Raising the level of your leadership

Gibbs Isn’t Real

Most of us don’t get Leroy Jethro Gibbs as our leader—we get a mortal. In a recent episode of NCIS, Gibbs added the role of Horse Whisperer to his resume. (The horse had lost its will to live when its mounted-police rider was gunned down. Yes, Gibbs saved the horse.) Not only is he a Horse Whisperer, he was Marine sniper (like Chuck Norris, he can kill two stones with one bird), builds boats by hand without power tools, knows sign language and Russian, and drinks strong-strong-strong coffee and bourbon out of a mason jar (which may or may not be clean). Maybe that is why he never gets sick.

However, His greatest skill is knowing how to lead a diverse team of people to “get stuff done”—hard stuff like saving the world:

  • He is decisive
  • Always there when you need him
  • Leads from the front when it’s dangerous
  • Is charismatic without being narcissistic
  • Doesn’t play office politics
  • Is both intuitive and factual
  • Extends and expects loyalty
  • Is intelligent without being condescending
  • Works harder than anyone on the team
  • Never throws his team under the bus
  • Gives care and comfort by presence, not words
  • Expects his team to “do your job” and won’t do it for you
  • Leads people as both team members—and as individuals—because they are both

Of course, he has a few faults (as do we all), but somehow they get lost in the list above. If you want to be coddled and crowed over, Gibbs is not for you. But if you want to be part of a high performance team, Gibbs would be a good choice for leader.

And, if you want to be a high performance leader, take a look at the list. Maybe there is something there for you to work on. You’ll probably—like me—still be a mortal leader, but don’t despair, remember, Gibbs isn’t real.

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© Copyright 2017 by Dick Wells, The Hard Lessons Company.

Would You Fire DiNozzo?

FiredIt is the #1 network television show. It is fighting terrorists, fighting crime, fighting traitors, fighting everything…on steroids.

There is Gibbs—the world’s smartest crime fighter—who is ALWAYS right. (Ever worked for someone like that?) There is (was, now gone) Ziva, the lovely ex-Israeli agent who can take out Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Steven Seagal (even when he was young and menacing)—all at the same time without breaking a sweat. There is Abby—everyone’s lovable favorite, even with her tattoos and loud metal rock music. McGee is the “tech geek” and “Ducky” is the medical geek and trivia repository.

Then, there is DiNozzo—the jerk. He is completely self-absorbed and self-centered. He is rude, a snoop (searching his coworker’s desks, etc.), an over-the-line teaser who loves to humiliate everyone— especially McGee (but never Gibbs). He steals food, brags incessantly, is condescending to everyone (except Gibbs), gossips, and loves to make everyone look like a fool. He is just the kind of guy you love to work with, right?

On TV, it works. Gibbs and the others put up with DiNozzo because…well, because it is TV. In the real world, DiNozzo would poison the chemistry of the team, hurt productivity and effectiveness, and make most everyone dread coming to work. In the end, the best and brightest wouldn’t come to work; they would move on.

Generally you can’t reform a jerk; you can only fire them. You can wear yourself out trying, but in the end…. Google has a “no jerk” policy and by the way, ranks #1 on Fortune’s Best Places To Work list. The best and brightest stay at Google. Maybe that is one of the reasons Google is now #4 on the most valuable companies list and will soon pass Microsoft and Exxon, trailing only King Apple.

The question is: would you fire DiNozzo? I would. Let me know what you would do.

[By the way, when you do fire DiNozzo, don’t do it with a post it note, do it in person.]

If this post was interesting and useful, please forward it to a friend.

© Copyright 2014 by Dick Wells, The Hard Lessons Company

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