20321960_sRobert Hartley is the Head Coach of the Calgary Flames. A rookie member of the Flames had a great game and scored his first NHL goal. Asked by a reporter if he was happy for that player’s big night, I recall him responding: Of course I am happy for all of my players when they have a good game, but I am never satisfied!

Do you know when I feel satisfied?

When I am all fat & full and sleepy after a huge turkey dinner.

I was always happy for the members of my team when they closed a big deal, nailed a project, or just had a great day. I drew great energy from their enthusiasm and loved to see them grow & bloom. But I was never 100% satisfied, because I new that they could always do more and do better.

I knew that by allowing myself, or them, to be satisfied with their accomplishments the seeds of complacency would be sown and that is path to becoming the ultimate in mediocrity.

If a person or department seems to be running on autopilot then curse of satisfaction & complacency has set in. As every aspect of business is a work in progress, you and your team should be continually looking to improve performance, to learn, find self-improvement, do things better and improving the skills and abilities.

Great leaders embrace the process of discovery by never giving up the quest for information. They control their destiny so that no one else controls it for them. They are never 100% satisfied as there is always room for improvement.

Here are 7 indicators to show you when You shouldn’t be satisfied with your leadership:

  1. Nothing is being changed. Leadership is about something new. It’s about change. If nothing is changing — you can do that without a leader.
  1. No paradigms are being challenged. Many times the best change is a change of mindset — a way we think. Leaders are constantly learning so they can challenge the thinking “inside the box”.
  1. You’re not asking questions. A leader only knows what he or she knows and many times the leader is the last to know. A great part of leadership is about discovery and you only get answers if you ask questions.
  1. There are competing visions. Leaders point people to a vision. A crystal clear & singular vision. One of the surest ways to derail progress is to have multiple visions, as this divides energy & people and confuses instead of bringing clarity.
  1. No one is complaining. You can’t lead anything involving worthwhile change where everyone agrees. An sure fire measure if people are being lead if there is if people are complaining. In the Army, we knew there was a problem when the soldiers went quiet and weren’t griping.
  1. People aren’t being stretched. Understand well, a leader should strive for clarity. But, when things are changing and challenging there will always be times of confusion. That’s when good leaders get even better at communicating and listening.
  1. People being “happy” has become the goal. Everyone likes to be liked. But, the end goal of leadership should be accomplishing a vision — not making sure everyone loves the leader. Progress hopefully makes most people happy, but when the goal begins with happiness, in my experience, no one is ever really made happy.

Keeping a laser-like focus, all the time, on your objectives and never drifting from the big picture is key to great leadership … not satisfaction.

2 thoughts on “Don’t Be Satisfied After Your Thanksgiving Turkey … Take The 7 Step Leadership Checkup

  1. This is the heart of it “They are never 100% satisfied as there is always room for improvement.”

    Good one Steve – I think the joy/curse of leadership is to be OK with not being OK.

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