Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Five Undeniable Laws of Leadership

Law #1

Authority is not leadership. Corporate managers often mistake their authority for leadership. People who are instructed to complete a task “Just because I said so” or “Or else” although they may complete the assigned task, there is now no inspiration or reason for that person to TAKE OWNERSHIP. The task is usually completed with much less of a sense of pride. Great leaders inspire. Inspiration is the precursor to passion, ownership and ultimate greatness.

Law #2

Leaders ignite passion in others. People with passion lead from the front. The true leadership test is to guide and motivate (as opposed to mandate) his or her followers beyond their original expectations. The challenge then sometimes becomes to lead from the front for the leader. People with passion often “Push” leaders. True leadership never has to “Push” the followers.

Law #3

Align values. Leaders share the values of his or her followers. Leaders do not ask people to line up to their set of values, leaders adopt theirs as the starting point. To do otherwise could alienate those who need the leadership in the first place. When the leader shares the people’s values, it becomes easier to inspire and motivate his/her people to more greatness.

Law #4

Share the challenge, share the solution. Leaders value the opinions, thoughts, and contributions of others. The bigger the challenge, the more likely someone else has ideas to help solve the problems. I can not help but remember the old sports saying “There is no “I” in TEAM.” Although cliché, this is extremely true. No leader, not even one, ever became a leader by himself.

Law #5

Leaders request. When you ask for someone's input and opinion, you are actually asking for their participation. Participation is a fuel for passion. Remember leadership is enhanced by respect. Telling people minimizes their input, asking people encourages their participation, once again this fuels passion.

P Scott Rayburn

Monday, September 12, 2011

Toolbox Tool Essential - Listening

Toolbox Tool Essential - Listening

“A wise old owl sat on an oak; The more he saw the less he spoke; The less he spoke the more he heard; Why aren't we like that wise old bird?”

Communication is no doubt a two-way street. It’s also what I believe to be one of the most complicated yet simple objectives a good leader can master. John Maxwell says that we have two ears and one mouth; therefore we should listen twice as much as we speak. Good advice I believe. There are literally hundreds of books on good communication skills. This article focuses on the “Listening” part of communication.

Story: Two men walking in the woods hunting, the first one (George) falls down, hits his head and is not moving or breathing. His friend calls 911 on his cell phone. “Hello” he says “I think George has fallen down and died” Quickly the 911 operator exclaims “Ok check again and make sure he is dead”. There was a brief silence, then BOOM BOOM!!!! His friend came back to the phone “OK now what?”

As you see the man in the story above heard what was said, but he didn’t really listen to what was said. We as leaders need to take an active part in communication. Much of personal communication is non verbal as well as the verbal part.

Today, we can take a more active part in listening to what people have to say to us. An irate employee may have a complaint about his working conditions, however listen closely to his complaint, it may just be a symptom of some other “Larger” problem. It’s our job as leaders to be able to discern the difference.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Toolbox Tool : Three Step Process to Encourage Teamwork

Behind every able man, there are always other able men, Chinese Proverb.

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. - Proverbs 27:17.

No is no question about it, the team is greater than the sum of its parts. It is the successful leaders responsibility to assure proper teamwork in group settings. This can be completed in three steps.

1.Teamwork Envirnoment

K I S S- Keep it simple stupid. Small teams don't need lots of hierarchy. Extended process impedes teamwork.

Cooperation- Encourage team goals, not individual competition.

Provide necessary support- be a servant, provide information, extra staffing etc.

Authority- Allow teams to act on their given consensus.

Feedback- Give positive feedback to the team when warranted.

Disclosure- Give the team full information on needed requirements.

2.Coaching others on Team Skills

Mission Statement- Help the team define its mission/mission statement

Stewardship- Help the team define its roles and responsibilities.

Feedback- Ask the team to evaluate its own effectiveness.

Leadership- Discourage We vs They discussions and thinking.

Action- Encourage the team to involve others in the process.

Accomplishments- Praise the team often when it is effective.

Self Evaluation- Encourage the team to once again evaluate its effectiveness.

3.Problem Solving Skills

Investigation- Define the problem, ask ask and ask again, sometimes the problem on the surface is only a symptom of the actual problem.

Influence- seek input from others before making any decision. Some of this could be group discussions or one on one.

There are literally thousands of books written on Teamwork. I would encourage you to read "The Skilled Facilitator" by Roger Schwarz.

Remember Leaders are Made not Born. Keep reading and learning. Attend Automobile University to sharpen your skills. Dont know what Automobile University is? Check this link Automobile University

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Coaching Part #2, The 10 Essential Ideas for Coaching Success

1. Ask Good Questions- Questions are a catalist for conversation. Conversation then in turn provides a basic grounding of relationship.

2. 70/30 Rule- You have 2 ears and one mouth. Try to only speak 30% of your time, spend the other 70% Listening.

3. Edify- Lift others up. This builds confidence. It inspires, and cultivates greatness in others.

4. Gently, Allow others to Fail- Failure is one of the greatest teachers. Then help them by learning from their failures. This inspires confidence.

5. Encourage Risk- Sets the president that it is "OK" to fail. Remember, failure is only failure if it is at the point where we quit. If we keep on and find a solution, we merely successfully found another way which didn't work. That's not really failure at all.

6. Involve them in Your Time- Spending/Using your time with others shows them that they are valuable to you. Time spent increases the value of the relationship. This is essential for great coaching.

7. Be "There"- Being available for consulting/Edifying is needed. Use these times to help strengthen the relationship by helping remind them of their successes.

8. Wait- It is an easy temptation to help "Fill in the Blanks" when we think we know the answers. There is however great value in silence. As coaches, sometimes we need to be silent and let them construct viable answers. (I guess this is a variation of the 70/30 rule)

9. Praise- As a Coach, it is your Job to notice successes, And Praise every at every possible venue.

10. Progress Reporting- As a Coach, it is your responsibility to give feedback. Feedback is one of our Seven Essiental Tools for Leadership Success. When Things Go Great, give positive feedback, when things dont go great, give positive feedback. The learning is usually greatest at points of failure.

Coaching Skill, Another MUST HAVE for your Management Leadership Toolkit

Coaching and development of people is a must have for todays management leader. This skill should be used on a continual basis. Coaching should be excercised on any and every given opportunity.

Coaching can consist of activities from aiding poor performing employees improve, to helping top performers tweak performance hindering activities. Coaching is not an activity where you seem to know everything, it is however an attitude of "I'll help any way I can".

The "Leader" in most organizations has many roles. These roles are of vital importance to acheiving the goals set forth in its mission statement. These roles include Coaching,Developing employees, Giving Constructive feedback, analyzing performance issues, and grooming others for advancement.

The leader should be responsible for developing employees. From new employee to seasoned veteran, anyone can improve. Constructive feedback, leaders should be able to give constructive feedback to employees in such a was as to build them up, never to tear them down. Addressing performance problems, this includes analyzing and correcing these kinds of problems. Finding Leadership replacements, Grooming others for advancement.

No one ever gets things done alone, as a coach, it is our job to successfully lead others in the right directions.

I highly recommend reading the book "The Art of Advice:How to Give it, How to Take it" by Jeswald W Salacuse. This book discusses effective ways to communicate advice to others.


Essential Skill, to Provide Direction

The true mark of an effective leder is he/she possesses a clear focus and direction. Successful leaders often have a "Vision" of where they are headed. This "Vision" is used to inspire their people and organization.

This vision is sometimes inspired from within and sometimes uses a team effort to help construct it. Doesn't matter where this vision comes from, it's Leadership that aligns,directs and provides inspiration to follow the organizations goals.

Successful managers/leaders then align their vision with their organizations. They are usually just a small part of the whole. This then allows the use of this "vision" to consruct the mission and goals of his/her individual department. Then each team member on an idnividual basis.

To provide direction is one of the basic tools needed for the modern managers toolkit. I highly recommend reading Stephen Covey's "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" It provides extremely effective information on constructing a mission statement.


Automobile University

Do you travel often in your car? Most of us do. In fact there aren't many activities which my family participates in which do not in some way involve our car (SUV to be exact).

Motivational speaking legend Zig Ziglar used the term "Automobile University" to describe using time spent in one's vehicle on such worthwhile endeavors as listening to personal and professional development materials. The idea being that the same amount of time that is normally spent listening to music or doing something else, that while it may be enjoyable isn't going to necessarily help us improve or experience the benefits of personal growth (nor move us any closer to achieving the goals and dreams we've set for ourselves). Listening to educational or professional development information could benefit us exponentially.

Instead Mr. Ziglar suggested that we could be spending that same time, which might otherwise be wasted -- listening to a tape or audio program that will increase our expertise in whatever particular topic we might choose.

Making driving time learning time is an idea that many people have used to their advantage for years. I challenge you today to attend!

President Lynden Johnson's 10 rules for Success.

1. Learn to remember names.

2. Be a comfortable person so there is no strain in being around you

3. Aquire the quality of being relaxed so things do not "ruffle your feathers".

4. Dont be egotistical.

5. Be interested in people so that THEY get something of value from being around you.

6. Study to get out the "Scratchy" elements of your personality.

7. Sincerely attempt to Heal every misunderstanding between you and others

8. Practice liking people until you learn to do so naturally

9. Never miss an opportunity to say congratulations on someones achievement.

10. Give spiritual strength to people and they will give genuine affection to you.

This is quite a list, it seemed to serve President Johnson quite well. Although there are other attributes needed for a great leader, this is a great starting place for our purposes.