Leadership Economics - Part 3

I had lunch yesterday with Jay Shellum. Jay is a CPA with a firm here in Fort Worth and a co-contributor to an extremely helpful blog written to help non-profit agencies think through financial issues. More than that, he's a really great guy. 

We got on the topic of the economics of leadership yesterday, and Jay made a strong point about making deposits to your credibility account. I'm paraphrasing what he said: 

"Leading people is a lot like raising kids. If you want your kids to talk to you about sex, dating, drugs, and other hard stuff, you have to be willing to invest the time talking with them about X-Men, sports, and the easy stuff. You have to lead people the same way. Care about the small stuff and they'll trust you with the hard stuff."

He's absolutely right. 

I worked for a guy at one point in my life who would only pay attention to me when he wanted me to do something hard for him. He would send me nice emails, make encouraging phone calls, and then within the same week would ask me to have a hard conversation with someone on his behalf. 

Today, that guy is leading no one. He's on the sidelines, because he has no credibility.

If you only make deposits when you need to make withdrawals, you aren't investing in your credibility account - just cashing checks. And when all you've ever done is cash checks, your credibility account balance is zero.

The great leader makes both deposits and withdrawals, but the two are almost never directly connected. He/she makes withdrawals and deposits, but rarely cashes checks.


The Kinley's said...

It's also a lot like marriage.... from a wife's perspective, I won't want to be the "helper" if he doesn't take a loving conversational effort in getting to know me. Something Travis and I have learned in the past 9 years. Ah, ha....I finally got to use some of that wisdom....Yeah! Thank you God!

lisa said...

good one!