“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” – Steve Jobs
When’s the last time you came up with a new way of doing things? Claiming that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is the number one killer to creativity and progress. Resist the urge to just coast in leadership. Never say “this is the way we’ve always done it.” As a leader, you should evaluate your team’s operations on a regular basis. Even if everything is running smooth, challenge your team to come up with new methods of doing things. Ask “what if….” You might be surprised at the endless possibilities of answers.
According to study by IBM, “creativity is now the most important leadership quality for success in business.” Remember, creativity is not restricted to artists and designers. Leaders in all professions need an element of creativity to lead more effectively and take their team to the next level.
So, never get too comfortable. Always embrace fresh ideas. Do something no one has ever done before. If your team is constantly innovating, when a problem does arise, you’ll already have creative power flowing to solve the issue. Challenge your team to come up with the craziest solution possible. Even if the idea is totally unpractical, that idea has the potential to become the stepping stone to a brilliant practical idea. The point is to take the limits off and to get creative. And the more you do it, the better you’ll get.
The greatest leaders are those who challenged the status quo, took a risk, and thought outside of the box. Take a lesson from Steve Jobs. Push the limits. Be creative. Innovate.
Just as every individual has a unique personality, every leader has a different leadership style that he or she functions best in. Today we’ll explore the 6 most popular leadership styles according to research by internationally-known psychologist and author, Dr. Daniel Goleman.
COMMANDING: “Just do it. Now.” This militaristic leadership style maintains tight control on the team. The commanding leader demands immediate obedience. While too much of this style can have a negative impact on the atmosphere, it can be helpful during a crisis.
VISIONARY: “We’ll do it together. Come.”Thisstyle inspires a team to rally around a vision or dream. The visionary is a catalyst for change. This leader gives direction to help a team move towards a common goal.
AFFILIATIVE: “My team comes first.” This leader fosters harmony and boosts moral. The affiliative leader places emphasis on people and on building healthy relationships in the team. This style can calm conflict and can motivate people during stressful situations.
DEMOCRATIC: “What do you think?”This style places emphasis on collaboration. This leader values people’s input, is a great listener, and a team player.
PACESETTING: “This is how we’re going to do it.”This leader has a high standard for performance. Sometimes the pacesetting leader can be impatient or micromanage, but he often achieves challenging and exciting goals.
COACHING: “Let me help. Try this.” This leader is able to develop people for the future. The coach can identify strengths and weaknesses in the team and can help each person grow.
Every leader will naturally function in one of the six styles, however, the most effective leaders are able to switch between the different styles depending on the circumstance. Sometimes you’ll need to be a coach to your team. Other times you’ll have to set the pace. Adjust your leadership style to fit the situation.
So, what’s your natural leadership style? For a short test, click here.
The holiday season is here! Are you prepared? Here are a few things leaders should remember during the holidays.
Communicate In Advance: The holidays are a busy time of year. Usually schedules are full with obligations in and out of the office. Email a “holiday season brief” to your team that outlines any important announcements, big projects, holiday parties, changed office hours, and so on. Also, include a short preview of what’s to come after the holidays. The season can be a hectic time, so consistent communication is key. Keep everybody on the same page.
Absent Team Members: Many people will request time off. Some people may catch the flu. During the holiday season, there is a greater chance of having MIA team members. Have a backup plan ready to go if (or when) you are missing part of your team. Try to be sensitive to people’s scheduling requests–planning ahead can help!
Balancing The Busyness: Holiday parties, Christmas dinners, gift exchanges, secret Santa, family gatherings, and more…. Don’t feel obligated to attend everything. Decide in advance which events are the most important and plan accordingly. As a leader, your presence may be required at some [not-so-exciting] things, so be prepared. Also, don’t get too caught up in work that you neglect to spend time with family and friends. Make sure proper priorities are in place. Enjoy the season!
Show Some Love: Do something special for your team during the holidays. (And, no, sending everyone fruitcake doesn’t count.) Try to spread some holiday cheer by giving thoughtful gifts, a handwritten card, or maybe even a paid day off. Think outside the box.
One of my favorite things about leadership is seeing people empowered to excel and succeed. I love seeing potential–hidden talents and abilities–developed in my team.
The word potential is defined as “latent qualities or abilities that may be developed and lead to future success or usefulness.”
In other words, potential is greatness in an undeveloped state.
Inside of every apple seed is the potential to become a great apple tree–the seed just needs to be cultivated and developed. Likewise, inside of every individual on your team is potential. Leaders have the responsibility to recognize potential. Then they must create an environment for that potential to be cultivated and developed into greatness.
Leaders, look for ways to challenge your team. Give them permission to fail in a safe environment. Encourage them. Build their confidence. Look past their imperfections and focus on their great potential! Create a greenhouse for greatness to develop!
Leadership expert John Maxwell has some great advice on developing your team. Check it out here!
“Office workers spend an average of 4 hours per week in meetings. They feel more than half of that time is wasted.” – A Survey by Opinion Matters for Epson and supported by the Centre for Economics & Business Research, May 2012
I agree with the findings of this research. I’m in meetings almost every day and most of them are not that productive. Meetings, however, are virtually unavoidable at a leadership level. Every leader should know how to conduct an effective, productive meeting. Below are a few tips…
Have a plan. Stick to the plan. Prepare a meeting agenda in advance that outlines the topics that are to be covered and the objectives that are to be accomplished. Distribute copies to everyone at the meeting. If the topic starts to deviate from the agenda, take charge and bring it back. Also, don’t try to do too much in one meeting. Make sure your plan is focused to accomplish a goal and not all over the place. [Here’s a good meeting agenda template.]
Run the meeting. Don’t let the meeting run you. I’ve been in meetings where the person “in charge” just let the conversation wander in circles. Don’t be afraid to speak up and keep your team focused. (Tip #1 can help you do this.) Also, don’t let the “loudest” person on your team get all the attention. If you have a shy person on your team, encourage them to share their opinions by asking them directly.
Give assignments. I’ve also been in meetings where great ideas were thought of, but the idea died because it was not delegated to someone for follow up. As ideas, suggestions, or questions arise in meetings, delegate tasks (with a deadline!) to members of your team.
Respect people’s time. Set a timeframe for the meeting and stick to it. Also, remember that not everyone needs to be at every meeting. Figure out who you need at each meeting. Don’t waste people’s time.