Leadership is hard! As Gino Wickman and René Boer point out in the book How to be a Great Boss, it’s not for everyone. Please do a lot of soul-searching before taking on a Leadership, Management and Accountability™ (LMA™) role in your organization or allowing others to do so. I recently saw an example lived out before my eyes that reinforced the importance of this.
The Hard Job of Leadership
One of my clients has a history of being nice to each other in the way they address important issues. They are smart and have a tremendously successful organization. But they don’t challenge each other. As a result, they tend to talk around issues in a misguided effort to arrive at a consensus. They make some progress, but they don’t go deep enough to get to the root cause of their Issues. In effect, they’re not comfortable taking on LMA roles.
In one recent Annual Session, I had to give the Integrator a lot of prodding to go deeper with her comments. She finally expressed to the leadership team that she didn’t have confidence in the sales team leader’s departmental strategy. As the discussion continued, the other team members eventually expressed the same doubts.
The Sales Leader felt very uncomfortable because of the lack of confidence from her team. She asked to be People Analyzed on the spot. The exercise revealed that she didn’t fit her seat, but she wasn’t ready to admit that she was in over her head.
After a difficult discussion, many shed tears and the Sales Leader’s emotional self-defense, I stepped in and asked the Integrator to decide. I reminded the team that within an EOS framing, the team had committed to “be their best” and always make decisions based on what’s right for the company. That means getting to 100% Right People/Right Seat. As the Integrator, this person was the LMA accountable for the outcomes of each leadership team member. She decided that this leader wasn’t the Right Person in the Right Seat.
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When LMA Breaks Down
Unfortunately for the company, the team and the Sales Leader, the Visionary/owner stepped in and overrode the Integrator. Egos and emotions got in the way of doing what was best—at least, for now.
This wasn’t in the best interest of the organization, but it’s their journey. Issues won’t just go away, so we’ll continue having the discussion to face the consequences—and with an increasing sense of urgency. The Visionary will ultimately face the discomfort of being LMA and allow the Integrator to fill the seat fully—otherwise, they will never reach the accountability that the organization needs.
LMA Done Right
In contrast, I received a call from a from another organization. One of the leadership team members—again, the sales leader appeared to be struggling and the caller wanted to know if the Sales Leader should attend their upcoming Annual Session. They didn’t want him to be embarrassed or disrespected by publicly dealing with the potential issue.
I asked which scenario was more respectful—a sub-team deciding their team member’s fate without him, or addressing the issues with him in the room? In essence, I was asking if they were ready to embrace being a boss, and if the Visionary/owner would allow the Integrator to truly fill their seat.
Ultimately, the Sales Leader came to the session, and the issues were addressed in the context of the company’s best interests. Like the first scenario, the Sales Leader asked to be People Analyzed. It was mutually decided that he did not fit the seat. He agreed, shared that he wasn’t enjoying the role and based on the 3 Year Picture© didn’t think he could perform. Together they developed a plan for moving forward to find outside talent. This person did “Fit” the company and there was an open Sales seat, but that’s not always the case and we did not address it until a decision was made about the GWC of the Sales Leader seat.
Are You Embracing Your LMA Role?
Two different companies and leadership teams at two different stages of their journey. It takes a lot of commitment and bravery to address any issue that is getting in the way of the leadership team “being their best” which includes a commitment to 100% Right People in the Right Seats. Being a boss is hard, and I urge you to think hard about the seat you fill and your commitment to be your best. We owe it to ourselves and the people we lead to truly LMA but the rewards for building a great company are personally and financially compelling.