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Managers Who Listen Achieve Sustainable Results

We’ve all read those statistics that reveal the number of employees who leave their jobs due to management. A recent study of 7,200 employees found that 50% of them left a job because of their manager. These statistics have a negative effect on talent retention and just spikes attrition. But what if those statistics can be used to boost managerial performance instead? Managers who actively prioritize time to listen to their employees have the opportunity to boost business in a number of ways.

Employees Are Empowered to Feel Like A Valuable Part of the Team

Companies who have support from their employees have a better chance of reaching their goals. In the case of Xerox, the company even managed a dramatic turnaround thanks to the efforts of its CEO. This and other success stories all have a common thread - employees are part of the decision-making process.

  • Employees who buy into the plan will welcome change - one of the toughest situations businesses face is change management. There are a number of reasons employees feel ill at ease with change and these include: a lack of understanding, inability to see how it affects the bigger picture, and a shortage of skills or staff to manage current tasks. Those who are part of the journey from the ground up will respond better to change.

  • Employees are better able to motivate their peers - It’s easy to assume that motivation is only needed at a managerial level. Real motivation filters through to other staff members, who will have a positive effect on their colleagues. This promotes teamwork and better facilitation of projects.

  • Employees will feel like they’re part of something special - One of the biggest reasons employees hate their jobs is the feeling that they’re not valuable collaborators.

How To Knuckle Down and Listen to Employees

Managers often avoid listening to an employee because they assume it will involve a cup of coffee and they then proceed to tell their whole life’s tale. However, this is not the case. When employees speak, it’s important for managers to listen with the intention of understanding their situation.

Managers need to be aware that listening to someone is about giving them more than just a platform to speak. They also need to know that their input is valuable. This means that they can’t share the floor or compete with other people or devices. This is about fostering good relationships overall. Managers can take a queue from their personal relationships in this regard. If it doesn’t work at home it also won’t work at the office. These include:

  • Using an electronic device, replying to messages, scheduling appointments, etc. while an employee has the floor.

  • Don’t take it personally. The employee is merely conveying things that are important to them. If they’re being disrespectful or disruptive, rather call them aside and deal with them personally than in front of the group.

  • Use the opportunity to grow. Nothing spells leader more than the ability to take criticism without getting offended.

Fostering good - yet professional - relationships with staff will involve learning a bit more about them as people. Remember the things that are important to them in order to build a relationship of trust. After all, Sir Richard Branson once said “If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers. It’s that simple.”

 

From contributor, Jackie

10 Steps to Effective Communication

At the root of any successful leader is a strong ability to communicate. Sure, there have been leaders who have ascended into the highest positions and not had that skill, but they likely didn't last long. This point was illustrated recently as I listened to a NPR program about the failure of the big banks on Wall Street. When Congress grilled executives from these institutions about why they didn't catch the risky investments that were being made that ultimately failed, their answers were all the same and quite simple - we didn't know. It was their job to know and either nobody told them or they didn't catch it in the data they had access to. No flags were raised; nobody asked so nobody told. This is definitely a communication meltdown that had widespread negative consequences.

What is communication?

Communication in life is the pinnacle of every successful - and not so successful - relationship. According to Webster's dictionary, communication is defined as a process of transferring information from one entity to another. Communication processes are sign-mediated interactions between at least two agents, which share a repertoire of signs, and semiotic rules. Communication is commonly defined as "the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs". Although there is such a thing as one-way communication, communication can be perceived better as a two-way process in which there is an exchange and progression of thoughts, feelings or ideas (energy) towards a mutually accepted goal or direction (information).

Why is communication important?

Often times, we have a message which we want to communicate or we want the receiver of message to understand our message in the same sense as we convey it. Take for example a company's need to raise the cost of health insurance. Often times, this is conveyed through a written document to the employees at open enrollment time. The employee's reaction is usually anger towards the company for making them pay more money for health coverage. The miss here is that the company is not sharing as much information as they should to help the employee understand how the raising cost of health insurance coverage affects the company and their contribution too. A company should give the employee a total compensation statement at that time so all employees can see how much the company invests in him/her as individuals. Giving each employee a clear, individualized picture and then telling the employee the cost is raising would change the way the message is received. There may still be anger, but it will be focused on the right culprit of raising costs, which are the insurance and medical companies and not the employer. Effective communication helps in that the message is enable to achieve its goals and helps in receiving the desired response from the reader of the message. Effective communication helps organizations in keeping good relationships with their customers and employees; forwarding information effectively helps in avoiding any dispute that can arise because of a misunderstanding.

Related article:  Conflict: Constructive or Destructive?

The 4 Types of Communication.

I used to work with someone who I refer to as a "chit-chatter." He'd walk the halls every day knocking on doors and say, "do you have a minute?' An hour and a half later he'd still be sitting there rambling. I learned very quickly that my body language could help deter this activity without me having to be rude or disengaging. When Mr. Chatter would show up at my door and say, "do you have a minute?" He'd start to walk in the door before I would answer and I would throw my hand up in the "stop" mode. I would say, "actually, I'm in the middle of something right now, can I get you on my calendar for later today?" His answer was always, "Oh. No, I just came by to say hello." That one gesture changed the whole dynamic of the conversation. There are 4 types of communication that are present in our lives: verbal, non-verbal, written and visual.

Verbal Communication: Verbal communication includes sounds, words, language and speaking. Language is said to have originated from sounds and gestures. There are many languages spoken in the world. The bases of language formation are: gender, class, profession, geographical area, age group and other social elements. Speaking is an effective way of communicating and is again classified into two types viz. interpersonal communication and public speaking. Good verbal communication is an inseparable part of business communication. In a business, you come across people from various ages, cultures and races. Fluent verbal communication is essential to deal with people in business meetings. Also, in business communication self-confidence plays a vital role which when clubbed with fluent communication skills can lead to success. Public speaking is another verbal communication in which you have to address a group of people. Preparing for an effective speech before you start is important. In public speaking, the speech must be prepared according to the type of audience you are going to face. The content of your your speech should be authentic and you must have enough information on the topic you have chosen for public speaking. All the main points in your speech must be highlighted and these points should be delivered in the correct order. There are many public speaking techniques and these techniques must be practiced for an effective speech.

Non-Verbal Communication: Non-verbal communication involves physical ways of communication, like, tone of the voice, touch, smell and body motion. Creative and aesthetic non-verbal communication includes singing, music, dancing and sculpturing. Symbols and sign language are also included in non-verbal communication. Body language is a non-verbal way of communication. Body posture and physical contact convey a lot of information. Body posture matters a lot when you are communicating verbally to someone. Folded arms and crossed legs are some of the signals conveyed by a body posture. Physical contact, like, shaking hands, pushing, patting and touching expresses the feeling of intimacy. Facial expressions, gestures and eye contact are all different ways of communication. Reading facial expressions can help you know a person better.




Written Communication: Written communication is writing the words which you want to communicate. Good written communication is essential for business purposes. Written communication is practiced in many different languages. E-mails, reports, articles and memos are some of the ways of using written communication in business. The written communication can be edited and amended many times before it is communicated to the second party to whom the communication is intended. This is one of the main advantages of using writing as the major means of communication in business activity. Written communication is used not only in business but also for informal communication purposes. Mobile SMS is an example of informal written communication.

Visual communication: The last type of communication out of the four types of communication, is the visual communication. Visual communication is visual display of information, like, topography, photography, signs, symbols and designs. Television and video clips are the electronic form of visual communication.

What is Your Communication Style?

I come from a family where being direct is considered combative. To me, honesty is the best policy and the only way to be honest is to be direct. Of course that ends up causing conflict between myself, my mother and my siblings because they would rather agree with the person to their face then disagree behind the scenes. My style is direct and their style is harmonious (with a bit of passive aggressiveness in my opinion, but that's a blog for another time!) I have adjusted my style to reduce the conflict and I have learned to get my point across without ruffling anyone's feathers. Does it always work? No, but it has reduced my stress and those around me. It is critically important to know your style of communication and recognize the style of others so that you can learn to be flexible in your message without compromising it and drastically reduce the possibility of miscommunication. I found an interesting article that had some critically important information relative to communication style: The 21 most important words in the English language:

The two most important words:

Thank You

The three most important words:

All is forgiven

The four most important words:

What is your opinion

The Five most important words:

You did a good job

The six most important words:

I want to understand you better

The least important word:

I"

Related Article:  Top-Ten Email Management Tips

The Power of Listening:

There is nothing that will derail effective communication quicker than one of the parties not really listening to the other. This recently happened to a client with the financial aid office of the University of Michigan, where his child attends school. Every single person that he have dealt with in that office since his child first attended there in 2009 had been short, curt and robotic in conveying the Federal guidelines for student aid. Clearly, there is a budget they adhere to and there is no going outside the box, which is a total disconnect for him as the recipient of financial aid when he attended the Western Michigan University years ago. HIs perception was that the financial aid office exists to help student find a way to fund their education when they don't have money out of pocket to cover the entire cost. The University of Michigan's Financial Aid Office employees make it clear through their words and non-verbal communication that their mission is to limit the amount of funds that go to each student to meet some secret budget goal. He tried on several occasions to explain this to the head of the department and each time she twisted it around and blamed him for misunderstanding the counselors, or not following their guidelines, or taking what was said out of context. Not once did she acknowledge that she heard what my client was saying or that she would try and help him find financial resources to help him cover the $26,000 annual cost of school. His child asked, "How can I find more money to go to school?" The counselor responded, "By getting married, having a baby, joining the military or your parents dying." He said, "None of those are a remote possibility, to which he responded, "Well maybe you should have chosen a school that was more affordable to you." His child worked hard to get accepted to U of M and he worked hard to save enough money for him to go there. The counselor was actually conveying the Federal guidelines of student aid to him, but it was the way he conveyed it that was totally inappropriate. When my client brought it to the attention of the department director, she was very defensive and blamed the entire issue on me in that he wasn't accepting that these were the guidelines. That wasn't the point, but rather there is a right way and a wrong way to say, no, which is exactly what they were telling his son in terms of getting more aid. The last exchange my client had with the department head, she said, "Please accept my apologies for any response you feel was inappropriate." My client didn't feel the responses were inappropriate, they were. He totally understands the Federal guidelines, and she repeatedly and robotically recited them to him over and over and over again, missing the point. Putting the blame back on my client and his son clearly showed she never listened what I was trying to say and my client wasn't heard. That's an unfortunate gap between a parent and a major function at a major institution.

Managing Conflict: To say my client had a conflict with the U of M financial aid office is an understatement. It was a major communication breakdown, one I'm sure he'll pay the price for at a later date - literally. However it is a normal part of life to have conflict at home, in the workplace, in any situation where two or more people are exchanging information. What is key is how we manage conflict and bring it to successful resolution. In the case of the financial aid office, my client has agreed to disagree, take what they will give and find another resource to cover the gap in tuition. The head of that office will never get what was said to her and he can live with that, it's her loss. There are many effective ways to defuse a tense situation and one thing that has been successful is to decide - what can you live with and what are you not willing to budge on? Knowing conflict happens and being armed with tools to manage through it and resolve it are keys to having the right mindset while it is happening. My client's situation was unfortunate but not personal and I guarantee he is not the first nor will he be the last to experience a brick wall when it comes to the U of M financial aid office. Removing the emotion and defusing the situation helped bring this to a reasonable conclusion.

How Your Attitude Affects Communication: Every attitude is a combination of feelings, beliefs and evaluations. Behavior refers to the reactions or actions of an object or organism and attitude predicts behavior. Persuasive communication changes attitudes, which then affects behavior, which then creates a more productive environment. Persuasive communication involves openly trying to convince another to change their behavior and only works when the source is credible and trustworthy. Addressing trust and credibility first among your coworkers and other critical relationships you have lays a strong foundation. Learning to clearly state your position, followed by supporting arguments and obtaining others' agreement are the keys to persuasion.

Giving and Receiving Feedback: Feedback is a type of communication that we give or get. Sometimes, feedback is called "criticism," but this seriously limits its meaning.

Feedback is a way to let people know how effective they are in what they are trying to accomplish, or how they affect you. It provides a way for people to learn how they affect the world around them, and it helps us to become more effective. If we know how other people see us, we can overcome problems in how we communicate and interact with them. Of course, there are two sides to it: giving feedback, and receiving it.




Getting Feedback: Some people experience feedback as pure criticism and don't want to hear it. Others see it as spiritually crushing; a confirmation of their worthlessness. Still others only want to hear praise, but nothing that might suggest imperfection. That's not the case for everyone, of course. Some people are willing to accept feedback and seek it out, even if it is sometimes disturbing, because they believe they can grow from it. It comes down to whether you believe feedback will harm you or benefit you.

This is not to say that we should always have to accept feedback or the manner in which it is sometimes given. We all have the right to refuse feedback, and we can expect feedback to be given in a respectful and supportive manner. But for every positive and open way of accepting feedback, there's an opposite; a negative and closed manner which pushes feedback away and keeps it at bay.

Negative/Closed Style

Defensive: defends personal actions, frequently objects to feedback given. Attacking: verbally attacks the feedback giver, and turns the table. Denies: refutes the accuracy or fairness of the feedback. Disrespectful: devalues the speaker, what the speaker is saying, or the speaker's right to give feedback. Closed: ignores the feedback, listening blankly without interest. Inactive listening: makes no attempt to "hear" or understand the meaning of the feedback. Rationalizing: finds explanations for the feedback that dissolve any personal responsibility. Patronizing: listens, but shows little interest. Superficial: listens and agrees, but gives the impression that the feedback will have little actual effect.

Positive/Open Style

Open: listens without frequent interruption or objections. Responsive: willing to hear what's being said without turning the table. Accepting: accepts the feedback, without denial. Respectful: recognizes the value of what is being said and the speaker's right to say it. Engaged: interacts appropriately with the speaker, asking for clarification when needed. Active listening: listens carefully and tries to understand the meaning of the feedback. Thoughtful: tries to understand the personal behavior that has led to the feedback. Interested: is genuinely interested in getting feedback. Sincere: genuinely wants to make personal changes if appropriate.

Related Article:  6 Ways to Motivate Others

Giving Feedback

The other end of feedback is giving it. Some people deliver feedback with relish; after all, it's easier to give advice than take it. Some use feedback as a weapon, or offer it as tit-for-tat. For others, feedback is a great way to be critical. How you deliver feedback is as important as how you accept it, because it can be experienced in a very negative way. To be effective you must be tuned in, sensitive, and honest when giving feedback. Just as there are positive and negative approaches to accepting feedback, so too are there ineffective and effective ways to give it.

Ineffective/Negative Delivery

Attacking: hard hitting and aggressive, focusing on the weaknesses of the other person. Indirect: feedback is vague and issues hinted at rather than addressed directly. Insensitive: little concern for the needs of the other person. Disrespectful: feedback is demeaning, bordering on insulting. Judgmental: feedback is evaluative, judging personality rather than behavior. General: aimed at broad issues which cannot be easily defined. Poor timing: given long after the prompting event, or at the worst possible time. Impulsive: given thoughtlessly, with little regard for the consequences. Selfish: feedback meets the giver's needs, rather than the needs of the other person.

Effective/Positive Delivery

Supportive: delivered in a non-threatening and encouraging manner. Direct: the focus of the feedback is clearly stated. Sensitive: delivered with sensitivity to the needs of the other person. Considerate: feedback is intended to not insult or demean. Descriptive: focuses on behavior that can be changed, rather than personality. Specific: feedback is focused on specific behaviors or events. Healthy timing: given as close to the prompting event as possible and at an opportune time. Thoughtful: well considered rather than impulsive. Helpful: feedback is intended to be of value to the other person.

The Importance of Feedback

Feedback is a must for people who want to have honest relationships. A powerful and important means for communication, giving feedback connects us, and our behavior, to the world around us.

Communication and the Digital Age: There are now multiple means of causing communication barriers between people; texting, Facebook-ing, Twittering, instant messaging, voice mail and email to name a few. Stephen Covey's Time Management program preaches for us to be the master of technology versus letting technology being our master. I recently attended a baseball game and when I looked around the stadium, I saw a sea of people looking at their cell phones. They were texting, taking pictures, uploading them to Facebook, talking - it was a new age of mass media blitz. I frequently get instant messages from clients and potential clients asking me in-depth life changing questions and expecting a simple answer in return. It's hard to be an effective communicator in the digital age unless we learn how to use these means in a persuasive and appropriate manner. A client of mine has an employee who constantly fires off scathing emails. My client gets constant complaints about the employee who is perceived as being combative and abrasive. I advised her to sit down with the employee, show her examples of the inappropriate emails, advise her to a 24-hour "cool down" period, then initially reviewing the emails with someone they can trust before hitting the send key. A month later the client reported that 9 out of 10 emails were scrapped before sending. The employee then learned the skill of not reacting via email to other communication that was angering her. It is especially important in this economic climate where we're doing much more with much less and tensions are high.

Ask yourself the following questions:

How would your professional and personal life change if you could successfully master these basic skills?

Can you afford not to make the investment to improve your communication?

You will be amazed at the startling turn your life will take once you learn how to communicate effectively and successfully. Did you know that the most important asset to a company or to a client is a person who communicates effectively, someone who has the ability to influence and persuade others? Are you communicating successfully and effectively to influence others or are you just talking?

i. 2007, Stoney deGeyter; Pole Position Marketing. ii. 2009, Phil Rich, Ed.D., MSW, DCSW; Self-Help Magazine.

About Terri Kern Company
Terri Kern Company, LLC ( [http://www.terrikern.org] ) provides professionals at any level around the globe with the training & development they need to successfully manage their career. From group training, to executive coaching, to one-on-one career development planning, clients that have used TKC for their career management needs have achieved their goals faster, struck a work/life balance, engage in meaningful work and are financially stable. They work with or independent of the professional's current employer.
Vision of Terri Kern Company:
Our vision serves as the framework for the mission and guides every aspect of our business by helping each professional client:
• Create foundation for success through visualizing who you want to be, self-awareness and the perception of others;
• Cultivate a development plan that will bridge the gap between now and later;
• Conquer new skills, behaviors and motivations;
• Succeed in your new world.

6 Ways to Motivate Others

If you’re leading a group of people towards success, you must learn how to motivate others. If you concentrate on understanding what motivates others and you meet the needs of these people, you’ll be on the right track for a positive and enlightening experience for all involved.

 

 

Once a person’s base needs are met, they usually move on to working on certain needs of self fulfilment. For example, if someone is hungry, they won’t be able to concentrate on a critical thinking task. In this case you’ll need to make sure that this person has had lunch before the task needs to be completed. But how can you motivate them to complete certain tasks once base needs have been fulfilled?

Try one or more of the following ways of motivating people:

1. Treat People Kindly. As a leader you need to treat the people helping you with the utmost respect and kindness. Hand out praise when it’s warranted. You might not know it, but it’s a big motivation booster when people are treated right. People enjoy knowing when they’re doing a good job and enjoy working with people that treat others with kindness.

2. Give People Responsibility. If there are certain tasks that you’re allowed to delegate to others, by all means choose someone to take responsibility for that task. When people are fully responsible, they’ll be more likely to find the motivation to complete the task. This is because, as a part of a group, they may not feel like their hard work matters, but when they’re responsible it certainly matters. They also know that they’re being held accountable for the success or failure of the project.

3. Be a Good Listener. No one likes to feel like they don’t matter. Just because you have final say doesn’t mean that you can’t get some help with important decision making. People enjoy feeling like they’re making a difference. Always keep an open ear and you’ll be motivating your team to come up with solutions and creative ideas.

4. Set Stretched Goals. Think long and hard about how your goal setting abilities can teach you how to motivate others. You don’t want to set goals that are too easy. Your team might reach them quickly but they won’t be pushed to become the best they can be. On the other end, you don’t want to set goals that are unattainable either. Your team will quickly lose motivation because they’ll never get the feeling of having met their goals. You want to find a goal that would push them to achieve just a little more than they have in the past and keep going from there.

5. Get to Know People. You may not want to be personal friends with your colleagues, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get to know them as people. Keep lines of communication open and get to know your team by paying attention to their wants, needs, strengths and weaknesses. People are smart and they’ll know when they have a leader that cares and a leader that doesn’t. They’ll certainly be more motivated to work hard for somebody that cares about them.

6. Keep Everyone in the Know. Nobody likes to be left in the dark. Make sure that you’re open about your thinking and decisions with the people you’re motivating. Sure, sometimes there will be things that you’re not supposed to share. You just need to make an effort to spread the word around when you can communicate important issues.

Remember that when you’re working on motivating others, it’s definitely important to strengthen their sense of belonging. You’re leading a little family and when everyone’s happy, they’re motivated to achieve big things.

This article was written for the Life Optimizer Blog by Mark Foo.  Mark Foo has brought together 48 personal development bloggers and writers to co-author The 77 Traits of Highly Successful People eBook that spells out all of the success secrets of the very successful people. This eBook is available to you FREE and you can grab your free copy now at http://www.77SuccessTraits.com.

 

50 Leadership Quotes to inspire and give perspective

Everybody brings their own perspective to just what makes a good leader, or what constitutes good leadership.

Each of us has their our own values and beliefs and experiences around the subject,

but that doesn't mean we cannot improve our own leadership

or our own leaders

or our own followership by learning from others.

Enjoy these 50 quotes about leadership that I love.  May they bring you new inspiration or that new perspective...

 

 

If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities. —Maya Angelou

When eagles are silent, parrots begin to chatter. — Winston Churchill

What you do has far greater impact than what you say. —Stephen Covey

Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things — Peter F. Drucker

Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them. —John C. Maxwell

We're here for a reason. I believe a bit of the reason is to throw little torches out to lead people through the dark. — Whoopi Goldberg

I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers. —Ralph Nader

As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others. —Bill Gates

A leader is a dealer in hope. —Napoleon

All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership. —John Kenneth Galbraith

 

Lead and inspire people. Don’t try to manage and manipulate people. Inventories can be managed but people must be lead. —Ross Perot

Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Management is about arranging and telling. Leadership is about nurturing and enhancing. —Tom Peters

Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flow charts. It is about one life influencing another. — John C. Maxwell

Leadership is lifting a person's vision to high sights, the raising of a person's performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations. —Peter Drucker

>  A leadership checklist: 10 things to do right now to make it a great year

Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate, and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand.    —General Colin Powell

The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision. It's got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion. You can't blow an uncertain trumpet. —Reverend Theodore Hesburgh

If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea. — Antoine de Saint-Exupary

Where there is no vision, the people perish. —Proverbs 29:18

A good leader is a person who takes a little more than his share of the blame and a little less than his share of the credit. — John Maxwell

 

The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant. —Max DePree

The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.  – President Ronald Reagan

You manage things; you lead people. —Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper

Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall. —Stephen Covey

To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart. —Eleanor Roosevelt

People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision. — John Maxwell

Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out. —Stephen Covey

People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader leads, and the boss drives. – President Theodore Roosevelt

Leadership cannot just go along to get along. Leadership must meet the moral challenge of the day. — Jesse Jackson

Not the cry, but the flight of a wild duck, leads the flock to fly and follow.        —Chinese Proverb

It's hard to lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse. —Adlai E. Stevenson II

 

Earn your leadership every day. – Michael Jordan

A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don't necessarily want to go, but ought to be. —Rosalynn Carter

Leaders think and talk about the solutions. Followers think and talk about the problems. —Brian Tracy

To command is to serve, nothing more and nothing less. —Andre Malraux

The task of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there – John Buchan

>  Rock-Solid Leadership

Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better. —Harry S. Truman

It is absurd that a man should rule others, who cannot rule himself. —Latin Proverb

The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority. —Kenneth Blanchard

A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves. —Lao Tzu

Leadership is an action, not a position. — Donald McGannon

 

Leadership is the capacity to transform vision into reality. – Warren G. Bennis

My responsibility is getting all my players playing for the name on the front of the jersey, not the one on the back. –Unknown

The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men, the conviction and the will to carry on. —Walter Lippman

A good leader leads the people from above them. A great leader leads the people from within them. — M.D. Arnold

Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it's amazing what they can accomplish. —Sam Walton

A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent. —Douglas MacArthur

He who has never learned to obey cannot be a good commander. —Aristotle

You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand. —Woodrow Wilson

A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd. —Max Lucado

 

 

... and my favourites ...

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. —John Quincy Adams

Average leaders raise the bar on themselves; good leaders raise the bar for others; great leaders inspire others to raise their own bar. —Orrin Woodward

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A Leadership Checklist: 10 Things To Do Right Now To Make It A Great Year

Over the course of my career I’ve assembled a very handy annual New Year’s “Checklist” that helps get me focused and ready for the challenges to come in the days and months ahead, and well positioned for success.

12 Acts Of Courage To Change Meetings For Good

Research shows that a great percentage of meetings are run poorly, resulting in huge losses of time and productivity. I believe that there are three main reasons that meetings continue to leave us wanting:

1) We underestimate the complexity of group thought.

2) Few of us are trained in meeting facilitation skills.

3) Boggled by group complexity and lacking requisite skills, we fall into dysfunctional patterns, failing to do anything to change meeting dynamics.

Given that there are eight times more participants than there are meeting leaders in your average group, targeting meeting leaders alone to improve meetings may be missing the mark.

What if we were to arm meeting participants with the basic knowledge, skills, and attitudes they could use to keep their groups on track and moving forward? The 12 Acts below were written to do just that, and to frame leadership as a quality anyone can exercise, no matter what their official position.

Act I: K-No-w It. Know what honors you and your time and to say “no” to everything else. Learn enough about the purpose of a meeting before it happens to make an educated decision around your potential contribution. This indirectly calls the meeting organizers to a higher level of clarity around their purpose—which is essential for the success of any meeting.

Act II: Ask for It. Get your agenda on the agenda. Get your personal and professional agenda added to the meeting agenda. Boldly asking for what you want provides the direction and energy that’s often lacking in meetings.

Act III: Prepare For It. Tap into your meeting genius by being thoroughly prepared. Knowing what and whom you need to know so that you are properly prepared for a meeting allows you to gracefully respond to challenges.

Act IV: Adjust Your Att-It-ude. Be curious, observant, and patient. The mindset from which you make interventions as a group member has a strong bearing on your success. Come from a place of curiosity when making suggestions and you will likely be heard. Be observant and patient to free yourself from judgments that limit your relationships, and to give others the chance to change.

Act V: Say It. Realize and express your truth in service to the group. For most of us, speaking out publicly is of our greatest fear. Getting clear about why you're afraid to speak, when it's time to speak, and how to do so makes expressing your truth much easier.

Act VI: Focus It. Focus your group on a common vision. Vigilantly challenge your groups to be clear on their objectives and to improve how they work together and you will set the stage for your group to actually get better over time.

Act VII: Park It. Keep your group on target by avoiding tangents. In a world ruled by distractions, it’s tough to avoid detours on the way to your objectives. A Parking Lot can help keep your group on course while respecting and capturing ideas outside the scope of the agenda.

Act VIII: Contain It. Contain group energy within operating norms. Effective groups need operating norms to establish healthy boundaries. Norms hedge against dysfunctional behavior that dilutes physical and emotional energy, while still offering participants the space to creatively pursue their objectives.

Act IX: Deliver It. Convert talk into action, decisions into deeds. One of the biggest complaints leveled against meetings is that, "Nothing ever happens!" Participants become disillusioned and tune out when this becomes the norm. Ask questions to encourage action in your groups.

Act X: In It, Not Of It. Avoid groupthink and access group mind—the way to enlightened decisions. The tendency to maintain harmony at all costs can harm your groups and the victims of your group’s decisions. Understand the symptoms and remedies of groupthink to stay connected to your group’s collective conscience.

Act XI: Facilitate It. Facilitate full participation. Fully participating group members support decisions made, offer access to the collective wisdom and experience of the group, and reduce the possibility of groupthink. As a participant, learn strategies to assure that full participation is achieved.

Act XII: It’s All Good. Transform conflict into a spirit of collaboration. Healthy conflict is an essential ingredient for group collaboration. Unhealthy conflict, that is conflict involving a winner and a loser, should be avoided. Adopt an attitude that any fight you engage in must be a fight to win--to a win that benefits all concerned.

These 12 Acts are thoroughly explained in my new book, This Meeting Sux…12 Acts of Courage to Change Meetings for Good. This book provides you with specific tools, strategies, language, and actions you can use as an empowered, facilitative participant to change your meetings and your life for good. Pick up the book, or the first three chapters for free at http://www.ThisMeetingSux.com.

Steve Davis, M.S., M.A. is the founder of FacilitatorU.com, a virtual university offering training, tools, and resources to group facilitators, trainers, consultants, coaches, and leaders. Steve consults with organizations and individuals and offers workshops, training, and coaching to enhance leadership and collaboration skills.

Rock Solid Leadership

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Those who tell the stories. Which storyteller will you choose?

Those who tell the stories.

It's a powerful statement this.

There's a mystical, mythical element to it, being a native American saying.

I find it interesting that Plato said much the same thing "Those who tell the stories rule society."

 

Tose who tell the stories rule the world

Two such disparate cultures and societies recognising the power of story.

Just about anyone who writes about story, talks about story, ends up using this quote.

And certainly at the level at which most people think about this statement ... anyone who tells the stories will make money in business, and rule the world that way.

Story is a currency recognised the world over.

It is a powerful marketing tool, the difference, sometimes, between a profit and a loss.

But looking at it a different way - looking at the leaders, the rulers, those who rule the world.

They lead, they rule because they are able to tell our stories for us.

We need a story to make sense of life.

We need a story to make sense of our culture.

We need a story to make sense of our world.

We need someone to lead us forward by telling our story, what is really happening, how things are going to be.

When there is a movement for change in our culture, a mass discontent with the way things are, in our world, it will succeed because someone is able to lead it forward by articulating for that mass of people, what is really happening and how it will progress, tells the story about it.

What story are your leaders telling?

Let us choose the leaders who tell the story of our highest aspirations, not our lowest common denominators of fear and greed, ego and power.

Let us then buy from the marketers who tell the story of our highest aspirations, not our lowest common denominators of laziness and competitiveness.

Futurist Rolf Jensen said "The highest paid person of the 21st century will be the storyteller."

Let's choose whom we pay to tell our stories, and choose well.

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Storytelling for Leaders

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[Quotation about public speaking] Public speaking will have its place

"As long as there are human rights to be defended; as long as there are great interests to be guarded; as long as the welfare of nations is a matter for discussion so long will public speaking have it place." ~ William Jennings Bryan

Public speaking has its place

In my current obsession with storytelling, I have discovered a Hopi Proverb which says the "Those who tell the stories rule the world."

Leaders everywhere are those who give their followers something to believe in, a narrative that explains the present and paints a future.

And leaders are not just those in government or religion.

They lead in business, they lead in our institutions, they lead in our families.

We all have the capacity to be a leader at some time.

I am only thankful that the skills of public speaking are there to give us the power to lead and to create a world with values that we can uphold.