I usually write about things we (or I) struggle with as a new business…or really, how I don’t know what I am doing…but, at least today, I feel like I know what I am doing…a bit.
Leadership and people are the two most important items for every business. If you have a good leader, he or she tends to have great people behind them. He might have helped develop someone into that, or she might have hired those right people, but at the top of those people is an amazing leader. You can really tell if you don’t hear about that leader very much. Our COO was at a networking event and spoke to another person in the same business. They talked about a possible partnership with us and she asked who was the owner of Michigan Creative. While it stung, just a bit, just for a second, I smiled. Perfect. Just what I want. It is the name Michigan Creative that people should know. Not the owner.
So while I don’t know the exact way to be that leader, my 15 years in education, and almost four years as Michigan Creative’s leader I have learned to lead around these ideas…
Leaders understand that it is not about them and they could never do it alone. We have an amazing staff. That is an understatement. I think we are where we are today because of our staff. I think what I love about them the most is that they believe in what we are doing and they believe in me. They drank the kool-aid. I love the quote, “a good leader makes everyone around him or her better then they are.” Now, I am not saying I made everyone there better than me, they just are, so lets just go with it.
I also read something that went like, “A great leader gives them team an idea, a spark, and some thoughts that starts the process and by the time the team is done with it, and it is an amazing product, design, etc, they forget that you came up with the idea in the first place.”
They don’t complain about anything, at least not to their employees. I know our staff is reading this and laughing. I try not to complain. I really do. I think that the minute you complain about something then that might give the staff the excuse to do the same. I have been in several cubical like business and worked in education for years, and it seems like all I’ve heard is people complaining about their job, their co workers, etc etc. This is not their fault. It is the fault of their leader. I love this quote from Saving Private Ryan from Tom Hanks character to his troops:
“I don’t gripe to you. I’m a captain. There’s a chain of command. Griping goes one way, up, only up, never down. You gripe to me, I gripe to my superior officers. Up, get it? I don’t gripe to you, I don’t gripe in front of you.”
I gripe up. In this case, that means myself, my wife, or the dogs.
They know what they are not good at and they find others to help. This is related to number one, but also involves reading books by those who have done great things. Studying history, business, economics. They read trade publications and the local paper. They understand that the economics and politics of their community and state are directly related to their business and their employees. Big or small, it all is related. They also learn not to believe everything they see.
They have a vision, a mission, a dream and they don’t stray from it. They tell everyone that they meet about it. They draw pictures about it if someone doesn’t get it, even when they look at him and think, “who is this guy?”. They tell it over and over again, and the if staff hears it 100’s of times, and they still believe.
Mistakes, slow times, fast times, weather–nothing could change the mission.
They understand hard work, but they know when they are working too hard. They also recognize this in their staff. So have fun once and a while. Take time to have fun with your staff.
Your family must be part of your mission and also a part of you when you are not blabbing about your mission. Get them involved when you can. Make sure that you spend the small amount of time you will have with them and recognize that the precious time you have goes so fast. We worked before we had kids. We work while we have kids. We will still be working after the kids are long gone. Work will be there, always. Your kids grow up in a flash.
Thanks for reading. I am sure that there are other great tips and techniques for the would be warrior/leader, so please share when you find them!
Want to talk more leadership stuff? Call Brian @ 517 899 4533