Executive edge _define_yourself_as_a_leader


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Executive edge _define_yourself_as_a_leader

  1. 1. CKC’s Vol. 1, Issue 7ExecutiveEDGEInformation and Skills You Need to Get Ahead Define Yourself as a Leader Activate Your extraordinary. Then they were asked, “What did Leadership Potential that leader do exceptionally well? What were that leader’s strengths?” The answers were: There are two dimensions to activating your leadership potential, according to George • The leader had a clear vision and Bradt, Jayme Check and Jorge Pedraza in communicated it effectively. • The leader drove hard for exceptional results. The first is understanding and declaring • The leader cared about and developed people. The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan. your own leadership qualities and capabilities. • The leader had high integrity and honesty. The second is interacting effectively with • The leader was technically savvy. others in such a way that it becomes part of an organization’s or a market’s perception When asked if the leader had any weaknesses, of you. nearly everyone could identify a weakness,In This Issue… The “declaring” part is important since even in these extraordinary leaders. Often the this is what best enables you to commit to weaknesses were not trivial. Some leaders your career path. Start by declaring this to lacked the ability to think strategically, while• Activate Your Leadership yourself. Commit yourself. Your commitments others had difficulty staying on top of the will become more real as you share them administrative details of their position. Some Potential with others. lacked people skills and preferred to “hole up” Once you’ve gotten a good handle on your in their office. Others were novices regarding• Focus on Strengths, strengths and goals, you are ready to think the technology of the business. Compensate for Weaknesses through positioning in a proactive and All leaders seem to have some weaknesses, methodical way. So, start by understanding but extraordinary leaders have profound• Qualities You Need to Live By your existing strengths and talents that can strengths and use a variety of mechanisms be turned into strengths appropriate to meet to compensate for any weaknesses. In some• Build a Personal your long-term goals. Then, communicate your cases, that means hiring someone with readiness for leadership by leading something Support Team complementary skills. In other cases, it means whether it’s a major project or the team outing. restructuring the job so others perform the• Make the Choice to Lead activities that the executive struggles with. Focus on Strengths, Many people focus their development Compensate for Weaknesses• Sharpen Your Judgment efforts on the things they don’t do well. The In research shared by authors John Zenger, problem with this approach is that, typically,• It’s Important to Keep Joseph Folkman and Scott Edinger in The people are not very interested in or passionate Inspiring Leader, groups were told to think about their most significant weaknesses and, Learning about a leader who they would consider therefore, they don’t improve much.• Stay on Track• What All Leaders Must Know CKC’s Executive Edge is a publication of Contents of this issue have been drawn © 2011 Concentrated Knowledge Concentrated Knowledge Corporation, from, or inspired by, book summaries Corporation. All rights reserved. 500 Old Forge Lane, Suite 501, created with permission of the publishers by Reproduction in whole or part is prohibited. Kennett Square, PA 19348 USA Soundview Executive Book Summaries® www.summary.com Additional resources as noted. XE0107 Rebecca S. Clement, Publisher Sarah T. Dayton, Editor Chris Bienick, Graphic Designer CKC’s EXECUTIVE EDGE 1
  2. 2. You must play your own game rather than allow yourself to be knocked off center by unexpected setbacks and difficulties. Working on a behavior that you are his or her people. In times of rapid change Integrity: Integrity requires that you alwaysinterested in creates a much higher probability and turbulence, it’s a good idea to occasionally tell the truth, to all people, in every situation.that real change will occur. The authors’ call a “time out.” Take some time to think A key part of trustworthiness is to alwaysresearch confirmed that it wasn’t the absence about who you really are inside, what you keep your promises. You should give promisesof flaws but the presence of strengths that stand for, where you are going, and what carefully, even reluctantly, but once you havemade exceptional leaders. kind of future you want to create for yourself given a promise, you must always follow and your organization. You must play your through on that promise. Leaders with integrityQualities You Need to Live By own game rather than allow yourself to be are responsible. They accept responsibility The better you know and understand knocked off center by unexpected setbacks for themselves and for getting the results thatyourself, the better decisions you will and difficulties. they have been hired and appointed to achieve.make and the better results you will get. Courage: The quality of courage means Leaders continually remind themselves, “I amIn How the Best Leaders Lead, Brian Tracy that you are willing to take risks in the responsible.” Leaders refuse to make excusespoints out that the quality of your decisions achievement of your goals with no assurance when things go wrong; instead, they makedetermines the quality of your actions. And of success. The more information you gather progress. They refuse to dwell on what mightthe quality of your actions determines the and opinions you seek before you make an have happened; instead they focus on whatquality of your results. important decision, the more likely that the can be done now to resolve the problem. The successful leader is, first and foremost, decision will be the right one. But you can Humility: Humility doesn’t mean thata successful person. The best leaders never eliminate the element of risk. It always you’re weak or unsure of yourself. It meansestablish priorities and goals not only for exists. The more action-oriented you become, that you have the self-confidence andtheir professional lives, but for their personal the greater your confidence will be and the self-awareness to recognize the value oflives as well. They know what they want, more likely you will do the right things at others without feeling threatened. It meanswho they are, who and what is important, the right time that lead to victory. The that you are willing to admit you could bewhere they are going and why, and what ultimate test of courage in leadership is how wrong; that you recognize you may notstrengths and weaknesses will help or well you perform in a crisis. During a crisis, have all the answers. Don’t be afraid tohinder them as they move forward. you demonstrate to yourself, and everyone recognize and use the strengths of others. Tracy pinpoints seven qualities of who is watching you, what you are really made Learn from the people you meet and workleadership that effective leaders historically of, deep inside. The key to dealing with a crisis with, and listen as much as you talk.have programmed into their personality effectively is to decide, in advance, that no Foresight: Excellent leaders are goodand behavior. Each of these qualities can matter what happens, you will remain calm, strategic thinkers. They have the ability tobe learned by practice and repetition: cool and relaxed. You resolve in advance look ahead, to anticipate with some accuracy Vision: The quality of vision changes a that you will not become angry or upset. You where the industry and the markets are going.“transactional manager” into a “transforma- will get the information you need, make the Leaders think about what they are trying totional leader.” While a manager gets the job decisions that are required and take the actions accomplish today and what might happen todone, a true leader taps into the emotions of that are necessary. interfere with their plans for tomorrow. The more information you gather and the more people you talk to, the greater your clarity about future conditions will be. The Ideal Environment for Growth The greater clarity you have, the better your decisions will be for taking actions to guard against the possible crises or to take What does a growth environment look like? advantage of the possible opportunities. John C. Maxwell offers 10 characteristics in Leadership Gold: Focus: Leaders focus on results, on what must be achieved by themselves, by others • Others are ahead of you. • You are continually challenged. and by the company. Leaders focus on • Your focus is forward. strengths, in themselves and in others. The • The atmosphere is affirming. job of the leader is to help every person in • You are often out of your comfort zone. the company achieve laser-like focus on the • You wake up excited. most valuable contributions they can make to • Failure is not your enemy. the growth of the enterprise. And the leader • Others are growing. • People desire change. must lead by example. • Growth is modeled and expected. Cooperation: Your ability to get everyone working and pulling together is essential to your success. Leadership is the ability to get people to work for you because they want to. Gain the cooperation of others by making a commitment to get along well with each key person every single day. Leaders truly believe that people are their most valuable asset. 2 CKC’s EXECUTIVE EDGE
  3. 3. Stay on Track As leaders take on more leadership, sometimes they derail. Tim Irwin, who chronicles the collapse of six high-profile CEOs and the factors that drove their downfalls in Derailed, points out five crucial principles for staying on track: Lesson One: Character trumps competence. Character, as expressed in authenticity, wisdom, humility and courage, must ultimately form the substance of who we are if we want to have great impact. Lesson Two: Arrogance is the mother of all derailers. It is commonly at the root of a leader’s undoing. Aloofness, being critical, self-promotion and not listening to others all tie to arrogance. Lesson Three: Lack of self-/other-awareness is a common denominator of all derailers. Lesson Four: We are always who we are … especially under stress. If we will always be who we are, it pays to consider deeply who we want to become and to make choices consistent with that intention. Lesson Five: Derailment is not inevitable, but without attention to development, it is probable.Build a Personal Support Team professional expertise, insights and wisdom When you move up in an organization, and for their commitment to your well-being. the weight of your responsibility increases. In True North, Bill George examines It is important to build your team long before You may even find that the amount ofthe journey to authentic leadership and there is a crisis in your life. This is because responsibility you take on increases fastersupplies a development plan to stay true that assures you that people will be available than the amount of authority you receive.to who you are while confronting the to help when you need them most. When you go higher, more is expected ofchallenges that erupt around you. One you, the pressure is greater and the impact of It is importantelement of your development plan should your decisions weighs more heavily.be building a support team. Members of to build your teamyour team help you stay focused on yourTrue North, “the internal compass that Sharpen Your Judgment long before there isguides you successfully through life.” The essence of leadership is judgmentThey keep you grounded in reality and according to Noel Tichy and Warren a crisis in your life.provide the support you need as you Bennis, authors of Judgment. In the faceventure on your leadership journey. of ambiguity, uncertainty and conflicting Authentic leaders build support teams that demands, often under great time pressure,will counsel them in times of uncertainty, be leaders must make decisions and take effective actions to ensure the survivalthere in times of difficulty and celebrate with Making the Choice to Lead and success of their organizations. This isthem in times of success. Your support teamstarts with having at least one person in your The No. 1 misconception people have how leaders add value to their organizations.life with whom you can be completely vul- about leaders is the belief that leadership A keen sense of judgment is what makes ornerable and open. Often, that person is the comes simply from having a position or title. breaks a leader.only one who can tell you the honest truth. But John C. Maxwell points out, in The 360 The thing that really matters is not howMost leaders have their closest relationships Degree Leader, that position has little to do many calls a leaders gets right or even whatwith their spouses, although some develop with genuine leadership. Leadership is a percentage of calls a leader gets right. Rather,these bonds with other family members, a choice you make and anyone can choose to it is how many of the important ones he or sheclose friend or a trusted mentor. become a leader. gets right. Good leaders are able to discern the Many authentic leaders have had a mentor But you need to learn as much as you can really important ones. They are better at awho has changed their lives by helping them about leadership before you take on a leader- whole process that runs from seeing the needdevelop the skills to become better leaders ship position. Good leadership is learned in the for a call, to framing issues, to figuring outand the confidence to lead authentically. The trenches. If you don’t try out your leadership what is critical, to mobilizing and energizingbest mentoring interactions spark mutual skills and decision-making process when the the troops.learning, exploration of similar values and stakes are small and the risks are low, you’re How a leader works the judgment processshared enjoyment. likely to get into trouble at higher levels when depends to a great extent on who the leader is. Mentors are not necessarily people who the cost of mistakes is high, the impact is Winning leaders have clear mental frameworksmake you feel good about yourself or tell far-reaching, and the exposure is greater. to guide their thinking. They have storiesyou that you can do anything you want to People who have no leadership experience running in their heads about how the worlddo. Sometimes, the best mentors provide have a tendency to overestimate the impor- works and how they want things to turn out.tough love by being critical as a means of tance of a leadership title. Although the desire And they have the all-important qualities ofteaching. Too many leaders prefer mentors to improve an organization and the belief that character and courage. They have the internalwho are always there for them but don’t you’re capable of doing it are often the marks discipline and the guts to make the right callspush them to change or improve. of a leader, without experience being the top and to follow through. Your support team might include several person in an organization, you would likely Winning leaders’ storylines specificallyhighly trusted personal and professional overestimate the amount of control you have address three areas of questions: Whereadvisers, people you respect for their at the top. are we now? Where are we going? How CKC’s EXECUTIVE EDGE 3
  4. 4. are we going to get there? Without a solid answer: credibility. If people don’t believe in storyline, the leader’s judgments are you, they won’t willingly follow you. disconnected acts that may or may not #3. Values Drive Commitment. People move the organization forward. want to know what you stand for and believe in. They want to know what you It’s Important to Keep Learning value. And leaders need to know what John C. Maxwell suggests, in Leadership others value if they are going to be able Gold, that the secret to success can be to forge alignments between personal found in people’s daily agendas. If they values and organizational demands. do something intentional to grow every Apart. The capacity to imagine and #4. Focusing on the Future Sets Leaders day, they move closer to reaching their potential. If they don’t, their potential articulate exciting future possibilities is slowly slips away. a defining competence of leaders. You If you want to be a good leader, you’ve got to have to take the long-term perspective. be a good learner. If you don’t have a plan for Gain insight from reviewing your past personal growth, then don’t expect to grow. and develop outsight by looking around. Maxwell offers the following suggestions: #5. You Can’t Do It Alone. Leadership 1. Invest in Yourself First. As long as is a team sport and you need to engage people are following you, they will be able others in the cause. What strengthens and to go only as far as you go. If you’re not sustains the relationship between leader growing, they won’t be growing— and constituent is that leaders are obsessed either that or they will leave and go with what is best for others, not what is best somewhere else where they can grow. for themselves.OPTIMISTIC OR Followers get better after their leaders do. #6. Trust Rules. Trust is the social glue that holds individuals and groups together. And the 2. Be a Continual Learner. When a leaderUNREALISTIC? reaches a desired position or level of training, level of trust others have in you will determine the amount of influence you have. You have to there is a temptation to slack off. If you want toFocusing on the Future lead, you have to learn. If you want to earn your constituents’ trust before they’ll be willing to trust you. You have to give trustAndrew Clancy, senior editor at continue to lead, you must continue to learn. before you can get trust.Soundview, recently interviewed James Successful people have an infectious desire toKouzes and Barry Posner, authors of The keep moving into the future, generating new Greatness. Exemplary leaders — the kind #7. Challenge Is the Crucible forTruth About Leadership. Here is a piece challenges and living with a sense that there isof the interview related to what is real of leaders people want to follow — areabout leadership. more to learn and accomplish. always associated with changing the status 3. Create a Growth Environment. To be quo. Great achievements don’t happenAC: You point out that optimism is an a lifelong learner, get out of an environment when you keep things the same. Changeessential part of truth four – Focusing on that is stagnant and distance yourself fromthe Future Sets Leaders Apart. How can invariably involves challenge, and challengeleaders prevent confusing optimism with people who have no desire to grow. Seek tests you. It introduces you to yourself.an inability to be realistic? places where growth is valued and people are growing. As a leader, you need to create Don’t Lead at All. Leaders have to keep #8. You Either Lead by Example or YouKouzes: Being optimistic or hopeful in the a positive growth environment for thelong-term is a sense of having both a will their promises and become role models for people you lead. the values and actions they espouse. Youand way. It’s understanding where you wantto go, some end point, and then believing in Maxwell points out that great people have to go first as a leader. You can’t askyourself and your ability to get there and also desire to bring out the greatness in others. others to do something you aren’t willing tohaving a methodology. Being “realistically Small people will try to put the same limits on do yourself.optimistic,” if we can use that phrase, means you that they have put on themselves.both having the hope that in the long-term Learners. Leaders are constant improvement #9. The Best Leaders Are the Bestyou will achieve your goals, but also under-standing that you have to work hard and What All Leaders Must Know fanatics, and learning is the master skill ofyou have to have the skills and abilities Based on 30 years of research, James leadership. Learning, however, takes time andto get there. Kouzes and Barry Posner have devised a list attention, practice and feedback, along with of 10 time-tested truths and shared them in good coaching. It also takes willingness onSo, someone who is optimistic tends to havea strong belief in themselves, doesn’t do a The Truth About Leadership. Here are 10 your part to ask for support.guilt-trip on themselves when they make fundamental truths about leadership and becoming an effective leader: Leaders make others feel important and are #10. Leadership Is an Affair of the Heart.mistakes. They recover. They’re resilient.They move on. They tend to look at the #1. You Make a Difference. This is the gracious in showing their appreciation. Lovecircumstances and say that under these most fundamental truth of all. Before you is the motivation that energizes leaders to givecircumstances anyone could have failed. can lead, you have to believe that you can so much for others. You just won’t work hardThey just pick themselves up and move on. enough to become great if you aren’t doing have a positive impact on others. BelieveIt’s being upbeat, energetic and enthusiastic in yourself. Leadership begins when you what you love.about the possibilities, but also understanding believe you can make a difference. These are enduring truths about leadership.that, realistically, you’ve got to work hard. You can gain mastery over the art and scienceYou’ve got to apply yourself and you have to Leadership. You have to believe in you, of leadership by understanding them and #2. Credibility Is the Foundation ofhave a method for accomplishing your goal. but others have to believe in you too. What attending to them in your workplace and does it take for others to believe in you? Short everyday life. N4 CKC’s EXECUTIVE EDGE