Arise and Lead – Podcast: S02E004

In today’s episode of Monday Morning Moments, I talk about how to engage as a leader of influence and impact. We need transformational leaders now more than ever to step up and step out to make a positive impact within the sphere of influence they have been given! Check out this podcast to discover 4 key things that you need to do to lead more effectively at home, in sports, at work, and in your community.

Episode Outline:

  • Be Aware
    • Self Awareness is the first step to leadership and influence.
    • What do we need to be aware of?
      • Our Strengths
      • Our Passions – what energizes us
      • Our Opportunities
    • “What has become clear since we last met?” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
      • Data Points/Experiences
      • What clarity have you drawn from those experiences?
      • What action does that drive you to?
    • “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” – Frederick Buechner
    • Being aware is where we begin to discover our calling.
  • Be Present
    • “The Legacy You Live is the legacy you leave.” – Ken Blanchard
    • “Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves – regret for the past and fear of the future” – Fulton Oursler
    • We must be present physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally in order to live out our calling and lead in the places that God is leading us.
    • Being present is where we engage.
  • Be a Learner
    • We must appreciate the journey of deliberate practice and mastery in order to excel, grow, and achieve.
    • “I am still learning.” Michelangelo at age 87
    • Call to Action:
      • Meet with mentors.
      • Find the free.
      • Put routines, systems, and habits in place that will help you grow and learn.
      • Be a Lead Learner. Learn/Teach/Apply method from Stephen Covey
    • Being a Learner is where we grow.
  • Be a Leader
    • “Leadership is authentic self-expression that creates value.” – Kevin Cashman
    • Sociologists have estimated that even the most introverted person will impact over 10,000 people in their lifetime. The question is not “Will you influence others?” but How will you influence others?”
    • Call to Action:
      • Seek out leadership opportunities.
      • Don’t become complacent, comfortable, or acclimate for too long.
      • Challenge yourself.
      • Lead authentically from a servant’s heart.
    • Being a leader is where we make a positive impact within our sphere of influence and fulfill our calling.

Has Dialogue Become A Lost Art?

Has dialogue become a lost art? I pondered this question as I read the latest news, surveyed the latest posts in my social media feeds, and listened to prognosticators on TV and radio give their opinion. It seemed like the proclamations and posts on both sides of the issue of the day were more about shouting to be heard versus seeking to understand and discover a solution. It made me wonder if we have lost the art of having an effective dialogue as a society in order to find common ground and unite around some fundamental principles, core values, and virtues that transcend race and socioeconomic background.

Effective Dialogue Image

In my work with leaders in sports, business, and life, we have found that the best leaders and teams truly understand how to communicate with each other and find a way to have effective and constructive dialogue when issues arrive. Trust is one of the foundational elements for true teamwork to exist. Courage, authenticity, and vulnerability also have to be prevalent in order for individuals to come together. With these core values as the backdrop, here are 4 things that the best leaders utilize to have effective dialogue with their teams:

  • A Listening Ear – You have probably heard the old adage that we have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Yet, we sometimes speak more than we should and listen less than we could. Great leaders pursue conversation with others with a listening ear. They don’t think of listening as a pause in the conversation where they are waiting and thinking of what they will say next. They seek to understand what the other person is communicating both verbally and non-verbally. They ask clarifying questions and actively listen to the facts and feelings of the moment.
  • A Discerning Spirit – The best leaders also have a discerning spirit where they discover meaning in the conversation. There is a depth to the dialogue where the two people feel heard and understood and mutual respect is present. Practically, this could be the ability to repeat back – both in terms of feelings and facts – what the other person is striving to communicate. It could also be as simple as saying “I understand how that makes you feel.” When leaders exhibit a discerning spirit, it helps them attach meaning to the moment, which facilitates a drive to constructive action.
  • A Willing Mind – Great leaders also exhibit a willing mind to try and understand different viewpoints and perspectives. The best leaders and teams that I have worked with and researched over the years are lifelong learners, and they never lose the desire to learn and grow. While effective dialogue can often lead to agreement, the most basic level must be mutual understanding and respect, even if both individuals choose to disagree with the other person’s point of view. Civility in discussion is paramount to constructive progress and that begins with a mind that is willing to seek new and different insights.
  • A Servant’s Heart – The best leaders approach teamwork with a heart that yearns to serve and unite others. Caring is at the core of a servant leader’s heart, and they passionately seek to discover the motivators and activators of their team, peers, and colleagues. They also seek to find common ground where they can use their platform and their sphere of influence to be a force for positive change and impact. They understand that life is not all about them, and they pursue a higher calling in life.

As my friend and colleague Mark Sanborn says, “You don’t need a title to be a leader.” Each of us has a platform whether it be your family, social media feed, workplace, church, school, sports team, and/or community. Think about your voice today and every day and consider whether you are serving as a catalyst for effective dialogue or just a trumpet who continues to play a solo long after the music has stopped. The art of dialogue is a two-way street. Both participants or sides of a conversation must exhibit these qualities in order for the dialogue to be productive.

I always look to the Bible and the example of Jesus, who I think was the greatest leader of all time, for the model of how to lead and act well. During His life on Earth, Jesus understood the power of the question and longed to discern what was in a person’s heart. He listened intently to what was being spoken and not spoken. He exemplified a willing mind and servant’s heart to impact people physically and, moreover, spiritually. And through all of this, He never wavered in His convictions, the truth, and His overarching purpose to bring people together in a relationship with God.

Let’s remember why we are here, pursue the essential and eternal things in life, and be leaders of positive impact, rediscovering the art of effective dialogue in the process.

Step Up As A Leader – Podcast: S02E002

Great leaders in sports, business, and life consistently rise to the occasion and lead in the moment! They assess the current situation or opportunity and consider how their past experiences have prepared them for this moment to make a positive impact in the lives of other people. The best part of this is that transformational leaders step up to serve others…not themselves!

In today’s podcast, I talk about how leaders do this by identifying 3 basic steps that help them truly lead in the moment:

  • Step Up – Learn From the Past
  • Step Out – Prepare For The Future
  • Step Forward – Perform in the Moment

I also offer and discuss 7 questions that can help you grow as a leader at work, at home, in sports, and in your community:

  1. How are you growing as a leader?
  2. What is your plan for personal growth?
  3. Do you invest time in learning from the past?
  4. How self aware are you?
  5. When the moment calls, do you respond?
  6. Even if you are not in a formal role of leadership, how can you influence the influencers based on your strengths, talents, gifts, and past experiences to respond in the right way?
  7. How can you make a positive difference at home, at work, and in your community?

Remember, there is no one right way to serve. Serving others is all about leveraging your strengths, passions, and opportunities to make a positive impact in the lives of other people within your sphere of influence.

Leadership Lessons From Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey brought a disastrous situation to the greater Houston area. Historically, it is the most extreme rain event in U.S. history! Living in the Houston area, I have seen a lot of heartache, fear, and damage and destruction to people’s home and lives. I have also witnessed the heart of a city that is strong, resilient, gritty, and compassionate. In short, I have witnessed leadership in action!

Leadership Sign

Great leaders respond both in good times and in crisis situations. In fact, you often discover the character of people, communities, cities, and organizations and businesses when they are tested in the fire of a menacing trial. This has been one of those trials, and Houston has responded as Texans often do in big moments. They show up strong when it matters most!

The following are some leadership lessons that we can all learn from Hurricane Harvey and what great leaders do in challenging situations:

  • Assess the Situation – The best leaders always assess the situation and identiy key challenges, roadblocks, obstacles, and opportunities in order to develop the right strategy for success. They don’t act first and ask questions later. They seek context to inform their choices and key decisions, and they always define the core problem or problems, not just the symptoms.
  • Discern How They Can Help – Once they assess the situation, great leaders quickly and effectively discern how they can help. During this crisis in Houston, I have seen volunteer leaders respond in an incredible way by identifying the resources they have and putting them to use. Vehicles and bigger boats could not be used to get to the neighborhood houses to help people evacuate, so neighbors began to collaborate by bringing their rafts, kayaks, and canoes to rescue points. Neighbors showed up and asked “How can I help?” They also responded to messages on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media channels and brought resources to provide rescue and relief to those in need.
  • Act in the Best Way Possible – Great leaders also act in the best way possible for the greater good of the people around them. In the case of Hurricane Harvey, volunteers did not just stand on the sidelines, they jumped in with both feet – literally – navigating and walking through flood waters to rescue families who were desperate for help. They set up makeshift command posts at schools and other local places on dry ground to organize the rescue effort that included sending kayaks and canoes to addresses that were sent through Facebook posts and text messages. Once people were aboard, they were taken to dry ground where vehicles could get them to schools, churches, and other relief shelters. Swift and effective action is needed in times of great crisis, and these leaders acted in a way that was inspirational and had a profound positive impact on the affected community!
  • Serve to Make a Positive Difference – While acting and affecting change, the best leaders also lead with a servant’s heart. They never do acts of kindness to receive a reward. They do it, because it is the right thing to do. They do it, because they must. They do it, because they are compelled to make a positive difference in the lives of other people. They show up in a big way, because it is who they are! They are leaders who care and have a bias for action within their sphere of influence.

Cal Neff Rescuing People During Hurricane Harvey

While there are many people who exemplified these qualities and habits during this time of crisis in Houston, I personally want to thank and recognize my friend Cal Neff who was an incredible leader to many people during the last few days. He was leading kayak recoveries, organizing command posts, reaching out to people through text messages and Facebook Live posts to help as many people as he could and inspire many other volunteers in the Katy area on the west side of Houston to act and serve. While the count of how many people he directly and indirectly helped over the last few days is hard to measure, I personally know that he helped rescue at least 600 people in one day through his leadership and organization of a great team of volunteers who rallied behind his efforts. All of this began with him and a friend on a kayak looking for people in need at the beginning of this epic disaster and turned into an incredible volunteer effort.

The recovery in Houston will take some time, but Houston has a great group of strong and resilient leaders who will come together to be better than before. Thanks for your prayers for us and for your pledge of support through organizations like the American Red Cross. I also hope that you can apply these lessons and tactics in your role as a leader at home, at work, and in your community to make a positive difference! Assess. Discern. Act. Serve. It’s the playbook of all great leaders!

 

10 Ways To Enhance Your Role As A Mentee – Podcast: S01E012

Mentoring can be a powerful force in the life of another person! In a previous podcast, I shared 10 ways to become an effective mentor. In this week’s podcast, I share 10 ways to enhance your role as a mentee.

Episode Outline:

10 Ways to Enhance Your Role As A Mentee:

  1. Seek out a mentor.
  2. Constantly ask questions of your mentor in order to learn. Sample questions include:
    • What has become clear since we last met?
    • What do you wish you had known earlier in your career?
    • What perspective have you gained based on your experience?
    • What books are you currently reading, studying, and learning from?
    • What is your leadership philosophy?
    • What is the best advice you ever received?
    • What advice would you give to me?
  3. Observe your mentor in action.
  4. Develop a relationship with your mentor.
  5. Have “off-line” conversations with your mentor or counselor.
  6. Develop a peer mentoring group to learn a technology, skill, or ability.
  7. Encourage your mentor!
  8. Find the free.
  9. Establish goals that you want to accomplish with your mentor.
  10. Communicate your goals, dreams, and passions with your counselor or mentor.

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

The Art of Leadership

Leadership is both an art and a science. Many leaders, however, emphasize the science of leadership at the expense of the art of leadership, which often leads to less than desirable results in terms of engagement, performance, and teamwork. Whether you are a business leader, coach, or parent, you know that leadership is hard work but can have a lasting and meaningful impact in the lives of the people you lead and influence when delivered in the right way.

business team at table

To understand these terms more and explore what effective leadership looks like, it is important to define what the art and science of leadership means. You can apply both of these terms in all areas of life including sports and business. The “science of leadership” refers to instructing and teaching a technical discipline or path. It includes directing and guiding someone on how to do something the right way effectively and efficiently. It is the most common technique that leaders demonstrate, because most leaders were promoted based on their ability to produce and do things well.

The “art of leadership” is more subtle and esoteric and is often forgotten, discounted, and abandoned when trying to get people to accomplish a task or achieve a mission or goal. Yet, the art of leadership is essential, because this aspect of leadership penetrates to the heart of the people you are leading and influencing. It engages their minds AND their hearts and allows them to perform with purpose and passion. In fact, Max DePree, the former CEO of Herman Miller, wrote a whole book on this topic entitled Leadership is an Art. In this great book on leadership, he said, “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between the two, the leader must become a servant.”

Here are 10 things you can do to improve your leadership effectiveness through the “art” of leadership:

  1. Encourage the heart of your people.
  2. Reinforce your belief in their abilities.
  3. Empower them by trusting them with opportunities.
  4. Care for them by coaching them and delivering both positive and constructive feedback that will help them grow.
  5. Lead them by communicating a shared vision that includes their contribution to the mission.
  6. Remind them of times when they have succeeded when they are in the midst of a setback.
  7. Instill confidence in them, so they can perform on “game day.”
  8. Listen to them.
  9. Invest time with them.
  10. Be responsible for their development.

The art of leadership is about helping individuals or a team perform on “game day” with trust, belief, and confidence. Yes, the science of leadership is important, but once people have a base level of skills and mastery of something, leaders must demonstrate the art of leadership to help them unleash their potential and consistently perform at their best. As DePree also said, “In a day when so much energy seems to be spent on maintenance and manuals, on bureaucracy and meaningless quantification, to be a leader is to enjoy the special privileges of complexity, of ambiguity, of diversity. But to be a leader means, especially, having the opportunity to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those who permit leaders to lead.”

By applying the ten tips mentioned above, you can become a more effective leader, and the people you lead will be appreciative of your interest in their growth and dedication to their development!

10 Ways To Enhance Your Role As A Leader And Coach – Podcast: S01E011

Leadership is important in sports, business, and life! We love working with leaders who are passionate about growing their skills and developing the leadership culture of their teams and organizations. The Invisible Hand of Leadership© is one of our foundational programs that we offer to businesses, schools and universities, sports teams, and non-profits to help them grow their leadership potential and experience. In today’s podcast, I discuss one part of the program – the 7 Roles of a Transformational Leader – and offer 10 ways that you can enhance and grow your role as a coach, counselor, and mentor to the people you lead and influence.

Episode Outline

  1. Constantly ask the question, “Am I unleashing the creative brain cells of my people?”
  2. View the recruitment and development of talent as your number one priority!
  3. Take responsibility for their careers.
  4. Build a relationship with the people you are mentoring, counseling or coaching.
  5. Model the way!
  6. Pave the way!
  7. Invest time with your people.
  8. Listen empathically.
  9. Motivate and encourage your people.
  10. Care about your people.

 

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

 

Father’s Day – Podcast: S01E010

In today’s podcast, I talk about 2 men who stepped up and assumed a leadership role in my life after my father left me and my mom at a young age. I am forever grateful for the role these 2 men played in my life and what they taught me about faith, integrity, responsibility, commitment, sports, leadership, and making the most of the moments in my life!

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

The Voice of Effective Leaders – Podcast: S01E009

Leadership is important in sports, business, and life, and the best leaders know how to find their leadership voice in order to communicate well with the people they lead and influence. In today’s podcast, I explore 5 techniques that can help you communicate and connect authentically with your team. I also offer 6 questions that every great leader should ask.

Episode Outline:

5 Effective Leadership Communication Techniques:

  1. Seek First To Understand, Then Be Understood© (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey)
  2. Communicate the Right Ratio of Positive to Constructive Feedback
  3. Communicate Feedback in Terms of the Other Person’s “Potential To Be”
  4. Be Vulnerable and Open
  5. Encourage Others and Connect to Core Values

6 Questions Every Great Leader Should Ask:

  1. How are you doing?
  2. What are you most proud of over the last few months?
  3. What opportunities have you leveraged?
  4. What successes have you had?
  5. What challenges, if any, do you have in front of you?
  6. How can I help?

 

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

 

 

Questions Every Great Leader Should Ask

Speaking is an essential skill for transformational leaders, but every great leader also needs to be able to listen. I often see leaders who focus more on telling without gathering the proper context, which always begins with asking the right questions. When you engage the people you lead with great questions it builds rapport, allows you to collaborate with them, and provides the necessary context for you to pour into them and provide the right advice, guidance, and encouragement.

Leader standing with colleagues

In working with leaders and helping our clients to develop their leadership culture, we have found the following questions to be especially helpful and effective if you want to be a transformational leader:

  • How are you doing? – Notice that this question is not “How’s it going?” which demands a response of a status report. This question focuses on them and how they are personally doing. It can be a conversation starter and allows you to understand what has been going on in their lives. It also gives them a chance to voice their level of engagement in life and expand on personal activities that they are passionate about or have brought meaning to their life. It facilitates a connection.
  • What are you most proud of over the last few months? – This is a different way to ask “How’s it going?” When you ask this question, it gives them a chance to passionately talk about the work they have been doing and the impact it has had on others including team members, clients and customers, and the community. It also gives you a lens into what they are passionate about, which can be helpful as you assign them to future roles. This question reveals what brings them the most contentment.
  • What opportunities have you leveraged? – This question allows you to gauge their initiative and creativity. Many times when I have asked this of the people I have led, their eyes begin to light up as they talk about new ideas and the process of discovery. The best leaders help others discover possibilities and leverage opportunities. This question facilitates curiosity.
  • What successes have you had? – Great leaders catch people doing the right things and celebrate their successes. Asking this question allows them to articulate the wins and breakthrough moments and gives you insight into their strengths. This question strengthens commitment.
  • What challenges, if any, do you have in front of you? – Some leaders fear asking this question, because there may be a response that requires them to do something. Moreover, these very same leaders don’t want challenges, they want things handled and solved. While it is true that responsibility and authority should be given to others along with the permission to solve challenges, the best leaders ask this question to gather context and stay engaged in the process. They also ask this question to gauge the intuition and discernment of the people they lead. Finally, great leaders ask this question, because they must. It is their opportunity as a leader to invest in and show concern for their team and to collaboratively engage with them. This questions serves as a catalyst for courage.
  • How can I help? – A lot of leaders fail to ask this question, especially after asking the question about challenges, because they know this question demands an answer that will require their time, commitment, and effort. They seem to disappear from the conversation almost in a “Good luck with that one” kind of way. Truly engaged leaders consistently ask this question after gathering the proper context in order to leverage their power and influence to pave and prepare the way for the people they lead to be successful. Asking this question promotes collaboration.

Transformational leaders are purposeful and passionate about engaging with their team. They listen well and ask the appropriate questions in order to provide the right support. As you consider the roles that you play in life and the leadership opportunities and influence that you have, I encourage you to ask these questions. They will help you effectively connect with the people you lead and help you make a positive impact that extends beyond your reach.

Question: What questions have you used to effectively connect with your team? You can leave a comment by clicking here.