Tag Archives: good leadership skills

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.




Be Honest About Which Goals Really Matter to You


Be honest about which goals really matter to you.

If you are like most people you have thoughts about different kinds of projects and goals you would like to accomplish. What I’ve noticed recently is that most people, including myself, don’t act on those dreams and visions as often as we would like.

To overcome this problem, you need to be honest about which goals really matter to you. I found this wonderful article  that sheds some light on why our ambition seems to diminish when it comes to things we say we think we want to do.

Be Honest About Which Goals Really Matter to You

I have been challenging myself a lot lately regarding my goals and dreams. I say I want to XYZ, but if I am honest, there are many signs that should tell me that I really don’t want to do this. It is a goal I want to want. Something that I think would be interesting to want. But I have to push myself to get enthused about it.


Here is an example. I have been saying for many years that I wanted to get my PhD. I even enrolled in a great program and was underway. It was a slog for all the usual reasons including that I was working full time and trying to have a life. I thought this was normal and it is to a point. But even if I had all the time in the world it would be a slog. And now I can be at peace and tell you I really don’t want a PhD. I wanted to want it.


Quitting the program hurt because I had already made an investment. But is it ever right to continue spending time and money when it’s no longer a goal? No, it is not (especially if you do not need the credential/outcome, which I don’t). Read the full article here…


I am pretty sure all of you have your own examples of times when you “wanted to want” a certain goal and may have even felt a twinge of guilt about not getting it done. Isn’t it time to  be honest about which goals really matter to you? It’s actually a  very good feeling to let go of those things you have no real ambition for and to embrace one thing that means the most to you. As you can see, understanding this concept is important for good leadership.

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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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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 Importance of Communication Skills in a Global Market

In today’s global market, there is more opportunity for growth and expansion than ever before.The importance of communication skills in a global market cannot be underestimated. Not only do you need to be able to effectively communicate with employees from other cultures, but they too need to be trained to communicate across their own borders. In this article posted on Market Watch, we get insight from Hays Journal, a world-class global specialist recruiting group, on how to be effective in an international evironment.

The Importance of Communication Skills in a Global Market

Communication skills are becoming vital if global business leaders are to effectively manage people across international boundaries, says recruiting experts Hays.

In its latest Hays Journal, out this week, the recruiter explores the growing importance of communication in international people management. Says Marc Burrage, Regional Director of Hays in Hong Kong: “For business leaders in an increasingly global, 24/7 environment, how they communicate with a multi-lingual and multi-cultural team, located across different time zones and markets, is increasingly important and critical to business success.

“Even the most globetrotting manager cannot be everywhere at once. The world of work is increasingly complex and in our experience of recruiting world-class leaders, strong communication skills are vitally important in a successful leader. They allow a leader to remain attuned to the different cultural and societal expectations of global teams through regular contact, while keeping in mind regional sensitivities and market differences.

“This includes being aware of how what you are saying is perceived by others, especially if English is not their first language.”

There has been some debate about whether such skills can be taught. “Certainly it requires multiple interventions over a period of time,” says Marc. “It’s also about bringing people together – networks are hugely important to learning, while ongoing leadership and talent development are also critical.

“Leaders can develop the skills and qualities necessary to build, engage and foster team spirit across different time zones and geographies. Many organisations run their own diversity and inclusion training programmes for managers, with extra programmes offered for those likely to work with staff across geographies.

“This includes managing different ways of working, such as differing leadership and cultural styles. Coaching and training in effective communication techniques, such as the danger of ambiguity, the need for clarity and the benefits of picking up the phone or even getting on a plane, are also essential. How you communicate is vital.

Original article here

The importance of communication skills in a global market is important not only for reaching out to your customer, client and partner base, but also in managing a multi-cultural business environment. Make sure your organization is ready for the challenge.


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.


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.


Are You a Good Communicator?

Communication is the key to any lasting relationship. If you can establish a lasting relationship with your employees, then you have much better chance of leading a successful organization. According to an article we found by Catherine Robinson posted on Corp Comms, when asked, 1 out of 2 employees say that their managers are not good communicators. Those are not good numbers. Are you a good communicator? Do you know what would your employees say?

Are You are Good Communicator?

Confidence in management is falling as one in two employees believe they could do a better job and one quarter claim that standards are getting worse due to a lack of communication and people skills, according to new research.

When asked which single skill would improve the quality of management in the workplace, 45 per cent said there was a greater need for clear, honest communication from managers to staff.

Almost all the 500 opinion formers questioned highlighted a need for managers to receive formal feedback from direct reports, whether through 360-degree feedback or part of the appraisal process. But just four in ten employees are invited to provide this feedback.

Hannah Stratford, head of business psychology at ETS, who conducted the survey, commented: ‘Line managers play a crucial role in the success of any business by driving the performance level of teams. One problem is that often high-performers are promoted into management positions without the skills, desire or support to manage a team.’

Original article here

Are you a good communicator? If you find yourself talking often with your employees and  allowing them a voice in the company, chances are that you are. However, if you can’t remember the last time you listened to what your employees had to say …


The Future of Leadership Development


A colleague from another business school recommended the book, The Future of Leadership Development, Corporate Needs and the Role of Business Schools, edited by IESE Business School Dean Jordi Canals. She said it helped set the direction for her executive development program and really got her thinking about our profession.

All of the content is written by business school professors and deans and much of it deals with MBA programs, so my practitioner readers may find it….well, academic. That’s corporate code word for deadly boring and irrelevant.

However, it was interesting enough for me to wade through it and jot down a few nuggets that I thought were worth sharing.

BTW, I’m also halfway through Physics of the Future, by Michio Kaku, so I’ve been thinking a lot about the future these days. This one actually creeps me out. It makes “The Matrix” and “The Terminator” look rosily optimistic.

Anyway, here are 10 current and potential trends for leadership development that shouldn’t creep anyone out too much, from the book and with my own embellishment:

1. The use of coaching in leadership development programs.
There are pros and cons to both group and individual leadership development. Groups facilitate networking and shared learning, and are efficient, but may miss the mark for some. Individual coaching is “all about you”, but is expensive. Why not combine them both, like a Reese’s Peanut Butter cup? I’m seeing more university based executive development programs incorporate both individual and small group coaching into their design (CCL’s been doing it forever). Coaching is even starting to work its way into some MBA programs, which is good news for the coaching industry.
The challenge for business schools will be that most of their faculty don’t have coaching expertise and credentials, so when it’s outsourced, it’s often not fully integrated into the program.

2. Senior leadership development.
Lots of people are planning to work beyond the traditional retirement age, and many of them are looking to make a career change (moving into a not-for-profit, etc…). There are plenty of “Youth” leadership development programs – why not a transition program for seniors? Maybe you could get 20% off the registration cost with your AARP membership.

3. Building Block leadership development programs.
This would be kind of an umbrella concept which would include senior programs. The idea is that leadership development needs are very different depending on your age and where you are in your career. Instead of getting an MBA in your 20s and then that’s it, why not break it up into phases and make it a lifelong educational experience? While this one’s a bit self-serving for the business schools, the concept of life cycle leadership development is intriguing.

4. Social responsibility.
Some say the organization of the future will be more socially responsibility – that profits will not even be the primary mission of an organization. This new business model will require a different model of leadership development – one that pays more attention to ethics, the environment, how decisions impact the community and society, and human rights.

5. Global leadership development.
While not really a trend – globalization has been going on for decades – the world continues to get smaller. Global leadership development isn’t just for the big multinationals anymore, and we’ll continue to look for innovative ways to develop a global mindset.

6.Virtual reality.
Second Life, simulations, avatars, virtual reality, gaming, and artificial intelligence all have the potential to change the way we develop leaders. These technologies have the potential to develop higher level competencies, like critical thinking and emotional intelligence, in a safe, accelerated, and realistic environment. Need to prepare for an upcoming performance review? There’s an app for that!

7. Liberal Arts and the “soft stuff”.
Business schools have been slow to catch on to the importance of the “soft stuff”, while instead continuing to teach their MBAs analytical and quantitative skills. Some are even starting to question the value of a traditional MBA. In response, will business degrees and leadership development programs begin to integrate more “liberal arts” into their programs? In browsing some of the program descriptions for executive development programs, it appears the humanities, arts, and social sciences are beginning to infiltrate some of the more innovative programs.

8. “The Apprentice” model for leadership development.
No, not the Donald Trump reality show. The idea is to develop leaders like we develop other skills trades – though hands-on doing vs. classroom learning, experiential learning, shadowing, mentoring, and certification. Why not? We do it with doctors, lawyers, electricians, and engineers – why not for the profession of management?

9. Those that teach have been there and done it.
In the professions mentioned above (doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc…), the teachers usually, if not always, have extensive work experience. Why shouldn’t we demand the same from our leadership professors, instructors, and coaches? This could be a great way to tap into the knowledge and experience of “senior” executives that are looking to transition into teaching, instead of relying so heavily on professional instructors.

10. Woman’s leadership development.
Instead of force fitting woman into a male model of problem solving, decision making, and leadership, progressive organizations are starting to recognize that there is tremendous value in cultivating both male and female ways of leading. One is not better than the other, but having an equal balance of both will give you a competitive advantage.

What do you think? What’s the future hold for leadership development?

by Dan McCarthy