Tag Archives: Leadership

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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What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do

Posted on 29. Nov, 2016 by .

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screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-6-10-01-amSome people are fine skating through uncertainty by the seat of their pants, but most of us in leadership prefer to feel in control.

We like having all the answers (or most of them, anyway), and seeing a clear path ahead. And in time, people come to expect those things of us, and we come to expect them of ourselves.

So for a leader to admit they don’t know is a big deal.

For some it feels like an uncomfortable vulnerability; for others, worry. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Here are some things you can do when you just don’t know:

Trust your intuition. Whether you call it intuition, your sixth sense or following our gut, sometimes when intellect fails you it’s time to rely on your subconscious. It’s a realm where you don’t need to explain or justify your actions or feelings. Just trust your inner guidance to know what’s best.

Make a bold move. In uncertain times we all feel tentative, but if you don’t take bold moves your leadership can’t move forward. Boldness inspires creativity, innovation, vision—exactly the things you need at such times. Let go of fear and remember that most people aren’t hoping to catch you in trouble but want to see you succeed. Whatever you send out always comes back to you, so let your actions set the direction of your leadership.

Let worry go. Worry won’t stop the bad stuff from happening; it just stops you from enjoying the good. The best thing you can do is let worry go and allow yourself to learn in the moment from the experience. Do the best you can do with what you have—beyond that, it’s outside your control.

Hire a coach. A great coach can ask the questions that can lead you to genuinely helpful answers, tell you the things you don’t want to hear and help you transcend your own point of view. The best coaches lead you past what you don’t know into possibility, and help you become the leader you’ve always known you can be.

Remember, feeling worried accomplishes nothing it only prevents you from moving forward, and stagnation is not an option for a leader.

Whatever the situation, do everything you can to keep yourself moving forward, either alone or with the help of a trusted advisor.

Make use of the wisdom you have within, and solicit as much knowledge as you can from those you trust.

Lead from within:  What you don’t know today will be something you can learn from tomorrow.

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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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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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Why Great Leaders Expect Everyone to Be Great

Posted on 11. Oct, 2016 by .

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screen-shot-2016-10-09-at-9-10-54-amGreat leaders expect greatness from themselves and in turn they challenge others to be great too.

They challenge people to do better, be better and to meet a higher standard.

They do it because settling for substandard, low quality, second rate leadership is not an option.

Great leaders set high standards for their own performance, and for those around them.

Leadership is about service to others, being your best so you can offer your best.

The high standards of great leaders extend beyond the work they do include being a person of character, a leader of integrity and one who inspires the same in those around them.

Here are some of the ways great leaders elevate the standard for themselves and for others:

Establish clarity. Standards reflect values, so before you establish or change them you need to know with certainty what’s most important to you and communicate that with clarity. When you’re clear on values, making decisions becomes much simpler.

Show self-respect. Never lower your standards for anyone or anything. The self-respect that comes with firm standards is everything. Whatever everyone around you is doing, stay true to your ideals. Do what you need to do and do it with meaning and purpose.

Passionately protest mediocrity. “Good enough” are some of the most dangerous words a leader can hear. Nothing great was ever established on a foundation of mediocrity. Always demand more from yourself than anyone else could ever expect.

Never let anyone tell you your standards are too high. There’s nothing wrong with wanting the best for yourself and your team. When you shift your standards you create change—positive change when you raise standards, negative change when you lower them.

Protect your standards. Make sure people know what’s expected, and be consistent in enforcing those expectations. If you allow disrespect, that’s what you’ll receive.

Never apologize for demanding excellence. Never apologize for high standards. Those who rise up to meet them are the ones you want around you; those who try and need help are the ones you can work with; and the ones who reject it aren’t your people anyway.

Lead from within: When it comes to standards, one thing I’ve found to be true: However high or low you place your standards, that’s how far people will rise.

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The Best Free Leadership Advice You’ll Ever Get

Posted on 20. Sep, 2016 by .

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screen-shot-2016-09-19-at-4-20-49-pmIf you’re like most leaders, you’re always looking for ways to improve your leadership.

People are constantly asking me what they can do to make their leadership exceptional. They usually expect the answer to involve costly coaching sessions, or expensive training programs. But the best advice I can give is a simple technique that will improve your leadership immediately without costing a penny.

Here it is: Get out of the office.

The leader who is always in the office behind closed doors is not the kind of leader people want to follow.

Get up and get out.

Talk to your team, connect with your advisors, speak to your people.

While you’re there, make sure you try out these leadership practices:

Smile with sincerity. Smiling is a powerful tool. It helps people relax around you; it draws people closer and allows you to connect easily with others.

Engage wholeheartedly. A recent study found that 70 percent of employees are miserable at work and most people feel their boss or leader doesn’t engage with them. You can do better. Connect with your team and find ways to let your people know they are important to you.

Listen carefully. Keep your ears open. Too often leaders think they have to do all the talking, but the best thing you can do is smile and genuinely listen. People have a lot on their minds, and they need someone who is available to listen to what they have to say.

Question with curiosity. The best leaders are always asking questions—not only to elicit information but also to help others better understand the issues.

Answer earnestly. Most people on your team probably have questions they want to ask, but they may feel too intimidated to ask or they’re concerned about disturbing you. Make it easy for people to find you and speak to you—keep yourself available and accessible. You may want to schedule a listening session or another time when people are specifically encouraged to ask what is on their mind so they can be as productive and effective as possible.

Get feedback. Most leaders don’t really want honest feedback, so they don’t ask for it—and as a result they receive it only in rare cases when it’s forced on them. The best leaders know that feedback is the most reliable path to improvement, and it’s an important part of their efforts to be better and lead better. But it’s not all about criticism and improvement—feedback is also the best way to discover your strengths.

Give feedback. Leaders need an open channel of communication with their people. Learning to give feedback well opens the dialogue and leads to more candor in both directions, enhancing credibility and competencies on both sides.

Show that you care. There is this big misconception that leadership is all about power and influence, and that showing care and compassion is a sign of weak leadership. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The best leaders are remembered not for their power but for how they made people feel. Let people know you care, be there for them, and show that you appreciate and value them.

It’s easy to get bogged down in everyday responsibilities and accountability, but in the end it’s the small, simple things that end up mattering the most.

Lead from within: When was the last time you left your office and engaged with those you value the most?

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