Take me to your leader

Take me to your leader;  Ok, weak attempt at humor but who is in charge here? Throughout your work experiences or what you read in the papers about political or business leaders, do you ever wonder how some of these people made it to positions of authority. I mean really, who punched their ticket?

Do you recognize any of these people?

  • The meeting after the meeting guy
‘That guy’ who doesn’t have a word to say during the meeting but has plenty to say afterwards. Stirring the pot and has all kinds of solutions, but it’s funny we never heard anything being offered during the meeting. Probably because they were texting the whole time. All this does is cause more meetings and tons of lost productivity
  • Hey look at me guy
Oh, you will hear him every meeting, but is he really listening? Every once in a while it will be constructive but most of the time they just want to hear themselves talk. Hopefully he didn’t just see you roll your eyes.
  • Who needs an agenda guy
Do ever get into one of those meetings where it is just meandering all over the place and not one single thing gets accomplished? People keep coming back to topics that were previously discussed. Where is this headed; can we turn 15 minutes into an hour?
  • The never follows through guy
This person will promise to do everything but produce nothing; he talks a good game but when it comes to crunch time, don’t count on him. Usually the excuse is “I’m too busy” and there will be an excuse, but have you ever noticed those that have a full plate usually get the most done?
But I work for myself
If you are not in a corporate environment you might ask “how does this apply to me”? Well, if you aren’t making the decisions you might be ‘selling’ to this same group. Do you think it might be a good idea to know the personalities and dynamics of the decision makers (your audience) before you make your ‘pitch’?
But who’s in charge?
If this is your environment and you see it going sideways are you more apt to speak up, take charge and get it back in control? Do you have the confidence to be the one people look to?
How do you get there?
Do you think leaders are born or is it a learned trait? How much does personality come into play? Do you have to be a Type ‘A’ personality to be a good leader?
What do you feel is a common thread among leaders even with different personality traits?
The most effective leaders I have seen are individuals who are smart enough to surround themselves with the right team, let them do their jobs and get out of the way. Being a leader doesn’t mean you have to be the smartest guy in the room.
Will you follow me?
It takes a certain amount of confidence and experience to be willing to raise your hand and say ‘yes’, I can do that. A leader knows heavy lifting and responsibility will be involved and that fact alone will turn some people away.
In any endeavor eventually somebody has to step up and take charge. What does your ideal leader look like?
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84 thoughts on “Take me to your leader

  1. Hi Bil,

    I work for three bosses – one has a big ego (Mr. It Is Always About Me) one is his lackey (Mr. I Cannot Think For Myself) and the other one (Mr. I Like To Say Dumb Things)

    Yeah, conference calls can take up 2 hours I can never get back. Yeah, I said two hours! I work as a staff writer for an internet marketing company and we just finished our new website.

    It is not good. Too many chiefs and not enough Indians are going to run this company right off the rails. Bad bosses are everywhere. The company I work for is about to implode. I give it a month.

    Of the guys you described – the pot stirrer is the worst. He gets everyone else going and then can sit back and watch everyone fight.

    How do we manage to get any work done?

    • I hear ya’. I would rather your ideas be solutions and not a gripe session; tell me how we can make this thing work.

      For better or for worse I got to where I couldn’t take it anymore and started speaking up. it certainly moves you to the front of the line, so it definitely put me in some leadership positions. The one thing I do try to remember are the things that frustrated me as a participant and not repeat them. More times than not it is just somebody willing to do it.

      I have to be careful not to over commit, but if you go to as many meetings as I do, I’m always looking for ways to keep them efficient, informative and purposeful (on track).

      Good to see you today and I enjoyed your post. Hope you have a great day.

  2. Great post, Bill! I think this should be mandatory reading for anyone either leading or attending a meeting.

    Two years ago I started a position where I led monthly meetings of about 20 people. I had the position for a year, after having been in the organization for two years. I loved being able to run the meetings because I could keep the discussion on point. I reduced the length of the monthly meetings from three hours to two hours. In spite of the many accomplishments of the organization, the comment I heard most often was praise for shortening the meetings.

    Sitting through long, wasteful meetings is tortuous to me. I was lucky to lead a great group of people with very few of your characters. But when a meeting drags on and is going no where, everyone suffers.

    I think it’s difficult if you’re not leading the meeting. How many times can you speak up that “we should move on”? More times if you use humor, but still…

    Thanks so much for this brilliant post. Everyone should print this out and distribute copies at their next meeting… 🙂

    • It is a fine line, if you speak up too much then it can appear you are criticizing and they might say ‘well, if you think you can do it better………….’. Humor always helps and there are tactful ways to ask questions to clarify and get it back on point.

      The reality is your attention span is pretty short so regardless of how dynamic your meeting is at some point you will lose people. People definitely appreciate brevity.

      Good to see you Carolyn and thanks for the comments. Hope your day has been well.

  3. Hi Bill, I am here promptly this time as promised, I am not letting those tardy habits that you talked about last time get the better of me 🙂

    As ever you raise an interesting issue and I do recognise all of the so called leaders that you mention from my employed past, perhaps I have even been that person from time to time. If I was I like to think that I would have learned from watching good leaders and improved my performance.

    I do now work for myself and while I generally lead myself well there are times when I just don’t want to listen to myself and do what I am told! So you are right Bill, those leadership skills and qualities are just as vital even you are the leader and all the team members combined, the difference is that as an individual you have more opportunity to resolve any issues to put things right.

    Thanks for another thoughtful post Bill :-_

    Tony

    • Nobody else listens to you, so why should you, huh?……………..:)

      I can say I’ve had my share of being at least a part of all those guys at one time or another. It’s gets to a point however, where you can tell pretty quick how the meeting is going to go. Hopefully through experience and sitting through enough of these, you can help the process when possible.

      One thing I like to stress or come away with is ‘ok, what do you want us to do’? Please give me a clear understanding of what the expectations are when we leave so we don’t have to have 3 more meetings to figure it out.

      Good to see you Tony; it was actually a busy day for me so I was somewhat tardy getting back in. I appreciate your comments as well.

  4. Awesome Bill, you can so apply these descriptions even to bloggers 🙂
    I do have to say that I am the only one in “my company” so I end up being all these guys for myself, lol

    • Thanks Brankica! I was wondering how to relate to this excellent post! I don’t work with a team right now so I’m all the leaders, good and bad he talks about (Hi Bill!)
      To me a leader is the one who says, “Let’s all…” they just take the lead – make the suggestions, get the party started (Bill:o)

      If as you say “The most effective leaders I have seen are individuals who are smart enough to surround themselves with the right team,” then we’re ALL leaders ’cause we’re hanging out with the coolest people on the www!
      Lori

    • And I heard your boss was pretty tough to work for……………:).

      You are right however, you can see these traits in some of the bloggers. I probably have a tendency to ‘over-talk’ and write 3 paragraphs on something I should be able to do in 1……………..:).

      Good to see you Bran, hope you had a great weekend and have a big week planned.

  5. Hi Bill,

    I work for myself, but often find these traits in potential clients. Over the years I’ve developed the ability to spot the time wasters, and usually it’s someone similar to the, “Hey, look at me guy”. In my initial meetings I also often get the, “Hey I want to challenge you guy”. Someone with a caustic approach, wanting to challenge my every answer, needing estimated fees right here, right now. Approaching an initial meeting like it’s a battle is certainly a warning that I do not want to work with this person! Thankfully those initial client meetings are not needed as often as they used to be. I usually try and steer clients away from meetings unless the are absolutely necessary.

    • It helps if you do know the personalities so you can at least adapt your approach somewhat. Sometimes the caustic ones if you make it past the first 5 minutes and the ones you can get to shut up.

      Fortunately, I don’t have to cold call as much anymore but one of the things we do is called ‘low risk practicing’. If you know you have no chance but nothing else to lose, then just roll out w/ some zinger off the wall question that is totally out of context. You’d be surprised how this can extend the dialogue at times because you have taken them completely out of their element. I mean be respectful, but what do you have to lose at that point.

      Once we couldn’t even get to second base with this prospect and he loved his guy so much he wasn’t interested in talking to us. As we were walking out I asked “do you really think swimmers swim faster when they shave their bodies”? After about two double takes, the owner said “what” with an incredulous look on his face. I told him it appeared we were going down in flames anyway, I just wanted to see what he knew about swimming. He got a chuckle and I still never had the opportunity to work with him but he did throw us a bone and let me bring someone else in from my office on another line of insurance.

      I say “make it fun, it’s not life and death”.

      Good to see you Craig; are you writing yet?

      • Thanks for the advice. I’d love to toss out some zinger even if it’s just for fun. What the heck. Hope you don’t mind if I use “Do you really think swimmers swim faster when they shave their bodies”? Don’t think I could top that one 😉

        Thanks, Bill. Yes, I am writing. Getting there slowly. How’s the self-hosted blog coming? Always look forward to your posts.

  6. Hey Bill!
    Boy, am I glad I don’t work in an office setting anymore! I’ve spent enough time with all of these guys. Even though I work for myself now, you brought up a good point about recognizing if any of the above traits fit your client so that you know how to market to them.

    Dan Rockwell has a great blog called “Leadership Freak.” You should check him out. He writes lots of inspiring posts about leadership.

    • I will definitely check him out.

      So, how tough is your boss now?

      Knowing personalities is key if you can find this out ahead of time. And sometimes you might have to deal w/ a 3-headed decision maker w/ 3 different personalities. Ultimately you want to be yourself, but you can adapt where you give yourself a better chance of having success.

      Thanks for the info and comments, very much appreciated. I hope your day has gone well.

  7. Traits of leadership also require the ability to keep others on track in meetings. When you have runaway meetings nothing gets done. You need the big picture person who has the vision for the end result; you need the tactician (why is that spelled that way and dietitian is spelled that way?) who will get the work done; and you need the strategist (aka visionary) who can plug in the tactics.

    I think leadership is genetic; there are those who only wish to do the work and others who aspire to lead companies, teams, and have the personality and spitfire to do it.

    • I’m lazy, I want someone else to do the work so I guess I might as well lead, huh?

      Actually, I have coached ball teams, led YMCA’s, Rotary, Main St, Chamber, etc. Having been in an around those meetings I definitely see what works and what doesn’t. I might not be the best leader OR the sharpest tack in the box; but I am smart enough to know what not to do.

      You want clarity and direction and what is the next ‘thing’ to be done when we leave this meeting. If people have direction, they typically perform much better.

      There are definitely some preachers and politicians in my family so genetically I don’t know if I am more pre-disposed to be a leader, but I sure will get up in front of a crowd…….:).

      Sometimes you have to be all 4 of those people you described and have the ability to pull it off.

      Good to see you, hope your day was well.

  8. Bill
    One of the reasons I left the corporate world and started my own show is right there, meetings.
    I use to have a cartoon in my office which said “don’t know what to do today? Schedule a meeting”

    I think most meetings with people who aren’t decision makers are a complete waste of time. Might as well meet in a bar and call it happy hour.

    This is still my number one question when someone asks me for a meeting “will there be a decision making in the room?” Otherwise what was said can easily be done on the phone or through this magical thing called email.

    Now regarding leaders, what is a leader? A person who takes decisions and makes things happen, doesn’t just talk about them and write nice reports about it.

    This post is simple, to the point and really points out what business is all about. People, and their funny side. There is no such thing as the perfect client or the perfect boss, but we should know which ones are worse than others and just wasting our time.

    • Hey John, sorry about your site maintenance; I did try to link you in my post…..:)

      ‘A person who takes decisions and makes things happen, doesn’t just talk about them and write nice reports’ is a pretty good description and ‘makes things happen’ is the key.

      Depending on the type of meeting (corporate vs non-profit board) they will both have different dynamics. However, in the corporate sense you hope you have done a good job on the front end and have hired the ‘right’ people which puts you in a better position to have meeting w/ purpose.

      I agree with you, if no decisions are going to be made or the decision makers are not there, then it’s probably a waste of time.

      I loved your interview w/ Robert, it was a good one.

      Hope your day went well.

  9. OK, so I’m trying to find a resource I have on how many hours are wasted in meetings. Now I’ll need to write a post on how many hours are wasted trying to find the dam piece of paper. Will be back when I find it, as well as the mind I think I’m losing. Cheers! Kaarina

    • Did the bear eat it? Yes, many an hour is wasted on meetings and even more so after the fact in a lot of instances.

      There is an art to conducting efficient and effective meetings and first and foremost is to have an agenda for every single meeting you have. It gives you something to keep people on point with.

      I guess I’ll wait ’til you get back and see how many hours are being wasted. Hope you day went well otherwise………….:)

  10. Bill,

    I have found in my life that I find value in a leader who is willing to make a decision. I could care less if it is good or bad just as long as they are willing to stand for something and make decisions to back it up. What I can’t stand are meetings. Meetings are where people get together and talk about what they should do to get things done but nothing ever really gets done. 🙂

    • I concur Frank, make a decision and stick by it. No, you won’t be right 100% of the time, but you probably didn’t get in a position of authority by being a dummy so given the proper parameters, you probably have some good ideas; don’t be afraid to act on them.

      Most meetings very little get accomplished OR anything that was accomplished could have been done in 15 minutes or less.

      Thanks for your thoughts Frank and hope your week has started out well.

  11. I think the meeting after the meeting guys are the most dangerous in a subversive sense. I used to try to flush out these passive aggressive types by being sure to say before the end of the meeting, “Bob, I know you have experience/thoughts/insight on this subject, before we go, I’d like to hear what you have to think.” Or sometimes, if there had been required meeting prep and I knew he was coming to the meeting with an agenda and loads of opinion, I’d go to him straight away so he couldn’t sabotage the meeting later on. I don’t miss those times, but I do miss the opportunities to lead groups. Harnessing the best in people and generating collaboration is sometimes difficult to do when your self-employed…although I do have lots of earnest conversations and pep talks with myself :)!

    I think the two most important traits in leaders are the ability to listen perceptively and then the courage to take action, even if it’s unpopular.

    Great post, Bill!

    • That is a good tact, to know your personality traits w/in the meeting and being able to maximize their contribution by asking the right questions at the appropriate time. That too is a trait of a good leader.

      Listening is very important and if you are making a decision you certainly want to make sure you listened ‘purposefully’ as well.

      Harnessing the best in people not only keeps them engaged, but allows them to have meaningful contributions as well.

      Good to see you and hope you enjoyed your time off. Welcome back……..

  12. Hi Bill….

    Ah, yes, the leadership conundrum. Some are born with strong leadership tendencies, some develop them along the way because of the situations they have put in, and some will never be leaders, and that’s okay. It’s knowing what those strengths and weaknesses are, and not committing to something that isn’t a fit, that is important. Some are insecure, and do as you say, they volunteer in order to be a part of the team, which isn’t always a good fit. There will forever be as many styles as there are people!

    • I agree and I think you can still be an effective leader if you know you aren’t good at certain things so you make sure you surround yourself with the right people and allow everyone to work to their strengths.

      It takes all types and we’ve seen them all. For me, effective meetings are a must because they do take up so much time. People appreciate taking care of the business and having a clear direction after the meeting. If you can do that people will respect that a lot more.

      Good to see you ma’am and thanks so much for coming by. I hope your day went well.

    • Absolutely, I couldn’t agree more; and that is a trait of a good leader who recognizes this.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts; very much appreciated.

      Hope your journey has been a good one.

  13. I have worked for a vast array of managers during my career, and I can honestly say that only a few were leaders. To me, being a leader is not only about assembling a great team, but also about trusting those team members to do their jobs. Leaders set objectives and let team members think creatively about how to solve problems. Leaders have high expectations of their team members, but they also have complete confidence in each person’s capabilities. Leaders always share the credit and single out people who go beyond what was expected.

    I once worked with a VP of Sales who would always tell me, “I trust your decisions. Do what you think is best.” Hearing those words motivated me so much, and I ended up working harder than I ever had before, and producing great results. And when the project was over, he always thanked me publicly. Now that’s a leader!

    As to the issue about meetings, I’ve attended my share of good ones and bad ones. Good ones have a written agenda and clear objectives. When good meetings end, deliverables and due dates are announced to the attendees, and expectations are always clear. In my experience, most meetings do not follow this pattern and end up being huge time wasters. I’ve found that scheduling 15 or 30 minute meetings can help keep everyone focused.

    Great topic Bill!

    • I think you statement ‘Leaders set objectives and let team members think creatively about how to solve problems’…..is very accurate. If you have the right people and let them do their jobs through encouragement they will perform at a much higher level.

      To me, agenda is a must, must, must. I have seen to many meandering meetings w/out one. I want a clear sense of direction and expectations of what is to be accomplished.

      If you empower people and let them do their jobs it keeps them engaged and they will definitely work hard for you.

      Thanks so much for you insightful input, but I expect that from you…….:).

      Hope you had a great weekend.

  14. Darn… they never call us into meetings…. and never means never 😦

    Once they did call us but I was an intern then and I was busy texting! 🙂 So yikes! I am one of these people actually.

    I was once a guest counselor at a corporate organization and there I got the feel of a “meeting” and I didn’t like it one bit. Too many Type A guys (and girls!) just waiting to snap at each other and believe me, if they had sharper nails, not one of them would have made it alive out of the room.

    I think we have placed too much emphasis on Type A people being the successful corporate honchos, I think in today’s world, you need a little bit charisma of the Type B guy to make it click. A leader is the one who connects, you can’t be shouting at your juniors all the time and then call yourself a good leader… not done.

    Give your team the chance, the space to think, the liberty to prove themselves and the honor of being an individual with a brain! Might work much better than breathing down their necks.

    • I agree, I think a leader connects and help people work to their strengths instead of a one size fits all approach; finding not only a seat on the bus for everybody, but the right seat on the bus.

      ‘Give your team the chance, the space to think, the liberty to prove themselves and the honor of being an individual with a brain’ was well said and I couldn’t agree more.

      You definitely need to allow fun and creativity and be willing to let people make mistakes in their effort to grow.

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, I like your way of thinking.

      Hope you had a great weekend.

  15. Interesting post Bill!

    I don’t know whether it was because I was a woman working in a man’s world in the Middle East that made that annoying person corner me after a presentation. Perhaps it was my age (I was usually a good 10 yrs younger than many of my clients) that made them feel that they could try to bully me but that annoying person – who usually was never a real decision maker would never miss the chance to try it on.

    Ultimately I feel it’s their inferiority that leads them to try and flex their feeble muscles without an audience. I used to, even though I was my own boss, always have a back up – I’d always say “Oh, I’ll just check with the director” who was John and let them loose on him! I would always warn them that they’d probably not like what he had to say too!

    Let them play their game but stand your ground and if all fails give them John’s number!

    • I know the type, they are usually not the decision maker but they will certainly set their sites on somebody they think they can bully. You usually want to avoid them at all costs if you can. Inferiority is what they feel and is propably a correct description.

      John already said what kind of boss he works for so I will definitely send them his way.

      It doesn’t always work, but I’m much more bold now in speaking up and trying to keep a meeting on track. Sometimes I just cut to the chase and ask ‘what are we trying to accomplish and what is the one thing you want us to do when we leave this meeting’.

      Good to see you MiP, hope you, John and BiP had a great weekend. I saw the lavender pics, they were nice.

  16. This post reminds me of The Peter Principle Book by Dr. Laurence that deals with the rise of incompetence
    and some zen stuff that deals with the expression of competence.
    “He who knows does not say, and he who says does not know.”

    Meeting show who belongs in what category.

    Thanks for a post to make me think about all of the stuff used to hide and run from being both competent and knowledgeable.
    Billy

    • Meetings are a good way to determine someone’s competence. I mean, if you are trying to run a business but can’t run a meeting; you might tend to not have a lot of confidence in this person.

      I have found I speak up more at meetings and hopefully people don’t perceive me as the ‘likes to hear myself talk’ person; but I do try to find ways to keep meetings on track if it isn’t my meeting.

      Good to see you today Billy, I do appreciate you taking the time to stop by and leave your thoughts. Hope your day has been well.

  17. In defense of type #1 – some people don’t share their real thoughts in a meeting setting (never mind the texters). But if those “some people” are leaders…they need to change that, yep.

    • I work with two people who are intelligent and when they speak they have something to say. However, they are not apt to speak up in a meeting because they have to ‘think’ about it. I think you have to recognize these types and make sure they have an opportunity to be heard. If you are this type of leader, then I think you need to surround yourself with people who can help you make quick decisions.

      It is so nice to see you Jenn, I do appreciate you taking the time to stop by. Hope you have a big week planned.

  18. Hey Bill – I’ve never met the “meeting after the meeting” guy…but I have met his younger brother “CAN WE TAKE THIS OFF LINE”. He’s such a joke. Instead of speaking up and putting his ideas out there in front of the group – he opts to saying his piece in closed quarters. He’s a joke!
    Man, I haven’t met the “who needs an agenda” guy either. But I have met the guy who has no slides, no notes, nor has any real purpose to the meeting. Again, he’s a relative of “who needs an agenda”. This cat’s name is “CAN YOU TAKE NOTES FOR ME”. I can’t stand him. And NO I can’t take notes – sucka!
    Okay, I feel a trend. I’ve never met “never follows through”, but he has a distant cousin from West Cost named “BREAKS EVERY PROMISE”. From his office you can hear his obnoxious voice that says “I promise, I’ll have it to you on Monday”. And on Monday, he repeats the same message.

    All joking to the side and without a doubt…the best leader sets the tone for the rest. She leads by example and isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty. She empowers others to make decisions because she has developed a level of trust with them. She knows the business – but if she doesn’t, she won’t just wing it, she’ll find out the answer. She’s punctual and direct, but understands that certain sensitivities are a requirement for successful leadership and dealing with different personalities.
    She’s you! Hahahaha – okay, that was messed up. I take it back!

    PEACE

    • Because my post was male dominated I thought maybe you were just leveling the playing field, but I should have known you were talking about me……….:)

      Leaders come in all types but confidence and decisiveness are certainly good traits to have. They do set the tone and people want to support them.

      Like I said, the leader doesn’t have to be the smartest person at the table but hopefully they have surrounded themselves w/ the right people who all have their own individual strengths.

      The over-promiser is the worst; you can never count on them.

      Good to see you buddy and appreciate the visit. Hope all is well.

  19. I know all four of those guys… well. I will say that there is nothing inherently wrong with meetings. In fact a well-run meeting or conference call is vastly superior to seven centuries of interminable email discussion. The problem is that 80% of meetings are a terribly done and an inefficient use of time (meetings are the perfect ex. of the 80/20 rule… okay, maybe 90/10).

    Meetings under strong, effective results-oriented leaders are a pleasure. A good leader will usually shut down the personalities you mention. Unfortunately, political dynamics don’t always allow for that type of meeting.

    • Typically you have talent and brain power around the table; used properly you can get quite a bit accomplished. Running a good meeting is an art and there are a lot of people who don’t do well at it. I’ve sat in enough that I’ve become more vocal if I see it going in a bad direction. Tactfully, but I will speak up.

      Thanks for your thoughts Adam, very much appreciated and good to see you.

  20. I’m with Brankica and Lori now Bill, thank goodness. I am my own boss and all those people rolled up into one. But, I’ve always been annoyingly organized so had I been running any of those meetings when I was in corporate America, you can bet they would have run on schedule and on time. My ex-bosses use to call me the Bitch… But, it was meant in a good way! 🙂 One very strong and determined woman! Yep, that’s me!

    Okay, but I agree with the ladies. We surround ourselves with such awesome people here online we can’t help but stand up and be the leaders that we were always meant to be. I know I’m coming into my own now leading my own team and loving every minute of it!

    Thanks Bill for yet another enlightening post. Tell it like it is my friend. Love it!

    Adrienne

    • Yeah, I heard you had a tough boss now……..:).

      Everybody has some leadership traits and the key is to put yourself in a position to work to your strengths as much as possible and find others to fill in the rest.

      In your case, when you are the chief, cook and bottle washer, you have to figure some of this out, huh?

      I agree you have all stood up to be the leaders and entrepreneurs you were meant to be. It is fun to watch you grow.

      Good to see you and I appreciate your coments.

  21. Hi, Bill.

    For me, a great leader is one who admits his limitations and addresses these by delegating. It is very rare to find people like this. I’m very fortunate that I have found a boss who does not only believe in me but who also possess this trait. 🙂

    I bet you, SuperSocialMan, is this kind of leader, too. 🙂

    • SSM, huh? I do work with a team and try to empower them as much as possible. We’ve had a bump or two but at the end of the day the buck stops w/ me and I think they appreciate that I always have their back. I have been fortunate to be surrounded by some really sharp people who care.

      It just makes for a better work environment.

      So good to see you, hope your day has gone well.

      • My day has been great, Bill. No coughs and colds can ever destroy my day. 🙂

        And, your team is lucky to have you. I know why they care. It’s because you do, too.

  22. Hi Bill,

    Leadership seems to be a much discussed topic nowadays. I agree with you that the best leaders are those who know what they can and cannot do. Their number one quality is to select the best people for the job. Unlike what many people think, I don’t think it’s about charisma or anything, although it may help to make more of an impact on people.

    In sales we have the common issue that the best sales people get promoted to the position of sales manager, while they often don’t possess the skills and knowledge that go with it. It’s not because you’re good at something that you can simply ‘transfer’ this skillset to an entire team. Selling a product or service and managing a team are two different things.

    Wim

    • Wow, is that so true; why don’t you just take your top producer out of what they do best and make them a manager, huh? One certainly does not equate to the other.

      If you know you are incredibly deficient in certain areas of management or leadership, then hopefully you are smart enough to fill that void in someone instead of letting it bring you down.

      Charisma might help initially, but ultimately results always wins out.

      Good to see you Wim, hope all has been well; I do appreciate the visit.

  23. Hi Bill!

    Well, I’m sure I’m definitely in the minority, but I love meetings…when done right. They provide an opportunity for people to share ideas, ask questions, learn from one another, and leave better than they arrived. I am oft known to be the one running meetings because I have a vision for what can be and passion to make it happen. With a little forethought and prep-work, meetings can yield excellent results.

    Granted, the flip side to this is when the person running the meeting decides to talk about their new puppy in lieu of discussing business. This is just unacceptable and the sign of someone who doesn’t truly understand business – the amount of money it costs to hold a meeting is substantial and anyone calling a meeting ought to do the math on it so they understand just how much value needs to come out of the meeting to justify holding the meeting in the first place. Especially if you’re bringing a group of sales folks together – the revenue generators.

    My favorite type? The ones who are “smart enough to surround themselves with the right team, let them do their jobs and get out of the way.” It’s a rare find, but those are the ones who keep great people and regularly see excellent results.

    Good to see you this week!

    • Ah, spoken like someone who knows the true cost that affects the bottom line.

      Meeting are very good IF done right. I mean you have access to all the talent and brain power so make it an effective meeting, right?

      On any meeting I run my primary objective is to try to engage everyone in the meeting so they will feel more a part of the process. If you have the right people and know their personalities, you can pull off a pretty darn good meeting.

      Good to see you Wendy and hope all has been well. I do appreciate your time in stopping by.

  24. Hi Bill,

    I sat in on a conference call today that was endless. There was a moment where I thanked God that I wasn’t in the same room as the “leader” and two “lackeys” who kept things going for countless unnecessary hours.
    When I first got into the workforce I probably was the guy who sometimes spoke to make himself look good. It took a little time for me to realize that it wasn’t necessary to always speak up to be acknowledged for my efforts.
    I immensely dislike leaders who lead through fear. Don’t try to bully or intimidate people into doing what you want them to because it doesn’t work.
    My favorite is the person who asks you to stretch yourself, but has faith that you can and does what they can to help and or provide resources to succeed.

    • When I saw you respond to Davina about an endless conference call I was tempted to send you this way. Meetings can actually be pretty productive IF done properly.

      Stretch, empower and engage and you will have people who will run through a wall for you.

      One other thing I didn’t touch on was ‘always be forward thinking’ don’t get hung up on the past on what was or wasn’t done. If this is your team, then find a way everyone can succeed; allow them to work to their strengths.

      Hope the conf call at least accomplished something worthwhile. So good to see you and I appreciate your comments from beyond……………the other side…………..whatever it is when you are no longer with us…………….:)

  25. Hi Bill, I’ve been thinking more about this great post and reading the insightful comments. How about a follow up article on the types of folks you do want in your meetings? Dan the Doer who can be counted on to take on a project and deliver on his promises. Positive Paula who can take negative energy and turn it into positive. Carl the Comic who can point out flaws in a plan with humor so no one is offended. Grounded Georgia who helps get discussions back on track.

    You could write about your dream team so people could have a role to aspire to. Just an idea. 🙂

    • Wow, what a great idea; I should have known you were a glass half full person…….:). I will definitely have to give this some more thought.

      I do appreciate you taking the time to stop by today; much appreciated.

      I liked the Google + article, I just added and handful more.

      Hope your day is going well and I’m sure I will see you around this week.

  26. “…if you aren’t making the decisions you might be ‘selling’ to this same group. Do you think it might be a good idea to know the personalities and dynamics of the decision makers (your audience) before you make your ‘pitch’?”

    Soooo important, Bill! I try, but it’s not always easy when working with clients long distance to discover the dynamics of a company. Although I may be able to “get in good” with one person, who that person is realtive to the rest of the company can be another story–and I may never find that out. It’s easier with local clients.

    • Certainly not as easy when you can’t be face to face, but depending on the size of the company there might be some ‘hints’ you can glean online. Or, if you get in good w/ one you might ask of the others and phrase it with “if you were in my shoes, how would you approach them”? Most people are willing to help and tell you what type of person you would be dealing with.

      Good to see you today and thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I hope your week has gone well so far.

  27. Hey Bill, when I work in the drug rehab field, we used to have meetings…ALL THE TIME. I mean.. meetings about meetings, after a while I just used to turn up in body, but was rarely there is spirit.
    Mainly because the meeting was filled with #never follow through guy-management and #who needs an agenda guy…meaning we just kept having to have meetings about meetings…great! Take me to your leader should have..OMG…we have no leader. I left!

    • It’s frustrating because you have all the right pieces to get something done but if you can’t harness and direct it, it turns into a huge waste of time. Most meetings should have a 30 minute time table and be run very concise and efficient. You will get so much more accomplished.

      Thanks for stopping by Ms Stacey; hope the Bali girl is doing well and has a great weekend.

  28. Hey Bill, when I worked in the drug rehab field, we used to have meetings…ALL THE TIME. I mean.. meetings about meetings, after a while I just used to turn up in body, but was rarely there is spirit.
    Mainly because the meeting was filled with #never follow through guy-management and #who needs an agenda guy…meaning we just kept having to have meetings about meetings…great! Take me to your leader should have..OMG…we have no leader. I left!

    • You can be genetically predisposed to have leadership tendencies in your personality but that doesn’t necessarily mean you will be a good leader. However, I think you can ‘make’ a leader even if you have limited skills. Depends on how bad you want and figuring out what works for you.

  29. Wow, I’d love to be in a meeting with you Bill, we could debate the finer words of the English Language all day long and not get any work done 😉

    I’m lucky that I’m a lower-rank worker in my current company, because I avoid meetings. My line manager has repeatedly told me that the meetings are:

    – Boring
    – Tedious
    – Frustrating
    – Largely pointless
    – Sometimes aggressive
    – Sometimes futile

    I wonder, if she was more tech-savvy, I’d introduce her to this blog 🙂

    • There is definitely an ‘art’ to running an effective meeting. Done right, you can get a tremendous amount accomplished. Hey Stu, maybe that will be our niche; we’ll start selling our services on how to run an effective meeting.

      The biggest problem I see is the fact meetings are interruptions to your job typically. You know you have things to do and so you are distracted to begin with. That is why it is so important to be concise and on task as much as possible. Also, when the meeting is done you should feel like something was accomplished and know exactly what the next thing to be done is. It’s like herding cats at times, but can be done.

      Hey birthday boy, you were all over the place this week; good for you. Keep up the good work and I’ll be seeing you around. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Hey Mr Vote getter………good to see you. I don’t disagree, there are very effective leaders through servitude. And those usually have the best intentions so you know where they are coming from and what they are all about.

      Thanks for your comments and best of luck on your contest. I hope you have a great week.

  30. I have worked with the kind of unhappy people that you describe. When I was the boss, I had the satisfaction of kicking people like that to the curb. In a heart beat. [grin] Time is money. But time is also time. And time is priceless.

    • Stan the man, I agree; you will never get time back once used, so use it wisely, right?

      Most of the time I don’t think the people aren’t capable most of the time, they either just don’t get it or their personality doesn’t allow them the opportunity to ‘get it’.

      If you are in the business world or non-profit boards long enough you will definitely see them all.

      Say ‘no’ to time wasters, huh?

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by; I hope you have a great week.

    • Reminds of the book I once read, The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive. Hiring was one of the most important aspects of running any business. You don’t want the new blood poisoning the current setup and culture.

      • That is so true; you make the ‘right’ hire in the first place and you don’t have to spend so much time teaching or changing culture. There are plenty of seats on the bus, but everybody should have a reserved seat; you just can’t sit anywhere.

        I see you getting a lot of love out there, it is a crazy thing isn’t it? Good luck with it.

  31. Hey Bill,

    Brilliant post.

    I know all the people you are talking about. I work at a university, and we have them all 🙂

    It’s so funny to see them in action. And especially when I’m in a meeting with people with all the different personalities. Wow, that’s just fantastic 🙂

    To me, the best leaders are the ones that have a lot of knowledge (and understands what’s really going on), but will let his team work and make their own decisions. The leader will only lead their way when they’re doing something they shouldn’t be doing. The leader is like the guy sitting next to us in the car and looking at the map. To me, the best leaders are not invisible, but they are doing the strategic important decisions and not the small details. And they are also big on action, and can say yes or no in a matter of seconds (if it’s important to do so).

    Jens

    • Hey Jens, you out of the woods yet? I can imagine you would see them in a university setting because so of those meetings can get political as well so you are not sure of everyone’s agenda. Leaders who micro-manage can stifle productivity; so yes, they need to get out of the way and have confidence in their team.

      I appreciate your comments and couldn’t agree more. Good to see you and hope your family time has been very rewarding.

  32. Hi Bill,

    I am new here.

    I work with the government and have truly seen many unqualified leaders holding important decisions. Sometimes, it makes me doubt our own system who can put these leaders there in the first place. But what that hack!

    I used to think that good leaders are born not made. Now, after my own personal development journey, I think true leaders can in fact be made. Otherwise, how can you overcome negative beliefs right. So for all those leaders who seem unfit, there is hope. Better get some personal and leadership development in before the whole lot of followers suffer.

    Cheers

    • Welcome, and thanks for your thoughts. In government I have seen both but w/ government there seems to be more a sense on entitlement instead of most qualified for the position.

      If you are a student of the ‘game’ I think you can figure out what works for you and what doesn’t and find a way to plug the holes in the area that need help. So therefore, I think leaders can be made.

      Like everything, it takes practice to be the best you can be and it’s a never ending journey; best of luck to you on yours.

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by.

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