Bad Leadership Perpetuates Bad Leadership

July 11th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

“A great person attracts great people and knows how to hold them together.”

—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

What’s the quality of leaders you are selecting?

Every one of us has either experienced first hand or heard horror stories about the impact of bad leadership. All too often it feels like good leaders, let along great leaders, are in short supply. Unfortunately bad leaders typically select individuals who lack the necessary skills to be an effective leader, which simply perpetuates the cycle of poor leadership.

Determining whom to promote into a leadership role is one of the most important decisions you can make for your team and organization. The natural temptation is to promote your highest performer and/or subject matter expert. Surely if they know the most about the role they will be a good leader, right? Wrong!

Your highest performer might be the last person you want to make a leader. Rather than simply considering an individuals technical knowledge, you need to consider how well they interact with others. Leadership is about creating a vision and developing a team to achieve that vision.

A leader’s vision is worthless if he or she is unable to inspire a group of individuals to help bring it to life. When making the decision to promote someone into leadership, consider who projects a calm presence and is able to relate to a wide range of people. Look for the individuals the rest of the team naturally gravitates to for help and who demonstrate patience while offering help.

Leadership in the 21st Century is not about having all the answers. Leaders today must possess the desire and ability to empower their team to use their strengths to help the organization achieve its vision. Success begins with making the right decision when selecting a leader. Whatever you do, don’t take this decision lightly!

Make it an excellent week!

J. Matthew Becker, M.Ed., PCC

Light Leadership

May 31st, 2015 § 4 comments § permalink

“He who has great power should use it lightly.” —Seneca

How do you wield power?

It’s critical to you use your power responsibly as a leader. You can choose to throw your weight around while issuing directives and barking orders. Or you can rely on attraction, where you inspire others and invite them to join you. How you choose to leverage your power will impact your long-term success as a leader.

Autocratic leadership styles aren’t effective over the long-term. If you attempt to rule through fear and intimidation, you’ll end up with two negative outcomes. First, you will run off the most talented people on your team. Individuals who are confident in their abilities know they don’t have to put up with this behavior. They trust in their ability to find a more suitable role and won’t hesitate to leave.

Those who don’t leave will retreat and become a shell of themselves. Your behavior will create a culture of fear where everyone is afraid to take risks. They’ll do the minimum necessary to get by and fly under the radar. Although it may initially appear that your autocratic style is the key to getting people to do what you want, the positive results will be short lived and it won’t take long before your results begin to suffer.

A better alternative is to employ a coaching and collaborative leadership style. Rather than dictating to others what they must do, help them understand why certain tasks and directives are important. When faced with a difficult challenge, seek their input. Make a point to tap into their knowledge and get them to help identify potential solutions.

Finally, help each member of your team understand their strengths and how they can use those strengths to impact the mission and vision of your organization. The more opportunity they are given to play to their strengths each day, the more engaged they will become. They’ll be excited to come to work and will continually look ahead to identify potential problems or opportunities before they even crop up.

Successful leaders understand that they don’t have to exert their power in order to be effective. Rather, they work hard to earn respect by showing respect to each member of the team. True leaders know that once they’ve cultivated a relationship of mutual respect they’ll have built a team that is committed to the organization and willingly step-ups to any challenge presented to them.

Here is this week’s Authentic Excellence Action Step:

Identify one challenge to seek your team’s input on.

Make it an excellent week!

J. Matthew Becker, M.Ed., PCC

Inspire with Mission

March 29th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

“No company, small or large, can win over the long run without energized employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it.”

—Jack Welch

 How inspiring is your mission?

Most people prefer to have meaningful work. It’s natural to want to make a positive impact in some way. In order for your team or organization to be successful, you must help your staff focus on something bigger. Otherwise they will view it as simply a job and only due the minimum necessary.

Your organization’s success is dependent upon the engagement and commitment of your employees. You need them to bring their hearts and minds through the door each morning, not just their bodies. When your employees are fully engaged their critical thinking will improve as well as their ability to identify innovative solutions to the challenges they encounter.

On the flip side, when you have a team that is simply going through the motions, they won’t step out to take chances or solve problems. Instead they’ll simply drop their challenges in your lap and wait for you to solve them. If you create a team that blindly follows your direction and seeks your permission every step of the way, you’ll find your organization is incapable of keeping pace and your competitors will begin to pass you by.

An engaged workforce begins with a clear and compelling mission. You need to articulate the main purpose of your organization. Clearly identify how your services or products make life better or simpler for your customers. Don’t focus first and foremost on improving the bottom line. While critical to your organization’s sustainability, it isn’t your reason for being nor will it motivate your team.

Once you have clearly articulated an inspiring vision, help each member of your organization connect it to his or her role. Don’t assume they understand the connection. Help them understand how the mission would be impacted if they weren’t their to play their part.

Finally, make it a habit to discuss your mission on a regular basis. Don’t just frame it on the Board room wall never to be thought about again. Share stories about how employees have made decisions and took actions that exemplify the mission, reward those who take risks in service of the mission, and any time a decision has to be made ask how the potential solutions support the mission.

Your organization’s mission or purpose is critical to your overall success. Don’t blow off this important piece of your foundation. The more time and attention you devote to defining and discussing your mission the stronger your foundation will become. On top of this strong foundation you can build a successful organization full of energized and engaged individuals excited to do whatever they can to fulfill your mission each and every day.

Here is this week’s Authentic Excellence Action Step:

Define the positive impact your service or product makes.

Make it an excellent week!

J. Matthew Becker, M.Ed., PCC

Leaders Maximize the Talent of their Teams

February 8th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

“A successful person finds the right place for himself. But a successful leader finds the right place for others.” -John Maxwell

How are you helping your employees maximize their talent?

As a leader, it’s your responsibility to cultivate the talent of your team. You need to understand and accept that each member of your team is a unique individual and it’s your job to capitalize on the talents and strengths they bring to the table.

You must first be able to recognize the talents of your various team members. Most people aren’t very good at recognizing their talents. Because these aspects of ourselves come so naturally, we take them for granted and assume they aren’t that important.

As a leader you need to be on the look out for evidence of talent and share your observations with your team members to help them appreciate the impact they make. Additionally, spend time coaching them to explore what tasks they enjoy as well as which ones come very naturally and effortlessly to them. Help your team identify how they feel while doing these tasks and why they enjoy them.

Once you’ve helped your employees begin to recognize their talents search for opportunities for them to develop their talents. You might send them to a conference or seminar where they can acquire knowledge or develop skills that will help them apply their talents. Or you could provide them with new assignments to give them an opportunity to apply their talents in new ways.

Finally, you need to take a few steps back and consider how to leverage all of the talents on your team. This could possibly entail rearranging the way work is completed in order to allow different individuals on your team to play to their strengths. As you become more aware of the talents on your team, you might even realize there is a need for some new roles. Your team might just have the talents necessary to address a unique need for your organization and/or customers.

Finally, you could come to the conclusion that the best opportunity for one of your team members to maximize their talents is to move on to another position either within or outside your organization. Good leaders realize that what is best for this individual is best for the organization. When they actively support an individual making the move that is right for them, these leaders demonstrate that they put their team first and create an environment of trust.

It’s the responsibility of a leader to nurture the talent of their team. The best leaders are adept at recognizing, developing, and leveraging talent in a way that achieves results and creates a foundation of trust.

Here is this week’s Authentic Excellence Action Step:

Identify one talent in each of your team members.

Make it an excellent week.

J. Matthew Becker, M.Ed., PCC

Inspired Leadership

January 4th, 2015 § 2 comments § permalink

“A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.” —John Maxwell

What’s feeding your leadership?

Great leaders are driven by passion. A longing to make an impact in the world and for the individuals they serve. They aren’t in it for the power, prestige, and money.

The elements of successful leadership have changed in the 21st Century. Leadership is no longer about power and issuing directives. Having a sense of meaning in work is becoming increasingly important to employees. This is especially true for the Millennial generation which will account for 50% of the workforce in 4 years. Success is dependent upon an organizations’ ability to adjust their approach to leadership.

You’ve likely developed goals for the New Year, which you believe, will help your organization succeed. The question is whether your vision will inspire your team. You won’t be able to achieve your vision alone and without a team of inspired individuals, your organization will never fulfill it’s potential.

What impact is your team or department making? How does their work make a difference in the lives of others? Your ability to articulate this bigger picture for your team will make the difference in whether or not they are energized, excited, and engaged or simply going through the motions.

Finally, step back and ask yourself why you decided to become a leader. Simon Sinek, author of Start With Why, states “Inspired leaders think from the inside out.” Leadership is about making a positive difference in the lives of others. Whether it’s through the product or service your team delivers or through helping your team grow and develop, you need to remain focused on who you are there to serve. Once you are inspired, you will find it much easier to inspire your team.

Here is this week’s Authentic Excellence Action Step:

Define whom you serve as a leader and the impact you want to make in their lives.

Make it an excellent week!

J. Matthew Becker, M.Ed., PCC

 

 

The Art of Leadership

February 16th, 2014 § 2 comments § permalink

“Leadership: The art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” —Dwight Eisenhower

Is your staff compliant or committed?

Leadership is a complicated endeavor. Success is dependent upon your ability to build a team that is committed to your vision as well as the aims of the organization. Leaders don’t simply give orders and enforce compliance; they inspire commitment within each member of the team.

Effective leaders understand that the key to influencing their staff is to make it personal. They recognize that each member of the team has a unique set of motivations and that money is not their highest priority. Additionally, they understand that each individual wants to master a task, which will enable them to make a positive contribution.

Your responsibility as a leader is to understand your employees’ values, passions and strengths. In order to foster commitment within them, it’s important to help them understand how they can utilize their unique talents and passions to make a difference for the team, organization, customers, and community as a whole.

Once your staff understands and appreciates the impact they can make, provide the autonomy they need to make it happen. Encourage them to collaborate with the rest of the team to identify strategies for utilizing their strengths, which they may not recognize. Finally, when they encounter challenges along the way help them consider various approaches to overcome the barriers they face.

There are no shortcuts to success as a leader. Simply giving orders won’t work. If you want to be successful as a leader, you must invest the time and energy necessary to build the commitment within your team. Once you do, you will have created a team full of enthusiastic and energetic individuals that are inspired to achieve the shared vision.

Here is this week’s Authentic Excellence Action Step:

Make time to talk with each of your staff about their passions, values, and strengths.

Make it an excellent week!

J. Matthew Becker, M.Ed., PCC

Don’t Follow the Crowd

January 26th, 2014 § 2 comments § permalink

“A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.”

      Max Lucado

Do you follow or do you lead?

Leadership is not a popularity contest and can often be lonely. If you want to be effective as a leader, you have to be prepared to take the path less traveled.

Effective leaders choose to focus forward. They don’t allow themselves to be bogged down by individuals focused on maintaining the status quo, or even worse, longing for they way things used to be. Leaders rise above these complaints and focus on the future they would like to create.

One of the most critical elements of being a leader is having a clear vision for where you’re going. Without a compelling picture of how you want to move your team, department, or organization forward, you’re merely managing the status quo.  Your vision needs to clearly articulate what you aim to accomplish and why it’s important.

Your vision must also be inspiring. The best visions create a sense of excitement and anticipation within your team. Help your staff to visualize the difference they can make for your organization, your customers, the community, and even the world.

Finally, help each of your team members see how they can personally make the vision a reality. Point out what role they play, why it is critical, and how their strengths are uniquely suited for the situation. Encourage them to consider how fulfilling the vision is congruent with their own purpose and personal values, ultimately leading to personal fulfillment.

Leadership is a choice. Leaders choose to look forward rather than backwards. Leaders don’t allow themselves to get trapped by the negativity of those that complain about current circumstances. So, the important question is; which way are you looking?

Here is this week’s Authentic Excellence Action Step:

Identify one step to focus your attention forward rather than backward.

Make it an excellent week!

J. Matthew Becker, M.Ed., PCC

It Doesn’t Matter How Smart You Are

January 12th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

“Relational Skills are the most important abilities in leadership.”

 —John Maxwell

 

What is your greatest asset as a leader?

Many managers believe the key to success is to demonstrate how much they know. They believe if the are the smartest person in the room, or at least perceived that way, is a source of power because everyone has to come through them. Truly effective leaders realize that although knowledge is important, the key to success hinges upon their ability to build a team of people inspired to push beyond their limitations.

Unfortunately the world is full of mediocre managers. You’ve probably either worked for one or know someone that has. These managers often get promoted to a leadership position because they were a high producer in the technical aspects of their role. The fact that they’re incapable of building effective team relationships and nobody wants to work with them is overlooked.

Once promoted, these managers fail to grasp the importance of building relationships with their staff. They rarely take the time to understand what is important to their team leaving them with a collection of individuals that might begrudgingly comply with the manager’s requests but will only do the bare minimum to get by.

Leadership is about people. If your staff isn’t willingly following you, you aren’t a leader. Rather than purely monitoring their staff’s compliance with processes and procedures, leaders look for ways to move the organization forward. They recognize success requires risk and innovation and that any organization content with the status quo is doomed to failure.

Additionally, they understand innovation isn’t possible without people who are inspired to push beyond their comfort zone. Leaders know they must devote time and energy to building trusting relationships with the team so they feel safe to take risks. Only then will innovation become a reality.

In order to be an effective leader, you must focus on developing and refining your relational skills. If you’ve recently been promoted into your first leadership role, or to a new team, begin to build relationships with your team immediately. Seek to understand what excites, energizes, and motivates them so you’ll know how to lead them effectively.

For the experienced leaders out there, it’s never too late to begin developing your relational skills. All that is required is a sincere desire and patience. It’ll take a while for your staff to trust what you are doing and you are bound to make mistakes, but don’t let that deter you.

Finally, and maybe most importantly, if you are in a position to promote new leaders please place more emphasis on whether the candidates possess the necessary relational skills. Our organizations have experienced enough mediocre managers and we all deserve better. Until we quit promoting individuals that exhibit no ability or desire to work well with others, we’ll continue to see people who believe it’s okay to step all over others to get ahead.

Here is this week’s Authentic Excellence Action Step:

Learn something new about what’s important to each of your team members.

Make it an excellent week!

J. Matthew Becker, M.Ed., PCC

One Day at a Time

January 5th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

“The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time.” —Abraham Lincoln

What steps are you taking each day to create the future of your dreams?

We’re almost a week into the New Year and if you’re like most people you’ve probably fallen off track already with your resolutions. Frankly this is normal. The key is not to give up and to reset your expectations of making a perfect transition.

Bottom line: making a personal change is hard. Recent research has determined our brain is actually very elastic. So the popular adage, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, simply isn’t true. Although we’re very capable of learning new things and making changes in our life, it doesn’t happen easily.

Significant change whether starting an exercise routine, eating better, starting a business, or changing jobs contains inevitable ups and downs. Successful navigation of these challenges is dependent upon your ability to maintain a high level of energy and focus. This level of enthusiasm can only be sustained if the change is important enough to you. Focus on the areas that are truly meaningful for you and create a compelling image of what it will look like when you achieve your change.  This vision will keep you moving forward when the road gets tough.

Once you have a meaningful purpose and clear vision of what success looks like, approach the change one day at a time. Identify steps you can take each day to move forward and don’t get discouraged when you fall short or step backwards. You’re human and every path to change is full of twists and turns. Simply pick yourself up and make progress the next day.

One very true cliché is, “It’s about the journey, not the destination”.  Making the decision to take action and move forward will have a positive impact on your life, regardless of whether you ultimately reach your goal. It’s never too late to begin taking positive steps toward living the life of your dreams and you’re worth it! Make 2014 a year you look back on as a turning point in your life. Contact me if I can assist you in achieving your dreams. I’d be happy to partner with you on your journey.

Here is this week’s Authentic Excellence Action Step:

Identify one step you can take each day to move forward with your goals for the year.

Make it an excellent week!

J. Matthew Becker M.Ed., PCC

 

 

Embrace Your Dream!

December 15th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

“In each of us there is a private hope and dream, which fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone.” —John F. Kennedy

 

What dream do you hold inside?

We all have a dream. Each of us has something we long to accomplish. Unfortunately most of us keep our dream hidden deep inside. Whether we’re afraid of failure or embarrassed about what others might think, we never give our dreams a chance to become reality.

The world needs you to embrace your dream. You have something unique to offer. You’re meant to make an impact in a way that only you can.  However, if you never let your dream shine you’ll never know how successful you could be. You’ll never fully comprehend the positive impact you could make on the world.

Life is too short not to follow your dreams. Don’t allow your dream to wither and die within you. This will only lead to a life of regrets. Challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone and give your dream a chance. Although you can’t know for sure if you will ultimately be successful, I can assure you that failure isn’t as demoralizing as regret.

Make the decision today to make 2014 your year! Choose to take your dream seriously and allow it to see the light of day. All that is required is a commitment to take a few simple steps to explore the possibilities of your dream and see what you might uncover.

Here is this week’s Authentic Excellence Action Step:

Identify 3 steps you can take in 2014 to embrace your dream.

Make it an excellent week!

J. Matthew Becker, M.Ed., PCC