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Executive Director, About Leaders
Founder & Managing Editor, About Leaders
President, MatchPoint Learning
Area Training Manager
Vanguard Organizational Leadership
Martin Leadership Development
Founder of Nuance Leadership
Author of ThoughtShedder
DoD Performance Improvement Consultant
Organizational Psychology Consultant
Managing Partner for WEpiphany
There is a leadership saying that goes like this: Be sure to share a piece of your heart instead of always sharing a piece of your mind.
What does it mean to share a piece of your heart when you are a leader?
First of all, to lead from the heart means you must enjoy working with people.
Several years ago I had a mentor, named Spence, say, “Mary Kay, visualize sitting right next to the person - working with them side by side. Believe that you really care about what that person needs vs. what you need.”
When I was growing up I was a very shy person.
I was afraid to ask questions, communicate what was on my mind, and most of all didn’t want to create any waves. Today, people would say I don’t have any trouble with any of these methods of communication!
Why did I change? Why I am not that quiet, fuzzy communicator I used to be?
It is simple. Those passive tendencies created more problems for me and didn’t serve me well. I was frustrated, others were frustrated, and it took a lot longer to get things done. Yes, it was simple to discover that beating around the bush wasn’t the right way to communicate; but it wasn’t easy changing my ineffective habits.
Recently, I was talking with a group of employees about the one leadership skill they felt was absolutely essential to be an effective leader.
Immediately, without hesitation, they said, “Handling the tough stuff – the situations that keep us from doing our job”.
This immediate feedback was amazing. I was thinking, okay the tough stuff, like the challenges managers face on how to competitively run the business; or coming up with a new products and services to take market share.
Nope. That wasn’t it.
Are you a know-it-all?
I hope so, because people that are really good at what they do have a passion for learning and sharing information about what they know.
We know-it-alls love to tell others what we just discovered and the latest tip or secret that would make their life easier.
So, what’s wrong with that?
In a previous article I introduced an upcoming article series titled the Top 10 Barriers to Leadership. This first installment is about Listening Strategies.
Through minimizing and/or eliminating the most common barriers to leadership we can easily accelerate the growth of our personal and professional leadership skills and leadership qualities.
With this goal in mind, here is the purpose of this series:
Each of you, as leaders, has a passion for achieving your leadership goals and aspirations.
And as a member of the About Leaders community, you see the importance of taking the time to learn about other leaders and how to refine your leadership skills. With this in mind, I want to share some of the extremely valuable and fascinating information that people have told me about their leaders.
The feedback I hear ranges from positive comments to deep frustrations.
Most often I hear the frustrations - the leadership behaviors that annoy this person about another person which results in lower productivity and less than desirable performance.
Perhaps one of the best parts of being an effective leader is knowing that the work you choose to do each day is in alignment with your personal convictions and values.
Such internal synergy can create a sense of great calm—what I like to refer to as the ability to sleep well at night, knowing that everything is as it should be.
Great leaders possess specific mindsets that allow them to rest with ease.
Recently, I was working with a team of managers when one of the participants received an urgent call from his manager, who told him to fly back to corporate headquarters right away.
There had to be an emergency meeting about an issue at one of the company’s plants that was severely affecting their product’s quality. The participant who received this call was a key member of the company and the “go-to” guy in times of crisis.
His manager hadn’t thought twice about calling him out of our training so that he could fix whatever problem their reactive culture had created.
To be successful, leaders must take a personal, leadership check-up. This isn’t something that is boring or time consuming. A leadership check up involves taking a few minutes to reflect and understand your leadership skills, your opportunities, where you’re going, and where you want to be. It’s like preventative care and maintenance for leaders.
This week we are busy preparing to be with family and friends to eat, enjoy each other’s company, and give thanks. It is a time to remove ourselves from the day to day activity and reflect.
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