How a Snowman-Project helped to rethink leadership
Updated: Feb 5
Good lessons are everywhere, we need only good eyes to discover them. For example, the lessons I drew from a snowman project in the kindergarten of my younger son (HERE the original Slideshow in LinkedIn). The slides above are a short form for the lessons, if you happen to understand German, you will get the context even better.
Here direct to the points: What I think great leaders bring.
Simon Sinek's speech about "WHY-HOW-WHAT" is well-known. If you are a sales, people buy your product, not because of what it is or how great it is, but why they think they need it. If you are an employee, you know why you get out of bed every morning and go to work. The starting point of activities, is, WHY.
After the start, I, or maybe a lot of us, need a Vision. A Vision is not a Why. Why describes the origin or the starting point of a problem or a project, a Vision is the (ultimate) status that we want to reach. It could be quite abstract or even unreachable, but it is a North Star for your journey that keeps you motivated and knowing that you are heading the right direction.
To reach that Vision we need Missions, which are like huge blocks when building a house, or clear milestones marking our achievements. Missions can make our daily lives more purposeful and meaningful.
If you want to know more about the above mentioned concepts, I recommend this video of Simon Sinek below.
In short, great leaders are good at motivating via WHY-VISION-MISSION.
Balance: Delegation, Commitment, Fun & Effort
Delegation is based on trust and confidence. Trust is something one can NOT learn in business schools. It is a kind of character, maybe born with, or learn through one's life. It is a present for someone free of charge and expect no return. In case of positive return, confidence grows, not your self-confidence but the confidence between you and the one you trusted in. In case of negative return, open talks and reflexion would help, which result in growing together.
Commitment is also a result of trust. If someone has been entrusted with something, he will usually return with full commitment and top performance to keep it from disappointment. To achieve even better results, commitment does not come bottom-up but also top-down, an employer or a manager can not say "I trust you" without showing his employee concrete support.
Management is among others about how to help people enfold their full potential (Peter Drucker). In this sense, Fun & Effort, especially how to keep a healthy balance of the two, is very important. Fun also means the sense of humour, and the sense of humour relates to confidence.
For example, you entrusted your subordinate with an important task, the result was not optimal, how do you react to that? One of the options could be, you recognise his Effort and make a fun of the bad result in a balanced manner, discussing openly and earnestly with him about the lessons learned and grow together in your relationship.
In short, great leaders can manage to balance between these four elements (delegation, commitment, fun & effort) to achieve the best result on team basis.
Last but not least, the above mentioned points do not only apply in a business environment but also in our daily life. Remember, we are all leaders, or we can be leaders, only in different contexts.