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Great Leaders Listen First

We often think of great leaders as being those people that can get up in front of a group and inspire them with their words.  This may be effective in the short term, when the group is new or the leader is new.  But leaders who excel over the long term know a simple secret that is quite contrary to the popular leader archetype of being a dynamic speaker.

Great leaders listen first.

Applying this has been very challenging for me.  My natural of way relating to others is this kind of arrogant belief that I have all the answers, and I can help everyone by giving them those answers.  From this basic starting point, I naturally tend to want to listen very little so I can get on to telling people what I think.  Do you ever notice this in your own life?

During my time living and training as a monk, one of the practices I took on was to talk very, very little.  The general practice was to speak only to greet people and ask them questions about themselves.  I would not say anything about myself or state any opinion or view unless I was directly asked to do so.

One of the effects of this practice is that my mind gradually became much more calm and peaceful.  I also noticed that people seemed to enjoy talking to me much more!  When we focus more on listening than on talking, we might find that despite saying very little people say of us, “Boy that so and so sure is a great conversationalist!”

There are countless reasons why listening first is so important as leaders.  Below are just a few:

  • Increases trust, which is vital for effective leadership
  • Helps people to feel truly cared for, which improves engagement, retention, creativity, and innovation
  • Develops future leaders by encouraging our people to think through problems versus getting the answers from us
  • Helps us to leverage the intelligence of our people more because they are more likely to speak up if we haven’t offered our opinions and views first
  • Helps us to develop greater mental agility, perhaps the most important trait for today’s managers, by letting go of our conditioned thought patterns

Do you listen first?  What are some tools you are applying to be a better listener?

Thanks for reading this post!  As a gift, I’d like to give you this excellent eBook for FREE!  

CLICK HERE to learn more about this eBook, featuring chapters from John Spence, Jeff Klein, Charlie Kim, Michael Carroll, Ted Prince, David Marquet, and Ben Lichtenwalner.

A Mind Like The Ocean: A Practice for Being Free From Stress

One of my favorite metaphors for the fruits of the practice of mindfulness is cultivating a mind that is like an ocean – open and spacious.
Most of us have surely had days where so many things went “wrong” that we felt as though if just one more thing went “wrong”, we would lose it.  I know I’ve certainly had days like that.  It seemed as though the mind was just absolutely full and there wasn’t room to handle even one more frustrating situation.
With the continued practice of mindfulness, we tend to notice that the mind gradually becomes more spacious.   Sometimes, especially while sitting still in mindfulness, the mind seems so expansive and spacious that it is just like a vast ocean, with almost endless room between the thoughts and feelings that arise.
With this spaciousness comes a gradually deepening sense of “There’s room for this.”  We develop a wonderful capacity for being able to be confronted with increasing amounts of challenging situations without losing this sense of, “There’s room for this too.  This is no problem.”
Ultimately, it is insight into the fact that our thoughts and our feelings are not we are that allows the mind to become and remain more spacious.  However, there are some skillful means that we can employ to get a sense of this while sitting in mindfulness.  My favorite practice is to open the mind by becoming aware of and kindly accepting increasingly larger areas around me.
I start with gently smiling to the body sitting in the room I’m in for a few breaths, noticing whatever comes in through the senses.  Then, I continue to expand in the same way to my neighborhood, my town, my state, the country, and then the whole planet.
With a mind that’s more open and spacious, I then return to simply being aware of the mind and body.  I notice that there seems to be a little more space between the thoughts that arise in the mind.  Thus, it becomes easier to actually see or hear a thought arise in the mind, bring it up so it’s fully conscious, and see or hear it fade away, leaving me observing an empty, silent mind.

Seeing thoughts arise and pass away in this way makes it very clear that I am not my thinking.  Thoughts are just things that arise and pass away.  It is this insight into the fact that we are not our thinking that allows the mind to gradually remain more spacious, able to handle increasingly difficult situations in life with perfect peace.

Does your mind often feel as though it’s too busy and full?  Would you like to have a mind like the ocean?

Thanks for reading this post!  As a gift, I’d like to give you this excellent eBook for FREE!  

Just CLICK HERE, and I’ll send you this eBook, featuring chapters from John Spence, Jeff Klein, Charlie Kim, Michael Carroll, Ted Prince, David Marquet, and Ben Lichtenwalner.

How You Can Lead More Like Martin Luther King, Jr.

This is an intro to a piece that I wrote for the Huffington Post.

Last week, as I reflected on the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous speech, it occurred to me that Dr. King is certainly one of the most influential leaders in American history. Have you ever wondered why that is so? Answering this question can help us to be more effective leaders.

There were, of course, numerous factors that contributed to Dr. King becoming the de facto leader of the civil rights movement in America. However, it is clear that the principle cause is the fact that Dr. King was incredibly inspiring. He was able touch people’s hearts in a way that few others in history ever have. Fortunately for us, his secrets for inspiring others and moving them to action are traits that we can all emulate.

If you’d like to read the entire post, please CLICK HERE.

Thanks for reading this post!  As a gift, I’d like to give you this excellent eBook for FREE!  

Just CLICK HERE, and I’ll send you this eBook, featuring chapters from John Spence, Jeff Klein, Charlie Kim, Michael Carroll, Ted Prince, David Marquet, and Ben Lichtenwalner.

The Power of Smiling

If you are practicing awareness or mindfulness as part of your personal development training, you’ll notice that when you awaken with the perspective of mindfulness, and are no longer caught in your thinking, you are free to choose how you respond to whatever you are experiencing. Why not choose to smile?

If we’re angry, we can notice that, and smile to our anger.   If we’re sad, we can smile to our sadness. When we see a person, we can smile to that person.
There are so many positive effects that result from smiling, including the feeling of joy, relaxation, improved functioning of the nervous system, being more attractive to others, and even living a longer, healthier life!
Below is a wonderful, 7-minute TED talk on many of the incredible benefits of simply smiling.
In addition to all of the wonderful benefits for ourselves that result from smiling, I truly believe that smiling is one of the most important things we can do to create positive change in the world around us.
I think it’s very easy to feel as though what we do in our daily life is having little or no impact on the world around us. But this not so! Each moment of our life has an incredible impact on the world around us.
We are almost all familiar with the “Butterfly Effect”. Although this is an analogy, it is certainly not fiction. Little, local events do lead to large, global events.
If a butterfly flapping her wings can ultimately lead to a change in the global weather pattern known as El Niño, imagine what your smile can do! Without any doubt, your smile could save the world!

Putting this into practice is so simple. Whenever you wake up with the perspective of mindfulness, smile a little (or a lot)! You are free from your thoughts and feelings, so why not choose to smile? You’ll benefit significantly, the people around you will benefit, and, who knows, you just might save the world while you’re at it!

Thanks for reading this post!  As a gift, I’d like to give you this excellent eBook for FREE!  

Just CLICK HERE, and I’ll send you this eBook, featuring chapters from John Spence, Jeff Klein, Charlie Kim, Michael Carroll, Ted Prince, David Marquet, and Ben Lichtenwalner.

Improving Effectiveness by Transforming Emotions

While running one morning with my friend Natalie, we came up to a cross street that enters a major road off to our right.  As we approached, we noticed an SUV coming towards the stop sign.  I was a little ahead of Natalie and, aware that many people don’t actually stop at stop signs, I slowed my pace to see if the SUV was going to stop.  Once I noticed that she was going to stop, I proceeded to run through the cross walk.  I noticed that there was a woman driving and a man in the passenger seat.
The woman who was driving the car looked a little perturbed as she came to a stop.  As we cleared the cross walk, I commented laughingly to Natalie, “Wow, she seemed a little bothered by doing what she was supposed to do anyhow.  Pretty funny hey?”  Some moments later, Natalie shared something very wise that I think is definitely worth sharing here.
Natalie said, “When I saw her reaction, I tried to imagine what might be going on for her and the person in the car.  Maybe she wasn’t upset with us, but upset with her companion, or her lack of attentiveness to driving, or just having a bad morning in general.”
Many people would find it very easy to respond with anger or unkindness to someone who does something that we find irrational or offensive.  But Natalie immediately related to the woman with empathy.  She is such a wise soul.
My experience has been that relating to situations in this way is incredibly empowering.  When we respond to a frustrating situation with empathy, we are able to feel kindness and compassion, which give rise to numerous positive effects in the body.   Conversely, when we respond with anger or unkindness, our energy is drained, we add stress to our day, we damage our bodies with stress-related hormones, and we might even do something that we regret later.
The practice of mindfulness helps us to be able to take advantage of all the wonderful benefits of empathy.  The more effort we put into being aware of and kindly accepting our natural reactions, the easier it is to choose to not follow our habitual ways of reacting, and to instead make the conscious choice to do what is much more beneficial for us.
When we catch ourselves reacting to a situation with frustration, anger, or unkindness, the practice below may help.  I used to be very diligent with this practice and found it so empowering.  Thanks to Natalie’s wonderful reminder, I’ll begin employing this with more diligence again.
1)  Simply recognize and accept the fact that we are reacting according to our habits.

2)  Aware of the thoughts and feelings in the body, choose to respond in a more beneficial way by reciting the following verse.  “Breathing in, I’m aware of my reaction.  Breathing out, I will respond in a way that is helpful and kind.”

Thanks for reading this post!  As a gift, I’d like to give you this excellent eBook for FREE!  

Just CLICK HERE, and I’ll send you this eBook, featuring chapters from John Spence, Jeff Klein, Charlie Kim, Michael Carroll, Ted Prince, David Marquet, and Ben Lichtenwalner.

John Spence: The Real Secrets to Success

Some time ago, I had great breakfast meeting at Bagels Unlimited with my friend John Spence.  John is one of the top public speakers and executive coaches in the world.  I feel very fortunate that he lives right here in Gainesville, and that I have been able to form a friendship with him.
During our meeting, John mentioned that he had been receiving an obscene amount of SPAM e-mails offering to teach him the “Secrets to Success” for some fee – “Learn to make a million dollars for only $499″.  Just out of curiosity, he looked up a few of the guys offering to teach him these “Secrets to Success”.  He couldn’t find anything on them via Google search.  Apparently these guys hadn’t accomplished anything.
I found this quite amusing.  These scam artists who haven’t had any real business success are sending e-mails to John Spence, a man who earns an incredible income doing what he loves, who sets his own hours and has total autonomy over his time, and who is a well-recognized expert on success who coaches executive leaders from numerous Fortune 500 companies on how to achieve greater success!  Hilarious!
John didn’t find it so funny.  It actually made him a little upset that these charlatans are preying on people in these tough economic times offering them false hopes.  So what did he do about it?  John made a 30-minute video that he has posted to the internet for free, in which he shares the real secrets to success based on his experience and that of some the most respected authorities on success in the world.
This video is incredible and, if you don’t have time to watch it right now, I highly encourage you to schedule 30-minutes on your calendar right now to watch it.  I am confident that you’ll be very glad you did.
John offers numerous suggestions for self mastery that I think are imperative not only for achieving worldly success, but for aiding us on the path of realizing true happiness, self-mastery, and a deeply meaningful life.

Secret to Success from John Spence on Vimeo.

Thanks for reading this post!  As a gift, I’d like to give you this excellent eBook for FREE!  

Just CLICK HERE, and I’ll send you this eBook, featuring chapters from John Spence, Jeff Klein, Charlie Kim, Michael Carroll, Ted Prince, David Marquet, and Ben Lichtenwalner.

How A Tomato Boosts Productivity

Simple Tools For Increasing Productivity, Including A Skillful Use of A Tomato

Over a year ago, I attended a wonderful workshop at the Santa Fe College Center for Innovation and Economic Development (CIED) conducted by Jim Lilkendey of Apogee Coaching.  The topic was being more productive.

Jim drew from his experience as a business coach and from two books, The Power of Full Engagement and Getting Things Done, which are both bestsellers.  Interestingly, both books, and Jim’s discussion, seemed to point much less at simple organizational skills, which one might expect from a course on being more productive, and more towards the deeper, root causes of either being productive or not.
At root of it all is something that may sound obvious, but I think is rarely considered when considering ways to increase productivity – the alignment between what we’re doing and our deepest aspirations.  In the workshop it was suggested that if we’re not doing something that we’re passionate about, our productivity will likely suffer a great deal.
The secondary focus, as I saw it, was on energy management.  Jim mentioned the truth that we actually have no control over time.  Thus, “time management” is a misnomer.  What we can manage, he said, is our energy.
In addition to numerous practical exercises from David Allen’s book Getting Things Done, Jim mentioned the Pomodoro Technique.  This program (named after a tomato timer used while cooking) is based on the idea that we humans can only focus our attention for so long before we become easily distracted and increasingly less productive.  Thus, with the Pomodoro Technique, we are encouraged to work in a very focused way for 25 minutes, and then take a 5-minute break.
The effects are very interesting.  When we know that we only have to remain focused for 25 minutes before we have break, it is much easier to stay true to the task at hand.  Further, when we return from the break, we often have fresh insights into projects that we wouldn’t have had if we had continued to sit and struggle through it for hours.
I had been employing the idea of taking mindful breaks for some time.  However, I would typically just practice some mindful breathing while seated at my desk.   After Jim’s Workshop, I changed it up to more closely follow the Pomodoro Technique, and have noticed numerous benefits. I’m getting more done, I have more energy, and I feel significantly more relaxed throughout the day because I find it easier to remain focused for 25 minutes than for hours at a time.
Here’s My System
I use a timer that I set for 25 minutes, and begin working mindfully on my current task or tasks on my “to do” list, aware of my body and state of mind.  I do not allow my attention to stray to incoming phone calls or Facebook or surfing the web.   When the time expires, a nice harp on my phone lets me know that it’s time for a break.
To begin my 5-minute break, I stand up and take one deep breath in and out, practicing the same power breathing technique that we teach to youth in the Kids Kicking Cancer (KKC) program. 
After taking my Breath Brake, I go for a brief walk outside, in mindfulness.  I let go of any thinking and simply open my awareness to walking, what comes through my senses, and the state of the body and mind.  This effort to be mindful and let go of thinking serves as a great recovery period alone.  Seeing the blue sky or some trees further ads to the rest from the computer.  
Also, I think this change of postures is essential.  By walking, I’m increasing blood flow to the head, which energizes me mentally for when it’s time to sit back down to work.

I hope you find this as helpful as I have!

Thanks for reading this post!  As a gift, I’d like to give you this excellent eBook for FREE!  

Just CLICK HERE, and I’ll send you this eBook, featuring chapters from John Spence, Jeff Klein, Charlie Kim, Michael Carroll, Ted Prince, David Marquet, and Ben Lichtenwalner.

Better SEO – Self-Effectiveness Optimization

A Different Type of SEO – Self-Effectiveness Optimization:  

How mindfulness training improves our personal effectiveness.

Optimization seems to be one of the most common buzzwords “buzzing” around these days.  I most often hear the word in the context of SEO, which is search engine optimization.
I wonder how many of us have a solid plan for optimizing our most important engines – our minds.  Let’s explore this most important aspect of another type of SEO – “self-effectiveness optimization.”

I feel pretty confident that everyone reading this has a solid understanding of how to optimize ourselves physically.  There is an abundance of information (perhaps too much) on how to eat well, sleep right, and exercise to ensure that we can optimize ourselves, physically.
But what do we do to optimize the most important tool we have – the mind?
Traditional schools of thought posit that we should get as much education as possible.  However, there is a lot of evidence that shows an inverse correlation between higher levels of education and personal effectiveness.  For instance, according the research of the Perth Leadership Institute, there is actually an inverse correlation between higher levels of education and profitable behaviors.  And, thanks to the well-known research of Daniel Goleman and others, we now know that emotional intelligence is twice as important as IQ for high levels of personal and professional performance.
Although knowledge is definitely helpful, it seems that even more important is how well-trained our minds are.  This is why so many top companies like Google, Intel, Raytheon, and General Mills are training their people in the practice of mindfulness.  They know that mindfulness is an incredibly powerful tool for training the mind to be most effective.  This is why I am also an advocate for incorporating mindfulness training into our personal development efforts.
Mindfulness practice can really be boiled down to two main elements: attention training and wisdom development.
The heart of the practice is training ourselves to become less distracted by thinking.  We train our attention to be aware of our own thoughts and emotions (self-awareness), as well as the rest of the present-moment reality.  This helps us remain more attentive to tasks we’re working on and, over time, actually makes the mind more efficient by reducing the amount of useless thinking that serves no purpose other than to sap our mental energy. (Although I’m sure that this doesn’t apply to anyone reading this.  We never get caught up in conversations in our heads that are completely useless right?)
As we develop our ability to remain free from distracting thinking, awareness becomes much more powerful, allowing us to see subtle aspects of our world that we don’t normally pay much attention to – like how everything is constantly changing.  We all know this intellectually, but most of us haven’t had deep personal insight into the universal truth of impermanence.  By developing this wisdom, we find that we are much more effective in life because we deal with change more effectively, things don’t bother us so much, and we become much less attached to our own ego, which makes us much more effective when dealing with other people.
The heightened self-awareness and insight into impermanence that result from mindfulness practice make it a very powerful tool for developing the emotional intelligence skills that, as mentioned above, are more important than IQ for improving our effectiveness.
If you’re already utilizing mindfulness as part of your SEO (self effectiveness optimization) plan, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.
If you’re new to mindfulness, please feel free to leave questions in the comment section.

Thanks for reading this post!  As a gift, I’d like to give you this excellent eBook for FREE!  

Just CLICK HERE, and I’ll send you this eBook, featuring chapters from John Spence, Jeff Klein, Charlie Kim, Michael Carroll, Ted Prince, David Marquet, and Ben Lichtenwalner.

Working For Good as a Leader – An Interview with Jeff Klein

Powerful tools for achieving leadership excellence while making the world a better place.

Jeff Klein is an activator, producer, process facilitator, and the author of Working For Good and It’s Just Good Business.  He is one of the founders of Conscious Capitalism, Inc.(activator), (producer) of Conscious Capitalism events, including an annual Conscious Capitalism CEO Summit, and as a (process facilitator) he designs and leads workshops, meetings, Conscious Culture development programs and Stakeholder Engagement Marketing™ campaigns.

Below is a recent interview I had the pleasure of facilitating with Jeff, which I’m sure you’ll enjoy!

About thirty years ago, you felt a calling to leverage the power of business for the greater good and in the process to make your work a path to learning, growth, and development.  Ever since, you have been helping people see the connection between making a difference in the world, achieving better business outcomes, and enjoying the ride.  What are the three biggest competitive advantages you see for a leader who successfully aligns the achievement of positive business outcomes with serving the greater good?  
Perhaps the most significant benefit is the personal and collective energy and flow this fosters. When a person (e.g. a business leader) and a group of people (e.g. their team and their entire business stakeholder ecosystem) are focused on a higher purpose and act in alignment with that purpose, there is a tremendous sense of meaning, engagement, and connectedness, which leads to high motivation, an embodied commitment to responsible communications, and exceptional creativity and productivity.
A second, related benefit, is the trust, engagement, loyalty and sustainability in the relationships between the people (individually and as whole stakeholder groups – e.g. customers, employees, vendors, etc.), which lead to great resilience when challenges arise and sustainability over a long time horizon. Business is a social endeavor and relationships are the foundation of a healthy, flourishing social organism/organization.
A third significant competitive advantage is health, well-being, and flourishing – for the leader, her team and her business. At each level, health enhances performance and reduces direct and indirect or opportunity costs.
What would you say are the three most important things a leader can do to become less self-centered, and more focused on how they can serve, sustainably, the people they lead and the community around them?
As with all things, practice is the key to high performance and to cultivating new capacities. As Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” If you want to be less self-centered and to serve others, then serve others. There’s a great quote on humility that is relevant here, which goes “humility is not thinking less of yourself, but more of others.” So you don’t have to put yourself down, just see and celebrate the talents and humanity in others.
A key to cultivating the capacity to serve is to elicit and really listen to feedback from others. You may have an idea what it means to serve them, but their needs, perceptions and styles may be different from yours. Ask people what they need and how they can best receive it. And you can ask people if they are open to your observations – ask permission to point out areas where you notice they may benefit from your support and guidance. If they give you permission, they will be more open to receiving your support. And ask “how can I support you right now?”
Ironically, the third thing, which might be the first thing, is to take care of yourself. While that might seem self-centered, if you don’t genuinely take care of yourself, which is different from being self-centered, then you won’t have the knowledge, experience or capacity to truly care for others. By taking care of yourself, I mean physically (what you eat, exercise, sleep, recreation, etc.), emotionally, mentally and spiritually, whatever that means to you. 
How important is it to measure progress with this work of becoming a conscious leader?  Could you share some ideas for successfully measuring progress?
As human beings we are always measuring in one way or another. Receiving and processing feedback from our environment, which includes other people, is essential to our survival, learning, and flourishing. With respect to the previous question about service versus self-centeredness, we can measure our progress informally by observing the quality of our relationships and the attitude and engagement of the people we work with. We can do so more formally be measuring these things with one or more of the wide variety of assessment tools. Before and after (or ongoing) assessments can provide us with direct and indirect measures of “how we’re doing.” The net Promoter System tools for assessing Customer and Employee engagement are very good. Tilt365 has a good tool for assessing our relationships within our teams, and for shining light on our blind spots. And good, open, honest, periodic conversations with our key collaborators can provide great insight into how we are doing and where we may need or want to focus our attention on further development. This is truly an ongoing process. There is no end point, but a continual journey of discovery and development.
In the words of the late George Leonard, “We fail to realize that mastery is not about perfection. It’s about a process, a journey. The master is the one who stays on the path day after day, year after year. The master is the one who is willing to try, and fail, and try again, for as long as he or she lives.”

Thanks for reading this post!  As a gift, I’d like to give you this excellent eBook for FREE!  

Just CLICK HERE, and I’ll send you this eBook, featuring chapters from John Spence, Jeff Klein, Charlie Kim, Michael Carroll, Ted Prince, David Marquet, and Ben Lichtenwalner.

How to Become A Level 5 Leader

How to Become What Jim Collins Calls A Level 5 Leader: An Interview With Mary Jo Asmus

A former executive in a Fortune 100 company, Mary Jo Asmus, PCC is the founder and president of Aspire Collaborative Services.  She is an executive coach, writer, and consultant who partners with great leaders to help them become even greater at developing, improving, and sustaining relationships with the people who are essential to their success.

I recently had the chance to interview her, and ask her to share some of the ways she helps great leaders get even better.  Below is the transcript:

A part of your executive coaching work that I find very interesting is that you actually create action plans for helping leaders become “Level 5 leaders,” which are leaders that Jim Collins found through extensive research to be most effective at taking an organization from “good to great.” Could you share your thoughts on why humility and high achievement drive for the greater good are such important qualities of Level 5 leaders?

First of all, I want to make it clear that I don’t create the action plans; the leaders I work with do, with my guidance, based on feedback they’ve received and behavioral goals they are passionate about working on. In a way, this speaks directly to humility (the feedback addresses their “opportunities for development”) and drive (their desire to work on goals that are important to them to help them become great leaders). So we start out with these characteristics of humility and drive from the very start as foundational to the work we do.

Humility is important because it keeps a leader in a learning mindset. The humble leader understands that they don’t know it all, and that they need to count on others to help them. This is important in our fast moving, competitive business world. If a leader doesn’t continually stay in touch with others in order to learn, the pace of change may get ahead of them, causing them to fall behind and ultimately fail.

Drive is important to achieve goals, pure and simple. Leadership is simple in concept, difficult in practice. Very few are actually “born leaders” in my opinion, and it takes significant effort for most to bust through the barriers to become a Level 5 leader. Although I completely understand Jim Collins’ definition of Level 5 leader who is focused on the “greater good” of the company, many of the barriers experienced by a leader in critical stages of their development are self-imposed, requiring a leader to have the energy and ambition to look at themselves with a critical eye and overcome them. This takes a lot of courage and requires an internal focus before a leader can be fully focused on goals for the organization.

Could you share the top three most important ideas you would offer for helping a leader become a Level 5 leader?

1. Get honest feedback often from your stakeholders in a way that they can’t B.S. you (confidential 360 instruments and interviews conducted by a third party are the best way to get this kind of feedback). Find out what behaviors are working and which ones aren’t, and get to work on yourself.

2. Know yourself well. The better you know how you think and react, the better you know what’s important to you, the better you’ll be in a calamity, and you will have at least one of those in your leadership journey.

3. Take care of yourself. Even though a level 5 leader may want to give away everything for the good of the company, if they give away their mental or physical health, they cannot lead well. This requires as much attention to one’s physical and spiritual energy as to their vision and passion for the organization.

Part of your work includes helping leaders move from “me” to “we.”  Could you elaborate on what you mean by this?

Most leaders can become better at relationships with those around them. This requires effort, because so many of them have been promoted because they are great at getting things done, but may lack some critical people skills. Getting things done as a lone wolf might work for a while, but at a critical juncture, they realize they can’t do it all themselves. Leadership isn’t a one-person show, and the few times that I’ve seen someone believe that is the case, they’ve burned out or just plain failed. The best leaders I know put people first, knowing that when they’ve developed great relationships and a system of support around them, they’ll be stronger and more successful than they would by themselves.

Why do you think this is so important? Are there specific, measurable business outcomes that you’ve found are more easily achieved by a leader who has moved from “me” to “we”? 

Of course! If our organizations were filled with individual contributors who hadn’t grasped the concepts of working with others in order to be stronger, they’d be tripping all over each other. It would be utter chaos, and I could imagine very little getting done. You only need to look at the studies to see that leaders who have worked at the soft skills get hard numbers from their employees.

How can a leader develop a more self-less, we-centered mentality?

Make developing relationships every bit as important as achieving your vision, mission, and strategy. I always thought it was strange that organizations put these huge, complex strategic plans in place but don’t address the soft skills that it takes to achieve them, like everything will get done by magic. You actually have to be as strategic about relationships as you do about everything else you’re doing by asking, “who do I need to reach out to?” and then begin your strategies with relationships first. The “doing” will find its own way after that.

Thanks for reading this post!  As a gift, I’d like to give you this excellent eBook for FREE!  

Just CLICK HERE, and I’ll send you this eBook, featuring chapters from John Spence, Jeff Klein, Charlie Kim, Michael Carroll, Ted Prince, David Marquet, and Ben Lichtenwalner.