Influence – Video Guide
One of the reasons we become leaders is to influence others in a positive direction to make the world a better place, but we often underestimate our ability and feel that we are not important enough or experienced enough to have much sway over what others think. The reality is that we have an influence over those around us every day but just don't consciously think about it. Most people care about their organizations and are open about discussion and debate about how to best achieve the results we want. If each of us really thought about it we all have at least one or two areas where we have some extensive knowledge or perspective that we can use to help shape others opinions about how to move forward successfully. Being conscious of the influence we have on others and using it wisely to promote positive change is one of our most important responsibilities as leaders.

Influence – Video Guide

One of the reasons we become leaders is to influence others in a positive direction to make the world a better place, but we often underestimate our ability and feel that we are not important enough or experienced enough to have much sway over what others think. The reality is that we have an influence over those around us every day but just don’t consciously think about it. Most people care about their organizations and are open about discussion and debate about how to best achieve the results we want. If each of us really thought about it we all have at least one or two areas where we have some extensive knowledge or perspective that we can use to help shape others opinions about how to move forward successfully. Being conscious of the influence we have on others and using it wisely to promote positive change is one of our most important responsibilities as leaders.

Positive Ways to Influence Others

  1. Find the knowledge and expertise that you have that no one else has
  2. Figure out who the audience is or the group of people who this topic is important to and share your thoughts and ideas with them
  3. Tell your story – use real examples and experiences from your own life to emphasize the points you’re trying to make
  4. Pick your moments wisely – sharing  your thoughts and experiences at the appropriate moment is often more important than what you share

Setting ourselves up with a positive mindset about influence before we share is critical to getting our message across. Approaching conversations from the perspective of sharing and being open-minded is often received better than if we are seeking to portray ourselves as an expert or persuading others to get our own way.

Photo Credit: By West Midlands Police from West Midlands, United Kingdom [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Presidents' Day remind us of our commitment as leaders to continue a life-long study of leadership. One of the most effective ways we can pursue those studies is to take a look back at our role models and assess how they applied leadership to accomplish their goals. Looking at a wide variety of leaders and leadership styles gives us a number of different sources to help us define our own leadership style.

Role Models – Video Challenge

Presidents’ Day reminds us of our commitment as leaders to continue a life-long study of leadership. One of the most effective ways we can pursue those studies is to take a look back at our role models and assess how they applied leadership to accomplish their goals. Looking at a wide variety of leaders and leadership styles gives us a number of different sources to help us define our own leadership style.

Assessing Our Role Models

When we think about successful leaders, especially on Presidents’ Day, we tend to think about widely known leaders of historical significance, but our study of leadership doesn’t have to be focused on the most powerful or successful leaders in history. We can learn just as much, if not more, from leaders we have experienced first-hand in our own lives. We can also learn a great deal from leaders who weren’t always successful in their endeavors. Reflecting on how those role models dealt with failure and overcame significant challenges can give us even greater insight into the kind of leaders we want to be.

Remember, nobody is perfect, including ourselves and our role models, so as we examine traits and qualities made these leaders successful or unsuccessful, we may find some qualities that we don’t find so desirable. This is okay though, because we don’t have to emulate only one leader or leadership style to create our own. We can choose the traits and qualities that we think will make us most successful as leaders and incorporate them from a wide range of leadership styles. Creating our own leadership style based on our core values will help us to be genuine and authentic leaders.

Take a few minutes this Presidents’ Day to find some role models that you admire and think about which aspects of their leadership traits and skills you’d like to adopt into your own leadership style.

As Valentine's Day approache, we're probably all focused on our significant other or the personal relationships we have in our lives, but this is also a good time to reflect on how we go about building professional relationships with others. Professional relationships are very much like personal relationships in that the best ones are based on a genuine connection with other people, not based on selling something or getting something out of the relationship. If we want to be successful building professional relationships, we need to be focused on making that genuine connection from the very first meeting and maintaining it through the life of the relationship.

Building Professional Relationships – Video Guide

As Valentine’s Day approaches, we’re probably all focused on our significant other or the personal relationships we have in our lives, but this is also a good time to reflect on how we go about building professional relationships with others. Professional relationships are very much like personal relationships in that the best ones are based on a genuine connection with other people, not based on selling something or getting something out of the relationship. If we want to be successful building professional relationships, we need to be focused on making that genuine connection from the very first meeting and maintaining it through the life of the relationship.

Tips for Building Professional Relationships

  1. Consider who you want to build relationships with. They could be people in your current occupation or industry, other industries or maybe they share a similar passion or interest. Being conscious about who you want to bring into you want to bring into your network and why can help foster that genuine connection.
  2. Go where these people are. If you’re looking to make a connection with people in a certain industry or field, you’ve got to find them where they usually are. Networking events, meetup groups, trade shows and conferences are all great ways to connect with people who have specific areas of interest and expertise. Don’t forget social media and online forums too.
  3. Approach the connections you want to make. This may sound scary but you can’t start building professional relationships with people until you start talking to them. Remember that we’re trying to build an authentic connection, so don’t approach them trying to sell your product or service; just get to know them and find out what they’re interested in and passionate about. It’s okay to be selective about who you start a professional relationship with, so if you find that you’re just not connecting with someone you don’t need to pursue that relationship further.
  4. Maintain the relationship. Once you have that relationship established it’s important to keep the connection going. You don’t need to talk with the person every day, but checking in once in a while over email or meeting up for coffee are great ways to maintain the relationship.

Watch this week’s video to get more detail on how to apply these tips to your own professional relationships.

It's still pretty early in the year and while everyone on the team is focused on upcoming goals and improvements, it's a good time to consider starting new initiatives that improve out team's ability to complete their mission or make their lives easier. As we all know, change is hard for most human beings to embrace so it's important that we are clear with ourselves about the purpose for the change as well as what any of the benefits and impacts may be before we implement.

Starting New Initiatives – Video Guide

It’s still pretty early in the year and while everyone on the team is focused on upcoming goals and improvements, it’s a good time to consider starting new initiatives that improve our team’s ability to complete their mission or make their lives easier. As we all know, change is hard for most human beings to embrace so it’s important that we are clear with ourselves about the purpose for the change as well as what any of the benefits and impacts may be before we implement.

Tips for Starting New Initiatives

As stated above, it’s critical that we have a very clear picture in our own mind of why we want to bring about change and what the potential benefits are. Before starting new initiatives we should also do some research to see who might be impacted by the change and how, whether they are members of our own team or someone else in our organization. Clarity in these areas helps us minimize impacts and maximize benefits, which will help others embrace the change more easily.

Once we have an initial plan, it’s helpful to “shop it around” to key stakeholders and other people we trust and respect to get their feedback on it before we try to implement change. Getting some fresh eyes on the plan can show us how we might be affecting others in a way that we didn’t originally intend. Many initiatives are started with good intentions,  but the get derailed because the unintended consequences to others create resistance. Some careful forethought and prior coordination can go a long way towards getting others on board with the new initiative.

When starting new initiatives there are some key ideas to keep in mind as we enter the execution phase. Clearly communicating the new expectations to the team and other key stakeholders is a good place to start. Holding everyone accountable for the new role is critical to the success of any new initiative. Giving credit and recognition to the team for making a difficult change let’s the team know they’re appreciated and helps them share in the newly acquired benefits.

Now that we've recovered from the holidays and we've got a few weeks of 2016 under our belt, it's time to start thinking about some ways that we can make our team stronger, better and faster over the coming year. One of the ways we can make these kind of improvements is through team building exercises. While these kinds of activities can take away from the time we have to get work done they often pay significant benefits in helping us assess our team's strengths and capabilities as well as giving us an idea of what areas we might want to help our team members improve upon. Taking a little bit of time at the beginning of the year to do this kind of assessment can help give us an idea of what specific capabilities we'd like to have each of our team members work on for their next evaluation period.

Team Building Exercises – Video Guide

Now that we’ve recovered from the holidays and we’ve got a few weeks of 2016 under our belt, it’s time to start thinking about some ways that we can make our team stronger, better and faster over the coming year. One of the ways we can make these kind of improvements is through team building exercises. While these kinds of activities can take away from the time we have to get work done they often pay significant benefits in helping us assess our team’s strengths and capabilities as well as giving us an idea of what areas we might want to help our team members improve upon. Taking a little bit of time at the beginning of the year to do this kind of assessment can help give us an idea of what specific capabilities we’d like to have each of our team members work on for their next evaluation period.

Team Building Exercises You Can Do

Team building exercises don’t need to be elaborate or time consuming to be effective. What we want to do is find an activity that will help challenge and develop the communication, problem solving and leadership skills of our team members. There are a lot of team building exercises out there but one that is very effective at developing the kind of skills we talked about is the Marshmallow Challenge. This exercise requires only a little preparation using inexpensive items you can get from your local supermarket and should take less than an hour to complete, including discussion after the exercise. If executed properly, the Marshmallow Challenge should challenge all of your team members’ critical skills without taking away too much time from their regular activities.

Give this exercise a try and let us know how it goes for you. If all of your team members get through this exercise without being challenged, it might be time to consider an even more challenging exercise for them next time!

Just as we talked about getting in the right mindset to give feedback to others, it's important to prepare ourselves and set our frame of mind for receiving feedback. Before we start to solicit feedback from others it's important to understand the purpose of feedback. Jason explains in this video why we ask for feedback, who we should ask for feedback from and how we should begin to implement feedback. He also addresses the challenges that come with receiving feedback from our team, our peers and our superiors as well as the difference between formal and informal feedback and why we should be implementing both types into how we evaluate ourselves as leaders.

Receiving Feedback – Video Guide

Just as we talked about getting in the right mindset to give feedback to others, it’s important to prepare ourselves and set our frame of mind for receiving feedback. Before we start to solicit feedback from others it’s important to understand the purpose of feedback. Jason explains in this video why we ask for feedback, who we should ask for feedback from and how we should begin to implement feedback. He also addresses the challenges that come with receiving feedback from our team, our peers and our superiors as well as the difference between formal and informal feedback and why we should be implementing both types into how we evaluate ourselves as leaders.

Tips for Receiving Feedback

  • It’s important to be in the right mindset to receive feedback. Don’t ask the question if you can’t handle the answer.
  • Be open-minded, listen and accept the feedback as it comes.
  • Don’t be reactive or defensive. Except in very urgent situations there’s no need to act right away
  • If someone is offensive or abusive that does need to be addressed, but address that behavior not the feedback itself
  • As you continue to get feedback from others, consider it all in the big picture and act from that perspective.

The most important thing to take away from all of this is that receiving feedback is important to evaluating ourselves and our team and if we don’t ask for it, we’ll never get an accurate picture of how well we’re achieving our goals.

Providing effective feedback to everyone we encounter at appropriate times can go a long way to helping everyone on our team and others that we work with advance towards meeting goals. In addition, providing regular and timely feedback to others will help us out when it comes to annual performance review time in our organization. When it comes to giving feedback, we want to avoid only giving feedback when something has gone wrong. Effective feedback is more than just corrective action when someone has made a mistake or disciplinary action when someone has behaved outside of established boundaries. Ideally we are providing feedback to others well before these negative situations arise. The time, place and method that we provide feedback often makes a big difference in how the feedback is received and implemented by the person we're giving it to. In this week's video, Jason talks about why we give feedback, who we should be giving feedback to and provides tips for giving feedback in both positive and negative situations.

Giving Feedback – 4 Tips to Start 2016 Effectively

Most of us agree that giving feedback is one of the key duties of leaders, but it is just as important to give feedback to our peers or as followers. Providing effective feedback to everyone we encounter at appropriate times can go a long way to helping everyone on our team and others that we work with advance towards meeting goals. In addition, providing regular and timely feedback to others will help us out when it comes to annual performance review time in our organization. When it comes to giving feedback, we want to avoid only giving feedback when something has gone wrong. Effective feedback is more than just corrective action when someone has made a mistake or disciplinary action when someone has behaved outside of established boundaries. Ideally we are providing feedback to others well before these negative situations arise. The time, place and method that we provide feedback often makes a big difference in how the feedback is received and implemented by the person we’re giving it to. In this week’s video, Jason talks about why we give feedback, who we should be giving feedback to and provides tips for giving feedback in both positive and negative situations.

4 Tips for Giving Feedback

Jason goes into more detail in the video about how to use each of these 4 tips to provide feedback to someone, especially if the feedback may be negative:

  • Give feedback in the context of previously set expectations
  • Show compassion and listen
  • Choose the right environment for giving feedback
  • Don’t make it personal

These tips can also be flipped around for giving feedback in positive situations where you want to praise an individual or team and highlight their accomplishments or hold them up as an example of great role models in the workplace. We always want to remember that our focus when we give feedback should be to encourage others when they do a great job and help them out when they could be doing a little better.

We took a little break from posting content over the holidays, but we're back now and our first video of 2016 is all about the importance of investing in ourselves. As we all start to set our improvement goals for the upcoming year it's important to assess if we are investing our energy and resources effectively to achieve them. Worthwhile goals don't just happen overnight or come about on their own. In order to really see the gains that we desire in our personal and professional lives, we need to apply our energy and resources in the right areas with sufficient intensity.

Investing in Ourselves

We took a little break from posting content over the holidays, but we’re back now and our first video of 2016 is all about the importance of investing in ourselves. As we all start to set our improvement goals for the upcoming year it’s important to assess if we are investing our energy and resources effectively to achieve them. Worthwhile goals don’t just happen overnight or come about on their own. In order to really see the gains that we desire in our personal and professional lives, we need to apply our energy and resources in the right areas with sufficient intensity.

4 Areas for Investing in Ourselves

  1. Time – The most important resource we have is our time and where we choose to spend our time says a lot about our priorities. Planning ahead to determine how much time we need to dedicate to achieving a goal can help us invest our time wisely and keep us from getting frustrated if our progress is slow. Investing in ourselves by prioritizing and budgeting our time to spend on the areas we most want to improve will provide us the greatest gains.
  2. Money – There are many free resources, both online and offline, that we can use to begin our quest to improve in a certain area, but at some point in order to achieve true mastery, we often need to spend some money. Asking ourselves if we can spend some of our hard-earned money in a smart way can help accelerate our development to get to the next level.
  3. Relationships – Developing a solid support structure made up of people who support us and provide honest and candid feedback is key for personal and professional development. Investing in ourselves by building strong relationships with people who believe in us and support our goals is essential to achieving those goals.
  4. Tools and Systems – Creating processes and procedures that help us follow through on our goals can help us make regular and continuous progress and keep us from having to rely on willpower to keep us moving forward.

Try taking a look at these 4 areas as you start turning your goals for 2016 into actionable steps and see if you’re investing appropriately in all 4 areas. If progress is slower than you’d like see if you can up your investment in one or more areas to accelerate your gains!

As leaders we all want to be perceived as inspiring and motivating individuals by our own team, our peers and the senior decision makers that we report to. One consistent quality among leaders who are perceived this way is that they are excellent public speakers who know how to give an outstanding performance that connects with people on an emotional level. Whether we're trying to influence one person, a small group or an entire auditorium, the performance methods demonstrated by Michael Port in Steal the Show can help us put our best selves out in front to speak in a way that is inspiring and motivating to those we lead . Join us on Blab January 8th, 2016 at 10 AM Pacific time to discuss how we can all use performance techniques to get our message across and inspire others to share our vision for a better future.

Inspiring and Motivating – Evil Genius Leadership Book Club January 8th, 2016

As we frequently talk about with our clients and in our posts, personal and professional development are key to growing into strong leaders ready for the challenges of tomorrow. Approaching development from the perspective of a student of leadership as an art and science is an effective way to absorb new ideas and incorporate them into your leadership philosophy and style.  This kind of development can be difficult to do on your own if you don’t have a group of other leaders to discuss and debate with. We want to help build a strong community of leaders who have a forum to discuss the ideas that are on their minds. This month we will discussing how to use classic performance techniques to be inspiring and motivating leaders.

Inspiring and Motivating Through Great Performances

As leaders we all want to be perceived as inspiring and motivating individuals by our own team, our peers and the senior decision makers that we report to. One consistent quality among leaders who are perceived this way is that they are excellent public speakers who know how to give an outstanding performance that connects with people on an emotional level. Whether we’re trying to influence one person, a small group or an entire auditorium,  the performance methods demonstrated by Michael Port in Steal the Show can help us put our best selves out in front to speak in a way that is inspiring and motivating to those we lead . Join us on Blab January 8th, 2016 at 10 AM Pacific time to discuss how we can all use performance techniques to get our message across and inspire others to share our vision for a better future.

In this video, we share our philosophy on mentoring and the rewards that come to individuals and organizations from applying mentorship effectively.

Mentoring

In this video, we share our philosophy on mentoring and the rewards that come to individuals and organizations from applying mentorship effectively. There are many misconceptions about what mentoring is and how to be a mentor. We point out several of these misconceptions and highlight ways to build a positive mindset in order to become a better mentor.

Tips for Effective Mentoring

If we want to be good mentors we need to remember that true mentoring comes from a mindset where we are genuinely interested in the success of another person and want to help them achieve their personal and professional goals. Building a strong rapport our protegé is key to the success of the mentoring relationship. Without this rapport it becomes difficult for the mentor and protegé to be open and honest with each other and share experiences and perspective. As mentors, we should seek to help our protegé by “telling our own story” and passing on the wisdom and lessons that the protegé can apply to their own situation. Seeking out protegés who come from different background and experiences than our own helps both of us expand our perspectives and come up with better solutions to the challenges we face.

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