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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Positive Leadership: Top 25 Ranking for our Blog


Positive Leadership: Great Leaders Continue to GROW

Great leaders make the choice to GROW in four areas:

Gain Knowledge. Gain self-knowledge, knowledge of others, your industry, and the field of leadership

Reach Out to Others. You need to be proactive about helping others grow if you’re going to grow and learn. Teaching isn’t just about sharing information, it’s also about helping people draw out new learnings for themselves by the questions you ask.

Open Your World. You will add much more value as a leader if you open up and expand your world with leadership experiences and life experiences. Be on the lookout for experiences inside and outside work that will make you a better leader over time.

Walk Toward Wisdom. Growth in wisdom has no formula, but it almost always involves at least one of four elements: rigorous self-evaluation, honest feedback, counsel from others, and time.

The two primary reasons leaders get off track are ego and fear. For many leaders, their ego is fueled by a heightened sense of confidence—you might call it overconfidence or pride. This, combined with the fear of losing control, often prevents leaders from serving people and growing.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Positive Leadership: The 'Secret' of Success

The secret of success can be described in one word. 

We have studied success. We have also spent a lot of time in the company of respected research psychologists, talking about what makes some people succeed and others collapse - the difference, in short, between the cans and the can-nots, the do's and the do-nots.

And after this study and research, we can tell you one thing with the utmost confidence: the secret of success is "Attitude." That's it. And it is really not a secret. People who succeed do not have fewer problems than other people. They do not start out with the most brainpower or better parents or more money, either.

As a matter of fact, sometimes they start out working against incredible odds. But they have a way of looking at things, a way of seeing obstacles as possibilities, a way of hanging in there and making the most of every opportunity that almost guarantees success. If you are running up against an unexpected challenge, do an attitude check. Ask yourself, "Am I not seeing the way around, because of an attitude?"

You are successful - and flexible, optimistic and hardworking. So if you want to sum it up in a word, it is not difficult to do: success is a question of attitude.


Positive Leadership: Correlation between High Performance and Investment in Leadership Development

Just over two out of five bosses consider their line managers to be ineffective, according to a study into the business benefits of management and leadership development, released today by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and Penna.

The research shows organisational performance and management abilities to be clearly linked - with only 39% of managers in low performing businesses deeming their line managers to be effective, compared to 80% in high performing organisations.

The CMI-Penna report, produced with Henley Business School, draws on findings from almost 4,500 managers, including more than 300 CEOs and 550 HR decision makers.

The research provides evidence showing how management and leadership development activities can lead to increases of up to 32% in people performance and 23% in overall organisational performance, across organisations of all sectors and sizes.

The findings show high performing organisations spend on average 36% more on management and leadership development per manager per year than low performing ones.


Monday, February 27, 2012

Positive Leadership: Allow Talent to Flourish

Former General Electric ceo, Jack Welch talks here about the lessons from the Jeremy Lin story - 'Every company is filled with young talent just waiting to explode. Don’t let the bureaucracy keep them on the bench.' 

For more, see: http://blogs.reuters.com/jack-and-suzy-welch/2012/02/24/jeremy-lin-lessons-from-the-linsanity


Friday, February 24, 2012

Positive Leadership: Lessons from Linsanity

In the US today, Jeremy Lin is the man-of-the-moment, the new New York Knick Rock Star. Lin’s face is everywhere. The Knicks point guard has taken the world by storm. He has led the Knicks to a winning record since he became a starter.  His highlights include hitting a game-winning 3 pointer at the buzzer to beat the Toronto Raptors and nationally televised wins over Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers and the defending champion Dallas Mavericks. During this time Lin became the first NBA player to score at least 20 points and have seven assists in each of his first five starts. Ever.

But here’s the part of the story that bothers us: Many in the media are portraying Jeremy Lin as an “overnight LINsation,” as ESPN put it.

Let’s look at what Lin’s “overnight” really looked like.

Lin said he dreamed of playing in the NBA as a child. There’s a You Tube of 6 year-old Jeremy Lin showing off his dribbling skills. The product of two 5-foot-6 engineers, most laughed when he laid out his career choice.

As a high school senior, he led Palo Alto (CA) High School to a state championship over nationally ranked #1 Mater Dei High School. His coach was quoted as saying that the school was so well known for its academics that when the players returned with the trophy, they were reminded “how well the robotics club” had done the same week.

Lin sent out 25 DVDs and resumes to colleges, yet received no college scholarship offers – not even from Stanford, which was less than a mile from Lin’s High School! He chose to play basketball for Harvard. Ivy League schools offer no athletic scholarships.

In his junior year Lin was the only NCAA Division 1 player to rank in the top ten in his conference in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals, blocked shots, field goal percentage, free throw percentage, and three-point shot percentage.

Lin’s name was not called in the 2010 NBA draft.

He signed with his hometown favourite, Golden State Warriors but spent most of the 2010 season on the inactive list.

Three times that year he was sent down to the developmental league then called back up to the Warriors. 

He finished his rookie season averaging 2.6 points per game playing in 29 games for the Warriors.

Lin sought the advice of coaches on his weaknesses, then hired a shooting coach during the off season and worked hard to improve his shot.  

On the first day of the 2011 training camp the Warriors waived Lin. The Houston Rockets claimed him off waivers three days later.

Lin played seven minutes in two pre-season games for the Rockets. The Rockets waived Lin on Christmas Eve.

On December 27th the Knicks signed Lin as a back-up. Three weeks later, he was sent back to the developmental league.

On January 23rd Lin was called back up by the Knicks.

On February 4th Lin had 25 points, 5 rebounds, and 7 assists in a victory over the Nets.

Then the LINsanity started!

Look how long it took Jeremy Lin to become an “overnight” success. Look at that roller coaster of emotions. No scholarship offers? Not drafted? Cut on Christmas Eve? Yes, Lin admitted to crying. Yes, Lin admits that he thought about quitting.

The Roman philosopher Seneca once stated, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

The problem is most of us see a guy like Lin and focus on the eye-popping lightning storm of his success. We don’t want to look at the ugly, monotonous, boring dust storm that was his preparation.

The second part of the Jeremy Lin story that inspires us is that he kept fighting and working until he found the right situation for his talents. He had to land in the right environment with the right coach to become a “sensation.” Mike D’Antoni was indeed the right coach to use the skill set that Lin had, but it took timing and misfortune of having stars Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire out for Lin to be given room to operate in his own style. Ironically, people are now wondering if superstar Anthony is the one that can fit in with the formerly unknown Jeremy Lin.

The lessons from Jeremy Lin’s story are many. Believe… Persevere... Practice… Improve… Believe… Persevere… Practice… Improve…

And in the end you have to find the right place, the right time, the right environment, the right coach that will allow you to unleash your greatest potential.

So if you are not there keep searching, because only you can find the place and the people that set you on your path to success!

Story time is over, now this is about you as a leader.

Who is your Jeremy Lin?  Who on your team have you “decided” on?  We are not talking about your high potential person on that list in the succession plan.  We are talking about your third stringer, the person that you “know” will always be a marginal performer.

What do you really know?

Have you given them reins and a chance to perform?

Or are you stifling them with your assessment of their potential?

Jeremy Lin is a basketball player. He has, and is, working hard at his craft. He certainly hasn’t given up or felt sorry for himself, but this story is as much about coaches and scouts and leaders as is it about Jeremy.

The best leaders look for and see the potential in their team members.  If you don’t see it, you won’t give people an opportunity to use it, develop it, and move towards that potential.

Do you see third string guards or Jeremy Lins?

Be careful what you look for, you are very likely to find it.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Positive Leadership: It's All About Winning

Nick Bollettieri President & Founder, IMG Performance Institute, talks about winning and leadership:


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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Positive Leadership: Our Response to Winning and Losing

Only one team wins the 6 Nations.

For each player on the winning team after the game there is a player on the other team going home disappointed without the joy of victory.

It's a lot like life.

Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose.

Sometimes we win the account, the game, the job promotion, the award and sometimes we lose the very thing we want most.

Winning matters. Losing matters. But in life what matters most is what we do with our wins and losses.

When we win do we become complacent or stay humble and hungry?

People often say that success breeds success but often it breeds complacency. After a win people think they can just show up and achieve the same result, forgetting the effort, determination and mindset it took to achieve the win.

To continue winning it's essential to turn the euphoria of winning into a fire of burning desire that fuels your continuous improvement, passion, and quest for excellence.

Even more important than what we do after our wins is how we respond to our losses.

Do we give up or come back stronger?

Do we allow the loss to act like a cancer that eats away at us for the rest of our life or do we turn it into a learning opportunity that leads to our healthy growth?

Everyone loses but the key is to make the LOSS stand for something. 

LOSS (Learning Opportunity, Stay Strong)

When we lose we ask what we can learn from this loss and how we can improve because of it. Then we stay strong and work harder to come back and try to win.

This leads to more wins in the future...and also eventually more loses...and more learning opportunities and opportunities to stay strong and develop our character.

Through this process of winning and losing we learn the greatest lesson of all:

No matter how hard we work and how much we improve there will be times when we experience the worst of defeats instead of the greatest of victories. But ultimately life is about more than winning or losing. It’s about the lessons we learn, the character and strength we build and the people we become along the way.

Whether we win the big game or not, when we realise this we will surely be a winner in the game of life!


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Positive Leadership: Making Informal Mentoring Work

Here are eight steps to follow in making an informal leadership mentoring programme work:

Step #1: Identify one or two specific leadership skills you feel that you could improve through mentoring. Is it your ability to make strategic decisions in a quick and decisive manner? Is it your ability to recognise and develop talent to improve the success of your department and yourself? Something else?

Step #2: Now assess what style of leadership is best suited to you. (As you know, not everyone leads in the same way.) Are you more collaborative as a leader, working through consensus? Or are you a decisive type of leader who makes the decisions and motivates others to follow those decisions?

Step #3: Determine whether you want a mentor who mirrors your leadership style so that you can improve upon how you lead…or decide if finding a mentor with a different leadership style might challenge you more and help you grow as a leader by adding new dimensions to your own personal style.

Step #4: Consider the type of person you want as a mentor. For informal mentoring to work, you have to have focus. The first three steps have provided you with this focus. But the other important component needed is the relationship aspect. Think about the personal qualities and/or communication styles that you respond to. Do you want a mentor who is more sociable than business-like? Or one who is more of a thinker than a doer? Perhaps you respond better to warmth and friendliness rather than someone who is more aloof, despite his or her success.

Step #5: Now make a list of potential leaders who you may want to approach as mentors. These people could be in your company, but they could also be elsewhere, such as an alumni organisation or networking group. Don’t forget to ask colleagues for recommendations as well. An important point: this may be obvious, but it's worth saying: only put leaders with proven track records on your list.

Step #6: Approach and interview the candidates. Have a conversation with at least three of the leaders on your list to evaluate if the person would be the right fit for you. Approaching potential mentors and eventually asking "the winner" to be your mentor are the hardest steps in the process. Remember, it's how you approach the person that makes all the difference.

Here's one strategy for doing just that:

• Make contact via phone or email introducing yourself and indicating that you are working on self-improvement in the area of leadership and that you would welcome input from an experienced leader who has been successful in this area. Would this person have 30 minutes or so to have a discussion with you on your goals and how best to approach these? Maybe you could do this over lunch, as you would also like to thank that person for his or her time.
• If you feel the person might indeed be a good fit, ask him or her (at the end of the meeting) if you could stay in touch with any follow-up questions. The person's response – and HOW he or she responds – will be a good indicator as to whether your assessment is on target. Does the person sound welcoming and enthusiastic about staying in touch? Or does the person sound noncommittal?
• Send a handwritten thank you note. In a pinch, an email will do, but nothing beats a personal note of thanks. (Note: you should still send a thank you, even if you've ruled the person out as mentor.)

Step #7: Decide and ask. After interviewing several candidates, you are now ready to ask the person you think is best if he or she will be your informal mentor. Before you do this, it’s important for you to be prepared to specifically state what you're looking for and how you want the relationship to work. Since you’ve already had one or more conversations, your prospect has an idea of what you're seeking, but now be clear and as specific as possible. In addition, you should be prepared to discuss setting some guidelines for your mentoring relationship.

Here are some to consider:

• How often will you meet? Weekly is ideal, and once a month is the recommended minimum.
• Will your meetings take place face-to-face, over the phone, through Skype, or combination of these?
• How will you approach confidential issues?
• How will you communicate to one another if something isn’t working in the relationship?
• How long do you want to meet before you re-assess the need to continue or end the relationship? Note: in formal mentoring programs, the relationship typically lasts nine months to one year. We suggest a minimum of four to six months for an informal relationship.
• Discuss concerns you both have about engaging in this type of relationship.

Step #8: When your chosen mentor has agreed to the informal mentoring relationship, then congratulate yourself for finding someone who will be strategically important to your career and to your growth as a leader. To succeed, make sure you keep to the guidelines you’ve agreed to in Step # 7.

Here's to your leadership success!


Monday, February 20, 2012

Positive Leadership: Why Do People Succeed?

Why do people succeed? Is it because they're smart? Or are they just lucky? Neither. Analyst Richard St. John condenses years of interviews into an unmissable 3-minute slideshow on the real secrets of success.

1. Passion - Do it for love, not money
2. Work - Nothing comes easily, but be a ‘workafrolic’ not a workaholic
3. Good - Become really good at what you do
4. Focus - Centre your attention on one thing
5. Push - Drive yourself mentally and physically
6. Serve - Offer other people something of value
7. Ideas - Listen, be curious, problem solve and make connections
8. Persist - The number one reason for success

Friday, February 17, 2012

Positive Leadership: Practice Makes Perfect


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Positive Leadership: Learning from Olympians

How can we learn from our athletes currently preparing for the Olympic Games? 

By exploring 5 of the core principles these elite performers work to in the world of sport, we can translate these into practical strategies for success in the world of work.

Have a clear vision of where you want to go

Successful sports teams have a specific moment in time when they want to achieve their goals. Usually in business we have to deliver consistently great performances throughout the year in order to achieve our strategic goals. So how do we do this?

Making sure we understand the overall vision of the organisation is vital, as well as agreeing clearly defined goals for ourselves which align with these strategic goals and help us to develop as individuals. The challenge here is to make the time to re-visit these goals on a regular basis and review our performances in the context of these goals throughout the year.

Focus on what really matters

Elite sports men and women will ask the question of every process or action they take, will this add value? Will doing this make me jump higher, run faster, throw further?

Once you have total clarity on your goals and where you are going, the key then is to ensure that you focus your time and energies on activities that are congruent with those goals. How good are you at saying no to demands on your time which do not ultimately contribute to the performance indicators you have in place? How well do we prioritise our time to deal with tasks which we may not enjoy so much but which are critical to achieving our goals?

Another key phrase from sport, “Control the Controllables” relates to this concept too. Once you have clarity on what really matters and the ability to stick to that, it’s also really helpful to be realistic about what’s in your sphere of influence and work hard to avoid getting bogged down on the things you can’t make an impact on.

Work to strengths

Maximise what you’re great at and ensure your players are in the right positions. This practice of constantly analysing core strengths and moving the team around accordingly is second nature within sport.

In business we potentially have less flexibility to be able to adjust our roles and responsibilities every week. But, just having a regular review of your strengths can mean that putting yourself forward for projects, secondments or just covering a colleague's work provides you with great opportunities to maximise your performance and maintain your motivation.

Do things differently

Only by innovating and challenging the norm can you gain a competitive advantage in sport and business. Look at Dick Fosbury and his controversial innovation in the high jump, which led to the adoption of the 'Fosbury Flop' as the accepted technique to enable an athlete to jump as high as humanly possible. Hard to imagine now that before Fosbury competitors used to scissor jump over the bar!

In the commercial world this openness to doing things differently is of course equally vital. It’s easy to get stuck in routines and be blocked by the “we’ve always done it this way” mindset.  Fresh thinking generates great new ways of doing things, and builds engagement and motivation at the same time.

Lead from the front

Whether it’s Usain Bolt’s trademark strut, the quiet authority of Steve Redgrave or the sheer grit of Kelly Holmes, the persona we project has a huge impact on those around us. 

A simple code to live by is to always model best practice. Set the tone with your own brand, your communication, your body language and each one of your interactions. Constantly ask yourself what impact your behaviour and language is having on others, and focus on making it a positive and inspirational one.

With 6 months to the games, Team GB is close to realising their potential, and the great news is that these lessons from their endeavours can be applied directly to our roles and our teams. By emulating these high performance traits you can ensure you produce gold medal winning performances.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Positive Leadership: The Real Test of a Leader

Rudy Giuliani was the Mayor of New York City from 1994 to 2001. He ran for the Republican Party nomination in the 2008 United States presidential election.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Positive Leadership: The Elevator Pitch

Here is a simple and quick (less than 60 second) ‘elevator pitch’ template that will work for most products and services, if it is delivered with passion!

“We sell [product/service deliverable] to [market niche] who want [unmet market need]. Unlike [competition], we [differentiation].”

All you have to do is fill in the brackets and you have the essence of an elevator pitch!


Monday, February 13, 2012

Positive Leadership: #ClintEastwood


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Positive Leadership: Expectations

The best golfers in the world experience the same things you do. It is important that they stick to the process and plan that they put together for success. When expectations get ahead of their own present preparation, it opens the door for frustration and anger. That becomes the expectations spiral that results in struggling and poor performance.

To get out of the expectations spiral, focus on today and what you can control. Commit to your own process. Replace expectations with demands – demands focus on your investment and actions. Expectations involve results, so by committing to demands, you are investing in your process.

Enjoy the read!


Friday, February 10, 2012

Positive Leadership: Google Ranking


Positive Leadership: Routine is a Key to Winning

'For me the secret to winning isn't about some kind of magic. It is all about minimising mistakes and luck comes from working harder at it. I'm a massive believer in routine. When you have something really important and complex to do like sport - or anything else for that matter - then you need to keep everything in order. Each morning has to be the same right up to when the start gun fires. Routine allows your brain to concentrate on the things that matter.'

Iain Percy
Team GB Olympic Gold Medal Sailor


Thursday, February 09, 2012

Positive Leadership: Resilience

Because we always make mistakes and always will, one of the most important qualities for business success is resilience—the ability to bounce back from failure, to turn around a bad situation, to profit from your mistakes.

Point One: Those who persevere win. Be resilient and welcome failure. That’s how you become a better businessperson.

Point Two: You learn by refusing to make excuses and looking inside yourself for the reason things have gone wrong.

Point Three: Focus and discipline are more important than identifying opportunities, but they have to be balanced with flexibility.

Point Four: The solutions are seldom right in front of you. You need to learn how to spot them out of the corner of your eye.


Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Positive Leadership: What A Lovely Suit You're Wearing, Emperor

Warning: If you're opening this blog in a good mood, and you want to stay in it, you may want to skip this post and scroll right down to the bonus bits!

Of course, were you to block out the negative, you'd be acting in a way that Bob Sutton probably wouldn't find surprising. 

In a recent blog post, the Stanford management professor opines that leaders can be more easily swayed by positive feedback than by reality. 

Sutton synthesises several recent studies to show how flattery can lead to an inflated self-assessment and distract leaders from what's actually happening on the ground.


Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Positive Leadership: A Checklist for Leadership Action

Here are fifteen essential principles that taken together constitute an irreducible checklist for leadership action:


Monday, February 06, 2012

Positive Leadership: Restoring Trust in Corporate Leadership

Positive Leadership ceo, Graham Watson writes in The CA Magazine about the importance of restoring trust in corporate leadership.


Friday, February 03, 2012

Positive Leadership: Change Your Thinking


Thursday, February 02, 2012

Positive Leadership: What Makes Ben Ainslie a Winner?

British Olympic Gold Medal sailor, Ben Ainslie's reputation as a single-minded competitor has always belied his onshore persona. His dad Roddy describes him as a "placid, ordinary bloke - until he has got a tiller in his hands".

GB Olympic sailing manager Stephen Park agrees: "Ben is considerate and thoughtful onshore, people see him as a gentle giant.

"When he's afloat, in his environment, he's a different animal. He's absolutely driven and determined and nothing is going to get in his way to win. That's what you need to do if you're going to win time after time after time."
Ainslie himself says of his sailing attitude: "When you're racing you're there to win and be successful. If you don't care any more you're not a sailor, you're not a racer and you shouldn't be doing it. It is a competition."


Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Positive Leadership: Your Job as a Leader

My job as a leader is to make sure everybody in the company has great opportunities, and that they feel they're having a meaningful impact and are contributing to the good of society." Larry Page, CEO of Google