Category Archives: Leadership Articles

Leaders Are Organized

Leaders Have High Energy Levels
Leaders must have plenty of energy, for themselves and for the group they lead. Leaders do whatever it takes, to get things done. People will naturally follow the high energy example set by leaders, and thus the group achieves its goals through enthusiastic work and determination.
Leaders Are Organized
Leaders are able to take a chaotic situation, and organize it. It helps immensely to be goal-directed and focused, as we’ve already discussed. Beyond that, it is important that the leader have the ability to manage complexity and juggle many different priorities. That’s why the art of juggling (throwing three balls or other objects in the air) is sometimes taught at leadership seminars. To successfully juggle three objects, one must learn to pay close attention to one object at a time, without completely ignoring the others. Successful leadership is similar. Leaders must be able to focus on specific issues, while considering them in the context of all the group’s other issues.
Leaders must also be able to identify the skills, passions and interests of each group member, so as to effectively utilize those resources. People will contribute more to the group effort when their responsibilities are appropriate to their abilities, and leaders make sure this is the case.
Often in a group, there is a duplication of effort, which can be wasteful. Good, effective leadership can keep this to a minimum. While it is not the leader’s job to micro-manage every detail, effective leaders need to have a working knowledge of what is going on throughout the group. The leader serves as a communication link between group members, with the goal of making their work more efficient and effective. Leaders don’t do all the work themselves, but they do stay up to date everything that’s going on. By so doing, leaders can spot ways to best utilize all the various resources present in the group, and bring about the achievement of the group’s objectives.
The successful leader must manage and organize competently. To do so, requires clearly stated goals, a well-developed plan of action, knowledge of the resources available to the group, the commitment of each group member, and the discipline to work with diligence. Leadership is hard work, it doesn’t just happen. And much of the work comes in organizing the efforts of the group. Leadership brings with it, many details which absolutely must be attended to. Leaders must be highly organized, or they will be overwhelmed.

Leaders Have High Energy Levels

Leadership-SkillsLeaders must have plenty of energy, for themselves and for the group they lead. Leaders do whatever it takes, to get things done. People will naturally follow the high energy example set by leaders, and thus the group achieves its goals through enthusiastic work and determination.

Leaders Are Organized

Leaders are able to take a chaotic situation, and organize it. It helps immensely to be goal-directed and focused, as we’ve already discussed. Beyond that, it is important that the leader have the ability to manage complexity and juggle many different priorities. That’s why the art of juggling (throwing three balls or other objects in the air) is sometimes taught at leadership seminars. To successfully juggle three objects, one must learn to pay close attention to one object at a time, without completely ignoring the others. Successful leadership is similar. Leaders must be able to focus on specific issues, while considering them in the context of all the group’s other issues. Continue reading

Challenges Change but Leadership is Constant

Business leaders face challenges and risks in good times and bad.
If there weren’t any challenges, leaders wouldn’t be needed. If nothing ever changed, good management would be enough.
The ability to deal with challenges is what defines a leader. Leaders that respond to challenges with focus, resolve, and execution are most often successful in meeting them. Those that are slowed by unfavorable headwinds, demoralized by setbacks and get bogged down in activities that don’t create value are those that fail.
Today’s business climate is as challenging as any in recent memory.
To gauge the challenges and risks facing today’s business leaders, the risk management and reinsurance giant Aon surveys about a thousand of them every year. This year, not surprisingly, business executives around the world identified the current economic climate as the number one challenge facing businesses and their leaders. The global economic slowdown poses risk for all enterprises, large and small.
The business leaders’ 2011 top ten risks list also reflected some new concerns. For the first time, the leaders surveyed listed “failure to innovate and meet customer needs” as a top-10 risk. Start-ups and other upstart businesses, perhaps enabled by new technologies, are more forward-looking and proactive and pose a threat to their more established competitors.
Another new concern, also technology-related, is the risk of technology or system failure. All aspects of business are now so dependent on technology that an interruption, whether intentional or accidental, could be catastrophic. Moving up the list this year is the concern that firms will lose valuable human resources and be unable to attract talent due to layoffs and downsizing. Other top challenges cited were regulatory changes, reputation management, and increasing competition.
The Aon survey certainly reflects a business climate with strong and shifting headwinds but the response of business leaders to these challenges should be based on principles and principles never change. One such principle is the power of execution: when the way forward is clear, do not let the resistance stop you. Leaders who move forward decisively will always face resistance but once you have considered all the factors and decided on the right path, follow that path decisively. Another component of execution is to act boldly. If competitors are out-innovating you and you need to take your organization in a new direction to compete, do so boldly.
Like execution, the power of focus is an important leadership principle when facing tough and shifting challenges. Part of maintaining focus as a leader and an organization is to eliminate activities that don’t add value. Don’t get bogged down in the weeds. If certain meetings or activities are unnecessary and unprofitable, get rid of them. Focus is especially important in times when no one can afford to waste time or carry unnecessary baggage.  Likewise, it’s important to identify your MVP activities, where MVP stands for most valuable and profitable. Every segment of every day is more valuable than ever. Maximize that value by spending your time on the activities that benefit your organization most.
Finally, when faced with difficult and changing times, leaders must serve as a source of hope for their organizations, communicating their belief that something better is just down the road. This doesn’t mean ignoring or glossing over difficulties, but rather showing people that if they face them head-on and decisively, the challenges can be overcome.
I’ve observed, spoken about and written about these leadership principles for years. While the challenges change, the essentials of great leadership do not. While the principles that leaders use may change in the way that they are applied, the underlying truth of the principle ultimately pays off.
While the world around us, and the business climate we face, can change at breakneck speed, our responses to new challenges should be based on abiding principles of leadership. And whether you have a title or not, if you meet the challenges you face with action based on these principles, you meet the true definition of “leader.”
(And for a look at how to develop leaders at every level, click here.)
What are your biggest challenges as a leader? Please feel free to share your thoughts with me on Facebook and Twitter as well as in the comment box below

Business leaders face challenges and risks in good times and bad.

leaderIf there weren’t any challenges, leaders wouldn’t be needed. If nothing ever changed, good management would be enough.

The ability to deal with challenges is what defines a leader. Leaders that respond to challenges with focus, resolve, and execution are most often successful in meeting them. Those that are slowed by unfavorable headwinds, demoralized by setbacks and get bogged down in activities that don’t create value are those that fail.

Today’s business climate is as challenging as any in recent memory. Continue reading

Rebirth Your Potential

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While reading my latest book on politics and economics, I came across a reference to a bible story called “Parable of the Talents’. In this story three servants are each give ‘talents’ (a monetary denomination used by the Greeks). To the first, the master gave 5 talents, to the second he gave 2 and to the third he gave 1 talent. The master gave each a different amount of money (talents), according to their ability.

Two of the servants doubled their money and the master was pleased with their results. The third servant, fearful of losing it, buried his money where no one benefited from it, including himself.

When the master summoned the third servant to get an accounting of what he had done with his talent, he was angry and displeased to find out the servant had simply buried it and where the money had no opportunity to earn interest. Continue reading

Create A Reason For Your Success

leadership_mast.jpgI was invited to do a Leadership workshop at a well known Fortune 100 company out in New Jersey. The all day event was geared toward their new crop of interns. At a point in my presentation I talked about the many reasons we come up with for not taking action. The many excuses we create in order to delay or defer acting on our plans to achieve success.

I talked about how we have a bad habit of ‘rationalizing’ why something can’t be done or be accomplished. We procrastinate because we convince ourselves that: It can’t get done, I don’t have enough time, I have too much to do already, I’m short on money so now isn’t a good time, My dog’s sick so I’m not in the mood to start anything right now, I’m not smart enough, I’m not qualified, on and on, blah, blah, blah. You get the idea! We rationalize why we can’t get going.

Did you ever break up the word ‘rationalize’? Continue reading