I was recently asked how to keep the enthusiasm for leading alive. This is an important question, because if you are “feeling” enthused, it is likely showing in your focus, performance, attitude and more. Since the question is important, the answer is valuable. The challenge is that, in part, the answer must come from within you.
Everyone seems to be seeking work/life balance. And no one seems to desire this more than leaders, managers and supervisors. I doubt there is a person who reads these words that hasn’t or doesn’t struggle with this issue. I’ve been asked about this (a lot) over the years, made some mistakes, learned some things and thought about it (a lot) too. Here is what I have learned, and what I believe to be true …
For leaders, storytelling is extremely important for successful communication. However, you shouldn’t ask, how do I get started in telling stories? We all tell stories — all day long … at the dinner table, around the coffee pot, on the phone. Instead, you should be asking, how can I get better at storytelling as a leader? Here are three ideas to get you started.
There are hundreds of companies and consultants offering a wide range of approaches to help individuals and teams solve problems. These approaches range from the high level and pretty straight forward to the very advanced, detailed and data driven. Any of them will help, and if you use good judgment about how much detail your particular problem requires (you likely don’t need NASA-level problem solving for fixing late shipments to one Customer), they will all help you get better solutions. But in my experience they all leave a few things out, or at a minimum assume you already have these four factors under control …
While we all go to lots of meetings (too many?), more and more people are spending more and more time in meetings using technology, rather than being face to face with everyone. And while meetings are still meetings and people are still people, virtual meetings are different. One of the biggest challenges with virtual meetings is keeping people engaged and participating. Having led many virtual meetings, I’ve found five things that can help make a difference to increase participation and engagement, and reduce distractions for meeting participants. Let me share them with you here.
Project management training, advice and wise counsel can be found anywhere. Fair less is written about leading projects. This short article won’t put much of a dent in the balance of that writing — project management vs. project leadership, but it will illuminate five key lessons that I have learned from personal experience, as well as coaching and observing others.
One of our Clients is Cirque du Soleil, and I’ve learned much while working with them. Perhaps the biggest thing I’ve learned didn’t happen in a workshop or a meeting. It came to me as I watched one of the shows. And now, every time I watch another show (or watch a show again) this lesson is front and center for me throughout.
Over the years, I’ve come to believe and have told many groups that feedback often says as much about us as it does the performance we are giving feedback about. Even if you wouldn’t go quite that far, it is safe to say that it is difficult/impossible for our feedback not to be, at least in part, about us. This fact is something we must deal with as coaches.
We are going to make mistakes when dealing with and serving our Customers. A mistake, especially with an important person like a Customer, requires an apology. What follows applies for apologies in any part of our life, in any relationship, so please read it personally and professionally. Some of the embedded examples are each — but the steps apply broadly.
I wrote the original version of this in 2008. Since then, I have learned a lot about expectations and the importance of them to individual and organizational achievement. When I read the earlier version of what follows (before I edited and hopefully improved it), I thought it would be a great thing to post here for you to read, and more importantly, for you to think about. In it, I ask some pointed questions. They are pointed for a reason — I hope you ask them of yourself and listen to your answers …