Category Archives: Leadership Tips

Thoughts on Leadership by Jonette Crowley

(Note: I found these discussions in my files and thought you would enjoy them, especially at these times when we are all stepping up to greater personal power and responsibility.)

Leadership is Not for Everyone Jonette-new-photo-blue

Leadership is not for everyone because you must be a leader 100% of the time.

Here is a useful analogy: I’m a gardener. My garden depends on me to water it, pull weeds and not step on the plants. I can water it well all the time, pull all the weeds, and talk nicely to the shoots. But if I’m having a bad day and I go out and stomp on the plants— even if my tirade only lasts five minutes out of the whole summer— my garden is devastated. Sure, the strongest plants—the ones I didn’t totally destroy, will be able to repair themselves. But even if I keep watering and weeding them, they’ll never, ever be what they could have been. And, of course, the weaker plants won’t survive at all.

I can lament, repent, apologize but the living things I hurt will always show signs of damage. When you do something that hurts another, an apology doesn’t cure the damage, it only keeps it from getting worse.

Leaders create leaders. It’s impossible to manage people into being leaders. When you show up in the power of your unique essence energy—that creates a magnetic space in which others lift to their highest essence. Leaders have a resonance and charisma that create leaders in their wake.

Power and Authority

Some organizations—organized religion, large companies, governments— hold their authority because they make the house rules. However, they lose their authority when they don’t listen to the people. By not listening, such organizations also lose the next higher lever of power—that of influence. What is sad is that many of our large organizations appear to be incapable of responding differently.

When authority doesn’t respond to the people, the people will eventually pull back their power, and leave the game altogether. For example, I was visiting a friend in St. Petersburg, Russia, I learned that nearly all educated and successful Russians keep their savings in U.S. dollars locked in cupboards. They’ll only put up with currency devaluations and unfair taxation so long before they completely pull out of the legal money markets. Something else will fill the void and there is no going back.

Here is another example. In England Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles have authoritative power. Princess Diana had influence. People give the power to the influencer to influence them. There is nothing authoritative power can do in the face of true influence.

There can be incredible change when authority and influence reside together. We want our authorities to have the vision and human connection of an influencer. Martin Luther King, Gandhi… were influencers.

Authoritative power is based on fear. It lasts as long as people transfer their power to what they fear. No matter what, power comes from the people. Authoritative power can also be based on the culture or tradition—it is a habit to give power to the king, the boss, the chief.

Fear is the transfer of power to what you fear.

Tidbits

Darkness: The darkness and shadows we see in the world only seem darker because the overall  light is brighter. On a cloudy day the shadows don’t seem as dark as on a bright day.

Honor: The personal quality of honor—honoring another— is the key to ending conflict and war. It is more effective than the idea of peace, because honor is experienced personally—one-to-one, while peace generally isn’t experienced as individuals.

Clear Vision: We must not only have a clear vision of the future, we must cut the past, so we don’t drag it into the future.

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11 Leadership Improvements to do Today

Simon Bolivar

Image by dbking via Flickr

Leaders can integrate these 11 improvements to their leadership skills today. Being the best leader that you can be should be constantly in the back of your mind. Taking the time for even fifteen minutes a day about how to improve on a leadership skill will be time well spent. Leaders hold a heavy weight on their shoulders but are in a strong position to lighten the load by improving their skills. Take a look at these 11 improvements from Margaret Buj and make it a priority to start working to improve today. 

In one leadership study, qualities such as assertiveness, adaptability, intelligence and conscientiousness were cited as the most important. Research clearly shows that transformational leaders – leaders who are positive, inspiring, and who empower and develop followers – are better leaders. They are more valued by followers and have higher performing teams.

As a result, it would only make sense that you strive to improve your leadership skills and get the most out of life for everyone in your sphere.

Consider some of the following tips for how to become a better leader and think about ways that you can implement these strategies in your daily life.

1. Have a clear vision

Take the time to share your vision, your mission and your goals with your team. Your job as a leader is to provide a clear path that your team can follow. Your team also must understand why the goals you have set are valuable to them. Take the time to explain to them, in detail, why and how your vision will not only improve the business, but how it will benefit them in return. Include your team in your strategic planning sessions, ask for feedback and get them to “buy into” your vision for the future of the company.

…More at Top Ways to Improve Your Leadership Skills | Career Rocketeer

Leaders should take their role seriously and work on this list over time. There are eleven great improvements to make today, tomorrow and every day. If we practice a skill it becomes a habit and these natural leadership abilities will become ingrained in your persona and make you a more efficient, likeable, and intelligent leader. Leaders can incorporate these 11 improvements to their leadership skills today. 

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6 Leadership Goal Achievement Tips

 

a celebration

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Leadership should be constantly pushing their team to achieve goals. Goal achievement and task completion should be top priorities for every person. The ability to perform a task from start to finish is a necessity that every employer looks for in an employee. A leader is in the position of authority to set and prioritize goals that they and their team achieve. Every manager and leader must therefore have the best forward focus and ideas on how to achieve these goals most efficiently to optimize for skills and time. These tips are various ways that leaders can achieve their goals. Here are six leadership tips for goal achievement from Kevin Eikenberry

DIY.  After the goal is set, you can decide to Do It Yourself.  After all, you set the goal, you know the most about it, and you are in the best position to take the necessary steps to reaching the goal.

Delegate/Assign.  After you set your goals you may realize you can’t do all of them alone, and in fact you have some people on your team better suited to do some of the effort.  So in this option you delegate or assign the goal to a person or group – supporting them as necessary and needed.

Engagement. Before assigning or delegating, another approach is to engage people in final goal targets themselves. This includes some involvement or discussion about the goals before they are finalized and before they are assigned for implementation.

Co-creation. Backing up further, another approach is to have the involved people help create the goals from the start.  Having people involved earlier creates more ownership, but in this case it isn’t a mirage – as co-creator ownership is undeniable.

Fast Action Teams.  Once goals are set, put a team together to make progress quickly. There are many ways to identify the team, but in this approach the focus is immediate and fast action and progress.

Plan First. Goals can be set, but if there isn’t a plan for  how you will achieve it, you are off to a bad start. When planning you will identify obstacles you might face and resources you need (among other things).  If you want a template to help you speed up your goal planning, you can get it here.

….More at A Buffet of Goal Achievement Approaches for Leaders

Many managers and leaders are type A personalities who love nothing more than to control all of the situations in their realm of influence. This can lead to overworking and not delegating enough of the work or using any of the other methods listed above. We challenge you to do a true self-examination and decide what you as a leader are best at doing and then relying on your team to accomplish the rest. This optimized workflow will enhance your productivity and gain the respect of your team as you show them that you trust them to take on greater responsibility. Try each method on this list and see how it works for you. Let us know in the comments what you struggled with and what you were successful at with implementing these leadership goal achievement tips.

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10 Methods for Leaders to Boost Productivity

Tesla Motors Assembly Line

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Today we look at ten methods for leaders to use to boost productivity in the office. Productivity is a measure of amount of work done per unit of time. Productivity will be measured very differently based upon what kind of business you work in. If you work in a manufacturing environment then you might look at units produced per hour. Every manager out there wants to get the most out of their employees and make them as efficient and hence productive as possible but there is a fine balance between pushing for better returns and overworking or exploiting employees.  Elise Leveque shares ten tips that leaders can use to boost productivity in their workplaces.

While employees are certainly responsible for the level of productivity in a business, the level of organisation and other factors from the management side are just as important. Here are a few things to take into consideration when trying to raise the level of productivity.

1. Create a Pleasing Environment

If your team is a team and not a pit of gladiators fighting against each other, your company will get a lot more things done.

It’s a lot better to have a group of people who work together, help and feed ideas to each other, than people who need to watch their back and try to keep all good ideas for themselves for fear of the competition.

2. Make Your Employees Happy

Underpaid, overworked employees will eventually flee your company in droves. Give them good benefits, a good pay for the work they do and occasional rewards when they excel, and you’ll have them stay, providing step 1 is in place.

…More at 10 Tips To Improve Productivity In The Workplace | Business 2

Leaders can and should encourage their employees to push the envelope in order to achieve excellence. Productivity gains can be achieved through many different methods. Process modifications, automation, and additional training are just a few of the ways that productivity gains can occur. There are behavioral and environmental factors that also contribute to production gains which are provided in the ten tips above. Share your thoughts and strategies with us in the comments below. Then modify the ten methods for leaders to boost productivity to fit your needs today.

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Five Easy Project Leadership Tips

Flag Bearer

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Here are five easy project leadership tips to make you a great leader. A great leader works for his or her team. They support their team consistently and fairly. A project leader has to realize that they are in service to the team rather than vice versa. A team leader who is selfishly looking for results to drive their own motives will not garner the same respect and dedication as one who shares in the success of their team with all. If you are looking to improve on your team leadership skills then take a look at this article from James L. Haner, who brings us five tips to becoming a great project leader. 

True project leaders are not project leaders for themselves. True project leaders seek to bring out the best in their team mates . . . not put themselves on a pedestal.  They let team members realize their own success. True project leaders are remembered for the right reasons.

False project leaders, on the other hand, are those who acquire a project leadership position for their own glory. They talk a lot about “I” . . . and not a lot about “we.” False project leaders are remembered for the wrong reasons.

You can become a true project leader by practicing these five teambuilding steps.

…More at Five Steps to Becoming a True Project Leader « Perspectives on

You can become a great project leader by following the five tips presented in the article above. Project leadership is ultimately about achieving results but the difference between doing this the right way and the wrong way is as big as the Grand Canyon. A leader should have the mentality that they are working for their team members by seeking ways to empower them to do their job better. A leader needs to take charge and proceed by showing a positive example for their team to emulate. Just follow the five easy project leadership tips to become the truly great project leader that you have been striving to be.

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Are You a Leader or a Manager?

Training the trainers

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One important distinction to ask yourself when doing a self-evaluation would be: am I a manager or a leader? The answer will depend on many factors. One defining characteristic of leaders however is an ability to command the respect and attention of peers and accomplish projects, tasks, and goals with the help of a team. Managers may be the head of a group of people also but often they are in charge of a task or process.  Jay Hargis writes more about the difference between leadership and management. 

Oftentimes, we discuss management in terms of the ability to get work done through others. However, as organizations have become flatter, we have many managers who manage process and programs vs. people. Are they any less of a manager? In fact, most compensation and promotion programs move people through at least the title of manager on their way to director so the true scope of the work that the manager is responsible for has changed.

Who makes a good manager? If I had the silver bullet answer to this question, I would be wealthy beyond imagination. However, we can examine what seems to make some managers successful and others not so successful. Most managers have one common trait–that is the ability to manage both tasks and process. That is why there are so many people out there with the word “manager” in their job title. However, many of them don’t manage people. Think about it, there are thousands of project managers out there with no direct reports. They manage the process but not the people. They have influence but not direct responsibility.

…More at What are the Differences in Leadership and Management?

How many times do we hear the term manager when leader is more apt? Vice versa? In common speech the two terms are used interchangeably when in fact they could have very different meanings. A leader is someone whom people will readily listen to and take action for. A manager could be in charge of other people but is not necessarily so. Are you a leader or a manager?

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A Few Truths About Management vs. Leadership

The Likes of Whom The People Had Never Seen Before.  Beguiled and Deceived, The Masses Followed Him

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Do you know the difference between management and leadership? Many people believe that management and leadership are synonomous but they are not. A lot of people become managers who are not great leaders. A company will not thrive if a leader is not heading the company and managers are not providing structure. Leaders and managers are both essential to keep a company aligned and moving in the right direction towards success. We take a look at a list of the first five (of ten) truths about the difference between leadership and management brought to us by Dan McCarthy

1. Management and leadership are not the same. Not all leaders are managers and not all managers are leaders. You can be good at one and lousy at the other, or you can be good or bad at both.

2. *Managers plan and budget, organize and staff, control and solve problems, and produce predictability and order.

3. *Leaders establish direction, align people, motivate, inspire, and mentor, and produce change.

*Source: from John Kotter’s What Leaders Really Do, Harvard Business Review.

4. While leadership and management are different, they are complementary and equally important. One is not “gooder” than the other.

5. Organizations need great leadership and great management or they will crash and burn. To what degree of each depends on the degree of change needed.

More at 10 Simple “Truths” about Management vs. Leadership | Great Leadership by Dan 

These truths begin to give us an idea of just what the difference is between leadership and management. Good management is a requirement for any company to succeed by providing the necessary organization. A strong leader will orchestrate and position a company to do great things. Leadership is something to be developed over time while management can be adopted. Take these truths to heart and begin challenging yourself to develop yourself as a leader and as a manager with these truths about management and leadership. 

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Good Leaders Welcome New Employees

The shark

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If your company is growing and you need more employees it is a good idea to have a schedule and checklist in place to get that new employee comfortable and integrated into their new working environment as soon as possible. Good leaders will make sure that a new employee gets acquainted with everyone in the company (or at least every department).

A new employee will be nervous about what to do and what the expectations are for them so ensuring a smooth first day is critical in the integration process. Katie Morell writes about onboarding new employees and what to do before, during and after the new hire's first day.

On the First Day

  • Complete paperwork. The minute the new hire walks in the door, Meyer recommends going over the employee manual and finishing any necessary paperwork.
  • Meet with mentor. After the paperwork is finished, usher them into a conference room or out to lunch to meet with their mentor. Leave the room and let them talk amongst themselves, Meyer suggests.
  • Execute one-on-one meetings with team members. Organize 15-minute meetings with each person in the company, she adds. This works best with small companies of less than 20 people (Digital Talent Agents employs around 15 people). Instruct team members to explain what they do and how it relates to the new employee’s position. “Our new hires tell us that this is their favorite part of their first day because it gives them a basic understanding of what is going on from all parts of the company,” says Meyer.
  • Take them to lunch or coffee. Continue the meeting theme by personally taking them to a one-on-one lunch. If this is impossible on the first day, slot it in for the first week or 10 days.
  • Give them something to do. New hires are eager to contribute as soon as possible, says Regan.

“People feel horrible when they are just sitting around, not sure what to do,” he notes. “We try to get them working on something, even if it is something small, as quickly as possible.”

…More at The Essential Onboarding Checklist

Everyone hates paperwork so it is best to get that out of the way first. Nothing helps a new team member more than getting some one-on-one face time with their new team. Allowing a new hire to forge connections with their new team is invaluable for leaders seeking to develop strong teams. The best thing that a new hire can do is work. Often times new hires are very excited on their first day and will relish any task given to them so leaders need to ensure that some project is planned so they don't languish and waste all that energy. 

 

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What To Do When There’s Too Much To Do Book Review

Too much to do? Join millions! Laura Stack‘s What To Do When There’s Too Much To Do takes a fresh approach to productivity with a forward focus. The book will show you 6 basic steps to help you put forward focus back into your work.

The Productivity Workflow Formula™ (PWF)

1. Determine what to do.

2. Schedule time to do it.

3. Focus your attention.

4. Process new information.

5. Close the loop.

6. Manage your capacity.

ROI is a key performance measure used in business. Stack takes ROI to the personal level asking you to look at your PROI (Personal Return on Investment). Do you know where you stand? What is important to you? What are your time wasters? Stack provides quick checklists for each step to help you get on your path to productivity quickly.

Full of useful insights and tips to pare down your task list to a manageable level while providing forward focus, add What To Do When There’s Too Much To Do to your reading list.

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Musings on Leadership – Recognition

James, I think your cover's blown!

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Everyone wants recognition. Don’t believe me? Think about it – a desire for recognition starts early. As an infant we cried for recognition that we needed something. As we became toddlers and could voice our needs and wants, we said “mom” repeatedly or may be poked our mom until she stopped what she was doing and paid attention to us.

In large that is all that we are looking for in recognition. It isn’t just about getting praise for a job well done. It is about being acknowledged.

Shift your focus from yourself to the team.

All great leaders put their team’s interests ahead of their own. As Jack Welch counsels new leaders, “It’s about them, not about you.” Think about why each person is involved and what’s in it for him or her if the team succeeds. Set up touch points that have value for each team member – financially, professionally or intrinsically. For example, before sending your next email, think about what additional value – such as information sharing, recognition or coaching – you can add beyond addressing the specific task at hand. Can you share an update on a related project? Maybe you can provide a strategic view of how this work fits into the bigger picture. Is there something the team has recently done that deserves praise? Moving from a task focus where you manage others to a mission-led focus where you serve your team opens up the potential for deeper engagement, better alignment and higher performance….More at Managing Virtual Teams: Three Keys to Success

Trish Gorman’s suggestions apply not just to the virtual team, but to any team. Further, recognition can be as simple as awareness of the individuals on your team. If you know your team and put them first, you will find greater success. Recognition big and small count in their eyes.

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