Thanksgiving is that special time of year where we are reminded to count our blessings. It might be cliche, but I still say it’s important. Sometimes it’s easy to get discouraged in leadership because everyone is quick to point out what is going wrong, not what is going right. An attitude of thankfulness can help shift your focus from what’s wrong to what’s right.
So with that being said, here are a few things that I am thankful for this year:
- My Team – without them, I wouldn’t be a leader. I’m so thankful that they are crazy enough to be on my team. We’ve sure had some awesome times this year. I couldn’t do what I do without them. They are the BEST!
- My Colleagues – I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by some pretty amazing people who offer constant encouragement and support. Thanks, guys!
- My Family – behind every great leader is an even greater team… and I believe that the “greatest team” one can have is their family. Never forget them.
- “Eureka” Moments – the team and I have planned several major events this year. And with each big event comes big problems that require creative solutions. On a few occasions we’ve been able to come up with that one brilliant idea. And for that, I am thankful.
- My Job – it gets stressful and crazy, but at the end of the day, I absolutely love what I do. I choose to love the good, bad, and the ugly… I’m grateful for it all!
- YOU – if it weren’t for you, the reader, this blog wouldn’t be too exciting. Thanks for reading and I hope something I’ve said has encouraged you to be a more effective leader!
What are you thankful for? Leave a comment here…
“The very essence of leadership is that you have a vision. It’s got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.” – Theodore M. Hesburgh
One of the fundamental responsibilities of a leader is to have and constantly communicate the VISION. A vision has two primary functions for your team. Vision serves as a compass and as fuel for you and your team.
COMPASS: Vision determines values. Values are the fundamental beliefs and standards that drive behavior and decision-making. Leaders must always make sure that the team’s priorities and decisions are aligned with the vision. Multiple visions lead to division. Upholding the vision as the number one priority will keep you and your team on course. Vision is what directs the team. No vision, no direction.
FUEL: I’ve worked on leadership committees for many large events over the past few years. Most of these events are staffed by volunteers–sometimes as many as a couple hundred. Some events had a clear vision and objective. Some events didn’t. I’ve noticed a direct connection between clarity of vision and the response from the volunteers. The events with a clear vision that was effectively communicated to the volunteer team produced incredible results. The volunteers rallied around the vision, worked harder, were more enthusiastic about the event, and complained less. Vision is what kept the team going. “A vision that creates opportunity for OTHERS, will never lack the involvement of OTHERS. Vision is contagious!” – Brian Houston
A final thought… “Vision fades. So leaders must continually remind, refresh, and restate it–monthly in my experience.” – Rick Warren As a leader, you have the responsibility to keep the vision alive. Habitually talk about it with your team. Remind them “why” we do what we do.
“Where there is no vision the people perish.” – Proverbs 29:18
Join music director Tony Esquivel and me as we share practical tips on leading a creative team. For more leadership tips, follow us on Twitter: @crstphranthny (Tony) and @mcoloma91 (me).
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.
For more information on running effective meetings, check out this infographic.
Do you appreciate your team? Do you show appreciation to your team?
Sometimes leaders get so caught up in a busy schedule and a mountain of responsibilities that they forget to express appreciation to the people most important to them–their team.
I love the people on my team. I’m so grateful for their hard work, but I value who they are as people even more. I want each individual person under my leadership to know that he or she is important.
Good leaders value people’s work. Great leaders value people.
At the beginning of this year I started mailing out hand-written birthday cards to my team. I have to admit–I wasn’t expecting much of a response. But after a few weeks of sending out cards, the feedback I received was incredible! I got so many text messages and in person thank-you’s. My team felt loved, appreciated, and valued. I also noticed that communication became easier, attitudes improved, and team moral was raised. A simple birthday card made a huge impact!
Take a few minutes today to show your team how much you value them. Maybe it’s a birthday card. Maybe it’s a text message. Maybe it’s a cup of coffee. Just remember, the little things go a long way.
Here are some more suggestions to help you show appreciation to your team.
Everyone is leading someone. Everyone has a team. Currently that team might only consist of “me, myself, and I” but, nonetheless, you are still leading. In fact, if you can’t lead yourself, you’ll never be able to lead someone else.
That’s right—great leadership starts with you leading you.
Let your leadership shine today as you lead Me, Myself, and I. It could be as simple as going to the gym for that workout you’ve been talking about for weeks but have never actually done. Or maybe it’s getting all that homework finished on time. Whatever the task is, no matter how big or small, discipline yourself to do it. Stop thinking, stop talking, and just do. If you lead yourself to success today, you’ll be able to lead others to success tomorrow!
Successful leadership starts with how well you lead Team Me, Myself, & I.