23 October 2014 0 Comments

Leadership Part 8

The third trait of Leadership is People skills.10-23-14 LII Blog FB

People Skills

The first element of people skills is to select the right people to help you toward your goals.  Select the brightest, most capable people you can find.  Select people who will challenge you.  Find those who want your job.  Don’t be afraid that your subordinates will look better then you.  Others will measure you by how good your subordinates look, so if they look good, you will look good.  If they really are so darn good that they could take over your job, that’s alright because they probably won’t stop at your job.  They’ll move right on by you and you’ll have a good leader to follow about whom you can say, “I helped get him there.”

Picking good people to assist you in attaining your goals employs a combination of available resources (aptitude test, background checks, etc.) and following your gut instincts.  During my business career I hired people who turned out well and I hired those who did not.  It should always be a joy hiring somebody.  If it’s not—if there is a twinge of “I know that something isn’t right here, but after I hire him, it will all be better”—then hold up, because it is never fun firing someone and you are not likely to change this person.  When that “gut feeling” told you from the get-go that something wasn’t quite right with this hire, or with your chemistry, that feeling was probably an accurate assessment. It most likely wasn’t right!!!

In the converse, when your gut feeling tells you that someone is really good, that this person will fit in—somewhere—then find a place for them even if you don’t have an obvious opening this minute.  Don’t pass up the opportunity to bring on someone who will help you toward your goals.  Some of my best people came on board this way.

Once you do have a dedicated, talented cadre, to be an effective leader you must know how to bring out the best in them.  That begins with delegation.


You can’t do it all by yourself.  You need people who will help you to attain your goals.  In order to accomplish this, the leader must not only be willing, but be anxious, to delegate responsibilities.

If responsibilities are to be delegated, then authority must also be delegated.  Those who take on a responsibility must know that they have the authority to make the necessary decisions to accomplish their job.  Those helping you must also know that authority has been granted.  This must be unequivocally communicated by the ultimate leader.

Leaders who delegate should not hover over the worker.  Let them know what you expect, when you expect it and that they can come to you at any time with questions or concerns.  But don’t hover.  It sends a message of distrust.  Check their progress at pre- arranged times and then either correct their work; make suggestions for necessary changes; or compliment them and go on to those things that you must do yourself.

When I was running my own business, in the final interview, before hiring a new employee, I would tell them that I expected them to “stretch”.  I wanted employees to reach right to the edge of their competency and perhaps a little beyond…just to test how far they could go.  I told them that mistakes are made by all of us, unless we never stretch to our outer limits.  I would go on to say that making the same mistake a second time was not acceptable since I expected them to learn from their mistakes.  And, obviously, if the mistake was as the result of carelessness or irrational judgment, we would have further discussions on the topic. Workers who can perform their jobs without the fear of retribution or being belittled, generally do a better job.

Next…why leaders don’t delegate and the consequences.


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