Welcome back to another installment of Whitepaper Wednesday here on the Purchasing Certification Blog.
This week, I’m going to do something a little different. I’m going to review a whitepaper that is not supply chain-specific, but still relevant to supply chain professionals, particularly leaders or those who wish to become leaders. This whitepaper is entitled “Laws of Leadership” and is from IdeaBridge.
This whitepaper is essentially a list of dozens of bulletpoints providing leadership advice and inspiration. Though I was a little disappointed that it was difficult to find leadership laws with specific names – don’t all laws have names? – there were many bullet points that I thoroughly agreed with.
Here are a few highlights from the whitepaper (bolded) with my own thoughts:
- Leadership is influence – nothing more, nothing less.
- Leadership is about influencing people to follow, while management focuses on maintaining systems and processes. This is similar to the leadership vs. management distinction that Robert Rudzki made in our podcast about what it takes to become a CPO.
- The best way to test whether a person can lead rather than just manage is to ask him to create positive change. Managers can maintain direction, but they can’t change it. To move people in a new direction, you need influence.
- If you can’t influence others, they won’t follow you. And if they won’t follow, you’re not a leader. This reminds me of a saying that a former coworker used to repeat: “If you’re leading and no one’s following, you’re just taking a walk.”
- Each time you enter a new leadership position, you should immediately start building relationships. Build enough of the right kinds of relationships with the right people, and you can dramatically enhance your leadership effectiveness. This is so true in procurement, where you work with so many different departments. When someone takes over a new procurement leadership position, they are probably walking into a situation where their new department isn’t exactly everyone’s favorite. One of the keys to driving positive change is getting these skeptics and adversaries on your side. Don’t wait to meet with the leadership of your key internal customers and other stakeholder groups.
- Trust is the foundation of leadership
- You don’t build trust by talking about it. You build it by achieving results, always with integrity and in a manner that shows real personal regard for the people with whom you work. For procurement leaders, this means that you better not screw things up when you take over buying responsibility from an internal customer. Achieve the results you promise and get good supplier performance for your internal customer and that is a first step towards gaining trust and, later, influence.
- A leader has to quickly read the situation and know instinctively what play to call.
- When a leader has done the work to connect with his people, you can see it in the way the organization functions. Among employees there is incredible loyalty and a strong work ethic. The vision of the leader becomes the aspiration of the people.
- Hire the best staff you can find, develop them as much as you can, and hand off everything you can to them. As a leader, one of your core competencies – if not THE core competency – has to be having the intuition to select the right people who will do a great job for a long time. The value of doing so cannot be understated.
- Your list of priorities must always begin with what is required of you. Anything required that’s not necessary for you to do personally should be delegated or eliminated. When one makes the transition from manager to leader or from employee to leader, one of the hardest things to learn to do is delegate effectively. But, if you don’t, you’ll be crushed. I’ve covered this topic in a previous post, “Doers, Managers, and Leaders.”
- Are you spread out all over the place? Or are you focused on the few things that bring the highest reward? Successful leaders live according to the Law of Priorities. This actually enables them to increase focus while reducing their number of actions. This is true, but also hard to do. Especially when you have the fire in your belly to accomplish much. I think that one needs to find the perfect balance between stretching him or herself to accomplish unbelievable things while also having a focus on the appropriate priorities.
If you’ve found these excerpts helpful or inspiring, there are plenty more in the whitepaper. You can download your own copy (no registration required!) from IdeaBridge’s Web site.
To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President & Chief Procurement Officer
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
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