PART 1 – New Ways of Looking at Leadership and Talent
Randy Pound spent time talking with Dr. Fred “DocFred” Simkovsky on a recent installment of his Visions of Success Internet talk radio program.
Read on for highlights from their revealing, in-depth discussion of leadership and long-term success — and how they’re evolving in today’s marketplace.
In Part 1, Simkovsky and Pound dig into what leadership means and how to approach it in new ways that might surprise you.
Everyone has a different definition of leadership. How do you define leadership?
According to Pound, “The essence of leadership is the act of convincing other people to do things that they would not naturally do on their own.”
A key aspect here is the “convincing” part — as opposed to coercing, forcing, pushing or pulling people along. When someone can convince people effectively, they fit the definition of a true leader.
Simkovsky says that people often seem to confuse leadership with managing. And there’s a big difference. “Today, I find people don’t really want to be managed,” he says. “They’d rather be coached, they’d rather be guided.” Leadership makes good things happen for people and the world at large.
Through his travels and experiences in leadership development training in this country and abroad, Pound recognized the universal need for people to be happy.
He mentions a recent survey statistic that up to 85% of the people in the workforce wish they worked for a different company. He finds this to be an extremely troubling statistic.
“People cannot be sustainably happy unless they’re winners,” he says. “True leaders develop teams of people into winning teams, and then from that winning culture, happiness comes, and people are satisfied with their lives.”
It’s never been more important to make sure you understand what makes your employees happy.
What are some ways that you show your employees that you appreciate them?
Keeping in Touch with Employees
“Everyone in the world wants to be appreciated,” says Simkovsky, “For themselves, for what they do, for what they contribute.”
How can you show your employees you appreciate them?
The answer is simple: You ask them!
It sounds basic, but it can be highly effective and enlightening.
Simkovsky says of his talks with many leaders, managers and CEOs, “It’s like none of these people ever think about asking the people who work for them!” Similarly, he finds that many corporate leaders tend to be out of touch with the people who work for them at every level — simply because a large number of corporate leaders don’t come out of their offices.
Simkovsky cites an example of an occasion where he worked to save a large company approximately $250K in about 6 months. He sat down with CEO to discuss these impressive results, and their conversation went something like this:
CEO/Leader: “How did you make this happen? What’s your secret?”
Simkovsky: “There is no secret. I just went out and talked to your people.”
CEO/Leader: “Why didn’t they come and talk to us?”
Simkovsky says the real question is: “When was the last time you went out and talked to them?”
CEOs, leaders, ask yourselves: Does everybody in this company know who you are? “Because if you can’t answer that question, you’re spending too much time in the office,” Simkovsky says. The response he often hears? “Boy, I’ve gotta get out more!”
When was the last time you reached out and talked to your employees?
A New Leadership Paradigm
Pound believes that corporations need to break past some outdated and unneeded corporate paradigms — and to look to some entrepreneurial ways that are less steeped in traditional hierarchy.
Most executives need to have some type of entrepreneurship in their DNA to make their companies successful.
Pound offers a nice metaphor for how leadership must be connected to — woven into — all departments and aspects of an organization.
“Excellence of a company or organization is sort of like a patchwork quilt,” he says. “If you can imagine, a patchwork quilt starts as many patches that look different. Leadership is that golden thread that brings those patches together, so that you finally end up with a really strong, really durable, beautiful piece of art.” Indeed, leadership is that golden thread that holds it all together.
How is leadership “woven into” your organization?