What Kind of Leader Are You?


At CAVU, we love being Agile, and we love when other people are too! We want our members to hear from a variety of perspectives on Agile. Kim has proven expertise in delivering solutions by leveraging Scrum, Agile and Lean methodologies. She has consistently adopted innovative approaches to solving complex corporate problems throughout her 20+ year career. Please welcome Kim Antelo, from Antelo Agility.

Are you a Multiplier Leader or a Diminisher? Do you belong to a cohesive leadership team? Is your company smart AND healthy? Are you playing an infinite game or focusing on just short term wins?

I think there may be some confirmation bias happening in my life as I reflect on helping leaders empower their teams which enable an impact, not only on the company but also on the world.

Patrick Lencioni in “The Advantage” talks about the ability to leverage how healthy your organization is, in addition to how smart it is. Many organizations talk about performance often, but we don’t talk about creating a healthy organization often enough. So what does it mean to be a healthy organization? It is a place with high productivity, high morale, low turnover… basically highly engaged employees who feel some sort of worth in the work they are doing. How do we create highly engaged employees? Liz Wiseman says that leaders are “Multipliers” and can get 2X the amount of capability out of people by creating an intensity that requires the best intent, extending challenges to push beyond what we know, openly debating decisions which will then instill ownership and accountability. A key to that is feeling safe to openly debate decisions, whether they are ideas a team member came up with or even their boss. But many people are afraid to question or debate with people in their organization. The most senior person is who gets listened to, or the person with the highest pay grade. We need to create a psychologically safe environment where people feel they can ask the hard questions, and push each other on ideas to make them better and more resilient.

So what are some things we can start doing? Stop answering questions. Stop being the bottleneck. Listen.

Marshall Goldsmith in “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There” gives us 20 habits we need to stop doing as we go from team member to leader and he asks you to get “feed-forward” from people who are around you. Again, you need to find someone with the courage to give you that feedback. Once you tell the team you are making an attempt and they SEE that you are making an attempt others, will help you on this journey. Wiseman gives us a number of experiments to also try, like give 51% of the vote to the team, make space for mistakes, talk up your mistakes, let them solve the problems, and ask Extreme Questions.

Lencioni in “The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team” says that only once you have trust and healthy conflict (Wiseman’s open debate) within the team, can you create a space of Commitment, and then Accountability, and then Attention to Results. If people and teams are holding themselves accountable and paying attention to the results, they are much more likely to be engaged employees. You will be able to get MORE outcomes from them without more work.

Think about the long term goals of your company, not just this year, or this quarter. Communicate the why behind it, let your teams come up with solutions and products to address the why. Get them engaged, let them know you trust their experience. They will marvel you with their ingenuity as General Patton said. Let them work together as a team, build trust, and delight everyone with the impactful solutions they deliver.

Originally published on anteloagility.com Mar 17, 2020.

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