6 Traits of Visionary Leadership

6 Traits of Visionary Leadership

All throughout history, there is no shortage of truly inspirational and visionary leaders.  Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Telsa Motors, Ford Motor Company’s former president and CEO, Alan Mulally, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen and of course Steve Jobs.  All of these leaders possess these 6 Traits of Visionary Leadership that inspired their teams to greatness.   

So, what are the skills that stand out as foundational in their approach?

Good Communication Skills

A visionary leader has good communication skills. They know how to verbalize their dreams and goals and can easily explain this to their team. For the leader, communication isn’t just one-sided. In addition to sharing her vision for the future, a visionary leader is also an active listener.

As more people “catch the vision,” leaders listen to their ideas and thoughts, incorporating them into the larger goal. Additionally, visionaries involve others in reaching their milestones and help the team members meet their personal goals.

Charismatic Leadership

Visionary leaders also have a unique charisma. Without question, it’s that certain something that draws people to them. It lifts team spirit and elevates moral which is a gateway to increased productivity.

True, some individuals are born with this type of personal flair but almost anyone can learn how to cultivate the confidence and energy associated with infectious charisma.

Foundation Development

Visionary leaders also are chief organizers. While many leaders have administrators that manage the processes, the leader often sets up the organization by establishing key departments or functions. As the organizer-in-chief, the visionary directs, develops and conducts meetings until reliable help is found. During the initial organization, a leader will take the time to build a solid foundation through establishing boards, councils or a company hierarchy.

Strategic Business Planner

Visionary leaders are strategic planners. Like a chess player, these leaders plan ahead to make the best business moves. Strategic planning involves creating an action plan with a particular strategy in mind. The leader’s vision defines what the organization will look like in the future and how it will function. His strategies are designed to take him toward his ultimate vision.

Risk Taker

Visionary leaders, like Elon Musk, are notable risk-takers. These leaders are willing to gamble on something they believe in, but the gamble is often a measured one. Visionaries are creative people that take the initiative with the appropriate action. Visionaries take intelligent risks that capitalize on prime conditions.

Resilience

Leaders who were brought in to guide companies through tumultuous times have to have tenacity and determination. Furthermore, they could likely be dealing with situations where they have to fight against old ideas, company politics, and external pressures.

Build on Your Natural Abilities

As a leader, you may not embody all 6 Traits of Visionary Leadership mentioned above, and that’s OK. It’s important to know which traits come naturally to you and which may not.

To develop your own leadership style, find a variety of mentors. Mentors can provide experienced perspectives to help you determine the best way to respond to business challenges. These mentors could be peers, potential investors or leaders from entirely different industries.

While you don’t have to follow all the advice you receive, remain receptive to new ideas. Additionally, as you accumulate experience, examine your actions and ask for regular feedback to discover your strengths and weaknesses.

Don’t just rely on your mentors’ experience — search for case studies. Consume as many news stories, articles, documentaries, books, and blog posts as you can. Learn how others approach challenges.

Continued Education

Finally, network to gain additional perspectives. Take advantage of workshops, conferences and other opportunities focused on leadership development to learn new skills and network with others who can offer diverse points of view.

Many of the leaders you admire aren’t superhuman — they’ve honed their ability to utilize their best traits to drive positive change within their organizations. Your approach to a situation can mean the difference between positive mental health and burnout, profit and loss and success and failure. When you learn to harness your greatest strengths, you become a better leader and a catalyst for change.

Need to get ready for job search success?  Our team at PWU is here to help.

In addition to Resume updates, we offer Cover Letters, LinkedIn Optimization, Recruiter Services, and Professional Career Coaching. Book a free 15-min consult here https://calendly.com/powerwritersusa-ca

4 Keys to Successful Leadership Transitions

4 Keys to Successful Leadership Transitions

Leadership Transitions – sometimes they are welcomed and sometimes they are dreaded. Either way, they are never easy and when not done well can leave lasting scars. If you are in a transitional situation, these 4 keys to successful leadership transitions are useful.

Too often, people focus on the logistical aspects of the transition and neglect the interpersonal. The departing leader, the new leader and the board all play critical roles. They must manage the interpersonal, and if they do, there is a much greater probability that the transition will go smoothly.

Business leadership transitions occur for many reasons:

  • An owner selling the business to a family member, partner or outside interest.
  • Leadership change opens the role allowing another team member to advance in the organization.
  • Crisis such as death, accident or illness requires an immediate transition
  • A leader chooses to leave the organization or is forced out by owners or board

So, how best can leaders best handle transitions? Consider the following 4 keys to successful leadership transitions as a guide.

1. Clearly define roles.

For the former leader within the organization. While a clean break is usually healthiest for the new leaders and the organization, for many reasons this often does not occur. If the former leader is the owner, parent or CEO becoming chairman, they will still want to be involved in some way. It is healthiest for the organization if the former leader has a well-defined and limited role. Most of his communication should be with the new leader and not the people under them.

2. The former leader creates a new identity. 

This really applies to those who are transitions, however staying within the organization. Identity is attached to leadership in the sense of the leader’s purpose within the organization. During the time of transition, that identity is shifting and needs a new focus. Often the new leader, board members or consultants could help the former leader create their new identity. 

What are the former leader’s passions, interests, and hobbies? While hobbies, such as golf, are time-consuming they rarely offer the mental stimulation or recognition they need to form their new identity. Could they volunteer, mentor or consult outside the organization or take on a project of some kind? This is a time when the former leader could make a difference by getting involved in a non-profit or helping young entrepreneurs.

3. Communication is key. 

When both the former and new leaders talk about their new relationship, their emotions, and identities, they could work through many issues festering just below the surface. The new leaders must always treat the former leader respectfully and explain upfront that they may be doing some things differently. 

They could identify where they are aligned and not aligned, and discuss how to resolve the unaligned areas. Everyone must be invested in helping the former leader move on and the new leaders take charge.

4. Role of the Board. 

The best way that members of the board could support the transition is to transition along with leadership. Members of the board who have served with the former leader and are aligned with him/her could serve as confidantes to the former leader and guide him/her through the transition. They too ought to depart the board and allow new leadership to create their own board of advisors. 

Too often board members use the justification of having institutional knowledge when in fact this knowledge could prevent the organization from moving forward in a reinvigorated way. Boards today require fresh thinking and diverse perspectives. 

What better time to create that, than in a transition of leadership.

The smoothest transitions often have a well-articulated succession plan and clear processes for managing and communicating the changes. They also address the identity, emotional and relationship issues of both the former and new leaders and create an environment of open communication among the leaders and the board. The organization moves forward by respecting the former leader while having the latitude to innovate and build a team for the future. 

When done well, everyone excels in their new roles and the organization thrives. As an additional option consider hiring a transitional leader to aid the process.

Poor Leadership and Employee Stress

poor leadership and mental health

Lately, we’ve discussed the topic of improving executive leadership and executive presence.  In contrast, let’s take a look at the other side of these skills and how poor leadership and employee stress are linked. Certainly, it is without question that the two go hand in hand.

Defining Expectations.

As a starting point, the management staff of any business or organization is responsible for setting priorities for the staff. These priorities define expectations and allow the entire team to run smoothly.

If management does not fulfill these responsibilities or is doing a poor job, employee stress is going to increase.

What Employees Seek.

When it comes to organization, the human mind is actually a very simple machine to operate. In practice, the mind loves to compartmentalize situations.

Therefore, employees perform best when duties and responsibilities are clearly defined. Defining duties and responsibilities allow the mind to further divide tasks into attainable daily, weekly, and monthly goals.  

Which, as a result, works perfectly in-line with larger goals put forth by management.  

Bite-sized goals. Now that’s the stuff that motivates employees!

Identifying Mental Health Priorities.

Furthermore, to expand the message of how poor leadership and employee stress are entwined, we found this perfect bullet list of risk definitions from the World Health Organization.

Risks to mental health include:

  • inadequate health and safety policies;
  • poor communication and management practices;
  • limited participation in decision-making or low control over one’s area of work;
  • low levels of support for employees;
  • inflexible working hours; and
  • unclear tasks or organizational objectives.

Additionally, The WTO released an information sheet in 2019 that speaks directly to mental health in the workplace.  

“Mental health interventions should be delivered as part of an integrated health and well-being strategy that covers prevention, early identification, support and rehabilitation. Key to success is involving stakeholders and staff at all levels when providing protection, promotion and support interventions and when monitoring their effectiveness. “

Setting Workplace Priorities.

Altogether, leaders are responsible for deciding the team direction. Leaders choose the project focus, and how fast it needs to be done. Unfortunately, some managers project management skills are weak. This throws a team into chaos.

As a rule, the best management goals are ones that are quantifiable. Stick to concrete numbers or measurable benchmarks.

For example, a good goal for a sales department is to increase sales by 15 percent over the next quarter. A poor and vague goal is to “do a good job.”

With this in mind, clear standards of performance allow employees to measure their individual success at work. As a result, a lack of clear standards causes morale to suffer. Which, in turn, makes it very difficult for an employee to gain a sense of fulfillment.

Ultimately, everyone wants to feel like they can ask for a raise, pursue a promotion, and, generally, feel successful at their job.  Indeed, we all want to achieve.

Mental Health Awareness.

What’s inspiring is the framework being established as the norm when it comes to employee stress and the nature of workplace mental health.

Over the years, we’ve seen a rise in corporate efforts that support a positive and healthy work environment for all team members. These days, it’s not uncommon for companies to have a functioning wellness program.

Most recently, some organizations are adopting the title role of Chief Wellness Officer. A role entirely dedicated to navigating employee stress. For example the facilitation of training seminars, leadership coaching, employee support sessions, and programmed stress-reducing retreats.

Furthermore, institutions such as Stanford University School of Medicine offer Chief Wellness Officer courses. While initially, these targetted only healthcare professionals, they are fast becoming desirable by those in high-level leadership roles.

In the case of Standford’s course, registration is formatted as a one-week intensive. Designed to “help participants cultivate expertise in the principles and applications that contribute to physician well-being.”

With learning objectives as follows: 

  • Leadership skills to spearhead the organization’s physician wellness efforts.
  • Knowledge and hands-on experience in developing a customized strategic plan.
  • Expertise in the principles and applications contributed to physician well-being. Including the development of an organizational culture to foster engagement and professional fulfillment.

As leaders who aim to create optimal work environments, our focus points are well defined to encourage healthy and vibrant mental health across our teams.

6 Quality Interview Questions

6 quality interview questions

The key to getting a great job offer is portraying an authentic, positive and lasting impression. Whether you’re a seasoned employee or just getting started, these 6 quality interview questions can help the process.

With a professional resume, this is achieved in the first point of contact.  In addition to this, you’ve got to nail the job interview. Asking insightful questions during a job interview demonstrates professionalism, thoughtfulness, and commitment.

That being said, candidates can get lost when it comes to asking the right sort of questions. This blunder shows either a lack of preparation or the stress of the interview. Neither of which leaves a positive impression. 

Like much of life, the failsafe is to be present during the entire interview. Presence shows confidence. Additionally, the best interview questions are oftentimes the ones asked naturally from engagement in the conversation. 

6 Quality Interview Questions

1. What is the history of this position?

It’s valuable to ask about the history of the role. In this case, the answer is useful to know what environment you’re entering.   Furthermore, it shows forethought and attentive care for the position. 

Perhaps this opening was recently created to support company growth. In which case, ask a follow-up question about who owned the responsibilities up to this point, and how the duties will be transitioned.

If you are interviewing for a position left vacant by someone’s departure, get a sense of what happened.

  • Why did the predecessor leave the job?
  • Where they promoted or internally transferred?

If the predecessor was internally repositioned, ask about direct training potential.

2. How does this position support management and serve direct reports?

Certainly, the answers to this question will help you gain insight into the position and how it fits the framework of the company as a whole.

  • Who is your support?
  • Who will you supervise and guide?

Consequently, understanding this will offer a glimpse of what skills are critical for your success.

3. In the first 6 months, what accomplishments would you like from me?

This targetted question shows your commitment to adding value and delivering on expectations. It’s one thing to understand routine tasks and responsibilities, it’s yet another to fully understand expectations.

Altogether, an interview has a singular goal. To demonstrate your fit for the position.  Inquiring about expectations directly speaks to this goal.

4. Which part of the position has the steepest learning curve? What can I do in order to get up to speed quickly?

For some jobs, learning the technology or the internal company procedures is the most challenging aspect of coming on board. For others, it is about understanding the human network. Therefore, guidance on how to speed up the learning process can give you a significant advantage.

5. How is the feedback process structured?

Feedback is how humans improve. To excel in a new role, you’re going to need analysis as a way of marking the perimeter of success. 

Does this company limit its feedback cycle to the annual reviews? Does the hiring manager make it a priority to deliver just-in-time acknowledgment and suggestions for improvement?

As a result, asking these questions represents your intent to learn and grow with the role.

6. What opportunities will I have to learn and grow?

Does the company offer formal or informal mentoring and coaching? Does it invest in continued education or professional training?

Great companies want to hire people who are dedicated to personal and professional growth. Show your hiring manager that continued development is important to you.

Close the interview on a high note.

As a bonus, there are several questions one must never ask during an interview. 

Asking about money, raises and promotions are taboo and can show yourself as arrogant and self-serving. 

Stay away from company gossip. It matters not what your friends, friend says about the company politics or a piece of news read in a local paper, keep your head in the game of professionalism and acknowledge the interview as an opportunity. 

The goal is to end the interview in a powerful and impactful way. For this reason, maintaining professionalism, acting authentically and these 6 quality interview questions are all part of the equation of your success.

The Road to Executive Level Leadership

The road to executive leadership

With there being a lot fewer executive positions than mid-level management roles, the road to executive leadership is highly competitive. Therefore, it’s abundantly more difficult to climb to this next rung of the corporate ladder. 

However, with the right attitude, work ethic and connections, you can prove your value and earn that coveted executive title and responsibility.

Understand And Embody ‘Executive Presence’

It seems as though the concept and practices of executive presence have tremendously increased in value over the years.  Last week we dove deep into what EP really is and found that, at the roots, executive presence is the powerful ability to inspire confidence.

Executive presence includes first impressions of appearance, interpersonal communication skills, and body language.  EP consists of effective listening, effectively maneuvering through office politics and exuding authentic charisma. 

Technical skills might have landed the job, but an executive presence moves a manager up. 

 Develop Your Strategic Thinking Skills

Lower levels of leadership focus on the day-to-day execution of the strategy. Executive levels focus on developing a broader view of the organization.

The development of strategic thinking allows you to become aware of the big picture.  Develop more skills in seeing the interconnections between the operating systems and long game strategy. Lean into thinking more strategically and from a systems perspective.

Maximize your Influence.

Given that great leadership is about influence, and not authority, you have to learn how to maximize your influence. Your ability to influence others is impacted by how you are perceived. Therefore, you have to figure out how to increase the perception of your value. The single best way to do that is to solve important problems for influential executives. 

Step Outside Your Comfort Zone – Network with the Entire Team

To lead at the executive level requires comfort outside of usual routines.  It’s relatively easy to limit our office interactions to those inside our sphere of expertise, however, to build confidence as a leader you’ll want to connect with the entire team.  Start expanding your tribe outside your core area.

Network with people from different parts of your organization in order to learn different business functions or program areas.

Build your reputation outside your comfort zone.  This way if/when opportunities open for advancement, decision-makers already know your name, and know it well.

Work With A Leadership Development Coach

As professional athletes know well, a trusted coach can soften the learning curve dramatically. A coach will guide you to clearly see your strengths, blind spots, and competencies. They will also show you how to identify the people and roles that will enable you to thrive.

Some coaches are focused on skill development, others are sounding boards. Find a coach who can do both and make the investment. 

Build Self-Awareness For Growth

This is a big one. It can also be the toughest one to chew on. Building greater self-awareness about one’s leadership presence and effectiveness is a key piece to preparing for an executive-level position. If possible, participate in a 360-degree feedback process.

This process can uncover your leadership strengths to build upon, as well as, identify others’ perceptions of your efficacy.  Disparities included.

Be Clear in Your Goals.

If you have a clear goal for your career, let it be known. Ask your immediate supervisor to craft a skill plan for you on exactly what you need to do to get to the level you want. Then start executing. It will take a combination of building relationships, professional training, results you’ve achieved, and lots and lots of emotional intelligence. If you really are in it for the long haul, let it be known.

Develop Executive Courage

It’s usually the tough decisions that move the needle. Therefore, executive courage around action, communication and trust is a critical leadership skill. Like any muscle, the more you flex it, the stronger it becomes. You cultivate executive courage by trying new strategies (even if some fail), engaging in crucial conversations and confronting challenging situations that trigger discomfort.

Manage Up

Managing up is a common challenge for emerging leaders. It’s important to manage your own boss, as well as extended relationships with your boss’ boss, board members, C-level executives, etc. These relationships directly correlate with the level of influence you have. Knowing what to communicate, when and with whom, will increase the visibility of your impact as a leader. 

Think About What The Company Needs

The end result, on the road to executive leadership, you want to build your business acumen. By showing you can make good judgments and quick decisions, you show preparedness toward the next step in career growth.

An executive is accountable at a whole new level. If a manager wants to move up, they need to think about what the company needs. Have the team you manage to be outstanding. Be known as someone who helps other people succeed. Be someone whose word is impeccable.

What Executive Presence Really Is

Executive Presence

In 2014, Sylvia Ann Hewlett and her team huddled over an extensive collection of data drawn from 14 sectors of corporate America. The goal was to identify, at the corporate level, what Executive Presence really is and why we need it.  

What the data reflected was that Executive Presence is not so much about performance. It’s not about what you do when ‘delivering the goods’ or ‘hitting the numbers’.  It’s about what you signal. 

Executive Presence or EP. What is it and where do I get some?

In the simplest terms, executive presence is about the ability to inspire confidence. It includes first impressions of appearance, interpersonal communication skills, and body language.  Executive presence consists of effective listening, effectively maneuvering through office politics and exuding authentic charisma. 

As a leader, you inspire confidence by showing that you are capable and reliable. Which is critical to being trustworthy of supporters.  By contrast, inspiring confidence with your own superiors shows that you have the potential for greater achievements in career growth.

The 3 Main Pillars of Executive Presence

As part of the 2014 study, the group singled out 3 main traits associated with EP.

#1. Gravitas

Gravitas is the projection of credibility and assertiveness with the confidence to convey a clear message.  In comparison, gravitas is the way of signaling impact in a compelling manner.

As an example, the study asked senior leaders who they saw as career role models.  Significantly, the #1 role model identified was Nelson Mandala.  A man that earned his placement through sincerity and understanding the power of symbolism.  Nelson Mandala had gravitas in spades and showed it by routinely connecting at a very human level.

#2. Communication

Communication includes the ability to read an audience. To assess a complex situation and act accordingly. This is the ability to command a room. It’s what you say, when you say it, how you say it, and to whom you say it. Communication is also portrayed through the masterful use of body language and concise speaking skills.

These skills combined show you’re able to communicate the authority of a leader.

#3. Appearance

While the data showed appearance to be the smaller piece of the puzzle, it is still worth significant attention. Appearance is commonly referred to as “looking the part.”

By taking the time to look and feel your best, it shows consideration and respect toward the people you interact with. Appearance also includes dressing appropriately for the environment and occasion which in a corporate setting carries high-level importance.

Why You Need Executive Presence

Ultimately, executive presence determines whether you gain access to opportunity.

There’s a saying in leadership, “All the important decisions about you will be made when you’re not in the room.” It’s true. In particular, whether it’s a decision about an important opportunity, a promotion to a critical role or an assignment to a high-visibility project, it’s likely that you won’t be in the room.

Therefore, the opportunities you gain access to depend on the confidence you’ve already inspired in the decision-makers. Additionally, the more significant the opportunity, the more important executive presence becomes.

How To Build Your Executive Presence

As with any other skill, some people are naturally more gifted at executive presence than others. That being said, everyone can improve their EP with focus and practice.

Cultivate a foundation of quiet confidence.

At its core, executive presence is about confidence, yet “the more confidence the better” isn’t always the way. Presence is confidence without arrogance.

Sadly, confidence is often confused with cockiness however, the truly “present” executive is one who doesn’t need to trumpet his achievements. Instead, he or she has an internal resolve driven by a solid sense of self-worth. As a result, they have learned healthy, effective ways of dealing with challenges and relationships.

Key points to focus on while developing your own executive presence:

  • Learn to operate effectively under stress.
  • Become an excellent listener. 
  • Build your communication skills.
  • Understand how others experience you.
  • Have a vision, and articulate it well.

Most importantly, find your voice as an executive.

Identify your assets and leverage them to the max. Some people are naturally gregarious and can fill a room with their personality. Others rely on their listening ability, sense of timing, and ability to maintain their composure when others get emotional.

In an increasingly diverse world, executive presence will look very different from one executive to another. Just keep building the confidence of others that can step you up as a leader if and when times get tough.

How To Properly Express Career Skills

properly expressing career skills

Sure, we get it.  Talking about yourself can be tricky.  You want to sound proud but at the same time not sound like you’re bragging.  You want to sound highly skilled but not come across as a know it all. Without a doubt, one of the top 3 client frustrations we hear is how to properly express career skills. 

If you’re new to the workforce than a shortage of well-rounded skills can be a limitation. For those with extensive years of work history, the challenge becomes that of streamlining an entire career into a cohesive, easy to read, list of skills. 

The goal is to get that interview.  Here are a few tips we use to keep the message tidy and descriptive.

Skills to Put on a Resume

Stating that you worked as a brand manager at Company XYZ is no longer enough to secure a job interview.  Even if you’re applying for the same position at another company.  The job market is heavily saturated so recruiters and hiring managers are seeking a combination of skills and specific traits associated with job titles. 

So, let’s make sure we’re on the same page when it comes to what skills should be listed on your resume.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the basic skills to show off.

1. Transferable Skills

Transferable skills are specific universal abilities. The most sought-after skills recruiters want to see include:

  1. Teamwork
  2. Leadership
  3. General Organization, Motivation, and Time Management Skills
  4. Communication Skills
  5. Creativity
  6. Analytical or Critical Thinking and Numeracy Skills

These are skills we can all relate too however not everyone can deliver efficiently.

Take public speaking for example. Not everyone can handle the stress of standing in front of an audience, especially that of skeptical clients or stakeholders. That’s why you should provide examples of what it looks like when you use that skill.

Put the skill in the context of actual achievement to show hiring managers the impact you have when you’re in action.

2. Job Specific Skills and ATS Keywords

To sieve through large numbers of resumes, companies are turning to applicant tracking systems. This software crawls through applications in search of specific words and phrases, including skill keywords.

Here’s the problem — the algorithms behind the software understand only as much as you tell them. You can’t depend on them to infer your skillset from the jobs you’ve held.

So, how can you improve your chances of having your skills recognized by a resume reading robot? Check out our previous article on how to optimize your resume for ATS for a few tips.

Sharing your unique set of skills requires more than just listing your skills one-by-one in the skills section. To stand out from the crowd, be specific.

If you lead a team of sales representatives, don’t just add “leadership” to the list, share more details like the example below:

Leadership Skills

  1. Lead a team of 4 sales representatives who generated 25% of total sales revenue and outperformed 7 remaining teams.
  2. Motivated team to increase their productivity by 17%.

Being explicit about your abilities isn’t limited to general skills like communication skills, teamwork, or leadership. Do the same for technical skills as well.

A skills section should be the mainstay of any resume.

Ideally, a recruiter or hiring manager should glance at your skills section and see the requirements they’re seeking as well as your unique capabilities.

Need help?  Our team at PWU offers Resume updates, Cover Letters, LinkedIn Optimization and Recruiter Services. Book a free 15-min consult here https://calendly.com/powerwritersusa-ca

7 Tips For Becoming A Leader At Work

Leadership at Work

Not all of us a born leaders but are often put in a situation, either at home or work, where you need to lead a group of people to accomplish something.  This article offers some great advice on steps you can take to become a leader at work.  Even if you do consider yourself a leader, it is important to continue learning how to become a better leader.  Developing your leadership skills at work can also have a positive spillover effect on your personal or family life.

Original article click here.

 

7 Tips For Becoming A Leader At Work

If you want to become a leader at work, incorporate these actions into your daily routine:

1. Take Responsibility

You want to be a leader at work, learn to take responsibility for anything that has your fingerprint on it. That means, as long as you participate in the project, you have a hand at the failure of the project.  Learn to take responsibility for not just the good things, but even bad ones. Admit to your mistakes – it’s okay to be wrong. You cannot learn if you have not made any mistakes.

2. Believe In Win-Win

A rising tide lifts all boats – always think win-win. It exists. Just because the world thinks the business world is nasty, and that you need to be manipulative and maneuvering to win, you need not participate in it.

In fact, make it your contribution not to be nasty and bullying in your ways. You want to be a leader at work, believe in your hands as leader to change the world.

The power of positive influence you have on the people around you and the power to inspire people to greater heights is in front of you.

3. Push The Envelope

Try new things. Take some risk. Make yourself uncomfortable. Do the things that may risk making you look foolish – what do you have to lose? Leaders take risks. They are not afraid of doing what they believe.

What do you believe in that you are willing to take some risk? To be a leader at work, you need to take even simple risks like taking on the project no one wants.

4. Do It, Write It

I have often said this. This world is full of people who talk too much and don’t do enough. If you want to be a leader at work, act upon something. Work that plan.

If you have any ideas that are simmering in your mind, write it down. It doesn’t matter if it’s not a plan yet, just write it down.

If you don’t write it down, there is no one to present to and there is no record of the idea. How can it count? If you want to be a leader at work, you have practice writing down everything.

5. See Opportunities Everywhere

There is no need to create opportunities for yourself to lead. The opportunities to lead are everywhere. You need to be mindful of these opportunities.

I have just mentioned one earlier. Are there any opportunities to take on the project no one wants? If you don’t see opportunities everywhere, you are missing the point.

6. Be Open

Be open to criticism, otherwise you are just living off yourself. What does it mean? When you are open to feedback, you are being fed ideas from others that are free. Often times, these ideas come from people smarter than you. They will give you tips on how to improve and how to be better.

That’s what a leader needs – constant feedback. You need feedback to be a leader at work, otherwise you are “feed-own” (I just created that word to mean feeding yourself) and you will go hungry soon. With no new ideas, a leader dries up.

7. Give, Give, Give

That’s how you open up. Pour out all you got from inside you. Give all you have ideas, thoughts, plans. Feel the vulnerability and learn to like it. When you pour all your ideas out you will need new ones. Where do new ideas come from? From critics who want to tear you down, from well-meaning supporters and from people you least expect.

More comes back to you. You have more to input. It enriches you. That’s how you become a leader at work.

These are the seven actions to position yourself as a leader at work. You want to be a leader at work? Do not be afraid of taking risks. You have more to gain than lose when you open up.

___________________

Power Writers USA wants to know what you think of this, and other blog articles we post.  Your career change is unique and PWU is here to help you along the way with Resume Writing Services, Cover Letter Writing, CV’s, LinkedIn Profiles Updates, and more.  Contact us now for a free consultation and resume evaluation!

The Most Important Leadership Competencies, According to Leaders Around the World

Leadership Competencies

Some skills and abilities are innate and some are learned.  We write for a lot of successful executives and leaders and love to learn about what makes them tick and how they got to the point in their careers they’re at.  This article offers some inspiring insight about leadership competencies so we thought we’d share.

Original article click here.

What makes an effective leader? This question is a focus of my research as an organizational scientist, executive coach, and leadership development consultant. Looking for answers, I recently completed the first round of a study of 195 leaders in 15 countries over 30 global organizations. Participants were asked to choose the 15 most important leadership competencies from a list of 74. I’ve grouped the top ones into five major themes that suggest a set of priorities for leaders and leadership development programs. While some may not surprise you, they’re all difficult to master, in part because improving them requires acting against our nature.

Demonstrates strong ethics and provides a sense of safety.
This theme combines two of the three most highly rated attributes: “high ethical and moral standards” (67% selected it as one of the most important) and “communicating clear expectations” (56%).

Taken together, these attributes are all about creating a safe and trusting environment. A leader with high ethical standards conveys a commitment to fairness, instilling confidence that both they and their employees will honor the rules of the game. Similarly, when leaders clearly communicate their expectations, they avoid blindsiding people and ensure that everyone is on the same page. In a safe environment employees can relax, invoking the brain’s higher capacity for social engagement, innovation, creativity, and ambition.

Neuroscience corroborates this point. When the amygdala registers a threat to our safety, arteries harden and thicken to handle an increased blood flow to our limbs in preparation for a fight-or-flight response. In this state, we lose access to the social engagement system of the limbic brain and the executive function of the prefrontal cortex, inhibiting creativity and the drive for excellence. From a neuroscience perspective, making sure that people feel safe on a deep level should be job #1 for leaders.

But how? This competency is all about behaving in a way that is consistent with your values. If you find yourself making decisions that feel at odds with your principles or justifying actions in spite of a nagging sense of discomfort, you probably need to reconnect with your core values. I facilitate a simple exercise with my clients called “Deep Fast Forwarding” to help with this. Envision your funeral and what people say about you in a eulogy. Is it what you want to hear? This exercise will give you a clearer sense of what’s important to you, which will then help guide daily decision making.

To increase feelings of safety, work on communicating with the specific intent of making people feel safe. One way to accomplish this is to acknowledge and neutralize feared results or consequences from the outset. I call this “clearing the air.” For example, you might approach a conversation about a project gone wrong by saying, “I’m not trying to blame you. I just want to understand what happened.”

Empowers others to self-organize.
Providing clear direction while allowing employees to organize their own time and work was identified as the next most important leadership competency.

No leader can do everything themselves. Therefore, it’s critical to distribute power throughout the organization and to rely on decision making from those who are closest to the action.

Research has repeatedly shown that empowered teams are more productive and proactive, provide better customer service, and show higher levels of job satisfaction and commitment to their team and organization. And yet many leaders struggle to let people self-organize. They resist because they believe that power is a zero-sum game, they are reluctant to allow others to make mistakes, and they fear facing negative consequences from subordinates’ decisions.

To overcome the fear of relinquishing power, start by increasing awareness of physical tension that arises when you feel your position is being challenged. As discussed above, perceived threats activate a fight, flight, or freeze response in the amygdala. The good news is that we can train our bodies to experience relaxation instead of defensiveness when stress runs high. Try to separate the current situation from the past, share the outcome you fear most with others instead of trying to hold on to control, and remember that giving power up is a great way to increase influence — which builds power over time.

Fosters a sense of connection and belonging.
Leaders who “communicate often and openly” (competency #6) and “create a feeling of succeeding and failing together as a pack” (#8) build a strong foundation for connection.

We are a social species — we want to connect and feel a sense of belonging. From an evolutionary perspective, attachment is important because it improves our chances of survival in a world full of predators. Research suggests that a sense of connection could also impact productivity and emotional well-being. For example, scientists have found that emotions are contagious in the workplace: Employees feel emotionally depleted just by watching unpleasant interactions between coworkers.

From a neuroscience perspective, creating connection is a leader’s second most important job. Once we feel safe (a sensation that is registered in the reptilian brain), we also have to feel cared for (which activates the limbic brain) in order to unleash the full potential of our higher functioning prefrontal cortex.

There are some simple ways to promote belonging among employees: Smile at people, call them by name, and remember their interests and family members’ names. Pay focused attention when speaking to them, and clearly set the tone of the members of your team having each other’s backs. Using a song, motto, symbol, chant, or ritual that uniquely identifies your team can also strengthen this sense of connection.

Shows openness to new ideas and fosters organizational learning.
What do “flexibility to change opinions” (competency #4), “being open to new ideas and approaches” (#7), and “provides safety for trial and error” (#10) have in common? If a leader has these strengths, they encourage learning; if they don’t, they risk stifling it.

Admitting we’re wrong isn’t easy. Once again, the negative effects of stress on brain function are partly to blame — in this case they impede learning. Researchers have found that reduced blood flow to our brains under threat reduces peripheral vision, ostensibly so we can deal with the immediate danger. For instance, they have observed a significant reduction in athletes’ peripheral vision before competition. While tunnel vision helps athletes focus, it closes the rest of us off to new ideas and approaches. Our opinions are more inflexible even when we’re presented with contradicting evidence, which makes learning almost impossible.

To encourage learning among employees, leaders must first ensure that they are open to learning (and changing course) themselves. Try to approach problem-solving discussions without a specific agenda or outcome. Withhold judgment until everyone has spoken, and let people know that all ideas will be considered. A greater diversity of ideas will emerge.

Failure is required for learning, but our relentless pursuit of results can also discourage employees from taking chances. To resolve this conflict, leaders must create a culture that supports risk-taking. One way of doing this is to use controlled experiments — think A/B testing — that allow for small failures and require rapid feedback and correction. This provides a platform for building collective intelligence so that employees learn from each other’s mistakes, too.

Nurture growth.
“Being committed to my ongoing training” (competency #5) and “helping me grow into a next-generation leader” (#9) make up the final category.

All living organisms have an innate need to leave copies of their genes. They maximize their offspring’s chances of success by nurturing and teaching them. In turn, those on the receiving end feel a sense of gratitude and loyalty. Think of the people to whom you’re most grateful — parents, teachers, friends, mentors. Chances are, they’ve cared for you or taught you something important.

When leaders show a commitment to our growth, the same primal emotions are tapped. Employees are motivated to reciprocate, expressing their gratitude or loyalty by going the extra mile. While managing through fear generates stress, which impairs higher brain function, the quality of work is vastly different when we are compelled by appreciation. If you want to inspire the best from your team, advocate for them, support their training and promotion, and go to bat to sponsor their important projects.

These five areas present significant challenges to leaders due to the natural responses that are hardwired into us. But with deep self-reflection and a shift in perspective (perhaps aided by a coach), there are also enormous opportunities for improving everyone’s performance by focusing on our own.

Bonus Tip!  Figure out what makes you tick and why you want to be a leader.  Have a focused vision you would like to achieve.  

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