I read the most refreshing thing this week. Peter Drucker (uber management guru – in HBR a lot) has stated that if you want to instill leadership in an organization, focus on self management. That’s it. Nothing much else.
Now what is self management or “managing oneself”? According to Drucker, by the time you are in your mid-twenties you should be able to answer the following questions – cornerstones to understanding oneself:
- What are my strengths?
- How do I perform?
- What are my values?
By knowing the answer to these questions an individual should be able to decide where they belong, or at least where they do not belong. And knowing where one belongs can transform an ordinary person – hardworking but otherwise mediocre – into an outstanding performer. Drucker’s premise comes from the fact that historically, as humans we did not have choice about the work we did as it was typically passed from one generation to another. And up until the 1960’s and 70’s organizations told us what to do. That time is no longer. By having so many choices the only way to determine the right choice is to know thyself. And the only way to be effective in managing and working with others is to know thyself. And when you make the wrong choices, you become frustrated, unhappy and perhaps rude (more on that later).
Another Drucker pearl of wisdom I just love is “Organizations are not built on force, but on trust. Trust does not mean people like one another. It means they understand one another”. Pheew. Stop worrying about getting people to like you and just start telling them who you are, what your strengths are, how you perform, your values and what you intend to contribute. Another pearl: “If brilliant work fails when cooperation is needed, this indicates a lack of courtesy and manners”. I love that! We spend so much time being politically correct instead of just saying that someone is rude! Rude people are often described as having “style issues”… or ” needing some feedback”. How about saying “they are rude and need to learn some manners!” One more quote I came across this week that is worthy of a mention is: “you get what you reward and you deserve what you tolerate”. So stop telling rude people they need some feedback and need to work on their style. Tell them that they are rude in the workplace and lack courtesy and manners in dealing with others. And then ask them what their strengths and values are. Now that is leadership.
Everything feels so clear…