When it comes to studying leadership, the natural tendency is to focus on those leaders whose successes and achievements continue to inspire us and drive so many to emulate them in the hopes of replicating their accomplishments.
Of course, as much as it’s important for us to see what we can learn from those who understand what it takes to succeed at leadership, it’s also valuable for us to examine and consider what causes others to fail in the role of leading people towards a common goal or shared purpose.
To that end, I’d like to share the story of one leader whose example I hope will help us to appreciate one of the key challenges leaders need to address if they are to succeed in this role in today’s fast-changing, global environment.
When Albert* was promoted to head the division he had spent the past few years working for, he naturally jumped into the opportunity with a lot of enthusiasm and ideas of how he’d like the department to operate under his leadership.
Given how Albert was career-driven and had his eyes on playing a bigger role in the organization, he was determined to not only prove his ability to lead this department, but to get his former colleagues to view him as ‘executive material’, in order to support his efforts to move up in the organization.
In no time, Albert was sending out memos detailing new approaches he wanted his former colleagues to employ in order to ‘make things more efficient’ or to ‘make efforts more aligned with corporate policy’ as a way to prove his technical prowess.
He used team meetings to inform his direct reports of his interactions with various groups of executives and VPs to highlight his growing familiarity with those at the executive level in order to prove his comfort level with ‘playing in the big leagues’.
Of course, in his zeal to prove his ability to lead and step up into the executive circle, Albert ended up making a number of missteps which Click here to continue reading »”Why We Fail At Leadership”
As I look back at the past 12 months, there’s no question that this has definitely been a milestone year for me. Not only did 2014 mark five years that I’ve been writing online for this blog, but this was also the year I finally added “author” to my list of credentials with the release of my first leadership book, “Leadership Vertigo”.
A milestone that I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to celebrate here on my blog with the help of such leadership luminaries as Doug Conant, Liz Wiseman, Jim Kouzes, Barry Posner, and David Burkus.
Also noteworthy this year was the numerous leadership awards and recognitions I’ve received, most notably being recognized by Inc Magazine both as one of their “Top 100 Leadership and Management Experts”, and just a few weeks ago as one of “100 Great Leadership Speakers”. Indeed, this has certainly been for me a phenomenal year of growth, change, and evolution, and one which will certainly set the foundation for what lies ahead.
But before we say goodbye to 2014, allow me to share with you my Top 10 Leadership Insights from this year as selected by you, the readers of my award-winning leadership blog. These 10 leadership insights proved to be most popular based on the total number of social shares the respective pieces had.
Of course, instead of simply providing you with a list, I’d like to share with you this series of quotes gleaned from my writings in the hopes that it will both remind you of what was shared this year, as well as inspire you to recognize the opportunities to be found in this new year for us to show up and truly be the kind of leader that fuels the success and long-term prosperity of our organizations and community. Click here to continue reading »”My Top 10 Leadership Insights For 2014″
The following is a guest piece by Princeton University Professor Derek Lidow.
You would think that good ideas make it easier to be a good leader. Unfortunately, the opposite is true. Good ideas are threatening to leaders. By definition, good ideas mean an improvement over the present, a better way of doing things or even better lives.That’s why people who have good ideas expect their leaders to act on them, which creates an instant test of leadership: do you care enough for those around you to do something positive with the idea? Are you able to do something with it?
Good ideas of your own can be equally threatening. As a leader, how often have you had a good idea and then found yourself unsure how to turn it into reality, how to convert it into something of tangible value for you and for others? The experience can be not only threatening, but ultimately deflating.
It doesn’t have to be. Consider the most extreme and most personally threatening case in which leaders must turn good ideas into reality: entrepreneurship. Fail as a leader in this case and the entire enterprise goes down. And, in my experience, many entrepreneurial failures are failures of leadership, not of ideas.
Successful entrepreneurs, in meeting the stern test of leadership posed by good ideas, have much to teach us. If you can bring to the challenge of good ideas what the best entrepreneurial leaders (ELs) bring to it under threat of extinction, you will likely be able to handle anything that comes your way.
The great news is that the required skills can be learned. Indeed, you can even have major weaknesses, as long as you understand and mitigate them. Leaders who successfully lead the process of turning ideas into valuable, tangible realities are able to do five things uncommonly well: Click here to continue reading »”Good Ideas Make It Harder To Be A Great Leader”
Last week, I had the pleasure of giving the keynote speech at the 2014 NAED LEAD Conference held in Chicago. Given how the focus of my speech was examining the role of charisma in leadership and how we can develop this trait to inspire and engage our employees, it would seem almost natural that the locale for this keynote was this elegant, almost regal ballroom located in one of the illustrious hotels found along Chicago’s “Magnificent Mile”.
Of course, for those who attended my keynote speech, what was a true reflection of the lessons I shared through my talk was the opportunity to connect with new people to listen to their stories about what their successes and their failures have helped them to learn moving forward.
With this in mind, I want to share with you not the highlights of my keynote speech and the various actionable measures that I taught conference attendees to adopt and apply to their own leadership style of guiding their organization. Rather, what I’d like to share here are my reflections from delivering this message to this audience, and hearing what attendees shared about how they would apply these new insights to become a better leader to those under their care.
Tanveer delivering keynote speech at 2014 LEAD Conference in Chicago.
To begin, let us first understand that charisma is not simply about having this natural charm or a magnetic aura that some of us seem to naturally possess to draw in those around us. Rather, as the Oxford Dictionary points out, charisma refers to our ability “to inspire followers with devotion and enthusiasm”.
In other words, charisma is not simply about how charming those around us perceive us to be, but our ability to inspire and engage our employees to Click here to continue reading »”Understanding The Value Of Charisma In Leadership”
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”