Thursday, 31 July 2014
Wednesday, 30 July 2014
Tuesday, 29 July 2014
Monday, 28 July 2014
Can you put a price tag on that? Can you measure it? Perhaps you could by tracking long-term survival, or profitability, or maybe stock price, as some funds like Parnassus do. I’ll leave that up to you.
Sunday, 27 July 2014
Saturday, 26 July 2014
Image courtesy of Marcus74id / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
1. Listening - When you are a servant leader you make a commitment to listening intently to others. You also seek to identify and clarify the will of a group. Paying close attention to what is being said but sometimes more importantly what is not being said.
2. Empathy - What is empathy? To help clarify, we’ll define sympathy first. Sympathy is implying pity but you maintain distance from another’s feelings. For example, feeling sorry for a person, “I’m really sorry that happened to you.” Empathy on the other hand is more a sense that one can truly understand or imagine the depth of another person’s feelings. It’s like saying, “I feel you man! I feel ya! And I’m right there with ya!”
3. Healing – Learning to heal is a powerful force for transformation and integration. One of the great strengths of servant-leadership is the potential for healing one’s self and others.
4. Awareness – General awareness, and especially self-awareness, strengthens the servant-leader. Deciding to be self-aware can be scary, you never know what you might discover.
5. Persuasion – Servant-leaders rely on persuasion, rather than positional authority in making decisions. Servant-leaders seek to convince others, rather than coerce compliance.
6. Conceptualization – Servant-leaders seek to nurture their abilities to “dream great dreams.” The ability to look at a problem (or an organization) from a conceptualizing perspective means that one must think beyond day-to-day realities.
7. Foresight – Foresight is a characteristic that enables servant-leaders to understand lessons from the past, the realities of the present, and the likely consequence of a decision in the future.
8. Stewardship – Robert Greenleaf’s view of all institutions was one in which CEO’s, staff, directors, and trustees all play significant roles in holding their institutions accountable for the greater good of society.
9. Commitment to the Growth of People – Servant-leaders believe that people have an intrinsic worth beyond their tangible contributions as workers. As such, servant-leaders are deeply committed to the personal, professional, and spiritual growth of each and every individual within the organization.
10. Building Community – Servant-leaders are aware that the shift from local communities to large institutions has led to us having a changed perception of community and an overall feeling of communal loss. Bottom line is we just aren’t as close as we once were.
Photo; Image courtesy of Marcus74id / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Photo; Image courtesy of Marcus74id / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Friday, 25 July 2014
What matters most to those you lead? Answer: It’s caring. Leaders who have heart, will also have the hearts of those they lead.
I love the following video that demonstrates this in a beautiful and simple way.
We all have an innate desire to be cared about, to feel valued – to be loved. Leaders, never underestimate the power of caring in your leadership.
Do you spend a lot of time spinning your wheels on how to help those you lead feel valued? Do you create elaborate recognition programs? Do you fight to get your staff big bonuses? Do you do birthday parties and staff lunches?
While all of the above and similar efforts are good and worthy, there are times only the most simple things will do as this video illustrates. And there are times when only the above will do as well.
The key, is to care. If you come from a foundation of caring as a leader everything will be done from the right place. And what follows will be magical.
When is the last time you told someone you cared about them? When is the last time you gave a hug (when appropriate) instead of a stern word or two? When is the last time you gave a gift because you cared, not because of something great or important someone did, just because you cared?
I think you will appreciate the following. Enjoy leaders!
Thursday, 24 July 2014
1. You are not the hero, but your Padawan may be
2. You may be misunderstood
3. If you’re not careful, your organization may produce a Darth Vader
4. You live in the muck
5. You’re work is never done
6. Sometimes, you have to kick evil’s butt yourself
7. It’s up to you
Wednesday, 23 July 2014
Tuesday, 22 July 2014
An old colleague and leadership expert used to relate a little parable about the great British prime ministers, William Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli.
It was said that, after dinner with Gladstone, you’d go home shaking your head, thinking, “Wow, that Gladstone is just the wittiest, the most intelligent, the most charming person around.”
But after dinner with Disraeli, you’d go home shaking your head, thinking, “Wow, I am just the wittiest, the most intelligent, the most charming person around.”
We all want to be around people like Disraeli. Gladstone was certainly an impressive man who shined brightly before others. But Disraeli had the ability to help others shine, to find what was impressive in them and draw it to the surface. The story may be apocryphal or exaggerated, but it speaks deeply to the kind of leaders that most people respond to.
Why don’t we have more of that “help others to shine ” leadership in our organizations and our society? Because most wannabe leaders figure that leadership is about being the person in the spotlight. If they do finally earn that spotlight, it’s hard for them to leave it or even share it.
It takes maturity and humility and wisdom to grasp that oftentimes the best thing you can do with that spotlight is to put it on those around you, so that they blossom in ways they didn’t realize were possible … and so that your organization can benefit fully from their fully developed talents.
How can the average person make the shift from “me-centered leadership” to “you-centered leadership? Here are a few key principles.
Remember the power of collective wisdom.“None of us is as smart as all of us,” as the Japanese proverb goes. It’s been demonstrated by social scientists that multiple viewpoints and shared perspectives are crucial to solving the more complex problems of organizational life. The person who’s too busy or too vain to appreciate what “the masses” have to say is robbing himself and his organization of invaluable wisdom. But the leader who knows that gems of wisdom are present in others will always be on the lookout for those gems.
Make learning more important to your career than teaching. Too often the bright but arrogant leader eventually becomes a fool and a failure. Such a leader always supposes that he or she has something to teach others. But the bright and reasonably humble leader realizes he or she has something to learn from others, no matter their station–and is eager to test ideas on them and to gain insight from their distinct, unique experiences.
Sense the heroic in others—even the so-called “little people.” The wise leader senses that there’s something noble and heroic in most anyone who sits across the table, and uses the time together to learn about that person’s personal battles and triumphs. Many of the greatest leaders and mentors are those who can become sincerely fascinated by most anyone.
Remember that people will admire you more if you admire them.This isn’t rocket science. When a smart or powerful person finds you to be intriguing, you’re far more loyal to them than if they simply condescended to give you a few moments of their time. And earning that sort of loyalty is important to the work of most long-term leaders. I wrote elsewhere about two leaders, one who was kind to the “little people,” and one who was brutal. Both went through rough patches, but the one who showed decency was able to ride out storms. And the other one washed out to sea as others quietly cheered.
The truth is that there are enough impressive and distinguished stuffed-shirts (or Gladstones) in the world. Most people whom you know aren’t cheering for you to become another one of them. But they are pulling for you to become that rare leader who can help others to shine.
Monday, 21 July 2014
Sunday, 20 July 2014
Developing your own Personal Authentic Leadership is the key to successful management according to Christo Nel, leadership development expert at Nyenrode Business Universiteit.
Christo says: " My career spanning 40 years, working with hundreds of people in leadership positions and several thousand MBA candidates has led me to believe deeply that these six steps to personal authentic leadership are key to a successful management career."
1. Embark upon a life-long journey of learning
Initially it can help to work with a good leadership coach to turn your life into a perpetual university of personal development. By understanding how your life journey has shaped you, you can make rapid progress in courageously defining and living out your own authentic being.
2. Define and live out your authentic leadership fingerprint
Do not try to clone yourself based on what others do. Others can provide valuable lessons but take the time to think about and reach conclusions on who and what you are as a leader and what you are unlikely to be. Do not try to be all things to all people!
3. Leverage strengths – yours and others
Focus on your strengths and those of others. It is the integration and application of others` strengths that make the difference.
4. Have a council of peers
High performance leadership is a team activity in which we cannot make it alone. Make sure that you always have a small group of friends or a ‘’council of peers’’ who care for you enough to be robust, share your celebrations and give you the tough feedback you need.
5. Invite dissent
If you have two people in your management team who continuously agree with one another, then one is probably redundant. Do not look for or expect agreement that is reached too quickly or without robust dialogue. By creating an environment of trust where people feel free to disagree with you, you will tap into their experience and complement your own contributions.
6. Ready, Fire, Aim! Learn by doing
Planning is critical but plans are useless. It is impossible to plan things into perfection. Do your homework well, but then act. It is only by doing something that you can rapidly discover what works well, what can be refined and what should be rejected.
Christo says: "Sometimes a person can be very outgoing, charismatic and seemingly capable of energising an entire hall full of people – and that individual has a reputation as a good leader. At other times I cross paths with other similar people, but those around are very critical and have little respect for them as leaders. I also know people at the other end of the spectrum who operate in a very quiet and low profile manner. They seem to eschew publicity and performance in front of others. Yet again, some are deeply respected and loved as leaders, whilst other similar individuals prove to be disappointing. If leaders are not born but made and grown, and if there is no ready-formula to become a leader, then the answer must lie elsewhere. In my opinion, personal authentic leadership is where that answer lies."
Saturday, 19 July 2014
July 18th would have been Nelson Mandela's 96th birthday, and is known as 'Mandela Day'. Here is a great piece from yourstory.com about the leadership lessons we can learn from the man himself - first published just after his death last December.
Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president and anti-apartheid icon, has died at the age of 95. There is much to learn from the bold life of Mandela, who taught his country and its people to “walk tall” — as his fellow anti-apartheid campaigner, Archbishop Desmond Tutu put it — despite being imprisoned for 27 years.
He was a true leader, in many ways an entrepreneur. Here are five key lessons we could learn from the icon:
1) Be firm. Walk tall: Nelson Mandela joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1943, as a law student. They campaigned against apartheid, he was arrested in 1962 and sentenced to five years in prison. Later, he was sentenced to life. Solitary confinement almost killed him, but he still preached reconciliation. He had said during the Chief Albert Luthuli Centenary Celebrations, Kwadukuza, Kwazulu-Natal, April 25, 1998, South Africa: “Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all.”
2. Believe in yourself: Even when other leaders called him a sinner and accused him of treason, he kept fighting for peace and equality. During his trial in 1964, he said: “I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination.” On how he kept his resolve, he said at Robben Island, Cape Town, on February 11, 1994: “I had no specific belief except that our cause was just, was very strong and it was winning more and more support.”
3. Persevere: During his imprisonment in Robben Island, the prison in Cape Town harbour, he had to do back-breaking work in the lime quarry. It was a punishment designed to break his spirit. Others around him gave up. Even when the harsh sun on the white stone caused permanent damage to his eyes, he refused to give up. He contracted tuberculosis in Pollsmoor Prison outside Cape Town. Solitary confinement, which drove many insane, didn’t break him either. He fought on.
4. Speak the truth: He always insisted on speaking the truth, even if it would ruffle the feathers of his own supporters. During the bloody fights between ANC supporters and the predominantly Zulu Inkatha movement, he refused to shift the blame to the opposition alone: “There are members of the ANC who are killing our people… We must face the truth. Our people are just as involved as other organisations that are committing violence… We cannot climb to freedom on the corpses of innocent people.” Later, during his campaign against AIDS, which had killed his son, he called it “the curse of Africa” even though he knew that would draw anger.
5. Lead by example: Mandela’s sense of his own dignity was conspicuous. That was a trait evident all through his years. “I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die,” he had said during his trial. He walked the talk.
He has given the world many leadership lessons. During an interview with Time managing editor Richard Stengel in 2008, he admitted that there were times when he was afraid. He told Stengel that, as a leader, if you are afraid, you must not show the fear. “You must put up a front.” Stengel’s cover story about Mandela, “The Secrets of Leadership”, has the world’s greatest moral leader reflecting on a lifetime of service — and what the rest of us can learn from it.