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Welcome to DORO – Pull Up a Chair

Check Twice: Your Leadership List

You don’t lead by hitting people over the head-that’s assault, not leadership.”
 General Dwight D. Eisenhower

The Two L's

I’m nearing a decade of small business ownership. In the past two years,  I’ve added Sideline Pass, a new sports venture to the DORO group, requiring a new focus on my leadership tactics. To do so, I’ve made sure to do two things: Check Myself and Check with Others.

While trying to establish a workable, efficient system like the one Gen. Eisenhower suggests, I’ve had to evaluate my management skills by asking questions. Here are some of my “Check Myself System” questions:

  1. Did I have to repeat myself? Am I clearly communicating my requests?
  2. Did the project/task stay on target? How often did I shift deadlines?
  3. What did I miss? Have I missed it before? Is there a pattern?
  4. What did the team think?

Answering each question honestly, I’m able to determine where the gaps are. For example, I learned that I often assume too much. I asked a project manager to organize information for a database and sent her on her way. Twenty more minutes of Q&A with her would have revealed that she hadn’t created such a resource before and provided her with critical instruction. Point taken. Spending the time up front to set expectations saves fix-it time on the back end.

Then I Check with Others – particularly those who have done it before. I’ve reconnected with my frosh* dorm mate Warren Packard, a successful venture capitalist and entrepreneur who has spent years leading and growing companies. When asked how he created his style, and he quickly replied: “By observation (and by the seat of my pants).  I’ve sat on the boards of dozens of companies and observed many leaders and leadership styles, both good and bad.  I am hoping to incorporate the best practices from this accumulated experience.  I’m still learning about leadership and crossing my fingers that I’m doing a good job, or at least have the intellectual honesty and self-awareness to know when I’m not doing a good job.

Warren Packard, Thuuz.com

Putting his skills to test with a new company, Thuuz.com, Warren shared his leadership tactics.  In no particular order, here they are:

  • Communicate and inspire a common vision.
  • Hire great individuals; Hire up.
  • Bring on complementary skills; Seek diversity along all dimensions.
  • Move fast.
  • Embrace small failures.
  • Manage by objective.
  • Respect your co-workers, partners, customers, and stakeholders.
  • Listen.
  • Keep an open mind; Be self-aware.

These tactics are on the lists of centuries of leaders, but I’ve learned that I can never hear them enough. Each new project or endeavor requires that a manager strengthen a different skill or tactic.  Determining your leadership identity takes time, self-reflection and an open spirit. Spending time to learn about oneself is necessary for growth. Your team will thank you for it.

*Frosh is the Stanford University term for freshman, making the classification gender neutral.

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This entry was posted on 11/11/2010 by in All About the Business and tagged , , , , , , .
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