We’re All In This Together

My mind has gone back to this story several times in the last couple of weeks. Several years ago, my friend Cindy and her kids noticed that two robins had built a nest in one of their trees. As they paid attention to the robins’ activity they realized there were eggs in the nest. Those eggs soon hatched four baby birds. Cindy and her kids took ownership of the baby birds. They loved to watch them and would check on their condition regularly. Then one day as Cindy was putting clothes away in one of the kid’s rooms – she saw something she’d never seen before or since. More than a dozen birds were flying around the tree with the robin’s nest. Cindy rushed out to see what all the fuss was about and saw all different types of birds were attacking the tree. Instinctively, Cindy ran to protect the
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Influence and Charisma

We all know someone who is charismatic. They have a charm that can inspire devotion in others. My question is: What creates that type of Charisma? What produces that type of presence? One of the biggest keys to influence and charisma is being genuinely happy for other people’s success. When someone achieves something great – do you feel threatened by their success or do you celebrate it? One of the surest signs of someone being comfortable in their own skin is how they see others and how they can separate others experiences and achievements from their own. Too many people subscribe to the idea that tearing others down actually builds you up and it’s just not true. It makes you look weak and insecure because that is where it is actually coming from. People who are secure with who they are genuinely happy for others, they celebrate their success and
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All Excuses Are Equal

Nearly 14 years ago we were a couple weeks away from our first child being born. I was busy growing our business and Sarah was getting everything ready at home. I started the process of recruiting a new sales rep. We had a great discussion and he seemed like this could be a good fit. The next day Sarah went into labor early and our daughter was born. The whirlwind of our first baby took over. We were at the hospital making sure mother and baby were great. Then we brought her home and were trying to figure out what to do and how to do it. It took me more than a week to get back to the sales rep I was trying to recruit. I told him that we had a baby and I was sorry for the gap in our conversations and then he very honestly said,
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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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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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