8.24.2008

General: DUH Leadership - Drab, Uninteresting, Heroic

I, like you I'm sure, have a fair amount of cynical, too-good-to-do-good friends. You know the type...

* Too cool to follow the simple, but really important rules (like calling people back, doing what you say you will do, etc.).
* Too self-absorbed to care about others.
* Too good at what they do to be humble.

These folks think that just because they are talented or aren't in an official leadership role or don't feel like it, that following a few basic leadership rules won't make a single bit of difference in their life or the lives of the people around them. When, in many cases, their talent and ambition actually make them a perfect candidate for something called DUH (Drab, Uninteresting, Heroic) Leadership.

I have a friend just like this. The kid is as talented as anyone I know. He has moved up in his industry. Makes a ton of money. Etc. But for some reason, he chooses to live an immoral, unethical, certainly un-leaderly lifestyle. He throws his relationships around like rag dolls. His word is worth less than a button on his $1,000 suits. If he only followed even a few DUH Leadership rules, his quality of life, his relationships, and his reputation would break right through the glass ceiling he has inadvertently created.

So, what is DUH Leadership you ask? Well, it is a simple set of behaviors that are basically very boring when you think about them and even more non-sexy when you do them. Most require little energy to do once or twice, but require a heroic amount of energy to do habitually. And the acronym for them is perfect because most people who struggle with their leadership impact would look at the list of heroic behaviors and think, "Well, DUH! Everyone knows you should do those things." But then, if you asked them to do a self-inventory on how many they do on a regular basis, another DUH moment occurs. They actually don't do many of them and that is exactly why they aren't making a big leadership impact - because they aren't doing the small, mundane tasks necessary to be a heroic leader.

The PLI Essentials give us a good structure to highlight 10 acts that represent the heroic way and DUH Leadership. As you read this list, your thoughts will go to those friends you have who do the exact opposite. Just because they have chosen to be average, instead of heroic doesn't mean you have to. They want you to be "too-good-to-do-good" on the surface because they will have persuaded yet another friend to live the average life with them. However, under the surface, even your most cynical peers want you and need you to be heroic. They know there is a better way to live, they just haven't mustered the strength to do it. You can be the spark they need. How? Here are 10 DUH ideas...

Vision - Talk optimistically about the future.

Integrity - Follow through on every commitment you make. If you're not going to follow through, don't make it.

Innovative - Talk more about solutions than problems.

Wise Judgment - Admit quickly when you make a mistake.

Service Minded - Give your time, money or both for the benefit of a complete stranger in need.

Goal Processing - Create and stick to a "Not-to-do List".

Skill Assessment - Learn something today to move you one step closer to being excellent at a task you do everyday.

Emotional Maturity - When you get mad, step away from the situation before you respond.

Fostering Relationships - Be nice.

Masterful Communication - If an email you are drafting is longer than 5 sentences, delete it and call the person.

A good closing metaphor to demonstrate the power of DUH Leadership is your average American millionaire. He or she is a normal, working-class person who drives a drab car, sleeps in an uninteresting home and lives a normal life. What they did to accumulate a heroic amount of wealth was small, simple, and disciplined daily acts.

* They spent less than they made.
* They started and stuck to a long-term savings plan from a young age.
* They placed more value in the money itself (which, because of compound interest, is worth more with each passing day) than on the things it could buy (which, because of depreciation, is worth less with each passing day).

Very much DUH. Very much uncommon among the masses. Very heroic.


Sent to you from the road.


1 comment:

jbeadles said...

Great writing my friend. We all would do well to better ourselves in this regard.