A Location Change for This Blog

November 3, 2008

This blog began several months before the publication of Remarkable Leadership – Unleashing Your Leadership Potential One Skill at a Time.  While I have continued to write about leadership topics, and plan to for as far into the future as I can see, for a variety of reasons I am changing the blog platform for this writing.  All future posts on leadership development, and leadership skill development (as well as ocassional updates about the book itself) will be found on the Unleashing Your Leadership Potential Blog.

Being the Remarkable Leader You Were Meant to Be

October 27, 2008

All of us can be leaders. You can be a (Remarkable) leader. I’ve said it, and written it, but I’m not the first (and I won’t be the last – Seth Godin talks about this idea extensively in his new book Tribes).

It doesn’t matter what I write, what Seth writes or what we believe. It only matters what you believe.

Are there people that you know that seem to have some leadership skills you don’t have? Of course. We all can look at others and envy or look up to them. But what is missing in this mis-placed jealousy, is that we are blind to the natural gifts that we bring to the table.

You have, in the unique bundle of DNA that makes you who you are, the potential to become a Remarkable leader. You job is to believe in that potential, recognize it when you find it, affirm it, and grow it.

Growing it can happen with a mentor, with coaching, from reading, from taking a workshop, and many other ways. But in the end, growing your unique leadership gifts comes from practice. Practice the right things with the right guidance, and you will become a great leader.

This doesn’t mean you will become like your leadership model; be that John F. Kennedy, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, or your father. You cannot be them, but just as importantly, they can’t be you.

If you buy my idea, do these two things right now (do them even if you don’t agree with me):

1. Look in the mirror today and begin to believe that you can be a highly effective leader.
2. Go watch this quick video by Gary Vaynerchuk as he talks about being you – it is well worth the 2:37 time investment.

After all, you are worth it.

Are You Judging or Observing?

October 15, 2008

The other day my son commented that his mother and I were being judgemental. this came after I made a comment about something as we drove down the road.

My immediate response was that I wasn’t judging, but making an observation. This led to a spirited conversation in our car about the differences between observation and judgement. The differences are huge and we see them every day. Here are a couple of examples.

“His hair is long.” – observation

“His hair is too long.” or “His hair needs to be cut.” – judgements

“The table is black.” – observation

“The table is ugly.” – judgement

“She is very skilled.” – observation, if based on truly observing the skills being discussed

“She is better than I am.” judgement, unless there is factual measurement on a criteria that all agree defines “better.”

The conversation we had in our car was more than wordplay or a dictionary challenge. It defines an important concept that we often lose sight of or miss by not thinking clearly. As a leader when developing others, giving feedback or making decisions, we need to be crystal clear on our judgements vs. our observations.

Are you passing judgement on people and their behavior? Whether positive or negative, spoken or unspoken those judgements will have an impact on people’s performance (so if you are going to judge, make it a positive one!)

When giving feedback are your statements largely observational or judgmental? If you try to pass judgement off as fact you risk being wrong and setting a stage for defensiveness, resistance or worse.

While we all need to make judgements, when making decisions, especially important ones, it is again important to separate observation from assumption and judgement. doing so will help you make better decisions.

The differences between judgement and observation can get cloudy, but it need not be. When we speak or think from a place of oberservation, there is no judgement, no assignment of right or wrong, or degree of goodness. Observations are like reflecting a mirror on a situation. Being more observant, and being able to stateour observations are important to our ability to communicate, influence and lead.

No where right now is it clearer than in the campaign for the U.S. Presidency.

Both Senator Obama and Senator McCain (and in many more cases their spokespeople, surrogates and fans) make statements meant to be interpreted as observations or statements of fact, when in effect they are merely judgements or personal interpretations. Use the time you watch or listen to campaign related activities over the next couple of days to help you identify and sort out observations from judgements. This practice will help you in your life, and perhaps help you sort out the truth from the massive spin that is employed by both campaigns as well as their supporters.

An Important Project Management Question

October 13, 2008

Here’s the question:

Are you managing your projects, or are your projects managing you?

This question is much more than a play on words or a time management query.

The question is about planning and focus. It is a question which begs us to put our projects in the proper big picture perspective.

Perhaps most of all this question encourages you to think about whether you are proactive or reactive.

While I could write much about these answers, it is the questions and how you answer them that are most important. Your answers will have a significant impact on your levels of stress and success.

If your answers show you that you could use some guidance, consider signing up for my next teleseminar -Remarkable Leaders Manage Remarkable Projects. This teleseminar is just one small part of the Remarkable Leadership Learning System.

U.S. Presidents on Leadership

October 9, 2008

In this election season, I decided to share a few quotations from U.S. Presidents about leadership itself.

Here’s the one I shared with our Powerquotes list today:

“I would rather try to persuade a man to go along, because
once I have persuaded him he will stick. If I scare him, he
will stay as long as he is scared and then he is gone.”

— Dwight D. Eisenhower

And here are a couple more . . .

“Change is the law of life. And those who look only

to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”

— John F. Kennedy

“I not only use all the brains that I have, but all

that I can borrow.”

— Woodrow Wilson

“Patience and perseverance have a magical

affect before which difficulties disappear and

obstacles vanish.”

— John Quincy Adams

Make sure you vote for the best Leader among the Presidential candidates, you have until October 16th to cast your vote!