Thursday, April 16, 2015

Leadership Development: Leadership Begins with the Heart

This post is part of a series on leadership development.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I am currently participating in a Leadership Development Program (LDP) as part of my work at Franklin University. This week, I attended a presentation by Dr. Jim Mahoney, the Executive Director of Battelle for Kids. Dr. Mahoney spoke about the dynamics associated with being an effective leader. Below are my notes from the presentation.

Dr. Jim Mahoney speaking at Franklin University's Leadership Development Program.
I will begin by sharing Dr. Mahoney's concluding statement: "Leadership begins with the heart." It seems to me that many of the things he discussed throughout the presentation support that statement. 

Three Verbs to Describe Your Leadership
One of the first things Dr. Mahoney directed us to do was to write down three verbs that describe your leadership. It was a quick exercise, and some of the participants shared the following: verbs, which I thought were great: Listen, Organize, Dependable, Innovate, Maximize, Understand, Empower. For myself, I came up with the following (which I have edited a bit):
  • Clarify – Help bring clarity to what the goals are.
  • Demonstrate – Be an example of hard work and a positive attitude.
  • Collaborate – work with others and help them succeed.

Empowering Your People
Dr. Mahoney paused for a moment when someone mentioned empowerment and said that to empower people effectively, you really must do the following 4 things. 
  1. Identify the Problem (which is usually done by the employee)
  2. Assign the solution of the problem to the individual
  3. Devote Attention and Resources to help succeed
  4. Follow Up regularly until the problem is solved

The BFK Connect Framework
We spent some time discussing the BFK Connect framework. You can see the framework in the image below. The framework highlights some of the natural tensions that occur in a workplace and that leaders must always try to find the balance between. We focused on the tension between People and Goal Achievement, and the tension between Stability and Innovative Change. It is likely that any organization undergoing change will constantly struggle to maintain the proper balance between each of these four quadrants.
The BFK Connect Framework.

Four Outstanding Strategies
Dr. Mahoney outlined his four most important strategies for leading effectively. I really liked these and hope to be able to use them as a leader.
  1. Praise. This is the number one motivator to bring out the best. Perhaps write a note to someone and show your appreciation. Look for the unexpected and praise it!
  2. Involvement. "If you want them to be part of the deal, deal them in!" People want input, they want to feel like their opinion counts. Find ways to involve people in setting a direction and in doing the work.
  3. Expectation. Set clarity for what you expect as a supervisor. Then enable them to do it! "If you don’t feed the teachers, don’t eat the kids!"
  4. Standing Beside. Be there to support your people in a difficult meeting. Help your people with mundane tasks like writing reports. Do what you can to help people move forward.
Quotes and Anecdotes from the Training
Throughout the presentation, Dr. Mahoney gave several excellent one-liner quotes and anecdotes that are worth repeating. I have documented them here (to the best of my ability).

"Try to imagine you were a patient, and imagine what kind of doctor you would want. And be that doctor." 

“Nothing is impossible for those who don’t have to do the work.”

“Success is simple. Find out what your boss wants and give it to them.”

“How you see your job is how you do your job.”

“The grass isn’t green on the other side. The grass is green where you water it.”

“If you want one year of prosperity, grown grain, 10 years, trees, 100 years, grow people.”

“I know some people in leadership positions who couldn’t lead a group in silent prayer.”

30 Seconds of Reflection
We have been doing 30 seconds of reflection at the end of each leadership session. Here is what I wrote for this one: These are great ideas. I would love to be able to apply these in a meaningful way. When I am actually placed in a leadership position, I hope I can apply ideas such as these in an effective way. It seems like putting together a 1-page document of my leadership philosophy and practices might be useful.

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