Weekly Leadership Reading

These articles resonated with the Get Your BIG On LeadBIG team this past week…enjoy!

You Don’t Have To Be Perfect To Be A Leader (Don Shapiro, Lead Change Group Blog)

We like Don’s counsel that draws from lessons to be learned from sports leaders: “You don’t have to be perfect to be a leader…just have your heart in the right place and do enough things right to make a difference to those you lead.”

Every Leader’s Achilles Heel (Lisa Petrilli, C-Level Strategies)

“In other words, you can have every attribute you need to be a strong, distinguished leader but a lack of clarity is the single vulnerability that destines you to ruination.” Lisa offers three insights for how to create clarity of purpose.

A silent leadership killer (Mary Jo Asmus on SmartBrief for Leadership)

“Groupthink is powerful: a little unethical conduct here, a white lie there — justification is available for every integrity-compromised action. Suddenly, someone realizes something is wrong, and it’s too late; the momentum has built like a leaky faucet until a drip becomes a stream that turns into a flood, drowning employees, customers and those who trusted your leadership.”

None of us is as smart as all of us—take this quiz and see for yourself (David Witt on Blanchard LeaderChat)

Granted the Mensa quiz snagged our attention asap, yet the real insights come from the readout of using this quiz in development sessions. Is it all about me…or we?

Are You Brainwashed or Drinking Too Much Kool-Aid? Leadership Starts With You!(Todd Nielsen on A Slice of Leadership)

Ever wonder why you keep working at that place you hate? Todd offers up four psychological reasons for understanding why we may hang on, even to our detriment.

From the what’s-life-all-about-perspective: “Sometimes I lie awake at night and I ask, “Is life a multiple choice test or is it a true or false test?” …Then a voice comes to me out of the dark and says, “We hate to tell you this but life is a thousand word essay.” ~Charles M. Schulz

Lead BIG this week, using your head to manage and your heart to lead!



3 Crucial Leadership Connections

Does your life and work schedule resemble the landing strip at O’Hare or LaGuardia airports - so much incoming activity that there’s no time for anything else? No time to think or reflect or connect. (Sometimes, in my first act of life, there was hardly time to go to the bathroom!)

In today’s crazy busy world we connect with technology frequently, spending lots of time interacting with a device (Crackberry, anyone?). Yet it’s connecting with real people that brings genuine success and satisfaction to our personal and professional lives. And making those people connections requires that we be thoughtful in seeing, and seizing, the opportunities to “only connect” as E.M. Forester says.

You’re 1/12 into a new year. Are you as connected with others as you’d like to be?

If not, use this three-pronged approach as your guide to making the other 11/12 of the year rich with quality connections.

Connect with you

If your personal reservoir is empty, there isn’t much to share with others. Re-engage with what’s important to you. Psychologist Daniel Goleman’s work with emotional intelligence is a helpful place to start:

The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. And because we fail to notice that we fail to notice, there is little we can do to change until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds.

Getting in touch with what we fail to notice – about ourselves and others – is a crucial first step to establishing powerful connections.

  • What’s my personal and professional north, and am I still on track?
  • What worthwhile things have I done today that I will continue doing?
  • Whose life did I touch today and help make it better?
  • What one thing, big or small, did I do today to renew my energy and increase my knowledge and/or skills?

Connect with colleagues, co-workers, the barista who makes your daily latte

Make the time - or schedule it if that works for you - so you’re spending five quality minutes with a direct report, colleague, client, vendor, assistant and on and on. Establishing relationships with those around you at work – at every level within the organization and externally as well – is a make-or-break element for career success.

  • Ask “how are you doing today?” Then really listen to the answer and ask follow-up questions.
  • Say thank you. Throw in a smile for good measure.
  • Celebrate an accomplishment. Chocolate is one of the four food groups!
  • Ask them about sports, their kids, a favorite TV show, etc. Explore, discover and share interests to build a bond.

Connect with your boss

Some bosses are the scourge of the earth, others just delightful. Either way, engage him or her in a meaningful exchange. Your boss can propel your career to new heights or hold you back behind your back. Aim for the propelling part.

  • Ask  if there’s some way you can help out.
  • Ask him about his family or favorite book so you can establish some common ground and shared interests.
  • Ask her where she sees her career going and what will help her succeed.

Make making meaningful connections a goal, a habit, a way of life!