Un-Learning Leadership

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“We spend a lot of time teaching leaders what to do.  We don’t spend enough time teaching them what to stop doing.” ~ Peter Drucker

This is hard to argue with. It’s the doing that’s difficult.

The problem is that most of the behaviors we have as humans, and therefore as bosses, are on autopilot. We do them without much thought. And that means that the first challenge is identifying what needs to change.

Start by asking around. Ask your team members what they want you to stop doing. When they tell you, no matter what it is, say “Thank you.” Do not argue. Do not justify.

Ask your peers what they think you should stop doing. Say, “Thank you.” Do not argue or justify.

Review your daily work life. What are you spending time on that isn’t productive?

Review your own history. Most of your leadership habits were formed before you were thirty. Look there for ideas about what you may need to change.

What do you do just like your parents? Did you pick up any unproductive behaviors from your early bosses? Whose sayings and advice do you repeat?

Use what you discover to help you develop a “Stop Doing” list. If you want to see some things that might be on it, check out Art Petty’s wonderful post: “At Least 20 Things to Stop Doing as a Leader.”

Boss’s Bottom Line

Make a Stop Doing list. Work on one thing at a time. You’re changing habits, so this will take some time and some effort.

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