Leadership: Your Team Is a Reflection Of You


For all leaders, everywhere

I recently had an impromptu conversation with one of my favorite leaders. She was talking, with frustration, about a couple of people on her leadership team who had not produced their most important deliverables for this time, this year.

As I listened intently, I asked myself – what is in the way of this happening? Where are the obstacles – tangible or intangible? I asked her if I could ask a couple of questions, which she agreed to – after a deep sigh. I asked if the actions/results that were expected were clear and understood – she said yes. I asked if there was an agreed upon deadline and milestones to achievement – she asked what I meant by that. I said, “Like a project manager, are there incremental deadlines/results that when achieved in a timeline, will likely produce the desired result by the agreed-upon deadline?” She said yes and no. I asked for more.

She said that there were but those milestones had not been met. I asked if she had on HER calendar a delivery date and time from that person. She said no. I asked why not? She said she didn’t think that had to happen, that she shouldn’t have to micromanage her leaders. I said I understand…and they have yet to produce the results….so this process to not micromanage your leaders is ineffective…would you agree? She said yes.

This is a very typical leadership conversation. Leaders who expect their reports to be able to deliver as agreed, and yet they are not delivering. AND they don’t want to have them believe that they don’t trust them, so they don’t put tighter timelines/actions in place and follow up immediately if that timeline has been missed – when evidence has shown that they need those the most.

Keep your team close until they demonstrate their ability to deliver with reliability and to a time frame. YOUR inability as a leader to hold them to their word and actions and timeframe says more about you than it does about them. Help them to win and to build the skills and structures to do that consistently before you let them loose.

Now, go help them to sell something.


Jody Smiling Photo copy


For Sale Managers everywhere… As the Sales Manager, the success of the team falls squarely on your shoulders. It’s up to you to have a team of performers who can consistently hit their goals so that you can consistently hit … Continue reading

Uh, Leadership

How does that sound to you…..like a question, a sigh of resignation?

Recently, I had lunch with Kristine Scotto, a friend, colleague, collaborator, and fearless leader whom I respect and care for deeply and whose generosity is significant and whose timing is intuitively perfect. Not only did she give me her Eiffel tower iPhone case just because I said I liked it (and it really is too adorable for words) but she brought me 2 books – Tribes by Seth Godin and The Millionaire Messenger by Brendon Burchard. Both short, power-packed books which I immediately dove into and then promptly distracted myself from them with lesser readings – the latest design mag or some unimportant but juicy email – anything to keep me from the messages that were right under my nose…. again. My resistance was paralyzing as was my resistance to my resistance. At some point, whether fueled by a 12 step reading or the homework from a Landmark discussion or both – I noticed my “I don’t wanna” and underneath that my fear of going to the next step in my own leadership, growth, vulnerability and contribution. So, like many of you who are up to something, I am up against it. Up against my fear of not looking good by possibly failing and being out there alone, my concern with having to ‘keep it up’ once started, and the ubiquitous ‘where will I find the time?’ question (like time has anything to do with this, really). Seth Godin inspires me daily, sometimes several times a day, with his wisdom, logic, sensitivity and eyes and ears that are tuned to what matter, what’s here and what’s coming up. I want to play in his league and make a difference on that scale – I say that and yet my actions don’t align. And isn’t leadership a practice of actions?

Ah, action – the steps of progress. I think Kristine gave me BOTH books because one is inspiring and the other is the process of aspiring – how to do it beyond the first good feeling. I’m going back in – back to reading, pondering, seeing where it fits and fits me, sitting with the discomfort and with whatever comes up, writing and writing….I’m going back in….come with me.