Leaders are not dealers in hope

Leadership

One of my Twitter followers shared a quote the other day by Napoleon Bonaparte that says,  “Leaders are dealers in hope.” It even had a nice picture with it.  I thought quite a bit on that quote and I have to respectfully disagree.  Leaders are actually not dealers in hope at all. 

Hope can be defined as wishful thinking.  A feeling or an expectation of a desired outcome.  Though the idea sounds good, it can be quite dangerous to give someone hope when there is no data to back it up.  It can also be a hinderance when you hope someone gets something done and then they don’t do it. 

Hope involves too many what ifs.  You wouldn’t lead your team with what ifs, would you?  I wouldn’t. 

Risk is similar to hope.  It’s an uncertainty, but risk can typically be measured.  Hope is not measurable. 

As I was reading The Culture Engine by S. Chris Edmonds, I came across a few quotes that I felt are powerful. 

“Hope is not a sustainable strategy.” – S. Chris Edmonds, The Culture Engine

We can’t create a strategy with hope as our driving fuel.  We don’t have the time, resources, or manpower to take chances on such outcomes.  Putting your strategy on hope is foolish and a gamble.  Leaders do not gamble outcomes nor do they gamble their team’s future.  People are too valuable for wishful thinking or planning. 

“Make the goal expectations specific, measurable and trackable.” – S. Chris Edmonds, The Culture Engine

Leaders do, however deal with goal expectations that are specific, measurable and trackable for the positive growth of their team, organization and culture.  Don’t give your team a false sense of outcomes.  We need to give them clear visions(goals).  If you gave someone hope and that hope didn’t play out like you expected, what would that do to the trust they have in you?  Give people visions(goals) that are reachable and realistic in order to help them be better, do better and know better.  At least that way, if things fail, the path is trackable to know where things went wrong. 

5 Benefits of being Organized

Leadership, Organization

I posted recently 6 Ways to Stay Organized as a Leader.  This week I wanted to follow up with benefits of being organized and how it can actually produce great results.

Less stress. I want you to think about stress as if it’s weight that you carry and every time something stresses you, you add more weight to carry.  How much stress could you carry before you’re unable to walk, to move, to care for yourself and those around you, including your children?  Now think about everything you need to do, but you’re not tracking it except in your mind and every time you add something to your ‘to do list’ your eyesight becomes blurred.  The more you add, the less you see.  It would be hard to accomplish your tasks/lists without seeing.  So why not begin a path of being less stressed?

Being organized in not only the areas you work, but in your home can help you relieve that stress and when your stress is eliminated, good things begin to happen.   Creating an organization process, or ways to be organized can help you move forward in your agenda/goals.  Don’t let stress control you. 

Stress management is life management.  If you take control of your stress, your life will thank you for it. – Shereka Dunston

Time. Let’s say you have a huge list of things to do at work today.  You prioritize, you break down what’s needed to accomplish your list and you schedule time appropriately according to how long each task will take. Your plan is written down and you’re ready to go.  You have the vision now you have to put it into action.  You begin to cross off items on your list.  You then mark off the last thing on your list and guess what, you have 2 hours(example) before the work day is over.  YES!  You SAVED time!  Organizing your workload realistically can save you time depending on the projects/tasks you have to do. I mean, results will vary, but nonetheless, the better you plan the more time you can save.  Now the question is, what are you going to do with your extra time? Save time by being organized.  Plan well and maybe that minute organizing can save you an hour…or at least a few more minutes.  

“For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned.”  – Benjamin Franklin

Productivity.  When I organize my day and actually stick to it I get more things done.  That’s right!  Planning will open up the door to productivity.  When we create agendas for the day on what needs to be done we’re more likely to stick to it, thus doing more.  Time is lost when we spend it looking for things, getting distracted, not knowing what to do next and forgetting things you should have done.  We become reactive instead of proactive.  Be prepared so that things get done.  Planning provides the opportunity to maximize your potential and to prove to your leadership how hard of a worker you are. It paves the way for success. 

Productivity is never an accident.  It is always the result of commitment to excellence, intelligent planning and focused effort. – Paul J. Meyer

Energy. There are many areas in our life that could be planned better.  The greatest thing about organizing one area is that it’s contagious and you’ll want to organize other areas.  I recently began planning my work week and I found it to be refreshing to know what I’m going to do and how I’m going to do it.  It felt great.  I also began standing at work while at my desk instead of sitting.  This has motivated me to organize more at home as well.  I’m not really trying to micromanage every aspect of my life, but being organized makes everything better.  I feel energetic as if I’m in control.  I don’t feel stressed and I feel accomplished when I go to bed.  I love coffee!  Coffee gets me going, but when I’m on a roll of getting things done, I don’t even think about drinking coffee.  I get a natural boost of energy.  I have more energy and since I have more energy I control the day.  

Either you run the day or the day runs you. – Jim Rohn

Creativity. There are many ways to be creative and there are many ways that prevent creativity.  Being disorganized can be an element that prevents creativity.  Creativity takes time and if we don’t have time it is very difficult to spark ideas.  This is why being organized is important to our ability to be creative.  When we organize, we gain time which in turn gives us the opportunity to be creative.  Another reason we are less creative is that we get distracted by the objects around us.  Having a clear work space is like having a clear mind.  It gives you room to think, breathe and create fresh ideas.  Don’t let the clutter of objects, tasks and time be the preventing factor in your ability to create. 

Everyone has creativity in them. It’s just a matter of unlocking that creativity. – Christina Canters

6 Ways to Stay Organized as a Leader

Leadership

Last week I received my new Passion Planner and it helped me realize how much more organized I am with it.  I use Outlook constantly at work to know what’s going on and when things to be completed regarding tasks.  The only bad thing is that I can’t take Outlook with me when I leave my desk since we’re not allowed to sync it with our personal phones.  It’s okay, not a big deal, but my new planner has helped me check things out when I’m not at my computer since I can carry it with me.  Being organized is necessary to balance projects, tasks, time, and resources.  For a leader, being organized is a basic fundamental element to being a leader.  You can’t get things done in chaos.  You have to be organized.  An organized leader shows confidence, great management, increases productivity, helps balance and to include being organized reduces stress, saves time, money and resources.  Here a few tips to staying organized as a leader.  Don’t forget, there are many ways to stay organized.  This is just a few.  What are your ways of staying organized?  Please share. 

Create lists.  Lists will help you prioritize what needs to be done now and what can be done later.  Plain and simple.  As the first of the year began I wrote almost two pages of single bullet entries of tasks to complete through the week.  It took me two full weeks to complete it, but everything that needed to be done accordingly was done since I was able to visually see what needed to be done. I often categorize my lists depending on what needs to be done.  If it’s a few Calendar changes, an Additional Duty task, or even a personal task.  I make sure I can break them down so I know how to prioritize them.  Using a smartphone may help as well.  I’m old school.  I like to write things down.  Either way, list it!

Timelines. If you’re ever on a timeline to get projects done then creating a simple timeline will help.  Use this in line with your list so that you can accomplish what needs to be done.  Even if you draw out a straight line on a paper and put points between that moment and your deadline you’ll be able to see what you need to do in order as the deadline comes near.  Or use your calendar, of course.  

Take notes. Countless times I’ve had someone come into my office and ask about a specific task.  I’d lose track if I wasn’t able to take notes.  My mind just doesn’t remember every detail throughout the week.  Taking notes is a great way to ensure you have the details you need to get things done.  This also helps when creating lists of things to complete.  I don’t leave my desk without my Field Notes.  I always have one on me just in case I need to write something important down.

Teamwork. Throughout the day I ask my subordinate what he’s working on.  At times he’s not working on anything and that’s when I can leverage his abilities.  If he is busy, I will ask if it can wait or if I can help so that we both can get it done faster.   When we do things together we accomplish more and in a quicker amount of time.  If you’re a team, be a team.  It helps reach our goals.

Values.  Every leader must live by a set of values that move them and their team along.  To be organized means you can’t be unproductive.  One way to know for sure you stay productive is to perform by values.  Excellence is a value/standard that doesn’t have room for laziness or procrastination.  Values guide your performance and can keep you organized.  Ensure you have a set of values that help your life be easier, productive and organized.  

Clean up.  Get rid of things that shroud, clutter or hinder your organization.  No one can work well when things are messy.  Keep a neat and distraction free area.  Use desk organizers to keep documents in order, pens/pencils in a cup/or similar, keep sticky notes, notepads in one place, etc.  Be neat.  A well organized desk often shows how well the person is organized.  No one wants a disorganized team member or leader.  Clean your area for optimal performance. 

4 Ways to Build a Foundation for Leading a New Team

Leadership, Organization

It can be quite nerve racking taking on a leadership role in a new organization or in a new team.  Being the stranger of the group can make it seem impossible to gain the trust of team members.  After all, they know nothing about you, nor do they know or understand your leadership background.  How does one begin to lead a new team? What steps are necessary to gaining the trust of a new team?  Depending on the organization, team and leaders, it can vary.  These are not the end all be all keys to leading a new team effectively, but they certainly create a solid start.

Build a rapport!  Before you can assume everyone will follow you, you must first build a foundation in the relationship between you and each person on your team.  You can do this by just simply asking questions.  Make the questions personable.  Ask about hobbies, family, sports, etc. Common questions that can help you and them get a sense of who each person is.  This will build an open dialogue so they can get comfortable talking to you.  This opens the door for communication for both sides.  Build that rapport.

Be confident!  It’s tough to get followers to trust you if you don’t yourself have confidence in your abilities to lead.  Lack of confidence can lead to missed opportunities and can leave the team stagnant.  Confident leaders take initiative.  They don’t sit around and wait, they take charge knowing they can get the job done with the help of their team.  It also rids fear.  Fear is not a proper ingredient for success.  Confidence drives out fear. When you’re confident in what you’re doing, people will be willing to follow.  Be confident.

Be prepared!  A mindset changes everything!  Before you begin to lead any team you must be prepared to do so.  You can’t walk onto a football field without proper equipment and proper game plays.  Prepare yourself with necessary skills to perform your role.  Being prepared means you’ve done your homework.  You have to know who your team is, where your team is headed and how you can get them there.  Educate yourself on each of these. Prepare yourself!

Be willing to learn!  Leaders don’t know all of the answers, that’s why you have a team.  Leaders must show they are willing to learn from their team members.  Listening and learning from them builds trust.  When teams learn from each other it strengthens their ability to adapt to overcome challenges.  When leaders are open to learning from their team, it creates a culture of learning.  Learning is how we grow.  Show them that if you can, they can.  Learn!