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Bam! Our Leader Shoots Hisself (Or Herself) In The Foot.

By Art van Bodegraven | 10/28/2015 | 11:13 AM

Well, it can happen. Perfection and omniscience are fantasies, delusions. Harbored primarily by wanna-be leaders who are not willing, or emotionally capable, of putting in the hard work of leadership.

The supply chain management circus still contains a number of these often earnest bosses who have become wedged into the 21st-century square peg/round hole trap. The more they squirm in an attempt to escape, the easier it is to become even more tightly gripped.

Even those who are mostly on-board can make leadership blunders, which undermine and discredit all the good things they have done. Successful leaders avoid, according to the very perceptive Leadership Freak, these self-sabotaging behaviors.

Believing that others see you the way you see yourself. Blind spots make you less credible, and checkpointing the mesh of your perspective and theirs is essential to effective communications.

Forgetting how your power influences how people behave, communicate, and trust you. You are probably not ever getting the plain and simple truth from associates.

Relentlessly winning every debate/discussion, and controlling every decision. You will create low-energy performers, who shut down, back down, and quiet down. Your strength weakens the team or group - and its outcomes.

Always speaking first and most often. Now, your associates sense that they need your permission to speak, so they go along to get along with meander along results.

Giving staff and team too many options, and making too few decisions (and not making them timely. This is not empowerment; this is avoidance and procrastination - not hallmarks of leaders on the rise.

So, how to you stay out of these pools of quicksand, or minimize their incidence?

Actively and continuously ask for feedback - straight talk, tough love, respectful candid evaluations.

Aggressively seek out and cultivate associates with insight and the courage to speak. Go outside the organization, if necessary.

Give control to trusted others whenever you are tempted to seize it. Draw out, even if awkward and initially painful, the opinions, observations, and assessments of others; live inclusion.

Pose questions with quantitative and specific content instead of giving marching orders and getting the followers aligned.

Invest in developing staff and associates, in functional skills, in new concepts, in interpersonal capabilities. Make them better; make them future leaders.

And, above all, always keep your cool. Be rationale, dispassionate, empathetic, focused, fair, and firm. (And, apologize for blunders and admit error whenever appropriate.)



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About Art van Bodegraven

Art van Bodegraven

Art van Bodegraven (1939 - 2017) was Managing Principal of the van Bodegraven Associates consultancy and Founding Principal of Discovery Executive Services, which develops and delivers supply chain educational programs. He was formerly Chair of the Supply Chain Group AG, Partner at The Progress Group LLC, Development Executive at CSCMP, Practice Leader with S4 Consulting, and a Managing Director in Coopers & Lybrand's consulting practice. Concentrating in supply chain management and logistics for over 20 years in his 50+ year business career, he has led ground-breaking strategic, operational, and educational projects for leading US and global clients. Art was principal co-author of DC Velocity's Basic Training monthly column for a decade, and was the principal co-author, with Ken Ackerman, of Fundamentals of Supply Chain Management, the definitive primer in the field. His popular blog, The Art of Art, has been a staple of DC Velocity's web site since its inception.


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