Tag Archives: inspiration

Are You a Leader that Others Follow?

I was intrigued by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie’s book, Strengths Based Leadership (See more on that below.) and especially intrigued on their chapter on why people follow certain leaders. Gallup conducted a random sampling of 10,000 people using just these two questions:

  • “What leader has the most positive influence in your daily life?” and
  • “Now, please list three words that best describe what this person contributes to your life.”

The results were fascinating because, with no prompts or categories to choose from, the respondents overwhelmingly identified the same four characteristics of the leaders they choose to follow in their work, personal and community lives. These were: Trust, Compassion, Stability and Hope.

I found myself wondering how we feel we meet these characteristics. Here are some questions to ask ourselves.

  1. Trust: Do others see me as honest? Having integrity? Being ethical?
  2. Compassion: Do I show that I care? Am I empathetic and aware of other people’s needs?
  3. Stability: Do I lead from a solid foundation of values and strength? Can I move through change?
  4. Hope: Am I realistically optimistic and able to provide positive guidance for the future?

What are your thoughts? How do you rate yourself? How would others rate you? We all may need to take our leadership skills up to that next level and embrace these qualities more on a daily basis. I’m sure we will see powerful results!

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Strengths Based Leadership

Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow, by Tom Rath & Barry Conchie, Gallup Press, New York, NY, 2008.

This is one of the best books I’ve recently read on leadership. Acknowledging and appreciating our strengths as professionals is a continual thread in my work with leaders at all levels.

In one portion of the book, Rath and Conchie have summarized the extensive research by Gallup to help us understand the three ways to being a more effective leader: knowing our own strengths and investing in others’ strengths at the same time; strategically building a strengths based team; and finally, knowing why any of us work and follow a leader that we trust and who encourages us to work at our best. This is such a good book that I’m going to preview another chapter next month – so pick it up for yourself and your team.

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5 Steps to Build a Strong & Effective Habit

Building a strong habit that brings us the results we want is not that hard once we make up our minds that a change in our behavior is needed. But how do we do it? In his brand new book, The Coaching Habit, author Michael Bungay Stanier includes a chapter on how to teach yourself a new habit

I was intrigued, and Stanier’s ideas got me thinking about some of the best practices I recommend to leaders in today’s rapidly changing and challenging workplace. Here they are:

  1. Be honest with yourself – what is the “why” you are committing to this new behavior, especially when the success of this new habit will positively affect someone you care about.
  2. Identify what will be the specific “clue” or situation that will prompt your new behavior.
  3. Make your new behavior very simple and very short – no longer than 60 seconds to complete.
  4. Repeat the new behavior over and over and over until it becomes “second nature”.
  5. Acknowledge your successes everyday even when they might not have been “perfect”.

What would you add to this list? What works well for you? What can get in the way of your good intentions and how do you deal with those saboteurs? Let me know your ideas!

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The Coaching Habit

The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever, by Michael Bungay Stanier, Box of Crayons Press, 2016.

At the recent Association of Talent Management (ATD) conference in Denver, Colorado I was cruising through the book store (my favorite place) and heard several people talking about how good Michael Stanier’s presentation was on how to build a powerful coaching habit for anyone in a position of leadership. I grabbed one of the last copies on the shelf and I could see what they were talking about!

Stanier’s newest book is an easy read, with a wealth of ideas on how to use 7 key questions to inspire and engage the best of one’s employees, team members and even your own boss. He delves into the science of our brains and how that impacts the success or derailment of habits. And I loved the chapter on how to build any habit that actually brings you the benefits you want. It’s a great find!

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Do You Know Your Own “Why”

As a leader of others, do you know your own “Why”? Are you committed to this core belief? Are you able to communicate this belief clearly and consistently? Leaders are not leaders unless they have followers and people will not follow us unless they embrace the fundamental “Why” of our actions

In his book, Start With Why, Sinek describes this dynamic as the Golden Circle and maintains this is not just opinion but actually well grounded in the study of how our brains work. While on stage, he draws out 3 concentric circles on a flip chart. The “Why” is the center powered by our Limbic (emotional) brain. The next circle illustrates the “How” – the mechanics of how things get done. Finally, the outer circle is the easiest to describe – that’s the “What” we produce – the products or services.

As a business owner and leader of several community initiatives, I can easily relate to what Sinek is suggesting. When I seek to inspire and engage others to follow me in a cause or project, I am very mindful of what they are listening for – what is the “Why”? What is my purpose? What drives my commitment to them?

Sinek reminds all of us as leaders that people buy from us or work for us not for what we provide or for how we do it. People only commit to us when they believe and embrace the “Why” of our intentions and actions.  They are inspired and that is the power whether we are the leader or the follower.

I challenge you (and me too) to step back this week and think about the “Why” of what we do. We may be surprised with our insights and how they may change the future of our work.

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