Mastering Leadership: From Effective Leader to Great Leader

Are you an effective leader, or a great leader?

Effective leaders have mastered leadership competencies like setting strategic direction, communicating a clear mission, monitoring resources and ensuring that processes, systems and people achieve results. In addition, the great leaders I have worked with assess what they do, why they do it, and how they can improve it. They periodically take a look at their beliefs, thinking, and motivations. This is not always an easy task.

With the rapidly changing competitive environment and new technologies, it’s hard to keep up. The time leaders can afford to spend on their leadership skills and personal growth seems to shrink every year. All the while, leaders are under increasing pressure to make their companies all they can be, with little time taken to making themselves all they can be. How they go about mastering leadership is key. Read More »

Posted in career, leadership, relationships, strategy | Leave a comment

Great Leaders Address Weakness

In the organizations where I consult, I remind leaders that even the strongest, most talented people have flaws and weaknesses. Since the most damaging leadership liabilities have to do with the inability to work well with their people, leaders benefit best by making effective relationships a priority.

You see, the greatest challenge in minimizing these kinds of liabilities is to find an optimal balance between a focus on tasks and relationships. Anderson and Adams point this out in Scaling Leadership: Building Organizational Capability and Capacity to Create Outcomes that Matter Most (Wiley, 2019). This is easier said than done.

Great leaders address weaknesses with self-awareness and an understanding of their character and liabilities. A trusted confidant can offer a different perspective and help you take a deeper look. This may be a close colleague or better yet, a qualified executive coach who has an impartial mindset. Read More »

Posted in career, coaching, communication, leadership, relationships | 1 Comment

Emotional Deficiencies

Understanding the role of emotional deficiencies in leadership is critical in today’s corporate environment. Employees look to their leader to establish safety and trust; they expect emotionally healthy leadership. Leaders accomplish this in part with behavior that is rational, calm, logical and wise.

Leaders who portray a solid, steadfast source of guidance and direction earn the trust of their people. The opposite is true for leaders who can’t control their emotions when the pressure hits. Employees question their security when their leader doesn’t put the team first. Read More »

Posted in career, communication, leadership, relationships | Leave a comment

Leaders Who Devalue Employees: 3 Signs

Even seasoned leaders can have a lack of self-awareness, unacknowledged weaknesses and leadership liabilities. I’ve been writing about this in recent posts. Why? A surprising number of workers claim that their supervisors don’t value them: that they are treated like subservient slaves. It is a significant reason why people quit their jobs. As a popular saying goes, people don’t leave companies, they leave their bosses.

Here are three signs of leaders who don’t value people:

  1. Leaders devalue employees when they don’t treat them well. Employees may be driven hard, given unrealistic expectations, buried in work that they have no way to accomplish, or go unforgiven for past mistakes. This is a signal that their needs are not considered important, that they have little value in the eyes of the leader.
  2. Leaders devalue employees when they micromanage. This often stems from the leader’s belief that no one can match their high standards, so they must be over-guided to get things right. People are not considered competent or trustworthy enough. Micromanaging is demoralizing, and creates a stinging liability.
  3. Leaders devalue others when they listen poorly. A leader who is lost in their own thoughts signals that only their thoughts are significant. They send the message that others have nothing important to say, that they can’t contribute. But as communicator and author Andy Stanley puts it, “Leaders who refuse to listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing significant to say.” That’s a serious liability.

Read More »

Posted in career, communication, leadership, outcomes, relationships | Leave a comment

What Your People Skills Reveal

Leaders are the glue that holds a team together. They create an environment in which groups perform harmoniously for optimal results. However, I have encountered some leaders who simply don’t like people.

Although every leader needs others, some leaders behave in ways that indicate otherwise. This proves to be a significant liability and it’s generally not difficult to spot. Poor people skills are an indicator.

Leaders who don’t treat people well signal their dislike for them. Common signs include not acknowledging others by initiating or returning a greeting, and being non-responsive to questions or comments. Adding arrogance or disrespect is a more blatant clue. Read More »

Posted in career, communication, leadership, outcomes, relationships | Leave a comment

Great Leadership Starts with Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is key to success in work, life, and relationships. It is the foundation of strong leadership, providing an inventory of character, skills, strengths and weaknesses. I have worked with some pretty great leaders who are self-aware, and they lead with an incredible sense of purpose, authenticity, openness, and trust.

You see, a focus on strengths is very worthwhile and profitable, but leaders can’t reach peak effectiveness without taking a hard look at their weaknesses. The most significant personal growth can come from understanding what thoughts, feelings and behavior is blocking collective success. Read More »

Posted in career, communication, leadership, outcomes | Leave a comment

Create An Environment of Trust

I believe that trust is the single biggest issue confronting leaders today, especially for those engaged in adjusting a culture. Too often, I see leaders undermine trust, with predictable consequences. But when you extend trust and are trustworthy, you create an environment of trust, where people can count on each other, take risks together and benefit from the resulting successes.

When this topic comes up with my coaching clients, we discuss how leaders enhance trust when they’re transparent and humble. For example, leaders can display humility by expressing a need for help. Admitting fallibility and weaknesses, and setting aside insecurities, reveal a real person who can be trusted.

Trust builds teamwork, which inspires cooperation and a vital interconnectedness. Trust is founded on relationships—and the stronger the relationships, the healthier the culture. Read More »

Posted in career, collaboration, communication, leadership, learning, outcomes | Leave a comment

Spark, Connect and Ignite: The Power of Purpose

As a leader, how are you connecting with your employees on a personal level? Think about it: if you can’t spark, connect with and ignite your employees, how can you expect customers to become loyal followers? That is the power of purpose: when great leaders connect with our hearts, emotions and what truly matters to us, they inspire action.

I applaud leaders with big-hearted goals, high-minded ideals and higher purposes. Employees need a reason to serve, shared goals, a common cause and focus. They need to know what their organization stands for so they can embrace its stance. Without a fundamental purpose, organizations cannot steer efforts in any general direction. Read More »

Posted in career, collaboration, leadership, learning, relationships | Leave a comment

3 Leadership Proficiencies to Adjust Your Culture

Do you have the three leadership proficiencies necessary to adjust your culture?

It saddens me to see otherwise great leaders unable to answer this question. Unfortunately, some leaders are disinterested in their culture, considering it superfluous. But as I wrote in my last post, your organization’s culture can increase net income by more than 700% in an 11-year span.

Leaders who recognize this opportunity, but are too intimidated or unfamiliar, fail to take prudent steps (and sometimes make matters worse). A strong company culture doesn’t happen in a vacuum.

Adjusting a culture is based on constructive relationships and interactions. But humans, by nature, often fail to engage each other constructively. Selfish impulses and habits get in the way. Fears, stubborn beliefs, prejudices and pride also inhibit healthy group dynamics. Read More »

Posted in career, leadership, learning | Leave a comment

The Ethos Effect on Your Bottom Line

Truly savvy executives pay attention to the pulse in their organization. They understand how beliefs, attitudes and habits impact their bottom line: unless people embrace their jobs and their work wholeheartedly, they won’t sustain efforts in the face of difficulties.

I consider this as I watch some companies prosper and draw the business world’s attention. They continuously grow, innovate and impress. In contrast, others struggle, never breaking through to reach their desired success. The latter must deal with downsizing, financial shortfalls, market-share losses and tarnished reputations. The disparities are glaring.

While leaders of prosperous companies garner industry admiration, those who head besieged organizations wonder where they went wrong. They search for explanations as to why their operations haven’t fulfilled their potential. Research in social science and organizational behavior points to a critical quality, one that most directs every company’s future: culture.

Too often, leaders discount the importance of ethos and organizational culture, with predictable consequences. They must define, assess and strengthen their culture to thrive. Read More »

Posted in career, leadership, outcomes, relationships, sales | Leave a comment