Below are just a few examples of a lack of leadership. They apply just as easily in 2019.The point is that while many prominent figures were managing these situations, no one was leading.
- Why do you think the Germanwings flight 9525 from Barcelona to Düsseldorf in March 2015 actually went down? Yes, a pilot deliberately crashed the airliner, but what about the fact that Lufthansa knew about the pilot’s mental health issues years before but did nothing about him. Why didn’t the Lufthansa or Germanwings leaders react? Is that good leadership? Deliberately not taking action to get him help and away from the cockpit and keeping passengers safe?
- Was the captain of the Costa Concordia leader in any fashion at all when he ran the cruise aground in perfectly clear weather with the latest sophisticated navigation equipment, killing 32?
- Lehman Brothers was voted the most admired company in 2007 yet a year later they filed for bankruptcy. How blind were its leaders? How blind were the analysts and how unprofessional were the media and how stupid are investment bankers?
- AIG had to be rescued by US government after it and other financial institutions failed during those times: greediness and lack of insight into investments. Their investments were in my opinion like putting lipstick on a pig. No matter the improvement, it is still a pig
Let’s assume you are on the management track and want to stand out. Maybe you’ve already taken your first steps, or perhaps you’ve been a manager long enough to have already felt the first stabs of frustration at how slowly decisions are made by those above you.
My years in the corporate world and my inclination toward entrepreneurship—an independent streak that has served me well in small, medium, and large global companies—have given me some valuable lessons I’m about to share here.
The first is this: Have the balls to follow what I’m about to present, because it will make you a better leader and will yield better results than the quiet path you’ve been following.
Along the way, keep in mind that clarity is never wrong, being wrong and admitting it is a virtue, and leading from the front is the best practice in leadership.
Another way of looking at it is a concept I’ve developed that will change the way you lead – and the way others will follow you. All it requires is a small leap of faith. Imagine you own the company—that it is yours to make or break.
If you act as if each task you do is crucial to your own personal profit or loss, your decisions will be crisper, faster, and clearer—and the people who work for you will follow you enthusiastically and begin to act in the same fashion.
This is precisely how entrepreneurs think (or should). It is how I think, and I have been around long enough to know it works well.
This book is about managing and leading companies and people differently than the accepted methods. Leading from the front! As Hank Williams Jr, sings: “A little less talk, a lot more action!”
It’s a simple concept if you think about it, and anyone dissatisfied with the management of their workplace will understand in a second. Small and medium-sized enterprises especially need managers who know how to lead in a no-nonsense way that cuts the bullshit.
In many companies of all sizes today, managers make decisions that are more lethargic than creative. Paper is shuffled in an endless cycle that goes nowhere. So too does the company and the people working in it. Managers in most corporate cultures make decisions from the safety of a perch that in many ways insulates them. They work in a world of running in place, where nothing is ever really accomplished.
I believe in straight talk and plain simple language. The message must come through, albeit sometimes it is hard to be on the receiving end. More often than we think certain situations require clear messages and not beating around bushes.
And I am strong believer in getting things done and leading with clarity and simplicity.
The examples I will share here in this book – real-life situations – will show many other measures would have delivered a different result. When I look at these sorts of situations—I think of a bird sitting high in a tree, with other less important birds perched below him. When he lets loose the birds below will wear the results.
Ever felt that way?
There is a reason why Dilbert is so popular a cartoon, especially among denizens of the corporate culture. In Dilbert’s world no one is ever rewarded for their efforts. The managers in Dilbert praise busy work that goes nowhere and produces nothing. Dilbert satirizes corporate malaise with amazing accuracy and people identify with it and recognize it in their own working lives. This is what makes us human beings interested in other people´s destinies and experiences.
I will go into this in much greater detail what I call “cut the bullshit way.” The more decisively and clearly you act, the more effectively you will lead—the more you will become credible in the eyes of everyone.
Some basics in leadership:
Mean What You Say. When people see you are sincere, they will follow you.
Walk the Walk, Talk the Talk. Cutting the crap means starting with yourself first.
Lead from the front, not from behind. Get involved and stay involved. Will this give you sleepless nights? Yes. But it is the only way to earn respect.
Put the customer first.
If you don’t know something, say so.