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Six ways of being an approachable leader

Aspire-CS

Never underestimate how important being approachable is to the work that needs to be done in your organization. When you are approachable, people can connect and relate to you. They understand what is needed for success and are willing to roll up their sleeves to get the work done.

The neuroscience of asking insightful questions

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I teach coaching skills to leaders. When I get to the section on how to ask questions (an important part of learning to coach) I might ask a trick question to start off: “How many of you are good at solving problems?”. Without fail, almost all hands shoot enthusiastically into the air.

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How to avoid starring in your own drama

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As human beings, we swim in daily drama. As leaders, any drama we’re involved in gets played out publicly. And there are lots of people out there who can’t wait to tell others about it, whether they get the background story right or not.

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Becoming a great leader takes intention and mindfulness

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Leading others can look easy. In reality, most leaders aren’t naturals at leading people; they have to learn by trial and error. Think of all the professions that people go into that require years of honing their craft: musician, doctor, lawyer, engineer, teacher, scientist….the the list goes on.

Executive presence is an inside job

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It’s not unusual for an executive to be puzzled that they’ve been told they need to develop “executive presence” in order to move into executive levels in an organization. The question on their mind is “What is executive presence?”. Rightfully so.

Seven overused leadership strengths

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Knowing your strengths allows you to capitalize on them, and use them to be a better leader. Who wouldn’t want that? Yet, there are strengths that can be overused. When that happens, they can undermine your best efforts at becoming a great leader.

Do less and be more of a leader

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Imagine that someone takes notice that you get things done and they see greater potential in you. They talk to you about becoming a people manager or having even greater people responsibilities if you are already a manager.

Ethics 134

Leadership IS personal

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Robert was well known as an executive who would go ballistic for the smallest of transgressions by others. He seemed to take everything personally, and often blamed the messenger who reluctantly carried any bad news into his office.

Coaching is more than asking questions

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I’ve seen a lot written and said about how important it is for people managers to coach the people around them. Often, the enthusiasm about coaching is anchored in leaders asking more questions rather than telling others what to do.

Goal 77

Making mistakes okay

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If there is one thing that employees fear at work, it’s feeling shamed for mistakes they make. There is very little that is worse than feeling the sting of rejection from being called out on slip-ups.

Change your habitual behavior to become a better leader

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We all have behavioral blind spots, and uncovering those can help you to see what others see, when they see it, and whether they’re helpful or not in certain circumstances in leading people.

Becoming a better leader takes discipline

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It’s a beautiful morning. I grab my camera, and walk out of the office to the property that surrounds it as I sharpen my sense of sight to find things that might be unusual or colorful. Something catches my attention with bright purple and yellow color.

How to make feedback a developmental opportunity

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Many employees cringe at the thought of getting feedback from their manager. Who wouldn’t blame them? It tends to be overly critical, given with haste and without care, and confusing. So often, the feedback given is often useless to the receiver.

Eight selfish reasons to be a humble leader

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“Humility is the solid foundation of all virtues” ~ Confucius. Humility in leadership has become a more visible trait for leaders to have in the wake of public leaders who don’t seem to exhibit it.

How top leaders find their next developmental goals

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I’m sure that I’m the luckiest executive coach in the world. I get to work with leaders who are already amazing and yet know that they still have things to work on. To top that off, they’re excited about getting even better at their craft because they have an open mind about learning and developing.

Goal 117

Ten daily practices that show respect to your team

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Disrespect seems to be running rampant everywhere, including our workplaces. Yet when a leader shows they respect their team, the benefits become obvious: people are motivated, dedicated, loyal and the leader becomes a talent magnet – the best workers want to work for and stay with that leader.

Team 99

Transforming your leadership takes more than intention

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Most leaders have the best intentions to get better at how they lead others. The problem comes in when they actually lose track of the fact that intention isn’t enough – there are actions that need to be taken in order for them to realize their goals.

The eyes in back of your head

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Intuition: the power or faculty of attaining to direct knowledge or cognition without evident rational thought and inference. Merriam-Webster. When my four siblings and I were children, Mom always seemed to know what we were up to, even when she wasn’t in the room.

Skills 118

Work relationships need more than a nod across the table

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Workplaces are a microcosm of connection, conversation, and conflict. In other words, they are a place where relationships happen. Yet many leaders don’t intentionally develop the relationships that are key to their success.

Why you need to learn to coach others

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The International Coach Federation defines coaching as “Partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential”).

Tools 101

From change management to change leadership

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You’ve been known as the leader who pushes people hard, expects a lot, and gets results. The proof of your leadership excellence is in the results. Sure, your leadership style isn’t for everyone, but you aren’t a bad leader – just driven.

When you need to really listen

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We could all become better listeners. Most importantly, leaders must learn to really listen. Really listening means: Waiting for other(s) to finish speaking before speaking. Keeping the focus of the conversation away from yourself.

10 reasons to stop giving advice

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It took me a long time to learn that others don’t really want my advice. I’m now pretty good at not giving instruction, but every once in a while I slip up. I know that even when others ask me what they should do, I rarely have the answers that are best for them. If I’m honest about why I like giving advice, I realize it feeds my ego. It feels good when I can showcase how much I know. I’m also a self-defined helper, and when others are stuck my first reaction is to save them by giving my advice.

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Beautiful clear communication

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You might think that the people who report to you understand you. You might also believe that they would tell you if they didn’t.

How to help people to change themselves

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You’re frustrated with a good employee who reports to you because you feel they aren’t working up to their full potential. You’ve worked with them for some time now, and they appear to want to make the changes you’ve agreed to together, but you don’t see them.

When your “bias for action” has its limits

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The leaders who move to the top of their organizations are often those who are fast paced, focused on taking action, and results-oriented. Yet those very qualities can derail leaders who don’t pay attention to the needs of the people they lead. At some point if they continue on their action-focused trajectory, these leaders who have a bias for action might find that when they turn around nobody is following them. Does this sound familiar to you?

Team 97

When your “bias for action” has its limits

Aspire-CS

The leaders who move to the top of their organizations are often those who are fast paced, focused on taking action, and results-oriented. Yet those very qualities can derail leaders who don’t pay attention to the needs of the people they lead. At some point if they continue on their action-focused trajectory, these leaders who have a bias for action might find that when they turn around nobody is following them. Does this sound familiar to you?

Team 97

10 conversations you’re avoiding and how to start them

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How often do you have a conversation with your team that consists of something other than what’s being done, what needs to get done, and what they didn’t do? Slow down and include some conversations that are a level deeper than that; you’ll find that if you ask a few good starting questions and listen, you – and they – will learn, grow, and develop the kind of relationships that actually help to get things done with enjoyment and engagement.

Ethics 104

Being a model of leadership develpment

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Many leaders are generous with encouragement and budgetary resources to help their organizations’ leaders learn and grow. Far fewer are investing in their own development.

Five things even the best leaders can do more of

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. I’m so fortunate. I get to work with the best leaders around. But it’s difficult sometimes when they are expecting to magically discover what they need to get better at, even as they’ve had stellar 360 results and are respected and valued within their organizations.

Why you need to stop telling them what to do

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You know that it’s easier and faster to just tell your employees what to do rather than have a long conversation or to “train” them. When you need something done, you tell them what you need, and they’re off, doing exactly what you want, the way you want it done.

Don’t forget the “thinking” part of strategy

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There are very few great things that come quickly in life and leadership. Great leadership requires strategy, and that must be cultivated with good old fashioned thinking.

The work relationships you need to pay more attention to

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Through years of interviewing leader’s stakeholders, I’ve noticed a tendency for leaders to put a lot of effort into developing relationships with their boss and their direct reports. But they may neglect a group of important stakeholders: their peers.

Curiosity: a pillar for great relationships at work

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I was a curious kid who roamed the wooded area around our house, poking at things, observing, taking notes. I collected lizards, mice, injured rabbits, bottom scum from ponds and observed the wildlife. To many people, these things would not be interesting, but to me they were (and still are) endlessly fascinating. I went on to study biology in college in a nurturing environment with amazing teachers who fostered my curiosity even more.

When solving problems can get you killed

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Last week I had the pleasure of spending time with local non-profit leaders, teaching them to incorporate real coaching into their management/leadership tool kit.

Four intangible leadership qualities that you can acquire

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When you observe leaders that you admire, you might notice that they have certain qualities that are difficult to describe but are appealing and effective. They might cause you to think “There’s just something wonderful about that leader that I can’t describe”. Some would call this charisma.

10 leadership competencies your organization doesn’t tell you about

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. Many of you work in organizations that may have a set of official leadership competencies that you aspire to. Interestingly, these competencies, although perfectly fine, may be missing something. There are some secret reasons for success – or failure – that nobody tells you about.

Don’t make them cry

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If you’ve been in the corporate or business arena for any period of time, chances are that someone has done something to you that was unthinking or insensitive, making you feel like you didn’t matter. This can be particularly upsetting if that someone is your boss. I shed a lot of (silent) tears because of some of the insensitive ways I was treated by some managers: The first day I returned from maternity leave, I walked into my office and found someone else sitting at my desk.

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What it really means to be a strong leader

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For many, a “strong leader” may equate to tough, forceful, and powerful. Although there are situations that call for this kind of leadership, there are a select (and few) times when these qualities are necessary.

Team 60

Four things managers need to stop and start doing

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Over the years, I’ve amassed a fair amount of information about what managers need to start and stop doing in order to be at their best as leaders. This information has been gathered through conversations (interviews) with bosses, peers, and direct reports of the managers both at the beginning of a coaching engagement and toward the end (to measure progress).