Last week a colleague returned a book I’d loaned out a few years ago. The book, “The art of worldly wisdom,” by Baltasar Gracian, was a gift to me and I’ve found comfort and guidance in it throughout my career. Since I’d not seen the book for some time I took a few minutes to leaf through it and came across a folded piece of paper titled “Advice from Kent Barnds.”
The sheet of paper was yellowed and had clearly been folded in the pages of this book for some time. To be honest, I’d forgotten about this collection of thoughts about becoming a leader. However, as I re-read this collection of thoughts and suggestions, I thought it might be worth sharing here.
I can’t claim these thoughts as original and credit many others who have helped shape this advice through the years.
Here’s what I’d written years ago:
Advice from Kent Barnds about becoming a leader
Book a vacation on your calendar so you have something to look forward to and work towards.
Host a traditional/annual team gathering, i.e. Christmas party, July 4, Flag Day.
Involvement Avoids the Perception of Power
Continue to participate in tactics like interviews, fall travel, information session, etc.
Communicate openly when working on non-team items
Send regular email updates to staff on items that don’t necessarily involve them. Doing so prevents gossip and rumbles about you not being involved.
We all have roles to play
As a leader your loyalties are divided among your employer, your team and the students you serve. Think of it all like a jazz quintet. Everyone takes turns playing a solo, sitting in the background or playing together. You will get recognized at the appropriate time just like the bassist does.
Acknowledge/Praise Good Work Privately
Beware of praising individuals in front of groups. Send an email, note or stop into the office of the individual to offer praise.
One, generally, needs one full cycle to become an effective leader; appreciate that and be patient. Also, know your optimal daily work cycle; what times are best for you to get done what you need to get done. Don’t get behind.
I don’t know if this advice has any value to others, but I am glad I ran across this document because it reminded me of a number of things I need to work on and I continue to develop as a leader. As hard as I’ve tried to live up to this advice, I know there are areas that require constant work and improvement.
I think it’s still relevant to me and I hope others out there who are in leadership positions.
What would you add?
Kent Barnds aka @bowtieadmissions