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Which of these characteristics is the most dangerous leadership trait?

Posted on May 21, 2015 | No Comments
Categories: Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: Which of these characteristics is the most dangerous leadership trait?

– Excessively ambitious: 6.53%
– Being short-tempered: 13.46%
– Indecisiveness and over-cautiousness: 32.3%
– Lack of vision: 22.02%
– Selfishness: 25.69%

Dangerous Traits. From the looks of it, folks find short-sighted, indecisive, selfish leaders to be the worst of all. Each has its risks. You must remember your role as a leader is to put others before yourself, set direction for them, and make the difficult calls that others are afraid to make. If these things make you uncomfortable, either build your skills in this arena or seek a role with less responsibility. One key to your development is first understanding what kind of leader you are. Once you understand that, you’ll be better equipped to build the relevant skills.

Do you agree with these poll results? Let us know in the comments below!

Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC

Did you enjoy this post?  If so, I highly encourage you to take about 30 seconds to become a regular subscriber to this blog.  It’s free, fun, practical, and only a few emails a week (I promise!).  SIGN UP HERE to get the thoughtLEADERS blog conveniently delivered right to your inbox!

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Why You Need to Drive Toward Solutions

Posted on May 20, 2015 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Communications, Innovation, Leadership

Danger Road Sign with the Word Think on itIn addition to leading your people, you need to lead the thinking. Here’s a simple way to push your thinking further along before you start advancing your ideas.

The following is an excerpt from One Piece of Paper: The Simple Approach to Powerful, Personal Leadership (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

As a young management consultant, I was assigned to a particularly difficult project. Not only was the problem complex but some members of the client team were not willing to devote sufficient time to making the project succeed.

As I walked the halls of our home office one Friday afternoon, one of our senior consulting partners stopped me and asked how things were going. I began unloading a stream of complaints about deadlines, problem complexity, and client team member recalcitrance.

The partner listened attentively and allowed me to vent for a few minutes. When I finally paused and caught my breath he asked “What’s your solution?”

I stared at him blankly. I did not have one. That’s when he dropped the bomb.

“Don’t bring me problems. Bring me solutions.” With that, he walked away. I was speechless.

When I discussed the interaction with my project manager, she coached me to always have a solution to the problems I bring to others, especially to senior clients or senior consulting partners. She explained I did not need to have the final answer to solve the entire problem but I did need to have at least some preliminary suggestions on what steps I thought we should take.

In this case she pointed out I should have had a recommendation we sit down with senior client team and discuss the lack of commitment some of their team members were displaying. Having the start of a solution was better than having no solution at all.

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Overcoming the E-Mail as a Default Mindset

Posted on May 18, 2015 | No Comments
Categories: Business Toolkit, Communications, Guest Blogger, Leadership, Project Management

Message Not ReceivedThere are many fantastic collaboration tools that are much better than email.  To get your organization to use them effectively, you need to lead that cultural change for how you communicate.

Today’s post is by Phil Simon, author of Message Not Received (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

Peter Drucker once famously said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

Truer words have never been spoken. Before I started writing and speaking for a living, I spent nearly a decade as a consultant implementing enterprise systems. More often than not, I would see Drucker’s very statement play out firsthand. A CEO’s grand vision would quickly go awry because of thorny personnel issues, cultural impediments, and just plain bad management. You know, the “soft stuff.”

Let me put this as bluntly as I can: In most organizations today, the biggest challenge is not technology. It’s people.

It’s Easy to Blame Technology; It Can’t Blame Us Back

Of course, many people fail to recognize this. Case in point: A while back, I attended an interactive one-day event with 40 other industry thought leaders. The agenda was fairly loose: The group participated in a wide array of discussions on tech-related topics.

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How well do you know your team members as individuals?

Posted on May 14, 2015 | No Comments
Categories: Communications, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: How well do you know your team members as individuals?

– Very well — I know a great deal about them: 42.9%
– Well — I know a few things about them: 47.58%
– Not well — I don’t know very much about them: 8.01%
– Not at all — I know pretty much nothing about them: 1.5%

The more you know. It’s a simple premise – the better you know your people, the better you’re able to lead them. While it’s great to know superficial things about them, knowing and understanding their motivations, feelings, aspirations, and histories can go a long way. At the heart of knowing them better is listening with both ears and letting go of your agenda. If you’re only hearing but not listening, you’re likely to miss a great opportunity to lead them more effectively.

Do you agree with these poll results? Let us know in the comments below!

Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC

Did you enjoy this post?  If so, I highly encourage you to take about 30 seconds to become a regular subscriber to this blog.  It’s free, fun, practical, and only a few emails a week (I promise!).  SIGN UP HERE to get the thoughtLEADERS blog conveniently delivered right to your inbox!

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Your People Are About to Crack – But You Can Prevent It

Posted on May 13, 2015 | 4 Comments
Categories: Balanced Lifestyle, Leadership

Business People Standing in a LineStress, anxiety, and mental illness can destroy your people and cripple your organization.  As a leader, you have an obligation to look out for their mental health.

In honor of May being Mental Health Month, I’d like to ask you to pause and think about an invisible issue.  How stressed are your people?  How much anxiety are they wrestling with every day?  What mental health issues are they facing?  Are any of them fighting mental illness?

These are scary issues.  The statistics on the damage mental health issues cause are staggering.  They’re dire.  These issues end careers, end relationships and, in the most extreme cases, end lives.  I won’t even get into the tragic stats on suicide.  Even scarier is no one is exempt.  These issues can affect anyone on your team or the members of their families.

And as a leader, you’re responsible.

You’re responsible for knowing the signs and seeing them as they emerge.  “That’s not my job” you say? If you were running a factory and all your workers started coughing and coming down with pulmonary issues from problems in your plant, would that be your responsibility to look into it and fix it?  Okay.  Same thing.  Only the issues are harder to detect and fix.

So what’s a leader to do?  Here are a few suggestions:

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Question Everything Always

Posted on May 11, 2015 | No Comments
Categories: Communications, Entrepreneur, Guest Blogger, Innovation, Leadership

Question Mark SignThere are no stupid questions. There are only stupid people who don’t ask questions.

Today’s post is by Gary Douglas, the founder of Access Consciousness®.

People have always told me that the way I do business is different. I may indeed have a slightly different point of view about most things in life – and I’ll change my point of view on a dime. I question everything all the time.

Innovation occurs when you are willing to be in the question and to ask a question always. Whatever conclusions we come to become the limitation of what we can actually achieve and receive. Don’t assume: “We’ve got this part of the business right,” which is what Kodak did. They assumed: “We’ve got it right. There will always be film.” They didn’t get innovative. They knew about digital and electronic imaging.

Did Kodak look at that and ask: “Which is the direction we need to go? What do we need to create here?” Or did they go to the conclusion that they would always have the answer? Once you decide that you have the answer, nothing that doesn’t match your conclusion can come into your awareness. You’ve got to be willing to see what kind of awareness you could have if you were willing to question.

The purpose of a question is to gain awareness. With increased awareness, different possibilities become available to you. When you become aware of the possibilities, you can make choices. Choice creates. With each choice, you can look at: “If I choose this, what will this create?”

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How much control do you have over the work you do?

Posted on May 7, 2015 | No Comments
Categories: Balanced Lifestyle, Career, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our poll today asks: How much control do you have over the work you do?

– Total — I decide everything I do or don’t do: 6.61%
– Significant — I control most of what I work on : 65.23%
– Some — Most of my work is dictated to me: 22.99%
– None — I have no control over the work I do: 5.17%

Control is a matter of perspective. While most respondents feel they control most of what they work on, there’s still a substantial number of you who feel your work is dictated to you. And for those who feel they control most of what you work on, that still means there’s work you feel you don’t control. But control is a matter of perspective. With a simple, small shift in your thinking you can go from being a victim of your work who is out of control to being in complete control over all of it. You just have to look at your work as a choice rather than as an obligation. Try changing your view to that perspective and see what happens.

Do you agree with these poll results? Let us know in the comments below!

Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC

Did you enjoy this post?  If so, I highly encourage you to take about 30 seconds to become a regular subscriber to this blog.  It’s free, fun, practical, and only a few emails a week (I promise!).  SIGN UP HERE to get the thoughtLEADERS blog conveniently delivered right to your inbox!

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The Secret Keys to a Great Pitch

Posted on May 6, 2015 | 1 Comment
Categories: Books, Business Toolkit, Communications, Entrepreneur, Leadership, Sales

Pitcher Delivering a PitchPeople pitch ideas all the time. Most of those pitches never get heard. Why? Because they don’t consider the audience.

I get pitched ideas all the time.  My inbox is flooded by emails from PR professionals asking me to carry guest blog posts, do book reviews, share their infographics, and interview the people they represent.  The vast majority of all those pitches have one thing in common.

They suck.

Honestly.  They’re horrible.  It’s some out-of-context, ponderous press release on a topic I may or may not care about.  The request is opaque at best and nonexistent at worst.  They’re ham-handed ways to get me to do their bidding.  They’re lazy and are banking on the recipient having nothing better to do than jump all over their pitch and do a ton of work on it.

I’ll bet you send similar pitches.  No?  Really?

Have you ever emailed a sales prospect and sent them a big presentation or white paper on why your products are awesome?

Have you ever written a senior executive trying to get time on their calendar to share your awesome idea and get their support?

Were you successful in these efforts?  If so, you’re either lucky or good (or some combination of the two).  If the answer is “no” it’s probably because your pitch sucked.

Here’s the secret to fixing it:

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5 Key Skills for Sharing a Vision

Posted on May 4, 2015 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Guest Blogger, Leadership, Strategy

Globe in EyeTo get your team to rally behind your shared vision, there are 5 key skills you must build and employ.  If you’re able to create that shared vision, your team’s performance can soar.

Today’s post is by Jeff Wolf, author of Seven Disciplines of a Leader (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

New leadership roles require new leadership disciplines. Three of the most critical disciplines are building shared vision, surfacing and challenging mental models, and engaging in systems thinking. These disciplines can only be developed through a lifelong commitment. And in learning organizations, these disciplines must be distributed widely because they embody the principles and practices of effective leadership.

How do individual visions become shared visions? A useful metaphor is the hologram, the three-dimensional image created by interacting light sources. If you cut a photograph in half, each half shows only part of the whole image. But if you divide a hologram, each part, no matter how small, shows the whole image intact.

Likewise, when a group of people come together to share a vision, each person sees an individual picture of the organization at its best. Each shares responsibility for the whole, not just for one piece. But the component pieces of the holograms are not identical. Each represents the whole image from a different point of view. It’s something like poking holes in a window shade; each hole offers a unique angle for viewing the whole image. So, too, is each individual’s vision unique.

When you add up the pieces of a hologram, the image becomes more intense, more lifelike. When more people share a vision, the vision becomes a mental reality that people can truly imagine achieving. They now have partners, co-creators; the vision no longer rests on their shoulders alone. Early on, people may claim it as their vision. But, as the shared vision develops, it becomes everybody’s vision.

Building shared vision involves these five useful skills:

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How frequently do you worry about getting fired?

Posted on April 30, 2015 | 1 Comment
Categories: Career, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: How frequently do you worry about getting fired ?

– Never — I’m irreplaceable: 20.49%
– Sometimes — when projects go wrong or bad things happen: 55.74%
– Often — I am frequently on edge: 17.49%
– All the time — I live in perpetual fear of getting fired: 6.28%

Fear of Firings. Clearly the vast majority of you are in fear of losing your jobs on a regular basis which is disappointing. You should never have to question where you stand with respect to job security (this means also knowing if you are in danger of losing it). If you are wondering if you’re at risk, there are some pretty easy ways to know if you’re about to be fired. One implication for you leaders – I’ll bet your team members feel the same way as these poll results reflect. When people are worried, they’re distracted and morale/performance suffers. If you can give them a little security with some simple conversations, you would be well advised to do so.

Do you agree with these poll results? Let us know in the comments below!

Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC

Did you enjoy this post?  If so, I highly encourage you to take about 30 seconds to become a regular subscriber to this blog.  It’s free, fun, practical, and only a few emails a week (I promise!).  SIGN UP HERE to get the thoughtLEADERS blog conveniently delivered right to your inbox!

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