Defining Leadership Success

It’s Not About You

How do you know if you’re a successful leader? Regardless of your title, two things are true if you’re really a leader:

  1. Someone is following you. No followers, no leader. Following under compulsion (like just to get a paycheck) doesn’t count. People choose to follow true leaders.
  2. You’re going someplace. If you’re going nowhere, you’re not leading.

Leadership is inherently other-centric. You only succeed when your followers do. My followers should be more successful with me leading than if I wasn’t. My success is multiplied when my followers become leaders whose followers are becoming leaders. As a student in a recent class commented, leadership is a “pyramid scheme”. Continue reading Defining Leadership Success

The Cure for “Too Busy”

The Investment that Pays Back Big…

I’ve written before about dealing with the pervasive problem of being too busy (see http://www.enlumenls.com/say-no/, or the videos at https://youtu.be/IlqgjjR3m68). There is a way to gain significant ground against this problem. Now don’t roll your eyes at me until you’ve heard me out, but I believe the best, most lasting solution to being too busy is… Continue reading The Cure for “Too Busy”

The No-Brainer We Often Miss…

Managing Expectations

I slipped up this week. On Monday I told several people I would have something out to them by Tuesday. This was Wednesday morning. Someone else owed me the last piece I needed so I could do my part. It might come in any minute. Or maybe not. But naively thinking I would have it, I had made a commitment.

Here was my Wednesday morning thought process…
Continue reading The No-Brainer We Often Miss…

Hard vs. Bad

The Difference Our Attitude Makes

Like water, I tend to seek the path of least resistance through life.  We don’t intentionally seek the “hard” times, but if they can make us stronger and we must go through them, then let’s get the most out of them. One thing within our control determines the positive or negative impact of tough times: our attitude.soldier-919231_640

We don’t always choose our circumstances, but we do choose our attitude in response to circumstances.  But that choice begins long before the hard times hit. Continue reading Hard vs. Bad

When Knowledge Fails Us

Wisdom Takes Us Forward

We used to say that “knowledge is power”. Sometimes that’s still true, but these days it’s generally more accurate to say that “knowledge is ubiquitous”.  We’re just clicks away from more knowledge than our grandparents ever conceived of accessing.meadow-680607_640

But the accessibility of knowledge doesn’t create – and may even hinder – the growth of wisdom. Continue reading When Knowledge Fails Us

First, Lead Yourself

Pre-requisite to Leading Others

Consider the following characteristics of leadership:

  • Leadership is influence. Your followers don’t need your leadership if they’re going to do what needs done without your influence. That doesn’t mean you have to hover over them to direct their every move. It means creating the culture, graffiti-Follow-me_640values, and clarity of vision and strategy so that competent people know and are inspired to do the right thing without your micromanagement.
  • The goal of influence is to change behavior. If nothing needs to change, there’s no need for influence or leadership.
  • Changing behavior requires getting someone to do what they wouldn’t naturally do or don’t want to do. Someone has said that there are only two ways to change behavior: Manipulation and inspiration. We can manipulate by threatening loss of pay, position, promotion, or status. Or we can inspire by casting a vision and helping followers be energized to see their role in bringing that vision to reality. Do you do your best work when led by manipulation or inspiration? I’m guessing inspiration. The same is true of your followers.

Continue reading First, Lead Yourself

Leveraging Our Weaknesses

…Instead of Ignoring Them

I’m a fan of the Clifton Strengthsfinder assessment (http://www.strengthsfinder.com/). If you’re familiar with the tool, you’ll recognize my “Restorative” nature (seeing problems or weaknesses as opportunities) reflected in this article. Those with strong “Maximizer” traits probably didn’t get past the title to read this far.gym-592899_640 Continue reading Leveraging Our Weaknesses

Climbing the Corporate Ladder

Why Faster Isn’t Always Better

Throughout my career, responsibilities always came to me before titles.  And I usually gave responsibilities to others before giving the corresponding titles.  If this seem unfair, it’s more considerate than giving a title too quickly and having to take it away when it doesn’t work out.entrepreneur-1103722_640  So rather than feeling under-appreciated when you’re given assignments that fit the next position up the ladder, consider it a sign of leadership’s confidence in your potential. Continue reading Climbing the Corporate Ladder

Why Can’t I Say “No”?

Even When “No” Is The Right Answer

Excessive busy-ness is the most common complaint I hear from clients.  Is it possible to manage our workload in a way that leaves us fulfilled but not burned out?  Let’s scratch the surface of that question by shining a light on our motivations and suggesting some methods to deal with it.

Motivation

Our first problem is that we often wear our busy-ness as a badge of honor. NoImportant people are expected to be busy; we want to be important; so we don’t want to admit (to ourselves or others) that we’re not busy.  We fill our plates to keep our importance badge. Continue reading Why Can’t I Say “No”?

Selfishly Selfless

Getting Ahead by Putting Others First

C.S. Lewis said, “Put first things first and we get second things thrown in: put second things first and we lose both first and second things.”1

That’s sound advice, but it begs the question, “What are the first things and what are the second things?” As free-thinking individuals, we get to choose what our first and second things are going to be. But our choices have consequences and to make the choice is to accept the consequences of that choice.

When it comes to our careers and growing our organizations, one of those choices is how we’re going to view other people. We can choose: Continue reading Selfishly Selfless