4 Inspirational Stories about Great Leadership Communication

Photo Credit: thetaxhaven via Compfight cc

In 1932 Dale Carnegie published a book called How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Today, it's sold 13 million copies. Most people read it and think: “That's interesting”, then shut the book and forget all about it. But I heard a story about Warren Buffett, one of the world's most successful investors. Apparently, he’s fascinated by it. So much that he decided to do a statistical analysis of what happened if he followed Dale Carnegie’s rules - and what would happen if he didn't.

He tried giving some people attention and appreciation, and then others nothing. Sometimes he would be deliberately crabby, just to see what happened. He tracked all his results. What he found was that the numbers proved Carnegie's theory - the rules in the book worked!

I love this story because sooner or later as a manager you realise that many of the people you depend on for your success don’t actually report to you. And that's when you realise just how important influence and persuasion is to leadership.

Knowing how to inspire people - not just amongst your own team, but across a wider network of internal stakeholder -  will define you as a leader.

Here’s four stories that I think reveal important points about leading staff to success:

1 – Leaders set the direction

Once upon a time, a group of soldiers became lost in the Alps. They were hungry and disoriented. They argued about which way to go, but in the fading light every peak looked the same. The soldiers had no chance of surviving the night in the freezing temperatures.

Suddenly, a miracle.

One of them found a map sewn into the lining of his kitbag. He plotted a route, and marched them briskly back to base. Later, when they were warm and well fed, the soldier looked closer at his map. It actually was of the Pyrenees - hundreds of miles away.

It’s like the old saying - when you’re lost, any old map will do.

Take-away: Leadership entails vision. Otherwise where are you leading people to? If you don’t know where you want to go to - and if you can’t communicate that direction effectively - then you have no right to ask people to join you on the journey.

2 – Great leaders let people get on with it

Bad leaders like to ‘shake the pan’.

You see this a lot on TV cooking shows. The producer tells the chef to keeping shuffling the risotto around the pan. It’s more fun to watch, but apparently it’s not always the best way to cook.

To top chefs, learning when to leave food alone – when to resist the temptation to flip the steak - is as important as learning when to manipulate it. It’s the same for leaders. Great leaders know when to stir things up and when to let it simmer.

3 – Leaders hire the right people

One thing a lot of people miss: being a great leader starts before your team even start work.

Publishing magnate Felix Dennis used to say: never seek a replica of yourself to delegate to, or to promote.

Apparently, it's a common error in leaders. You have strengths and you have weaknesses in your own character – so it makes no sense to increase those strengths your organisation already possesses and not address the weaknesses.

Ad man David Ogilvy was also a big proponent of only ever hiring people who were smarter than them.

He kept a set of Russian nesting dolls, and would place sets around his offices to illustrate a point: “If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.”

I hear they’re still dotted around Ogilvy offices today.

Take-away: Consistently hiring people who are smarter than yourself could be the greatest legacy you leave.

4 – Leaders understand what really motivates staff

Restaurateur Danny Meyer says that he learned about managing employees from working on John Anderson’s 1980 presidential campaign.

“Learning to manage volunteers - to whom, absent a pay-check, ideas and ideals were the only currency - taught me to view all employees essentially as volunteers” he writes in his book, Setting the Table.

“Today, even with compensation as a motivator, I know that anyone who works for my company chooses to do so because of what we stand for.”

Take-away: As a leader it’s up to you to provide solid reasons for your employees to want to work for you – a sense of meaning and purpose - over and beyond their pay-check.

Lee will be sharing some of the secrets of inspiring leadership communication at Leadership Connections – a one day event in Bristol on Friday 3 October.  

Author: Lee Smith – co-founder, Gatehouse

5 Leadership techniques for the technically minded

It's essential that the technical experts in an organisation are encouraged to step into leadership roles, otherwise we risk restricting diversity in the leadership pool, warns Chris Atkinson.

Photo Credit: @yakobusan Jakob Montrasio 孟亚柯 via Compfight cc

You are most likely familiar with the concept of the dual career ladders offered in many organisations, where employees decide whether to pursue a technical or managerial career ladder. The model has been a huge success over the last 15 years.

A 2009 survey by the Society of Petroleum Engineers, of 2,799 professionals over 35 years-old, found 60% were on technical career paths and 40% in management positions. One of the surprising conclusions of the survey was that “respondents working in both technical and managerial positions indicate that technical success can be extremely satisfying and enjoyable, as well as often more stable and less stressful than dealing with the administration of people and organisational bureaucracy.” Could it be that by offering the dual ladder, some people with great potential are tempted towards the ‘easier option’ of staying on the technical side of the ladder?

Don’t write off your technical experts so quickly!

Read more

Author: Chris Atkinson, Elysian Training.

This article was published on Training Zone in September 2014.

10 Ways to Build Great Leadership in Turbulent Times

Image:  123 RF Stock Photos

10 Ways to Build Great Leadership in Turbulent Times

I know as much about change, turbulence and failure as I do about success. I did not start my career aspiring to run a steel company, nor did I plan to be a rather relentless breaker of barriers in business and in the community at large. What I have studied, what I have learned, and what I have lived in my journey and through the journey of my clients has given me a perspective that is resoundingly counter-intuitive because it is not focused on playing to strengths, but on using strengths, changes, challenges, stressors (even failures) as a lever for our greatest potential and results.

Science confirms that our ability to inspire, empower and actualize our potential has never been greater; remember this, empower it, use it! Neuroscience confirms that we can rewrite default patterns of thinking, communicating and doing; we can build new emotional set-points that take us forward faster and better while also enhancing our ability to focus, ideate, learn and relearn.

Common sense tells us that we should be integrating this knowledge in the way we learn, teach, coach, mentor and work; but habits of thinking, communicating and doing that made us successful in the past are often our greatest barriers to the optimization of our potential in the present. Those who aspire to great leadership must recognize that achieving it means changing the set point  resetting the individual and organizational GPS to fast forward in ways the inspire, empower and actualize the fire of human potential at a speed of change, challenges and opportunities that will continue to accelerate faster than ever before. McKinsey & Company research suggests that half of all efforts to transform organizational performance fail either because senior managers don’t act as role models for change or because people in the organization defend the status quo.

Here are 10 ways to reset the GPS, refocus, re-purpose and reboot potential;

1.  Build YOUR 3Q Edge™ by drawing upon your strengths and transforming changes, challenges, stressors and failures into a lever for your greatest potential; start building three essential leadership strengths that GROW at the speed of change and challenges.

Q1:  IQ Enhanced ideation, focus, strategic thought, ability to learn-relearn.
Q2:  EQ Self-awareness, awareness of others, self-management, relationship management, communication, resiliency, risk tolerance.
Q3:  SQ Purpose, values, integrity-the timeless anchors of true leadership, sustainability and the grit to forge ahead when the going gets tough!

To quote Professor Charles O’Reilly, Stanford Graduate School of Business, “Staying competitive, then, means changing what you’re doing.”  Our ability to change what we are doing means developing the intellectual and emotional dexterity Q1 and Q2 that drive innovation while further developing Q3!

2.  Resolve to evolve and re-define winning. Purpose equals profit on a multiplicity of levels. Reset the internal and organizational GPS by championing purpose, integrity, values (Q3-SQ) that are the only consistent anchors of comfort and sustainability we have and will have.  Make purpose = profit your mantra, and the mantra of your organization.  “By encouraging employees to both seek and provide help, rewarding givers, and screening out takers, companies can reap significant and lasting benefits.”  Adam Grant, Mckinsey & Company April 2013

3.  Do not wait for great ideas to collide, empower them. Create active, thriving spaces for positive change.  Celebrate diversity. Develop new ways, better ways to build creative hubs; ways for people to come together, ways that drive vertical and horizontal communication and collaboration. Create virtual and actual spaces where new ideas to be discussed and shared.

4.  Take one step every day that will invigorate the motivation of others. Perform a random act of kindness each day by reaching out to someone outside your team, outside your usual network and championing their work and potential.  Perform a random act of kindness by helping someone who but in their best effort and failed to fail forward by helping them find the solution amid the problem.

5.  Build NEW touch points. Get out of your box.  Building a strong executive team is critical, but so is visiting the front line.  Find front line champions with whom you can build relationships.  Model and develop resiliency, empathy, risk tolerance and grit.  Inspire your people to recognize and harvest their ability to fail forward by seeing changes, challenges, even failures in new ways that guide and empower them forward. Make your town hall meetings exciting, empowering. Unpack the knowledge by using stories of your people, examples of great thought, great commitment, great purpose and results that come from all levels in your organization.  Find active ways to not only share information, motivate and to end every town hall meeting with a challenge that you can throw out there for the most purposeful to catch and throw back.  Determine how you will use your next town hall meeting to cast a challenge that will drive innovative ideas and solutions.

6.  Build enlightened self-interest.  Develop new ways to champion working better together because success means creating value for those you lead, work for and serve.  When people begin to understand that creating value for clients,  stakeholders, direct reports, colleagues and the communities you serve is the way forward, doing so becomes top of mind and drives results.  People are deeply motivated by their ability to contribute to a greater whole, a greater purpose.  This motivation often starts with first seeing how it benefits them.

7.  Embrace change as a lever for your potential and the potential of your people by focusing on the human side. Build blank time, happiness time, relaxation time, empowerment time into your schedule and the schedules of your people because it will help them flourish.  Create small important spaces of time that are critical to ideation, innovation, collaboration and wellness.

8.  Learn to connect the dots by building a better relationship with yourself and with others. Leadership begins with self-awareness, self-appreciation and a relentless desire to grow, evolve and contribute.  It is about embracing your strengths and using your challenges to take simple, purposeful, powerful steps that will help you evolve forward in ways that impact your life, your work, the people you serve and your sense of personal fulfilment and meaning.

9.  Find new ways to unpack knowledge, transform complexity into simple, purposeful powerful steps that are understood and integrated outside our peer group, outside the personal or organizational silos is which we dwell because success is not achieved or sustained alone.  Develop actual and virtual communities of purpose that are learning, doing hubs where people exchange ideas, empower growth and learning in new ways that help them motivate and inspire each other.

10.  Develop a leadership code of ethics that you can model and integrate in your organization.  Champion these 7 leadership commitments that drive great leadership.  Make them visible, make them real, and make them grow!

1.  The commitment to lead at the speed of change, in the face of challenges and failures; the commitment to build your 3Q Edge™
2.   The commitment to the empowerment of self and others
3. The commitment to purpose and vision
4. The commitment to communicating the vision and purpose
5. The commitment to courage
6. The commitment to integrity
7.  The commitment to action-ability

Great leadership is about success, and success is not about taking, it is about serving. Those who lead will be those who serve by developing their ability to empower, inspire and actualize their potential and the potential of others by kindling the fire of courage, integrity and humanity that keeps them on track and fuels the determination and resiliency many lack because it is easier to manage than to lead. Great leadership is a 3Q equation supported by courage. Courage grows each time we align IQ (intellect), EQ (humanity), and SQ (integrity). Carpe diem!

Guest Author: Irene Becker

See Irene's keynote on Leadership in Turbulent Times at Leadership Connections, Bristol UK on 3rd October 2014. Find out more http://www.elysiantraining.com/event/

Irene has a wealth of inspiring leadership articles on her blog here.

We recommend: How to Inspire and Enable Your Greatest Potential

Leading People We Find Challenging

Photo Credit: Tambako the Jaguar via Compfight cc

Marketing E-Mail Received:

Dear Chris,

I have some important news for Managing Directors, Business Owners and Chief Executives. A new report has been written called “How to get every employee in your company to think like YOU”.

I received this marketing flyer some time back and it might sound tempting as you experience the challenges of dealing with others who essentially DON’T think like you! It is, in fact, a fast growing trend in industry. The rapid popularisation of NLP over the last decade has been accompanied by various claims that on the surface could be desirable. A short internet search revealed articles and videos titled “How to make people do whatever you want, NLP mind control Convince People, Easily and quickly persuade anyone to do anything” and “10 Ways to Protect Yourself From NLP Mind Control”.

Importantly it makes sense in these times of enormous pressure that you would think that life could be so much more efficient and productive if we could get others to think like us. Imagine the time and emotional energy saved if we didn't have all these frictions or pointless arguments with others. This line of thinking however is fundamentally flawed and bad for our businesses, it is a seductive lie that promises the impossible….that we can change or control people, moreover that we can change or control people to be more like us!

Let me establish two facts at the outset:

1. You CANNOT change or control people

2. You DO NOT want people to think like you

Let’s take these two points one at a time. Firstly through manipulation techniques any control you manage to achieve will be short term and, if ‘felt’ by the receiver, will create resentment and irritation. Common sense should tell you from personal experience that when you have felt manipulated by someone the impact was not a good one and often we become even more challenging or stubborn! Additionally it is true that life events can change people and with significant determination people can even also change themselves but you, unfortunately, do not have the power to change people. Many people spend years failing to learn this simple truth while trying to change someone.

Secondly the world you envisage where people think like you does not work the way you imagine it. You feel like everything will be smoother and more co-operative, possible that is true but there is a heavy price to pay! There are now huge bodies of research demonstrating that diversity of thought is essential for high performing teams and organisations.

Financial Times: “The evidence is growing – there really is a business case for diversity” By Tim Smedley.

McKinsey: “Is there a payoff from top-team diversity?”  This research found that companies ranking in the top quartile of executive-board diversity had ROEs that were 53 percent higher and EBIT margins that were 14 percent higher, on average, than they were for those in the bottom quartile.

Deloitte: “Waiter, is that inclusion in my soup? A new recipe to improve business performance.” A report that summarizes research conducted in three large Australian businesses about how diversity and inclusion have the capacity to lift business performance, drive innovation, customer service, collaboration and engagement.

Harvard Business School: “How to Get the Best Solutions from Your Team.” Smart organizations place a premium on group consultation. Studies done by psychologist Patrick Laughlin  at the University of Illinois  show that the approaches and outcomes of a cooperating group are not just better than those of the average group member, but are better than even the group’s best problem solver functioning alone, the lone problem solver can’t match the diversity of knowledge and perspectives of a multi-person unit that includes him.

The point here is that i) we actually can’t do much to change people and ii) critically we actually shouldn't want to!!

Any leader who wants to achieve high performance with their team needs to recognise these facts and then recognise that dealing with challenging people is a central part of leadership itself. Learning “How to Lead People We Find Challenging” is one of the most important skills of a leader because without this competency our behaviour is at risk of undermining our entire leadership profile through inappropriate behaviours, bad attitude and often sarcastic communication. The truth is that no matter how hard we try to cover up our feelings we openly and visible transmit our attitude towards this individual so that not only does the person themselves know it but also the wider team will be aware also. You are not as skilled as you think you are in hiding those frustrations you feel.

The good news here is that the skills and competency to lead a challenging person can be learnt. There are techniques to refocus your attitude about this person but moving your attention away from what annoys you towards the talents and strengths they bring to the workplace. This is beneficial for both parties and allows you to quickly get more productivity and therefore positivity from the other person. The other point to recognise is that your ability to influence someone does not come from clever psychological skills or technique but rather from the depth of relationship we have with the other person. Most likely the person you find challenging is the person in your team you have the shallowest relationship with, the person you know least about personally, emotionally and spend the least time informally with. If you want to change the situation you have to prioritise spending significant time with that person in relationship building mode, digging deep into their attitudes, experiences, beliefs and character – and importantly to listen to these things openly with total acceptance.

Author: Chris Atkinson - Elysian Training.

Hear Chris talk more on this topic at Leadership Connections on the 3rd October - here http://bit.ly/LeadersConnectEvent

Is your boss a narcissist?

Bosses 'often narcissists' claims business school

A new study has claimed that many top job managers suffer from the personality disorder narcissism.

Photo Credit: Wagner Machado Carlos Lemes via Compfight cc

Narcissists possess the ability to take tough decisions and have been said to be preoccupied with visions of success and power. Their traits also include an incredible amount of self-confidence which is an attractive strength in interviews.

However, these skills could be seen as a blessing and a curse because their level of self-importance may not make them the best leaders or good for the business they work for.

The research was conducted by the BI Norwegian Business School who looked at 3,200 people applying for leadership training at an armed forces officer school.

Every applicant took an interview as well as undergoing a personality test to see whether any of them showed signs of narcissism and suffered from the disorder – and found that the individuals who did well in the interview also received top marks for narcissism.

The research was carried out by Christian Grimso, who said that even though people with these traits appeal to recruiters, they “lack the ability to relate to others”.

He also claimed that their personality can lead to, “poor leadership performance” as they generally, “run their own agenda”, not concerning themselves with the wellbeing of others in their environment.

“People with narcissistic personality disorders will be interested in dominance, status, recognition, power and admiration. They may not think twice about using others to achieve their goals,” Grimso added.

Author: HR Grapevine

Source: http://www.hrgrapevine.com/markets/hr/article/2014-07-02-bosses-often-narcissists-claims-business-school

The Passive-Aggressive Ways Bosses Get Employees to Quit

Can you tell when your boss is giving you passive-aggressive, or covert signs it is time to quit? 

What are they? What can you do?

Photo Credit: Wiertz Sébastien via Compfight cc

To find answers, I asked one of the world’s leading executive coaches and managerial consultants, Dr. Kenneth N. Siegel. He is President of The Impact Group, Inc. a group of psychologists who consult to top management across the globe.

The truth is it’s rare that bosses have a “heart-to-heart” and level with you. Most do not sit down with you to say it’s time to move on. The few bosses that do, really do care, and will work with you and help you find the next thing.

But what about the boss, who starts saying nothing, or changes the way he or she communicates with you. It’s like the classic song sung by Billie Holiday, “You’ve Changed.” Suddenly the sparkle in your boss’s eye has gone (or he may be avoiding eye contact). And certainly, it will seem to you that the boss’s smile is just a careless yawn.

So, here are the subtle (or not so subtle) hints that it is time for you to take action before your boss does. These are Nine Passive Aggressive Hints. They come in the form of covert, not overt communication.

1. Assigned an Unimportant Fragment of an Important Project

This is the boss who says we’re going to have a global meeting – I want you to make sure everyone has the right UBER billing number, and schedule their transportation to and from the airport.

According to Dr. Siegel, “This is basically a way to be demeaning while keeping the appearance that you are part of the team.”

2. Mysterious Exclusion

Finding that you have been left off of email strings, and occasional meeting invites that you used to be part of on a regular basis.

3. Socio- Emotional Distancing

You become aware of an emotional gap that you and your boss now have. This is manifested in the boss who no longer stops in to see how you are doing, or what you did this weekend. The occasional lunch becomes a distant memory.

4. Stealth Responsibilities Change

For example, weekly reports and preparing upper management used to be your responsibility. Suddenly, someone else is doing the assignments. In a stealth mode, the boss has changed your responsibilities.

Dr. Siegel noted, “Worse, you discover this through someone other than your boss.”

5. Train Your Replacement

You train a new worker, and then he’s all but taken over your job. Your training became your train wreck – you never saw it coming.

6. Delaying Promises

She’s promised a raise and a new title forever – forever never comes. When you ask, she’s always waiting for something new. Or, she rationalizes, “I just can’t give that promotion yet – what would others think?”

You are chasing a moving target you’ll never catch.

7. Distraction

The boss will divert the conversation and does not give a straight answer to your straight question -- steering the conversation onto another topic.

Each conversation becomes a frustrating game.

8. Avoidance

There is never enough time. The boss is always too busy to talk to you about the work you are doing. As Dr. Siegel said, “You will find this even on projects and matters you thought were very important. The project may be important, but the signs are that you are not.”

9. You Indirectly Find Out Your Work is Substandard

You don’t find out through the boss, you find out through others including peers, and even worse subordinates. You've been undermined.

What should you do?

1. The Direct Approach: Dr. Siegel recommends that you handle the situation by approaching your boss directly.

He suggests that you go in prepared with examples of messages you are receiving. You can specifically ask if the boss is trying to tell you something – or is she really too busy?

Dr. Siegel suggests, “The minute you leave the office you document everything. For example, write: ‘Dear Joe, glad we cleared up the following points...”

Document the conversation factually, without editorial comment. It will give you a record of the conversation as you and your boss move forward.

2. The Indirect Approach: A second route Dr. Siegel noted is for people who work in larger companies. Then you can take an indirect tact. If you are interested in staying with the company, you can look for jobs in other departments. If you find other departments will not have you – you will determine that you have been “organizationally punished.” Or, you may find a new position and or provide your boss with a ready-made transition.

Of course, you can prepare to leave the company entirely when it is large or small.

3. Going to Human Resources Won't Work: A third option, to take your case to human resources, but Dr. Siegel does not recommend it. He says that in most cases, “human resources are company representatives to protect management and the company line.” In addition, you have a complaint with very little hard evidence. Plus, if a boss no longer wants you, it is his or her prerogative, and HR will not be able to take action.

Author: Rob Wyse

Source: https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140714181719-11075081-9-passive-agressive-hints-from-a-boss-to-quit

Why ‘do what you love’ is horrible advice

Imagine you've agreed to speak to a group of business students but you can't think of a theme. Here's a guaranteed winner. Go with, "Follow your passions and do what you love!"

That's advice everyone loves to hear. You'll kill it.

Yet you might also be wrong.

"Telling someone to follow their passion - from an entrepreneur's point of view - is disastrous," says Cal Newport, Georgetown University professor and author of So Good They Can't Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Search For Work You Love. "That advice has probably resulted in more failed businesses than all the recessions combined... because that's not how the vast majority of people end up owning successful businesses.”

"Passion is not something you follow," he adds. "Passion is something that will follow you as you put in the hard work to become valuable to the world."

According to Cal, here’s why...

Author: Jeff Haden
URL: https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140602121626-20017018--do-what-you-love-is-horrible-advice

Presentation design lessons from real slides

This article from Scott Schwertly gives you tips on how to give your slides a makeover  - using interesting examples for inspiration.

I was browsing the web the other day and stumbled across a handful of slides that I thought could use a makeover. The slides were cluttered, the main message unclear and visuals weren't leveraged to make any impact.

So I asked my team to redesign them. I thought it would make a fun and insightful exercise, with the objective of demonstrating what not to do when designing presentations. Before we walk through the slide makeovers, there are 2 essential practical presentation design lessons for you to keep in mind:

1. Focus on the Essential

2. Increase Your Slide Count

Remember that, and learn from these mistakes

Author: Scott Schwertly
URL: http://blog.slideshare.net/2014/05/14/presentation-design-lessons-from-real-slides/

5 Things really charismatic people do

This article by Kevin Daum explains why some people are likeable, and others have great charisma.... and how you can recognise and achieve the difference:

You feel charisma the moment it enters the room. It's not just that someone is likable. Charismatic people draw attention. They automatically energize you and motivate you to step up, to take action. What is it about them? All in all, they are certainly likable, but it's more than that. Are they born charismatic, or do they learn how to be that way? It's probably a little of both. But either way, charismatic people inspire us and get us talking.

It's likely that you have some charismatic traits that can be developed to help you attract and inspire those around you. If you aspire to be charismatic, here is a list of behaviors to expand on.

1. Charismatic people exude joy. The first thing you notice about charismatic people is the spark of life. Whether they are saviors or troublemakers, they have a strong passion that triggers powerful emotions in those around them. Even in anger, they make people feel happy to join a cause. They show obvious pleasure in experiences, and they invite others to share in the experience they are having. Enhance your charisma by sharing your passions with those around you and helping their passions flourish.

2. Charismatic people inspire confidence. It seems that charismatic people have the world in their control. Their personal self-worth and confidence appear strong, even when they're not. They have faith in their abilities, their knowledge, and their worth. They also know the line between confidence and narcissism. They don't disparage or dismiss the people around them. Enhance your charisma by dampening your insecurities in favor of celebrating your strengths. Share your confidence with others so they feel stronger in your presence.

Read the other three things in the full article

Author: Kevin Daum @awesomeroar
URL: http://www.inc.com/kevin-daum/5-things-really-charismatic-people-do.html

What Does It Take to Get a Job at Google?

What Does It Take to Get a Job at Google?
Check out this infographic from staff.com to find out more:

To see the full size version click here

Source: http://www.staff.com/blog/what-does-it-take-to-get-a-job-at-google/