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Showing posts from January, 2020

Today's Five Leadership Quotes

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Some of my favorite quotes for leaders are:
A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit -- Arnold H. GlasgowI praise loudly, I blame softly -- Catherine II of RussiaHonest disagreement is often a good sign of progress -- Mohandas GandhiA long dispute means that both parties are wrong -- VoltaireThe least questioned assumptions are often the most questionable -- Paul Broca These and many more compelling quotes can be found in Susan H. Shearouse's book, Conflict 101.

How to Brainstorm

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Your employees have lots of ideas. So, be sure you provide the forums and mechanisms for your employees to share their ideas with you.
Hold at least a few brainstorming sessions each year, as well. And, when you are brainstorming with your employees, try these five tips: Encourage ALL ideas.Don't evaluate or criticize ideas when they are first suggested.Ask for wild ideas. Often, the craziest ideas end up being the most useful.Shoot for quantity not quality during brainstorming.Encourage everyone to offer new combinations and improvements of old ideas.

10 Reasons To Use Storytelling In The Workplace

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From Paul Smith's popular book, Lead With A Story, here are the 10 reasons for embracing storytelling as a business tool:
Storytelling is simpleStorytelling is timelessStories are demographic-proofStories are contagiousStories are easier to rememberStories inspireStories appeal to all types of learnersStories fit better where most of the learning happens in the workplaceStories put the listener in a mental learning modeTelling stories shows respect for the audience Smith goes on to say that:
you don't need a degree in English to tell a storystories can spread like wildfirelessons from a story are remembered more accurately, and for far longer, than learning derived from factsstories spark curiosity and interest rather than the urge to evaluate or criticizestories get your message across, without arrogantly telling listeners what to think or do

The 7 Secrets Of Responsive Leadership

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“Responsive leaders are very focused on the people – the humanity – within the opportunity,” explains Jackie Jenkins-Scott, in her new book, The 7 Secrets of Responsive Leadership.
She writes about how to drive change, manage transitions, and help any organization turn around. And, she reflects heavily on her personal leadership journey, which included transforming a major urban healthcare center and a college from struggling and failing organizations to thriving, international leaders in their respective fields.
Jenkins-Scott believes that the strongest leaders have these characteristics: Curiosity: A desire to continuously learn, discover, and grow intellectually.Humility: A sincere regard for the reality that we cannot go it alone.Empathy: The ability to feel and appreciate other human beings.Resilience: The capacity to recover, to keep going forward in the face of adversity.
Jackie Jenkins-Scott
One of my favorite parts of the book is Jenkins-Scott’s observations about how to remo…

Insights From The Authors Of The Leadership Book, Step Up

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The book, Step Up, shows readers how to step up to the plate during six critical leadership moments.  Readers learn how to: Use anger intelligently in the workplace.Recognize and deal with terminal politeness.Make decisions when no one else is making them.Take ownership when others are externalizing a problem.Identify and leverage pessimism.Inspire others to take action. And, before you start to read the book, you can take (via a QR code in the book) a fifteen-minute online Step Up Leadership Assessment, which will give you instant feedback on your leadership readiness and point you to the most relevant chapters in the book.
The book's two authors awhile back shared these insights with me:
A Conversation with Henry Evans and Colm Foster, authors of Step Up
What is a “leadership moment”? These are moments when leadership is required in order to see a problem solved, opportunity seized, momentum changed, relationship(s) built, or when the intelligent expression of emotion is required t…

What To Do When You Are New

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I wish the book, What To Do When You're New, would have been published twenty-five years ago.

Being more introverted versus extroverted, the author's advice and teachings would have helped me during new jobs and after promotions, when relocating to new cities, when joining new clubs and organizations, and whenever I became a member of a new team.

The book, by Keith Rollag, is all about how to be comfortable, confident, and successful in new situations.

"It's nearly impossible to accomplish anything meaningful and important in life without at some point having to meet new people, learn new things, and take on new roles," explains Rollag. So, even for extroverts I believe this book will be useful.

"And as a newcomer, how you think and act in those first few seconds, minutes, hours, and days matters," adds Rollag.

According to Rollag, the secret to newcomer success comes down to willingness and ability to do five key things:
Introduce ourselves to stranger…

10 Essential Elements Of Dignity

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In their book, Millennials Who Manage, authors Chip Espinoza and Joel Schwarzbart, quote Donna Hicks's explanation about how dignity is different from respect. Dignity is different from respect in that it is not based on how people perform, what they can do for us, or their likability. Dignity is a feeling of inherent value and worth.Therefore, Espinoza and Schwarzbart recommend that leaders treat those they are leading with dignity and follow Hick's 10 Essential Elements of Dignity: Acceptance of Identity - Approach people as being neither inferior nor superior to you. Assume that others have integrity.
Inclusion - Make others feel that they belong, whatever the relationship.
Safety - Put people at ease at two levels: physically, so they feel safe from bodily harm, and psychologically, so they feel safe from being humiliated.
Acknowledgment - Give people your full attention by listening, hearing, validating, and responding to their concerns, feelings, and experiences.
Recognition -…

How To Get A Team To Think Beyond The Ordinary

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"It takes more than encouraging words to get a team thinking beyond the ordinary," explains Jackie Barretta, author of the book, Primal Teams.

She suggests you must help team members to redefine the purpose of their work with broader and more expansive thinking. Use certain pointed questions to guide a team toward a loftier view of their purpose.

Specifically, Barretta recommends you as the leader ask the following purpose-broadening questions to encourage the team to think of providing value beyond the ordinary:
What major contributions can our team make to the company's success?What do we do that makes our colleagues and customers happy?What does our work do to give our company a competitive advantage?What do we do that no one else can do?What legacy do we want to leave?What future possibilities excite us?What difference does our work make in the lives of others?

How To Apologize

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The following great advice about how to apologize is from the book, The Courage Solution, by Mindy Mackenzie. She recommends you include these three elements when you apologize:
Actually say "I'm sorry" out loud, while making eye contact, if possible.Acknowledging your error by adding the phrase "I was wrong...but more importantly, you were right."Asking humbly, "How can I fix this?" Keep in mind that an effective apology requires you to have actually begun working on a solution by the time you get to this step.

How To Be A Trusted Executive

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Perhaps now more than ever it's time for the book by John Blakey called,The Trusted Executive: Nine Leadership Habits That Inspire Results, Relationships, and Reputation.
The book is divided into three parts: Part One: Blakey explores how trust in executive leadership has been lost so that we can understand the scale and depth of the problem.Part Two: Here, Blakey shifts from exploring the theory of trustworthiness to studying its practice. Specifically, you'll learn a three pillar approach to building trustworthiness: Habits of Ability; Habits of Integrity; Habits of Benevolence.Part Three: Finally, Blakey reviews the impact of the three pillars and discusses governance, remuneration, corporate social responsibility, reporting, scale, regulation and structure.By the time you finish the book, you will also have learned about the nine habits that inspire trust. Choosing to: DeliverCoachBe ConsistentBe HonestBe OpenBe HumbleEvangelizeBe BraveBe Kind
Awhile back, Blakey kindly answer…

Must-Read Book For Nonprofit Leaders

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If you lead a nonprofit organization, the one hour it will take you to read Peter F. Drucker's book called, The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization, will be well worth it.

This book may fundamentally change the way you work and lead your organization.

Perhaps one of most challenging questions Drucker asks the reader is:

"Do we produce results that are sufficiently outstanding for us to justify putting our resources in this area?

Because, Drucker argues that need alone does not justify continuing.  Nor does tradition, if your results are not sufficiently outstanding.

If you volunteer for a nonprofit or are seeking employment at a nonprofit, this book is also an insightful and inspiring read.


How To Put People First In Your Workplace

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According to a survey as reported in John Baldoni’s book, Lead with Purpose, more than 80 percent of those surveyed say that leaders can best demonstrate that they truly do put people first by:
Delivering intrinsic awards (comp time, bonuses, etc.). Offering developmental opportunities. Providing timely recognition. Promoting from within.

5 Elements Of A Good Goal

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"The more specific you can be about your goal, the greater your level of success will be," explain authors Tom Pandola and James W. Bird, in their book, Light A Fire Under Your Business.

"This is because once we have visualized something that doesn't yet exist, it causes our subconscious mind to make the decisions necessary to make that visualized goal a reality."

The authors explain that all goals must have these five elements:
Goals must clarify a specific action or outcome.Goals must be measureable by being able to quantify the benefits of achieving them.Goals should be achievable with the resources available (or at least you should know that the necessary resources are in reserve and can be acquired).Goals must also be realistic for achieving based on your particular situation.Goals must also include the time period in which you want to achieve them. With a date or time period specified for completion, planning can be established in order for evaluating the…

7 Steps For Telling A Good Story

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According to Kristi Hedges, author of the book, The Power of Presence, a good story includes these seven elements:
Has a clear moral or purpose.Has a personal connection to the storyteller and/or the audience.Includes common reference points the audience can understand.Involves detailed characters and imagery.Reveals conflict, vulnerability, or achievement others can relate to.Has pacing (a beginning, ending, and a segue back to the topic).Serves to strategically underscore your intention (it's not randomly told).

4 Steps For Providing Effective Feedback

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Eric Harvey and Al Lucia wrote a booklet called, 144 Ways To Walk The Talk. They provide the following great advice about giving feedback:
1. Make it timely -- give your feedback as soon as possible to the performance.
2. Make it individualized -- tailor your feedback to the feedback receiver.
3. Make it productive -- focus your feedback on the performance and not the performer.
4. Make is specific -- pinpoint for the receiver observable actions and behaviors.

5 Leadership Books To Read This Winter

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Stumped for what business books to add to your winter reading list?  Here are five must-read books for leaders well worth adding to your list:
Lead With A Story -- A Guide To Crafting Business Narratives That Captivate, Convince, and Inspire. Author Paul Smith explains why storytelling has emerged as a vital skill for every leader and manager. In the book, you'll find over 100 ready-made stories you can use as templates to tell your stories. Stories are so powerful because they are simple, timeless, demographic-proof, contagious, easy to remember and inspiring. Most important, they put the listener in a mental learning mode.What's The Future Of Business? (WTF?) -- Changing The Way Businesses Create Experiences. This book, by Brian Solis, details the incredible transformation happening in business today, driven by new social and mobile technologies. And, he explains how experience design helps your business and how you can harness its power for business growth.  This book is a …

Words To Lead By

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Words to lead by:

"It's amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit." - President Harry S. Truman.

"Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it." - President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

"I not only use all the brains I have, but all I can borrow." - President Woodrow Wilson.

8 Ways To Make Better Decisions

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These eight decision-making tactics from David Lahey’s book, Predicting Success, are helpful to me and hopefully useful to you as well: Deep breathing, to clear your mind.Researching, to feel confident that you have all the information in front of you.Listing your options, in either verbal or written form, to keep the whole picture front of mind.Following through on the possible outcomes, complete with likely predictions and acknowledgement of whether they’re negative or positive (or design yourself a decision tree, that lays out every possible consequence visually).Testing your intuition, by imagining a committed decision and then gauging the corresponding feeling it inspires in your gut.Taking the time you need, so long as it doesn’t become an overly indulgent distraction.Evaluating your decision, an after-the-fact exercise that engages a conscious inventory of the lessons learned.Coming to terms with your pick, always cognizant of the reality that no decision is going to lead to a …

10 More Ways To Be A Better Leader

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Here are 10 behaviors, techniques and tips you can use to be an effective leader:
Respond to questions quickly and fully.Take an interest in your employees and their personal milestone events.Give feedback in a timely manner and make it individualized and specific.Be willing to change your decisions.End every meeting with a follow-up To Do list.Support mentoring -- both informal and formal.Don't delay tough decisions.Do annual written performance appraisals.Explain how a change will affect employee's feelings before, during and after the change is implemented.Have face-to-face interaction as often as possible.

Books To Read This Month

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Pictured above are two books to add to your list for reading this month.

Let The Story Do The Work explains that at the heart of leadership lies persuasion. And at the heart of persuasion likes storytelling. In her book, author Esther K. Choy teaches you how to:
Dispel any fears that you can't tell great stories.Connect with an audience by determining their point of view and speaking to their concerns.Tell stories with numbers.Turn complex material into engaging narratives.Enhance stories with simple visual elements.Tell your personal story in a way that builds credibility and forges relationships.Sense & Respond teaches you how to use a structured feedback loop to: Create two-way conversations.Focus on the outcomes.Embrace continuous processes.Create collaboration.Create a learning culture. It's a management playbook that enables organizations to engage in two-way communications with the market and to drive value from that conversation -- using technology and software that …

Listen Up Or Lose Out

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Although people generally spend about 50 percent more time listening than speaking, the average listener misses more than he or she takes in – about two-thirds of any spoken message. That’s the unnerving findings of Robert Bolton, PH. D. and Dorothy Grover Bolton, ED.M., authors of the book, Listen Up or Lose Out

“Listening is not only the skill that lets you into the other person’s world; it is also the single most powerful move you can make to keep the conversation constructive” – Douglas StoneBruce Patton and Sheila Heen
Equally important, listening well has been found to distinguish the best managers, teachers, and leaders, according to Daniel Goleman, author of, Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships.
Presented within 22 chapters within five parts, the Bolton’s book teaches you: Why you should improve your listening The do’s and don’ts of great listeningHow to properly reflect content you’ve heardReading and reflecting other people’s feelingsListen Up or Los…

How To Energize Your Work And Life

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Add to your to-read list Tom Rath's book, Are You Fully Charged?

The book draws on the latest and most practical research from business and psychology and identifies the three keys that influence most of our daily well-being, as well as our engagement at work:
Meaning: doing something that benefits another personInteractions: creating far more positive than negative momentsEnergy: making choices that improve your mental and physical health "This book will challenge you to stop pursing happiness and start creating meaning instead," explains Rath. And, by doing so, you will rethink your daily interactions with the people who matter most.
"The actions you take throughout every single day accumulate to shape your years, decades and overall life," adds Rath. 
Even brief interactions count, says Rath, such as exchanging a smile or greeting while passing someone on the street. Those moments/interactions give your days a positive or negative charge. And, if you look at …

Six Questions To Ask After You Finish A Project

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Here is some great advice from the authors of, Helping People Win At Work. Those authors, Ken Blanchard and Garry Ridge, recommend you ask the following six essential questions whenever you do a project review:
What did we set out to do?What actually happened?Why did this happen?What will we do next time?What should we continue to do?What should we do differently? Seems simple enough, but how often do we really take the time to step back and ask ALL six of these questions?
And, these questions are important to ask even if there was no mistakes made during the project. Continually planning and executing without the value of a review can blindside you.

Mission Statements Are Not Always About Money

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From the book, Light A Fire Under Your Business:

A clear and concise mission statement defines, in the simplest terms, your organization's core reason for being, and it had better not be all about money.

Money is definitely important to most of society, and it is a motivator.

But many people aspire to be part of something  more meaningful than just a paycheck. They want a paycheck that is also connected to a culture that offers greater intrinsic values.

The Questions To Ask To Move Your Company Forward

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Years ago in an issue of Inc. magazine, was a fascinating list of 35 questions from business owners, entrepreneurs and management thinkers. Each offered the one question they would ask to move a company forward.

From the list, my favorites are:
Are we relevant?  Will we be relevant five years from now? Ten?What prevents me from making the changes I know will make me a more effective leader?Are we changing as fast as the world around us?Who, on the executive team or the board, has spoken to a customer recently?And, my most favorite is: How can we become the company that would put us out of business? What question do you ask to help move your company forward?

10 Energizing Verbs To Use More Often

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Here is some great advice from the book, Anticipate, the Art of Leading by Looking Ahead, by Rob-Jan De Jong.

Use these 13 energizing verbs more often when communicating:
Discover (instead of See)Explore (instead of Discuss)Radiate (instead of Display)Uncover (instead of Show)Transform (instead of Change)Engage (instead of Involve)Mobilize (instead of Gather)Stretch (instead of Develop)Boost (instead of Increase)Propel (instead of Move)Deliver (instead of Give)Grasp (instead of Understand)Connect (instead of Join)

Your Leadership Guidepost For 2020

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Today's leadership thought is John Wesley's Rule:
Do all the good you can,By all the means you can,In all the ways you can,In all the places you can,At all the times you can,To all the people you can,As long as you ever can.

Asking For Help Is A Good Thing

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If you are new to managing, or if you are struggling with a management dilemma, ask for help. There is no shame in asking for help.
Seek the guidance of a colleague at work. Reach out to a mentor at or away from work. Turn to an online resource. Consult a book on managing.
Whatever you do, don't sit back and do nothing. Managing even one employee can be challenging. And many managers receive little or no formal training on how to be a manager. That means you have to be proactive about learning how to be a good manager.
Your team is depending on you, and to lead them effectively you need to know to how manage effectively. So, ask for help.

10 Questions A Superboss Asks

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Here are ten questions (or bundles of questions) you should ask yourself to ensure you are thinking and acting like a superboss. These are from Sydney Finkelstein's book, Superbosses.

Do you have a specific vision for your work that energizes you, and that you use to energize and inspire your team?How often do people leave your team to accept a bigger offer elsewhere? What's that like when it happens?Do you push your reports to meet only the formal goals set for the team, or are there other goals that employees sometimes also strive to achieve?How do you go about questioning your own assumptions about the business? How do you get your team to do the same about their own assumptions?How do you balance the need to delegate responsibilities to team members with the need to provide hands-on coaching to them? How much time do you usually spend coaching employees?When promoting employees, do you ever put them into challenging jobs where they potentially might fail? If so, how do you…

The Six Questions To Ask Yourself At The End Of Every Day

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One of my favorite parts of Joe Sweeney's book, Moving the Needle, is the section where he recommends you ask yourself these six questions before you go to bed each night:
What was the best thing that happened today?What am I most grateful for today?What did I do to live my ideal day today?What is one new thing I learned today?What did I do to meet my goals today?What am I most looking forward to tomorrow? And, by jotting down your answers to these thoughtful and positive in nature questions sets you in the right frame of mind for waking up in the morning!

Leadership Step By Step

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Yes, it will take you some time to read Joshua Spodek's book, Leadership Step by Step. Yes, it will be a little like doing "homework." Yes, this is a book you'll read and likely need to revisit a few times for the concepts to fully sink in. Yes, this is a book you must read if you want to become the person others will follow.

The time and effort you put into, Leadership Step by Step, will be well worth it!

Spodek guides you through what to do and how to do it in an integrated and comprehensive progression of exercises designed to cultivate key abilities, behaviors, and beliefs through experiences.

The progression contains four units:
Understanding YourselfLeading YourselfUnderstanding OthersLeading Others Each chapter within the four units provides you: Hands-on ExercisesReflection QuestionsPost-Exercise Observations "By the time you finish the book, you'll have competed 22 exercises." explains Spodek, who is an Adjunct Professor at NUY and a lecturer for…

Be A Leader Who Gets Things Done

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If you want to be a leader who can get things done, be sure you:
Engender trust.Instill confidence.Earn respect.