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Posts Tagged ‘leadership’

The role of a good facilitator

In Communication, Development, Effectiveness, Inspire, Leadership, Learning, Organizational Development, Personal Branding, Team, Training on March 20, 2017 at 4:38 am

Have you ever been to the symphony or watched a snippet of an orchestra playing on TV? Can you visualize the conductor at the front of the orchestra? What exactly is the role of the conductor? Do they simply stand at the front waving their batons madly? Or is there a crucial role they play that if there is no conductor, the orchestra falls apart and the music crumbles?

It seems with the baton, the conductor speaks a subtle language to the orchestra to remind them during the performance of how to play the piece. It’s almost hypnotic to watch.

In fact, with the baton, it’s almost as if the conductor gives each instrument a chance to play and each musician an opportunity to speak. As if without the conductor, the audience might overlook the presence of an instrument or musician in the orchestra. And it’s almost as if without the conductor, the audience would miss pivotal moments in the symphonic piece.

So when we think about it, could we compare the role of a facilitator to that of an orchestra conductor? Why not?

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So you want to become a leader: here’s how

In Development, Leadership, Performance Management, Personal Branding, Philosophy, Strategy, Team on February 23, 2017 at 1:46 am

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In today’s competitive environment, standing out can actually be the thing that gives you an edge. For instance, if you’re positioning yourself for a leadership role or promotion, It’s important to develop a strategy to consistently demonstrate your personal leadership traits.

To illustrate this point, let’s take a peek into Tim’s profile. Tim is an inspired, hardworking and conscientious high performer. Tim is great at stakeholder meetings and client-facing events. He is also an empathetic listener and hands on team player.

You could say Tim has high potential to be a leader: he’s a HiPo, that is, he has been identified as having the potential, ability, and aspiration for succession to leadership positions within the organization. However, Tim has no management experience, having never officially led a team before. Apart from his own self-confidence and what some of his peers and his manager know, Tim has no concrete data to make a strong case. What’s more, Tim works in a dynamic firm with dozens of others who could possibly be vying for the same role.

So how can Tim progress his career? Tim could start preparing for his performance review conversations by gathering data. You see, future leaders are made long before they are earmarked for success. It comes from your own desire to excel. So what steps do you take to ensure you outshine those vying for that one coveted position?

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Unconscious bias: Why every leader should avoid it and how

In Communication, culture, Development, Effectiveness, Inspire, Leadership, Learning, Organizational Development, Performance Management, Personal Branding on February 6, 2017 at 12:19 am

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Human beings are extremely judgmental creatures. Harsh but true. We make impressions on people, events and things, often within the first fifteen seconds of coming into contact with them. We form opinions and tell ourselves stories that become reality in our minds.

We often credit this to intuition or a claim to have good judge of character. Sometimes, we are right. Sometimes we are not. Sometimes, the judgment is tainted by our experiences, fixed ideas and unconscious bias.

But it’s the opinions we form and the stories we tell ourselves that can become dangerous. Because sometimes, just sometimes, even after we have become more acquainted with the person, event or thing, these opinions and stories stick in our subconscious, even if they prove to be false. We remain wedged in the bias.

Herein lies one of the fundamental flaws of the human psyche. And the workplace is no exception to this rule.

The thing is, managers and leaders are first and foremost humans and are not exempt from this. But to be an effective and fair manager, we want to separate ourselves from this pitfall and manage, inspire and lead without bias, either conscious or unconscious. So how do we ensure we don’t get sucked into the zone of stereotyping but instead embrace attributes that promote inclusivity and diversity?

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How mindfulness makes you a more effective leader

In culture, Development, Effectiveness, Inspire, Leadership, Philosophy, Positive Thinking on December 6, 2016 at 5:17 am

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According to research conducted by Harvard University, about 47 percent of us spend our waking hours thinking about something other than what we’re doing. What this means is that we are not present or conscious in the moment to fully listen, connect and engage with events, opportunity and people around us; all vital elements to being an effective leader.

The Mind/Body Medical Institute at Harvard University claims that mindfulness enhances the qualities organizations need. Qualities such as increased brain-wave activity, enhanced intuition and better focus. All also vital elements to being an effective leader.

Mindfulness contributes to raising your awareness of self and of those around you. It increases your ability to be mindful of your emotions, reactions and therefore, your behaviors. These are all exemplary qualities to have as a leader.

To be an effective leader, leaders are taught to lead via the three vital pillars of leadership:

  1. Leading from within
  2. Leading by example
  3. Leading others

So what if as a leader, you practice mindfulness? How much more engaging would your leadership presence be? How much more effective and focused would you be as a leader?

A mindful and focused leader is a leader with a strong leadership presence. Someone who can lead better towards his or her vision via a structured business strategy.

Let’s look at how mindfulness can boost each pillar of leadership.

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The qualities of a good leader

In Communication, culture, Development, Effectiveness, Inspire, Leadership, Organizational Development, Personal Branding, Philosophy, Strategy on September 23, 2016 at 6:25 am

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It takes courage to be a leader. To stand up and say: I can lead these people into the future with my vision. I can guide them through change. I can inspire them to want to tap into their passion and give that one hundred percent to a cause every single day.

No one said being a leader is easy. Whether you’re a person or a company, there is a certain sense of gravity and expectation that goes with the job and the title. So grave is the weight, that it caused Joseph Wambaugh to pen the words: ‘fish rots from the head’. Meaning that when an organisation or state fails, it is the leadership that is the root cause.

So what are the qualities of a good leader? It all starts with how others perceive who you are as a leader.

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Three ways to manage nerves in a feedback conversation

In Collaboration, Communication, Inspire, Leadership, Performance Management on May 31, 2016 at 1:42 am

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Let’s face it. There are aspects about our jobs that we love and then there are aspects about our jobs that we don’t. Any job. Things we look forward to. And things we don’t.

Like feedback conversations. Nobody looks forward to those. Whether you’re a manager, leader, or coach who has to deliver the feedback, or whether you’re the one who is on the receiving end.

But what is it about feedback conversations that make us uncomfortable? Is it the thought of having to deliver news to someone about what they did that sounds like you’re telling them off, as if they are a child who did something wrong?

Or is it the nerves that hit you just before you’re about to have the conversation that suddenly render you incompetent and fighting to find the right words, or to fill the space when you are met with silence from the receiver that causes you to fumble over more words and approach the situation with verbal vomit?

Feedback conversations don’t necessarily need to be uncomfortable experiences. Nor do they necessarily need to be filled with awkward silence.

But how do you start to deal with your nerves and the emotions that manifest as a result of those nerves? Let’s look at three very basic but powerful ways you can manage nerves and emotion.

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Communication: The most important leadership skill

In Communication, Effectiveness, Inspire, Language, Leadership, Performance Management, Philosophy, Team on April 5, 2016 at 5:40 am

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“Communication is the most important skill any leader can possess.”

So says billionaire Richard Branson, who believes that communication is the skill that will set you apart from the crowd.

Indeed, Branson can certainly form alliances with the many business leaders and entrepreneurs who credit effective communication skills for much of their success. He joins the ranks of Warren Buffet, who believes that effective communication will instantly raise a person’s professional value.

Branson and Buffet are not wrong. Effective verbal and nonverbal communication skills are highly valuable in the workplace. So valuable that some companies dedicate a good amount of their training budget to upskill their employees on how to communicate effectively.

Why? Because it’s a big bad world out there. Competitive. Dynamic. Fast paced. And being able to communicate effectively will help you stand out from the crowd.

But what exactly are the benefits of effective communication skills? To the individual, to the team and to the organisation. Let’s explore, shall we?

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Five basic principles of a true leader

In Communication, Development, Inspire, Leadership, Personal Branding, Philosophy, Positive Thinking, Team on November 9, 2015 at 10:53 pm

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What makes a true leader? Indeed, what makes a leader?

Are some of us really born leaders?

But what is it that true leaders do that sets them apart from the crowd? Apart from the ability to demonstrate well executed activities, such as planning, motivating, organizing, and decision making, what are the human elements that complement such tasks?

If we had to narrow it down to five basic principles that any leader needs to take him/her from simply one who manages to one who inspires and leads, what would they be?

Let’s take a look.

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Five simple but powerful tips to increase your influential presence

In Change Management, Communication, Effectiveness, Inspire, Leadership, Performance Management, Personal Branding, Philosophy, Positive Thinking on July 6, 2015 at 2:14 am

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Ever wondered why some people are so much more influential and persuasive than others?

American politician Jim Roth once said: “If you just communicate, you can get by. But if you communicate skilfully, you can work miracles.”

Now there’s a notion; working miracles. What exactly does that entail? A sense of power, achievement, and an ability to reach any desired goal. Profound attributes any leader would covet. Indeed, the quote certainly brings to mind the ability to communicate effectively with an aim to influence or persuade. Certainly an alluring quality. But not just for leaders. Why? Well, because influencing and persuading is a necessary skill for anyone, whether in the professional or personal sphere. It is a transferable skill that can be applied in various situations.

Influencing skills are critical to help you achieve your desired outcomes
Influencing is about being able to convince your stakeholder of the importance of an issue and to see things from a different perspective. If you haven’t got their buy-in, then you haven’t influenced or persuaded them effectively.

And here’s the thing. Influencing and persuading is not just about one conversation. I’m afraid there’s no shortcut. Sometimes, it can be a series  of conversations with the same or different stakeholder over a period of time. And in fact, how long it takes you to achieve the outcome that you’re looking for will depend on the rapport and quality of the relationship.

So what makes an effective influencer?

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Five simple listening tips that automatically change the way you listen

In Communication, Development, Effectiveness, Inspire, Leadership, Personal Branding, Philosophy on June 20, 2015 at 7:08 am

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I was sitting in a cafe recently and noticed the couple next to me. She was talking. He was on his smart phone. Scrolling. Reading. And nodding. Apparently he was listening. Apparently. She thought so, too. Because she kept talking. Mind you, she was looking at him. Talking and making eye contact. Or at least, attempting to. He had his eyes fixed on the phone.

Hands up those of you who have seen this scene. It’s not an unheard of situation. We see it all the time. But have we become so busy, we have to constantly multitask? Even at the detriment of how we connect with others?

If I was sitting across from someone who would dare do that, I would stop talking. It’s a waste of time. And energy. It is disrespectful. And it damages your personal brand to pretend to listen when you’re not. I wanted to shake that person sitting at that table across that poor woman.

But before we get there, there is hope. Here are five simple tips on how to listen actively.

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