Category Archives: Leadership Skills

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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7 Benefits to Leading Change Through Forward Focus

In our earlier posting on Leading Creativity Through Forward Focus I talked about some experiences of play and creativity, how only about 20% of us retain that creativity, and asked how we can maintain or find it again. Today I want to focus on a few ideas for play or creativity at work and 7 benefits to leading creativity through forward focus.

Deer Hand Puppet ~ 1 of 6 photos
A few ideas that Leo Babauta had for bringing play into your life…
  • Make a game of computer tasks — see how fast you can get your inbox to empty (set a timer)
  • Give yourself points for checking off your tasks, and see how many points you can get each day
  • Skip instead of walk
  • Imagine you are in a movie when you walk into a meeting
  • Give yourself challenges
  • Make bets with friends when it comes to doing things you don’t normally like doing…More at Infusing Play into Mundane Tasks :zenhabits

What are the benefits of leading creatively through forward focus?

  1. Vision – the big picture becomes clear, gains more buy-in, grows with new ideas. Allowing others to let down their guard opens their mind to the wonders of the future instead of closed to the moment with no hope of a better future.
  2. Improved problem solving – creative thinkers see more options than reactive thinkers do. In reactive mode we see a limited set of options or worse yet only one. Creativity allows a brain-storm of ideas to flow and a mix of ideas that if used alone are not enough.
  3. Knowledge growth – share the creativity. Ideas and knowledge flow from different trains of thought and backgrounds. Sharing that knowledge allows others to grow, to begin to explore new ideas. You and your followers will grow.
  4. Mindset change – followers begin to see creativity. This can bring a more open environment. A more welcoming environment, not stuck in “this is how we do it” mode. Ideas previously shelved in the back of someone’s brain leaps to the front to improve productivity and morale. The projection of play and creativity can be contagious and create a better mindset for those around you.
  5. Better, more effective communication – explanation and expansion of ideas opens new pathways and allows us to see the way others communicate. If we know how different people communicate, communications can be modified to make the message more effective and easier to follow.
  6. Better service – from different ideas on how to best assist the client or customer. Whether it is an internal customer or an external one, if served by someone with the ability to use creative approaches to their need, they will feel better served.
  7. Influence – when handled as an individual with unique needs and preferences to approach, people will be more influenced. It is an opportunity to develop new relationships and further your reach with customers, coworkers or direct reports. They begin to look to you for guidance and feedback.
Bringing an element of play into your environment, your leadership. Open the doors to creativity and a future of what is possible.
We would love to hear how you are leading creatively through forward focus.



5 Tips for the Chief Belief Officer (CBO) in You

Leaders, from all positions are also a Chief Belief Officer (CBO). As a CBO it is important to remember to show that belief in others.

grandmaster FLAX ~ II

Image by striatic via Flickr

Hindu mythology expert Devdutt Pattnaik is the Chief Belief Officer (CBO) of the retail giant Future Group. What do you think that title means? When quizzed by the media, Pattnaik stated that this designation was created to align the objectives and culture of the company and to form relevant strategy to drive sales….More at Designer Designations: Indian companies giving innovative titles to 

Yet it isn’t just about the organization. The Chief Belief Officer needs to align belief in your followers so they see what can be accomplished. What they are capable of. Belief in those around you shapes energy, commitment, focus and drive to be a follower.

Are You a CBO?

No matter your position…

Regardless of your title…

If you want to lead, you’ve got to be a CBO!

Chief Belief Officer

If you want to influence others, you’ve got to believe:

    • Believe in an awesome, empowering vision of what could be.
    • Believe in how your team is making a difference.
    • Believe in each team member individually – their talents, ability, and potential.
    • Believe in your team’s ability.
    • Believe that tomorrow is possible, that the people around you can do it, and that together you’re going to figure it out.


The trick in an electronically mediated world is conveying that belief through leadership. It means taking a step away from the tether and meeting face-to-face. Try these ideas to show your belief -

1. Greet others with a smile and a warm hello. A warm hello is welcoming and individualized. A warm hello to Grandma is different than a warm hello to a coworker, employee or friend. Use this opportunity to invite others to be open and responsive.

2. Show appreciation! Whether for a particular project well done, or the day-to-day mundane tasks of the job appreciate boosts others and shows you are paying attention. Say it rather than sending it, it gives more impact.

3. Recognize that no one is perfect. This doesn’t meant that the job can’t be done, it means it is time to give life to others through your energy, your vision, and acknowledgment of another’s talent. This gives them a chance to soar with the eagles.

4. Give others room to grow. Humans are inately curious and want to show we can stretch beyond the sandbox given by a title. Give the tasks that let others explore their capabilities.

5. Share the glory. If a leader accepts all the glory for a team effort, talents are not noticed or acknowledged. Belief in ones talent can stumble. Frustrations can build. Find a way to show everyone’s contribution.

Improve the mindset of your followers – be the Cheif Belief Officer.

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The Right Leadership Skills and How to Apply Them

A good leader needs not only the skills to head a successful organization, but also has to know how to apply those skills in the right places at the right time. We like to make it simple and we found an article that is right in line with us when it comes to the right leadership skills and how to apply them, posted by a guest columnist on About Leaders

The Right Leadership Skills and How to Apply Them

What are the critical leadership skills and leadership qualities that build and sustain a growing business?

Randy Pound, VP at Centennial Executive Search calls them the 4 “C”s. The 4 “C”s are put into action by finding, hiring, and developing great people – individuals who have the capacity to deliver the 4 “C”s for leadership success:

  • Competence. Meets and exceeds position requirements and anticipates organizational needs where innovation, collaboration, and creativity are required to sustain a competitive advantage and maximize profitability.
  • Culture. Understands that every organization is a compilation of many sub-cultures, diverse goals, and personal objectives. Knows how to utilize that knowledge to obtain the best efforts of all employees for the benefit of the entire organization.
  • Chemistry. Recognizes how behavior and group dynamics actually feeds or discourages group achievement and is able to motivate and get the best out of everyone. Believes that everyone wants to make a difference and know they are valued.
  • Character. Displays the strength and energy to keep moving forward even in the face of ambiguity and difficult challenges, ensuring that not only will they excel, but everyone around them will also.

Original article here

Did they miss anything or is this right on the money? Do you have anything to add on the right leadership skills and how to apply them? If so, please share your thoughts or experiences on leadership.


7 Attributes of a Good Leader

We find that sometimes, a bullet-pointed list is just what we need to keep a positive attitude in focus. It is like having those little post-its on your mirror or your fridge that remind you of what is important. We think these 7 attributes of a good leader, posted by Barbara White on Greenstein, Rogoff, Olson & Co are right on the mark.

7 Attributes of a Good Leader

How often have you heard the comment, “He or she is a born leader?” There are certain characteristics found in some people that seem to naturally put them in a position where they’re looked up to as a leader.

Whether in fact a person is born a leader or develops skills and abilities to become a leader is open for debate. There are some clear characteristics that are found in good leaders. These qualities can be developed or may be naturally part of their personality. Let us explore them further.

  1. A good leader has an exemplary character. It is of utmost importance that a leader is trustworthy to lead others. A leader needs to be trusted and be known to live their life with honestly and integrity. A good leader “walks the talk” and in doing so earns the right to have responsibility for others. True authority is born from respect for the good character and trustworthiness of the person who leads.
  2. A good leader is enthusiastic about their work or cause and also about their role as leader. People will respond more openly to a person of passion and dedication. Leaders need to be able to be a source of inspiration, and be a motivator towards the required action or cause. Although the responsibilities and roles of a leader may be different, the leader needs to be seen to be part of the team working towards the goal. This kind of leader will not be afraid to roll up their sleeves and get dirty.
  3. A good leader is confident. In order to lead and set direction a leader needs to appear confident as a person and in the leadership role. Such a person inspires confidence in others and draws out the trust and best efforts of the team to complete the task well. A leader who conveys confidence towards the proposed objective inspires the best effort from team members.
  4. A leader also needs to function in an orderly and purposeful manner in situations of uncertainty. People look to the leader during times of uncertainty and unfamiliarity and find reassurance and security when the leader portrays confidence and a positive demeanor.

Original post here

Of course, we realize that there are far more than only 7 attributes of a good leader. We’d love to hear any you think have been left out of this list.


Lessons in Leadership from Star Trek

Are you ready to lead your organization where no other has gone before? Okay, yes we are having some fun here – but we are also serious. We can learn lessons in leadership from Star Trek. Captain Kirk was a great leader in every sense. He valued his team, their contributions and opinions, and always encouraged them to be creative. In this clever piece from Forbes, posted by Alex Knapp, we get a lighthearted approach to what good leadership is.

Leadership Lessons from Star Trek

Here are five of the key leadership lessons that you can take away from Captain Kirk as you pilot your own organization into unknown futures.

1. Never Stop Learning

“You know the greatest danger facing us is ourselves, an irrational fear of the unknown. But there’s no such thing as the unknown– only things temporarily hidden, temporarily not understood.”

Captain Kirk may have a reputation as a suave ladies man, but don’t let that exterior cool fool you. Kirk’s reputation at the Academy was that of a “walking stack of books,” in the words of his former first officer, Gary Mitchell. And a passion for learning helped him through several missions. Perhaps the best demonstration of this is in the episode “Arena,” where Kirk is forced to fight a Gorn Captain in single combat by advanced beings. Using his own knowledge and materials at hand, Kirk is able to build a rudimentary shotgun, which he uses to defeat the Gorn.

If you think about it, there’s no need for a 23rd Century Starship Captain to know how to mix and prepare gunpowder if the occasion called for it. After all, Starfleet officers fight with phasers and photon torpedoes. To them, gunpowder is obsolete. But the same drive for knowledge that drove Kirk to the stars also caused him to learn that bit of information, and it paid off several years later.

2. Have Advisors With Different Worldviews

“One of the advantages of being a captain, Doctor, is being able to ask for advice without necessarily having to take it.”

Kirk’s closest two advisors are Commander Spock, a Vulcan committed to a philosophy of logic, and Dr. Leonard McCoy, a human driven by compassion and scientific curiosity. Both Spock and McCoy are frequently at odds with each other, recommended different courses of action and bringing very different types of arguments to bear in defense of those points of view. Kirk sometimes goes with one, or the other, or sometimes takes their advice as a springboard to developing an entirely different course of action.

original article here

 When you think about it, the whole theme applies here. In a new-age global market our horizons have been expanded far beyond what they were even 25 ago. Catch the spirit of adventure and take some lessons in leadership from Star Trek.


The Value of an Adaptable Skill Set

A good leader and his or her team is like a Swiss Army knife: easily adaptable to perform many functions in a variety of situations.The value of an adaptable skill set is something most any leader should understand. In this article from Trade Arabia, Stephan Scholz, Shell’s Vice 44President – Human Resources for Middle East and North Africa, talks about his unique leadership development model and how he applies it to today’s ever-changing global market.

The Importance of an Adaptable Skill Set

Future leaders will need to equip themselves with a number of leadership competences and skills to enable them to deliver their vision, as the world becomes more uncertain with significant emerging economies, a top Shell executive said.

Stephan Scholz, Shell’s Vice President – Human Resources for Middle East and North Africa, reflected on the current global environment and shared Shell’s leadership development model in his key note speech at the Kuwait Oil Company’s third Sharing Best Practices Conference.

Scholz said: “Shell operates in a complex, fast-paced and networked world. Managing the global operational footprint, increasing number of joint ventures, and rising energy demand presents new types of challenges for leaders. The new Shell Leadership model provides a focus on the leadership qualities needed for the future.

“The qualities are defined by four key attributes starting with “Authenticity” to inspire professionalism and resilience; “Growth” to ensure leaders capture opportunities to generate value to the organization; “Collaboration” to build strong partnerships and “Performance” to deliver extraordinary business outcomes by investing in people so that teams are fit for the future.”

Ahmad Atallah, chairman and managing director for Shell Companies in Kuwait, commented on the sidelines of the conference by saying: “Working with Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) and its subsidiaries, we both get the opportunity to share ways of working and best practices through our ongoing interactions. The Shell Leadership Model and Attributes ensure that Shell experts working with Kuwait will contribute effectively to building a sustainable energy future through their drive to perform and deliver, while inspiring the young Kuwaiti engineers to adopt global professional standards that focus on the leadership attributes.”

Original article here

The value of an adaptable skill set in today’s ever-changing business environment is something a leader should keep in mind. Make sure you and your team have a wide variety of tools at your disposal so that you are ready for whatever comes your way.


Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Middle East

We can talk about the theoretical importance of these two qualities in a successful leader, but how does one translate the theory into team inspiration? In this article posted by Rahilla Safar on Huff Post World, read how one woman is making a big difference using her skills of entrepreneurship and innovation in the Middle East to help her team understand the significance of personal responsibility .

Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Middle East

Entrepreneurship and innovation have become buzz words in much of the Middle East. What are some examples of work you’ve done where you felt that you truly had an impact in this realm?

Leena Al Olaimy: Entrepreneurship and innovation have certainly swept the region by storm, and it’s time social entrepreneurship and social innovation were in the spotlight! Last year we developed and ran a pilot of our Leadership Bridge Program (LBP), in partnership with Baraka Ventures.

Most of the Middle East’s youth population lacks access to social entrepreneurship education and a foundation in ethics and social responsibility — which goes hand in hand with creating leaders who can accelerate social change.

We created the LBP, a three-day intensive program that promotes youth empowerment, and inspires young leaders to play an active role in constructively shaping their communities and countries for the better. Essentially, it is about molding and empowering the region’s future responsible business, government, religious and community leaders. We’re currently trying to roll the LBP out across the region, and provide a platform for Arab youth to connect and collaborate on regional issues from a young age.

As much as I value the work we have done with the private and public sectors, the last day of the LBP was definitely one of the most moving moments for me since co-founding 3BL.

With over half of the MENA (Middle East North Africa) region being under 20, do you think there is enough emphasis on teaching youth leadership?

Leena Al Olaimy: I think the attention towards teaching leadership is growing, but you can’t ‘learn’ leadership theoretically without actually putting those leadership skills into practice. I don’t think there are enough opportunities that allow students to hone their leadership skills. I also don’t think there is enough of an emphasis on responsible leadership.

Moreover, often times, leadership programs will only focus on students who are in the highest percentile in terms of academic achievement — which is not necessarily an accurate indicator of an individual’s capacity to become a leader.

We have a lot to learn from people such as Leena Al Olaimy, whose entrepreneurship and innovation in the Middle East are paving the way for how to inspire our teams and thus succeed our ever-changing global market.


Leadership Instinct

Is there such a thing as leadership instinct or is a leadership a skill that you develop? In this article posted on Deccan Herald, we read the story of a woman overcoming the odds in a man’s world in Banaras by tapping what should come naturally to leaders – assertion, independence, courage, and the ability to withstand humiliation – and how this has helped her build more effective and driven team members.

Leadership Instinct

Entrepreneur Asita Prabhushankar said every human being has killer and leadership instincts in them, which would be developed based on the interest.

She was delivering a special lecture on ‘My Experience As Woman Entrepreneur in US,’ at JSS College for Women here on Thursday. She said: “Women have more leadership qualities than men. Leadership skills should be developed and used in every step of life.”

She called upon students to assert themselves, which is the first step of being a good leader.  Sharing her experiences, she said her strong inspiration were her grandmother and mother who thought about educating girls in those days when there was prejudice against girls and thought to be unfit for bold jobs. Her grandmother encouraged her daughter’s education though she had three sons.

Asita said she developed a sense of freedom, independence and courage when they moved to Banaras. “It was a place where discrimination was faced by people of other languages.” She opined that Indian education system provides a rare opportunity while it is difficult in other countries to learn while earning.

She said her passion was in entrepreneurship and not in engineering which she studied. She identified her leadership skills which were stronger than her academic skills.

Original article here

Perhaps there are certain people who are so-called born leaders, but that does not mean that all of us do not possess leadership instinct. As human beings, we all have the same basic characteristics. By looking at the characteristics of successful leaders, we can all learn to cultivate what may not be flourishing in ourselves and help bring out what is best in our teams.


Leadership Skills from a Fishing Guide

What do fishing and leadership have to do with each other? Maybe you think that fishing is something you do after you have retired from leadership, but not so. In this piece written by Monte Burke and posted on Forbes, we see how we can get leadership skills from a fishing guide - someone who is dealing with a wide variety of people and personalities on a daily basis.

Leadership Skills from a Fishing Guide

Guiding is an unusual job. These small business owners–entrepreneurs, really–work in an office that’s as unpredictable as it is beautiful, in close and constant contact with their often demanding clients for a full day and sometimes even longer. Perhaps only golf caddies come close to having the demands put upon a fishing guide. A guide is, simultaneously, a coach, a temporary employee, a therapist and even a doctor. We pay them to show us where the fish are and how to catch them. They soothe our bruised egos when we miss that shot at a big fish. They occasionally have to pull hooks out of our heads.

Legendary Everglades fishing guide, Steve Huff, once told me that his job is, simply, to “make an angler’s dream come true.” That’s a decent amount of pressure to put on oneself.

I’ve found that fishing guides, because of the many hats they are forced to wear, and the multitude of personalities they are forced to deal with, tend to have a great perspective on the way the world works. Recently, I asked four of the best fishing guides in the business to tell me the best leadership lessons they’ve learned from guiding, advice that is applicable to many different jobs, both on and off the water.

original article here

If you would have never dreamed that you can learn leadership skills from a fishing guide, then perhaps you have missed other opportunities to learn from the unexpected. Always keep your eyes open for opportunities to learn and become better.