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”
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”