I am re-reading Steven Sample’s book, Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership which my friend Rob gave to me several years ago. Sample is the current president of USC and a former president of SUNY-Buffalo, and a very successful leader in business.
One of the points that Sample makes is that he surrounds himself with a small group of leaders who are required to express their real agendas. This sound so simplistic, but in reality it is a tremendously beneficial practice.
It is something that I am working on developing in my own leadership style. Everyone has an agenda. A lot of times, they don’t even realize that they do. The trick is to get people to acknowledge what they bring to the table.
It is easy to spell out your own plans and agenda, but you have to recognize that people will filter your words through their own agenda. If you know what their agendas are, you can be prepared to get people to see beyond them and work together with shared values.