Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Leadership 101

When picking a leader, you want to try to know as much of their personality, traits, behavior, work ethic, character, integrity, dreams, aspirations, etc..., as you can. You want to have skillful people that will benefit your organization. But the truth is, people show themselves through time. At the beginning, everyone show their pretty face and you never know what comes next. I am not trying to put anyone down but we have to be cautious when putting roles on people that do not fit them.

Let me give you a few examples of traits you can see in people that displays behaviors, which can be warning signs, they can bring to the environment:

1) Messy car (The ones that have a "please clean me" sign written in the back). We all have our messy car moments, specially those that have kids. But a car that remains messy at all times reflect a life without order and most likely poor choices and lack of priority organization.

2) The talking phonebook: These are very challenging. These are those people that never stops talking. Those that after 30 minutes on the phone... all you are able to say is one "yes" and one "no".. not even a hello. The reason is because they are overly friendly but they can damage a team fast. I am not saying that all those outgoing woo's are going to ruin a team. But a symptom, which I call "the talking phonebook", is a person that is not only interested in their lives but also in everyone lives for the purpose of having conversations. I call this gossip.

3) Terminators: These are those that always have the comment that kills the mood. At the beginning they tend to be shy and maybe quite. They mostly are the do it all and workaholic... but you will notice them... they are the ones that when you ask them how they are doing... they will respond: "Not too bad" or "been better" or even "have had better days"... you know... the half empty cup people. These people can kill your team in no time. I am not saying that we have to treat these people different but what I am saying is that when choosing a team for the first time... you need to get people that you can depend on.. not people that have to depend on you. 

4) The intoxicated: This person is the one that cannot control a habit because the habit controls them. (I am not against smokers, but I do know that smokers work only 60% of their workday) But either way, these is not about people that smoke but about those  who get easily influenced by others. You know these people.... you can tell them anything and they think is right even though they know it is wrong. These people do not have the concept of accountability or character. They can go from one end to the other, flip flop, and not even noticing it. 

5) The "Mr. Right": These people are the ones that think they are right even when they are wrong and still argue about it. This type of people are not easy to study but a topic of politics or religion will give them up. The problem with these people is that they are not team players. I personally struggled with this in my early years in leadership. These people can be very demanding and strict in their believes and they usually do not take "no" for an answer.

6) The false prophet: These are those who will tell you what you want to hear but with the intentions of letting others know something totally different. These are also loners... they may be good leaders but they always have an agenda. This is one of those leaders that is almost impossible to expose. But, when asked about previous work, they can always have an excuse on why they left the previous jobs. Most of them leave other jobs in good terms but they do everything for self glory and self recognition. They say "I" allot. They also make sure you know their accomplishments.

7) The wife beater: These people are those that can have the best leadership traits. the best skills, the best resume, the best accomplishments, the most awards, the most influential but has destroyed his or her family. These are those that their life and profession comes before their family. These people are almost impossible to recognize unless they have been divorced twice and the current wife wants to leave them. These people are those who will put down anyone for them to succeed.

There are plenty more but will leave for later.

Note: My intentions are not to put anyone with any of the above characteristic down. Actually, if you can pin point flaws in your character and work ethic, then you are in the right track for leadership. Recognizing weaknesses is the first step in leadership.

There will be time when you can pour out to these different people that I mentioned above and help them over the mountain that has them stuck but it will take allot of effort from your part an your team to help them climb the hill. If you are starting a business and you hire a team that you need to constantly help them go over the hill.. you will burn out and your business will fail. You need to get people in your team that will run with you without stopping and with minimal supervision.


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