In the early years of a family member’s high school education (2006 or so), my youngest daughter came to me and proudly announced, “Hey Dad, I just heard a musical group that even you’d like, they’re called “Led Zeppelin.” So I said, which album, “I, II, III, IV, Houses of the Holy” – which? Now, I grew up listening to the Yardbirds, MoTown, Stones, Beatles, the never out-classed 60’s and 70’s, in particular. I still chuckle about that exchange, because the real message was this:
The classics have quality and staying power; they persevere; they never go away.
So does…great leadership, principles-based and consistent behavior we admire, and emulate—if not downright steal, and then incorporate into our own styles because of the outright effectiveness of such actions. We all have examples of people in our lives, and experiences with them, that we will always remember…that then became part of our own repertoire. And when needed or appropriate, we use those behaviors time-after-time, insist upon exactly that behavior from ourselves, and from others under our charge. Timeless, tested, and principled behavior isn’t reinvented, it’s reused.
Now that’s flattery!
Not so long ago, a boss came to me after an important presentation with the business unit’s president. I didn’t particularly care for that boss, and he certainly had his favorites, and I wasn’t one of them…but, he pointed out some things to me I will never forget. In that critical presentation, I asked a question of a peer…that he didn’t know the answer to. It was awkward, for him. Afterwards, my boss pulled the five us into a room and gave us two observations:
- We are one group; we present “one face” to our management. If one of us looks bad, we ALL look bad. Correspondingly, making someone else look bad, doesn’t make you look good.
- Secondly, you never, ever, ever…set up a peer within a group setting, with what could be perceived individually or collectively as a “gotcha” question.
From a positive perspective, if you do have a problem with someone, do like Mother Teresa is purported to have said:
“Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.”
Great advice in business life…and for life in general.