Monthly Archives: February 2013

The importance of communication in leadership – Part 2

integrityThere are four steps that leaders take in successful communication of expectations:

Write them out – Clearly define your expectations

Hand them out – Overtly explain your expectations

Point them out – Verbally reinforce your expectations

Live them out – Openly demonstrate your expectations

In part one of the importance of communication in leadership, we talked about the first three steps – how to broadcast your expectations.  Now let’s examine the top step, the one where the best leaders spend most of their time – how to demonstrate your expectations.

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The importance of communication in leadership – Part 1

communicateImagine you start a new job. You are anxious to hear communication from the top; what is the vision of company? The head of your division steps up to the front of the room, clears his throat and says, “You are all doing a great job, keep it up. If you need me I will be in my office.”

Do you have any idea what is expected of you? What will you do first? How will you know if you are on the right track for success? Was there any communication at all?

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Why do we question our success? – Part 2

CoachteamYou have to admit, even the best coach doesn’t make an athlete a success. Neither does any leader make their team a success. In all cases, the leader makes the environment where people can be a success.

A large part of success comes from what you focus on. Since the leader sets the vision for achieving the purpose of the team, they also determine where the team will be focused.

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Why do we question our success?

Have you ever see a toddler become a success learning how to use a spoon to feed themselves? It goes something like this

Miss their mouth -> Spill

Closer to their mouth -> Spill

Spoon in the mouth -> Spill

Spoon in the mouth -> Success -> Success -> Success…

Once the toddler perfects the method of using the spoon, they continue the same process with all current and new food. They forget how not to be a success and remember only how to be a success.

As we age, we seem to lose that innate ability to accept that once a new skill is learned it can be repeated in the same and different circumstances.

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How do you lead when the rules change?

Everyone wants to perform up to expectations.  That’s why it’s so important to know the rules. Leaders must, therefore, be very clear to explain the expectations they have for their team.

Some might say that the rules they will be judged against should be detailed, exact, straightforward, and never ever change during the middle of the game. If you have been in business for any number of years, you might want to respond with, “Can I have that?”

We can’t always control the rules that govern our businesses, or our day to day lives in some cases.  Anyone who just lived through – or is living through – the impacts of the Great Recession knows that the rules can change quickly when outside forces move.

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Do you follow the rules?

There are always rules to be followed in life.  Most rules were put in place by well-meaning people who felt they were needed to right a wrong, protect from injury, or create agreement between two or more parties.

Over time, we can forget the wise words of Franklin D. Roosevelt who said, “Rules are not necessarily sacred, principles are.”

I call the principles the “Why’s” behind the rules.

But we need more than just the rules. Without the wisdom of why the rules were made – understanding of their intent, and knowledge of when to apply them – we rely on their strict wording instead of the spirit of the rules.

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The Tough Steps To Success

Instead of focusing on the long climb, focus on the next step.

My family and I have moved many times, all for job related reasons.   We have built homes and bought homes; lived in warm climates and cold ones. We even spent one Christmas in a corporate apartment – I took the presents and the tree with me when I drove ahead of my family so Santa could visit.

No matter how many times we have reached success – found a home, school, grocery store, church, friends etc…It never gets easier.

The secret, we have found, is to plan out the steps, then take them one at a time.

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