At some point in our careers, most of us have undoubtedly scratched our heads and wondered, “How on earth did this person obtain this leadership role?” The fact of the matter is that some people in leadership roles don’t belong there. Unfortunately, companies tend to promote employees who are highly trained and have excellent technical skills, but when these employees move into management, they often lack the soft skills necessary to motivate their teams. Hence, they don’t become great leaders.
In this episode of In Process: Conversations about Business in the 21st Century, hosts Evelyn Ashley and John Monahon of Trusted Counsel speak with Dr. Hans Finzel about leadership. Dr. Finzel is an author, speaker and trusted authority in the leadership field and the author of 10 books on leadership. With a doctorate in leadership studies, Dr. Finzel is a respected teacher globally. In his new book “Top Ten Ways to Be a Great Leader,” he uses the letters in the word LEADERSHIP to present the 10 essential skills that he believes every new leader must master.
Don’t do what comes naturally – you’ll be a poor leader
Dr. Finzel’s fascination with leadership stems from a negative experience he had in the workplace as a young professional. “When I finished grad school and went to work, I was such an excited young man and I ended up having a boss who made my life miserable. I thought to myself, how can I have so much passion and vision and have this person stand in my way with their horrible leadership skills and, why are they the boss?! If I ever get the chance to be a leader of anything, I don’t want to be THAT kind of a leader. So, that’s when I started studying leadership.”
Dr. Finzel believes that many of us don’t lead well because we’ve simply had bad role models in both our personal and professional lives. “Therefore, when it becomes our turn to lead, we simply replicate those poor leadership skills that we’ve witnessed. Also, many of us don’t lead well because as human beings we’re naturally self-centered, and looking out for ourselves first.” Great leadership, according to Dr. Finzel is not about me – it’s about we.
If everyone was a leader, it would be a horrible world
Dr. Finzel defines leadership with one word: influence. “If you influence others, you are leading them. Every time you influence someone to take an action, positive or negative, you are leading that person.”
Leadership according to Dr. Hans Finzel
In his new book, “Top Ten Ways to Be a Great Leader,” Dr. Finzel uses the 10 letters in the word LEADERSHIP to present the essential skills that he believes every new leader must master.
Here’s the run-down of the list for L-E-A-D-E-R-S-H-I-P:
“L” is for listen and learn
According to Dr. Finzel, listening and learning are the most important skills that every leader needs to possess. “People hate to follow leaders that never listen and they also don’t like to follow leaders that aren’t willing to learn.”
“E” stands for emotional intelligence
Known as EQ – as opposed to IQ (which is our intelligence quotient). According to 2016 research conducted by LeadershipTraQ, performance success in leadership is one-third IQ and two-thirds EQ. Emotional intelligence or emotional quotient (often interchanged) are the soft skills used in work and in life, such as interacting with a big room of people and having strong interpersonal relationships. A leader that possesses a high EQ is able to recognize their own and other people’s emotions well, discern between different feelings and label them appropriately. The leader then uses the emotional information to guide his or her thinking and behavior, and manages or adjusts emotions to adapt to the situation. So it’s important to work on your EQ.
“A” is for accessibility
Today’s leaders need to be accessible, especially with millennials coming into the workforce who often demand accessibility to their leaders. Gone are the days when leaders could just hide out in their office all day or be on “that” executive floor, away from the rest of the group.
“D” is for determination
Good old-fashioned determination and hard work is the idea here. Don’t try to take short cuts at work because we live in an instant gratification society these days. At work, it just doesn’t work that way.
“E” is for effective communication
It’s vital to communicate through various channels and multiple times. For instance, while you might think that as a new manager you’re doing a great job of communicating your department updates via email, email open rates are only at 15% (national rate for opens). So add other channels to communicate your department updates, such as team meetings and share the updates on the company intranet site as well.
“R” is for resilience
Programs, plans and priorities change often these days, so it’s important to stop being so inflexible.
“S” is for servant attitude
Dr. Finzel’s definition of servant leadership is the idea of caring more about the good of the team than one’s own enrichment. He says to think of it in the following way. “If you help the people that work for you to accomplish their goals, then your own goals will be accomplished.” That’s a good thing.
“H” is for hands-off delegation
Dr. Finzel explains that the more intelligent and the more gifted you are, the harder it is to delegate. He believes that it’s part of a leader’s job to mentor others and to develop them. So if you delegate, and keep your “hands off,” you are mentoring.
“I” is for integrity
People will follow leaders who have integrity.
“P” is for the power of humility
Humility is not a weakness, but an attitude that recognizes that you are not the most important person. Great companies are led by humble leaders.
Follow and master these essential skills and you too will be on your way to becoming an exemplary leader.
Want to get the full conversation on “What Makes a Great Leader?” Stream this episode in the player below. You can also subscribe on iTunes to receive new episodes of In Process Podcast directly on your smartphone.
What Makes a Great Leader?
Dr. Hans Finzel, is a speaker and trusted authority in the leadership field and author of 10 books in leadership.
(c) Trusted Counsel (Ashley) LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Speaker 1: It’s time for In Process, Conversations about Business in the 21st century with Evelyn Ashley and John Monahon, presented by Trusted Counsel, a corporate and intellectual property law firm. For more information visit trusted-counsel.com. And now, with In Process, here are Evelyn Ashley and John Monahon.
John: Hello, and welcome to In Process, Conversations about Business in the 21st Century presented by Trusted Counsel, a corporate and intellectual property law firm. I’m John Monahon.
Evelyn : And I’m Evelyn Ashley.
John: And we’re partners in Trusted Counsel.
Evelyn : So John, leadership. As lawyers, do we know anything about leadership?
John: Probably less than most.
Evelyn : I have to admit that having worked before going to law school, you know, I was at Coca Cola for five years and worked with some top people there and I must admit, by the time I got into a law firm, I was a little frustrated by the lack of leadership. It just seemed like a completely flat group and no one was really willing to take a position. Fact is, I’m well known for the first firm that I went to after law school, I handed my top partner the book “Lead follower, get out of the way”, so I think it’s really interesting that we have Dr. Hans Finzel here today to talk about leadership because I think it’s something that we all know that we should focus on and I don’t know that we all do very well knowing how to actually execute those principles.
John: I agree, not everybody is a natural born leader so sometimes they have to learn through people like Dr. Hans Finzel.
Evelyn : Exactly.
John: Dr. Finzel is an author, speaker and trusted authority in the leadership field. He is the author of ten books, including the international bestseller “The Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make.” With a doctorate in leadership studies, Finzel is a respected teacher globally. After serving 20 years as a president and CEO of an international non-profit World Venture, he now leads the non-profit training ministry HD leaders. He and his wife, Donna, have four adult children and live in Colorado. Dr. Hans Finzel, welcome to the show.
Hans: Thank you. Good to meet you both, John and Evelyn, good to be on the show today. Sounds like we have a lot to talk about.
John: Yes we do.
Evelyn : So, Hans, where does your passion for leadership come from?
Hans: Well, probably comes from kind of a little bit of what you said, Evelyn, in your early experience. When I finished grad school and went to work, I was such a excited young man and making my way in my career and I ended up having a boss who made my life miserable and I just thought, wow, how can I have so much passion and vision and have this person stand in my way with their horrible leadership skills and why are they the boss, why are they up? And so my fascination with studying leadership really was born out of a negative experience and I said to myself, if I ever get a chance to be the leader of anything, I don’t want to be THAT kind of leader, so that’s when I started studying leadership.
Evelyn : And how to get to the other side, how do you think you’ve done with that?
Hans: Well, I’m not a perfect leader that’s for sure. In fact my bestseller “Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make”, people always ask me, did you make all of the mistakes and I’m all those, I said, are you kidding me, I’ve made hundreds, I just put the top ten in the book. And my new book, “Top Ten Ways to be a Great Leader” is … I’m not saying I’m a great leader, I’m saying I’ve learned a lot about how to be an effective leader so I think I yeah, for 20 years, I ended up being an international CEO, I mean a CEO of an international organization non-profit so I think I did pretty well. Far from perfect, far from perfect, but I’ve learned a lot and when I write about leadership and speak about it to folks like you, I’ve definitely been in the trenches of leadership so I think I’ve learned a few things.
Evelyn : I think it’s really interesting cause looking at your … the various points you go through in the book and kind of the key topical areas which we’ll talk more specifically about in running through those various items, I certainly could see where I actively succeed and actively fail on a regular basis but I guess that’s just human nature anyway, right? No one is going to be perfect at this.
Hans: It is, and I have a couple of observations I’ve made about leadership that are very simple. One is, there seem to be more bad leaders than good leaders.
Evelyn : Yes.
Hans: Number two, we tend to lead as we were led and if you have bad role models in our own experience, when it’s our turn to lead, we will probably replicate those bad habits. And the third principle that I like to mention is if we do what comes natural, we’ll be bad leaders because think about it, naturally we’re just self-centered, selfish human beings that look out for good old number ones. So, you know, to learn to be a good leader, I think just takes some skills and some study.
John: What made you decide to write this book “Top Ten Ways to be a Great Leader” as a follow up to your past one about mistakes, what was it that compelled you to say, I have a different take on this?
Hans: Well, probably 20 years of experience. I actually wrote the mistakes book 20 years ago when I was a young man and sometimes I think people shouldn’t be allowed to write books till they are after 50 years old but I was in my forties when I wrote that book and now I’m in my sixties and I’ve learned a lot. I like to say, I’ve become a roaming ambassador of leadership wisdom. And at this stage in my career, I was actually doing a series of podcasts that this book was born out of and I kind of asked the question, what are the ten essential skills every new leader should master and at this point in my career I felt like I had a lot more wisdom about leadership than I did when I was in my forties and I actually asked my podcast listeners, I did quite a bit of research and said hey, what are the kind of people you respect and that you want to follow and that you trust in leaders and that’s how I came up with these what I call ten essential skills or areas that you really need to pay attention to. Especially if you’re a new leader.
John: And you also have … you do a bit of consulting as well, so is a lot of the … I guess, you said you sourced some of this from the podcast but is some of this also from your own personal experience and some that you’ve had via consulting?
Hans: Yes, it is. It’s my own experience and then dipping in and out of a lot of other businesses, companies, non-profits and seeing what’s going on. I get called in to situations that I just sometimes scratch my head and thinking how did that person ever be put in charge? and they shouldn’t be in charge but they gotta try to fix this terrible leadership disaster. So I’ve seen a lot and it’s kind of scary. You know, you can’t even make some of that stuff up.
Evelyn : I think this is particularly of interest to us, actually Hans, simply because we do come out of a world where lawyers are highly trained, typically highly intelligent people and as a result, are really difficult to lead. So, you know, maybe you can talk to us a little bit about how do you think that … and I’m sure that this is also an issue in certainly knowledge based businesses, strategic consultancies and everything else. Is there a way for us to be thinking about how you can actually get people to … I guess it’s follow, because that is kind of part of what a leader wants to have happen.
Hans: Yeah, the legal profession is some ways is like the engineering profession or even education. I find I do some work with school districts and stuff like that and the educational world has some huge challenges for leadership. And again, it’s very smart people, highly trained who often aren’t good leaders themselves and they don’t like to follow other people, they are almost like … oh, they’re all so smart and educated that they are all independent contractors and it’s hard to lead a group of independent contractors. And I think, wouldn’t you agree, your legal world is probably the same?
Evelyn : Absolutely, absolutely. I like to say it’s like herding cats to get one to follow you.
Hans: Yeah, totally. So you know, it’s probably an enormous challenge to develop great leadership in the legal field. Another thing is the mass of attention to detail which makes or breaks your career and I think it probably fosters micromanagement, right? It fosters control freaks and you gotta do it my way and you gotta do it exactly this way and then all those things work against great delegation. One thing, when we get into the guts of the book a little bit, I talk about the age and leadership stands for hands off delegation. And one of the things that frustrates followers the most are leaders that just micromanage and don’t know how to delegate well but I would think in your profession that would be difficult, wouldn’t you say?
John: Welcome back to In Process, we’re here with Dr. Finzel, the author of “The Top Ten Ways to be a Great Leader”. When we left off, we were talking about hands off delegation which is a real problem that I struggle with and I think a lot of attorneys, probably people in general, I don’t think this is an attorney specific problem, struggle with. I escalate between completely micromanaging and being paranoid about a task that I’ve assigned. Or the only way to let me not be paranoid is to completely-
Evelyn : Abdicate.
John: Abdicate. I can’t exactly find a middle ground in that.
Hans: Yeah, and both are a mistake. In fact, I used to … my problem is, I trust people too much and I would tend to give them too much you know, like wind them up like the energizer of money and send them off and like … yeah, I trust you to do this job. And I had a new COO that started working for me and he asked to see our FO in our company. So what’s it like to work for Hans and he said “Well, a great thing about Hans is he just gives you so much freedom to do your job” and then the guy said … so he’s a brand new employee, “So, what’s the tough thing about Hans?”, “Well, he gives you so much freedom. Sometimes he’s gone for a week”, and I did travel my whole career, all over the world. But I had to learn that you can’t treat delegation out of sight, out of mind. You do need checkpoints along the way. In fact, I talked in my book about the four questions every follower asks. This is probably one of the best things I’ll mention in the interview, here’s the four questions. What am I supposed to do? Will you let me do it? Will you help me when I need it? And will you let me know how I’m doing? And see, those are the questions that provide great delegation. You know, what am I supposed to do? And that’s clear instructions, here’s what we need. Will you let me do it? There’s the rut, isn’t it? And it sounds like John, you struggle with that. People like pride of ownership and if you … and ownership of a project or a task, so they don’t want you looking over their shoulders every minute, that makes for a miserable job. And then will you help me when I need it? Those are the checkpoints along the way. And then feedback. Will you let me know how I’m doing? You know, one of the signs of a miserable job is I never get any feedback from my bosses, my supervisors, I don’t have a clue if I’m doing good or not and people need feedback.
Evelyn : Yeah, and I think actually professionals are probably the worst at that than many, simply because we kind of finish projects and we move on to the next one and forget, oh yeah, that was a good job or well, there’s some changes we need to make.
John: Or, when we do give feedback you almost wish that you never asked for it because we will have about a million different things of ways that it could have been done better. If I were to do it, this is how it would have been a million ways better. Of course. And it’s very subjective a lot of times. On any assignment, it can be completed correctly in a various number of ways. How do you give feedback that’s appropriate, that’s appropriately critical but not heart crushing?
Evelyn : Positive too.
Hans: Yeah, well, affirmation is really important but I use the mantra truth works. So you have to be truthful to people, if they didn’t do a good job you don’t want to tell them they did. But I do believe people need positive and negative feedback, not just negative. You know, I grew up in a German home and my parents were pure Germans and my father’s attitude was if you do what’s expected, you won’t hear from me. So the only time I had interaction with my father was when I did bad things. So guess what I did, I did a lot of bad things as a teenager to get his attention. He never affirmed me, you know, a German household, never said I love you, you’re doing great, you’re a good kid, you know. So when I raised my four children, I kind of was opposite. I was-
Evelyn : Really positive.
Hans: Overwhelmingly positive. And I think there’s a balance in there and as leaders and as employers and as supervisors, we do need to give people both good feedback and corrective feedback when they need it.
John: Well, I want to switch gears here just a little bit and talk about something that you touched on earlier in the show which is about whether people are natural born leaders or not. I mean, are they? Or does everyone possess some skill to be a leader?
Hans: Yes, the age old question which I get everywhere. Even I travel to China quite a bit, I get that question there too. Are leaders made or are they born? And I think the answer is yes, I think no. Excuse me, your direct question is everybody born with some leadership skill. No, I don’t think that’s true. There are lots of people that are just totally meant to be followers and I like to say every leader needs a hundred followers. If everybody was a leader, it’d be a horrible world. So no, everybody shouldn’t even try to be a leader. However, I think leadership … some people are born with leadership ability. I was born with leadership abilities and I was a boy scout when I was a teenager, I just seemed like I always drifted into positions of influence cause I’m sort of wired that way. And I have kind of a leadership charisma. So people are definitely born with leadership wiring. But I do think it’s more important that you learn to be a great leader. Of all the people I’ve met in my travels around the world, probably the most impressive encounter I had was I met Mother Teresa in Calcutta, India in 1994, a few years before she died but after she got the Nobel Prize. And I had a ten minute private audience with her. And guess what we talked about when she and I were together for ten minutes.
Evelyn : Leadership?
Evelyn : I was going to say, come on Hans.
Hans: Well, the thing … I asked somebody that question the other day and they guessed it. She wanted to talk about me and she didn’t want to talk about her great accomplishments, she was a humble leader and she was the kind of person I would say had zero natural wiring or gifting to be a leader but she had such a passion to help the poor and the oppressed that she became. By the way, I define leadership with one word: influence. And if you influence others, you are leading them. And she was a person of massive influence, even though she had no natural gifting. So point of the story is, you can learn to be a great leader and don’t use it as an excuse, well, I don’t have any wiring. My youngest son Andrew has been thrown into leadership situations and he always said, “Dad, I don’t want to be the leader but nobody else is willing to step up so I guess I have to be” and I’m like “Yeah, I think that’s the best kind of leadership actually”
Evelyn : Yes, pushed into leadership.
John: Now do most leaders fail at their first attempts of leadership before succeeding or are they automatically great at it?
Hans: I’ve never been asked that question. That’s a good one. I would say, they probably do fail. Maybe not an absolute failure but I think it’s like riding a bicycle, I think when you’re a kid, yeah, it takes some failure before you succeed. Let me just mention back to the book for a second because we’re touching on it. So the way I write my new book “The Top Ten Ways to be a Great Leader” is I used … I like top ten lists, I was a fan of David Letterman all the years he was on TV and that’s my “Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make” was a total rip off of his top ten list. And then I found out the word leadership has ten letters in it and I’m like oh my gosh, this is just begging to be a book. And so the outline of the book is the ten chapters of the ten letters in the work leadership and then I have a principal, a skill for each of the ten letters. Well, the first chapter I think is probably the most important, the L in leadership stands for listen and learn. And those are the two most important words in a leader’s vocabulary. People hate to follow leaders that never listen and they also don’t like to follow leaders that aren’t willing to learn, to say, you know, I’m growing myself in my ability to lead. So listen and learn, the two most important words of a leader’s vocabulary.
Evelyn : That makes so much sense to me because the whole idea of certainly building teams around you is if you have really top notch people around a leader, in my mind, you know, kind of virtually raises the boat up because we can’t know everything, we don’t know everything. And having smart people around you to help with that execution of what you’re doing is so key.
Hans: Absolutely. That’s what I call this servant attitude instead of a domineering; the S in leadership stands for servant attitude. And it means exactly what you just said, Evelyn that I may be on top, I may be the supervisor or the boss, the partner in the firm, whatever. But it doesn’t mean that the other players aren’t just as valuable as I am. It’s really like the quarterback on a football team. I mean, hey I’m from Colorado and so we love our Broncos and Peyton Manning, you know, retired but even our archenemies in football love Peyton Manning and because he’s such a great leader and a humble leader and he truly exhibited the attitude. You know, I may be the quarterback but I cannot score a point without the entire team. We are all valuable on this team. So I like the way you put that, Evelyn.
Evelyn : Everyone plays their role.
John: Welcome back to In Process, we are here with Doctor Hans Finzel, the author of “Top Ten Ways to be a Great Leader.” In your new book, which of the ten ways to become a great leader do you think will be the most challenging for the readers?
Hans: That’s a great question, I think it depends a lot on who they are and if you look at the ten chapters, for some … the E in leadership stands for emotional intelligence. The whole EQ thing and maybe we can talk about that before we say goodbye but that may be the most difficult for some people, they’re not emotionally intelligent, they’re not really in touch with how they come across to other people and they have blind spots.
Evelyn : Those self evaluation.
Hans: Yes, so I think that might be hard. I think the delegation issue is … we already talked about that. I think that might be really hard for some leaders and then the last chapters, the power of humility. And it sounds like maybe in your industry that might come as a difficult quality to possess, the power of humility. But back to my analogy of both Mother Teresa and Peyton Manning, if you were to ask me, what is the greatest quality in a leader that you respect, I would say humility. And humility is not weakness. Some people think “Ah, that’s … you know, I’ll get eaten alive if I show humility”. That’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about a spirit, again, that I’m not the most important person in the room even though I’m on the top of the heap so to speak. So I think for some people, they need more humility and when I was a young man I was full of myself, I mean, I was arrogant, I just thought I was God’s gift to the world and I had some real blow back from my team when I was a leader, even in my thirties. And I remember one time I was confronted by my team and said, “Hans, we don’t want to follow you, you know, you’re just so … all you care about is yourself and your agenda and what you’re going to get accomplished in your career and you don’t care about us”. And man, I just got crushed. And I needed to get crushed and I became a much better leader after that.
John: Yeah, I look at this list of items and the top ten ways to be a great leader and I think my most challenging one would be effective communication. Sometimes I have it in my head what I want the end goal to be and what I want everybody to work towards but for various reasons, I don’t communicate what’s the overall goal to the team. Because one, I’m either too busy so I haven’t completely thought it out but it’s concrete in my head but not in everybody else’s. What do you mean by effective communication, is this overall strategy? Is this overall goal communication or is this effective communication on a one on one basis between you and-
Hans: It’s all of the above. Okay, if you’re the leader, one of your most important tasks is what I call organizational clarity. That you know where we’re going cause the leader does have to think about the future. And what’s our purpose, what’s our direction and then the second job after you have organizational clarity is to communicate it regularly in many different ways to many different audience. And I think what you said is a struggle of a lot of leaders, they kind of think people know what’s in their head by process of osmosis but I follow the principle never assume anybody knows anything. And the list-
John: I go by that too.
Hans: Yeah, so if nobody knows anything, you have got to communicate to them what’s going on, where we’re going, updates on what’s happening in the firm, you know, what are our big issues this quarter, this year. You know, it’s your job. A leader can’t just be isolated cause people have an innate desire to know what’s going on and if they don’t know what’s going on, guess what happens? A huge rumor mill pops up and oftentimes when people see things happening, they always go to the negative, right?
Evelyn : Yep, absolutely.
Hans: And so the more you communicate, the less of that toxic environment develops.
Evelyn : Years ago I had a partner that … we had a small practice together and he would come in in the morning and would not turn his head, he would just walk right by everyone’s office, go into his office and close the door behind us.
Evelyn : And that really creates an aura of uh, he’s in a really bad mood, something horrible has happened and that was really just who he was but-
Hans: Exactly, probably wasn’t anything horrible but if people are left to make up their own minds about what’s going on, they always go to the negative and think the worst.
Evelyn : Yep, he was challenged. And then sometimes-
Hans: And you know that’s why a lot of people get into leadership is because they’re good at what they do on a technical level and then they get promoted into leadership or in your case, you know, became a partner because they were there long enough, became the senior partner and they really had no business-
Evelyn : Being. Yes.
Hans: Being the leader but in many industries they end up there and that’s my passion, just to help people like that, that’s who I write for. Hey, just try to learn a little bit about being a better leader.
Evelyn : And that’s actually where that concept of emotional intelligence I think comes in, Hans, because a lot of times because they have acquired that position, by being highly intelligent, they don’t self-evaluate, they don’t understand how they’re perceived and so they become even more obnoxious as you go forward. So you try to tell them and then they just, you know, spring it right back on you. This is your problem, it’s not mine.
Hans: Yeah, and that’s a sad environment to work in, isn’t it?
Evelyn : It is. That’s why we don’t anymore.
Hans: That’s why I love the situation when I was a young man and I worked for the person that was just so frustrated I had to leave, and I always tell people “Look, hey life’s too short to just wither away under a leader that you don’t respect and don’t trust”.
Evelyn : So talk to us about resilience, that definitely has meaning for anyone who hears the word, but talk to us a little bit about how that relates to leadership.
Hans: Well, resilience is what I called sponginess. The ability to be flexible when things go back. And things do go back and so when you’re the leader you have setbacks, sometimes you fall flat on your face, resilience is the ability to bounce back and then not to quit because of opposition, because of disappointment, because of a disaster that happened. When I was a kid, one of my favorite toys was a slinky and we all know what the slinky is, right? And I love a slinky cause when you hold it in your hands, between your two hands, it’s just super flexible. And I always say, leadership be like Slinkys, they should be flexible, pliable and if you’re rigid like the leader you were just referring to a moment ago, those kinds of leaders are terrible leaders and they also at times will break, they’ll have a breakdown or they’ll snap in anger because they’re so rigid. But if you’re pliable and flexible, that’s resilience. And one of the principles of resilience that I love is give up the right to be right, you know? People that always have to be right are very inflexible and you know, I don’t have to prove I’m right even if I am. So that’s resilience.
Evelyn : I think it also brings us back to the concept of listen and learn, too, with resilience. Your principles seem like they really are very integrated in a way.
Hans: Intertwined, yes. They definitely are, yes.
John: So what is one of the biggest challenges that you see for first time managers in an organization?
Evelyn : Becoming leaders.
Hans: Yeah, when you first become a manager or a supervisor or leader. I think the biggest challenge is the change of behavior because when you’re a follower you have a set of skills, whatever you’re doing but when you become a leader, it’s a whole new set of skills. Supervising other people and I think it’s kind of a set up for failure because there is so much you need to know and you need to act differently and remember, I said at the beginning of the show, one of the things I’ve learned and observed is we lead as we were led and if you had a poor leader, a poor supervisor, you may very well replicate those same exact mistakes that your leader made. So I think the biggest challenge for a new leader is to develop good leadership skills.
John: Dr. Finzel, can you give us an overview of the chapters in the book because they are arranged with certain topics going, as you mentioned, with leadership as an acronym.
Hans: Yeah, it is kind of … I was amazed when I realized the word leadership had ten letters in it cause I love lists of ten. I mean, they just flow from me. So I just used that as an acronym and I’ll just zip through them real quick and you can stop if you want to dig a little deeper. We already talked about the L in leadership and that stands for listen and learn. I do believe those are the two most important words in a leader’s vocabulary. The E stands for emotional intelligence, EQ and for … our society for so long judged people’s success by their IQ but today we know that EQ is more important than IQ and when I hire a new employee, here’s a tip. Forget about how smart the people are, when you’re talking to their references, you know what you want to ask them? Now most references today won’t talk to you anymore, sadly, but if you can find somebody that will-
Evelyn : To have a conversation, yeah.
Hans: Yeah, you kind of want to ask them about their people skills, their relational skills, how do they get along with other people, what are their people skills like? How do they act under pressure, how are they at conflict resolution? See, that’s EQ, emotional intelligence. And leadership effectiveness has so much more to do with your EQ than your IQ, so that’s the E in leadership. And the way you develop emotional intelligence is to really get in touch with how you come across to other people and a person who is emotionally intelligent perceives themselves the way others perceive them. And they don’t have these glaring blind spots.
The A in leadership stands for accessibility. Accessibility. Gone is the day when leader … Evelyn, you talked to me about the leader … you mentioned the leader that came into the office and then hid out. Came in the office in the morning and then hid out in their office the whole day, see that’s the opposite of accessibility and gone are the days when the leaders can just hide out in a corner office or an executive floor. Today’s leaders need to be accessible, especially millennials coming into the workforce. I’ve been doing a lot of study on how to lead millennials and how to integrate them into the workforce, they are a very different generation and they demand accessibility to their leaders and they don’t … sometimes older leaders will think it’s disrespectful the way a millennial would get in your face but it’s not disrespectful, it’s just the power distance between leader and follower has gone from giant to non-existent over the last three or four decades.
Evelyn : That’s so funny that you raise that because we’ve had a number of millennials in the office and sometimes, we come to the conclusion that they should just have a chair right next to us, so we can put our arm around them on a regular basis, “You’re doing a great job”.
Hans: Exactly, exactly they are a very different breed that you have to-
Evelyn : Give them the positive feedback and kind of regular communication. But it works really well. But accessibility really is so interesting to me because recently, we’ve been really busy in the office. And it doesn’t seem like it’s coming to an end anytime soon. And my door is always open and you know, there is a joke in the office that all roads lead to Evelyn’s office which might seem kind of funny but Evelyn can’t get anything done because someone’s always in her office. So, talk to me a little bit about managing accessibility, Hans.
Hans: Well, Evelyn, I believe in an open door policy but there are times when you have to have some boundaries and you have to close that door or go somewhere else where you can get your personal work done, your private work, your thinking work, your reading work. I don’t think it’s a great practice just to always be accessible so I like to say manage your accessibility, that’s my short answer. I give some tips in that chapter on how to manage accessibility but it is important that you have your times when you are not available. You cannot just allow people to run your entire day.
John: Maybe I have the best solution. Because my door is always shut but my office is made of glass so people-
Evelyn : It’s true. They can see him. He’s in a fishbowl.
John: They can see that I’m accessible even though I’m shutting my door on everybody. Maybe that’s the perfect middle ground. Cause it stops no one.
Evelyn : You’re learning hand language so they can communicate through the glass. So take us through the next principles, Hans.
Hans: The D in leadership stands for determination and that’s the old fashioned determination that you, and again, speaking of the younger generations and I don’t know how many of you are listening that are millennials but sometimes, because our society has become such an instant gratification society, sometimes people don’t want to pay the price for success. They want a shortcut, they want to take the escalator instead of taking the stairs and there is no escalator to success. There is hard work that’s involved and this is just a principle that sometimes people forget, right?
Evelyn : Yeah, makes sense.
Hans: And I use the illustration of actually Colonel Sanders, Kentucky Fried Chicken, he was so determined with his chicken recipe and so many people slammed their door in his face and said, “You know, nobody is going to buy chicken at a chicken restaurant” and it wasn’t until he was 65 years old that he founded Kentucky Fried Chicken and became wildly successful but what people don’t realize is the years of determination to get there.
Evelyn : To get there, absolutely. It always looks like overnight success.
Evelyn : That took 40 years.
Hans: Yeah, it’s a very rare thing to have overnight success in life.
Evelyn : Well, one of the things that we laugh about in the office is, cause there’s a lot of small children within our office and it seems like there is an award that goes out for everybody, you know, even if you’re on the losing team, you get an award.
Hans: Oh yes, of course, everybody gets a trophy.
Evelyn : So makes it harder to explain that you know, it takes hard work to be successful.
Hans: Yeah, and I think a lot of millennials struggle with career choices because they were always told that they are perfect in everything. Whatever you do, you’re going to be success and then they’re like well, I don’t know what to do. Okay, E stands for effective communication, we’ve already touched on that. R is for resilience, we’ve mentioned that already, sponginess. The S is for servant attitude and here’s my definition, I love servant leadership. In my book “The Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make” the first chapter is called Top Down Leadership and that’s the number one mistake leaders make, this top down. And the opposite is what I call servant leadership. And again, it’s not weakness, here’s my definition of servant leader. When a leader cares more about the good of the team than his or her own enrichment. That’s servant leadership. It’s about we, it’s not about me and that’s the lesson I had to learn in my thirties because it was all about me. And I learned through the years that truly, if I helped the team succeed, I’ll succeed. If I help the people that work for me accomplish their goals, my goals will be accomplished. And it’s an attitude that I’m not the most important person in the room, even if I’m the leader, the boss, we’re all important. Servant attitude.
Evelyn : It makes perfect sense because when you’re building a business, too, everyone knows that you have to be focused on providing great service, a great product because when you do those things, the business will grow, if you stay that focused and I think it’s hard sometimes for business leaders to actually flip that back into the internal structure of the business in way that, you know, it is all good for the team if we all come together, then we can actually build a better business, also. Because we are actually relating in that same manner to everyone externally.
Hans: Absolutely, totally. Well put.
Evelyn : Thank you.
Hans: Okay, let’s see. The H in leadership stands for hand off delegation and that’s, we’ve already talked quite a bit about delegation but let me just say, you know the smarter you are and the more gifted you are, the harder it is to delegate. And that probably makes total sense to you because you do so many things well and delegation to me is another word for mentoring. And we need to mentor other people and develop them, that’s one of the goals of leaders is to develop other leaders but you’ll never do that if you don’t mentor them and the way you mentor them is becoming a great delegator. And so you see the connection?
Evelyn : Yes, absolutely.
Hans: But if you’re really good at everything, you’re just saying, “Oh, I’ll do it myself, it’s a lot … It takes time to delegate well, I’ll just do it myself, cause I’m going to do it better and faster so forget delegation, right?”
Evelyn : That’s right, if I take the time to explain it to you, I could just do it.
Hans: Exactly. It takes time and energy to be a good delegator, it’s a lot quicker to do it yourself but you’re not going to be developing the people around you.
Hans: I is for integrity and that’s pretty self-explanatory. Integrity, you know, it’s just important that you’re a person of your word, that you’re truthful, that you’re honest and I use the illustration of the Titanic that sank. Not because of a massive gash but because of a bunch of little dashes that eventually sank the ship. Sometimes integrity, you know, it’s what you do in the dark when nobody’s watching. It’s sometimes little things that can actually take you out in your leadership.
Evelyn : Bring you down.
Hans: That the little things become bigger things. So people follow leaders who are people of integrity and Warren Buffett, when he … I mention him in this chapter, when he hires people, he says, “My first requirement is integrity and if that integrity situation is not acceptable, then I don’t go any further than that” because in Warren Buffett’s opinion, integrity is the number one qualifier for employment in any of his companies.
Evelyn : That makes sense, that makes sense.
Hans: And then the P is for the power of humility, we touched on that a little bit already but I think humility is, just again, it’s not weakness, it’s an attitude that I’m not the most important person. And you guys … are you familiar with Jim Collins, the book “Good to Great”?
Evelyn : Absolutely. And “Built to last”
Hans: Yeah, those two great books, I wish I’d written those books.
Evelyn : Fantastic. Me too.
Hans: But Jim Collins by the way lives here in Colorado but in his book “Good to Great”, you know, he studies 1,400 and something companies and compared the good companies to the great companies and what made the great companies great and one quality he found in great companies is what he calls level five leadership. And level five leadership, guess what, it’s humility.
Evelyn : Humility.
Hans: He says a level five leader is humble and yet they have very strong personal discipline and personal resolve to accomplish the goals of the company. But humility is right there. And I just think, that’s so cool. The great companies are led by-
Evelyn : Humble leaders.
Hans: People who are humble. So humility to me is a really really important quality and it’s not something you can go out and get by reading a book but sometimes, we have to face some crushings, some disappointments, some experiences to make us more humble.
John: Well that’s a great way because now we’ve gone through all the leadership and each chapter and you know, we’re right out of time. So thank you Hans, this was a great conversation. Thank you very much for joining us, if you’d like to learn more about Dr. Hans Finzel, his new book and how to connect with him, please visit his website at Hansfinzel.com, we hope you enjoyed In Process today, if you have any questions or would like to be featured as a guest, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you for joining us.
Evelyn : Thank you.