Tethering to Significance
A GPS approach to contemporary leadership.
“Another book on leadership. So what? Why should I invest my dime-and-time in another book on leadership?” Maybe you shouldn’t.
This book is only for those who can identify with one of the thirteen following descriptors. If you can’t, then save your dime-and-time and invest in a good movie.
However, if you can see yourself in one or more of these thirteen descriptors then you will find within the following pages significant returns on your dime-and-time investment and they aren’t even taxable. Greater promotional appeal, increased effectiveness, increased efficiency, elevated impact, decreased stress, retained sanity; they are all just icing on the cake.
To invest or not invest. Are you a …?
1. Time-debt leader: All they are asking of me is to do more, with fewer resources, and to get it done faster. Every day I come to work feeling I owe people time from yesterday. How do I practically get out of time debt?
2. Politically-reticent leader: I thought if I just took responsibility for my outcomes that I would be noticed, appreciated, and that my career would commensurately advance. Little did I know that is simply not how it works. More Machiavellian than meritocracy here. I see others who are less effective and less efficient getting the kudos, not to mention the promotions. It seems like I either have to resign myself to a minimized influence, and a stagnated career, or I have to abandon my principles and jump in the political swamp. How do I effectively and yet ethically increase my political influence without feeling like I have to take a shower after work?
3. Change-exhausted leader: I can’t get my breath. It seems like the latest flavor of the month can’t even wait until the next month to be announced. How do I navigate through the currents of change and keep my head above water?
4. Conflict-aversion leader: It is so difficult to correct under-performers. Already I am starting to see my under performers taking advantage of my reluctance and worse yet, my high performers are starting to slack off. I mean, why can’t we all just do our work and everyone get along? Is there a way to confidently address difficult issues and still be liked?
5. Motivation-free leader: It’s not me, it’s them. I am motivated but I just can’t seem to get people engaged. I would be a great leader if I just had different people on my team. I mean, they are getting paid to work so why should I have to motivate them to be engaged?
6. Generationally-restricted leader: I have been doing this for years but it is more difficult today than ever. It seems like they just don’t make people like they used to. I have millennials that think the state of change has always been humanity’s tradition. They can’t even remember dialing a phone with their fingers. I mean they came out of the womb flexing their thumbs. At the same time I have boomers that are sliding for home. How do I successfully manage across the generational lines?
7. Emerging-leader: I didn’t see that coming. When I was promoted, I assumed that because I managed my work well that I would be able to manage the workers well. Now I find myself overwhelmed, possibly because I micromanage, I am constantly answering questions because I am incorrectly delegating, and I am frustrated by my own inefficiency due to my possessive problem solving. There has to be more to leadership than firefighting. How do I successfully transfer my impact from work-management skills to people-management skills?
8. Pressured-leader: This change initiative would neatly fit in my Really Stupid Ideas folder and now they are asking me to lead this change. How do I get people to buy into a change that I haven’t even bought into?
9. Organization-free leader: I just can’t get my act together. I find myself spending way too much time trying to find it and I often feel completely disheveled. I’m not really a candidate for the Hoarders show yet but my lack of organization is now adversely impacting my team. I don’t even want to talk about prioritizing multiple projects. Am I fixable or did this deficiency come on my personal hard drive?
10. Rodney Dangerfield-leader: “I don’t get no respect.” When I talk nobody is listening. They step on my lines, they change the subject or they simply don’t respond. Occasionally I hear the proverbial “interesting idea” but that’s as far as it goes. How can I learn to speak so people want to hear what I have to say?
11. Paralyzed-presentation leader: I admit it. I hate talking in front of people. I feel that I have so much to offer but my impact, and probably my career are being throttled because I have so much difficulty with public presentations. How can I minimize my stress level, increase my fluency, and learn to speak on my feet?
12. Time-thief leader: I can hear them at the watercooler after my meetings. “Now what are we supposed to be doing? When is it supposed to be done by? Who is supposed to be doing it? How do I keep my meetings from being a place where we keep minutes but steal hours?
13. Leaderless leader: I am supposed to be training future leaders but I simply don’t know where to turn. I’ve perused leadership/supervisor materials and it is daunting. It is like trying to select a snowflake in a winter’s storm. I just end up feeling like a deer in the headlights. Where can I get a solid, accurate and practical resource for my aspiring leaders/supervisors? (OK, maybe this one is a crass advertisement for this book but you will find it to be a great resource and I will even show you how to do it!)
So if you can’t identify with any of these then enjoy your movie. If you can identify, then hang on. You are in for a good read.