Leadership – How do you know if you are a great leader?

Leadership is not for everyone, and even some people who are in leadership positions do not belong in this role. Having worked for numerous leaders during the course of my twenty-five years in the business world, I can tell you there is a wide array of leadership types and levels of competency. Fortunately, I have learned something from both the amazing and not so great leaders, but the amazing ones are different from the average leaders based on a number of similar characteristics.

During my professional marketing career, I worked at a combination of both start-up and well established companies (e.g., Constant Contact, EMC/Dell, Hitachi). The start-up company’s leaders were the ones I learned the most from. I attribute this due to the fact these leaders had to be so dynamic and multi-talented with their skill sets. Their multi-faceted skills were what enabled them to navigate and grow the companies in the face of continuous high risk, especially during hyper growth or unknown growth periods when a new product or service was being launched.

In my opinion, the number one skill the best leaders each possessed was their high level of emotional intelligence, also referred to as EQ. To the best of my knowledge, this is not a skill which is taught in business school, and is purely an innate talent. When someone has a high degree of EQ, this does not guarantee they will be a successful leader, but the best ones I worked for leveraged this skill every day in highly demonstrable ways.

Some of the ways the highly successful leaders leveraged their EQ was by being able to easily read people and know how to motivate them. They were also able to get along well with them, regardless of the role they played in the organization. Possessing the ability to provide a crystal-clear vision both verbally and in writing of where and how a company will achieve its goals, is also an essential skill the best leaders I worked for possessed.

The majority of the best leaders also exuded charisma, and were very likeable people. They also earned your respect, and you wanted to follow and do your best work for them. The majority of them were also demanding and had extremely high standards across the board, but they were also fair and non-judgmental. Being open minded was an attribute they all possessed too.

Ironically, not all of the people who I would classify as a leader were in fact leaders. However, they possessed the characteristics and traits associated with successful leaders, and were clearly heading towards being one at some point in their career. I’m sure you can name a few people who fall into this category, and I hope they will be given the opportunity to step into the leadership role they are destined to fill.

A recent and non-business example of a person who is destined to be a leader is a young man I recently worked with who was on a sports team I was the performance and motivation coach for. This young man would be the first person to tell you he was probably the least talented player on the team from a field skill perspective, but this did not truly matter, as his role on the team was more important on the sidelines and in the locker room.  He exhibited all of the characteristics of a leader in the making, and his teammates recognized this at the end of the season and by naming him to be one of the captains of the team during his senior year.

If you think you are a leader in the making, wish to be one someday, or are in fact already a leader, this is one of the most important roles you will play in your professional life. Having worked for some of the best leaders in the world, I encourage you to model your leadership style after well know leaders, regardless of the industry they are in. For developing leaders, or if you are a leader and you have not fully developed the essential characteristics and skills to be a great leader, there is still time to do so.

Please do not delay in developing your leadership skills, as you are doing a disservice to yourself and those you are leading when you do not possess the right or essential leadership skills.

How will you know if you are a great leader? Chances are you have been told you are, and if you have not regularly heard that you are, then you might have some more work to do to get to the great leader designation.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Whisperer whichis available via Amazon.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis.

If you want better results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

 

 

 

How to Build Your Reliability Reputation

One of the pillars of a successful business is reliability. The concept comes in a variety of flavors. Let’s focus on human reliability. Without reliability as an embraced (strategy, hypotheses, belief) in an organization, by all members, the fundamentals of running the business simply will not thrive.

On a recent trip to Australia, I witnessed how the concept of reliability plays such a critical role.

The 16-hour flight provided many opportunities to think about reliability and to see it in action.   The amazing Qantas flight crew worked in harmony and relied upon each other to do their jobs. If you think about all of the elements associated with what it takes to get a large commercial plane off the ground, and the incredible amount of details which need to be executed to make this possible . . . What a wonderful demonstration of teamwork – and reliability.

When people are doing their jobs well, and most are reliant upon others to some degree, amazing things can happen. Conversely, when team members lose sight of the fact that being unreliable can have negative consequences that will impact others, bad things can happen. That’s bad news on the ground, but in the air?  No!

This may seem incredibly basic from a common-sense perspective, but more often than you think, you or your colleagues lose sight of the power of reliability.

So, how do you stay focused on being reliable? What does it mean to be considered a reliable team member?

Staying focused is easier than you think, especially if you care about your work performance.  What’s more, doing a great job is going to help not only you, but others, now, and in the future.

One way to stay focused is to break your tasks into segments. About 30 to 45 minutes is ideal, as most people start to lose their ability to focus well past this point.

Not all jobs will allow you to pause and take a short break, but if you are fortunate enough to be able to do this, the result will be of a higher quality, and you will have renewed energy for resuming the assignment. Your colleagues will likely also be impressed with the outcome, and you will begin to build your reputation for producing quality work, and more importantly, be considered reliable.  You will have an enviable reliability rating!

Another way to remain focused is to segment the type of tasks you tackle. For example, consider checking email at the beginning, middle, and end of the day versus constantly checking messages throughout the day.

If you have the type of work that requires you to be in meetings, whenever possible, plan them at the beginning of the day. That leaves the remainder of the afternoon to accomplish the assignments for which you are responsible.

Save the work you enjoy most for the end of the day. This way, you will have it to look forward to, and, because it is the type of work you like, you will have a renewed sense of energy.

Another trick to remaining focused is to take brisk walks around the office. Consider these jaunts as mini rewards for accomplishing the task on which you were working.  Plus, any kind of exercise is a bonus, and who knows who you’ll meet out walking around!

Being considered reliable is a designation you earn from your colleagues. When you demonstrate to others that you are reliable, your entire team or the company you work for will benefit. Amazing things might also begin to happen.

Think about a time when you had to rely upon someone and they did not follow through. How did that feel like? Not desirable, right?  And it made you think twice about being able to rely upon that person the next time you needed to do so. Keep the concept of reliability in mind the next time you are tasked with a responsibility for doing anything related to your job. It helps to keep you focused on a much more positive outcome, and your colleagues will enjoy working with you even more than they already do!

Dedicated to Elfi at Qantas Airlines. Thanks for your inspiration!

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis.

If you want better results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

 

 

Building a Strong Team

When you are at a point in your career when you are building, or developing a team, there are many factors that will contribute to how successful your team will be.

One of these success factors has to do with who you had the privilege of being mentored by as you were coming up the ranks. If you were fortunate enough to have an emotionally intelligent and common-sense oriented boss/mentor, consider yourself fortunate. If your boss/mentor also had mastered being empathetic, and was able to coach you through tough business scenarios, consider yourself to be in an elite group of managers.

What if your former bosses were not skilled people or motivational leaders? How do you learn these skills to build and develop exceptional, performing teams?

There still are ways you can obtain the experience to model after the ideal people leaders who build strong teams.

One of the ways you can do this is to identify a manager within your organization who you or others admire for the management qualities they have, and which you are drawn to learning from.

Since this person is not your leader, you will need to be creative in terms of how you can learn from them, but there is a simple solution to this conundrum. Simply ask them if you can meet with them once per week for about 30 minutes to learn from them.

Assuming they say yes, be sure to have questions to ask, and a well thought-through agenda. Ideally, share your agenda with your chosen mentor(s) prior to the meeting to give them some time to prepare.

You can also ask to shadow them, after you have built up enough time with them to move to this level of leadership mentoring. Depending on the size of your company, find out if there is a management training track available.

Typically, only companies with 250 or more employees will have this type of set-up.

I have been pleasantly surprised by much smaller and innovative companies who see the value of having a management rotation process in place. If your company has a rotational management process, inquire about how you can participate, as some companies will require you to apply, and others will identify you for their program.

For those of you who are already leading a team, how do you know you have the right team in place? I pose this question due to the fact it is not always possible to build your team from scratch. You will often be adopting a team to manage versus building one. For those of you who have adopted teams to manage, you still have an opportunity to treat the team as if you are building it out from scratch.  I have done this on a number of occasions. The best way to accomplish this is to take your team off-site for a minimum of one day, but two days is ideal.

During your off-site, let the members know you want to re-establish the team as if it were new, and you that to get everyone on board.

Check out about leveraging StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath and his concept of identifying each team members top five strengths as the basis for doing a team reset.

Find or assign a facilitator to take you through exercises derived from knowing what the team member’s top strengths are. Doing this will give the team an opportunity to get to know each other much differently and in a way which will level set everyone’s basis for better understanding how to leverage each member’s strengths differently going forward.

If you are in a position to hire a team from scratch, consider yourself fortunate, as this opportunity does not come up often in most people’s careers.

For those in the majority of the business population, who will only be hiring two to six people for their team, here are six high-level guidelines for helping you to hire the right people.

 

  1. Making sure the person you are bringing onto your team fits into your corporate and team culture is critical. Make sure everyone on the team has a chance to interview the candidate. If the vote to hire the person is not unanimous, then the candidate will not be offered the role. Developing hiring consensus is one of the best ways to accelerate the on-boarding process for the new team member.

 

  1. Check the references of the person you are hiring, and ask really tough questions. Too many people skip over this important step in the process. You might be surprised by what you learn – both good and bad about the candidate.

 

  1. When possible, ask the candidate to come in to shadow your team for half a day. You and the candidate will learn much more about each other this way, and it will give each of you an opportunity to test drive the potential experience of working together.

 

  1. Coordinate with your team on what questions you will be asking the candidate. It is a waste of time for your team and the candidate to have to answer the same questions over and over again.

 

  1. Debrief with your team after each person has interviewed the candidate. Include your recruitment manager in the process, if you are fortunate enough to have one. Some companies have a process for you to input your feedback about the candidate into an online system, but if you do not have one, you can improvise and provide everyone who interviews the candidate with a series of questions. Since some interview processes can drag on for weeks, being able to look back on the team interview feedback will be helpful.

 

  1. Trust your gut. Even if the person looks perfect on paper and interviews like a pro, if your gut tells you there is something not right about this candidate, trust your instincts, as they are often spot on.

Of course, there are no guarantees in life, but if you follow some or most of these guidelines, you will have a far greater chance of building and having the ideal team in place to help one another to becoming an amazing team to lead.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis.

If you want better results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

 

 

(5) Tips on How to Find Your Confidence

How is it that some people seem to exude confidence, while others are on a perpetual journey to find it. If you are one of the people not as confident as you would like to be, or feel like you are faking your confidence most of the time, you are not alone. However, there are things you can do to boost your and maintain confidence.

If you’ve been following my blog articles for any length of time, you can probably guess whether I was blessed with the confidence gene.

As I meet and talk to new people, I am often stunned when the ones who come across as being particularly self-assured often share with me that they wish they were more confident.

This is an indication that it is easier to fake your confidence until it feels real. I’m not advocating being inauthentic, but you have certainly heard the expression fake it until you make it.

Having confidence allows you to pursue things others might not. People who possess confidence come across differently than people who have not yet found and harnessed theirs. Of course, it is possible to be confident about some things and not others. The trick is to work towards being more confident in a number of categories and not only a few. Becoming completely confident can take time.  There is no particular formula to calculate how quickly you can gain your confidence. The good news is that one day you will simply realize you are either almost fully confident, or exponentially more self-assured than you were.

So, how can you become more confident?

  1. Focus on something you like to do. Now think about how it makes you feel. Have people told you that are good at fill-in-the-blank? Hearing you are proficient at something can help to build your confidence.

 

  1. Develop skills in areas you are currently working on, especially if they are skills you enjoy doing. If you do not enjoy applying the skills you are doing to your life or career, I encourage you to rethink why you are doing what you are doing. Of course, there are aspects of every job or life skills we may not enjoy doing, but some of the ones we enjoy doing the least could potentially done by someone else at some point. Where you further develop skills you are currently working on, and gain mastery of them, this will be another way to bolster your confidence.

 

  1. Help others with the skills you have mastered. Doing this will make you feel proud, and in turn, more confident.

 

  1. Ask others who know you well what they think is something you do that showcases your confidence. You might already be exhibiting signs of confidence.

 

  1. Think about the people you admire and what makes them appear confident. Until you get there yourself, you can imitate what they are doing until you have more faith in your own abilities.

There are benefits to being confident. One is you come across as likable. Another, which everyone likes, is that you are more interesting, and potentially more desirable.

Your confidence will inspire others to follow and get to know more about you.  Don’t be surprised if people go out of their way to get to be your friend. Confident people tend to have more friends, more opportunities, and can enjoy an enriched life.

Let’s find or increase your confidence, as the benefits of having more faith and trust in your own abilities, are worth the effort!  Oh, and if you need an extra boost of confidence, just listen to the song ‘I Have Confidence’ from The Sound of Music.  Adjust lyrics to fit your personal situation.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis.

If you want better results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

 

 

Untapped Potential

A number of things irk me, and one of them is when I see untapped, underutilized or potential in someone or something being dismissed. I recently experienced an entire roomful of players verbally telling one of their teammates how they could see how much potential he had. Whether this person believed or could see what the others were seeing was in question, and unfortunately about a week later, it was clear he did not see what they could see

After hearing about the person essentially throwing away their potential by deciding not to participate on the team anymore, I was really upset that this happened. The fact myself and the rest of the team could see his potential was as obvious to us as the nose on our face, but for some reason, this person did not see or want to leverage what we were seeing. This should not have happened, and although it did, there is still an opportunity to help this person see what they could not see.

One of my abilities is helping to see potential and strengths in others they may not be aware of. In the case of this player, his potential was so obvious to everyone else, it truly amazes me he could not embrace and seize the opportunity to capitalize on his potential. Instead, he chose to dismiss the potential talent he had, and what others admired in him. There are a number of reasons why this happened, but the main thing to concentrate on is how to help someone in this situation.

If you or someone else you know is dismissive or unaware of their potential, I honestly believe it is each of our responsibilities to help this person. I guarantee you at some point someone helped you when you could not see your potential, and I’m also certain it made a tremendously positive impact on your life. Perhaps you are not even aware of this having happened to you? If not, you should take a few minutes to think about when this probably did happen. Why? Because doing this will allow you to appreciate and then see from a different lens how to recognize potential in others.

You do not need to be a manager, parent or coach to see potential in others. You simply have to be willing and open to looking for it.

So, now you might be thinking to yourself, what does this untapped or unrecognized potential look like? It can look like many different things, and some of it is recognized by your gut instinct, and other times it is 100% obvious (e.g., singing, writing, mathematical, drawing, athletic talent). If you are willing to look for it, help others to embrace and take advantage of it, you will be giving them one of the best gifts we can give to another human, recognition for their untapped talent and potential.

When people are recognized for their potential, a funny thing happens. It is as if you are giving them an imaginary key to help them to unlock their potential. By doing this, you are allowing them to see what you see. By showing them and making them aware of their potential, you are helping them to develop the talent they were unaware of.

Imagine if everyone was looking out and helping others to tap into their potential? Everyone has potential, and it is sheerly a matter of other people being proactive and helping them to recognize it. Here are some ideas on how you can more easily spot untapped potential in others, and what to do when you see this:

  • They are naturally better at something than anyone else. Ask them if they are aware of what they are doing comes easily to them?
  • Someone who is empathetic may not be recognized for their gift of being this way. Tell the person who has a high degree of it, how much you appreciate this talent, and ask them how they are using it to help others on a daily basis?
  • Being a good listener is becoming a lost art. When you come across someone who is a strong listener, let them know how much you appreciate their talent, and ask them how they became such a good listener?
  • Seeing acts of kindness should not go unrecognized, and some people are simply more kind than others. When you see someone being kind, let them know you appreciate their act(s) of kindness, especially if they were kind to you or someone else.
  • If you see obvious, or not so obvious potential in someone and can do something about it, let them know you see their potential. Then, go one step further and either help them yourself, or find someone who can do so.

Never let potential go unnoticed or allow it not to be properly channeled. Everyone deserves to have their potential recognized, and given a chance to make the most of the potential they have. Don’t just be a bystander in witnessing potential, get out there and do your part to help others. The potential out there is unlimited, and will produce amazing results and opportunities when it is tapped into.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis.

If you want better results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.