Category Archives: Leadership

YOU CAN’T BE A GREAT LEADER WITHOUT TRUST

Here’s how Top Leaders Gain Faster Results, Deeper Relationships, and a Stronger Bottom Line.

networking

  • Among all the attributes of the greatest leaders of our time, one stands above the rest: They are all highly trusted. You can have a compelling vision, rock-solid strategy, excellent communication skills, innovative insight, and a skilled team, but if people don’t trust you, you will never get the results you want. Leaders who inspire trust garner better output, morale, retention, innovation, loyalty, and revenue, while mistrust fosters scepticism, frustration, low productivity, lost sales, and turnover. Trust affects a leader’s impact and the company’s bottom line more than any other single thing. One of the biggest mistakes a leader can make is to assume that others trust him simply by virtue of his title. Trust is not a benefit that comes packaged with the nameplate on your door. It must be earned, and it takes time. As a leader, you are trusted only to the degree that people believe in your ability, consistency, integrity, and commitment to deliver. The good news is that you can earn trust over time, by building and maintaining eight key strengths:
  • CLARITY: People trust the clear and mistrust or distrust the ambiguous. Be clear about your mission, purpose, expectations, and daily activities. When a leader is clear about expectations, she will likely get what she wants. When we are clear about priorities on a daily basis, we become productive and effective.
  • COMPASSION: People put faith in those who care beyond themselves. Think beyond yourself, and never underestimate the power of sincerely caring about another person. People are often sceptical about whether someone really has their best interests in mind. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is not just an old saying. It is a bottom-line truth. Follow it, and you will build trust.
  • CHARACTER: People notice those who do what is right ahead of what is easy. Leaders who have built this pillar consistently do what needs to be done when it needs to be done, whether they feet like doing it or not. It is the work of life to do what is right rather than what is easy.
  • CONTRIBUTION: Few things build trust quicker than actual results. At the end of the day, people need to see outcomes. You can have compassion and character, but without the results you promised, people won’t trust you. Be a contributor who delivers real results.
  • COMPETENCY: People have confidence in those who stay fresh, relevant, and capable. The humble and teachable person keeps learning new ways of doing things and stays current on ideas and trends. According to one study, the key competency of a successful new MBA is not a specific skill but rather the ability to learn amid chaos. Arrogance and a “been there done that” attitude prevent you from growing, and they compromise others’ confidence in you. There is always more to learn, so make a habit of reading, learning, and listening to fresh information.
  • CONNECTION: People want to follow, buy from, and be around friends—and having friends is all about building connections. Trust is all about relationships, and relationships are Page 8 best built by establishing genuine connection. Ask questions, listen, and above all, show gratitude—it’s the primary trait of truly talented connectors. Grateful people are not entitled, they do not complain, and they do not gossip. Develop the trait of gratitude, and you will be a magnet.
  • COMMITMENT: People believe in those who stand through adversity. People trusted Jesus, General Patton, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mohandas Gandhi, and George Washington because they saw commitment and sacrifice for the greater good. Commitment builds trust.
  • CONSISTENCY: In every area of life, it’s the little things—done consistently— that make the big difference. If I am overweight, it is because I have eaten too many calories over time, not because I ate too much yesterday. It is the same in business. The little things done consistently make for a higher level of trust and better results. The great leaders consistently do the small but most important things first. They make that call and write that thank you note. Do the little things, consistently. Trust can’t be built overnight. It requires time, effort, diligence, and character. Inspiring trust is not slick or easy to fake. Trust is like a forest. It takes a long time to grow and can burn down with a just touch of carelessness. But if you focus on these eight components with every action, you will foster trusted relationships—whether with employees, customers, suppliers, or fellow leaders—that will drive results and the bottom line.

This article is by David Horsager, author of The Trust Edge

Reasons to Leap from Natural to Supernatural Leadership

Here are the key differences with three compelling reasons to take the leap into supernatural leadership and build a Kingdom business.

leap

Too Much Natural Leadership?

Natural adj: formulated by human reason alone rather than revelation; occurring in conformity with the ordinary course of nature; not marvellous or supernatural; operating in the physical world as opposed to the spiritual world

Supernatural adj: unable to be explained by explained by laws of nature; of or relating to an order or existence beyond the visible, observable universe & especially of or relating to God

 

It is so easy – even tempting – to lead from the natural man. We live in a natural body, work in a natural work surrounded by millions of others who only attempt to leverage and grow their natural skills. So, we fall prey to succumbing to the trap of natural leadership – just like so many others.

You may be leaning too much on your natural leadership if you currently struggle with:

  • what to do next
  • how to get there—wherever “there” is
  • slugging through the status quo of doing the same things over and over
  • desiring different, better results but never seeming to breakthrough
  • which leadership guru/expert to follow
  • solving the same problems over and over
  • motivating yourself or your team
  • fear of losing your business, home, or lifestyle

If any of these describe you, then I suggest it is time for you take the leap into supernatural leadership.

3 Supernatural Reasons to Take the Leap

Here are three big reasons to take the leap.

#1: From Education to Revelation

“But as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’ But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:9-10

Natural leadership focuses on the wisdom of man. From secular business books, magazines, and endless conferences and blogs, it is easy to over-educate our natural heads with worldly “wisdom.”

Supernatural leadership focuses not upon any person’s persuasive words and spiritual-sounding insights, but on the infallible, perfect wisdom of God.

#2: From Miss-led to Spirit-led

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.” Romans 8:14

As I detail in my book OUA, believers in business can be easily miss-led. From being head-led, expert-led, opportunity-led, money-led and more, natural leaders (like I was for decades) are easily misled by the latest and greatest stuff.

Supernatural leaders purpose in their hearts to only and always be led by the Holy Spirit who will never mislead you. He will always guide you into all truth and help you position yourself and your business for — yes — supernatural growth and impact.

#4: Human powered to God powered

“I can of Myself do nothing.” John 5:30

“Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things.” John 8:28

“And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:4-5

Even Jesus could not operate as a natural leader. Think about that for a minute! Jesus gave up his heavenly throne and power (Philippians 2:5-8) to operate as a flesh man supernaturally led and employed by the Holy Spirit.

Jesus walked as human who gave God permission to supercharge his natural gifts & to release more supernatural leadership gifts. So can you. Imagine the potential impact!

Get Ready to Take the Leap

Let’s revisit the natural leadership list from above. If you were to take the leap into supernatural leadership, would God through His Spirit tell you how to:

  • know what to do next?
  • get “there” and exactly where “there” is?
  • breakthrough your status quo?
  • achieve different, better results?
  • follow the one perfect leadership guru/expert (Jesus)?
  • solve every problem once and for all?
  • motivate yourself & your team?
  • overcome your fear of losing your business, home, or lifestyle?

Of course, He would – and so much more!

As we take this journey together, my focus will be to guide and equip you on how to take the leap into a God-directed, Jesus-gifted, Holy Spirit-empowered supernatural future for yourself and your business.

Who’s ready to take the leap?

SERVANT LEADERSHIP

Servants, Not Kings

insanely-successful-leaders
Entrepreneur, Josh Linkner wrote a column for Forbes under the title: “Great Startup CEO’s Are Servants, Not Kings.” Over the course of his investing career, he said the duds in his portfolios had been led by grandiose personalities who talked big and acted like kings. The companies that performed best, he said, were led by servants—men and women who kept their heads down, their hands to the work, and who laboured for the best interests of their employers and investors.1

Servant leadership originated with Christ. While ministering on earth He provided a clear example of how to treat others. He came to serve rather than to be served.

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.
Mark 10:45

It’s the little things—returning the shopping cart to its rack, smiling at the clerk behind the counter, picking up the phone to discuss a disagreement rather than sending an email, emptying the dishwasher, letting the other person have the last word, suppressing an exclamation of complaint—that make a difference.

Start filling your day with servant actions, and you’ll fill your life with blessings.

Being teachable and open to new ideas, with a bright outlook toward the future, will make you a servant leader.
Josh Linkner

UNEXPECTED HABITS OF SUCCESSFUL LEADERS

insanely-successful-leaders

If you’ve been following Marcel Schwantes, Principal and founder, Leadership From the Core (@MarcelSchwantes) for a while, you’ll have noticed humility is one of his favorite leadership traits to write about; This time for Inc.

But because this word has different effects on different people, it’s often misunderstood. Some interpret it as having a lack of self-confidence or being timid–traits too soft to survive in the harshness of business life. Far from the truth.

The word first struck me in the context of leadership when Jim Collins mentioned it in his seminal book Good to Great.

Collins examined 1,435 “good” companies, and out of the masses he discovered 11 unique companies that became “great.” The insanely successful leaders at those 11 companies were known for directing their ego away from themselves to the larger goal of leading their company to greatness.

Collins found these leaders had a paradoxical mix of intense professional will and extreme personal humility. They are described as modest, with a determination to create results by shifting the focus away from themselves and continually recognizing the contributions of others.

Bruna Martinuzzi, president of Clarion Enterprises and author of The Leader as a Mensch: Become the Kind of Person Others Want to Follow, observes these five habits in leaders who practice humility:

1. Stop talking.

Allow the other person to be in the limelight. There is something very liberating in this strategy.

2. Three magical words.

Use these words for better results than a week’s worth of executive coaching with me (or anyone else, for that matter): “You are right.”

3. Catch yourself.

If you slip into preaching or telling others what to do without permission, think again. Is imposing your point of view overtaking discretion? Is your correction of others reflective of your own needs?

4. Seek input from peers.

Wondering how you are doing on your leadership path? Ask. It takes humility to say “How am I doing?” And even more humility to consider the answer.

5. Set an example.

There’s no better way to encourage the practice of humility in your circle than by practicing it yourself. Every time you share credit for successes with others, you reinforce the ethos.

Parting thoughts.

Interesting things happen when we apply the humble approach. It opens us up to possibilities. We choose open-mindedness and curiosity over protecting our point of view. We become more willing to learn from what others have to offer. We forget about being perfect and better enjoy being in the moment. It also improves relationships, reduces anxiety, and enhances one’s self-confidence.

There’s clear competitive advantage in mastering humility.

read more at inc.com

10 New Truths Great Leaders Know That Most People Don’t

Lolly Daskal founder of Leader from Within gives her take on what ‘new leadership’ looks like, originally published in Inc.

managers meeting

Like any other field, leadership goes through trends and changes–and if you want to be successful, you need to stay on top of them. Old-school leadership is just that, and what we do today is very different. To understand leadership, you need to be able to separate historic thought from current practice.

Help your thinking develop with these concepts from contemporary leadership:

1. Authenticity and transparency rule. In the age of social media, there’s no getting away with dishonesty or cover-ups. If you or your company lies, cheats, or fudges numbers, the odds that you will be exposed are higher than ever.

2. Your brand is your reputation. It used to be that when people talked about reputation they focused on your public character and your past. Today your personal brand is your reputation–and it’s what you say and do today that defines how people perceive you. Make sure your brand represents you well.

3. If you’re not social you’re missing the boat. As a leader you need to be able to communicate and be visible, and in today’s world that means not just being present on social media, but being savvy and having something to say. Hiding behind a closed boardroom door is no longer an option.

4. Collaboration is the new currency. If you’re not sharing, partnering, or collaborating, you’re failing to engage in the new currency of business. The price–and it’s a significant one–will be paid by your leadership and your organization.

5. New choices abound. Around 35 percent of the current workforce is self-employed, and the numbers are just getting larger. People are switching careers in midlife and thinking entrepreneurially. There are still a few people who take a nine-to-five job in the field they majored in, but the age of knowing you have to please a boss to get ahead is over.

6. Interconnection means freedom. It used to be that leadership controlled the conversation. Now, with email, the Internet, and social media close at hand for so many people, the leadership of power has been replaced by a leadership of connectedness.

7. People want a say in their future. If you try to lead with hierarchy, you will be challenged–and it’s not likely you’ll fare well. Those who seek power and love bureaucracy will find it harder to survive as organizations become flatter, which puts more accountability in the hands of each employee and even clients.

8. Community is critical. Organizations don’t exist in a vacuum, and there is no room for dictatorship in contemporary leadership. Cultivating a community requires the kind of leadership that encourages people to work for a shared vision and a shared goal.

9. If you don’t lean in, you’re heading out. We’re listening more to those who have learned how to lean in, to take a more active role in leadership where they did not have a voice before. to be more assertive at work and not let biases keep them from pushing forward.

read the rest and more at inc.com

Company Runs Without Managers

Fascinating article by Inc’s David Burkus. Holocracy, Does it work in practice? (read more at inc.com)

managers meeting

To most business professionals, the idea of  firing your managers sounds insane. However some of the most successful companies do in fact run manager-less, while others have found ways to push some of the management function down to the level of those who are being managed. In either case, more and more leaders are discovering that employees are most productive and engaged when they control their own destiny.

Employees at Valve Software don’t have to take orders from ‘the boss.’ That’s because, at the Bellevue, Washington-based company, there are no bosses to give orders.

As I write about in Under New Management, Valve is a company with no managers. They don’t believe in managers, or job descriptions. When new people join the company, they rotate around on various projects, talk to lots of people, and then decide which project (or projects) to jump into full-time.

Valve isn’t just a small handful of programmers working in a garage either. The company was founded in 1996 by Mike Harrington and Gabe Newell. The company grew organically and quickly based on the success of its critically acclaimed game series Half-Life. The company has grown dramatically from the original partnership to more than 400 people.

Ordinarily, that type of growth would require a fairly rigid hierarchy to manage everyone and keep them working in the right direction. But Harrington and Newell chose to ignore the traditional structure and to build something that would allow innovative and talented people to thrive.

In fact, what Valve employees work on changes so much each day that every employee’s desk is equipped with wheels and organized such that only two cords need to be unplugged before it can be rolled to wherever it’s needed in the shop.

There are lots of people, however, to tell them what they could do. Since Valve has no managers, all projects are started by an individual employee or a group pitching an idea and then recruiting a team. If enough people join the group, the project starts. Sometimes an individual employee is referred to as the ‘leader’ for a project, but everyone knows that this simply means that this person is keeping track of all of the information and organizing what’s being done — not giving orders.

There are also lots of people to tell employees how they’re doing. Valve may not have managers, but it does have a performance management system in place. A designated set of employees interview everyone in the company and ask who they’ve worked with since the last peer review session. They ask about their experiences working with each person. That feedback is collected and anonymized, and then every employee is given a report on their peers’ experiences working with them.

Valve also empowers all of its employees to make hiring decisions, which it describes as “the most important thing in the universe.” Valve attributes the success of its organizational design to hiring the smartest, most innovative, and most talented people it can find. The company’s handbook reminds employees, “Any time you interview a potential hire, you need to ask yourself not only if they’re talented or collaborative but also if they’re capable of literally running this company, because they will be.”

The leaders of companies like Valve have discovered something that researchers have known for decades: when individuals feel free to determine what they’re working on or how they work, they’re more motivated, more loyal and more productive. While Valve’s almost free-form structure may not be ideal for every company, the lessons learned here about improved productivity and engagement are of use to all.

read more at inc.com