Are You a Leader or a Slacker?
Do you claim to be a Leader in your business or your field of expertise?
I have noticed that many people claim to be Leaders, but I consider them Slackers instead. A Slacker is someone that basically likes to give instruction or direction, but takes no action on advancing themselves or their business.
Does this describe you, your up-line or someone else on your
Mastermind Team? Here are some clues that might help you out.
Leader: Praises his/her team and offers encouragement
Slacker: Quick to find fault and slow to give praise
Leader: Holds himself/herself to a higher standard that his/her team
Slacker: Has a high level of expectation for his/her team but doesn’t hold
himself/herself to that same standard
Leader: Leads by example and is a role model for his/her team
Slacker: Blends in with crowd and never steps up to take a leadership role
Leader: Has deep rooted belief in his/her business and leads new teammates
through the growth process (learning the business and facing obstacles)
Slacker: Convinces a person to join his/her team then pawns them off on someone
else or simply pushes them to the side (Referred to as “sign and drop”)
Which of these characteristics, best describes you and your teammates? Be honest with yourself.
Just remember, that a leader must lead and nourish others through the growth process. If he/she loses integrity and fails to take action, then this same failure mindset will ripple down to his/her teammates. A team will duplicate their leader and their leader’s actions.
Let me ask you one last time…Are you a Leader or a Slacker?
Blueprint for Leadership AKA How to Be a Better Leader
If you were to build a house, you would begin with a blueprint. This blueprint proves useful because it contains more than directions on how to build a house. It also describes the finished house.
So, what does this have to do with leadership?
Last month I asked an audience of leaders to tell me the characteristics of an ideal leader. Their answers were (in the order collected):
A good listener, enthusiasm, passion, shows appreciation, a visionary, role model, trusting, integrity, organized, knowledgeable, credibility, persuasive, charisma, team building, clarity of purpose, problem solver, attitude of service, leads by example, patience, willing to act without complete knowledge, understands followers, consistent, empowers other people, and adapts to change.
I’ll add that this is essentially the same list that I receive from other audiences when I ask this question. From this comes some useful insights.
1) Notice what the list contains. All of these characteristics relate to the human side of leadership. That’s interesting because I often hear people minimize this side of leadership with terms like “soft” or “touchy feely.” Actually, applying these characteristics requires more strength than not.
2) Notice what the list excludes. Absent from this list (and all lists from other programs) are characteristics such as stern, mean, serious, short tempered, vindictive, tough, angry, harsh, punitive, controlling, violent, or ruthless. And that’s interesting because many popular representations of leadership emphasize at least one of these “hard” characteristics. In fact, these characteristics are the refuge of those who lack the strength (or the skills) to apply the human side of leadership.
3) How about you? How would you rate yourself as a leader compared to the list of positive characteristics? If you were to survey the people who report to you, how would they describe your leadership? Would they list characteristics from the “soft” list or from the “hard” list? Could you become more effective by improving upon any of the “soft” characteristics? And how about the other leaders in your organization? Do they truly maximize human potential?
People want leaders who treat them with genuine compassion, courtesy, and respect. They want leaders who help them become more successful. They want leaders who inspire them with a vision for a better world and show them how to go there.
Although some people treat the terms management and leadership as synonyms, the two should be distinguished. As a matter of fact, there can be leaders of completely unorganized groups. On the other hand, there can be managers, as conceived here, only where organized structures create roles.
Separating leadership from management has important analytical advantages. It permits leadership to be singled out for study without the encumbrance of qualifications relating to the more general issues of management.
To clarify, leadership is certainly an important aspect of managing. The ability to lead effectively is one of the keys to being an effective manager; also, undertaking the other essentials of managing — doing the entire managerial job — has an important bearing on ensuring that a manager will be an effective leader. Managers must exercise all the functions of their role in order to combine human and material resources to achieve objectives. The key to doing this is the existence of a clear role and a degree of discretion or authority to support the manager’s actions.
The essence of leadership is followership. In other words, it is the willingness of other people to follow that makes a person a leader. Moreover, people tend to follow those whom they see as providing a means of achieving their own desires, wants and needs. Leadership and motivation are closely interconnected. By understanding motivation, one can appreciate better what people want and why they act as they do. Also, leaders may not only respond to subordinates’ motivations but also arouse or dampen them by means of the organizational climate they develop. Both these factors are as important to leadership as they are to management.
Leadership can be defined as influence, that is, the art of influencing people so that they will strive willingly and enthusiastically toward the achievement of group goals. Ideally, people should be encouraged to develop not only a willingness to work but also a willingness to work with zeal and confidence.
Leadership: Is It For You?
Leadership is something that is fundamentally part of a society. It is necessary in any good society that someone stands up and takes charge. Leadership is essential, we know that, but does that mean everyone out there is a leader? The fact of the matter is that some individuals are not made to be leaders. They are followers. And just as important in society as leaders are followers. So, where do you lie? Are you going to play leadership roles within your life?
For many people, the instincts to take those leadership roles just comes to them. It is just something that happens. They step up to the plate when needed. They respond first in class. They take charge of the baseball game on the playground. They step up to the plate on the job. While you can not be first in every case, individuals that have leadership skills will often be seen and heard throughout their lives.
But, not all leaders are born with this talent. Many of them must learn it. People with an ambition to be a leader can do so by taking classes and studying the necessary skills that it takes to be a leader. While all of this may sound simple, it can be quite a task to learn. It is hard to teach a person to react in a situation that is not planned well.
Because leaders are determined by their actions, we often see that leadership roles are filled with individuals who put themselves out there to be chosen, so to speak. But, this is not always the case. In many cases of emergency, leaders are those that take charge long before anyone else reacts. In that, these individuals will have a cool head about themselves and be able to see the necessary work ahead while others are worrying, panicking or simply in shock. These are probably the true leaders in our society.
Customer Loyalty, A Huge Part Of Every Business.
It does not matter what your business is. What matters is your customer’s loyalty. Let me explain, your business is important.If you offer a service or are selling a product, it is all good. However, you need loyal customers. The way you get loyal customers
is by allowing customers to get to know you, by getting them to like you and by getting them to trust you. People are loyal customers to people they know, like and trust.
True leadership happens when you focus on customer service. That does not mean giving the customer what they feel they want.The best option is to give the customer what is best for them, no simply what they want. As an example, if they want a product
and they are in love with the idea and what the product does, match it with thweir true needs. If you have a better product,one that can fit their needs better, show them that one. Give them the features and benefits of the product and create a loyal customer.
After the sale, you must continue to offer them the most amazing customer service that have ever seen. True leadership skills are needed to make sure that you always are offering your customers the products and services that are the most beneficial to them. It is easy to sell a product of service once. That does not create a loyal customer. You want to create customer loyalty by offering your customer the services and products that are most helpful to their needs. This is how you create a loyal customer that will stay loyal for life.
How To Unleash All Your Leadership Potential
There is a steady flow of information in the form of books, articles, white papers and training all in the context of [ “what is leadership” or “how to develop a leader”]?. In this issue, I will avoid those two questions and write about two others that I believe might be on the minds of a lot you readers and they are:
Why does better leadership make a difference? and
How does better leadership achieve those differences?
Leadership is a highly unique form of human behavior that requires the integration of character, knowledge and experience. So what can you do if you step up and unleash your leadership potential? Change the world.
Your journey to unleashing your leadership potential begins with a great understanding of self. Discover your personality traits and how they relate to leadership. When we know ourselves, we can maximize our positive traits, and become aware of our weaker areas, which help us to achieve our leadership potential. Once you understand and know yourself, next you must hone your communication skills. These are not limited to your public speaking skills either. This includes your writing style and your body language. Your ability to communicate effectively enhances your ability to improve interpersonal relationships. Another important skill is to learn how to learn. Examine different teaching methods and learning styles to identify how you and those you may lead learn best. This skill will greatly enhance your ability to make decisions and give clear instructions.
An Exceptional Leader is one that recognizes the value of harnessing the skills and abilities of team members and leads them toward greater efficiency and effectiveness.
…And so leader is not a title and leadership is not something you are born into. Leadership is something you develop.
This is what Dr. Ken Blanchard, in his book “The Heart of A Leader” had to say about good leaders; “If you want to know why your people are not performing well, step up to the mirror and take a peek.”
Something A Leader Should Never Keep…
Lack of confidence
Simply put, if you don’t believe you can succeed, what’s the point in trying, right? When this happens, it’s usually because you’re focusing entirely on what you want and neglecting what you already have. Because of this, your mind creates explanations for why you aren’t getting it. This creates negative thoughts about how you feel about yourself. Your mind is dominated by past failures, bad breaks, and personal weaknesses. You can become jealous of your competitors, which causes you to start making excuses for why you can’t succeed. When you try to function under these conditions, you can make bad impressions, assume the worst about others, and lose self confidence.
Instead, you should try to focus on gratitude. Take time to focus all the positive things in your life. Prepare and refer often to a mental list of your strengths, past successes, and current advantages. People often tend to take their strengths for granted and dwell on their failures. If you focus on feeling grateful, you’ll see how competent and successful you already are. This will restore your confidence and get you motivated to build on your current success.
It might be difficult to understand how repeating things you already know can improve your mindset, but it can. The mind can often distort reality to confirm what it wants to believe. The more negatively you think, the more examples your mind will discover to confirm that belief. When you believe you deserve success, your mind will generate ways to achieve it. You will need to have belief you’ll achieve your goals. Faith will unlock the doors. Numerous individuals come across choices but never take action considering that they never believe they might succeed.
If you don’t know what you want, is there anything you really want? Many times, people focus on what they don’t want, rather than on a concrete goal. They normally think in terms of fear. You may be afraid of being poor, afraid no one will respect you, or afraid of being alone. The problem you face when thinking like this is that fear alone isn’t actionable. Instead of doing something about your fear, the fear feeds on itself and usually drains your motivation. If you become caught up in fear-based thinking, you should try focusing that energy on a well-defined goal. If you do this, you automatically define a set of actions. If you’re afraid of being poor, create a plan to increase your income. It might be going back to school, obtaining a higher paying job, or developing a profitable website. The key is moving from an indefinable desire to tangible, measurable steps. If you focus your mind on positive goals instead of fear, you put your brain to work creating a plan for success. You are no longer worrying about the future. Instead, you’re beginning to do something about it.
3 Tips For Staying Motivated At Work
There are days that work at the office can be such a drag that by the moment you go out the office door you’d feel like you’ve already spent every ounce of your energy. This normally happens to anyone especially when there’s a lot of deadlines to beat, your boss breathing down your neck, and a ton of paperwork. Anyway, you should not be discouraged with these things. This is quite normal so don’t worry. Work is basically work, so this normally happens almost every day. However, the difference comes on how you look at things. If you look at it closer, those employees at the bottom of the pecking order normally see work as just work. On the other hand, the CEO’s and other higher-ups are somewhat visionaries that see a different side of things which make them the leaders of a company. Earn your way up the food chain by motivating yourself to do better at work. Here are a couple of tips to check out and hopefully motivate yourself:
Imagine Your Accomplishments
Probably the best way to get yourself motivated with work is to think about that sweet moment when you’ve finished each task assigned to you. It’s very delightful feeling that you have accomplished everything and all the burden and stress on your mind just disappears into thin air. Thinking of that feeling of finishing your tasks will surely enlighten your mood. No matter how boring or tough the task may be, knowing that there’s some enlightenment waiting for you at the finish line makes you feel energized, determined, and motivated.
Scare Yourself A Bit
Yes, you read it right. Scaring yourself a bit need not be looking at out of this world zombie apocalypse type of scare but rather more realistic approaches like monetary concerns. Imagine yourself in a tight situation where bills pile up and your pay isn’t due within the next fortnight. A little scare can be a good source of motivation. Thinking of the consequences can push people beyond their limits. You could harness this feeling even if there’s no real monetary concern of any sort. It’s like creating a hypothetical problem that can scare you to work better in the real world. It’s purely psychological but the results are quite real and their good too.
Have That “Stuck” Feeling
Have you ever imagined yourself glued to your chair? Try this one out and imagine yourself being held down, your back glued to your chair, your feet nailed to the floor, and your only option to escape is to finish your tasks and finish them well. It’s a little too much for some but there are just some people who need a little extra motivation than others.
Championship Customer Service
(Turning Customer Service Inside Out)
It is no secret that companies pay thousands of dollars on the topic of customer service. They look for an outside answer to their customer service issues. The real problem is that little if any of the attention is being focused on the internal workings of the machine. Customer service starts from within. It starts with attitude. To really walk your service talk, make sure your commitment to internal customer service matches your company’s external focus on customer care.
When we think of customer service we think of staff serving customers over a counter or over the phone. But customer service occurs within your organization as well. How well is your staff serving its internal customers: other departments, its management, vendors and consultants? Believe it or not, it all counts. Too many people don’t think of the bigger picture when it comes to customer service. How you treat your co-workers is also just as important, isn’t it? How can you make a process of treating your customers correctly if you are fighting with your co-workers? It all starts with attitude.
When you are truly serious about offering the highest level of quality customer service, your best option would be to train your staff and keep their attitudes under check.
We find that proper customer service starts with having a great attitude and a real desire to help people. It’s okay to follow your company policy even if that policy is not helping the customer get their needs met, however, you still need to have the right attitude when giving your customer the proper customer service. Saying something like: “Mr Jones, Of Course I can’t do that for you because it violates our company policy. However, I agree that we need to fix this issue you are having. With your permission, I’d love to address your concerns with my company and see what we can do for you.
I’m not sure what we can do, but, I can assure you, I will take responsibility for addressing these concerns with my company and I will call you back within the next few hours. Do I have you permission to work on this and get back in contact with you?” Who could say no to that? See, in customer service, it is not always what you say, it is also how you say it. Using what I call the magic words of customer service can help.
I once ate at a restaurant where I was told that sour cream did not come with a taco. We said that we ordered tacos before and they came with sour cream. Our party was informed that the other waitress who gave us the sour cream was not following company policy and that our current waitress was. This still did not solve the problem for us. We are the customer. We made a choice to eat at their establishment and to be honest, as a customer, I could not give one hill of re-fried taco beans who is and is no following company policy. I want to know where is my sour cream? So, how did our waitress solve our problem? Simple, she stated that she was following company policy and that the other waitress was not. She stated that she would go have a talk with that other waitress. Hey, that’s great. Now, where is my sour cream? She did nothing to solve my needs as a customer. I called the manager over to the table. It is no shock to me that she was just as ill-trained in the needs of her customers. She did tell the waitress to bring us sour cream and not charge us for it. Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you that our waitress told us that there is a twenty five cent charge for sour cream. I ask the waitress where it said that on the menu. She told me she was not sure. She looked at the menu and there was no charge for the sour cream, no price listed extra or otherwise. Next, she told me that there was a button in her computer to charge me for the sour cream and it adds twenty five cents onto my bill. It was at that time I ask to see her manager.
The management comes up and she states that, to be honest, she doesn’t have a clue about what the menu states. She does know it’s taco night and if someone says anything, she usually gives them the sour cream with no charge. She follows up by telling us if we came back tomorrow night, it’s not taco night and she would charge us twenty five cents for the sour cream. Oh My God, epic fail on the customer service level. Both of these girls need more training. They are not leaders – they are not offering anyone customer service. In reality they are offering everyone, including their restaurant, a dis-service.
A customer service champion would never do such a thing. It would have been taken care of in a whole new way. The conversation would have gone something like this: I can see you need sour cream and having that is important to you, so, let me go grab some from the kitchen. I’ll be right back. I’m going to get you guys covered. I’m not going to charge you for the sour cream and I’m going to take the responsibility of asking my manager what the correct policy is. This way we will all know for the future. I’ll be right back with your sour cream.
A customer service champion will always take the needs of the customer into account. With out the customer, there would be no reason to be in business. Without the customer there would be no reason to follow company policy because there would be no policy and no company without the customer. It really is that simple. Save yourself the hassle and put your customer first.
Simple Leadership Basics
A great cloud of jargon, debate, and junk theory surrounds the idea of leadership, what it is, who does it, and how to do it well. But if you have just been promoted, and you’re responsible for a group for the first time, there are only a few things you really need to know about leadership.
When you get promoted and become responsible for the performance of a group you become a leader. This is true even if you have been hired to do a job. You are going to lead someone to something. Everyone is a leader. But you don’t undergo some magical change. In fact, it will probably take you over a year to completely adjust to your new role.
You’re a leader because the people in your group treat you like one. The only choice you have is what kind of job you’ll do.
When you become a leader your power actually goes down. As an individual contributor, you just have to decide to work harder, longer or smarter to improve performance. When you’re responsible for the performance of a group, the group is your destiny. They choose whether to act or not.
When you become a leader, your influence goes up. The people who work for you pay attention to what you say and do. They adjust their behavior accordingly.
The result is that you use your behavior (what you say and do) to influence the behavior of the people who work for you to achieve a defined objective.
Achieving the objective is part of your job as a leader. The other part is caring for your people.
It may be possible to achieve good short term results without caring for your people. But you can’t achieve long term success for you or your company without the willing cooperation of the best folks you can find.
At the end of the day, you can measure your leadership based on those two standards. Did we accomplish the mission? Are the members of my group better off today than yesterday?