Of all the skills the best leaders possess, the most important one – in my opinion – is the ability to listen effectively.
When you listen effectively, you learn the right information. The right information is everything you, as the leader, need to properly assess a situation and in turn, make the right decision to get the right things done. Plus, listening effectively sends the message that “you care.”
Listening is a difficult skill to learn and master because it requires you to use your very best effort and focus to:
Sort through the clutter and emotion that often is associated with some conversations.
Ignore the distractions that are a part of all our days.
Eliminate all the unnecessary and unsolicited opinions of those involved.
Get the right facts.
There is an old expression “There are two sides to every story and then there’s the truth.” That sums up the challenges associated with being able to listen effectively. Continue reading →
In today’s challenging business environment, everyone struggles with how to get more done, work harder and longer hours, multi-tasking (multi-dumb!), working faster along with a full range of tricks and shortcuts. Yet despite everyone’s best intentions, the struggle continues every day at desks all around the world.
So, the solution may just be something simpler but challenging for those so set in their ways that they are unwilling to fully embrace the degree of personal change required. Here are the 4 steps – habits – you should consider adopting: Continue reading →
The basic tenant of leading anybody is to understand people. Understand how to select the right people, empower those that you selected, and then let them get on with what they have to get done.
Anyone can rise above and beyond their present level of performance. You need to re-energize yourself and commit to taking the right action.
You can control your destiny. It all starts with making a choice, deciding what you want, and then taking the necessary steps to achieve your goal.
Lead from the front and set an example. Don’t expect someone else to do it if you’re not willing to do it first.
Get up every morning, look yourself in the mirror and ask: What can I do better today that I didn’t do yesterday? Continue to raise the bar and set your expectations higher.
You need to have passion for what you’re doing and a plan to be successful. See clearly where you want to be in the future, and then formulate the steps it will take to get there.
You don’t have to be the best, just be good, which leads to better, and then best.
There are a lot of “bests” out there and it can be tough to compete. But, if you brand yourself properly and are bringing something to the table that hasn’t been done before, you’ll soon become the “best.”
Invest in knowledge for yourself and your team, and then use it. It doesn’t matter how good your plan is, it’s all about how well you execute it. Your plan is only as good as the people, skills, attitude, and knowledge that you have in place at that time.
Failure happens. When it happens to you, learn from it. And when you fail, fail fast and keep moving. I follow and subscribe to the following mantra when mistakes or failure happens: “Own it, Fix it, Learn from it and Move on.”
We cannot control many of the outside forces or events that bombard us every day. Focus on what you can control.
Get moving. Don’t stand there and think; get clear on your desired outcome and take the first step, then another. Consistent and focused action gets results; you stall…you lose.
The one thing that we have absolute, complete and total control over is our mind and the thoughts we harbor in it. Stop focusing on just the negatives.
It’s time to start focusing on possibilities, rather than on limits and obstacles. You need to set yourself free. This means you must give yourself permission to dream and to take risks.
Real limits will not box you in because you can always find a way to deal with them. It is the false ones you are carrying around in your mind that become the self-imposed prison of your dreams and goals.
Self-doubt is what does the most damage. Don’t give it any mental space.
The best way to not give doubt any mental space is to fill your mind with dreams, goals and a vision, and act like success is your only option.
I read once that if you give the world the best you have, the best will come back to you. John Wooden the legendary basketball coach at UCLA once said, “Things turn out best for people who make the best of the way things turn out.”
Now, I know we are dead for a long time; the fact is you only get one life, so why not get the most out of it? Make it a point to have fun. Taking life too seriously will kill you. You work hard so there should be no guilt associated with the pursuit of happiness and the enjoyment of your life.
Make time every day to be grateful for all that you have; maybe the first thing in the morning or the last thing every evening. Many spend far too much time obsessing either over what others have or what is missing in their own life. If you want more, then pursue it.
None of us can maintain a high level of unchecked activity every minute of every working day. Often, this type of “work as fast as you can” approach leads to mental and emotional exhaustion which invariably leads to anxiety and causes overwhelm. And, that brings on the frustration at the end of this downward spiral. Productivity is lost, service goes down the drain and it basically turns into a lousy day.
Most of the time when we are stalled and frustrated, we get easily side-tracked and distracted, then get caught up in “busy work” which usually has no value.
We all know someone who, regardless of the challenge, always seems to land on their feet or benefits from “lucky breaks.” The question I have often asked myself is whether or not it really was luck? Or, was the “event’ the result of the approach the person took to give them the edge? In other words, did they create their own luck?
Let’s take a closer look at 5 simple steps others take do to gain the edge or put the odds in their favor: Continue reading →
As I look at the most successful clients I have worked with, the one common link between them is their ability to make timely and quick decisions even in the face of incomplete or imperfect information. They know that decisions result in action which can lead to the growth of their business. Hence, the quicker they make the decision and act on it, the faster they will be able to put their business on a growth path.
Given how quickly the competitive landscape changes, taking too long to make needed decisions can be a business killer. Some will justify their reason to decide and act slowly as their need to “get it right.” In fact, they are really showing their aversion to risk and their need to want to be perfect. Trying to be perfect is also a business killer.
When running a business, nothing is ever perfect. You collect and evaluate the information you have, come up with a plan, decide and then take action. If you make the wrong decision, you make another one to make it right. It’s that simple. There is no need to study all of the sides of a circle!
One of the keys to having a productive team is to create a work culture that possesses a clear vision; one built on strong values and demonstrates that you, the leader, genuinely care. Let’s talk about the “caring” part. To show your team that you care for them demands that you focus on “what makes them tick” as people, both individually and collectively. After all, they are people who are on your team.
Over the course of a typical day, week or month, we always have things to get done along with things that can best be described as distractions. You know: The stuff that gets in the way and pulls us away from the right tasks.
Unfortunately more times than not, we get pulled into solving others’ problems or we get seduced by what I call the “shiny object syndrome” or “SOS.” A shiny object always looks great, but when you get closer, you realize that it isn’t as good as you first thought.
There will always be distractions and shiny objects. Our challenge is to fight them off and condition ourselves not to be tempted by them in the future.
There is never enough time in a day to do everything you want to do. More days than not, many of you leave work frustrated over your lack of progress. You end the day wondering, “Where did all the time go?” Unfortunately, to make matters worse, many of you take that frustrated burden home with you. Continue reading →
Recently, I was having a conversation with my youngest son about a meeting he attended and he described one of the individuals in the meeting as having “verbal muscle.”
I was intrigued by his use of the term “verbal muscle” and I asked him to explain what he meant by it.
He said to me, “Dad, a person with verbal muscle is an individual who is not bashful about stating their position and intention as to what they want to accomplish, staying focused on achieving it, without being argumentative, abusive or obnoxious.”
He went on to say that an individual with “verbal muscle” isn’t afraid to speak their mind, in a respectful way, to get something (usually the right thing) done regardless of those who might disagree. Further, he explained that an individual with verbal muscle is usually someone who doesn’t look for confrontation, yet doesn’t shy away from it either if that’s what’s needed to get clarification or resolution of an issue.
So, I thought more about this and concluded that verbal muscle is an important skill for anyone wishing to achieve success. It would be an especially important skill for someone in a leadership position to acquire when you consider the importance of communication skills in achieving the right results through your team. Continue reading →