|Stop asking a dumb questions like, ‘what do you do?’.
Ask better questions. Every day. In my earlier years when I was naive I thought that my success would increase in proportion to the number of business cards I handed out. I handed them out in droves (printers loved it…) but I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t getting any business. After a few years of experience under my belt I realised that it wasn’t the numbers that count, but the quality of relationships that I nurtured.
|To be a great networker you must become “you” centred rather than “me” centred. Recognise that people want to talk about themselves more than anything. They are their own favourite subjects. Take advantage of that and learn these 10 questions that will make people feel warm, appreciated, and important.
Zig Ziglar, the famous sales trainer once said,
You can get everything in life you want if you just help enough other people get what they want.
This is so true. Thanks Mr. Ziglar.
The following are ten questions that Bob Burg, author of the book, “Endless Referrals” gives to help you get to know potential referrers and leave a lasting positive impression. Try using them today and see this amazing thing happen.
You’ll notice something in common with each of these questions. They all centre around the person you are talking to and allows them an opportunity to talk about themselves. Don’t expect to ask your Centre of Influence each of these questions, but do have a few ready when you talk to others. Think of it as a game – watch Brian Walters brilliant explanation…
Stop doing work you hate. No More Excuses.
So let’s talk about why you keep doing work you hate. Maybe you know the terrifying statistic that over 80% of people don’t enjoy their work and nearly 75% don’t know their passion. These two numbers kill me and maybe they are killing you. We have all had jobs we hated. It’s a rite of passage, and not just for creatives. But you have a secret weapon. Your skills can get you out of this situation. But, and here’s the bad news, it won’t just ‘happen’ – you have to make it happen. You have to take control of your situation and do something productive with it.
You see it’s both scary and crazy to think that so many people are willing continue to act in a way that doesn’t make them happy. Trust me, by now I feel like I’ve seen it all…yet I continue to be surprised.
In the past 3 years I have trained hundred of clients and business to be amazing every day. That alone leaves me in awe. It has and is been massively successful and I love doing it – I am truly passionate about changing lives. I am confident enough to have doubled my charges since January, reject clients (or put them on waiting list) and I am pretty much fully booked.
On top of that, since I started doing this amazing work, I’ve had the chance to literally hear from hundreds and hundreds of people – many of them in terrible pain due to the work they keep doing that they can’t stand. Thankfully for them and many others, who used to hate their work, but have since successfully made the transition to something better. Doing what they are passionate about, every day. T It moves mountains, smashes barriers and I apply it to myself, every day.
The odd thing is I don’t have to try to find new clients – they find me.
So why don’t more people (including you) do something about their situation? The fascinating thing is most people have the same beliefs, reasons and ‘stories’. They all seem to act and repeat the same drama. I’ve heard every reason under the sun for why their situation is different. Why they are unable to break the chains and do something that actually excites them. I have made a list and the vast majority come back to the same few reasons.
As I share these reasons, you may see how similar these things are that are holding you back. After all, the first step is identifying the problem. The next step is doing something about it. Believe me, I know making the transition can be unbelievably challenging. There are examples everywhere of people in worse situations than you, who still manage to find their way. I know because I hear about them all the time and I have collected a list. Do any of these ‘reasons’ sound familiar ? I have not edited them – indeed I use them for all my new clients as a check list:
- Help me Tim, I don’t really know I’m passionate about – what is my why?
- I don’t really know how to make money from my passion – can I make money from it?
- The people around me will think I’m crazy. My friends, family and colleagues tell me all the time it won’t work.
- I don’t have anyone to go to for advice, support or encouragement. It is impossible to do this by myself.
- Work is just a part of life. It’s not something meant to be enjoyed. I am doing my best.
- It’s not possible to do what you love and make a living from it. That is just a dream.
- I can’t find the courage or energy to start. It is easier to keep on keeping on.
- What if I fail? I don’t want to be seen as a failure.
- Nobody around me enjoys their job. It is a fact of life.
- I have a family, mortgage and obligations to be responsible for – I am responsible for others.
- My passion is not the kind of thing you can make money from; it’s just a hobby and that is not a job.
- I’m not qualified enough. There are plenty of experts in my field with more experience than me. What do I know?
- Between my current job, my family, trying to stay healthy and all the other things I have to do, I don’t have any time to work on my passion. It is all too much to even think about.
- I can’t find a job that allows me to leverage my natural strengths. Anyway what strengths do I have?
- It’s too risky. In this economy I need to keep any job security I can find. It is just easier not to rock the boat.
- I have too many passions and interests. There’s no way I could choose just one. And if I did, what if I realize it’s the wrong choice in six or 12 months?
- I can’t find the initiative, the energy and purpose. Please help me.
- I have a terrible time following through – I am so not a completer finisher.
- I’ve never heard of someone who’s been able to make a living off my specific passion – it cant work.
- There’s too much competition and I am a small fish.
- I’m too old and waited too long. I wish I had thought about this 10 years ago. It is too late to change.
- I spent years studying something in university that I can’t stand doing now. But it would be way too much of a waste to switch. I am committed to something I hate.
- I have to be really savvy with the Internet and I don’t know a lot of the modern tools and technology.
- I’m not creative enough and not sure I am any good.
- Finding and keeping a job is hard enough, let alone finding one I love doing – so why bother?
So I’ll ask you again – do any of these sound familiar?
Take another minute and look back through them. Mark the ones you know you’ve played in your head over and over.
The big question is why do you believe these to be true?
This is crucial: every one of the above ‘reasons’ is nothing more than an excuse.
All are these excuses are based on false assumptions. I have tested them and proven them wrong over and over again. I am proud to have done that. Who told you that you can’t? The right stories are everywhere if you want to see them. The inches you need are all round you. Start by reading my Be Amazing Every Day Card and see what jumps out for you.
I invite you to think about the following –
- What were the words that jumped out for you from the BAED card?
- What is your why? If you don’t know read The Hardest Question.
- Identify your real values and learn what you’re good at and don’t ever take a step back.
- Be prepared to get lost in your passion and work harder than you have ever done.
- Every day, without fail go further.
- Discipline wins.
- There are no easy ways but there are right ways.
- Start believing in your self – totally and utterly.
- Lower the hurdle – Make a list of the things that actually make you happy (and the things most people assume will) – you’ll find you probably don’t need as much money or as many things as you think.
- Help someone with something – and start to charge them for it – we will use this a template.
- Doing Work You Love Is The Right Thing. Always.
- If you do that, you can start to move mountains.
It was hearing these excuses (and many more), played on endless repeat from readers, friends, clients and nearly every person I seemed to meet, that finally caused me to create the life you deserve – to be amazing everyday, right now. You actually desperately need a roadmap and the tools to take you from a list of reason you shouldn’t, to every reason why you MUST (why you absolutely must) – and the step-by-step process to go with it.
That’s why I have spent hundreds of hours (a lifetime to be an overnight success – one drop of wisdom) by compiling / reading / researching and applying. I could not be happier – right here, right now. No regrets about the past, no fears of the future. Totally and utterly present. I chop wood. I fetch water. Simple. And I know I am only just getting started.
Excuses are not fact. They are not set in stone. They’re anything but. They are a figment of your imagination. Just thoughts – nothing more. But they are the most dangerous thoughts in the world. Believing them can kill a dream in a heartbeat. But disproving them is what changes the world. Living a life of purpose and passion (BAED) is just that – a way of life. Those who wake up excited aren’t just the lucky ones, they condition themselves to experience and deserve it.
So I’ll ask you one last time…which of these excuses have you been telling yourself?
Let’s see if we can do something about it. You and I both know you can do better. So would do you need to do now?
- Read this again.
- Make notes.
- Ask questions.
- Stop making excuses.
I won’t or can’t tell you the answers as it where it will end up – but I do know it all starts with a decision. I or any great coach, can only help you get the success you deserve when you decide that is what you want. No more excuses.
Peter was after a talking parrot, so he went to the local pet shop in the hope of securing such a find. He was in luck. The shop assistant assured her that the parrot would learn and repeat any word or phrase it heard. Peter was delighted. However, a week later, the parrot still hadn’t spoken a word. Peter returned to the shop to complain, however, it appeared that the assistant was accurate in what he had said and refused a refund. Why didn’t the parrot talk? [answer at the end, but remember the parrot repeats every single word it hears].
Shut up! Like the mute button on the TV remote control, our brains filter out unwanted noise so we can focus on what we’re listening to. Most of us will be familiar with the experience of silently talking to ourselves in our head. That inner monologue usually conducted in silence. Self doubts, insecurities and a general soundtrack or commentary to life.
Have you ever been at the supermarket and realise that you’ve forgotten to pick up something you needed. You might say (outloud), ‘saugages!’ or whatever your temperoary lapse of recall was. Or maybe you have got an important meeting with your boss later in the day, and you’re simulating, (silently in your head) how you think the conversation might go, possibly hearing both your own voice and your boss’s voice responding. This is the phenomenon that psychologists call inner speech, and they’ve been trying to study it pretty much since the dawn of psychology as a scientific discipline.
Our Brain’s have a built in filter for unwanted noise. When it comes to following our own speech, a new brain study from the University of California, Berkeley, shows that instead of one homogenous mute button, we have a network of volume settings that can selectively silence and amplify the sounds we make and hear. They discovered that neurones in one part of the patients’ hearing mechanism were dimmed when they talked, while neurones in other parts lit up. Their findings, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, offer clues about how we hear ourselves above the noise of our surroundings and monitor what we say. Previous studies have shown a selective auditory system in monkeys that can amplify their self-produced mating, food and danger alert calls, but until this latest study, it was not clear how the human auditory system is wired.
With this in mind it might make more sense when we need to really listen to something that is important. Say you have to listen to fill a prescription or enter data that is potentially life threatening if you get it wrong. When we want to listen carefully to someone, the first thing we do is stop talking. The second more surprising thing we do is stop moving altogether. This strategy helps us hear better by preventing unwanted sounds generated by our own movements.
This interplay between movement and hearing also has a counterpart deep in the brain. Indeed, indirect evidence has long suggested that the brain’s motor cortex, which controls movement, somehow influences the auditory cortex, which gives rise to our conscious perception of sound. A new study, in Nature, combines cutting-edge methods in electrophysiology, optogenetics and behavioural analysis to reveal exactly how the motor cortex, seemingly in anticipation of movement, can tweak the volume control in the auditory cortex. The findings contribute to the basic knowledge of how communication between the brain’s motor and auditory cortexes might affect hearing during speech or musical performance.
And the parrot? The parrot was deaf. Therefore it couldn’t repeat a single word it had heard – as it had heard no words at all.
Our bodies are our gardens, to which our wills are gardeners. – Shakespeare’s Othello, I.iii.
Ninety-eight percent of everything scientists know about the brain has been discovered since 1996. So even though I have 5 degrees in neurobiology, teaching, physiology and management, I had to do some extensive research to be able to give you the latest findings that will help you reach your goals. There are so many books, blogs and so-called experts / gurus / consultants out there who think they have a quick solution to being successful in business. I am here to tell you they are short changing you.
You can Be Amazing Every Day, but it takes time, discipline, energy and lots of motivation. I love showing people how this works for them as individuals, as teams and as a business. Once you understand exactly how the brain works, you will be able to condition it to focus on reaching your dreams.
The latest findings show that by regularly writing your goals down, visualising your intended result, and passionately saying affirmations you actually physically change your brain’s neurons and hard-wire your subconscious mind to focus like a guided missile on reaching your dreams and goals.
The human brain has 100 billion neurons, each neuron connected to 10 thousand other neurones. Sitting on your shoulders is the most complicated object in the known universe.
I love the fact that modern science has finally proven what successful athletes and entrepreneurs have known all along. That there are ways we can change ourselves to become the type of person capable of achieving our dreams, This means that no matter how bleak you past has been, you can make a choice to have an unbelievably successful future because if we can change the wiring in our brain, the past does not have to equal the future. Beliefs are developed in the subconscious mind. If you don’t believe you can succeed, you need to change those beliefs by programming your subconscious mind.
In the last 10 years, a new field of neuroscience has mapped the mental zone that can literally change the brain to quiet an overly active stress response system and simultaneously pave the way for higher brain networks to perform at optimum. The more we function from this mental zone, the less we stress, and the more our brain lights up with the mix of intelligence that predicts a successful life.The newest brain research shows that passionately repeating the same statements over and over forms new neural pathways that can eventually fire as belief, and when this belief fires, it triggers you to take the actions that will help you reach your dreams. This is why your self talk and who you associate with are so crucial to your success. What you say to yourself and who you hang around with will determine what kind of neural pathways you are developing.
At the base of the brain, where it connects with the spinal cord is a region called the Reticular Activation System (RAS). The RAS acts like a filter that decides which thoughts to focus on at any one time. We need this filter system because every second, there are about 8 million bits of information (subconsciously) flowing through our brain.The RAS decides which messages will arrive at the brain. Once a message gets past the RAS filter and enters the cerebrum, it can turn into conscious thoughts, emotions, or both. Even though the cerebrum is the centre of thought, it will not respond to a message unless the RAS allows it.
The RAS is like Google – there are millions of websites out there, but you filter out the ones you are not interested in simply by typing a keyword.You can think of the RAS as the brain’s gatekeeper to conscious thought. It’s critical to your future that you learn how to get messages past the gatekeeper. So what causes some of the messages to get through the RAS and others to get blocked out? Whatever is important to you at the time and whatever you are currently focusing on gets through.
From the growth of the Internet through to the mapping of the human genome and our understanding of the human brain, the more we understand, the more there seems to be for us to explore. Martin Rees
If your focus is on breaking a personal best, your RAS will automatically filter in thoughts that will help you get to that plsce– people who might help you, opportunities to make it happen, or resources that you might need. What that means is that the more you keep your goals top of mind, the more your subconscious mind will work to reach them. That’s why writing your goals down every day, visualising your intended outcome, and regularly saying affirmations is so important! Because doing those things help you focus your subconscious mind on what’s important to you.
When these higher networks wire and fire together, at the brain speed of a hundred million computer instructions per second, we not only succeed, we excel at every level of life: from career to family, from physical and emotional well-being to fully actualising our talent and ability. It’s a brain generating the fluid and creative intelligence to achieve goals, along with the emotional and social intelligence to instil joy in our work, peace in our life, and harmony in our relationships. It’s also a brain generating the homeostasis that promotes health and longevity. The key to all of these positive outcomes is building the mindset that transcends stress. The solution lies in the power of our mental state to rewire our brains. Change your mindset in specific ways and you can literally change brain structure to extinguish stress reactions and amplify higher brain function. The technical term for this change is neuroplasticity. Here’s a list of 10 positive changes neuroplasticity can produce:
- The usual networks that generate the brain’s executive functions grow larger and become more fully integrated with other neural networks.
- This means you increased your skillfulness at planning, decision making, error correction, and troubleshooting.
- You build strong cognitive abilities and can think abstractly.
- Gamma wave activity is far better organised and coordinated, signaling the higher mental activity and heightened awareness found in peak performers.
- The right brain and the prefrontal cortex work together to elevate intuition and creative insight into practical innovation.
- Activity in the left prefrontal cortex, the seat of positive emotion, swamps activity in the right prefrontal cortex, the seat of negative emotion.
- This condition enables you to achieve a high level of emotional intelligence.
- There is greater activity in the centre of the brain, especially the caudate and right insula, generating the social intelligence that sustains interpersonal resonance.
- Your physiology functions at optimum, securing a high level of health and energy.
- Who in their right mind wouldn’t want a change like that?
- Who in corporate leadership wouldn’t want a work force operating at that level of brain function?
The point is, if an individual or company is not actualising the mindset that transcends stress to empower higher brain function, they are not maximising their full extent of fluid, creative, emotional, and social intelligence.
The human brain had a vast memory storage. It made us curious and very creative. Those were the characteristics that gave us an advantage – curiosity, creativity and memory. And that brain did something very special. It invented an idea called ‘the future.’ David Suzuki
Achieving the shift in mindset is easier than you might imagine, adding little to your to-do list. It’s essentially about practicing a to-be list. Even better is the fact that change in brain structure happens quickly, within four to eight weeks.
More and more, CEOs and HR executives are contracting with experts on neuroplasticity to heighten the brain power in their company. Neuroplasticity will soon become the new competitive edge.
Use the genius of others to stand on the shoulders of giants. Never stop learning and be willing to teach others. Be Amazing Every Day
We need more Great Leaders. 36 years ago, a gold-plated record was lofted into the cosmos with a greeting card for the first extraterrestrials who might find it. The golden plaque, attached to the Voyager spacecraft, was etched with a medley of Earth sounds, from a baby’s cry to musical selections ranging from a Bach fugue to Chuck Berry’s upbeat “Johnny B. Goode.” Not long after the probe was launched, a psychic played by Steve Martin (The man with 2 Brains) on Saturday Night Live revealed that aliens had promptly delivered this urgent four-word response: Send more Chuck Berry.
Great Leaders are hard to find. Peter Drucker died peacefully in his sleep at home on Nov. 11 2005 at age 95, eight days shy of his 96th birthday. BusinessWeek, in its11.28 cover tribute called him …
THE MAN WHO INVENTED MANAGEMENT.
‘The world knows he was the greatest management thinker of the last century,’ Jack Welch, former chairman of General Electric Co., said after Drucker’s death.‘He was the creator and inventor of modern management’, said management guru Tom Peters. ‘In the early 1950s, nobody had a tool kit to manage these incredibly complex organisations that had gone out of control. Drucker was the first person to give us a handbook for that.’
Leadership is one of social science’s most examined phenomena. Being a leader today is very different from what it was 10 or even 5 years ago. Today’s workplace has a fast pace of change and many more demands. It also involves working with many teams usually across different time zones, etc. It’s a complex environment out there.
Has leading and managing moved beyond just commanding the troops to get it done? Well yes but don’t discount the highest quality leadership that is taught (yes taught) at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. It was founded in 1741 and has produced leaders-managers-policy makers for half of earth’s nations—including CEOs for both sides in many a major conflict. Leading From the Front authors and former Marine Corps officers Angie Morgan and Courtney Lynch declare,
‘The Marine Corps believes that all Marines must learn to lead. In order to survive the chaos and uncertainty of war, a Marine is taught how to be decisive, how to take care of others, and how to take responsibility for her actions.’
While there are a number of different leadership styles, the best leaders share some common traits, skills and leadership behaviours. Jack Welch is quoted as proposing these fundamental leadership principles (notably these principles are expanded in his 2001 book ‘Jack: Straight From The Gut’):
- There is only one way – the straight way. It sets the tone of the organisation.
- Be open to the best of what everyone, everywhere, has to offer; transfer learning across your organisation.
- Get the right people in the right jobs – it is more important than developing a strategy.
- An informal atmosphere is a competitive advantage.
- Make sure everybody counts and everybody knows they count.
- Legitimate self-confidence is a winner – the true test of self-confidence is the courage to be open.
- Business has to be fun – celebrations energise and organisation.
- Never underestimate the other guy.
- Understand where real value is added and put your best people there.
- Know when to meddle and when to let go – this is pure instinct.
The growing awareness and demand for idealist principles in leadership are increasing the emphasis (in terms of leadership characteristics) on business ethics, corporate responsibility, emotional maturity, personal integrity, and what is popularly now known as the ‘triple bottom line’ , abbreviated to TBL or 3BL, representing
In 2015 leaders will need to understand and respond to such huge attitudinal trends, whether they can be reliably accounted for or not at the moment. So here is my distilled vision of the qualities, behaviours and traits of great leaders:
- Be The Trusted Leader. People do want to follow and accomplish great things. Whatever ethical plane you hold yourself to, when you are responsible for a team of people, its important to raise the bar even higher. Your business and its employees are a reflection of yourself, and if you make honest and ethical behavior a key value, your team will follow suit. All else being equal, a trusted leader will get more from his people and have a stronger following. Be someone your people can trust. It is important to remember that it takes a long time to earn trust; it builds over time. This is the basis of leadership integrity – the most important requirement; without it everything else is for nothing.
- Be The Great Communicator. All the great leaders I know or have met, are brilliant at explaining things and communicating a vision. Communication is one of the fundamental leadership capabilities; communication is a two-way street with listening as important as speaking. Great leaders listen incredibly well as part of their communication skills. Knowing what you want accomplished may seem clear in your head, but if you try to explain it to someone else and are met with a blank expression, you know there is a problem. If this has been your experience, then you may want to focus on honing your communication skills. Being able to clearly and succinctly describe what you want done is extremely important. If you can’t relate your vision to your team, you won’t all be working towards the same goal.
- Make More Leaders. Tom Peters said this year, that the number 1 job for leaders is “Employee development”. It is decidedly not an HR term; it is a reason for being, along with service to one’s customers: ‘Your principal moral obligation as a leader is to develop the skillset, “soft” and “hard,” of every one of the people in your charge (temporary as well as semi- permanent) to the maximum extent of your abilities. The good news: This is also the #1 mid- to long-term … profit maximization strategy!’ Great leaders don’t create followers, they create more great leaders. Encouraging your people to grow, to learn and to take on as much as they want to, at a pace they can handle. Always accentuating the positive (say ‘do it like this’, not ‘don’t do it like that’).
- Be Strategically Focused. If you want to do big things, be more strategic in what you do and how you go about doing it. The 2015 leader need to be ahead of marketplace demands while maintaining other critical functions. You must take a hard look at where you actually spend your time, and where you should. Make an adjustment to be more strategic.
- Exude Passion. Creating a business often involves looking forward and knowing where we are going. Especially in the beginning stages of a startup, inspiring your team to see the vision of the successes to come is vital. Make your team feel invested in the accomplishments of the company. Whether everyone owns a piece of equity, or you operate on a bonus system, generating enthusiasm for the hard work you are putting in is so important. Being able to inspire your team is great for focusing on the future goals, but it is also important for the current issues.
- Have Inner Strength. There may be days where the future of your brand is worrisome and things aren’t going according to plan. This is true with any business, large or small, and the most important thing is not to panic. Part of your job as a leader is to put out fires and maintain the team morale. Keep up your confidence level, and assure everyone that setbacks are natural and the important thing is to focus on the larger goal. As the leader, by staying calm and confident, you will help keep the team feeling the same. Develop yourself, by reading great blogs, watching inspiring Ted Talks and taking advice from good people. Some of the best books for leadership can be found here and are not about business at all – they are about people who triumph over adversity.
- Make Excellent Decisions. Making decisions is one of the fundamental actions of a leader; making quality decisions is much harder. Understand, reflect, and learn about your decision making process. Leaders need to make both quality and timely decisions. Getting things done yourself is great, but it doesn’t scale very well. If you want to do big things, it requires effectively getting work done through others. One needs to become very good at delegating. Finessing your brand vision is essential to creating an organised and efficient business, but if you don’t learn to trust your team with that vision, you might never progress to the next stage. Its important to remember that trusting your team with your idea is a sign of strength, not weakness. Remember PFR: Performance, Feedback, Revision.
- Lead by Example: Excellence, always. A great leaders must always be seen to be working harder and more determinedly than anyone else. Having an effective appreciation and approach towards corporate responsibility, (Triple Bottom Line, Fair Trade) so that the need to make profit is balanced with wider social and environmental responsibilities. This means being very grown-up – never getting emotionally negative with people – no shouting or ranting, even if you feel very upset or angry. If you expect your team to work hard and produce quality content, you’re going to need to lead by example. There is no greater motivation than seeing the boss down in the trenches working alongside everyone else, showing that hard work is being done on every level. By proving your commitment to the brand and your role, you will not only earn the respect of your team, but will also instil that same hardworking energy among your staff. It’s important to show your commitment not only to the work at hand, but also to your promises. Always doing what you say you will do – keeping your promises
- Creativity and Innovation (of which I have written about a lot this week). I use the term EPC (Explore, Play and Create Novelty). Some decisions will not always be so clear-cut. This is where your creativity will prove to be vital. It is during these critical situations that your team will look to you for guidance and you may be forced to make a quick decision. As a leader, its important to learn to think creatively and to choose which of two bad choices is the best option. Don’t immediately choose the first or easiest possibility; sometimes its best to give these issues some thought, and even turn to your team for guidance. By using all possible options before making a rash decision, you can reach the end conclusion you were aiming for.
- Always Be Results Orientated. Great leaders spend their energy on the most effective activities to achieve the greatest outcomes. Remember, action orientation is good, but be oriented on the right actions. Don’t just be busy; be a busy leader who gets results. This means being decisive – even if the decision is to delegate or do nothing if appropriate – but be seen to be making fair and balanced decisions. Include the art of Fairness – treating everyone equally and on merit and being firm and clear in dealing with bad or unethical behaviour.
- Be Good at Dealing with Conflict. The reality is that conflict is going to happen. People think things should be done in different ways. Learn how to successfully resolve conflict and harness the best ideas from your staff.
- Create a Positive Attitude. You want to keep your team motivated towards the continued success of the company, and keep the energy levels up. Whether that means providing snacks, coffee, relationship advice, or even just an occasional beer in the office, remember that everyone on your team is a person. Keep the office mood a fine balance between productivity and playfulness.
- Ask Great Questions. We’ve all seen it. You are in a meeting and someone asks a great question that unlocks a situation. If you tend to ask questions, make sure they are really good questions.
As a leader, your main priority is to get the job done, whatever the job is. Leaders make things happen by:
- knowing your objectives and having a plan how to achieve them
- building a team committed to achieving the objectives
- helping each team member to give their best efforts
As a leader you must know yourself. Know your own strengths and weaknesses, so that you can build the best team around you. Skills alone do not make leaders – style and behaviours do.
The Voyager’s golden record carried greetings in 55 languages, including a folksy one in Amoy, a Chinese dialect, which was translated as:
- Friends of space, how are you all?
- Have you eaten yet?
- Come visit us if you have time.
Perhaps help in the form of Great Leadership is on the way. If space aliens are benign, maybe their goal is to foster a cooperative conversation here on Earth.
Be an Amazing Leader Every Day.Leadership is behaviour, not position.
The perceived wisdom about Authentic Leadership is confused and dull; many so-called ‘consultants’ and ‘gurus’ have tried to tell us the ‘right’ answer. The current plethora of articles on ‘Thought Leadership‘ is astonishing. I have read, researched and evaluated (ingested, digested, absorbed, assimilated and egested) a huge collection of material on Leadership (from different cultures, writers and traditions) and tried to distill this knowledge into a small droplet of wisdom.
‘I don’t particularly like the phrase “thought leader” or “thought leadership” for two reasons: 1) just *thinking* about something doesn’t make you a leader, nor does being a leader enable you to simply think about things AND 2) the term has pretentious and sometimes negative associations. When I hear people describe me that way, I have a viscerally uncomfortable reaction. I kinda wish the terminology would go away.’
Apart from some poor use of English, I think he is spot on. Leadership is not a theoretical concept. Tom Peters is one of my main leadership influencers. His clear observation, that:
the best leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders
seems to be one of his finest assertions. It is also not something that is assumed by a position, salary or access to executive facilities.I embrace the idea that ‘Leadership is Behaviour, not Position’ (possibly coined by Tim Longhurst and even he is not sure where he sourced it) and it sums up the concept of leadership nicely.
Peter Drucker conjured up a thousand images on leadership with a very astute observation:Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things. The role of Managerand leader are such completely different, although people often use the terms interchangeably. Managers are the facilitators of their team members’ success. Leaders are the ones who take responsibility for making decisions and bringing change. Leaders are the ones who empower people to discover and use their greatest potential. People are the ones to choose their leader.
If you do a standard Google search on the topic of Leadership, the termauthenticity jumps up and is everywhere. Value Leadership and thought leadership gets more attention when researchers want to explain the effectiveness of management. Isn’t authenticity a principle that anyone with clear conviction and focus intuitively operates from? The question arises whether authenticity in the context of leadership should be invisible. As a leader you should always behave in a manner that is consistent with your beliefs. Authentic Leadership does not come from your title or from the size of your bonus or salary. This form of leadership comes from your inner being and the person that you are. Consider the words of Gary Hamel and Polly LaBarre in the Harvard Business Review article:
‘…too many leadership experts still fail to distinguish between the practice of leadership and the exercise of bureaucratic power. In order to engage in a conversation about leadership, you have to assume you have no power — that you aren’t ‘in charge’ of anything and that you can’t sanction those who are unwilling to do your bidding. If, given this starting point, you can mobilise others and accomplish amazing things, then you’re a leader. If you can’t, well then, you’re a bureaucrat.’
The roots of Authentic Leadership come from ancient Greek philosophy that focuses on the development of core, or virtues.. Ancient Greek philosophers stressed authenticity as an important state through an emphasis on being in control of one’s own life and the ubiquitous admonition: know thyself. Authentic leadership as we know it today evolved from the history of these terms. Recently, authentic leadership has garnered more attention among scholars and practitioners because of publications from many Gurus and led by Harvard professor and former Medtronic CEO Bill George. The past decade has seen a surge in publications about authentic leadership, producing new models, definitions, and theories.
The ancient Greek traditions have reminders for those seeking leadership excellence. They spoke of Leadership having 4 pillars:
- Prudence (fair-mindedness, wisdom, seeing all possible courses of action),
- Temperance (being emotionally balanced and in control),
- Justice (being fair in dealings with others), and
- Fortitude (courage to do the right thing).
In my opinion, the greatest leaders are those who lead primarily by their example. The most effective form of leadership is born out of the sincere desire and proven ability to make a positive contribution. Those who lead best are those for whom leadership itself is not the primary aim. Most leaders want to get the best out of their team. Instead of telling your team members what to do, show it to them by your own example.The greatest leaders are those who lead not only with their words and ideas. They don’t ask others to do what they are unwilling to do themselves. Instead, they lead by example.Lt. Col. Hal Moore is a great example of this. Famously depicted by Mel Gibson in the movie, We Were Soldiers, Lt. Moore told his troops, before leaving for Vietnam,
‘We are going into battle against a tough and determined enemy. I can’t promise you that I will bring you all home alive. But this I swear, before you and before Almighty God: that when we go into battle, I will be the first to set foot on the field, and I’ll be the last to step off. And I will leave no one behind. Dead or alive, we will all come home together, so help me God.’
For leaders to grow they have to know that their followers are following them each and every moment. Practice what you preach, and the results will astonish you. Be an amazing leader every day. When conditions are tough, when chances to give up are very big, you should be the one who faces obstacles with confidence and determination towards success. Be sure, that they will do the same and stand by your side. By showing personal values, moral behaviour and ethics a manager earns trustworthiness for effective interpersonal relationships. These are the foundation for working together within a company and for employees to reach common goals.
My distillation process for all this ancient and modern knowledge is well underway (having taken a lifetime so far); the result is a small drop of wisdom that contains some non-obvious advice about Authentic Leadership. It is my passion to try to live these mantras every day:
- More Self-Awareness: The knowledge of self allows leaders to lead from their heart. This is a prerequisite for being an authentic leader; know your own strengths, limitations and values. Knowing what you stand for and what you value is critical. Self-awareness is needed in order to develop the other components of Authentic Leadership. Business is about people; leadership is about people. The best leaders wear their hearts on their sleeves and are not afraid to show their vulnerability. They genuinely care about other people and spend their days developing the people around them. Try to exude passion in all your do.
- More Authenticity: You have to speak your own truth. This involves being honest and straightforward in dealing with others. An Authentic Leader does not play games or have a hidden agenda. You know where you stand with an authentic leader.In business today, we frequently ‘swallow our truth’. We say things to please others and to look good in front of the crowd or play out their own drama. Authentic Leaders are very different. They consistently talk their truth. They would never betray themselves by using words that are not aligned with who they are. Speaking truth is simply about being clear, being honest and being, yes, authentic.
- More Dreamers: It starts with the courage to dream. Einstein said that, ‘Imagination is more important than knowledge.’ So true. When we dream we have to be open. An effective Authentic Leader solicits opposing viewpoints and considers all options before choosing a course of action. But it is from our imaginations that great things are born. Authentic Leaders dare to dream impossible dreams. They see what everyone else sees and then dream up new possibilities. They spend a lot of time with their eyes closed creating blueprints and fantasies that lead to better products, better services, better workplaces and deeper value.
- More Doing the Right Thing: An Authentic Leader is courageous andhas an ethical core. She or he knows the right thing to do and is driven by a concern for ethics and fairness.It takes a lot of courage to go against the crowd. It takes a lot of courage to be a visionary. It takes a lot of inner strength to do what you think is right even though it may not be easy. We live in a world where so many people walk the path of least resistance. Authentic Leadership is all about taking the road less traveled and doing, not what is easy, but what is right. Try also the path of Mudita and celebrate success in others.
I believe that these patterns of behaviour are associated with the concept of great leadership. But it is not a secret that more talking and less action has nothing to do with effectiveness. What peoplesee and witness affects them significantly more than what they just hear. It is interesting to review other sources on Leadership; a previous post on Mudita (the concept of celebrating success in others) was taken from the values of Buddhism. These are also known as the 8 Paths to overcome suffering and they can apply equally, I believe, to Authentic Leadership:
- Right, skilful view (right knowledge, understanding mainly your own intentions)
- Right, skilful thought (free from ill will, cruelty and untruthfulness)
- Right, skilful speech (no lying, no harsh or abusive language, no idle chatter, no gossip or threatening
- Right behaviour, skilful actions (no killing, no stealing, no sexual misconduct, and no drinking intoxicants, so self control, not obstructing the law)
- Right, skilful livelihood (no selling of weapons, liquor, poison, slaves or livestock, no bribery or fraud; in general earning a living that doesn’t create suffering or harm to oneself, others and the environment)
- Right, skilful efforts (avoiding and overcoming unwholesome states of mind while developing and maintaining wholesome states of mind; in general no greed, hatred and illusions, not wanting too much, no laziness)
- Right, skilful mindfulness (the unbiased observation of all phenomena in order to perceive them without emotional or intellectual distortions; in general to understand how our mind works)
- Right, skillful concentration (complete focus on a single object).
Lots of excellent content within this tradition and while the detail and judgemental elements are sometimes frustrating, there is merit in the execution of this form of Authentic Leadership. Becoming an Authentic Leader is not easy and no human being is ever perfect. No leader can ever be the perfect leader. Every single one of us is a work in progress. Authentic leaders commit themselves to Excellence(always) in everything that they do. They are constantly pushing the envelope and raising their standards. They do not seek perfection and have the wisdom to know the difference. It takes a great deal of self-reflection, getting to know oneself and the courage to do the right thing.
Behave consistently. Deeds, not words, best show your authenticity.
The Virtual Pursuit of Happiness
- “Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness, not pain or mindless self-indulgence, is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values.” — Ayn Rand
- “Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.” — Mark Twain
- “Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.” — Jim Rohn
- “If you want to reach a state of bliss, then go beyond your ego and the internal dialogue. Make a decision to relinquish the need to control, the need to be approved, and the need to judge. Those are the three things the ego is doing all the time. It’s very important to be aware of them every time they come up.” — Deepak Chopra
- “If you want to reach a state of bliss, then go beyond your ego and the internal dialogue. Make a decision to relinquish the need to control, the need to be approved, and the need to judge.” – Deepak Chopra
- “Happiness comes of the capacity to feel deeply, to enjoy simply, to think freely, to risk life, to be needed.” — Storm Jameson
- “Happiness comes when you believe in what you are doing, know what you are doing, and love what you are doing.” — Brian Tracy
- “Happiness is a state of activity.” – Aristotle
- “Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true.” – Leon J. Suenes
- “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” — Thich Nhat Hanh
- “The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.” — Mark Twain
- “The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance, the wise grows it under his feet.” — James Oppenheim
- “The healthiest response to life is joy.” — Deepak Chopra
- “The man who makes everything that leads to happiness depend upon himself, and not upon other men, has adopted the very best plan for living happily.” – Plato
- “The secret to happiness is not in doing what one likes to do, but in liking what one has to do.” – Anonymous
- “To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with.” — Mark Twain
- “We have no more right to consume happiness without producing it than to consume wealth without producing it.” — George Bernard Shaw
- “When we recall the past, we usually find that it is the simplest things – not the great occasions – that in retrospect give off the greatest glow of happiness.” — Bob Hope
- “Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.” — Mark Twain