Why is Your Leadership Credibility SO Important?

When busy leaders fail to establish credibility for themselves and their companies, it leaves others wondering about them personally and professionally. Credibility influences the loyalty of internal and external customers. If the marketplace’s perception is that the business, its leader, their products or services are untrustworthy (not credible), this perception drives purchasing decisions whether the perception is accurate or not.

As a leader, your employees emulate you. The keys are to Honor:

  • Your word. Follow through. “I’m too busy” is one of the biggest excuses busy professionals use to justify their behavior. Have you considered, if you’re too busy to follow-through, you’re probably too busy to provide the quality of products and services promised? Get yourself well-organized to keep track of your commitments and find the money to hire necessary support. Develop a dependable system to follow-up and follow-through. Then, follow it!
  • Your company’s vision and mission. Credible leaders consistently make decisions that support their companies’ values. Implement them in a manner that promotes positivity. Too often we follow our ego (aka as our own self-interests) and this quickly limits sustainable company growth. Others will shy away from doing business with you if they perceive association with you could limit their own success.
  • Your commitments. We judge others by their behavior and ourselves by our intentions. What are your commitments? Are you conscious of them when making decisions that impact others? Most people make decisions based upon the tiniest fragments of information and forget about their values and commitments. As a leader, this can be excruciatingly painful if you need to defend your decisions. Instead, apologize and admit when you are wrong. Encourage others to provide you with their opinions and fact-based solutions in the future – don’t forget to include the impact on others. Simply make good decisions based upon all the information you have; your credibility hinges upon them.

©Jeannette Seibly, 2011-2015

I specialize in straight talk with immediate results. With proactive and extensive “people” management experience, I have been particularly successful in coaching and training business owners, their executives and managers, to achieve unprecedented results by working with and through others. 

Build faster credibility when introducing yourself — get your “brag” on with a copy of my book, It’s Time to Brag! http://Time2Brag.com

Valuable Advice for Accelerating Leadership Success!

“The mark of a true leader is working with and through others to achieve goals.”

True leaders in this global market must understand the importance of being competitive and collaborative! Accelerating results requires leaders manage people and projects to meet intended goals with a competitive edge. Also required is an ability to learn lessons from their successes and failures, while working collaboratively with and through others to achieve required results. While it may seem time-consuming to work with others to achieve the company’s goals, being the lone ranger will limit the success of the company, project, and, your career!

How do you develop these valuable skills? It requires being involved–it goes beyond reading books, attending workshops and watching videos. It requires you participating, hiring a coach and being in focused action. Today’s effective leaders have others wanting to work with and for them to learn from their amazing experiences and results.

Set and achieve intended goals.

With your team, it’s important to develop a strategic plan with focused action steps to support it. Alignment of others that will be impacted by the plan is also critical. Develop a structure to review what is expected, the timetable and actions to be taken. Beware of busy-ness that often hinders the process from moving forward. Remember, some of your team will be uncertain about the where, what, when, why and how to do the necessary work. Your coaching, or hiring a coach, provides accountability and develops trust when handled in an effective manner.

“Communication can resolve issues; but first we must have the conversation!”

Communicate powerfully.

Don’t be afraid to have those difficult conversations when you’re stuck. Effective leaders are bold. Healthy disagreements can actually clear the air and provide quantum leaps towards the end result. As the leader, learn how to state your point so that others can hear you. Staying in the conversation when it gets tough allows you to build on others’ comments in a positive manner. These skills will make a huge difference in moving forward and having others feel valued.

Facilitate meetings that have value.

Conducting an effective meeting is critical. When leaders have poor facilitation skills, it can lead to their downfall. Learn how to manage the logistical and human sides of meetings efficiently and effectively, either one-on-one or in a group. Remember, to include off-site groups in a way they will feel part of the team.

Develop others.

First — appreciate their contributions. Second — trust your team members to do their jobs and don’t micromanage how they are doing them. Third — manage their progress and check in to ensure efforts are focused on intended results. These are keys to success.

Celebrate!

Celebrating your successes is important. So, is celebrating failures (yes, that seems strange) – however, failures are our learning lessons. Too often we only celebrate what has worked and miss out on the opportunity to learn the important lessons. As an effective leader, it’s up to you to bring forth these valuable distinctions.

©Jeannette L. Seibly, 2015

I specialize in straight talk with immediate results. With proactive and extensive “people” management experience, I have been particularly successful in coaching and training business owners, their executives and managers, to achieve unprecedented results by working with and through others.  Get my copy of “We all fail! How can we use failure to create greater success?” http://ow.ly/Kp34R

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

Use an outside sounding board to get you out of the mind-forest.

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” —Albert Einstein

When you’re immersed in the mind-forest of logic and/or emotions, your inner monologue can disguise the best path for your company to follow. You usually find yourself in these predicaments when there is a lack of clarity in the direction you’ve taken or a lack of integrity in the decisions you’ve made. Many times the problem could have been prevented if you had used an outside sounding board (e.g., a mentor, business advisor, or advisory board). It is easier for someone on the outside to point out the current or predicted obstacles, because they are not attached to the inner workings of your business. They can help you generate a new commitment to develop and execute a workable solution while creating an ethical, but not always easy, best course of action to achieve the right results.

(c)Jeannette L. Seibly, 2013

Who have you talked with on the outside to get a clearer view of the inside of your company?

Have you developed their talent lately?

Hiring the right person requires more than simply hiring someone who appears to have the right skills. It’s selecting someone who can fit the environment and succeed. Many times they have the right stuff, but we fail to develop their talent and inadvertently sabotage their performance. Design a 180-day success plan to keep your employees focused on the targeted areas required for company success from the very first day on the job. Manage them daily, weekly, and monthly to ensure success, with the frequency determined by their most recent results. When left to their own devices, employees will usually go off-track to pursue their own interests.

(c)Jeannette L. Seibly, 2013

Be a Leader without Being the Boss

Many times risk-adverse leaders and business professionals hate their jobs. They see the position of boss as a great opportunity to make more money and attain a coveted title.  Yet they are unable or unwilling to develop the people and project skills required to be boss. They are afraid of stepping outside their comfort zone or have done so without success. Without learning from your mistakes and developing new sets of attitudes and behaviors, it can be difficult to get and keep these positions. It would be better to develop a career ladder within your company where you can increase your influence and paycheck, and be a leader without being the boss. It’s OK if you don’t have the interests or skills to be the boss!

(c)Jeannette L. Seibly, 2013

Do you know when to trust the data or your instincts?

Successful leaders have to grapple with this dilemma often. They believe their intuition is telling them what the true answer is. Or, they want to trust the numbers. However, intuition can be wrong and 100 percent reliance on data can send you down the wrong path too. Developing a strong business balance between statistics and your sixth sense takes experience, time, and practice. As business owners and executives know, making the wrong decisions can cost the company more than money. It can also cost their reputation, clients, and top talent.

What do you do when you don’t trust the data? Trust the process. For example: When you hire a person based upon your gut reaction, even when the facts disagree, you didn’t trust your selection system. The truth is, failure to pay attention to good objective information will negatively impact your decisions.

Better questions to ask yourself: Do you know how to correctly use qualified hiring tools and follow a strategic selection process? (BizSavvyHire.com)  Do you have an unconscious habit of hiring and firing until you find the right person? (Hint: Honestly look at your turnover numbers.) Asking these types of questions can help you determine the underlying (aka real) reason you may not trust the data. 

Which one do you trust when your data or intuition is contrary to others’ opinions? Trust yourself and be open to being right and wrong. For example, many times when a company is experiencing difficulty achieving results, it’s because a controlling leader or dominating team member made erroneous judgments based heavily on facts or feelings. Learn to ask good business questions and listen to people’s responses. Being open to changing your mind doesn’t mean you have to. However, being adamant that you are right is usually a sign of impending disaster.

Strong leaders trust themselves and know how to develop win-win outcomes by working with and through others. They are prepared for the downside of any decision. They use their results as dashboards to develop trust in themselves and others when making balanced factual and intuitive decisions.

©Jeannette L. Seibly, 2013

Is Impatience Hurting Your Results?

Envision yourself driving down the highway. You have a driving lane and a passing lane. The speed limit is 75 miles per hour. The challenge? Many drivers are only going about 60 to 69 mph in the driving lane. Those in the passing lane are zipping along between 65 and 75. The problem? You are impatient. You want to bypass the slow-pokes, zoom ahead and arrive at your destination quickly. You ignore any warning signs to slow down.

It’s a great analogy of how we run our business systems and practices. We live in a fast-paced global market. Opportunities happen quickly. While many human beings believe they have the endurance for ongoing fast-paced mobility, the reality is most professionals’ thinking styles, personalities or interests won’t support it. They burn out. Deadlines are missed. Customers or potential clients are dissed. Promises to follow-up and follow-through are marginalized.

We fail to listen to ideas from our employees, yet we rely upon them to get the work done quickly. We fire them for failure to achieve the desired results, which change due to our constantly shifting focuses — jumping from the newest fad to the next brilliant concept!

When we progress forward too fast, we become reckless. Poor planning, if any, and overlooked details negatively impact our bottom line, business relationships and reputation. Coveted results are elusive and top performers leap at the chance to work with our competitors.

Steadiness allows your team to utilize their experiences and create win-win strategic and tactical outcomes. Build on what you do well. Utilize a business advisor and executive coach to keep you focused on the right things, and doing them the right way.

Your 2013 results thank you!

©Jeannette L. 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 of how to achieve amazing results.

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

Delay Judging Others

In today’s fast paced world, we judge others in a nano-second. We base our verdicts on fact-less perceptions. Often, we are wrong! Successful business leaders have learned to bide their time before making irrevocable decisions about others. They know this trait can be held against them in litigation for employment-related concerns, in negotiations for contracts and special pricing and in their abilities to achieve the intended results for a project.

The following are six key points to minimize our misperception of others. The benefit? We will make better business decisions, develop stronger partnerships to grow our enterprise and enjoy positive financial impacts.

How to delay judging others:

1.     Emails. Many people don’t proof their work merely for the sake of expediency. They often forget mistakes create a long-term impression of their competence, and skip taking the extra minute or two necessary to proof their work. Review several emails to see if it’s a one-time oversight before sending them a friendly reminder.

2.     Social Media. Some people truly do not know how to use social media venues in business. “Spam” is an overused and misused phrase. Simply hide them on your newsfeed or disconnect without being offensive.

3.     First Impressions. Our internal chatterbox will focus on the person’s physical factors. It can be as simple as how they are dressed or shake your hand! If their “sound-bite” isn’t of interest, we automatically tune them out. Take time to get to know the real person before throwing away their business card. Be sure your own introduction is polished and engaging. (TimeToBrag.com)

4.     Network Meetings or Sales Calls. Some people create a weak impression or use an interrogative questioning style. Before discounting their credibility, set an example by sharing about yourself. Ask appropriate questions about them. It will help you make a better decision about any future connectivity.

5.     Manage your feelings. Your feelings about your employees, co-workers and clients will impact your ability to work with them effectively, even if you falsely believe you’ve kept your opinions well hidden. Learn to like someone by focusing on one or two things they do well, such as their success interacting with tough clients. Be careful of showing favoritism to those you naturally prefer. It can limit your ability to hold all your employees accountable.

6.     Don’t be afraid of the tough questions. If you’re working with a business advisor, banker or VC, they will ask hard questions. They don’t care if you like them or not! Their commitment is for your success and to provide you the clarity required to make better decisions. Learn from them! Take responsibility for asking the right questions to ensure the best welfare of your employees, clients, projects and bottom line.

©Jeannette L. Seibly, 2012