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  • feedwordpress 09:00:12 on 2018/05/08 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , Leading, , ,   

    The Unexpected Quality Every Successful Leader Needs 

    It’s never hard to find a discussion—in this blog and lots of other places, online and off—of the skills that are required for good leadership. Among the most important is one that surprisingly is rarely mentioned: curiosity, the secret gift of creative people and successful leaders.

    Curious people have a beginner’s mind—empty, free, unbiased, and unoccupied with the baggage of trying to be an expert. They’re open to all possibilities and are able to view even the most familiar things from a fresh perspective.

    Curious leaders are deep thinkers, great listeners and even better questioners. Here are seven ways to foster your own curiosity:

    Embrace what you don’t know. As leaders, we often think we have to serve up all the answers. But the best leaders are comfortable with not knowing. When they don’t know something, they don’t try to fake it. They’re aware of what they don’t know and unafraid to admit it. They’re open to learning new things because they’re free from pretending they already know everything. The best leaders leverage their ignorance to open the door on new knowledge.

    Know that everything begins with “why.” Part of my job as a coach is helping people dive deeper into their thinking, and a trick I use with many of my clients is to ask the question Why?— not once or twice, but five or six times in sequence from a single question, going as far as possible into an idea. Asking yourself Why? again and again will challenge you to confront your obstacles, formulate and frame the questions, articulate the issues and go deeper.

    Be ready to reframe your thinking. It’s easy in these fast-paced times to feel that you can’t keep up, and from there to become overwhelmed. There’s a certain amount of stability to be gained by sticking to the fundamentals, but eventually the best leaders realize the limits of the lens through which they’ve been viewing the world. From there, they’re ready to construct a whole new frame of reference that will help them face the challenges and opportunities they couldn’t even imagine a few years ago.

    Learn to navigate challenges. New challenges are everywhere, and more seem to crop up daily. Navigating change and challenges is a key competency of the best leaders. One helpful mental model consists of asking three questions: Why? What if? and How? Asking Why? helps you understand the challenge. What if? helps you imagine and weigh different solutions, and How? challenges you to take concrete action and maintain accountability. This technique can give you a fresh outlook on problems, challenges and solutions.

    Understand that knowledge is becoming obsolete: In an era when information increases exponentially, it’s impossible to retain everything. Effective leaders know what to commit to memory and have the skills to find the rest. And for a curious mind, asking the questions is just as important as finding the answers.

    Avoid small-minded questions. If you ask small questions, you’re going to get small ideas that do nothing to advance your thinking. To innovate you have to ask expansive questions. It’s not always easy to do in a business culture where leaders are expected to act as if they know everything and hierarchy is the norm. But newer models emphasizing flexibility, speed and collaborative inquiry are friendlier to the kind of curiosity that asks the big questions.

    Step back to move forward. It’s easy to stay caught in a cycle where we’re so focused on our day-to-day issues that we never seem to have time to slow down and really think. Maybe more than any other factor, the pressure of short-term demands shuts out curiosity. That’s why it’s so important that leaders learn to pause and take a couple of steps back. A little distance creates perspective and expands your point of view to take in a bigger picture.

    The most important thing a business leader should do today is become the chief question asker. Curiosity leads to creativity, innovation and transformation. The more questions you ask, the more you know and the more effective you will become. And when you take the next step, from asking questions to taking action, that’s where leadership is at its best.

    Lead from within: Curiosity is the unexpected quality that makes the difference between a good leader and a great leader.


    N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R

    THE LEADERSHIP GAP

    What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

    After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

    buy now

     

     


    Additional Reading you might enjoy:

     

    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    The post The Unexpected Quality Every Successful Leader Needs appeared first on Lolly Daskal.

     
  • feedwordpress 10:01:42 on 2017/01/24 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Leading, , ,   

    How to Be a Real Leader And Great Manager 

    Screen Shot 2017-01-24 at 12.22.00 AMFrom time to time through the years, I’ve written on the difference between leadership and management.

    I am revisiting the subject now because it’s not enough to understand that leadership and management are two different things.

    I believe that the two are complementary; to be truly effective, you need both.

    Of course we do have defined tasks as leaders, and managers have a specific role to play too. But that doesn’t mean that the two functions are easily separated.

    People look to managers not just to assign them a task but also to define a purpose for them—something that’s usually a role of leadership.

    And managers organize workers not just to maximize efficiency but to nurture skills, develop talent and inspire results, again showing overlap with leadership.

    Here are seven ways that management and leadership roles can complement each other:

    1.    Leaders focus on motivating people while managers focus on tasks, systems and structures to provide inspiration. The success of leaders is measured by the relationships they develop and how they can engage and bond with people. The success of managers, on the other hand, is measured by how well they deal with daily tasks of running the business—budget control, customer service, deadlines, procedures processes. A balance of both is vital to motivating and inspiring people.

    2.    Leaders seek to challenge while managers try to maintain the status quo. Leaders achieve success by consistently and continually challenging so they scale up, move the needle and place themselves ahead of their time. Managers work to keep things the same so they can have the space to grow and take chances. Some may view management as a controlling function, but the managers allow for new things to happen even as they maintain order. Different techniques but similar goals.

    3.    Leaders seek to innovate while managers look to copy. Leaders work in the spheres of innovation and creativity—thinking outside the box, trying new things, taking risks. Managers make sure that the team can consistently repeat what they’ve done well. To maintain overall success, you need to copy with some as a backup when innovation and creativity may fail you.

    4.    Leaders take a long-range perspective while managers take a short-term view. Leaders are oriented to think of the future and assess their plans, visions and goals in terms of where they want to take others. Managers ensure completion of the day-to-day tasks that allow organizations to reach the long-range goals. You can’t aim at the horizon if the stuff at your feet is out of control.

    5.    Leaders use emotional intelligence while managers are more concerned with intellect. Leaders understand the value of emotional intelligence and self-awareness. They develop skills in empathy, motivation and self-control. Managers are more concerned with analytical thinking and technical skills. Of course, teams and organizations need both perspectives to thrive.

    6.    Leaders explore opportunities while managers avoid risk. Leaders know how to seize an opportunity. They’re instinctively able to assess target markets, resources required and the level of risk, and they understand that even if they fail and they face hard times, each experience provides great opportunities. Managers tend to avoid risk. They’re much more concerned with making sure their objectives are met and risk is avoided, but they understand the importance of taking measured risks to scale and innovate.

    7.    Leaders inspire trust while the managers rely on control. Leaders are all about earning trust, building trust and becoming trustworthy, if you are to follow someone into an unknown compelling future, you need to be able to trust and believe in them. Managers are focused on cultivating and maintaining control, making sure everything runs smoothly and according to plan and that nothing deviates off course. Managers believe that by relying on control they can organize people—not just to maximize efficiency, but to nurture skills, develop talent and get results.

    As always, there’s a clear difference between real leaders and great managers. But with today’s new methods of business development and the ever-changing climate of our economy, there’s more room than ever for the roles of managers and leaders to complement each other, with a shared goal of respecting, appreciating, and validating those who work hard and bring their best to what they do.

    Lead From Within: As leaders and managers, we have to understand that the differences in the two roles allow for the emergence of skills that will make each more successful.

    Additional articles you might enjoy:

    The post How to Be a Real Leader And Great Manager appeared first on Lolly Daskal.

     
  • feedwordpress 10:00:38 on 2016/09/20 Permalink
    Tags: , , Leadership Advice, Leadership Coaching, , Leading, ,   

    The Best Free Leadership Advice You’ll Ever Get 

    screen-shot-2016-09-19-at-4-20-49-pmIf you’re like most leaders, you’re always looking for ways to improve your leadership.

    People are constantly asking me what they can do to make their leadership exceptional. They usually expect the answer to involve costly coaching sessions, or expensive training programs. But the best advice I can give is a simple technique that will improve your leadership immediately without costing a penny.

    Here it is: Get out of the office.

    The leader who is always in the office behind closed doors is not the kind of leader people want to follow.

    Get up and get out.

    Talk to your team, connect with your advisors, speak to your people.

    While you’re there, make sure you try out these leadership practices:

    Smile with sincerity. Smiling is a powerful tool. It helps people relax around you; it draws people closer and allows you to connect easily with others.

    Engage wholeheartedly. A recent study found that 70 percent of employees are miserable at work and most people feel their boss or leader doesn’t engage with them. You can do better. Connect with your team and find ways to let your people know they are important to you.

    Listen carefully. Keep your ears open. Too often leaders think they have to do all the talking, but the best thing you can do is smile and genuinely listen. People have a lot on their minds, and they need someone who is available to listen to what they have to say.

    Question with curiosity. The best leaders are always asking questions—not only to elicit information but also to help others better understand the issues.

    Answer earnestly. Most people on your team probably have questions they want to ask, but they may feel too intimidated to ask or they’re concerned about disturbing you. Make it easy for people to find you and speak to you—keep yourself available and accessible. You may want to schedule a listening session or another time when people are specifically encouraged to ask what is on their mind so they can be as productive and effective as possible.

    Get feedback. Most leaders don’t really want honest feedback, so they don’t ask for it—and as a result they receive it only in rare cases when it’s forced on them. The best leaders know that feedback is the most reliable path to improvement, and it’s an important part of their efforts to be better and lead better. But it’s not all about criticism and improvement—feedback is also the best way to discover your strengths.

    Give feedback. Leaders need an open channel of communication with their people. Learning to give feedback well opens the dialogue and leads to more candor in both directions, enhancing credibility and competencies on both sides.

    Show that you care. There is this big misconception that leadership is all about power and influence, and that showing care and compassion is a sign of weak leadership. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The best leaders are remembered not for their power but for how they made people feel. Let people know you care, be there for them, and show that you appreciate and value them.

    It’s easy to get bogged down in everyday responsibilities and accountability, but in the end it’s the small, simple things that end up mattering the most.

    Lead from within: When was the last time you left your office and engaged with those you value the most?

    Additional Reading:

    For coaching, consulting, workshops and speaking. Please feel free to contact us.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    The post The Best Free Leadership Advice You’ll Ever Get appeared first on Lolly Daskal.

     
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