And How to Add Them to Your Toolbox

An plumber without the right tools can't be effective. A leader is the same.It is complicated and challenging being the leader. Especially a leader with a position of authority.

Demands are everywhere. Demands for more efficiency, more productivity. Do more with less. Keep everyone engaged. Reduce turnover. Make a profit. Get the reports in on time. Get more clients or customers. Answer emails. Hire good people. Get rid of unproductive employees. Fix problems.

It’s easy to get lost in all that. It’s also easy to forget what you were put there to do to begin with.

Your primary job, no matter your title, is to Boldly Lead your team.

What does it mean to Boldly Lead?

Boldly Lead logoTo Boldly Lead means to be strong and courageous when facing the demands of the day. It means to always place your primary focus on the people in your team and providing them with what they need to accomplish their goals or deadlines. It means to protect your team when they need protecting.

To Boldly Lead means grabbing the corners of the blanket and shaking them forward; giving them hope and vision. It means navigating for them and bringing clarity in all situations.

To Boldly Lead means you place people first, because it is only through your people that things get done consistently and productively.

[tweetthis hidden_hashtags=”#BoldlyLead” url=”http://ow.ly/B5b3309TP7a” display_mode=”box”]To Boldly Lead means that your people are your highest priority at work![/tweetthis]

Boldly Lead with Critical Skills

If you want to Boldly Lead your team, there are tools you need to be ready to pull out and use constantly and consistently.

Empathy

To show empathy for others means that you have an interest in and relate to other people’s feelings. We show concern for when members of our team have issues, especially when those issues have a lot of emotional content. In an interview in Success Magazine, noted author Simon Sinek says it is as simple as saying the words “Is everything OK?

He gives a great example that he documented in his book Leaders Eat Last. In an interview with a Marine Corp officer about what makes them so special; why every Marine is ready to lay their life on the line for each other. The officer said you could go to any Marine Corp mess hall and you would see that the least in rank eat first and the high officers last. Putting the needs of our team members – especially their emotional needs – before our own goes a long way towards showing that they are important. What you get in return is commitment.

Start with asking. “How are things going?“, “Are you ok?“, “How are you feeling?”  And then listen. Don’t judge, don’t try to fix.

LISTEN.

Emotional Intelligence

More than just a buzzword, it’s an important skill for a leader.

Author and psychologist Daniel Goleman identifies five qualities you must demonstrate to achieve a level of emotional intelligence:

  1. Self-awareness
  2. Self-regulation
  3. Motivation (or passion)
  4. Empathy
  5. Social Skills

In other words, it’s not just enough to be self-aware (“I know I am a jerk sometimes”) we must also learn to control that and have the passion for others to want to, the empathy to understand how it impacts others, and the social skills to implement it.

Emotional Intelligence can only be effectively achieved through a commitment to daily personal growth. Develop a plan of intentional growth that helps you become more aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and follow a specific plan of daily improvement.

Strategic Planning

This is where vision and navigation come in. Seeing the road ahead and the path to take. Anticipating the roadblocks and obstacles and knowing how to overcome them or get around them. Coaching your team on how to move ahead and stay consistent with your mission and values.

Communication

Author and former presidential speech writer James Humes says it best: “The art of communication is the language of leadership.”

Is it any wonder that survey after survey, year after year, identifies communication as the number one skill sought by employers?

Learn and develop active listening skills. Study not just what to say but how to say it. Understand how personality types affect how we communicate. You will use this tool every day, all day.

Calendar

What does a calendar have to do with being a leader? 

Close up of arms of woman holding schedule. She choosing certain dateUse it to schedule your personal growth time (minimum 30 minutes a day), your reflection and navigation time. Everything you absolutely need to do.

I don’t know who originally said, but I heard it from Michael Hyatt: What gets scheduled gets done.

What else? Fill in the calendar with every person’s birthday, partner’s birthday, anniversary, children’s birthday, work anniversary, and other significant dates. Add a reminder to each. Make a point of recognizing each of them.

Making them important by remembering what’s important to them.

What tools do you use to Boldly Lead your team? Identify tools you need to add to your toolbox. How are you going to change things?

Share your thoughts here or email me at psimkins@BoldlyLead.com.

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Double-Dose of Leadership

John C. MaxwellWe had the benefit at the 2014 L2:Learn-Lead simulcast to hear from John C. Maxwell twice.  He opened the proceedings, which I documented in the post Why Leaders are Learners – Part I, and then closed it with another talk.  This was an excellent close for many, who left raving about what they learned from this.  I did too!

Leaders are Learners By What They Ask Themselves

John emphasized that the first place he looks to ask questions is to ask questions of himself.  The questions we ask ourselves direct us — and sometimes re-direct us — to keep us focused on our vision and goals.  They help us determine if we are improving, if we are making an impact, and if we are truly leading.
Asking yourself questions on a regular basis helps keep the main thing the main thing.  It keeps us from majoring in the minors and getting lost in the details.  It helps us maintain a big picture view.

Three Questions to Ask Yourself

1.  Am I investing in myself?
When we take time, energy, and money to invest in our own growth, we prepare ourselves to lead more effectively, to be a more productive contributor, and primarily to unlock more of the potential in others.
[snaptweet]It doesn’t get any better for my people until it gets better for me.[/snaptweet]
This requires DAILY, INTENTIONAL growth.  I call it being a 1%er.
[snaptweet]Focus on growing yourself by just 1% a day.[/snaptweet]  That seemingly small 1% compounds quickly and soon you find yourself doing great things before you realize it.
Three Investment Indicators
  1. MY SELF-IMAGE – How do I perceive myself?  Do I truly believe in myself?  Quickly gauge yourself on this on a scale of one to ten.  Where are you?
  2. MY DREAMS – Do I have BIG dreams of what I want to achieve?  Are they scary and yet exciting?  Quickly gauge yourself on this on a scale of one to ten.  Where are you?
  3. MY FRIENDS – The Law of Environment kicks in here.  Are the people around you encouraging and uplifting?  Do they challenge you?  Do they add value to you?  Are you able to encourage, uplift, challenge, and add value to them?  Quickly gauge yourself on this on a scale of one to ten.  Where are you?
We will only invest in ourselves if we can honestly rate ourselves high in these areas.
2.  Am I investing in the right people?
  1. Do they influence others?  Who do they influence?  How many do they influence?
  2. Do they have potential to grow?
  3. What is their attitude and competence level?
  4. Chemistry Factor – Do they fit into the formula?  Do I like them?  Do others like them?
  5. Passion Factor – Do they have a genuine passion for what they do?  Are they motivated?
  6. Character Factor – Do their character traits fit in with the character traits I desire for my team?  Are they grounded?  Trustworthy?
  7. Values Factor – Are their values compatible with the team or organization (or my) values?  Critical to have this for the right culture within your team or organization.
[snaptweet]Culture eats vision for lunch![/snaptweet]
  1. Team Work Factor – Are they able to fit in and perform well as part of the whole?  Or are they a lone wolf?
  2. Support Factor – Are they supportive of other team members and organization objectives?  Can they support and complete me?
  3. Creative Factor – Can I count on them to seek out creative solutions to challenges?  Can they find possibilities out of impossibilities?
  4. Options Factor – Can they give me options?
  5. Ten Percent Factor – Can they give me the last 10%?  All the fruit is in the last 10%.  Can they stay for the harvest?
3. Am I genuinely interested in people?
Leaders see more than others see and see before others see.  Do I really care for others?  If so, I can use my advantage to add value to others.  If not, I will only use it to add value to me.

Where did you find yourself on this?  What questions do you ask yourself regularly?  Do you set aside time to think?

Add your thoughts and comments below.
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Bringing People Alongside You is Crucial

Years ago, Stanley Ott wrote a book called The Joy of Discipling.  If you are faith-oriented, I recommend it.  Not a long book but definitely a powerful one.
Being a With Me LeaderIn the book, Ott describes the premise of discipling (teaching or guiding) others is through a “With Me” approach.  Bringing them along with you but also walking along with them; for the journey is not for one person but for both of you.  Along the way, both of your grow.
As a leader, your objective is not to be out front; it’s to be beside.  It’s not to say, “I have all the answers“; it’s to say “Let’s find the answers together.”  It’s the challenge to bring them along with you on your journey, yet at the same time exploring their journey as well.
That’s critical because if the relationship only benefits you, the other person is gonna lose interest.  A leader helps others get where they are going while also showing the way to where that person is going. It means you have to care for them, want to know their life story.  It means wanting to know where they have been and, even more so, wanting to know where they want to go.  And at all times, being a leader requires having someone with you.  Otherwise, all you are doing is taking a lonely walk.
[snaptweet]”If you think you are a leader and there is no one behind (or beside) you, then you are just taking a walk!” -John Maxwell[/snaptweet]
So the objective is to always have someone with you, even as you learn.  Discovery as a team or group is so much more productive and rewarding.

Who are you bringing beside you? Are you helping them on their journey, or just dragging them along on yours?

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Hitting the Wall

Do you find yourself, or someone you work with, becoming a clock watcher?  You know, waiting for the hands of the clock to point to quitting time so you can hurry out the door and do something exciting.

Why Do You Do What You Do?

Dog SingingIt’s been said in various forms that runners run, writers write, teachers teach, and speakers speak.  And they do it because they have a passion for doing it.  They can’t imagine doing anything else.  They can’t imagine not having that as a part of their lives.
You may remember the scene from the movie, Sister Act 2, starring Whoopie Goldberg.  She is dressed as a nun and talking to Rita, a girl who is the best singer in the choir.  Rita has quit, pretending like she didn’t care, even though it is quite obvious she loves to sing.  Whoopie tells her  “If you wake up in the morning, and you can’t think of anything but singing, then you should be a singer, girl!

It’s passion.

Passion provides clarity, it helps us discern direction, and it fuels our actions.  When we are passionate about something, we feel compelled to act towards it.  The more that passion builds, the more we feel compelled to take action.
The opposite effect is, one that I have seen too many times in too many organizations, is people becoming passion-less. They have absolutely no passion for what they are doing and they become like the walking dead.  In fact, John Maxwell said that passionless people ARE dead, they just haven’t made it official yet.
So remember this:
[snaptweet]No matter what your formula for success is, if it doesn’t factor in passion, it just doesn’t add up.[/snaptweet]

So how you discover or re-awaken that passion?

  • WHAT MAKES YOU SING, WHAT MAKES YOU CRY – Look at your daily or weekly activities.  You will find your passion in either the things that make you shout for joy when you do them or the things the tug at your heart so much that you feel compelled to action.  You will discover the little nuggets of passion inside these things.
  • WHAT’S THE END RESULT YOU DESIRE – What do you want to accomplish?  In a business environment, that doesn’t mean job description or corporate objectives. It means what is the end result, what do you really want to see happen here?
    For example, for me what I want to see happen is that I manage to inspire people and businesses to engage in continual, daily growth so that they become the best that they can be; they can realize their potential and become more effective and more profitable at what they do.  And that drives me to do what I do.
  • WHAT CAN YOU LET GO OF TO DO MORE OF WHAT YOU WANT TO DO – While it’s true that passion fuels action, it’s also true that action fuels passion.  The more you do those things you enjoy doing or feel compelled to do, the more your passion builds for them and the more effective you are going to become.

What about you?  Share here how you feel about what you do and how you build your passion.

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Thinking Possibilities

As leaders, one of the most important things we do is think.  We think about our followers, about mentoring and growing other leaders, about the future of our business or our team.
Our thinking becomes dangerous when we start thinking in terms of limitations. When we think in absolutes.  When we think with what’s called a “Lack Mentality”.
It’s been proven time and time again;  limited thinking leads to limited results.
When we think in possibilities however then answers and solutions come to us.
Ken Blanchard once said,
If you want to go places you have never gone before, you have to think in ways you have never thought before.
Possibility thinking leads to the creative.  It opens up new avenues and new solutions and allows you to be a more effective leader for your team.

Solutions Through Possibilities

Mr. Hollands Opus - Mr. Holland teaches musicIf you ever saw the movie, Mr. Holland’s Opus, starring Richard Dreyfus as music teacher Glenn Holland you would see an excellent example of this.  Mr. Holland is trying to write music and dreams of creating a world renown piece.  To pay the bills, he takes on a job as a high school music teacher and  faces challenge after challenge with the students and even his own child, who is born deaf.

Where others saw absolutes and insurmountable circumstances, Mr. Holland instead looked for possibilities.  His passion for music and his desire to share that passion with others led him to think of unique ways to make things happen and achieve success.  He finds creative ways to reach students and inspire them and even devises a way for his deaf son and other hearing impaired people to enjoy music through lights.
The end result was the lasting impact that Mr. Holland had on the people he influenced.  He led them places they didn’t think they could go.

How We Can

As a leader, the responsibility we have as well is to lead people where they don’t necessarily think they can go.  To do that, we have to be willing and prepared to explore possibilities and seek creative solutions in pursuit of our vision.
[snaptweet]When our vision and our passion join, we see hope.  But when we think HOW WE CAN instead of “CAN WE”, then we create possibilities to bring our vision to reality.[/snaptweet]

Here’s some things to help open you up to possibilities:

  1. Be a positive thinker –  Many think positive thinking is just sticking your head in the sand, but actually a positive thinker looks for possibilities.  They look for how they can get the best out of every situation.
  2. Remember WHY and HOW – Question things a lot.  Ask questions like “how can we be more effective?  How can we serve our customers more efficiently?  How can we improve our profitability?”
  3. Avoid the Impossible Thinkers – The consultants and experts that tell you it can’t be done, that its impossible to reach your goals or objectives.  There are always possibilities and we want to look for those instead of what we can’t do.
  4. Think “AND” instead of “OR” –  We limit our thinking by creating exclusionary choices.  We can do this or have that.  Why not look at how can we do this AND have that?  How can we improve customer service AND increase profitability?  Thinking that way helps us come up with creative solutions that are more effective for our organization.

What possibilities will you open yourself up to today?

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