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What would your ‘leadership letter’ say?

My daughter-in-law (I mentioned this once before – sorry if you read it then) managed the children’s department of a book store. It ran fine under its previous boss. But, no-one knew what she did. When my daughter-in-law took over, she found ring binders full of procedures. For a few weeks, she was terrified of doing anything but follow them.

Then she thought “Wouldn’t this bit be better, if….” and changed it. People were pleased. She changed a bit more. They were more pleased with the results. She ended up changing a whole lot more, having shaken off the fear that this was some clockwork mechanism and if you tinkered with it the whole thing would fall apart.

She was rewarded by being offered a higher level job. All good so far, but what impressed me was the lack of ego in what she said to her successor (my daughter-in-law is an Aussie and I find the ego that is a part of UK management style is often absent with Aussie managers. Discuss).

She handed over to her successor and talked through with her all the (changed) procedures for managing the department. She said she did that so that her successor wouldn’t be left in the dark and clueless as she felt herself on walking into that job. And then she said the best thing: “When I come back in a month to visit, you need to show me what you’ve changed to make the department run better. If you haven’t changed at least one thing I used to do and replaced it with something better, I’ll be SO upset.”

Wow. How do they get that wise, that young?

Art Petty has a nice blog post over on his website called “Things I wish someone would have told me when I became a leader.”

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