November 14, 2018

TED Video: Are Schools Killing Our Creativity?

In this TED video Sir Ken Robinson makes a compelling case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.

I agree with him that we must start challenging and rethinking our school system if we are going to move our children and young adults into the future.  Well worth viewing (inspiring, compelling and very funny as well).

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We want to thank the team behind the bob 2016 revolution flex stroller for sponsoring this post.

6 Truths About Leading People

People At WorkAs a leader, you have probably read countless books and articles about how to lead people.  Some of the information you have read in the past is great…some needs to be thrown in the trash.

One of the big problems I have with much of the information out there in books and journals about leadership is that these books focus on the leader…not on the followers.  My belief is and always has been is this:  As a leader, if you know some general truths about people, about what motivates them and what drives them away, you will be a much better leader.  So, today, I want to share with you six truths about leading people.  While these do not apply to every single person out there, these are so common that I feel I need to write about them today.

1.  The majority of people you are leading are doing their best…even if you think they are not.  As a leader, you may have some preconceived ideas and expectations about what your followers should or should not be doing.  The question I have is this “Have you spoken to them about those expectations?”  If not, then this is not their fault…it is yours.  As a leader in today’s world, you have to be willing to place a top focus on the training and development of the people in your company and then be willing to bring in coaching to encourage people and to hold them accountable to their own greatness.  If you are walking around silently complaining about what someone should be doing, there is a good chance your employees don’t know this, and it is up to you to assign someone in your company the job of implementing a world class development program.

2.  People are inspired by public recognition and will do more for you when they get it.  As someone who works with leaders and teams every day, I have heard so many people speak about the lack of public recognition for a job well done.  From my perspective, people are craving recognition, and they are just not getting it, and they are craving recognition for not only big accomplishments but the small things that make the biggest difference in your company.  Why are we doing this to our employees?  My hunch is the old excuse of “We just forgot…or we just did not have time.”  Hmmm…I say it’s time to “make time” for public recognition every day.  The public recognition does not need to be in front of hundreds of people…it could be in front of just one other person, and the employee needs to hear something like this:  “Thank you so much for handling the incoming calls yesterday for 30 minutes.  I cannot tell you how much time this freed up for the whole team to finish the project we were working on.”  So, you name the good deed while explaining how it had an impact on the team and/or your company.

3.  Every person in your company has a different level of readiness for change.  Generally speaking, most people don’t like change, because change challenges us all to go into unknown territory.  Having said that, some people will adapt to change quickly while other people will change gradually over time while others will never buy into the change you are trying to implement.  To expect everyone to jump on board with your change initiative or new idea is almost impossible.  A tool like the DiSC assessment can help you understand a bit about how people view risk and change so that you aren’t blindsided when some people don’t automatically jump on board.   For those people who do not easily buy into change, give them an end date for getting on board. For those people who don’t get on board with your new initiatives, it will be time for a tough conversation.

4.  People are watching you to see if your actions match your words.  Because of the lack of integrity in some of our leaders, our world now looks at leaders through scrutinizing eyes.   They may hear your lips flapping, but they don’t see your actions lining up with the words you speak.  The first rule of integrity is probably “Tell the truth and live the truth, even when no one is looking”.  Right up there with this rule is “If you say you are going to do something or you want your team to act a certain way, you better do it”.  If you don’t, your credibility will instantly become tarnished, and people will lose trust in you and the words you speak.

5.  Not everyone in your company wants to be an “A player” on your team.  Somewhere along the way, company leaders have grabbed onto the idea that every single person in their company wants to “play to their full potential” and “rise to the top”.  This is just not the case.  There are many people in companies who love playing a support role.  They are your “B players”, and they are perfectly content playing that role.  As a leader, if you are going for only “A players” or people who want to get there, I recommend you read the book Topgrading by Brad Smart and then only hire people who have the qualities of the “A players” of the world.  Having said this, I just don’t know how well a company would operate with all “A players”.  I feel that we need people in support roles who don’t want to rise to the top of the company, but that is just my opinion.  The truth is to know that even though you may want everyone succeeding beyond their wildest dreams, there are people who just don’t want that for their lives, and as a leader, you have a decision to make:  You either have a mix of “A and B Players”, or you only hire “A players” who are going to rise to the top of your company.  It’s all up to you.

6.  There is a 99.9% chance that the people in your company are gossiping about you and others.  Let’s face it: People talk about other people in your company.   Of course, they love to spread around the bad stuff, but as a leader, you must be willing to know that there is a grapevine in your company, and it is important to know what is being heard through the grapevine.   I don’t want to suggest that you dwell on this topic, but it is important that you put your ear to the ground enough to know what is being said at the water fountain, over lunch and during breaks about you, your team or your company.  It could be very valuable information that can lead you to making a decision that could turn your company around.

To learn more about the people in your company and what they want from you as a leader, contact me today for a complimentary coaching session.  I am happy to see how I can help you.

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Gaining Loyal Customer By Building a Strong Leadership Brand

Cover of "Leadership Brand: Developing Cu...

Cover via Amazon

LEADERSHIP BRANDING:     When you read this term, do you really know what it means?  I really did not know until the year 2008, when I read the book Leadership Brand by Dave Ulrich and Norm Smallwood.  Because I had not heard of the term until then, it made me scratch my head and wonder if others found the term to be something they had not yet heard about.

So, I went out and polled a few business leaders, simply asked them to fill out a form based on what they knew, and many even admitted they did not know what the term really meant…but they took a stab at the questions I asked anyway.

We talk everyday about branding our “company” and making sure that our marketing collateral matches the “company brand”.  But what would be different if you branded your company through the eyes of your leadership brand?  My hunch is that it would be much tougher, and here is why:

When you build a brand based on true, enduring leadership, each person in the company not only speaks about the brand and and the promises you make to your customers in your marketing strategies, but each person in your company truly lives those promises every day in both their personal and professional lives, and that can be tough.   Because of the internet, blogging and social networking sites, every person and every company is now under a microscope and is scrutinized right and left for their actions on the inside not being consistent with the words they speak on television and in other advertising messages.  Leaders come and go everyday but strong, solid, committed and consistent leadership can help your company deliver strong bottom line results over and over again, making for happy, loyal customers.  When you ask for a commitment from everyone in your company to “live integrity 100%” or to “live innovation 100%” or to “give 110% to living customer service”, you are asking for a big commitment.  At the end of the day, it is better to ask everyone in your company to live it than to have your actions fighting against the words you speak to the world.

I have printed the answers from 14 business leaders below about the questions surrounding leadership branding.  And, if you want to know more, I highly encourage you to pick up a copy of the book Leadership Brand:  Developing Customer-Focused Leaders to Drive Performance and Build Lasting Value by Dave Ulrich and Norm Smallwood.

_____________________________________________________________

Name   Peg Donahue

Website   http://www.fengshuiconnections.com

When you hear the term “leadership brand”, what does this mean to you?

For me this relates to one’s personal style and authenticity. Each of us leads based on our beliefs, experiences and perspective. I believe it is important to be genuine and lead from your heart. It is also important to “walk your talk” and be a good example for others.

If you were to define a leadership brand for yourself or for your company, which leadership quality below would you use to build your leadership brand?

  • Integrity

Based on the leadership skill you chose above, what steps would you implement so that your customers would actually describe you in a way that aligns with the leadership skill you checked above?

  • Bring integrity to all I do.
  • Regularly publish “thought leadership” articles and blog posts that demonstrate integrity.
  • Actively include integrity as a value in my consulting and teaching practices.

_____________________________________________________________

Name   Val Boyko

Website   http://www.motherwhisperers.com

When you hear the term “leadership brand”, what does this mean to you?

The personal brand of a leader.  How someone is seen or perceived as a leader.

If you were to define a leadership brand for yourself or for your company, which leadership quality below would you use to build your leadership brand?

  • Understanding Others

Based on the leadership skill you chose above, what steps would you implement so that your customers would actually describe you in a way that aligns with the leadership skill you checked above

  • Using the word understanding in my message to people and reassuring my audience that they are not alone.
  • Sharing this message as part of my vision or mission statement
  • Telling stories that show my understanding of others
  • Using empathy in my conversations to show I understand the other person.
  • Embodying this value in how I relate to others. Making it a living practice. “Be the change I wish to see in the world”. Gandhi

_____________________________________________________________

Name   Jeannette Paladino

Website   http://writespeaksell.com

When you hear the term “leadership brand”, what does this mean to you?

A brand is what an organization or individual wishes to be known for. Defining your brand establishes the direction, leadership, clarity of purpose and inspiration for the organization’s missi

If you were to define a leadership brand for yourself or for your company, which leadership quality below would you use to build your leadership brand?

  •  Strategic Thinking

Based on the leadership skill you chose above, what steps would you implement so that your customers would actually describe you in a way that aligns with the leadership skill you checked above?

In recent years I have re-branded myself as a business writer. But there is much more to writing than putting words on paper. It is understanding the client’s brand and taking a strategic look at what the company stands for and the key messages to be communicated to its target audiences. The specific steps would be to discuss how the company perceives itself, which is an inside-out-process: exploring what differentiates the individual or company from other companies offering similar services. I’ve just had conversations with two companies about this very topic and it is like unwrapping a present and discovering something wonderful inside — your brand essence. The branding and words flow from that.

_____________________________________________________________

Name   Sue Porter

Website   http://www.AccidentalLeader.com

When you hear the term “leadership brand”, what does this mean to you?

“Leadership Branding” is the way in which you have distinguished yourself as a leader. It reveals specific positive aspects of one’s influence. When people hear a particular name, they know what that leader stands for. Conversely, branding can also uncover a poor leader, but I prefer to describe positive branding. With this in mind, a leadership brand evokes feelings and thoughts of confidence, vision and wisdom. More importantly it should elicit a “knowing” ; knowing specifically how you and others will be treated. To develop a strong leadership brand encompasses values-driven behavior that gives people a desire to take notice and follow. Think of Seth Godin and you think “marketing guru, preeminent “out of the box” thought leader”; Dr. John C. Maxwell is synonymous with developing leaders and level 5 leadership; and, Marshall Goldsmith incites th oughts of servant leadership and equipping materials relevant for companies coaches, corporations, leaders and entrepreneurs. I don’t think most people realize that all they say, do, and live as a leader brands them. They not only should, but ought to strategically develop their leadership brand, monitoring it regularly.

If you were to define a leadership brand for yourself or for your company, which leadership quality below would you use to build your leadership brand?

  •  Developing Others

Based on the leadership skill you chose above, what steps would you implement so that your customers would actually describe you in a way that aligns with the leadership skill you checked above

I would implement a training program, using both a SWOT and a needs analysis that would uncover their skills, abilities, personality, strengths, weaknesses, motivations and past training. Utilizing coaching, together we would then develop a strategic growth plan where they would set goals and make an action plan that would not only met their needs, but as much as possible be in alignment with our company mission and vision. I would then provide ongoing coaching, support, and motivation to individually assist them in reaching their goal.

_____________________________________________________________

Name   Dr. Jackie Black

Website   http://www.DrJackieBlack.com

When you hear the term “leadership brand”, what does this mean to you

According to australian translation services, a brand is like a tattoo on the minds of my target market. When anyone in my target market thinks about me or my company I want them to instantly associate certain attributes or leadership skills or qualities to me, my business and the value/benefits they will receive from doing business with me

If you were to define a leadership brand for yourself or for your company, which leadership quality below would you use to build your leadership brand?

  • Approachability

Based on the leadership skill you chose above, what steps would you implement so that your customers would actually describe you in a way that aligns with the leadership skill you checked above?   I would insure that the photo I use for business purposes makes me look approachable, and if I decide to use a landscape I could use the best 360 camera 2017 for presenting a wider picture; that the language on my web sites, blogs, sales/splash/squeeze pages, ect, and in all collateral materials makes me sound approachable; and that from the first contact with the media and with prospective clients through every contact with the media and long-term clients I demonstrate with words, behavior and company policies and procedures how approachable I am. I would train all employees, direct reports and independent contractors alike, how to speak about me and on my behalf with the public and vendors in ways and with language that clearly demonstrate how approachable I am.

_____________________________________________________________

Name   Leah Grace

Website http://www.evolvesuccess.com

When you hear the term “leadership brand”, what does this mean to you?

Leadership brand means to me understanding who you are as a leader. We all have strengths and gifts that are uniquely ours, when we know what they are and own them, this is when our leadership brand and success is born

If you were to define a leadership brand for yourself or for your company, which leadership quality below would you use to build your leadership brand?

  • Courage
  • Planning

Based on the leadership skill you chose above, what steps would you implement so that your customers would actually describe you in a way that aligns with the leadership skill you checked above?
A huge part of owning your leadership brand is getting real about who you are. For many leaders, showing up as the true-self will be one of the most scary yet powerful processes they will experience in their lifetime. Putting yourself out there in a powerful way, will take a large dose of courage. It is the tendency to skirt around what we really have to offer. Courage is a process. Like a muscle courage grows and strengthens all of the time and growing our courage muscles is not always comfortable. One of the biggest reasons people don’t reach their biggest dreams is because they do not set themselves up for success in this journey of development. This is where the planning comes in. Being a successful leader is not something we are born with, it is something that we stretch towards each and every day.

_____________________________________________________________

Name   Frank Faeth

Website   http://www.faethconsulting.com 

When you hear the term “leadership brand”, what does this mean to

Several things: 1) Well-respected product/service of high quality, consistency, and dependability; 2) Creates a product/service worth considering, aside from price; 3) Provides a product/service not quite like any other — distinctive for what it is; and 4) A product/service I’m not embarrassed to say I purchase/useIf you were to define a leadership brand for yourself or for your company, which leadership quality below would you use to build your leadership brand?

  • Business Acumen
  • Compassion
  • Customer Focus
  • Ethics and Values
  • Integrity

Based on the leadership skill you chose above, what steps would you implement so that your customers would actually describe you in a way that aligns with the leadership skill you checked above?

  1. Approach every project with the highest integrity and deliver an incomparable end product;
  2. Be honest and open with my clients and their stakeholders;
  3. Be someone others would unhesitatingly recommend; and
  4. Demonstrate that I know more about my subject area than my competitors through my words and actions.

___________________________________________________________

Name   Dolores Hagen

Website   http://www.sixtyandsensational.com

When you hear the term “leadership brand”, what does this mean to you?

I’m not sure I know exactly what that means. I’d say that means the perception of how others see you.

 If you were to define a leadership brand for yourself or for your company, which leadership quality below would you use to build your leadership brand?

  •  Developing Others

Based on the leadership skill you chose above, what steps would you implement so that your customers would actually describe you in a way that aligns with the leadership skill you checked above?

At the end of each coaching session I would ask these questions:

1. In what way did our session today help you?
2. Would you be willing to send me comments on how today’s session helped you in writing through an email?

_____________________________________________________________

Name   Arlene Kahn

Website   http://www.arlenekahntherapy.com

When you hear the term “leadership brand”, what does this mean to you

My first thought is that it means a style of leadership or a kind of leadership like a brand of spaghetti sauce that includes certain things.

If you were to define a leadership brand for yourself or for your company, which leadership quality below would you use to build your leadership brand?

  • Innovation

Based on the leadership skill you chose above, what steps would you implement so that your customers would actually describe you in a way that aligns with the leadership skill you checked above?

1. Learning about new ideas in the field, in this case the field of Psychology.

2. Combining important traditional approaches along with the new. For example:

  • Forming a support group based on traditional ideas of “Attachment” along with newer information about the brain in that area.
  • Using blogs, art, writing, and other creatuve and innovative approaches to mental health, of course physical health is also important, as a good weight and healthy joints with supplements from healthyusa, also a good skin so if you want to maintain a clean skin or just sweat less the iontophoresis machines are just perfect for it. Clinicians should be aware that there are many fluoride varnishes on the market. They may not be licensed for caries control, although they may have similar formulations, and this should be taken into consideration with respect to prescriber’s responsibilities buy you can buy colgate duraphat and other prescription drugs at https://www.ukmeds.co.uk/treatments/dental/colgate-duraphat-2800/ legally.
  • Instituting a Community Focusing Night, free of charge.
  • Creating a business structure that supports these efforts.

_____________________________________________________________

Name   Shoya Zichy

Website   http://www.ColorQPersonalities.com

When you hear the term “leadership brand”, what does this mean to you?

Defining the unique qualities that differentiate you from other leaders

If you were to define a leadership brand for yourself or for your company, which leadership quality below would you use to build your leadership brand?

  • Action Oriented
  • Creativity
  • Developing Others
  • Humor
  • Listening
  • Understanding Other

Based on the leadership skill you chose above, what steps would you implement so that your customers would actually describe you in a way that aligns with the leadership skill you checked above?   Create marketing materials, presentations and intellectual property that demonstrate those qualities.

_____________________________________________________________

Name:   Laura Schlafly

Website:   http://www.careerchoiceswithlaura.com

When you hear the term “leadership brand”, what does this mean to you?   I have never heard of this term before. If I had to take a stab at it I’d say that it means “how one has labelled themselves, or been labelled in terms of their leadership style”.

If you were to define a leadership brand for yourself or for your company, which leadership quality below would you use to build your leadership brand?

  • Approachability

Based on the leadership skill you chose above, what steps would you implement so that your customers would actually describe you in a way that aligns with the leadership skill you checked above?   company name would look/sound approachable:

  • My photos would elicit approach-ability
  • My contact information would be readily available
  • I would offer an easy, low cost or free way to get to know me before engaging formally
  • I would be out in the public eye, networking and volunteering

____________________________________________________________

Name:   Alice Dendinger

Websitehttp://www.gotoalice.com

When you hear the term “leadership brand”, what does this mean to you?

Everyone has a personal brand – it is what others think of when they think of you. When I hear the term “leadership brand” – it means that it is a thought or perception assigned to someone based on how they “show up.” Does the individual speak about big picture, vision, systems impact, alignment of people and resources and getting results. Or are they worried about what is “in the weeds” and issues that are short sighted. People who are branded as a leader take a 30,000 foot view as opposed to ground level.

If you were to define a leadership brand for yourself or for your company, which leadership quality below would you use to build your leadership brand?

  • Action Oriented
  • Approachability
  • Command Skills
  • Composure
  • Courage
  • Delegation
  • Developing Others
  • Ethics and Values
  • Informing
  • Listening
  • Strategic Thinking
  • Understanding Others

Based on the leadership skill you chose above, what steps would you implement so that your customers would actually describe you in a way that aligns with the leadership skill you checked above?   I would take a look at what I must accomplish and focus on the more elevated level and outsource the weed work.

____________________________________________________________

Name   Deborah Frey

Website   http://freyworks.com

When you hear the term “leadership brand”, what does this mean to you?

A “Leadership brand” is a compelling identifier designed to accurately describe and promote our distinguishing, valuable, unique talents and abilities to create a shared vision, to collaborate with, guide and empower others for success.

If you were to define a leadership brand for yourself or for your company, which leadership quality below would you use to build your leadership brand?

  • Developing Others

Based on the leadership skill you chose above, what steps would you implement so that your customers would actually describe you in a way that aligns with the leadership skill you checked above?

  • Engage with the client to identify and describe their unique critical issues.
  • Collaborate with the client to design goal plans.
  • Provide tools to identify natural talents, interpersonal style, communication preferences, and clarify personal and professional values.
  • Provide a structured, pragmatic, open-ended development process that is aligned with the client’s unique attributes to ultimately fully engage their potential, and dramatically improve their odds for success.
  • Implement follow-up success platform tools and support for sustainable results.

____________________________________________________________

Name   Cheri Ruskus

Website   http://victorycircles.com

When you hear the term “leadership brand”, what does this mean to you?

Because leadership comes in many shapes and sizes my thought is that leadership brand means honing into your own particular leadership style. Insuring that as you put your leadership skills out there into the world that these particular attributes are shown consistently and accurately.

If you were to define a leadership brand for yourself or for your company, which leadership quality below would you use to build your leadership brand?

  • Action Oriented
  • Approachability
  • Business Acumen
  • Compassion
  • Courage
  • Creativity
  • Customer Focus
  • Developing Others
  • Ethics and Values
  • Humor
  • Innovation
  • Listening
  • Perseverance
  • Planning
  • Strategic Thinking
  • Understanding Others

 

Based on the leadership skill you chose above, what steps would you implement so that your customers would actually describe you in a way that aligns with the leadership skill you checked abov

  • As you can see I found it impossible to pick just one – there are just too many important ones to not use them all.
  • To be cognizant  that these skills are filtered throughout the work we do.
  • Develop programs that insure these elements continuously get implemented with our team members and clients.

All are great answers.  If you believe that you or your company can benefit from starting the process of designing a strong leadership brand, contact me today to schedule a time to brainstorm for a few minutes.  While using this approach can take a bit of time, the best time to begin is now!

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5 Effective Leadership Skills You Can Use to Quickly Settle a Dispute at Work

resolve disputeAs a leader, there will come a time in your career when you have to sit down with two or more people and do your best to help settle a disagreement, dispute or conflict. 

While this is not the activity most leaders enjoy, it is a part of the job, and the best approach is a Childrens Party that engages the kids.

Striking while the iron is hot is critical in helping to settle a dispute.  Many leaders just ignore conflict on their team, thinking that time will heal all wounds.  I have observed the opposite to be true.  If two or more people on your team are in the middle of a disagreement, negative emotions will build, and team chemistry can fall apart.

So, here is what I suggest trying the next time you are settling a dispute.  You will be using these 5 leadership skills:

1.  Addressing conflict swiftly.

2.  The art of using effective dialogue.

3.  Mediation.

4.  Holding people accountable.

5.  Taking action.

For this post, I am going to use the names John and Sue.  Let’s say John and Sue have had a disagreement, are avoiding each other and starting to gossip about the situation to other team members.  It is time to call them both in, and start a dialogue:

Step 1:  Establish the ground rules.  Allow each person a chance to vent for about 2-3 minutes about what is going on.   Then, state firmly but calmly “We are now going to shift into a conversation about what each of you want for yourself, what you want for each other, what you want for the team and what steps you are going to take to get there.

Step 2:  Ask John the following questions:

  1. What do you want for yourself?
  2. What do you want for Sue?
  3. What do you want for your relationship?
  4. What do you want for your team?
  5. What steps will you take, starting today, to
  • Get what you want
  • Help Sue get what he wants
  • Get what you want for the relationship
  • Help the team get the results they need

Step 3:  Ask Sue the following questions:

  1. What do you want for yourself?
  2. What do you want for John?
  3. What do you want for your relationship?
  4. What do you want for your team?
  5. What steps will you take, starting today, to
  • Get what you want
  • Help John get what he wants
  • Get what you want for the relationship
  • Help the team get the results they need

Step 4:  State the accountability system by saying this.  “I am going to be observing your interactions, and I would like to follow up on _____________ date.  State a date that is no later than two weeks into the future.  If at this time, you have not resolved your issues with each other, we are going to have another conversation to see where we go from here.  While I encourage open debate, I have to get my team on the same page, moving in the same direction, so I will be following up in two weeks.

Step 5:  Take action.  If Sue and John cannot come to an agreement, and if they cannot work together and continue to cause tension in the team chemistry, it is time to make changes…either moving them onto different teams or taking steps to determine if Sue and John are really a good fit for your company.  If they “agree to disagree” and still work together, you may continue to see this issue surface, even if you move them to another team or department.

If you or a team member is having difficulty settling a dispute, contact me today for a complimentary consultation to see if I may be able to help you with this challenge.

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5 Warning Signs that Your Arrogance is Tearing Your Team Apart

ArroganceArrogance is something that we often discuss in the world of leadership.  A little bit of arrogance can go a long way in the direction of success, but when overused, arrogance can tear your team apart.  The main reason?  As a leader, if arrogance is your leadership skill of choice, your team is more than likely feeling devalued, rejected and angry.  When I speak in private to team members about their arrogant leaders, they usually shrug and say “It is a waste of my oxygen to mention anything or bring new ideas to the table.  He always thinks he has the right and only answer”.

If you are an arrogant leader, these behaviors will be seen by others:

1. You think you have the only answer.

2. You always think you are right and that the rest of the world is wrong. And, your team hears this constantly.

3. You dismiss the ideas of others on your team.

4. You appear aloof and that you don’t really like other people.

5. You pull rank constantly and try to overpower other people.

6. You rarely share credit with others.

7. You don’t take feedback from others as an opportunity to learn or grow.  You think you are already masterful at everything.

Here are the signs that your arrogance is tearing your team apart:

1.  Team members don’t speak up during meetings or one on one discussions.  Why should they?  You know it all!

2.  Team members work in a robotic fashion.  They would never want to come up with an innovative idea, because you will more than likely squash any new ideas.

3.  When speaking with team members, they stumble through their words, get flushed and anxious, and they will always back down from their opinion.

4.  Team members quit, because they are living in fear.  They are afraid they will say the wrong thing, and you would rather be right than keep your top talent in place.

5.  Team members are talking about you behind your back.  You may not know it, but trust me…they are talking about you behind your back.  When a team is not aligned with their leader, and the team is talking about you behind your back, get ready for your productivity, teamwork and bottom line results to fall into a very dark hole.

If you are a leader who is living with arrogance, there are some steps you can take:

1.  Most people living with arrogance don’t know it, but you need to hear it if you are.  I highly recommend that you commit yourself to getting feedback from your team on an annual basis.  I suggest that you bring in a 3rd party who knows nothing about your company to ask about 10 questions of your team and the people who know you.  Then, it’s time to sit down and hear what your team has to say about you.

2.  Work on opening up your body.  This sounds odd, but most arrogant people have facial expressions that send the message they are not open to others.  They will look away, turn their back or pretend they are not listening.  Sit down with your team members, remove anything that is blocking you from your team, and really listen without all of the sighs and looks that you may usually send.

3.  Disclose your shortcomings to your team.  Most leaders believe that this will make them appear weak and incompetent to their team members.  The opposite is true.  When you open up to your team about your shortcomings, your world will change overnight.  You don’t have to drag every bone out of the closet, yet it is important to tell your team about some of the feedback you have received and your plan of action.  Then, you must act on your plan.  Your actions will speak so much more loudly than words.

4. Be a coach…not a know it all.  In today’s business world, true leaders are becoming great coaches.  With coaching, you will be collaborating with your team on a way to “win”.  (Dave Buck’s Coach to Win and Play to Win methods are really great for this purpose).  With coaching, you are not telling people what to do…you are pulling their strengths to the surface and then coaching them on how to leverage those strengths so that they become stronger and better at what they do.

5.  Drop the cocky attitude and listen.  People who are over the top on arrogance are cocky.  This intimidates others.  You can be confident and come across as approachable, but not if your goal is to be cocky.  There is a very fine line between being confident and being arrogant.  If you are arrogant, you are probably very smart and talented, and you don’t need to throw that all over people.  Just observe yourself for one week in listening and curiosity mode and do your best to bite your tongue.  Watch the responses as you open up, listen and become more curious.  Your team will shift if you practice listening and being curious.  It just works!

 

The 5 Things Leaders Hate to Do that Stop them From Being Great

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last decade, you probably have heard all about the book Good to Great by Jim Collins.  In the book, Collins discusses the universal distinguishing characteristics that cause a company to go from good to great, and much of this process has to do with the leadership skills of the people at the top.

I have had the honor of coaching over 1000 business leaders in the last ten years, and while I do agree with Collins on the points he makes about great leaders and great companies, I have learned through the years that there are five things that most leaders hate to do.  As a result, they push these five to the back burner, and allow the simmering process to burn the team and/or company down…a slow and painful death for everyone, including the leader.  I am writing this post today, because I don’t want you to become one of those leaders who becomes a “has been” in the next 1-3 years and has a California wrongful death case in the process.

So, here we go:  The 5 Things Leaders Hate to Do that Stop them From Being Great:

1.  Being open to coaching, hiring a coach and working with a coach.  I don’t care how great you are, if you are a human being, you need a coach.  I am not saying that you need me (yet that would be great if we are a good fit), but if you are a leader at the top of your game, a great coach can help you go even further, stretch even more, build a more effective team and hire the best talent in the world.  For some reason, leaders think hiring a coach means they must be problematic or broken.  It is truly just the opposite.  As a leader, if you are a big thinker, you will understand quickly that an objective opinion and support from someone outside of your company can offer you new perspectives, new insights into your role as a leader.  A coach can also help you leverage your strengths, identify your weaknesses and learn how to leverage both to create new opportunities for yourself and your team.

2.  Addressing conflict.  Many leaders believe if they just ignore a conflict, it will magically go away or die on the vine.  Conflict breeds contempt, and if you are a strong leader, you will find yourself addressing some type of conflict on a weekly basis.  The goal is to strike while the iron is hot and to learn how to address conflict effectively.  I highly recommend the book Crucial Confrontations for this purpose.  It is hard to speak to others about a conflict or to “confront” others.  Rather than using the word “confront”, I recommend using the term “Critical Conversation”.   By using this language, the conversation becomes “mission critical”, and you are compelled to address the problem right upfront.

3.  Taking personal responsibility for company problems.  The issues with Enron, 9/11, bad loans and Bernie Madoff marked the end of leaders being above the law and the beginning of personal responsibility.  At the end of the day, as a leader, your company and team is not about you.  It is about your employees and customers.  It is absolutely critical that you take personal responsibility for failures in your company and that you speak about them to the public.  While there may be others who fell short of their responsibilities, at the end of the day, as the top person in the company, there is something you did that helped contribute to the problem.  You have have:

  • Hired the wrong person
  • Withdrawn yourself from over the top communication
  • Micromanaged too much OR isolated yourself too much

Each time a problem happens in your company, it is important to sit quietly and figure out what role you played in the process.  If you dig deep enough, you will find it.  Once you find it, it is then time to speak to your employees and customers about the issue, where you went wrong and what you are going to do about it.

4.  Dedicating yourself to ongoing learning and development.  This goes a bit back to the first point about hiring a coach.  You may be the top dog, but everyone has something new to learn.  Leaders often send their employees to training and development events, but they never put learning and development on their own calendar.  If you want to be great, you will be dedicated to lifelong learning and always looking at new ways to expand your depth and breadth of knowledge.  Learning and development opportunities are always available in your own industry, but I would like to stretch you to think about learning opportunities outside of your own industry.  This could be in the area of technology, social networking or the arts.  Finding creative ways to use information outside of your own industry is a characteristic of someone who is willing to think way out there on the bleeding edge, and we need this in our leaders of today.

5.  Speaking less…leaving a few things unsaid.  Many leaders talk way too much.  They think they know all the answers, and leave very little opportunities for their teams to come up with answers and find their own way.  Deep listening is a critical skill all leaders need in their toolkit, and just as important is the ability to empower others to speak and act.  While you may have all of the answers, your team will step up and bring your answers to the table, but only if you empower them to do it.  While it may take a bit more time for your team to figure out the best solution to problems or to find their way through a maze, they will exercise their strategic thinking and problem solving skills, but only if you back off.

If you are a leader, congratulations and thank you for all that you do for your followers, companies, cities, schools and government.  If I can be of support in any way by offering you a bit of leadership coaching to help you move from being a good leader to a great one, contact me at 910.692.6118.

 

Should the President of the United States Be Held to Higher Standards than the General Population?

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on Februar...

Over the past few months, we have all been hearing stories of sexual harassment, adultery and lying by a few of the Republican Candidates for President of the United States.  This all brings up the question:  Should the President of the United Stated be held to higher standards than the general population?

My feeling is an absolute YES!  While the President is a human being, he or she has powers that the general population does not have.  Our President can send troops into battle, can make the call to push a button to send a nuclear bomb and can veto any bill that lands on his desk.

The latest allegations regarding Herman Cain reportedly having a 13 year affair with a woman has everyone asking this question.  Cain’s lawyer a experienced divorce attorney suggested that the personal life of a Presidential candidate should not have an impact on electability.  The situation is this:  If Herman Cain is guilty of the allegations of sexual harassment and having an extramarital affair are true, then he told a bold face lie to the public. 

If someone will lie during a campaign, he will lie as our President.   I am not saying that Cain lied or that the allegations are true, but I do know this:  More often than not, when there’s smoke, there’s fire, so something odd is going on here.  And, with the Drug Charges Defense Lawyer in Las Vegas, the truth will come out.

I have adult children who are of the age that they could be drafted into war if required, and as the President of the United States, this position also gives the person at the helm the title of Commander in Chief.  When elected, I want our President to be able to be trusted, and if my children are drafted, I want to know that this decision came from someone who is capable of being trusted…I want to feel secure in that decision.  While the public these days is very forgiving, we never forget, and if trust is an issue, it will be very difficult for a man or woman to lead our people…into war, out of a horrible economy and into diplomatic relationships with other countries.

For Herman Cain’s sake and the sake of his family, I do hope these allegations are false.  Having said that, I do feel that we are at a critical turning point in history, and the person we elect needs a record that is as close to squeaky clean as possible.  We need someone who is rock solid, has a strong business and economic background, who knows foreign policy and who can make tough calls when they need to.

Would love to hear you weigh in on this question:

Should the President of the United Stated be held to higher standards than the general population?

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NEW VIDEOS: Is The Media Ignoring Ron Paul? Piers Morgan and Jon Stewart Weigh In

Ron Paul, member of the United States House of...

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I have to admit that I am a bit biased on the subject of Congressman Ron Paul, as my daughter Ann is working on his Presidential campaign. I honestly did not know much about Paul until this past year, and the more I listen to him, the more sense he seems to make. He believes in getting back to what our founding fathers wanted in the first place…liberty and freedom.

But, I just have to put this out on my blog today, as it has been so blatantly apparent that the media is just totally ignoring Ron Paul in this campaign. He almost tied Michelle Bachmann in the Iowa Caucus, yet everyone is just ignoring this…as if Dr. Paul does not exist. There is all sorts of talk about Bachmann and Perry and a lot of coverage on Pawlenty pulling out of the race, yet very few people are saying much about Ron Paul. It makes me wonder (based on the below interview) if the media might be afraid to bring Paul into the spotlight, because gosh…he might just be the person who could help turn our situation around. Last night, Piers Morgan interviewed Paul and was quite direct in asking the long term Congressman why no one is talking about him? Watch this video of the interview:

And, here you have the outcome of the Iowa Caucus:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now…watch how Jon Stewart sums all up. Really right on point and very funny!~

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5 Ways to Identify Your Next Generation Leaders and How to Train Them Up

Gen Y PictureAs many of you are aware, our world is at a critical point in history. Many studies are estimating that in the next 10-12 years, approximately 45-50% of the workforce in the United States alone will be gone, and most of the workers are from the Baby Boomer generation. They will be leaving in droves in leadership roles in business, education, government, the medical field and the world of non profits.

Many people argue that Generation X will fill these leadership roles and that all will be fine. Well…if you do the math, you will find our three main demographics in our world today include these numbers:

Baby Boomers: Approximately 70 million
Generation X: Approximately 45 million
Generation Y: Approximately 80 million

If you look at these figures, it is obvious that once the Baby  Boomer Generation is out of the workforce, we are most definitely going to have a shortage of leadership talent.

I speak with young men and women under the age of 30 every day, and many tell me that they have been thrust into early leadership positions without any training, coaching or shadowing. They show up for work and hear “Hey…Margaret…Bob’s last day is tomorrow, so you are stepping into his role.” While the names in this statement are fictional, the scenario is not. Because of their knowledge, talent and confidence, members of the Gen Y demographic are being pulled into leadership roles at ages 24-29, and they are saying they are not ready…that they need training, shadowing and coaching. So, my question is this “If you are not acting now to get your Gen Y careerists trained for top leadership positions today, then when are you going to do it?” My opinion is this: If you are planning on waiting and just letting the cards fall where they may, your company will either suffer or your doors will unfortunately close.

So, today, I want to share with you five characteristics that I believe will be critical for your next gen leaders to have ingrained in their DNA and five steps you can take, starting today, to get your young careerists ready for the highest level positions in your company. And, no, I am not foolish on this one topic…I am talking about getting your young workers ready for positions like CEO, COO, Senators, Hospital Administrators and Superintendents of Schools.

The 5 traits of your next generation leaders:

1.  An eagerness to both coach and be coached. Businesses are now moving into a coaching mode as opposed to an advice-giving or consulting mode.  If you notice a young careerist who is open to being coached and then willing to coach other co-workers, peers and even bosses in the direction of success, you have a potential leader in your midst.

2. An innovative spirit and creative experimenter who inspires others to act. I truly believe that the leaders and companies who can innovate like mad will using new media and the technology we have at our fingertips will be the ones who survive in the future.  If you spot a creative thinker who can also map out the strategy from start to finish of how to get a new product or service to the market, I recommend looking closely at this potential future leader.

3.  A global collaborator who engages creative talent to produce positive results for your company. Because of new media and of course the internet, we can now collaborate on a global level.  A true next generation leader will surround herself with talented people who can gather together for quick collaboration sessions.  (Note:  Be cautious of someone who wants to collaborate for hours and hours…red flag!)  The best collaborators are those who can guide collaboration, take command, make quick decisions while mitigating risk and who is agile and flexible enough to move and bend with the collaborative process without dragging it out.

4.  A young leader who has demonstrated shared leadership and self directed leadership. The old school hierarchical style of leadership is quickly fading away.  Our next generation leaders are turned off by climbing the ladder, being excluded from decision making and having to wait until a question slowly crawls up the ladder to the top so that it can be answered.  Generation Y is craving shared leadership, and they naturally lead with a self directed form of leadership. If you spot a young careerist who is willing to step aside and bring forward another leader who has a better grasp, ideas and input on a project, then you have yourself a great candidate for more training.  While the buck will ultimately stop with this leader, a form of shared, self directed leadership gives other young careerists a voice, respect, credibility and a host of other skills which will build confidence and a create a bigger pool of potential leaders.

5.  Strong networking and strategic alliance building skills. Companies of today and tomorrow cannot survive without alliances with other companies.  I have watched and watched this for the last ten years.  The companies who “hide” what they are doing, who don’t want to share with others and who see building alliances as a threat are either now closed or in jeopardy of falling off a cliff.  Your strong future leaders should be networking maniacs and constantly scanning the global environment for companies who can make your business stronger, more visible and more credible.

How to train your next generation leaders so that they can step up and step into high level leadership roles

1.  Study your under 30 employees closely for at least three months so that you can spot the above five characteristics. Remember…some people just have a bad day now and then, so look at the overall picture and don’t dwell on the few bad days…we all have them!

2.  Once you have spotted the employees you believe are potential candidates for leadership roles, perform a full 360 degree feedback review on your potential candidates. Make sure to include questions which address the above five traits.  You will want to gather feedback from co-workers, bosses, friends, former co-workers and family members to see how they view your potential candidates.

3.  Choose your potential leadership candidates and hire an experienced executive coach to work with your high potentials for at least six months. Ask your potential candidates if they will agree to a final debrief with the executive coach to determine coachability.

4. Assign a tough project to your potential candidate to observe how she handles leadership under pressure.  Once again, you are looking for the above traits as well as the obvious skills such as staying cool under pressure, time management, delegation and command.

5.  Design a structured shadowing program for your potential leadership candidates. You will want your candidates to shadow your strongest senior leaders and then flip the situation.  Ask your strongest older leaders to shadow the potential candidate for at least one month to get feedback about how they really act on the job.  If you have a strong future leader, she will be able to stay cool and calm when being followed around all day by a higher management leader on your team.