When Leadershi* Hits the Fan
Leaders have many responsibilities, but if they don’t take the time to help their employees grow professionally and personally, then they have failed. The time it takes to develop employees can be daunting for any leader, as they are interrupted every seven minutes. It’s not practical to eliminate opportunities either as you need to be accessible, demonstrate you want to be involved in all efforts and aspects of the organization.
As I was thinking through what makes a good leader, I asked myself, “How are leaders made?” In a moment of clarity, I thought, “Why are these so-called leadership experts telling others how to act or what they need to be successful and how to be happy? Isn’t happiness subjective? Doesn’t that mean success might also be subjective?”
If success means different things to different people, then how do you measure it? In leadership, measuring success is often misconstrued and confused with an accumulation of wealth, authority, and power. But measuring success in these terms alone can be deceptive because it only shows one side of the story; financial reports can’t measure how you feel about your work, your level of passion, or your satisfaction. In other words, numbers can give the impression of success, but without the feeling of success coming from the work and your convictions, do you really believe in what you’re doing?
So, I stopped and thought, “Instead of telling people how to act and what they need to be or do, we should be asking people to first identify their strengths, level of engagement, and levels of happiness.” This is true for individuals, managers, teams, and organizations.
I started putting words to paper and the book, When Leadershi* Hits the Fan: How Global Concepts Can Influence Hard Choices and Inspire Greatness was born. It was imperative to make the book prescriptive. I’ve read way too many books in which when I finish the last page, I wonder, “OK, this stuff is great, but WHERE do I begin?” I wanted to make a commitment to the reader that there is ease on how to change your leadership style to incorporate new measures and focus on the core of an individual, team, or organization by combining happiness and personal strengths. Being strong in one action and not the other does not assure success – instead, the goal is to be as balanced as possible to ensure long-term success. I think you must first take a step back and reflect on who you are, hence, the Personal Gross Domestic Product and Personal Happiness Index concepts were born.
When I started to think about this in terms of my own leadership journey, I asked myself, “If we can measure the tangible economic output and strength of a country through GDP, can we apply the same concept to people? Could there be such a thing as a Personal GDP? And what if I could measure that in a meaningful way that will help me become a better leader?”
Additionally, a lesser-known measure is something called the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network. This is a department of the UN that measures countries, not by their economic output, but by their level of happiness, determined by measuring various life factors. Both GDP and the Happiness Index are vital to understanding a country and what makes it successful, so why not do the same with people? Why not look at individuals, teams, and organizations as countries within countries?
Yes, this is a new concept, but it’s one that I think will help all of us begin to think differently about our careers, our teams, and our organizations. Understanding our Personal GDP (PGDP) and our Personal Happiness Index (P-HI) forms the foundation necessary to allow us to then measure our true successes. The challenge is to lead the way you always have and get the same results OR really tap into your employee’s resources and see how quickly your bottom line grows.