Can You Improve Your Leadership DNA?

Leadership.

It’s probably the single biggest topic we write on, speak on, advise organizations from start-ups to mature companies to non-profit organizations on, and coach CEOs, senior executives and entrepreneurs on. Leadership (or the lack thereof) is also the “missing success link” across virtually all elements of society – from business to politics to higher education to community service to families.

With leadership being so important, why are there so few outstanding leaders out there?

Over the last few years, we’ve interviewed, coached with, masterminded with, and mentored with literally hundreds of today’s most visionary leaders in multiple fields and asked almost every single one of them to share their thoughts on leadership. We’ve filtered their answers through our own observations from our time in the military and experience as serial entrepreneurs and offer three key distinctions to help you become a better leader.

They are:

    • Inspiration vs. Motivation: When we hear the leader of an organization talk about “motivating their team (or workforce)”, we cringe. Motivation, unfortunately, is often a fear-based system of rewards and punishments that often focuses more on the latter than the former. Inspiration, on the other hand, is all about vision, significance and empowerment. Extraordinary leaders focus on Inspiration.

 

    • Vision vs. Mission: We find many organizations, from small start-ups to middle market companies to Fortune 100 corporations tend to focus on the “how” of their products and/or services. This is often encompassed in their mission statement. While mission statements can serve a purpose, they are rarely awe-inspiring. Conversely, vision focuses on the aspirational “what” that an organization is trying to achieve and become. Vision is the rudder that keeps an organization on track when the “business ocean” becomes stormy. Extraordinary leaders focus on Vision.

 

  • The “Smartest Person in the Room” Syndrome: Probably the single biggest roadblock that prevents many people from becoming great leaders is what we term the “smartest person in the room” syndrome. Usually stemming from deep-seated insecurity and lack of faith in their own beliefs and abilities, this syndrome manifests as the need to always be seen as the smartest and most accomplished person in the room. It prevents the head of an organization from hiring or engaging anyone that is bolder and/or brighter than they are, resulting in a second string team and often fatally crippling an otherwise promising endeavor. True leaders make every effort to surround themselves with the best, boldest, and brightest team members and do everything in their power to both empower and engage these “rock star” team members. Extraordinary leaders don’t have to be the smartest person in the room (and understand there’s a BIG problem if they are).

Please take a moment and reflect on your own personal leadership style and approach…how do you stack up on these 3 critical distinctions?

If you’re falling short in one (or more) of these areas, don’t despair! It’s possible to dramatically improve in all three of these areas with a bit of objective coaching, a pinch of perspective, and a small infusion of vision.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us to schedule a short opportunity call to explore how we can help.

LEADERS ARE READERS: Mentoring 101: What Every Leader Needs to Know by John C Maxwell

“Mentoring leaders make their followers feel bigger than they are”
– John C Maxwell

What’s the #1 secret success weapon of virtually all top achievers share?  A great mentor!

Known by many names (mentor, coach, advisor), a mentor is someone who’s already been where you’re seeking to go and can be a trusted guide to help you avoid damaging mistakes, shorten your learning curve, and provide sage advice when you get stuck.

John C. Maxwell, leading international success expert and best-selling author’s new book Mentoring 101: What Every Leader Needs to Know provides a wealth of wisdom on who to identify, connect with, create a relationship with, and ultimately become a mentor.  Whether your just getting started in your business career, moving up the success ladder, or in the position to start giving back, Mentoring 101 has tons of useful information packed into 96 pages for a quick and easy read.

Among the key points Maxwell covers are:

  • Self-knowledge is critical to success for both the mentor and mentee
  • Mentoring is more than just teaching a specific set of skills, it’s about developing the whole person
  • Mentees often surpass mentors in success and this should be celebrated, not feared
  • Mentors provide an invaluable objective perspective when you are scared, stuck, or frustrated
  • Effective mentors will challenge you if you’re aiming too low and call you out if you’re playing too small

Ready to start a powerful mentoring relationship?  Make sure you pick up a copy of Mentoring 101 today!

Do you have a good mentoring story (or even a not-so-great story)?  Please share it with us in the comments section!

Buy The Book

FLASHPOINTS: What is YOUR greater good?

Many small people, in many small places, do many small things, that can alter the face of the world. ~Anonymous

Beyond creating wealth for shareholders, and jobs & security for those in our sphere of influence, what are we really meant to do with our life as a leader or entrepreneur? The most inspirational & influential people I know use their resources, platform and professional acumen to do great works beyond the business arena. Some provide for clean water wells in developing regions; others clothe the destitute; while others mentor future leaders. Whatever it is that motivates or inspires you, I urge you to think about the greater good that can be served by your business, your position, & your platform. We may face many challenges in business, but there are greater challenges to be fought, that will always be bigger than business. How will you make a difference?

 

FLASHPOINTS: Only Those Who Can See The Invisible Can Do The Impossible

 

Only those who can see the invisible can do the impossible.

I often talk about the importance of having a clearly articulated, aspirational, and inspiring vision for your business and life. Equally important to the written mantra, however, is playing the mental movie forward by visualizing the journey and the attainment of your goals. If you don’t believe it’s possible, and if you can’t visualize it, how will you inspire and enlist others to join your cause? Industrialists, Olympians, warriors, peacemakers and empire builders have all used the power of visualization to achieve their goals. Step 1: Create an inspiring vision. Step 2: Believe it! Step 3: Visualize every detail of what success looks, sounds and smells like. Step 4: Take action towards your goal. Step 5: Play the movie over in your mind several times every day. What’s your vision?

Top Tips for Leading Team Members to Success

You’ve built a solid team. Top players in their area. But it’s not enough to just hire the right players. You need to have a solid plan for leading them (and ultimately you) to success.

Here are Broughton Advisory Group’s top tips to lead team members:

1. Listen to Team Members
Take the time to gather feedback from your team members to determine how they feel about their jobs. You can do this through informal chats, confidential work climate surveys, formal information gathering meetings, etc.  To solicit quality feedback, keep meetings nonthreatening, and encourage the employees to speak freely. Be sure to implement changes they suggest as you are able.

2. Discover Their Goals
A part of the listening process involves asking team members about their long-term goals. This not only demonstrates that you are interested in the career development of your employee, but gives you the opportunity to uncover some hidden talent or skill that could benefit the company. Help employees develop an action plan to reach their goals.

3. Make Corrections Quickly and Privately
If you notice an team member doing something incorrectly or behaving in an unacceptable manner, don’t let the situation escalate.  Without delay, talk to the team member in private. View this as an opportunity to teach, instead of to reprimand. If you wait until you become angry over repeated occurrences, you are more likely to become confrontational in your approach, which can alienate you from the employee.

4. Praise Good Work
Catch them doing something right!  During a busy workday, it is easy to overlook the accomplishments of the workers and mention only their mistakes. An occasional handwritten note acknowledging an employee’s achievements or to let him know you appreciate his daily effort goes a long way toward providing motivation and building morale.

5.  Set An Example
Show team members how they should go about their work by setting an example. If you expect team mates to follow through on promises to customers, set a positive example by fulfilling your promises. If you spend a lot of time standing at the water cooler and chatting, you send the message to the employees that it is acceptable for them to do the same.

 

It’s 3pm…Do You Know Where Your Day Went?

It’s 3pm and you sit back at your desk wondering where the day went and what you actually got accomplished. Don’t feel so bad; the most seasoned executives struggle with productivity and time management challenges.

Here’s a reminder of some of the most powerful and useful tools for managing your time:

1. Embrace the power of the list. The tried and true “to-do” list is still the most used form of prioritizing tasks, projects and responsibilities. Here’s a link to an old blog post about this topic: So Much To Do, So Little Time (http://broughtonadvisory.com/2011/12/so-much-to-do-so-little-time/)

2. Create a “Bright Ideas Board” or “Bright Shiny Object Box.” Avoid the distractions of the “the next big thing” and remain focused by jotting down your great ideas and pinning them to your board or depositing them in your box to be revisited at a later date. Perhaps visit them monthly, but get the important stuff done now. You’ll feel a greater sense of accomplishment once you get some momentum.

3. Avoid the distractions of phone calls and email alerts. Set a specific time of the day when you’ll be replying to phone calls and emails. And stick to it. When you’re on a phone call and you feel it going off course and it turns to chatter unassociated with your business or goals, it’s time to hang up and get back on task.

4. Manage your time around objectives and goals, not tasks. Once you’ve identified your long-term goals and developed a strategy to accomplish them, prioritizing associated tasks around them should become clearer.

5. Clutter = Confusion. When your workspace (desktop & office) is clean and organized, you’ll find your mind is clear and more productive. It’s simple, and it’s true.

6. Work during your high performance times. Get an understanding of when your mind is most sharp and creative. If it’s at 5am, get up at 4:45am and knock out some projects before the rest of the house is up and about. If it’s at 12noon, plan your day and errands accordingly.

Attitude & Adversity (video)

Tom Davin (Former CEO Panda Restaurant Group, and former COO of Taco Bell Corporation) shared with me some details on his leadership approach during adverse times. He reminds us, in this short video, of the importance of unwarranted optimism, and that no plan survives contact with the enemy.

Click video to view.

What’s your leadership style during adverse times?

Trust Is Like An Eraser

Trust is like an eraser. It get’s smaller and smaller with every mistake.

Cha, Cha, Cha, Changes

There are two ways to affect change: manipulation & inspiration. Which way suits you?

FLASHPOINTS: It Only Take 5 Minutes to Blow It

It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently. ~Warren Buffett

Now there’s a reminder for providing ethical leadership & exceptional service if ever there was one! Really, take a moment and think about what Buffett is reminding us of here. It takes just one indiscretion, just one serious misstep, to truly blow it all. No, it’s not impossible to repair your reputation…but ain’t easy. Since the day you opened your business, and long before you ever accepted your first leadership role, you’ve worked on building a strong, positive reputation, right? Your reputation has helped grow your sphere of influence and allowed you to achieve more goals. It’s important to preserve this reputation—after all, it’s what people will remember long after we’re gone. It’s called legacy. If, before any action, you considered your resulting reputation, would you conduct yourself differently?