I’ll admit I’ve made a lot of mistakes over the years when it comes to identifying leadership ability in others. Some I’ve thought would be great weren’t – and others I didn’t give much consideration turned out to be amazing. It’d be a lot easier if there was a scientific method to show who could get the job done. Until then, we’ll have to do the best we can.

People Lineup

One of the first mistakes we often make is assuming that the person in charge is always the leader. Then, when it turns out they aren’t, we give up. But what if leadership doesn’t have anything to do with having a title? In that case, it would be possible to have an organization filled with leaders at every level.

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Leadership comes with all sorts of headaches and complications. At some point, I’m sure every leader sits back and asks the question, “how did I acquire all this stress?” Sometimes the magnitude of responsibilities is so overwhelming that would-be leaders count the cost and pass up the opportunity altogether.

There’s no question that leadership isn’t easy. But when done right, it’s always worth it. When the stress becomes overwhelming, it can be helpful to take a step back and consider the reasons we took the leap in the first place. Here are some of the common ones.

Jumping Off Cliff

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The term “coaching” has been trending as a corporate buzzword for some time now. We’re all familiar with athletics coaches. But when someone advises us to find a coach to learn a new skill or solve problem, it’s usually in a professional context. What does it actually mean to coach someone?

The interesting thing about coaching is how dynamic of a leadership role it is. Supervisors can coach. Mentors can coach. Peers can coach. Executive coaches can coach (obviously). Just about anyone can coach at one time or another.

Whether you have the opportunity to be coached or to be a coach, let’s take a look at six things coaching leaders do that set them apart.

Business People Talking

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Surviving Success

September 1, 2014 — Leave a comment
Today's guest post comes courtesy of Mark Miller, Vice President of
Organizational Effectiveness at Chick-fil-A and bestselling author. Receive  his updates by visiting his website Great Leaders Serve or following him on  Twitter.

Success is a lousy teacher. The best leaders know this and are always on guard against complacency. I recently received a question from a leader who has just completed a season of success. She is concerned her team won’t stay motivated.  How do you keep your team fully engaged in the wake of success?

This is a very thoughtful question. Most leaders are focused on “What’s next?” as we should be. However, the leader who posed this question has an intuitive sense that a let down could be around the corner. Without her leadership, she may be right.

Businessman Trophy

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What if I told you you don’t need to have a great solution for every single problem that comes your way in order to be a competent and mature leader? Well that’s exactly what I’m about to propose. Hopefully it’s as refreshing to you as it is to me. And the best part about it is that it can dramatically improve your leadership influence as well.

Question Marks

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As an individual, it doesn’t take long to realize Alexander Pope’s timeless line “to err is human.” As a leader, it can be downright frustrating dealing with the errors of those we lead. But it’s how we respond to those mistakes that sets great leaders apart.

If someone on your team has fouled things up, why don’t you try some of these responses?

Frustration

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I had the chance to travel to Greece and Bulgaria recently and give a series of leadership presentations to several university groups with a small team of business professionals. The sights, food and people were reward enough, but getting to share our leadership presentations with the future leaders of two countries added a special sense of purpose to the trip. Even better, our message had been carefully constructed to include leadership principles that have proved timeless across all disciplines. Let me tell you more about it.

Mark Miller developed the SERVE model and curriculum and collaborated with Ken Blanchard to publish it in their book The Secret. Each member of our small team presented a portion of the model. I’ll summarize it for you here below.

Waiter Serving Dish

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I’m afraid I’ve come to recognize a serious leadership deficit today in America. It’s probably nothing new. It’s what I call “the fear of the finger.” Not the middle finger, mind you. I’m talking about the index finger. Precious few individuals are willing to risk being on the other end of a finger that could end up being pointed at them. Especially when it turns into many fingers in high profile situations.

In other words, there is a great reluctance to take a stand in ambiguous or unpopular situations and declare, “If this doesn’t work, I’ll be the one who goes down with the ship.”

The great tragedy is that the opportunity for true leadership, the kind that welcomes responsibility and takes courageous and necessary risks in spite of the unknown – that kind of leadership, has never been in higher demand. Worse still, the kind of leadership that takes a stand is exactly the prerequisite to rallying others to unite and follow.

Finger Pointing2

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I recently got the chance speak to several college and high school student groups about leadership. It reminded me of my college experience when the subject of leadership really clicked with me for the first time. As always, our future rests on the ability of the next generation to lead well.

So I want share with you a few simple ideas that all young people (as well as the rest of us) need to hear about leadership. I encourage you to share them with the young people you know – either with this post or more importantly, with your own words. Here they are.

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“How do you get someone to push you?”

I was taking a wrestling class as a kid and that was the question the coach posed as he demonstrated a new move.

“You push him first. Then he’ll want to push back and you can use his momentum to your advantage.”

That may have been the first practical lesson I was given in the art of influence. People respond in kind. The actions we get are often reactions to our own actions. The question is: how do we begin?

Caps for Sale

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For the third year in a row I had the pleasure of attending the Leadercast leadership seminar at a local simulcast location. This year I attended in Daytona Beach, FL with about 80 other local leaders. The event was fantastic, as usual.

I don’t get to attend as many leadership events as I’d like to, but I always take something away from the ones I do. This year’s Leadercast was no exception. These were the highlights for me.

Leadercast 2014 Banner

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Feedback is everywhere. We get feedback from our bosses in our performance reviews. We ask our customers for their feedback on our service. We collect engagement feedback from our employees. We send a work project around the team for peer feedback before submitting our deliverables.

In all of these cases, the difference between good feedback and poor feedback can easily be the difference between success and failure. The implications can affect our organization’s market share, our revenues, our project quality or our ability to be promoted.

Great feedback is crucial. But it’s not always easy to come by. So how do we get the feedback we need – either individually or corporately? Let’s take a closer look at seven feedback tips.

Feedback

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