“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”
One of the great joys I get from my work is the opportunity to connect and build relationships with some truly exceptional leaders and people. One of them is my friend, Bob Bennett, the guest writer of this piece. After seeing one of Bob’s talks two years ago, I knew this was a leader I had to connect with, and our conversations and emails since then have been inspiring, informative, and just plain fun. When you read the guest piece he’s written below, you’ll understand why.
* * * * *
I am blessed to have grandchildren, because they teach me something new every day – even things like leadership and business.
One week shy of their third birthday my wife and I took two of our grandchildren, May and Tucker, to Disney World. They are twins; May is an instigator and manipulator. Tucker is ‘all boy’ and extremely active but sensitive. Both have a quest for knowledge; they can talk with you all day about habitats, inertia, paleontologists, and, as Tucker calls it, ‘gestion,’ the art of turning the food one eats into energy.
We stayed at a cabin in the Wilderness Village. We spent four full days at the separate theme parks, going on every ride that did not have a height restriction.
While packing to leave after the ‘adventure,’ my wife and I wondered which were the kids’ favorite rides. The decision: Tucker – Toy Story; May – Ariel. So, as would any grandparent, we asked them.
The first surprise for us was the speed with which they answered the question. They both answered immediately Click here to continue reading »”How We Can Develop A Culture Of Learning”
The following is a guest piece by David M. Dye.
Our team of teachers and high school students had just finished a rafting trip, changed into fresh clothes, and loaded up our convoy of vans to head out to our hotel.
And I was the leader.
I confidently led our convoy out of the parking lot and onto a frontage road that ran parallel to the highway before it crossed over and merged – or so I thought.
With the other drivers in tight formation behind me, I led the team up a hill, but as I crested the hill and descended the other side, it looked like the road narrowed. I slowed a bit, but kept going – we were in the mountains after all and roads there aren’t always built perfectly.
However, as I continued down the hill, the asphalt dwindled until it was just wide enough for one vehicle…before it took a sharp right turn and disappeared out of sight under the highway.
Then I saw it.
A round “cornering mirror” – the kind of mirror you see in grocery stores or bike paths with blind corners. The type of mirror that allows bike riders to see approaching traffic around the corner.
Yes, bikes… Click here to continue reading »”Can Your Team Really Trust You?”
Over the past two weeks, I’ve had the distinct honour of being recognized by two organizations for my work in the field of leadership. The first came from Inc. Magazine which recognized me as one of the Top 100 Leadership and Management Experts, putting me alongside such leadership heavyweights as Sir Richard Branson, Vineet Nayar, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Peter F. Drucker, and placing one spot below Bill Gates.
The second recognition I received came from Kelly Services in their list of the “Top 7 Blogs Every Manager Should Read”, where I found myself being included alongside such preeminent sites as the Harvard Business Review, Bloomberg Businessweek’s Management Blog, The Gallup Blog, and Seth Godin to name a few.
Naturally, I took to my various networks to share this news, both to invite others to join me in celebrating these recognitions, but also as an opportunity for me to express my appreciation for the continued support and encouragement I’ve received over the years that has helped to place me in such esteemed company.
Among the various congratulatory wishes, renowned leadership expert, best-selling author, and award-winning leadership speaker Jim Kouzes posed an interesting question to me – looking back at the journey that has lead to me such accolades and recognition, “what would you say are the 3 to 5 lessons you’ve learned along the way?”
Although my reply to Jim’s query focused on some of the lessons I’ve learned from writing this blog for the past 5 years, I realized that some of these lessons also apply to the field of leadership, in how they can guide us to become the kind of leader our employees need us to be so they can succeed and thrive.
So here now are 3 lessons I’d like to share from my own experiences to ensure that we’re not only successful in our efforts to guide and inspire those we lead, but that we’re able to achieve the underlying vision and drive that defines why we commit ourselves to serving those under our care. Click here to continue reading »”3 Personal Lessons On How To Succeed At Leadership”
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve written about how successful leaders build thriving teams, along with what necessary steps we need to take to not only encourage organizational growth in the months and years ahead, but how we can help our employees to adapt to changes we need to make to ensure we achieve our shared purpose.
As is often the case when we write about leadership, the focus tends to be on what we can do today to improve how our organization operates going forward and hopefully, achieve the kind of success we envisioned when we first took on this leadership role.
And yet, a common theme running through the past couple of pieces I’ve written here on my blog also lend themselves to the idea of looking beyond our time serving as leader and to what we’ll leave behind as the legacy of our time serving as the steward for our organization’s vision and shared purpose.
When I announced to my Governing Board team my decision to resign as chairman a few months back, the news was met with some disappointment and sadness, followed by an impromptu round of applause when I revealed my plans to run in the upcoming school board elections for school board chairman. In the time since making this announcement, there’s been a feeling of assurance among my team members about the future, with a few of them telling me that they know that the team will be fine without me.
While it might sting at first to hear that those you lead are confident that they can move along without you, it’s probably the biggest compliment we can get as leaders when the time comes for us to hand over the helm to someone else.
When we see that those we lead meet our impending departure not with trepidation or concern, but with sadness and appreciation, we know that we’ve Click here to continue reading »”What Will Your Leadership Legacy Be?”