Checkmate – How to Become a Better Leader in Four Moves 2

Leadership Cycle Coloured 2Whether you are in a management position or play a leadership role in your organization, the challenges remain the same. New leadership skills are required for the workplace of today and for the forseeable future. Success in managing or leading others is no longer dependent on your technical abilities alone. Soft-skills, your ability to communicate and interact more effectively with others, build collaborative teams, problem solve, resolve conflict and deal with difficult people and challenging situations better, now plays a more pivotal role in your success and the overall success of your organization and your people.

I believe to be a really great manager or leader you need to master all four disciplines of my “Four Step Leadership Development Model” (c) . The work environment is changing and you need to adapt to keep pace with those changes. You must have exceptional people skills and be able to bring people together, communicate often, teach others what they’ll need to know and then learn to get out of their way and let them do it. Don’t get left behind – learn to manage and lead the 21st Century way.

Congregate: “To collect into a group or crowd; to come together into a group, crowd or assembly.” – Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Your success and the overall success of your organization begins and ends with your ability to bring people together. If you can’t connect with others on an emotional level, then you stand little chance of assembling a cohesive team. You are only as good as the people around you. Each individual is a vital link in the chain. Get to know your people for more than the job that they do. People like to work with people they like. Successful managers and leaders know how to develop those all important relationships and build collaborative teams.

Communicate  “To convey knowledge of or information about; to cause to pass from one to another.” – Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Communication isn’t just something – it’s everything! If you can’t communicate – you can’t manage or lead others. I can’t think of a more valuable skill set for managers and leaders to have, than the ability to communicate effectively up, down and across the organization. If you can’t send the message and have it received the way it was intended – then what you said means absolutely nothing. The words you choose and how you go about saying them can be the catalyst for action or inaction. 

Educate “To train by formal instruction and supervised practice especially in a skill, trade, or profession.” – Merriam Webster Dictionary. I don’t believe there is any such thing as common sense. The only thing common about common sense, is that it’s not very common. We should call it “Life Sense” because it seems the older we get, the smarter we get. We aren’t born knowing what we need to know, to be able to teach someone else what they need to know. I believe having the ability to teach someone else is a learned behavior. Successful managers and leaders are great teachers and coaches.

Delegate “To entrust to another; to appoint as one’s representative.” – Merriam-Webster Dictionary. If you fail to delegate you are robbing your people of their opportunity to grow. Successful managers and leaders understand that they aren’t the end all and be all. Successful managers and leaders understand that they must give up control to get control. Resist the urge to micro-manage others. Your ability and willingness to delegate effectively are essential to freeing up your time, so you can carry out your duties and responsibilities as a manager or leader.

Any time is a great time to start a new beginning. Which one of these four disciplines; congregate, communicate, educate or delegate will you need to improve upon to be a more effective manager or leader? Don’t get left behind – you can become a better leader in just four moves.

Copyright (c) 2014. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Excerpts from Brian’s soon-to-be-published workbook “Leadership Lessons from a Reformed Control Freak – The Art of Managing and Leading in the 21st Century(c)”. Brian is available for keynote speaking or facilitating training sessions on a variety of soft-skills topics including: communication, time management, problem solving, dealing with difficult people and challenging situations better and developing the leader in you. To find out more visit http://briansmithpld.com

Positive Self-Talk is More Than a Sound Bite

self-confidenceThink it, Act it, Become it. Perception is reality – your reality. It is what ever you think it is which is why positive self-talk (what you say to yourself), is more than a sound bite. Your self-talk has the power to move you to action – or in action.  We all feel insecure and unsure of ourselves at times. We all lack self-confidence, especially if we are attempting to do something we’ve never done before. But, you must not let your self-doubt get in the way of you stepping out of your comfort zone and expanding your growth zone.  We must not let fear of failing get in the way of the attempt.

Worth Remembering … “Lack of confidence is not the result of difficulty. The difficulty comes from the lack of confidence.” – Seneca

World class athletes, just like world-class actors visualize a gold medal, Oscar-winning performance. They set themselves up for a positive experience by visualizing in their mind’s eye what their performance will look like. They see themselves in the winners circle. And then they go out and replay that winning performance in real-time. You need to see yourself as the hero in your own movie.  Think it, Act it, Become it. The more you do it – the more you will become it. Being successful in any endeavor is a learned behavior. When you change the behavior you change the result.

Worth Remembering … “Confidence is that feeling by which the mind embarks on a great and honorable course with a sure hope and trust in self.” – Cicero

Here are some helpful tips on how to boost your self-confidence. Pick one or two and give them a go. You just may end up surprising yourself.  Failing in your first attempt is never the issue. Not giving it another try is.

  • Focus on your achievements rather than your failures: Nobody is perfect but everyone has the capacity to grow and get better. Focus on what you did well and what you are going to do better on your next attempt. Progress happens in baby steps not gigantic leaps. 
  • Focus on your good qualities: Stick with what you do well and reach out to others when you get stuck. There is no sham in admitting that you need help. Have a short list of mentors and coaches that you can call on for words of encouragement or advice when needed. 
  • Be prepared for the task at hand: Nothing beats thinking and planning it out. You can’t be prepared for everything but you should be able to anticipate what could go wrong and decide ahead of time what you are going to do to overcome them. 
  • Set reachable goals for yourself: Don’t set yourself up for failure – set SMART targets. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely) Anyone can eat an elephant one bite at a time. 
  • Reward yourself when you succeed: No victory is too small. You have every right to be proud of yourself and what you’ve accomplished. Do something nice for yourself and don’t feel guilty about it. 

Remember – We are not born knowing what we need to know to do all that we want to do. Success and being successful is a learned behavior. Successful people have learned to get out of their own way. You can do the same thing. You just need to believe in yourself. Now get out there and give it a go. 🙂

Copyright (c) Brian Smith. Not to be reproduced without permission. Looking for a keynote speaker, planning a lunch-n-learn or workshop on a variety of soft-skills topics or leadership development? Give Brian a call. http://briansmithpld.com

Without a Rudder Any Direction Will Do

images (6)It doesn’t matter how much wind you have in your sails, without a rudder, you stand little chance of ending up where you wanted to go. Life is a planned event – wishing and hoping won’t make it so. Hedge your bet for success and make a list of what needs to happen for you to accomplish your goals. We have a tendency sometimes to do what we like to do first – not what needs to be done, so prioritize the items on your list and the expected date of completion for each one to help keep you on course.

Don’t let yourself get discouraged or side tracked, keep your eye on the “prize” and remember why you are doing what you are doing. Think of all the good things that will come your way. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed with the number of things you need to do before you arrive at your destination. Be patient, take one step at a time, accomplish one thing at a time and you will eventually realize your dream.

Be Confident: Be confident in your own ability to accomplish what ever you set out to do. Be confident that no matter what roadblocks you come across you will find a way around them or over them.

Be Competent: Know what you know but, more importantly, know what you don’t know. You aren’t born knowing all you need to know. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. Asking for help is a sign of strength. No one ever accomplished great things alone.

Use Common Sense: The only thing common about common sense is that it’s not very common. Common sense should be called life sense. It just seems to me that the older we get – the smarter we get. Learn from your mistakes. And trust me, you’re going to make mistakes. Look at mistakes as your opportunity to grow, as your opportunity to try again but this time  more aware of what not to do. Remember that failing and falling down is not the issue. Not getting back up and trying again is.

So adjust your sails, take a look at your map and keep your rudder pointed in the direction of your goals. And most importantly, enjoy the journey. I wish you good sailing. 🙂

Copyright (c) 2013. Brian Smith-PLD. Looking for a speaker, planning a lunch-n-learn or training session? Visit http://briansmithpld.com. Let’s talk.

Hey Coach Put Me In The Game 10

images (33)What could a coach do for you that you can’t do for yourself? The truth is sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know – until you know that you don’t know it.  Sometimes it takes a coach to point out the not-so-obvious. You know where you want to go – but it may take a coach to teach you the skills you’ll need to get you there. You may need the help of a coach to get you to the next level. You only know what you know – it’s what you don’t know that can hold you back or better yet – propel you forward. The most talented of musicians, athletes and actors can attest to that. Even Tiger Woods works with a coach to help him stay at the top of his game.

Worth Remembering …

In order to be a teacher you’ve got to be a student first” – Gary L. Francione

All Coaches are not created equal  

Think of a Coach that you admire. What is it about their style that resonates with you? Bobby Knight, Coach K and Scotty Bowman have all had success as coaches.  Yet all three went about it differently. What style of coaching would work best for you? Someone who’s been there and done that so they know what they are talking about? A good communicator and listener. Someone who understands you – your strengths and your weaknesses. A coach who won’t tell you what  you want to hear but will tell you what needs to be said.  Someone who is patient when they need to be yet unforgiving when the situation warrants it.   A disciplinarian – a teacher, guidance councilor, cheer leader and mentor all rolled into one. A Coach who will push you to reach higher and go farther than you thought you could.

Worth Remembering …

If you want something you’ve never had – then you need to do something you’ve never done.” – Drina Reed

A Coach can’t do the work for you 

There are no silver bullets here. A coach can’t do the work for you. You still have to play the game. You still have to put in the time and effort it will take to get you to where you want to go.  A coach can show you the way – but you still have to walk the path. When you come to a fork in the road they can steer you in the right direction. If you are mentally and physically capable of taking the next step – then the only person standing in your way is you. Motivation is inside out – never outside in.  A coach is not there to be your best friend. They are there to help you get up off the mat and begin again. A coach is there to help up fill in the gaps and teach you what you need to know.  So go out and find a coach you can work with – one who can help you get in the game. – Cheers 🙂

 Copyright 2013 (c) |Brian Smith -Author, Communications Expert and Management Consultant works with people who want to learn how to communicate and interact more effectively; and who want to discover how to get the best out of themselves and others.  To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you or your organization visit http://briansmithpld.com