Bruce Patterson On Leadership are excerpts from an interview highlighting Bruce's insights on some of the most challenging and the most rewarding things about being a leader. Bruce is indeed a leader who leads!
I had the pleasure of working for Bruce during my days at Champion Paper Company. As you read Bruce Patterson On Leadership, you will get a chance to see why he is a Leader Who Leads!
Which leader has had the most influence on you?
It is really hard to name just one. I have been very fortunate that 90% of my leaders have influenced me in a positive way.
If I had to name one, it would be Austin Moore. The most important lesson he taught me was how to delegate. He was a key influencer who helped me focus and develop.
You develop as you delegate. Not only do you develop your ability to trust others, the person you delegate to gets the opportunity to grow their skills.
You only have so much time to do things. If I tried to do everything, I w/could not have time to develop. Delegating gave me the opportunity to continue to grow and develop.
Delegating meaningful assignments lets your people know you trust them.
How did Austin’s influence shape your leadership style?
In addition to learning how to delegate, Austin taught me to ask “What’s the real problem?” To focus on finding the right answer for the situation, not what is going to make me look successful.
Because I don’t have a huge ego, it is easy for my response to be, “What’s the right answer in the situation? When I figure out what is right (without regard to how it will make me look), then I can figure out how to execute.
Understand what it is. What’s the issue? Then focus on how to fix it.
With Austin’s tutelage, I was able to move out of just being an accountant. I developed my ability to understand the business and apply the knowledge to add value to the organization.
What has been the most challenging about being a leader?
I believe people are inherently good. Therefore, it is not hard for me to look for the best in people. I don’t let style affect my trust in a person.
Because of that, one of the most challenging things is trusting people then finding out they are distrustful. Assuming people are doing something for the right reason, only to find out that they aren’t.
For example, doing a sensitive investigation into a situation and realizing the people are not good.
I tend to bend over backwards to make sure folks are successful. In hindsight, I may have waited too long to deal with an issue. But you have to deal with it, and sometimes sooner.
Another challenge is when people won’t listen to you, even when you have their best interest at heart.
What has been the most rewarding about being a leader?
The most rewarding is getting feedback that I helped in some way.
In particular, I had a manager who was having difficulty in interpersonal communication, but she was open to feedback and I saw her blossom.
When people seek feedback and they take it for the right reason.
When I feel I’ve made a positive difference in a person’s life.
That is very rewarding.
What advice would you give to emerging and experienced leaders?
You have to be very open; seek feedback and give feedback. Without feedback, no one will be a successful leader. When giving feedback, you must give it in the appropriate way. Be willing to adjust your style.
Ask your people for their opinions and be open to listening. Allow discussion. The focus must be on getting to the right answer.
As a leader it is imperative on you to help your people help you. Some leaders worry about how they are going to look. It should be about what is right. When your team looks good, you look good. You’re part of the team. Utilize all the talents you have on the team to do what’s right for the organization.
Bottom line: Support your people. Respect them. Thank them. It is inexpensive. It’s so easy. But we are often reluctant to do it.
I start with the belief that you hire good people, they want to do the right thing, but sometimes they just don’t know how. So my goal is to help them do the right thing.
To sum up Bruce Patterson On Leadership, see Bruce's Top 5 Traits of a Leader:
As I interviewed Bruce to write Bruce Patterson On Leadership, several nuggets were revealed. For Bruce's Quotable Quotes and Bio, click here.
Have you had the priviledge of working with Bruce Patterson? If so, please tell us how his leadership style made a positive impact in your worklife?
I had the priviledge of working for Bruce for eight (8) years. Under his leadership I grew both personally and professionally. Bruce Patterson's comments on leadership are more than words. Bruce not only talks the talk, he "walks" the talk.
I am very thankful that he made an indelible imprint in my life, bringing out the best in me. Thank you, Bruce!
For more about Bruce Patterson On Leadership, please see Participative Leadership In Action.