Knowing Your Place

When Leaders Act Differently Than We Expect

Knowing Your Place

It was the last night of my stay at the very luxurious Ritz-Carlton in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Apparently someone had alerted the General Manager that I would be leaving very early the following morning. So, he came to my dinner table in the dining room to introduce himself and to say “Thank you” for my extended stay It had been a 3 and a half week stay at his hotel. It was soon after our brief discussion ended that I saw an extraordinary example of true servant leadership.

A woman was struggling with a large balloon bouquet and a suitcase. In addition to the most senior person in the hotel, there were several other general staff in the very near vicinity. They probably saw her as well. And then he did it.

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Emotionally Adept Leaders

The Case for EI is the Case for EA

Emotionally Adept Leaders

To make a case for one of them is to also make the case for the other. Because to truly grasp Emotional Intelligence (EI) and not put it into practice in every area of life would be to deny by your actions that you really “get it” when it-comes to the topic of EI.

I am in the process of writing a book on the topic of what it means to take Emotional Intelligence beyond just “knowing” and onto the important steps of incorporating that knowledge into our daily lives. In other words, becoming emotionally “adept” and not just full of knowledge that is never applied to how we live our lives. I am terming this, becoming “Emotionally Adept” and it is part of the overall process of becoming an “Emotionally Adept Leader.”

However, before I continue and expand on what it is to be emotionally adept, I should probably set the background for those not familiar with EI or reset the background for those that are familiar.

High-level Summary of EI.

By now, many of you have read the book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves. So, just what is emotional intelligence? The quick answer is to say that there are four components of emotional intelligence that best define it. The first two are about yourself, while the remaining two are concerning others or those around you.

Self- consciousness (Being aware of one’s own emotions) 

Knowing yourself and being conscious of your emotions is the first component of emotional intelligence. Becoming aware of

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Nice Guys Finish Last

The Lost Art of Calendar Discipline

Nice Guys Finish Last

Maybe nice guys don’t finish “last.” But they often finish “late.” What do I mean when I say that?

One of the most glaring leadership issues that I observe on an all too frequent basis is a lack of calendar disciple. Calendar discipline is the internal discipline to make sure that as much as in me lies, to start a meeting on time and to finish a meeting on time. To be transparent here, this is a personal pet peeve and a Quixotic quest to always be punctual in starting and ending my meetings. I learned many years ago that although you can be too late for a meeting or an event, you cannot usually be too early.

This discipline is especially important when we are scheduled in back-to-back-to-back-to-back meetings. As soon as I start or end a meeting late, I begin a chain of events that will have a negative impact on people that are not even aware of it yet. And that chain reaction may cause them to then miss their committed time for their meetings and events that have nothing to do with my meetings and events.

A colleague of mine from many years ago had a little maxim that he quoted about his daily work habits. He said:

“Each day I have two goals. The first is to get to work on time. The second is to go home on time. And just because I fail at the first goal, it does not mean that I need to fail at the second.”

It was meant in humor, but there is a ring of truth to it that we can apply to getting ourselves back on schedule.

Why does this seem to happen?

This thing tends to happen because as leaders we try to be too nice. I realize that this article may seem to be a contradiction to my most recent article. But bear with me.

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Real Leaders Care

Are you compassionate?

Real Leaders Care

There is a story that is told of an old lady who came to the post office frequently to buy stamps. And that story presents us with a leadership trait that we would all do well to develop.

It seems as though she was a fragile and frail senior citizen. She showed up one day during the busy Christmas season and queued up in the line to buy stamps. Unfortunately, the line wound its way around the inside of the post office and spilled out onto the sidewalk outside.

A concerned customer behind her said as he pointed to a stamp machine built into the far wall, “Ma’am, you must be getting very tired. Did you know there’s a stamp machine over there in the lobby?”

“Why yes, thank you, dear,” the elderly lady replied, “but I’ll just wait here a little while longer. It’s nearly my turn now.”

The good Samaritan became almost insistent. “But, it’d be so much easier for you to avoid this long line if you’d buy your stamps from the machine.”

The kind old woman patted him on the arm, and answered, “Oh I know that, sweetie but that machine on the wall would never ask me how my grandchildren are doing.”

There it was. Did you get it? Did you see the leadership trait that is so important for us to exhibit?

What is the leadership trait?

It is this.

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Are You Likable?

Is it better to be liked or respected?

Are You Likable

I want to be liked. I think that everyone wants to be liked. Do you want to be liked?

The question today is this: Do we need to be liked to be an effective leader?

I am going to speak from a male perspective today. If you are a female, read on. It may be insightful for you to further see how men think and process information. But I am speaking today from a male viewpoint.

What is that point of view?

There is something inside a man that longs for respect. And I think that many, if not most men would choose respect over love if they had to make such a choice. So, what do we do with that reality?

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Are You a Courageous Leader? 

Or, are you a cowardly leader?

Are You a Courageous Leader?

If you were to list the top adjectives that best describe a leader that is worthy of following, what words would be on that list?

For many of us, words like “strong, determined, confident, tough, and courageous” would probably be near the top of each of our lists, don’t you think? Most of us like our leaders to be reflective of those adjectives. Everyone loves a heroic character.  It doesn’t have to always end in “success” for us to be drawn to a leader. Sometimes they just have to have that Winston Churchill “Never give up!” spirit for us to find them worthy to follow.

Now consider this as a contrast.

When you list adjectives that describe a highly functioning and successful team, what words would be on that list?

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Leadership Capital – Part 3 

Spending Your Leadership Capital

Leadership Capital - Part 3

In my first article on this topic, I discussed just what is “Leadership Capital” and what are the components that make it up. And in the second, I discussed how we accumulate and increase our supply. In the final installment, we will take a look at spending that capital – and spending it wisely.

As hard as it is to come by, it certainly seems to be flowing out at a faster pace than it does flowing into our leadership “account.”  Yet, I finished my last article urging you to spread it around as a means of accumulating more.

Where Do I Spend My Leadership Capital?

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Leadership Capital – Part 2 

Increasing Your Leadership Capital

Leadership Capital - Part 2

In my first article on this topic, I discussed just what is “Leadership Capital” and what are the components that make it up. So, if we have a good understanding of what it is, let’s move on to see how we gain more of it.

This much I know to be true. It is earned in small amounts and often over long periods of time. Thus, you have the first half of my quote – “ . . . earned in pennies . . .

What Steps Can I Take to Build My Leadership Capital?

Be Approachable — Several years ago I wrote an article that reminds us that leaders are accessible and not aloof. Accessible and approachable are similar enough that for my purposes I am considering them synonymous. Leadership capital is earned by

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Leadership Capital – Part 1 

Earned in Pennies and Spent in Pounds

Leadership Capital - Part 1

How do you measure leadership acumen? How is it measured as it gained? How is it measured as it is expended?  Is there a subjective scale or is there an objective scale? And if so, what would be the markings or gradations?

These are the questions that I am grappling with today as I contemplate a variation on a quote that I have come up with in the last few days.

“Leadership capital is earned in pennies and spent in pounds.”

OK, I am not British and I realize that our currency is dollars. However, the point of the quote is that leadership capital is “earned” in small increments and it is often expended in larger denominations.

But before we can really talk about how it is gained or how it is spent, we need to get a handle on just what is “leadership capital?”

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Leadership That Calms

Do you bring “calm” to your team?

Leadership That Calms

My TimeHop today reminded me of a quote three years ago from George Will that compared Ronald Reagan to a ship captain. George Will said, He calmed the passengers – and the sea. On top of that, my Sunday School lesson that I taught over the weekend was about the words of Jesus Christ to his Disciples as he walked to them on the water — Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.

All of that added up tells me that I need to be thinking about leaders and calmness in difficult situations.

Leaders Are Calm in Difficult Situations

Calmness and composure are synonymous to me in this context. The composure of a leader is reflected in their body language, attitude, body language, vocal tone, vocal volume, and overall presence.   In today’s business environment, it is clear that leadership is not only about elevating the performance, aptitude, and development of our teams – it is also about the environment that we create within our organizations. 

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