Lessons In Leadership

You have heard me say (and you will hear it often) that funeral service is underled and overmanaged. This is a result of confusion on the part of our profession between the task of directing activities and the duty to develop your people.

Funeral home owners overwhelming hire employees that will do what they are told, push decisions upward and never make mistakes. Yet they say they want people who will think for themselves, grow in responsibility and take the burden off senior management. This schizophrenic perspective is simply the consequence of a wrong belief about what leaders do. The result: The majority of owners (I actually don’t know more than a handful of exceptions) really function as shop foremen.

This article offers some tips on how to stop being a foreman and start being a leader:


Screen Shot 2013-03-20 at 1.43.24 PMThink about a leader and chances are your first image is of someone giving orders — maybe it’s the quarterback in a huddle outlining the next play for his teammates, maybe it’s an army officer coolly  barking commands in the heat of combat. But chances are, when many of us think of leadership, we picture a person telling others what to do.

After all, that’s the essence of leadership, right?

Wrong, says Christine Comaford, an executive coach and author of SmartTribes: How Teams Become Brilliant Together who recently participated in a series of interviews on the website of fellow author Keith Ferrazzi. In the course of a long exchange about leadership, she tells the story of an executive she was coaching who couldn’t stop telling his employees how to do day-to-day things.

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