10 leadership resolutions
I was inspired to write about Leadership when I read the article of my next door columnist, Ernie Cecilia, who covered the talk of Nic Lim in the recently-concluded PMAP Annual Conference on Why Leaders Fail.
This article of mine on Leadership is long overdue. Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, has always been my idol. In some of my presentations in other parts of the world, I quoted some of his previous pronouncements. He is now the Executive Chairman of the Jack Welch Management Institute at Strayer University.
At the start of the 2014, Mr. Welch, together with his wife Suzy, talked about 10 Leadership Resolutions (for Leaders) to Make it A Very Good Year. I will write about them based on my experience and how I understood what the two wanted to say.
Here are they:
1. Get into their skin
The biggest role of a leader is to build trust, respect, and support for the team. The key is to build mutual respect. Team members deliver. The leader in turn provides support and resources all the way. There should be no let up.
It is every leader’s job to communicate his thoughts, his ideas, and most importantly, his values. Over-communication is not verbosity. Please. Stop being wordy and talkative – talk to me about your plan and expectations, and if I am your team member, we should both be in sync.
3. Follow up relentlessly
I have seen it happen many times. Leaders give instructions once and expect results after a week. “I told you to do this” and nothing happened. There was this city official who, in one of his sorties, gave instruction to his staff to have the garbage in the area removed. It was removed alright. The following day, there was still garbage in the area. Problem: he did not follow up. Some leaders do not monitor what is happening. After delegating, they forget about the instruction. And please. Following up relentlessly does not mean being overbearing and pestering subordinates, oftentimes resorting to micromanagement.
4. Create a rallying cry
Jack and Suzy Welch suggested “defining an enemy, a competitor” and rallying the team around winning over them. When Komatsu was introduced in the market, it became its lifelong goal to outperform Caterpillar. “You will see your team galvanize around beating them (competitors) and winning in the workplace” is how Mr. and Mrs. Welch put it.
5. Realize personnel actions speak louder than words
Stop making speeches and stop being righteous and dogmatic that you, as the leader,is God’s greatest gift to, and savior of, the company. Just match the job and projects that you will assign to your star players with their competencies. Make their time and effort worthwhile. It is not about you shining, it is about them!
6. Embrace the generosity gene
Every good leader wants to share his and the company’s abundance. He is happy being generous – seeing employees grow, get promoted, receive merit increases and incentives. He is only as good “as the reflected glory” of his people. The glory comes back to him if he remains selfless.
7. Fight bureaucracy
Speed is the best competitive advantage. That has been proven by Fedex and many other successful companies. Bureaucracy slows things down. Remove clutters and red tapes. Do away with complex organization structures and reporting arrangements.
8. Find a better way
Mind you, there is always a better way. And it is certainly not the status quo. And boy, let me write about my favorite quote of Jack Welch here which I think is so apt, “If the rate of change from within the organization is not as fast as the rate of change outside, then the end is near.” Find ways to do what the organization does a lot better.
9. Own hiring mistakes
I am in HR. I hired so many people in the past as HR and as line executive. I had a few hiring mistakes too. You just have to deal with the erroneous hire fairly. If things do not work out, do outplacement. People will respect you more if you own up instead of putting the blame on your recruitment officers.
10. Dig into crises
Here is where the “iceberg principle” applies. People will not tell you the whole story each time. There are times when you will be the last one to know. So make it a point to dig deep and get problems into the surface early and fast. The problems are hidden underneath. Surround yourself with people who you can trust and who will tell you that there is something brewing that you ought to know.
When you track the performance of General Electric when Jack Welch took over in 1981 and at the prime of GE in 1999, a span of 18 years, you will see why Mr. Welch’s advice deserves our attention and he our accolade: market capitalization from $ 13 billion to $ 525 billion, revenues from $ 28 billion to $ 111 billion, earnings from $ 2 billion to $ 11 billion, and number of employees from 4,000 to 340,000. WOW!
(Ernesto G. Espinosa, FPM, is the President and CEO of Grid Culture Change International, Inc. and Human Resource (HR) Gabay Asia Pacific, Inc. He is also the President of the Asia Pacific Federation of Human Resource Management (APFHRM). He was the People Management Association of the Philippines (PMAP) President in 2002 and its People Manager of the Year in 2006. He was also World Federation of People Management Associations (WFPMA) President in 2008-2010. He was Vice President HR of Energy Development Corporation and Fujitsu Computer Products Corporation of the Philippines. He can be reached at [email protected])
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.