December 16th, 2019 (with about 4,000 other people in Singapore), I had the pleasure to listen to insights and perspectives from Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States.
I must confess that I am a fan of his humorous oratory style, and it was a pleasure to listen to him ‘riff’ on wide ranging topics with an intoxicating mix of humility and gravitas. So, here are my takeaways:
1) Anyone in a leadership position needs to build an effective team of people who are smart and have integrity – then get out of their way.
2) A lot of the problems in the world are caused by old men, who stayed too long and confused their personal interests with that of the nation.
3) We need more women in National Leadership – imagine if every country in the world was run by women for just 2-years.
4) We need leaders who understand complexity and...
So much is spoken and written about the need for leadership in organizations, but do we know what we mean by the term ‘leadership’?
If you Google the term ‘leadership’, you get 2.2 Billion results! And, the definition doesn’t help much:
“Leadership is the action of leading”
– well that’s deep! And the synonyms include; authority, control and management - all of which are at odds with many modern descriptions or effective leadership.
As an Author, Coach and Speaker on the topic of leadership, I resonate with this quote:
“There are almost as many different definitions of leadership as there are people who have tried to describe the concept” (Bass, 1990)
Wait a moment. Before we decide on a definition of leadership, let us first ask, “Why Leadership?”
We need Leadership because the World is Complex and Changing Fast. You’ve probably heard the term VUCA. VUCA is an acronym...
Do you ever underplay or understate your real value?
Do you shy away from praise and recognition and say things like, “it was nothing”, or “It’s just my job”?
Discounting is a common behavior, but one that is more common in women than men.
With confidence and presence being key predictors of success in life and work, discounting is costing you money and your well being.
Usually, because somebody or something (parents, siblings, school, friends, boss, media) has done a number on our self-esteem. Self-esteem literally means self-value and if you fail to value your ‘self’ nobody else will.
When Coaching or teaching Executive Presence, I often come across cases of discounting, but the good news is that this can be turned around by applying Self-leadership strategies.
Often discounting is driven by the desire to appear or be ‘humble’. The...
You are smart, really smart, your amazing brain can make judgments and decisions in milliseconds – unfortunately, you and the rest of us, are often WRONG!
What’s worse, is we don’t know we are wrong, and if it’s pointed out to us we are quick to ‘justify’ our decisions.
Your ability to achieve ‘lightning-fast’ decisions is achieved by your brain taking short-cuts and using pattern recognition. For our ancestors to survive, in a hostile environment, they needed to make quick judgments about friend or foe, food source or fatal, predator or pet. They made these judgments using, what Daniel Kahneman, author of the book Thinking Fast and Slow, calls System 1 Thinking. System 1 Thinking is fast, instinctive and emotional as opposed to System 2 Thinking which is slower, more deliberative, analytical and more logical.
Our brain has not had a ‘firmware upgrade’ to help it operate in a modern, multicultural and...
Confidence is 'the' key success factor for modern managers and leaders and yet many lack confidence in the following areas:
With all these scenarios the keys to confidence are, 1) accepting that you are valuable and have contributions to make (Self-esteem), 2) taking ownership of your thought and feelings (Personal Power), and 3) communicating what you want (Executive Presence). In short, the application of Self-leadership.
When managing downwards, managers need to remember Henry Ford who said, “The generalist will always employ the specialist.” The manager doesn’t need to know everything about everyone’s discipline they need to know how to engage smart people to get...
in a previous post, "How to Influence Your Boss", I explored how to influence upwards, but just as important is how to influence laterally.
When I teach programs on influence or influence without authority, I ask participants to create a circle of influence like this diagram:
I then ask them to put ticks or crosses, representing ability or inability to influence, against each circle. Obviously some circles will need sub-circles to represent individual key people. This is a useful exercise to map out where you need to develop or strengthen your influence.
In a modern matrix style organisation, your success will be determined not just by what you do, but by what you can influence others to do. The effective manager/leader learns to find out what is important to the people in their circle of influence and communicates to them in terms of what matters them rather than directly stating their own needs.
The "How to Influence Your Boss" post expands on finding needs and...
As a people manager, your most important and impactful activities are the conversations you have with your staff about how they are doing and how they can develop themselves. With this level of importance, it is therefore surprising that so many of these conversations can end up leaving both parties unsatisfied.
Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance, is a maxim I’m sure you've heard; well in the case of scheduled performance and development conversations this is very true. So how and what to plan?
When a human mind has a clear goal and feels motivated to achieve that goal, it rewards behaviors that move it towards that goal with little hits of the ‘feel good’ chemical, dopamine. In addition, when behaviors that move us towards a goal are recognized and acknowledged, we feel more motivated and are likely to increase our efforts.
This realization of human psychology means that before a conversation with a staff member, you must be...
Research has shown that the inability to build a successful relationship with the boss is a significant reason for managers failing or not reaching their full potential.
When I approach this topic, I encounter several mindsets that lead to an inability to effectively influence, these include:
Do any of these, sound familiar?
The problem with blaming the boss is that you have created an external locus of control which is the exact opposite of self-leadership. To influence you must ask yourself, “what can I do that will make a difference?” The purpose of this blog is to provide some ideas to get you started:
Allies have open and honest conversations; they may not always agree but they will listen to what each other wants and assertively communicate what their own needs. "But my boss doesn't...
Executive Coaching has come of age and is now viewed as an effective way of developing leaders. Smart companies are making executive coaching a core element of leadership development; whether that is when grooming a CEO successor or helping managers transition to leaders.
It is therefore not ‘news’ that a recent survey reports 86 percent of US companies hired Executive Coaches to sharpen the skills of individuals who have been identified as future organizational leaders. The numbers are similar in Europe whilst the uptake of executive coaching in Singapore and Asia has been slower but is catching up.
The demand for good Executive Coaches has been driven by organizations demands for immediate results. Executive Coaching provides feedback and guidance in real time, and lasting transformations can be observed after 3 to 6 months.
As individuals advance to the executive level, developmental feedback becomes increasingly important. Many executives plateau in critical...