My name is John Thalheimer. Twenty-five years ago, when I was first promoted to supervisor, I struggled to hold my team accountable, delegate responsibilities, set priorities, and communicate my expectations. In short, I failed to lead.
If I wanted to be successful, something had to change.
I talked to leadership experts, read hundreds of leadership books, listened to successful leaders, earned a master’s degree in organizational leadership… and started putting those ideas into practice to see what worked and, frankly, what didn’t work.
Over the years, I have successfully guided teams in various industries, including a 350-person workforce with a six-million-dollar budget. No matter the team, my focus was always on, “How can I be a better leader for this team?”
I have always believed that the manager’s role was undervalued in organizations across the United States, but it wasn’t until I read the book It’s the Manager by Jim Clifton and Jim Harter that I saw the statistics to back up my intuition. According to Clifton and Harter, the manager solely determines 70% of team engagement.
Managers are the lynchpin to organizational success. If managers do not do their job well, employees’ productivity decreases; turnover increases; rates of harassment, bullying, and discrimination rise; and profits fall. Many employers fail to see that a manager needs a different skill set than a subject matter expert.
In time, my focus shifted to answering the question, “How can I use what I’ve learned to help managers be successful leaders for their teams?”
Or, more directly, “How can I help your managers be successful leaders for your teams?”
It starts with the simple understanding that for managers to excel, they need to consistently make the right behavioral decisions in the moment. As best-selling management guru Marshall Goldsmith says, “It is simple. It just ain’t easy.”
Gaining and applying knowledge are critical steps to becoming a better leader. However, they are not enough. If you have ever used a GPS for guidance, you know that for it to work well, you need both an endpoint and a starting point. Additionally, you will need guidance during your journey to have the best experience.
The same is true with leadership.
And this is where I come in.
I am a leadership/management guide. With over twenty-five years of experience leading teams, I have seen the pitfalls of poor management techniques, seen the danger of ego, and struggled with managing the people I led. I have also seen how small behavioral changes can greatly improve a team’s performance. I have felt the deep fulfillment from watching my team succeed.
Leaders should not have to go it alone.
Over the years, I have created a simple methodology with a powerful impact called True Star Leadership. Here’s how it works:
Where we start is as important as
where we are going. No one can
help unless they know where you
are. I use several different
assessments to help the leader
better define their strengths and
how others might see them.
Direction provides clarity in the
actions necessary to achieve our
goals. Together the leader and I
will develop an understanding of
where the leader is headed and
what they want to accomplish
along the way.
One of my favorite quotes is,
“There are three paths, and this
is one.” There is no one way to
be a great manager. There is no
one way to be a great leader. I
work with the leader to
develop a path that best fits their
talents and skills, allowing them
to reach their goals.
Even with a clear path, people
stumble. As a guide, I walk
alongside the manager, helping
them tap into their intrinsic
motivation, warning them of
potential hazards, and holding
them accountable to their
This same methodology works for leadership teams, from the board of directors to C-Suite Executives, to family-owned businesses. Instead of focusing on individual goals, strengths, and challenges, we focus on the team. With many of my clients, this comes in the form of Strategic Planning for their organization and vision and mission development, or values work. I walk alongside the team, helping them work together to develop a clear future for their organization, keeping them motivated, and discussing the small behavioral changes they can make individually and as a group to reach their ultimate goal.
Whether you need workshops for your management team, coaching for your executives, or help to create a strategic plan, I am ready to guide you through the process.
Don’t get lost in the leadership wilderness. Let’s transverse the wilderness and reach your destination.