Leadership is a complex and multi-faceted topic. To be an effective leader requires awareness of the context in which you are leading, the motivation and skills of the people you are leading, and your own leadership style. Despite the complexity, there are some do's and don'ts that can help you become a more efficient and effective leader. In this guide, we'll cover five of the most important leadership do's and don'ts.
One of the most important things a leader can do is keep lines of communication open. This means being accessible to your team and encouraging two-way communication. Leaders should make it safe to ask questions and be available to address concerns (psychological safety). Being responsive to feedback builds trust and engagement.
Leaders must be able to make decisions quickly and confidently. Indecision breeds confusion and causes morale to suffer. Sharing why and how a decision was made creates buy-in...
How do you read the room on Zoom?
I was asked this question by one of my coaching clients who wanted to transform her influence, to get the promotion she sought.
I’d previously shared with her that in addition to projecting gravitas and confidence, executive presence means, reading the room.
The Greek Philosopher, Aristotle wrote, that in order to influence, we need pathos. Pathos gives us the English word, empathy, meaning the ability to understand the feelings and motivations of your audience. This is what I mean by reading the room.
Pitching your idea, or presenting information without knowing what state the audience is in or what’s important to them, is like driving on a freeway blindfolded.
So, how do you read the room, and how do you do that in a Zoom, or Teams environment when many participants have their cameras off?
Well, if you are still listening to me, then I already know something about you.
You are curious and open to learning. You are ambitious and want to...
Jeff Bezos famously said, "Personal Brand is what people say about you when you leave the room", but executive presence is what will get you into the room in the first place.
If you are not known for something, or unforgettable, you can forget career advancement or financial success.
The key to personal branding is that you clearly communicate your value, and that value is relevant to your audience (clients, colleagues, senior executives).
I was recently coaching a Professional Speaker in Singapore, who was struggling to find his 'tagline', that value statement that follows your name.
Do you have a tagline?
Ironically, this speaker was an expert on communication, but calling himself, 'The Communication Expert' was a bit too generic, so I challenged him to articulate, his Message, his Methodology, and his Market. I asked him what problem he solved for people and what they said about him after he solved it for them.
Do you know what...
When creating change, whether personally or within an organization, you will encounter resistance. People will tell you they are on board with the new vision but then engage in behaviors that sabotage objectives.
The first key to creating change is to acknowledge that every behavior has a ‘frame of mind’, constructed of values, beliefs, identity, and intentions. This frame of mind can be conscious or unconscious but will act like a gyroscope, always bringing your behaviors back towards a programmed destination.
Let’s take an example of creating change that most of us are familiar with – dieting to lose weight. We have a vision of ourselves as fitter or thinner, and we set a goal to lose X number of kilos by Y date; but what do we do? We cheat, we make exceptions and before long we are eating as we have always done.
Why do we default? Because our eating behavior, like all our behaviors, is controlled by a frame of mind. What are some common...
Choosing an Executive Coach for yourself can be a little confusing, to say the least. Your Executive Coach is going to be your confidant and you will need to open up to get the best from the relationship. So whether you are spending your own money or your organization is providing you with a coach, it’s helpful to have more than just a ‘gut feel’ to go on.
Most coaches will give you a no-obligation, 30 to 60-minute ‘chemistry’ meeting to assess if there is a fit for both parties. That’s right, an experienced coach may spot you are not committed to the process, or the organization has misaligned expectations and so excuse themselves from the assignment.
I recommend that you meet with at least two coaches but no more than four. Meetings can be face-to-face, by video conference, or by phone. Try and ask each coach the same questions, and take note of the questions they ask you. A good coach is going to get you to step back and...
I will always remember an inspiring speech by Darrell, a CEO that I was coaching. The occasion was a ‘town hall’ for employees just after it was announced that he would be moving on to new pastures.
“Make mistakes”, he said.
“Just don’t let your mistakes be bigger than mine”
It is not often we hear a leader encourage his team to make mistakes, but Darrell knew that making mistakes was part of the business and that you should limit the size of your mistakes. Darrell’s leadership had created a culture of creativity and customer service, and many people openly wept on his last day.
A critical test for any leader is how they effectively manage employee mistakes. Mistakes are inevitable but your response to them will determine whether you enhance productivity and employee engagement or destroy moral.
A simple maxim for mistakes would be –
“Be tough on standards, be tender on people.”
Before I discuss how to implement this...
A definition of resilience can be found in any dictionary, but for a living breathing definition of resilience, you will discover it etched in the faces of those that have faced difficulties head-on, and refused to be defeated.
You might see resilience looking back at you in the bathroom mirror, or in the face of your spouse as they prepare for another day of work, or in the dogged determination of a co-worker or employee. Resilience can be an in-built quality or a choice, but either way it is not revealed in calm waters but in tough times.
For humans the dictionary defines resilience as:
“the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties, toughness.”
For substances it is the ability to spring back into shape, elasticity.
The paradox, for me, is that with these definitions’ resilience is about recovery (getting back what you have lost) or springing back to an original shape, as if nothing had happened....
If you are a manager or leader, you will likely have faced the challenges of motivation.
As an Executive Coach and Leadership Motivational speaker, I am versed in the theory and practice of motivation and extensively work with leaders to improve their results. In this post, I share my favorite theory and application using my own research.
Being human, we have a smart brain, specifically the prefrontal cortex, which we use to imagine and predict the future. These imaginations and predictions create expectations. Expectancy Theory (Victor Vroom 1964), is a model about how expectations lead to motivation.
Vroom’s theory says that, if the future seems reasonably likely and attractive to us, we know how to get there, and we believe we will be appropriately rewarded, then we will be motivated to act. In other words, if people expect a positive and...
There are almost as many definitions of leadership as there are people who have written on the topic. So, rather than complicate matters, I want to simplify this discussion on leadership to just 3-things, people, choices, and economics.
I believe that when we understand these things, we can better understand people’s thinking and behavior, and therefore be a better leader.
“Did you meet your numbers?
Governments want to know the numbers, and leaders want to meet or exceed their numbers, but economics isn’t really about numbers. You might not believe me when you see economists pouring over data, creating graphs, charts, and models, but the goal of real economics is:
“to uncover the unintended consequences of our choices.”
This perspective that social phenomena result exclusively from the motivations and actions of individuals is where economics (Austrian School) meets Self-leadership. In reality, economics is...
To succeed in any organization, you must understand 'office politics'. The first rule is to be visible, doing good work is not enough if you're not associated with it. You must learn to shine.
Let me tell you about Chris who's an experienced pharmaceutical Healthcare Executive. He delivered results as a sales head early in his career and had been moved to head office in Europe in an administrative role.
Chris made everything run smoothly. However, he did it in an under-the-radar manner, so when he wanted to step up to a country manager role he was not deemed ready.
Chris had not followed the first rule of office politics:
How could Chris have gained visibility instead of just quietly making things efficient?