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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Leader Wanted

What skills does it take to lead an international rugby team today? Here are some pre-requisites:

  • Self-belief: a leader must believe in his own abilities
  • Optimism
  • Courage
  • Thorough preparation, with the emphasis on thorough
  • Teamwork: a leader must stand above, but still be integral to the team
  • Communication skills.

For more on the requirements which the next captain of Scotland's international rugby team must possess, see - http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/sport/Wanted-leader.5764112.jp

Does Talent Matter?

'A lot of times I find that people who are blessed with the most talent don't ever develop that attitude, and the ones who aren't blessed in that way are the most competitive and have the biggest heart.'  Tom Brady, New England Patriots quarterback

Being a Person of Disproportionate Influence is the Essence of Leadership

Why is it that many organisations that perpetually eat out of the suitcase of mediocre performance, when, in reality, an abundance of commitment, productivity and exceptional results lay unused in the hearts and minds of their employees?

Often leaders simply do not inspire the members of their organisation or team to use their full capabilities and willingness to care deeply about customers and the overall success of the organisation. How does a leader influence members of their organisation to be emotionally invested in this way?

If you ask a group of employees, "How many of you want to be a person of disproportionate influence?" you will generally get a 90 to 100% "yes" answer to the question. Being a person of disproportionate influence is the essence of leadership. Even when we do not have a formal leadership title, we can still seek to create a significant and lasting impact on others.

The essence of having disproportionate influence is to foster an individual's inherent desire and readiness to bring passion and capability to any endeavour. While there are a number of important elements to influencing this exceptional performance, at the epicentre is trust, the first principle of disproportionate influence.

How do we inspire trust?

First, we must keep our commitments - do what we say we're going to do. While simple in one sense, it is quite profound in another. Our credibility, a basis for trust, emanates from this very important axiom. For example, returning calls and emails promptly, meeting deadlines, and following through on what we said we would do create trust. We know individuals who don't keep their commitments, and the resulting loss of trust usually diminishes their influence on us. When a boss who we deem untrustworthy asks us to do something, we may comply, but we often do not bring our full commitment to the task.

Second, we must make our thinking visible. Most work is accomplished on the basis of influence, not power or position. If we want to influence someone, we must make it clear what we trying to do, why, how and when. This type of transparent communication raises trust in others, particularly in the turbulence that most organisations are experiencing today.

Third, we must run by the same rules we expect others to observe. Does your ceo always fly first class, but insist all the other members of the organisation fly economy? While it is his prerogative, it just does not set well with others. His working by a different set of rules fosters distrust on even more important issues in the company. His credibility is compromised.

Nobody intends to be mediocre-most want to be great. Have you ever met anyone who got out of bed in the morning and said, "I wonder how I can be really average today?" Being a person of disproportionate influence fundamentally means that we encourage the best in others-we urge them toward the greatness that often lies untapped in each of us.

How do we get started? We begin by looking for ways to increase our trustworthiness and credibility among those we wish to. This vital principle is the cornerstone. We can lay the cornerstone today.