A Phrase That Will Make Leaders More Influential

When you’re the leader, the one in charge, it’s far more natural – and far easier – to lecture and command than to discuss and invite. Leaders can create caste systems within their organizations simply by language choices. When they refer to “we” as the leadership team and “you” as the employees, they create a separation in the team. If we want our people to feel like they are in a partnership with us, that we are in it together, that we are locking arms with them to accomplish the overall goal of organizational success, then we need to communicate in a way that creates partnership. The ultimate partner phrase is: “If I, will you …” Examples: “If I set aside time to help fine tune your board presentations, will you have it prepared by Friday to review?” “If I let you choose your people, will you head up the
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Service Makes You a Better Leader

A study at the University of Kent in southern England was dedicated to figuring out how givers are perceived. Researchers conducted an experiment called a “cooperation game” in which participants were each given a small amount of money and asked to contribute to a common fund. Next, the researchers doubled the common fund and passed it out equally to members of the group. In this game, the best thing for everyone is to continually reinvest their money and keep doubling the fund. But if you’re crafty, rather than cooperate you’ll be tempted to hold back some of your money. That means that you get your own money, plus a chunk of everybody else’s. As the experiment showed, there are always those people who opt to do so. Then the researchers conducted a second phase of the experiment in which the participants were separated into teams and asked to elect leaders.
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Service Makes You Happier

One of the reasons that I love the Holiday Season is because of all of the good that is done in the world. We focus on others, serve those around us and look for ways to help. When I was in high school, I decided that our DECA club needed to do something that brought us together and provided service. As we discussed it, one of the girls suggested we provide Christmas for a family who needed it. We all got on board, soliciting donations, money, and food. With a monumental effort, we showed up Christmas Eve at the front door of a tiny home in downtown Denver with three SUV’s packed full of Christmas. We had toys, candy and clothes for the four kids, food to fill their pantry, and some money for the parents. As we brought in the first presents I set them down next to a
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10 Ways To Act As A Leader Regardless of Your Position

John Quincy Adams said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” Regardless of your position or authority – here are 10 ways to step up as a leader starting today. 1. Do More Than is Expected 2. Get Clear On Your Values and Live Them Fully 3. Be a Problem-Solver 4. Be A Model For Others To Follow 5. Possess A Genuine Love For People 6. Make Those Who Work With You More Successful 7. Deal Wisely With Difficult People 8. Develop Accountability for Results, Beginning With Yourself 9. Be A Constant Learner 10. Be Consistent
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3 Ways to Create Staying Power as a Leader

My thoughts lately have been on the need for leaders to become and stay relevant. Relevancy creates staying power, but it requires constant vigilance. I read an article recently where Vince Molinari shared three ways that leaders become irrelevant. These can be the things that cause the downfall of many leaders. 1)     You Believe You Arrived:  When leaders achieve a certain level of success they wrongly conclude that they’ve made it. That they have arrived. This can lead a leader to starting coasting. Then one day you realize you no longer matter in your organization. Your ideas don’t resonate with others. You stop being invited to important meetings. To have enduring staying power means understanding that leadership is an unending journey – you never arrive. You must constantly challenge yourself both in how you think about leadership and the way in which you lead, no matter what level of success you have
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Mentoring Through Storytelling

Communicating well is not only an intellectual exercise; to really connect with people, especially their emotions, we need to bring them into our experience. Stories do that. When you paint a picture with your words, people put themselves in that picture. As a leader, the right story can be a gold mine. Story creates a spark that ignites a new awareness. It is such an influential tool that if you use it constructively, it can change people’s hearts and minds. That is why Janet Litherland said, “Stories have power. They delight, enchant, touch, teach, recall, inspire, motivate, challenge. They help us understand. They imprint a picture on our minds. Consequently, stories often pack more punch than sermons. Want to make a point or raise an issue? Tell a story.” One of the most underrated skills in business today and one of the most effective tools in the leader’s toolbox is
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Humanize People

Seeing an individual as human, as a person, is one of the most difficult things for leaders to do. We interact with humans everywhere we go, but they come and go without us seeing their humanity.  This happens in our organizations as well. One of the most important gifts we can give others is the gift of our time.  The word gift is used purposely.  A gift is something we give with no expectation of a return.  We simply give it because we value them as a human being.  Time is one of the most valuable resources of a leader.  When we gift our time, it sends a clear message to the learner that we value them as a person – we humanize them.  There is no other motivation behind it than to help. Leadership Warning: Objectification VS Humanize The opposite of humanizing someone is to objectify.  We objectify others
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Influence vs Manipulation

This week I was interviewed on a podcast where we talked about influence. One of the questions sparked a conversation around the difference between influence and manipulation. The truth is, while the connotations between these two words are extreme, the difference is subtle. There is an important warning to us as leaders when we purposely use emotions and feelings to influence.  We must check our motivations and desired outcomes.  If our motivations are selfish or our desired outcomes are self-centered, we will find ourselves manipulating not influencing. The fundamental difference between manipulation and influence is intent – intent based in principles of honesty, fairness, and benefit.  If we are honest in our intentions, fair with our expectations, and ensure that outcomes are mutually beneficial, we can be confident in our efforts to influence. I had an interesting experience following a speech that brought this distinction into clear view. After speaking
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What Are Employees Four Basic Needs?

  Last week I spoke at an Employee Benefits Summit that was focused on employee engagement.   I shared a message about how a leader’s approach impacts the commitment & engagement of their people.   I also sat in on some of the other sessions and in one particular session on employee engagement a lot of the research out of the Gallup Poll was shared. One of the key takeaways from the Gallup studies was The Four Basic Needs of Employees.   While we might think these center around fair compensation, flexible schedules, great benefits or a number of very tangible indicators, the research shows that the four basic needs are very intangible: Trust Compassion Stability Hope When I look at this list my mind goes directly to the thought that all four of these needs are met by good leadership. Partnering with your people builds trust, allows you to
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People Learn What They Live and They Live What They Learn

This week I was introduced to a poem that struck a cord with me. As a father I believe this is a powerful lesson for parents. But as a leader and a leadership coach, I think the same principles apply. Last week on my blog I talked about how Leadership & Parenting is similar (Read Here) The truth is we are leading big kids and all people live what they learn and they learn what they live. As you read this poem – I want you to think about how you are leading.   Children Learn What They Live By Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D. If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn. If children live with hostility, they learn to fight. If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive. If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves. If children live with ridicule, they
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