The Mediocre Leader – Pt.3

The world is full of mediocre leaders, and I am one of them.

But I don’t want to be mediocre, and I don’t believe I’m condemned to a life sentence of mediocrity. Most of all, if I have any compassion on those I lead, on those subjected to my middling skills, I have to get better.

In Part 1 of this article, I talked about how odd it is that we practice our leadership skills on those we lead. Unlike other high-skill professions (surgeons, speakers, pilots, musicians, etc.) that are practiced off-line, our expectations of our leaders are apparently so low that we allow them to practice while performing.

Is an Effective Leader Simply a Well-Practiced Leader?

Before I get completely hung up on the idea that a significant quantity of deliberate practice is all that’s required to make me an awesome leader, I am forced to consider that there is much debate around Ericsson’s work. The debate doesn’t challenge the value of deliberate practice, or even the 10,000-hour marker. Rather, it suggests that inherent, non-trainable traits differentiate the best from the rest – such as height and bone structure in sports.

This debate makes sense to me, and completely I agree that effective leadership requires more than just deliberate practice. However, unlike height and bone structure, the traits that differentiate the best leaders from average leaders ARE trainable. In my experience, these differentiators are a leader’s principles – the leader’s beliefs about herself, about others, and about how things operate in world at large.

Much has been published regarding leadership principles by Ray Dalio, John Maxwell, Simon Sinek, Patrick Lencioni, Brené Brown and many others. Desiring to improve their “leadership game”, many leaders (including me) voraciously consume this literature. We learn from, and are second-hand mentored by, these strongly-principled leaders, and we slowly change our bone structure – our differentiating traits.

Principled and Practiced

But, to be effective, a leader must be both principled and practiced. And while I’m very much looking forward to my next shipment of principle-focused books from Amazon, I just can’t help but be disappointed with my lack of attention to deliberate practice.

To create opportunities for deliberate practice of leadership skills, LevellingUp was formed.  At Levelling Up, we help growing leaders quickly become exceptional leaders by connecting them with expert mentors & coaches.

Visit us at www.LevellingUp.ca

The experts you want.  The skills you need.

 

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2-Day Effective Facilitation Course

The Effective Facilitation program builds a strong foundation of knowledge in both practice and theory for facilitation success. Knowing the techniques to use and how to effectively facilitate in different situations – meetings, presentations and training sessions – in today’s environment is critical.  With its focus on asking rather than telling, and listening to build consensus, facilitation is the new leadership ideal, the core competency everybody needs.

During this 2-day program, you will gain an understanding of the full cycle of facilitation. It will provide you with the resources, materials, and tools that can be used to confidently and effectively facilitate in any situation. You will also get the opportunity to practice what you’ve learned in a safe and supportive environment.

Join us May 2nd & 3rd2019!

For more information, please click here

To Register, please click here

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2-Day Coaching for Performance Course

Most organizations would say that their company has a “coaching culture” and that the number one priority of its team leaders is to coach. However, studies show that number of centres where this is a reality is very low. It comes as no surprise that those centres which do have a real coaching culture have the lowest attrition, the most motivated staff and the best at satisfying the demands of their customers.

Staff job descriptions almost always include the fact that they do coaching. However, upon further probing, we consistently discover that the quality and quantity of coaching are inadequate for producing the results that would be expected from an effective coaching program.

Join us March 28th & 29th, 2019

For more information, please click here

To Register, please click here

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Hardiness and Resilience: When Giving In Can Give Us a Lift

Resistance versus resiliance

When you experience failure, loss, or a serious setback do you see it as temporary or permanent? Is failure an event or who you are? Is it a learning or crushing experience? Does it traumatize you or become a springboard for growth?

Confucius said, “our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” That’s the thinking behind Japan’s Daruma Doll, a good luck charm with a rounded bottom. When knocked down, it bounces right back upright.

We tend to think of unwavering steadfastness and never-say-die persistence as important leadership qualities. To a point, they are. But resilience in the face of the hurricane-force winds of change is as often about being flexible like a palm tree rather than unbending like an oak.

Like so much of life, it’s about balance. W.C. Fields was on to something about resilience when he quipped, “If at first you don’t succeed, try again. Then quit. No use being a damn fool about it.” Sometimes the wisest thing to do is to let it storm, find shelter, and look for an alternate route to our dream. Maybe it wasn’t even the right dream; we may need to accept what the universe is trying to tell us and reset our destination.

Psychologists Gregory Miller and Carsten Wrosch contrasted and studied people who are relentless and unbending and people who accept and flex with life’s twists and turns. They found that flexible people were much healthier than their steadfast counterparts. Stress levels were quite a bit lower, and a protein indicating bodily inflammation linked to diabetes and heart disease was much lower. The flexible, resilient group was able to bounce back more effectively from serious defeats, less likely to dwell on the past, set new goals, and get on with their lives.

Professor, social psychologist, and positive psychology researcher, Barbara Fredrickson, has found,

“resilient people are the ones who bend without breaking and who eventually bounce back from even the most difficult life challenges. Instinctually, they can see some form of light in the darkness they face. In study after study, my collaborators and I find that it is precisely this infusion of positive emotions into negative emotional terrain that drives resilient people to bounce back.”

How we use the F-word (failure) has a major impact on our personal, team, and organizational effectiveness. Failures are inevitable. Suffering is optional.

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For over three decades, Jim Clemmer’s keynote presentations, workshops, management team retreats, seven bestselling books, articles, and blog have helped hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. The Clemmer Group is the Canadian strategic partner of Zenger Folkman, an award-winning firm best known for its unique evidence-driven, strengths-based system for developing extraordinary leaders and demonstrating the performance impact they have on organizations.

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Position versus Persuasion Power

Joel’s a high IQ manager with strong analytical skills coming from a deep technical background. He hates meetings (“they get in the way of real work”) and resents having to sell changes or get people on side. “I don’t care if they like me,” he’s fond of saying, “I only want their respect and implementation.” He likes nothing better than solving tough technical problems with practical, well-designed solutions. He runs his organization “by the numbers.” He focuses on continuously improving existing processes and technologies. He sets high targets and relentlessly drives everyone to meet them.

Joel’s always the smartest person in the room (at least in his mind). Irrational, emotional behavior drives him nuts. He often dismisses contrary points of view with comments like, “That’s only their perception, that’s not reality.” He then proceeds to prove “reality” with facts, rational arguments, and analysis.

Joel believes that most people see their work as a four-letter word and must be tightly controlled, threatened, or bribed before they’ll work hard enough. He prides himself on being a tough manager who rolls up his sleeves and digs deep into operational details. He exercises tight control with policies, directives, and rules. His mood swings cause the team’s emotional tone to wildly gyrate from high to low with much time being spent figuring out how to read him and avoid his wrath. Joel’s main tools for influencing behavior on his team are threats, punishments, and “shooting down people who haven’t done their homework.”

Denise balances a concern for people (high EQ) with a strong technical background. She realized some time ago that leadership work often happens in meetings. So, she has trained and worked hard at developing her facilitation and team leadership skills.

Denise sees possibilities in people. She believes that people want to take pride in their work and be part of a winning team. She’s learned that motivation or morale problems are often rooted in leaders failing to engage people in the broader ideals of the organization. As more people search for meaning in their lives and in their work, this disconnect creates much of the frustration and lack of purpose found in so many workplaces today. Denise works hard at connecting people to her organization’s vision, values, and purpose. Denise’s high energy and optimistic attitude sets a strong and positive emotional tone throughout her organization. People are inspired to face tough problems with confidence and teamwork.

Denise uses a collaborative approach to partner with people. She sees people as adults who are generally self-managing (with some exceptions). Joel treats them like kids to be managed “with a firm hand” (with some exceptions). Denise cares about people. Joel dehumanizes and objectifies them. Denise uses the power of persuasion (leadership) to get things done. Joel uses position power (management). Denise builds a cause and case for change, appealing to the head and heart to get buy-in. Joel tries to overcome resistance to change with facts and force; like someone traveling in a foreign country who can’t speak the local language, he’ll just talk louder to be understood.

Denise shares as much information as she can and builds strong multi-channel and multi-directional communication loops. Joel gives people information on a need-to-know basis; he only “empowers” people as a motivational technique to manipulate people to do what he wants. Denise partners with people so they feel naturally empowered to reach their mutual goals.

We see plenty of Joel’s — and not nearly enough Denise’s. Their differences are obvious enough.

Whom would you rather work for?
Who is the stronger leader?
Who is likely to get the best results?
Would your team consider you to be most like Joel or Denise?
How do you know…?

 

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For over three decades, Jim Clemmer’s keynote presentations, workshops, management team retreats, seven bestselling books, articles, and blog have helped hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. The Clemmer Group is the Canadian strategic partner of Zenger Folkman, an award-winning firm best known for its unique evidence-driven, strengths-based system for developing extraordinary leaders and demonstrating the performance impact they have on organizations.

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Build Your Business Road-Map Workshop

Build Your Business Road-Map Workshop

Are you an entrepreneur with great ideas and huge potential, yet struggling to bring those ideas to fruition?

I’ll bet!! You’re wearing a dozen hats, you have clients to keep happy, bookkeeping to stay on top of and you also need to market your business? With so much going on in your mind every day, it’s no wonder you lose sight of what is important – achieving your goals!

In this interactive workshop, we will:
– explore the theory behind radiant thinking
– identify the areas you wish to focus on in your business
– use mind-mapping to develop your business road-map
– create an action plan and set specific goals with a date to achieve them!

Register at: http://cheetahfusion.com/events/

Location: 54 Cedar Pointe Drive, Unit 1207, Barrie, ON

Date: Friday, February 1st, 2019

Time: 9:30am until 12:30pm

Early Bird Rate until December 31st, 2018 – $90+HST
Regular Price as of January 1st, 2019 is – $125+HST

**$10 per seat sold goes to Season’s Center for Grieving Children!!

Includes: refreshments, light breakfast and workshop materials.
Parking: free parking

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Welcome DIY Designers – Learn to Use Canva for Your Marketing

Do you need to learn how to effectively create branded posts or marketing materials for your organization? 

Welcome DIY Designers: Use Canva to Stand Out!

In this interactive mini workshop, we will:
• Walk you through the steps to creating a social media post
• Explore how to incorporate your branding into your posts
• Go over some of the Do’s and Don’ts in social media posts
• Share with you a few cool tips and best practices for keeping your brand consistent
• Get you started making your social media posts, before you leave this session!

Register today to reserve your seat! $75 + HST

Friday, December 7, 2018
Time: 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Location: OfficeInc! – 54 Cedar Pointe Drive,
Unit 1207, Barrie
Tickets: cheetahfusion.com/events

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Leadership Excellence

Build strong relationships within your organization and your teams!

An organization’s greatest asset is their people. We understand first-hand that it is not always easy to be a leader.  However, having practical tools and techniques to draw on, can help you navigate ongoing challenges and situations.

In this interactive workshop, you will have opportunities to discuss ideas, exchange best practices, reflect and create an action plan.

Join us on Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Suite Success @ESS Direct

411 Huronia Road, Unit 5

Barrie, ON  L4N 9B3

Learn More and Register

In this full day, interactive workshop, we will explore:

  • the key elements to enhance communication and learn what your key strengths are through your DISC profile with Dr. Doug Jernigan!
  • how to use a coach-like approach with your team to empower them and support decision-making
  • the Situational Leadership Model  Kouzes & Posner: 5 Leadership Principles
  • how to increase productivity and accountability!
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7 Ways to be Seen as a Leader

7 Ways to be Seen as a Leader

Municipalities Need CAO Candidates with Strategic Thinking Skills, Political & Business Acumen, and Those Who Are Innovative.

Do you have what it takes?

 

Having a nice resume showing your relevant education and skills might land you the job, but you won’t be able to truly succeed as a CAO unless you have something more – strong leadership skills. There are many ways to be recognized as a leader without having to do something heroic like leading an army to war. Here are 7 ways to prove yourself as a strong leader in your municipal position:

 

COMMUNICATION

An open line of communication is vital in any relationship, especially a professional one. A good leader is always available for honest and open discussions and feedback with their team, but you must be ready to listen as much as you speak. In today’s digital world, effective communication also includes email, social media posts and nonverbal cues like body language and facial expressions.

 

LEADING BY EXAMPLE

If you aren’t committed to your job, why would you expect anyone on your team to be? A positive attitude can be contagious, but not as much as a negative one. How you approach tasks and situations will set the tone for those working with you so stay positive and enthusiastic as much as possible.

 

PROBLEM-SOLVING SKILLS

When things go wrong, and they always do, how will you react? A good leader will take ownership of any issues and work quickly to solve them, as well as prevent them from happening again.

 

RESPONSIBILITY

Everyone loves to receive praise, but how do you handle criticism and accept blame? A good leader needs to be able to accept the good and the bad without finger pointing and playing the blame game. Accept your mistake, find a solution and move on.

 

MOTIVATION

Most employees need more than a paycheque to stay engaged and interested in their job. A good leader will recognize their employees’ strengths, weaknesses and interests to make sure they feel valued, heard and appreciated. This can be as simple as a small reward for a job well done, mentoring a new hire or assigning additional responsibilities to increase involvement.

 

FLEXIBILITY
A good leader must roll with the punches. In today’s world of increased citizen engagement and councils’ need to periodically change community direction, you must be ready to change directions at the drop of a hat. Last minute changes, mishaps, covering for other employees … a leader must be able to take it all in stride and accept that nothing ever really happens when or how it is supposed to.

 

DELEGATION
If you try to do it all yourself, you are setting yourself up to fail. Some feel that assigning duties to their team shows weakness, but it is actually the sign of a good leader. Delegating tasks, while keeping your employees’ strengths in mind, gives you more time to focus on the important things.

 

The key to being a good leader can be found in the skills that you likely already have. Now it’s time to nurture and grow those skills and become the superstar you were always meant to be!

muniSERV is Canada’s leading online solution for helping municipalities and professionals connect.  We help municipalities save time and money searching for the consultants & CAOs they need while offering professionals the opportunity to showcase their profile and services to get found and grow their business.

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