Upside Down Leadership Needed
by Compass Cleaning Solutions • August 27, 2018
Its that season again. No I’m not talking about Spring Training. I’m talking about the ‘election season’. Are you as disturbed by the direction of our country as I am? Recently I was at a business networking conference and the keynote speaker was Ken Blanchard (you know, the ‘One Minute Manager’). During his talk he made a short but provocative statement. He said, “I should write ‘The One Minute Manager goes to Washington’.” It elicited laughter from the group of business leaders in attendance but as I listened to his brief explanation I started thinking about how relevant his statement really was.
The first principle of the One Minute Manager is to set goals and promote a vision for the organization (or country). Mr. Blanchard had previously talked about ‘leading from the bottom’, the idea that great leaders promote the vision, set the goals and then set about to do what is necessary to provide resources for everyone else to achieve those goals. Sadly our leaders seem more interested in having us support them and their goals rather than the other way around.
The second principle is praise. What’s interesting here is that praise is given for achieving the stated goals and vision that encompasses everyone, not just a select few. For a leader to genuinely praise others they (the leader) cannot feel threatened by the success of those within the organization. Zig Ziglar once said that he had discovered that ‘you can have everything in life that you want if you just give enough other people what they want’. I wonder what would happen if our nations leaders would adopt this principle for just six months?
The third principle is reprimand. Have you noticed that our leaders have a hard time telling their constituents that what they do or what they want is inconsistent with our stated values as a nation. Its a problem because the vision has been so diluted that few can still remember what that vision is. Instead they try to make concessions for everyone. On the other hand I think its time ‘we the people’ start holding our leaders to a standard of performance as well (ironically in our system of government you, the citizen, are the boss—something to think about). Public service was never intended to be a career and yet we continue to send people back again and again even if they under-perform. It doesn’t fly in business, why should it fly in government? Because as citizen-bosses we have abdicated our responsibility to hold our political leaders accountable and clearly and firmly demand performance.
We have 8 months to evaluate whether our leaders are visionaries or not; whether they are working to support the best ideas and the best performers in America or not (not just those that support their personal agenda’s); and whether they are performing as leaders, reminding us of the vision that this country was founded on and challenging us to meet that lofty and noble goal. If they are not, or will not, lead from the bottom up, it is time for them to be replaced with those who will recast the vision of what made America great, work to support all who want that vision and be willing to say no to those who are not contributing to that vision.