Positive Leadership has also been recognised as a Top 50 Leadership Expert to Follow on Twitter.

Follow us on Twitter @posleadership


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Marygrove College Adds Five New Sports, Nearly 60 New Student-Athletes

'Marygrove College Adds Five New Sports, Nearly 60 New Student-Athletes; College Sees Growth as Investment in Next Generation of Urban Leaders'

This is a great story about the role of sport in developing leadership skills in young people -


High Performing Leadership

This is an interesting presentation on High Performing Leadership:


When was the last time you took a vactaion?

Some interesting results from a survey carried out recently by the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan:

Question: "How long ago did you take your last vacation?"

Question: "Did you check in with the office while you were gone?"


Decoding Leadership

1. What percentage of effective leadership traits are basically the same?
2. If there are common rules that all leaders must master, what are they?

Since about 60-70% of leadership is common for any effective leaders - from a bootstrapping entrepreneur to a leader at a large organization - researchers have been able to summarise five rules to decode leadership:

Rule 1: Shape the future. This rule is embodied in the strategist dimension of the leader. Strategists answer the question "where are we going?" and make sure that those around them understand the direction as well.

Rule 2: Make things happen. Turn what you know into what you do. The Executor dimension of the leader focuses on the question "How will we make sure we get to where we are going?"

Rule 3: Engage today's talent. Leaders who optimize talent today answer the question "Who goes with us on our business journey?" Talent managers know how to identify, build and engage talent to get results now.

Rule 4: Build the next generation. Leaders who develop the next generation answer the question, "who stays and sustains the organization for the next generation?" Talent Managers ensure shorter-term results through people while Next Generation Developers ensure that the organization has the longer-term competencies required for future strategic success.

Rule 5: Invest in yourself. At the heart of this Leadership Code - literally and figuratively - is Personal Proficiency. Effective leaders cannot be reduced to what they know and do. Who they are as human beings has everything to do with how much they can accomplish with and through other people.

This "Leadership Code" allows leadership development people to stop circling the drain by reinventing competency models that are essentially the same. It provides a grounded point of view about the fundamentals. Future time, energy and attention can be applied to figuring out the other 30% about what makes our leaders unique and how to build a deeper bench of qualified leaders at every level.


Building Better Wall Street Leaders

The first responsibility of financial sector leaders is not to improve the long-term health of the economy, it is to create value for the owners of their companies. In doing so, they will make a series of decisions that are good for the economy as a whole.

The most obvious way to fail to create value is to go out of business, wiping out your shareholders' capital, as happened to several large financial institutions. Others came perilously close to this fate; in some cases, accepting highly dilutive capital infusions to survive.

So what lessons should industry leaders take from these events as they develop future leaders?

See: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/19/AR2009091900073.html

Living With a Big Leadership Footprint

Have you ever felt like you were being watched? The more senior a leader you are, the more you’re being watched. You need to pick up a 'big footprint' view of your role because, as a leader, your actions have a much bigger impact than you may realize.

That’s a lesson that Linda Hudson learned when she became a business unit president at General Dynamics back in the 1990’s. Hudson, who is now the president of the land and armaments group at BAE Systems, described her first few days as a BU president at General Dynamics in a “Corner Office” Q&A in Sunday’s New York Times. Wanting to make a good impression in her new role, Hudson picked up some new suits at Nordstrom’s and, as part of her ensemble, learned some interesting ways to tie a scarf to complement her suits. She showed up as president on day one looking really sharp. The surprise came on day two when, as she described to the Times, she ran “into no fewer than a dozen women in the organization who have on scarves tied exactly like mine.”

When you’re the leader, people take their cues from you. When you’re aware of it, this can work for everyone’s benefit. If you aren’t aware of your footprint or ignore its impact, you can quickly set yourself and the organization up for failure.

So, with your leadership success in mind, here are five tips for how to successfully live with a big leadership footprint:

Have a Plan: Before you start each day, review your schedule and ask yourself, “What am I trying to accomplish in each of these meetings? What impression do I want to leave with this person or group? What do I want them to think and how do I want them to feel?” A little bit of pre-game planning can go a long way in leveraging your footprint for positive effect.

Check Your Sense of Humour: Senior leaders are often quick witted people with sharp and ironic senses of humor. They can be used to making wise cracks in order to put people at ease and establish connection with others. Nothing wrong with that. It’s a good thing. As a leader, however, you have to be much more aware of the level of appropriateness of your jokes. President Obama learned this when he made cracks early in his administration about Nancy Reagan holding séances and comparing his bowling skills to a Special Olympian. He caught some deserved heat for those remarks and probably learned some lessons about how poor humor choices can distract attention from what you’re actually trying to do.

Think Before You Speak: This tip goes along with checking your sense of humor but there’s more to it than that. As a senior leader, your days of “just thinking out loud,” as you mull through a problem are over. There are stories upon stories of leaders who casually tossed off a comment or an idea only to be surprised later that people acted on things they were just mulling over. If you’re going to brainstorm out loud as a leader, make sure everyone knows that it’s a brainstorming session and not a decision making session.

Leave Air in the Conversation: Just as a fire needs oxygen to continue burning, conversations need to have plenty of air in them for people to feel comfortable contributing. Senior leaders often get where they are because they’ve shown a track record of decisiveness and scoring a lot of “class participation points” in conversation. The problem comes when those approaches continue unabated when they reach senior levels. They end up sucking the air out of the room. Most people are going to defer to a senior leader who is dominating a conversation. If you don’t want them to clam up and do want to get their best ideas, dial it back a bit on offering your own ideas.

Invite Feedback: It’s amazing how much you can learn when you ask questions like, “What do you think we should be doing?” or “What could we be doing better?” and take time to listen to the answers and act on them when appropriate. You don’t just get better ideas and performance. Since you’re the leader, you send a message about the kind of participation and problem solving that is valued in your organization’s culture.

So, inspired by Linda Hudson’s scarf story, those are five tips for living with a bigger leadership footprint.

Why Positive Leadership creates a productive workforce and improves the bottom line

In today's market, businesses of all sizes need a competitive advantage. In the past, companies looked to technology and other innovative processes to create this business advantage. With the current economic reality facing many businesses, it is time to look at the simplest, most cost effective way to positively impact the bottom line -the leadership within a businesses.

Recent Canadian research indicates that healthy and positive leadership creates a productive workforce and improves the bottom line. One study indicated that poor leadership is the number one reason employees leave a workplace. The cost of ineffective leadership is more than just a high turnover; higher absenteeism rates, lower productivity and higher health-care costs are also reflected in workplaces where leadership is ineffective.

The business case to make this change is well documented - positive leadership lowers costs and increases productivity. However, many business owners and leaders are not taking the simple steps that they need to make these changes. The good news is companies can move to a healthy, productive leadership model creating a ripple effect of health and productivity within their business.

First, business owners and leaders need to take a proactive stance with their own health. When a leader starts making healthy lifestyle choices and demonstrates that personal health is a priority within a company, employees will follow suit. This ripple effect can be seen in simple ways, more people taking lunch breaks and feeling refreshed for the second half of their day, more people making healthy food choices and more employees exercising.

Second, business owners and leaders need to look at the psychological health of their company. Do their employees like coming to work? Do their employees feel engaged in their work and their workplace? Do employees treat each other with respect and have tolerance for differences? In Canada, employees with stress-related health claims have increased in the past five years and the trend is not declining. The cost of a negative work environment is high, and most leaders don't manage these challenges because they don't understand the cost to the bottom line.

Finally, business owners and leaders can learn about the typical challenges facing their employees. Industry guidelines and statistics on demographics can tell an owner a lot about their employees. Many businesses underestimate the demands and stress related to being a single parent, a new Canadian or a young worker. When business owners understand the impact their workplace demographics have on their bottom line they can implement small initiatives that can reap benefits for the business and employees.

To ensure a competitive edge business owners and leaders can embark on creating a healthy personal life and reap the reward of a healthier bottom line. Simple changes such as taking a lunch and monitoring their own stress levels can create a positive work environment creating a ripple effect that will allow their business to flourish.

Obama's Leadership Qualities Stand Out to Americans

Of seven personal characteristics, Americans rate Barack Obama most highly for those that reflect on his leadership skills. Seventy-two percent say he "is willing to make hard decisions," and 66% describe him as "a strong and decisive leader." Sixty-four percent say he "can get things done."