Leadership 401: Creating Leaders (Level 4)

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Level 3 – Maintaining Teams

Level 4 leadership is excellent Level 3 leadership over time

Level 4 leaders create other leaders, which comes from a healthy group culture

  • Cultures take time to develop
  • A strong culture doesn’t need anyone to enforce rules because everyone wants to succeed together

Level 4 leaders work beyond management into creating a better environment to work in

  • Keeps everyone focused on the group’s overall vision
  • Fights against bureaucracy’s inevitable crawl by making every system as straightforward as possible
  • Talks less about various work-related matters with the entire group as people specialize in specific roles

Healthy groups share some common traits across all cultures

Honest and transparent

  • Use email systems where everyone can search all other members’ emails
  • Workers are allowed to access all information
  • Members can easily make one-on-one meetings with managers, maybe even with designated weekly office hours
  • Every idea is measured on the concept alone, not on who said it

Creating new answers as a thorough process

  • Require every new idea written in a document with a minimum length, not just email or meetings
  • Cross-pollinate ideas by mixing everyone across various workgroups and departments

Subordinates can freely use preferred methods when they produce results

  • Flexible hours if the work isn’t time-sensitive or requires their physical presence
  • Trusting attitude that someone will do all assigned work without further incentive
  • Dress codes which permit semi-casual or casual clothing
  • Mandatory non-email weekend days or evenings to force them towards personal time

Everyone is allowed to be human and make occasional mistakes

  • Managers avoid micro-managing or forcing members’ dependence on them
  • Everyone’s work is reviewed by peers to improve quality and trust

Each member is free to do what they want if the job gets done

  • Permission to use social media through their work computer
  • Allowed to use personal phones at work
  • Permission to bring their toys or comfort items into the office

Openness in the culture to new things

  • Embraces diversity and originality

Nobody is over-worked

  • The brain can only concentrate for thirteen hours after waking up, then creates equivalent results as drunkenness would
  • Efficiency is more important than perseverance
  • Long workdays have many hidden costs
    • Decreased productivity
    • Increased overtime costs
    • Relationship tension within the team
  • Pushing exhausted workers harder from lost income creates a vicious cycle by making them work even less productively

Improving a dysfunctional team takes time

The limits to how well change can benefit a group come from its leadership

  • Bold new ventures inspire teams to the level its leaders believe in it

Systems usually show clear signs of bureaucracy

  • Written in abstract or hard-to-understand phrasing
  • Expectations are unrealistic, hard to measure or vague
  • Processes described have a slow response time
  • Anything unintuitive or illogical
  • Any obsolete information
  • Readers feel insulted by its wording or hate going through it
  • Differing levels of achievement give the same rewards

If you want to rebuild a team, do it slowly

  1. Give everyone clear and reasonable goals which align with the organization’s vision
  2. Analyze the organization’s structure for any gaps in processes
  3. Make a strategy to manage the organization’s weaknesses and shortcomings
  4. Have everyone carry out the plan, usually across weeks or months
  5. Monitored and evaluate how well everyone is adopting the changes with a performance management system

Don’t make success a direct incentive

Goodhart’s Law: a measurement that becomes a target is no longer a good measurement

  • Use multiple metrics if you’re only using one

A focus on achieving inspires people to manipulate the system to get ahead

  • Sales or budget goals inspire gaming the measured numbers
  • Measuring amount of time on tasks encourages quick and ugly solutions or poor service
  • Measuring customer happiness inspires inefficient people-pleasing methods

Goodhart’s Law has an answer, however

  1. Cut out incentives entirely
  2. Pay a going rate
  3. Hire the correct people
  4. Tell them to work to the best of their ability

Level 4 leaders inspire their members to become leaders

The followers will want to imitate their leader

Look for new challenging assignments for yourself and never stop growing

  • Lead a volunteer organization, a group of freelancers or find other leadership opportunities

Find ways to improve yourself and keep raising standards for yourself

  • Grow in every possible personal achievement
  • Write down a “personal leadership code” of 5-10 points you always live by
  • As you start traveling more, work out away from home
  • Find new projects and endeavors, even in recreation

Leaders are fostered and mentored by more powerful leaders over time

  • Training a leader needs constant and dedicated input, feedback, encouragement, and guidance
  • Great leaders consistently apply great leadership principles across years
  • If you’re a leader, you’re training others every day
    • Your leadership goes beyond your work and into your family and friends

Never sacrifice your personal life for work

Instead, give away more responsibilities than you might be comfortable with

  • The larger your group grows, the more you’ll need to delegate
  • Change up management structure to a more free-form one
  • Empower workers to train each other
    • Train and educate them on how to make the organization succeed
    • Make “subject matter experts” to share their understanding with the rest of the group
  • Let the producers and labor solve the toughest problems
    • They’re usually more trustworthy to resolve them than you because they’re more familiar with them
    • Give young workers structure to channel their energy, engagement, and desire toward problems

Build a stronger business by taking time away from it

  • Learn to live away from your phone occasionally
  • Set up an email vacation auto-response

Becoming influential in an organization makes constructive criticism against your actions harder to find

Maintain a great rapport with everyone in the organization

Hold yourself and your peers accountable with a vigorously enforced culture of anonymous input

  • Find trustworthy peers from other organizations to share ideas with

Keep growing personally with a coach or mentor

Measure your actions more carefully to find ways to improve them

Consistently hear new ideas from hourly workers in your charge

  • Sales and customer service have especially great ideas from their perspective and experiences
Next: Level 5 Leadership – Leading Organizations