How YOU Say

howyousay2As much as I teach leadership, I’m a huge student of it. I’ve got so much to learn and one area that I’m consciously trying to get better is communication. Especially how I say, not just what I say. Intangible elements like voice tone, attitude, timing, etc. do matter. In the art of persuasion, experts engage everything else beyond words.

I’ve been in trouble many times by saying the right things the wrong way. Many sincere leaders have lost followers due to poor communication.

During the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Disaster in 2010, BP’s CEO Tony Hayward, in the heat of the mess, said “I’d like my life back”. His attitude got the public upset. They felt he did not care about the chaos that the company he headed had created. He was replaced.

This is an on-going challenge for leaders. Sometimes you get it right and other times, you mess-up. It’s an aspect that requires vigilance.

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Everywhere is Home

house-homeIn the 21st century, one tricky aspect of leadership is culture. Like it or not, every leader in this era ought to develop a measure of cultural sensitivity, otherwise effectiveness could be jeopardized.

Between my wife and I, we currently have three very different cultures playing out (we envisage more) and we’re emotionally invested in all. Also, as I advance in my career, the cultural cocktail increases in flavor.

Respect for the cultural dimension of leadership is vital. Now, organizations are increasingly multi-cultural and families have numerous nations in the mix. It’s common for people to be deeply connected to multiple locations. This is a fact in 21st century leadership.

I’m a global citizen. Just like cash, I’m accepted everywhere:-) This position has increased my leadership effectiveness. I’m functional and able to find happiness in every culture. For leaders to succeed in the connection economy, it would be helpful to appreciate other cultures. Learn to value the beauty of difference.

Easy to Lead

follow_meThere are folks who think giving their boss a hard time is trendy. These guys make life difficult for anyone who leads. Forgetting karma, they have fantasies of someday being the one in front. They follow, but it’s unpleasant to lead them.

One of the coolest gifts that you can give as a follower is being easy to lead. I don’t mean becoming a puppet, but aligning with the leader’s vision and giving your very best at every level. Interestingly, you horn your own leadership skills in the process.

As a leadership expert, I’ve made the commitment to be the best follower ever. You will always enjoy having me in your team because I understand that effectively following my leader’s vision means effective leadership. I simply do not trust a leader that does not know how to follow.

Leadership can be tough. For anyone, the challenges are no joke. The leader is the one that has enough courage to risk failing publicly in order to solve a problem. You’ve got to respect that. Follow in peace.

Tired Leaders

tired-of-doing-homeworkBreaking news! Leaders are people and people get tired. If leadership is YOU, then you’re the leader that I’m talking about. Every day I watch people struggle through life’s challenges and it’s plain to see that so many people are tired.

We live in an age where people do anything to keep life rolling. The average person with a job spends at least eight hours daily trying to earn a pay check. Some spend hours commuting from home to work and back. Throw in bills and school fees to pay, family demands, little sleep, health issues, etc. There’s so much pressure!

At the same time, you’re supposed to lead. The sad fact is that some people don’t even realize that they’re tired because it has become their normal state. It takes a lot to lead yourself first before leading others and being conscious of your level of wellness helps.

Stop! Please, first find out where you are. You know that the pressure is building. At this rate, you might soon explode on others. Do the necessary checks and take care of you. Remember, when you’re well, you lead well.

Tick Tock

tick_tockIt’s deeply refreshing to have good leadership in crisis. Someone clear headed enough to know what to do, how to do it and when to do it.

Former New York City mayor, Rudy Giuliani, displayed this trait at the advent of 9/11. Crisis was upon the city and his leadership skills kicked in. He understood the situation and rose up to the occasion right on time.

John Maxwell’s Law of Timing states that: when to lead is as important as what to do and where to go. Effective leaders are skilled at taking the right action at the right time. They’ve developed in this area.

We often miss good opportunities when we don’t adhere to The Law of Timing. In addition to experience, resources and expertise, our ability to recognize the right time to lead further increases the chances of success. In leadership, timing is everything.

Move Faster

speedThere’s something pleasurable about world class performance. Hence, it’s reasonable to go crazy at a Beyonce concert, pay premium to hear Anthony Robbins speak or get insanely excited at the idea of being interviewed by Oprah Winfrey. These individuals profess on the global stage for good reason.

What many don’t realize is that for you to be world class, you must have an effective feedback system. You need an objective, unbiased view of your performance by an outsider. For many global figures, a coach is a key element in their system.

Leadership expert and author of Next Generation Leader, Andy Stanley said, “coaching enables a leader to go further, faster”. In recent years, besides athletes, more business leaders, politicians, artists, etc, engage the services of executive coaches to help them maintain optimum performance.

It’s sad when a leader lacks a sounding board. Someone to help the leader identify ways to improve. Progress is speedy when a coach is involved. I know this for sure.

Backstage Pass

standing-together-CSAccess is a gift. I believe it strongly. Every relationship is access granted and should be treated as such. I dare say that unfortunately, few know how to handle familiarity. Some people don’t know how to maintain respect once they’re brought closer.

Everyone comes with their world and there are joys, people and places that you may never access until someone enters into your life. Now, when this occurs, disrespect due to mismanagement of familiarity, could close the doors that have been opened. Nobody wants to be taken for granted.

The concept of uniqueness makes familiarity interesting. Everyone has layers of depth that cannot be exhausted in a life time. Just when you think you know someone, they can change. Understand that we’ve been designed to evolve over time.

I don’t want to lose out on the changes that come with people’s uniqueness due to disrespect. Each stage of change has its challenges and goodies. That’s the beauty of life. Familiarity is good, but turns sour when mismanaged.