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Bonus Focus - Leadership Principles from the Ozone Layer

Leadership Principles from the Ozone Layer

By Orlando Ceaser

The scenario happens every day. You have an elegant plan to exceed customer expectations. You need everyone engaged and ready for flawless execution. However, the fire alarm goes off. You are below forecast and the heat comes down from above.

The heat is intense. The fiery temperament demands explanations; the disappointment morphs into threats. You cannot let the heat go through unfiltered to your people. They may not be psychologically prepared for the intensity. Their leader, to use a scientific metaphor, should be the ozone layer for their people.

The leader ensures that only the productive heat reaches their people. The leader and the team could benefit from using principles inspired by the ozone layer. A few individuals may require a hole in the ozone layer to give them the heat they deserve to deliver the desired performance.

Let's talk about the heat. When the heat is generated, the leader with ozone layer awareness regulates the distribution of heat to the appropriate areas. The leader sits down with their team for a situation analysis. They review the local strategy implementation, customer receptivity and competitive response. They may adjust their tactics, which places them on the right track. Ironically, when the goal is reached, the senior leaders who generated the heat feel that the heat is responsible for the results. So the next time things are below plan, they turn up the heat even more.

To minimize this vicious cycle, an early warning mechanism must be put in place to quickly alert the team to any deviation in performance. This will keep the team in a constant state of readiness. Five principles of leadership derived from the ozone layer are directive, protective, selective, corrective and effective.

The first principle is directive. The team has a clear direction based on a vision, mission and clear objectives. Everyone has defined roles and goals and knows what is expected of them.

The leader must create an environment that is protective. People should feel safe and included. The work climate should address issues around unconscious bias and others matters that could impact engagement and productivity.

The leader focuses on those matters central to achieving their objectives. They are selective and concentrate on those activities that will drive success without distractions. The team will work on the appropriate priorities

The leader is corrective and will make the necessary adjustments. Individuals will look for ways to innovate and generate new ideas. The leader will provide feedback, so they know where improvement is required. The leader will also apologize if they personally make a mistake.

The leader concentrates on getting results. Execution is enhanced as people know what is expected of them. They receive updates on their performance to validate that they are on the right path. Measurement is an important part of execution and ensuring effectiveness.

Orlando Ceaser is a professional speaker and author of Unlock the Secrets of Ozone Leadership. Email Orlando at

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