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

Develop Leaders not Followers

April 4th, 2016 § 2 comments § permalink

 

“Weak leaders have the luxury of looking after themselves. Great leaders have the honor of looking after others.” —Simon Sinek

What’s your motive for being a leader?

Leadership isn’t about you; it’s about your team. If you’re in a leadership role because you like the power and get fulfillment from giving orders, than do yourself and your team a favor and get out now.

Weak leaders focus on simply giving orders. They’re worried about their personal success and are convinced that all will be okay if everyone just does what they say. In reality, that approach is ineffective in our complex world.

Great leaders don’t issue directives and micro-manage their staff. They understand that success is dependent upon their ability to articulate a clear vision and develop the leadership mindset within their team.

If you want to be a great leader, let go of the need to control. Set the vision, develop the knowledge and skills on your team, and get out of their way. You’ll be amazed at what they are capable of when you do.

What step are you taking this week to develop leaders?

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

The Difference is Why

May 3rd, 2015 § 2 comments § permalink

“Average companies give their people something to work on. The most innovative organizations give their people something to work toward.”

—Simon Sinek

Why does your organization exist?

Clarity about your organization’s purpose is critical to success. If you want your employees to care, you need to have a compelling reason for them to do so. Simply making money isn’t sufficient.

Most of us long to make a difference. We want to be a part of something that is bigger than ourselves and allows us to make a meaningful contribution. As an organization and a team, you must differentiate yourself so your staff is clear about the difference they make.

Discuss why your product or service is important to your customer. How does it make their life simpler? What would happen if you weren’t hear to provide your product or service? How does what you have to offer standout from your competitors?

Once you’ve helped your team understand what sets your organization apart, link each of your employees to this purpose. Help them see how their role plays a part in the overall organization fulfilling its purpose. Ask them to what would happen if they weren’t there to complete their role.

Additionally, when assigning a task, take time to discuss how the task impacts the larger purpose. Don’t assume they understand the connection. The more you reinforce the importance of your purpose, the more meaningful it will become.

Success in today’s business world is contingent upon a workforce that is excited to come to work each day. In order to get your team excited to bring their best to work everyday devote time to helping them connect what they are doing to a purpose that is meaningful and important. When you do, sales and profits will be a natural by-product.

Here is this week’s Authentic Excellence Action Step:

Clearly define the purpose your organization and team serves.

Make it an excellent week!

J. Matthew Becker, M.Ed., PCC

Keep Moving Forward

March 22nd, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

“Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.”

—Chinese Proverb

What are you doing to continue your growth?

Every year it seems as if the pace of change increases exponentially. In order to keep up, it’s critical to ensure you continue to make forward progress. There’s no such thing as standing still, you’re either moving forward or falling backwards.

One of the books I read in graduate school was We Are All Self Employed by Cliff Hakim. Hakim’s premise that we all enter into a contract with our employer, which can be revoked by either one of us at any time, had a big impact on me. There are no guarantees and we never know when our contract will come to an end.

Rather than worrying about if, or when, that day will come, you need to focus your energy on continuing to refine your knowledge and skills. Luckily there are many different approaches you can take allowing you to grow as quickly or slowly as you want.

One option you might explore is to earn a new certification. Whether you’re in HR, IT, project management, or health care there are often a variety of certifications you can earn to expand both your knowledge and skills. You could also choose to go back to school for a degree or simply attend a course that is of interest to you.

Another approach is to seek out a new project to work on within your organization. Look for an opportunity that will allow you to play to your strengths yet challenge you to apply them in either a new way or in a new domain. Gaining exposure and working with a different area of the business or industry will not only add to your knowledge base it will make you better at your core responsibilities.

Looking to challenge yourself to learn how to handle difficult situations more effectively or enhance your people management and/or influencing skills, then you might want to work with a mentor or coach. He or she can help you step back and consider different perspectives as you navigate challenging situations. This is also a great strategy if you are looking to develop and implement a vision for yourself and/or your team.

Finally, you could choose to pick-up a new hobby or read a book about a new topic that appeals to you. Taking the time to develop a new skill or read about a new topic will challenge you to use your brain in new ways. Again, you’ll probably find that through this experience you make connections back to your professional life, which will make you a better employee.

Change is inevitable but growth is optional. There is nothing you can do to stop it, yet you don’t want to allow yourself to get passed by either. Challenge yourself to learn something new this year and keep moving forward, no matter how slowly.

Here is this week’s Authentic Excellence Action Step:

Identify one strategy you are going to implement in 2015 to grow.

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

 

 

Process Over Outcomes

March 2nd, 2014 § 2 comments § permalink

“Glory lies in the attempt to reach one’s goal and not in reaching it.”

—Mahatma Gandhi

Is your goal helping or hurting you?

Possessing a goal for yourself can sometimes be a double edged sword. While a goal can often provide motivation and keep you moving forward you have to be careful not to become consumed by the desire to achieve a specific outcome. The challenge is to leverage the benefits goals have to offer without becoming too rigid in the process.

The best goals are built on a foundation of purpose and passion. Rather than concentrating on simply starting a business or going back to school, you need to maintain your focus on the greater purpose behind your goal. Remind yourself daily about the service or product you want to offer and the difference you hope to make.  Maintaining your perspective about why you want to be in business, or go back to school, will motivate you to persevere through the ups and downs as well as remain open to opportunities to fulfill your purpose you might otherwise miss.

Start by creating a personal vision for how life will look and feel like when you accomplish your goal. What does a perfect day in your business or new career look like? Who are you helping? What are you doing for them? Take a few moments at the beginning of each day to think about your vision and visualize your perfect day. As you go throughout your day, watch for moments in which you feel the same sense of fulfillment you get when thinking about your perfect day. Notice what you’re doing and whom you’re doing it with.

Finally, at the end of each day reflect on those moments in which you felt fulfillment and identify potential themes. As you consider the ways in which you are already living your vision you may discover that your desired outcomes have changed. By choosing to consciously consider the purpose of your goal each day you will find yourself motivated and fulfilled on a daily basis. You’ll also remain flexible to new opportunities for fulfilling your goal that present themselves.

Goals are wonderful motivational tools that keep us from becoming complacent. Without a meaningful goal in life, your chance of realizing fulfillment is significantly decreased. However, it’s important to keep your goals in proper perspective. Rather than becoming consumed by the outcome you believe you should achieve, staying focused on the deeper purpose of your goal will ensure that the journey is rewarding regardless of the outcome.

Here is this week’s Authentic Excellence Action Step:

Identify the deeper purpose behind a personal goal and pay attention to how you’re fulfilling that purpose each day.

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

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