Brian Evje had a recent piece in Inc. Magazine titled, “Why Executives Are So Bad At The Behavioral Side of Management”.
After a 40-year career, I certainly do not believe that all execs are bad at the ‘soft’ skill issues (which we all know are really the hard issues to address).
Mr. Evje states that “In reality, there is nothing ‘soft’ about the skills need to relate to people well enough to lead them. True leadership involves both hard skills and harder skills”. I love this quote.
He summarizes that there are ultimately 3 things leaders have to do to be more effective:
1) Admit that inter-personal skills are important. He even posits that we must be able to lead ourselves. I call this self-management. Being able to bring the required perspective to every situation and to do this ‘in the moment’ requires presence, discipline, thoughtfulness and a feeling of being grounded. Humans don’t gain this ability without getting exercise, getting out in nature, taking think time, and having a variety of reserves of time in place every day..
2) Rethink your definitions of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ skills. He’s got great questions to ask yourself. See the full article here: http://www.businessinsider.com/successful-leadership-skills-2012-11
3) Get some help. As a Leadership Strategist for almost 18 years, I, of course, love this idea. Just like in sports, we don’t know what we don’t know about our levels of effectiveness. An outsider can help you raise your awareness and ultimately, make different choices.
When I re-tweeted this article yesterday, one of my Facebook friends added a comment that most execs put their self-interest over the interest of their employees, companies, communities. Again, I don’t agree with the broad generalization. I have seen more execs do this than I’d like to admit. However, the key here is to only hire values-based people and people who share your values. If you value transparency, figure out what questions to ask in the interview to assess the applicant’s perspective on transparency. If you value integrity, ask them to share an experience when they’ve been asked to compromise their integrity. The interview might be very short based on their response to this question.
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