On Leadership, Persistence and The Strong-Willed Leader

My Way

When I was a kid, I was known to be a little hard-headed at times. I must have driven my parents crazy with all the times that I refused to do what they asked me to do.

I wanted to do things my way.

What Goes Around…

I can see that God has a great sense of humor now that we’ve had our daughter, Ava, because she definitely inherited the hard-headed gene. I say that I see a sense of humor because if I don’t laugh, I’d be crying!

In educational circles, we would call Ava a “strong-willed child.” As parents, we call it “you make me want to scream, now get into timeout!

You have just  got to love those hard-headed kids that insist on getting things their way, don’t you? We joke with Ava that she’s going to be a lawyer because she negotiates every last request that we make of her.

  • We ask her to eat all her dinner before she can get dessert and she will try to negotiate it down to taking just a few more bites.
  • She even tries to negotiate the amount of time that she spends in timeout when we discipline her.

It took her a while to learn that we might negotiate dinner portions, but we will not negotiate timeout. We haven’t budged on that front once, but she keeps on trying. She just won’t take “no” for an answer.

Just Saying No

I have realized over time that many of the successes that I’ve had in my life were because of my hard-headedness. The same is true for all leaders. Sometimes “no” comes out as someone saying, “it can’t be done” or “no one has ever done that before.

However you phrase it, it still means “no.” I have learned that “no” is just temporary. Persistence pays if you want something badly enough.

Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” ~ Winston Churchill

What’s the Big Idea?

All success starts with an idea and a desire to make it happen. This idea becomes fixed in our mind as something that we’re going to achieve. We’re not talking about the fleeing ideas that we allow to pass.

We have to grab hold of the one that we can become convicted about. Grab hold of it and don’t let it go until it’s achieved. All great success stories start off this way.

Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.” ~ Napoleon Hill 

Determination to Succeed

True determination comes from knowing, not just wishing, that your idea will succeed. It has to be so fixed in your mind that you are determined to make it come to life.

Any setback that you may feel is a minor one in the scheme of things. Having determination means that you are willing to make sacrifices in order to succeed. Do you really want this thing that you’re striving for?

Persistence Is Key

Persistence and determination run hand-in-hand with one another. Nothing worthwhile ever comes right away. Those that are willing to persist through the adversity that life throws their way are the ones that succeed. Times will be tough.

It seems like life will do what it can to test you. Life will throw you a few setbacks just to be sure. How do you persist through the tough times?

Keep Good People Around You

The people around you can help lift you up when you’re feeling down. The pressures of success can wear on leaders from time to time and encouragement from the people around them are special cogs in their success engine.

I have been blessed enough to have family and friends who believed in me attaining my dreams that failure wasn’t an option in their eyes. They know without any shadow of a doubt that I can be successful in what I do. Who are you spending time with that will lift you up?

This post was adapted from Rich Bishop’s book, “Child-Like Leadership.”

**********

Never miss an issue of Linked 2 Leadership, subscribe today.
Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

———————–
Rich Bishop

Rich Bishop is President of Bishop Coaching & Consulting Group
He takes a hands-on approach to your Development through Coaching & Training
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Web | Blog | Book

Image Source: ronedmondson.com

 

On Leadership, Employee Morale and The Joy of Ketchup

The Joy of Ketchup

My father has always been a picky eater. He doesn’t like bold flavors at all, so we did not have the joy of trying different foods as kids. He liked things to be overcooked and unfortunately for us, that meant the rest of us had to eat our dinners that way too.

He would cook steaks so well that they were tough to chew. I didn’t know how good a steak could be because ours were tough and burned.

The Joy of Ketchup

Ketchup is a wonderful invention. It was created to enhance the flavor quality of certain foods, but wasn’t ever intended to be used with every item on your plate. But in our house, it was a necessity!

The only way to make some of Dad’s overcooked food palatable was to cover it with ketchup.

We put it on overcooked steak, mashed potatoes, and even the plain white rice he would cook! What was intended to be an enhancement to the dinner experience became a necessity in order to hide the underlying fact that the food was terrible.

The Ketchup of the Workplace

There once was a company called Lomo Ralé Inc. The culture was very fragmented at there:

  • Departments worked in silos
  • Management dictated decisions rather than collaborating with employees
  • The people were both over-worked and under-equipped
  • The environment was a stressful place for employees

As a result of these conditions, employees only gave the effort that they were required to give. There was no reason to give any extra effort. For most of the frontline employees at Lomo Ralé, the company seemed to drain the life out of them.

Then the CEO had read an expert’s book about what incentive awards could do to morale in the office. She gathered her executive team together and came up with a program that would allow the employees to take short breaks in order to to play games and also provide them with plaques and other awards for strong performance.

She was convinced that this would fix the morale issue.

Short Shelf Life

The program was implemented quickly and there was an immediate boost to energy level in the office. Employees smiled more and seemed to actually enjoy themselves. That feeling slowly faded over time because the games and awards didn’t change the underlying work conditions.

Employees still did not feel like the managers had their best interests in mind. Decisions were still dictated downward. The “steak” of the company was still overcooked. The “ketchup” that management had thrown on top was only a mask for what was really underneath.

Cooking a Better Steak

The situation at Lomo Ralé is an all-to-common occurrence.  Managers throw a bunch of “ketchup” on top of a burnt “steak” and wonder why the best people in the organization leave.

For sustained performance, leaders have to cook a better steak – they have to provide a better environment for their people.

Turning Around a Culture

As John Maxwell said, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” It’s up to you to make the change for your people, no matter where you are in the organization.

Here are some tips for turning around the culture of your organization.

  1. Value your people. People don’t leave organizations, they leave companies because of people. Be the leader that they know you value them. Spend time with your people. Learn about their personal lives (within reason, of course). Stand up for them if they have a suggestion for an improved process. Be their champion and they will champion you. Nothing keeps a stressed group of people together better than people they know value them.
  2. Include your people in the change. Have discussionswith your people to find out what they would do to improve productivity and morale. Take the best of their ideas and do everything in your power to make them happen. Recognize them for their contributions. If they see that they can make a difference, they will want to continue making a difference.
  3. Develop your people. Not many people want to be stuck without hope of improving. Be a proponent of additional training, special projects, and other ways to help your people develop. Their improvement will only boost the team’s capabilities.

So how much ketchup have your employees been putting on what you have been serving up? Have you known that your cooking might be up to par? What can you do to change the recipe of your leadership so that people start loving what you serve? I would love to hear your thoughts!

**********

Never miss an issue of Linked 2 Leadership, subscribe today.
Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

———————–
Rich Bishop

Rich Bishop is President of Bishop Coaching & Consulting Group
He takes a hands-on approach to your Development through Coaching & Training
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Web | Blog | Book

Image Source: media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com

On Leadership, Patience and Endurance

Patience and Endurance

It’s been said, “The best things in life are worth waiting for.”

But have you felt at times like there’s too much waiting in life and not enough of the best things?”

Getting Things Done

If you are a leader, chances are good that you have a knack for getting things done. If you’re like me, you like to keep a “to do” list and check through the items on that list. It gives us a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day to see a number of things checked off that list.

A crossed off to-do list equates to progress!

Then there are those days where it feels like you are active all day, but have nothing to show for it at the end. You list either looks the same as it did when we start our day, or maybe, it’s even longer than when we started. Those can be frustrating days.

Waiting… Two Different Ways

We have to have a good mix of patience and endurance if we expect to be successful. We use these two words sometimes interchangeably, but they are very different things. No matter how you slice it, they both come down to one thing – waiting.

Patience

Patience is waiting for something good to happen.

Have you promised your children a toy or candy at the end of the shopping trip for good behavior? How exited were they to get that treat? If your kids are anything like mine, they may have been so excited that they couldn’t contain themselves and ruined it!

I wasn’t blessed with an abundance of patience.

It sounds like a great virtue to have, but it’s not something that comes naturally to me when there is something that I want. I suffer from iWin syndrome – I Want It Now. That’s part of what makes me who I am. If I see an opportunity, I go for it.

However, a lack of patience has cost me in a number of situations. Success is about capitalizing on an opportunity and executing, but the timing has to be just right. We’ve all heard, “The early bird gets the worm.” If you’re the early bird and you try to snatch the worm too early, he’ll see you and go back into his hole.

What good things are you waiting for? How has your patience been tested?

Endurance

Endurance is waiting for something bad to be over.

We hear the word “endurance” all the time when it comes to sports and we occasionally use to describe seasons of our lives.

  • Couples need endurance if they are going through a rough spot in their marriage.
  • You may need endurance to get through a rough patch in your career.
  • Athletes need endurance to get through the grueling battle of training and of competition.

Endurance is what separates the truly successful leaders from the short-term successes. Leaders with the ability to see their teams through the difficult times are the ones that grow the most. Through endurance comes growth and a strengthened resolve for success.

What areas of your leadership journey are you needing the most endurance today?

The Double Whammy

Sometimes, the worst place to be is when leaders need to have patience and endurance at the same time! This happens when we are going through a rough patch with the promise of something good on the horizon. When an entrepreneur starts a business, they can be excited and filled with energy.

After a short period of time, however, the business will get to what Seth Godin called, “The Dip” – a hard point where business isn’t easy anymore and requires a lot of hard work. This is where the truly successful leaders separate themselves by having the patience and endurance to see it through.

Do you show patience and endurance, or are you like me and sometimes expect the good too soon? What have some of your mistakes taught you? I would love to hear your thoughts!

**********

Never miss an issue of Linked 2 Leadership, subscribe today.
Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

———————–
Rich Bishop
Rich Bishop is President of Bishop Coaching & Consulting Group
He takes a hands-on approach to your Development through Coaching & Training
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Web | Blog | Book

Image Source: 25.media.tumblr.com

On Leadership and Balancing Intensity with Gentleness

Intensity and Gentleness

Dr. Seuss called life “a great balancing act” in his book, Oh, The Places You’ll Go.

And balance is a leader’s biggest struggle.

Going Strong

Highly effective leaders are relentless in making things happen, but they also know how to balance their intensity with the gentleness that is needed to connect with people. Many leaders start their careers as strong do-ers.

They are able to work hard and accomplish tasks quickly and effectively.

As they progress in their careers, they learn that the “people aspect” of leadership requires a certain kind of gentleness that may be counter-intuitive to their “go-getter” personality. This is where many leaders struggle.

If this balance is not found, leaders can be abrasive, cold, and hard-driving.

While people respect these leader’s efficiency, they don’t necessarily want to be a part of the team. A balanced leader, however, will have people lined-up at their door in order to join their team because working for them is so much more attractive.

Understanding Intensity

To be effective, a leader has to be intense in their pursuit of reaching goals. It’s that intensity that allows leaders to get past the many obstacles that are thrown in their way. And there are many, and constant.

Someone in a leadership position that doesn’t possess this intensity is not going to be around for long because goals will be missed. The day-to-day distractions will get in between them and the goals that they need to achieve. An intense leader knows what needs to be done and does everything they can to achieve it.

Daily distractions are nothing but a bump in their road to success.

Intensity for a leader means that they are focused, determined, and have a strong desire to succeed.

Understanding Gentleness

Effective leaders know that people will require a gentle touch. Gentleness can sometimes fly in the face of intensity, but it is something that people require for relationships to be strong. And let’s face it, if a leader’s relationships are not strong with their people, the team will struggle to accomplish anything.

Some people will stay in an organization that only worries about production for only as long as they have to. They will only give a small percentage of their effort and energy. However, people will go the extra mile if their leader and the organization shows a gentle concern for them and their personal lives.

A leader must understand that the people in the organization want to know that they are cared for.

People want to know that their leaders are concerned for their overall well-being. Great organizations get this point and implement programs, training, and policies that show their people that they are valued. Effective leaders are the champions of these programs.

Effective leaders want to build their people up.

What “Balance” Looks Like…

Saint Francis de Sales said this:

“Nothing is so strong as gentleness. Nothing is so gentle as real strength.”

The strongest leaders understand that the quickest way to reach the organization’s goals is to be gentle with their people in order to build relationships, and yet relentless in the pursuit of goals. This is the yin and the yang of leadership.

Building strong relationships on trust will set the foundation for the organization to get the most out of their people. It allows a leader to quickly organize the team behind their vision so that goals can be achieved.

The effective leader can flip the switch between their intensity and the gentleness needed to build relationships when they have to. They are able to adapt to the situation.

When you have reached your goals, what obstacles have you had to overcome? How intense were you required to be? How strong are your relationships with your people? Would they stand with you in tough times because they want to? How quickly do you adapt to what the situation requires? I would love to hear your thoughts!

**********

Never miss an issue of Linked 2 Leadership, subscribe today.
Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

———————–
Rich Bishop
Rich Bishop is President of Bishop Coaching & Consulting Group
He takes a hands-on approach to your Development through Coaching & Training
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Web | Blog | Book

Image Source: nytimes.com

Hey Leaders: People Are People

Empathy and Compassion

It’s important to see that people are people. Sounds like an easy concept, doesn’t it?

But it’s not!

On Leadership And Empathy

Viewing people as people means that we understand that others have feelings, we care for them, and we understand that they have needs. When you feel great about your relationships, you intuitively know these things, don’t you?

Your wife has feelings, you love her with all your heart, and you do what you can to meet her needs. You take out the trash like you’re supposed to, you buy flowers for her birthday… you pour yourself into her. It’s pretty obvious that you truly do see her as a special person.

So the other day on your way to work, how did you look at the guy who cut you off in traffic? Chances are pretty good that he may have been on the receiving end of your horn, a selective finger or two, and a few choice four-letter words.

Did you see him as a person? I doubt it.

I bet that you saw him:

  • As an obstacle to what you had to do for the day
  • As a jerk
  • As an idiot
  • As as a danger
  • As anything but a person who has feelings, issues, troubles, and needs, didn’t you?

It’s ok to admit it… it happens to me too.

The reality is that we see the people closest to us as the special people that they are.  But the people that we don’t necessarily have a tie to can become just a “thing” in our minds. Other people tend to become a tool that we measure whether they are helping us achieving our goals, preventing us from achieving our goals, or just noise in the background.

However, these “things” are special people with their own set of issues, feelings, and agendas.

What Are Their Intentions?

What if you knew that man who cut you off was rushing to see his wife in the hospital because she was in a serious accident? Would that change your mind about him cutting you off? Maybe you would have even let him go? You see, we all have our own agendas near and dear to our hearts, but we tend to forget that other people do too.

We will often view people based on how they fit our agenda – if they fit, then we care for them; if they don’t, they’re just getting in our way.

We are all guilty of judging people by their actions and not by their intentions. Those actions can hurt us or let us down. However, we tend to judge ourselves based on our intentions. How many times have you said, “I didn’t mean to do that. What I was trying to do was…”?

If we truly want to be judged by our intentions, we have to start judging others by theirs.

 No One is “Below” You

We are also guilty of fitting people into some sort of an importance hierarchy. Depending on where we see ourselves, our hierarchy may look something like this:

Level 7: The President
Level 6: Me
Level 5: Executives
Level 4: Clerks and assistants
Level 3: Those pesky teenagers in the neighborhood
Level 2: Labor workers
Level 1: The homeless

It seems somewhat absurd when it’s written out that way, doesn’t it? But I know that I’m not the only one that has looked at people with this in my heart. This is exactly what happens when we look at people as “things” in our lives or pieces that fit our agendas.

No one is below you! And, for that matter, no one is above you!

Every single person on that list is a person. There is not a single one on that list that deserves to be placed in the box that we’ve put them in.

It’s About What’s in Your Heart

What is in your heart is what determines how you will see the people around you. If you truly love people, you will naturally see them on a level playing field with yourself, no matter where they may fall in someone else’s pecking order.

  • Their job doesn’t matter
  • Their income doesn’t matter
  • Their looks don’t matter

But what does matter is that they are people. They are just as special as you are, with their own talents and treasures to offer the world. Having the compassion to see people as they really are can make the difference between being a leader of people and just being productive with your own to-do list.

**********

Never miss an issue of Linked 2 Leadership, subscribe today.
Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

———————–
Rich Bishop
Rich Bishop is President of Bishop Coaching & Consulting Group
He takes a hands-on approach to your Development through Coaching & Training
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Web | Blog | Book

Image Source: dudu.com

On Character, Compassion and The Heart of a Leader

The Heart of a Leader

The heart has been written about thousands, if not millions, of times over the years. We are fascinated by the emotion that comes from that place deep within us.

Ancient Egyptians believed that the heart was the source of your soul, emotions, wisdom, memory, and personality.

That’s a lot for such a small thing to do! They spent much more time studying the heart than they did the human brain.

Understanding Emotions

Our hearts have always been at the center of our emotions. Heck, we still tell people to “follow their hearts” instead of their heads. As a leader, we are challenged to lead others from our hearts. That’s because leadership is a people business, not a task business. People respond when emotion is involved.

Sure, there are some people who respond well when given a task list and they can knock it out one by one. But give that person some emotion behind what they are doing, and their energy for the tasks will be limitless.

People want to feel like they are a part of something larger than themselves. They want to know that what they do makes a difference, and you can’t get that by checking a bunch of boxes on a piece of paper.

“What is in your heart will show from the start.”

Controlling Your Emotions

We all have to be aware of what emotions we allow ourselves to feel because they spill over into everything that we do. “Control our emotions?” you ask?

Yes, leaders must be very aware of their emotions and learn to control them – especially the negative ones.

It’s very easy to be upset by a situation and translate that emotion onto your opinions of the people involved. As an example, let’s just say that you were up for a promotion and the decision came down to you and one of your colleagues. Despite the fact that the two of you are very good friends, you feel a sense of anger toward him when he gets the job and you don’t.

Why? Because you were first upset that you didn’t get the promotion.

That’s where it could have ended, but we naturally want to place blame on the people responsible, so you move the object of your anger from the situation and onto your colleague. It’s not fair to him, you, or your relationship to do this. However, it is natural for us to make this leap.

These are the times where leaders have to be able to recognize their emotions and determine where they come from. If you allow those negative feelings to dwell inside your heart, you will put your relationships at risk. This is why we must always be aware of what is in our hearts, because what is in your heart will show from the start.

Character

A leader’s character is the single-most important factor of his success because character is what guides relationships. Whenever people are working together, they are constantly asking themselves, “Can I trust my leader?” If a leader has a trustworthy character, people won’t ever second-guess his intentions and their focus can remain on moving forward.

If you want to be a leader that someone wants to follow, be aware of the character that you store in your heart.

Work on solidifying it into one that people want to follow. Be that person. For more on character, please see You Are A Role Model.

Compassion

When people talk about compassion, what is it that they always say? “He has such a great heart for others.” Compassion and heart have been synonymous for many years. People that are compassionate are filled with love for others. That kind of love is something that can’t be faked; it has to come from a very real place inside the heart of a leader.

Showing love for each other was the greatest commandment in the New Testament. It is also the difference between effective leaders and those that use position to force people into following.

Mother Teresa said this:

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”  

Keeping compassion in your heart will spill over onto the people around you and make a great difference in your effectiveness as a leader. After all, leadership is about the people around you, it’s not about you. Doing small things with great love will lead to great results.

Keep strong character and compassion in your heart. What you keep inside is what spills over to the people around you. So work hard on guarding what is in there. You never know when it’s going to come pouring out.

**********

Never miss an issue of Linked 2 Leadership, subscribe today.
Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

———————–
Rich Bishop
Rich Bishop is President of Bishop Coaching & Consulting Group
He takes a hands-on approach to your Development through Coaching & Training
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Web | Blog | Book

Image Source: lederskap.files.wordpress.com

Hey Leader: You Are A Role Model

Role ModelThe media had generally ignored the personal lives of athletes up until the 1990’s. This is when athletes began having a much larger role in the tabloids like they do today.

Now it seems like there’s a new athlete on the cover of the Enquirer every week.

Living in Reality

Some famous athletes took exception to this invasion of privacy because their record wasn’t exactly clean. Big surprise! They loved being in the spotlight for a couple of hours when they were playing their sport, but they didn’t want to live like a Hollywood celebrity. However, that was starting to become reality.

This controversy hit a fever-pitch when Charles Barkley was in a commercial where he claimed this:

“I’m not a role model. Just because I can dunk a basketball doesn’t mean I should raise your kids.”

If you know of Barkley from his broadcasts with the NBA, you know that he lives in a dream world. This statement is just absurd.

Whose Perspective?

What was the problem with Barkley’s statement? He felt that kids should admire an athlete’s ability, but not idolize them. Unfortunately for him, we don’t control whether or not we are role models. We don’t get to say, “Hey, love me for a few hours while I’m at my best, but ignore me for the rest of the time.”

It is actually the person who is watching you that makes that choice for you.

They are the ones that choose whether or not you are a role model. Anyone in the public spotlight like that will be seen by somebody as a role model. Pop star Demi Lovato realized this when she said, “I never thought that I’d be a role model. Everyone kind of just made me a role model, and I hated that.”

Here’s Looking at You

People have this innate fascination with public figures that makes us want to be more like them. This is no only true for children, but it is also true for the people that you work with. Someone doesn’t have to be on television to have all eyes on them. Simply being a leader makes you someone’s role model.

The big question for us to ask is this:

“Am I living like a positive role model?”

If you’re going to be in the spotlight, you may as well choose to live a life that is worthy of idolizing.

How Do Others See You?

If we’re going to figure out the type of role model that we want to be, we need to start with assessing how we are currently seen. Just like a large retail company, you have to count the inventory that you keep in the warehouse. Picture a large warehouse with racks stacked high with boxes. There are forklifts moving the boxes around and action is buzzing around you.

Bottom Shelf

On the bottom shelf is where your Values are kept.

These are the heaviest of the boxes, so they’re kept down low. They are also the easiest for others to see. What values do you hold dearly? Are they the values that you want others to have as well?

Second Shelf

On the racks right above your Values are your Thoughts.

They are the internal narrative to your everyday life. Are your thoughts lining up with your values? Are you secretly sabotaging yourself by having your Thoughts and Values out of sync? For example, if you value your potential, are your thoughts telling you that you aren’t good enough to reach it? If these Thoughts outweigh your Values, they will drop and replace their spot on the bottom shelf.

Third Shelf

Feelings are on the third shelf in your warehouse.

Your Feelings should be rooted in your Values and Thoughts… not your environment. What happens to us when our feelings aren’t aligned with our values and thoughts? That’s when we start to have after-the-event feelings like regret. Root your Feelings in your Values and Thoughts as a leader, and you won’t betray yourself.

How Do You Want To Be Seen?

After you’ve completed your inventory count, does it look the way that you want it to? You have the ability to make changes and have your warehouse look the way you want it to. You can move some of the boxes around and even replace a few.

Whether you want to be or not, you are a role model as a leader. There is no wiggling out of this one, Mr. Barkley.

The  important question is this:

“Am I being the role model I need to be?”

**********
Note: The preceding is adapted from the book Child-Like Leadership

**********

Never miss an issue of Linked 2 Leadership, subscribe today.
Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

———————–
Rich Bishop
Rich Bishop is President of Bishop Coaching & Consulting Group
He takes a hands-on approach to your Development through Coaching & Training
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Web | Blog | Book

Image Source:  charliepage.com

Related Articles:

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 43,082 other followers

%d bloggers like this: