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Champion Leadership Traits/Characteristics

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Champion Leadership Tip #18 – Hire Great People, Even If They’re Smarter Than You

Some organizational leaders forget this and hire so as not to feel threatened by someone’s aspirations.

Great leaders surround themselves with intelligent team members with strengths in areas where they are not. As a Clint Eastwood character once said in one of his movies, I can’t remember which, “a man’s got to know his limitations.”

Building on Champion Leadership Tip #11 regarding leaders leading with humility, this will allow for the hiring with a keen eye to bring strong team members onboard.

Great leaders know that if the organization does well the rewards will be there, including themselves. But, they never worry about who gets the credit, so everyone wins. If organizational leaders take this approach their biggest fear should be losing those high quality people to other organizations. Which is another issue we’ll deal with next week.

For a comprehensive strategy to build a “high performing championship quality team” download this free report “The 6 Keys to Creating & Leading a High Performance Team That Gets Champion Level Results.”

A Leadership Lesson From the Movie “The Blind Side”

If you haven’t seen the movie “The Blind Side” yet, you should go see it while it is still in theatres.

The story is about a Memphis, Tennessee family, Sean and Leigh Anne Touhy, who offer a lost, homeless teenager, Michael Oher, the opportunity to come into their home and become part of their family.

Through Ms. Touhy’s nurturing Michael becomes a standout high school football player, eventually earning a scholarship to the University of Mississippi and being selected as the National Football League’s Baltimore Ravens’ first round draft selection in the spring of 2009.

It’s a touching and powerful real life story with one particular lesson all business leaders and coaches could learn from.

During Oher’s early days on the gridiron his football coach was frustrated with his lack of comprehension of how to fulfill the offensive tackle role he had been assigned. The coach, applying his traditional coaching style of yelling louder and more forcefully with each frustrating play at practice, gets no results.

Ms. Touhy, watching her ‘adopted’ son from the practice sidelines, walks on to the field and addresses Oher, reminding him of his strong will and personal attribute of “protective instincts.” In taking the “Student Career Aptitude Test” for admission to a private Christian school Oher scored in the 98th percentile in “Protective Instincts.”

Knowing this was his personal strength she used herself as a metaphor for the quarterback, and her youngest son as the tailback, telling him to protect his teammates in those positions as if he were protecting his new family. In the movie Michael immediately “gets it” and transforms into a force on the team’s offensive line, much to the amazement of his coach, standing bewildered on the sidelines.

lessons from the movie 'the blindside'

  1. Leaders have to know what makes their people tick. They need to take the time to learn what motivates them and what their true strengths and interests are.
  2. Leaders must then take that information and apply it to the role in which they assign to their team members so everyone is working in a role that reinforces their strengths.

To apply this in the most ridiculous way, above the high school level, a baseball team would not have its star starting pitcher play the position of catcher or shortstop on days when he is not pitching. Nor would a football team put its quarterback on the defensive line.

Yet, few businesses really assess the strengths of their employees and learn what they like to do and feel good doing before they assign a job to them. I understand that in business, unlike sports, it may not be possible to have someone fill only the role they are the perfect fit for, but it is possible to identify those strengths and have their role include more of that work than not. It benefits both the individual and the organization.

For this purpose I’ve recently become affiliated with an organization that does leadership and personality assessments to identify individual strengths and weaknesses, Harrison Assessments.

To learn more about my new affiliation and how it may benefit click this link.

Champion Leadership Tip #14 – Take Calculated Risks & Believe In Your Preparation

Two key leadership traits led to Sunday’s Super Bowl Championship by the New Orleans Saints.

Coach Sean Payton had his team extremely well prepared (The fifth characteristic in my C.H.A.M.P. Leadership model is “Preparation”) to neutralize the outstanding talents of the Indianapolis Colts offense and defense.

But being well prepared was only part of what led to the Saints success. As a leader, coach Sean Payton knew there is another component.

Payton believed in his preparation and the readiness of his team to compete at the highest level. Payton used that belief to take calculated risks during the game and made decisions that led to his New Orleans Saints becoming a Champion Organiztaion.

With his team’s offense facing a 4th down and goal from the one yard line with his team down by a score of 10-3 in the second quarter, Payton decided to have his offensive unit try for a 7-point touchdown, instead of taking the safe 3-point field goal from close range.

The play failed turning the ball over to the Colts. However, the gutsy call showed confidence in his team and as the TV sports commentator, former Super Bowl MVP Phil Simm, said, “Payton showed his players that he’s in it to win it.”

But the play that told me the Saints were going to become Super Bowl Champions was the on-side kick call that launched the game’s second-half. An unsuccessful attempt on that play would have given the Colts the ball deep in New Orleans territory and a huge opportunity to easily add to their four point lead.

The Saints recovered the ball and went on to score a touchdown and take the lead. Despite givng up the lead later in the third quarter, the Saints confidence never wavered.

I believe those two key decisions turned the New Orleans Saints into a Champion Organization.

As a leader are you able to make calculated decisions? How can you better prepare yourself and your team to set the organization up for success? What do you need to do to be confident in making calculated risks to reach the next level?

I’d like to hear success stories out there. How have you as a leader taken calculated risks that worked or didn’t and what did you learn from those experiences that made you a better leader in the long run?

5 Traits of a C.H.A.M.P. Leader

The 5 Traits of a CHAMP Leader

These five characteristics of a CHAMP are to be applied inside organizations in two ways:

1. A standard for how organizational leaders must lead;

2. As a standard against which all potential team members are measured for during the hiring process and are held accountable to after becoming a part of the team.

These are same characteristics expected of all within an organization although they are applied slightly differently. This article will outline how leaders should apply the five traits. For an overview of how individual team members should be expected to appy these CHAMP traits view the article titled, The 5 Self-Leadership Traits Expected of Employees in a High-Performing, High-Morale Workforce.

Leaders need to know how to gain commitment to a compelling vision and the strategy to achieve it. This also includes investing the time and energy in creating that compelling vision and strategy and having the courage to ask for help in achieving it. This comes from leaders who know how to communicate in a way that influences their team members in a positive way. It’s a way of communicating that shows how each individual team member benefits when the organization fulfills it vision and strategy, gaining buy-in from all.

Leaders must lead by example in setting the expectation of constant and never ending improvement, and they show it by being open to feedback from all sources. Being open to feedback means more than just proclaiming there is an “open door” policy. It must be shown by actually taking feedback and true appreciation for that feedback by saying “thank you’ without rationalizing and justifying the present situation and then communicating back to the individual who offered the feedback with what is being done with it (it doesn’t have to be implemented, it just needs to be shown as being truly considered, to have been effective).

Leaders must set the tone that there is accountablityto responsibilities and roles throughout the oganization. Leaders must set up systems for identifying realistic goals and outcomes with accountability to them (in all sports there is a Scoreboard in the arenas, a Scorecard for everyone involved to track progress in a game and a Box Score in the newspaper for all to see the results the next day).

Leaders must be exemplars in showing they are motivated in nuanced ways. It is usually easy for leaders to look motivated by showing up early and staying late and expecting others to do the same. But motivation is more than just “hard work” and “long hours.” It means being motivated to take action on difficult decisions and in challenging situations. This means avoiding procrastination at all costs and refusing to tolerate things that do not improve the organization and support the best efforts of team members.

Leaders must understand human motivation and apply the following assumptions in their approach:

* Everyone on the team wants to do a good job

* Actions/decisions are always done with positive intent with the best resources indivdiuals have available to them at the time

* People want to be recognized for their contributions

* People are motivated by intrinsic factors

Leaders must also lead by example and set the tone for their organization that preparation is vital to an organization’s success. It means that leaders should be certain any meeting they hold are designed in a way in which all those invited to a meeting are aware of their role in the meeting and the purpose for their inclusion, agendas and meeting outcomes should be clearly communicated. Schedules should be well maintained and projected as far in to the future as possible while offering enough flexibility to allow for reasonable adjustments.

The leader should be continually looking for ways to raise the bar on individual and organizational preparation. This includes punctuality, meeting deadlines, returning phone calls, and planning the year, quarter, month, weeks and days to maximize results.

To learn more about applying these 5 Traits of a C.H.A.M.P. Leader to your style of leadership and throughout your work environment you may want to consider a private, 1:1 Breakthrough Leadership Strategy Session. You can learn more about them here.

‘Til next time, make it a great week!
skip weisman, transforming leadership and workplace communication to deliver champion level results

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