QUESTION: According to your bio on Amazon, one of your claims to fame is "to challenge one's traditional ways of thinking about leadership." Can you please elaborate with a few examples?
DOUG DICKERSON: Over the years, I've always tried to look at things from a different perspective rather than just traditional ways. For example, not long ago I wrote an article entitled "Sacred Cows and Breaking Rules." I wrote this article to challenge the traditional ways of looking at leadership. In the article, I make the case that we cannot hold onto our sacred cows in leadership if they are no longer relevant or when it hinders progress. There's no reason to hold onto sacred cows and traditions at the expense of progress just because our traditions mandate it. It's not about being contrary just for the sake of stirring things up, but rather in all things leadership, we need to constantly evaluate what we do, why we do it, and is it the best course of action for today. I like to challenge my own points of view, and I try to do the same for my readers.
QUESTION: What are three ways that modern-day leaders do not understand their employees?
DOUG DICKERSON: Possible reasons include:
(1) They are out of touch with their people. The point here is that relationships are essential to the connection between leaders and employees. If a leader is out of touch with his or her people, is not invested in the lives of his or her people, they will never fully understand him or her.
(2) They don't communicate. The modern-day leader needs to create and welcome an environment in which open, honest, and regular communication takes place.
(3) They don't understand that their employees want to feel that they are contributing and making a difference. They want to be recognized and appreciated for their contributions.
QUESTION: What three ways can modern-day leaders improve the overall employee experience?
DOUG DICKERSON: Here are my three ways:
(1) Regularly communicate values and vision and the importance of their role in fulfilling them.
(2) Be loyal and have their backs.
(3) Be approachable and stay humble.
QUESTION: What's your favorite leadership quote, and why?
DOUG DICKERSON: Actually it comes from a verse of Scripture found in James 1:19. The Message translation reads this way: "Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear." I like it because of how it speaks to the temperament of a leader in the following three ways: Listen more than you talk. Choose your words carefully. Be even-tempered. That's just good leadership advice.
QUESTION: If you could have dinner with any leader from history, who would it be and why?
DOUG DICKERSON: Winston Churchill. He was a remarkable leader during one of the most consequential times in history. He rallied the people to believe they could win (never, never, never give up!). He was inspiring. He was determined. He had his flaws. But it was his leadership and grit that changed the course of history and life as we know it today.
TWEET THIS: Leadership is a marathon, not a 100-yard dash. ~@DougDickersonSC
QUESTION: You wrote a recent blog post entitled, "Thriving Leadership in a Calloused World," and my favorite quote was "Leadership is a marathon, not a 100-yard dash." Can you please elaborate?
DOUG DICKERSON: Leadership growth and development is a lifelong journey. It's not one to be rushed. I also recently wrote that in leadership, especially among younger leaders, there’s a tendency or temptation to want to rush the process. They want to be at a place in leadership in two or three years that has taken 30 years for others. And while the motivation and desire are commendable, there are no shortcuts on the road to maturity.
As leaders, we are always growing (or should be) and always learning. If there ever comes a time when we think we know it all or have learned it all, then we have embraced that "100-yard dash" mentality. And in leadership, that's a dangerous place to be. With a "marathon" mentality, we understand that it truly is a journey. A journey of learning, growing, maturing, successes, failures, bumps, and bruises. The 100-yard dash is over quick. The marathon takes a while - and in leadership, we need to remember, it's a marathon.
My gratitude and appreciation to Doug for appearing again on my Blog and for sharing his inspiring leadership insights.
Articles referenced in this post:
A Review of “Leaders Without Borders: 9 Essentials for Everyday Leaders” by Debbie Laskey
Tips to Develop Your Leadership Legacy by Debbie Laskey
Sacred Cows and Breaking Rules by Doug Dickerson
Thriving Leadership in a Calloused World by Doug Dickerson
Image Credit: Doug Dickerson.