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  • feedwordpress 18:16:09 on 2018/06/11 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , The Leadership Gap,   

    Understanding Your Gaps: Why Some People Succeed and Others Don’t 

    Do you ever wonder why some people succeed and others don’t? We’ve all seen deserving people who never quite got things off the ground, and others who made it look easy. It doesn’t always seem to make sense.

    Over the past three decades of coaching top leaders and entrepreneurs all over the world, I have worked with every type of person and every type of personality you can imagine. The thing I’ve found consistently in people who succeed is the understanding that the same traits that made them successful have a flip side–a opposing counterpart–that can lead to their downfall through a gap in their leadership.

    In my new book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness, I identify seven leadership archetypes that lead to success. And within each I also identify a polarity, an opposing counterpart. For every archetype that can make you great has a flip side that leads to a gap. This is especially true for high-achieving individuals. Your success hinges on knowing your own attributes and how to leverage them to play from your strengths and avoid the gaps.

    Here is a summary of the seven archetypes and their gaps: understand them and learn how to use them to guide yourself to stand in your greatness.

    The Rebel

    The Rebel wants to make an impact on the world and embarks on quests to achieve remarkable things. The rebel is driven by confidence. But leading to the gap, the Rebel can instead feel like the Imposter, characterized by self-doubt. The Imposter appears when you find yourself constantly having to fight off negative messages in your mind

    Three ways to leverage the Rebel and banish the Imposter:

    • Make a list of all things you do well and review them daily. When your competence goes up, so does your confidence.
    • Surround yourself with people who believe in you. When you spend time with people who reflect who you want to be and how you want to feel, their energy is contagious.
    • Stop comparing yourself with others. It’s a waste of time and a thief of success.

    The Explorer

    The Explorer is driven to innovate and create new opportunities, new products, new businesses. Fueled by intuition, they test the boundaries and limits of what is known. They reject the status quo and are constantly looking for something new, listening to their inner voice to forge a new path. But leading to the gap, the Explorer can become the Exploiter, characterized by manipulation. The Exploiter appears when you feel stressed or out of control, bringing a need to micromanage and feel in control of things. It’s especially damaging to anyone whose work depends on creativity.

    Three ways to leverage the Explorer and banish the Exploiter:

    • Quiet the analytic mind and let the intuitive mind speak loudly. No problem can be solved with the same mind that created it.
    • Let go of control. You lose only what you cling to.
    • Allow yourself to wonder. Accept what is, let go of what was and hold to the wonder of what will be.

    The Truth Teller

    The Truth Teller embraces candor, even when it makes people uncomfortable. They speak with openness and honesty, driven by a sincere desire to be of service. For truth tellers, speaking up is a duty. But leading to the gap, the Truth Teller can become the Deceiver, characterized by the creation of suspicion. It’s the leader who withholds information, the boss who tells half-truths, the manager who doesn’t address concerns–all forms of holding back that create a culture of suspicion.

    Three ways to leverage the Truth Teller and banish the Deceiver:

    • Always tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. It may hurt for a while, but deceit hurts forever.
    • Let people be part of the solution. Whatever the problem, allow others to participate in solving it.
    • Talk straight. Say what you mean and mean what you say.

    The Hero

    The Hero is courageous–willing to put their career at risk for a shot at greatness. Heroes act when others will not, even in the face of fear and overwhelming opposition. But leading up to the gap, the Hero can become the Bystander, characterized by fear. The Bystander is paralyzed by inaction and driven by fear. They keep you playing small and stuck where you are.

    Three ways to leverage the Hero and banish the Bystander:

    • If you see something, do something. The things we fail to do become our limits.
    • If you hear something, say something. Treat fear as an obstacle that can be overcome.
    • Feel the fear but do it anyway. Everything you want is on the other side of fear.

    The Inventor

    The inventor is brimming with integrity, constantly searching for the best way to improve processes and products and to perfect their craft. They are experimenters who make many small bets and are willing to fail in pursuit of big wins. They seek quality and excellence, with integrity always paramount. But leading up to the gap, the Inventor can become the Destroyer, characterized by corruption. Willing to cut corners and do whatever is expedient, the Destroyer works by compromising quality.

    Three ways to leverage the Inventor and banish the Destroyer:

    • Make excellence a habit. Treat everything you do as your very best work.
    • Keep your promises. Don’t agree to anything you don’t intend to do.
    • Make integrity part of everything you do. There’s no other path to becoming a person of thorough integrity.

    The Navigator

    The navigator has a way of making the complicated simple and the simple understandable, masterfully steering their organization and the people within it to ever better outcomes. Their hallmark is trust–given and received. But leading up to the gap, the Navigator can become the Fixer, marked by arrogance. The Fixer tells people what to do instead of navigating the way alongside them, bossy and often aggressive.

    Three ways to leverage the Navigator and banish the Fixer:

    • Fix the fixer within you. Remember that trying to fix people isn’t a good way to be valued or appreciated.
    • Empower people. Show them they’re smarter than they think.
    • Set boundaries and don’t cross them. Teach people how to treat each other by modeling a good example of not crossing boundaries. Once you set them, keep them.

    The Knight

    The Knight loyalty is everything. They are always looking for opportunities to serve and protect. But leading up to the gap, the Knight can become the self-serving Mercenary, who tries to lead by self-absorption or self-obsession is a person who will not succeed.

    Three ways to leverage the Knight and banish the Mercenary:

    • Learn what it means to serve others. Everyone can succeed when everyone serves.
    • If you want respect, first give respect. It’s a two-way street.
    • Protect what you love and those you love. The best protection of all is loyalty.

    The people who succeed–the Rebels, Explorers, Truth Tellers, Heroes, Inventors, Navigators and Knights–know how to stand in their greatness, while the others–the Imposters, Exploiters, Deceivers, Bystanders, Fixers and Mercenaries–lead from their gaps inevitably fall short of the mark.

    If you are interested in learning more about the leadership gap and how it can help you understand the patterns that will help you succeed, order your copy of The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness



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


    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 Understanding Your Gaps: Why Some People Succeed and Others Don’t appeared first on Lolly Daskal.

  • feedwordpress 09:00:44 on 2018/05/15 Permalink
    Tags: , Emapthy, Empathetic, , , , , The Leadership Gap,   

    How to Be an Empathetic Leader 

    A few weeks ago, I was coaching a top leader across the pond, talking to him about the importance of empathy. When I told him that the best leaders are empathetic leaders, he challenged me on the spot. When it came to his own leadership, he said, he didn’t want to come across as weak.

    Many people view displaying empathy as weakness. I understand that point of view, but I don’t agree. As this leader’s coach, I was charged with helping him see the true nature of empathy and how it could not only benefit his own leadership but also do good for others.

    Empathy is a right-brain activity, the kind that many people consider a touchy-feely discipline—a soft skill, as it’s called these days. But at its core, empathy is a valued currency. Sometimes leaders need to get out of their own shoes and put on someone else’s to truly understand what is happening around them.

    Cultivating empathy as a leadership skill allows you to create bonds of trust. It gives you insight into what others are feeling and thinking, and it helps you understand their reactions. At its foundation, empathy informs your decision making by sharpening your perceptions and intuition.

    So, getting back to my client, here are the tips I shared with him about being empathetic without being perceived as weak:

    Truly listen. Empathetic leaders don’t just listen but truly listen. There’s a big difference. True listening means listening with open ears, open eyes and an open heart. It means paying attention to body language, to tone of voice, to the hidden emotions behind what’s being said. Most of all, it means not thinking about what you’re going to say next. You’ll always gain more from listening than from speaking.

    Don’t interrupt. Empathetic leaders know how easily distractions can affect the quality of listening. A distracted listener often grows impatient or frustrated and interrupts the speaker in an attempt to get them to move along with what they’re saying, leaving the speaker unable to express their thoughts or make their point. However strong the distraction, don’t rush people or cut them off—or worse, try to be the kind of fixer who has a slapdash solution to everything. Giving people the space to say what they have to say is an important form of empathy.

    Be fully present. When an empathetic leader speaks with someone, you’ll never catch them glancing at their watch or scanning the room or checking their phone. It’s simple: When someone is speaking, listen. If they’re expressing their feelings, be there with them. Concentrate on putting yourself in their shoes and think of ways you can be supportive.

    Leave judgment behind. Even when the feelings of others are in direct opposition to their own, empathetic leaders don’t judge. They let go of their biases and allow themselves to be open to new perspectives. When you’re an empathetic leader, you don’t look at the feelings of others in terms of agreement or disagreement but as a window into their perceptions and world view, an opportunity to better understand what they’re experiencing and expressing.

    Watch body language. Empathetic leaders understand that nonverbal communication can say more about what you are thinking than any words. Body language is often the most direct way people communicate what they think or feel, even when their verbal communication says something quite different. Be aware of your own body language as you deal with others: remain open and listening, lean in when people speak, and show that you’re interested in what they are saying. Spend some time considering how you come across when you communicate with others.

    Encourage the quiet ones. In meetings, there are always two or three who do most of the talking. .And then there are the quiet ones who for whatever reason never speak up as much, even if their ideas are solid. As a leader, make it a point to encourage people to have a say; the simple act of encouraging the quiet ones will empower everyone around you.

    Take a personal interest. Empathetic leaders have genuine curiosity about the lives of those who work for them, and they show their interest by asking questions about people’s lives, their challenges, their families, their aspirations. It’s not professional interest but personal, and it’s the strongest way to build relationships.

    When a leader lacks empathy, others approach with their guard up and everyone feels alone in looking after their own interests. With an empathetic leader, though, everyone knows they can be open about what they are thinking and feeling without being judged, dismissed or ignored.

    Lead from within: Empathy is an emotional and thinking muscle that becomes stronger with use. It doesn’t come across as weak but as the best kind of strength.

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


    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 How to Be an Empathetic Leader appeared first on Lolly Daskal.

  • feedwordpress 09:00:12 on 2018/05/08 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , The Leadership Gap,   

    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


    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 09:00:37 on 2018/05/01 Permalink
    Tags: , Growth Leadership, , , , , , The Leadership Gap,   

    How to Grow as a Leader 

    Growth in leadership is mandatory, not optional. If we fail to grow it’s not a matter of just staying where we are—we become stagnant and fall further and further behind.

    Growing as a leader requires that we give up the things that are familiar to us, that we take new steps and do things in new ways. Those actions are what change is made of. The reward lies not in what we get from growth, but in what we become because of our growth.

    Here are some daily habits you can take to grow as a leader:

    Develop a repertoire of skills. To be the best leader you are capable of being, you need to constantly be mastering new competencies, instead of relying on the skills you already have under your belt. Growing leaders are constantly updating and expanding their skills and knowledge.

    Learn through your experiences. The more you experience, the more you know. That means that even the most difficult challenges present an opportunity to engage in that experience, learn the lessons it holds, and apply your new knowledge to whatever comes next.

    Challenge your comfort zone. It’s tempting to lull yourself into always doing the same things in the same ways with the same people at the same time with the same results. But there’s no room in that picture for stretching yourself to become better. Get comfortable being uncomfortable, because that’s how you grow.

    Focus on the future by being present today. When you’re stuck in the past it can be hard to get unstuck, but when you’re focused on the present you know that everything you do today will affect the future. Growing leaders know that the present is the foundation for the future.

    Set the bar high. Most people wonder, “How can I get there faster, quicker, and in a shorter time?” But leaders who are serious about growth are always raising the bar for themselves, not just for others. They keep the bar high and do everything they can to consistently reach it.

    Look within. When you first start in position of leadership, you’re more concerned with your external qualities, but as you grow in leadership you rediscover that leading is an internal quality. To lead outwardly you first must learn to lead from within.

    Keep asking questions. Growing leaders are always asking questions. Many people believe that leadership is about knowing all the answers, but that’s simply wrong. True leadership is about being inquisitive. When you stop asking questions, you stop growing.

    Leverage your weaknesses. It’s easy to play from your strengths, but when you become better acquainted with your own weaknesses and learn to leverage them, you’re positioning yourself to grow as a leader.

    Embrace failure. All of us fall at some point; it’s getting up again that counts. Being able to weather failure and recover is a sign of growth—and the source of some of the most important lessons you’ll ever learn.

    Work with a coach. The best way to grow as a leader is to have an external support. A coach can help you to become a better version of yourself by guiding you through important decisions, keeping you grounded in difficult times, and helping you understand your purpose and goals. Most importantly, they can help you learn faster from your successes and failures.

    Lead from within: Growth is the great separator between those who succeed and those who don’t.


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


    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 How to Grow as a Leader appeared first on Lolly Daskal.

  • feedwordpress 09:00:31 on 2018/04/17 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , The Leadership Gap, Who's In Your Corner   

    The People You Have in Your Corner Matter 

    We’re surrounded with people most of the time—the people we work with, family, friends, romantic partners. Whether we’re aware of it or not, these people all have a tremendous impact on our thinking, being and living. That makes it worth pausing to ask yourself, Are these the people I want in my corner?

    Here are a few of the different kinds of people who may have an effect on your life. See if any of them seem familiar, and then decide how much influence you want them to hold over you. Remember that it matters who you surround yourself with.

    People who bring value. Many people in this world desire to help others. They are the makers—the ones who are all about bringing and adding value. They understand that the purpose of our lives is to add value to the people around us. They’re a consistently valuable presence in your life, so make sure you bring value to them as well.

    People who take from you. Most people are fairly quick to give and a few are wildly generous, but there will always be some who are wholly devoted to taking. They’re the ones who put on a warm friendly exterior to hide their calculated motives. It’s not unusual to have a taker somewhere in your life, but you can set firm boundaries to limit their influence and keep them from draining you.

    People who expand you. Some people seem to have a gift for building others up. Their faith in you makes you feel you can be bigger, stretch further, achieve more than you ever have. They’re constantly challenging you to be your best as they help you embrace your weaknesses and maximize your strengths. If you’re fortunate enough to have one of these people in your life, consider their influence a treasure and keep them close.

    People who shrink you. It’s rarely intentional, but some people have a way of letting you know you’ll never be quite good enough or smart enough for them, that you’re not living up to their idea of your potential. They behave in ways that are hurtful and harmful, all in the guise of caring about you. If you’re close to someone like this, it can be painful to realize their true nature. It requires that you be strong and consistently resist their messages, both the subtle and the not-so-subtle. You never know—sometimes the best path to connecting with your own strengths is for someone else to try to take advantage of you.

    Who’s in your corner? What kind of people do you surround yourself with? Remember that while everyone in your life is there for a reason, you need to know whose influence to embrace and whose to resist.

    Lead from within: Be picky about the people who you keep around you. You are a product of those you surround yourself with, so make sure it’s the best people.

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


    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 People You Have in Your Corner Matter appeared first on Lolly Daskal.

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