Leadership

THESE are exceptionally complicated times to be a leader. The world is fraught with touchy political divisions, economic disparities, generational tensions, and racial disharmonies. Magnifying the challenges are the ever-shifting dynamics of today’s workplace. More leaders are leading remote teams across larger geographic distances, presenting unique challenges in terms of onboarding new employees, giving performance feedback, building esprit de corps, and nurturing healthy relationships. The traditional stability of consistently applied practices and processes has been upended. Now individual exceptions and customized deals are common, tailored to flexibly accommodate each person’s extenuating life realities. It’s a struggle to treat everyone fairly yet individually. Letting one person work from home three days a week to care for an immuno-compromised parent will look like good leadership to that person, but it will smack of favoritism to the healthy single person required to be onsite every day. Leaders will simultaneously be seen as exceedingly fair or unfair, depending on who benefits from policy exceptions that today’s realities require leaders to allow. Despite being a particularly challenging time to lead, leaders can use some road-tested tactics to navigate through today’s choppy waters. Leadership fitness is a function of three disciplines: leading yourself, leading others, and leading work. Leading Yourself Leadership starts with self-awareness and self-discipline. You’ve got to know what your good at, and what you’d be wise to hand off to others. You’ve got to have a deep value system that can help you weather tough people and situations. You’ve got to manage… Continue Reading

IDEAS shared have the power to expand perspectives, change thinking, and move lives. Here are two ideas for the curious mind to engage with: I. Richard Feynman on regret: “If you want to live a regret-free life, you need to stop thinking about what others think about you and your life. We spend our entire lives thinking, and in fact overthinking about people, society, teachers, and others think, who do not know our paths, our struggles, our good and bad, and unfortunately, we allow them to control our lives. It’s you who has to decide what makes you happy and pursue it accordingly. It would be stupid of you to try and stand by someone else’s expectations. Do what you feel is good for you, and right for you, In doing so, it is very obvious that you will come across failures and disappointments, but that will teach you a great deal and the best part would you, it would you and only you responsible for that.. Prof. Feynman” Source: Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!   II. Journalist Ferris Jabr on why walking helps us think: “Perhaps the most profound relationship between walking, thinking, and writing reveals itself at the end of a stroll, back at the desk. There, it becomes apparent that writing and walking are extremely similar feats, equal parts physical and mental. When we choose a path through a city or forest, our brain must survey the surrounding environment, construct a mental map of the world,… Continue Reading

IN A SOCIETY’S transition between the past and the future, leadership is indispensable. “For strategies to inspire the society, leaders must serve as educators—communicating objectives, assuaging doubts and rallying support,” writes Henry Kissinger in Leadership: Six Studies in World Strategy. Leaders are subject to the constraints of their time, but they are also architects of the future. “Strategy arises from these constraints and uncertainty. “Strategy describes the conclusion a leader reaches under these conditions of scarcity, temporality, competition, and fluidity. In finding the way ahead, strategic leadership may be likened to traversing a tightrope: just as an acrobat will fall if either too timid or too audacious, a leader is obliged to navigate within a narrow margin, suspended between the relative certainties of the past and the ambiguities of the future.” Churchill captured these ambiguities and the need for a leader’s judgment when he wrote in The Gathering Storm; “Statesmen are not called upon only to settle easy questions. These often settle themselves. It is where the balance quivers, and the proportions are veiled in midst, that the opportunity for world-saving decisions presents itself.” Leadership is most essential during periods of transition, when values and institutions are losing their relevance, and the outlines of a worthy future are in controversy. In such times, leaders are called upon to think creatively and diagnostically. Kissinger offers an interesting discussion of transformational leaders and categorizes them into two types: the statesman and the prophet. The statesman has two tasks. First, “is to… Continue Reading

WORK is a process, and we all contribute in different ways. When the work we do is aligned with our gifts, we perform to our potential. The 6 Types of Working Genius by Patrick Lencioni is a business fable that goes behind the scenes of a team working out the frustrations they are having at work. We struggle when we are called upon to perform in ways that not consistent with what we do best. Naturally, we all have to take on tasks in ways that drain us, and that’s not a problem unless it is something we have to do all the time. If that’s the case, it leads to burnout. Judgement is similar, except that it’s what we do when we see a colleague struggle in some kind of work and incorrectly attribute their struggle to their lack of effort, intelligence, or virtue. “I don’t know why he can’t get that done. I think he just doesn’t care. Or maybe he’s just not as smart as we thought he was. Or is it possible that he just isn’t committed to the team?” We’ve all done this, and it’s dangerous and destructive. It causes people to feel hurt and rejected, and it adversely impacts teams, organizations, even families. This is a critically important issue. We should first begin by looking at the three phases of work as it forms the framework for the 6 Types. The first phase is Ideation and this is where we identify needs and… Continue Reading

IDEAS shared have the power to expand perspectives, change thinking, and move lives. Here are two ideas for the curious mind to engage with: I. Military strategist Sun Tzu on preparation: “The art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy’s not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable.” Source: The Art of War   II. American novelist Mary Flannery O’Connor on growth: “Accepting oneself does not preclude an attempt to become better.” Source: The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O’Connor * * * Look for these ideas every Thursday on the Leading Blog. Find more ideas on the LeadingThoughts index. * * * Like us on Instagram and Facebook for additional leadership and personal development ideas.  … Continue Reading

EVERY organization needs leadership. Whether you work in small enterprising entrepreneurship or a Fortune 500 conglomerate, sound leadership is required for progress. Experts will agree that effective leaders must have superior qualities, skills, and talents that influence the workforce to complete the organization’s mission efficiently and effectively. Regardless of the organization’s vision and mission statement, leadership is a fundamental requirement. The TEAM LEAD Model of Self Leadership by Joe Wolemonwu offers an eight-step model that gives every leader the tools to move their agency forward. T.E.A.M. L.E.A.D. is an acronym for Training, Enterprising, Authenticity, Mindfulness, Listening, Empathizing, Accountability, Delegation. This model identifies eight leadership requirements, accomplishments, and skills a leader must have to be effective. In essence, this model offers a quicker rate of acceleration in all quadrants of the organization by the consistency of the leader’s conviction and commitment to excellence. A leader must possess all of the eight core T.E.A.M. L.E.A.D. attributes to be more effective. The Team Lead concept is a self-leadership approach to leading a team. Four attributes with the acronym T.E.A.M. and internal attributes the leader must possess, while the remaining four L.E.A.D. show external attributes that enable the leader to lead the team effectively. Training enhances performance, grows knowledge, makes a leader Competent, and boots productivity through learned skills. Enterprising develops a leader’s capacity to generate ideas and skills that make them creatively Resourceful. A resourceful leader always finds a way to take advantage of a situation. Authenticity gives a leader Credibility and… Continue Reading

ELIZABETH ALEXANDRA MARY WINDSOR was born on April 21, 1926, during the reign of her grandfather, King George V. She died peacefully at Balmoral Castle in Scotland at age 96 on September 8, 2022 after having recently celebrated 70 years on the throne. She was the longest-lived and longest-reigning British monarch. Although the Queen shared a name with Elizabeth I they are not related. Elizabeth I was the last of the Tudor royal line, whereas the Elizabeth II is of the Windsor family. When King George V died in 1936, his son David took the throne as King Edward VIII, only to renounce it within a year to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson. Consequently he abdicated and brother Albert was proclaimed King George VI. Upon his sudden death in 1952, he was succeeded by his elder daughter, Elizabeth II. In 1945, after months of pleading with her father, 18-year-old Elizabeth joined the war effort. She trained as a driver and mechanic in the women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service, becoming the first female member of Britain’s royal family to serve as a full-time active member of the armed forces. In 1947, 21-year-old Elizabeth married the man she had fallen in love with when she was 13: Greek-born British naval officer Philip Mountbatten, a distant cousin. Two years later, they moved to Malta, where Philip was stationed with the British Navy. Royal observers have thought that these were some of the happiest years of her life. In Malta she was able to… Continue Reading

IDEAS shared have the power to expand perspectives, change thinking, and move lives. Here are two ideas for the curious mind to engage with: I. Queen Elizabeth II on the value of stepping back and reflecting: “We all need to get the balance right between action and reflection. With so many distractions, it is easy to forget to pause and take stock. Be it through contemplation, prayer, or even keeping a diary, many have found the practice of quiet personal reflection surprisingly rewarding, even discovering greater spiritual depth to their lives.” Source: Queen’s Christmas message, December 25, 2013   II. Queen Elizabeth II on courage: “Today we need a special kind of courage. Not the kind needed in battle, but a kind which makes us stand up for everything that we know is right, everything that is true and honest. We need the kind of courage that can withstand the subtle corruption of the cynics, so that we can show the world that we are not afraid of the future.” Source: 1957 Christmas Broadcast * * * Look for these ideas every Thursday on the Leading Blog. Find more ideas on the LeadingThoughts index. * * * Like us on Instagram and Facebook for additional leadership and personal development ideas.  … Continue Reading

CHANGE is frequently a challenge, but in times of wide-ranging, disrupting, unavoidable change, it can be disquieting. Jason Feifer, the editor-in-chief of Entrepreneur magazine, has written a book for anyone facing an uncertain future, not just entrepreneurs. That’s most of us. Build for Tomorrow is about how we can be good at change—especially change that happens to us—sometimes more like a crisis. When faced with change, Feifer has found that we experience four phases when we are faced with change we didn’t initiate. The question is, how fast will we move from Panic! to Wouldn’t Go Back? Build for Tomorrow is designed to help us do just that. 1. Panic! Panic is natural, but staying in this stage blinds us. In this state of mind, we can’t accurately see what we are faced with. “We become impatient for solutions, do not consider all the information available, and make counterproductive decisions.” A couple of the reasons we get stuck in Panic mode is because loss is easier to see and feel than gain. We naturally extrapolate loss, so we must counter it by extrapolating the gain. We also believe that yesterday was better than today.”If we’re surrounded by the belief that yesterday was better, we’ll become less open-minded to future opportunities.” Sometimes we feel like we got where we are by sheer luck—the right place at the right time. But if we can get some perspective by asking ourselves three questions—What did I overcome? What skill set did I have… Continue Reading

HERE’S A LOOK at some of the best leadership books to be released in September 2022. Be sure to check out the other great titles being offered this month. Build for Tomorrow: An Action Plan for Embracing Change, Adapting Fast, and Future-Proofing Your Career by Jason Feifer The moments of greatest change can also be the moments of greatest opportunity. Adapt more quickly and use the power of change to your advantage with this guide from the editor in chief of Entrepreneur magazine and host of the Build for Tomorrow podcast. We experience change in four phases. The first is panic. Then we adapt. Then we find a new normal. And then, finally, we reach the phase we could not have imagined in the beginning, the moment when we realize that we wouldn’t go back. Build for Tomorrow is designed to accelerate that process—to help you lessen your panic, adapt faster, define the new normal, and thrive going forward. And it arrives as we all, in some way, have felt a shift in our lives. The pandemic forced a moment of collective change, and we are still being forced to make new plans and adjustments to our lives, families, and careers. Many of us will never go back, continuing to work from home, demanding higher wages, or starting new businesses. The Unexpected Leader: Discovering the Leader Within You by Jacqueline M. Baker The best leaders aren’t all found in one particular discipline, functional group, or silo. They’re found across… Continue Reading