“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”
– William Arthur Ward
When it comes to effectively leading teams and organizations in today’s fast-paced, 24/7 global economy, it’s becoming more and more evident that the days of command-and-control leadership are well behind us. That – to paraphrase the quote above – organizations need leaders who don’t just explain or demonstrate the relevance of their vision to those they lead. Rather, what organizations require are leaders who can inspire employees to commit themselves wholeheartedly to making this vision a reality.
It’s a recurring theme found in some of the talks I’ve given this year, going from my keynote speech given at a leadership conference in Chicago last month to my next presentation in Utah in September: that as leaders, we need to do more than simply paint grand visions of the future; we also have to provide an environment where our employees can see the opportunity to grow, evolve, and help build the kind of future that they want to be a part of.
As I prepare for my talk next month on how leaders can help their organizations to shift from relying solely on training programs to promoting a continuous learning environment, I’d like to share the following 3 measures to provide some insights on how you can do the same in your organization.
1. Encourage your employees to challenge their assumptions
One of the first things we have to do to promote continuous learning in our organization is to encourage our employees to challenge their assumptions of their capabilities as well as of what’s possible. To understand the importance of this step to creating a continuous learning environment, we need to first understand how our brain performs tasks.
When our brain performs tasks or makes decisions, it not only taps into the Click here to continue reading »”How To Promote Continuous Learning In Your Organization”
In leadership circles, we’re constantly on the lookout for sage advice on what it takes to succeed; of what skills, competencies, and/or strategies leaders should employ and exemplify to succeed in today’s challenging, ever-changing work environment.
That was certainly part of the focus of a recent conversation I had with a group of colleagues where we shared what we saw as some of the critical factors necessary for leaders to succeed in today’s fast-paced, 24/7 interconnected world.
Of course, in such discussions, the one question that inevitably arises is what do we see as the one thing successful leaders do that more of us need to apply in our day-to-day affairs leading our own teams and organizations.
As we went around the table offering our insights to this query, one clear thought came to my mind and it’s one that I’d like to share with you as the one thing I see successful leaders doing.
So what is it? It’s that successful leaders show up.
Think of all the times we sabotage ourselves – where we hold ourselves back because we think we’re not good enough, or that we might come off the wrong way, or worse, that we might fail in front of others.
Think of all those conversations we’ve had with our employees, with our family and our friends where we’re not fully present – our minds wandering to what we need to do next, or conjuring up a reply to an email we just read. Or perhaps allowing ourselves to be distracted by the sound of our smartphones informing us about a new status update or text message that’s been sent our way.
In each of these cases, our focus remains Click here to continue reading »”Revealing The Secret To Successful Leadership”
As we approach the end of the first month of this new year, many of us are now well under way in implementing our plans and strategies to achieve the goals we’ve mapped out for the next 11 months. In terms of what leaders view as their top goals to achieve this year, a new study reveals some interesting opportunities, and with it, some key obstacles leaders will need to address if they are to help their organization move forward.
In the CEO Challenge 2014 study carried out by The Conference Board, CEOs and presidents from over 1 000 organizations around the world were asked to identify what they saw as the top challenges for their organization. While it wasn’t surprising to see innovation and customer relationships being included in the top 5 challenges, the study’s most revealing finding is how the top challenge for leaders worldwide was Human Capital – namely, how to engage, retain, manage and develop their employees.
In other words, leaders in every region of the world recognize that their employees are the defining factor both for their organization’s ability to achieve their goals this year, and as well as for their overall long-term success. As Rebecca Ray, Senior Vice President, Human Capital at The Conference Board, and co-author of this study points out:
“This emphasis on people-related issues makes perfect sense in a still-uncertain economy. Building a culture that supports engagement, employee training, leadership development, and high performance is something companies can control, and can mean the difference between growing market share and simply surviving in 2014. Moreover, if the focus of individual companies is sustained, Human Capital may well be the engine that revives economic growth.”
This is certainly encouraging news, as it reflects a growing shift from the survivalist/just treading water mindset to one that seeks opportunities for development and growth. However, we do have to be mindful of Click here to continue reading »”Will This Be The Year Leaders Put Employees First?”
As we welcome the arrival of a New Year, many of us are naturally filled with hope and excitement about the possibilities and opportunities for growth, change and success over the upcoming 12 months.
The beginning of a new year is also an excellent opportunity for reflection; of contemplating where we’ve been and where we could be. From that perspective, I’d like to share with you some of the leadership insights I’ve written about over the past 52 weeks, not just as a reminder of the lessons that were shared, but also so we can contemplate how we might apply them going forward.
Instead of a list of articles, though, I’d like to share a quote from ten of the most shared and commented pieces I wrote for my blog this past year, along with a link back to that piece if you’d like to learn more about that topic.
In this way, I hope to inspire you to celebrate your accomplishments of the past year in leading your team and organization, as well as to encourage you to find opportunities to become the kind of leader your employees need you to be. The kind of leader who will not only help them to succeed and thrive, but one where you will also find a sense of purpose and fulfilment in what you do.
So here now are my quotes from the top 10 leadership pieces I wrote from 2013, as selected by you, the readers of my blog:
The key to building a thriving organization:
“In our pursuit to create meaning through our shared efforts, we need to ensure that we’re creating value not just for our customers or shareholders, but also for our employees, if not also for the community in which we operate … we have to make sure we’re creating and communicating Click here to continue reading »”A Look Back At My Top 10 Leadership Insights From 2013″
Earlier this month, I gave my last talk for this year – one which examined the role charisma plays in effective leadership. After sharing research findings from the fields of neuroscience and psychology, as well as examining the common characteristics charismatic leaders share, attendees were able to appreciate that being charismatic is not about charm and how others perceive us.
Rather, it’s about how we make those around us feel – about themselves, about their capabilities and the value of what they can contribute to our shared purpose.
Recently, we all got to reflect and appreciate this reality as we looked back on the life of Nelson Mandela and how he chose to lead his life in a way that transformed his country from one that divided people based on the colour of their skin, to a nation that celebrated together his life and the vision he put forth for them to make as their own.
Although we might remember him through his various quotes and speeches, the real leadership lesson to be gleaned from his life is how he empowered those around him to not only envision a better future for all South Africans, but how he encouraged their willingness to embrace the great expectations he placed on each of them to not only do better, but to be better versions of themselves.
And Mandela was able to encourage the best in those around him because he exemplified in his actions and words his confidence that – while a daunting and at times difficult goal – it was one that his followers could nonetheless achieve if they rallied together around a shared purpose; of embracing their commonality and sense of belonging, and using that as the lens through which they understood and appreciated their collective efforts.
I wanted to highlight his message and my talk here in one of my last pieces for this year because Click here to continue reading »”One Important Leadership Lesson To Take Into Next Year”