By Frank Costantino, Managing Partner
Some news and events over the past couple of weeks, have reminded me of the critical importance of leadership. Why is it that really good companies become really great companies? Answer: Leadership. OK, then why do really great companies eventually fail? Answer: Again, Leadership.
2014 earnings reports are hitting the streets and mixed results are making news. Some great companies continue to achieve greater levels of success. Financial reports of other great companies reveal actions to restructure, attract a buyer or simply, well…follow the path of Blockbuster video, for example. Is it too harsh to put all of this on the shoulders of company leaders and ignore things like technology innovations, market demand or global competition? Answer: No, it is not.
Leader is not a title! It is a call to action.
In 1948, the US Army developed the 11 principles of leadership and first published them in an Army Field Manual on Leadership in 1951. These principles are still being taught today.
Principles of Leadership (US Army, 1948)
Know yourself and seek self-improvement. In order to know yourself, you have to understand your be, know, and do, attributes. Seeking self-improvement means continually strengthening your attributes. This can be accomplished through self-study, formal classes, reflection, and interacting with others.
Be technically proficient. As a leader, you must know your job and have a solid familiarity with your employees' tasks.
Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions. Search for ways to guide your organization to new heights. And when things go wrong, as they often tend to do sooner or later — do not blame others. Analyze the situation, take corrective action, and move on to the next challenge.
Make sound and timely decisions. Use good problem solving, decision making, and planning tools.
Set the example. Be a good role model for your employees. They must not only hear what they are expected to do, but also see. We must become the change we want to see - Mahatma Gandhi
Know your people and look out for their well-being. Know human nature and the importance of sincerely caring for your workers.
Keep your workers informed. Know how to communicate with not only them, but also seniors and other key people.
Develop a sense of responsibility in your workers. Help to develop good character traits that will help them carry out their professional responsibilities.
Ensure that tasks are understood, supervised, and accomplished. Communication is the key to this responsibility.
Train as a team. Although many so called leaders call their organization, department, section, etc. a team; they are not really teams... they are just a group of people doing their jobs.
Use the full capabilities of your organization. By developing a team spirit, you will be able to employ your organization, department, section, etc. to its fullest capabilities.
Throughout 2014, Butler Street has had the privilege to work with company leaders, who have demonstrated, perhaps subconsciously, their commitment to these principles and their promise to their organizations. Translating these principles to visible actions by: setting the example; participating in knowledge and training sessions; communicating and celebrating results and, most rewarding, operationalizing principle #11.
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