Remembering and Honoring Quiet Leadership on this Memorial Day

In his blog article titled A Purposeful Memorial Day published on 05/25/13, John H. Clark III quotes an anonymous author who wrote:

Remember:
Those we love don’t go away, they walk beside us every day.
Unseen, unheard, but always near; still loved, still missed and very dear.
~ Anonymous

This statement reminds me of my father, a quiet leader who led by example and brought out the very best in those around him.

Dad was a veteran of World War II, a Marine. He rarely talked about his experiences in the Corps; and, when he did, he spoke only of good times; of playing football on the beach of an unnamed Pacific Island; of the people he met while serving in China. That was my Dad, always looking for the good and the happiness … the best.

After his discharge from service, Dad attended college, entered the financial services industry, married, and started a family. He volunteered to help causes he felt were worthy of his support including serving as the Treasurer for the Boy Scout Troop I joined. While he did not particularly enjoy camping (he said he’d done all the camping he ever wanted to do in the Corps), he attended Scout campouts when his help was needed. He served as a merit badge counselor for the topic he knew best, personal finances, and helped many boys grow into financially knowledgeable young men. In all that he did, he exuded a quiet leadership by modeling the behavior that helped rambunctious boys grow into responsible young men.

Later in life, as a banking executive, Dad mentored several young branch managers sharing the experiences of his career and teaching them not only how to do their jobs, but how to manage employees in a compassionate manner and treat customers with courtesy, respect, and empathy. There was no rah! rah! about it. He simply went about his business demonstrating how to do these things … quietly.

In hindsight, I can see that he was not alone in doing these things. I  once overheard one of my Scoutmasters talking about his time in the Army. Again, there was only talk of happy memories. And, again, Mr. Satzke led quietly, expressing faith in our ability to do whatever we set our minds to and pride in our accomplishments.  In fact, the men that I have known who are, or were, members of what journalist Tom Brokaw called “The Greatest Generation” have pretty much fit that mold … quiet leaders who did not see themselves as heroes … or for that matter as anything special at all. They saw themselves only as men who were fortunate to have survived horrible experiences; who found the ability to look at the positive side of anything that happened; and, who had the opportunity to raise the next generation and provide it with the tools that would enable their children to surpass anything which they themselves may have accomplished.

Sadly, many of the men and women of that generation (including my Dad) have now passed on. We have only our memories of them and all that they taught us … and aren’t we incredibly rich for having these things? On this Memorial Day, let us pause and give thanks for the quiet leaders who touched our lives. God bless them all as He has blessed us by allowing us to know them.

Tom Hoisington is a speaker, trainer, and author whose goal is to provide leaders and potential leaders with tools that empower them to build teams that are creative and cost effective along with a clearer understanding of how personality types interact within those teams. He can be contacted at tom.hoisington@eagleoneresources.com

Do You Accept Responsibility and Give Credit Where it is Due?

Over 50 years ago, Americans were exhorted to ask not what their country could do for them; but rather, to ask what they can do for their country. Today, there appears to be a sense that people are making every effort to get more than they give. The exception to this, of course, is Great Leaders. They recognize that committing all of their skill, all of their imagination, to the betterment of the team builds success not just for themselves but for all team members.

Weak leaders look at life through the lense of ‘What’s In It For Me?” Their sole concern is their own personal aggrandizement and enrichment. They will do everything within their power to ensure that they receive all of the credit for the team’s successes; and, they will take whatever actions are necessary to deflect blame for the team’s failures away from themselves and onto someone else.

Conversely, Great Leaders attribute the team’s success to the efforts of the team members. In success, they deflect the glory and accolades to their team members and accept only that they were fortunate to have a great team that made the success possible. In failure, they state quickly and without reservation that the fault resides not in the efforts of the followers; but rather, in the leadership that they themselves failed to provide. Everything that they do, every action that they take, is a commitment to the improvement of the team and tangible evidence of their belief in the abilities and capabilities of their team. In the final analysis, by giving credit for success to the team members and accepting responsibility for team failures, Great Leaders sow the seeds of loyalty and gratitude among their followers. These followers will go the extra mile to support the leader … and when the team enjoys greater success, the Great Leader will always attribute that success back to the amazing efforts of the team.

If you have had the luxury of working with a Great Leader, please share a comment here that illustrates what made that person a Great Leader.

Tom Hoisington is a speaker, trainer, and author whose goal is to provide leaders and potential leaders with tools that empower them to build teams that are creative and cost effective along with a clearer understanding of how personality types interact within those teams. He can be contacted at tom.hoisington@eagleoneresources.com

What Is Your Personal Code of Ethics?

My father, a very wise man in his own way, frequently told me that a man must know what he stands for; otherwise, he’d fall for anything. I know, this was not an original thought that he created. He undoubtedly heard it somewhere and tucked it away with many other bits of wisdom that he would periodically sprinkle into our conversations. That’s the way he went about building character. He never sat down and said, “Here’s what you do.” He dropped these little bread crumb clues into casual conversations and let you discover them for yourself. Then, when you voiced them, he would act surprised and commend you for your great idea and congratulate you for making a fascinating discovery; and, of course, he then encouraged you to “get to work on that.”

I thought of my father when I read an article the other day in which the writer suggested that when a person interviews for a job, when asked if he or she has any questions, the person should ask for a copy of the company’s Code of Ethics in order to determine if the company was a good match for his or her own code of ethical conduct. My first reaction was, “what a remarkable idea! Who would have thought to ask that?” My next thought was, OK, if a person asks for the company’s code, he or she better be prepared to provide a copy of their own code.

Great leaders know what they stand for. They have a very clear understanding of what they feel is right and what they know is wrong. They live by this code of right and wrong and are prepared to walk away from things that they know are unethical and, more importantly, they will walk away from “opportunities” that just don’t pass “the smell test”. They may not see a specific law being broken; but, they recognize that it just isn’t right and they refuse to be a part of it … and they put a stop to it when they can.

Have you written out your own personal Code of Ethics? It’s not as easy as it first sounds. What do you think it should include? Should you have separate codes for your personal life and your business life? I’ve posted my Code on this website at http://www.eagleoneresources.com/index.php/code-of-ethics/. Please take a look at it and then comment here. Tell Great Leaders what you believe constitutes ethical conduct.

Tom Hoisington is a speaker, trainer, and author whose goal is to provide leaders and potential leaders with tools that empower them to build teams that are creative and cost effective along with a clearer understanding of how personality types interact within those teams. He can be contacted at tom.hoisington@eagleoneresources.com

How Can a Relater Personality Be a Great Leader?

When people think of leaders, they tend to think of the person who takes command; who gives orders; who talks loudly; who moves through the crowd shaking hands with everyone and talking to everyone who will listen … and frequently to those who would rather not listen.

A Relater Personality (see Personality Types and Leadership – Part 3 published here on April 11, 2012) hardly fits the description above. Relaters tend to be introverted personalities; again, not what you expect from someone who aspires to a position of leadership. But, I believe that Relaters can be GREAT Leaders because they have some skills that are desperately needed.

They Listen: I once heard the great Cavett Robert say, “God gave you two ears and one mouth. It was a hint.” What did he mean by this? Great Leaders recognize that they do not know it all. Great Leaders listen twice as much as they talk; and, at this, Relaters excel. Relater Personalities listen to others, especially where there are differing opinions and points of view so that they can determine where common ground exists.

They Build Consensus: Once the Relater Leader knows where the common ground is, they are in a much better position to broker compromises in which all parties believe that they have gotten what they need. They rally people to the positions that all support and keep everyone focused on what they have in common; the positions that they all support. Rather than having team members see other members with differing points of view as opponents to be defeated, Relater Leaders help the team arrive at positions that the majority can support. Even those who don’t completely agree with the position feel valued in that they had an opportunity to present their opinions and ideas and that they were heard.

They Foster a Spirit of Teamwork: My former neighbor, Bobby, is a Relater Leader. Working in the construction industry, Bobby was a job-site supervisor and had a reputation for getting more quality work from his crews than any other supervisor in the company. Got a tough job with a hard completion deadline? This was the man you wanted on the job! I asked him how he did it and his answer was quite simple. He stated that his crews did not work for him … they work with him. If he needed the crew to work on Saturday in order to be ready for an inspection on Monday, he did not tell the workers that they had to work on Saturday. He told them that, in order to have the job done by Monday morning, some work needed to be done on Saturday. He told them that he’d be on the job-site at 7:00 a.m. with coffee and donuts; then, he asked who would be there at 8:00 a.m. to help him get the job done. He never lacked help; and, they usually showed up well before 8:00 and found him hard at work. His crew knew that they were a team; that they would succeed or fail as a team; and, that the leader of the team would work as hard, or harder, than he asked of them.

Can a Relater Personality by a Great Leader?  Comment here and tell us what you think?

Tom Hoisington is a speaker, trainer, and author whose goal is to provide leaders and potential leaders with tools that empower them to build teams that are creative and cost effective along with a clearer understanding of how personality types interact within those teams. He can be contacted at tom.hoisington@eagleoneresources.com