Noticing the good things

One of my good things!
I thought this post would be easy. It hasn’t been.

Educational – yes. Easy – no.

The idea was a fun list of the really good things I have seen managers do over the years, excluding functional stuff like business plans, strategy development and budgets.

The problem was – I had to think long and hard.

The conclusion is a little sad.


    • I don’t recognise the good things or
    • There are not enough good things happening

I suspect the answer is a bit of both

However here are some of the good things which come to mind (in all cases without sufficient examples!):

    • Celebrating the success of others
    • Promoting a bright and promising future for everyone
    • Building and supporting talent
    • Recognising people issues and dealing with them immediately
    • Fighting for the right training for the right staff
    • Not defending the indefensible
    • Taking appropriate ownership of problems
    • Demonstrating a sense of humour
    • Demonstrating humility
    • Admitting wrongdoing
    • Allowing others to be wrong
    • Supporting ‘failures’
    • Advancing others
    • Employing people better than them
    • Promoting change not building fortresses
    • Talking with and being accessible to all employees
    • Being human
    • Growing leaders
    • Putting the big stick away
    • Being loyal to their employees
    • Delegating well
    • Putting themselves in the line of fire
    • Opening up new opportunities
    • Being visionary
    • Being patient
    • Being impatient

What great moments can you think of, or what attributes would you add to the list?

What good things or great things would your ideal leader do? (On that point it is amazing how few ‘leaders’ give stuff away free via blogs like this – though here is one I was directed to a few days ago Ask Brian Martin)

8 Replies to “Noticing the good things”

  1. Dear Richard,
    ‘Noticing good things’ can be termed as a good developed habit. It is ceratinly not easy but yet not difficult to practise. Probably, it’s the process of cultivating your mind to look things from that perspective.

    Successful leaders actually are gifted with this sheer quality. It takes time but it’s worth it. Your list is quite exhaustive and appreciable.

    1. Dear Dr Asher,
      thank you for your additions. I like your pointing out this is not difficult to practice (an omission in my post). I also note that a lot of people think they do this, but the reality is otherwise. it is very pleasing to see the interest in this post.
      regards Richard

  2. Dear Richard,
    You have narrated almost everything that is required to be a successful leader.I believe that leadership should start with being human,sensing needs of others, creating opportunity, delegating and providing freedom to learn and allowing to learn from mistakes,recogninsing and acknowledging works in public etc. Rest follows. Leadership is an attitude that is ingrained. One can see glass half filled in either way. And that attitude makes all the difference. How you see at things make you manager, leader or mis leader.
    I have experienced and discussed with many people about leadership in the organisation. And found out that three things can make a lot of differece in the culture- they are interaction, information and recognition. Interaction at all levels with full and right information foster people cohesion and creativity. Recognition is a strong motivatinal tool and probably the best magical force.

    1. Dear Ajay thankyou for those comments. I like the addition of information. Kaplan and Norton in their latest book Execution Premium
      talk of moving from holding information and sharing what you must to sharing information and holding what you must. I like that. i also like you mis-leader, term.
      Many thanks Richard

  3. Nice one Richard. Here is a direct quote from Seth, which I really like as a response to the above.

    “Only talented people fret about mediocrity.” Seth Godin

    Sort of says it all.


    1. Thanks Jim, do you think we could also concluded the talentless fret about the exceptional? cheers Richard

  4. Impressive list. Noticing the good and the bad are good things. But every now again it is good to take in the good. We were worrying at work about how to improve the department and make it more streamlined…panicing even…before we took a step back and looked at how much we’d grown over the past year and how much futher we were ahead of the rest of the competition, not only internally but externally (in the industry) as well. Taking time to notice the good things is of vital important. Sadly it often take someone else to point it out to us.

    1. Thanks Mark – yes it is a peculiar trait or conditioning that we miss what goes well too often. Regards Richard

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