3 Keys to Leadership – Shared by a Client Responsible for a $100+ million Dept Budget

I coach a leadership team at a billion dollar organization in New York City. One of the department heads, responsible for an annual budget north of $100 million, shared with me her three keys to successful leadership.

First, she appreciates her staff.  The top reason that people leave their job is because they do not feel valued at work.  Most managers aren’t doing enough to acknowledge effort and strong performance, nor delivering the positive feedback that reinforces the on-the-job behaviors they want employees to continue doing.  This manager goes out of her way to show her appreciation for individuals and teams in different settings including meetings, team huddles and one on ones.

Second, she listens to her staff.  She realizes that she can’t resolve everything, particularly when she is constantly prioritizing where to focus attention and scarce resources. Yet, she makes time to listen, deeply listen.  That means not interrupting, asking open-ended questions, and staying curious.

Finally, she takes 100% responsibility for everything within her control.  She prioritizes her time by focusing on what lies within her control.  She will try to influence what is outside of her control but it is a secondary focus.

I wasn’t surprised to hear her first two leadership priorities.  The third one made me pause.  I like its clarity.  People may have different interpretations.  Here’s what it means to me.

I have a choice: I can worry about externalities, and what others are doing, or I can concentrate on what I have control over.  I will own that responsibility and not let myself off the hook with excuses for under-performing.  I recognize what I can control, and that gives me clarity and focus on how to drive forward successfully.”

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Antonia Bowring