Saturday, October 29, 2011

Centered Leaders Confront Injustice

As a leader, are you often confronted with injustice? Do you witness actions and events that are simply unfair?

Anyone who lives long enough will be frequently faced with injustice -- whether it's felt personally or witnessed effecting other people. Many people ignore and walk away from injustice. It's too hard of a battle, it's not my fight, it's not the right time...any number of rationalizations can stop us from doing what in our hearts we know we should do: confront evil.

Did I say evil?

Yes, injustice is a kind of evil. It may not even be intentional, but it must not be permitted to stand, because it gains strength and credibility the longer that it does. When we have come to permit and then accept injustice it becomes an institutionalized part of our lives.

After thousands of years of injustice, it's easy to think that it's already too late, that we're all really institutionalized to injustice until it is practically an invisible part of our value system. But as late as it is, as long as it's been, it does not have to be that way.

Every day that the opportunity arises to voice out against injustice is an opportunity that we must make. Nonviolently but persistently. Compassionately but with insistence. Harming, exploiting, and oppressing other people is wrong.

Centered leaders confront injustice.

The time to confront injustice is immediate and with unending persistence.

Are you ready to speak out against what is unfair?

-- Douglas Brent Smith



Thursday, October 27, 2011

Noble Goals

What is a noble goal?

A noble goal leads you, and others, to produce work that makes life better. A noble goal does no harm in the process of doing much good.

You know that one of your goals is noble when you are not the main beneficiary of its success.

Noble goals make you feel good, but they are not really about you at all. It is in service to others that we find our most profound joy.

While we can achieve anything we set our hearts, minds, and souls on, it is our duty to focus on noble goals.

What noble goal will you work on today?

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Monday, October 24, 2011

Genuine Values Persist

Goals change. We can get part way to the end of our goal and realize that it no longer makes sense.

Our boss can change our agenda, nullifying a goal we had been working on.

Even our mission can shift when our company is bought by another company.

Goals change. But genuine values persist.

What matters to you as an individual, the values that you live by, tend to last for a very long time.

Do you know your values?

Have you written down the values that drive your actions, that steer your course?

It's the one single act that will most help you make important decisions: formalizing and expressing your true values.

High performance leaders operate with clearly defined and articulated values. They express what they believe.

Why not do that right now?

-- Douglas Brent Smith


Friday, October 21, 2011

Strategic and Communication Skills

Supervisors often bring strong technical skills to the job. When they have worked in technical jobs prior to becoming a supervisor, they were often the best at what they do. They know the ground level part of their business well enough to solve problems and deal with day to day issues.

Leading is all that and more. High performance leadership requires attention to detail AND a constant view of the big picture: where is your team, your market, and your customer base headed? What does the future hold?

Strong supervisors learn to add strategic and communication skills to their technical ability.

What are you doing today to develop your sense of the big picture?

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Are You Grateful?

Do you appreciate what you have, who you know, and how you've gotten where you are?

Does your experience give you time to appreciate the joy found in that experience?

Gratitude is a kind of fuel for centered leaders. Appreciating the good in what is gives us new ways to move forward toward more good. See it, and more is sure to follow.

A grateful leader fears no shortfall, because there is always more good to come.

Just look at all the good that has already found its way to you...

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Centered Leaders and Acts of Kindness

What does kindness have to do with leadership?

Only a truly centered leader can co-create the kind of organization that makes a positive difference in the world, that sustains the most life-affirming values, and that binds people together in mutually beneficial ways.

Centered leaders focus on positive acts of kindness.

It is amazing how many of our problems relate to unexpressed kindness, or the lack of kindness. So much of what we endure is unnecessary. So much of our potential is within our kindness.

What little acts of kindness can you as a leader perform today -- for your people, for your customers, for your world?

This can take the form of:

- kind words
- anonymous gifts
- skillful coaching
- forgiveness
- help
- smiling
- playfulness
- a generous sense of humor

What other acts of kindness can you think of?


-- Douglas Brent Smith

Friday, October 14, 2011

Centered Leaders Know the Difference Between Mission and Ego

How do you know when your vision has crossed the line into your ego? Is what you want part of a noble plan or a symptom of a simple pain?

Centered leaders test their vision against their values to separate character from ambition.

They do this by:

- Asking people they trust to give them very honest feedback
- Checking in on their values: are they living them or just aspiring to them?
- Comparing their actions to their values
- Comparing their vision to the character they want to be remembered for

Centered leaders know the difference between their mission and their ego.

How will you stay centered in your quest for success today?

-- Douglas Brent Smith


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Recruit and Develop Your Team's Talent

How much time should you spend recruiting your key players?

How much time should you spend developing the players you already have to become the key players you need?

It's not a strict equation, but instinctively a leader should spend as much time developing the existing members as the leader does spend looking for new talent. Ignore either one and opportunities are lost for taking your team to the next level.

The synergistic combination of recruiting and developing provides you with:
  • New insights
  • Fresh approaches to your processes
  • Innovative solutions to your problems
  • Accelerated momentum toward your goals
  • An invigorated sense of energy
Why not give it some thought today: how can you recruit your as yet unseen talent? And, how can you better develop the talented people you already have?

High performance leaders recruit and develop powerful players. Get the right people and develop them fully.

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Monday, October 10, 2011

Team Appeal

What do other people think of your team?

What do non-team members say about your team, the way you operate, and your results?

Are you creating a stir in the world? Is your team making a difference?

How can you upgrade your team's curb appeal? Because you will need to recruit some of the best people available to take your team to the next level, won't you?

What will make your team so exciting that strangers want to join?

Some possibilities include:

  • a vision so compelling that it energizes people
  • a culture of adventure, excitement, and creativity
  • team members who clearly succeed as part of the team
  • results that make things better
  • processes that are fun
  • dialogue that leads to lasting relationships
  • ways to resolve conflict that dignify everyone involved
  • field-changing products or services
  • energized and delighted customers

What ideas can you add to the list?

What will make your team SO exciting that strangers want to join?

-- Douglas Brent Smith



Saturday, October 8, 2011

Centered Leaders Say Thank You

How often do you say thank you?

Think about the supervisors that you've worked for in the past. Do any stand out in particular? Did your favorite ones tend to thank you -- often and sincerely, for the work that you'd done? Did they ever thank you for simply being who you are?

Centered leaders say thank you. A lot.

A centered leaders most frequent phrase is "thank you".

With all of the emotions that we must deal with in the workplace, there is one emotion that I'm sure everyone could use more of: appreciation.

Expressing sincerely, thoughtful, specific appreciation is a lubricant to leadership success. You can't run your engine effectively without it. You also can't fake it. Centered leaders do more than express appreciation -- they first find ways to feel it by appreciating the talents, skills, and efforts of their people.

If you are paying attention, the opportunities are all around you.

Are you saying thank you enough to your people?

-- Douglas Brent Smith




Thursday, October 6, 2011

High Performance Leaders Make the Tough Choices

Are you ever faced with tough choices?

As leaders, we are often forced to choose between and uncomfortable decision and one that impacts people in negative ways. How do we make budget cuts without cutting people?

How do we change our direction without leaving some valuable people behind? How do we innovate while maintaining our cash flow?

These and more frequently create the need for quick and decisive actions.

Centered leaders make the tough choices without regrets or blame.

That takes a balanced, experienced, and practiced amount of clarity, courage, creativity, and compassion.

  • Clarity to know your vision and mission and all that includes (and does not include).
  • Courage to make the tough decisions even when they may be unpopular. The strength to get the help you need in making those decisions and in pushing questions forward to get what may be unspoken or hidden answers.
  • Creativity to find solutions that expand your possibilities, rather than limit them. Taking the chances to discover what you don't know, to combine unique ideas into revolutionary ideas, and to make something out of what appears to be nothing.
  • Compassion to consider the needs and feelings of other people. Treating people with respect and honor. Finding ways to keep dignity at the forefront of all of your relationships.

No, it's not always easy. That's part of the reason that not everyone is equipped to lead.

Centered leaders make the tough choices without regrets or blame, but with plenty of help.

Who can help you today with your toughest decision?

-- Douglas Brent Smith



Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What If A Customer Is Impossible to Please?


Do you have some customers who are never happy? Despite your best efforts, do some customers just seem to be a bad fit?

Of course a business owes it to their customers to deliver the best possible service, to care with passionate caring about keeping promises. Organizations must work thru their mistakes and constantly improve their level of service to their customers. But, is it just possible that some customers can't be pleased?

They ask too much. They take too much time. They complain constantly. They go over your head. They soak up valuable resources over transactions that should have been over long ago. You've probably experienced some of them.

The reality is that some people are simply unhappy. Not much that you can do will keep those unhappy people happy. Their pleasure is in pulling you to their level of unhappiness. Don't accept that. Don't go for that. Stay polite, stay professional, and take care of yourself and your people: set them free.

Customers who can't be pleased might be asking to be set free. Let them go.

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Learn more in the workshop: Supervising for Success



Monday, October 3, 2011

Meeting Deadlines

Do you have any team members who seem to miss every deadline?


You've extended them over and over again, hoping for success and still the deadline rolls around and they are not finished.

Why is it that some team members can meet their deadlines and others can not?

The answer may be in the types of assignments that they are taking on -- or it might be in how they perceive those deadlines.

Team members who miss nearly every deadline are saying more than they know.

They may be saying more than you know. As a leader, it's your job to find out.

As a leader, how often do you have coaching conversations with those people who are working on important deadlines? Do they know how important they are? Do they see the big picture of how their deadline connects to the plans of others?

High performance leaders pay attention to deadlines, make certain that they are possible to achieve, help provide the resources needed to achieve them, and lthen insist that those deadlines be met.

If you're not doing all of that, what is YOUR next step in helping your team members meet their deadlines?

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Leadership Teleclasses and Workshops

Sunday, October 2, 2011

High Performance Leaders Stick to Their Priorities

As a leader, do you find yourself tempted to sidestep your priorities on occasion?

Do you have prominent customers or team members who ask you to go around your selection criteria, to avoid your top priorities, and to instead prioritize their requests?

While that may be occasionally necessary, I do have my doubts.

There is a reason that high performance leaders set and keep their priorities. Otherwise it is all too easy to slip into a mediocre system of handling only what is right in front of your face, and missing out on your big goals. You can even miss out on your mission.

Priorities are most effective when they are clearly exercised daily.

High performance leaders stick to their priorities.

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Teleclasses and Workshops for Front Line Managers and Supervisors


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Multiply Your Joy

How do leaders (or anyone else for that matter) increase their happiness? How can you increase your joy?

One way is to be aware of joy when it happens. For many people (hopefully) that happens many times a day. To multiply those feelings it's necessary to first truly feel them, savor them, and reflect on your role in creating those feelings.

We have far more to do with creating our own happiness than we'll likely ever know.

Embrace your moments of joy in order to multiply them.

With enough practice, happiness becomes a way of life.

Wouldn't you rather work with a happy leader than an unhappy one? So in a way you owe it to your work as a leader to embrace happiness.

- Think about your most recent "rush" of happiness. Experience it again by thinking about it with sincere appreciation.

- Who can you help create a moment of joy today by bringing your own joy into the room?

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Teleclasses and Workshops for Front Line Supervisors