Archive - October, 2014

Greatness Is Always A Matter Of Choice

greatWe live in a world where there is greatness all around us. We get to watch our favorite TV programs with all of the great actors and actresses. Right now we are in the middle of the MLB World Series where we get to watch the greatest baseball players in the world battle it out on the field. We get to attend conferences and hear from some of brightest minds and the greatest speakers of our time.

We simply get to sit and watch greatness. We get to imagine what greatness could be and get a little glimpse of what it is. We get to watch greatness all around us and often times we are in awe because of it.

I was watching a little singing competition called American Idol where people who watched greatness for years decided to take a shot at becoming great. Twelve made it to the top, two made it to the finale and there was one great winner. What changed with these top 12? They chose to be great, they gave it a chance, they stepped in the ring, they got off the sidelines and they got in the game.

“Greatness is inside of you” is not some random quote or saying… it’s truth. You have potential for greatness, it’s time that you reach your God potential.

“Forget about likes and dislikes. They are of no consequence. Just do what must be done. This may not be happiness but it is greatness.” ~George Bernard Shaw

Greatness is never a matter of chance, Greatness is always a matter of choice. 

10 Signs They Are A Not-So-Good Leader

poor leaderMost of us have worked for leaders that are for all intents and purposes are not very good. I actually learned a lot in my early days of leadership from some really bad leaders. Not only were they bad leaders, they were oblivious to the negative affects of their poor leadership. There are many signs that a leader is not a good leader and I have identified 10 Signs below.

The reason I attribute these signs to not being a “Good Leader” is because a leader has to at least reach the mantle of being a “Good Leader” before they can be a “Great Leader” Here are 10 Signs They Are A Not-So-Good Leader… Remember “They”could be you!

1. they are not willing to fail.
2. they only talk and never listen.
3. they don’t develop and produce other leaders.
4. they micro-manage; that’s management not leadership.
5. they are insecure or threatened by someone that they lead.
6. they are not willing to follow and learn from those that they lead.
7. they are focused on pleasing people and what people think. Consumed with whether or not they look good to their superiors.
8. they don’t genuinely care about the people they lead and have difficulty getting people to follow.
9. they are willing to make the wrong decision, because of the fear of fall-out from making the right decision.
10. they only dream about being like so and so, instead of being the best they can be.

11 Key Attributes Of Awesomely Great Leaders

great leaderThere are many attributes that leaders from all facets possess. A number of these attributes are positive and unfortunately some not so positive. Organizations, teams and people in general are always searching for desirable attributes in leaders they want to work for. Not only leaders they want to work for, but leaders who inspire them to work harder and faster all while developing their personal leadership.

The types of leaders that inspire and produce greatness all around them are always highly sought after; however the are often hard to find. A few key indicators that an organization, team or department is led by one of these great leaders is the the fact that they generally have a positive, healthy and productive work environment with minimal turnover.

If we take it a step further and look beyond these key indicators, we can generally find that these great leaders can be identified by a set of inherent characteristics. I have broken these inherent characters into 11 key attributes.

11 Key Attributes Of Awesomely Great Leaders

  • 1. Honesty – Tell the truth; even if lying is easier — tell the truth. || “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” ~Thomas Jefferson
  • 2. Integrity – Do what’s right; even if nobody is watching — do what’s right. || “There are seven things that will destroy us: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Religion without sacrifice; Politics without principle; Science without humanity; Business without ethics.” ~Mahatma Gandhi and I will add an 8th “Leadership without integrity.”
  • 3. Visionary – Have some vision for where you’re going; empower your team to get you there and if you don’t do anything else — have some vision for where you are going. || “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” ~Thomas Jefferson
  • 4. Self Awareness – Know who you are; the good, the bad and the ugly, know who you are. ||  “He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened.” ~Lao Tzu
  • 5. Risk Taker – Be willing to try new things, new strategies and embrace new ideas; even if the ideas aren’t yours — be willing to try new things, new strategies and embrace new ideas. || “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” ~Harold R. McAlindon
  • 6. Caring – Truly care about those you lead; people can care less about how much you know until they know how much you care — truly care about those you lead. || Great leadership is always less about the “leader” and more about the “ship” ~Scott Williams
  • 7. Stand For Something – Lead by convictions; know why you do what you do and why you think what you think — lead by convictions. || “You must stick to your conviction, but be ready to abandon your assumptions.” ~Denis Waitley
  • 8. Spirit Of Development – Develop other leaders; without leadership development, the pipeline of leadership is halted — develop other leaders. || “My main job was developing talent. I was a gardener providing water and other nourishment to our top 750 people. Of course, I had to pull out some weeds, too.” ~Jack Welch
  • 9. Good Listener – Be willing to listen; if you’re always talking, there is a good chance you are not listening — be willing to listen. || “To listen well, is as powerful a means of influence as to talk well, and is as essential to all true conversation” ~Chinese Proverb
  • 10. Lifetime Leaner – Learn from anything and everything; no matter how many degrees or titles you have, you always have the capacity to learn — learn from anything and everything.  || “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” ~John F. Kennedy
  • 11. Humility –  Stay level-headed and don’t think that you’re better than others; no matter how much success, praise or fortune you receive, stay level-headed and don’t think that you’re better than others. || “Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance.” ~St. Augustine

What do you think about these 11 attributes? Share your thoughts and experiences. 

5 Ways Leaders Can Minimize Stress In The Workplace

stress1As a leader it’s important to set the tone for your team or organization, especially as it relates to handling stressful or crisis situations. If the leader wigs out, stresses out, worries or has a heart attack during high stress or crisis situations; there will always be undertones of that stress transferred to the rest of the team. Leaders must learn to keep calm in these types of situations.

I learned the importance of keeping calm during crisis situations during my tenure as a young 25 year old Prison Warden. As you can imagine running a prison presents the daily opportunity for high stress, crisis and potentially life & death situations. I had the personal choice of whether or not I allowed particular circumstances or people to stress me out. I would watch the previous Warden get stressed out by the most trivial things and felt the stressful impact her response to those situations had on the staff. Realizing that it was up to me, I developed an effective philosophy and mindset to handle these potentially high stress or crisis situations.

The philosophy was simply this, “There is nothing that we can’t begin to fix in “5 Minutes and 5 Phone Calls.” I trained my Chief of Security and my Officers to not sweat the small stuff and embrace the fact that crisis situations will happen. Remembering, it’s not about the situation, it’s about how you handle the situation.  This type of mindset allows leaders to set the tone of stress minimization in the workplace.

In my role as a prison Warden, imagine a high stress situation of a full-blown prison riot.  The process that my team would undergo within the first 5 Minutes would be to make the following 5 Phone Calls:

  • Call Local Law Enforcement
  • Call Me “The Warden”
  • Call The Department of Corrections Liaison
  • Call Vice President of Operations
  • Call Media/PR Representative

This mindset puts all situations, including crisis situation into perspective. It’s inevitable that we will face problems and potentially stressful situations on a regular basis. It doesn’t matter if the problem that we face is work related or personal, what matters is there is the beginning to a solution around the corner. Stop Wiggin’ Out, Tell Your Boss To Stop Wiggin’ Out and embrace the fact that every situation, including Life & Death one’s can begin the “fixing process” in 5 Minutes and 5 Phone Calls.

Once a leader comes to the realization that simplicity matters and the situation they are facing really isn’t that big of a deal, they can begin to embody Albert Einstein’s version of 5 Minutes and 5 Phone Calls. Einstein says it this way, “Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

It’s not that serious, STOP STRESSING!

There Is A Difference Between Leadership and Dictatorship

jongThere is definitely a difference between leadership and dictatorship; unfortunately many so called “leaders” confuse the two. According to webster, we can easily see the distinguishing differences between the two:

Leadership – the position or function of a leader, a person who guides or directs a group.

Dictatorship – absolute, imperious, or overbearing power or control.

Aha, one guides, directs, coaches and leads a group and the other tells the group to do this thing, this way, because I said so and more importantly because I have the power… I am the dictator.

Can a dictator get things done? Absolutely! Is what they accomplish generally effective? Absolutely not! When results are produced out of fear, power and control, it’s never a good thing for anyone other than the dictator themselves.

If you ever find yourself in a group or on a team where the only opinion (singular) is the one of the person running the show, there is a good chance you are part of a dictatorship. The sad thing is it’s probably not a very good one, because no one individual is as smart, witty, creative, discerning, charismatic, strategic… as a group of individuals coming together as a true team.

 

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