Category Archives: Leadership Development

Leadership – Emotions

Sky symphony

In Leadership – Emotions are to be expected. The difference for leadership is that emotion may be more prone to anxiety from the weight of responsibility to those we lead as Peter Bregman points out beautifully.

. . . leadership is, as much as anything, an emotional adventure.

If you want to be a powerful leader, you have to become familiar with the sweat-inducing, anxiety-producing, adrenaline-generating emotions of being lost while people are following you. Because that is, as often as not, the emotion of leadership.

One of the defining characteristics of strong leaders is their ability to endure uncertainty and ambiguity. They are willing to move through shame and embarrassment and anxiety and fear. Those are the feelings of leadership as much as courage and persistence and faith. In fact, it’s because those feelings are ever-present that we need courage and persistence and faith.

It takes tremendous confidence to lead. Not the confidence of having all the answers — that’s arrogance — but the confidence to move forward even without the answers. You have to be capable of feeling awkward and uncertain without giving up. You have to believe that you and your team have what it takes to see yourselves through — or, if need be, to pick yourselves up and start again.

Here’s what not to do: pretend you’re in control. Because that erodes trust, increases your shame, and robs those around you of the opportunity to step in, learn, and help….More at The Emotional Adventure of Leadership – Peter Bregman – Harvard

What Bregman is getting at is the emotional intelligence needed to leader others. Leadership requires awareness of emotions in yourself and others. It needs to allow for effective communication to convey a forward focus while also addressing any elephants in the room effectively, mindfully, and openly.

The emotional response of the leaders can guide the emotional response within the business and its people. Leadership’s emotions are the scene setter. What scene have you set?

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Musings on Leadership – Planned Serendipity

Jurassic Gargoyle, Dorset

Image by flatworldsedge via Flickr

In this Musings on Leadership I look at Planned Serendipity – break throughs that lead to chance, or chance leading to creativity a definition orginally from neurologist James H. Austin. In Wendy Lea‘s interview with Thor Muller and Lane Becker co-authors of Get Lucky: How to Put Planned Serendipity to Work for You and Your Business they explain Planned Serendipity as luck you have created not just “dumb luck” we all say we had at some point. More importantly it is what companies like Google and 3M attribute success to. So how can leaders encourage this mindset? Here is what Muller and Becker had to say…

What are some tips for leaders who want to communicate the “get lucky” attitude to their employees?

Leaders need to encourage employees to have outside interests and give them reason to keep learning and be passionate about work. Take Google, which gives employees time to work on unrelated projects while they’re at work. That type of freedom always pays off. Beyond that, leaders need to make it clear that new ideas will be heard. That’s easy at smaller companies. At larger companies, the message needs to be very clear that employees are encourage to speak up, be creative and offer suggestions. That’s when structure comes into place. You might need to create a system or software that makes it easier to communicate. Whatever it takes, make sure that hotel lobby includes your customers, employees and maybe even the random mad scientist who could be harboring the next billion-dollar idea….more at Who Needs Luck? Try Planned Serendipity

So what is the biggest obstacle in planned serendipity?


“I’m scared” “I’m not trusting my instinct” “What if I fail?”    That voice inside your head  -it’s dangerous.   It never forgets anything, all the way back to when you messed up in Kindergarten and got called out by the teacher in front of everybody.  All those embarrassments and insecurities, buried beneath your dreams.  That’s the YOU you need to always be aware of, and the awareness itself it what will save you.   Because your instincts ARE good, and as a dreamer, you’ve already taken some of the hardest steps.    For us, it’s “coming to terms” with our fear that will keep it at arms length.  I wrote a letter to fear that really helped me, and I would encourage you to do the same thing, as crazy as it sounds.  Trust yourself,  and all of those internal barriers will fall away….More at The 3 People That Stand In Your Way Of Business Success (and How To Push Them Aside)

It wasn’t luck that created the light bulb it was the thousands of creative ways Thomas Edison tried before his success. He had the choice to focus on his obstacles or to focus on what he wanted to create. He chose forward focus, putting his efforts and choices towards his focus of providing us with the light bulb not the obstacles in his path. Forward Focus is a great way to look at planned serendipity. I would further Muller and Becker’s definition of planned serendipity - to luck we create through forward focus on our ideas.

Check back for the next Musings on Leadership - in the mean time find the focus for yourplanned serendipity.

And I always found that the harder I worked, the better my luck was, because I was prepared for that.


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Cultivating Leadership at All Levels

Stephanie Lischke and Joel Wright hit the nail on the head when they suggested organizations need to Cultivate Leadership at All Levels. Whether new or experienced, leaders exist all around us, not just at the top of the company.

French Garden at Duke Farms

Image by nosha via Flickr

Worried about a leadership shortage? Gazing at a thin management pipeline? Wondering how to get the most out of the talent you have?

It’s time to expand and amplify your organization’s leadership by looking beyond your proven superstars and management-track talent.

Young professionals and experienced individual contributors need to be part of the leadership equation, too. These overlooked leaders are the people who are working on project teams, influencing others and taking on ever-larger and more complex assignments.

Consider the role of highly experienced professionals. As individual contributors, they play critical roles as engineers, designers, medical professionals, marketing or logistics experts, and so on. They are expected to take on project-management roles and be key players on cross-functional teams. As their role expands and they increasingly work with others, subject-matter expertise is no longer a guarantee of their success or effectiveness.

Meanwhile, early-career professionals are looking for ways to engage, interact and gain skills. As they navigate their work and your organization, they have many opportunities to lead, even before they step into formal management roles.

Both groups are in the right place to leverage leadership skills, but they need the nod from you. So, here are four messages that you – and your fellow leaders – can send to the skilled experts, up-and-coming professionals and, in fact, the entire organization….For more read 4 Leadership Messages Your Talent Needs to Hear

Leadership comes from different parts of the whole organization whether formal or not. It is important to cultivate those that naturally lead others as you would a garden.

Unfortunately, most people tend to treat their gardens with a one-size-fits-all approach, ignoring the fact that the various plants in their garden have different light, watering, feeding and pruning needs.

Your employees are no different. While they may carry out similar functions or roles, the kind of feedback, recognition and support they need will vary. Like successful gardeners, the key is to learn and understand the differences in these needs and then finding ways to provide them despite your limitations on resources and time.

Whether you want to create a thriving garden or organization, in both cases it’s not just in the early stages of planning, delegating and nurturing that you need to focus on the health of your garden or organization.

As time passes and your organization grows and matures, it becomes even more important for leaders to take stock of their organization’s culture and make the necessary changes to encourage a renewal in your employees’ sense of purpose. Through implementing the measures above, leaders can continue to provide the necessary conditions to strengthen your organizational culture as well as your collective drive to grow and succeed….More at 5 Key Steps To Cultivating Success In Your Organization

Whether experienced guidance or fresh ideas are needed in your organization, cultivate leadership at all levels in your organization today.

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The Importance of a Leader Being Able to Admit Mistakes

In our book Enlightened Leadership we talk about the importance of leader being able to admit mistakes.This not only humanizes you in the eyes of your employees, but it also fosters our model of self-responsibility and creates an environment of freedom to make mistakes – something which encourages people to take risks and grow. In this article on PR Web, we see how many leaders are refusing to admit their faults and how this affects their employees.

The Importance of a Leader Being Able to Admit Mistakes

In new research conducted by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), a significant percentage of UK line managers have an exaggerated sense of skill and ability to effectively manage their staff. Jane Carroll of Personnel Solutions, HR consultants Manchester warns that situations like this could be affecting company productivity.

‘The cohesion of a team of staff is a crucial aspect to a company’s success, especially regarding smaller, newer enterprises. With small amounts of staff, often in close working contact, it’s essential everyone gets along well and tasks are completed smoothly,’ says Jane Carroll of Personnel Solutions, a Manchester based HR company. ‘If one member of the team is difficult to work with, the effects can be devastating to productivity.’

The study involved 2,000 employees and managers and revealed that one in four line managers – representing nearly 2million employers in the UK possessed an over inflated opinion of themselves and their abilities, which the CIPD warned would impact negatively in various aspects of business.

‘How a line manager behaves directly affects the staff below,’ explains Jane Carroll of Personnel Solutions,HR consultants Manchester. ‘Being unaware of the challenges faced, reoccurring issues and praise due can cause frustration, stress, and in extreme cases staff absences and sickness, all of which can often be avoided.’

Original article here

Do you recognize the importance of leader being able to admit mistakes? How have your mistakes actually benefited your or your employees?



The Relationship Between Modern Leadership and Birds in Formation

Have you ever thought about the relationship between modern leadership and birds flying in formation? In this article posted on The Metro West Daily News, Dr. Sanjiv Chopra of Weston, author of Leadership by Example, talks about the essential qualities of a modern-day leader using the example of birds flying in formation.

The Relationship Between Modern Leadership and Birds in Formation

Exploring the dynamics of leadership, Dr. Sanjiv Chopra cites the shifting roles of birds flying in V-formation, taking turns directing the flock before dropping back to less strenuous positions.

In his new book, “Leadership by Example,’’ the Weston resident observes humans, like migrating birds, can rise beyond their expectations to the demands of leadership.

“Very few of us are leaders all of the time and in everything we do,’’ writes Chopra, professor of medicine and faculty dean of the Department of Continuing Education at Harvard Medical School, “but all of us can become a leader for a certain time, in specific situations.’’

For Chopra, the best leaders inspire by living exemplary lives and encouraging others to “dream big.’’

A graceful writer, he packs his 208-page book with stories about everyday folks like 9-year-old Melissa Poe of Nashville, Tenn., who, inspired by an episode of “Highway to Heaven,’’ started an international environmental organization that has planted more than a million trees in 15 countries. A native of India, Chopra draws from a global pantheon of great leaders throughout history, from Buddha to FDR, from Soren Kierkegaard to Gandhi, to illustrate the power of selflessness and idealism.

original article here

The next time you find yourself feeling a loss of energy from flying out in front for too long, we ask you to think about the relationship between modern leadership and birds in formation and then let someone else take the lead for a while.



How You Can Profit from Sitting on a Board of Non-Profits

Do you know how you can profit from sitting on the board of a non-profit? We know this may sound counter-intuitive at first, but many leaders have talked about the myriad ways in which non-profits have served them as leaders. In this article posted on Forbes by Geri Stengel, you can see how volunteering for a non-profit board make work for you.

How You Can Profit from Sitting on a Board of Non-Profits

Let’s face it: When you’re the head of a small business, you want to develop your leadership skills and, if you are like most entrepreneurs, contribute to your community. What if you could do good and beef up your leadership skills at the same time?

As a business owner, you have more than money to contribute. Being on the board of a nonprofit is great way to give back. It is also a great way to improve your leadership skills.

Many big companies recognize that being on nonprofit boards builds “soft” leadership skills. They pay for rising stars in their companies to go through nonprofit board training and encourage nonprofit board service, according to Nicole T. Sebastian, deputy executive director of  VCG Governance Matters, which places people on nonprofit boards.

Founders of small to mid-sized companies also recognize the importance of board service as way to improve their leadership skills. Many successful entrepreneurs — some pretty big players — credit their success to integrating nonprofit work into their business plan.

original article here

If this is something you have never thought about before, we ask you to do think about how you can profit from sitting on the board of a non-profits. Not only can you learn skills you may not have acquired while staying in your comfort zone, but you can also gain connections, mentors, peers, and even friendships.


The Art of Personal Development

The art of personal development is one that a great leader is always trying to master. Even more than that, a great leader knows that it is an art form that is never really mastered by anyone; therefore, as leaders we must “be like the water” – easily adaptable to what comes our way and fluidly flowing around any perceived obstacle. In this piece from The Houston Chronicle Online posted by  Laura Jerpi, we learn the skills necessary to be like the water.

The Art of Personal Development

Sharpening your personal development skills can help you to become a more effective leader. A successful leader always should be open to change and willing to grow as both an authority figure and an individual. It is important to continuously work to improve your leadership skills to keep your skill set properly aligned with the constantly changing goals and priorities of today’s professional work force.

Improve Interpersonal Skills

An effective leader needs to have good people skills. Your employees and colleagues should feel comfortable coming to you with any problems they have, not intimidated and afraid of your reaction. Taking the time to ask for the opinions of your colleagues and listening carefully to the viewpoint of each person also shows that you respect them. Your colleagues also will appreciate the little things, such as paying them a compliment for work well done or remembering the name of a person you’ve recently met.

Assess Your Skills

Performing a periodic assessment of your own skills can help to ensure your competencies are at the level they should be. If your profession requires knowledge that doesn’t change too quickly, performing this assessment once a year is sufficient. If you’re in a rapidly changing field — such as web design, where new skills are constantly needed to keep up with changes in technology — you should complete this evaluation every few months to stay up-to-date.

Increase Your Knowledge

A good leader never stops learning and always wants to improve his skill set. Making a list of areas you would like to improve, such as acquiring a specific skill set or improving your existing abilities, can help you to become a more well-rounded, valuable leader. After identifying places for improvement, seek ways to obtain this knowledge. Attending industry-relevant conferences or lunch-and-learn sessions at your office, asking for extra assignments at work, finding a mentor, taking online courses and subscribing to applicable professional blogs are all ways to expand your knowledge and improve your job performance.

Inspiring Others

Encouraging and inspiring team members to attain their own personal goals and reach their potential can help you to become a better leader. Involving each person in planning team goals for the future makes everyone feel like a valued member of the group and helps to get them excited for new projects. Setting high standards for individual performance challenges team members to step out of their comfort zone. Rewarding group members for their hard work shows them that they’re appreciated and makes them feel like an integral part of the team.

original article here

We feel that the art of personal development is essential for the mastery of Enlightened Leadership. What are they ways you do work on yourself and how does that help you in your role? How do you stay fluid and free in an environment of constant change?


10 Helpful Tips for Effective Leadership

If we could simply list them, what are the essential qualities of an effective leader? If you have read our work, then you know how much we value bringing out the best in your people. In this article posted on News Olio, we found 10 helpful tips for effective leadership - in a nutshell.

10 Helpful Tips for Effective Leadership

Many people have a favorite teacher or boss who helped to motivate them into accomplishing important goals. Good leaders are made, not born. Here are suggestions for enhancing the directional skills of those in leadership positions.

  1. Value people. Instead of squeezing every last drop of sweat from those under your authority, make it a point to encourage good performance and emphasize positive relationships. Let people know you care about them, and not just about the work they do. Warm greetings, personal comments, and friendly conversation at lunch or after hours help to smooth workplace relations.
  2. Lead by example. Instead of appointing someone else to do the “hard” jobs, give it a shot to assess difficulty level, and to show staff that you are not above doing such work. Don’t goof off on the job, or others will expect the right to do it, too. Avoid using company resources for personal benefit, like making long distance calls, Internet shopping, or using office supplies for non-business work.
  3. Display a strong character. Remember that others are watching you. Control negative emotions like anger, frustration, and irritation. Practice good judgment, patience, and fair play in dealing with office situations. Leaders sit on pedestals. Everything you do will be magnified and evaluated by those you work with.

Original article here

Sometimes we like to make it simple – so there you have it, in a nutshell: 10 helpful tips for effective leadership. Please share with us how you have integrated some of these to help build innovative and motivated teams.


10 Approaches to Challenges in Leadership

People like to have lists because it puts everything they need to know in one place. Anytime we find a good list of tips for leaders, we like to share them. Here are 10 approaches to challenges in leadership, posted on Leadership Freak:

10 Approaches to Challenges in Leadership

The purpose of leadership is to identify and create the future. If you want to lead, go somewhere and take someone with you.

The challenge of leadership is helping people keep up. You are ahead. If you aren’t ahead you aren’t leading.

  1. Embrace dissatisfaction and discontent with optimism. Nothing gets done without optimism – the belief it can get done.
  2. Define and explain the future in relevant language. Passion ignites when others own the future for themselves.
  3. Find alignment of purpose between individuals and organizations.
  4. Constantly explore change with openness and skepticism. “Will this advance the agenda?” Doug Conant.
  5. Persistently push forward while celebrating past success – balance dissatisfaction with satisfaction. Many never move beyond dissatisfaction.
If these 10 approaches to challenges in leadership have helped you or you have more you’d like to add, we’d love to hear from you! Tell us about how you have come up with ways  to effectively manage challenges for both you and your employees.

The Current State of Leadership


Development Dimensions International (DDI) a respected,  global talent management company recently published their Global Leadership Forecast 2011. This report is one of the largest leadership studies of it’s kind, with more than 2,600 participating organizations. The research provides some interesting perspectives on thecurrent state of leadership and future leadership needs. Specifically, the report looked to uncover the answers to the following questions:

  • What is the overall quality of leadership in organizations today? How does it compare to previous years?
  • Do organizations have a sufficient supply of capable leaders to meet tomorrow’s business challenges?
  • What can HR professionals do to revolutionize the development of their leaders?
  • Is it time to radically innovate not only products and business models, but also the very way we manage?
  • What impact can we have by moving the needle on leadership quality?

The research defined a leaders as “someone who manages the performance or responsibilities of individuals in an organization.

Research Findings

This research study produced interesting findings I have extracted some of the research findings I found interesting, those that stood out and caught my attention.

Effective Leadership Matters

  • The research demonstrated that organizations with the highest quality leaders were 13 times more likely to outperform their competition in key bottom-line metrics such as financial performance, quality of products and services, employee engagement, and customer satisfaction.


  • Leaders who reported that their organization’s current leadership quality as poor, only 6% of them were in organizations that outperformed their competition.
  • Organizations with higher quality leadership were up to three times more likely to retain more employees than their competition. by GEORGE AMBLER