Tag Archives: influence

6 Critical Leadership Tools, Skills & Behaviors

Great leadership is the display of a combination of tools, skills and behaviors.  It isn’t the result of position power or personality.  Consequently, it can be learned and demonstrated.

Think of the great leaders you’ve known.  I’ll bet they demonstrated most if not all of these skills.

Here’s my list of the top tools, skills and behaviors.

1. Standards
Great leaders set high standards for themselves and the people around them.  They expect people to ‘step up’ in ways they may not even believe they can.  They require exemplary behavior and thinking.  They inspire others to perform at the highest levels possible.

2. Feedback
Honest, authentic communication is the hallmark of a great leader.  They are able to express difficult sentiments, communicate expectations and let people know how they are performing vis-a-vis the expectations while leaving those people empowered and ready to forge ahead.

3.  Rewards
Rewards are great for creating external motivation for achieving goals.  Effective leaders understand the unique values and priorities of the people around them and custom tailor rewards to activate the intrinsic desires that make people perform and  excel.

4. Stamp
When great leaders encounter inappropriate behavior, they don’ t stick their head in the sand and ignore it. They stamp it out – quickly and decisively.  They are swift in their response to restate expectations and request those expectations be met. This creates and a sense of fairness on the team and credibility for the leader.

5. Care
John C. Maxwell is often quoted as saying, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” When leaders go out of their way to demonstrate their humanity, empathy and concern for others, they create an ultra-strong bond with the people around them.

6. Belief
Great leaders have an unwavering belief in the potential of people.  They assume people want to excel and just need pathways, resources and the confidence to express their excellence.

Regardless of where you are in an organization’s hierarchy, you can practice using these tools and behaviors thereby enhancing your effectiveness as a leader.

Top 10 Tips for Surviving Anything

I’ve learned a lot of lessons having survived 10 years in business plus 30 years in Corporate America. I’m sure you have too. Here are some of the top tips that come to mind as I reflect back on my happy and not-so-happy days.

10. Admit your mistakes

This can be hard to do, especially if you’re the boss. However, people will respect you more when you show the courage to own up to your humanity. You will endear yourself to them in ways you can’t if you present yourself as infallible.

9. Make people feel important

I know there are a lot of egos out there and it’s tempting to not ‘fan the (already- inflated ego) flame’. However, it really doesn’t cost you much to be appreciative. People will love you all the more when you place them on what feels like a pedestal to them. I’m not saying to undervalue yourself nor ignore your own needs. Just put a little love in your heart and share it.

8. Take control of your own career

Time was, when you took a job, your future seemed to be controlled by the bosses. The employment ‘deal’ changed a few years ago. Career ladders aren’t what they used to be. Nothing is a given. Set your sights on where you want to be, experience and learn what you need to in order to best prepare yourself. Stretch yourself. Try new things.

Don’t blame ‘the system’ for your lack of progress. Take aim and steadily move forward (whether sideways or out). My husband, Karl has sometimes said ‘That person doesn’t have 20 years of experience. (S)he’s had 1 year of experience 20 times.’ Don’t be one of those people.

7. Ask for help

People are often afraid to admit they need help because they think it will make them appear weak. If you whine all of the time, that definitely won’t reflect on you well. But when working on something critical, in an emergency or when you just don’t know what to do, asking for advice or help could save your company or business a lot of money. The key is to ask the right person/people and to ask in a way that they see the benefit to them for honoring your request. Don’t make it about you. Make it about them and the business.

6. Have fun

If you’re not having fun, you’re in the wrong job or business. I realized decades ago that I spent too much time working not to enjoy it. So I’ve left a couple of ‘good’ jobs that I hated and let my personality out at work in the jobs I stayed in. (Encourage your team/staff to do the same.)

5. Stand up for what you believe in

Your perspective is important. What makes teams produce incredible results is harvesting the wisdom of everyone in the group. If you tend to be quiet, speak up more. Your voice needs to be heard. If you’re one of the ‘loud mouths’ your perspective is still important. Just don’t cry ‘wolf’ too much or you’ll lose your credibility.

4. Ask your clients / bosses / employees what they need, then give it to them

I fundamentally believe that most people are doing the best they can with what they have. If you want to be successful, the people around you have to be succeeding too. It’s hard to be a rock star with no fans or roadies. When you invest in others, you’ll gain dividends and rewards you were never expecting.

3. Keep your eyes on the prize

This presumes that you have a ‘prize’ – the reason you’re working or in business in the first place. When you’re clear about your purpose in being there, you’ll make better choices, set stronger boundaries about what you’ll tolerate or not and be less affected by the little things that don’t go the way you’d like them to.

2. Remember, this too shall pass

Whether it’s a bad economy, an intolerable boss or a project from Hades, it won’t last forever. Someone once said to me “Never take or leave a job because of the boss. They won’t be there forever”. (That may be less comforting in the public domain where I hear people can stay in jobs a really long time.) In any event, take heed of the earlier tips, do your best and remember you’re in charge of your life.

And the #1 tip for surviving anything…

1. To thine own self be true

I harp on this a lot. You have a purpose. You’re on the planet for a particular reason. You may not be entirely clear about your purpose just yet. If that’s the case, stay true to your values. They will point you in the right direction. (I presume you know what’s important to you. If not, take some time to figure that out.) Don’t engage in behaviors that compromise your integrity.

If something feels inherently wrong, don’t stand by and suffer in silence. Express yourself or extract yourself.

Your life is too important to waste your talents, time or passion.

Peacocks, Power & Prosperity

It’s critical in this economy to find attractive ways to communicate the value you bring to your organization and what your organization brings to its clients (internal and external). We should always be in marketing mode and this is especially true when times are tough.

Prosperity arises when people find what we have to offer attractive enough to either part with their money or give us resources we need.

This beautiful peacock sculpture from the lobby of the Encore at Wynn Las Vegas symbolizes the importance of packaging.  During mating season, the male peacock struts in front of his target female, fanning shaking his beautifully colored tail plume.  If you’ve ever seen this courtship dance, you’ll know how dramatic it can be.

Some of you might be loathe to be so shameless in your self-promotion, but it’s a big mistake to assume that if you just do good work, that you’ll get the promotion, contract  or deal you’re hungering for.

You must communicate your value and make it attractive to your audience.  Here are some ways you can (not so obnoxiously) do that.

1.  At the end of a successful project, write a synopsis of what was accomplished, what was learned and how the project benefitted your department, company or client.
Quantify it if possible articulating cost/time savings or revenue dollars earned.

2.  Ask your clients (internal or external) what they most value about your service or product and use what they say the next time you need to ask for more budget or headcount.

3.  Similarly, ask your clients for testimonials that you can use. If nothing else, you can have them ‘recommend’ you on LinkedIn or other social networking sites.

4. Buddy up with someone and make a pact to promote each other whenever you’re not together. Getting good press from someone else will add more credibility than you patting yourself on the back.

5.  Make sure you know what other people value, are concerned about and are motivated by. When you talk about what you do, couch it in terms that they are already thinking about.  Your message will be more easily heard and received.

By taking on a peacock mentality and implementing these tips, you’ll build confidence, get out of your head and into the worlds of the people you’re attempting to influence.  They’ll respond more favorably and you’ll enjoy more power and prosperity.