Tag Archives: leadership

Leadership is Earned and Not Bestowed

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Leadership must be earned through hard work which lead to results and is not simply bestowed on a person. Leaders must have taken the time to earn their title in order to foster respect and camaraderie with those they will be leading. A position of leadership that is bestowed will be looked at with skepticism by those that must follow this unknown leader. This is a situation where a leader must act quickly and decisively in order to gain the respect of those they are leading. Teams look to leaders to provide guidance and friendship so a genuine interest is essential for those looking to lead. Two esteemed individuals in the leadership realm shed some more insight on leadership as Dr. Rodger Duncan interviews Mark Sanborn

I’d begin by asking, “Why do you want to lead? What difference do you want to make?”
Leadership has become trendy and many want to be “leaders” but don’t necessarily have compelling reasons. Leadership should be borne out of a desire to contribute rather than simply achieve. Leadership done right benefits both the leader and the greater good: followers, the organization, and/or the community. Know why you want to lead because without compelling reasons, you probably won’t be able to pay the cost of developing your leadership abilities and maintain your commitment in the face of challenges.

…More at Mark Sanborn: You Don't Need a Title to Be a Leader :: Doctor Duncan

This wide-ranging discussion touches on a great many aspects of leadership but the first item mentioned is about earning the title of leader. Many leaders will work their way up the corporate ladder to achieve leadership by gaining responsibility gradually as they go. This is a great way to gain the respect of colleagues and peers. If you are results driven and show a flair for success then people will respect you and trust you to lead them in success as well. This contrasts sharply with those that get assigned a role of leadership and assume that this bestows a pass to behave poorly. Quite the opposite is true, a person who has a title bestowed on them must work doubly hard to earn the respect of their team. A leader who understands that true leadership is earned through service and a drive to succeed will go a lot farther than those that attain a position through bestowal and settle into it with complacency.

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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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Conversation Skills in Leadership

texting

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Are conversation skills in leadership declining? Communication, particularly, conversation has changed a great deal over time. While face-to-face and handwritten communication may have been the bread and butter of earlier generations, today is guided through e-mail, text, and other electronic formats. Generation Y joins the workforce with more electronic than face-to-face or fully written text. So how can leaders help?

Mary Ann Allison, an assistant professor of media studies at Hofstra University, has her students keep a log of their own communication habits.

“By paying attention to it, they say, `Wow, it’s a really different conversation when you’re talking with someone and listening to them,” Allison says. They key in on body language, facial expressions and tone of voice – all cues that you lose when you can’t see or hear someone, or when you’re distracted, even in person, by a gadget.

Sternberg, at Fordham, asks her students to give up one form of electronic communication to see what kind of difference it makes in their lives.

She also has them practice simple tasks such as standing up in a room full of people and introducing themselves. Many of them hate the drill, she says, but later tell her how useful it was, especially in the workplace.

Interestingly, Anna’s mom, Joanna Schiferl, is more worried about the effect that texting is having on her daughter’s writing skills than her social skills. Anna tends to rush her writing and pays less attention to grammar, or uses abbreviations she’d use in a text. It is a common observation among parents….More at Text Messaging: Is Texting Ruining The Art Of Conversation?

Schiferi is correct – the effect on writing skills may be the biggest concern. Prime example is a young man I worked with that wanted to move into a leadership role. He had the knowledge, the passion, and the vision needed to lead. Unfortunately he couldn’t get past the abbreviated texting and tweeting format and informality for his  communications, written or verbal. He lacked the art of business conversation as he spent the majority of his time texting and tweeting.

Comunication – effective communication is key to leaderships role in conveying the vision and knowledge  to inspire and mentor others. A key in this is conversation skills in leadership.

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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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Leading the Way to Loyalty

The Perfect Dog

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To gain the allegiance of our employees and ultimately our customer, it is important to start by leading the way to loyalty.

Leaders today talk a lot about loyalty, retention, and the business value of empowering employees to be brand ambassadors. Nonetheless, research literature and blogs abound which discuss the erosion of employee loyalty to the workplace, especially among Gen X and Y. The prescriptive leadership and talent management advice runs the gamut, from changes in compensation structures to more flexibility in work schedules, team building and more, all aimed at encouraging employee engagement with the employer’s brand. But the worry persists and with good reason: can the damage inflicted on employee trust by years of layoffs, pay cuts, IPOs and benefit claw-backs be overcome?…..More at 5 Leadership Behaviors Loyal Employees Trust

Loyalty like trust is easily lost and challenging to build. Yet loyalty is a key to success. A great example is Apple. Though they have a small percentage of the personal computer market, they have truly loyal customers. Part of this is the building of loyalty within their employees. So how can you create loyalty in your business?

Start by showing loyalty to those around you. Like trust, when it is given it is likely to be reciprocated. Show support for their goals and their needs. No, you can’t meet every need, but the compassion and understanding shown lets others know that you care, that you are loyal to them.

I challenge you to leading the way to loyalty in your business. Share your successes to help others in leading the way to loyalty!

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Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence.
Colin Powell
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Musings on Leadership – Reflection

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We don’t often take time to reflect in leadership. And some don’t ever use reflection as a tool. So I was excited to see Mike Myatt‘s post today:

I love history, and have always enjoyed being a student of history. Earlier this week we launched a new project: The History of Leadership. The project consists of an interactive historical timeline of the world’s greatest leaders dating as far back as 2000 BC. Since history has been recorded, so have great lessons in leadership. The ultimate test of leadership has always been, and will always be, whether or not it can endure the test of time. Time tells a story, validates or invalidates theories, positions, and philosophies, and ultimately, time shapes a leader’s legacy. While anyone can be great in the moment, few can sustain greatness over time. Put simply, there is much to be learned from viewing anything through a historical lens – especially leadership….More at Leadership & History

Reflection gives us an opportunity to evaluate where we have been and plan where we want to go. The project outlined by Myatt provides an additional line of reflection. It allows us to reflect on leaders of our past. An opportunity to find leaders we wish to further explore to learn from not only our past, but their’s.

Knowing that The History of Leadership site is still new and they are looking for feedback, I can forgive oversights in the timeline. I look forward to checking the timeline for leaders to spend some reflection time on leadership. I challenge you to do the same.

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Leading Creativity through Forward Focus

Leading Creativity through forward focus

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The ideas of leadership and play when combined provide an opportunity to lead creativity through forward focus. What do I mean?

Think back, way back, to when you were a kid with all the energy and imagination that went with it. Can’t think back that far, then look at the world through the eyes of a child. One that comes to mind is with my son. All of 2 years old at the time, he decided that I must lay down on the kitchen floor to watch as two ants scurried across it. My first thought – get the ant spray and squish the ants. Yet I hesitated just long enough to lay down on the floor and listen to my son explain that the ants were on a parade and all the fun places the parade would see. Such as going down a slide,stopping at the beach, and visiting a picnic or two along the way. For that short time, I watched the ants through his imagination. He saw the possibilities that lie ahead, he had forward focus. I will do my best to make sure he doesn’t lose the creativity of that moment.

After all only about 20% of us will retain creativity in our lives. Not sure where you fall? Consider this – when you think about leading your team are you seeing the cannot or the can?

If you are among the 20% that thinks creatively, you are thinking about the can and changing the cannot to can. For the other 80% the to do list is daunting list with lots of cannot. As children our creativity flowed endlessy from crazy made up creations with Legos® to acting out whole scenarios with Barbie® orG.I. Joe®. Somewhere along the way we have lost many of these needed skills. How can we maintain it or find it again?

Leo Babauta had some similar experiences to my ant parade and explores how to infuse your day with creativity (play)….

You can’t always enjoy what you’re doing, right?

Actually, you can. You just have to remember what it’s like to be a child.

Sure, there are things we have to do every day that we might think are boring: household chores, errands, routine tasks at work, being in a meeting that’s makes you want to pound your head on the table. But those are only boring because we’ve chosen to make them boring.

Let’s take my 6-year-old daughter Noelle as an example. She had to go to the dentist, which is a pretty routine thing for most people. We took the train and then walked a few blocks. In the train, she sang, found things fun to see out the window, played games with me. As we walked, she talked about how the building the dentist is in might possibly reach the blue stuff in the sky, and wanted to bet me that it actually did (10 hugs if I won, $1 if she won). The elevator ride to the 18th floor was like a roller coaster ride to her.

Everything she does becomes a game, an opportunity for wonder and exploration, or at the very least an opportunity to sing a song. She’s never bored. Why is that?

Because she doesn’t see anything as boring. Everything is new, and there’s always a game you can play.

We can do that too. Every chore can be turned into play. Every walk to the store can be infused with beginner’s mind, so that we see our surroundings afresh, ripe for exploration. Every boring work task can be turned into a challenge, a game.

It is amazing to see what we can learn from the children around us. They bring creativity to everything they do – now is the time to begin leading creativity. Do you want to know the benefits of leading creativity through forward focus? Look for the 7 Benefits to Leading Creativity Through Forward Focus next week.

 

Play fosters belonging and encourages cooperation.
- Stuart Brown, MD

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