Smart Leaders Have All The Questions

Questionmark“A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.”  Bruce Lee

Now Bruce Lee may have intended to illustrate that a wise man is simply more capable of learning.  However, I believe that Mr. Lee’s point that we are to reflect on through his wise words is that there lies more power in the art of asking questions and in training the mind to be more inquisitive, than to presume we have all of the answers.

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Top 5 Leadership Qualities

deep_blue_ocean_by_welshdragon-d3318l2So you want to be a more effective leader? Want to stop and think about how your leadership ability is shaping up? Here is a quick list that serves as a reminder to qualities you need to sharpen to help you stay on track. Self awareness is not included on this list, but if you were interested enough to read this, you are probably doing okay with this one.

1. Integrity – THIS IS A BIG ONE!! And it also requires that you have many other positive qualities to be able to demonstrate this one. Doing the right thing when it counts most and when it may not even be noticed. You do what is right for others, not with yourself in mind.  You have the moral compass built in to your dashboard.  You should never have to search for it, its always helping you navigate your way through LIFE.

2. Composed – You never panic. Others turn to you and see a quiet calm that is not only reassuring, but is quite contagious. Too often managers have only two modes – laissez faire and CODE RED!! Being composed does not mean you are indifferent to the world around you. It is that you remain level headed and have your mind in a state that allows you to make the best decisions when it counts most.

3.  Responsive – not quite the same as one that only reacts to issues or problems.  This is a trait that is seen in leaders that hear or see things that others do not.  In your every day experiences, you challenge what you see and respond to a situation that others consider as being “just fine’.  In other words, “status quo” is the root of all evil for the responsive leader.

4.  Motivated – the great leader knows the hardest part of any project is getting started. Great leaders take the initiative to get things started and get things done!  Their work also inspires others to get their hands dirty and get things done!

5.  Humble – it’s just as important to know what you don’t know.   Many managers are running around the office letting everyone know what their expertise is. I admire those that are running around learning from the expertise and experience of others.

The Complexities of Communication

20130227000428_communicatewithclarityCommunication is simple.  Quite simple, actually.  People hear what they want to hear.  Conversely, people also express what they think others want to hear as well.  It shouldn’t be surprising, with these two tenets of communication then, that there is often communication mishaps that occur on a regular basis.  This happens at work, this happens at home – it happens in life.  Communication is almost always filtered through another person’s perception. The messages that enter into one’s mind have a lot of information and experience to compete against – and that is not even considering the emotional aspect.

Good leaders know how to do many things very well.  In fact they excel at almost everything.  However, the most effective leaders that rise above even the greatest of leaders, know best how to skillfully communicate.  It is the hallmark of great leadership – to be able to convey to others the vision and the mission of the organization, put succinctly to inspire and motivate others to ACT.  The most intelligent people can have the greatest ideas and vision and believe that they have inspired others to act.  But did everyone hear the same thing?  Is each individual inspired to carry out their task knowing where they fit in the big picture?

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” 

George Bernard Shaw

The Power of Perspective 

Storm_Alert_2_by_welshdragonWe are often so busy worrying about and working on our own thoughts and ideas as we enter into any negotiation or discussion that we overlook the importance of getting into the head of the others.  So conscious of what will come flying out of our own minds and mouths that we often neglect to be silent and ponder the potential initial thoughts and responses of the “other side”.

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Embracing Change

monarch_butterfly_nursery_by_jabroyles-d7vlou5-aNothing in this world ever improved by remaining the same.  By definition, better means something changed!  Of course “worse” also indicates change.  But sometimes worse is even better.  What!?!?  Did I just write that?  My “delete” button must be broken, right?  I obviously did not bother to edit my work…No, seriously.  What the heck does that even mean?  Consider how many times things must get worse before they get better; before someone realizes at some point that something has to change!  And this realization involves changing a mindset (even a culture) and being the change agents that realize that change is exactly what is needed.  How often do you read about (or witness firsthand) organizations continuing to do the same things (over and over) expecting different (better) results?!  Many organizations and executives seem to value stability.  They value being able to know exactly what is coming next and even bet on it.  As Tony Robbins starts out with his quote, change is inevitable.  We all know that, right?  But we also know that not many people really like change even when we know that it is coming.

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Leadership Quotes that Inspire

nighttimestar2Quotes are awesome!  I just love them.  If I’m having a “bad day”, I sometimes open up my Twitter app and find a few good quotes.   I am sure to be moved by one of them (or all of them).  We all have a favorite set of quotes or favorite iconic person that we just love reading quotes from.  At least once a week I come across a quote that I have read for the first time.  And at least once a week I come across a quote that I’ve read before, but it hits me a little bit differently based on my state of mind.  This is one of the aspects of reading quotes and following quotes that I find so fascinating.  They always seem to move you in a slightly different way – no matter how many times you’ve seen it before.  Here are some of my favorite quotes related to leadership.  I hope they inspire you, get you moving in the right direction or change your mood (if need be).

“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things.  He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.”

~Ronald Reagan

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10 Virtues to Look for in Your Leader

on_the_horizon_by_ollisiponkoski-d73jcq9I just wanted to have some fun with the word “LEADERSHIP” today and so I quickly put together some traits to look for in the Leader that you might be striving to become.  There are some days that one of these traits is more important than the others.  Some days where we need to add a quality that is not listed here.  And of course, there are even some days that we look for Divine Intervention!  As you read this, I hope that you will think about whether these traits are found in the Leader within you. It is a quick read, so enjoy!

LOYALTY: show your team that you will do anything for them and they will do everything for you.

Continue reading 10 Virtues to Look for in Your Leader