Byron's Babbles

Baby KISS Leadership

I recently had an aspiring leader in a development gathering I was facilitating describe herself as a “baby leader.” I loved that and so did the rest of the group. As a lover of metaphors I immediately started relating all the things we do and learn as a baby to leadership. Then, yesterday I was given a book titled Baby KISS. Awesome! It’s a children’s book for learning colors – using the KISS band members and rock and roll items for learning. As it says on the back cover of the book, “Let’s rock and roll all night! Black-and-white face paint. Pink tongue. Gold cymbals. White Lights. Introduce little ones to legendary KISS in this bright, bold, and rockin’ board book.” This made me think back to our “baby leader” where we began this post. We need to help our aspiring leaders in the same way that the Baby KISS book and KISS themselves help us learn: with big, bold, vivid colors, well-illustrated examples, and recognizable images that are easily remembered.

As a person who grew up with KISS and is still a proud member of the KISS Army, here is what I have learned:

  • Overcommunicate – Anthems build enthusiasm – Become infectious by using different ways of telling your story.
  • Bring it with shock and awe, and be astonishing – KISS provided fans the band they always wanted to go see. In other words, go a little farther than others are willing to go!
  • Don’t be vanilla – Be audacious and authentic. Be crystal clear about who you are and why you are unapologetically proud of it.

Now, I am pretty confident that I have some reading this post who are KISS fans and in the KISS army too. What have you learned you developed from “baby leader” to who you are today?

Infectious Leadership

In the past week I have been with four groups of school and teacher leaders from three different states doing leadership development facilitation as part of our 3D Leadership Program. As part of this months focus we did a good leader/bad leader activity where each group developed a top 5 good leader trait and top 5 bad leader trait list. Two things that did not hit the lists were charisma and celebrity. It is clear that all want present and technically competent leaders who have a growth mindset and are contagious. This then trickles down to the team.

So what does having a growth mindset mean? To me it means having a transformative and innovative approach with the team. It means letting the team be curious and creative; finding ways to get better. Great leaders let go of certainty and open the door to other points of view. Great leaders also trust their team members and give them more latitude. These same leaders provide appreciation for all new ideas and achievements of employees. They are comfortable trying new things knowing that all will not work. It’s about being curious themselves.

To set the stage and paint the picture for modeling this growth mindset the leader needs to talk in ideals; ideal work, ideal team, ideal outcome. The question I always like to answer as an innovative and curious leader with a growth mindset is: “what does success look like?” One thing is clear from listening to all these leaders: we need to be present, communicate (including effective listening), and have a mindset for growth. Are you infectious?