Tag Management

Tag Management

Leadership 1 – Direction

Lucius Annaeus Seneca

(Photo credit: Stifts- och landsbiblioteket i Skara)

How can a leader lead if he does not know where he is going?

Why should anyone follow a leader who does not know where he is going?

How can a leader create a vision to inspire himself and his team if he does not know what he is aiming for?

It seems axiomatic to me that the first requirement of leadership is that the leader must be crystal clear about where he is headed.

On my bookshelf I have 13 books with the word “leadership” in the title. All of these books have good points to make about leadership, yet very few of them lay sufficient emphasis on the importance of direction.

Lucius Seneca, the Roman Stoic philosopher said: “If a man does not know to what port he is steering, no wind is favourable to him”.

A good leader should know where he is headed and he should be constantly reviewing and checking the value of his goal.

It is only when you are clear about your goal that you can develop the strategy to achieve that goal and build a team with the talents and abilities to succeed.

To make good decisions about direction you need to ensure that you are aware of all available information. Then you should consult with history, precedent, those who have travelled the road and those whose advice you value. Finally you should exercise sound judgement.

For this week you may wish to make “Direction” the subject of your Power Affirmation.

Power Affirmations

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Top Company Leadership in Action

English: Some APEX teen leaders were invited t...

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The winners of the Leadership awards in The Sunday Time 100 Best Companies to Work For survey are notable for the fact that they value their staff so highly.

Most large company leaders tend to focus on shareholder value and this may be why they do not feature well in this type of survey. But when you look at the growth records of the companies that do well in the Best Companies survey you have to conclude that they have got most of IT right.

The factors highlighted about the leadership behaviour of the top leaders are:

  1. Top leaders are open and approachable. They do the approaching. They see this as a good way to increase accountability.
  2. They value their staff and their staff’s opinions highly and want to know them personally. Staff find this inspirational.
  3. They value honesty and integrity. As a result staff have faith in their managers and feel that they organisation is run on strong values.
  4. They increased training and development budgets when the recession started to bite in order to help improve productivity and give workers the feeling that they are valued and have a future.
  5. Personal growth both at work and in leisure time is encouraged. This encompasses  positive attitude, communication, time management and goal setting.

How to Make Your Company “Good to Work For”

Employees of the Newton Tanning Company in Elg...

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According to the Sunday Times 100 best companies to work for survey there are 10 factors that most closely correlate with how much employees appreciate their employer. These are:

  1. Having confidence in the leadership skills of your manager. This puts the spotlight on middle managers and gives them great opportunities.
  2. Staff believing that they have a positive future ahead of them. This is obviously vital in the current economic climate.
  3. Having senior managers who listen rather than just tell people what to do. When people don’t feel that they are being heard they disengage quickly.
  4. Not letting employees feel that the business takes advantage of them.
  5. Having faith in the leader of the company and being inspired by them. The fact that leaders of very large companies can become remote from employees may account for the poor showing of very large companies in this survey. But out of sight does not need to be out of mind in this day and age of mass communication media.
  6. Having senior managers who truly live the company values. Do you know what your company values are?
  7. Managers who support their team members and help them to fulfil their potential.
  8. Having middle manager role models who care about how satisfied team members are in their jobs. Middle managers again!
  9. Treating everyone fairly.  Low scores in large companies highlight that this is a problem area for mass employers.
  10. Loving to work for the organisation/not wanting to leave for another job tomorrow.

The 100 Best Companies to Work for in the UK

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 25:  Employment seekers...

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The following series of articles is based on the results of “The Sunday Times 100 best companies to work for in the UK” survey published in March 2012. The survey canvassed 231,000 employee’s opinions about the organisation for whom they work.

The first notable fact about the survey results is that only 11 out of the top 100 organisations employ more than 1,000 people. Yes, there are obviously fewer companies that employ over 1,000 people, however  given the huge resources that large companies have at their disposal it is disappointing that large companies do not feature more strongly in the top 100.

Only 5 technology companies feature in the top 100. Given the growth in this sector this is another unexpected result.

Eight factors are used in the survey to measure “best employer”. These factors are:

  1. Leadership – how employees feel about the head of the company and the senior managers.
  2. Wellbeing – how staff feel about stress, pressure and the balance between their work and home duties.
  3. My Manager – people’s feelings towards their immediate boss and day-to-day managers.
  4. My Team – people’s feelings about the people they work with most closely.
  5. Fair Deal – how happy the workforce is with pay and benefits.
  6. Giving Something Back – how much companies are thought by their staff to put back into society in general and the local community in particular.
  7. My Company – feeling about the company people work for, as opposed to the people they work with.
  8. Personal Growth – whether staff feel challenged by their jobs, whether all their skills are being used and if there is scope for advancement.

It is very noticeable that Leadership features strongly in the scores of all of the top 30 companies and hardly features at all in the remaining companies. This would seem to indicate that employees value leadership but that most management teams do not seem to regard it as being that important. Does this highlight a major opportunity for improvement? Or does it indicate a disparity of opinions about leadership between top management and workers?

We will discuss each of the employee satisfaction factors in detail in future articles, starting tomorrow.

The Day You Stop Learning is the Day You Stop Progressing

English: Method for learning and education.

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When I was a young manager a senior manager who had befriended me gave me a piece of advice. He said, “become a life-long learner. It will keep you up with the game. It will stimulate your thinking. It will open your mind to new possibilities. It will give you a lot of fun.”

My experience is that it has been a lot of fun and very stimulating. Personally I look upon everything I do as a learning opportunity. Even when I am watching TV I take note of the way characters behave to see if there is anything in what they do that is worth modelling for the benefit of my clients.

When I am working with my clients I find that I am learning all the time. Yes, I do know that I am supposed to be the coach, but that does not mean that I cannot learn at the same time. Sometimes I find better ways to communicate. Other times my clients say things that I see instantly are new truisms for me to learn.

Being a lifetime learner has keept me interested and stimulated and it has opened a whole host of new doors for me.

For me it is particularly important that I use all of the learning processes recommended in the visual beside this article. I definitely do need to read-it, talk-it, write-it and do-it in order to be quite sure that I have really understood the lesson well enough to be able to benefit from it.

I also make sure that the people I coach have fun when I am imparting information in my coaching or on my Effective Manager course.

How to Manage a Crisis Step 5 – Strategy Feedback

Now that you have broken state, analysed the situation, set a well-formed objective and developed a strategy for solving your problem, what’s next? Feedback.

This is a good time to check whether you are about to set off in the right direction. Does it not make sense to check with your mentor or your business coach whether they have ever encountered a similar situation and, if so, whether they consider your objective and strategy are sound?

It is well said that “feedback is the breakfast of champions”. Feedback is often the only way that you can get a third party opinion about what you are proposing to do. It can save you from making hideous mistakes. It is also often a quick way to check out your thinking so that you set off down your chosen path with the confidence of knowing that you have a supporter.

Feedback is one of the major NLP techniques that is regarded as an important way to check that communication and thinking are effective.

Leadership Qualities No.5 – Communication

English: Autumn colour at The Leadership Trust...

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The skill of accurate, complete and inspiring communication has to be one of the most prized  leadership qualities of all.

It is remarkable how few leaders take the trouble to ensure that all their communications incorporate the full set of: who, what, when, where, how and why into every single one of their communications. Yet these six words encompass all that a team member needs to know in order to be able to carry out a task successfully.

The only point about which the leader then needs to concern him/herself is the tone of voice that is used in the communication.

To understand the power of “tone of voice” simply consider the number of upsets caused by carelessly worded e-mails.

So, communicate with care, prepare thoroughly and put energy into your message by your enthusiasm and by including messages that resonate with the audience.


Leadership Qualities No.4 – Direction

Decision Making Chart

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It is wisely said that first amongst the leadership qualities is a good sense of direction for if the leader does not know where he/she is going how can others be expected to follow?

But direction can be more difficult to calculate than it might appear. The decision as to “which way?” can require a great deal of research and evaluation followed by the exercise of sound judgement. It is the lack of all this hard work and thinking that often leads to poor decision making and poor direction.

And even then, when the leader has made a decision, the chosen course will still benefit from constant review because the factors upon which it was based may well have changed. This makes decision making and direction more difficult than ever in today’s fast-changing world.

A year ago, who would have thought that there would be an app that could scan a purchase you are about to make in a shop and tell you were you could buy the same item more cheaply? The impact of this little app will have far reaching repercussions on many retailers’ decisions.

Leadership Qualities No.1 Considerateness

When we think about leadership qualities the subject of considerateness is rarely on anyone’s list. Yet when anyone complains about their up-line manager it is often the lack of consideration for the needs or situation of the individual that is prominent on the list of complaints.

Being considerate about others is a highly prized quality in our social interactions yet it often gets lost in the hurly-burly of business life. We need to get things done so we pick on the individual with the appropriate skills and ask them to do what is required. Managers rarely stop to consider the situation of those they are asking to do the work. The priority is to achieve the end result not to concern ourselves over-much with the niceties of how it is done.

Yet it is this very fact of considerateness that teams value in their leaders. People perform better for leaders who are aware of their situations and take their work-loads into account when asking them to perform new tasks.

Your Self-Confidence Depends on This


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Your self-confidence depends on the beliefs you hold about yourself. To paraphrase Henry Ford’s famous remark, “If you believe you can do a thing or believe you can’t do a thing, you’re right.”

So what are beliefs – beliefs are thoughts that we accept as being true. The key point here is that they are your thoughts. You control what goes on in your conscious mind, so you have the power to change your thoughts. You can choose what you wish to believe.

You do not have to accept the opinions and beliefs of other people. You can decide for yourself what you want to believe about yourself.

If you chose to believe that you are confident then you can be confident. It is up to you.

What you must NOT do is go around telling yourself that you lack self-confidence because, if you do, you will be right.

Make it your habit to tell yourself that you feel self-confident first thing every morning when you wake up. Then tell yourself that you feel self-confident several times, at intervals, during the day. Very soon you will find that you believe you are right.

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