Don’t you just love the lists of how to do this and how to do that. As 2014 is upon us, our love for the “Top 10 Lists” will only increase. The reason we love these lists is due to the fact that in this day and age we have developed the mindset that says,”Lay out the path, show me the tools and give me a step by step list.”
The inner driving force behind our interest in these types of lists is a deep inner desire to improve. We want to do things different, we want to think different and we want to be different, as long as the end result means growth. Especially in the early months of a new year. Consistent growth is that critical component that propels us down the road of success.
You want another list? Well here it goes:
Below is a straight to the point list of how leaders can increase their leadership capacity in 2014.
14 To Increase Your Leadership Capacity In 2014
- 1. Truly Embrace The Team Concept: There is no “I” in team and teamwork makes the dream work.
- 2. Don’t Play It Safe: Be willing to take some risks. Your risks can be calculated or not, either way you need to get off the shores of playing it safe.
- 3. Give Credit & Take Blame: Give credit where credit is due and be willing to look in the mirror and say, “My Bad” or “It’s My Fault!”
- 4. Don’t Be A Yes Man or Yes Woman: Be willing to step up and challenge things when they need to be challenged. This can be the process of leading-up or leading-down.
- 5. Don’t Lose Your Cool: Remember the 3C’s in all situations – Cool, Calm & Collected.
- 6. Empower Your Team: Release your team to do their job. Don’t be a micromanager.
- 7. Minimize Meetings: Reduce the number of meetings, the length of meetings, the necessity of meetings and the list of who needs to attend the meetings.
- 8. Get To Know Your Team Members On A Personal Level: Know what’s going on in the lives of your team members outside of work. Know their interests, their children’s interests… To know is to care.
- 9. Take Time To Develop Your Team Members: Leadership development isn’t a system but rather an on-going act of moving people from where they are to where they need to be. If you want your overall leadership capacity to increase, you must increase the capacity of those around you. Leadership development isn’t optional, it’s a necessity.
- 10. Surround Yourself With The Best: Be willing to hire people that may be smarter, sharper, more opinionated and maybe even all around better leaders than you are. Empower and release those people to strengthen your team and compliment your leadership.
- 11. Shh Listen For A Change: Don’t be the person who is always talking – Shh, Be Quiet and Listen for a change.
- 12. Ask The Difficult Questions: This is where candid evaluation/assessment of everything will make the leader and the team better. Ask questions like: Are the individuals that I have on my team making me better? Am I a my way or the highway leader? Are we going in the right direction? Who on my team got us here, but won’t get us there? Am I making those around me better personally and professionally? Am I open to receive candid feedback? If my position, role, title or formal authority was removed would those around me still be willing to follow? The list of questions goes on and on. Ask the tough questions and embrace the tough answers.
- 13. Rest: Rest, Replenish and Re-charge. All batteries need to be re-charged. Your body needs rest, your brain needs rest and you need rest. “He that can take rest is greater than he that can take cities.” ~Benjamin Franklin
- 14. Brand: Recognize and understand that you are a brand, you have a personal brand and your personal brand affects your organizational brand. Embrace your brand, position your brand and have the self-awareness to know how your brand is viewed. Remember, you are not the only one defining your brand, your brand is also being defined by others. How do the people that work for you and the people that you work for view you? How do people inside and outside your organization view your organization? How does your competition view you? These questions are all real and all important in the branding conversation. Like it or not, brand is important… period. Organizations and leaders will never maximize their potential for success without having a strong brand.
2014 is your year… Ring in the New Year expecting to be successful, expecting to win and expecting to make a difference. #Expectant
Creativity is a key ingredient to a successful, thriving and growing organization. Unfortunately some Micromanagers, Control Freaks and Insecure Leaders Kill Their Organizations and the creative spirit without even realizing it.
Micromanagers take the dynamics of creativity off the table. Their negative and counterproductive process goes a little something like this: Team member tries something new, micromanager watches over their shoulder, questions them and doesn’t give the team members ideas any credibility. Team member gets frustrated and stops thinking outside the box, trying new things and stops leading in general – thus killing creativity.
“The most common mistake I see leaders make is to attempt to lead through control. As counterintuitive as it might seem, in order to gain influence you must surrender control.” ~Mike Myatt
It’s really a sad case when a leader wants a thriving, vibrant, creative organization and they don’t have the self-awareness to know that their insecure control freak nature is the bottleneck. The best position a leader can find themselves in is, “out in front and out of the way.” The only way a leader can remain out in front is to continuously get out of the way and let their team members lead.
In order to foster organizational success and a spirit of creativity, leaders must allow their team members to try new things, chart new courses and sail new waters. If a leader truly wants this to work, they must be willing to get out of the way and be okay with some failures and fumbles. Successes and failures should never be overlooked; however its important to applaud the thought and process of trying. Freedom, flexibility, solutions, ideas, risks, opinions, opportunity, experiment, failure… are all words that help foster creativity and effectually lead to success.
In order for creativity and a culture of winning to permeate through an organization, the insecurity of the micromanager must bid farewell.
Today’s guest post comes from my man @MikeMyatt, who in my opinion is one of the top if not the top Leadership Experts in the world. He is straight up brilliant and has been a great mentor to me personally. This week, Mike just released his brand new leadership gem “Hacking Leadership: The 11 Gaps Every Business Needs to Close and the Secrets to Closing Them Quickly.” It’s awesome, go grab a copy now.
15 Traits Of Great Leadership
Today’s post will make the case for leadership development. While much has been written about the traits and characteristics that form great leaders, the truth is that leaders come in many different varieties…there is no one-size-fits-all formula for leadership. That said, all good leaders possess certain core qualities, and great leaders simply develop said core qualities to a higher level than their peers. Put simply, a leader’s shelf life will be equal to their ability to leverage their leadership traits through solid execution, and influencing their constituencies in alignment with the corporate vision with values. If you want to insure longevity and success as a leader, focus on developing your leadership acumen by prioritizing your efforts on the following list of 15 leadership traits:
- 1. Integrity: Always do the right thing regardless of sentiment, and never compromise your core values. If you cannot build trust and engender confidence with your stakeholders you cannot succeed. No amount of talent can overcome illicit, immoral or otherwise ill-advised actions. A leader void of integrity will not survive over the long-haul.
- 2. Excellent Decision Making Skills: As a leader you will live or die by the quality of the decisions you make. The practical reality of leadership is that you are often only as good as your last decision. When you’re the leader good decisioning is expected, poor decisioning won’t be tolerated, and great decisioning will set you apart from the masses.
- 3. Ability to Focus: If you cannot focus, you cannot perform at the level necessary to remain in leadership for very long. The ability to do nothing more than understand and lock-on to priorities will place you in the top 10% of all leaders.
- 4. Leveraging Experience: Inexperience, a lack of maturity, needing to be the center of attention, not recognizing limitations, a lack of judgment, an inferior knowledge base, or any number of other common mistakes made by rookie leaders can cause your house of cards to fall. If you don’t have the experience personally, hire it, contract it, but by all means acquire it. Great leaders surround themselves with tier-one talent, and the best advisors money can buy. They don’t make uniformed or ill-advised decisions in a vacuum.
- 5. Command Presence: Great leaders possess a strong presence and bearing. They are unflappable individuals that never let you see them sweat (unless of course it serves a purpose). Everything about how they carry themselves messages that they have a clear vision and are capable of leading in accordance with said vision.
- 6. Embracing Change: Great leaders have a strong bias to action. They don’t rest upon past accomplishments, and are always seeking to improve through change and innovation. In today’s fast paced and competitive environment, those leaders who don’t openly embrace change will often be shown the door prior to the expiration of their initial employment contract.
- 7. Brand Champions: Great leaders understand branding at every level. They seek to build not only a dominant corporate brand, but also to leverage a strong personal brand. Leaders that are not well branded on a personal basis, or who let their corporate brand fall into decline will not survive.
- 8. Boundless Energy: Great leaders have a boundless amount of energy. They are positive in their outlook, and their attitude is contagious. A low energy leader is not motivating, convincing, or credible.
- 9. Subject Matter Expertise: Great leaders have a deep understanding of their subject matter, and a strong orientation toward achievement. Great leaders possess what often appears to be a sixth sense, or an almost instinctive feel for what needs to occur in order to leverage their knowledge into a competitive advantage.
- 10. Talent: Great leaders have a nose for talent…They understand how to recruit, develop and deploy talent focusing on applying the best talent to the best opportunities. They also know when it’s time to make changes, and to cut losses as needed.
- 11. Organizational Acumen: Great leaders know how to engender trust, when and how to share information, and are expert listeners. They develop strong teams an healthy organizational cultures driven to performance by aligned motivations. They understand the power of well thought out, consistent, and clearly articulated vision. They can quickly diagnose whether the team/organization is performing at full potential, delivering on commitments, and whether the team is changing and growing versus just operating.
- 12. Curiosity: Great leaders possess a powerful motivation to increase their knowledge base and to convert their learning into actionable initiatives. They question, challenge, confront and are never accepting of the status quo. They listen well and are exceptionally intuitive and observant.
- 13. Intellectual Capacity: Great leaders are also great thinkers…both at the strategic and tactical levels. They are quick on their feet, and know how to get to the root of an issue faster than anyone else. I’ve never met a great leader who wasn’t extremely discerning.
- 14. Big Thinkers: Regardless of the physical or geographical boundaries of their current role, great CEOs think big and add a zero. Limited thinking results in limited results. Whether global thinking is applied to capital formation, supply-chain issues, business development, strategic partnering, distribution or any number of other areas, those leaders who don’t grasp the importance of thinking globally will not endure. Great leaders are externally oriented, hungry for knowledge of the world, and adept at connecting developments and spotting patterns.
- 15. Never Quit: Great leaders refuse to lose…They have an insatiable appetite for accomplishment and results. While they may reengineer or change direction, they will never lose sight of the end game.
Mike Myatt is America’s Top CEO Coach, recognized by Thinkers50 as a global authority on the topic of leadership, a Forbes leadership columnist, author of Leadership Matters, CEO at N2growth, and is a Senior Fellow at the Gordian Institute. His new book, Hacking Leadership: The 11 Gaps Every Business Needs to Close and the Secrets to Closing Them Quickly, is available on Amazon.
In all my years of leadership/followership and in my role as a leadership consultant, I have come to realize that Great Leaders and Great Leadership Cultures are willing to Challenge “The King.” I’m not talking about challenging KIng James to a game of 1 on 1 after you eat a triple steak stack from Taco Bell. I’m referring to “The King” as the Big Boss, The CEO, The Department Chair, Team Leader, The Senior Pastor, The President. Any leader that’s making the decisions or has the title of “The King” in your situation.
What generally happens in an organization is that “The King” develops a style, a system and a reputation for the types of decisions that they will make and the type of feedback that they will take. BTW- that “King” can also be a “Lady.” Those that are closest to “The King” begin to accept those tendencies as the law and over-time challengeable actions, decisions and offenses go un-challenged. The excuses range from,”that’s just how so and so is, to you know they will not even entertain that thought or you can’t say that they will get upset the Kings apple cart.” This type of situation and culture is not good for “The Kings” nor the leaders that follow them.
“The King” ends up leading from an isolated rarely challenged clueless bubble that’s not going to bust because it’s not being poked, prodded and challenged. Those that follow “The King” will sit around and talk about what “The King” is or is not doing and the decisions “The King” is or is not making, which only leads to more problems for “The King” and the organization.
Great Leaders Challenge “The King” which makes them better leaders and him a better King. If an organization is being led by a King that is not willing to be challenged by those around him, the organization is being set up for failure. If leaders are not willing to challenge “The King” they will never be great leaders. If an organizational culture does not embrace challenge at all levels, it’s time to change the culture. Great Leaders Challenge “The King” and Great Kings create a culture where all things, decisions and people will be challenged — Even “The King.”
Let’s take a look at LeBron James aka King James situation last night in their tight game versus their conference foe from the East, the Indiana Pacers. These two teams are the top in the East and are basically fighting for home court advantage. The game was tight, the Heat were losing, tempers were flaring and LeBron James went off on Mario Chalmers after a turnover and leaving Paul George wide open for a shot. The King continued to yell and scream at Chalmers all the way through the time out, Chalmers didn’t take LeBron’s antics laying down he instead challenged The King. Chalmers gave it back to him and let him know that he was wrong.
Initially Chalmers challenging The King didn’t go so well as King James jumped off of the bench and charged Chalmers (as if to fight him) and had to be restrained by his teammates. Chalmers, one of the smallest guys on the team, wasn’t threatened and continued to challenge The King. The great thing about the ending to this story is that The King apologized and said “My Bad, I was wrong.” (see the video of the LeBron James and Mario Chalmers exchange below) More often than not, the King will respect those that are willing to challenge them, their throne, their decisions and their actions. This should always be done in an appropriate, consistent and respectful manner.
If an organizational culture allows for an absolute, imperious, or overbearing control to permeate through their organization, they are setting their organization up to become a dictatorship and ultimately a failure. If an organization and The King allow for challenges and are willing to admit they are wrong, that’s an organization that’s setting themselves up for success, an organization that’s setting themselves up as a championship organization.
Great Leaders Challenge “The King” and Great Kings Want To Be Challenged
Parents this post is for your. Consider it a reminder, a wake-up call, a gift or an attention getter similar to what the Chick-fil-A cow would do to get you to “Eat Mor Chikin.”
No matter how old your kids are; you can take it to the bank that they still want these 3 things.
• 1. Spend More Time: Kids want time and they want quality time. We all understand that as they get older much of their time, conversations and interactions are with their friends, but that doesn’t take away from their deep desire to spend more time with you. Some people take quality time as turning off the technology devices and others are not so concerned about shutting things down as they are about turning the time up.
Hangout, chill, play some sports together, a video game, take a vacation, sit around in your pajamas, talk, laugh, live, watch football, try going to get some manicures and pedicures together. It doesn’t matter the what or the how, what matter sis that you do it. Spend More Time!
• 2. Give More Approval: Kids are always looking for their parents’ approval. As soon as they begin to utter words as a baba they start looking, searching, asking questions and seeking approval of mom and dad or mom or dad: “Is that good enough?” “Did I make you proud?” “Am I stacking up?” “Do you approve?”
As Parents we have the responsibility of always encouraging our kids. When they look over at you in the stands while you’re at the sporting event, give them a big thumbs up. When they are trying out some new style, give them an “I like that you’re being creative and point them to some fashion sites.” When they start dating, put some standards in place and encourage them with an “I trust your judgment.” It doesn’t matter how you give the approval – just give it.
For as long as I can remember, the one thing my mother did was always give her approval, not only her approval but also her encouragement. You can do it, you can do anything if you put your mind to it, I like that you are willing to try. As I’m turning 40 and my mother is turning 70, nothing has changed about her approval and encouragement for me. I was at her house last night before I left on a business trip to LA and she encouraged me and gave me her approval with these words, “Son, I’m so proud of you.” Give More Approval!
• 3. Give More Yes’: When I was a Prison Warden, I had an Office Administrator who lived and operated by a slogan “Starting from yes!” I was always impressed about how she truly operated her life from a “Starting From Yes” perspective. I have come to realize that is a great mindset and mantra for parents to live by.
Let me unpack this a little bit. Parents can have a seemingly natural bad habit of simply starting from no and more importantly they are often times oblivious to it. “Mom, can I go to the movies with Jill?” “NO” “Dad, do you think we can go outside and throw the football?” “NO, Not right now.” “Can I get this, do this, try this, see this, date them, build this, go here, go there???” “NO, NO, NO.”
It’s real easy to get into the habit of saying “NO” just because you can. Saying yes might be just the thing that builds the leader, inspires the entrepreneur, pulls out the strong nature, builds the creative spirit, builds the trust, provides the encouragements, helps to overcome the insecurity and builds a legacy of “Starting From Yes.” Next time you say “NO”, Stop, Pause and Ask Yourself Why? The more you give the “Yes”, the more the “NO’s” are understood and appreciated. Give More Yes’.
Check out this WestJet Christmas Marketing Magical Majestic Miracle and (any other awesome word that begins with an “M”) Masterpiece. This is how companies should think.
Just think about… this is awesome, I’m sharing it, you’re sharing it and since yesterday 1,000,000 others and counting have shared it.
I read this little passage from Thomas Aquinas and it made me go hmm… I hope it does the same for you.
I decided to give it a title: A Banana Tree Full Of Jumping Monkeys
“Without prayer we become deaf to the voice of divine love and become confused by the many competing voices asking for our attention. When we try to become very still, we often find ourselves so overwhelmed by our noisy inner voices that we can hardly wait to get busy and distracted again. Our inner life often looks like a banana tree full of jumping monkeys! But when we decide not to run away and stay focused, the monkeys may gradually go away because of lack of attention, and the soft gentle voice calling us may gradually make itself heard.”