Kick the Bucket
Let’s begin by revisiting the B-bucket Leadership© definition of leadership excellence… Excellent leaders are those who can get their needs met on a reasonably consistent basis (A) while helping others to do the same (B). As you likely read last time, when talking about executive or leadership excellence, both buckets are important. An executive must meet and exceed objectives, lead results and perform with excellence, which is the A-bucket. And if an executive is going to be excellent they must also facilitate or support others as they are trying to meet their needs, which is the B-bucket. People behave to meet their needs 85-90% the time.
Now I would like to challenge a common and instinctive assumption or belief that has proven itself to ultimately be a trap or misstep. It has been detrimental and hazardous to many leadership careers over the years. This mindset has not only been a de-railer for the leader who possesses it, but it has sometimes been a problem for those around the leader as well. The limiting midset is simply; “A-bucket-only”. The purpose of this communique is to de-throne “A-bucket-only” because it’s ultimately a detriment to leaders and organizations.
The important message of distinction here is, “Long live A-bucket - but not A-bucket-only”. The A-bucket is tremendous and virtuous. The A-bucket (my needs, results and deliverables) is the crucial lifeblood of almost any organization; deadlines met, quality output, efficiency, productivity, revenue, profitability, etc. These vital ledger and off-ledger items that bring success to the organization and rewards to those who deliver them should be held up and celebrated. Organizations recognize, provide training for and reinforce A-bucket performance and well they should.
And then… many organizations promote their achievers. The achiever now finds him/herself in a leadership position for the first time or at an elevated level of leadership. The valuable A-bucket mindset and abilities are still needed but since the leader has ascended the organization, relational strategies and EQ skills are in higher demand. The lack of some of these skills often becomes apparent. The necessity to be more facile and responsive to the varying needs of others begins to appear as a daily requirement. Now it’s time for the B-bucket.
But if the leader has not been exposed to the rich suite of strategies and skills that find their home in the B-bucket they often revert to their A-bucket behaviors that have gotten them to where they are today. Except now, their world has become more complex. This makes for a defining moment for the leader and the organization. The good news is, A-bucket-only is a success impediment that can be remedied.
The antidote is B-bucket Leadership©.