Tag Archives: organizational leadership

Be Ambitious

ambition

When you became the leader of your organization, chances are that you were chosen for the position because you had a vision that everyone believed in and you knew how to achieve that vision.  The quality that people saw in you that they liked was your ambition.  Ambition is defined as “an earnest desire for some type of achievement or distinction… and the willingness to strive for its attainment.”  Although sometimes ambition gets a bad rap because some people have the wrong type of ambition (the want of wealth, power, or fame), it’s definitely an important trait that leaders should have.

It’s important to be ambitious as a leader because when you are a leader, it’s your job to be able to identify what needs to be changed in order to meet organizational goals and be able to lead people in the right direction.  One of the hardest aspects of leadership is the ability to enact big changes in the organization, especially when these changes have been met with high levels of resistance.  This is a trait that all successful leaders must have, as they don’t just have the idea in mind, but they also have the drive and willpower to turn those ideas into reality.

If you’re an aspiring leader, you should ask yourself: Do I want to make an impact in my organization?  Am I willing to make the necessary sacrifices in order to take my organization to the next level?  If you are willing to do those things, then you just might have what it takes to become a great leader.  It’s just a matter of how ambitious you are.

 

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The Importance of Optimism

optimism

Believe it or not, everything you do, no matter how little, could affect others in one way or another.  If you are a current or aspiring leader, this is especially important for you to realize, as your actions and your demeanor will play a large role in dictating the way others act.  This is why it’s especially important that regardless of the situation, leaders must stay positive.  While leaders may face tough times in their positions, it will always pay to be optimistic.  Below are what I believe to be the three most important tips for leading with optimism:

Believe in your team and organization’s capabilities.

One of the best ways to bring the best out of people is to realize and believe in their potential.  When other people know that you believe in them, they are inclined to perform at a higher level because you are helping them realize what they are capable of.

Frame and communicate your thoughts in a positive manner.

Depending on how we think, we can either use our thoughts to build ourselves up or tear ourselves down.  Instead of focusing so much on the negatives of an issue, leaders should think about the potential opportunities that the issue created.  By communicating your positively-framed thoughts, you create a positive environment for others as well.

Celebrate short-term wins.

While you and others in your organization are working toward a certain goal, make sure to celebrate the small victories along the way.  While you should definitely keep your eyes on the prize, it’s okay to pause for a moment and look at the short-wins, as short-term wins show you that you are progressing and heading in the right direction.

Related Thoughts:

5 Reasons Why Optimists Make Better Leaders

Optimism: Leaders MUST Have It and It Can Be Learned

Optimism: The Power of Optimistic Thinking

 

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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 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.

 

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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.

 

Please feel free to share your thoughts by commenting below.