America’s Leadership Expert : Different Mindset

Clay Staires:  This is Clay Staires with Tulsa Business Leadership and podcast number 56, The America’s Leadership Expert Levels in Every Organization.

I get to travel across the country quite a bit speaking with business leaders and entrepreneurs and managers as Clay Staires, Tulsa Business Leadership. I also spend time every day coaching multiple clients that own businesses, that are managers and CEOs across the country as Clay Staires, Tulsa Business Leadership, and it’s so often that we don’t fully understand the different levels of leadership in organization. When we talk about them, we would probably understand the conversation, but when we actually consider when someone sits us down and says, “Tell me the different leadership levels in your organization.” I found over and over, as Clay Staires, Tulsa Business Leadership, that people begin to stutter, people don’t really fully understand what it is that I’m talking about.

And then when it comes to a small business owner that has a few employees or maybe up to 30 employees or 40 employees, they are still in this spot where, even though they’ve been running the company for multiple years, even 30, 35 years, they’ve never got out of the startup mindset, and so what you have in this scenario is a CEO that is heavily involved in all different levels of the organization. Yes, they are in charge of the vision of the organization, but they are also in charge of managing. They’re also doing the books. They’re also over here and they are going out on jobs and doing the daily work in the company, and they’re just all over the board America’s Leadership Expert.

And unfortunately what I hear most often from these leaders, as Clay Staires, Tulsa Business Leadership, is, “Well, Clay, I just wear lot of hats during the day.” And I get that. I’m all for wearing a bunch of hats, but unfortunately what these same leaders don’t understand is that it’s not just a different hat that you’re wearing. It is a completely different mindset and a completely different skillset that you are using in each of these levels, and what happens most often is the business owner or the CEO that is having to get down into the weeds of the company, when they are down in the weeds doing the daily work, they are frustrated, because they are saying, “Am I still having to do this? If I wasn’t here, it wouldn’t get done. If you want it done right, you have to uh do it yourself.” So they never experience the freedom that having their own company can actually bring them if they run it correctly.

What I say to many business owners, as Clay Staires, America’s Leadership Expert Tulsa Business Leadership, is, “Man, you’ve got a wonderful company. A company that is making money. A company that is growing for you. The problem is is that you don’t have a good business.” A great company, but poor business. So what we do, as Clay Staires, Tulsa Business Leadership, is help a leader, help a business owner begin to come into a company that is growing, and help them create business models and business systems, management systems for a daily basis.

So what I want to do in this podcast is talk a little bit about the leadership levels. So I’m going to start at the very top. The owner or the CEO, okay? Could be the same person, although it doesn’t have to be the same person. This is the person that carries the vision. It’s the person that has the strategy. They set the vision and set the strategy.

And as we come down to the next level below that, the CEO then has their generals. America’s Leadership Expert They’ve got their VPs, their Vice Presidents, and this level of the organization, this level of leadership, is responsible for implementing the strategy. They take the strategy, the set strategy from the CEO, they very possibly have helped come up with the strategy, but this is the level where the strategy becomes implemented throughout the entire company.

And then as we come down from the generals, we come to this next level, we would call it an upper level manager, or one way that I define that is managers of managers. It’s what this third level is. The managers of managers, their primary role is to consult and to counsel. They are there to direct and help people make decisions.

And the next level below that, we have what we would call a mid-level manager, and these are the people that actually manage employees. They actually manage the workers, and so this level of management is primarily responsible for commanding and controlling. They are the ones, boots on the ground, telling people, “Do this and do this today. We are going to control your activity,” as they talk to their employees. They are overseeing and managing the work on a daily basis of each of the employees.

And then the next level down from that, we have our team leaders, our team leads, as each division, or each little department, or just a group of people on a certain project. These are employees, okay? They are at the worker level, but they are workers that have set themselves apart as being team builders. They’re workers that have set themselves apart by producing, by creating environments where people want to be where they are. These team builders have shown that they have qualities and soft skills that actually draw people to them, and so rather than promoting them all the way to manager, we promote them to this level of a team lead or a team builder or a supervisor. Somewhere where they are going to begin to not just be focused on their own work, but at the same time be focused on the work of other people. Not dictating what their work is, but encouraging other people to do their work. It’s a very important level that so often is overlooked in the workplace.

And then we come, finally, to the sixth level of work, which is the actual worker, the entry level employee. The worker that has come in and they are responsible for a specific job in a specific area, and these are the ones that are doing the tasks, they are doing the work.

So now if we come from the bottom up, we start with the worker. There are certain workers, or a certain percentage of workers, that will set themselves apart, and those people we will promote to being a team lead, not a manager, but a team leader. A person that has influence over other people. America’s Leadership Expert A person that, when they say, “Hey, we’re all going to do this,” that it encourages the workforce to follow that person.

The next level up is managers of the workers. People that will command and control the daily work.

Above that is our managers of managers. It’s our upper level management, where we are counseling and consulting.

The next level above that is the VP level. These are the COO, the CFO … These are the upper level leaders here, and they are responsible for implementing the strategy.

And then our highest level is our CEO, and again the CEO is responsible for setting the vision, setting the strategy.

So if you are in one of these upper levels of leadership, and finding that you’re consistently getting pulled all the way down into the lower level of the worker, this can be very frustrating. It’s a very different mindset when I am a CEO than when I am doing the daily task of fixing the plumbing or doing the electricity or hammering the boards, laying the concrete, whatever it is that my company is that I’m running. Can be very difficult to switch those mindsets on a given day America’s Leadership Expert.

That’s why many times business owners can feel very schizophrenic, because they have to not only wear so many hats, but they have to think differently, and this is primarily where we stumble, is that we don’t realize the importance of changing the way we think when we move from one level to the other, and so we find ourselves becoming very frustrated if we’re having to go down the ladder, or overwhelmed when our mindset is low and we have the responsibilities that are up higher on the ladder. Frustrated or overwhelmed can be a very, very difficult way to move forward on a daily basis. I think it was Knute Rockne that said, “It’s hard to be deliberate. It’s hard to be aggressive when you’re confused.”

So this is Clay Staires with Tulsa Business Leadership and podcast number 56, The Leadership Levels of Every Organization.

Clay Staires