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    Team building developing a team to rely on

     

    Team building is very important when it comes to managing people. People are simply more willing to work together, when the atmosphere encourages it. For many organizations this is quite necessary for the business to run well. When everyone gets along, things just go better. They provide better service to the customer. They work together to deliver satisfaction with smiles. They also help to promote employee retention. Customers are happy, employees are happy, and the world is now a better place, right? Team building is anything but simple. It is not something that can be done overnight. Nor is it something you can force people to do. So, how can you effectively build your team to encourage them to bond and develop working relationships that are positive? There are many things that you can do. Here are some ideas: • Set the example yourself. As the leader of the team, it is up to you to provide a good relationship with your team players. You want them to feel comfortable with you as well as with others. Don’t favor some and don’t become too friendly either. • You can encourage relationships to work by fostering a teamwork style. Make sure that the goals are established and that each team player is aware of them. They should know that you want a team work environment that is what you are looking for in your employees. • Also, provide them with opportunities to get to know each other. Take the team out to dinner on you. Encourage them to talk about their families and lives so that they can bond. When team building is successful, there are many things that can happen. Not only will the business run better, but you can foster good qualities in individuals to come out. You can have a bond of trust and reliance with your team. Team building is an exceptional quality that you should encourage in some form or another with your team.

         
    Techniques for better public speaking

     

    To ensure triumphant communication within a group, it is essential to enhance your communication skills. Speaking in front of an audience can be fun only if you are well prepared. Here are some techniques that can help you improve your public speaking skills. • Make eye contact. It signifies your interest and desire to be honest and credible. • Posture and gesture are also effective ways to communicate your message. • Dress Appropriately. How you look is also important. Your appearance should convey a message for dignity and respect. • Be conscious of other people's space. • Keep your message understandable and straightforward. Remember, “Less is more." Clarity is important because it affects all areas of your message. Avoid using jargons. Use words that your audience can understand. Why "Less is more"? First and obvious, is to avoid information overload. Speaking involves great concentration. If you provide too much information, chances are your audience will not listen to you anymore. Second, clarity and pausing allows your audience to understand and acknowledge what you are saying. • Be prepared. Remember the 6 W's: Who? - Determining your audience's age, gender and interest are among the ways you can classify them. What? - What topic would you like to discuss? Usually, when you get an invitation to speak in public, follow their theme and purpose. How? - How can you communicate your message? Language and non-verbal cues are important. Proper choice of words helps your audiences understand you better. When? - Obtain a logical timing of your discussion. Learn how to pause when necessary. Where? - If you have time, visit the area where you will conduct your speech. Determine the best seating arrangement according to the type of your audience. You also need to consider the temperature, space and lighting conditions of the area. Visiting the area also helps you determine where to place your visual aid. Why? - Convey the advantage and purpose the will gain if they will listen to you. Preparing a list objectives can help you narrow down the key points you need to emphasize. • Do not overwhelm your audience with numbers and statistics. You can put this information in handouts for easy reference in the future. • Use visual aids to support your message. • Establish dialogue and rapport. Allow your audience to participate in the discussion. You can also create rapport by call your audience by their names.

         
    Ten relationship traits and skills for good leadership

     

    An important aspect of good leadership is the ability to work and relate with others. There are ten qualities that characterize successful leadership in the area of relating and communicating with other people. 1. Availability A good leader is available and in touch with people. An important leadership skill is the ability to recognize needs and be able to respond to them quickly and in the moment. 2. Facilitating Harmonious Relationships A good leader realizes the importance of harmonious relationships and is proactive in creating a harmonious atmosphere. Successful results are born out of harmony rather than conflict. Good leadership will prioritize keeping conflict and disharmony to the minimum. 3. Approachability A good leader is approachable and has an open door policy. Good leadership creates an environment where openness and honesty can occur in an atmosphere of fairness rather than judgment. 4. Appropriate use of authority Sensitivity to the proper use, and conversely the misuse, of their authority is the whole mark of good leadership. A good leader will not use their position of authority for self gratification and promotion or in a controlling and domineering manner. Successful leaders use their positional power with wisdom and sensitivity to the appropriateness of the circumstances. 5. Confidentiality Good leaders conduct conferences and meetings in an atmosphere of trust. They display appropriate confidentiality and respect towards others and about others. 6. Self Motivated Good leaders set and use goals to motivate themselves and others. They understand the importance of personal and professional development. Successful leaders do what is necessary to upgrade their knowledge and skills and be on the cutting edge in their field. Successful leaders not only motivate themselves in personal development but also motivate those around them. 7. Provide Support Good leaders are able to provide emotional support for those for whom they are responsible. They recognize the importance of encouragement and inspiring confidence and also give recognition of a job well done. 8. Maintaining Motivation and Team Spirit A good leader provides incentives and motivators to improve the performance of their employees to challenge them to maintain quality results. 9. Clear Communication A good leader is an excellent communicator. Their leadership involves communicating clearly the objectives and procedures required of a task. They set clear, attainable, and measurable goals. 10. An Understanding of Group Dynamics A good leader understands the dynamics of group relationships. Successful leaders have the ability to lead groups without aggravating conflict and minimizing disharmony. They are inclusive and skilled in creating a sense of team unity. They are adept at balancing the strengths and weaknesses of the group for best results.

         
    The greatest leaders are often the worst leaders

     

    PERMISSION TO REPUBLISH: This article may be republished in newsletters and on web sites provided attribution is provided to the author, and it appears with the included copyright, resource box and live web site link. Email notice of intent to publish is appreciated but not required: mail to: [email protected] Word count: 850 It's a common occurrence, a CEO leads a company to record earnings, retires and in months, those once high-flying earnings are dropping like shot ducks. Observers blame the new leadership team. But most likely the observers are wrong. It's not just the new leaders who are screwing up. Instead, it was most likely the former CEO. Yes, the former, supposedly great CEO. Look to him for what went wrong — and what went wrong provides lessons for leaders at all levels. The reasons are clear but seldom recognized. They get back to the raison d'кtre of leadership — which is not the performance of the individual leader but the continually improved results of those being led. The problems lie in the definition of results. For when results are defined narrowly, i. e. in strict terms of share, margin, shareholder value, profits, organizations lose their elasticity and impact. And the quality of organizational elasticity is linked to its culture of leadership, leadership with a broader vision of results, encompassing the necessity to hire and develop people who lead others to get results. So when decline follows the departure of great leaders, the safe bet is that those "great" leaders haven't hired and developed leaders — and so really weren't great at all, no matter what results they got. In fact, they were quite poor. To paraphrase Vince Lombardi on winning, getting good leaders for your team isn't everything, it's the only thing. The moment that you decide to hire, that very moment, is the living, breathing future of your organization. A curious chemistry takes place in the hiring process. We don't just reach outward, we also reach inward. In hiring leaders, we invariably hire ourselves — our strengths and weaknesses. So the hand we reach out to shake is not just the other person's hand, it's our hand. Hire to our strengths, we hire strong leaders. Hire to our weaknesses, we hire weak leaders. I know a brilliant, young executive in a multimillion dollar manufacturing company whose ambition to become CEO of that company may founder on his maddening propensity to hire leaders who may be good but who are none-the-less not the very best. That's because the leaders he hires must have what is an unstated but at the same time real skill: the ability to curry his favor. Those leaders are ostensibly qualified. But they are often not the very best of the pool because they come equipped with that extraneous skill. Since results on his teams are also defined as the care and feeding of his ego, that executive is hiring to his weaknesses, so he continually makes what may ultimately turn out to be garbage-in-garbage-out hiring decisions that can ultimately wreck his ambitions. On the other hand, I know another young executive, not nearly as brilliant, but whose hiring dictum may very well get him farther along in life. The dictum is: Hire leaders who can not only do well in this position but in the next position and maybe even the position beyond that. In other words, he hires to his strengths, his inner sense of self-confidence, which allows him to surround himself with people who are smarter and in some ways more capable than he — and so is creating a rising tide of action and results that will further his career in powerful ways. As Steven Jobs said, "I don't hire people to tell them what to do but to tell me what to do." Yet hiring people who are capable of supplanting you isn't enough. Do more. Actively develop the knowledge, skills and careers of those leaders to give them the best possible chance of supplanting you. An epitaph on a 1680 New England gravestone speaks to this: "What I gave, I have. What I spent, I had. What I left, I lost. By not giving it." That can be an epitaph for failed leaders. By not giving to your leaders, not developing their skills and careers, you lose them, lose the opportunity to have their riches enrich you. Nobody is a success unless others want them to be. And when you have a passionate desire for their success, for helping them improve and achieve their goals, when they know that working on your team will be a defining experience of their career — then you will have people who want like hell for you to be a success. The decline following the departure of "great" leaders indicates that those leaders were most likely control-monsters, commanders not convincers, great at getting jobs done themselves but not challenging and trusting others to do them. And when those others are ignored, they become inept. So let's take an additional yardstick to our leaders and measure their total value, both when they're there and after they have left. Link that value to deferred compensation, bonuses, stock options for executives and to partially-delayed evaluations for middle managers and supervisors — or whatever. When leaders define their performance beyond their tenure, they will most likely pay more attention to those three factors that are absolutely necessary for any organization's continued well-being: getting, developing, and keeping exceptional leaders.

         
    The abc of superlative leadership

     

    If you want to make the move from managing to leading, from being a professional to being an inspirer, from being one of the team to being a leader of the team, you need to know the ABC of Superlative Leadership. A is for Appreciative Cultures, the end result of a leader’s work, when the culture he or she fosters becomes an appreciative value of the company. B is for rock-solid Belief that your team can move mountains. C is for Culture, which is the way people behave when you’re not looking. D is for the Drive for Power that makes you want to lead. E is for Encouragement, like sun after the rain. F is for Fun, an indication that the right work is happening. G is for Growing your people. Like Sir Colin Marshall, head of British Airways, who personally attended every one of his customer care programmes, “Putting People First”. H is for Helicopter vision, because you need to see in three time zones: the near, the middle and the far. I is for leader Identity, the ability to be comfortable in your own shoes. J is for Joy because leaders rejoice in their own blessings as well as the successes of their team. K is for Knowing your people, not just by name and number, but by strength and weakness, character and spirit, skills and potential, what makes them sigh and what makes them soar. L is for Learning, because learning is change and learning is growth. M is for Mission which leaders live as well as write. Like Bill Gates insisting that his staff at Microsoft, Germany, use the familiar “Du” instead of the formal “Sie”. N is for the Nobel complex, the belief that everything your people do is worthy of a Nobel prize. O is for Opportunity. Like Edmund McIlhenny who returned from the American Civil War to find his sugar plantation and salt works in ruins except for a few hot Mexican peppers that had sown themselves. He used them to produce a sauce that is now known as Tabasco and sold around the world. P is for Plain-talking because leaders need to be understood. Q is for Questions, such as “What do you need me to do?” and “How can I help you work better?” and “What should I be doing?” R is for Respect, the touchstone of every relationship a leader has. S is for Symbols, the language of leadership. Like the CEO of a candy factory facing financial ruin, whose first symbolic act was to shorten the tails on the sugar mice. T is for the Traits of courage and determination, patience and perseverance. U is for Unleashing what’s there. Like 3M, who allow their scientists to spend 15% of their time working on projects that interest them. V is for Values, the guiding principles of the team, or “the Walkmans of the mind”. W is for the Way, the Chinese “tao”, the route that leaders take and others follow. X is for Xtraordinary because leaders get ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Y is for Yes, because there is always a plus to be found even in the worst situation and the toughest setback. Z is for Zero tolerance of failure, sub-performance and giving up. Learn these simple principles, and there are no limits to where you can lead your team.

         
    The abc s of q a sessions in public speaking

     

    During presentations, it is the question and answer part that serves as a good occasion to know how much the audience understood or how much they did not understand from all of that speaking you did. It is also the best opportunity to be able to show your sense of humor, if you have one. Also, the question and answer portion is a good means to get your audience to participate. The most used way, if not the most boring one, to open up the question and answer portion is: are there any questions? Or, “Now let’s take in questions.” To make the presentation more fun for them as well as for you, as the presenter, to appear you are enjoying your time and are also having fun, why don’t you try saying this as a way to open up the session on question and answer: “The last presentation I had, the first question I received was, `Aren’t you tired yet?’ and `Do you have the time?’” In order for you to continually captivate your audience, you should as much as possible try to do something different from the regular presentations people do. It is also a good idea if you prepare for the question and answer part. Try to spend time thinking of the possible questions some people in your audience may ask after your presentation. Now that you have a fairly good idea, create some good natured humor to go along with your answers. Use these before you provide the answer that is serious and real. The audience will think best of you if you provide them with a witty remark that in their opinion seems spontaneous and does not appear rehearsed, even if it is. But what if no one dares ask the first question? This problem will be automatically solved by planting – this time – rehearsed questions on some members of the audience. What you could do is to select some people from the audience and ask them ever so politely to assist you with your post-presentation session. You may ask them as you are researching for the profile of the audience you will be presenting to or while you are warming up to them prior to the program. If in case they agree to being your accomplice, request that they raise their hand when you open up the session on question and answer. This is the time that they will be asking you that pseudo-question. The question you will ask them to ask serves two purposes: to break the ice through humor and encourage others to ask their own serious questions, or that they should be amused enough to stay still and listen until the end of your presentation.

         
    The art of leadership

     

    The art of leadership is sought by virtually everyone. It is claimed by many, defined by a few, and exercised by the unheralded, depending on the source you use. In fact, we know a lot about leadership; it is the application of leadership that creates confusion for most. In spite of all the leadership texts, containing a veritable plethora of theories about leadership (each of which is THE KEY), leadership remains a very individual concept, exercised in many diverse yet successful ways. Indeed, successful application always results in leadership. Unsuccessful application is invariably counter-productive. So, is this another theory? No, but I will share with you some of my observations about where to look for leadership. It’s my belief that although we may not be able to define it very precisely, we can recognize it when we see it. We know that there are people called “formal leaders” and “informal leaders” in some of the literature. I am not going to talk about those “formal leaders,” because they are by definition occupying positions of authority (i. e., a supervisory position) and that is their sole claim to leadership. “Informal leaders,” on the other hand, exercise leadership from positions not formally designated for leadership, thus causing a problem for the organization. How the informal leader arises is curious, but it can often be caused by the lack of leadership in the “formal” position. But that doesn’t mean that the “great man” theory takes place (that’s the one that says when a crisis occurs and there’s no one prepared to deal with it, someone will rise to the occasion and deal with it). Why is someone not in a leadership position given authority by the group in which they work to exercise leadership? There are, of course, several answers to that question, so let’s examine some of them. It may be that the one who is the leader is a confident (at least confidently-acting) person with a bit of charisma, thus one who offers logical answers to questions from the group, and who may have the ability to demonstrate that they have good ideas. We often see this in groups that begin by discussing particular problems; if no one is specifically “in charge,” the leader who emerges is often the person who demonstrates the most passion about the topic. Or, they may simply be someone who is impatient for action, and goads others into a particular action that appears to achieve some common goals. In this case, the group tends to rally behind the “visionary.” Sometimes, the visionary doesn’t have much of a vision, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of pursuing one (or of having one in the first place). Another possibility is that one of this group recognizes that things can be done in a way to benefit everyone involved, much like the development of John Nash’s gaming theory (the basis for the movie, “A Beautiful Mind”). The concern is not for the betterment, enrichment or even recognition of the leader, rather for the achievement of group goals, including the entire organization. When we find this leader of the latter sort, John Collins, in his book Good to Great, calls them “Level 5” leaders. They are the ones who are passionate about achievement of the whole, not of themselves individually. These leaders aren’t heralded, because they don’t blow their own horns. They are too busy working toward meaningful goals to be distracted by something so counter-productive. Yet they do some particular things that we can see “proves” their leadership. Some of those things are where I’d like to focus this discussion. Leaders who are passionate about their vision (they ALWAYS have a vision), are careful to make sure everyone in the organization knows what that vision is. They will indoctrinate everyone so that it is not simply a vision, but a tangible part of the environment, so much so that it will go home with employees at night. Everything that flows, then, is a reflection of that vision, because the vision becomes the beacon that guides the actions of everyone in the organization. Those leaders know their people well: their personalities, their histories, their passions. The leader knows them because of the leadership involved in attracting and retaining the right people to “get the job done.” They reach back to the theory of W. Edwards Deming, not necessarily for Statistical Process Control techniques (although they are valuable), but for Deming’s “14 Points,” one of which is to insure adequate and continuous training. If the right people are in the job and they are given the resources to get the job done, cheerleading is a waste of time, because these workers already get out of bed in the morning excited about going to work. Motivation? It’s boiling inside each one of them, and they don’t need slogans or mantras, or group meetings to cheer about history, because the “self-actualized” person is also self-motivated. They know their jobs, they know what’s expected of them, and they know that they have a responsibility to the rest of the employees to do the best job they possibly can. One reason that happens is that the individual has been involved in development of their job and their responsibilities for that job, they’ve been informed about how their job fits into the overall scheme, and they are intimately involved in changes that occur in the company. Revolutionary? No, it’s been in the books for decades. When leaders develop this kind of employee and the managers to supervise those employees, they are freed up to do the visionary tasks: keeping the goal in sight, and making the course corrections necessary when changing conditions require them. Tweaking is a skill these leaders have that is taught in no school, which makes it that much more valuable. In my history is a ten-year stint as a division controller for a manufacturing firm. The division manager was a true visionary, who brought the division from a lackluster, poorly motivated, money losing operation to an energetic, proud organization that had attained ISO 9000 certification on its way to becoming profitable as well. Over those ten years, I watched that manager steadfastly steer the division in the direction his vision so clearly defined. Not all of his actions were exactly right, but that didn’t keep us from learning from them. And the division became a model for the corporation, while the division manager became a regional manager so his skills could be used in other divisions as well. He had learned that putting the team together was his biggest job, but once that was done, the team drove the progress. He simply got out of the way. His time was not spent showing what he’d done, it was spent in providing the tools to the team members so they could get where he wanted faster. If he needed to do something that should be done by one of the team members, that team member was, by definition, unnecessary, and was eliminated. That doesn’t mean that mistakes weren’t tolerated, nor that effort wasn’t made to insure the team member was adequately placed and trained. But when it became obvious that change was necessary, it occurred quickly and cleanly. It was truly a joy to work there, but especially to observe that unsung leadership in action. There are some things we as individuals can do, if we want to develop our own leadership: 1. Keep focused on the primary goal for your company. Never let yourself be distracted from that. 2. Surround yourself not with those who only agree with you, but with the right people for the job you need done, then train them and provide them the tools to do the job. 3. Recognize the benefits of having different personalities around you. Not only do separate skill sets come with different personalities, but different approaches that are essential to your company’s success. 4. Having hired the right people, get out of their way. If you must micromanage them, you don’t need them. This is not a big problem, however, since they won’t stay anyway, if you treat them with so little respect. 5. Remember always to consult your feedback loop in all your processes, to make sure things are working as you expect, and that you can make appropriate changes timely. Failure to do this with hasten the failure of your organization in total. Recall that your feedback loop is only as valuable as the people from whom you get feedback. Listen to them. 6. Know when you have exceeded your limitations, and acknowledge it. Then get help to overcome it. Each of us has the capability to be a leader. We will only become effective leaders, however, when we lose our fear of making mistakes, and share responsibility for achievement of the goals of the organization. If those goals are our individual measures of achievement, then the organization will work to succeed and achieve; if they are not, we will be the transient leader that gets things going, but fails by failing to share credit and push for only the good of the organization. Dare to achieve.

         
    The best managers are leaders too

     

    I was flying home several months ago from a management-leadership program I was teaching for a company in Phoenix, and I struck up a conversation with the gentleman next to me on the plane. During the conversation, I asked him if he considered his boss to be a good manager, and he said, “Yes, he is.” I then asked him if he thought his boss was a good leader, and after thinking a moment, he said, “No, he isn’t.” This man was not alone in the way he thought. According to a survey by the marketing information company TSN, “Less than one-third of all supervisors and managers are perceived to be strong leaders.” As a result, increasingly larger percentages of our workforce are disengaged. According to the survey • 40% of workers feel disconnected from their employers • Two out of every three workers do not identify with or feel motivated to drive their employer’s business goals and objectives • 25% of employees are just “ showing up to collect a paycheck” There is a tremendous opportunity for managers and supervisors to set themselves and their companies apart from their competition. So what does it take for a manager to be “perceived as a strong leader?” THE FIVE “C’S” OF LEADERSHIP Character People will not follow someone for long if they can’t trust them. Not long ago a well known CEO was “ousted” after a probe into a personal relationship with a female executive at the same firm. “The board concluded that the facts reflected poorly on his judgment and would impair his ability to lead the company…his actions were inconsistent with our code of conduct.” Leaders have to be trustworthy to produce sustainable results. Caring The old clichй is true: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” When Lou Holtz was coach at Notre Dame, the second question he used to ask every player before being selected to play after “Can I trust you?” was “Do you CARE about me, your teammates, and Notre Dame?” If a player had a selfish motive for being on the team and didn’t care enough to put the team interests first, he didn’t want that young man on the team. He also said if the young man didn’t believe that he could trust the coach and feel cared about in return, he shouldn’t want to be on the team. Leaders show they care about their team personally and professionally. Commitment There’s a poster on the gym wall in Clint Eastwood’s movie Pretty Baby that says “Winners do what losers won’t do.” Leaders are like that also. They DO things poor managers won’t do. Arguably, one of the greatest business leaders of our time was Sam Walton. What was his number one rule for business success? COMMIT to your business. “Believe in it more than anybody else. I think I overcame every single one of my personal shortcomings by the sheer passion I brought to my work. I don’t know if you’re born with this kind of passion, or if you can learn it. But I do know you need it.” Confidence Leaders know where they are going and demonstrate by their words and actions that there is no doubt that they will arrive. Furthermore, they make you want to go with them. They instill confidence in you as well. They get you to believe in yourself and your team and to see yourself as winners before it actually occurs. In his book Reagan on Leadership, James Strock lists Ronald Reagan’s accomplishments while in office and concludes “Above all, Reagan restored America’s belief in itself.” Communication Leaders have crystal clear compelling visions and communicate those visions repeatedly. In his book Leadership, the first principle Rudolph Giuliani shares is his insistence on his routine morning meeting. “I consider it the cornerstone to efficient functioning within any system…We accomplish a great deal during that first hour, in large part because the lines of communication were so clear.” In addition to letting people also know clearly where they stand, leaders are also exceptional listeners. In his book Team Bush – Leadership Lessons from the Bush White House, author Donald Kettl discusses how President Bush “makes sure he listens” to his top advisors. The lesson? “Make sure you get unfiltered information. Top managers need all sorts of information, good and bad…especially bad. This is why it is crucial to have a mechanism in place that insures a steady stream of information from all quarters.” Managers that develop these qualities will create an environment where their team will willingly do what they would not otherwise do.

         
    The difference between boss and leader

     

    Every leader is a boss. But every boss is not the leader. This defines the difference between a boss and a leader. The biggest difference between a boss and a leader is one. The boss is respected and obeyed because of his/her seniority. A leader is respected and looked up to as a example not only because of seniority but mainly because of the qualities of character and ability. Please view these wallpapers in this reference. Those who aspire to become leaders must lead by example. The team must always have a firm belief that the leader will be there during every crisis. Not to fix the blame, but fix the problem. If the team members find that the leader does not follow what he/she preaches, they will have no respect for him/her. They may obey him/her, but the respect will be missing. Leaders gain this respect by their actions. They look and act sincerely. There is no mismatch between their words and actions. They look integral in approach and character. To be a leader, every boss must display characteristics such as knowledge, planning, anticipation, foresight, action, result oriented approach, perspective, respect every team member, earn their respect, act as a friend and act as a mentor. This is quite a list, but if you want to become a good leader you need these qualities. This is true not only for national leaders but for persons in every leadership position in any organization. Once a person earns the respect of his /her team members he/she ceases to be only a boss and transforms into a leader.

         
    The hanging of jonathan wild a leadership lesson

     

    PERMISSION TO REPUBLISH: This article may be republished in newsletters and on web sites provided attribution is provided to the author, and it appears with the included copyright, resource box and live web site link. Email notice of intent to publish is appreciated but not required: mail to: [email protected] Word count: 473 Jonathan Wild, notorious English criminal (1682-1725) picked the pocket of the priest who administered the last rites on the gallows at Tyburn. The unrepentant felon triumphantly waved his trophy, a corkscrew, just before he was dropped to his death. There is a leadership lesson in this. And it's a lesson many leaders miss. When you're leading a group of people of whatever size to get results, understand that roughly about 20 percent of the people will be against you. The 20 percent won't do or at least won't want to do what you require and thus may perform poorly on the job. One of the most persistent and difficult challenges of leadership is dealing with poor performers. Aside from job-related problems they engender, they also squander time and resources. "Forty percent of my time," a CEO told me, "is devoted to dealing with ten percent of my employees." Mind you, I'm not talking about poor performance tied to "skill" issues. People who are not measuring up because they lack skills and knowledge to do well usually need a different intervention than people who have "will" issues. You might make a rough equivalence between the people performing poorly on the job because of will issues with the Jonathan Wilds of the world. After all, as an upright citizen, Wild was a "poor performer." But as a pickpocket, he was adroit. Putting aside the specific kinds of interventions you might undertake, the important thing is your perspective. In dealing with them, you absolutely must not underestimate the skills, talents, and proficiency they bring to poor performance. They can "pick your pocket" and you won't even know it. You have three choices when dealing with them. You can choose to live with them as they are. You can choose to rid yourself of them. Or you can choose to intervene to try and change them. There's no fourth choice. Or maybe I should say there's no first choice either. The first "choice" may be no choice at all. You probably can't leave them alone. Poor performers are usually not content to be one-man-bands. They love company. They need to recruit others onto their poor-performance teams – or at least keep them from joining your team. In this capacity, they're smart, adaptive, innovative, and good leaders. Your underestimating them gives them an advantage against you. There are many ways to deal with poor performers. (Articles on my web site detail a few.) The point is that in your dealings, keep in mind you could be up against some Jonathan Wilds, those people who may be performing poorly on the job but who perform excellently in their parallel, and maybe to them more important, job -- which is being against you. 2006 © The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

         
    The leadership imperative making your leadership your life

     

    PERMISSION TO REPUBLISH: This article may be republished in newsletters and on web sites provided attribution is provided to the author, and it appears with the included copyright, resource box and live web site link. Email notice of intent to publish is appreciated but not required: mail to: [email protected] Word count: 470 Most leaders are underachievers. They're getting a fraction of the results they are capable of. And in most cases, it's their fault. Their failures are the result of the choices they make. For the opportunities to consistently get more results are all around them all the time, theirs for the taking. For instance, to start getting more results than you are accustomed to getting, you simply have to change your mind-set. You should aim to make your leadership your life and your life your leadership. If you don't, you diminish both your leadership and your life. To have the change in mind-set really sink in so it changes you in a deep, fundamental way, you must cultivate two dynamics: a vision of the purpose of your leadership, and the dedication to fulfill that purpose. The word "vision" has been used and misused ad nauseam. The trouble is that most leaders misunderstand it. When they think "vision", they look at themselves, at what they can do for themselves. To do well for yourself, an inward focus is the wrong place to look. Here's a vision that you can carry with you for the rest of your career, for the rest of your life. I call it the Leadership Imperative. I WILL LEAD PEOPLE IN SUCH A WAY THAT WE TOGETHER NOT ONLY ACHIEVE THE RESULTS WE NEED BUT ALSO BECOME BETTER AS PEOPLE AND AS LEADERS. This vision has two parts: one is results-accomplishments and the other is self improvement. You are never more powerful as a leader as when, in getting results, you are helping others be better than they are -- even better than thought they could be. Guided by the Leadership Imperative, you'll find that the jobs you take on, the career(s) you have, will, in terms of your doing well by them, take care of themselves. However, vision alone is not enough. You must be dedicated to realizing it. Realizing this vision means living not an easy life for ourselves but a hard life for others. There are many ways to make such realization happen, and it should be our life's journey to find them and put them into action. When you turn the focus of your ambitions away from yourself and toward other people, when you become truly ambitious for their success, your success will take care of itself. How do we really let our leadership sink deeply into our life and change it and shape it throughout our lives? By dedicating ourselves to passionately realizing the Leadership Imperative.

         
    The leadership strategy an unmined comstock lode of results

     

    PERMISSION TO REPUBLISH: This article may be republished in newsletters and on web sites provided attribution is provided to the author, and it appears with the included copyright, resource box and live web site link. Email notice of intent to publish is appreciated but not required: mail to: [email protected] Word count: 1450 During the Second World War, Winston Churchill had a framed inscription on his desk that said, "It's not enough to say we are doing our best. We must succeed in doing what is necessary." The world demands results. Good intentions and promises are no use to it. And one of the best ways for any leader to get results is to employ a strategy, which is a plan, method or series of actions for obtaining a goal or specific outcome. It doesn't matter what job you have or how many people you are leading, if you don't come to grips with the challenges of developing and executing strategies, you're limiting your abilities to get results. In a sense, strategies are promissory notes, payment due upon demand. One reason for their becoming less than worthy tender is they are not backed by a Leadership Strategy. Leadership Strategy -- have you heard of it? I bet you haven't. For one thing, it isn't taught at business schools. And for another, even in the unlikely case that you have heard of it and know what it is, you probably don't know how to make it happen. In this article, I'll show you what a Leadership Strategy is and ways to institute it. It can be far more important than your standard business strategy. Whereas a business strategy seeks to marshal an organization's functions around central, organizing concepts, a leadership strategy, on the other hand, seeks to obtain, organize, and direct the heartfelt commitment of the people who must carry out the business strategy. The business strategy is the sail, the Leadership Strategy the ballast. Without a Leadership Strategy, most business strategies capsize. To understand what a Leadership Strategy is, let's look at your past leadership activities. Divide a single sheet of paper into two columns labeled A & B. At the top of column A write "business (or organizational) strategies". On top of column B write, "Leadership Strategies" -- in other words, what strategies were used to obtain people's heartfelt commitments to carry out the business strategies? Think of the strategies your organization has developed during the past few years. They might be product strategies, service strategies, growth strategies, sales strategies, marketing strategies. You do not have to explain it in detail, just give each strategy a tag and write down the tag. Did the listings in column A match the listings in column B? Were there any listings at all in column B? That gap between what was in column A and what was in column B is a killer gap. It means that the business strategies haven't been augmented by Leadership Strategies. And when that happens, results suffer. I don't care if you lead three people, three hundred or three thousand and more. I don't care if you're in sales, you're a plant supervisor, a marketing manager or a COO, CFO or CEO. You're going to need a Leadership Strategy. And if you don't think you need any kind of strategy, think again. Whatever job you're doing takes strategic thinking. In fact, getting in the habit of looking at whatever you do in strategic terms gives you a great advantage in your career advancement. The roots of the word "strategy" come from two German words, the first meaning an encamped or spread out army and then second word meaning "to drive." In other words, a strategy gives direction, organization and force to an otherwise scattered organization. Most business leaders are good a developing business strategies. They're taught how at business schools. But I'll bet that 9,999 out of 10,000 leaders don't know what a Leadership Strategy is, let alone how it fits in with a business strategy. Leadership Strategies are not taught at business schools because such Strategies find their meaning not in abstract formulations or case studies but in what can't be taught but must be experienced, process and relationship. And if you haven't thought of a Leadership Strategy before, start thinking about it now, because it can boost your career in many ways. Most leaders develop their strategies in bunkers, without taking into consideration those outside the bunker who have to implement it. Unwittingly, they buy into the "fallacy of automatic reciprocity" — the conviction that their devotion to the cause is automatically reciprocated by the people they lead. It's a fallacy because reciprocity is not automatic. It can't be ordered. It must be cultivated and earned. Here, then, are five steps to developing a Leadership Strategy. (1) Understand your business strategy. There are many books and courses on developing business strategies. I don't want to re-invent this wheel. Suffice to say you should clearly develop that strategy. (2) Identify the dream(s) of your cause leaders. Why do I say "dreams"? Far from being fluff, dreams are the stuff that hard, measured results are made of. Look at it this way: Leadership is motivational or it's stumbling in the dark. The best leaders don't order people to do a job, the best leaders motivate people to want to do the job. The trouble is the vast majority of leaders don't delve into the deep aspects of human motivation and so are unable to motivate people effectively. Drill down through goals and aims and aspirations and ambitions and you hit the bedrock of motivation, the dream. Many leaders fail to take it into account. Dreams are not goals and aims. Goals are the results toward which efforts are directed. The realization of a dream might contain goals, which can be stepping stones on the way to the attaining dreams. But the attainment of a goal does not necessarily result in the attainment of a dream. For instance, Martin Luther King did not say, "I have a goal." Or "I have an aim." The power of that speech was in the "I have a dream". Dreams are not aspirations and ambitions. Aspirations and ambitions are strong desires to achieve something. King didn't say he had an aspiration or ambition that " ....one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'" He said he had a dream. If you are a leader speaking to people's aspirations and ambitions, you are speaking to something that motivates them, yes; but you are not necessarily tapping into the heartwood of their motivation. After all, one might aspire or be ambitious to achieve a dream. But one's aspiration and ambition may also be connected to things of lesser importance than a dream. A dream embraces our most cherished longings. It embodies our very identity. We often won't feel fulfilled as human beings until we realize our dreams. If leaders are avoiding people's dreams, if leaders are simply setting goals (as important as goals are), they miss the best of opportunities to help those people take ardent action to achieve great results. I teach leaders to have their organizations get into the realm of achieving "more results faster, continually." To do so, you must first take the trouble to understand the dreams of the people you lead. (3) Create a Shared Dream. If your vision of where you want the organization to go and their dream of where they want to go are shared, you call it a Shared Dream. Furthermore, you can't go to the next step unless you have developed a Shared Dream. Look at it this way: The critical issue of the Leadership Strategy isn't the motivation of the leaders. As a leader, you must be motivated. If you're not motivated, you shouldn't be leading. The critical issue is: Can you transfer your motivation to the people so they are as motivated as you are? (By the way, the Shared Dream is not "win/win". As you'll see, it's much deeper and richer relationship than the self-limiting "win/win"; for unlike "win/win", the Shared Dream is an on-going relationship process from which flow mutually beneficial expectations and solutions.) (4) Turn the Shared Dream into a Leadership Strategy. The Leadership Strategy is the Shared Dream manifested by an action plan. In the action plan, delineate milestones that take you to the Shared Dream. The first milestone may be a comprehensive, rigorous identification of the needs of the cause leaders and how those needs dovetail into the business strategy. (Remember, you can use this process with any number of cause leaders. Just scale it up to the number you require.) Churchill had it right, " ... we must succeed in doing what is necessary." And one of the best ways for any leader to get people to succeed in doing what is necessary is to combine a business strategy with a Leadership Strategy. 2006 © The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

         
    The leadership talk as a living hologram

     

    PERMISSION TO REPUBLISH: This article may be republished in newsletters and on web sites provided attribution is provided to the author, and it appears with the included copyright, resource box and live web site link. Email notice of intent to publish is appreciated but not required: mail to: [email protected] Word count: 629 The hologram is a three-dimensional photograph made on a flat surface with laser beams. The three-dimensionality of such an image is not the only remarkable characteristic of a hologram. If a hologram of your face is cut in half and then illuminated by a laser, each half will still contain the entire image of your face. Indeed, even if the halves are divided again, each snippet of film will always be found to contain a smaller but intact version of the original image of your face. If we try to take apart something constructed holographically, we will not get the pieces of which it is made, we will only get smaller wholes. To some scientific researchers, the hologram is the basis for a striking view of reality -- that the entire universe is a superhologram. Everything from the grains of sand beneath our feet to the farthest star in the outermost regions of deep space, everything is interconnected as one. This view has come to be called the holographic paradigm, and though it is supported by findings of quantum physics and corroborates the insights of the ancient Rabbis of the Kabbala, the Buddha, Lao Tsu, Plato, the Veda mystics, and many more prophets and spiritual traditions, many scientists have greeted it with skepticism. Still, a small but growing group of researchers believe it may be the most accurate model of reality science has arrived at thus far. If the holographic paradigm is true, then each of us — including your best friend and your worst enemy — are all connected on a deeper level of reality. Consequently, our individual actions affect others, everywhere. The state of the world, the state of the universe for that matter, is merely the sum total of the interactions of humanity. Let's bring the holographic paradigm into our ordinary lives, our ordinary day-to-day jobs. Because if it doesn't work in our daily lives, it's nothing more than an interesting idea. In fact, it's in the very ordinariness of our moment-to-moment experiences that the holographic paradigm finds its true manifestation. That manifestation creates an entirely new way of understanding leadership and organizational success; for a key leadership tool that I've been teaching for many years is indeed a hologram. Not the static photo-image hologram but a living hologram of great complexity and energy. That tool is the Leadership Talk. There is a hierarchy of verbal persuasion, the lowest levels of which are speeches and presentations, the highest and most effective level is the Leadership Talk. Speeches and presentations communication information, but Leadership Talks do something much more, they help the leader establish deep, human emotional interactions with the audience -- so vital in motivating people to get results. According to the holographic paradigm, we are really "receivers" participating in a kaleidoscopic flow of wondrous frequency, and what we extract from this and translate into physical reality is but one channel from many extracted out of the superhologram of the universe. Like a hologram, The Leadership Talk is a totality -- the totality of right leadership interactions. And like a holographic totality, each part of a Leadership Talk is the whole. Whatever Leadership Talk process you choose, you'll find that it not only permeates all other processes of the Talk, it permeates time and space. (By the way, I say "right interactions." Wrong leadership interactions are countless and have mainly to do with order-leadership. The right interactions are triggered by the Leadership Talk processes I've taught for 21 years. Those processes have one end in mind: helping leaders achieve not just average results but more results faster continually. Such "superresults" can only be achieved in penetrating human relationships.) Ralph Waldo Emerson saw this permeation of space/time when he wrote, "There is one mind common to all individual men. Every man is an inlet to the same and to all of the same.... I believe in Eternity. I can find Greece, Asia, Italy, Spain and the Islands -- the genius and creative principle of each and of all eras in my own mind." This idea is not arcane philosophy but most importantly, a practical leadership tool for achieving superresults. Look at it this way: Leaders do nothing more important than get results. Yet working with thousands of leaders worldwide for the past 21 years, I've found that very few are getting the results they are capable of. These leaders look at superficial facets of results, such as information technology, productivity loops, quality programs, human resource activities, speed, productivity, operations efficiencies, sales closes, sales leads, sales to new customers, failure prevention, health and safety advancements, quality, training, quality control, logistics efficiencies, marketing targets, new revenue streams, sales erosion, price calibrations, cost reductions, demand flow activities and technologies, inventory turns, cycle time reductions, materials and parts management, etc. -- the stuff taught in business schools. Sure, these facets are important, and they must be developed and put to use, but without taking into account the human-interactions that animate each of the facets, the leaders stumble. And that's not taught in business schools. All organizational challenges are ultimately challenges of human relationships. The Leadership Talk enables leaders to get those relationships right; and when they do, right results will follow. The proof may well be found in the holographic paradigm. 2006 © The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

         
    The listening leadership talk

     

    PERMISSION TO REPUBLISH: This article may be republished in newsletters and on web sites provided attribution is provided to the author, and it appears with the included copyright, resource box and live web site link. Email notice of intent to publish is appreciated but not required: mail to: [email protected] Word count: 897 For more than 20 years, I have taught the Leadership Talk to thousands of people worldwide. And maybe the most important thing I've taught isn't about talking -- at least the leader's talking. I've taught there is a hierarchy of verbal persuasion. The lowest levels, the least effective, are speeches and presentations. The highest levels, the most effective, are Leadership Talks. I've taught that speeches/presentations communicate information; Leadership Talks, on the other hand, have leaders establish deep, human, emotional connections with audiences -- indispensable in achieving great results. Of course, the Leadership Talk is by definition about talking. But often there's a more effective dynamic to employ: listening. Not passive listening -- but listening for one purpose, so the other person gives you your Leadership Talk. After all, it's not what you say that's important in a Leadership Talk but what your audience does after you have had your say. And if they do the best thing not after you speak but after you listen, then you have given one of the most effective Leadership Talks of all -- a Listening Leadership Talk. The Listening Leadership Talk focuses on what other people are invariably interested in, themselves. But here's the key: their simply talking is useless to your leadership. It is only useful when their talk is the talk you need for them to give. Moving people from talking their talk to talking your talk -- and ultimately walking your walk --is the art of the Listening Leadership Talk. Here are a few tips to make it happen. (1) Use question marks. Your asking questions encourages people to reflect upon and talk about the challenge you face. After all, we can't motivate anyone to do anything. They have to motivate themselves. And they best motivate themselves when they reflect on their character and their situation and are also given the opportunity to talk about their reflections. You may not like what they say; but often their answer is better in terms of advancing their motivation and your results than your full-stop sentence. Furthermore, their answer may prompt them to think they have come up with a good idea. People tend to be less enamored of your ideas than they are of their own. However, be aware of the difference between asking a question of somebody and questioning them. When asking a question, you communicate you're interested in the answer the person wants; when questioning, you communicate you're interested in the answer you want. And if the people you are interacting with think you are there not for them but for yourself, you damage the environment a Listening Leadership Talk can thrive in. (2) Create a critical convergence. This will help you avoid the "herding cats" syndrome. Once you get people talking, they may be all over the map, talking about everything but what you want to have talked about. Keep things on track by establishing a critical convergence, the joining of your enthusiasms and theirs so they're as enthusiastic as you about meeting the challenges you face. Do that by understanding their needs as problems and seeking to have them voice solutions to those problems, solutions that advance your leadership concerns. For instance, at a police academy classroom, the instructor passed a note to one of the recruits. It read, "CLEAR THIS CLASSROOM OUT NOW!" The recruit started shouting, "Everybody out of the room!" People looked confused. A few left. The remainder stayed. The instructor gave the note to another recruit, who pleaded, "Please, everybody out." Still, people remained there. Then the instructor gave a note to a third recruit, who developed a Listening Leadership talk by creating a critical convergence. He asked, "What time is it?" "Quarter to twelve," someone answered. The recruit with the note simply shrugged and in the silence, let the idea emerge. "Lunch break!" the recruits called in unison and quickly cleared the room. Creating a critical convergence establishes and environment in which the Listening Leadership flourishes. (3) Develop a Leadership Contract. This may be written -- from a few ideas scribbled on a scrap of paper to a more formal typed version calling for your signatures -- or the Contract may simply be an oral agreement, sealed with a handshake. Clearly, it's not a legal instrument -- nor should it embody legalese. It's just a spelling out of the leadership actions you both agree must be taken to accomplish your goal. Here's the key: The best way to get that agreement is first to have them talk about actions they propose to take. Make sure they describe precise, physical actions. And not just any actions but leadership actions. Discourage them from talking about how they'll be doing tasks. Instead, encourage them to talk about how they'll be taking leadership of those tasks. (There is a big difference in terms of results generated between doing and leading.) Then ask how they need to be supported in those actions. Finally, ask them how those actions should be monitored and evaluated. In getting answers to these questions, you'll be putting together a Leadership Contract by giving a Listening Leadership Talk. The Leadership Talk is the greatest leadership tool. But the tool has its gradations of effectiveness. Often your talking is not as effective as your audience's talking. When your Leadership Talk comes out of their mouths, not your mouth, you may find you are raising your leadership effectiveness to much higher levels. 2006 © The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

         
    The new leadership is a sacred calling

     

    PERMISSION TO REPUBLISH: This article may be republished in newsletters and on web sites provided attribution is provided to the author, and it appears with the included copyright, resource box and live web site link. Email notice of intent to publish is appreciated but not required: mail to: [email protected] Word count: 813 You can greatly improve your job and career performance when you embrace leadership as a sacred calling. The global marketplace is creating historic changes in human circumstances as broad and deep as those originated by the Industrial Revolution. But one significant change that observers are overlooking involves leadership. From the outset of the Industrial Revolution, order-giving has been the standard of leadership. The word "order" comes from the Latin root meaning to arrange threads in a woof. In the Industrial Revolution's early years, workers were "ordered" or ranked like threads in a woof of textile production lines. But globalization is creating a need for new leadership. Instead of ordering people to go from A to B, the new leadership has people want to go from A to B. This simple, even simplistic, difference illuminates an enormous leadership opportunity. Clearly, people who "want to" are more competitive than people who are simply responding to orders, given their skills are commensurate. Your arousing want-to in others can be accomplished most effectively when you see your leadership as a sacred activity. Sacred is commonly defined as being devoted or dedicated to a deity or some religious purpose. But the emergence of the global marketplace has necessitated a new meaning for the sacred. The sacred I speak of is not connected to any principle exclusive to a particular denominational religion. If it were, it could not be applied universally throughout the global market's interplay of many languages, cultures, and religions. Instead, the sacred aspect of leadership is based on the undeniable fact that all humans everywhere are interconnected through their relationships in profound, practical ways. The sacred flows from the wellsprings of those deep, human relationships. Paradoxically, this "new" leadership has been manifested since time in memorial. After all, when people needed to accomplish great things, a leader had to first gather them together and speak from the heart. In that gathering, in that speaking, in that sharing something truly sacred was established. To examine the sacred, we must understand the stuff that leaders' activities must be made of: results. If you're not getting results, you won't be a leader for long. Results come in countless forms and functions. But one thing all results share is they are the outcomes of the relationships people engender to take action. The word "relationship" comes from a Latin root meaning to "carry back." To be involved in a human relationships is to both give and get. Such relationships are best realized in leadership when you engage in what I call the Leadership Imperative. The Imperative states: "I will lead others in such a way that we together not only accomplish our needed results but we grow professionally and personally." The Leadership Imperative is the rough, organizational equivalent of the Golden Rule that most religions, in one form or another, urge; but don't confuse it with a guide for conduct exclusively; it's also a way of getting great organizational results. When people understand that your leadership will improve their lives, their jobs and their careers, you'll establish a sacred bond with them, and they'll be more likely to be motivated to accomplish extraordinary things for you. (An important tool for actualizing the Leadership Imperative is a methodology I've been teaching to leaders worldwide for nearly a quarter of a century. See my website for my information on the Leadership Talk.) In our time, order leadership has held sway in all sectors of business and government. However, order leadership has nothing sacred to offer. Orders are sent, orders carried out or not. Deep, human, "sacred" connections are superfluous, even antithetical, to giving orders. And because order leadership can't get the consistently great results that the new leadership triggers, the order way of leadership is destined for history's scrap heap. Don't be put off or discouraged if you can't immediately see the sacred in your leadership today. First, align your words and actions to conform to the Leadership Imperative. When you do, you'll see the sacred in the very practical necessities of your daily life. It's been there all along, waiting for you to find it and realize it. You may be in a bureaucracy that at first blush seems to have nothing to do with the sacred. But I submit that no matter what organization you're in, what job you hold, you'll get the best results when you work to manifest the sacred in your leadership. In fact, the sacred is the true reality of what you do, where you do it. When you're realizing the sacred calling of the Leadership Imperative, everyone you encounter, every challenge you face, is invested with special meaning that can boost results. The exigencies of the global economy are demanding a change in the standard of leadership. Your understanding and realizing the new leadership but also its sacred dimensions will notably advance your job and career performance. 2006 © The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. All rights reserved. The author of 23 books, Brent Filson's recent books are, THE LEADERSHIP TALK: THE GREATEST LEADERSHIP TOOL and 101 WAYS TO GIVE GREAT LEADERSHIP TALKS. He is founder and president of The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. – and for more than 21 years has been helping leaders of top companies worldwide get audacious results. Sign up for his free leadership e-zine and get a free white paper: "49 Ways To Turn Action Into Results," at actionleadership For more about the Leadership Talk: theleadershiptalk

         
     
         
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