Tag Archives: becoming a better leader

Great Leadership Depends On the Right Mindset

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Great leadership depends on the right mindset, whether it’s in the office or on the field.

Robert Sutton, author for the Harvard Business Review has written this article which explores the concept that great leadership depends on the right mindset. Whatever your mindset is, that’s what your team will mirror. They will follow your lead. If changing your mindset is something you think will make you a better leader, remember slight adjustments go a long way in my experience so don’t try to change everything at once.

Great Leadership Depends on the Right Mindset

…At the same time, I’ve come to conclude that all the technique and behavior coaching in the world won’t make a boss great if that boss doesn’t also have a certain mindset.

My readings of peer-reviewed studies, plus my more idiosyncratic experience studying and consulting to managers in many settings, have led me identify some key beliefs that are held by the best bosses — and rejected, or more often simply never even thought about, by the worst bosses. Here they are, presented as a neat dozen:


  1. I have a flawed and incomplete understanding of what it feels like to work for me.
  2. My success — and that of my people — depends largely on being the master of obvious and mundane things, not on magical, obscure, or breakthrough ideas or methods.
  3. Having ambitious and well-defined goals is important, but it is useless to think about them much. My job is to focus on the small wins that enable my people to make a little progress every day.
  4. One of the most important, and most difficult, parts of my job is to strike the delicate balance between being too assertive and not assertive enough.
  5. My job is to serve as a human shield, to protect my people from external intrusions, distractions, and idiocy of every stripe — and to avoid imposing my own idiocy on them as well.

Read the Full Article Here…

I disagree slightly with number three, of course a great leader will empower their people to do their best work and accept that progress comes in small achievements but the goals of the team are what drives the work forward so don’t forget the big picture and occasionally remind yourself and the people you are leading what the goals are and that you believe they can reach those goals. See for yourself how much great leadership depends on the right mindset and let us know how it works out.


Work On Offering More Positive Feedback

Work on offering more positive feedback

To improve morale and get better results, work on offering more positive feedback. As a leader or manager your responsible for providing everyone with appropriate feedback so that each person knows where they stand and how to optimize their efforts.

Work on Offering More Positive Feedback

Effective feedback energizes; nitpicking de-motivates.

Nitpicking is:

  1. One way. You give but don’t invite feedback. It’s frustrating. Still worse, it’s belittling.
  2. Always negative.
  3. Low benefit.
  4. Demoralizing. Watch people when they walk away. Do their heads always hang and their shoulders droop?

People who crave feedback include:

  1. New hires.
  2. Freshly promoted employees.
  3. Those facing new challenges.
  4. Perfectionists.
  5. Self-critical downers.
  6. Highly motivated achievers.

  People who resist hearing feedback may be:

  1. Insecure and fearful.
  2. Drifting.
  3. Stubborn.
  4. Not committed to the pursuit of excellence.
  5. In over their heads.


Positive feedback is best served alone.

Don’t use it to buffer “bad” news. See the good – say the good – walk away. An abundance of positive feedback creates environments where corrective feedback goes down more smoothly.


What feedback tips or warnings can you share?

What does great feedback look like?

This short excerpt from Leadership Freak gets right to the point when it comes to positive feedback. Work on offering more positive feedback to employees and other with thesee simple guidelines. Sometimes feedback occurs spontaneously so try to remember these tips and you’ll usually get the results you were hoping for along with a great deal of respect.




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?


Good Leaders Know Which Values to Emphasize

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An executive chef is responsible for knowing which values to emphasize.

Today I want to examine the issue of clear values as they relate to leadership. As important as it is to have strong values, good leaders know which values to emphasize. In every aspect of business, values come in to play, and each individual is responsible for upholding the values of the company they work for. I really liked this article I found on Sea Point Center that get this message across very clearly.

Good Leaders Know Which Values to Emphasis

Can everyone in your organization explain each of the values and how they personally act on them? They can at companies like Disney, Starbucks, Southwest, McDonalds and Google – all listed in the top 15 of the 2012 most admired companies.

Why I fired my tree service company

Our fruit trees are sprayed three times during the summer. One day the tree service showed up while my teenage son was mowing the lawn. They were both still there as I returned from work.

The man had aimed his sprayer at the apple tree, but it was a windy day, and the spray was blowing directly toward my son. I jumped out of my car and ran to the man yelling, “Watch out! Your spray is blowing on that boy!”

“I know,” he replied in a reassuring voice. “I asked him, and he said he didn’t mind.” – The boy might not have minded, but his mother sure did!

Because the company had not clearly articulated and communicated safety as guiding values to their employees, they lost my business.

Don’t wait for senior leadership

If you are a team leader, you must help your team translate the company values into team values in order to make them actionable. I don’t want to let senior leadership off the hook, but if the company hasn’t articulated values, it’s not an excuse to wait. Go ahead and create your own team values.

  • Identify the values needed to support your team’s purpose. Don’t assume that any are understood. If integrity or ethics are important, it needs to be listed.
  • Don’t choose more values than people can easily remember. You don’t need to list each person’s personal values. As long as there are no values conflicts, they can still act on them. Focus on the values that are the key drivers to accomplish your mission.
  • Communicate them clearly and frequently so everyone knows what they are. Translate them into behaviors, not simply a list of words. Describing behavioral examples helps people understand what they look like when they are lived.To Read the Full Article click here…
Check in with your employees and find out if they understand what the core values of your company are, recognize that good leaders know which values to emphasize and good employees can interpret those values into consistent actions.
Which values do you emphasis in your business?
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How Not to Be a Good Leader

We talk a lot about how to develop leadership skills, but sometimes it’s fun to look at the other side of the fence – in this case, how not to be a good leader. I would venture to say that at some point in time, we have all come across one. Here’s a fun article posted by Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer on the Washington Post which describes the perfect bad boss.

How Not to Be a Good Leader

Step 1: Never allow pride of accomplishment. When we analyzed the events occurring on people’s very worst days at the office, one thing stood out: setbacks. Setbacks are any instances where employees feel stalled in their most important work or unable to make any meaningful contribution. So, at every turn, stymie employees’ desire to make a difference. One of the most effective examples we saw was a head of product development, who routinely moved people on and off projects like chess pieces in a game for which only he had the rules.

The next step follows organically from the first.

Step 2: Miss no opportunity to block progress on employees’ projects. Every day, you’ll see dozens of ways to inhibit substantial forward movement on your subordinates’ most important efforts. Goal-setting is a great place to start. Give conflicting goals, change them as frequently as possible, and allow people no autonomy in meeting them. If you get this formula just right, the destructive effects on motivation and performance can be truly dramatic.

Step 3: Give yourself some credit. You’re probably already doing many of these things, and don’t even realize it. That’s okay. In fact, unawareness is one of the trademarks of managers who are most effective at destroying employees’ work lives. As far as we could tell from talking with them or reading their own diaries, they generally thought their employees were doing just fine – or that “bad morale” was due to the employees’ unfortunate personalities or poor work ethics. Rarely did they give themselves credit for how much their own words and actions made it impossible for people to get a sense of accomplishment. You may be better at this than you think!

original article here

Let’s have some fun here. Do you have a story of a good example of how not be a good leader? Please share it with us.



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.