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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Poll Shows Americans Still Disappointed in Leaders

Americans’ confidence in the country’s leaders remains below-average for the third consecutive year, according to National Leadership Index (NLI) poll results released by the Centre for Public Leadership (CPL) at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS). Surprisingly, however, Americans’ predominant emotional responses to their leaders’ ability to handle crises are disappointment and hopefulness—not something much worse, such as anger or fear.

After a steep decline in 2008, confidence in America’s leaders has not returned to the “average” levels identified from 2005–07. Belief that we have a “leadership crisis in America” remained high at 68 percent; 71 percent of respondents believe the U.S. will “decline as a nation” without better leadership.

“This survey represents yet another cry from the American public for more effective leadership, not only in politics, but in many other fields,’” said David Gergen, public service professor of public leadership at HKS and director of CPL. “For three straight years, two-thirds or more Americans have said that we have a leadership crisis and a significant majority believe that unless we address this crisis, the country faces a bleak future.”

On a more granular level, only four of the 13 sectors—non-profits & charities, the Supreme Court, and medical and traditionally high-rated military sectors—garnered at or above-average levels of confidence. Leaders of news media, Congress, and Wall Street remained the lowest rated.


Mentor Leadership

Former Super Bowl winning coach Tony Dungy, author of The Mentor Leader: Secrets to Building People and Teams That Win Consistently, talks about how a mentor changed his life.


Failing Successfully

Do you ever feel that half the things you do turn out all wrong? 

One of the reasons leaders are successful is the same reason that Ty Cobb, one of the greatest baseball sluggers of all time, was as good as he was. If you look in the record books, you will find that Ty Cobb's lifetime average was only .367. That means he got a hit once out of every three times at bat. It's the same story for Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, and for virtually every other successful person in the world.

Successful people are not afraid to try and are not afraid to fail. In fact, for them, the only real failure is not trying at all. It turns out that people really don't remember the times Aaron swung and missed, only the times the ball sailed out of the park. 

The fact is that successful people try more things more often than average folks do. Whether it's playing baseball or building an international business, if you try enough things, you're going to succeed a lot. And if you don't try anything, you are guaranteed to fail. So go for it! What do you really have to lose?


How Positive Leadership maximises your opportunity for success in conducting change

'Rebecca came into my office smiling and bouncy. She chuckled to herself as she sat down. I asked her how she was doing.

"I am great. My business just closed out the best year ever. I’ve done three award-winning projects this year. I am finding that I don’t even really need to do any marketing anymore; people are seeking me out to do business. I think part of it is the environment, and part of it is the good job my team does."

Would it surprise you to know that Rebecca then proposed a radical redesign of her business?

I was surprised. Why redesign a business that was so obviously successful? Rebecca explained it this way:
"When things are really good, that’s a great place to make decisions from."

She is right. Consider that recent studies in brain neuroscience confirm that positive emotional and social approaches to work are correlated with creativity, open-mindedness and insight.

It is advantageous to be in a "great place" when facing business decisions. Yet creating that great place isn’t just a coincidence. A positive leadership approach maximises your opportunity for success in conducting change.

Rebecca focused on three things in an effort to create a "great place" in her organisational environment: 

Strengths-focused management. Positive leaders change the nature of the conversations they have with their teams and organisations. Rebecca consistently directed her conversations to discover what strengths could be found in a situation - these can be individual strengths, team strengths or organisational strengths.
Rebecca’s goal is to always work to best align professional tasks with strength-based talent on her team.

Seek solutions. Second, positive leaders encourage solution seeking rather than problem solving. To succeed with solution seeking, Rebecca would encourage her team to envision a problem as already solved. What would be different if it were? What would people be doing differently? What processes would be changed? Once these are identified, Rebecca challenged her team to find ways to begin to act in these new ways now - jumpstarting the change to the solution.

Celebrate successes. Finally, a success orientation means recognising success wherever and whenever it occurs. It makes no difference if the success is small or large.

Leadership is not static, and team members and organisations require feedback. Rebecca’s persistent recognition of true success built a clear pathway to more success.

Rebecca credits her positively-minded leadership with helping her team sustain their vision and goals, which supported them as they weathered the challenges they faced in their radical redesign of the firm.'

You may not be able to wait until the "great place" arrives before making critical decisions about your organisation. Putting some of these positive practices in place, however, may just lead you to a better place and put you and your team in a position to seek successful solutions to your business challenges.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Big Conversation

The Big Conversation is a cross sectoral movement that is seeking to create unstoppable social change in Australia through values dialogues. Its objectives are simple -- start a broad dialogue, through small group conversations, on values in Australia - what they are currently, what Australians want them to be, and what people need to do to get there. Instead of waiting for someone else to have these conversations, Australians are having them and facilitating a national dialogue. For more, see: http://bigconversation.org.au/?page_id=5



You won’t find Motivation 101 in most business schools; yet, the ability to motivate one’s team and organisation is one of the most important skills a leader must possess in today’s business climate.

The fact is the great recession has left its mark: employees are de-motivated. They are fearful, overworked, distrustful, and have less enthusiasm and passion than ever. And many leaders are continually frustrated by their team’s performance and low morale and engagement. The answer, doesn’t involve fancy technology, a new piece of equipment, or extensive R&D. The answer lies in a basic human emotion: motivation.

Now, more than ever, a leader’s job is to motivate and rally his or her team through challenging times. You can’t outsource motivation. It is the leader and manager who must motivate. That’s why motivational speeches don’t work by themselves but leaders who motivate do. 

Many leaders want to take the emotion out of business but that is a huge mistake. When fear and negativity are the primary emotions people in your organisation are feeling, you have to counter that with an even more powerful emotion, like faith, belief, and optimism. And your success in that depends on your ability to motivate.

In this spirit here are five strategies to motivate your team:

1. Don't be too busy to communicate. Recovery or no recovery, these are uncertain times. Employees are wondering what's going to happen next, whether their job will be impacted and what action to take. Unless managers and leaders fill that void with clear and positive communication, people will assume the worst and act accordingly. Don't let your busy schedule get in the way of taking the time to talk with your team.

2. Lead with optimism. The engine for an economy's growth and prosperity has always been a 'can-do' attitude and spirit. Unfortunately, in the past year, optimism has been in short supply. The most important weapon against pessimism is to transfer your optimism and vision to others. Leadership is a transfer of belief and your belief inspires others to think and act in ways that drive results.

3. Share the vision. It’s not enough to just be optimistic. You must give your team and organisation something to be optimistic about. Talk about where you have been, where you are, and where you are going. Share your plan for a brighter and better future, talk about the actions you must take, and constantly reiterate the reasons why you will be successful. Create a vision statement that inspires and rallies your team and organisation. Not a page-long vision statement filled with buzzwords, but a rallying cry that means something to the people who invest a majority of their day working for you. This vision statement can’t just exist on a piece of paper. It must come to life in the hearts and minds of your team So it’s up to you to share it, reinforce it, and inspire your people to live and breathe it every day. A positive vision for the future leads to powerful actions today.

4. Relationships build real motivation. It's much easier to motivate someone if you know them and they know you. After all, if you don't take the time to get to know the people who are working for you, then how can you ever truly know the best way to lead, coach, and motivate them effectively?

5. Create purpose-driven goals. Real motivation is driven by purpose and a desire to make a difference. When people feel as though the work they do is playing an integral role in the overall success of the organisation and the world, they are motivated to work harder.


Friday, October 29, 2010

What Makes Teams Smart?

What makes some groups perform better than others?

new study published in Science  found that three factors were significantly correlated with a group’s collective intelligence — in other words, its ability to perform a variety of tasks collectively, from solving puzzles to negotiating. 

The three factors are: the average social sensitivity of the members of the group, the extent to which the group’s conversations weren’t dominated by a few members, and the percentage of women in the group.  (The women in the study tended to score higher on social sensitivity than the men.) In other words, groups perform better on tasks if the members have strong social skills, if there are some women in the group, and if the conversation reflects more group members’ ideas. The groups studied were small teams with two to five members.

Interestingly, the researchers from MIT found that collective intelligence wasn’t strongly correlated with the average intelligence of the  individuals in the group — or with the intelligence of the smartest person in the group. They also found, as they wrote in Science,  ”that many of the factors one might have expected to predict group performance — such as group cohesion, motivation, and satisfaction — did not.”



Earlier this month, a new play based on one of our heroes, former Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi, premiered on Broadway. Our first reaction to this news was utter surprise. It doesn’t seem like Vince’s life would lend itself easily to the Broadway stage.

But, as we began to think about it, we realised that his life really was the stuff of good theatre. His no-nonsense determination to win, his endless ability to inspire, and his penchant for delivering pitch-perfect motivational wisdom are all characteristics that have the potential to create great theatre.

It’s great to know that, even 40 years after his death, there’s no shortage of enthusiasm about this inspirational character.

Here’s a taste of vintage Lombardi:

"Coaches who can outline plays on a black board are a dime a dozen. The ones who win get inside their player and motivate."

"Confidence is contagious. So is lack of confidence."

"The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must pay for success. I think you can accomplish anything if you're willing to pay the price."

"Football is like life - it requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication and respect for authority."

"The real glory is being knocked to your knees and then coming back. That's real glory. That's the essence of it."


Thursday, October 28, 2010

An Introduction To Positive Leadership Limited

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:


Saving Good Ideas From Getting Shot Down

John Kotter, emeritus professor at Harvard Business School and author of Buy-In: Saving Your Good Idea from Getting Shot Down, outlines four common attacks and explains the best ways to defend against them.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

7 Habits of Highly Ineffective Leaders

1. Focus only on winning and prove yourself to be better than anyone else.
2. Surround yourself with ‘yes men’ who are dependent on you.
3. Be impervious to criticism and blind to alternatives.
4. Isolate yourself from the real world.
5. Value loyalty more than ability and fitting-in more than expertise.
6. Make political considerations the most important criteria for decisions.
7. Kowtow to anyone you think is more powerful than you —and bully everyone you think is weaker.


Developing Leaders

Developing Leaders magazine is uniquely focused on the confluence of best practice in management education and leadership development and how it is implemented in large organisations worldwide - Developing Leaders


How to Push Past the Pain, as the Champions Do

How to Push Past the Pain, as the Champions Do
By Gina Kolata, From The New York Times, 18 October 2010

'My son, Stefan, was running in a half marathon in Philadelphia last month when he heard someone coming up behind him, breathing hard.

To his surprise, it was an elite runner, Kim Smith, a blond waif from New Zealand. She has broken her country’s records in shorter distances and now she’s running half marathons. She ran the London marathon last spring and will run the New York marathon next month.

That day, Ms. Smith seemed to be struggling. Her breathing was labored and she had saliva all over her face. But somehow she kept up, finishing just behind Stefan and coming in fifth with a time of 1:08:39.

And that is one of the secrets of elite athletes, said Mary Wittenberg, president and chief executive of the New York Road Runners, the group that puts on the ING New York City Marathon. They can keep going at a level of effort that seems impossible to maintain.

“Mental tenacity — and the ability to manage and even thrive on and push through pain — is a key segregator between the mortals and immortals in running,” Ms. Wittenberg said.

You can see it in the saliva-coated faces of the top runners in the New York marathon, Ms. Wittenberg added.

“We have towels at marathon finish to wipe away the spit on the winners’ faces,” she said. “Our creative team sometimes has to airbrush it off race photos that we want to use for ad campaigns.”

Tom Fleming, who coaches Stefan and me, agrees. A two-time winner of the New York marathon and a distance runner who was ranked fourth in the world, he says there’s a reason he was so fast.

“I was given a body that could train every single day.” Tom said, “and a mind, a mentality, that believed that if I trained every day — and I could train every day — I’ll beat you.”

“The mentality was I will do whatever it takes to win,” he added. “I was totally willing to have the worst pain. I was totally willing to do whatever it takes to win the race.”

But the question is, how do they do it? Can you train yourself to run, cycle, swim or do another sport at the edge of your body’s limits, or is that something that a few are born with, part of what makes them elites?

Sports doctors who have looked into the question say that, at the very least, most people could do a lot better if they knew what it took to do their best.

“Absolutely,” said Dr. Jeroen Swart, a sports medicine physician, exercise physiologist and champion cross-country mountain biker who works at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa.

“Some think elite athletes have an easy time of it,” Dr. Swart said in a telephone interview. Nothing could be further from the truth.

And as athletes improve — getting faster and beating their own records — “it never gets any easier,” Dr. Swart said. “You hurt just as much.”

But, he added, “Knowing how to accept that allows people to improve their performance.”

One trick is to try a course before racing it. In one study, Dr. Swart told trained cyclists to ride as hard as they could over a 40-kilometer course. The more familiar they got with the course, the faster they rode, even though — to their minds — it felt as if they were putting out maximal effort on every attempt.

Then Dr. Swart and his colleagues asked the cyclists to ride the course with all-out effort, but withheld information about how far they’d gone and how far they had to go. Subconsciously, the cyclists held back the most in this attempt, leaving some energy in reserve.

That is why elite runners will examine a course, running it before they race it. That is why Lance Armstrong trained for the grueling Tour de France stage on l’Alpe d’Huez by riding up the mountain over and over again.

“You are learning exactly how to pace yourself,” Dr. Swart said.

Another performance trick during competitions is association, the act of concentrating intensely on the very act of running or cycling, or whatever your sport is, said John S. Raglin, a sports psychologist at Indiana University.

In studies of college runners, he found that less accomplished athletes tended to dissociate, to think of something other than their running to distract themselves.

“Sometimes dissociation allows runners to speed up, because they are not attending to their pain and effort,” he said. “But what often happens is they hit a sort of physiological wall that forces them to slow down, so they end up racing inefficiently in a sort of oscillating pace.” But association, Dr. Raglin says, is difficult, which may be why most don’t do it.

Dr. Swart says he sees that in cycling, too.

“Our hypothesis is that elite athletes are able to motivate themselves continuously and are able to run the gantlet between pushing too hard — and failing to finish — and underperforming,” Dr. Swart said.

To find this motivation, the athletes must resist the feeling that they are too tired and have to slow down, he added. Instead, they have to concentrate on increasing the intensity of their effort. That, Dr. Swart said, takes “mental strength,” but “allows them to perform close to their maximal ability.”

Dr. Swart said he did this himself, but it took experience and practice to get it right. There were many races, he said, when “I pushed myself beyond my abilities and had to withdraw, as I was completely exhausted.”

Finally, with more experience, Dr. Swart became South Africa’s cross-country mountain biking champion in 2002.

Some people focus by going into a trancelike state, blocking out distractions. Others, like Dr. Swart, have a different method: He knows what he is capable of and which competitors he can beat, and keeps them in his sight, not allowing himself to fall back.

“I just hate to lose,” Dr. Swart said. “I would tell myself I was the best, and then have to prove it.”

Kim Smith has a similar strategy.

“I don’t want to let the other girls get too far ahead of me,” she said in a telephone interview. “I pretty much try and focus really hard on the person in front of me.”

And while she tied her success to having “some sort of talent toward running,” Ms. Smith added that there were “a lot of people out there who were probably just as talented. You have to be talented, and you have to have the ability to push yourself through pain.”

And, yes, she does get saliva all over her face.

“It’s not a pretty sport,” Ms. Smith said. “You are not looking good at the end.”

As for the race she ran with my son, she said: “I’m sorry if I spit all over Stefan.” (She didn’t, Stefan said.)'


Tuesday, October 26, 2010



England's Natural Born Leader

Andrew Strauss was born to lead England to victory Down Under.

"I hate failing at anything. I love winning. I'm quite determined to go to any depth necessary, within the rules, to achieve victory. I don't believe in bravado and shouting or being seen cracking the whip, that's not my style. But I'd refute any idea that I'm a soft touch, or that I don't want to win as much as others. I've never known anyone who wants to win more than I do. It's that simple. I'm a winner."

"I read a lot of stuff, not so much leadership, more self-improvement books. Things like Outliers: The Story of SuccessThe Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. Biographies, I read a lot of them, you do get some leadership insight. I work with psychologists a bit. But, ultimately, I'm not sure you can borrow too much. You have to be authentic. People are looking for someone being himself, not spieling out management speak. Get too caught up in leadership styles from books, and you are drifting into dangerous territory where people say, 'hang on that's not you'."

"A cricket dressing room is quite a cynical place. If someone says something out of character it will be noticed. Besides, cricket is very specific: you have to go out on the field and do the same job as the people you're captaining. You can't hide away, you either lead by example or you don't lead."

"It's very tough to lead when you aren't contributing. You're telling people to go out there and look the opposition in the eye and you're trudging back to the dressing room not having done that, your leadership is in trouble. I've been very conscious of trying to manage my own game as a priority, that adds legitimacy and respect to your leadership."


Monday, October 25, 2010

How To Be A Ruthless Winning Machine

Is the answer talent? Up to a point. But, as a gripping new documentary about the great West Indies cricket team makes clear, that is only the beginning. 'Fire In Babylon' reveals how the most powerful force in team sport is not physical ability, but a burning, almost religious faith in a common cause. In team sport, as in the church, nothing great can be achieved without conviction.


Sunday, October 24, 2010



Enhancing Your Presence

How to enhance your management 'presence' instead of detracting from it:

- Early in your career, smarten up. Later, when you’ve proven yourself, you can relax.
- Dress for your audience. If you’re presenting or in an important meeting and key people will be wearing business attire, you should too. If you’re not sure, play it conservatively.
- Dress the way you feel comfortable. Otherwise, it’ll show. 
- In most industries, super-fashionable attire is overdoing it. There are ways to stand out without looking like you’re trying to stand out. 
- Don’t dress like a clone, unless that’s really you.
- Work isn’t a circus so don’t dress like a clown.
- If you’re not Steve Jobs, don’t dress like him. He can pull it off; you can’t. Get your own uniform!


Do Ivy League alumni make better CEOs?

Does an Ivy League education make you a better CEO? According to new research from the University of New Hampshire, the answer is a resounding "no". 

Whether or not a CEO holds a degree from a top school has no bearing on their firm's long-term performance.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Leadership Presence

Steve Shenbaum is the Director of game on Communications Training at the IMG Performance Institute at IMG Academies in Bradenton, Florida. He has worked with many top athletes including Pete Sampras, Sidney Crosby, Alex Smith and many more. 

Here he talks about adopting the right ‘presence’ as a leader:


Friday, October 22, 2010

What Really Motivates Us?

This lively RSA Animate, adapted from Dan Pink's talk at the RSA, illustrates the hidden truths behind what really motivates us at home and in the workplace. (www.theRSA.org)

See also:


Qualities of an Inspirational Leader

Leaders need vision, energy, authority, and a natural strategic ability. But those things don't necessarily help you inspire your employees to be their best and commit to you as a leader. 

Here are the four qualities you need to capture the hearts, minds, and spirits of your people:

  1. Humanness. Nobody wants to work with a perfect leader. Build collaboration and solidarity by revealing your weaknesses.
  2. Intuition. To be most effective, you need to know what's going on without others spelling it out for you. Collect unspoken data from body language and looks given across rooms to help you intuit the underlying messages.
  3. Tough empathy. Care deeply about your employees, but accept nothing less than their very best.
  4. Uniqueness. Demonstrate that you are a singular leader by showing your unique qualities to those around you.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Motivating Your Team After Success

Celebrating the start of the basketball season, with Mike Krzyzewski, Duke University Men's Basketball Coach:


The First Rule of Leadership !


Stop Being So Nice

Conflict avoidance is a common trait of most corporate workplaces. But, steering clear of disagreements and leaving things unsaid creates unnecessary complexity and needless anxiety. To get better at confronting conflict constructively, follow these three steps:

  1. Reflect. Ask yourself whether there are times you should've spoken up but held your tongue. Do you avoid certain types of conflicts?
  2. Get feedback. Ask trusted friends and colleagues how they perceive your readiness to engage in constructive conflict. They might see patterns that are less obvious to you.
  3. Experiment. You don't have to change overnight. Try pushing back on a request or speaking up in a meeting and see how it goes. Preface your comment with an admission that you are working on getting better at conflict. This will help demonstrate your sincerity.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010




  • What 3 words describe me as a leader?  Which one do I most need to change if I am to become a better leader?  How will I do it? 
  • How do I define success as a leader?  Am I on track?  What do I still need to do to achieve success?
  • What are my core values?  To what extent am I leading in alignment with them? Am I walking the talk?
  • If I had to change one aspect of my leadership, to achieve improved team / organisational performance, it would be........
  • Am I a leader of value, or values, or both?  Am I prepared to sacrifice performance for what I hold to be right? 
  • What was the last (conscious) action I adopted, to improve my leadership effectiveness? Was I / it successful? What could I have done differently?
  • Am I confident that I will deliver my very best performance on a consistent basis when I am under pressure?


  • Does my organisation have a leadership strategy (ie an integrated platform to attract, develop and retain top leadership talent for competitive success)?
  • Are values embedded in the way my organisation thinks and acts?
  • What are the top 3 values of my organisation?
  • Do I believe that the values of my organisation are likely to hold up under pressure?
  • Do I have personal experience of seeing the values of my organisation drive high performance?
  • Do the values of our organisation drive the strategy of our organisation or is strategy developed regardless of values?
  • Has the strategy of our organisation been benchmarked for alignment and consistency with the values of our organisation?
  • Do the values of our organisation create a platform for consistent high performance, even under pressure?
  • Am I confident that my organisation will deliver its very best performance on a consistent basis when it is under pressure?
  • Does my organisation strive for excellence or is it comfortable with ‘satisfactory underperformance’?
If you feel that your personal leadership brand or the approach to leadership which your organisation is adopting could be improved, then Positive Leadership Limited would be delighted to help you.

We provide leadership consulting, coaching and mentoring advice designed to help our corporate and individual clients excel under pressure and reach the highest levels of performance and profitability.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Exploring Dimensions of Leadership

There have always been individuals who are able to lead effectively in a demanding and evolving world. What does it take to be one of those remarkable people?


Finding True, Positive Leadership

Most people see leadership as something people do in front of others, but true leadership starts within each of us. It starts with knowing your true purpose and aim and then acting on that knowledge in a way that remains true to your core values.

True, Positive Leadership involves:

Thinking – a true leader will dig deep inside to gain knowledge about herself in order to learn what her core values are. If you do not know yourself, you cannot lead else effectively.

Feeling – true leaders have a deep capacity for understanding the plight of others because they are completely honest with themselves that they are not perfect; therefore, they are able to find compassion, acceptance, and forgiveness for others.

Doing – true leaders allow deep and meaningful experiences in life so that they are able to engage fully in activities that enable them and others to realise their full potential.

If you are missing this kind of joy and fulfillment in your life, perhaps it is time to do the work that needs to be done to reach your highest potential.

Ask yourself the following questions:

·         Have you sought to look within to find your own core values and convictions?
·         Have you fully examined the logic behind your views?
·         Do your convictions match up with values that uplift humankind?
·         Do your actions match up with your convictions?
·         Are you living your life as a leader in private and in public?
·         Do you feel as if you are merely surviving or thriving?

If you are unsure about your answers, seek to empower yourself through books, education, seminars, counseling, life coaching, and/or positive and powerful friendships of like-minded people.

If you are currently unhappy with your place in the world, try new experiences, new friends, and new ways to break out of whatever is holding you back.

Do not give up because once you find your leader within you will be able to move from survival, begin to thrive, and live the life you want.


Monday, October 18, 2010

The 1000th post on the Positive Leadership Blog

Here are nine ways Social Media has helped Positive Leadership, and can help you too:

1.  Blogging about leadership organises and crystallises your thoughts.
2.  Reading other leadership blogs adds to your knowledge base.
3. Social Media is a great place to road test your ideas.
4. Talking about leadership with other leaders helps to shape your vision.
5. You get to talk to (and learn from) other leadership gurus.
6. Being an active participant in the medium keeps you up-to-date and in the loop.
7. Personally monitoring the thoughts and comments of your clients and customers is a big advantage.
8. Social Media gets you more opportunities to lead.
9. There is no better way to work on your communication.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

UK leaders lag behind in the first global ranking of leadership effectiveness

The leaders of UK organisations are seen as less effective than their counterparts in India, China, Russia, the United States and Germany, according to a worldwide study by the Kenexa Research Institute (KRI).

The Kenexa Research Institute’s 2010 WorkTrends research report, entitled Exploring Leadership and Managerial Effectiveness, identifies what ‘followers’ want from their leaders and managers and it includes a global ranking of leadership effectiveness, showing which countries and industry sectors have the highest-rated leaders.

The study identifies ten ‘drivers’ of effective leadership - the characteristics that followers look for in their leaders. These include the ability to inspire trust and confidence; to value quality and customer service; to be open and communicative; to have a multi-stakeholder perspective, and to hold lower-level managers accountable for being ‘good managers’.

As part of the study, KRI created and applied a Leadership Effectiveness Index, which measures the extent to which employees believe their leaders communicate their vision, handle challenges, value employees, are committed to improving quality and inspire trust. According to this Index, India and China have the world’s most effective leaders.

The UK ranks 17th out of the 21 countries surveyed. The UK Leadership Effectiveness Index score (47%) lags a notable 25 percentage points behind India’s score (72%) and is below the global average score of 55%.

The study shows that, in the UK, effective leaders are mostly found in the manufacturing, healthcare and retail sectors. Government and financial services have the lowest rankings of leadership effectiveness.

The research also identifies the key priorities for leadership development. The two most significant are the need to build leadership trust and the need to engage in open, honest, two-way communication.

As well as focusing on leadership, Kenexa has also created a Managerial Effectiveness Index, which measures aspects such as a manager’s performance, their people and work management skills and whether they are trustworthy and inspirational. The results show that, according to employees, the most effective managers are those who are fair, communicative and involving, act as problem-solvers, provide recognition for a job well done, support employee growth and development and in general demonstrate an employee orientation.

Kenexa’s study highlights that effective leadership and management have a positive and significant impact on important financial performance metrics for organisations, such as diluted earnings per share and total shareholder return. They also have a beneficial and substantial influence on employee engagement and on organisational creativity and innovation. The study found that employee engagement levels can be five times higher if your leaders are more effective.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Prioritising Leadership Development

Here are 7 compelling reasons to take seriously, to invest in, and to put priority on leadership development.

1. Leadership makes a difference.
The more change that lies ahead, the more important great leadership will be. The quality and quantity can be improved through development.

2. Companies can’t always find outside or buy the leadership they need.
If they do, it is expensive and does not come with a money-back guarantee. Sports teams can rarely buy a championship. In business, success in one company does not always translate to success in another.

3. Derailments are expensive.
The higher the level, the more expensive they are. Costs include wasted salary, relocation expenses, finding and installing a replacement, buy-out packages, damage to morale and productivity, and many other intangibles.

4. Survival of the fittest is not the same as survival of the best.
Leaving leadership development to chance is foolish. There just are not enough potential leaders around to allow most of them to drown with no assistance.

5. Most of the cost of development is sunk.
Leadership development is already taking place within any organisation (job changes, stretch assignments, making mistakes, and role model bosses). Not to reap a return on the investment is bad business.

6. Creating a learning environment is consistent with business strategies that involve having employees take on more responsibility, assume more risk, and solve problems.

7. It's good business practice.
Investors consider the quality of a company’s management. Talented people prefer to work for companies that invest in their development. Customers prefer to work with companies that can solve their problems. Companies like that have strong cultures that place high value on leadership.


Success Takes Time

Instant Success Takes Time - new products, people, or ideas that appear to burst on the scene unheralded and soar to the top quickly have often been preceded by a long period of preparation, rehearsal, and trial-and-error experimentation.

One of the more mundane differences between perpetual winners and long-term losers among businesses, sports teams, and other organisations is that the winners simply work harder.  Winners are more likely to take the time to keep honing skills and testing ideas in preparation for change. That's not too dramatic or glamorous, but it's among the biggest differentiators.

In contrast, teams or organisations headed for losing streaks lurch from tactic to tactic without any apparent long-term direction. They lack discipline, do not always rely on facts before chasing fads, and panic under pressure.

Those building winning streaks remain calm and professional. Winners learn and experiment in a disciplined manner with a commitment to enduring principles and a long-term purpose that help them be patient on what can be a long road to victory.

Eventual winners have invested in three underpinnings of confidence:

First is accountability. They have faced facts honestly and taken responsibility for their own actions.

Second is collaboration. They make allies and partners, not enemies.

Last but not least is initiative. They encourage constant small innovations rather than relying only on the occasional blockbuster hit.

In short, winners are not necessarily flashy nor endowed with the hottest new thing; they are simply steady, disciplined, and prepared. They have some "instant successes" but even better, they have fewer outright failures. They bounce back faster from setbacks and can weather attacks because they stand on a firm foundation.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Executive Leadership and Business Performance

Efficiency and productivity are strategic imperatives in every corner of industry—from energy consumption to business processes and everything in between. How any and everything connects to the bottom line is fair game for scrutiny or is it?

What about the effects of executive leadership style and resulting corporate culture? Do certain leadership styles have a competitive edge? Could CEO as brand actually kill a company? Which Silicon Valley companies are best positioned for success, and which could be at a disadvantage? This is an insightful and spirited discussion about the psychology of executive leadership style and corporate culture, and their effects on business performance.

Bill Campbell, Chairman of the Board, Intuit
Gordon K. Davidson, Chairman, Fenwick & West, LLP
Daniel Denison, Professor of Management and Organization, IMD; CEO, Denison Consulting
Kavin Stewart, Co-founder & CEO, LOLapps

Rebecca Turner, Professor of Organizational Psychology, MGSM, Alliant International University; Owner, Turner Consulting Group


Failure Is An Essential Part of Process

Outsourcing giant Wipro chairman, Azim Premji fosters an environment in which workers feel safe taking risks.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Helping Women Climb the Corporate Ladder

Most company employees will be familiar with the colleague who talks a lot at meetings, frequently in the first person: 'I have done this' or 'I will do that'. More often than not, that colleague will be male.

"Men are typically better than women at impression management – or the art of managing one's reputation and image," says Halla Tomasdottir, an Icelandic businesswoman who founded Audur Capital, an investment company that survived the country's financial meltdown. "Women, or men, who say 'We did this deal' rather than 'I did this deal' often make better leaders – but the world of business and finance frequently values a more masculine approach – where you blow your horn more."

Mentoring – the process of guiding and supporting a less senior colleague – has come to be seen as central to helping more women break into male-dominated boardrooms. 


Chile's Heroes Have a Lesson for Rio and Co

If the stream of remarkable footage from Chile can teach Rio Ferdinand and his bungling England football comrades anything, it is in its ultimate expression of positive leadership and what it means to be a team.


Women and the Transition to Senior Management

Here is some advice from Positive Leadership on how women can best make the transition to senior management:

Anticipate transitions. At a certain point in your career, you will be expected to move beyond managing and will need to demonstrate leadership capability to move into the senior ranks. Instead of simply ensuring efficiency, planning and organising staff, you will need to create a vision for change and then inspire your team to bring it to fruition. These role shifts can be difficult to see. Watch out for them.

Development isn’t just about your skills. You won’t succeed in senior management if you rely solely on what got you this far. Two common hurdles for high-potential women include adopting a strategic perspective and managing stakeholders. Big-picture thinking and learning how to create influence through coalitions and networks are key to leadership success. Get on assignments that are key to the success of your company, as well as cross-functional projects that bring together diverse stakeholders from across the company.

Watch out for identity traps. Another common trap for women during the transition to senior management is that they fall victim to their natural leadership style. You’ll need to knock off the micromanaging, learn how to delegate and cultivate the ability to influence without authority.

Authenticity is also about your future self. It takes 15 seconds for a person to form an opinion about you. Think about how you want to be perceived and manage your image accordingly. Keep in mind that it is particularly difficult for women to be perceived as both competent and warm. Networking can also be a challenge for women, but growing your strategic network is essential. Cultivating mentors is also key to future success in senior management. 


Treating Customers and Employees Well

Most of the U.S. airline industry is under assault from skyrocketing fuel prices and a sluggish economy, but the message that Southwest Airlines president Colleen Barrett brought to the recent Wharton Leadership Conference was about the importance of treating employees and customers well. 

Innovative leaders such as Southwest chairman Herb Kelleher and smart management of non-human resources -- especially Southwest's fuel purchasing hedges that have saved the company more than $2 billion -- have certainly helped the airline post profits for 35 consecutive years. But the foundation for all that, she said, has been making the satisfaction of employees and customers the highest priority.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Positive Leadership is an Effective Motivator

A recent McKinsey & Company research study, titled, Motivating people: Getting beyond money, has found that positive leadership attention, along with praise and commendation from a person’s immediate manager, are the most effective motivators available in any organisation. In fact, McKinsey has found that they outperform financial incentives.

Based on a global survey of executives, managers and employees from a range of sectors, 67% of respondents rated ‘praise and commendation from immediate manager’ as an effective motivator, 63% rated ‘attention from leaders’ as effective, and 62% rated ‘opportunities to lead projects or task forces’ as effective. By contrast, 60% of respondents rated ‘performance-based cash bonuses’ as an effective motivator, 52% rated ‘increase in base pay’ as effective, and 35% rated ‘stock or stock options’ as effective.

For more information on how Positive Leadership can help you become a high performer, please contact: graham.watson@positiveleadership.co.uk


Create Candor in the Workplace

Jack Welch, former chairman of General Electric and author of  WINNING tells his audience to foster honest feedback: "If you reward candor, you'll get it."