Friday, December 21

Leading with Passion

As I am a huge believer in living your passion, I thought this piece from Dr. John Maxwell was right on.

Experts spend a lot of time trying to figure out what makes people successful. They often look at people's credentials, intelligence, education, and other factors. But more than anything else, passion is what makes the difference.

Take a look at four truths about passion and what it can do for you as a leader:

1. Passion is the first step to achievement - Your desire determines your destiny. The stronger your fire, the greater the desire and the greater the potential.

2. Passion increases your willpower - There is no substitute for passion. It is fuel for the will. If you want anything badly enough, you can find the willpower to achieve it.

3. Passion changes you - If you follow your passion, instead of others' perceptions, you can't help but become a more dedicated, productive person. In the end, your passion will have more influence than your personality.

4. Passion makes the impossible possible - Human beings are so made that whenever anything fires their soul, impossibilities vanish.

A fire in the heart lifts everything in your life. A leader with great passion and few skills always outperforms a leader with great skills and no passion.

From The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Sunday, December 9

Leadership is Influence

A person's ability to make things happen in and through others depends entirely on their ability to lead them. Without leadership, there is no teamwork, and people go their own way. If your dream is big and will require the teamwork of a lot of people, then any potential leaders you select to go with you on the journey will need to be people of influence. After all, that's what leadership is - influence. And when you think about it, all leaders have two things in common: They're going somewhere, and they're able to persuade others to go with them.

As you look at the people around you, consider the following:
*Who influences them?
*Whom do they influence?
*Is their influence increasing or decreasing?

To be a good judge of potential leaders, don't just see the person-see all the people who that person influences. The greater the influence, the greater the leadership potential and the ability to get others to work with you to accomplish your dream.

From Leadership Promises for Everyday by Dr. John Maxwell

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Saturday, December 1

Equip and Empower Moment - Know Thyself

From a page of Leadership Promises for Everyday by Dr. John Maxwell.

Psychologist Sheldon Kopp says, "All of the significant battles are waged within the self." That's true. The greatest of the battles people wage is against their own flaws and failures. To have an opportunity to reach your potential, you must know who you are and face your flaws. To do that:

1. See yourself clearly.
2. Admit your flaws honestly.
3. Discover your strengths joyfully.
4. Build on those strengths passionately.

You can reach your potential tomorrow if you dedicate yourself to growth today. Remember, to change your world, you must first change yourself.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Thursday, November 8

Leadership and Intuition

“Listen to your intuition. It will tell you everything you need to know.” ~ Anthony J. D'Angelo

“The only real valuable thing is intuition.” ~ Albert Einstein.

Intuition is defined as the ability to sense or know immediately without reasoning.

One of Dr. John Maxwell’s 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership is The Law of Intuition. I love that Dr. Maxwell included this because we tend to think of leadership as hard and fast rules about leading people. The majority of leaders would look at intuition as being too spiritual, too airy-fairy, or just delving in the realm of the unknown.

As Dr. Maxwell states that “leadership depends on more than just the facts. Leaders see trends, resources and problems, and can read people. The law of intuition is based on facts plus instinct and other intangible factors. A leader has to read the situation and know instinctively what play to call. Leadership is more art than science.”

Intuition is a divinely inspired gift that we must learn to tap into. The tendency is for women to be the ones to only use their intuition, hence the term, “feminine intuition.” Well, I am here to say that female and male alike have this remarkable gift and ability. As leaders, we need to learn to tap into this gift more. We can all remember a time when we have had that little gut-wrenching feeling or that inner gnawing that there was something you should or should not do. When you went contrary to the feeling, you say to yourself, “I should have listened to my gut feelings about that!”

A leader has to be able to read the situation, as Dr. Maxwell says, knowing what decision to make based on something outside of reason. This is not a bad thing, in fact, it is very wise. A leader should access all of his or her available resources, the ones seen and the ones unseen yet very much felt.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Saturday, November 3

Equip and Empower Moment: Leadership IS Relationships

Many leaders commit the error of separating leadership from relationships. This happens when people step into leadership positions and assume that everyone will follow them because of their position. Some leaders wrongly believe that their knowledge alone qualifies them to lead others. People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. We cannot separate leadership from relationships. Leaders help themselves by developing good relational skills.

To lead through relationships, we must:

~ Avoid hypocrisy.
~ Be loyal to colleagues.
~ Give preference to others.
~ Be hospitable.
~ Return good for evil.
~ Identify with others.
~ Be open-minded toward others.
~ Treat everyone with respect.
~ Do everything possible to keep peace.
~ Remove revenge from our life.

From Leadership Promises for Everyday by Dr. John C. Maxwell.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Wednesday, October 24

Living Loving Leaders

If you have been reading my blogs, you know that I have a deep love for words. I especially love alliterations. Words are amazing because they have the power to heal but they also have the power to do great harm. Unless I really know a person’s heart, I will look to what words they are using to determine whether or not I will develop any kind of relationship with them.

We have the tendency to throw around our words: we say things we don’t really mean; we say mean things; we speak before we fully understand; and the list can go on. The first of don Miguel Ruiz’s Four Agreements, is to be Impeccable With Your Word. This means taking the time to really think about what you are saying. Ruiz says we must speak with integrity and to say only what we mean. We must avoid using the word to speak against ourselves or to gossip about others. We must use the power of our word in the direction of truth and love.

When thinking about speaking, it is important to measure what you have to say with these three questions:

~ Does it need to be said?
~ Does it need to be said now?
~ Does it need to be said by me?

As leaders, we especially need to weigh our words and what we speak out. Our words have tremendous power, so we must be absolutely sure of what we use them for. Leaders must use words to encourage and to edify. It is easy to focus on what someone has done inappropriately or incorrectly, and to criticize and complain. Yet, how often do we catch someone doing something right, in order to encourage and edify. So be impeccable with your word.

Enough said!

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Tuesday, October 16

Equip and Empower Moment: Being Transparent

As a leader, do you find it difficult to express your true feelings to those you lead? Do you find it difficult to be vulnerable around your peers and those who report to you?

Authentic leaders are able to balance transparency with being an example. They have the ability to express their fears, stresses and anxieties to those they lead. Like anything else, it is about balance. We as humans are not called to be all one way or all another; but to maintain and demonstrate healthy balance.

Leaders who are all stoicism, rigidity and stiff upper lip, will eventually be seem as unfeeling and lacking empathy. Yet, a leader who is too soft with no sense of limits will lose his or her leadership status very soon. Having a healthy balance is, in this case, being able to exhibit empathy but also being firm and holding people accountable.

When in doubt, all leaders must have a mentor they can turn to – a nutritious person in his or her life to bounce ideas off, to share fearful and anxious moments with, and to get a fresh perspective on things. We are called to be relational people; no one should have to go it alone. Leadership is also about building relationships.

So cultivate a relationship with a trusted person who will give you and your leadership the kind of feedback necessary for you to maintain healthy balance emotionally, physically, intellectually, and spiritually.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Wednesday, October 10

Leadership and the Pink Collar Club

I am honored and very blessed to have been chosen as the Leadership Coach and Expert on the Executive Board of the Pink Collar Club – an online Christian lifestyle community for women designed to engage them in discovering and implementing God's unique purpose for their life and His Kingdom. Not only is this a great honor, but I get to be a blessing in the lives of the women of the Pink Collar Club; an awesome responsibility.

I have had some amazing e-chats as well as real life chats with PCC Founder and Life Purpose Coach Randee Krumwiede. A loving, gentle, yet powerful woman of God, Randee has been friend, mother, soul sister, and servant leader to all members of PCC. I am one of fourteen members of the Executive Board and so far it has been a divine experience.

So what do I do as Leadership Coach? I write a monthly mentoring article, post weekly topics in our online forum, share with, pray for, encourage, and create a divine presence for all the women of PCC. This experience has been an answer to a prayer of service. How do I live out the servant leadership model that I teach, coach and consult about? The Pink Collar Club is one very special way.

In addition to Randee and myself, our sisters in service will help in the areas of Career, Marriage, Financial Fitness, Stay-At-Home Moms, Creativity, Natural Living, Work-At-Home Moms, Image, Bible Study, Health & Beauty, Spiritual Health, and Technology. We offer teleclasses, book clubs, free resources, chick chats and the awesome Path to Purpose e-course, as well as the What if…? Women Blog – just to mention a few.

Membership is $52/year. That’s a mere dollar a week to receive the grace, blessings and impacting wisdom of this divinely illustrious group of women. Not only will you receive blessings yourself as a member, but your membership dollars help support other ministries and missions which help to build up God’s mighty Kingdom. And guys, invite your wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, and all the women you connect with to connect with this community of women.

While we are spiritual beings having this human experience, why not enhance that experience by acting in the service of women around the globe? Give blessings by being a blessing. When I am asked why I look and act so peaceful; my response is threefold: I honor and serve a gentle and loving God; I give in loving service; and I connect with divinely nutritious people. I am here to tell you, I have received much more than I have given. And that’s the way it works in God’s economy.

Check out the Pink Collar Club and be divinely inspired…

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Friday, October 5

A Leader’s Call to Forgive

I was blessed this past week to give a talk on Servant Leadership to a class of seminarians who already or are becoming pastors and leaders. I spoke on Servant Leadership using Paul’s “Love Letter” to the church in Corinth. It was definitely a lively and engaging discussion. Thanks to Dr. Robert Zuber for the invitation.

When we came to the principle in Paul’s Letter on forgiveness, well, there we remained for the rest of the session. This is a very touchy issue for many and a sticking point for most, especially those who are in leadership positions. So I wanted to share a few ideas on forgiveness here as it does pertain to being an effective leader.

I conduct a workshop for women called Forgiveness: The Real F Word. It is a popular workshop and a very emotional topic. Wikipedia defines forgiveness as the mental, and/or spiritual process of ceasing to feel resentment, indignation or anger against another person for a perceived offense, difference or mistake, or ceasing to demand punishment or restitution.

I think the sticking point for many is that forgiving goes hand in hand with forgetting. Well, this simply is not the case. No where in that definition does it speak of forgetting or condoning, for that matter. Our brains are not wired that way. We cannot simply choose to forget an offense or a harm done to us. We can choose to spiritually forget. By that I mean we can choose to not bring up the offense once we have dealt with it. And here, we can deal with it personally or spiritually; especially if the person is no longer living.

When we choose to forgive, we make the conscious choice to set aside feelings of resentment and to not hold onto records of the wrongs. Allowing the offense to come up again and again and again, there is very little chance of setting aside any resentment.

To make this easier, remember a few points:

When someone has wronged me, the chances are great that they did not do it intentionally. We tend to remember the wrongs, but how many right things have they done? Focus on the positive.

When someone has wronged me, the chances are also great that I too have wronged someone inadvertently. I pray that I am forgiven and the offense is not held against me.

When someone has wronged me, the offender is not operating out of a place of love, but of fear. And the place of fear is not where the Divine has called us to be. Pray that the offender can come back into the place of love.

When you choose to forgive, you choose to let go of the burdens or pain and suffering. You choose to free yourself to give more of what you are called to give. You choose to be more loving to those we are called to lead.

I would love your thoughts on your forgiveness journey. And remember, it is a journey. It is a process. One step at a time.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Tuesday, September 25

An Equip and Empower Moment -- Facing Our Fears

"One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his greatest surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn't." ~ Henry Ford

“It is my belief that the only power which can resist the power of fear is the power of love.” ~ Alan Paton

When it comes to dealing with fears, we have one of three options: we can ignore or avoid it; we can deny it and hope it goes away, or we can embrace and deal with it. Good leaders choose the third option and face their fears. This is not an easy thing to do, but it is the best. Fears will always be a part of our stories; they are not going away.

A university study stated that 60% of our fears are unwarranted, they never come to pass. Twenty percent of our fears are totally out of our control. The study stated that only 4% of our fears are justifiable.

So how do we learn to embrace our fears? One method is to feel the fear and do the thing anyway – do it afraid. The fear is not going away, and you cannot continue to avoid or ignore certain situations, so you have to learn to do things while still feeling the fear. Once you do the thing you fear, then the fear has no more power over you. If you continue to allow the fear to take charge of your life, then you won't have a life worth living.

So, go it anyway, do it afraid.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Friday, September 21

An Equip and Empower Moment - Being Before Doing

"Live right, and you will eat from the life-giving tree. And if you act wisely, others will follow." ~ Proverbs 11:30

I believe people tend to think of leadership only in terms of action. But leadership is so much more than just that. Leadership is not just something you do; it's something you are. And that's one of the reasons good leaders have such strong magnetism. People are attracted to who they are.

All leaders desire results, but being must precede doing. To achieve higher goals, you must be a more effective leader. To attract better people, you must be a better person yourself. To achieve greater results, you must be a person of great character. A common problem occurs when a leader's real identity and the desired results don't match up. But when leaders display consistency of character, competence, and purpose, it makes a powerful statement to the people around them - and it draws those people to them.

If you desire to do great things with your life, then seek to become a better person and a better leader.

Nothing great can be achieved alone. Any task worth doing requires the help of others. And if you want to attract good people, you've got to become a better person yourself. If you're willing to do that, then you can leave the results to God.

From The 21 Most Powerful Minutes in a Leader's Day by Dr. John C. Maxwell

Thursday, September 6

It is in giving, that we receive...

Travelling around the blogosphere, I have the opportunity to meet some pretty cool people. One such person is Michelle Kunz. She has been a reader of this blog and connected with me on Facebook. You just never know where you will meet the coolest folks! So we love linked and she is an awesome leadership coach herself, with some pretty powerful posts. I invite you to drop by Michelle's Power Energy Leadership Blog and plan on spending some time there.

Saint Francis of Assisi was credited with living and giving the Peace Prayer. My favorite line of that prayer is, "It is in giving, that we receive...." This has certainly been true in my life. I look for ways to give, then I am gifted with so much more. I give abundantly of my time, which I believe is our greatest and most precious commodity. From that giving, I am spiritually, emotionally, and physically fed in so many ways. What a blessing!

Michelle's latest post is also speaking of giving as a way to excellence. She begins with a couple of powerful quotes, including:

"I have come to believe that giving and receiving are really the same. Giving and receiving - not giving and taking." -- Joyce Grenfell

Then her post finishes with:

When we begin to give freely and actively seek the advantage for the other person, a marvelous thing happens. Powerful leadership begins to take root.... Some of what might come back includes:

Trust -- people trust those who have their interests truly at the center of all they do
Admiration -- people admire those who commit their energies to advancing the common good
Respect -- people respect those who dedicate their time to helping others win
Wisdom -- when we listen deeply to what others need we learn more about ourselves and the world around us
Humility -- giving to others shines a mirror back on all that we have and helps us feel grateful
-- giving deeply of ourselves removes the filters we keep in place when we withhold, requiring our true selves to come into focus
Integrity -- aligning our values with principles which do not change greatly simplifies the challenge of walking our talk

These are some of the qualities of a powerful leader.... Great leaders know how to let go and allow their best selves to brilliantly shine.

These are also the qualities of a servant leader. It is in giving that we truly receive. I have received a great gift... connecting with Michelle and her wisdom. She is also an opera singer. Way cool!

Drop by and give a shout out to Michelle. Tell her an old friend sent you!

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Friday, August 31

Are You Betraying Yourself?

Self-betrayal happens when you have the sense to do something for someone or say something to someone, then for whatever reason, you choose not to do or say it. Think about the following scenarios:

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where a colleague needed some information for a project and you didn’t share this with him even though you knew it was crucial to the project’s success?

Have you ever not held the elevator for someone who was obviously rushing to get to it?

Have you ever thought about telling someone that you admired something about them but just never did?

These simple acts are acts of self-betrayal. In their ground-breaking book, Leadership and Self-Deception, The Arbinger Institute highlights seven principles of self-betrayal:

1. An act contrary to what I feel I should do for another is called an act of self-betrayal.
2. When I betray myself, I begin to see the world in a way that justifies my self-betrayal.
3. When I see a self-justifying world, my view of reality becomes distorted.
4. When I betray myself, I enter the box.
5. Over time, certain boxes become characteristic of me, and I carry them with me.
6. By being IN the box, I provoke others to be in the box.
7. In the box, we invite mutual mistreatment and obtain mutual justification. We collude in giving each other reason to stay in the box.

Take the time this weekend to think about your actions, or the lack of the actions you thought to take.

Why did you not take the actions you thought you should take?

How did you feel after not taking the action?

What changes can you make in order to not betray yourself the next time?

Check out Leadership and Self-Deception by The Arbinger Institute. Your life will never be the same.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Tuesday, August 28

Leadership is Influence

People are first influenced by what they see. If you have children, then you've probably observed this. No matter what you tell your children to do, their natural inclination is to follow what they see you doing. For most people, if they perceive that you are positive and trustworthy and have admirable qualities, then they will seek you as an influencer in their lives.

When you meet people who don't know you, at first you have no influence with them at all. If someone they trust introduces you to them, then you can temporarily "borrow" some of their influence. But as soon as they have some time to observe you, you either build or bust that influence by your actions.

From Becoming a Person of Influence by John Maxwell and Jim Dornan

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Sunday, August 26

Leadership and Self-Deception

This week, I would like to plug a book that has been revolutionary for me. I have read many, many leadership books. This one was a bit deceiving, because of the title. But it is not just a great leadership book, but a great communication and relationship building resource that everyone should have on their shelves. When I say that this book has changed my life, I am not just trying to gas anyone up. This book is da bomb!

Written by the Arbinger Institute, a worldwide institute that helps organizations, families, individuals, and communities solve the problems created by self-deception. Arbinger is the ancient French spelling of the word “harbinger” as in “foreshadowing what is to come.” The institute has chosen the name Arbinger to symbolize its role as a forerunner, a “harbinger” of change. Their goal is to break new ground in solving the age-old problem of self-deception, or what was originally called resistance.

The institute asks: “How can people simultaneously
1) create their own problems,
2) be unable to see that they are creating their own problems, and yet
3) resist any attempts to help them stop creating those problems?”

According to the Arbinger Institute, this phenomenon is at the heart of much organizational failure.

Leadership and Self-Deception, written as a fable, portrays the efforts of the leadership team of the fictitious Zagrum company to teach a new team member about their unique management style. The team members use examples of their own family conflicts to demonstrate how the new member has been “in the box” with his co-workers.

Here’s an example of self-betrayal from the Arbinger Institute:

You’re the husband in this story. Jill is your wife. You’re sound asleep after a hard day. At 4 am, your young daughter’s cries wake you.

Your thoughts…
“I’d better get up and take care of her … but I’m tired, I’m so comfortable … Jill can do it … but she’s not getting up … doesn’t she hear the kid? …. I work hard all day, I did the kid last night … what’s wrong with her …? I’m a good husband … she’s still not up! She’s being lazy … she’s a lousy mom.”

Bang. You’ve gone from sound asleep to condemning your wife in a few seconds flat.

Self-deception is likened to being in the box because it seems that you’re shut in a box with no other external stimulus coming in except your own closed perspective. This inability to see that the problem lies within you carries its weight on the relationship you have with your peers and ultimately translates itself on the performance of your group.

It is the case of everyone in your organization thinking you’re the problem except that you’re not even aware or are even in denial of such a possibility. Here, you will find that self-deception or being in the box is the main reason, albeit unknowingly, why leaders fail.

Are you IN or OUT of the box?

The most basic test in determining whether you’re in or out of the box is when you try to be interested in knowing the people under you, or at least even match their names with faces for starters. Your lack of interest in something as basic as this keeps you IN the box. You don’t regard them as people - only as objects within your organization. You decide that your needs come before anybody else’s and that basically these needs should be satisfied first and pity for those who come in second.

Being OUT of the box means you’re placing your needs as well as the need of others on the same level. You are all equal. If it’s as simple as people treating others as people (including all the hard work and training that go with the job), most companies will have a shot at reaching the top. The motivation for smart people to be smarter and for skilled people to be even more skilled is for them to be treated in a straightforward manner, and to give them the respect and dignity they deserve.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Wednesday, August 22

Rock Stars, Bloggers, and Leadership

In her post on The Blog Herald, of which I am an avid reader, rock star Liz Strauss of Successful (and Outstanding) Blog, writes about rock star bloggers. You know, the bloggers that get all the attention? She talks about those who were rock stars in the beginning, with passionate posts and could make you swoon all over everything they wrote. Then, their hair starts to fall out, they get that "tire" in the middle, and they aren't so pretty anymore. Now, you just snore whenever you read their stuff. You wonder, "what happened to the passion, let alone the looks?"

Well yes, the looks may go, the middle may puff out a bit, but the content doesn't have to follow suit. I love this analogy to leadership. Becoming a leader is fun, it's prestigious, it's got all the pomp but very little circumstance; unless you are authentic. Leadership, like rock stars, isn't about the position, it's about influence. Yes, there's that word again!

One of my favorite quotes is by Carl Buechner, "People may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel." Leadership, influence, is about a lasting impression. How does your team feel after being around you all day? Are they happy to be away from you, or does a little piece of you travel with them?

Liz ends her post with three ways to make sure a little piece of you does travel with your followers:

1. Be attentive to your readers’ needs for great content.
2. Be consistent and transparent. Be grown up with self-respect.
3. Be authentically you in service to them.

Brilliant! I couldn't have said it better myself; which is why I borrow from rock star Liz.

Make sure your leadership is attentive, consistent, transparent, and authentic -- and you will always be a rock star!

Read the rest of Liz's article at The Blog Herald.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Tuesday, August 21

In Memory of Fred Smith

This past week, Fred Smith, Founder and CEO of FedEx, died at the age of 91. Fred was a businessman, consultant, active Christian, and public speaker much in demand. He was a consultant to such corporations as Genesco, Mobil, and Caterpillar. He served on more than twenty boards, including Youth for Christ and Christianity Today, but later in life he no longer accepted such invitations, because "at this stage of my life, I'm more dedicated to individuals than institutions."

In memory of Fred's lasting legacy in the business community, here is one of his many articles on leadership and habits.

Good Habits
Fred Smith lists eight habits that he proposed to the Printing Industry of America in a 1961 keynote address.

Nearly every organization runs on habit, just as you do. Nearly everything you've done today, you've done habitually. If you didn't, you couldn't do it. This is one of the problems in reorganization. You upset the habit structure it slows things down tremendously. Successful reorganization requires time to rebuild habits. This may take awhile.

Here are some good habits to cultivate in your business:

1) Create a spirit in your organization that will be acceptable to challenges. Don't let people come in and tell you why something can't be done. When they do, simply say, "I know that. Tell me what we will have to change in order to do it."
2) Change is all right ---- status quo is no good. "status quo" is Latin for "the mess we are in."
3) Accept ideas. You as a leader will have to accept a new idea before your organization will accept them.
4) Don't delay failures. I have a friend who says, "I don't ever delay cutting short a failure that is funded with my own money."
5) Get management on the offense. How many times do you see management fighting back instead of leading?
6) Develop the habit of good work. The President of a pipeline company said, "This is one of the habits I get my organization into --- to step back from their job and say, "That's good." I believe that there is a pretty substantial Biblical basis for that habit. Recently a 12 year old boy was recognized for saving his infant sister from a house fire. He had learned rescue techniques in Boy Scouts. When asked what he thought about his actions he confidently responded, "I did a good job." Not bragging if you've done it!
7) Examine the things you're proud of. You have to watch this one carefully. I was in a company the other day and they were telling me some things they had done and were proud of. We examined them. Some of these things should have been stopped long ago. But because they were proud of them they continued doing them long after they became obsolete.
8) Work smart instead of hard. Some people give credit to a guy who works hard. I give him no credit at all unless he works smart. I know of a small company who lets his company be a guinea pig for the local university's engineering department. He is working smart ---

I know that I haven't told you anything that you don't already know. My job is always the same thing. My job isn't to tell you anything new. When someone asked me "How do you earn your money?" I tell "I earn my money by reminding people."

I hope that I have reminded you that good habits are a key to successful living. Find one that works for you and make it real in your organization.

Read more about Fred Smith's lasting legacy at Breakfast with Fred and Leadership Journal.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Monday, August 20

A Tip from Brian Tracy

Need help on setting personal or professional goals? Take this simple tip from motivational speaker and author Brian Tracy.

Wednesday, August 15

Leadership and Listening

One of the principles and most important skills of servant leadership is deep and active listening, yet it is also one of the most neglected. It is said that we spend 75% of our waking time communicating: 40% listening; 35% talking; 16% reading; and 9% writing. Yet typically people hear less than 25% of a conversation. In an article in Fast Company, Ruth Sherman writes:

Becoming a good listener is a terrific way to gain attention and win people over, precisely because it is so rare to find someone who does it well. Human beings find great comfort in being listened to. When we find a good listener, we take notice; we advertise this fact when referring to the person or recommending them to others. We look for opportunities to be around this person.

As a coach and counselor, most of my time is spent listening. And though extremely draining as a discipline, it is one of the most rewarding things one can do for another person. Clients leave with a sense of validation after being actively listened to. Sherman goes on to share some techniques for what she calls intent listening, which she says takes some discipline:

• Give your full attention.
• Resist planning your answer while someone is speaking.
• Resist the urge to interrupt, except to ask for clarification.
• Leave your value judgments at the door.
• Don’t allow interruptions. Usually, whatever it is can wait.
• If your mind begins to wander, exercise discipline and bring it back. Ask the person to repeat anything you might have missed.
• After being introduced to someone, listen and try to remember the name. (Most of the time, we’re so focused on the impression we’re making that it goes in one ear and out the other.)

Think about when watching a movie or a play. We listen intently so as not to miss what is going on and to be an active part of the plot. Our lives and work are the greatest storyline we have going. Should we not give as much, if not more, attention to the plot of our own lives?

Read the rest of Ruth Sherman's article in Fast Company.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Monday, August 13

Leadership as Sacred Calling

Came across this great article and thought I would share it. Check out Brent's website, Action Leadership for this and more leadership articles and resources.

You can greatly improve your job and career performance when you embrace leadership as a sacred calling.

The global marketplace is creating historic changes in human circumstances as broad and deep as those originated by the Industrial Revolution. But one significant change that observers are overlooking involves leadership.

From the outset of the Industrial Revolution, order-giving has been the standard of leadership. The word "order" comes from the Latin root meaning to arrange threads in a woof. In the Industrial Revolution's early years, workers were "ordered" or ranked like threads in a woof of textile production lines.

But globalization is creating a need for new leadership. Instead of ordering people to go from A to B, the new leadership has people want to go from A to B.

This simple, even simplistic, difference illuminates an enormous leadership opportunity. Clearly, people who "want to" are more competitive than people who are simply responding to orders, given their skills are commensurate. Your arousing want-to in others can be accomplished most effectively when you see your leadership as a sacred activity.

Sacred is commonly defined as being devoted or dedicated to a deity or some religious purpose. But the emergence of the global marketplace has necessitated a new meaning for the sacred. The sacred I speak of is not connected to any principle exclusive to a particular denominational religion. If it were, it could not be applied universally throughout the global market's interplay of many languages, cultures, and religions. Instead, the sacred aspect of leadership is based on the undeniable fact that all humans everywhere are interconnected through their relationships in profound, practical ways. The sacred flows from the well springs of those deep, human relationships.

Paradoxically, this "new" leadership has been manifested since time in memorial. After all, when people needed to accomplish great things, a leader had to first gather them together and speak from the heart. In that gathering, in that speaking, in that sharing something truly sacred was established.

To examine the sacred, we must understand the stuff that leaders' activities must be made of: results. If you're not getting results, you won't be a leader for long. Results come in countless forms and functions. But one thing all results share is they are the outcomes of the relationships people engender to take action.

The word "relationship" comes from a Latin root meaning to "carry back." To be involved in a human relationships is to both give and get. Such relationships are best realized in leadership when you engage in what I call the Leadership Imperative. The Imperative states: "I will lead others in such a way that we together not only accomplish our needed results but we grow professionally and personally."

The Leadership Imperative is the rough, organizational equivalent of the Golden Rule that most religions, in one form or another, urge; but don't confuse it with a guide for conduct exclusively; it's also a way of getting great organizational results. When people understand that your leadership will improve their lives, their jobs and their careers, you'll establish a sacred bond with them, and they'll be more likely to be motivated to accomplish extraordinary things for you

In our time, order leadership has held sway in all sectors of business and government. However, order leadership has nothing sacred to offer. Orders are sent, orders carried out or not. Deep, human, "sacred" connections are superfluous, even antithetical, to giving orders. And because order leadership can't get the consistently great results that the new leadership triggers, the order way of leadership is destined for history's scrap heap.

Don't be put off or discouraged if you can't immediately see the sacred in your leadership today. First, align your words and actions to conform to the Leadership Imperative. When you do, you'll see the sacred in the very practical necessities of your daily life. It's been there all along, waiting for you to find it and realize it. You may be in a bureaucracy that at first blush seems to have nothing to do with the sacred. But I submit that no matter what organization you're in, what job you hold, you'll get the best results when you work to manifest the sacred in your leadership. In fact, the sacred is the true reality of what you do, where you do it.

When you're realizing the sacred calling of the Leadership Imperative, everyone you encounter, every challenge you face, is invested with special meaning that can boost results.

The exigencies of the global economy are demanding a change in the standard of leadership. Your understanding and realizing the new leadership but also its sacred dimensions will notably advance your job and career performance.

2006 © The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

The author of 23 books, Brent Filson's recent books are, THE LEADERSHIP TALK: THE GREATEST LEADERSHIP TOOL and 101 WAYS TO GIVE GREAT LEADERSHIP TALKS. He is founder and president of The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. – and for more than 21 years has been helping leaders of top companies worldwide get audacious results.

Brent has a great website, Action Leadership, lots of cutting edge leadership tools, and even a white paper and ezine to opt in to.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Friday, August 10

Leadership and Respect

Writing in The Blog Herald, Conversation Agent Valeria Maltoni, shares five ways to get respect as a blogger. I think her points can also apply to the leader.

1. Make innovation part of your creative habit; put aside some time every day for “what if” thinking.

2. Reward the hard questions. When a reader challenges your thinking, take that as an opportunity to address their questions, make sure they know they’re heard. You get respect when you give it.

3. Work on the quality of your writing constantly. Practice, practice, and then practice some more. It’s also a good idea to read a lot. Read the classics; read good writing.

4. Think design as container of experience. How can you have a visual impact? How can you communicate your value through design?

5. Be transparent and trustworthy. Conduct a personal audit regularly to keep yourself honest.

These points not only make for a great blogger, but also for a great leader.

Check out The Blog Herald to read Valeria's entire post. It's well worth applying to one's leadership style chart.

To lead is to serve,

Coach Carolyn

Thursday, August 9

Conflict Competent Leadership

This article is from the Leading Effectively Series of the Center for Creative Leadership.

Is conflict creating trouble in your organization? As a leader, how equipped are you to deal with conflict?

Conflict at work may be frustrating, but is it worth the effort to change? Authors Craig Runde and Tim Flanagan suggest taking a close look at the financial and human costs of conflict incompetence.

In their book, Becoming a Conflict Competent Leader, Runde and Flanagan write, “When conflict is mismanaged, costs mount. Some out-of-pocket costs like absenteeism and lawsuits are relatively easy to see and compute. Others, like poor decision-making, lost opportunities and diminished quality of working relationships, can prove more costly, but they are more difficult to quantify.”

To identify the cost of conflict in your organization, consider the following factors:

Wasted time. How much management time is wasted dealing with conflict rather than addressing more productive issues? Not to mention the lost productivity when employees spend time complaining to coworkers about the conflict.

Employee turnover. When conflict is severe or ongoing, employees are likely to seek a better place to work, particularly when the job market is strong, according to Runde and Flanagan. “The replacement cost of finding, training and bringing a new person up to speed can often exceed the annual salary of the employee who leaves. It certainly costs more than addressing conflicts in the first place so employees do not get frustrated and leave.”

Grievances, complaints and lawsuits. If problems are handled effectively at the start, many issues can be resolved informally with much less cost. If problems are ignored or not handled well, “then the conflict spirals out of control and becomes a dispute that requires a more formal third-party intervention, which can increase the time, effort and cost required for resolution,” note Runde and Flanagan.

Absenteeism and health costs. Employees may stay away from work to avoid dealing with conflict or to delay a confrontation. Others may take time off to address the physical and emotional stress of conflict. Health care costs, in connection to stress-related illnesses, are part of the price of mismanaged conflict.

Workplace violence. Conflict can escalate way out of control. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health estimates that more than one million workers are assaulted each year at work, report Runde and Flanagan: “A significant number of these assaults come from disgruntled customers, patients, coworkers and employees. The emotional toll on the targets of the violence as well as on their coworkers can be enormous and can increase the costs associated with retention, absenteeism and health care.”

Poor decision-making. Destructive conflict disrupts the organization's ability to function effectively. People begin to lose their energy and creativity. They pull back, stop sharing information and take fewer risks. The result can be poorer quality decision-making.

Poisoned workplace. Conflict causes all sorts of unpleasant emotions that poison relationships and the workplace. Anger, fear, defensiveness, negativity, hurt and embarrassment, combined with misunderstanding and distrust, will lower morale and strain working relationships.

The Benefits of Conflict

Not all conflict spells trouble. Disagreements and diverse perspectives are needed for organizations to adapt to change and find solutions to challenging problems. When leaders can encourage different views, ideas and approaches in a non-combative way, conflict can:

~ Stimulate creativity and problem-solving.
~ Foster teamwork and improve social relationships.
~ Encourage listening and perspective taking.
~ Promote reflective thinking and open communication.
~ Yield information about people and situations.
~ Signal that changes are necessary in relationships or the organization.
~ Provide the means for expressing emotions, which can ultimately clear the air and reduce tension.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Tuesday, August 7

Leadership and Resolving Conflicts

“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with the important matters.” ~ Albert Einstein

Max Dupree once said that the responsibility of a leader is to define reality. Reality includes speaking the truth. Part of the problems with leaders and their teams is that no one wants to “hurt anyone’s feelings,” or “step on anyone’s toes,” or create conflict. In our society today we are conflict-phobic. We are afraid of creating conflict, not knowing that progress is stifled when we try to avoid conflict.

According to Wikipedia, conflict is “when two or more parties, with perceived incompatible goals, seek to undermine each other's goal-seeking capability”. The word to focus on here is “undermine.” In speaking our truth, the goal here is not to undermine, but to lay all the cards on the table and come to a mutual agreement. If I have been wronged or offended in some way, I must speak my truth about this injustice, so that resolution can happen and then back to business. I find it difficult to work on a team when I have experienced one of the players as not being a true team player. It is then my responsibility to right the wrong, so that we can move on.

The biggest problem we have about conflicts and the work around resolving them is that we have not been taught the language around resolving the conflict. We only know a language of aggression and anger, instead of a love and peace. We also must remember that when these conflicts arise, to not take them personally – even if they have our name on them. What I mean by this is that when a co-worker is not getting her needs met, then an altercation is likely to erupt. Of course, it will take the form of a work-related project. But it probably has nothing to do with you or the project, but your colleague’s own unmet needs. When she lashes out, know that this is not about you, but about something outside of you. You just happen to be in the line of fire. Start by asking some questions: “You know, we are on the same team. We both want the same outcome. Yet, I feel that you are needing something different. Can you tell me what that is?”

Yes, it will take time. Yes, it does seem touchy feely. Yes, it is about treating the other as other and not as object. Obviously, when a conflict arises, someone is hurting. Take the time to find out what the hurt is. This is also about building trust among the team and building a solid foundation for the future. Then, when a conflict arises in the future, it will be easier to resolve because trust has been cultivated.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Saturday, August 4

Leadership and Great Communication

"Skill in the art of communication is crucial to a leader's success. He can accomplish nothing unless he can communicate effectively." ~ Anonymous

"To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others." ~ Anthony Robbins

"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." ~ George Bernard Shaw

"Years ago, I tried to top everybody, but I don't anymore, I realized it was killing conversation. When you're always trying for a topper you aren't really listening. It ruins communication." ~ Groucho Marx

"Communication works for those who work at it." ~ John Powell

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Wednesday, August 1

Good Followers Makes Great Leaders

Writing for the American Chronicle, Dr. Adalat Khan shares the qualities of a good follower which, in turn will lead to being a great leader. Dr. Khan writes: “Behind the success of every great leader is the support, hard work and invisible struggle of many unknown people who are known as the ‘followers’”.

Dr. Khan goes on to state, the critical role which followers can play in the success of a leader necessitate them to have, acquire, and practice certain qualities. These qualities are:

Understand, Support, and Work for the Leader’s Vision
Followers should understand and accurately comprehend their leader’s vision. They must also commit themselves to support that vision. One difficulty which could crop in this regard is the possibility of conflict between the followers and a leader’s vision. To plug this gap, followers should align their vision with that of their leader’s.

Help the Leader to Succeed
Followers can either be like fuel providing energy or roadblocks creating hurdles for the efforts of a leader. Good followers however help the leader to succeed and do whatever it takes to achieve success. Having a winner’s mentality and deriving pleasure form the leader’s success is a quality to be possessed by them.

Provide Open, Honest and Accurate Information
Most of the leaders base their decisions on the information provided to them by their followers. If these information are accurate and honest it will lead to good decision. Conversely, inaccurate and dishonest information will lead to terrible decisions.

A Positive and Can Do Attitude
The phrase ‘recruit for attitude and train for skills’ is highly relevant for all followers. Sometimes when faced with difficulties even great leaders lose hope - during which times the followers could help them by reminding and reassuring them that they could succeed. It is a fact that all human being are capable of doing anything but only those succeed who possess the can do attitude.

Learning Attitude
Learning, the ability to understand one’s limitations, the courage to unlearn negative ideas and beliefs and the desire to acquire new knowledge, skills, and attitude is yet another quality necessary for good followers. To keep pace with the fast changing world of today people need to update themselves with new knowledge.

Dr. John Maxwell always says that the leader that thinks he leads and has no one following, is only taking a walk. In order to be a leader, one has to have followers. The followers are as good as the leader, and what Dr. Khan is stating is that if the followers are good then they become great leaders.

Dr. Adalat Khan is visiting professor to the American Central University and director of Mina Management Institute, a leading Malaysian Management consultancy and educational organization.

Read the rest of Dr. Khan's article at the American Chronicle.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Tuesday, July 31

Business Advice from the Nametag Guy

One of the best marketing tactics I have ever seen is from Scott Ginsberg, aka "The Nametag Guy." Scott is a young entrepreneur who writes books, gives speeches and creates e-learning materials for businesspeople who want to make a name for themselves - one conversation at a time. Scott made a name for himself by wearing a "Hello my name is Scott" nametag, 24/7. He even has one tattooed on his chest! Radical!

Scott's website and blog are a plethora ($50 word!) of information. Everything from articles, to ebooks on marketing, networking, and simple business advice. He even has a cool podcast. Really worth a listen. After spending some time on his blog, I thought I might share some of his 27-year-old wisdom.

His e-book, 66 Priceless Pieces of Business Advice I Couldn't Live Without, really intrigued me. Each of the 83 pages is written on a nametag. There are 66 simple wisdom statements that every leader, every human being, should live by. Some examples:

  • Be confident enough to be humble.
  • Imagine your ideal day.
  • Validate your existence on a daily basis.
  • Don't be selfish with your knowledge.
  • Act like you already are the person you want to become.

The very first piece of advice really captured my attention, as well as my heart. Humility is one of the principles I teach and coach in servant leadership. We often mistake humility as putting ourselves last or worse, putting ourselves down. Humility is neither. Humility is not thinking less of ourselves, but thinking of ourselves less.

Someone once said that humility is nothing more than a true knowing of yourself and your limitations. It means that you know who you are in the Divine and you take your rightful place. To know who you really are does take confidence. It may be easier to not know oneself because it does away with the responsibility of acting upon who you really are.

True leaders know who they are and they aren't afraid of their limitations. Knowing our limitations, creates the space to allow others to pick up where we may fall short. This is called teamwork. No one person has all of the answers or all of the skills. Knowing this allows for greater team building, which creates a more trusting work environment.

Scott is truly an example of great confidence and great humility. I am proud that someone at such a young age has set a standard of turning conversation into a marketing tool. Conversation involves listening, and sadly listening is a lost art and skill. In the age of emails and instant messaging, there is no need to practice the art of listening anymore. This greatly saddens me. Because there are still those in the professions of coaches, counselors, and therapists who are paid to listen. But that's another post for another time.

Check out Scott's website, blog, and podcast. All are guaranteed to strengthen your marketing, networking and conversational muscles.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Scott's tattoo!

Sunday, July 29

Leaders are Born, not Made

An excellent article by author and speaker Brian Tracy.

The Key Leadership Abilities

Your ability to negotiate, communicate, influence, and persuade others to do things is absolutely indispensable to everything you accomplish in life. The most effective men and women in every area are those who can quite competently organize the cooperation and assistance of other people toward the accomplishment of important goals and objectives.

Everyone is Different

Of course, everyone you meet has different values, opinions, attitudes, beliefs, cultural values, work habits, goals, ambitions, and dreams. Because of this incredible diversity of human resources, it has never been more difficult and yet more necessary for diplomatic leaders to emerge and form these people into high-performing teams.

Do What Other Leaders Do

Fortunately, leaders are made, not born. You learn to become a leader by doing what other excellent leaders have done before you. You become proficient in your job or skill, and then you become proficient at understanding the motivations and behaviors of other people. As a leader, you combine your personal competencies with the competencies of a variety of others into a smoothly functioning team that can out-play and out-perform all its competitors. When you become a team leader, even if your team only consists of one other person, you must immediately develop a whole new set of leadership skills.

Focus On What's Right vs. Who's Right

Whenever you have problems, misunderstandings, or difficulties within the team, you reexamine your values, your goals, your activities, your assignments, and your responsibilities. You are more concerned with what’s right than with who’s right. Leaders are more concerned with winning than with not losing. High-Performing teams run by excellent leaders, are determined to perform in an excellent fashion. All members know that their ability to work together in harmony and cooperation is the key to the success of every one of them.

Aim at a Common Goal

The wonderful thing about becoming a leader in your work and personal life is that you can practice the skills of influencing and persuading others toward a common objective. You can promote the principles of excellent teamwork by establishing your values and goals, determining your activities, and then leading the action. And you can improve yourself by continually evaluating your performance against your standards.

Only Compare Yourself With Yourself

One of the marks of excellent people is that they never compare themselves with others. They only compare themselves with themselves and with their past accomplishments and future potential. You can become an even more excellent person by constantly setting higher and higher standards for yourself and then by doing everything possible to live up to those standards. The more proficient you become at getting the results for which you were hired, the more opportunities you will have to get results through others. And your ability to put together a team and then to lead that team to high performance will enable you to accelerate your career and fulfill your goals faster than ever before.

To lead is to serve,

Coach Carolyn

Thursday, July 26

Servant Leadership and Meeting Needs

In yesterday's post I talked about setting boundaries as a way to maintain the servant leadership principle and to not be seen as a "doormat." Today I would like to address meeting legitimate needs as another way to keep within the limits.

Every human being have the same basic needs. American psychologist Abraham Maslow was famous for proposing the Hierarchy of Human Needs. These basic needs are as follows:

  • The Physiological Needs -- food, air, shelter, sleep, sex
  • The Safety Needs -- security of self, family and property
  • The Need for Belongingness -- friendship, intimacy
  • The Need for Self-Esteem -- the need to be respected
  • The Self-Actualization Need -- creativity, morality, purpose

These are the legitimate needs that servant leaders are called to meet.

There is a difference between meeting needs and satisfying wants. According to James Hunter, author of The Servant: A Simple Story About the True Essence of Leadership, the definition of a want is a wish or desire without any regard for the physical or psychological consequence. Slaves satisfy wants, servant leaders meet needs.

This is one reason leaders must lead themselves first. When leaders are comfortable with themselves, when they can be authentic, then they can distinguish between wants and legitimate needs. A true leader knows the pulse of the organization she is leading and can discern what the true needs of that organization and the people are.

Are you satisfying peoples wishes or meeting their legitimate needs?

To lead is to serve,

Coach Carolyn

Wednesday, July 25

Servant Leadership and Setting Boundaries

When I teach my classes on servant leadership, the most frequently asked question is as a servant leader being taken advantage of, being thought of as weak or becoming a doormat. This is a very valid question and one that needs special attention. But because this is a multi-layered issue, I will touch on the layers briefly.

In our society, leadership typically comes from a power structure, not a principle of service. Servant Leadership turns this notion on its head. It comes from a place of serving those we lead. The first action is the need to set boundaries and limitations.

We live in a world where standards must be set and people are held accountable. To be a doormat says that those two things are not in place. It says that there are no standards, no boundaries, that no one is held accountable for anything, and that there are no consequences for actions or behaviors, be it positive or negative.

We tend not to hold people accountable for unacceptable behavior because we want to avoid conflict -- especially in the workplace. I am here to shake up your notion of conflict. Conflict is not just about keeping the peace when there is an issue on the table. Conflict is usually that great, big elephant in the middle of the room that everyone walks around trying to avoid, or ignore.

The mentality of doormat behavior will always be an issue if we continue to avoid the elephant. When there is an elephant in the room, someone at the party is uncomfortable. Someone wants it to go away. In order for it to go away, it needs to be discussed.

True conflict is discussing the elephant. When relationships have been formed, then trust has been formed. We tend to equate conflict with heated, angry words and outbursts. Real conflict is about discussing the issues, not about judgments and character assassinations. Conflict resolution is bringing to light the actions that are unacceptable.

We are called to judge people's behavior, especially when it is unacceptable. When we allow others to get away with bad behavior, it makes for a resentful and hostile environment. When there is a conflict, it is either because someone's boundaries have been crossed or someone took an action or an inaction and was not held accountable for it.

Set boundaries in all your relationships -- personal as well as professional. When someone says something that is unacceptable, tell them so. But not in an accusatory way, because they may not be aware of the offense. But say it as you would want someone to say it to you -- with love.

To lead is to serve,

Coach Carolyn

Tuesday, July 24

Passion and Leadership

In this week's Business Week, Carmine Gallo writes about Chris Gardner, the man whose rags-to-riches story inspired the movie The Pursuit of Happyness, and explains how he harnessed his passion to turn his life around.

What is the one thing—the one secret—that helped him change his life? "It's passion," he told me. "Passion is everything. In fact, you've got to be borderline fanatical about what you do." Gardner says he was fortunate to find something he truly loved, something where he couldn't wait for the sun to rise so he could do it again. His advice to entrepreneurs and those seeking a career change? "Be bold enough to find the one thing that you are passionate about. It might not be what you were trained to do. But be bold enough to do the one thing. Nobody needs to dig it but you."

Passion is the emotion of feeling very strongly about a subject or person. What are you passionate about? What absolutely excites you to the point of timelessness?

Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz used the word "passion" throughout our entire conversation. But remarkably, the word "coffee" was rarely spoken. You see, for Schultz, coffee is not his passion. Instead, Schultz says, he is passionate about creating a workplace that "treats people with dignity and respect;" a workplace environment that his father never had the opportunity to experience. The coffee product offers the means to help Schultz fulfill his passion.

Passion makes you excited about getting up each morning. When you are following your passion, time stands still. Both Gardner and Schultz followed their passions which led to fulfilling their dreams. Are you following your passion? Or following someone else's script for your life?

Read the rest of Gallo's article in Business Week.

Live your passion,
Coach Carolyn

Monday, July 23

Principles of Leadership Coaching

Six Principles of Leadership Coaching from the Leading Effectively Series of the Center for Creative Leadership

You may be pretty familiar -- and probably fairly comfortable -- with the model of the visiting leadership coach. Sometimes it's easier to dispense leadership advice to an audience you don't know. So it's no wonder these leadership pros seem so confident. But what if you're asked to coach a subordinate or a peer within your organization? Is coaching someone you might work with daily a Quixotic task?

Actually, whether you're a visiting coach, or a coach working in the trenches of your organization, a lot of the same rules of thumb apply. Today we're going to discuss the Center for Creative Leadership's six core principles for coaching someone from an office or cubicle near you:

First, when coaching a peer or a subordinate, you must create a safe, yet challenging environment. Your coachee needs to feel he or she can take risks, and it's up to you to provide a space where risk-taking is rewarded and not risky business. Remember, if you are the coachee's boss or manager, he may wonder if he can reveal vulnerabilities that will be used against him in other aspects of his job. So keep your attitude as open and as nonjudgmental as possible, and let the coachee know you support him, even as you test his knowledge and skills.

A second core coaching principle: Try to work within the coachee's agenda. Remember, this coaching session is not about you, so let the coachee decide which goals to work on and even how to go about improving. Sure, it's great when the coachee's own agenda aligns perfectly with the organization's goals, but never impose your personal priorities on the relationship. When it's clear you need to push a point, put on your managerial hat -- thereby preserving the special collaborative coaching relationship you're trying so hard to build.

That leads into the third core principle for in-house coaching: "Facilitate and collaborate." Like Socrates, who always led his students with questions, the best coaches do not give direct answers or act the expert. Focus on the coachee's needs and avoid filling the lesson with your own life stories and pet theories. Although you may suggest several options for responding to a problem, the ultimate choice should rest with the coachee -- with you acting as the facilitator and collaborator.

Principle Number 4: "Advocate self-awareness". You want your coachee to learn how to recognize her own strengths and present weaknesses -- a prerequisite skill for any good leader. In the same way, you should understand how your own behaviors as a coach impact the people around you. Demonstrate a sense of awareness in yourself and you are more likely to foster in your coachee a similar self-awareness.

And as you coach someone in your organization, put into practice the fifth core principle of leadership teaching. That is: Promote learning from experience. Most people can learn, grow and change only if they have the right set of experiences and are open to learning from them. As a leader coach, always help your coachee reflect on past events and to analyze what went well and what didn't. Foster experiential learning and your student will continue to improve long after your lessons end.

Finally, model what you coach. This, the last of the six core principles, may be the most difficult to embody, as it means putting into practice outside of class the leadership lessons you've been trying to communicate. Feel frustrated that a coaching relationship isn't going well? In that case, "go back to the basics," says CCL's Douglas Riddle, who adds: "Whether the frustration lies on the part of the coach or the coachee, the beginning of a solution can often be found by looking to these six core principles."

And remember, if you don't feel you have the capacity to coach on a particular issue, refer your charge to someone more experienced -- a coach who, we hope, puts into practice the six core leadership coaching principles even better than you do.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Great Leadership Thoughts

"The great opportunity is to discover in one’s mature years an unrealized growth potential. Growth, not in terms of external achievement, but in the things that are important in the quiet hours when one is alone with oneself; growth in the capacity for serenity in a world of confusion and conflict, a new kind of inner stamina, a new kind of exportable resource as youthful prowess drops away."
~ Robert K. Greenleaf, On Becoming a Servant-Leader

"There are four needs in all people: To live, to love, to learn, to leave a legacy. When these needs overlap, you find that internal motivation, the fire within. Starting with your own fire, you can create something that will burn bright for many people and last a lifetime — you can empower others to live, to love, to learn, to leave a legacy. You can be a servant-leader."
~ Stephen R. Covey, Focus on Leadership

"The servant-leader is servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer, is: Do those served grow as persons; do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society; will they benefit, or at least, not be further deprived?”
~ Robert K. Greenleaf, The Servant as Leader

“Leaders must be creative; and creativity is largely discovery – a push into the uncharted and the unknown. Every once in a while, a leader finds himself needing to think like a scientist, an artist, or a poet, and his thought processes may be just as fanciful as in those areas.”
~ Robert K. Greenleaf, On Becoming a Servant-Leader

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Friday, July 20

The Secrets of Servant Leadership

This article is reprinted from Leadership Wired by Dr. John C. Maxwell. I highly recommend The Secret: What Great Leaders Know and Do by Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller. It is written in fable form, which is very popular among leadership books these days; so it is very engaging and easy to read. Notice the acronym: SERVE.

After Princess Diana was killed in a tragic car accident, 2 ½ billion people tuned in to watch her televised funeral. Not only Great Britain, but the entire world, mourned her death. What accounted for the public’s emotional attachment to Princess Di?

Certainly, royalty and beauty attributed to Princess Diana’s popularity, but something else connected her to the hearts of people across the globe. Looks and lineage may have landed her on magazine covers, but Princess Di had an endearing quality that gave her even greater appeal. Princess Diana was beloved because she was a servant leader.

For centuries, royal families epitomized self-serving leadership. Comfortably removed from the day to day troubles of those in their kingdom, they enjoyed opulent wealth and absolute power. Princess Diana broke the stereotype. She leveraged her popularity to lend support for AIDS research, to care for those with leprosy, and to ban land mines. In fact, the force of Diana’s compassion was so influential that Time Magazine named her one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century.

Five Practices That Help Leaders Serve Others
In their valuable book, The Secret, Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller shed light on the practices that enable leaders, like Princess Diana, to serve others.

1. See the Future
Leaders have a compelling vision for the future stirring inside of them. The vision makes plain a leader’s identity, direction, and pattern of behavior. To affect the future, a leader spreads values throughout an organization.

These values are core beliefs that become the cornerstones of organizational culture. A wise leader publishes the values so that they can be repeated, recognized, and rewarded.

A leader cannot delegate the responsibility to see the future. They may share the responsibility, but ultimately, it’s the leader’s job to make time today to ensure the direction of tomorrow.

2. Engage and Develop Others
To create the future a leader envisions, he or she must have the right people, in the right roles, fully engaged to their work. Everything that you will accomplish as a leader ultimately hinges on the people you have around you. As the Law of the Inner Circle says, “A leader’s potential is determined by those closest to him or her.”

Sadly, many people’s talents languish on the job because they are disengaged. Likely, the greatest waste in business is human potential. Leaders pull out the potential inside of their people by inspiring and motivating. They are quick to offer opportunities for growth, be mentors, or equip their employees with resources.

3. Reinvent Continuously
Great leaders reinvent continuously on a personal level. They are always interested in ways to enhance their own knowledge and skills. The very best leaders are learners. They realize that if they stop learning, they will stop leading. A leader sets the tone of the organization. If they cease growing personally, then the majority of those they lead will become stagnant as well.

Reinvention is critical to survival. The solutions to problems of the past are inadequate to address the demands of today. Leaders must have fresh, innovative thinking and new ideas to respond to the challenges the organization faces.

4. Value results and relationships
When it comes to results and relationships, the best leaders take a both/and approach. A focus solely on results demoralizes the team, while an overemphasis on relationships undercuts the bottom line due to conflict avoidance and an absence of accountability. The greatest leaders make friends and profits.

Leaders earn relational capital, and put it to work to gain results. As the Law of Connection states, “leaders touch a heart before they ask for a hand.”

5. Embody Values
All genuine leadership is built on trust. Leaders build trust when they establish, articulate, model, and enforce values. In short, they walk the talk.

If I say customers are important, my actions had better support that statement. If I choose to live as if customers are not important, people will have reason to question my trustworthiness. And in the final analysis, if I am deemed untrustworthy by my people, I will not be trusted – or followed as a leader.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Thursday, July 19

Leadership Lessons from Paris Hilton

I recently watched Larry King's interview with Paris Hilton after she served time in prison for driving with a suspended license. King spoke of incarceration being a time of introspection, a time meant to learn lessons, and asked Hilton if she had learned any lessons during that time. Her answer was typical. It was a very traumatic experience for her; she did a lot of soul searching, having lots of time to think and journal. She also said she believes that God does everything for a reason.

We know the Maxwell maxim: Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less. Paris Hilton is a woman of influence. Thousands of people follow either her or her life story as it unfolds, the majority of them being young women and girls. So, how is she influencing? If leadership is influence, then we need to think about who are our influencers.

I do not follow the goings on of Paris Hilton, or any other celebrity for that matter. My life is full enough, thank you. But these people are our leaders. How? Because they influence. My point is how are we choosing to influence? Mother Teresa and Gandhi were leaders of influence; and so was Adolph Hitler and Saddam Hussein.

According to Wikipedia, influence is a term that refers to the ability to indirectly control or affect the actions of other people or things. The meaning of influence therefore depends on who or what is being affected, and to what end. Statistics tells us that the average person will influence at least 10,000 people in a lifetime. The people I mentioned earlier were powerful influencers, and still continue to influence years after their deaths.

How do you choose to influence? I am around people who are cynical, angry, judgmental, critical, selfish and jealous. Yet, I also come in contact with people who are kind, generous, patient, loving, selfless and peaceful. Both kinds of people have an influence on someone.

Who would you want your children to be around?

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn