Lighthouse Leadership Weekly #57: Signs You're a Great Manager, Ask Lighthouse returns, and more

by Jason Evanish, CEO Get Lighthouse, Inc.

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If you haven't heard from me yet, please reply and let me know, because we now are working through some DNS settings that also appear to mean some of my emails to you aren't getting through. Oh what fun the new messaging/DNS rules are!

In today’s edition, we cover a wide range of topics, starting with signs you're a great manager, and then answering a great reader write in question. After that, we dive into one of our most popular programs, and give you dozens of questions to use next time you're mentoring someone.

We then wrap with a simple, click-to-vote poll we'd love your input on.

Let’s dive in…

Table of contents:

Note: This is a preview of our weekly leadership newsletter, Lighthouse Leadership Weekly (LLW).

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🥘 Food for Thought on Signs You're Becoming a Leader

A tweet in product management world went viral talking about signs you're becoming a real PM. Unfortunately, most of it was toxic and negative.

If I could sum it up, it was basically, "When you hate your job, question your abilities, or have bad or frustrating things happen to you and your team, then you're a real PM."

What a toxic mindset.

It really drives me crazy.

Product Management is an amazing job. It's a ton of fun in the right environment.

Treating it like a chore, or that you're enduring all this hell, and "that's the job" means either you work at the wrong company, or you're doing something wrong.

So that inspired me to write up the positive signs that you're becoming a real product manager. (If you're curious you can find it here).

That then got me thinking...what are the signs you're becoming a real leader?

Signs You're Becoming a Real Leader

​Here's a list we came up with at Lighthouse. If you have others you'd suggest, reply!

  1. You enjoy watching your team grow and master new skills.
  2. You see how delegating makes you better at your job, and start delegating things you used to love doing.
  3. You are proactive in seeking out problems. You notice small things and course correct before they explode.
  4. You recognize the importance of 1 on 1s and no longer debate whether or how frequently to have them.
  5. You see your primary role is to enable and empower your team, not dictate to them.
  6. You know that the best ideas come from those closest to a problem, not necessarily from you.
  7. You default to sharing credit with your team, not keeping the spotlight for yourself.
  8. You have the habit of giving out genuine praise freely and frequently.
  9. You turned around an underperformer by being clear and specific about how they need to improve.
  10. You were able to remove an employee that wasn't a fit, and saw how your team thrived after doing so
  11. Your team starts proactively coming to you about problems and with questions, because they trust you
  12. You're so in tune with your team and what's happening that senior leaders come to you for your perspective on the pulse of things.
  13. You understand and embrace the competing conflicts of caring deeply about your team, but being firm and making hard decisions when necessary. (Not sure about this? Watch this.)​
  14. You've repeated yourself so many times on a value or concept, you finally hear your team talking about it unprompted.
  15. You notice your team start to follow and repeat your actions, because your example is so consistent.

The point for each of these is that they're signs you can look for that show that not only have you mastered certain leadership concepts, but you're also starting to see the results that come with doing those things.

What was a key moment for you to realize you were finally becoming a real leader, and that you enjoyed the unique responsibilities and challenges of the job?

Reply and I'll share the best ones next week.

❓ Ask Lighthouse: How do you talk about purpose?

A reader wrote in with a great question I wanted to share along with a detailed answer for everyone to see:

"As always, I enjoyed reading this week’s Lighthouse newsletter.

I found a particular interest in the part on purpose. As a manager, the idea to discuss purpose in 1on1s left me thinking.

How (with what question) would you start the discussion on this topic?"

Good question. The purpose is something that I think is as much you talking as them.

Yes, you always want to ask questions and listen, but often you have to play an active role in purpose discussions.

To get the conversation started, you could ask some questions like:

  • What's your favorite part about your job?
  • What motivated you to get into this kind of role?
  • When was the last time you felt really motivated in your job? What were you doing? What happened?

With these, you're trying to see if they can understand the core of their work and what drives them. Usually that is then closely related to their purpose.

Then, you can also get more direct with questions like:

  • How do you think you and our team's work impacts our company? How does it help customers?
  • What do you feel is your purpose at work? What drives you?
  • Do you think your work is valuable? Do you feel it matters?

Be prepared to be surprised

Now, I have to warn you. These kinds of questions will lead to some surprising answers. They may not know. They may be pretty jaded, or they may not think their work matters.

This is where you must come in and help. This is where you stop listening, and start talking.

Share with them your answers to a few things:

  1. How does their work matter? How does it tie to your company's mission?
  2. What do you think the purpose of you and your team is? How do they help with that?
  3. What's a recent, specific example about their work mattering and having a real impact with your customers?

And don't shortchange those questions. Your answers make a BIG difference. If you give poor answers, you won't motivate them and it won't give them a meaningful purpose. Yet, if you do, you can unlock much bigger and better results.

From our post on ways to motivate your team.

In a study of workers at a call center:

"[call center employees that] read stories from the beneficiaries of the fundraising organization, who described how the scholarships they obtained from the organization had a positive impact on their lives... earned more than twice the number of weekly pledges (from an average of 9 to an average of 23) and more than twice the amount of weekly donation money (from an average of $1,288 to an average of $3,130).”

As it turns out, the call center employees who were told nothing, or read about the valuable skills they'd learn on the job performed the same. It was only the addition of understanding their purpose that improved performance.

So this isn't your average, quick conversation. It requires preparation on your part, thoughtful listening, and some impassioned storytelling and sharing on your part.

Yet, as you can see from the call center study, it can have a huge impact. And most of you reading this have employees that do much more interesting work that has a more obvious impact, so what are you waiting for?

Talk about the purpose this week with your team.

👩‍🏫 Group Training for Teaching Your Team to be Servant Leaders

If you've read this newsletter for long, you know we have Lighthouse Lessons training programs that can teach a group of your managers how to be great leaders, while helping them connect and build bonds with each other.

But did you know we have 8 different programs you can choose from? (Learn about all of them here)​

And today I want to talk about one of your all-time, most popular programs: The Mindset of Great Managers

Build Your Management Foundation with The Mindset of Great Managers

Across 16 weekly lessons, this program gives you an incredible foundation for leadership and management. It teaches you essential leadership concepts on everything from making good habits to breaking bad ones, becoming a multiplier for your team, and everything else it takes to become a true servant leader.

Here's the complete list of lessons:

  1. How a Tiny Habit can help you get important things done
  2. The importance of managers being multipliers
  3. The single best way to get your team to do what you want them to
  4. The approach that's better than micro-managing or being hands off
  5. The power of starting with a question
  6. Step by step how to break bad habits for you and your team
  7. How to balance being tough, but also fair and caring
  8. The most important thing to keeping morale up
  9. How to grow your team beyond promotions
  10. How to get buy in and the importance of the first follower
  11. A key to unlocking you & your team's potential
  12. The best way to learn as a leader
  13. Why you need to repeat yourself more than you think
  14. The secret to getting better at delegating
  15. How to exceed your goals
  16. Great leaders are Servant Leaders

Each week, the lessons focus on one of these topics and show you *exactly* how you can put that concept into practice with your team. This is then paired with a group discussion agenda that you and your fellow managers can use to deepen your understanding by sharing stories, supporting each other, and seeing how everyone applies the lessons.

If you're looking for a light-weight, actionable, and engaging way to grow yourself or your managers, this is a great program to start with if you want to try our programs.

If you're interested in the program, you can learn more and sign up here. Or reply to this email with more details about you and your group.

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Jason Evanish

Jason Evanish

As the founder and CEO of Get Lighthouse, Inc, Jason and the Lighthouse team have helped managers grow their leadership skills in dozens of countries around the world. They’ve worked with a variety of companies from non-profits to high growth startups, and government organizations to well known, publicly traded companies. Jason has also been featured in publications including NPR, the Wall Street Journal, and Fast Company.

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