Harvey Mackay: 'Seagull managers' need their wings clipped
BY HARVEY MACKAY United Feature Syndicate
Sunday, September 30, 2012
9/30/12 at 9:20 AM
Ken Blanchard believes corporate America is in desperate need of a different leadership role model. And I couldn't agree more.
Ken is a walking management encyclopedia: He's written 50 books with more than 90 contributing authors. His blockbuster book, "The One Minute Manager," has sold 13 million copies around the world. He has a practical, no-nonsense style that I love.
Ken has been a good friend for years. In fact, I owe a lot of my book-writing success to Ken because he's the one who asked me to write a book with him before I decided to author "Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive" back in 1988.
Most leaders think that leadership is in your head, but Ken thinks effective leadership starts in the heart. Your heart controls your motivation, your intent and your leadership character.
I invited Ken to speak to my Roundtable group of 30 CEOs. His memorable message was that the No. 1 leadership style around the world today is "seagull management." He explained: "Managers might set goals and then disappear until you screw up. Then they fly in, make a lot of noise, dump on everybody and fly out. They think that's great leadership."
He compared what he calls self-serving leaders to servant leaders and mentioned three main differences.
The first difference is feedback. If you've ever tried to give negative feedback up the hierarchy of a self-serving leadership team, you know the difference. You get destroyed.
Self-serving leaders thrive in critical environments, whereas servant leaders prefer supportive environments.
Ken said: "I travel around the world, and I'll say to people, 'How do you know whether you're doing a good job?' The No. 1 response I still get is, 'Nobody's yelled at me lately.' "
He went on to say that if he could teach only one thing, it would be to develop great relationships. He advised that to develop great organizations, you have to wander around and catch people doing the right things and then praise them in front of everyone.
The second major difference is that self-serving leaders don't want anyone else to look really good, but servant leaders want to build leadership in their group. They have no problem with someone rising up. They don't mind sharing leadership.
My philosophy is you'd be amazed at how much you can accomplish if you don't care who gets the credit. I also believe that three opinions are better than two and five are better than four.
The third difference is ego. "Self-serving leaders are caught in the trap that they think their self-worth is a function of their performance plus the opinion of others," Ken said.
Servant leaders define self-worth differently. They are comfortable in their skin. Ken cautions that this doesn't mean they don't have some weaknesses. They know their job and possessions are on loan and can be taken away at a moment's notice.
"A lot of people have this image that people who are humble are weak," Ken said. "People with humility don't think less of themselves. They just think about themselves less. That's really a powerful thing."
Mackay's Moral: None of us is as smart as all of us.
Original Print Headline: 'Seagull managers' need wings clipped
Harvey Mackay is the author of the New York Times best-seller "Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive." To send him a question or comment, go to tulsaworld.com/mackayfeedback.