycommunication to give the impression of transparency to the teams, what is done and what is said for everyone to see is essentially a smokescreen to keep teams feeling informed and included, while the real heart of the activity and communication – the business core – is conducted in secret behind closed doors among a small inner circle that has been sworn to secrecy.

So how do we know if a person or an organization is truly in a state or condition of transparency or not?

It’s quite simple.

Listen to them.

Anyone who or any organization that is constantly saying they are transparent is not.

People and organizations that are really see-through don’t ever have to say they are because it’s visible and obvious.

Only people and organizations with something to hide will make a conscious effort to regularly reiterate that they are committed to transparency. Just as liars will keep repeating their lies to try to convince others they are telling the truth, so will people and organizations that are not transparent who say over and over that they are.

So what are some key pieces of evidence that we can look for to see what transparency does not look like?

  1. A superficial and protective outer layer of smoke and mirrors that looks clear until it is placed on top of all the hidden layers and then nothing is clear. This looks like a plexiglass cover that is placed on top of wood-stained coffee table to protect it from damage and scratches.
  2. The Wizard of Oz behind the curtainA continuous barrage of stimulating, but meaningless, information designed to deflect attention and shift focus away from the nuts and bolts of what’s really happening and what’s substantive. This looks like the Wizard of Oz behind the curtain projecting an illusionary image of reality.
  3. Saying one thing, but being the opposite. Actions always speak louder than words. There are far too many, since this reflects the majority of people who are currently in leadership positions, for me to name the most obvious examples I can see and think of. Look around your venue on the world. You won’t have to look far to find this behavior.

So then, now that we have seen what transparency doesn’t look like, since we are all striving to be quintessential leaders and transparency is a quality of quintessential leadership, then we must know what transparency does look like in action.

Real transparency lays all the cards on the tableReal transparency lays all the cards on the table up front. It takes a proactive approach to full disclosure of the facts and relevant circumstances, providing a big-picture framework to fully and completely encompass and describe the genesis and the outcome of decision-making.

Real transparency doesn’t sidestep controversy or issues, actions, words, etc. that are either perceived as a liability or were part of poor or ill-informed decision-making. We all have these in our realm of experience. 

Quintessential leaders, however, don’t try to sweep them under the rug and pretend they never happened, nor do they try to excuse, clarify, or blame them away. Instead, quintessential leaders own their missteps and mistakes and use them as teaching opportunities for the quintessential leaders they are developing on their teams.

The lessons of our failures and how we addressed and overcame them are the most valuable we can pass on to the next generation of quintessential leaders for several reasons.

First, future quintessential leaders understand that nobody is perfect and screwing up is sometimes part of the learning process.

Second, by our showing them step-by-step how we recovered, we are modeling a tangible and realistic example – showing them what it looks like in practice – of how to overcome, grow, and move forward.

Third, we are helping them, by sharing our experiences, hopefully not to repeat our missteps and mistakes. (When people portray themselves as perfect, there is no knowledge or experience to pass on to the next generation, who will find themselves in missteps and mistakes, but will model the unquintessential leadership example of no transparency that was modeled to them, ensuring that and perpetuating the same mistakes down the line to successive generations.)

Real transparency is WYSIWYGReal transparency doesn’t deceive, lie, or cover up anything. Everything’s an open book of reality, honesty, and what-you-see-is-what-you-get.

What unquintessential leaders don’t realize is that by not being transparent, they often spend most of their time dealing with the past (you will always hear more references to the past and especially to a mythical past of “glory days” than you will ever hear about detailed and actionable plans for how to navigate successfully through right here, right now and for navigating successfully through the future) and they, therefore, have little to no time to deal with the present and the future.

So, as always, we take the subject of transparency and we look critically, honestly and objectively into the mirrors of our own lives.

Do we faithfully practice total transparency in every aspect of our lives?

Do we practice transparency in some areas of our lives, but not others?

Do we not practice transparency anywhere in our lives?

Each of us can only answer these questions for ourselves. But we have to be willing to be honest and candid and to change, if we find anything less than total transparency in every aspect of our lives.

How are we doing? 

 

It is easy to distinguish quintessential leaders from unquintessential leaders by the way they deal with the pressure of a crisis or crises. 

Below I will give a short list of characteristics that quintessential and unquintessential leaders do when a crisis or crises arise.

Each of you who reads this has a two-fold assignment. First, as always, look at your own leadership characteristics in a crisis or crises and see which leadership style you, in general, fall under. The second assignment is that if you read this, I want you to give me input, via a comment, with an additional characteristic for both quintessential and unquintessential leaders’ crisis-management styles.

I’m going to move, for the most part, to shorter blog posts of this interactive format, because if you’re reading this, you have information to share with me and to share with the other readers of this blog, and I want to encourage us to communicate with and help each other grow as quintessential leaders.

quintessential leader crisis crisesSome of the characteristics of an unquintessential leader in a crisis are:

  • Pretend it doesn’t or deny that it does exist
  • Ignore it
  • Avoid it
  • Procrastinate doing anything about it
  • Blame it on someone else
  • Make it someone else’s crisis

Some of the characteristics of a quintessential leader in a crisis are:

  • Acknowledge it
  • Tackle it quickly and honestly (this means the quintessential leader expects and is prepared for a crisis)
  • Take responsibility
  • Be accountable for resolving it

Obviously, these are not comprehensive lists. Now it’s your turn to contribute with a characteristic for each type of leader in a crisis.

What can you to add to these lists?