These are the Type A personalities that range from the glory-seekers to the servant leaders. They are interested in getting things done. Doers see a problem, opportunity, or challenge and they take action. Some for personal gain; some for the betterment of the greater cause. Their intentions matter in some conversations, but not this one. What matters here is not why they are in the Doer category. What matters here is how they came to become a Doer and the trail they leave behind.
The upsides of the Doers are pretty self-explanatory. They get things done. They make things better (most of the time.) Doers fail a ton, but mostly because they try a ton. Being a Doer doesn't make one right or better. It simply makes them productive and contributive (yes, that is a new word.) Many of the world's greatest and smallest solutions are a result of a Doer taking action.
The cons of the Doer are a little more complicated to explain and sometimes complex to understand. Many of the downsides of a Doer's actions are a result of a Doer taking action when...
1. They didn't have all the information necessary to make a decision.
2. They didn't have the right information needed.
3. They made a decision when it wasn't their place to do so.
4. Their decision cause them to sacrifice something more important (often times a relationship).
5. It wasn't the right time to take action.
6. And the list goes on...
The Througher is defined as someone who simply passes through situations, events, opportunities, challenges and relationships in their life without exerting any extra effort to improve or add value.
The main pro of the Througher is they don't rock the boat. They don't disrupt any preexisting leadership/decision-makers structure.
The main con of the Througher is they don't rock the boat. Sometimes the boat needs to be rocked. Sometimes all a problem or challenge needs is a Througher to stop and do something about it. A common phrase we use in many of our programs is that the problem in many organizations is not the negative vein or the poor decision makers. The problem of most broken organizations is good people who, for whatever reason, don't step up and take action. These people are the Throughers. Most Throughers are in this category because:
2. They think their opinion, information or help isn't valuable.
3. They are comfortable where they are and they know (rightly) that many times if you talk about a problem or offer a solution, you will more than likely be asked to do something about it - which leads to more work.
4. They don't know how to help.
5. They don't want to find out how to help.
6. And the list goes on...
The Spewer (as you probably guessed from the name) is the worse of the three. The Spewer is defined by their negative attitude and unfortunate tendency to spew said attitude on everyone around them. They love to gossip, chat and advertise about how bad things are.
You wouldn't think there would be any pros to the spewage (another new word) of a Spewer, but there are a few...
1. They bring attention to problems.
2. They can actually provide motivation to a Doer simply by making them mad or annoyed.
3. They validate the importance of the Doers and show Throughers a way to get involved.
4. And the list goes on...
Yes, there are quite a few negatives of a Spewer. Here is the short list...
1. They don't take any positive or constructive action.
1. Unpleasant to be around. (Yes, there is a tie for first place here.)
2. They actually block the creation of positive solutions by killing the motivation, spirit, and ideas of Doers and Throughers.
3. They have a tendency to make things worse by delaying or damaging the constructive action of others.
4. They highlight the negative and make the problem or challenge larger than it actually is.
5. And the list definitely goes on and on and on and on...
So, you need to decide where you live - in Doerville, Througherland or Spewer City.
Doers, keep at it. You help more than you hurt.
Throughers, find a place to help out. You are needed somewhere.
Spewers, there is a better way. Find it.
I was reading an article by Bob Costa in the Wall Street Journal today about the impact Tim Russert (recently deceased NBC journalist and broadcaster) had on him and his career. Bob mentioned a conversation between Senator Pat Moynihan and a young Tim Russert after Tim told Moynihan he didn't think he had what it took to be a journalist. Tim was born in Buffalo, attended college in Ohio and was feeling overwhelmed by his Ivy League peers...
Senator Moynihan said, "Tim, don't let them intimidate you. What they know, you can learn. What you know, they'll never understand."
This is how I feel about the impact of the leadership training young students receive through student organizations, particularly the Career and Technical Student Organizations we work with (FBLA, FFA, TSA, SkillsUSA, HOSA, DECA, FCCLA and BPA).
The leadership experiences these students go through are so extensive and challenging, they literally shape and mold them into new people. They gain communication skills, time and people management strategies, positive verbal and non-verbal cues, and critical thinking skills that many of their peers may never fully understand.
If you are a student reading this, keep going to leadership conferences, pursuing leadership positions and studying leadership material. If you are a parent, business leader, or community member reading this, encourage this in the students you know.
At a recent training, a student noted that his letter was probably the longest letter of any type he had ever written. Ever.
A) As a leadership trainer that is a pretty cool thing to hear. That he (and a ton of other students) put in that much effort into something as simple as writing a thank you letter. It reinforced my belief that our work as leadership trainers, especially in the student market, is more meaningful than just helping leaders learn how to lead their team or organization. Most of the skills and concepts we handle at leadership conferences are highly valuable life skills that, when properly applied, will enable the students to be great at whatever they do.
B) A very cool leadership lesson popped up after the students turned in their letters. It was nine at night. The students were wore out from a full day of high-energy training on how to serve their organization effectively during their term. They had just turned in their thank you letters (again, some of them took almost an hour to complete.)
I held up the pile of letters and asked the group how would you feel if I just took the pile and threw it away? They responded with, I would cry, I would be very mad at you, I would feel like I just wasted a ton of time, etc.
I asked why? Of course they said because they spent so much time and what they said and who they said it to were both very important to them.
I then asked them to remember that feeling when they are half way through their year and they are thinking about not applying or acting on the concepts and tools we spent all day talked about. Not doing something with the learning from the day is just like me throwing away the letters (which I didn't do.) However, in order to do that, you have to care about what you are doing and saying as a leader like you care about what you put in your letter. Maybe it won't be the same level of caring (our personal relationships should always be more important to us than our professional associations), but it should be the same style of caring - passionate, important, meaningful, a guiding force in your life, etc.
It was a very cool moment. Thanks to the elected student leaders of the Oregon Career and Technical Student Leadership Organizations (FFA, FBLA, DECA, SkillsUSA, HOSA, FCCLA and AOFC) for creating it.
Processing Questions for PLI Curriculum Teachers/Trainers:
1. When was the last time you put so much time and effort into thanking those around you who have supported you and helped you achieve your goals?
2. What are the advantages of writing thank you notes?
3. What sacrifice does a writing thank you note require?
4. Is the sacrifice worth the debt of gratitude that is paid with a thank you note?
5. If you could thank 5 people in your life for supporting you and helping you to achieve your goals, who would they be? And Why?
6. What obstacles are keeping you from writing those thank you notes?
In no particular order, here are ten reasons why I love running a business and being a professional speaker/leadership trainer:
1. I am in control of my time
2. I am exercising my best talents
3. I am engaged in bringing the best out of people
4. I am serving as a torchbearer for my faith
5. I get to travel
6. I have set up a family-oriented business
7. I provide opportunities for people of all ages, but particularly young people to develop their leadership potential
8. I am constantly challenged to sharpen, shift and shape the architecture of my skills
9. I love to get up in the morning and DO WORK
10. I am serving others
So, what does your 10List contain? Identifying, sharing and celebrating the reasons you love your job plays a large role in your emotional maturity.
Encouragement... if I am proud
Inspiration... if I am impressed
Jealousy... if I am envious
Guilt... if I am regretful
Ego... if I am competitive
Disregard... if I am selfish
As you climb the leadership ladder, you will get different responses from different people based more on who they are and how they feel about their own success than on who you are or how they feel about your success. Remember this the next time you get an unexpected response from someone. Their response is mostly about them.
Ten years ago, the information itself was king. Access was digitally pushed/pulled into every household.
Today, the ability to filter (exposing yourself to only the information you need or desire) and the ability to index (the physical, digital and intellectual act of organizing information) share the throne.
Your leadership leverage is determined by your ability to gain clarity and then transfer that clarity to others. To get better at that, get better at filtering and indexing.