This is the last week of my mini-series where I write based on Brad Shorr’s “12 Most Loathsome Boss Behaviors” so I will tie a few related topics together and write about being selfless. Shorr mentions bad bosses are selfish by “credit grabbing” (#3) but there are several other points he makes that can be tied into this. Instead of talking in-depth about Shorr’s thoughts on being selfish, it would be better to talk about what a selfless leader looks like. Here are several key ways for leaders to be selfless.
Be selfless with praise. Great bosses go out of their way to praise and recognize their employees, all of their employees not just their key contributors. In “First Break All the Rules” the authors note the single most important statement to company profit, retention and engaged teams is “I have been recognized in the past 7 days.” Great leaders don’t just recognize their teams occasionally, they do so habitually. Great leaders never claim success for themselves, instead they share it with all the contributors. As Harry Truman said, “It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”
Be selfless with your responsibilities. We’ve already discussed delegation as a powerful productivity tool. I firmly believe there is utility in delegation, however, I believe it is most powerful when leaders choose to delegate meaningful and visible work tot heir teams. There is an adage that I’ve heard several different times that says, “Great leaders create wins for their people.” This is absolutely true, delegating highly visible tasks allows your team to get some big wins.
Be selfless with your time.The best leaders not only consistently praise their people and go out of the way to create wins for them, they also make sure they create time for their people. A leader should never be to busy for his or her team. Whether this means creating an open door policy for employees to speak with you on an ad-hoc basis, or scheduling a few minutes once a week with all your employees with no set agenda it is important to show your team you value them by making yourself accessible.
Being a selfless leader requires a proactive posture of offing your people the best chances to be successful. Being selfless incorporates the qualities employees look for in a dynamic leader. Sometimes being selfless means insulating your teams from criticism when they fail. No matter the practical application, the attitude of selflessness is endearing and compelling. No one wants to work for a selfish leader, so don’t be a selfish leader.
Each Friday, for the next several weeks, a new post will be released with another key characteristic of what it takes to be successful in technology leadership. These posts are in no particular order; I’d love for you to provide feedback and let me know if you think I’m missing something, or if you’d like to see a particular trait addressed please feel free to email me, or leave a comment. I’m hoping this will be a useful dialogue about what is necessary to become a successful technology leader.