Last year I wrote about What Separates a Great Boss From a Not-So-Good One, and for some reason that has been the most viewed article this fall. In that article I shared that a great boss supports his employees and provides what they need, in addition to truly caring for the employees. During some reading this week, I have been thinking about two more qualities that a great boss has:
(1) Leadership – Andy Andrews says that there are two things that determine a good leader. First is the person’s own perspective of themselves and their beliefs about themselves. And second is their likeability. The likeability comes from the fact that to be able to get people to listen and follow you, they have to want to be around you, to like you. Of course, a supervisor or manager has somewhat of a trump on this, as they direct the other employees with their authority. But it still applies. And your own perspective and beliefs end up being a self-fulfilling prophecy, good and success or bad and failure. You have to respect yourself and your leadership abilities before others give you that respect.
(2) Decisiveness – this is really a double-barreled quality in that you have to both make decisions quickly, and make good decisions the majority of the time. And when a good leader makes a bad decision, they make it right. To quote Andy Andrews again, successful people make decisions quickly and change their minds slowly, while unsuccessful people make decisions slowly and change their minds quickly.
A decided heart is one that makes a decision then moves forward to see it through no matter what. When you have a decided heart, you are intent on finding a solution. But when you have an undecided heart, you are looking for an escape. And a non-decision is still a form of a decision, the slowest one, and the biggest escape. But that form of escape won’t get you where you want to go, unless you don’t know where you want to go or where you want to end up.
So who is Andy Andrews and what have I been reading? Andy lost his parents at age 19 and ended up homeless. He spent a lot of time in the library, and read hundreds of biographies of happy, successful people. He found seven common principles in these people, and writes and speaks on them.
Andy is the author of the book The Traveler’s Gift, which I highly recommend. In this cross between self-help and novel, a despondent suicidal man ends up traveling through time to visit seven great historical people. Each of these people give him one of the seven decisions that determine personal success.
I just finished reading the companion book, Mastering the Seven Decisions. Here Andy goes into more depth on each of the seven, and provides exercises for integrating these principles into your life, for making application of them. While I believe the proper application of all seven decisions is necessary to be a great boss, or a great husband, or a great father, the one that fell into my second quality of a great boss is The Certain Decision: I have a decided heart.
Sometimes I find it hard to make a decision, and make it quickly. It is easy to analyze too much, to even analyze after a decision is already made. Procrastination is one of my worst enemies. I have shared before that my first week in Spain a Spanish coworker asked me if I knew what the word mañana meant. I said yes, it means ¨tomorrow.¨ He replied, ¨No, Mark, mañana means “not today.” It could be tomorrow or it could be the next day, but it is not today.” Andy Andrews points out that mañana is contrary to a decided heart – what I put off until tomorrow, I will put off until the next day as well.
What about you? Do you have a decision, an action you should take today and not put off until mañana?