Remarkable Leadership with Kevin

Kevin Eikenberry
Chief Potential Officer
The Kevin Eikenberry Group

Kevin Eikenberry is a world renowned leadership expert, a two-time bestselling author, speaker, consultant, trainer, coach, leader, learner, husband and father (not necessarily in that order). He is the Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group, a leadership and learning consulting company that has been helping organizations, teams and individuals reach their potential since 1993. Kevin’s specialties include leadership, teams and teamwork, organizational culture, facilitating change, organizational learning and more. He has worked with Fortune 500 companies, small firms, universities, government agencies, hospitals, and more. His client list includes the American Red Cross, A & W Canada, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company, John Deere, Purdue University, Sears Canada, Shell, Southwest Airlines, the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Mint, Verizon and many more.

Kevin writes two email-based publications: Unleashing Your Remarkable Potential, a weekly publication read by more than 22,000 worldwide, to assist organizations and individuals in turning their potential into desired results; and Leadership Updates, sent several times each week. In addition, his Leadership and Learning Blog has been recognized on several occasions as one of the best leadership blogs in the world.

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Dialogue is a fabulous communication tool. It allows for clarity of understanding, closure and complete communication. When you think about it that way, you’d think — why wouldn’t I want to use it?

Because you are reading these words, I am confident you have an achievement mindset — you are a believer in ongoing learning and development for yourself and those you lead. This belief is a big part of the answer to your question, but let me start someplace else. Because of how you see the world, it might be hard for you to understand why others might not be excited or looking forward to a training or learning experience. Let me see if I can give you some perspective, as well as some action steps.

The title of this post is a great question and the answer is … It depends. Actually, there are, I believe, two answers that may seem in disagreement at first, but I hope they will be clearer to you in the time it takes you to read this short post.

Most organizations do it, and it often causes challenges (but we keep doing it anyway) — assigning people to a project “part-time.” Here’s the situation: You’ve been asked to work 30% of your time on the project while you do the rest of your work. So you have the pull of a full time responsibility and the pull of a project team that wants to work on the project. The project work may be exciting and new (if the purpose of the project is clearly understood) and the existing work is comfortable and known. Without some help in prioritizing and some guidance about how to split time and attention, this is a recipe for frustration at the least and overwork and stress at the most.

I’m often asked how we can delegate faster. While I understand the question, it is really the wrong question. Instead, how about we start with “how can we delegate more effectively?”

I’m a big fan of the power of questions. I’ve written about that on this blog, and my blog on my website many times. But there are times when questions can be tricky, or even dangerous. I’ve asked the following question many times in different ways. Here’s the question, and my answer … “If I know the answer I want, can I use questions to lead my team to the same conclusion?”

More and more teams are working remotely — from each other and their leaders. This can lead to many challenges, not the least of which is creating collaboration among this team when needed. This challenge becomes more prevalent as the nature of work changes and the world gets smaller. And while part of the answer is technology tools, it isn’t the full answer. As a leader, you need to provide/make available the tools the team needs. You want to find, with the help of your IT team or on the internet, tools that promote connection, document and idea sharing, real-time collaboration and more.

Most leaders profess to want innovative teams. And, while I believe that is what they want, they don’t necessarily act as if that goal is important to them. Not only that, when they want innovation (and aren’t getting it) they look at their team and say (or think) things like: “They just aren’t very creative,” or “What can you expect from a bunch of X’s? (enter the profession of choice).”

I’ve been asked versions of this question for years, and while the answer could cover a year’s worth of blog posts, I have two ideas today that can help you as a leader if you face this challenge. As it turns out, they don’t have much to do with “attitude” — even though that is how the question is usually framed.

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.