Successful Leadership Is Evolutionary

Every generation of leaders likes to believe they invented the newest and most effective way to manage people, build profitable companies, and “build a better mousetrap.”  The reality? We didn’t do it ourselves. The achievements of our businesses, inventions, and other ideas were an outcome of working effectively with and through others to achieve the intended results, and at the same time acknowledging our predecessors.

True leaders are humble and take great care of their teams. They set aside their egos, hubris, and other personality impediments to pave forward the pathway and open new doors to achieve their intended results. If they’ve made a lot of money, it is shared appropriately. If they created a lot of press, they generously include others’ contributions in their brag statements. (http://TimeToBrag.com)

Why are these insights important?

1.       When you understand that your success stands on the shoulders of your mentors, business advisors, bosses, and team members, you become humble knowing you didn’t go it alone. It makes it easier for others to want to work with you and share their knowledge and experiences, since it’s not all about you and your credentials or paycheck.

2.       It’s never solely your ideas or creativity that make the system or product work. Sharing the credit works wonders for current and future undertakings. Asking the right questions, listening and building upon ideas, and making available (or creating) the required resources are key traits of leaders. They ensure others stick with you during the design, launch, and refinement processes of your projects.

3.       Documentation of your process, including charts and graphs, helps others visually understand the progress. They can then see potential glitches and possible solutions, and not rely on any overly optimistic feelings of triumph you might have. Documentation also provides a foundation for you, and them, to build on for the next venture.

Remember, leadership and business, as most things in life, are evolutionary—they build on previous successes and learn from past failures to create the next victory.

©Jeannette L. Seibly, 2013

How do you handle the company bully?

People can be difficult to converse with when they are being bullies constantly in search of special favors. As an executive, you don’t have the luxury of avoiding them. However, you can minimize and structure your interactions to be effective. First, listen to their request. Don’t dismiss it simply based on who’s asking. Second, ask what the return on investment is. Third, have them put it in writing. Fourth, make a decision that works best for the company. For additional insights on how to handle difficult interactions, get your copy of Most Discussions Require More Than 140 Characters! http://seibco.com/books/eguides/

(c)Jeannette L. Seibly, 2013

Stop Trying Harder!

I adopted five-year-old Gracee a couple of months ago from the Dumb Friends League. She had broken her back leg when she was a kitten and her gimp is very noticeable when she walks. However, you wouldn’t know it by watching her zip around chasing her toys. One of her favorite activities is to race down the stairs to fetch a bouncy ball.  It’s a combination of a run and bunny hop!

How many of you are willing to go for it? Regardless of your challenges?

Or, have you fallen into the tiring and endless trap of “trying harder?” One of the biggest challenges for executives and business owners is learning that “trying harder only creates more of the same challenges.” It leaves you, and them, tired and cranky at the beginning and end of each day!

How can you be unstoppable? It’s inspiring when handled in a biz-savvy manner.

Banish the illusion of the “perfect time.” What are your excuses for not pursuing your goals? Write down these time mongers! You won’t find anything new or inspiring! Instead, write down what you really really really want to accomplish.  Rewrite it into a goal. Develop “I can do it and I do it” attitude and proceed forward. Talk with your coach to help you through the inevitable “walls of life.” 

Stay connected. Pick up the phone. Stop relying solely on emails or social media venues to stay in touch. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you talk with others and allow them to contribute their ideas. Sometimes the simplest suggestion can spark the right change required to move ideas forward.

Focus on priorities. It’s very easy to get caught up in the swirl or chaos of too much to do. Pick two key items to get completed during the day based upon priorities, or boss or client mandates. Regardless of whether you like to do them! These accomplishments will create naturally-centered confidence.

Have fun.  Take a couple of minutes at the end of each day to write down today’s achievements and setup tomorrow’s “must do’s.” Now, enjoy quality time without worrying about work. It will be there tomorrow!  Be good to yourself and learn appreciation. Gratitude helps you work smarter and achieve your goals faster!

Learn to Brag! Bragging to others in a biz-savvy manner gives voice to your accomplishments. Why is sharing important? You find out you’re not alone in your challenges. It encourages you, and others, to build on your strengths, achieve your goals and work smarter to enjoy your job and life. (TimeToBrag.com)

©Jeannette L. Seibly, 2012

Accountability Elephants

A company wanted to terminate an employee who was not achieving results. She had a multitude of excuses, blamed her boss for his lack of support and refused to be held accountable for her employees’ actions. When the boss had had enough, the HR Director stressed, “Her employees won’t be happy. She is well liked.” The reality? Many of her employees were happy to see her go since they already realized she was the bottleneck for not getting things done, poor decisions being made and low morale.

Laissez-faire leadership has been creating a devastating impact on companies worldwide, according to Herman Trend Alert, August 22, 2012. Many business professionals are not holding themselves accountable for their results or their employees’.  They blame increasingly complex business environments, workloads and lack of financial and other resources. To complicate these concerns, many leaders have become more concerned about being liked, holding onto their power of control, not rocking the boat or micromanaging to the point of exhaustion.

Delegation. Work-life balance is something we strive to achieve. We blame our employers for our failure to achieve this ideal. The truism is there are time periods when personal concerns (e.g., health, family, and home) will take precedence in your life. There are other times when your professional considerations require stronger attention. Be proactive. Learn to manage these inevitable transitions by requesting help (at home and work).  Stop waiting for the perfect time to cross train. Do it now before the need arises. Learn to trust others to make decisions appropriate for their experience and abilities to alleviate bottlenecks before they start.

Build on strengths. When you are in a job that aligns with your strengths, work life becomes easier to manage. The same is true for your employees. Learn how to hire people who fit their work, and how to manage them accordingly. Hold your employees accountable for results, sales quotas and other objectively set metrics. If employees are unable to meet these measures, it may be time to review their fit with the job. A good person in the wrong job can inhibit her/his own ability to accomplish normal tasks with ease, and issues seem to get muddled and, never resolved. Take the time and spend the money to hire the right people. Learn how to create a work flow that recognizes a person’s strengths.

Handle the Elephants. Most people love to put off until tomorrow what isn’t urgent today. Unfortunately, this growing stockpile doesn’t deplete naturally and unaddressed issues actually grow exponentially.  Hold yourself accountable by enlisting the help of your business advisor as an objective sounding board. Determine effective resolutions for both potential and long-term elephants. You may be pleased to find some can simply be crossed off your list!

Need immediate help to transform your leaders into fearless, effective, no-nonsense contributors? Contact your business advisor today to transform your business! JLSeibly@SeibCo.com

Want to be leader of excellence?

Many business professionals have the goal of becoming leaders of a team, company or industry. Yet, many fall short. They fail to develop the key characteristics so crucial to giving them and their company the competitive “edge factor” required for excellence.

Great leaders inspire.

They are visionaries. Often strong employees and managers focus too narrowly on their own little sphere. They fear political corporate pushback. They hope someone else risks making the changes required for the company to become successful. As a result of this paralysis, they fail to create the opportunities, systems and attitudes necessary to generate a positive ROI. Visionaries, however, are fearless and know that if someone isn’t listening, they can find someone else to support their efforts.

They believe there isn’t a problem that can’t be resolved. Leaders have a mindset that recognizes problems and obstacles, but do not allow themselves to be limited by them. They formulate ideas and know how to enroll others into devising solutions to “make the results happen.”

They are driven to excel. While many companies rely upon incremental steps to achieve goals, great leaders look beyond 100% success. They create goals to achieve what may initially seem impossible. They hire the right business advisors, coaches and trainers to support their people to succeed.

©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

3 In-Sync Leadership Talents

When your leadership style is in-sync with the requirements of your job, you can produce outstanding results. Your confidence soars, and so does your company’s profits. It takes less energy to work with and through others to get the job done. Others enjoy the process and professional growth; they feel comfortable voicing their concerns about issues.

Strong Listening  Skills. To reduce non-productive conflict (which creates corporate elephants), it pays to listen! Allow others the freedom to voice their opinions and learn how to work towards developing a win-win solution to build exceptional outcomes.

Tell the truth. Lies, innuendos or half-truths will come back to haunt you and the organization. Talk straight. If the topic is confidential, simply state, “I can’t talk about that.” Why? Confidentially means you don’t talk about it!

Take responsibility. Nobody is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. Every relationship will hit a bump where the continued ability to work well with each other requires forgiveness, apologies, and/or doing more than the other. When you make a promise, fulfill it. When you fail to achieve a result, don’t blame others. Simply apologize and ask what is needed to move forward.

(c)Jeannette L. Seibly, 2012