Tag Archives: power

7 Keys to Being a Brilliant Leader

Many people think that leaders are born, not made and that if they aren’t officially a Manager, Director, Executive Directory, Vice President, President or CEO, that they are really a leader.

I beg to differ.  Leadership is a set of specific behaviors that can be learned.

Here are seven keys I believe are critical to transforming ordinary people into extraordinary leaders.

1. Evoke the emotions of others
True leaders inspire people.  They touch their hearts on issues that are important to them.  They raise hope while acknowledging and accepting the human frailties we all possess.  Leaders make people connect the change they are striving to cause to their own needs and desires.

2. Believe in people
It’s hard for us to see skeptics or critical, negative people as leaders because they don’t do anything proactive to make us feel good about ourselves.  On the other hand, leaders see the rough diamonds buried in our hearts and bring them to light so that WE can see them too.

3. Have a compelling vision and be passionate in expressing it
Great leaders see a future that is dramatically different than the present we live in and they don’t keep it a secret.  They articulate that future and tell us WHY it’s important that we move toward it. They know they are on the right track even when the rest of the world is still asleep to or in denial about the problem.

4. Never give up but stay flexible
Leaders with big visions are often seen as crack pots or zealots before the masses catch on to the imoportance of their platform.  Expect to encounter some resistance at the beginning, but don’t give up on what you believe in.  Do however, stay present to new developments and trends and what’s on the minds of the people in your burgeoning ‘tribe’.  Find common ground with them an incorporate what you can into your vision, but don’t dilute it too much by trying to please everyone. You won’t.

5. Be an exemplary model
The increased visibility that your leadership will generate will put you in the spotlight. Keep your hands clean.  Don’t be tempted by your growing power and influence.  Also, don’t avoid leadershp if you have a shady past.  If you have truly repented, take ownership for your humanity and mistakes.  Share what you’ve learned from your errant ways and promise to stay on the straight and narrow.  And then stay there.

6. Demonstrate integrity
Keep your word. Be consistent in your actions.  Do what you say you’re going to do.  Tell the truth. Make decisions your mother, spouse, children, grandmother would be proud of.  Live as though your life will be played out in the media because it might actually end up there.

7. Ask for input and help
Don’t try to get to ‘the promised land’ alone.  You can’t. And even if you do, it won’t be very gratifying. As you enroll others in your vision, identify key people in your cause and solicit their opinions and help.  The more people you have actively engaged and on the bandwagon with you leading others as well, the easier your road trip will be.

Do these things consistently and you’ll find yourself living a fulfilled life, making a difference and leaving the world in a better place than you found it.  That is your purpose so go live it.

3 Ways to Keep Your Past from Living Your Future

Let’s face it.  As human beings, we can be creatures of habit.  For that matter, most every living creature I can think of is either a creature of habit or instinct.  The advantage we enjoy is having access to judgment and choice. But how often to we access that advantage?

It serves us to leverage our past learnings.  Without that continuity, we would be ‘reinventing the wheel’ every moment of every day. We wouldn’t get much done.

The difficulty arises when we allow the past to dictate (even unconsciously) what we can do in the present. Our belief in the past limits our perspective. It constrains our actions.  It stymies our ability to conceive of what’s possible.

Here are three concrete, specific things you can do to expand your consciousness and live on the edge of possibility. Use them to soar to new heights, accomplish forsaken dreams, live life more fully, enjoy your time on earth more.

Click here now to read (and comment on) these exciting ideas on my blog

1. Dream of and set big scary goals
When you look toward the future, you disengage from the past – sometimes. You may need to challenge yourself not to be constrained by what you think is possible.  Your sense of ‘possible’ is likely all past-based taking into account what your brain ‘knows’ you can do. Don’t succumb to that.

2. Take a course that requires to express your creativity
Several years ago, I purchased a book titled, Drawing with the Right Side of the Brain. Reading it and doing the exercises within, forced me out of my habitual way of seeing the world. It encouraged me to focus on new things, new perspectives of items that were right in front of me.

3. Consult with people who will challenge you
Surround yourself with people who are out to accomplish the impossible themselves.  The fleeting life we are given is wasted watching endless characters on TV play out scripted or artificial ‘reality’  lives.  Set your own destiny.  Make your own mark. Vow to do more than survive.

You can break out of being a creature of habit.  It takes making a choice to live outside of your box then taking actions consistent with that choice.

How to Create More Energy, Happiness & Prosperity

One of the big mistakes some people make is waiting for energy, happiness and prosperity to descend upon them.  Someday, things will be better, they muse.

Well, I’m here to let you know that you control how soon ‘someday’ arrives.

dredgeI was out on my morning walk the other day and spotted this dredging machine cleaning out a water canal of one of the local utilities. Over time, dust, leaves and trash accumulate in the canals and slow the flow of water. These ‘routers’ remove the debris so the water flows more easily.

This cleaning process made me wonder how often we rid ourselves of our debris in life.

If you want to create more ‘flow’ in your life, here are seven simple things you can do.

1. Set and communicate boundaries
We get resentful when people’s behavior doesn’t meet our expectations. Yet, we’re often guilty of not communicating those expectations. (They should just know, we righteously tell ourselves.) You have to let people know what makes you happy or not and what you need from them.

2. Un-volunteer from activities that have become a burden
If you’re involved in activities or responsibilities that leave you feeling unhappy or anxious, graciously remove yourself.  Don’t just run away.  Turn things over in a responsible manner.  Identify ‘next steps’, find someone to replace you, train them and step away.

3. Renegotiate relationships
Years ago, I realized that one of my best friends couldn’t keep her mouth shut.  I would share things with her as good friends do, but then learn that she had shared them with someone else.  I started specifying that this item is confidential, but even those disclosures got repeated.  I finally decided to only tell her things I wanted everyone to know. I never felt violated or disappointed in her again!

4.  Donate or sell your stuff
Our neighborhood organized a community garage sale this past weekend.  We didn’t participate but it did remind me to deliver that bag of items I had set aside for Goodwill or Salvation Army.  If you have things lying around ‘just in case’, get rid of them.  eBay is another good option that allows you to make a little money from your purge.

Stuff accumulates in our homes.  It becomes invisible to us but still drains the flow of ‘chi’, that life force energy that surrounds us and that blockage eventually drains our spirit.

5. List (and finish) your incomplete projects or items
Our soul gets burdened by the accumulation of ‘someday I’ll finish xyz‘ thoughts. Whether you’re afraid to tackle it or it’s just not high on your to-do list, it’s existence is weighing you down.

Empty your head of all of your ideas.  Write them down on paper.  Attach completion dates to them, even if the date is “Never”. Then get to work.  If you start with the scariest, you’ll feel amazing once it’s done.  If you start with something easy, you’ll feel successful too.  Just start somewhere and keep going.

6. Delegate
I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating.  If your to-do list is too long, give some of the items away.  Even though you might do it best, it may not be best for you to do.  Give it to someone who can get it done well enough. It will get done faster and you’ll be relieved of one more burden.

7.  Deliver undelivered communications
One of the biggest thieves of our souls is stuffing important communications and tolerating unpleasant situations.  They consume our mind and energy.  They rob us of important progress we could make in our lives. Find a gentle way to broach the touchy subject,  get it off your chest and come to some sort of resolution with the other person.

Do these seven simple steps and you’ll discover energy, confidence and opportunities you didn’t know you had!

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.