Continuing the Credo for 21st Century Management from Liquid Leadership:
Unfortunately, the news today is filled with plenty of examples of business leaders who decided to take the low road, appearing on some financial show and pontificating about how great their company is while secretly dumping the stock. Or my personal pet peeve: when a high profile leader is caught lying and leaves with a multimillion-dollar golden parachute and a book deal. Meanwhile the company employees are ruined and incapable of retiring.
A Liquid Leader Takes Responsibility
As Lee Iacocca, former CEO of Chrysler says, “Where have all the leaders gone?”
The problem is a small bunch of bad apples making it bad for the group. When you visit companies like Google, W. L. Gore & Associates (makers of GORE-TEX), or Nintendo, you see such great innovation taking place that you begin to realize that the majority of companies out there are doing things right.
Even so, integrity can never be taken for granted—and it starts with you. What do you stand for?
Today’s leader is actually an extension of their brand. Name any top company, and chances are, you can name the CEO or founder as well. The attributes of a great leader can be felt within every inch of an organization: uncompromising, intense, and always on the cutting edge of their market. Taking full responsibility for your actions—with no compromises—is the standard for great leadership. It takes the same amount of energy to be good at something as it does to not be so good. So why not stand for greatness? Setting higher standards is contagious and permeates an organization to its core.
On the negative side, if you’re caught in a lie, it hurts morale. And once morale is compromised, cynicism runs amok. Cynicism is a cancer that destroys hope, creativity, and our sense of adventure. And as with cancer, you must detect it early and eradicate it.
The key to taking responsibility is to look for your blind spot. This is the area where you may not realize you are weak. Lack of detail, inexperience, and arrogance are all examples of blind spots. The best way to discover a blind spot is to ask your team of trusted advisors and confidants to tell you what your weakness is, and demand the truth—no matter how painful.
By taking responsibility for your actions, you become a person of uncompromising values, incapable of being swayed by a solipsistic ideology or a quick buck. At the same time, you become invincible. When you know your weaknesses and lead with them, there is nothing left for people to sense but your strengths.
It is easy to be a leader when times are good. But when times are tough, these are the moments that make a leader great. Developing working methodologies and profit centers during tough times is what creates an invincible leader. Signs of integrity are written all over a leader who shows up, gets involved, tweaks the business, and stands for reinvention. The news is filled with leaders who say they take full responsibility, yet their actions suggest otherwise. Why not stand for something better?
Why not promote a higher standard of excellence where leaders take responsibility for their actions and the actions of their people, and expect the same in return?
Wouldn’t you follow a leader like that?
Global Management Consultant
Millennial Expert, Cross Generational Leadership Development & Workforce Performance Strategies, Executive Coach
TEDX Speaker, Web pioneer and the author of the award-winning, bestseller Liquid Leadership: From Woodstock to Wikipedia, Brad is a former C-level executive of a publicly traded company that he cofounded that went from entrepreneurial start-up to IPO in three years; the first Dot Com Agency to go public on NASDAQ. His company K2 Design, experienced 425% hyper-growth, due in part to a unique management style that won his company the Arthur Andersen NY Enterprise Award for Best Practices in Fostering Innovation.
Today the world’s leading business publications seek out Brad’s insights on Millennials, and he has been featured in Forbes, The Huffington Post, New York Magazine, Inc., Advertising Age, The International Business Times, and The Hindu BusinessLine to name a few, along with television, radio and podcast appearances on CBS and other media outlets.
Brad's programs have transformed a new generation of business leaders, helping them maximize their corporate culture, expectations, productivity, and sales growth in The Information Age.
* 2011 Axiom Business Book silver medal winner in the leadership
* #1 Amazon Best-Selling Author
"I just had my mind blown..." - A.S., Vistage, New York
Liquid Leadership by Brad Szollose is available at all major bookstores and for Kindle, Nook, iPad and Sony ereaders. Internationally published in India and S. Korea.