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Surviving Leadership Chaos
" We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give. " - Winston Churchill
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Do presidents need experience?

Do presidents need experience? | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
A Harvard Business School professor argues that unseasoned leaders have more impact, for good or ill. An interview with Gautam Mukunda, author of Indispensable: When Leaders Really Matter.

 

Gautam Mukunda has written a new book that tries to answer two vexing questions: Does it matter which leaders we choose?

 

And if so, can we make rational choices? InIndispensable: When Leaders Really Matter, the Harvard Business School professor argues that "unfiltered leaders" -- those who haven't had much relevant experience -- will likely have a greater impact than filtered leaders. What's harder to predict is whether that impact will be good or bad.

 

Mukunda's take on the HBS grad who's currently running for president? "Romney's business experience tells us little about what he will do in office, and what he learned during it will be of little help to him." Electing Romney, Mukunda says, would be a "tremendous gamble." (The following interview was edited for space and clarity.) 

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Become a Question Collector

Become a Question Collector | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
Listen to other people’s questions.  When you like them, write them down.

 

On a teleseminar for our future Remarkable Leadership Certified Coaches and Resellers (if that thought intrigues you, let us know and we will tell you about the benefits and when the next session starts) last night I urged them to become collectors of questions.

 

This is an important idea, one that few coaches and leader think about.  If you want to ask great questions (and there are probably 20 reasons we should all want to do that), you need to have great questions at your fingertips (and more than just a few).

 

I gave them five steps to do start their collection:

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The Joy Of Feeling Valued

The Joy Of Feeling Valued | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
If you value an employee, let him or her know it. If you don't make it explicitly clear from time to time, they may well not realize it... even if you think they do.

 

I recently received an email from a former colleague who had changed jobs. “I haven’t worked this hard in years and have never felt so valued,” she wrote. “What a strange combination. I learn something new every day and am only worried my brain won’t hold any more information. I’m exhausted by Friday and it’s just great. Who knew?”

 

To me, by far the most important phrase in this uplifting note was “and have never felt so valued.” I guarantee that if this individual had just changed jobs, were working harder than ever and felt totally unappreciated, her experience of this new position and the tone of her comments would have been entirely different.


Via Richard Andrews
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The Importance of a Leader’s Heart

The Importance of a Leader’s Heart | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
The most important thing you can do as a leader is to keep your heart open. ...Maintaining an open heart—pumping possibility through your organization—is the most important thing you can do as a leader.

 

Several years ago, I was in New York City on business. I was having a relaxing dinner with one of my colleagues. Suddenly, as we were finishing our meal, I started to have chest pains. Initially, I tried to ignore them. But then I began to quietly panic. I felt that the room was closing in on me.

 

Embarrassed, I blurted out, “I think I may be having a heart attack.”

 

David immediately took control. He paid our bill, hailed a cab, and got me to St. Vincent’s Hospital, which happened to be the one closest to our restaurant.

 

After some preliminary tests, the doctor said, “All of your vitals look fine. But, just to be safe, we’d like to keep you overnight.” They then strapped me to a biometric bed and let me rest. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep much.

 

The next morning, the doctor came in and said, “I’m not sure what happened last night, but your heart is fine. I suggest that you go to your primary care physician when you get back to Nashville and follow-up on this.”


Via Bobby Dillard, AlGonzalezinfo
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15 Ideas to Help You Tame the Meeting Beast

15 Ideas to Help You Tame the Meeting Beast | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
Meetings are interesting beasts to deal with as a new leader. Some (OK, very few) are incredibly productive and many (most) are gigantic and misdirected time sinks.

 

Meetings are interesting beasts to deal with as a new leader. Some (OK, very few) are incredibly productive and many (most) are gigantic and misdirected time sinks. Here are some ideas on optimizing your use of meetings.


15 Ideas to Help You Develop Effective Meeting Habits:...


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Is Perfectionism Holding You Back?

Is Perfectionism Holding You Back? | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
You're ambitious. Of course it's important to do the best job that you can--but is your perfectionism preventing you from ever getting that pet project done?

 

I had dinner with a friend this week. Let's call her "Alice." Alice, like me, is a journalist, and one of the smartest and funniest people I know. Even though she's younger than me, I look up to her--she's very talented and I learned how to do my job better by emulating her. Like most people who work in online media, she's extraordinarily busy.

 

At dinner, Alice surprised me by confiding that she often doesn't finish things she sets out to do--cleaning her apartment, working on her novel, applying for jobs, even cooking a nice meal--because she is such a perfectionist that she can't work on a task unless she has the time and energy necessary to do it perfectly. Sometimes she puts a task off so long, hoping she'll find enough time to make it perfect, that she ends up rushing to get it done at the last minute. Later, over IM, Alice told me she feels "permanently disappointed in myself" and "overwhelmed", "like I am on a treadmill that I can't get off of but also like I am on the verge of being perfect, if only I had the time to sit down and do it well".

 

I realized that I've let perfectionism keep me from finishing certain projects--for example, I've held back on making my personal website public for ages, because I always feel like it's not good enough yet. It turns out many of my friends are like this.

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Leadership Perspective: Building on Common Purpose

Leadership Perspective: Building on Common Purpose | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
What is common purpose? I think it is fairly simple. It is when the leader takes an active role in the group that they lead.

 

Have you experienced organizations that develop a Vision Statement, a Mission Statement, and a Purpose Statement and spend enormous amounts of money to send the message throughout the organization, but the teams and individuals within that organization never commit to them?

 

On the flip side, have you experienced the joy and excitement of a working within a team that gets it, and moves together as if one?

 

The obvious next question is: On which team would you rather be a member, and how do you get there?


Via YSC Online
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You Talk Too Much! Shut Up!

You Talk Too Much! Shut Up! | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
You talk too much! You never shut up!

 

To help you be a better team member, colleague and boss, I’m bringing you a pointed lesson in the art of being quiet. Today I’m conjuring up the spirit of Run DMC. To quote the immortal Rev Run:

 

You talk too much! You never shut up!


Run DMC nailed the heart of the issue with this verse:


You’re the instigator,
the orator of the town.
You’re the worst when you converse,
just a big mouth clown.
You talk when you’re awake,
I heard you talk when you sleep
Has anyone ever told you,
that talk is cheap?

 

Now let’s take DMC to the workplace. You know the person they’re singing about. It’s that guy on the team who can’t shut up about anything.

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Three Reasons You Should Shut Your Cake Hole

Three Reasons You Should Shut Your Cake Hole | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
The thoughtLEADERS Blog covers leadership, communications, strategy and operations. All posts are practical and applicable to help you apply the methods we teach.

 

Sometimes the best thing you can do is simply shut up. Simply put a big pair of socks in your mouth and plug up your cake hole.

 

There are plenty of situations where shutting up is the right strategy. There are also plenty of benefits to doing so. It’s no secret – sometimes I open my mouth when I should be doing exactly the opposite and before those of you who agree start spewing “I can’t stand when he talks” just realize at least I’m self aware – are you? Hmmm. Hello Pot, this is Kettle…

 

Anyway, there are three reasons you need to simply hush. Shutting up can build relationships (or prevent destroying them), improve negotiations, and make you smarter. This is a difficult skill to master especially in a world that encourages us to share MORE of our thoughts than ever (hello Twitter, Facebook, blogs – oops).I’ve talked about other benefits of shutting up before in this post – CLICK HERE to read it.  All that said, here’s the argument for keeping quiet:

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Tap into your Team’s Natural Leadership: here’s how

Tap into your Team’s Natural Leadership: here’s how | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
So how can we tap into employees’ natural leadership?

 

Have you ever watched a highly functioning department accomplish a goal or objective?   The secret ingredient I have noticed is that “natural leadership” is encouraged from every team member or participant.


Within groups, each participant brings a unique combination of skills, talent or style to the discussion.  Great groups take advantage of this uniqueness.

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Graduates may have a degree, but are they ready for the world of work?

Graduates may have a degree, but are they ready for the world of work? | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
78 applicants are chasing every graduate job, according to a recent report from the Association of Graduate Recruiters.

 

78 applicants are chasing every graduate job, according to a recent report from the Association of Graduate Recruiters. Mary Clarke, CEO of global employee assessment and development company Cognisco argues that candidates need to stand out from the crowd and academic qualifications are not the end game – it’s the core competencies and employability skills that count.

 

When graduates hand back their gown and mortarboard, and their degree certificate is safely in their hands – they often think they will sail into a well-paid graduate position. However, sadly this isn’t the case today, graduates have to work harder than ever to stand out, gain vital employability skills and market themselves to get a foot on the career ladder.


Via Roger Francis
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Every Leader Is an Artist

Every Leader Is an Artist | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
What defines greatness in the arts applies equally to leadership.

 

The connection between leadership and art has been made many times over, usually as a way to single out certain properties of the arts that carry over to leadership, such as a jazz musician's ability to create through improvisation. These analogies can be compelling, but my point is more ambitious: leadership is an actual art, not metaphorically an art.

 

The same attributes that distinguish great from mediocre artists distinguish exceptional leaders from their ordinary counterparts. The best leaders and artists give us perspective on our social condition (good or bad) and greater appreciation of our world, ourselves, and our choices. Moreover, they challenge, excite, comfort, and motivate. They bring us closer together by providing a forum for shared experiences and by forging a sense of community. Leadership and art both animate social encounters. They can change our lives in ways that are as invigorating and real as being hit by a wave.


Via AlGonzalezinfo
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5 Steps to Moving On from Your Mistakes

5 Steps to Moving On from Your Mistakes | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it

We have all had to learn to cope with our feelings and the consequences when we screw up because we all do and we all will again.

 

I found myself grappling with what advice to give to her.  Here are the steps we went through together (although it wasn’t quite so “neat and tidy” in the actual conversation!)…

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How Effective CEOs Spend Their Time

How Effective CEOs Spend Their Time | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
After more than seven years of training CEOs, Jim Schleckser explains what separates the most effective business leaders from their weaker peers.

 

Where do the best CEOs spend their time?


They spend a lot of time perfecting their business model; determining what they do and for whom, getting the profit right, getting the pricing right, getting the value proposition right. The second area we see good CEOs spending a lot of time on is talent, and I guess that's not surprising. What we find is that as companies continue to grow, you have to have good people because the talent that brought you to $7 million in revenue may not be able to bring you to $20 million.

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The I in Team

The I in Team | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it

The often repeated phrase, “There’s no ‘I’ in TEAM” is only half true. It ignores the fact that great teams have great individual members. And high performing teams are not always easy places to be. Mark de Rond acknowledges in There Is an I in Team, that “with few exceptions, the qualities that make individuals as gifted as they are can make them wearisome as team members.” 

Great team members are often perfectionists, paranoid, stubborn and/or self confident. But they do perform. “Team leadership is as much about mitigating the risks of these traits as it is about exploiting their potential.” 

David Whitaker, one of Britain’s most distinguished coaches wrote in The Spirit of Teams, “If you want an exceptional team, keep your eye on the individual … Teams thrive on individual choice and commitment … the most powerful teams are made up of individuals who have chosen to work as a team.” 

Using fresh examples, de Rond tackles other realities of teams: 

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Can speaking a second language make you a better leader?

Can speaking a second language make you a better leader? | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it

New studies show how knowing a second language can improve your decision-making, mental acuity and problem-solving skills.

 

Check also this brilliant HBR article on the subject: Why America Lacks Global Leaders: 

http://blogs.hbr.org/hbr/hbreditors/2012/08/why_america_lacks_global_leade.html

 

Illustration from the Washington Post.


Via Kenneth Mikkelsen, Roger Francis
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4 Traits of Incredibly Effective Delegators

4 Traits of Incredibly Effective Delegators | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
You know you don't want to choke your staff with micromanagement minutiae. Here's how to hold yourself back and get the best out of your employees.

 

Before opening my business, I worked for a lot of companies--big and small, corporate and family run, traditional and innovative. I encountered many types of managers, and I learned that those who managed best were those who allowed staff members to think boldly, to move swiftly, and to do so with a game plan rather than a rulebook.

 

When it came time to open Metal Mafia, I knew that I wanted my company to be a place that valued motivation and maverick thinking over micromanagement. The only way to make that happen was to be willing to delegate, and as a business owner, giving up control sometimes was scary.

 

To beat back fear in favor of freedom, here's how to comfortably delegate:


Via YSC Online
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10 Ways You Can Be Mean to Yourself (and Prevent Your Own Happiness)

10 Ways You Can Be Mean to Yourself (and Prevent Your Own Happiness) | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
No wonder many of us are not happy; sometimes we bring our misery on to ourselves by being mean to ourselves and not letting ourselves be happy and free.

 

I was catching up with my friend the other day – it took us 6 weeks to find a time to meet. I had nothing to do and flexible with my time as I was not working and spend my days recuperating. However, she was either travelling for work, or in the office slaving through projects. Then when she had time she would attend birthday dinners and farewell parties and other invitations. It seemed she never had a moment where she could decide what to do – she was always obliged to do something else or be somewhere for somebody else.

 

I was enlightened after our “catch up” coffee, which she had to cut short too because work called her and she went back to the office on a Sunday afternoon.

 

We are quite mean to ourselves without knowing.

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How I Read 3 Books in One Week | Savvy Sexy Social

How I Read 3 Books in One Week | Savvy Sexy Social | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it

You may have read about the release of Aspire Magazine, a digital publication for entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs. And I mentioned that I will be their resident book reviewer starting in the August issue.

 

Do you know what “resident book reviewer” entails? A LOT of reading. The required number of reviews for publication that I’m reponsible for covering is three. Three REALLY good business books ranging from motivation, biography, and overall good practices and marketing.

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Who Can Teach Leadership?

Who Can Teach Leadership? | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
We learn to lead through the experience of leading — and following.

 

Mel's hand went up precipitously and unexpectedly, like thunder on a clear day. I had barely begun introducing the leadership course I would be teaching over the coming weeks. "I have a question, Professor." I gave him the floor.

 

"What makes you think you can teach us to lead?"

 

I looked around. A roomful of puzzled managers silently stared back. Five minutes into our first class, my students were already questioning leadership. Mine.


Via Kenneth Mikkelsen
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Three Reasons No One Listens to You

Three Reasons No One Listens to You | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
People are tuning you out.

 

Have you ever had the feeling that you were moving your mouth but no one could hear the sounds coming out of it? They go about their day as if you’re not there. There’s a reason this is happening: they’re really not listening to you.

 

There. I said it. People are tuning you out.

 

What are the warning signs of this dynamic? When you speak with people, they nod politely but are looking for the exits while they do. They check their Blackberry and have “urgent” calls come in every time you’re talking to them. Your emails never get replied to. Most importantly, the things you want to get done never seem to generate traction.

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How to Manage a Micromanager

How to Manage a Micromanager | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
If you find yourself working for a micromanager, here are three actions you can take to get him or her off your back.

 

About five years into my career, I found myself working for a micromanager. He drove me crazy. He wanted to know everything I did and when I did it.


He required me to furnish daily status reports. I had to document every call, every conversation, and every action I took on every project. It was oppressive.

 

I tried to be patient. But at that point in my career, I didn’t have the skills necessary to deal with his leadership style. I eventually found another job and quit. Unfortunately, I cheated myself out of an important leadership lesson.

 

Some micromanagers can’t be rehabilitated, of course—at least not by you. But others can if you know what to do.


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Seven Ways to (Really) Engage People

Seven Ways to (Really) Engage People | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
Seven powerful ideas that will automatically and effortlessly engage your employees.

 

Engagement is a very trendy word, and while it is so powerful, because of its (over)use, people are making it harder to understand and think about than is necessary.  In fact, it is writers, speakers and consultants (yep, people like me) who are adding to the confusion by injecting complexity where it isn’t needed.

 

So let’s get past all of that right now.  Let’s get to the heart of the matter.  Let’s talk about what people really want in their lives. Because when they have these at work, they will automatically and effortlessly be engaged in their work.

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Are You a Growth Leader?

Are You a Growth Leader? | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it

What do I need to change about my leadership to make a larger difference?

 

Leaders are either catalysts for new growth or protectors of the status quo. Which are you, really?

 

As leaders, over time we can become less aware of how profound our influence really is. It’s also easy to believe we are doing all we can to influence productive change and growth.

 

We can believe we our giving our best effort, but our best isn’t based on effort. Although effort is important, what truly matters is the value we bring to that effort.

 

Increasing our value takes self-honesty found through asking ourselves insightful questions...


Via David Hain, Roger Francis
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Leadership lessons from a friend who died too young

Leadership lessons from a friend who died too young | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it

An emotional, true story that reminds us of the importance to lead ourselves and others out of conflict in order to maximize the good we do while on this earth. 

 

I grew up in a blue collar, post war era cracker box with a brick façade that looked like all the others on the surrounding blocks. The neighborhood was nice and clean, and full of kids that, for the most part, were all friends.

 

I went to a sea foam green grade school one block away from my house that was hastily built out of cinder blocks with concrete floors and huge windows along the walls of each classroom. School was fun, I liked it – I just talked too much. It says so on each of my report cards!


Via AlGonzalezinfo
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