For those Father’s who may be toasting at their daughter’s wedding:

A few toasts for the Father of the Bride:

  • Let us raise our glasses and toast the happy couple. The bride has been like a ray of warm sun light on my soul from the day she was born. Now, she begins a new life and there will be another man to whom she will turn for love and protection.  But I want her to know her father will always be there for her. Cheers.
  • A toast to my daughter. She was a gift from God and I will always be grateful to have been given the honor of being her father. May God continue to bless her and her new husband and grant them safety, love, and happiness all the days of their lives.
  • Here is to my daughter and her new husband. Raise your glasses and remember this truth, her lucky man and I have each gained something this fine and blessed day. He gains a wife and a companion for life, while I gain a whole new stack of bills to pay.

Ten Levels of Delegation

As a Leader, you are charged with getting things done through the efforts of others. The ability to use your vision, experience and personality in directing tasks, setting goals and achieving results is paramount to your success and the success of the organization.

How you go about delegating tasks are based on the environment, your team and the task itself. There is no silver bullet and no one best way. There are some LeadersTips which can be offered to assist in the delegation process.

A few years ago, a friend of mine found an interesting article on delegation. It laid out ten levels of delegation. While always difficult to nail jello to a wall, these statements attempt to give a framework for delegating. What level is based on many factors to include your trust and confidence of the individual and the amount of freedom and responsibility to be given. While I wouldn’t suggest this, my friend actually printed this out, framed it on his wall and when he gave someone a task, looked up at the frame and said “That’s a number 8.”

Ten Levels of Delegation

  1. Do exactly what I say.
  2. Look into this and tell me the situation. I will decide.
  3. Look into this and tell me the situation. We will decide together.
  4. Tell me the situation and what help you need from me in assessing and handling it. Then we’ll decide.
  5. Give me your analysis of the situation (reasons, options, pros and cons) and recommendation. I’ll let you know whether you can go ahead.
  6. Decide and let me know your decision, and wait for my go-ahead before proceeding.
  7. Decide and let me know your decision, then go ahead unless I say not to.
  8. Decide and take action – let me know what you did and what happened.
  9. Decide and take action. You need not check back with me.
  10. Decide where action needs to be taken and manage the situation accordingly. It’s your area of responsibility now.

Shine up your neighbor’s halo.

Another Mini-Maxim in the series…

5. Shine up your neighbor’s halo

One Sunday morning while in vacation, while sitting in a back pew of a small country church, with my eyes half asleep, I dimly heard the elder Priest urge his flock to “stop worrying about your own halo and shine up your neighbors!” It left me sitting up, wide awake, because it struck me as just about the best eleven word formula for getting along with people I have ever heard.

I felt and liked it for its implication that everyone, in some area of life, has a halo that’s worth watching for and acknowledging.  I like it for the droll celestial picture it conjures up: everybody industriously polishing away at everybody else’s little circle of divine light.  I like it for the firm way it shifts emphasis from self to interest and concern for others.  Finally, I like it because it reflects a deep psychological truth: that people have a tendency to become what you expect them to be.

The Ten Commandments of Leadership

The Ten Commandments of LeadershipI believe this speaks for itself.

I. Treat Everyone With Respect and Dignity

II. Set the Example for Others to Follow

III. Be an Active Coach

IV. Develop Yourself to Your highest Potential

V. Be Available and Visible to Your Staff

VI. Build Group Cohesiveness and Pride

VII. Show Confidence in Your People

VIII. Maintain a Strong Sense of urgency

IX. Insist on Excellence and Hold Your People Accountable

X. Maintain the Highest Standards of Honesty and Integrity

Taking pause to reflect on my greatest mentor, my Dad

Today would have been my Dad’s 83rd birthday. While it has only been three years since his passing, I still hear his voice, sense his encouragement and feel his presence. I want to take pause today to reflect on a few of examples of his leadership in my life – as my first and greatest mentor.

I don’t know about you, but I always wanted to be like my Dad. He kept his family close, but knew when to let out the rope. Sometimes I tripped on it and a few times I was left dangling. Shouldn’t leaders do this as often as possible?

My father led by example; full of character, honesty and fairness and always a gentleman.  He was ready with a comforting word and prepared to steer you back on the path, but ready to let you live your own life and make your own course.

It is through making your own course and gaining practical experience that wisdom is found and unleashed. When we get burnt by a flame, we learn not to touch it and through that action we feel and understand the power of the flame. These flames can create a spectacular sizzling, New York Strip, or burn it to an inedible crisp. Words, like flames, can be friend or foe. Leaders have daily opportunities to share experiences, offer options and build depth in the organization. Any scars we receive in our life are a deep, physical reminder of the past, and to keep you on guard in the present.

I want to leave you with the last paragraph of his eulogy. It drives home an important message we should all keep in mind when we are at the end of our rope, or being burned in the flames.

“August 3rd was my Dad’s birthday, and it is very appropriate he passed away on March 4th.   You see, March 4th is the only day in the entire calendar that is a command – March forth.  Something we all need to do, go forward, move ahead, live life to its fullest, enjoy the day, seize the moment, and be part of this great mystery called life.  March forth.”

As a leader, are you ready to march forth?

Letter to a friend on her promotion

This is a letter written back in April 2001 to a friend after hearing of her promotion…

My dearest friend –

Good news travels quickly – congratulations on your promotion!  Just a few thoughts as you move into your new role.

First – remember where you came from.  All of the employees are looking to you to be their advocate and support.  They need guidance, assistance and at times a little shove.  Think of their perspective when decision time comes.

Second – spend time to think and to listen.  You are the one with the vision and as the new leader, you must project that in all instances.  It doesn’t mean you have all the answers or exactly know where you are going all the time, but you must show some courage and fortitude when it comes time to decisions.  Most, not all, will line up behind you.  The department is yours to mold and to grow.  Listen to the ones doing the work. Think about how you can support them and make their lives easier.  If you don’t do this, who will?

Third – Have fun.  Life will never be the same again.  Your attitude and how you approach the job are in your control – use it wisely.  You will have to grow two-inch thick skin to take all of the torpedos thrown at you.  Nothing is personal – this is work, this is business.  If you don’t drive the train – who will?  Enjoy your work, but work is not everything.  Family comes first.  Smile a lot – it keeps people wondering.

All the best of luck in your new role.  I am very happy for you.

Gary