Positive and Negative Feedback

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Positive vs. Negative Feedback

Feedback isn't necessarily evil. I've always thought there isn't enough positive feedback going around. We don't have to wait until there's something to shout about. We need to make more positive comments about the little things as well as the big.

Many managers are too willing to criticize, yet stingy with praise. A partnership’s or team’s emotional health depends on how well individuals can air their grievances. People are more receptive to negative feedback when they’re used to receiving plenty of positive comments.

Therapist John Gottman’s extensive research on successful marriages reveals there should be at least a 3:1 ratio of positive to negative comments. Similarly, organizational psychologists Marcial Losada and Barbara Fredrickson found that business teams function best with a 5:1 ratio of positive to negative feedback.

What are your positive to negative ratios?

Across industries, most employees believe they don’t receive enough positive feedback. Problems are compounded when negative feedback is delayed — often because a manager is queasy about delivering it. Most problems start out small. When they’re allowed to fester, they escalate. By the time many managers decide to give feedback, there’s a backlog of frustration and anger that makes any conversation more difficult.

How often do you hold back out of fear to confront?

Do you believe that you would have better results if you stepped into the challenge earlier?

Early criticism allows people to correct problems, and it prevents a bad situation from boiling over. Managers should avoid giving feedback when they’re angry or inclined to be sarcastic, as the recipient will become defensive and resist change.

Can you control yourself to not engage when you are emotional?

Remember our encouragement from the Lord is: “In your anger do not sin!” Ephesians 4:26a

How to Receive Feedback

As a member of any group, team or partnership, you must learn to accept responsibility for your actions and accept that there’s always room for improvement. View constructive criticism as valuable information that helps you perform your job better — not as a personal attack. Feedback is beneficial because it facilitates teamwork and personal growth.

When you deliver feedback how good at you at remembering how you felt when receiving feedback?

Avoid the impulse toward defensiveness, which each of us innately has. Being defensive closes the door to receiving important information that can improve your work relationships and make your tasks easier. If you become upset, take a break; resume your meeting later.

Remember the ratio of positive to negative. Always start with a positive statement. State that you are “for” those you lead. State that you want their best and you are seeking a path towards your mutual success.

Remember the Lords example in Jeremiah “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

Remember: Criticism is an opportunity to resolve a problem. It’s not meant to create an adversarial relationship.

Learning to be effective in delivering feedback is an essential leadership skill. What are your blind spots around how you deliver feedback? What impact would you have on your company and in your relationships if you made improvements in this area of communication.

If you are working on leadership skills, feedback is one of many. If you are ready to grow your leadership let’s connect. Here is my calendar: MARC’S SCHEDULE

Check out my website for great leadership content www.moleadershipcoaching.com

The Art of Feedback - Truth + Love = GRACE

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The Art of Giving Feedback – Truth + Love = GRACE

“Getting people to welcome feedback was the hardest thing I ever had to do as an educator.” ― Professor Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

Everything is connected today. We need to collaborate with others to succeed in our relationships, life and work. For that, we need to develop the art of giving —and receiving —feedback and critiques.

In its original sense, feedback is the exchange of information about how one part of a system is working, with the understanding that it affects everyone else within the system. If any part veers off course, prompt remediation is critical.

Feedback is every organization’s lifeblood — the mechanism that lets people know whether they’re doing a good job or if their efforts need to be fine-tuned, upgraded or entirely redirected. In a marriage, feedback determines whether each partner can adapt to the needs of the individual, couple and family.

Most people, however, are uncomfortable when giving or receiving feedback. I hear this from many of my clients who come in for coaching (www.moleadershipcoaching.com) It’s one of the most important tasks to master, but we procrastinate and try to avoid it altogether.

Without feedback, people remain in the dark. They have no idea how they stand with the boss, their peers or their spouse regarding what’s expected of them. Problems invariably worsen over time, so we need to use feedback to find solutions that help us adapt and adjust.

In the world of Christian faith feedback is God’s invitation to speaking the truth with love. This is grace. This is the greatest gift a leader can give those he/she leads. It is important to understand that both ingredients are necessary - truth with love for grace to unfold. Leaders who are direct with those they lead change lives for the better. For many leaders they fear truth. They falsely believe that all love and no truth will bring the desired result. The result is no grace. No growth.

In the marketplace the in-balance falls on the truth side of the equation.  We find a lack of or very little love. Often managers think love in the workplace is wrong. Managers hammer people with truth and once again there is no grace. There is no growth. In a study of 108 managers and white-collar workers, researchers found that most conflicts were caused by inept criticism (ahead of mistrust, personality struggles, and disputes over power and pay). After harsh criticism, people refuse to collaborate or cooperate, leading to stonewalling and disengagement.

If you unravel their histories, disengaged people usually don't start off that way. At the core of their problems you'll often find a hurtful encounter, usually delivered as inept feedback.

In the coming weeks I will look at positive and negative feedback and then review some tips on how to give feedback.

Before that I want to share with you Psalm 25: 1-12 as a feedback prayer. Take a look!

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, in you I trust; do not let me be put to shame; do not let my enemies exult over me. Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame; let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous. Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long. Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and of your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for your goodness’ sake, O Lord! Good and upright is the Lord; therefore, he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right; and teaches the humble his way. All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his decrees. For your name’s sake, O Lord, pardon my guilt, for it is great. Who are they that fear the Lord? He will teach them the way that they should choose. (Psalm 25:1-12)

What do you think about this? I'd love to hear from you.

Renewing Yourself - Work vs Play

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Renewing Yourself: Work vs. Play

Too much fun at work: That is something I rarely hear these days in my work coaching (www.moleadershipcoaching.com) people.  Yet, I wonder if we don’t discount the value of enjoyment for high performance on the job. There is power in play, even for the most serious of careers.

Studies show that play has a survival advantage in the wild. When young animals engage in rough and tumble play-fighting, they are learning skills and social rules. Those that play the most, grow more neurons, and have more robust mental as well as physical stamina.

Humans also benefit from play during their entire life span, not just as children and adolescents. In older adults, those who engage in the most cognitive activity (doing puzzles, reading, engaging in mentally challenging work) have a 63 percent lower chance of getting Alzheimer’s disease than the general population.

Adults who continue to explore and learn throughout life are less prone to dementia and less likely to get heart disease. The people who stay sharp and interesting as they age are the ones who continue to play and work.

When we stop playing, we stop growing, and we begin dying.

According to Stuart Brown, MD, author of Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination and Invigorates the Soul (Penguin Books, 2009), the opposite of work is not play. Play and work are mutually supportive. Yet most of us have learned to be serious when it comes to our careers. We squelch our natural drive to have fun.

Play is not the enemy of work, in fact, neither can thrive without the other. We need the newness of play, the sense of flow, imagination, and energy of being in the moment.

Creative play mirrors one of the grandest descriptions of God: The Creator.

We also need the sense of purpose in work: the economic stability it provides, the sense of meaning and competence. The quality that work and play have in common is creativity. In both we are creating new relationships, skills, and making things happen. Play outside of work impacts your effectiveness in work.

Often an overwhelming sense of responsibility and competitiveness can bury our inherent need for variety and challenge. If we deny our need to play, we will eventually fall to stress and burn-out. Recognizing our biological need for play can transform work and life. This is often the doorway to life-balance that many of my clients are seeking.

If life-balance, play or creativity are things that puzzle you, let’s connect.

My work solves the puzzles of leadership and is designed exclusively for every individual.

Play helps us deal with difficulties, handle challenges, tolerate routines and emotions such as boredom or frustration. Play provides a sense of expansiveness, promotes mastery, and is vital to the creative process.

Text me at 714-267-2818 to connect or email at marc@mocoach4ldrs.com

Renewing Yourself with PLAY

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The Power of Play

What ever happened to unbridled joy in our daily lives? Remember the fun of play we experienced as children? Maybe we need to renew ourselves and start playing more.

Nearly everyone starts out in life playing quite naturally, having fun with whatever’s available. We make up rules, invent games with playmates, fantasize and imagine mysteries and treasures.

Something happens as we become working adults: we shift our priorities into organized, competitive goal-directed activities. If an activity doesn’t teach us a skill, make us money, or further our social relationships, we don’t want to waste time being nonproductive.

Sometimes the sheer demands of daily living and family responsibilities seem to rob us of the ability to play.

“I have found that remembering what play is all about and making it part of our daily lives are probably the most important factors in being a fulfilled human being. The ability to play is critical not only to being happy, but also to sustaining social relationships and being a creative, innovative person.” ~ Stuart Brown, MD, author of Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination and Invigorates the Soul, Penguin Books, 2009.

Dr. Stuart Brown, founder of the National Institute for Play, presents his ideas on this TED TV video: Play is More than Fun. Sprinkled with anecdotes demonstrating the play habits of subjects from polar bears to corporate CEOs, Brown promotes play at every age.

Dr. Brown offers this definition:

Play is an absorbing, apparently purposeless activity that provides enjoyment and a suspension of self-consciousness and sense of time. It is also self-motivating and makes you want to do it again.

We underestimate the power of play. Imagine a world without play – not only an absence of games or sports, but an absence of movies, arts, music, jokes, and dramatic stories. No day-dreaming, no teasing, no flirting. Play is what lifts people out of the routine of the mundane, and offers a means to find joy in even the little things.

As we step into 2019 remember that play stimulates creativity. As we explored in the last series on coaching, when we create a safe environment creativity flourishes. So, make sure your play is safe and remember that sarcasm is not safe.

Play, fun or entertainment historically may have carried a religious bent to it of being sinful. I believe God loves for us to play. He enjoys us as Our Heavenly Father. The reality is that play, fun and entertainment are of themselves neither good nor bad. I would lean towards Colossians 3:17 – “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him”. Is our play pleasing to God? If so then I say more play, more better generating more creativity and reducing anxiety.

In my work coaching people (moleadershipcoaching.com) we discuss the importance of enjoyment and play. No matter the seriousness of your work, you need to find ways of renewing yourself through the power of play.

Giving Back the Monkey

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People don’t need to be managed; they need to be unleashed. ~ Richard Florida, Professor of Urban Theory

In 1974, William Oncken wrote one of the two bestselling articles in Harvard Business Review: “Management Time: Who’s Got the Monkey?” The piece compares an employee’s dilemma to a monkey. When the manager takes on the problem-solving job, he’s got the monkey.

The article focused on improving time management through better delegation (i.e., giving back the monkey). It didn’t, however, cover how to get people to come up with their own insights.

“Command and control” management practices were common back then. In a 1999 commentary about the article, leadership guru Steven R. Covey wrote:

“…much has changed since Oncken’s radical recommendation. Command and control as a management philosophy is all but dead, and ‘empowerment’ is the word of the day in most organizations trying to thrive in global, intensely competitive markets. But command and control stubbornly remains a common practice.”

Empowering subordinates is hard and complicated work. You have to be willing to give up control and let people work through their own thinking. Empowerment means you must develop people—a strategy whose success depends on dialogue and trust.

The Bible speaks of empowerment. I would point you towards 2 Peter 1:3-4 and Titus 2:12. God empowers us towards freedom and hope which is our call for those we lead. We are called to develop those we shepherd.

The best way to develop people is through coaching conversations (MOLeadershipcoaching.com) by letting people do their own thinking. This is also the best use of a leader's time and talents. A good leader acts as a guide rather than the all-knowing expert.

Here's what I've found to be true in the people I coach: People want to learn and want advice, but more than anything they want an opportunity to come up with their own ideas. A truly efficient manager helps her staff think things through so they gain insight and make wiser choices. Developing a coaching culture where people thrive in creating from ideas is a wonder to behold.

It all starts with the leader experiencing a safe place that slows down the fight or flight instincts and instead allows creativity to flow. Expand your thinking and the thinking of those you lead and you will gain time and your impact will increase.

Why do the most successful leaders and organizations have coaches? Because coaching works. The average ROI for coaching is 6:1. That is the average!  What would the ROI be for you? 10:1 or maybe 100:1. How much is a great idea worth?

Minimizing the risk and maximizing the opportunity is the reality offered for the courageous through coaching.

Let’s connect. Text me at 714-267-2818

http://www.healingplace.info/resources/virginia_satir/208.pdf

http://region10.acui.org/Region/10/conference/2011/presentations/Hall%27s%20Iceberg%20Model%20handout.pdf

 

Asking Permission to Coach

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An effective coaching conversation (MOCoach4ldrs.com)  requires an environment where people feel safe enough to explore their thoughts and reach new insights. In David Rock's book Quiet Leadership, the author suggests four elements should be in place:

1.      Permission: “Is this a good time to talk and explore your thinking?”

2.      Placement: “Let’s see if you can come up with some ideas in the next few minutes.”

3.      Questioning: “Is it OK if I ask you to share your thoughts with me?”

4.      Clarifying: “Tell me more about this. What do you mean?”

There’s almost nothing more personal than trying to change people’s thinking. Given that our perceptions become our reality, asking people to think differently means we’re invading personal territory. It’s therefore crucial to establish permission anytime you want to hold a coaching conversation.

As you approach the most personal questions, ask once again for permission. People can quickly become defensive and stop listening to you. Asking permission frequently helps people feel safe, acknowledged and respected. Here are some sample approaches:

1.      I get the sense you have more to say about this. Could I probe a little further?

2.      I’d like to have a more open conversation than we’ve had before. Would it be OK to ask you some more specific questions right now?

3.      Can we spend a few minutes brainstorming ideas around this?

4.      I’d like to understand more about your thinking. Would you be OK with talking more about this?

5.      I’d like to discuss some more personal matters. Would this be OK with you?

Ideas are like children; we love our own the most. ~ Chinese proverb

Advice is rarely helpful. People are far more likely to act on ideas they’ve come up with themselves.

Adult learning studies prove this is the way we acquire new habits. We find a connection for other people's ideas in our own mental maps and decide to act. It then becomes our own idea—our own decision. The retention statistics on self-discovery versus information delivered and retained are stunning. If you are tired of people asking for your help on the same problem type over and over again, try a coaching self-discovery process and that will cease. You will suddenly have more time. Are you interested in more time? My guess is yes.

Text and let me help you build a coaching culture to deliver more ROI and more time: 714-267-2818 or jump on my calendar and I will give you a call. CLICK HERE

 

Questions for a Coaching Conversation

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I've been writing about the need for leaders to improve performance by helping others, employees, investors, partners and all stake holders to think better and improve their abilities to problem solve. Until leaders learn to do this, they will continue to contribute to stakeholder disengagement.

Starting a coaching conversation is an ideal way to encourage self-directed learning. How do you initiate a coaching conversation?

Posing questions allows you to focus the mental processes of those you lead. Asking them to share their thoughts:

·       Helps them find connections in their minds

·       Makes them more self-aware

·       Encourages them to take greater responsibility for possibilities and solutions

As they process their thoughts, they’ll begin to search their mental maps for insights and potential solutions.

The following questions can facilitate a constructive coaching conversation:

·       How long have you been thinking about this?

·       How often do you think about it?

·       On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is this?

·       How clear are you about the issue?

·       How high a priority does this issue have?

·       How committed are you to resolving this?

·       Can you see any gaps in your thinking?

·       What impact is thinking about this issue having on you?

·       How do you react when you think of this?

·       How do you feel about the resources you’ve invested thus far?

·       Do you have a plan for shifting this issue?

·       How can you deepen your insight on this?

·       How clear are you on what to do next?

·       How can I best help you further?

You will notice that none of these questions focuses on the problem’s specific details. Notice how the questions avoid suggesting what someone should think or do. (We all need to work to do less “SHOULD OF-ING” The questions are designed to help people become aware of their own thinking.

At this point, your stakeholders will begin to contemplate key issues on a much deeper level, which allows them to see things more clearly. This often leads to new connections in their brains that create fresh insights.

We need to abandon our need to find behaviors to fix and problems to solve. Concentrate on identifying and growing people’s strengths and abilities to think things through deeply and you will grow those you work with and lead.

A great, simple and powerful read for those seeking to grow in their coaching ability and understanding is The Coaching Habit

There are many resources on coaching like books, blogs, webcasts and more. Let me know if I can assist by pointing you to resources that are best for you.

Just text my cell at 714-267-2818 or email me at marc@mocoach4ldrs.com

Coaching Conversations

Many employees are highly capable individuals who want to work—and be—smarter. They’re crying out for help. I hear about it all the time in the work I do ( www.moleadershipcoaching.com )  As a coach my passion is helping leaders create a coaching culture in which people are heard as they grow into their best selves including obviously their work selves.  It’s up to their leaders to learn how to ask the right questions and conduct truly engaging coaching conversations and train others to do the same. This is a skill set is teachable. I find leaders who experience coaching for themselves often seek to spread the impact throughout the organization.   The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution. ~   Bertrand Russell    Generations X  and  Y  have been making major organizational contributions, albeit with different expectations from their managers. They embrace personal development, while valuing freedom and independence. They want to work for leaders who will help them fulfill their career potential—mentors who can help them improve their thinking.  As these future leaders develop, they will move from managing themselves to managing others. Their leadership potential depends on their ability to change the way they think.  Regrettably, the organizations that employ them usually allocate few internal resources to help them through this shift. It’s time for leaders to learn how to train the next generation in higher-level decision-making.   What we think, we become. ~   Gautama Buddha   Some leadership experts have adopted  the “iceberg” model  to describe human performance. This metaphor suggests that some of our behaviors are visible, while most other behaviors, thoughts and feelings lurk below water.  Our work achievements are driven by how we think. Why, then, do leaders focus on what’s superficially visible when addressing employee performance? Evaluations rarely consider the factors that drive habits, nor do managers reflect on employees’ feelings or thoughts.  If we want people to think better, we must essentially let them do all the thinking.  David Rock , in his book  Quiet Leadership , suggests the following five-step process for establishing a coaching conversation that enables  self-directed learning :  1. Let the employee think through his specific issue. Avoid telling him what to do or giving advice. Ask questions about his thought process.  2. Keep him focused on solutions, not problems.  3. Challenge him to expand his thinking and stretch himself, instead of clinging to his comfort zone.  4. Focus on what he’s doing well so he can play to his strengths.  5. Make sure there are clear processes behind every conversation. To be truly helpful, a coaching conversation requires permission to ask questions and explore possibilities.  I would add a sixth that moves the organization forward.  6. Seek to explore specific next steps. Who can help and where will the best accountability be accessed?  Have you had a coaching conversation with your manager or your direct reports lately? Should you learn to coach those you lead? I'd love to hear from you. We all need trusted advisors that will reflect back on how we show up, push against our assumptions and thinking and be “for us” as we take our best next step.  I get coaching every month. I am a coaching advocate. Find your coach. Be your best version. Live life well!  There are many resources on coaching like books, blogs, webcasts and more. Let me know if I can assist by pointing you to resources that are best for you.  Just text my cell at 714-267-2818 or email me at  marc@mocoach4ldrs.com

Many employees are highly capable individuals who want to work—and be—smarter. They’re crying out for help. I hear about it all the time in the work I do (www.moleadershipcoaching.com)

As a coach my passion is helping leaders create a coaching culture in which people are heard as they grow into their best selves including obviously their work selves.

It’s up to their leaders to learn how to ask the right questions and conduct truly engaging coaching conversations and train others to do the same. This is a skill set is teachable. I find leaders who experience coaching for themselves often seek to spread the impact throughout the organization.

The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution. ~ Bertrand Russell

Generations X and Y have been making major organizational contributions, albeit with different expectations from their managers. They embrace personal development, while valuing freedom and independence. They want to work for leaders who will help them fulfill their career potential—mentors who can help them improve their thinking.

As these future leaders develop, they will move from managing themselves to managing others. Their leadership potential depends on their ability to change the way they think.

Regrettably, the organizations that employ them usually allocate few internal resources to help them through this shift. It’s time for leaders to learn how to train the next generation in higher-level decision-making.

What we think, we become. ~ Gautama Buddha

Some leadership experts have adopted the “iceberg” model to describe human performance. This metaphor suggests that some of our behaviors are visible, while most other behaviors, thoughts and feelings lurk below water.

Our work achievements are driven by how we think. Why, then, do leaders focus on what’s superficially visible when addressing employee performance? Evaluations rarely consider the factors that drive habits, nor do managers reflect on employees’ feelings or thoughts.

If we want people to think better, we must essentially let them do all the thinking. David Rock, in his book Quiet Leadership, suggests the following five-step process for establishing a coaching conversation that enables self-directed learning:

1. Let the employee think through his specific issue. Avoid telling him what to do or giving advice. Ask questions about his thought process.

2. Keep him focused on solutions, not problems.

3. Challenge him to expand his thinking and stretch himself, instead of clinging to his comfort zone.

4. Focus on what he’s doing well so he can play to his strengths.

5. Make sure there are clear processes behind every conversation. To be truly helpful, a coaching conversation requires permission to ask questions and explore possibilities.

I would add a sixth that moves the organization forward.

6. Seek to explore specific next steps. Who can help and where will the best accountability be accessed?

Have you had a coaching conversation with your manager or your direct reports lately? Should you learn to coach those you lead? I'd love to hear from you. We all need trusted advisors that will reflect back on how we show up, push against our assumptions and thinking and be “for us” as we take our best next step.

I get coaching every month. I am a coaching advocate. Find your coach. Be your best version. Live life well!

There are many resources on coaching like books, blogs, webcasts and more. Let me know if I can assist by pointing you to resources that are best for you.

Just text my cell at 714-267-2818 or email me at marc@mocoach4ldrs.com

Teaching Yourself and Others to Think

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Leadership practices need to keep up with the realities of organizational life. There’s an increasing gap between the way employees are managed and how they want to be managed.

One cannot teach a man anything. One can only enable him to learn from within himself. ~ Galileo Galilei

With so many employees being paid to think, leaders and managers should find ways to cultivate their staffs’ cerebral capabilities to boost workplace performance. But most leaders wouldn’t know where to start.

In the work I do coaching people (www.moleadershipcoaching.com), I hear complaints all the time about the frustration leaders have as they try to help boost performance. The process begins by improving the way knowledge workers process information—not telling them what to do or jumping in to solve their problems.

Countless surveys and headlines reinforce this revelation:

·       60 percent of workers are miserable.

·       74 percent aren’t engaged at work.

The solution is to create coaching environments that honor and challenge the individual. The challenge is the past has created “stinkin thinkin.”

It’s easy to see how we arrived at this sorry situation. A century ago, most people were paid for physical labor. The dominant management model was master/apprentice, with the master showing his employees how to perform their jobs.

The Industrial Age introduced systems. Process management became the dominant paradigm, with scientific analysis of linear systems for greater efficiency. Employees were trained to follow, unquestioningly, their bosses’ best-laid plans.

Over the last two decades, the most routine business tasks have been computerized or outsourced. As a result, today’s employees are increasingly hired to think. In 2015, 60 percent of employees were considered knowledge workers; for mid-level management and higher, the number is closer to 100 percent.

Modern leaders must increasingly shift their leadership styles to reflect the needs of a more educated labor force. Unfortunately, business schools have neglected to teach leaders and managers how to improve their knowledge workers’ thinking and decision-making skills.

Strengthening these abilities is critical, according to NeuroLeadership CEO David Rock, author of Quiet Leadership: Six Steps to Transforming Performance at Work.

“Yet we have not significantly reinvented our management models since the time Henry Ford hired a pair of hands and wished they’d left their brains behind,” he writes.

However, there is a revolution taking place. It is the coaching revolution. More leaders are getting coached and experiencing the impact.

The coaching process aligns so well with following Christ. The idea that reality is our friend. The idea that truth is good when delivered with love which creates the grace experience that builds hope, loyalty and community. Coaching changes lives.

What's it like in your work? I'd love to hear from you.

Building Your Life Plan

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If you haven’t already mapped out your life plan, take the first step now. Start with the foundation: your core values, purpose and life’s focus. List all of the realistic ways to achieve your ideal life. Break down these steps into short-term goals and make an action plan.

Write down your goals and action steps and convert them into graph form so you can track your progress. Share your Life Plan with the important people in your life.

One of the most effective ways to achieve your goals is to work with a coach (www.moleadershipcoaching.com)

 If you can’t do that, at least consider working with an accountability partner. Choose someone you trust and with whom you have a relationship based on honesty.

With your partner, you can brainstorm ideas, make plans and hold each other accountable. You can anticipate obstacles and make any adjustments. Make sure your partner challenges you to stretch enough so you grow and learn beyond what you would accomplish alone.

Most importantly, you should never give up, even if you run into formidable obstacles. You may have to adjust your plans but persevere. Remember perseverance is one of the character traits God points us towards regularly. Look at Romans 5:4, 2 Peter 1:6 and James 1:3. The last encouragement from James is that when our faith is tested perseverance is a product of our faith.

Keep up the faith. If you keep working towards your ultimate Life Plan objectives, over time you’ll get there.

Develop your grit – that ability to find what works no matter what. Grit is based on the profound belief that things may be difficult but not impossible. You only have to persist a little longer than most people to become a success. This doesn’t mean you can’t adjust your plans according to reality.

Of course, changing circumstances and desires mean any life plan will need to be amended over time. The goals you have in your 20s are considerably different from those in your 40s — and vastly different from those later in life.

Don’t let life just happen to you. Shape it into your ideal version — and have a nice life!

I’d love to hear if you’ve done a life plan and learn about how it helped you. Please leave a comment.

What’s been your experience as you face the challenge of creating a life plan? Most people say that it helps them to have someone walk with them and hold them accountable.

What about you?

Marc Ottestad leads MO Leadership Coaching – Connecting the DOTs of Your TRUE-Self, Your Work and Your God – through One to One coaching and peer team experience.

If now is the time to get unstuck, let’s connect. Here is my calendar for a complimentary coaching session. CLICK HERE or text at 714-267-2818

 

Practice Makes Perfect - Here's the Plan

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When working with a client (mocoach4ldrs.com)on personal development goals, I often suggest doing life plan. You can use a classic business strategic planning model to map out your life plan. Here are seven-steps to get you started.

1.      Purpose:
Identify your purpose (mission statement)
. Describe your life’s focus. If you’re young and just entering adulthood, this step may be challenging. Imagine you’re approaching the end of your life, and figure out what you’d tell people about a life well lived.

Your statement should reference your values and explore how you intend to spend your time at work, at home and in leisure pursuits. Outline the needs you intend to meet (community involvement is sometimes mentioned). Recognize that your mission statement will change over the years.

Seeking to connect your purpose with God’s purpose can be very rewarding. Often leaders miss the opportunity to see their purpose is about the people they work with and serve. This creates a whole dimension of impact that has eternal reverberations.

2.      Vision:
Establish a vision statement
. Describes your life at various points in the future. What happens when you live out your “purpose” well over time. This can be a most inspiring place to spend quality time exploring your mission and vision dynamically. What would happen in 3 years if we were excellent at the mission? How about 5 years? This process creates more clarity around both the mission and vision. What might God say about your vision? Is it big enough?

3.      Goals:
State the goals you must reach to achieve your mission.
Goals are general statements that (a) define what you need to accomplish and (b) cover major issues. While your vision is longer from a time perspective, goals may be mid-range (for example, 1 to 2 years into the future). Break them down into short-term steps, as well. Remember with goals less is more. What are the 3-5 goals that would be the best runway towards your mission and ultimately your vision?

4.      Strategies:
Identify strategies you must implement to reach each goal.
Your specific approaches will change as you engage in more robust strategic thinking—particularly as you closely examine external and internal environments. Aim for 1-2 strategies for each goal. Remember less is more! Keep strategies inside of 1 year and down to quarters.

5.      Action Plan:
Identify strategic action plans or goal objectives.
State the specific activities or objectives you must undertake to effectively implement each strategy in order to achieve each goal. Use clear language so you can assess whether objectives have been met. This area target is 2-3 action plans for each strategy. Here you are looking at your plan a quarter at a time. What goals need traction first? Pick a goal, declare the strategy and now action plans are using a monthly time target.

If you decide to work with a coach or accountability partner, include this as part of your action plan. Most experts agree that working with another person enhances successful goal achievement.

6.      Document:
Compile the mission, vision, strategies, goals and action plans into a Life Plan document.
This can be done as a written text or in chart or diagram form. Work to get your plan on one page. You don’t need 1000 words for description, keep it simple and engageable. You start with the “WHY” and use that in your Mission/Purpose as your “North Star.” Working the process downwards until you are looking at this quarter, month and week is where the power of planning takes place. Here you can focus on the next most important thing to do. Make a declaration for this week and quarter and watch it daily. You will be amazed at your progress. Write it down.

7.      Track Progress:
Monitor implementation of the plan; update it, as needed.
Regularly reflect on the extent to which goals are being met and whether action plans are being implemented. Use a spreadsheet or graph to monitor your progress, adjust your plan and remain challenged. Remember you can make changes as you go forward. There is no judgement. Reality is your friend.

8.      Get Help

Get light on what you are doing regularly. Schedule time with a friend, mentor or co-worker. Get a coach. Be accountable. Expand your thinking and possibilities.

What’s been your experience writing down and tracking your goals? Most people say that it helps them. What about you?

Marc Ottestad leads MO Leadership Coaching – Connecting the DOTs of Your TRUE-Self, Your Work and Your God – through One to One coaching and peer team experience.

If now is the time to get unstuck, let’s connect. Here is my calendar for a complimentary coaching session. CLICK HERE or text at 714-267-2818

Do you have a PLAN for your LIFE?

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When is the last time you sat down and mapped out a life plan for yourself? Perhaps you regularly update yours and discuss it frequently with your coach, friend, mentor or spouse. Chances are, however, you’ve never created a Life Plan.

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” ~ Business philosopher Jim Rohn

If you’re not the one to map out your life, someone else will.

“Life is what happens to you when you’re making other plans,” according to John Lennon’s lyrics for “Beautiful Boy.”

Of course, you can listen to Woody Allen, who famously said: “Half of life is just showing up.” Per this philosophy, you get ahead simply by being present—a concept that certainly relieves a lot of pressure. It allows you to live in the moment, responding to what is rather than trying to shape your life. It also requires a hefty dose of passivity and abandonment of future possibilities. (Let it be, to quote Mr. Lennon again.)

But most of us want to influence the path our life takes to ensure we have enough freedom to express our strengths and talents. We want to control our own destiny when planning for our careers, partnerships and families.

As we head into a new year now is the perfect time to prepare for 2019 to be the best year ever. Experts generally agree that you cannot achieve your goals without a plan or road map. Given the unpredictability of love, work and the lottery, exactly how much of your life can you plan?

What does a life plan look like?

A Google search for life plan yields two billion results! Myriad life-planning experts and coaches  are advertising their services. But let’s simplify things and use a classic planning model you’ll likely recognize. It’s frequently used in business organizations and can easily be adapted for personal use.

One caveat before we start: Just because the plan is simply stated doesn’t imply it’s easy to implement. You must invest several hours of thought, and it may prove beneficial to discuss your ideas with a trusted mentor, coach, friends and family. It is in the exercising of dreams, desires, priorities and limitations that clarity arises.

Planning out your life, whether personal or career, is one of the things I work with clients on regularly. You can start by making a list of trusted people you can ask to help you with your life plan. You may know of someone or you’ll need to ask around for a referral to a professional coach with experience.

My coaching will always include your spiritual journey. What does God say about plans? He is very specific in Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

Can you imagine connecting with God and the plans He has for you?

Start making some notes about the things you value most, and the direction you’d most like your life to take. Visualize your life in 1, 3, 5, 10, 20 years later to help you clarify what you want. Each step of the way check-in with God! Ask Him to affirm your thoughts, add to them or move you in another direction.

In my next post, I’ll provide a 7-step process for making a life plan. Let me know what your experience has been with making a life plan.

It is time to plan for 2019. Make your declarations. Be accountable. Eliminate distractions. Call me at 714-267-2818 or CLICK HERE for my calendar to explore how executive coaching could get you going!


God and My Desires

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This is a season of life in which I am exploring my desires with God.

Is it OK to have desires?

Is it OK to proclaim what I want?

Do I even know what my desires are?

When I start to explore the idea of me, my desires, and God, I am reluctant. I hesitate. I am uncomfortable. I am surprised. I thought it would be easier to identify what my desires are in this season of life.

Of course, I know God knows my desires, but I am somewhat detached from them at this time.  Somewhere inside of me I think my desires are either not good or I am not worthy to have them.  I think I need to control such thoughts, such ideas. I think I should not have desires or rather not admit that I feel unworthy. I think that all my desires should be complete and fulfilled because I believe in Jesus.

When I say it out loud or write it down it seems so crazy.

Has my faith created a fear in me to explore my desires?

Have I abandoned my desires or just covered them up?

God declared for me and everyone that He will give me the desires of my heart!

Take a look at Psalm 37:4, Psalm 20:4 and Proverbs 3:5.

So why do I hesitate?

Many of my desires are impossible to fulfill. When I look back, I wanted a good homelife growing up that was safe and nurturing. I wanted grandparents. I wanted a mentor. I wanted to not be cross-eyed. I think my thinking about the past and the idea of my “desires” confuses me. Current desires for past events are impossible.

So, I look towards the future. If you know me, I live in the future. But my future hopes and dreams seems to disappoint when experienced in the now. The future is always so big, so hopeful, so promising. The experience of that future today, not so much.

There I am, dissatisfied.

But what about the present? What about those current desires that are so difficult to identify. I am thinking I have allowed myself to be fooled. I believe that God is in the present with me. I cannot be in the past of in the future. He is inviting me to share my current desires, to identify them with Him, to allow Him to touch them, grow them, to release them.

I want more of God and I think my desires are connected to an open dialog with God about them. Here I am Lord. I am in my final season. I want more of you and perhaps the best way for more of God is to converse with Him about my desires.  I want to dream bigger as in other worldly. Lord, I think you are inviting me into such a life. Thanks for the invitation Lord.

Me, God and my desires will be a good journey. I will release the past, hold the future lightly and be with God today. Remembering that I am His beloved and He wants my best. I will be courageous. God is for me, knows my desires and will help me to discover them with Him.

My thanks to Curt and Debbie Swindoll and Grafted Life Ministries. It is through their work that I have stepped into this journey: “A Call to Desire and Discern.” Here is the website for more information:

www.graftedlife.org

 

45,276 Tips to Stop Information Overload

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If you’re anything like the clients I work with www.coach4ldrs.com  you spend an inordinate amount of time sifting and sorting through information: research and reports, email and texts, online news, social media, voice mail, not to mention the face-to-face information that is shared in passing, in meetings and conferences.

I’ve been writing about this in recent posts. Here are more good tips to stop the avalanche of information that clogs up our workspace so we can concentrate on what really matters, the things that will bring in the best results.

5. Meditate on Jesus

The art of meditation provides a means for clearing the mind of chatter and stray thoughts. There is no doubt that we are subjected to an abundance of noise and information overload which is delivered with a perverted invitation to hurry, hurry, faster, faster! The famous quote from Carl Jung reminds us “Hurry is not of the Devil, it is the Devil. According to Christian teachings an antidote for the endless internal monologue that loops in our brains is mediating on God with God. When the overload moment hits use that as an invitation to connect with Jesus. It seems just like God to use what is challenging us to grow us.

6. Cut off the flow

How can you retool your life to consume less info, less frequently? Make it a habit to leave the radio off in your car when you drive to work and enjoy the silence. You don't need the TV on to repeat the news talk. Make it a rule never to surf the web, TV, or other “glowing rectangles” after 8 P.M. Another favorite idea it is use the Sabbath for a day of no “screens”. Might you take the challenge and cut off the flow?

7. Outsource solution finding

Find ways to outsource your decision making and solution finding to other people, so you don’t have to bathe in the info stream to the point that it scalds your mind.

8. Reduce your informational needs

You can survive on far less information than you realize. Do you really need to scan the CNN headlines every morning on your cell phone? What is that doing for your life? How is it making you a better person and moving you closer to your goals? Excise what you don’t need – and do regular audits.

One wise person put herself on an information diet for a year. At the end of December, she accessed all the top news stories for the year on the Time Magazines site. Like watching the highlights of a football game, she only wants to know the interesting parts.

Tips 9 through 45,276

[Deleted because you’ve gotten what you need out of this article and you don’t need to waste more time consuming information, even if it's about how to stop consuming information!]. What do you think? What other tips or best practices do you use? I’d love to hear from you (truly!) Send me an email marc@mocoach4ldrs.com or contact me via LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/marcottestadchristianceo/

 

 

3 Tips to STOP Information Overload

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3 Tips to Stop Information Overload

It's one of the most common complaints among working adults: "Stop the emails!" At least that's what I hear in the work I do coaching executives (coach4ldrs.com)  If work isn't stressful enough, we're drowning in information that doesn't stop coming. Now we are experiencing the technology gurus using text, oh my goodness.

Here are three good tips for stopping the avalanche of information that clogs up our workspace so we can concentrate on what really matters, the things that will bring in the best results.

1.      Leverage the “Pareto Principle ”  (AKA the 80:20 rule)

Author Timothy Ferriss (The 4-Hour Workweek) writes about the importance of the 80:20 rule, or the Pareto Principle. Essentially, this principle says that 80% of your results come from 20% of your actions. Conversely, 80% of your problems result from 20% of your inputs.

 Let's apply this idea to the "info overload" problem. It’s almost certain that 80% of the information that comes into your life everyday is relatively useless. Get rid of that excess 80%. Focus on the 20% of information that genuinely adds to your life.

Do routine “80:20” audits of both your information and daily time usage to improve your productivity and clamp down on overload.

2.      Use Parkinson’s Law

Parkinson’s Law essentially states that work will expand or contract to take up the amount of time allotted for it. In The 4-Hour Workweek, Ferriss talks about Parkinson’s Law as a companion principle to the 80:20 principle. The idea is that you should give yourself hard to meet (but not impossible) deadlines throughout the day.

For instance, say you enjoy surfing the internet. But you don’t want to spend 3 hours a day lost mindlessly on the web. Set a timer – say 30 minutes. Then allow yourself to swim in the info-sea until the timer buzzes.

3.      Explore "Getting Things Done" – a productivity system

Productivity guru David Allen created the Getting Things Done (GTD) system to help info-overloaded people clear their slates and their minds. Essentially, Allen’s philosophy is to write down what’s on your mind – to collect your mind’s “open loops” in an objective format, such as a lengthy to-do list. In this way, your brain doesn’t have to “remember everything.” GTD is not a simple system to learn or use, but it contains many powerful ideas.

Whatever system you use, it's only as good as the results it brings you. If you continue to struggle with information overload, you may benefit from professional coaching services (coach4ldrs.com)

Many of my clients have had turn-around breakthroughs. You may not be able to see what a good coach can see.

Love to connect and hear how you handle the chaos of information overload.

Here is my cell 714-267-2818

 

How to STOP Information Overload

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How to Stop Information Overload

 How many times have you screamed to yourself: “There is too much information online! Make it stop! Argh!”

 According to a 2009 study conducted by the University of California, San Diego, Americans consume on average approximately 34 gigabytes of information a day. This translates to about 100,000 words of information in a single 24-hour period.

 Our culture, work and media celebrate our unfettered access to music, videogames, television, and websites. But overloading the human brain has negative consequences. Many people worry what this information gluttony is doing to their mental, physical and spiritual health. When we hear the word gluttony we often relegate our thinking to food or drink and yet the since of gluttony is really exemplified in this idea of information gluttony.

 Rates of repetitive stress disorders, such as computer-related eye strain and carpal tunnel syndrome (from excess computer use), are rising, along with rates of Attention Deficit Disorder. Lack of focus is a common complaint. Lack of time is another. These are all obvious symptoms that should alert us to the possibility of a lack of connecting you Our Lord.

 An Internet search for things like “info overload cure,” reveals thousands of articles about what to do. Many of these articles have good advice. But there again, it's possible to get snowed under by an avalanche of information about information overload.

 So let’s boil down the actions you can take right now to simplify your life and clear your mind.

 Be Satisfied with Less

As the old cliché goes: “Perfect is the enemy of the good.” We often crave the "best" answer or path. But the sheer number of options paralyzes us. Sociologist Barry Schwartz details this phenomenon in depth in his book, The Paradox of Choice.  Another favorite is Less is More by Dale Burke.

Studies show that when you give people too many choices, they not only freeze up and have trouble deciding, but they also wind up less satisfied with what they choose. The more choices, the less satisfaction.

Perhaps the call is to simplicity. Explore Matthew 6:25-27

Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink….

or how about not worrying about your next decision by overindulging with information?

Remember, any time you can limit your choices to get a “good enough” answer instead of a “best” answer, you'll be better off. This is connected to the leadership discipline of delegation.

As we think about “Less is more” we are reminded to start with the godly discipline in Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, it there is any excellence, if there is anything praiseworthy, think about these things.

Of course, as with all principles, caveats apply. If you want information about how to refinance your home, you would obviously want to consult with more than one or two sources. But, in general, err on the side of limiting choices instead of expanding options and most importantly invest in God’s guidance as your foundation. It will bring you peace and joy in all decisions including where to gain your next financing source.

How can you start making better choices in order to prioritize your work flow and connect with God? Sometimes – often times – the services of a professional coach can help. In the work I do coaching with clients (www.coach4ldrs.com)  people report more happiness and better results with less effort.

My coaching is about “Connecting You, Your Work & God”.

Here is my calendar to explore if now is the right time for you.  Click Here

Do You Understand the 5 Roles of Leadership?

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Are there universally shared leadership characteristics? Experts estimate that 50 to 85 percent of leadership characteristics are found in all effective leaders. The missing variables are personal situations and internal influences (drive, ambition, etc.).

You can improve your leadership abilities by focusing on the main characteristics that define those who succeed at leading others. (Last Blog)  The Leadership Code’s five-rule framework represents 60 to 70 percent of fundamentally effective leadership. While there may be variances in strategy, vision and individual job requirements, the rules are designed as a foundation for effective leadership across all industries.

Most people are naturally predisposed to excel in one or two of the five leadership roles:

1.      Strategist

2.      Executor

3.      Talent manager

4.       Human-capital developer

5.      Personal proficiency

Some are big-picture strategists and future-oriented, while others love getting things done or engaging people for high performance.

If you’re in a more senior role, you’ll need to branch out from your predisposed areas of excellence. You’ll be required to master all of the first four roles or surround yourself with people who can fill in the gaps for you.

The last role, personal proficiency, is the foundation for improving skills in the first four roles. Personal proficiency will help you become a more rounded leader. It is the only one that cannot be delegated, although having an executive coach (Coach4ldrs.com) can help you develop more rapidly.

At the heart of leadership effectiveness is the ability to continually learn and enhance your personal effectiveness. We are called to grow into the people God has called us to be!

You are not solely defined by what you do or know. In fact, there’s a lot you don’t know about yourself because everyone has limited vision and blind spots. We err in thinking. We jump to conclusions. We have poor communication habits that could definitely improve. Personal proficiency takes time, vigilance and help from others. Again, awareness is huge. Who helps you see reality?

Who you are as a leader has everything to do with how much you can accomplish with and through other people. In The Leadership Challenge, James Kouzes and Barry Posner cite three reasons why people follow someone:

1.      Integrity

2.      Competency

3.      Forward thinking


Leaders are learners, and their classroom is everywhere. We learn from our mistakes, successes, books, coworkers, bosses, friends and life itself. Leaders are passionate about their beliefs and interests, willing to examine them at every occasion.

Leaders know what matters to them. They inspire loyalty and goodwill in others because they  act with integrity and trust. They can be bold and courageous because they know what matters most. This helps them tolerate ambiguity, uncertainty and crises.

The Leadership Code provides four summary observations:

1.      All leaders must excel at personal proficiency. Without a foundation of trust and credibility, you cannot ask others to follow you.

2.      All leaders must have one towering strength. Most successful leaders excel in at least one of the other four core roles. Most are personally predisposed to one of the four areas (i.e., their signature strength).

3.      All leaders must be at least average in their weaker leadership domains.

4.      The higher you rise in an organization, the more you need to develop excellence in the remaining domains.

How can you use this framework for leadership effectiveness to improve your abilities? And, if you're not working yet with an executive coach (www.coach4ldrs.com) review my web pages to see if it makes sense for you in your current career path to explore this option. I'd love to hear from you.

Call or text me at 714-267-2818

My email is marc@mocoach4ldrs.com

Who, What and Why of Leadership

How do these five rules for effective  leadership  from   The Leadership Code: 5 Rules to Lead By,     (Harvard Business Press, 2011)   Dave  Ulrich, Norm Smallwood and Kate Sweetman  fit in with other  leadership theories ? (See my previous posts here  Leaders Develop Others  and here  5 Golden Rules of Leadership Leadership  has evolved from the military models of centuries ago to contemporary theories of  scientific management ,  situational leadership ,  servant leadership  and other widely discussed  styles .  The primary principles of effective leadership nonetheless remain consistent. Without effective leadership skills, no one will follow you.  Here’s a look at some traditional leadership theories, based on the key questions journalists ask to uncover a story: who, what, when, where, why and how.   1.  Who  is a leader?  The image of a tall man in a dark suit, impeccably groomed, comes to mind. He is authoritative, with a firm handshake, warm smile and steady gaze. For a long time, leaders were sought for their physical traits: height, gender, heritage, education and speaking style. This approach proved to be based on false assumptions, but such prejudices still exist in the C-suites. Today, it’s called  executive presence . The criteria have changed (somewhat), but people are still influenced by looks.   2.  How  do leaders act?  Leadership has been defined by  behavioral style . There are six distinct leadership styles, according to  Daniel Goleman , Richard E. Boyatzis and Annie McKee, authors of     Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence  :  ·  Directive : Immediate compliance. Giving orders, or telling someone what to do.  ·  Visionary : Providing long-term direction and vision for employees. Inspiring action through personal and professional vision.  ·  Affiliative : Creating harmony among employees and between the manager and employees. Fostering a harmonious environment.  ·  Participative : Building commitment among employees and generating new ideas. Collaborating to achieve a goal.  ·  Pace-setting : Accomplishing tasks to high standards of excellence. Setting high standards that challenge the team to keep up.  ·  Coaching : Long-term professional development of employees. Determining how to help people address their strengths and challenges. Creating a development plan to help them achieve their potential.  In general, these styles define a leader by how he or she behaves. Do you “take charge” or “take care”? Leaders exhibit a preferred style, but the effective ones can be both soft and hard; they’re flexible in switching between managing tasks and caring about people.   3.  When  and  where  do leaders focus on the person or task?  This question relates to   situational leadership  . The appropriate leadership style depends on understanding situational context and specifics.   4.  What  do leaders know and do?  What are the key  leadership competencies ? What core body of knowledge, skills and values define successful leaders? In this leadership model, the focus is on both the situation and the business strategy.   5.  Why  does leadership matter?    Some leadership theorists have shifted away from competencies to focus on results. Leadership is about getting the right results in the right way. Leaders need to achieve a  balanced scorecard  of employee, customer, investor and organizational results to provide sustainable results.  Perhaps this has reminded you of MBA courses and leadership workshops you've sat through, or business books that have claimed to have the secret to unlock leadership magic. It's tempting to buy into yet again another fad-du-jour.  But if you want to seriously improve your leadership abilities, you can't read a book and simply start to apply new skills. Leadership is more about relationships and character. That can't be developed on your own. The beginning is self-awareness. One of the most effective ways to grow your self-awareness and leadership abilities is with an executive coach.  Is now the time to take the next step in your development?  I coach leaders seeking to maximize their potential. I know coaches of excellence with the same mission. My differentiator is the intentional anchoring of Jesus in the leadership growth journey.   Click here  to get on my calendar to see if MO Leadership Coaching is the right tool for you.

How do these five rules for effective leadership from The Leadership Code: 5 Rules to Lead By, (Harvard Business Press, 2011) Dave Ulrich, Norm Smallwood and Kate Sweetman fit in with other leadership theories? (See my previous posts here Leaders Develop Others and here 5 Golden Rules of Leadership Leadership has evolved from the military models of centuries ago to contemporary theories of scientific management, situational leadership, servant leadership and other widely discussed styles.

The primary principles of effective leadership nonetheless remain consistent. Without effective leadership skills, no one will follow you.

Here’s a look at some traditional leadership theories, based on the key questions journalists ask to uncover a story: who, what, when, where, why and how.

1. Who is a leader? The image of a tall man in a dark suit, impeccably groomed, comes to mind. He is authoritative, with a firm handshake, warm smile and steady gaze. For a long time, leaders were sought for their physical traits: height, gender, heritage, education and speaking style. This approach proved to be based on false assumptions, but such prejudices still exist in the C-suites. Today, it’s called executive presence. The criteria have changed (somewhat), but people are still influenced by looks.

2. How do leaders act? Leadership has been defined by behavioral style. There are six distinct leadership styles, according to Daniel Goleman, Richard E. Boyatzis and Annie McKee, authors of Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence:

· Directive: Immediate compliance. Giving orders, or telling someone what to do.

· Visionary: Providing long-term direction and vision for employees. Inspiring action through personal and professional vision.

· Affiliative: Creating harmony among employees and between the manager and employees. Fostering a harmonious environment.

· Participative: Building commitment among employees and generating new ideas. Collaborating to achieve a goal.

· Pace-setting: Accomplishing tasks to high standards of excellence. Setting high standards that challenge the team to keep up.

· Coaching: Long-term professional development of employees. Determining how to help people address their strengths and challenges. Creating a development plan to help them achieve their potential.

In general, these styles define a leader by how he or she behaves. Do you “take charge” or “take care”? Leaders exhibit a preferred style, but the effective ones can be both soft and hard; they’re flexible in switching between managing tasks and caring about people.

3. When and where do leaders focus on the person or task? This question relates to situational leadership. The appropriate leadership style depends on understanding situational context and specifics.

4. What do leaders know and do? What are the key leadership competencies? What core body of knowledge, skills and values define successful leaders? In this leadership model, the focus is on both the situation and the business strategy.

5. Why does leadership matter? Some leadership theorists have shifted away from competencies to focus on results. Leadership is about getting the right results in the right way. Leaders need to achieve a balanced scorecard of employee, customer, investor and organizational results to provide sustainable results.

Perhaps this has reminded you of MBA courses and leadership workshops you've sat through, or business books that have claimed to have the secret to unlock leadership magic. It's tempting to buy into yet again another fad-du-jour.

But if you want to seriously improve your leadership abilities, you can't read a book and simply start to apply new skills. Leadership is more about relationships and character. That can't be developed on your own. The beginning is self-awareness. One of the most effective ways to grow your self-awareness and leadership abilities is with an executive coach.

Is now the time to take the next step in your development?

I coach leaders seeking to maximize their potential. I know coaches of excellence with the same mission. My differentiator is the intentional anchoring of Jesus in the leadership growth journey.

Click here to get on my calendar to see if MO Leadership Coaching is the right tool for you.

Leaders Develop Others and Themselves

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I'm reviewing ideas in the book The Leadership Code: 5 Rules to Lead By,, (Harvard Business Press, 2011) Dave Ulrich, Norm Smallwood and Kate Sweetman.

All leaders who want to be effective should function well as a strategist (shape the future), an executor (get things done), a talent manager (bring out the best in people), and as a human capitol developer (prepare for the next generation). And, as a foundation for these roles, an effective leader must excel at their own personal proficiency (they must invest in their own learning and development in order to lead others well).

In a previous post ( 5 Golden Rules – Part 1) I reviewed

Rule 1: Shape the future and

Rule 2: Make things happen. Here are rules 3, 4, and 5.

Rule 3: Engage today’s talent. As a talent manager, you’re in charge of optimizing teams’ performance. You must answer the question, “Who goes with us on our business journey?” You need to know how to identify, build and engage talent for immediate results.

How can you bring out the best in people? Do you know which skills are required and where to find talent in your organization? How can you best develop and engage people, guaranteeing that they turn in their best efforts?

When you excel at talent management, you generate personal, professional and organizational loyalty. Talent thrives when you provide nurturing and developmental opportunities. Part of this role of talent engagement and development easily connects to a Biblical worldview that to who much is given, much is expected.     Luke 12:48

Rule 4: Build the next generation.

As a human-capital developer, you’ll need to plan for the next generation. You must answer the question, “Who stays and sustains the organization for the next generation?” Just as talent managers ensure shorter-term results through people, human-capital developers make sure the organization has the longer-term competencies and people required for future strategic success.

This rule requires you to think in terms of building a workforce plan focused on future talent, developing that talent and helping employees envision their future careers within the company. You cannot overlook the fact that the organization will outlive any single individual.

Solid mentorship prepares the next generation to lead well. God offers the path towards wisdom and discernment. Titus 2:6-8 underscores the idea of teaching younger leaders the power of self-control.

Rule 5: Invest in yourself.

Leaders must model what they want others to master. Leading others ultimately begins with yourself. You cannot expect to influence followers unless you invest time and energy on your personal proficiency, individual strengths, self-awareness, and emotional and social intelligence. Leaders have the capacity and the responsibility to grow. The Bible directs leaders to stretch themselves by growth towards wisdom and discernment. (Hebrews 5:12-14)

Resources like Meyer-Briggs, DISC, The Enneagram and Strengthfinders are self-awareness tools that offer great growth opportunities. For leaders looking to move to the next level 360 assessments are a good investment.  Finally, if you’re not working with a mentor or executive coach (www.coach4ldrs.com) you’re missing out on one of the most effective ways to build your strengths and talents.

5 Golden Rules of Leadership

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I've been reading The Leadership Code: 5 Rules to Lead By, (Harvard Business Press, 2011) Dave Ulrich, Norm Smallwood and Kate Sweetman. I like this book for many reasons, but especially because the authors do a good job of synthesizing leadership theories into a concise framework. Having a framework of the five major leadership functions makes it easier to tackle the job of getting better at leading people effectively.

I have been struck over the years by the silence I am surrounded by when I ask a leader to share their job description. Most leaders do work hard to help those they lead have clarity in their work by refining job descriptions for all. However seldom do leaders create their own.

All leaders have to function well as a strategist (shape the future), an executor (get things done), a talent manager (bring out the best in people), and as a human capitol developer (prepare for the next generation). As a foundation for these roles, an effective leader must excel at their own personal proficiency (they must invest in their own learning and development in order to lead others well). Here is a summary of the authors' ideas, put in the form of five "golden" rules:

Rule 1: Shape the future. As a strategist, you must answer the question “Where are we going?” for the people you lead. You not only envision the future, but help create it. You need to figure out where the organization must go to succeed, while pragmatically testing ideas against current resources and capabilities. Work with others to figure out how to move from the present to the desired future.

How informed are you about future trends, both inside and outside your field? How much time and attention do you allocate to future planning? How will you inspire your people with vision, purpose, mission and strategies? What does the Lord teach us about understanding the future?

Rule 2: Make things happen. As executors, leaders focus on the question, “How can we ensure we’ll reach our goals?” You must translate strategy into action. You’ll need to transform plans for change into measurable results by assigning accountability, knowing which decisions to manage and which to delegate, and ensuring that teams work together effectively.

This means keeping promises to multiple stakeholders. It also means ensuring that systems are in place for others to perform with the support and resources they need. Discipline is required. What does the Lord teach us about discipline? How can you help your people create their own high-performance results? Do you know when to step in or, conversely, step back?

I'm saving Rules 3-5 for my next post, but I'd love to hear from you about these two rules. Are you a person who focuses on the future, or who tries to become more forward-thinking? How adept are you at getting things done? Both areas are certainly important to being an effective leader and both can be improved by working with an executive coach.  (www.coach4ldrs.com)