Monthly Archives: November 2012

Complacency is the Enemy

complacency

Think back to a time in your life where you had an achievement.  How satisfied were you with yourself?  Did you feel like you’ve achieved everything you wanted to?  While it’s absolutely fine to celebrate the small victories, it’s important to never take your focus off of the main goal.  This is especially important for leaders to take note, as too much complacency in the organization will yield detrimental results.

“Success is a lousy teacher.  It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.” – Bill Gates

More often than not, individuals and organizations become too comfortable with their way of doing things after experiencing a major accomplishment.  As a result, the organization and people turn static.  This gives them a false sense of security by thinking that they don’t need to make any changes.  It’s imperative to understand this concept if you are a leader, as you are the person who needs to lead by example, which means you are the person who need to change first.  When you make the changes first, the rest of your organization will follow.

One example of complacency that is frequently talked about is General Motors.  They’ve had early successes in the 60s and 70s, but then they got too complacent.  As more companies came out with newer and more innovative ways to manufacture, GM stayed still.  As a result, the government had to step in and bail them out due to their struggles during the recent economic recession.  This is just one of the many examples of why we should never welcome complacency into our organization.

The worst part of complacency is that it limits your drive, your opportunities for growth, and your potential. If you run into complacency within your organization, it’s important to act fast and take measures to get rid of it.  Again, it’s okay to celebrate achievements, but it’s not okay to think you’re invincible.  There’s always someone else out there who knows that, and if you stay complacent, they will surpass you.

 

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What Are You Thankful For?

As we celebrated Thanksgiving this weekend, I reflected a lot on the things I am thankful for.  Personally, I am thankful for everything that I have: life, health, family, and friends.  These are things that I sometimes unknowingly take for granted.  In addition to all of those things, I am also thankful for all of you who have been reading and subscribing to my blog.  It’s a great feeling knowing that I am creating value through my blogs and helping people the way I originally intended to.  But anyway, the reason I wanted to blog about being thankful is because I believe that as a leader, it’s important to be thankful for several reasons and be able to communicate that to the people that surround you.  Here are some of the things that you should be thankful for as a leader:

thankful

Your Employees

While there may be disagreements among you, you have every reason to be thankful for your employees.  Your employees are the people who trust you to lead them, and while you may not agree on everything, they still accept the fact that you are the leader.  At the end of the day, it’s your job to produce the results, and they’re the people there to help you achieve those results.

Your Growth

As a leader, you have a unique opportunity to not only play an integral role in your organization’s success, but you are also allowed the opportunity to learn about yourself as a person.  Through your actions as a leader, you learn a lot about yourself and those that you lead.  The leadership lessons that you take away from your experience are absolutely unforgettable, so enjoy every moment.

Your Opportunity to Lead

You have the chance to make a positive impact on your organization, as well as your employees.  This is not an opportunity that everyone gets.  You get the chance to impact and inspire others and bring out the best in them.  You play a vital role in helping your employees become the greatest version of themselves.  This is a golden opportunity that should not be taken for granted.

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What is Your Legacy?

I have been thinking about this question a lot over the weekend.  I will be graduating college soon, and I will be leaving a couple of the organizations that I am a part of.  I can’t help to think about the impression that I will be leaving behind as a leader in both organizations.  Are others appreciative of what I’ve done for my organization?  Did I set a good example for others to follow?  Hopefully the answers were both “yes,” but that’s up for the others to decide.

legacy

Your legacy is a sum of how others live and work because of the behaviors they saw you exhibit.  It’s defined by your choices and actions as a leader.  It’s also not something that you can create in a day, or with one action, but it’s a collection of the things that you do consistently that others see.  As a leader, you will face many defining moments that will shape your legacy.  Think about your actions and how they will contribute to your legacy and act accordingly.

What is your legacy?  How would others define it?  As a leader, you should constantly be asking yourself that.  Everything you do in your organization shapes others opinions of you as a leader.  Think about the impression that you want to leave behind and how you will be perceived by others once you are gone.  Your legacy is something that should represent who you are and what you stand for.  It’s as great as you want to make it.

 

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The Importance of Transparency

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From my experience, transparency is a very important aspect of leadership that is constantly overlooked.  Transparency is defined as operating in a way that is easy for others to see what actions are performed.  This is especially important in leadership, as leaders are tasked with multitudes of responsibilities, and not all of which are things people necessarily know about.  For example, I’ve been part of organizations where leaders worked very hard, but were still considered as lazy by others in the organization since they didn’t really see what the leaders were doing.

To be a transparent leader means that others in the organization know exactly what you are doing for your job and that your actions are in the best interest of the collective organization.  While you may not share everything you do with others you work with, it’s good for them to at least know that you are working hard at what you do.  This means you are opening up a line of communication with those around you and making sure that they are kept in the loop.  Being transparent result in improved communication and increased trust amongst each other in the organization.

Being a transparent leader also helps to build your credibility as a leader in the eyes of others.  When you are being transparent, you give others in the organization the sense of “what you see is what you get.”  This is gratifying for your employees because they know that you are upfront and honest with them and that they can trust you to tell them what you can.  Again, being transparent is not about sharing every single detail about what you do, but sharing with others what they need to know.

 

Related Thoughts:

5 Powerful Things Happen When a Leader is Transparent

The Transparency Debate: How Much Should Leaders Share?

 

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The New Golden Rule

Throughout our childhood, we are taught by our parents to always follow the Golden Rule, which is to “treat others the way you want to be treated.”  While this is a good rule of thumb to live by, it may not completely work for leaders.  If you are a leader who is in charge of multiple people, it’s probably not a good idea to treat everyone the way YOU want to be treated.  Being that everyone is different in how they perceive things, what you think is appropriate might not be echoed by someone else’s thoughts.  This should be kept in mind, as it is your job as a leader to build good relationships with your subordinates.

So, instead of “treating everyone the way you want to be treated,” leaders should adapt the new Golden Rule, which is to “treat everyone the way THEY want to be treated.”  This entails you as the leader to get to know your employees and understand how they may react to certain things you do.  This will require some effort on your part, but the payoff is well worth it in the end.  When you treat employees the way they want to be treated, they see that you value them as your employees and made the effort to get to know them and understand their personalities.

The key to adopting the new Golden Rule is to learn to listen to your employees.  By taking the time to listen to your employees, you are making a conscious effort to understand them as not only your employees, but also as people.  Whether you realize it or not, your efforts are definitely appreciated.  The leaders’ job in the organization is to drive positive results.  In order to do so, they must properly utilize the resources they have at their disposal.  The most important resource a leader could have at their disposal is people.  So why not invest some time in your employees and understand them?  It will probably pay dividends in the long run.

 

Please feel free to share your thoughts by commenting below.

Leading with Tact

One of the biggest things that leaders in the organization must keep in mind is tact.  Tact is defined as “a keen sense of what to say or do to avoid giving offense; skill in dealing with difficult or delicate situations.”  So what exactly does it mean for leaders to lead with tact?  I believe that in order to lead with tact, it is important to keep the following three elements in mind:

tact

Avoid playing favorites.

As a leader, it’s our jobs to be fair to our personnel.  While there may be people we like more than others, it’s something that not only needs to be kept to ourselves, but cannot affect our decision-making.  In order to avoid playing favorites, it’s important that we are cognizant of our own biases toward certain individuals.  A leader’s job is to bring out the best in everyone, which we can’t do if people are seeing bias in how we treat others.

 

Avoid putting down others.

While there may be people in the organization we don’t necessarily get along with, it’s important that we keep it to ourselves and avoid letting our personal opinions influence ours and others’ decisions.  While it’s okay to give constructive criticism, it’s not acceptable for leaders to put down others solely because they don’t like the person.  When we publically put down other people, it not only affects our credibility as leaders, it also potentially burns bridges between us and the person we discredited.

 

Know what to say and when to say it.

Leaders in the organization are responsible for making important decisions that may affect many people.  While leaders should effectively communicate information to others in the organization, it’s important to keep in mind the appropriate context for presenting the information and the appropriate audience to present the information to.  Leaders are constantly exposed to sensitive information, and it’s important to keep the timing, audience, and context in mind when presenting it to others.

 

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Leading with Confidence

Whenever I interact with someone, the first thing I look for in the other person is how confident they are, especially if this is a person who I will be working with.  If they don’t seem to be confident in their knowledge and abilities, then it will take them a lot more convincing before I could trust them as a credible source.  Confidence is an essential trait for effective leaders, since you, as the leader, are in charge of the people working under you.  You might have all the knowledge in the world, but if you don’t seem confidence in yourself, other people won’t be able to take you seriously.  Below are some easy ways to show some confidence:

confidence

Your spoken words.

If you have relevant and important information in your head, it is important to be able to communicate it in a way that exudes confidence.  Think about how you come across to others when you try to explain something to them.  Do you use a lot of “uh’s” and “um’s”?  If so, try to cut back on them, if not get rid of them completely.  Frequent usage of these terms can show others that you might be a little bit hesitant in presenting the information to them, even though you know what you are doing.  It doesn’t hurt to take a couple extra seconds to think carefully about what you are going to say and how you will say it.

Your body language.

Whether you know it or not, your body language can tell a lot about how confident you are.  Pay attention to your posture when you interact with people.  How are you standing?  Are you fidgeting or moving around a lot?  Keeping your back straight will not only make you look confident to the other person, but you will also feel the difference.  When you move around and fidget a lot, it’s not only distracting to the other person, but it also gives off a vibe that you are lacking confidence.  Make sure to keep the back straight and AVOID fidgeting next time.

Your ability to keep calm.

Make sure that you keep calm, especially when you are being confronted in one way or another.  When we lose our calm, we tend to lose control of our thought process.  As a result, we might say something that we didn’t mean.  This is probably the hardest task to do, as it is easy for us to “accident-proof” everything by covering our bases.  Focus on your own thoughts and the conversation at hand and take a deep breath.  Make sure to ask hard questions, but avoid accusations.

Related Thoughts:

Leadership: Unleash the Confidence Within

Unlocking That New Leadership Confidence

Please feel free to share your thoughts by commenting below.