Friday, January 30, 2009

Powerful Leadership: An end result of effective leadership training

Author: Dr. Richard L. Williams

Most of us have experienced both effective and ineffective leaders. It's not uncommon in today's business climate for leaders to be evaluated or even judged by the extent to which they are able to unite followers in a common cause. As management consultant Roger Tunks of Lake Oswego, Oregon once described it, "Leaders must develop the skills necessary to get followers to follow." In other words, a leader's effectiveness is largely determined by his or her ability to create an environment wherein others can be successful, both individually, and as a united team.

This, unfortunately, is contrary to some leaders' belief that being successful is being powerful, or receiving respect, or controlling others, or being feared, or being visible. And some leaders believe that their primary purpose is short-term impact to the bottom line.

Clearly, an effective leader must be able to unite his or her followers to work toward common goals. And it would be foolish to ignore the fact that leaders must be able to at least sustain or improve the bottom line. How to do this has been the discussion for many articles and books for decades. In this article I would like to focus on two important aspects of being an effective leader: an understanding of where leadership authority comes from, and how to gain the organizational power necessary to make things happen, such as getting followers to follow.

Unfortunately, most discussions I've heard and read on leadership power and authority haven't made the important distinction between the two topics. It's not uncommon, for example, to see power and authority used as synonyms. Indeed, they are quite different in both source and effect. A leader's authority is defined by his or her title or position in the organization. The authority of a vice president, for example, is different than the authority of a department manager. Leadership power, on the other hand, is the ability to accomplish things, or get things done through others. A department manager's power is what he or she can accomplish through the workers in the department. In most situations, a specific title such as "manager" gives a leader a certain amount of organizational power. That usually is the result of what organizational psychologists refer to as "title respect." Unfortunately, title respect does not engender enough power to enable a leader to be effective by itself. If you've been in management for a while, you have probably seen someone promoted to management who thought that merely being a manager was enough to make him or her effective. It's not; it takes more than a title to be an effective leader.

So, leadership authority is a title or position and typically comes from your boss, while leadership power comes from other workers in the organization who enable you to become effective. In a successful organization, leadership power is actually more important than leadership authority. That's interesting because most people work hard to obtain a title, thinking it will automatically give them the power they want to function within the organization. To maximize effectiveness, leaders must learn how and when to use their authority (title), and more importantly, how to grow their power through others to achieve the goals.

Now that you know that leadership authority is a position or title that is delegated to you by your boss or the organization, the next step is to understand what you can do to increase you leadership influence through leadership training and development. That, in turn, will increase your overall effectiveness as a leader in the organization.

Three leadership training topics to consider that will greatly increase your leadership power and skills are: (1) communication skills, (2) influence skills, and (3) character development. The first category involves how well you communicate with others. You can be more powerful by improving both the quantity and quality of communication you give to others. Many of these techniques, especially those regarding feedback, were explained in previous articles in this column. Your body language, open and friendly, verses closed and unfriendly, is also a major part of how you communicate. Be sure to be aware of how you come across to other people.

Your natural communication style sends messages to others indicating whether you are easily approachable, or unapproachable. The more approachable you appear to others improves the amount of power those people will give you.

When you express your appreciation for the contributions of others, either verbally or in writing, you also gain power. It's also important to make sure that credit is always given to the persons responsible for the contribution. How soon and in what manner you communicate these messages either adds to or takes away from your power.

The second category is ensuring that your followers have some degree of influence in how things are done in the workplace. Dr. David McClelland of Harvard once said, "The greatest hunger of the human soul is to some influence in how the work is done." If having some element of influence in the workplace is so important, we should delegate it. Along with soliciting influence, leaders should also ensure that their followers participate in appropriate decision making. This will increase follower buy-in to changes and increase your power at the same time.

The third category involves your leadership character. It's been said that character can't be coached, but I know from personal experience that each of us can yet improve aspects our character. Some dimensions of a leader's character that generate power are: trustworthiness, honesty, integrity, respecting others (and yourself), not spreading rumors, and being considerate and friendly.

A grocery manager once asked me what one thing she could do that would help her get promoted to store manager. She felt she had enough years of experience and had worked in a number of different stores and was ready for promotion, but was always passed up. I could have chosen a number of possible answers. But I explained to her that she had a tendency to get things done by herself, rather than getting things accomplished through the efforts of her staff. She poorly delegated and as a result, lacked the respect of the grocery staff. I suggested that she focus on improving her power as a leader because that would improve her effectiveness. When her effectiveness improved she would be in a better position for promotion. That's how important organizational power is. How's your personal leadership power? What leadership training do you need to drive yourself and your organization to the next level?

If you would like more information on leadership training , please contact one of our team members at (888)262-2499. You can also visit our website to learn more about our products, services, research, and the multinational organizations we have served over the past three decades.

Reference this article to receive a 50% discount on any of our books or 15% off your first scheduled training event.

About the author: Dr. Richard L. Williams is a retail consultant specializing in leadership training , performance coaching, and organizational development.

To speak with Dr. Williams or to schedule him for your upcoming event, please contact our team at (888)262-2499.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Be The Full Jigsaw! How to Solve the Leadership Jigsaw

Author: Alan Cutler

BE THE FULL JIGSAW! How To Solve the Leadership Puzzle

By Alan Cutler, Leadership Writer, Speaker and Mentor

"There is no such thing as a perfect leader, either in the past or present, in China or elsewhere. If there is one, he is only pretending, like a pig inverting spring onions into his nose in an effort to look like an elephant". Liu Shao-Chi

It may be true that there is no such thing as the perfect leader – leaders are human, after all. However, that is not to say that people who hold leadership positions should not continually seek to improve their leadership skills.

Some managers hardly set an example for others to follow. They may have a badge on their office door or overall that pronounces them 'Head of Service'; 'Area Manager'; or 'Unit Supervisor' but do these 'badge holders' display all the necessary qualities to inspire others to follow them? It is unlikely that people are promoted to senior positions without any leadership skills, but they may lack one or more essential ones.

In order to measure managers' leadership capabilities we need to identify what are the essential qualities of an effective leader. In my view they are six in number:

? A Leader is a visionary ? A Leader sets an example ? A Leader understands what motivates each team member ? A Leader builds supportive relationships ? A Leader empowers others to reach their potential ? A Leader understands the power of communications

These are the six components that each leader must work hard at continually and consistently applying and, most importantly, demonstrating in all he or she does. Think of it as a jigsaw – The Leadership Jigsaw®

Unless all six pieces are in place, the leader will not achieve his or her potential, nor will those looking to following their leader. No one aspiring to lead a high-performing team can do so if they are 'one piece short of a jigsaw'! Let's consider each piece in a little more detail.

VISION. Leadership involves taking people on a journey, but if people are to follow it must not be a journey into the unknown. Such destinations may work for Captain Kirk of the Starship Enterprise but they will not work for modern-day leaders with their feet placed firmly on terra-firma! A person holding a leadership position without a clear vision, or the ability to communicate one effectively, will be heading into darkness (probably alone!).

Creating a vision must, by its very nature, be one of the foremost roles of a leader – as it sets a positive theme for the future. A leader's vision – which he or she personally associates themselves with – should appeal to people at an emotional level, as well as a practical one. It should be meaningful, relevant and inspirational: encouraging people to buy into it willingly. When leaders express their vision in a way that touches their followers, they invite strong commitment: a common purpose that focuses people on a shared, mutually beneficial objective.

"A leader shapes and shares a vision which gives point to the work of others" Charles Handy

EXAMPLE. One of the most important and effective qualities leaders can display is consistently and visibly to link the values they stand for with their everyday actions. Indeed, consistency and visibility are the keys. People respect and follow leaders whose behaviour mirrors their words; they have no respect for leaders who say one thing and do another. "Do as I say, not as I do" is simply not good enough.

Leaders should, therefore, look hard into the mirror and consider what they see. They should ask themselves: "Do I lead in such a way that I would willingly follow myself? Do I consistently demonstrate leadership qualities that I would recognise in leaders that I, myself, respect?" You can be sure of one thing: you may not be continually assessing your performance as a leader, but your followers will be! They will be watching your every move and taking a lead from you.

The leaders acts as though everyone is watching, even when no-one is watching" Brian Tracy

MOTIVATION. Having a vision is one thing: selling it in a way that others want to realise it is quite another. The leader's role is to focus the energies of followers on shared goals and to encourage them to achieve those goals. Yet everybody is different and responds to different stimuli. Truly great leaders understand their followers: they understand their needs, their dreams, their fears, their emotions – what 'makes them tick'. It is an understanding of the impact of differing needs on different people that is vital for effective leadership.

One of the greatest motivators is to believe that you are contributing to your team's success and, hence, to the success of the overall vision. People need to believe that they are playing their part and successful leaders ensure that they receive the recognition their efforts deserve. In my experience of working with junior managers across the country, a belief that they are not valued for their efforts is one of the most commonly found demotivators.

"Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it" Dwight D Eisenhower

RELATIONSHIP. It is axiomatic that a leader needs followers – a team of people working together towards a common aim. To be effective, a team working across an organisation requires supportive relationships not only between leader and followers, but between followers themselves. A culture of trust must exist between all members, at all levels, with the leader providing the shining example for all to follow.

Notwithstanding the fundamental changes forced upon organisations in recent years (down-sizing and delegated budgets for example) some departments are still led by 'badge-holders' who busy themselves interfering in the work of their subordinates; are unwilling to share information; and insist on sanctioning every decision. Yet if the modern leader's challenge is to make optimum use of fewer resources (and it is!) this will only happen if people are encouraged to participate in an open, positive environment based upon mutually-supportive relationships. 'Mushroom management' must be replaced by a culture where everyone is prepared to give and receive trust.

"All your strength is in your union. All your danger is in discord" Henry Longfellow The Song of Hiawatha

EMPOWERMENT. Enlightened leaders understand that most people naturally want to better themselves and, given the appropriate support and encouragement, will grasp the opportunity to acquire new skills and knowledge. They also realise that the key to getting the best out of people is to give them responsibility for their own actions, rather than creating an environment of control and mistrust.

Such leaders are willing to delegate aspects of their role to their subordinates when the situation allows and, moreover, are prepared to empower them to take decisions themselves, within parameters, without recourse to higher authority.

Empowerment is based upon the belief that, given the opportunity, people are preordained to think for themselves and will generate ideas that benefit their workplace, their organisation and, hence, by extension – themselves. Following orders robotically produces robots; allowing invention and inspiration produces ideas and a pride in individual and team achievements.

"Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you will help them to become what they are capable of being" Goethe

COMMUNICATION. Whilst all those holding the badge of leadership, without exception, would preach the importance of effective communications, not all practice what they preach. But, yet again, it is the leader who should lead the way by his or her example.

Productive communications are built upon understanding between all parties. A leader who is prepared to get out and 'walk the talk' will be in a far better position to both reinforce the vision, and hear how it is being received, than one who remains desk-bound. There are few more potent motivating actions a leader can take than to make the effort to speak to front-line workers and to ask "how are things going?", and mean it!

We live in the 'communication age'. Yet with the previously unimaginable powers now at our fingertips come inherent dangers. Communications is not only about the 'what' – just as important is the 'how'. Wise leaders balance the efficiency of technology with the impact of the human touch. They are well aware that they cannot shake a hand, pat a back, or even smile via email!

"A leader is someone who knows what she wants to achieve and how to communicate it" Margaret Thatcher

THE MESSAGE? The message is that true leaders need to be proficient in a wide range of essential skills that can be represented by The Leadership Jigsaw. Those holding leadership positions should measure themselves against this model of excellence to ensure that they are not 'one piece short of a jigsaw'.

The Leadership Jigsaw is a model of leadership best practice created by Alan Cutler, a leadership writer, motivational speaker and mentor. For more details of how Alan can develop the leadership skills of your managers see, or contact him on Full details of The Leadership Jigsaw are contained in his book, 'One Piece Short of a Jigsaw', obtainable from

About the author: Alan Cutler is a leadership writer, motivational speaker and mentor with over thirty years experience of leading teams, including sixteen years as a commissioned officer in the Royal Air Force. Contact him at or

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Award for a Leadership Development Program

Author: Chris Stowell

Why do organizations come together every year at the 2005 Excellence Fair held by the Professional Association for Computer Training?

It is because something worked well for an organization and valuable information needs to be shared. This year at the 2005 Excellence Fair it was Cargill, the international food provider (located in over 59 countries), that was recognized for their Transition into Leadership curriculum that helps employees transition into leadership roles.

So, what is it about Cargill's leadership curriculum that has led to such great success? It began when Cargill recognized that great team members also make great leaders. But, the insights, skills, and vision needed to be an effective leader must be developed, practiced, and learned over time.

As such, the focus of Cargill's leadership development program is to provide new and aspiring leaders with the skills required to confront the challenges and opportunities that a leadership role entails. In the program, aspiring and new leaders learn how to guide, empower, and assist the efforts of others towards greater success. These newly developed leaders are instructed on how to lead people, make a difference in their work, and fulfill leadership expectations. So how is this leadership development program different from all of the others? This program provides new leaders with the key tools for leading effectively, while at the same time making the program specific to the development needs of each attendee. Most programs on the market do not focus on the transformation process aspiring leaders must go through to maximize their effectiveness.

The Transition into Leadership curriculum was designed to:

? Introduce the best ideas and practices in leadership today

? Identify the significant differences between leadership and management

? Determine the participants own leadership strengths and areas for improvement

? Develop and practice sound leadership skills and abilities

? Learn "best practices" through close affiliation with other Cargill leaders

? Communicate effectively and reinforce, mission, goals, and vision

? Take accountability for business results and team member development

? Embrace change and challenge the comfort zone of team members

Cargill's leadership development program places great importance on their employees and know that they are the key part of a successful future. As a result they seek the best programs in order to create development opportunities for their employees and leaders around the world.

Cargill selected CMOE to partner with them in the development and implementation of the Transition into Leadership program. At the Center for Management and Organization Effectiveness we have been helping Cargill to create, develop and implement their Transition into Leadership program and fulfill a variety of training needs.

The past 27 years CMOE has been instrumental in designing leadership development programs for multinational organizations. We help our clients improve the leaders of today and help create the leaders of tomorrow.

About the author: Chris Stowell is the International Manager at CMOE.

If you would like to learn more about Transition into Leadership and other lea dership development programs please contact CMOE toll free at (888)262-2499

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Three Building Blocks of Leadership

Author: Kenneth Strong

Three Building Blocks of Leadership

By: Kenneth Strong

It's not enough to declare that your selected candidate for promotion to supervisor is now a "leader." You must provide him or her with three essential building blocks. And by the way, if you are the one being asked to take on the additional responsibility of leadership you should insist on having the same three building blocks:


After this time I surpassed all others in authority, but I had no more power than the others who were also my colleagues in office. - Augustus Caesar

Authority includes the personnel, money and materials that go beyond the title supervisor or manager. Your authority includes the sole determination of how the above assets are utilized or expended conducting the business of your department, section, area of responsibility or company. Your staff must be absolutely certain that you are in charge and your decisions won't be reversed by your supervisor, within reason, baring anything unlawful or immoral.

If you aren't given the decision making authority, don't take the job. Having the authority to complete a job is very satisfying. Remember that your authority also means taking responsibility when things go wrong.

You are given the authority to perform your duties and responsibilities because of your supervisor's confidence and trust in your abilities.


While an open mind is priceless, it is priceless only when its owner has the courage to make a final decision that closes the mind for action after the process of viewing all sides of the question has been completed. Failure to make a decision after due consideration of all the facts will quickly brand a man as unfit for a position of responsibility. Not all of your decisions will be correct. None of us is perfect. But if you get into the habit of making decisions, experience will develop your judgment to a point where more and more of your decisions will be right. After all, it is better to be right 51% of the time and get something done, than it is to get nothing done because you fear to reach a decision. - H. W. Andrews

This is the lonely part of leadership; every decision you make you make alone. While you want to have input from staff members and others as may be necessary but you will evaluate all the data and advice and ultimately make the decision alone. Leaders are responsible for making the hard decisions no one else wants to make or can make. Once you implement your decision everyone suddenly knows the correct answer. You have now opened yourself to criticism from every possible direction. You may even begin to second guess yourself-don't. The decision you made was based on available information and in the best interests of the organization.

You always have the option of adjusting the decision as its consequences develop. As a leader you make decisions knowing that they may be wrong but you take that risk where others won't. You and you alone have the responsibility for making the decision. So make your decision with confidence and above all, trust yourself.


The major way of doing anything with one's self is to own one's self. This means to take full responsibility and accountability for whatever I am doing at any moment, with anybody. It means, among other things, that I get rid of all the extra fingers that I point at people and situations to explain my behavior. When a person says ""He made me mad"" that is not accurate. It is ""I made me mad."" When I permit myself the luxury of taking that full responsibility, then I'm on first base, at least, because then I can do something about it. - W. W. Broadbent, MD, PhD - Accountability simply put means you own it. The military teaches this concept better that any organization I know. It works like this. You are assigned a task; there are two possible outcomes, you succeed or fail. If you succeed, congratulations and move on. If you fail there is no excuse for failing, you just didn't get it done. This short conversation sounds like this; Yes, Sir, No, Sir and No Excuse, Sir. The young leader learns very quickly that he or she is totally accountable for everything his or her unit does or fails to do.

I guarantee you will only make an excuse once.

Your reputation as a leader will be determined by how accountable you are in your daily business practices. By holding yourself accountable for all your actions and those of your department you will be way ahead of your contemporaries. It is an easy way to get noticed in a positive way.

Accountability is not just for the big stuff; it also important for the casual daily things. For example: You tell a colleague that you can't meet with him at the moment but will call him in an hour. Make sure you call him in an hour. Or you are scheduled to attend a meeting at 10:00 AM. Show up at 9:55 AM not 10:05 AM. Feel free to use this article, in your publications, in its entirety provided you include the following notice: © Copyright 2004, Lighthouse CCUNIV Publications, Ltd., Lakeville, Massachusetts, USA (except as otherwise indicated). Lighthouse Continuing Care University is a servicemark Lighthouse CCUNIV Publications, Ltd.

About the author: Kenneth E. Strong, Jr., MS, is President and founder of Lighthouse CCUNIV Publication, Ltd., He is the founder of Lighthouse Continuing Care University a web based community devoted to educating, supporting and developing, supervisors, managers, line staff and trustees of Continuing Care Retirement Communities and Skilled Nursing Facilities

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Art Of Leadership

Author: Ron Fory

The art of leadership is sought by virtually everyone. It is claimed by many, defined by a few, and exercised by the unheralded, depending on the source you use. In fact, we know a lot about leadership; it is the application of leadership that creates confusion for most.

In spite of all the leadership texts, containing a veritable plethora of theories about leadership (each of which is THE KEY), leadership remains a very individual concept, exercised in many diverse yet successful ways. Indeed, successful application always results in leadership. Unsuccessful application is invariably counter-productive. So, is this another theory? No, but I will share with you some of my observations about where to look for leadership. It's my belief that although we may not be able to define it very precisely, we can recognize it when we see it.

We know that there are people called ""formal leaders"" and ""informal leaders"" in some of the literature. I am not going to talk about those ""formal leaders,"" because they are by definition occupying positions of authority (i.e., a supervisory position) and that is their sole claim to leadership. ""Informal leaders,"" on the other hand, exercise leadership from positions not formally designated for leadership, thus causing a problem for the organization. How the informal leader arises is curious, but it can often be caused by the lack of leadership in the ""formal"" position. But that doesn't mean that the ""great man"" theory takes place (that's the one that says when a crisis occurs and there's no one prepared to deal with it, someone will rise to the occasion and deal with it). Why is someone not in a leadership position given authority by the group in which they work to exercise leadership?

There are, of course, several answers to that question, so let's examine some of them. It may be that the one who is the leader is a confident (at least confidently-acting) person with a bit of charisma, thus one who offers logical answers to questions from the group, and who may have the ability to demonstrate that they have good ideas. We often see this in groups that begin by discussing particular problems; if no one is specifically ""in charge,"" the leader who emerges is often the person who demonstrates the most passion about the topic.

Or, they may simply be someone who is impatient for action, and goads others into a particular action that appears to achieve some common goals. In this case, the group tends to rally behind the ""visionary."" Sometimes, the visionary doesn't have much of a vision, but that doesn't mean they aren't capable of pursuing one (or of having one in the first place).

Another possibility is that one of this group recognizes that things can be done in a way to benefit everyone involved, much like the development of John Nash's gaming theory (the basis for the movie, ""A Beautiful Mind""). The concern is not for the betterment, enrichment or even recognition of the leader, rather for the achievement of group goals, including the entire organization.

When we find this leader of the latter sort, John Collins, in his book Good to Great, calls them ""Level 5"" leaders. They are the ones who are passionate about achievement of the whole, not of themselves individually. These leaders aren't heralded, because they don't blow their own horns. They are too busy working toward meaningful goals to be distracted by something so counter-productive. Yet they do some particular things that we can see ""proves"" their leadership. Some of those things are where I'd like to focus this discussion.

Leaders who are passionate about their vision (they ALWAYS have a vision), are careful to make sure everyone in the organization knows what that vision is. They will indoctrinate everyone so that it is not simply a vision, but a tangible part of the environment, so much so that it will go home with employees at night. Everything that flows, then, is a reflection of that vision, because the vision becomes the beacon that guides the actions of everyone in the organization.

Those leaders know their people well: their personalities, their histories, their passions. The leader knows them because of the leadership involved in attracting and retaining the right people to ""get the job done."" They reach back to the theory of W. Edwards Deming, not necessarily for Statistical Process Control techniques (although they are valuable), but for Deming's ""14 Points,"" one of which is to insure adequate and continuous training. If the right people are in the job and they are given the resources to get the job done, cheerleading is a waste of time, because these workers already get out of bed in the morning excited about going to work. Motivation? It's boiling inside each one of them, and they don't need slogans or mantras, or group meetings to cheer about history, because the ""self-actualized"" person is also self-motivated. They know their jobs, they know what's expected of them, and they know that they have a responsibility to the rest of the employees to do the best job they possibly can. One reason that happens is that the individual has been involved in development of their job and their responsibilities for that job, they've been informed about how their job fits into the overall scheme, and they are intimately involved in changes that occur in the company. Revolutionary? No, it's been in the books for decades.

When leaders develop this kind of employee and the managers to supervise those employees, they are freed up to do the visionary tasks: keeping the goal in sight, and making the course corrections necessary when changing conditions require them. Tweaking is a skill these leaders have that is taught in no school, which makes it that much more valuable.

In my history is a ten-year stint as a division controller for a manufacturing firm. The division manager was a true visionary, who brought the division from a lackluster, poorly motivated, money losing operation to an energetic, proud organization that had attained ISO 9000 certification on its way to becoming profitable as well. Over those ten years, I watched that manager steadfastly steer the division in the direction his vision so clearly defined. Not all of his actions were exactly right, but that didn't keep us from learning from them. And the division became a model for the corporation, while the division manager became a regional manager so his skills could be used in other divisions as well. He had learned that putting the team together was his biggest job, but once that was done, the team drove the progress. He simply got out of the way. His time was not spent showing what he'd done, it was spent in providing the tools to the team members so they could get where he wanted faster. If he needed to do something that should be done by one of the team members, that team member was, by definition, unnecessary, and was eliminated. That doesn't mean that mistakes weren't tolerated, nor that effort wasn't made to insure the team member was adequately placed and trained. But when it became obvious that change was necessary, it occurred quickly and cleanly. It was truly a joy to work there, but especially to observe that unsung leadership in action.

There are some things we as individuals can do, if we want to develop our own leadership:

1. Keep focused on the primary goal for your company. Never let yourself be distracted from that.

2. Surround yourself not with those who only agree with you, but with the right people for the job you need done, then train them and provide them the tools to do the job.

3. Recognize the benefits of having different personalities around you. Not only do separate skill sets come with different personalities, but different approaches that are essential to your company's success.

4. Having hired the right people, get out of their way. If you must micromanage them, you don't need them. This is not a big problem, however, since they won't stay anyway, if you treat them with so little respect.

5. Remember always to consult your feedback loop in all your processes, to make sure things are working as you expect, and that you can make appropriate changes timely. Failure to do this with hasten the failure of your organization in total. Recall that your feedback loop is only as valuable as the people from whom you get feedback. Listen to them.

6. Know when you have exceeded your limitations, and acknowledge it. Then get help to overcome it.

Each of us has the capability to be a leader. We will only become effective leaders, however, when we lose our fear of making mistakes, and share responsibility for achievement of the goals of the organization. If those goals are our individual measures of achievement, then the organization will work to succeed and achieve; if they are not, we will be the transient leader that gets things going, but fails by failing to share credit and push for only the good of the organization.

Dare to achieve.

About the author: Ron Fory is an instructor and trainer for The Leader's Institute,, and specializes in public speaking and leadership development. Ron can be reached at 1-800-872-7830 x105.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Tired of the endless theories on leadership? Discover the easy route to leadership with Mind Mapping

Author: Vj Mariaraj

Far too long the myth remained that 'leaders are born and not made'; but this is no longer true as it has been proved that leadership is very much a learned art as much as it might be inherited. The business administration institutes do churn out MBA's by the scores. You might be a competent manager, but leadership is a different issue from management. It is about leading and inspiring people to great performance. It involves having a clear vision, which will be enthusiastically shared by people working under you.

Leadership need not be taught; it can be learned greatly through direct experience, and equally by working and preparing ourselves for the role. As in all cases, being a self-starter always imbues in you a great deal of motivation to sustain and work to attain your ultimate goals.

To work on acquiring leadership skills there are certain basics that you will have to follow. The first requirement to building the requisite leadership traits in you is to understand the meaning of effective leadership. A clear knowledge of the elements of leaderships will help you in working towards the objective. You will then need to make a thorough analysis of your self to unravel your inner you. Once you gain clear insights about yourself, you will know your areas of strengths and weaknesses. You can then build on your strengths, tackle your weaknesses, develop self-confidence and a dynamic attitude to become a balanced and successful leader.

Equally important is being a visionary and forming a clear and robust vision of how the future should be, which others will eagerly adopt, partake and implement. Inspiring people on your vision and enthusing them to their optimum performance are vital aspects of leadership.

Leadership is also about having unceasing self-confidence and the power to instill it in others. It concerns with having necessary expertise and a robust track record of achievement that will earn the respect, trust and value of your peers and team members. Making right decisions even under pressure situations, building a highly effective team, forging trusting relationships amongst team members and dealing in a firm and fair way are other basics for powerful leadership.

In all these, Mind Maps are of great value in that they help in systematically leading you through the process of achievement. Beginning with formulating elements of leadership, to making a self-enquiry into your true self, Mind Maps serve as an effective method to list them in detail. Besides, associations and creativity - elements that are inherent to Mind Maps - lend greater emotional depth to our understanding and progress to cultivating leadership traits.

Also in framing appropriate vision, in making correct decisions and assessing and picking the right team for the right job, Mind Mapping can be a useful and indispensable device. They help you to monitor your progress and provide you the needed motivation to stay on course. Mind Mapping is the simplest technique to kindle you into action, provide creative solutions and help plan and execute various steps to gaining inspiring leadership traits. Mind Maps offer a comprehensive view, while aiding you to tackle different segments thoroughly.

Indeed Mind Maps are the easiest route to reach your destination. You have to learn the Mind Mapping method to realize its true value. How about taking your first step forward now?

About the author: About the Author: Dr. Vj Mariaraj is a Mind Map enthusiast and has been using Mind Maps for the past twelve years. He has created over 5650 Mind Maps. To learn more about mind mapping send an email to . He is the founder of that creates Mind Map Summaries of Business Books. To learn more visit

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Leadership Training: Is Discretionary Effort the Primary Objective of All Leaders?

Author: Steve Nielsen

With the constant challenges and pressures faced by managers around the world today, it can be difficult to determine where to focus our time and energy. We must lead our teams, provide our customers with outstanding service, increase the strength of our brand, and in many cases accomplish all this and more with fewer resources. Okay, perhaps we should fly the white flag and give up now.

No, surrender isn't necessary; but increased understanding and application of the principles of leadership is. As members of management teams, we must ensure that we must are carrying out our responsibilities as managers (e.g., taking care of processes, machinery, things) and perhaps more importantly, as leaders who are responsible for the people on our teams. One of the ways we can accomplish these objectives is to tap into the discretionary effort that every member of every team possesses.

Discretionary effort is the level of performance above that which is required for the team member to maintain their employment. It is an employee's desire to go beyond the collecting of a salary. It is a willingness to be interested and involved in assisting the organization in the accomplishment of corporate goals. Essentially, it's what every one of us is able to do with regard to our jobs and in support of our organizations/corporations that we don't have to contribute to keep our jobs.

If we all agree that discretionary effort exists in every member of every team and that it would benefit us, how do we, as leaders, tap into the discretionary effort that all members of our teams possess? One way is to understand and practice transformational and transactional leadership styles.

Transformational leadership has been extensively researched and written about by Bernard M. Bass (distinguished professor emeritus of management and director of the Center of Leadership Studies at Binghamton University). Leaders who are effective in this area create an environment where team members can contribute new ideas. These leaders strive to treat each team member as partners. By so doing, they increase their team members' understanding of issues faced by their organizations, they help employees rise above self-interests to be more interested in the good of the whole team and/or organization; and inspire them to work even harder than they may have expected.

The other leadership style that dovetails very effectively with transformational leadership in the pursuit of discretionary effort is transactional leadership dimensions. Leaders who are effective in this area influence members of their teams to behave and perform in desired ways through the productive use of rewards or some other benefit desired by the team member. These behaviors include courage, integrity, humility, etc. When transformational leadership is used together with transactional leadership, we can be even more effective as leaders and managers.

How can we be more effective leaders by tapping into the discretionary effort of our team members? By understanding and being more effective in our daily application of our transformational and transactional leadership behaviors and skills. To do this we must engage in a lifelong journey of leadership training , learning, and growth. Read articles on these subjects, seek out those in our networks who have exhibited strong abilities in tapping into discretionary effort and utilizing transformational and transactional leadership, and participating in personal development opportunities.

CMOE (Center for Management & Organization Effectiveness) has several courses that we have created or can customize for your leadership training needs. Several of the courses focus on the qualities and behaviors of leaders such as courage, integrity, humility, conviction and accountability. We also deal with the skills of collaboration, alignment, communication and enabling. Gaining a deeper understanding of these leadership training elements and how they can be applied in every day situations will increase our abilities to help each member of our teams realize the benefits of sharing their discretionary effort. Other leadership courses share the behaviors and skills that can help us become effective coaches, which personal experience has proven is a key method in helping employees increase their understanding of where they fit and why that fit matters.

Our opportunity to travel far on our leadership journey can be increased through effective understanding of and tapping into the discretionary effort possessed by every employee at every level of every organization. Best wishes on your journey!

About the author: Steve Nielsen is a former director of the FedEx Leadership Institute and has over 28 years of experience in the area of Operations, Organizational Development, and Leadership Training.

For more information about CMOE contact a Regional Manager at (888)262-2499.