Story: I’m a week into my knee replacement and on “Oxycodone,” the notorious pain reliever probably found in far too many medicine cabinets worldwide (but that’s another blog topic). Frankly, I’m recovering better because of its benefits AND I’m looking forward to getting completely off the drug this coming week. Besides helping me with pain though, it’s been giving me some entertaining if not bizarro dreams. The following is the essence of one my “trips” during a goofy afternoon snooze.
Leaders from around the world, and all types of organizations are “kidnapped” by my gang. The only way the captives can be released is when each of them answers the following questions correctly. The passing grade is 100 percent. Close doesn’t count. (In my dream, my persona is James Bond like, haha). I throw the prisoners in their cells and shove a questionnaire in front of them (Geez… Old school). I announce myself as their captor and insist they get the following right:
- Write out out the names of the partners of each of your direct reports. Note if they do not have partners, moms and dads.
- If your direct reports have kids, identify how many and what ages.
- Pets? What kind?
- In the last 12 months, name at least three people working for you that you have helped get promotions or take on bigger assignments.
- Name the last three people you gave some form of recognition to in the last week, and why.
- For each of your direct reports, what is some favorite non-work hobby or activity they do for fun?
- Outline the one thing you are working on to be a better leader, based on the feedback of your direct reports.
- Get a 100 percent match between you and direct reports on the top objective of the team over the next 12 months.
- Describe one of the happiest or saddest moments in the life of each of your direct reports.
In my “Oxy Dream,” most leaders struggle to get the answers and begin to panic . They get only one phone call every day to get the answers completed, and are confined until they achieve a perfect score. A few leaders are sprung immediately. They really know their teams and have made personal emotional connections with each member .
Key Point: Leif Babin, former Navy Seal instructor and co-author of Extreme Ownership, points out, based on tons on Navy research, that there are no bad teams, just bad leaders. Leadership is the distinguishing difference to team performance. Great leaders with intention, personally know and connect with their direct reports. Yet, I doubt the expectation or need for superb leaders to be able to answer the above nine questions are in many leadership books, or in the MBA curriculum of post secondary institutions. I think they should be!
I kind of chuckled after waking up and thinking about the dream. It was quite colorful in retrospect. The kidnapped leaders were in a third world jail cell, and were of course wearing black and white prison suits. I guess in my drug induced mind, leaders who do not really know and personally connect with their direct reports are metaphorical criminals.
Personal Leadership Moves:
- Pick one leader in your organization to put in metaphorical jail. How long before they get out?
- Put yourself in that jail. How do you do? Better get those answers ASAP.
- Stay off Oxy unless you really need it.
Staying out of Leadership jail in Personal Leadership,
One Millennial View: Wow, I have to admit I didn’t think I’d be responding on this blog about a dream induced by “hillbilly heroin,” (actually, that’s OxyContin I think. Similar but different)… Still, that’s pretty fascinating. Truthfully, those nine questions would be simple to be able to answer with a little casual conversation over time, but of course that’s too big of a pill to swallow for some leaders. A lot bigger than Oxycodone, at least.
Edited and published by Garrett Rubis