American Income Life Leadership – Taking Action
The pleasure of working at American Income Life is the opportunity to work with some of the brightest and creative minds in the industry. During our most recent Directors meeting, I witnessed this first hand as example after example was provided.
Part of our nature is that we are good at identifying problems. Of course, it’s easy to identify the shortcomings and/or faults of our subordinates, as well as our peers. In fact, many of us tend to derive satisfaction and even relish the opportunity to find fault. Although we don’t like to admit it, fault finding is a defense mechanism that is used to elevate our own position or rationalize our own shortcomings. What separates the leaders from the managers is taking action in a culture of inaction.
We’ve allowed ourselves to say “here’s the problem, now figure it out!” rather than assisting in identifying the problem, offering guidance, finding solutions, and tweaking what doesn’t work. While it is important to identify problems, engaging in problem solving is equally important.
Roger says, if you take the people out of the equation, it’s just a numerical formula. We allow our personal relationship, or lack thereof, to determine how we deal with “people” when in fact we should be dealing with the problem.
My grandfather said you don’t have to know all the answers, just know where the answers are located. It’s okay, as leaders, to say “I don’t know the answer.” We should find the answer by consulting someone else and utilizing all our resources. Instead, some managers choose to hide under the guise of “you should know this” or “I’ve told you this many times before – go figure it out on your own.” Egos can easily get in the way of asking for help when someone feels they “should” already know something.
As leaders, providing answers and taking action can create a culture of confidence as people want to follow a decisive and confident leader. Many people fear they will be ridiculed if they make the wrong decision. This fear creates inaction. Assisting in finding solutions is incredibly empowering. If you not only identify a problem but also help with the solution, you are creating confident leaders. It is our job at American Income Life to empower our leaders to feel confident in making decisions based on good information.
It’s often been said that it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission, because by asking for forgiveness it shows you’ve engaged in an action. You may not have always chosen the best or right decision, but at least you’ve been engaged. Lessons can only been learned and improvements made to decisive action.
So go identify a problem, identify a solution and take action. Measure the result and modify the course if need be. That’s LEADERSHIP!