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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Parents & Leaders Do 3 Things

  I have four kids. They are 13,11,9 & 6. For my career I speak to companies & write books on leadership. The more I think about it – they are the same thing. Parents & Leaders do three things. Parents help their kids feel: 1. Safe 2. Loved 3. Empowered to reach their potential Leaders help their people feel: 1. Safe 2. Loved 3. Empowered to reach their potential That’s easier said than done but at its core that is it. To help your people feel safe they need to feel important, heard, understood & a part. To feel loved they need to feel like you (their leader) care about them. That you know them. That you think about them. That you listen to them. To feel empowered they need to be taught & trained. They need to be given the opportunity to stretch & to grow – To
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Three Roles of the Entrepreneur

Yesterday I was watching Shark Tank and Daniel Lubetzky, the founder of Kind Bars, was a guest shark. In one of the discussions, he shared something very insightful. He said there are three roles of an entrepreneur. The first is the Creative. First, entrepreneurs need to create their product or service. They brainstorm and determine how to solve problems. The second role is Critic. I think many entrepreneurs miss this phase. They need to be the biggest critic to their plan. Play devil’s advocate. Try to poke holes in it in order to create the best product/service/plan. The third role is Crusader. Once you have a solid approach, your role changes to crusader. You become the most devoted, passionate crusader of your cause and that is what creates momentum and a movement. I’m a big believer that in order to be successful in today’s world we need to think like
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Do You Speak Their Language?

This last week I’ve been traveling through Europe with my family. We spent 2 days in London, then 5 days in Portugal and we are in Spain currently where I had a speech for an international group.   We love to travel. I’ve personally been to nearly 40 countries. I’ve found things I love about every country I’ve been to but I noticed something during this trip.   I lived in Portugal for two years as a missionary and I speak the language fluently. The truth is you can travel virtually anywhere in the world and get by with English for the most part but our experience in Portugal was different, deeper, because I spoke their language.   I speak to leaders about this concept because it’s important that we speak the language of our people. And when we speak their language there are three primary benefits. It Deepens Your
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Leadership & Mindfulness

Have you ever received a phone call from a spouse or a child telling you they wrecked a car? How did you react? Was your first question – Are you ok? Or was your initial reaction frustration? Be honest. . Here’s the truth. It’s ok if you felt frustration or thought “why in the world”, it’s human nature, but it’s probably not best if you said it out loud. . Learning to listen to your thoughts & choose how you want to act is the practice of mindfulness. Learning to control your emotions is a skill that is developed through conscious effort. Meditation is a great practice to develop this skill. . As I see it, it is a required skill if a leader wants to be influential. A leader needs to be able to act & not react. To choose their response instead of flying off the handle. The
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