Do You Have What It Takes to be a Leader?

Everyone can be a leader.

The qualifying questions are:

  • Are you willing to do the work necessary and step up to be one? Or,
  • Are you waiting until someone taps you on the shoulder to begin? (Hint, it may be a long wait!)

What Does It Take?

Make a commitment. Many people say they want to achieve certain goals in their lives, yet, do not take the focused action steps necessary. For example, they wish to participate in a networking group or on a team project, but fail to show up and contribute.

  • Review your values and goals.
  • Are they consistent? For example, if you have a goal of becoming a millionaire, yet, everyday spend money for lunch, coffee and other items your actions do not support your goal.
  • Make the necessary changes one step at a time. Take one item that you are spending money on and instead invest that money.

Use qualified assessments. These tools provide incredible accuracy and insight into your leadership traits. They also provide objective awareness of how to better communicate, manage and work with others. The challenge is there’s a lot of mischief over what defines a qualified assessment. The bottom line is that a qualified assessment complies with the Department of Labor guidelines for pre-employment use. These tools have significantly higher reliability and validity, and predictive validity, than the other 3,000 tools available in the market today.

  • Select a qualified assessment and a qualified coach. (www.SeibCo.com/contact)
  • Review the results with your coach.
  • Together with your coach put together a project that will help you improve one area. (Hint: putting together a project to listen better will yield poor results. Instead, put together a customer service goal that will require you to listen in order to achieve that goal.)

Be coachable. Behind every leader is a trusted advisor/coach. (Think, Michael Jordan, Steve Jobs, etc.) Also, leaders usually have an industry mentor to help them stay current in their profession and industry. You need to have both to excel as a great leader. The right coach encourages you to do what you need to do, but don’t want to do, to achieve unprecedented results.

  • Select and hire a coach.
  • Select an industry mentor and ask him or her to be your mentor.
  • Put together a 13-week project and goal with your coach and share it with your mentor.
  • Do the work required to make it happen.
  • Blast through those barriers that normally stop you.

Take one day at a time. Every human being has personal baggage. In order to be a great leader, we need to unload it, be responsible for our perceptions of the incident, and have acceptance that the situation happened. Take the time now to get it resolved, one day at a time. It doesn’t get easier as time goes by – it gets harder. Failure to do so, may have you miss out on promotions or coveted opportunities, or, even become unemployed. If necessary, find a licensed therapist to get down to reality and better understand yourself.

Pick yourself up after a failure. Don’t berate yourself for mistakes or failures. Pretending you don’t have any, or are unable to apologize makes others uncomfortable following your leadership. Every great leader has made more than one mistake! The key is, they picked themselves up and resolved it. Now, not later when may be too late.

Everyone has what it takes to be a leader. The million dollar question is, are you willing to do the work to become one?

©Jeannette Seibly, 2016

Jeannette Seibly has been working with leaders as an international business advisor, executive coach and management consultant for over 23 years. Along the way, she guided the creation of three millionaires. Her trademark is her uncanny ability to help business professionals identify roadblocks and help them blast through those barriers to produce unprecedented results. Contact her for a free, confidential conversation on how to get the results you want: www.SeibCo.com/contact

Effective leaders influence performance

So, you want to be a leader, a future executive. (If you’re already a leader, this is a must-read to help develop your organization.)

First, here’s a little history to give you a perspective on the performance challenges many multi-generational organizations face today.

  • Millennials … require a different way of being managed and are even shaping management practices today. They prefer to be consulted, given opportunities to do their work their way and be praised for any progress they make. Learn how to influence rather than command their performance. But, be aware, they tend to have a low tolerance for the inevitable failures we all face. And, if they are unhappy, they seek jobs elsewhere.
  • Baby boomers … were brought up under the command or be fired regiment. They learned from mistakes; but, may have lost promotions because of them. Many bosses during this era earned their positions due to longevity with the company and their ability to do what they were told to do. Being happy at work wasn’t expected and job hopping wasn’t an option.

Second, regardless of the era, effective leaders influence performance by walking their talk, honoring integrity and achieving goals by working with and through others. Their expertise expresses itself quietly due to hands-on experiences, learning from their mistakes, and developing resiliency. They focus on creating a win-win workplace that respects everyone’s efforts, and do not expect preferential treatment for themselves.

Third, if you want to be a leader, take responsibility for causing your future.

  • Work-ability. Growing up, many Gen Y’ers were told they could do and be anything they wanted in business. In an ideal world, that would be true. However, we live in a world where people must do things they are not interested in doing. Be an advocate to change traditions that no longer work. For example, most companies still require their leaders to manage others (although, careers can be unnecessarily ruined when they fail). One solution is to suggest creating multiple career ladders that can leverage individual talents. http://BizSavvyHire.com
  • Communication skills beyond 140 characters. While Baby Boomers learned how to work with bosses that were erratic or unprofessional, their younger peers are not so tolerant. Stop expecting others to make communication changes required to suit you. Instead, develop the ability to effectively talk with anyone, anywhere (not just IM, text or email). It’s a must-have skill due to a diverse global market. Break through your #1 fear when having conversations! http://:ow.ly/zei8S
  • Fun work. While work can be enjoyable, there will always be parts of the job you hate. Do them anyway and learn how to systemize or make them easier. This is a hidden opportunity to show others your initiative.
  • Embrace change. It can be the game changer you’ve been striving for. Be ready to pounce in a business savvy manner when it happens.
  • Coachability. Most leaders today have a business advisor or executive coach, depending upon their entrepreneurial focus or management goals. Find an internal mentor to navigate the politics. Hire an external coach to provide a customized approach for your professional style and goals.  http://SeibCo.com/contact

 

©Jeannette L. Seibly, 2014

Moving Top Performers

Did you know promoting or transferring top performers into the wrong job can be the greatest hidden expense for many companies? Other high-cost risks include relocating employees geographically or offering them the opportunity to become a business partner. What seems like a great opportunity can become one of your greatest challenges.  And yet most companies don’t take the time to incorporate objective information into their decision-making process and are surprised when the outcomes are not win-win. They fail to understand how moving top performers can negatively impact results.  

What happened? Usually the boss was focused on rewarding a top performer or employees threatened to leave if they weren’t given what they wanted.  During pre-move conversations, employees may conceptually understand their new role, but the reality can very different. Many employees rely upon their initial excitement and fail to ask enough good business questions before accepting the new assignment, and therefore don’t know what is required to succeed. After they are on the job, some may not wish to work that hard to develop the new skills required of the position (despite what they tell you), or they may lack the qualifications or “job fit” to achieve the required results.  Believe it or not, some employees find themselves being offered new jobs because they said the right thing to the right person at the right time!

What’s missing? A clear directive and navigational guide on how to do it that works for them. Instead, employees are determined to do things their own way. Then, when things don’t work out, these once stellar performers feel forced to leave rather than return to their old jobs. Their egos prevent them from taking a reduction in status, perks, and compensation, or there are no other options available since the previous position was filled or is no longer needed. So they end up leaving with all the training, proprietary information, and on-the-job knowledge you provided them – many times taking other employees with them!  Some pursue costly litigation. Meanwhile, your clients and remaining employees are concerned about how this impacts them.

As part of the decision-making process, use a qualified assessment to objectively clarify a person’s strengths and weaknesses. Contrary to some opinions, you can’t build a successful career focused on weaknesses. Don’t fall into the trap of believing you can fix and change the person to fit into the new job responsibilities —nobody works that hard. Put together a 180-day plan to keep newly promoted employees focused on critical areas for client interactions, critical goals, people and project management, and self-development while providing training to enhance these skills. Hire them a coach from outside the company— it’s a requirement to develop these superstars faster and more effectively. All of these steps can also prevent these top performers from leaving when inevitable challenges occur and no one knows how to manage them.

©Jeannette L. Seibly, 2013

Jeannette Seibly delivers straight talk with immediate results to business owners and executives of $1MM to $30MM enterprises, achieving dynamic results. Along the way, she helped create three millionaires. You may contact her at JLSeibly@SeibCo.com to discuss your coaching challenges.

Fear Doesn’t Stick Around Uninvited

We all have fear in our lives, some people more than others. I’m not talking about the gift of fear that warns us to do something, now, to prevent catastrophic incidents. I’m talking about the fear that prevents us from making calls to prospective clients, asking our bosses for raises or new assignments, or letting coworkers or employees know that their work product was mediocre.

Our self-talk limits us from making requests, asking for raises, or simply admitting we don’t know the answers. These internal monologues create excuses for not achieving intended results on time and within budget. They also prevent us from having difficult conversations with our bosses, coworkers, clients, or friends. We talk ourselves out of doing what we know we need to do, instead relying upon the strength of our justifications to rationalize why we couldn’t, wouldn’t, or shouldn’t.

How can you tell what is causing your fears? Listen to the words you use.  “I’ll try … ” “It shouldn’t be that way.” “I didn’t like his tone of voice.” These statements or choice of words reinforce our fears instead of allowing us to acknowledge them and work through them. Many of us have used these phrases so often we’re not consciously aware of saying them!

Take responsibility for hearing what you are saying, and choose the words that can help move you forward. Hire a coach to help you recognize fears and develop good people- and project management skills. Your career and paycheck will thank you.

©Jeannette L. Seibly, 2013

Jeannette Seibly delivers straight talk with immediate results to business owners and executives of $1MM to $30MM enterprises, achieving dynamic results. Along the way, she helped create three millionaires. You may contact her at JLSeibly@SeibCo.com to discuss your coaching challenges.

Be Grateful for Conflict

There are many articles written about conflict: the good, the bad and the ugly. The truth is when we fail to listen to others’ ideas and respect individual opinions, conflicts naturally occur.

Why? We have an illusion that our perceptions are the right way to think, behave or interact with one another. We are taught to speak up against someone who does not agree with us, or quietly dis them to others, negating the value of their contributions. The yeller that everyone complains about is actually no different than the silent screamer who fails to notify someone in authority of a problem.  Both cause loss of customers, low morale, poor quality of products or services and profitability. It is disrespectful toward others inside and outside the organization.

The time is now to put aside your preconceived judgments of others’ ideas and develop persuasive listening skills. Be open to hearing thoughts you would normally dismiss, learn to build upon these viewpoints and use them to create new systems, products and/or services. Often, there is a hidden gem of genius in many ideas. To determine the value, you need to develop the potential worth. Exercise facilitation skills that bring out each person’s opinions.  Listen to differing facts about the workability of internal and external factors – these can add to or hinder financial results.  In the end, whether your nugget shines, is used to create a better solution or set aside, be grateful for the “conflict” or differing mindsets that helped build a viable outcome.

©Jeannette Seibly, 2013

Jeannette Seibly is a business advisor for business owners and executives of $1MM to $30MM enterprises creating million dollar results. Contact her at JLSeibly@SeibCo.com for a free consultation on how to achieve amazing results.

When has “conflict” helped resolve a problem or open up a new product or service for your company? What did you do to facilitate it? Please share your ideas!

Are You a Moody Leader?

  • Do you thrive on drama?
  • Do people calculate your approachability before talking to you?
  • Do you gossip about your employees or clients?
  • Do others consider you untrustworthy?
  • Do you make decisions based upon your feelings at the moment?

Leaders set examples for the rest of the organization to follow. If you lack consistency in how you communicate, disrespect others in word or deed, or don’t trust others to do their best, employees respond accordingly. If you react (or over-react) before getting the facts, they may be afraid to speak up for fear of retribution. You create more of an issue.

If others are concerned about your effectiveness as a good leader, they will withhold valuable information. In these situations, often your employees’ focus is not on the organization’s goals. They are focused instead on how to work around your moodiness and still keep their jobs.

As a leader, immediate help is required to reaffirm your leadership position and move the enterprise forward. What can you do to resolve this?

Hire a business advisor. Being coachable is critical to anyone’s success, particularly top management. It can be lonely at the top; too often leaders don’t have someone else to talk with and their job can feel like a burden. Talk weekly with a business advisor. Focus on less dramatic ways to handle issues and have the benefit of consistent clarity to guide your organization forward.

Communicate effectively.  #1 concern for any leader! Be prepared to listen more than talk. Learn to ask the right questions. Be open to news you may not like, or new ideas you had not considered. Stop the internal chatterbox ; it inhibits your ability to actually hear what others are saying. When you need to deliver unpopular news or decisions, first think through what you need to say. Write it out. Read it out loud in the mirror. Keep it short, not long-winded.

Stop “should-ing.” Too often we believe people should have known or shouldn’t have said something. We forget the mistakes we’ve made ourselves over the years! A good rule of thumb: When someone does something great, let them know. When they make a mistake, take time to discuss it as soon as possible, one-on-one. When performance concerns are addressed in a consistent and respectful manner, it provides clarity about your expectations. Your employees will usually make the corrections required. If you scream at them, even once, it can damage your long term effectiveness.

©Jeannette L. Seibly, 2012

Effectively Manage Your Leaders’ Focus

Many companies today are moving away from the traditional skill-based job descriptions, toward performance-based job descriptions for their leaders. What’s the difference? Skill-based simply means they have the skills and knowledge to do the tasks. They may or may not use these skills to work in the direction of the Vision and Mission of the company. Performance-based is focused on the design and execution of goals and focused action plans to achieve the Company’s intended results.

When companies can clearly define performance expectations up front, both leaders within the company and the newly-hired know what is required. They can focus their efforts with a clear direction, communicate these metrics to their employees and manage accordingly. This takes the guess work out of hiring the right person and conducting effective performance appraisals.

To ensure these new descriptions are successful, you must:

Focus on the results.  Start with action verbs to ensure their role is clear. For example:Lead an initiative to upgrade financial reporting from monthly to weekly. Convert 100 customers to new product/service. Sell 30 customers product/service each month. (Fill in actual name of product or service.) Be sure to include a timeline and budget. The key is to now manage with these numbers to determine what’s working and what needs improvement on a weekly basis. This will ensure no surprises at month end (e.g., people, price point, budgets and/or systems).

Allow for innovation. New ideas are critical for growth. People create workable and sustainable systems and follow them – or not. At the end of the day, these processes must meet the demands of your customers. The leaders within your organization must be able to work with and through others to achieve the intended results, sometimes on a global basis. Use a qualified assessment to ensure clarity of the person’s interest, thinking style and core behaviors. These are critical for hiring for job fit and ongoing laser-like coaching.

Tell the truth.  In order to grow the enterprise for on-going success, it requires truth-telling today. To transform anything, you must succinctly tell the actual issues/circumstances that prevented the results previously or created the new challenges. Share appropriately. For example: when developing an IT system: company experienced 50% growth during the past twelve months, lost 25% of current customers since the system could not handle volume of orders and lack of training prevented managers from up-selling and cross-selling repeat orders.

©Jeannette L. Seibly, 2012

Not Producing Intended Results?

Leaders often are perplexed when a project or plan is not working. Everyone wants to change the goal. The plan was created to achieve a specific goal; changing the goal is a strange way to produce those intended results! A compelling goal that is well-crafted requires commitment, focused actions and the right people. Too often the success of any team effort is contingent upon the leader’s people, project and profitability skills. Leaders often derail a team by failing to include others, building upon their ideas and staying focused on the ultimate goal of a profitable venture.

Difference of opinions. Many groups crash when they don’t take the time to effectively work through differences of opinions. Team members must be heard; otherwise, they can become trouble-makers! Productive discussions, sometimes seen as confrontational, are required to build better outcomes, uncover overlooked problems and build agreement.  Team leaders and members need to provide on-the-spot training to show others how to use persuasive listening skills to encourage everyone’s contributions.

Doomsday conspiracy. When people on a team are not committed to the plan designed to achieve the goal, or the goal itself, the project will fail, for either reason. A conspiracy of nay-sayers will evolve to rationalize their point of view when leaders don’t listen. Every member of the team has the responsibility for ensuring others’ concerns are addressed.  Many people view change as difficult, not necessary or are fearful of an unknown outcome. As the leader, it’s your role to facilitate actions and conversations to support the intended results, while positively impacting the bottom line, client relationships and a positive workplace.

What’s in it for me? Employees today want to know what’s in it for them. It’s important to provide insight into how their contributions are part of the solution. Start by sharing the situation or problem needing to be resolved, along with the proposed goal and plans to achieve the goal. If it impacts their potential bonuses and/or paychecks, share this in a positive manner. Honesty is key.  If they are not readily agreeable with the goal or project, they may be hearing it for the first time and need additional time to process it. Remember, you’ve been thinking about it for hours, days, or months!

©Jeannette Seibly, 2012

Your Career as a Leader is at Risk!

“About 40% of executives who change jobs or get promoted fail in the first 18 months.” New Job? Get a Head Start Now, February 17, 2012, Fortune, written by Anne Fisher

 

More than ever, great leadership skills are required of executives, in both the private sector as business owners and in the C-suite of large public corporations. Failure to acquire these skills is a critical error. You can’t force others to become loyal and trusting followers. If you have no one to lead you’ll get fired!  It takes concerted effort on your part, each and every day, to balance the requirements of your company’s needs while supporting your employees abilities to thrive. You’re only as great as your employees’ results!

Stay Ahead. Today, companies are promoting record numbers of people who lack the required management skills or essential interest in being the boss. Not surprisingly, many executives are fired because they are unable to effectively lead their teams and deliver the results. Regardless of the leader’s level of expertise, create a 30-60-90-180 day plan with specific results, projects and training required. Consider including one community involvement activity or on-site customer visit. Keep it simple in design to ensure time to practice and learn.

Clear Focus. Employees readily accept advancement into leadership roles due to better title, corner office and compensation. If it’s solely for the power trip, the “me” focus is a serious problem that leads to failure! A strong leader takes care of her/his people by first being committed to the organization in thought and action. They are more committed to everyone getting a paycheck, than just getting their own!

Be Resourceful. Too often you hear a common complaint, “I don’t have what I need to get the job done.” “I don’t have the budget to do what I want to do.” These are excuses that get in the way of being successful. Learn to ask the right questions of others, and implement ideas appropriately. Some of our most treasured successes began with the innovation born from not having enough (obvious) resources!

Cultivate Trust. If no one trusts you, they may still follow your lead; albeit very reluctantly. They may unconsciously sabotage your efforts and nitpick your manner. Building trust takes time. Work with your business advisor to develop true confidence in yourself and your decision making skills. Then, develop a plan to resolve the previously created issues with your employees. (Visit: SeibCo.com)

Strength/Weakness. Every strength has a potential weakness. Likewise, every weakness has a positive strength. Take a qualified assessment to learn how to navigate these paradoxes with your business advisor. Also, participate in a qualified 360-degree assessment to fine-you’re your effectiveness (See: SmartHiringMadeEasy.com)

Invest in Self.  Many times we falsely believe we’ve reached the pinnacle of our success and have nothing new to learn! Strong leaders engage in ongoing education and remain open to improvement. Strong leaders hire business advisors to help with strategic building of their companies and handling nuances inherent in tactical implementation. These same leaders participate in technical training to better appreciate the challenges their employees may have. New awareness brings about new opportunities. You’re never too old to learn something new; you’ll never be too smart with nothing new to learn!

©Jeannette Seibly, 2012

Learn How to Work Well with Bad Bosses

I recently received an article in my Inbox from a business associate’s employee. It was about bosses being difficult (a nicer title than the actual one sent to me!). I, myself, have worked for bosses who truly understood the technical aspects of the job and industry, but did not know how to manage. I learned a lot from them. I’ve also worked for a couple who received their job title for reasons unknown. And I learned how to work with them to achieve needed results, too. In any company, there will be bosses who earn their title, while others happen to be in the right place at the wrong time. These bad bosses often exhibit poor communication styles, lack of organization or project skills and show favoritism.

The goal? It’s your job to learn how to work well with them in order to receive your paychecks, acquire job expertise, and support your own career aspirations. A career lesson to be learned. Otherwise, there’s an excellent chance your next boss will be the same with a different name!

A true story: a client was disparaging his boss, and his actions. He believed his co-workers felt the same way. One example was how this difficult boss distributed quarterly bonuses after completion of a major project. As his coach, I recommended he talk with the boss and clear up any misunderstandings. He did so very reluctantly and was happily amazed by the outcome! Not only did his boss stop sharpening the pencil, my client became known for his ability to work well with a difficult person. Other employees came to him for advice when dealing with this boss, and others. The President of the company acknowledged his executive growth and promised new opportunities in the future.

Hire your boss a coach. Obviously, this needs to be accomplished very diplomatically. Most bad bosses do not know another way to behave. They hate people challenges due to a lack of logic. They may become emotionally inept at handling these issues because of their own need to be liked. Maybe your boss takes the job more seriously, believes you and your co-workers should too, and is simply more demanding than others as a result. A good coach will help the boss see him- or herself objectively, develop more effective ways of interacting with others and develop people or project management skills to get results.

Eye of the Beholder. While you can always find others who will agree with your assessment of how bad the boss is, look for others who have a different perspective about the things your boss is doing well. Listen to them. Maybe s/he is fair in bonus distribution and allocating OT. Perhaps s/he offers great ideas and ensures you receive the credit for implementation. When dealing with more controversial concerns, handle the roadblocks provided by your boss in an assertive manner to resolve customer or project difficulties. Remember, your boss (and others) may find productive disagreements helpful and getting to the source of excuses beneficial in order to achieve required results consistently. Needing to be liked or overly nice does not equate with being effective.

It’s a process, not an event. It is natural for employees to expect an immediate difference and readily noticeable changes when a boss is advised of deficiencies. The reality? Bad habits take time to correct, regardless. For example, how long does it take someone to quit smoking cigarettes? It takes most people more than a few months, before it is deemed successful. So keep acknowledging any positive change. Hire yourself a coach to help you deal with your own life goals and interpersonal fears. You’ll be amazed by the difference it makes when you learn to be patient with yourself and are effective at achieving your own goals. Your new awareness makes it easier for others to get along with you!

©Jeannette Seibly, 2012

Jeannette Seibly is a Business Advisor and has successfully coached 1000’s of business owners and executives to be successful leaders while growing their businesses. Three of them became millionaires!