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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Positive Leadership: Leading With The Heart

We think a leader ultimately has to lead with the heart, lead by example and lead with passion. Many people can have the strategy.  They can explain things.  A lot of people have the analytical skills, but fundamentally we think great leadership means that the people who you’re leading ‘feel you’, and sometimes you don’t even need to say a lot of words. And the way they feel you is they know that you care, that you believe in what you say.  You have the passion and you live by it.


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Positive Leadership


Friday, July 29, 2011

Positive Leadership: Five Essentials of Leadership Communication

Beware of the "say/do" gap. This is all about credibility, which boils down to trust — one of the most potent, precious and fragile elements of leadership. If your actions don't align with your words, there's trouble. And it can turn into big trouble if you don't recognise and correct it swiftly and genuinely. It is often difficult to see the say/do gap in yourself, so rely on a few trusted colleagues to tell it to you straight and flag discrepancies. Of course, you have to be prepared to hear the feedback and address issues — which isn't always easy. Rule of thumb: it's better to say nothing or delay your communication until you're certain that your actions will ring true.

Take the complex and make it simple. Being complex does not make you smart. There is power in clarity and simplicity. People are already suffering from information overload, and your job is to distil complex thoughts and strategies into simple terms that your employees can relate to. The more memorable, the better. If you're having trouble distilling something to its essence, it's a sign that you may not have a clear understanding of it. That makes it impossible for you to communicate it to others effectively. Leaders find it easy to get mired in technical jargon and business-speak. Beware of this trap. Just say what you mean.

Don't fake it. Find your own voice. Use language that's distinctly your own. Let your values come through in your communication. Forget about eloquence — worry about being real. People want real. People respect real. People follow real. Don't disguise who you are. People will never willingly follow a fake.

Be visible. Are you visible to the people who matter most — those who will help you achieve organisational goals? Visibility is about letting your key stakeholders get a feel for who you are and what you care about. Today, it's easy to hide behind a computer and transmit messages to others without seeing or interacting with them. Although e-communication serves a valuable purpose, it is no substitute for face-to-face communication. Show your people that you care about them and their work.

Listen with your eyes as well as your ears. Stop, look and listen. Remember that effective communication is two-way. Good leaders know how to ask good questions, and then listen with both their eyes and ears. It's easy to be so focused on getting your message out — or persuading others — that you don't tune in to what you see and hear. Because you're in a position of authority, you won't always get direct feedback. You need to read between the lines. Listen and hear what is coming back at you. Look for the nonverbal cues. Sometimes a person's body language will tell you everything you need to know.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Positive Leadership: High Potentials

Today’s organisations find it challenging to locate and put in place a new generation of leadership that is both proactive and pragmatic. 

Disproportionately this new generation of leaders will come from the pool of people within an organisation, often referred to as, “high potentials.” But there’s the rub. By what criteria do we decide whether somebody is a high potential suited for a leadership position?

Face it, not everyone is a high-potential. Some have reached their potential and others are quite comfortable where they are. They are good, if not great, performers who are satisfied with their accomplishments and focused on doing what they do best.

So what are the criteria by which you evaluate whether someone can be a high-potential leader?

Here are five suggested criteria:

1. Knowledge
They know their business. Simply put, high-potential leaders are those individuals who have displayed a certain amount of accumulated expertise. This expertise may be technical or it may be based in networks, but it’s invaluable for an organisation. More importantly, they understand how their activities, their sector, and their realm of knowledge, is related to the wider organisational agenda.

2. Reputation
They have legitimacy in the eyes of others. Others in the organisation must appreciate the relevance of the knowledge base that a high-potential possesses. It’s a simple reality that having expertise or a skill base isn’t enough to make one a high-potential leader. High-potential leaders must also have the ability to garner the professional respect of others.

3. Ambition
They have a strong career mindset. We want our high potentials to be ambitious—but we want them to be ambitious in a very focused way. And the best way to get a sense of their ambition is to evaluate their commitment to their career progression. High potentials need to be committed to accumulating new responsibilities, new successes, acquiring additional knowledge, and, for better or worse, achieving additional recognition.

4. Partnering
They understand the importance of working with others. While a strong career mindset is important, high-potentials must also have a deep appreciation of partnership. A high-potential leader’s partnering ability shouldn’t be a politically correct exercise, but rather a pragmatic, tactical skill that will allow them to make better, more informed decisions. Lone-rangers and lone-wolves may be creative and ambitious, but they may not be suitable for the next leadership rung in the organisational ladder. 

5. Courage
They are bounded risk takers. High-potential leaders must understand that no matter how good they think a decision may be—they are making it under conditions of uncertainty. No matter how much information you have, no matter how many cost-benefit analyses you have done, no matter how many market surveys you have completed, a high-potential leader will know all information is limited. They’ll know that some decisions are inevitable, but they’ll also have the courage to take risks.

Identifying high-potential leaders requires an appreciation of what it is we want from our leaders. We want our leaders to know their business, and therefore knowledge is critical. We want others to accept their expertise, and therefore reputation is critical. We want them to be personally driven, and therefore ambition is essential. We want them to understand that nothing can be done alone, and therefore partnering is critical. And finally, we want them to know that nothing is guaranteed, and therefore courage is fundamental.

These five criteria, when identified appropriately—be it through skill matrixes, interviews, delineated questionnaires or peer review–will go a long way toward identifying high-potential leaders.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Positive Leadership: Are You Really Connected or Just Linked?

Six Steps to More Powerful Conversations:

- Become genuinely interested in other people.
- Use other people’s names when you talk to them.
- Be a good listener, encouraging others to talk about themselves.
- Ask others about their interests, rather than talking about your own.
- Make others feel important – and do so sincerely.
- Smile often.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Positive Leadership: Your Most Important 'Relationship'

The relationships we have with family and friends are generally the ones we value the most. They are an important part of the life of each of us. However, there is one relationship that is even more important, that governs all the others – and that is the relationship you have with yourself.

Every day of your life you send yourself thousands of mental messages that determine how you evaluate your own worth. The evaluation you make of your worth is what determines your level of self-esteem. Of course, the messages we receive from our family, friends, colleagues and others affect our self-esteem, too. But they send only a tiny fraction of the number of messages you do, so they don’t have the same opportunity to affect you. Besides, if you are continually sending yourself negative, devaluing appraisals, you will drown out the other messages, no matter how positive they might be. 

It is very important that you, yourself, become the source of these positive messages, or affirmations as they are sometimes called. When you take control of this process, the leverage you will gain from your “inside” position will make tremendous personal growth possible.

Unfortunately, many people spend much more time focusing on their faults and mistakes than they do on their strengths and successes. However, a positive focus can be learned. 


Monday, July 25, 2011

Positive Leadership: "What Have I Become Used To?"

It has been said that people can get used to almost anything. We believe this to be true, especially if it happens gradually over time. When you get used to things being a certain way, you develop what we call a “comfort zone,” which is pretty much just what it sounds like. Adaptability can be a good thing, but not always.

If you are used to cleaning up your house every day because you like things neat and tidy, you will be uncomfortable when the sink is full of dishes. You will experience tension until you restore order.
On the other hand, if you are used to a pile of dirty dishes in the sink, it won’t bother you at all – unless, of course, you are expecting company. Then, the things you’ve become used to and comfortable with may suddenly become very un-comfortable. “That’s OK for me,” you may think, “but I don’t want my company to see it like that!”
People who go on crash diets before a big event, or clean out their car before they pick up the boss are doing the same sort of thing. But think about it – aren’t you worth the same considerations as your company? Don’t you deserve to live by the same high standards that you adopt to impress others?

Take a look at your life. What have you become used to over time that you never really meant to happen

If you want to change your comfort zone for the better and raise your internal standards, correct use of affirmations and imagery can be a great help. Tell the people close to you what you are trying to do, and stick with it. You can get used to excellence, too!


Friday, July 22, 2011

Positive Leadership: Are You Focusing on the Wrong Part of Your Business?

It is now more than three years since the economy took a nosedive. For most small businesses, this has been even more challenging than previous recessions because we have also had to deal with the real estate collapse, a credit crisis and changes in the marketplace brought on by the Internet and other forces. Not an easy time. And there is not much evidence of a bounce back coming soon. Perhaps it is time to reassess.

First of all, Einstein had it wrong. Not his theory of relativity. That seems to be holding up quite well. But he’s also the man who said that the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Too often, that’s really the definition of small business.

Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is not necessarily insane; conditions change and business is not a perfect science. That said, this is the way a lot of small-business owners tend to operate. Whether it is continuing to hire the wrong people because of a bad hiring protocol, sticking with the same marketing plan even though it isn’t working or thinking we are going to become more profitable by under-pricing our competition, many business owners stick to what they have become comfortable doing and hope it will start producing better results. Why? No doubt it has something to do with the perseverance and optimism that got us into this in the first place. No doubt it has something to do with our willingness to work hard. But sometimes working smart is more important than working hard.

Small business owners need to go where the money is, instead of doing business as usual. That’s because there is no such thing anymore as ‘business as usual’.

So, perhaps you need to spend more time on new opportunities and what’s working and less time trying to push things that are stuck. We talk to business owners all of the time, and we frequently hear comments like “we are holding our own” or “things are slowly getting better.” Most people we know are not making expansion plans. Avoiding risk is the new black. It has been a very sobering and scary three years.

And that’s way it is tempting to stay with a bunker mentality, especially if you follow the economic news. Every day, it seems, there is another crisis. But if your business is stable, and your debt is under control, and you can afford to take some calculated risks, this might be the time to get out of the bunker and try to get ahead of the pack.

Now might be the time to plant new seeds for future crops. Carefully.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Positive Leadership: Adversity is an Opportunity

NVIDIA Co-founder and CEO Jensen Huang reports that most of his time on the job is spent brainstorming with managers and leaders and helping them brainstorm through tasks and opportunities. He believes it is essential to train talent to effectively control a different product line, a new geography, or even to take his place. 

Succession planning of a closed set of hand-picked individuals is a toxic process, says Huang. Instead it's best to treat all employees as a next generation of leaders to build a better environment and long term stability.

He also believes that: “it is important to foster a culture that embraces mistakes and an environment where anyone can have a great idea. The majority of great ideas come out of mistakes and adversity. Adversity should be seen as an opportunity rather than a life-threatening event."


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Positive Leadership: Being Your 'Best' Self

What’s the difference between being yourself and being your best self? All of us have many possible ‘selves'. Some parts of our personalities are active and obvious, but some parts may surface only now and then, and still others may remain hidden almost all the time.

What is your best self like? Can you list the qualities that make your best ‘self’ different from the ordinary, everyday you? You see, becoming aware of these qualities is the key to bringing them under your control. If you are aware of them, you can deliberately set out to make your everyday-self more like your best self.

Using the techniques of affirmation, visualisation and control of your self-talk, it is relatively easy to do. You see, we move toward and become like that which we think about. So, focus your thoughts on those aspects of yourself that you would like to see more of. Do it in a systematic way, over and over again, every day. Soon, you will find that “being yourself” will automatically mean, “being your best self.”


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Positive Leadership: Efficient v Effective

Have you ever thought about the difference between efficiency and effectiveness? 

They both sound good, but we believe one is far better. Most businesses want to run an efficient operation, and spend a lot of time and energy trying to get there. But it is equally, if not more, important to make your business effective.

Efficiency means doing things with a minimum of effort – low input for high output. In other words, efficiency means doing things right. But what things? A very important question! You see, effectiveness is doing the right things right, and that is what you want to aim for. You can be as efficient as you like at doing the wrong things.
You can practice the wrong technique or the wrong moves until you have them down perfectly. Then, you are going to wonder and worry about why your business is failing, why your customers aren’t coming back, why sales are down and profits are dropping, even though everything is working like a well-oiled machine.

When you visualise yourself or your business, don’t just see yourself doing things right. See yourself doing the right things right. And remember that sometimes the right thing, even if done imperfectly, is far better than a flawless performance of the wrong thing. This holds true for everyone, not just those of you in business. It makes just as much sense for athletes, homemakers, teachers and students – anyone who really cares about excellence.

It’s great to be efficient, but effectiveness is what you really want.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Positive Leadership: Lessons from Harry Potter

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is a wonderful film and a fitting end to the series. If you have any mental and emotional bandwidth left over as you’re watching Harry save the world, you might also put your leadership lens on for some examples of servant leadership in action.

Servant leadership is based on the principle that the leader is the servant of the people that he or she leads. Servant leaders have a desire to serve first and lead second. The concept was first articulated by an AT&T executive named Robert Greenleaf in the mid-20th century and he eventually wrote a book on the subject - Servant Leadership: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness 

The president of the Greenleaf Centre, Larry Spears, has identified ten characteristics of servant leaders. You will find that Harry Potter embodies all or most of them. Here they are:

 •Commitment to people’s growth
 •Building community

As you watch Harry Potter in his last movie, look for those characteristics of a servant leader.  Perhaps those qualities are one reason the books and movies have been such a phenomenon. People want to be around and be led by people who embody those traits.   Maybe we see in Harry what we hope or would like to see in ourselves. Maybe the magic was not so much in the wand and the spells as in the way Harry led others. If that’s the case, all of us may actually have a shot at being leaders who make a difference. It just comes down to our motivation and how we act. 


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Positive Leadership: Be Yourself

It is natural to want to be like the people we look up to. We want to recreate the success they have enjoyed in our own lives. So we try to imitate them. It seems like the shortest distance between two points. Of course, we are trying to copy a result. What we often fail to see is the work it took to get them to the place where they could do what they do. And sometimes it’s all flash and no substance.

And while you can try to copy a style, mannerisms, or life path, what makes it work for them isn’t what is written down. It’s what they can’t teach you that makes it work for them. It’s the things you can’t easily articulate that come from the core of your being—that which makes you you—that makes the difference.

Harvard Business School Professor and former Medtronic CEO Bill George, wrote, “Any prospective leader who buys into the necessity of attempting to emulate all the characteristics of a leader is doomed to failure.” It’s one thing to learn from others, it’s quite another to try to imitate them.

A big part of the problem is the lack of confidence we have in ourselves. Sometimes in watching the success of others, we lose faith in ourselves. “There is but one cause of failure and that is a man’s lack of faith in his true self,” observed William James.

Jazz saxophonist Stan Getz took a teaching position at Stanford in 1986. In an interview with a reporter about his role there, he put it this way:

‘I’m a strong opponent of imitation. I always tell them that they have to be themselves. That’s hard, because they don’t believe in themselves, they believe in their heroes. And I will tell them: that’s perfectly alright, but your hero is the only one who can play that way. If you want to try and do the same thing, it will only be an imitation, however perfectly you will do it. I keep on trying to convince them that they have to play what they feel themselves. But that’s not easy.’

Your hero is the only one that can play it that way. Be yourself.


Friday, July 15, 2011

Positive Leadership: Celebrate!

You have probably heard something similar to, “Live each day to the fullest, because you never know what tomorrow may bring.” Like all sage offerings, there is an element of truth involved here.

For a lot of us, we take the days of our lives for granted. The years go swirling past in a rush of things to do, places to see, and dreams to fulfil. We work diligently, raise our families, and try to measure up to our own – or someone else’s – definition of success. For some of us, we put our heads down, shoulder to the wheel (so to speak) and forget to look up.

Not “looking up” is unfortunate. We need to take the time to savour the experiences of each day, good or not so good, because these experiences inform who and what we are. If we don’t look up, we miss the simple joy of a quiet summer evening. We miss that look of wonder on a child’s face, the first time they discover rainbows in a puddle.

In short, we miss the opportunity to be grateful.  Why are the drivers for appreciating life and having gratitude missing from many people's lives?  We should not have to experience ‘misery’ to boost our insights into the value of life.

Do yourself a favour this weekend. Begin a new habit. Before the end of each day, stop and soak in the experiences of the day. Let the smile come to your face as you remember the happy and the funny. Plan out what you will do “the next time” for those moments that didn’t come out so well. And be grateful for the time you’ve had to make a difference in the lives of others.

Celebrate today, and face tomorrow with the expectation that something great will happen!


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Positive Leadership: Thinking Like A Champion

To be a champion you must Think Like a Champion. Champions think differently than everyone else. They approach their life and work with a different mindset and belief system that separates them from the pack.

1. Champions Expect to Win - When they walk on the court, on the field, into a meeting or in a classroom they expect to win. In fact they are surprised when they don't win. They expect success and their positive beliefs often lead to positive actions and outcomes. They win in their mind first and then they win in the hearts and minds of their customers, students or fans.

2. Champions Celebrate the Small Wins - By celebrating the small wins champions gain the confidence to go after the big wins. Big wins and big success happen through the accumulation of many small victories. This doesn't mean champions become complacent. Rather, with the right kind of celebration and reinforcement, champions work harder, practice more and believe they can do greater things.

3. Champions Don't Make Excuses When They Don't Win - They don't focus on the faults of others. They focus on what they can do better. They see their mistakes and defeats as opportunities for growth. As a result they become stronger, wiser and better.

4. Champions Focus on What They Get To Do, Not What They Have To Do - They see their life and work as a gift not an obligation. They know that if they want to achieve a certain outcome they must commit to and appreciate the process. They may not love every minute of their journey but their attitude and will helps them develop their skill.

5. Champions Believe They Will Experience More Wins in the Future - Their faith is greater than their fear. Their positive energy is greater than the chorus of negativity. Their certainty is greater than all the doubt. Their passion and purpose are greater than their challenges. In spite of their situation champions believe their best days are ahead of them, not behind them.

If you don’t think you have what it takes to be a champion, think again. Champions aren’t born. They are shaped and moulded. And as iron sharpens iron you can develop your mindset and the mindset of your team with the right thinking, beliefs and expectations that lead to powerful actions. 


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Positive Leadership: Bouncing Back

As many of us prepare to watch The Open Championship, one of the leading contenders will be the US Open Champion Rory McIlroy.  McIlroy conquered the rest of the field in historic fashion just a few weeks ago at Congressional Country Club outside Washington D.C. His 8 shot victory was the largest at the US Open since Tiger Woods back in 2000. He also became the youngest winner of that event at 22 years old since Bobby Jones in 1923. We believe there are some critical leadership lessons we can learn from Rory.

What makes this victory even more impressive was that when we had last seen Rory McIlroy in a major before the US Open, he self-destructed during the final round of The Masters in Augusta, GA back in April. He started the final Sunday with a 4 shot lead and had one arm in the winner’s green jacket. However, some 5 hours later he carded a final round 80 and finished in a tie for 15th place.

Following the Masters many people in the media wondered if McIlroy would ever get his confidence back to compete at golf’s most elite level. Most people thought it would certainly take longer than the 2 months between the Masters and the US Open. However, McIlroy used the Masters as a learning experience and was able to achieve even higher performance at the US Open.

“Going back to Augusta this year, I felt like that was a great opportunity to get my first major. It didn’t quite work out,” McIlroy said. “But to come back straightaway at the U.S. Open and win, that is nice. You can always call yourself a major champion, and hopefully after this, I can call myself a multiple major champion.”

So what does this mean for us as leaders? McIlroy’s meltdown, unfortunately for him, happened to take place in front of millions of people on worldwide television.  However, the need to learn from mistakes and setbacks is no different for a professional athlete than it is for a business leader who mangles a presentation at a board meeting or mishandles a client relationship.  Thankfully our mistakes don’t get broadcast worldwide!  But we’ve all been there, particularly earlier in our careers, and well, later too.  Rory is an inspiring example we can learn from.

The key leadership lesson that comes across observing his progress is that a leader has to be able to think strategically about the future and build on the past. 

The past, for many of us as senior leaders, is filled with success stories but also lessons learned. It has been said that the “people who don’t learn from history are bound to repeat it”. Leaders who don’t learn from their mistakes are certainly asking to make those same mistakes again.

The higher performing leaders are the ones who are able to apply the following simple process to both positive and negative events in their career development:

1. What went well about the event? For McIlroy, he was able to have the experience of leading a major championship for three rounds even though he was not able to close it out. Every successful leader can look back on achievements that you would definitely want to have again, and the key is not to forget those successes even when debriefing a negative event. If you can cement those factors that went well, you will know what to do again. 

2. What can we improve upon? At the Masters, McIlroy definitely would say that he could improve upon how he played the final round. ”Going back to Augusta, the first three days I played aggressively. I played smartly but I played aggressively to my targets” said McIlroy. “And then on Sunday, I started to play defensively, and that’s when things can go wrong.” As a leader you should always take the time after a setback or frustration to reflect individually, have a discussion with those people involved and also talk to an individual or group of people you trust about what you could have done differently. Taking the time to reflect upon negative experiences while they are fresh in your mind is a valuable experience to go through in order to crystallise the necessary improvements.  

3. What will you do differently next time? For McIlroy, he needed to convince himself to stay in the moment and maintain his strategy during the final round of a major if it was working for the first three rounds. As he learned the hard way, the mistake he made at the Masters was to shift his strategy so that he was playing not to lose, rather than playing to win. As leaders, you need to prepare for the next time you are going to be in a similar situation and know how you will improve upon your performance when given the opportunity. While this process is certainly not rocket science, it offers a very helpful way to go for leaders to learn and debrief experiences, either positive or negative. Sports coaches will often say that it is easier to learn from a win, but that the learning is always more deeply felt after a loss. Therefore when we make mistakes – as we all do, especially if we are filling a new leadership role or trying to be innovative – then we need to learn from these mishaps so that don’t happen again.

Golf and life in general offer an endless supply of leadership lessons that we can learn from and apply to our business careers. For Rory McIlroy, he was able to build on his successful achievements, including leading the Masters for 63 holes out of the total 72, rather than getting pulled down by his one bad round. When he was faced with a similar situation two months later at the US Open, he led for the entire championship and closed the tournament strongly. Now heading into this week’s Open Championship, he is hoping to continue that streak for another 72 holes and claim the Claret Jug.

Part of today’s personal leadership is about resiliency.  The ability to bounce back after setbacks is more needed today than perhaps any time in our lifetimes. 


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Positive Leadership: Why Leaders Must Have A Positive Attitude

You don’t have to have a positive attitude to have a leadership role, and you don’t even have to have it to lead. But you definitely must have a positive attitude if you want to lead successfully for an extended period of time.

Positive attitude means an expectancy that good things will generally happen, (and that even when they don’t there is likely good that will be found in the challenges) and a healthy optimism for the future for your company, team, yourself and life in general.

Here are three major reasons having a positive attitude is important for you as a leader.

You are in the energy business

As a leader, whatever industry you are in, you are in the energy business. Remember that whatever energy you bring to your work will be noticed and amplified. Your personal attitude is a huge part of the energy you inject into your team and organisation. If you aren’t injecting positive, supportive and encouraging thoughts and actions into the workplace, it is far less likely that others will either. You can’t rely on someone else to do this for you—you are a leader.

Positive attracts

If you think you are leading, but no one is following, you are just taking a walk. If you want to or need to lead, you need to have others choose to follow. Think about the people that you most want to be around, those whom you are attracted to. Are those people more positive or negative? Do you want to choose to spend time with people who think the future looks dim or bright? Would you rather be around people who encourage and are proactive, or those who focus on the negative and who think about the future with a “gloom and doom” approach? Positive attitude and energy are attractive. The best leaders know this and that is a major reason they lead successfully.

Positive creates productivity

Are you more productive in a negative or a positive environment? In which atmosphere are you likely to be more creative, engaged and get more done?  If you are looking for a numbers driven, bottom line reason why a positive attitude matters in your organisation, look no further than productivity.  People will get more done in a positive environment.

If you are wondering if it is possible for one person to change the attitude or environment in an organization, and therefore have the impact just described, remember this: Enthusiasm is contagious, and someone must inject that energy into a group, team or organisation in order for it to grow. Positive energy doesn’t happen automatically, someone must start. As in many other ways, leaders must go first.

You must go first.

If you want to be a more successful leader and have a bigger impact on those you lead and serve, focus on your attitude and know that as you change your thinking and your attitude, your actions will start to change your work, your team and your world.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Positive Leadership: The Importance of Team IQ

Teams have intelligence just like individual people do. But the intelligence factor of human groups is not simply the average of its members, in fact that has only little to do with it. Researchers have now found a way to measure team IQ and what it takes to achieve it.

What is team intelligence?

As individuals, intelligence defines our capacity for abstract thinking, reasoning, learning, planning and rapid problem solving. In essence, it characterises our ability to deal with cognitive complexity, an indispensable quality for today’s global managers. Insofar as it applies to teams, intelligence describes the ability of a group of individuals to tackle and manage complex and non-routine situations together. Intelligent teams can outperform their most knowledgeable members.

How to get a high Team IQ?

It is well known that for teams to function and perform to the best of their ability, they must focus on structure, processes, leadership and the right organisational support and context.

What research now indicates, however, is that collective intelligence in teams can lead to higher performance. We have evidence that speaking in turns by group members, the proportion of females on a team and especially social sensitivity are all elements that lead to higher team intelligence.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Positive Leadership: How to deal with people who think they are performing in an acceptable manner

What to do about it: Provide everyone who reports to you with ongoing and timely feedback.

As you do, remember:
  • The goal of feedback is to help employees succeed by reinforcing effective performance and redirecting ineffective performance.
  • Feedback should be based on specific, observable, and verifiable data and information.
  • Feedback should be given as close to the occurrence as possible.
  • Feedback should be a two-way process. Be sure to solicit the employee’s input on why his or her performance is good … or lacking.
  • Feedback should include a discussion of the potential impact of continued good or deficient performance.
  • Feedback should never include threats or promises.


Saturday, July 09, 2011

Positive Leadership: From Values to Action

From Values to Action: The Four Principles of Values-Based Leadership

By Harry M. Kraemer

Reading this book you get the feeling that Harry Kraemer is the consummate nice guy. When he started his corporate career as the junior member of a team that was working in cubicle, he decided to set as a goal for himself not to advance to the next step, but to commit himself to making a difference by doing the best job he could, treating the people around him with respect, and never putting the his own needs and desires ahead of the goals of his team or organisation. Some years later, having advanced all the way to CEO, he still graced the softball games and dinners of those who served with him in the cubes.

Along the way he developed some principles of values-based leadership that obviously served him well:

·         Self-reflection: Increases self-awareness. It is the key to identifying what you stand for, what your values are, and what matters most. It requires asking yourself key questions, such as, What did I say I was going to do today, and what did I actually do? What went well? How did I treat people? What would I do differently, and what did I learn?

·         Balance: The ability to see issues, problems and questions from all angles, including opposing viewpoints. Encourages you to seek multiple perspectives to gain input rather than consensus.

·         True-self confidence: The ability to see and accept yourself exactly as you are. Helps you to identity your strengths, improve your weaknesses and admit when you are wrong or don’t know something.

·         Genuine humility: Never forgetting who you are, appreciating the value of each person in the organisation, and treating everyone respectfully. This keeps you from forgetting where you came from and keeps you focused on and connected to others.

Mastering these four principles will lead you to connect with and gain much greater influence over others than mastering networking and various techniques of persuasion. The reason? Your ability to influence people whether one or fifty thousand, depends significantly on their ability to appreciate your values. 

Any of your employees, peers, partners should be able to explain what you stand for in consistent terms, and it should be evident to new people you meet.


Friday, July 08, 2011

Positive Leadership: Dealing with Adversity

When times get tough, some people fold and some are made even stronger. 

Did you ever wonder why some people seem to be able to handle life better than others? Everyone likes to think that they have what it takes to survive adversity and tough times, but when the chips are down, some folks definitely do better than others.

The real survivors in life (not the participants in the recent glut of “reality” survivor TV shows that only seem to bring out the worst in human behaviour) have developed personalities that allow them more options. They also have a strong and clear intention to survive, and to do it in good shape. When problems or setbacks occur, they don’t waste time complaining and they don’t dwell on the past or what they’ve lost. Instead, their energies are focused on getting things to turn out well.

Survivors believe that, no matter what happens to them, they are the ones who are in charge of their destinies. They don’t get mad at the world for not treating them better, but they do have an extensive menu of behaviours they can choose from, depending on the situation. In other words, survivors are option thinkers, instead of black and white, either/or thinkers.

They also have a wonderful ability to laugh at adversity because they know that even if they lose everything else, they will still have themselves. People with survivor personalities can walk confidently into the unknown because they expect to find a way to make things work out.

So, if you want to be a true survivor, try focusing your attention less on safety and security and more on developing positive beliefs and expectations.


Thursday, July 07, 2011

Positive Leadership: Do Their Eyes Shine?

Boston Philharmonic Orchestra Conductor Ben Zander had a startling realisation at the age of 45 as it occurred to him that “the conductor doesn’t make a sound. His power depends on his ability to make other people powerful. My job is to awaken possibility in others. If their eyes are shining, you know you are successful.”

Zander’s lesson is a valuable one for those in leadership.


Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Positive Leadership: How to Lead From a Distance

Let’s face it; the days of everyone going to work and seeing everyone you work with are gone forever! 

Separation brings a whole new set of issues and challenges. And leaders must adapt by bridging the gaps that occur when people work apart from one another.

One of the things that leaders need to do is to demonstrate reliability to each team member so that people have confidence that you, as a leader, will honour the commitments you make.

Here are a few reliability trust builders for your consideration:
  • Keep a written list of all agreements/promises/commitments you make, check it frequently.
  •  Ask your people to tell you one thing you can do to be more reliable in their eyes – then DO IT!
  • Be available to support and respond to team members. When not available, follow up as soon as possible.


Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Positive Leadership: Endurance on the Field and at Work

Kathy Button Bell is vice president and chief marketing officer at Emerson, the manufacturing and technology company in St. Louis. A sports background, she says, “makes you a good sharer” and more empathetic in the office.

'I think everybody benefits from having played sports.  It makes you a good sharer, for one thing, in lots of ways.  And it makes you more empathetic in general.  I love to see sports in a résumé.'


Monday, July 04, 2011

Positive Leadership: Leadership Quotes 2


Sunday, July 03, 2011

Positive Leadership: Leadership Quotes


Saturday, July 02, 2011

Positive Leadership: Ethical Leadership

How do we know what’s ethical or what’s the right thing to do? 

Here are some solid leadership guidelines for you and your team members.

  • Is it legal?
  • Does it comply with our rules and guidelines?
  • Is it in sync with our organisational values?
  • Will I be comfortable and guilt-free if I do it?
  • Does it match our stated commitments and guarantees?
  • Would I do it to my family or friends?
  • Would I be perfectly okay with someone doing it to me?
  • Would the most ethical person I know do it?