What are your motives for being a leader?

In his 2020 book “The Motive”, leadership author and speaker Patrick Lencioni lays out the right and wrong reasons for being a leader. I saw Lencioni give his first talk on the book to a leadership conference in August 2019 where he quoted the tagline of the conference – “All leaders have influence” – and then said “and some of you shouldn’t !!”, a line that drew big laughs.
This is such an important and fundamental question that Lencioni has stated that this should have been the first book he wrote. In summary – if you want to help and serve others, that is a good motive for being a leader. If you want to be a leader for power, title, status, money, or to feed your ego, those are the wrong reasons to be a leader. I saw Lencioni give his first talk on the book to a leadership conference in August 2019 where he quoted the tagline of the conference – “All leaders have influence” – and then said “and some of you shouldn’t !!”, a line that drew big laughs.
In his typical style (e.g. “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”), Lencioni describes the opposite of good leadership. Here is the list of things that poor leaders hate to spend time on:
• Difficult Conversations – Poor leaders avoid difficult conversations, such as timely, direct feedback when expectations are not being met.
• Managing Direct Reports – Poor leaders either micro-manage their directs or say “I hire good people and leave them alone”.
• Running Great Meetings – Poor leaders dread meetings, avoid them, and complain about them.
• Team Building – Poor leaders regard team building as “soft” (not core) or “touchy-feely” and delegate it to subordinates or HR.
• Repetition/Reinforcement – Poor leaders underestimate the need to repeat their key messages (strategy, etc.) multiple times or get bored with reinforcing them.
• Difficult Conversations – Poor leaders avoid difficult conversations, such as timely, direct feedback when expectations are not being met. Great leaders understand that such conversations are not easy but are crucial.
Managing Direct Reports – Poor leaders either micro-manage their directs or say “I hire good people and leave them alone”. Great leaders strike the right balance and act as a “coach” for their directs.
• Running Great Meetings – Poor leaders dread meetings, avoid them, and complain about them. Great leaders want to run great meetings because they realize that is where they get great input, solve issues, and set an example for others.
• Team Building – Poor leaders regard team building as “soft” (not core) or “touchy-feely” and delegate it to subordinates or HR. Great leaders realize that team health is absolutely core and creates a real, sustainable competitive advantage, enabling the success of the “hard” strategies and technical pursuits.
• Repetition/Reinforcement – Poor leaders underestimate the need to repeat their key messages (strategy, etc.) multiple times or get bored with reinforcing them. Great leaders are the CRO (Chief Reminding Officer) and realize that people have to hear it at least seven times before it sinks in.
What are your motives for being a leader? Do you agree with the importance of the five things great leaders must get really good at? Please give me an example of when you tackled one of these important leadership actions and achieved results!

Fight or Flight

Buried deep in the reptilian part of our brain is a system that quickly constantly scans the environment looking for potential threats. When it spots one, it reacts with an instant impulse of “fight” or “flight”.

The more recently developed portions of our brain help us ultimately decide what to do. But the instant assessment cannot be turned off.  It is an automatic, unconscious response to threat, developed over millions of years to help enhance the odds of survival.

One Giant Leap and “The Vision Thing”

The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing on July 20 brought back some old memories. For my generation, Neil Armstrong’s first step onto the lunar surface is one of those few events in history where you can remember exactly where you were and what you were doing. I remember staying up a little late on a Sunday night and huddling around the TV with the rest of my family to watch him take the first step and utter those famous words: “That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Lombardi Time

A few years ago, I went up to Green Bay, WI to see the Bears play the Packers on a Monday night. My son and I made the trip with my wife’s brother and his son, who live in the LA area but somehow are huge Packers fans. When we arrived at the stadium on Sunday afternoon for a tour, my nephew said, “look at the clock.” I said “OK, it’s 1:15”. Then he said, “look at your watch.” I saw it was 1:00 and remembered about “Lombardi Time.”