Are You A Leader Or A Follower?

In his article Are You A Leader Or A Follower?, Travis Bradberry asks some excellent questions which largely help you understand whether you have the profile of a real leader. Like Bradberry says “Leadership and followership are mindsets”, it is true, either you are born a leader or you are not.

So have a look at the article – it is the moment of truth.

The article is posted on Forbes.

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Succession Planning and Leadership Development

In your organization, do you have a successor for people having a key role, such as the CEO?

In his article “Who are your street sweepers? Succession planning and leadership development”, published by the Australian Institute of Management, David Reynolds reminds of the importance of including these two perspectives into the overall business strategy of a company.

In addition to develop a leadership program for the company, of utmost importance are the “pivot points”, i.e., persons who play key roles in the success of the organization and whom should be enabled to develop skills that will help them to move forward and ensure – and be a part of – the company’s future.

How Leaders Can Best Manage Conflict Within Their Teams

Conflicts are inevitable in a work place where people spend a lot of time together. Inevitable yes, but as explained by Executive Coaches Joan Bunashe and Lindsay Broder in their article How Leaders Can Best Manage Conflict Within Their Teams, there are simple ways to reduce magnitude and possible damages. Here are some tips:

  • Don’t separate the “problem” people from the rest of the group.
  • Do this exercise: each team member share his or her view of the situation. They are then encouraged to describe what other persons’ views might be. This helps increasing empathy.
  • Make sure that everybody is aware of the value he or she brings to the company.
  • As the manager, show respect and appreciation and encourage the team to do the same.
  • Don’t allow team members to label each other.
  • Turn disagreement into brainstorming sessions to find solutions to the conflict together. Make people realize that another person’s personal view is not an attack and that you all are striving to accomplish the same mission.

What it takes to be a great leader

Even though leadership expert Roselinde Torres’s Ted Talk dates back to 2013, the question she deals with is hot topic:

What makes a great leader today?

Roselinde Torres has spent 25 years studying the question, observing more than 4’000 companies. She comes to the conclusion that there are three questions to be posed :

  • Where are you looking to anticipate the next change to your business model or your life?

By observing yourself – your whereabouts and your environment – and then analyze it can help you detect upcoming shifts and important changes.

  • What is the diversity measure of your personal and professional stakeholder network?

Your network is important. If you are capable of collaborating with people that think and act fundamentally differently than you, together you can more easily identify new patterns and disruptive trends.

  • Are you courageous enough to abandon a practice that has made you successful in the past?

Finally, do you dare get out of comfortable and familiar practice ? Chose new paths, even if it implies taking risks?

Anticipating new trends, socializing and working with people with other backgrounds and perceptions than you allow you to stay ahead and prepare for the future rather than undergo it.

Leaders of the 21st-century see around corners and are already prepared for whatever tomorrow will bring.

Disruptive Ideas

In her article “Disruptive Ideas”, posted on Thinkers50, the author, Professor Vlatka Hlupic, writes about business models and the necessity of progress.

Indeed, disruptive innovation also applies to management, which must evolve to become less rigid, control-based and horizontal, to be more flexible and human. One of today’s major challenges for companies is to see its employees as being part of the team and not as an emotional-lacking asset. Through new ways of thinking – that is to cease focusing on pure financial profit – a company can be more innovative, create more value and improve business performance.

Professor Hlupic states that “the organization is understood as being more like a living organism than a machine”.

How to Keep Employees Happy in the Age of Longer Workweeks

The article How to Keep Employees Happy in the Age of Longer Workweeks, published on American Express Open Forum brings up an important subject. The one of increasing working hours. The feeling that we are spending more and more time at work is confirmed by a recent study made by EY. Prevent negative effects such as demotivation and burn out has become a major challenge.

The author of the article, Julie Bawden Davis, gives concrete advice on how to keep a healthy work-life balance when working overtime has become a necessity to stay competitive in the market.

Managers, especially the business owner, tend to work long hours. Employees might think that the same is expected from them – even in times when actually not necessary. This can result in demotivation and a negative impact on productivity. Make sure that team members know exactly what is expected from them as regards working hours.

Hold debriefing meetings once a week to analyze and discuss stress increasing situations and how to avoid them.

Implementing flexibility is an appreciated method. As an employee, it is gold worth knowing that when the workflow lightens, you can take an afternoon off to spend with your kids.

Last, make sure employees know that you are aware of their working hard. Show your gratitude, if possible money-wise with a bonus. It is equally important to thank people individually. Take the time to stop by their office to say a nice, encouraging word.

The Missing Links in Leadership

Being a leader in our profit-driven world is not easy. We are constantly under pressure of performing and also increasing our team’s performance.

The article The Missing Links in Leadership, published by the Australian Institute of Management, reminds us of two characteristics necessary to maintain a healthy environment in a busy workplace. Those are compassion and empathy.

As Kerry Anne Cassidy explains in this article, being compassionate everyday “is about ensuring you have the right intention in approaching a situation or person”. That is making sure you first get a grip of the situation (or the other person’s feelings) rather than making suppositions before handling.

Further, Cassidy defines empathy as recognizing and acknowledging an other person’s feelings – even if you do not agree with them. She gives some great examples on how true empathy works. When a team member comes to you with a problem, there is a huge difference between saying “I understand how you feel” and “You are feeling hurt because…”.

Knowing how to be compassionate as well as understand and practice empathy is an important part of emotional intelligence.

Bill Gates Thinks You Should Read These 6 Books This Year

Reading, we know, is one of the best ways to learn and to help us see things from other, new angles. And who could not give better tips than Bill Gates himself? In the article Bill Gates Thinks You Should Read These 6 Books This Year written by Jessica  Stillman and published on Inc.com, books on various topics are recommended. It is a most interesting list, including books not only on business but also on other topics like early-20th century U.S. presidents, immunity, or economic development in Asia. These books will no doubt open up our mind to new approaches and thinking.

How the Best Managers Create a Culture of Peer Accountability

As a manager, the goal is to have a team that performs greatly in a conflict-free environment. How is that possible? Joseph Grenny explains how in his article How the Best Managers Create Culture Peer Accountability posted on LinkedIn.

That is by applying the Peer Principle, which basically means concentrating less on vertical performance management and more on peer accountability. Team members are encouraged to handle assessment among themselves, including issues of conflict. By being responsibilized, problem-solving mainly happens directly in the group with minimal involvement of the manager.

The article further describes how to implement such culture. The baseline is of course to be a model yourself – confront your concerns directly with the persons involved rather than complain to others. Further, new expectations, together with useful skills, should be explained and taught to the team using positive, speaking examples.

Investing in the Peer Principle takes time up front” explains Joseph Grenny, “but the return on investment happens fast as you regain lost time and see problems solved both better and faster.”

Signs of a Weak Manager

The article Seven Signs Your Boss is a Weak Manager is aimed for employees. But what if you considered it from a manager’s point of view?

With subjects ranging from a lack of self-confidence with a fear of competent co-workers to a refusal of accepting tips to improve work, there are a lot of interesting questions in there. How do you react as manager? What about taking it as a quiz?

The article is written by Liz Ryan and published on Forbes.