Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Leaders Should Train Regularly

Athletes, actors, and musicians train every day. Shouldn't leaders train regularly?

When was the last time that you attended any leadership training?

When will you attend more opportunities for learning?

What could happen if you neglect your leadership development?

How much more success could you achieve by improving your leadership skills?

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Avoiding Misunderstandings

Leaders can afford more mistakes than misunderstandings.

Mistakes are part of moving forward. Mistakes mean that you are taking chances. Mistakes mean that you are pushing your boundaries.

No one wants a surplus of mistakes, but if you must choose between making mistakes and creating misunderstandings, the choice is clear. Misunderstandings create tension. Misunderstandings fog your communication and even damage the organization. Avoid misunderstanding by creating open and honest communication, lots of feedback, and brightly shining clarity of purpose.

How do you bring clarity to your relationships?

What will you do today to prevent misunderstandings?

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Learn more in the workshop: Communicating for Results

Ready to Move Forward

The best leaders build organizations that become ready to move forward without them.

They do this thru skillful coaching, frequent training, and attentive focus toward develop their own individual courage, creativity, clarity, and compassion.

How are you developing your organization?

Will your team outlive your involvement?

-- Douglas Brent Smith http://frontrangeleadership.com

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Getting Resistance

The more a leader exercises authority, the more people will resist.

People have an built in impulse to rebel. By exercising authority, by making announcements about unilateral decisions rather than seeking input, and by leading through authority and power rather than influence, leaders trigger high levels of resistance.

Is that what you want?

Seek instead to influence your constituents. Ask their opinion before decision (whenever possible). As soon as you start to exercise your authority you have effectively diminished your influence. It's a troublesome paradox that leads to less control, not more.

How can you influence without using authority today?

-- Douglas Brent Smith



Monday, October 19, 2009

Brainstorm or Consult?

Sometimes brainstorming produces the best source of creative solutions. But sometimes, the fastest, cheapest path is to ask an expert.

How do you come up with creative solutions to problems?

When you want to engage your constituents and find an approach that will gain consensus, brainstorming can be a great way to go. Gather the right people, cover all the processes involved, and give yourself plenty of time -- PLENTY of time.

Often organizations schedule a brainstorming session and give it far too little time. The ideas pop out, the ideas slow down, and the event is over -- the problem stands there laughing at the routine little list of common solution.

Proper brainstorming -- followed by careful narrowing and selection -- takes time and resources. When you are prepared to make that investment, you will likely be pleased with the results.

Sometimes, though the solution can be achieved faster, cheaper, and even better by consulting with an expert. Finding someone who knows exactly how to make the changes needed to solve your problem is often the best way to go.

The error many people make is always leaning on a consultant, or always assembling a brainstorming session.

How do YOU decide which path to take?

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Learn more in the workshop:  Solving Problems

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Conflict to Build

How can conflict build relationships?

Truly important relationships are at some time tested. Difficulties, troubles, sickness, challenges, all face a relationship with the possibility of creating a wedge -- or a bridge.  Some of my longest term and deepest friendships have been with people I didn't get along with at first. We disagreed passionately, and yet learned to respect each other.

Centered leaders see conflict as a way to build, rather than harm relationships.

Conflict shows our true character. Conflict heats our emotions, raises the stakes, and creates a new focus on our performance. When we feel ourselves in conflict, we can do these things to hold compassionately to the relationship:

  • Clarify the information you have. Often conflict is a misunderstanding
  • Ask detailed questions and listen with your head AND your heart
  • Identify what people really need in the situation. It may not be what they're asking for
  • Center yourself -- find your sense of balance, harmony and control. Be the calm within the storm.
  • Reach out to those you disagree with and find the things you hold in common.
  • Separate issues from your feelings
What else could you do?

If we think of conflict as an opportunity to build, perhaps we can save ourselves from harming our most important relationships.

What's your plan for handling conflict in the future?

-- Douglas Brent Smith