Leadership Lessons

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Not for you, for me.

I’m sure you’ve heard the statement: Praise in public. Criticize in private.

I agree with this approach. However, I find it extremely difficult to do. It’s one of the fundamental proofs that all leadership, all life for that matter, is about constant practice and discipline. It’s not enough to know something. It’s not enough to practice something occasionally. To get good at this stuff, you need to practice a lot.

Let me tell you about a recent failure on my part. My 17 year old daughter had friends for a sleepover (yeah, they still do that). She makes her own breakfast and starts eating. I remind her to ask her friends what they want. She does so in this really irritated manner. Of course, the friends don’t want anything because she’s so clearly put out. I proceed to lecture her on the mistake and how she should have done it. She’s embarrassed and I realize I screwed up.

Now, you can say that’s just parenting, and you wouldn’t be completely wrong. However, the same lessons apply in the business world. It’s so easy to see people doing stuff that is wrong and openly correct them. The hard way, the right way, is to get the correction in, but do so without being critical, in public. You can, you should, be critical of people. You just need to be cautious about how, when, and most importantly, where.

I’m typing this up because, in addition to my screw up as a parent, I’ve been a little too openly critical of others of late and I need to remind myself of the right way to get things done. There. I’ve been warned. I hope you enjoyed this little chat.

One Comment

  • Larry

    Way to go, Grant. An excellent example of being a real leader – to say nothing of being a real man and a real father. Something we see all too little of these days.

    There;s this wonderful scene from the movie “We Were Soldiers” that came out some years ago. In it, a young officer whose wife just gave birth asks his CO about being both a military officer and a father. The CO responds something like, “I hope being good at one would make me better at the other.”

    Recognizing, admitting mistakes and taking the time to ask forgiveness is just as much a leadership as any other.

OK, fine, but what do you think?