Archive for 'Lead From Within'

21 Things New Leaders Should Do

Posted on 17. Jan, 2017 by .

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It’s easy to find lists of all the things that leaders shouldn’t do. Here are the positive steps you can take to build successful leadership.

Especially at the beginning of a leadership journey, it’s easy to focus on all the things you’re not supposed to do—don’t be inaccessible, don’t play favorites, don’t build your authority on fear. And those things are important, but if you focus exclusively on the don’ts you may have a hard time moving forward.

Here are 21 positive steps that will help you become the kind of the leader you can take great pride in, the kind people will honor with their followership.

1. Keep tabs on expectations. As a new leader you shouldn’t take for granted your new title or your role for granted. Just because you are the leader doesn’t mean you have to have it all figured out.

2. Grow your competencies and develop your skills. As a new leader studying every day is important, if you are doing just enough to get by, the day will come that it’s no longer good enough.

3. Listen to learn. Odds are that many—if not all—of the people on your team know more about various aspects of the business than you do. As a new leader respect the expertise of others.

4. Humility goes a long way. As a new leader humility is a skill that must acquired and practiced over and over again.

5. Be the missing link. As a new leader recognize that although your team may be very capable, you were placed in that job for a reason. You bring a perspective that the team may lack. Know what it is, and make sure they know what it is too.

6. Speak well of everyone. As a new leader, don’t badmouth upper management to your team or your team to upper management. It won’t score points with either side.

7. Protect and shield. As a new leader guard your people from unnecessary hassles from upstairs or outside, and from any unnecessary drama.

8. Ground yourself in trust. As a new leader make sure your people know that trust—giving it, earning it and building it together—is a top priority for the team.

9. Gain a sixth sense. As a new leader tune into your perceptions enough to be able to walk into a room and sense the morale of the occupants.

10. Know what is and isn’t important. As a new leader ignore trivial infractions and let them go unless they are linked to something bigger. Never ignore major violations.

11. Be the meditator, the coach, the mentor: As a new leader act promptly to squelch dissension, disputes, discord and disagreements.

12. Speak with candor. As a new leader avoid sarcasm, dishonesty, or gossip. Don’t let anything you say in the moment interfere with your reputation as someone who’s unfailingly candid, honest, and kind.

13. Strive to build a workplace in which respect is the centerpiece. As a new leader it requires that you and everyone on your team focus on both giving respect and earning it.

14. Make character matter. As a new leader make integrity and character the foundation of your leadership. Remember that you’re always leading by example.

15. Measure your actions. As a new leader evaluate everything you do to determine whether you’re having the effect you want to. If you don’t already know, learn how to use data to better understand your wins and misses.

16. Know what is urgent and what is not. As a new leader give a sense of urgency to tasks that are truly important. If you don’t convey it, how will they know?

17. Be willing to admit you don’t know. As a new leader just because you are the leader doesn’t mean you have all the answers. When you don’t know, say so—then make it a point to inquire, study and learn.

18. Treat everyone with courtesy. As a new leader treat people as you want to be treated.

19. Stay focused on mission. As a new leader keep your mission at the front of everything you do, no matter what distractions and outside influences enter the picture.

20. Have a low tolerance level for intolerance. As a new leader don’t EVER put up with bigots, bullies, bastards, weasels, snakes, swine, slimeballs or sleaze balls.

21. Lead by example. As a new leader this is where your leadership will ultimately be measured. So lead by example always.

Lead From Within: Before you are a leader success is all about growing yourself, when you become a leader success is all about growing others.

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5 Leadership Habits That Make You Look Unprofessional

Posted on 10. Jan, 2017 by .

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screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-11-09-05-pmHave you ever seen a colleague, a boss, or a leader display unprofessional behavior and wonder how they maintain their position?

It might make you wonder whether anything you do comes across that way.

No matter how much education and self-awareness you may have, it’s possible that your professionalism is being undermined by unconscious behavior.

If you’re not doing as well as you’d like, if your career hasn’t scaled to the heights you’ve always expected of yourself, it may be that unprofessional habits—even subtle ones—are limiting your success.

Pay close attention to your own behavior and analyze it as you would someone else’s.

Here are five of the most common unprofessional habits that damage promising careers:

1. Wandering eyes. It’s one of those little cues that can happen to the best of us without our even noticing. When someone is speaking to you and going on a bit long, or when you disagree with someone you subtly avert your eyes, looking across the room, maybe glancing at a clock or watch or paying attention to something else going on in the background. Letting your eyes wander sends a unspoken message that your mind is wandering as well and clearly signals your disengagement, no matter what you say. Stay focused on the person who’s speaking to show you’re paying attention.

2. Always being the expert. We all know someone who considers themselves an expert on every subject—even though it’s often clear to everyone that they don’t know what they’re talking about. It’s a great way to make sure your ideas are never taken seriously and you’re dismissed as someone who likes the sound of their own voice. It’s damaging in another way as well: if you’re always speaking, you’re never learning. Listen to what others have to say and acknowledge when you’re outside your range of knowledge.

3. Talking down to others. There is no quicker way to earn mistrust and ill will than talking down to someone. In trying to elevate yourself, you instead create a huge divide between you and the person you’re talking with (and everybody else within range). Making others feel small goes beyond being unprofessional, it’s rude and morally questionable. Especially when you’re explaining a new concept to someone, take great care to keep your tone and word choice respectful and even.

4. Always being late. Life is busy and time is fleeting. Few of us can honestly say we’ve never been late. But being known as someone who’s habitually late tells others that you respect only your own time, and not the time of others. Being on time, is a courtesy you give to others, and it says,  I respect you.  Being late is not a bad habit, it’s a choice one makes. if you are chronically late, you are chronically rude.

5. Using ”&*#$@!” language: While this should be common sense, its surprising  how many professionals also believe that the use of profanities is acceptable in a professional setting.  the tongue has no bones, but is strong enough to break a heart, so we always must be careful of our words. Regardless of what line of work you do, who your colleagues are, it is never a good habit to use language that is inappropriate, and that is true in professional or personal life. sometimes the sheer use of a exploit language will take away from the essence of what you want to say. Speak with conviction then deliver what you have to say with passion, this has the same effect.

Lead From Within: As leaders it’s important to remember that your behavior is the mirror in which you either come across as professional or unprofessional.

 

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The Best Leaders Are Great Coaches

Posted on 03. Jan, 2017 by .

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screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-6-54-24-amGreat leadership is made up of numerous different elements and roles, which come together differently in different leadership styles. One role that’s often overlooked is that of serving as a coach.

If you’ve ever played or trained under a great coach, you already understand how vast their influence can be.

The best leaders, like the best coaches, give those around them permission to succeed and know how to help them reach their potential.

Here are some of the most important coaching ideas shared by great leaders—ideas that can benefit anyone’s leadership in any field:

Communicate with wisdom. As a coach and leader, you need exceptional communication skills. Your words should make people sit up, listen and feel inspired to act.

Challenge the unchallenged. It’s important to know how to challenge others without making them feel criticized or scorned.

Raise the bar. Set and maintain high personal standards. Keep raising the bar so others can follow suit.

Invest in teamwork. Teach those around you to value great collaboration even more than individual achievement. Demonstrate the truth of TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More

Encourage boldness. Encourage others to make mistakes and take bold moves. Nothing great was ever achieved by not being courageous.

Embrace diversity. Understand and take to heart the value of diversity and take advantage of every opportunity to demonstrate and attest to its importance.

View people in terms of their potential. Recognize the unrealized potential in those around you. Even more important, help them see it for themselves.

Be available. Whatever your position, build a reputation as someone who’s approachable and quick to help.

Accumulate resources. Develop an extensive network both within and outside your organization. Make it available as a resource for others, not just yourself.

Provide solutions. Learn to seek out and develop win-win solutions and teach those skills to others.

Be an optimist. Cultivate an optimistic outlook that guides you to focus on the possibilities and connections that others might miss.

Create a compelling vision. Have a well-developed personal vision that you can communicate clearly and with inspiration. Present your vision in a way that encourages others to do the same.

Coaches are great leaders because they know how to unlock potential and motivate people to maximize their performance. In short, they help others learn to be their best. And that’s what leadership is all about.

Lead from within: Great leadership isn’t about what you accomplish yourself; it’s about what you inspire others to do.

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How to Build a Business That’s Good for Everyone

Posted on 20. Dec, 2016 by .

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screen-shot-2016-12-20-at-7-38-14-amWith so many businesses barely getting by, everyone wants to know the secret to make their business good for everyone, and how they can build a company that can thrive.

At the core of every business success it’s important to make sure that your employees are engaged and your customers are satisfied.

As a leadership coach and business consultant, I’ve seen lots of companies make it and lots of companies struggle. And from my experience, the ones that truly thrive share some key principles.

Here are the most important:

Make it personal. There’s a misconception that business and the personal should never mix—but the most successful companies create a personal culture, one where both employees and customers know they matter. That means getting to know them and creating mutually beneficial relationships with meaningful connection and engagement.

Good communication connects everyone. If you want an organizational culture where people are working hard to achieve the same goals, communication is key—team to team, team to board, customers to leadership—in every direction and at every level.

Surround yourself with A+ players. Steve Jobs always used to say to surround yourself with A+ players, because the best players always surround themselves with better players than themselves. The same is true for companies. Make sure your organization has highly talented people and treat them well so they will remain loyal and dedicated to the purpose and mission. When you surround yourself with the best you thrive on excellence.

Under promise- over deliver. Whatever you do, whatever product or service you are providing, make it the best out there. Do it better than anyone else to a ridiculous degree. Build and maintain the best relationship with those you serve. Deliver more than you promise to keep them with you.

Grow your team. Once you have a team of excellent people in place, the smart thing is to keep them there. The best companies make sure they have training and development programs that help people grow and move forward in their career path, because that’s how you retain a great team.

Make your company a great place to work. Work is where people spend most of their time, so make your company a place where people feel motivated and inspired and they can have fun. Create an environment where people enjoy coming to work. A culture build on fun and excitement gives people the energy to outperform their own potential.

Make a difference. If the aim of your company is to make money, that’s great, but it won’t speak to the hearts and souls of your people. It doesn’t give people anything to be inspired by. But if your business improves the lives of others—if you’re providing solutions that make selling and service the same thing—your team and your customers will be far more engaged. The results? A stable, energized team, loyal customers, and great grassroots advertising through word of mouth and social media.

To create a business that thrives you have to make it a company that is good for everyone.

Lead From Within: Bottom line: When people are happy- when customers are satisfied companies succeed.

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7 Habits That Are Destroying Your Ability to Lead

Posted on 13. Dec, 2016 by .

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screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-7-38-51-amWhether you are a manager, supervisor, entrepreneur or leader, it is your leadership abilities that will ultimately dictate your professional success or failure.

That means you need to identify which habits are working for you and which aren’t, and eliminate anything that may be keeping you from your goals.

Here are seven of the most destructive habits leaders can maintain:

1. Surrounding yourself with clones.  Strength lies in diversity and difference and challenge; being around people who are just like you may be comfortable, but it keeps you playing small.

2. Speaking without listening.  The best leaders listen more than they speak, and they know the importance of hearing and gathering information from all.

3.  Confusing activity with productivity. It’s easy to fall into the trap of keeping busy without actually being productive. There is always so much to do, but the tasks you naturally reach for are not necessarily the ones that should be at the top of your list of priorities. Instead of plowing through a to-do list, ask yourself what you should be doing to attain the results you want to see—to move you closer to your goals.

4. Flying solo. One of the biggest challenges for many people, especially leaders, is the belief in the power of one—the idea that you can do everything by yourself. Trying to do everything alone will end up exhausting and taxing you, and in time it will destroy your ability to lead.

5. Thinking you know it all. As a leader you need to always be willing to listen to others and be teachable. Sometimes people don’t want to have the answers handed to them but to brainstorm together and come up with a range of solutions. Other times people just want to vent.

6: Being unavailable and inaccessible. Being an unavailable and inaccessible leader, is the worst kind of leadership and management style, because it sends the message that your people are not important.

7. Constantly micromanaging. Saving the worst for last: Micromanagement is the flip side of leadership. The leader thinks no one can do the job as well as they can so they hover over you and make demands instead of allowing you to do your job. The message sent by micromanager leaders is “I don’t trust you.”

Lead From Within: Bad habits are destroying our leadership because they are hindering us from being the leader we want to be.

 

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Your Leadership Requires You to Have Guts

Posted on 15. Nov, 2016 by .

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Leadership is hard. It means making difficult decisions, stepping out of your comfort zone, and standing on the edge of your greatness.

Leadership requires that you have guts.

There are many who have the title of leader. But the only ones who truly deserve the title are those who can weather the storms and stand in their struggles.

Because true leadership requires great men and women to bring all the courage, boldness, toughness, determination and audacity they can summon.
Here are some of the qualities of a gutsy leader. Cultivate them now to become everything you can be:

The COURAGE to change direction when things are on the wrong track. When something isn’t working, you need a leader who has the courage to see the need for change and bring up the benefits of going in another direction. It’s the kind of courage that shows up when you most need to shake things up and get back on the path toward something great. You’ll never do anything worthwhile in this world without courage.

The BOLDNESS to face reality when resources are strained. When money or another vital resource is dwindling, you need to be bold enough not to hide in the spreadsheets but to come out and share the hard truth. You can admit that things are not as they should be, but in a way that is unafraid and focused on solutions, with faith in your team’s ability to rally even at the last minute to turn things around. To be bold is to always be facing forward.

The TOUGHNESS to be more stubborn than your difficulties. When you’re facing obstruction and obstacles, handicaps and complications, you need to be the leader who says “Times are tough but we are tougher.”

The DETERMINATION to pursue new opportunities in the face of opposition. People don’t generally like change, so it’s up to the leader to push past the status quo and make things happen. It’s a job that takes tenacity and spirit. Some leaders succeed because they are destined, but most because they are determined.

 The AUDACITY to say no unapologetically. Some leaders want to say yes to everything—but when they do, they take away their ability to set priorities. Every great advance in leadership came from someone who found the nerve to simply say “no”—as a complete sentence, without any justification or explanation or apology. When you make judicious use of “no,” you set the priorities that allow you to say a bigger “yes” to the most compelling ideas and vision.

 If you’re serious about leadership, always remember that it has to come from deep inside. It takes courage, boldness, toughness, determination and audacity, as the saying goes: no guts, no glory.

Lead From Within: Great leaders aren’t always the ones who win, but those with the most guts.

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This Is Your Starting Point for Leadership Growth

Posted on 08. Nov, 2016 by .

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screen-shot-2016-11-08-at-6-08-16-amIf you aspire to become a great leader, it’s important to remember that your leadership begins far before you have a leader’s title. The starting point of your leadership growth starts where you are today.

Great leadership is learned on the job; it is cultivated in the trenches of everyday experiences, and it comes from learning the ropes under every circumstance.

Who we are today will help us become better leaders tomorrow. There are always people who want the title just for showing up, but the rest of us know leadership is earned with hard work and dedication to the craft. It’s a lifelong process, one that we begin again every day. We have to develop from where we are to get to where we want to go.

Here are six ways to make it happen:

Learn from every experience. Take advantage of whatever surrounds you right now. Whether it’s positive or negative, every circumstance, conversation and connection holds lessons and principles and wisdom if you’re willing to learn. Never allow an opportunity to pass you by.

Focus on the collective. Don’t think only about your own advancement but consider how you can best interact with the others around you and how you can give credit to those who have put in great effort. Leadership means honoring others, and it is important to understand the value of the collective and learn that two is greater than one.

Make it a priority to get along with people. It is imperative that you learn to get along with people—those who are above you, those who stand beside you and those who look up to you. Make it a goal to build strong relationships of mutual learning and respect in every direction.

Work on communication every day. As you interact with people, learn to communicate concisely and clearly. When you speak, think of ways you can contribute that add real value, not just more noise. Ask questions, get feedback and let others know that you are open to dialogue. If you can remain curious there’s almost nothing you can’t learn.

Take on more responsibility. Even if the everyday requirements of your job keep you busy, the best way to truly stand out and learn from every experience is to take on more responsibility than most. Be the person who steps up and comes through as accountable and dependable.

Give your personal best. It’s not enough to speak if you don’t deliver, or take on a task if you don’t do it with excellence. In everything you do, give your personal best. Not only will it help your reputation but it will build your character.

Lead from within: Leadership growth begin with leading at your best today, wherever you are, is what prepares you to be a great leader for tomorrow.

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12 of the Most Dangerous Leadership Mindsets

Posted on 01. Nov, 2016 by .

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screen-shot-2016-10-31-at-11-39-23-pmMindset is extremely important when it comes to great leadership.

Mindset is the set of beliefs or way of thinking that determines your behavior, outlook and mental attitude. If your mindset is negative, your attitude (and likely your behavior) is negative.

Mindset is everything, and learning to control it is a key to fulfilling your potential.

Here are some of the damaging mindsets I have seen in leaders. Don’t let them stand in your way:

1. Seeing the glass as half empty. Many leaders are guilty of this mindset. Some think that if they point out the bad, that will get people to improve—but we know a negative attitude will never lead to positive results. Nothing will slow your progress like a negative mindset.

2. Thinking you know people better than you do. There is a danger in labeling people and putting them into a box when you haven’t had a chance to take in their complexity. How can you truly get to know people if your mindset has already told you who they are? Give people a chance to reveal, and sometimes surprise you with, who they are really are.

3. Believing that perfect is a goal. Perfection doesn’t exist and perfect can never be a goal. When you aim to be perfect, you’re setting yourself up for failure—either by paralyzing yourself into inaction or by endlessly trying to reach an unreachable goal. Set perfectionism aside and focus on excellence.

4. Thinking that you never need to rest. I know leaders who take pride in being constantly on. But we all need some time off, opportunities to shut down for a while. It is impossible to keep going 24/7 and still be the best you can be. You may think you can do everything and be everywhere, but really you can’t. Get some rest.

5. Assuming that you accomplished great things alone. Anytime you think you’ve achieved something by yourself, you’re failing to give someone else the credit they deserve. There is no success on a team without the efforts of others, and when you as the leader take all the credit, it costs you respect. Make your language always US and WE, not ME and I.

6. Not staying present in the moment. If you’re always thinking of where you need to be next instead of staying in the moment, you lose out on precious time and valuable lessons. A constant forward push isn’t sustainable in the long term. It burns people out and will lead to low morale and low energy. Give everyone a chance to slow down and experience what’s happening now.

7. Expecting others to do what you’re unwilling to do. How many of us have encountered leaders with a mindset of entitlement—that things need to be about what others can do for them rather than how they can serve others? Entitlement is a dangerous mindset, one that disempowers and alienates people. If you want great people to stick around to serve you, you need to serve them.

8. Becoming so obsessed with details that you lose the big picture. There are always details that need legitimate attention. But great leaders know that to get bogged down in all the details and minutia is a waste of time, energy and productivity. Getting stuck in the details will cost you big-picture success.

9. Isolating yourself from others. Some leaders actually believe that leadership means immersing yourself in process and procedures instead of being among people. The mindset that a leader can’t let others too close is one of the most dangerous I have observed. Leadership is all about engagement and empowering others, and you simply cannot do it in isolation. Leaders need people and people need leaders.

10. Having different sets of rules. The mindset that you can have one set of rules for yourself and another set for everyone else is disturbing and goes against the principles of service and recognition that leadership should be based on. It leads to disdain and disrespect.

11. Holding an all-or-nothing orientation. Failing to recognize nuance and shades of gray leads to bias and distorted thinking. We need leaders who are flexible and agile, unafraid of what might go wrong and positive about what could go right. All or nothing is a dangerous and damaging proposition.

12. Believing that you have to do everything yourself. You probably became a leader because you’re really good at what you do, but the truth is you never have to do everything alone. Great leaders delegate—which not only helps them but involves other people. If you want things done your own way, teach others how it’s done, but bring them in.

Lead From Within: You are only going to be as good as you think you are. To create something exceptional, keep your mindset focused on greatness.

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The Chaotic Leader: How to Survive It

Posted on 25. Oct, 2016 by .

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screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-6-42-47-amHave you ever worked with a leader who was always inviting chaos or a boss who constantly had to create drama?

The most effective leaders work to create an environment that will stimulate, motivate and develop people—who in turn will bring their best to work.

But many otherwise qualified bosses and leaders share a need to create chaotic cultures that keep everyone in a heightened state of anxiety.

They may believe that calm cultures mean a lack of activity or purpose—that stress and chaos lead to greater drive and energy.

Research may tell us that people are better motivated by accomplishment than stress, and that they can accomplish much more when they are at ease in a peaceful and secure environment, but what can you do if your workplace is governed by stress, chaos and drama?

You may not be able to change the culture, but here are some steps you can take to help yourself:

Know yourself. Before you can be an advocate for the processes that help you work most effectively, you have to know what they are. Think about specifics—everything from the noise level to workloads to the way project details are communicated.

Draw a line in the sand. Determine your bottom line in regard to what you can and can’t handle. Everyone needs to be able to tolerate some degree of stress and drama, but everyone has limits. When you know where your boundaries lie, you know when you have to speak up—or even walk.

Resist micromanagement. Except for leaders who are actually incompetent,  most workplace chaos stems from micromanagement. It usually originates with tremendous pressure to produce results, so if you want to shield yourself and advocate for an alternate work style, stay focused on results. There’s no more compelling argument you can make than “this works better.

Don’t let yourself be squelched. Leaders who tend to dismiss ideas with a “but” create not only chaos but also confusion and apathy. Eventually the bad feelings grow into dissent among employees and disregard for the leader. Learn to keep speaking up and speaking out, and find solutions to every “but,” one at a time.

Look for the best. Chaotic leaders invite us to see the cup as half empty instead of half full. Negative leadership leads to more negativity. Difficult as it may be, work to stay on the side of positivity. Try to always find something good to point out and something positive to contribute.

Be a role model. Lead by example and set a standard in light of unreasonable expectations. Maintain healthy boundaries for yourself: “I accept phone calls and emails only up to 7pm.” The more you give, the higher the expectation becomes. Step off the vicious cycle; create a balanced life for yourself and kept to it.

Acknowledge your own worth. Chaotic leaders tend to share a common trait: they’re quick to point out mistakes and shortcomings but slow to acknowledge even extraordinary effort or accomplishment. It’s not only devaluing but it’s the worst kind of leadership. Counteract it by acknowledging your own work and bringing attention to your (and your teammates’) contributions.

A chaotic culture is a disruptive culture—and not in a good way. Do what you have to do to survive a chaotic leader. Above all, don’t allow yourself to believe that it’s an acceptable way to live or lead.

Lead From Within: As with any challenge, do what you have to do. Rise above the dysfunction of existing leadership and be an example of the leadership that can work.

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How to Tell You’re Dumbing Down Your Leadership

Posted on 18. Oct, 2016 by .

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screen-shot-2016-10-18-at-7-06-22-amIt’s important to realize that just because someone holds a position of leadership, doesn’t necessarily mean they should lead.

Leadership is complex.

For some leaders see it principally as the power to direct other people; for others, it’s about inspiring people so they feel they can do the impossible; and for some it’s centered on being a visionary.

But there are some leaders, that don’t try, don’t care, don’t see and don’t lead.

The dumbest thing you can do as a leader is to take your position for granted.

However you approach your leadership, recognize its complexity and resist the temptation to dumb it down

We must always remember, leadership is a privilege.

Here are six ways to keep your leadership smart and to stop dumbing it down.

Read every day. Don’t allow your leadership to become empty-minded or fall into a rut. Make a habit of daily reading that challenges you and has an impact on how you think, both creatively and logically.

Learn something new. There’s always something new to learn if you’re paying attention. Get to know the people around you and give yourself the benefit of their expertise.

Keep developing new skills. No matter how talented you are, your talent will fail you if you’re not skilled. Skill is achievement practiced, so work hard, and dedicate time for yourself to improve every single day.

Cultivate being a better listener. Everything around you holds answers if you learn to listen. When you speak you are only repeating what you already know, but if you listen you can learn something new.

Track your objectivity. Work to recognize and neutralize any bias you might have. We all have something we have to fight in this area, and it isn’t an easy task. But the reward is a level of credibility and respect that makes it a fight worth waging.

Work on developing foresight. If you want to see the future, look at the past. It will give you the insight you need to create the foresight for the future. Be a student of history—of the world, of your country and state, of your field, of your organization and your competitors.

Learn how to manage conflict. One study found that 10 percent of most conflicts are due to difference in opinion and 90 percent are due to someone using the wrong tone of voice. If you want to be an effective leader, conflict management is essential.

You can either play dumb or be smart. Fight to be wiser, smarter, better.

Lead From Within: Leadership is an opportunity to truly make an impact—not to dumb things down but to bring things up.

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