This statement on serving sounds good and makes perfect sense or does it? So many quotes such as these pass our desk on a daily basis and in most cases we nod our head in agreement….but do we really believe it? Do we really practice it?
We presume that we are doing all the things we learnt, but are we? In truth leadership can become like driving a car. The longer we have been driving the more bad habits creep into our driving ability. We drive while texting or talking on our phone, we change lanes without indicating, we drive with one hand on the steering wheel, we sometimes forget to check our blind spots and can have many other bad habits. In fact our driving skills are only truly exposed when we have a learner driver wanting to learn how to drive from us. We may be able to teach the basics, but they will have to do things very differently if they want to pass the test. In fact we may even adjust some of the things we are doing whilst teaching them, purely because we suddenly become consciously aware of a bad habit we had developed.
Leadership is the same. We allow bad habits to creep in and unless we do an audit on ourselves we may not be consciously aware that we are actually being ineffective leaders. For this reason I highly recommend that leaders of people read leadership books and speak to other leaders. If possible they should go on leadership refresher courses. Yes, you may say that you learn nothing new. However that is just arrogance and shows how little you really know. Rather identify whether the lesson you have heard before is actually in operation in the way you lead. Ask yourself, “Am I doing this?”. Look for the gold nuggets that will make you a better leader. Get back to the basics. The only way we can become servant leaders is by learning that we need to serve those that follow us to the best of our ability and also understand that our skills can and will improve if we commit to a lifestyle of humility and learning.
Have a very blessed day.
Aug 20th 2016 – Amazon
5.0 out of 5 Stars – Must read for managers both old and new.
“Capturing the imagination of your audience through personal lessons and the willingness to share both the achievements and failures alike makes this an must have for all mangers”.
Aug 30th 2016 – FIN 24
“In the introduction, Jacobs explains: “Now the big day has arrived (you have been appointed team leader,) you know the job, you know what has to be done, and you want to make a good impression. It’s a step into the unknown, but (this book,) The New Manager will be your mentor 24/7.” Having read the book carefully, I already have a list of people I am going to recommend it to. Included are members of my family, new managers in companies I am invested in, and client companies.
Jacobs has produced a valuable book – use it if you are at the beginning of your career, or share it with those who are”.
Exclusive books, Estoril Books, Bargain Books, Wordsworth and CNA
I have searched for data but have not been successful yet on determining how many people in the world are promoted daily into managerial positions. My gut feel is that the number would be in its thousands if not in its tens of thousands. Every one of these newly appointed managers is going to need some guidance yet I wonder how many will ask for it?
When I was appointed into my first managerial position I don’t think I asked for help either. I mean I had led people before at school and in my church so how hard could it be? Boy was it easy when things were going right but when things went wrong, they went horribly wrong. Nothing had truly prepared me and I can be honest and say that I definitely made many mistakes, some of which had a definite impact on my financial wellness. Yet who could I speak to? Who could have prepared me for what I was to face?
Over the years I have loved raising up young new leaders in the workplace. It has been a privilege to be part of their leadership journey. In Ghana I would try and share my experiences as much as possible with these leaders to give them a head start as they did not need to go around the same mountains I did. Some of them heeded the advice and have done exceptionally well and others… well others have just continued on their own walk in their own way making their own repetitive mistakes.
Whilst in Ghana I knew I was going to head back to South Africa and there were two very clear projects that I had to complete. One was to finish a financial planning diploma that I had dropped out of many years before and the other was to finish writing my book I had spoken about for so many years of my life. I am pleased to say that I did finish both and have now got my eyes on a new goal. The book is a book I am proud of. Not in an arrogant way but more that I believe in it. I recently received an independent review from Ian Mann and he totally understood the value of the book and how it could help the New Manager, in fact I was deeply humbled to read that he was going to recommend it to family members. That blew me away.
The book will definitely help “any” first time manager or someone aspiring to become a manager. Why do I say this? I say this because I have written it as an “as is” book. The book tells it like it is. I share story after story of events that have taken place with me and others in leadership both the good and the bad so as to ensure that the reader is well prepared for their own journey ahead.
My greatest challenge right now is not whether people like the book or not. My greatest challenge is this “How do I ensure every new manager or someone aspiring to be a manager” knows about my book? This is the greatest challenge as so much of what we see is a fraction of what we are able to truly see. The internet is manipulated by the size of the wallet. Companies pay massive sums to ensure they come up first on search engines and news feeds. I know my book can help people but without your help my book will never get into the hands of those that need it most.
Please help in the quest to get “The New Manager” known by telling your training and HR partners about it or any new manager you know.
The New Manager: How to become a leader in 52 simple steps, by Steven Jacobs
TWO colleagues walked past my desk as I was reading this week. When they asked what I reading, I told them it was a primer for managers and one said: “You must be so bored reading another one!” I explained that this was for a first-time manager, someone appointed to be a team leader of a group in a call centre, for example.
One colleague responded: “I wasn’t given any advice when I got my first position, I didn’t have a clue what I should do!” This began the conversation between the two women, one of whom retired as a mainboard director of a top 100 listed company, while the other had worked in and on multinationals, internationally. Both saw the enormous value in Jacob’s no-frills, down-on-the-floor, real guidance for first-time managers.
The book is a collection of 52 pieces of advice and insights, each a three-page chapter with “Reflection Questions” at the end. The topics range from how to gain credibility and bond with your team, to how to lead in the storm. It covers how to develop your people, manage their performance, and evaluate your own performance.
The book opens with the issues one could face in the first three months of this new role. On Jacobs’ first appointment, a team member confronted him sternly, saying: “Steven, I want you to know, I don’t like you.” Pause here, and consider what to do in this situation. You are young and thought you were appointed because everyone loves you.
His response: “I am sorry you feel that way; it’s okay that you don’t like me. You don’t need to like me, but going forward I would like your commitment that you will deliver on your business objectives. I commit to this, too.” This is an important lesson; not everyone will applaud your appointment and handling this well will set the right tone for your tenure.
It leads directly into the next key issue: knowing as much as you can about the people you work with and their personal circumstances. With this knowledge, can you answer the main question: Why have I been appointed? The only answer is – to develop each person, and the team as a whole.
‘Control freak’ behaviour
The appointment to a leadership role is so often mistaken as being a reward for hard and competent work, with the right to relax into “the boss” position. This is a trap. What earned you the leadership position was your diligence, ability and hard work. That is exactly what you are being expected to continue exhibiting. Misunderstanding this expectation leads to arrogance, ‘control freak’ behaviour, and the popularity drive of a campaigning politician.
In everyone’s life there are people you love and who love you, with the inevitable result – a high level of commitment. The “love” of your staff required in the workplace is essentially the same: “the unselfishly loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another” (Merriam-Webster’s definition).
A leader who really loves her team will correct them (in their best interests) and help them succeed. The true measure of leadership is not how many promotions you have received, but how much your people grow through your guidance, Jacobs points out. That is real caring, and “If your team really knows that you love them, they’ll go the extra mile,” Jacobs notes.
Inevitably, things will go wrong in business – conditions over which the leader has no control will turn unfavourably. It is at times like this that good leaders excel and bad ones fail. If the leader shows panic, how can he possibly lead the team out of trouble?
Good leadership requires that the leader appears to calmly lead the team out of the storm, despite what he is feeling inside. Being “authentic” and letting one’s fears be exposed is hardly the hallmark of good leadership. “No matter how you feel,” Jacobs exhorts, “when you walk through those doors and others see you, be positive!”
Team leaders are often required to judge people, and not fully knowing the situation can lead to painful mistakes. Without watching the entire movie, it is impossible to accurately predict the ending, and it is no different in the workplace. You need to know the whole story before coming to a conclusion.
Being biased by a relationship you have with one party can result in a grossly unfair decision for the other party. Overriding this bias and displaying wise leadership will have your team trust you, knowing you are fair in all situations, no matter who is involved.
No one can be a leader if they cannot be a follower. “When leaders respectfully follow the ones above them, they set an example for others to copy,” says Jacobs. Too many people believe they are more competent than their manager, but if your team is aware of this, you are setting a poor example for them.
Leaders clearly cover the full range from the inspiringly competent and caring, to the exact opposite. However, in the interests of one’s own team, the leader needs to always show respect for their manager’s position, irrespective of the manner in which they lead.
In the introduction, Jacobs explains: “Now the big day has arrived (you have been appointed team leader,) you know the job, you know what has to be done, and you want to make a good impression. It’s a step into the unknown, but (this book,) The New Manager will be your mentor 24/7.” Having read the book carefully, I already have a list of people I am going to recommend it to. Included are members of my family, new managers in companies I am invested in, and client companies.
Jacobs has produced a valuable book – use it if you are at the beginning of your career, or share it with those who are.
Readability: Light +—- Serious
Insights: High –+– Low
Practical: High -+— Low
The reality is that every leader will need help at some point in their leadership journey. Where does one get this help? Leaders will speak to family members, friends, other leaders and some may even speak to complete strangers about their frustrations.
The reason they do this is that they are unable to crystallize their thoughts on the way forward and as such they verbalize their challenge in order to get help from a listening ear. In sharing they are hoping that they will get some sage advise that will change their situation.
Depending on the levels of experience and expertise of the one listening they may very well get the answer they are looking for or they may actually get some pretty bad advice. The key for the leader is to ask the question, “Is this the appropriate person to speak to and are they qualified enough to speak into my situation?”.
It amazes me at how easily people take advice from anyone. They may think it’s harmless however there is no guarantee that it is in fact harmless. There is the story of Solomon’s son Rehoboam who refused to listen to the advice of the elders who had much wisdom (1 Kings 12 verse 8) and rather chose to listen to the younger men. This backfired completely and he lost so many kingdoms as a result of taking the wrong persons advice.
How is this possible? How can the son of one of the wisest men to live make such a schoolboy error? Arrogance. It was complete arrogance that got in the way of making a wise decision. There are so many resources available to leaders today and so many wise leaders around that young leaders can learn from if only they humbled themselves and gave themselves the freedom to listen.
When I wrote the book “The New manager” it was birthed from a desire to help young leaders understand the fullness of the challenges they would face in their journey. I made it my mission to share stories “warts and all” and show them the mistakes as well as the successes in making wise decisions. It was a desire to help the young leader solidify their thoughts on how they would approach similar situations. I am confident that mine is not the only book that can help leaders as there are many leaders that have helped me through their fantastic books and I certainly hope that the culture of reading books and getting advice from the right people is reignited in this day and age where so many want quick fixes.
I do hope that young leaders think carefully who they are going to approach and what they are going to read in deciding how to take the next step in dealing with their own unique leadership challenges.
It is imperative that new leaders are fully trained before participating in a meeting like this.
Every week a leader may share many messages with their team but how many are actually listened to? It has happened to me more times than I care to mention where a member of my team does not deliver on something I have asked them to do and their standard response is denial that the request was even made.
This challenge is not just limited to leadership but also in everyday dealings with other colleagues. How many email boxes are clogged up with emails where they were CC’d in? The CC in numerous occasions is simply there because the sender does not trust the person they are sending the email to and as such they CC in the world so that the person knows that if they don’t deliver then all those CC’d in the email will also be advised that they did not deliver.
The question I ask myself is really a simple one. “Who is the problem?”. Is the person who is not listening “The Problem?” or is the person that is speaking “The problem”. Some may say both, however I have seen teams that deliver 100% of the time and don’t miss deadlines and in all cases they have a great leader who communicates effectively. The leader ensures that everyone understands the message not just hears it but rather that they understand it and there is a massive difference between hearing and understanding.
Ask yourself this question? If an outsider listened and saw how I spoke with my team (verbally, via email, sms or any other medium) would they say my messages are clearly articulated and easy to understand? Or would they be highly confused as to what is really expected? Such as the message below:
“Please ensure that you are all ready to share your numbers at the next team meeting?”
This seems clear enough yet what were you actually thinking when you wrote that statement. Were you thinking year to date numbers? The numbers for the week? Were you thinking about a specific product or promotion? Don’t assume that your team will connect that sentence to a statement that you made previously a couple of days earlier.
Team frustration = A communication problem?
May you be an effective communicator that ensures your team not only listens but more critically understands.