Four Ways to Stir the Pot and Not Get Burned

ReBlog Header - Leadership FreakLeaders stir pots. But you’re an irritating trouble maker, if all you do is stir.

Stir the pot too often, and you’ll end up burned.

A leader without relationships is an individual contributor. Develop relationships by aligning-with and going-along.

Successful leaders stir the pot and build alliances at the same time.

Leaders hate mediocrity, lost opportunity, isolation, and inefficiency. But, don’t forget to love your organization, even as you stir the pot to make it better.

Stir the pot by:

  1. Learning from customers, vendors, and competitors.
  2. Developing talent. Those who aren’t growing have to go. Shift people’s roles by giving new opportunities and responsibilities, for example.
  3. Bringing the outside in. I recently gave a presentation to a Statewide Community Corrections organization. I was the outsider. The fact that I’m not a corrections person was their advantage.
  4. Standing up for what you believe in, even if it’s unpopular. Great ideas are unpopular, at first. Just be sure to stir with a smile.

Believe me, you won’t always get your way. If you always get your way, the people around you are head-nodding, unthinking, fearful brown-nosers.

The way you respond – when you don’t get your way – reveals who you are.

Seven things to do when stirring the pot fails:

  1. Explore, don’t defend.
  2. Support others when they stir pots.
  3. Go to lunch with those who disagree. Build relationships.
  4. Adapt as you go.
  5. Focus on issues more than personalities.
  6. Learn to let some things go, at least for now.
  7. Don’t be known as a one-issue leader.

What behaviors cause leaders to get burned? How might leaders stir the pot and not get burned?

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