3 Temptations Leaders Face

Temptations are a serious phenomenon for everyone. We are all tempted in different areas of our lives: with our diet, our money, our exercise, our decisions, our statements, and even with whom we spend our time. Even the most self-controlled are tempted. Remember how Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness? Now if only we could resist temptation like Jesus we’d be in good shape, wouldn’t we?

The temptations leaders face can be vast and heavy. They’re heavy because when we falter, others also feel the weight of our actions, decisions, and statements.

Here are three of the most common temptations I see leaders face today. (more…)

Like most everyone else who follows the Triple Crown races, I was rooting for California Chrome to win the Belmont Stakes this past weekend. I like that he started out this season as an unknown, but two men believed in him. His journey became an exciting one to follow!

I’ve always been one to believe in the underdog. When I was young my daddy and I would watch football together. I’d ask him which team was supposed to win. He’d tell me, and then I’d start rooting for the other team. Ha! I unconsciously carried this same underdog belief into the business world. I love finding producers who have potential to be excellent leaders, but it takes more than just cheering and rooting for them to realize their fullest potential.

Here’s what I’ve learned through many years of grooming emerging leaders. (more…)

M y work with leaders inside all sorts of different companies has taught me that regardless of the company’s size or industry or age, most face the same few challenges. One of those common challenges is self-accountability. It’s easy to talk about how we should hold ourselves accountable, but sometimes we’re a bit more reluctant to examine how we can do a better job at being accountable to ourselves. (more…)

L ast week we discussed our top 6 picks for performance review mishaps that leaders fall into when giving performance reviews. While leaders are responsible for making the review experience productive, I have seen and personally experienced frustrations with companies who have institutionalized the review process. When this happens the process becomes political and handcuffs the development and honest feedback experience. (more…)

Good sales people are competitive. It’s in their DNA. Their focus is on being the best. Breaking records. Beating out the competition – even if that competition is comprised of their fellow colleagues.

This same winner-take-all drive can hinder a competitor’s opportunities to lead others. Sometimes it’s because their own leaders think that the person’s competitiveness will keep them from caring for or thinking of the people they lead. Sometimes it’s because their teammates are more comfortable working for a nurturing, servant-minded leader rather than a competitive producer. Some may think that in order for the individual to be a capable leader they must dilute their competitive drive. (more…)

Do you play favorites? Who on your team do you value? Who is staying and who is leaving your team?

I think it’s okay for leaders to have favorites, and by favorites I mean their select go-to players who they heavily lean on and turn to for support, for feedback, and for pulling off critical projects. These individuals are favored because of their willingness to serve and the value they bring to their leader, to their team, and to their organization over time.

I put a heavy burden of responsibility on my favorites. Not only do I expect them to perform at a higher standard, but I also expect them to lead at a higher level. They are favorites because they are willing to sacrifice the freedom of just getting by or just being good at their job. So, if I like someone who works for me and whose performance I am responsible for seeing results from, I make sure and have a one-on-one discussion with them about expectations and how we will operate.

My responsibility as a leader, on the other hand, lies in whom I favor. If I favor someone who the team does not respect because of their incompetence, then my reputation as a leader will go downhill.  My standard will be seen as lower, and people will begin to politic their way with me.

And just to be clear, “favorites” are not the same as “buddies.” Favorites are the people we lean and depend on. They’re our performers with whom we’ve forged a close bond because of what we’ve accomplished together and how we’ve supported one another. Buddies, on the other hand, are individuals to whom we grant extra privileges and neglect holding accountable to our usual high standards. Favorites are acceptable, buddies are not.

Commitment is a trade off. In the business world, the employee will only give the amount of commitment that they first get from their leader. A traditional trade off example is the almighty paycheck. In the past, many bosses have relied solely on the paycheck to gain commitment from their employees.

Relying on money to keep people committed is a common employer mishap. Yes, it’s true that an employee will stay at their job for money, but let’s be careful not to mistake staying as commitment to the leader or to the company. Their sticking around is most likely a commitment to something else, like providing for their family. The employee’s strong commitment to their responsibility of earning income is what makes the money exchange worth it. However, paychecks can be earned most anywhere. If a leader only has a paycheck commitment from their employees, they are at risk of losing them to bigger paychecks at other companies.

As leaders our goal should be to gain commitment at a deeper and much more fulfilling level for both us and our employees. Here are five actions to help you gain commitment beyond the paycheck: (more…)

Adversity, in spite of how uncomfortable or downright difficult it makes our lives, has a way of instantly refocusing our attention on what we believe really matters. I know when I go through adversity, I’m more focused because I have less choices. The path is narrow and forced because there really aren’t any alternatives.

On the other hand, prosperity offer a much wider, more comfortable path with many, many choices. And often, in times of prosperity, we allow our top priorities to become optional. These things that sustain us in our adversity no longer seem essential with all the comfort and (false) sense of security that prosperity brings. (more…)

Balance is always a hot topic regarding the workplace. For many leaders, balance is one of those elusive concepts that they long for but feel they never really achieve. It can be hard to feel any semblance of balance when you dedicate the majority of your workday to serving your teammates and then have little time to left get your own work done.

So, maybe it’s time we reframe the concept of “balance.” For a leader, I don’t believe balance is this magical, always-longed-for-but-never-achieved concept that means you always dedicate adequate and equal time to everything going on in your life – work, family, faith, hobbies, rest and relaxation, and so on. (more…)

We discussed in Monday’s post on 3 Tips for Leading with Charisma that one of the things charismatic leaders do well is make others feel comfortable. After all, if the people you lead are uncomfortable in your presence, you’ll have a hard time forming relationships with them, and they’ll have a hard time leading up and speaking freely.

Just as we can intentionally lead with charisma, we can also unintentionally intimidate by allowing subtle or not-so-subtle barriers to remain in place that prevent us from impacting others. Here are five common barriers to connecting that we must work to minimize or remove if we’re going to connect with others:

The How’s-The-Weather-Down-There Barrier

If you’re tall like me, your height can automatically intimidate others who are shorter than you. Avoid looking down at people when speaking to them, especially if you’re having a disagreement or a critical conversation. Instead, invite the other person to sit down with you so you can eliminate the height barrier, make better eye contact, and talk on the same level. (more…)