Leaders Encourage Thinking “A Step Above”

In a recent address from Dana Wingert, the Des Moines Chief of Police, he emphasized the value of everyone in an organization thinking a rank or position above themselves.

The guiding question is this:

“How would my boss handle this, and what are his/her expectations?”

A few examples:

When you’re assigned a project, execute it to the standards that your boss’s boss expects of your boss.

When you’re assigned a task, ask yourself – or your manager – what would the result look like if my manager considered it to be above expectations?

Ask yourself – or your manager – is your level of accountability at, below, or beyond your supervisor’s ideal?

Does your work product say “I am competent” or “I am worthy of promotion”?

Wingert asserts that when you make this mindset prevalent, you prepare the next generation of supervisors, create empathy upwards, and improve quality of work across the organization. It also requires total role-modeling and a commitment to lack of hypocrisy on the part of leaders.

Try working with this guiding question yourself for a while, then encourage your top people to consider it, then roll it out to everyone and see how people react.

This post is part of a set of posts inspired by the Business Record’s “90 Ideas in 90 Minutes” event in September 2017. Learn more, download a PDF, and see all the speakers here.

  1. Kathy Lynn
    | Reply

    I agree Alan! Chief Wingert’s message is very inspirational and adds perspective to servant leadership: what’s really important, “did we make it better for everyone?”

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