Of the various articles I’ve written for my website, this one is quite unique as it’s the product of a writing collaboration between myself and Col. Chris R. Stricklin. At the time we were writing this piece, Chris was stationed at Kabul, Afghanistan as the Chief of Staff/Chief Operating Officer for the NATO Air Training Command.
In addition to the unique experience of shaping and discussing the various points we wanted to share in this piece, it was wonderful to see how quickly we discovered both the common ground we share, along with the commonality found in our individual experiences regarding the challenges we’ve faced and seen in how we can help to bring out the best in those around us – even from a half a world away.
I hope you’ll enjoy the combined insights Chris and I bring to this piece on how we can effectively take over the reins of an established team and help them to continue to achieve success in attaining the shared purpose that defines why we do what we do.
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The house is perfect. Yard meticulously manicured, walls freshly painted, window treatments perfectly hung…it is as you dreamed…just as you move out. For those who move often, it is a commonly understood idiom the house is always the way we want it just before we move out.
As a leader, the same goes for developing a team. You develop those who follow to be intrinsically motivated toward the success of your mission and you meticulously handpick the different levels of leaders below you to execute your vision.
When it is finally running like a well-oiled machine, corporate promotes you to the next level of challenge. What about your successor? People think that assuming a leadership position over a poorly performing organization is the biggest challenge you could face, but the truth is… becoming the leader of a tight team is a larger challenge.
Follow these five simple ground rules and your new leadership challenge will be off to a great start. Click here to continue reading »”5 Important Keys For Taking On New Leadership Challenges”
One of the things I enjoy in writing about leadership is looking out for new insights into how we can become a better leader to those we serve, as well as discovering new examples that can help to illustrate what those measures might look like in action. The most recent example of this came courtesy of my daughter Alya’s dance recital, a show she had to participate in as part of her dance class curriculum.
Now granted, as her father it’s only natural that my focus and attention would be on watching my daughter and being dazzled by her performance. But outside of that typical parental pride, there was one thing that was unmistakable about Alya’s performance – as she danced on that stage, it was clear to everyone that she was having fun.
What was particularly noteworthy about this is that in openly expressing her joy while she danced – irrespective of whether she was the best dancer on stage or not – she actually made her performance that much more enjoyable because her emotional expressiveness drew the audience in. Indeed, after the show, a few of the other parents came up to me to pass along a message to Alya about how much they enjoyed her dance because they appreciated the obvious enthusiasm she brought to the stage.
Hearing these comments made me realize that this is something leaders tend to overlook or fail to take into consideration regarding not only how they communicate to their employees, but also what efforts they make to better relate to those under their care.
More specifically, as leaders, we know the value of the vision or the change initiatives we want to push through our organization. But how many of us can say that our employees see and understand the value behind our collective efforts as well?
In looking at the various studies on employee morale and engagement levels in today’s workplaces, the answer to this question is Click here to continue reading »”Are You Creating Value Through Your Leadership?”
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?”
These days, we talk a lot about the benefits of embracing diversity in the workplace. Of how intermingling people of different cultures, beliefs and nationalities can allow us to tap into the diversity of thoughts, ideas, and perspectives that go with these unique demographic elements.
Of course, sometimes it can be difficult to appreciate just how these differences can help us to discover new insights, particularly if we live in a fairly homogeneous population. As such, I’d like to share the following four words from languages found in different parts of the world to not only show how these diverse viewpoints can benefit your organization, but also how they remind us of the underlying commonalities that we all share.
1. Meraki – Creating work that ignites our creativity and soul
In the Greek language, there is a word they use called “Meraki” which means ‘doing something with soul, creativity, or love’; that you’re able to put “something of yourself” into what you’re doing. In most cases, meraki is used to refer to how one prepares a meal, arranges a room, or sets an elegant table.
Although meraki is typically used to describe moments in our home lives, there is an important message here for us to take note of in terms of the kind of work environment we create for our employees. Click here to continue reading »”The Language Of Leadership”