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

Follow us on Twitter @posleadership


Friday, June 29, 2012

Positive Leadership: Great Mentors

Most of us can identify at least one person, sometimes more, who has served us as a valued mentor.  This is or was an individual whose fundamental function was to help us–the newcomer–into an organisation, a profession or the world.  Mentors are traditionally accomplished individuals with extensive knowledge and experience in their field who play a supportive role in overseeing and encouraging the development of less experienced, knowledgeable individuals with the expressed purpose of facilitating a mentee’s personal and professional development.

There are several mentor characteristics that form the foundation for establishing and exercising an effective mentoring relationship.  Rather than behaviours displayed, these qualities are personal traits and intentions possessed and displayed by the mentor.  Because a mentor becomes much more that a ‘career coach’–something more akin to a trusted friend and confidant–the quality of the mentor’s character becomes a primary issue as does their purposes for choosing to mentor.

Before one can enter the role of a mentor, this person must be someone with a very high degree of credibility. A mentee is not likely going to pay much heed to someone who lacks credibility in the areas for which they seek mentoring.  Credibility may come from a significant amount of experience, a reputation for achieving outstanding results, having extensive and current knowledge of the field, and being known as an active learner as demonstrated by reading, attendance at seminars, continued coursework, professional memberships, and the like.

A second critical characteristic is integrity.  For a mentee to form a bond of trust and respect, a mentor must adhere to codes of both personal and professional ethics.  Honesty and accuracy of information are hallmarks of a relationship that serves a mentee well.  A mentor is often required to inform a mentee of things the mentee may not want to hear.  But if the mentee believes the mentor has their best interest at heart and is a person of integrity, the information will be received as it was intended.

A third quality shared by effective mentors is the perspectives they hold of their roles as mentors.  Effective mentors see the primary purpose of a mentoring relationship as assisting mentees in becoming competent, contributing members of a society or profession.  Therefore, effective mentors interact with mentees in ways intended to inspire mentees to want to become better–both as people and professionals.To this end, effective mentors offer support and guidance to their mentees’ attempts to set stretch goals.   This may require the mentor to make the mentee feel secure enough to take appropriate risks in order to achieve goals, gain needed experience, or develop important professional skills.  In many cases, this means giving mentees the confidence to rise above their inner doubts and fears.

Finally, effect mentors will often present opportunities and challenges for mentees that they may not have had on their own.  In doing so, mentors provide the means for mentees to take action toward achieving their goals, gain necessary experience to understand the significance of the role demands of a professional, and begin to build a resume of skills and accomplishments that will serve the mentee as they build their professional career.

Research provides strong evidence that there are a myriad of benefits accrued, not only by the mentee, but the mentor as well. Potential benefits derived by a mentor from an effective mentoring relationship include: a) increased social status in the organisation, b) improved job performance c) significant personal learning, and d) quality social interaction and satisfaction.  But to achieve the benefits of an effective mentoring relationship, one must first possess the requisite traits and qualities that will serve as the foundation for good mentoring. 

Do you have what it takes?


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Positive Leadership: What Great CEO's Do Well

The "best of the best" CEO’s tend to share the following eight core beliefs:

1. Business is an ecosystem, not a battlefield.
Average bosses see business as a conflict between companies, departments and groups. They build huge armies of "troops" to order about, demonise competitors as "enemies," and treat customers as "territory" to be conquered.

Extraordinary bosses see business as a symbiosis where the most diverse firm is most likely to survive and thrive. They naturally create teams that adapt easily to new markets and can quickly form partnerships with other companies, customers ... and even competitors.

2. A company is a community, not a machine.

Average bosses consider their company to be a machine with employees as cogs. They create rigid structures with rigid rules and then try to maintain control by "pulling levers" and "steering the ship."

Extraordinary bosses see their company as a collection of individual hopes and dreams, all connected to a higher purpose. They inspire employees to dedicate themselves to the success of their peers and therefore to the community–and company–at large.

3. Management is service, not control.
Average bosses want employees to do exactly what they're told. They're hyper-aware of anything that smacks of insubordination and create environments where individual initiative is squelched by the "wait and see what the boss says" mentality.

Extraordinary bosses set a general direction and then commit themselves to obtaining the resources that their employees need to get the job done. They push decision making downward, allowing teams form their own rules and intervening only in emergencies.

4. My employees are my peers, not my children.

Average bosses see employees as inferior, immature beings that simply can't be trusted if not overseen by a patriarchal management. Employees take their cues from this attitude, expend energy on looking busy and covering their behinds.

Extraordinary bosses treat every employee as if he or she were the most important person in the firm. Excellence is expected everywhere, from the loading dock to the boardroom. As a result, employees at all levels take charge of their own destinies.

5. Motivation comes from vision, not from fear.

Average bosses see fear--of getting fired, of ridicule, of loss of privilege--as a crucial way to motivate people.  As a result, employees and managers alike become paralysed and unable to make risky decisions.

Extraordinary bosses inspire people to see a better future and how they'll be a part of it.  As a result, employees work harder because they believe in the organisation's goals, truly enjoy what they're doing and (of course) know they'll share in the rewards.

6. Change equals growth, not pain.

Average bosses see change as both complicated and threatening, something to be endured only when a firm is in desperate shape. They subconsciously torpedo change ... until it's too late.

Extraordinary bosses see change as an inevitable part of life. While they don't value change for its own sake, they know that success is only possible if employees and organisation embrace new ideas and new ways of doing business.

7. Technology offers empowerment, not automation.

Average bosses adhere to the old IT-centric view that technology is primarily a way to strengthen management control and increase predictability. They install centralised computer systems that dehumanise and antagonise employees.

Extraordinary bosses see technology as a way to free human beings to be creative and to build better relationships. They adapt their back-office systems to the tools, like smartphones and tablets, which people actually want to use.

8. Work should be fun, not mere toil.

Average bosses buy into the notion that work is, at best, a necessary evil. They fully expect employees to resent having to work, and therefore tend to subconsciously define themselves as oppressors and their employees as victims. Everyone then behaves accordingly.

Extraordinary bosses see work as something that should be inherently enjoyable–and believe therefore that the most important job of manager is, as far as possible, to put people in jobs that can and will make them truly happy.


Positive Leadership: You Don't Get to Choose the Role You Play

Sami Jo Small’s motto in life is you don’t get to choose the role you play, but you get to choose how you play it, and it’s a motto she says will serve people well in the business world.

Small, is an Olympic athlete and co-founder of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Positive Leadership: Hard Work Builds Winners


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Positive Leadership: Act Like an Optimist

In this brief video Jack Canfield describes a simple technique that will get you thinking, perceiving and acting like an optimist, so you can start enjoying the rewards that come with recognising opportunities...

Try it! But not just once...try it again and again and again until it becomes a habit. Then this "simple trick" will stop being a trick and become a part of who you are.

Here's to your success!


Monday, June 25, 2012

Positive Leadership: Visualisation as a Tool for Peak Performance

How do athletes, and others who take performance very seriously, bring out the best in themselves?

Athletes began to use leading-edge techniques like mental rehearsal and focused concentration years before the general public had even heard of them. Jack Nicklaus, for example, said that he would "watch a movie" in his head before each shot.  

These days, thanks to many researchers, we know more. Peter Fox and his colleagues at the University of Texas monitored people's brain activities as they performed various body movements and also as they imagined performing the movements. They found that the actual physical movement consistently involved the interaction of several specific areas of the brain. Imagining the movement activated those same areas of the brain

In other words, mental rehearsal of an action puts the mind through a neural workout that is very much like the real thing.  

So whether you're trying to break your own personal best record in a sport or sell a new car to an ambivalent customer, mental rehearsal, or visualisation, can help you prepare for peak performance by walking you through successful strategies and potential pitfalls.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Positive Leadership: The Price of Greatness


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Positive Leadership: The Power of Pause

Maria Shriver, is a mother of four, a Peabody and Emmy Award-winning journalist and producer, a six-time New York Times best-selling author, and an influential voice on the shifting roles, emerging power and evolving needs of women in modern life.

Shriver was California's trailblazing First Lady from 2003 to 2010. Her work is driven by her belief that all of us have the ability to be what she calls Architects of Change -- people who see a problem in their own life or the community around them, then step out of their comfort zone and do what it takes to create the solution.

Excerpts from the USC Annenberg School of Communication 2012 Commencement Address by Maria Shriver:

"But today, I have one wish for you. Before you go out and press that fast forward button, I'm hoping - I'm praying - that you'll have the courage to first press the pause button."

"That's right: the pause button. I hope if you learn anything from me today, you learn and remember -- The Power of the Pause."

"Pausing allows you to take a beat -- to take a breath in your life. As everybody else is rushing around like a lunatic out there, I dare you to do the opposite."


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Positive Leadership: Controlling Your Mind Through Positive Intelligence

Daniel Goleman made a compelling and accurate case nearly two decades ago that Emotional Intelligence (EQ) was more important to leadership effectiveness and performance than IQ. But most attempts at increasing EQ have resulted only in temporary improvements. The reason is that a more foundational and core intelligence has been ignored, which is a pre-cursor to high EQ, namely Positive Intelligence (PQ). Without a solid PQ foundation, many of our attempts at improvements fail due to self-sabotage.

Your mind is your best friend, but it is also your worst enemy, involved in self-sabotage. To illustrate, when your mind tells you that you should prepare for tomorrow’s important meeting, it is acting as your friend, causing positive action. When it wakes you up at 3:00 a.m. anxious about the meeting and warning you for the hundredth time about the many consequences of failing, it is acting as your enemy; it is simply exhausting your mental resources without any redeeming value. No friend would do that.

Your PQ is the percentage of time your mind is serving you as opposed to sabotaging you. For example, a PQ of 75 means that your mind is serving you 75% of the time and sabotaging you about 25% of the time. Compelling evidence from a synthesis of research in psychology, neuroscience, and organisational science shows that with higher PQ teams and professionals ranging from leaders to salespeople perform 30-35% better on average. What’s more, they report being far happier and less stressed.

In this video, author and Stanford lecturer Shirzad Chamine introduces Positive Intelligence. He shows how your Positive Intelligence score or PQ dramatically affects both your performance and personal fulfilment. He reveals the 10 Saboteurs that are our hidden internal enemies and how to combat them.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Positive Leadership: The Power of Teamwork

This powerful and compelling video explores the essence of teamwork and reinforces the key principles embraced by the ultimate performance team: the US Navy Blue Angels.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Positive Leadership: With Hard Work Anyone Can Be Brilliant!

In this presentation to design and illustration students from the University of Cumbria, England, Kevin Roberts, CEO Worldwide of Saatchi & Saatchi talks about the great importance of creative design solutions and the challenge to create a future that is: Vibrant, Unreal, Crazy and Astounding. 

As one student said to him after the presentation: ‘….thank you for ……making me realise that there is no reason at all that with hard work, I can’t be brilliant.’


Friday, June 15, 2012

Positive Leadership: Anything Is Possible!

Arthur Boorman was a disabled veteran of the Gulf War for 15 years, and was told by his doctors that he would never be able to walk on his own, ever again.

His story is proof, that we cannot place limits on what we are capable of doing, because we often do not know our own potential.

Do not waste any time thinking you are stuck - you can take control over your life, and change it faster than you might think.

Hopefully this story can inspire you to follow your dreams - whatever they may be.

Anything is Possible!


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Positive Leadership: Roger Federer and Mental Toughness

In a recent forum in Rotterdam Roger Federer opened up about reinventing himself. 

He said that though talent and determination to win are two key factors in his successful career, what took him from good to great is developing mental toughness. 

“…Fighting your own demons is a difficult thing,” he says. “I had them when I was younger… afraid of the unknown and [asking yourself questions] ‘How confident are you?’ and ‘Are you doing the right things?’ A lot of open questions are sometimes a difficult thing to handle - especially if you bring in the pressure.”

Sport is emotional, tennis especially so because of the one-to-one intensity. No team-mates to lean back on. If you have watched any major tennis match you’ll understand how the intensity can help and hinder the best on court. Players collapse on their knees in tears from relief or scream to the gods in frustration. Being able to play an opponent for hours requires the mastering of self-belief and the ability to stay focused allowing your intuition to guide you.

The same rules apply to business and life.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Positive Leadership: Changing Your Mindset

"When people believe they can change, they react differently." Professor Carol Dweck on growth mindset

Professor Carol Dweck has reduced student aggression and other behaviour problems in American high schools and increased adults' willingness to compromise in the Middle East by teaching about the malleable nature of people's thoughts, feelings, and behaviour.

She discussed her recent research as part of a briefing for nonprofit and corporate leaders at "The Science of Getting People to Do Good" conference at the Center for Social Innovation of the Stanford Graduate School of Business.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Positive Leadership: Why Feedback?

  • Human beings are intentional animals.
  • Embedded self-disclosure.
  • Builds relationship.
  • Pinches before crunches.
  • Promotes intellectual honesty.
  • Key to development.


Monday, June 11, 2012

Positive Leadership: Excellence Under Pressure

Two people who had survived intense pressure and tasted success last year were Graham Henry and Richie McCaw. As respective coach and captain of the All Blacks they were tasked with bringing home the Rugby World Cup silverware and a nation of five million supporters weren’t going to accept anything less.

Success in sport can often hinge on how much a team wants to win and in high stakes situations mental toughness can play a crucial role.

Henry believes that his eight years coaching the All Blacks proved mentally tougher for his family than for him. "They go through more difficult times than you, because they have no control over it, and you have. You're at the coalface, doing the job, and it dissipates the pressure; you are so involved in the process you don't worry too much about the result.”

Henry is now passing on his knowledge to other sporting teams as a “mentor”. He’s involved with Super 15 rugby team the Blues, Argentina’s national rugby team the Pumas, and Sport New Zealand’s emerging coaches from disciplines such as yachting and cycling.

In a recent interview, Richie McCaw opened up about the sort of pressure he is under as All Blacks captain. “There is always pressure going into any match, I have accepted that. Everyone expects the All Blacks to win every time they go on the field. If you try and say there is no pressure you are kidding yourself. I try to put it aside and just be excited by the opportunity.”

He goes on to say that being the best player he can be is key to supporting his team. Walking the talk and leading by example are traits of role model Todd Blackadder (former All Black), which Richie hopes to emulate.

Psyching yourself up is a particularly effective mental toughness tool and we all do it before a big occasion because it helps to give us courage or the “edge”. Perhaps it is no coincidence that the world’s most successful rugby team, the All Blacks, also have the most elaborate mental warm up – the Haka!


Friday, June 08, 2012

Positive Leadership: Success for the Successful: The Kobe System

If you haven't experienced the Kobe System for yourself, you must not know what it feels like to be over the top!

This is because the Kobe System isn't just about getting to the top; it's about going over the top! Success for the Successful is Kobe Bryant's winning, results-oriented philosophy on how to adapt to succeed.

In this motivational speech, Kobe makes clear that just because you're the GOAT doesn't mean you're done dominating. The KobeSystem helps ex NFL star, Jerry Rice come to that hard conclusion.


Thursday, June 07, 2012

How Positive Leadership Can Help You: Building Leadership Strength is a Business Imperative

It is mission critical that organisations consistently review how their employees perceive their leaders’ actions and efforts. Strong leadership, at all levels of an organisation, is central to organisational success – it improves employee retention, morale, productivity, engagement and ultimately, profitability.  

Building leadership strength and depth is a business imperative – but it can be expensive. In today’s economy, leadership development expenses will likely have to meet certain standards of proof of impact or return on investment.

So, how do organisations improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their leadership development programmes and processes, to ensure they drive a positive impact, and thereby make them (the organisation) more competitive?

Positive Leadership works with its clients to identify the best practices, trends and strategic solutions needed to prioritise their investments to achieve the greatest impact on their bottom line.

We address the 4 fundamentals of corporate leadership development strategies and programmes:
  • Selection – we focus on identifying and developing leaders in critical roles at all levels of the organisation
  • Alignment – we continuously align development efforts with distinct business challenges and goals
  • Efficiency – we utilise the most efficient ways to build and deliver learning solutions
  • Effectiveness – we consider the overall business impact beyond the classroom or course, and implement development approaches that reinforce sustainable, and transformational,  behaviour change.
To maximise ROI for leadership development efforts, organisations must effectively plan, implement and evaluate their initiatives. They must create a ‘chain of impact’ that connects leadership development to relevant organisational outcomes.

Positive Leadership provides advice and support in these endeavours.

A relationship with us gets you 3 things:
  • Our knowledge
  • Our experience
  • Our commitment to helping you achieve the results you want, and need.
For further information please contact: graham.watson@positiveleadership.co.uk


Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Positive Leadership: The Olympic Spirit - Never Quit!

Derek Redmond is best remembered for his performance at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona where he tore his hamstring in the 400 metres semi-final but fought through the pain and, with assistance from his father, managed to complete a full lap of the track as the crowd gave him a standing ovation.

The incident has become a well-remembered moment in Olympic history, having been the subject of one of the International Olympic Committee's 'Celebrate Humanity' videos and been used in advertisements by Visa as an illustration of the Olympic spirit and featured in Nike's "Courage" commercials in 2008.


Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Positive Leadership: Hard Work Pays Off!

The best people in any field are those who devote the most hours to what the researchers call "deliberate practice." It's activity that's explicitly intended to improve performance, that reaches for objectives just beyond one's level of competence, provides feedback on results and involves high levels of repetition.

For example: Simply hitting a bucket of balls is not deliberate practice, which is why most golfers don't get better. Hitting an eight-iron 300 times with a goal of leaving the ball within 20 feet of the pin 80% of the time, continually observing results and making appropriate adjustments, and doing that for hours every day - that's deliberate practice.

Tiger Woods is a textbook example of what the research shows. Because his father introduced him to golf at an extremely early age - 18 months - and encouraged him to practice intensively, Woods had amassed at least 15 years of practice by the time he became the youngest-ever winner of the U.S. Amateur Championship, at age 18. Also in line with the findings, he has never stopped trying to improve, devoting many hours a day to conditioning and practice, even remaking his swing twice because that's what it took to get even better.

The result? Here is the video of Tiger Woods's dramatic chip-in for birdie on the 16th hole in the final round of the recent Memorial Tournament. Woods went on to win by two shots and tie Jack Nicklaus with 73 career PGA Tour victories.


Positive Leadership: Pledge to 'Be Fearless'!


Monday, June 04, 2012

Positive Leadership: Values Ground an Organisation

The chances are your organisation has a set of values, operating principles or organisational expectations. They typically include items such as integrity, customer service, quality, respect, high performance, leadership, innovation etc. These corporate values interact with the personal values which individual members of the organisation bring to work each and every day. 

However, in order to build a winning organisation, where the execution of business strategy is assured and optimised in all circumstances, it is important that corporate and individual values are harnessed within a framework of leadership values.

Leadership values “ground” an organisation – providing direction for people that find themselves in ambiguous situations. They are guides for decision-making. When employees encounter situations in which they must choose one course of action from a number of different alternatives, they can turn to their leadership values for help. Approached from the context of values, decisions often become less complicated and stress-inducing.

When it comes to leadership values, your job as a leader is critically important. You have a two-fold responsibility. First, you need to make sure that everyone understands what the values are and what they mean. Then, you need to guide people in practicing those values in their day-to-day work lives. It is the right thing to do for yourself, your team members and your organisation.

Lead well ... LEAD RIGHT!


Friday, June 01, 2012

Positive Leadership: Five Management Lessons from Olympic Athletes

Athletes are preparing hard for London 2012 at present. Once the Games are over, the memories - and lessons – will remain. Whether you're a sports fan or not, there are valuable lessons to be learned when you view the efforts and results of these amazing athletes from the perspective of leadership and peak performance. 

Here are 5 such lessons - one for each Olympic ring - to take to work this week:

They keep score
Olympic athletes know how they are doing all the time. They know their results, but they also know their progress and improvement. If you want to improve your performance, you’ve got to keep score of your own efforts and results.

They have clear goals
Every athlete has a goal for the Olympics. To some, just qualifying to be there is the target, while, for others, a medal - or a specific medal, gold - is the obsession. In whichever case, the athletes are all clear about their goals. You must duplicate that precision in your own work life.

They practice
Actually, they practice, practice, practice - and practice some more. They don't expect world-class performance after only putting in occasional efforts in training. They know to be their best, they must practice in focused and strategic ways to reach their goals. Do you practice like a champion? Are you as diligent and consistent in learning the skills that will help you succeed as they are?

They play to the end
They know where the finish line is, and they don't stop until they hit it. They pick themselves up after falling and continue, or even ignore injuries in their zeal to make it to the finish line. Their chance to achieve their goal may be lost but they don't stop. And you will rarely hear them blaming others for results, unlike many folks in the workplace who constantly berate scapegoats. Olympic athletes play to the end, remaining singularly focused on their endeavour. Do you?

They have coaches
It's unheard of for these world-class athletes not to have a coach. Even though they are among the best in the world, they recognise that they need help to keep improving their performance. It's the same for achieving success in the office. The best thing you can do to improve your own or your staff's performance is to find a coach.