Tuesday, February 24, 2009

"Lead, follow, or get out of the way."

In the modern day world of leadership are Thomas Paine’s famous words, “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.”

First and foremost, Thomas Paine’s Common Sense advocated an immediate declaration of independence, postulating a special moral obligation of America to the rest of the world. Not long after publication, the spirit of Paine's argument found resonance in the American Declaration of Independence.

Might Mr. Paine’s words serve to support your own mantra for independence and a moral compass for those people you lead? What is your obligation to yourself and the rest of your world? See what happens when you take some time to contemplate and actually answer these questions. It’s a challenge worth taking and here is why:
  • You are forced to consider how your thoughts and actions contribute to your personal leadership style: Am I leading, following, or in my own way?
  • You discover how often you hold yourself accountable.
  • You’ll know if you demonstrate leadership to others through your own actions.
  • It’s an opportunity for you to check in with yourself and come to terms with your own moral compass.
  • You’ll have an answer at the ready when life asks you to : “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.”

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Juggler's Balancing Act

What happens when a juggler attempts to juggle while walking a tight rope? Type A and Type B people in their own chosen element juggle with great success. They are more likely to thrive mentally and physically. When you combine the two you get quite the balancing act; you get the Type AB personality.

More and more women find themselves inside the Type AB parameters. She can be productive and efficient in the work or studies, although she can be calm in situations that require it. Sometimes she feels nervous. She relaxes more than a Type A person but not as much as a Type B person.

Back to the juggler on a tight rope. There is no either or, only AB. Her well rehearsed circus act relies on balance. Sometimes she may need to drop a ball in order to keep from falling. She CAN drop a ball and the show goes on. If she falls: shows over.

We ladies are resilient and flexible, persistent and determined, dedicated, diverse, courageous. We are wives and lovers, mothers and grandmothers, daughters and sisters, and we must juggle daily. A key to balancing it all is to know what ball you really CAN drop to keep moving forward.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

How Leaders Deal with "Jerks"

It is not unusual for developing leaders to be challenged by the "Jerk." You know that person recognizing and threatened by your personal or professional development. You're getting ahead and they aren't. A common 'new' experience for a leader is an increase in Jerk encounters.

Developing the leadership skills to respond swiftly and effectively is really quite easy.I define a “jerk” as typically a person who verbally attacks fellow employees with blows non-related to work performance, is self absorbed, insecure and mean. The Jerk can be likened to a terrorist or a three year old on the playground.

Here are a few tips for dealing with a Jerk when his actions are directed at you:

  1. Don’t ignore them – they expect you to shy away and it empowers them to continue.
  2. Do look the Jerk in the eye and smile at them with pity. Recall the phrase “I pity the fool…!” in your mind.
  3. Don’t wait – time diminishes the power of your non verbal ‘higher road’ response.
  4. The proper response to their “What?” is a controlled, “I think you know what. If you truly are confused please come see me later and I’ll help you to understand." The later statement strips him of his power and requires him to respond positively under your terms. My estimate is that 9 out of 10 times a real Jerk will not follow up – they know exactly “What” they’ve done.
  5. Don’t negotiate or debate with terrorists or three year olds.
  6. Do immediately disengage and return to whatever you were doing before your encounter with the Jerk.

Enjoy the fact that the Jerk no longer enjoys behaving like one around you. Remember we can not change people, only their behavior around us.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Expand Your Network: Volunteer

No time for volunteering because you're busy networking to expand your business? Think again! Who better to include in your network than like-minded passionate yet diverse people. Most likely you will meet many people you would have never met. Remember everybody either knows someone or personally needs your services or product at some point.

Before you join yet another business referral network or a second Chamber of Commerce, consider donating that same commitment of time to a cause. It seldom, if ever, requires a monetary commitment. You can make a difference in the world and meet just as many people.

Tips when choosing a charity or special cause:
  • Look for a group or organization that may have had an impact on your life or someone close to you.
  • Choose an activity or role that you will enjoy. You want to shine. There are plenty to choose from so don't pick something you dread; it wont bring out the best in you.
  • Ask about opportunities that fit your time schedule. Some are long term project commitments and others don't matter when you come or go.
  • Pick an activity that exposes you to other volunteers.

Networking happens at all levels. I encourage you to diversify, create opportunities, and lastly go to sleep at night knowing you did something really cool for someone else.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Integrity as a Leadership Base

If I’ve said it once I’ve said it hundreds of times “Leadership is not any one method taught by an instructor. Leadership is developed from within with the support and guidance of an expert.” As a Leadership Coach I challenge people already in leadership roles, to reflect on integrity. That’s right; I want them to start with the core of what is most important.

Does it really surprise any of you that I wouldn’t sidestep the hard stuff? If you want to ruffle my feathers just question my integrity. When my client said, “Jake, Intention… Integrity… Ingenious!!! Thank you for listening & finding the “I’s” in me.” I opened an excellent Syrah and smiled. That’s how much I value integrity. It is the foundation for leadership – and we all have it in us!

”The glue that holds all relationships together -- including the relationship between the leader and the led is trust, and trust is based on integrity.” --Brian Tracy

Ahhh, well said Brian!

Here’s a quote you’ll want to read, wait, read again, ponder, re-read and then entirely agree:

”Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness, not pain or mindless self-indulgence, is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values.” --Ayn Rand

See what I mean?

If you are struggling with work-life balance, use integrity as your starting point for your personal and professional development journey.