Leader’s communication style, responsiveness level and success attainment. Are they linked?

When someone is in a leadership role, there is plenty of scrutiny on everything they do. They are also subjected to having most aspects of what they are involved with measured. Either overtly, or from a judgement and opinion level.  This is something that new or even experienced leaders will either find to be helpful in evaluating their performance, or similar to a heavy weight they must learn to tolerate carrying while performing at a peak level.

One of the most glaring mistakes I see new leaders make is assuming they have to know everything about their role. In other words, that if they ask others for advice, it might disclose they don’t know everything. This seems absurd when you think about it from this perspective. Why? Because it would be unrealistic for anyone, let alone a leader to know everything related to their role. Even experienced leaders will not have mastered everything about their role, and they don’t need to. However, they will need to be humble enough to admit this. Doing so early on in their leadership role will serve them well.

Maybe it’s me, but I find it extraordinarily frustrating when I interact with leaders who truly need support yet will initially keep you or others at an arm’s length and not allow you to help them. Of course, they need the help, they know they do, but they seem to be unable to allow their guard to come down enough to gain value from others experience and advice. Some of this is attributed to their pride or perhaps their ego, and neither will serve a leader well from a long-term success perspective.

Considering how pride and ego can have a detrimental impact on a leader who refuses to realize this, leads me to think about what are the contributing factors to this scenario? Let’s start with how comfortable a leader is with communication. If they do not find this to be one of their strong suits, have they, or will they seek support to improve this ability? Communication comes in a variety of forms, so tackling one at a time is more reasonable. A leader also might find that they can master one type of communication more easily, and doing this will help them to gain traction in the other areas they can then begin to work on becoming better at too.

If a leader is struggling with their ability to communicate well with others, I have seen a pattern of this also impacting their responsiveness levels. For context, I’m referring to how much of a sense of urgency a leader has with handling and responding to via their ideal communication style. When a leader is not yet comfortable with communicating with others they lead or need to engage with a sense of urgency, their responsiveness level generally isn’t as strong or as quick as it could or should be. Given the fact that there are many leadership situations which require a rapid response, if a leader isn’t capable of responding at the required response rate, this will then critically impact the desired success outcome of the scenario they are involved with.

Responsiveness levels for leaders can vary, but one of the negative contributing factors is whether they have even a slight tendency to procrastinate. Perhaps this is because they either feel like they need to take extra time to think things through thoroughly, or that they don’t or haven’t learned how to respond to the urgency and pressure, and then resort to stalling their actions.  This responsive style will not serve a leader well, but only they can decide to alter and commit to not falling prey to this potentially career limiting reality.

Let’s assume you are a leader or sports coach who might recognize the need to improve your communication, responsiveness and ultimately your success level. Here are some suggestions for you to consider how to move in the direction of doing so.

  • What would you say is your strongest area of communication (e.g., verbal, written, listening, non-verbal, visual)?
  • Have you proactively invested in making your top communication area stronger?
  • Are you willing to invest in yourself to enhance your leadership communication ability?
  • What is your timeframe to improve your communication ability, and can you see how doing so will have a positive impact?
  • How would you rate your responsiveness level from a communication perspective? For example, do you routinely get right back to people who are looking for a response, generally delay your response, or perhaps ignore and not respond at all to some people? Perhaps some variation of these? Hint. The most successful leaders and sports coaches are highly responsive, even if it involves the most trivial topic. In this case, they may delegate someone else to respond for them, and that is perfectly acceptable.
  • If you lean towards not being as responsive as you know you could be, ask yourself what is contributing to this behavior and causing your responsive level to be lower than it should be? Stubbornness, lack of having a sense of urgency, self-sabotaging or being complacent are some potential reasons why.
  • Be honest. Is your success level where it should or could be? Write down what may be contributing to your current success level, and make sure that the majority of items on your list are what you can do to impact this. It’s tempting to point finger at others, but ultimately you are responsible for the success you and your team will experience.
  • Ask yourself why you want to ultimately improve your leadership success level. You might be surprised at your responses, and they will also provide you with additional insight into areas you can focus more attention on to improve your situation.

Based on my experience, I will say that a leaders communication ability and responsiveness level is directly linked to the success they and their team’s will have. If either of these two areas are not at an optimal operating level, or considered as contributing success factors, I would recommend they are evaluated and adjusted accordingly.

TAGS: #Leadership #Leader #Sportscoach #Team #Teams #Success #Productivity #Communication #Responsiveness #Business #Teamdynamics #Successtips #Management #Personaldevelopment #Professionaldevelopment #Strategy

Are all leaders coachable?

Presumptions about leaders’ capabilities are made all the time. Often, they are given too much credit for having skills in every imaginable area of their business or the sports team they lead. This is one of the reasons those they lead might become disappointed with the leader. This is also despite the fact we can realistically acknowledge no one person is capable of being fully competent in every area. More importantly, also one of the reasons leaders are supported by others.

We have seen that even with the most ideal support team, this doesn’t guarantee a leader’s success. Although the leadership support team which can include other executives or assistant coaches can provide a structure that will bolster and potentially mask a leader’s deficits, it can also cause unnecessary stress on the team. This will ultimately lead to the members of the team having a lack of trust in their leader’s competency, and eventually burnout for these members. This is a preventable scenario, but one which is also difficult to address with the leader who needs more support. Yet, isn’t receiving it. Perhaps not be willing to either.

Given the scenario above, at some point there will come a time when someone on or associated with the support team will need to have a conversation with the leader or coach. They will need to address the fact that the leader or coach is experiencing challenges in their role by not having some leadership skills they require. Ones that they will need to be successful long term. These skills will be different for each person, but there are some common leadership skills which are foundational ones that need to be mastered.

One of the foundational areas is obvious. Perhaps seemingly easy to master, but it’s not. It’s communication, and like a diamond, there are many facets to this topic. In terms of leadership, a strong leader needs to be able to comfortably convey their vision, strategy and have the capacity to be influential with their communication style. I use the word style, as there are a variety of ways a leader can communicate (e.g., verbally, in writing, demonstratively with body language), and they may be more polished in one or two of these areas. Or not. If they are not strong in the area of communicating, this is often an initial area which is glaringly obvious the leader needs support.

Another area which leaders and coaches commonly have a deficit in is their ability to be influential. If their communication skill is not at the level it should be, this will directly impact their ability to influence others. If they are not able to influence others, this will prevent them from getting everyone on their team onboard. You can fill in the blank in terms of what topics this will have an effect on.

The next area which needs to be looked at is a leader’s ability to collaborate. This will require them to exercise a number of different skills, one of them being able to listen exceptionally well. Having the ability to listen well will provide the leader with information that is being both stated, but more importantly not being said. The ability to listen to what is not being stated is critical in terms of knowing which collaborative approach is going to best suit the scenario for an ideal outcome.

Being humble, and let’s add in vulnerable is another factor which will contribute to whether a leader or sports coach will have success. If they will allow themselves to ultimately be open enough to receive additional support to enhance their leadership capabilities, they will experience far greater and earlier success in their career. Although these factors are ideally addressed early in a leader’s career, more often they are not, and this leads to what I’ll refer to as an ”intervention”. This is less than desirable, but it can make the difference between the leader or sports coach being in their role a year from now. Perhaps next quarter or season.

Experiencing adversity and how you handle it as a leader is going to also impact your “go forward” path. Each adversarial situation will be different. Where you end up on the other side of the equation based on how you handle each scenario is going to be a factor which will contribute to making the difference in terms of the success you and your team will experience. For instance, will you know how to handle every adversarial scenario well? Of course not. However, how well you do handle it, and who you seek support from either conversationally or from an action perspective to best address a negative scenario, will also be a determining factor in the longevity in your role.

If you are wondering if you are coachable as a leader, or if your leader is coachable, below are some suggestions to consider whether you or they are.

  • Are you aware of who you are at a core level, and how you react and interact with your team during adversarial times?
  • Are you willing to admit you don’t have all the answers, and can benefit from seeking support from others with more experience?
  • On a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the highest, how often does your ego get in the way of seeking support from others?
  • Can you easily describe who you are as a person, not as a leader?
  • Can you easily describe your leadership style?
  • What would you say your level is on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the highest in terms of allowing yourself to be open and vulnerable with those you lead?
  • How comfortable are you collaborating with others on a scale of 1-5, 5 being the highest?
  • Do you know what your communication style is?
  • How would you rate your communication style, on a scale of 1-5, 5 being the highest?
  • If someone were to suggest that you need more support as a leader, what reaction would you have to hearing this?
  • How would you rate yourself as being a coachable leader on a scale of 1-5, 5 being the highest?

Being a leader or sports coach is a big responsibility. It is also well understood that many others are counting on you on a variety of different levels for your leadership abilities. Taking the time each year to consider whether you or your leader is ideally positioned to be doing their job extraordinary well, with or without support should be discussed. More importantly, to determine whether you or they are properly set-up to successfully lead others.

TAGS: #Leadership #Business #Motivation #Teams #Sportscoach #Teamdynamics #Communication #Awareness #Leadershipstyle #Vulnerability #Collaboration #Influence

Let’s hear some good news.

Despite the fact my degree is in Journalism, I have never been a fan of the news. Yes, this might seem contradictory, but the news is only one form of Journalism. A form that never appealed to me, as I seldomly received value from hearing what was being conveyed. Sure, this might surprise my friends in the news business, but I look at what they do purely as a service.

So, how to I find out what’s happening? There are plenty of sources to derive this information, and we are living during a time to be fortunate to have numerous options. I have family members who need to depend on news sources for their job, but like me, they too must source their information from a variety of places. Mainly to help them to sort out which information could be closest to being truthful, and sans only opinions on a topic.

Sorting out what news information is biased, and which is purely propaganda may seem like an easy assignment. It’s not, and this is because you need to have a wider lens of understanding and looking at the information you are consuming. This takes effort and time, and not everyone is willing to consider doing this. That’s fine, but you will need to appreciate you will be subjected to incredible biases, without even potentially realizing the influence it is having on you. Especially the bad news.

One of my favorite ways to source good news is to talk to people. Particularly when I am traveling. There is something special about hearing others share good news with you. I also adore how excited people get when they have an opportunity to tell you something they are proud of, or happy about knowing. To see people light up and become highly animated when they are telling you about positive news is incredibly heartwarming.

When I am talking to my corporate and sports client leaders, my favorite part of interacting with them is to hear about progress. Why? Because to me, progress is almost always positive. Even if it is minor progress. The fact that others notice progress is also refreshing, particularly when they can go into detail about what has occurred.  I also enjoy seeing how proud people become when they can share good news about those they lead or engage with.

Perhaps hearing negative news impacts me differently than others? I will acknowledge that I know it does, and I have come to terms with this. In fact, I have embraced the fact I know that negative news does not serve me well. However, I can’t imagine it does for most people, so I’m always curious about how people are able to process hearing negative news. Especially in large doses? Yes, it’s my opinion, but I find it hard to believe that this does anyone any favors.

Given the fact my preference is to focus almost exclusively on hearing good news, I’ll share with you some suggestions I have to help you to do so too.

  • This will seem highly obvious, but consider not watching the mainstream news.
  • I’m not endorsing any publications, but there are some publications and online news sources that are oriented towards providing you with as close to unbiased news as possible. I’ll let you decide who they are. Unfortunately, these news sources will contain negative news, but they might also have a balance of neutral or positive news too.
  • When was the last time you started a conversation and asked someone to tell you some good news? Give it a try!
  • Are you someone who loves to only talk about bad news? Perhaps you aren’t even aware you do this?
  • If you are unsure of whether you are perceived as a “negative news” person, ask someone who can truthfully tell you whether you are this way.
  • Consider coming up with a list of topics you want to learn more about. Now invest time in exploring learning more about them, with the focus on understanding what the positive impact of the topic happens to be. Then share the good information with others.
  • What part are you playing in your life or professionally to be contributing to adding positively to our world? Whatever this might be, how can you increase the amount of this to have an even greater positive impact?
  • Helping other people in any capacity is always a great path to pursue to have it conclude with a better outcome. Sharing this outcome with others will both uplift you, the person or people you are helping, and anyone you communicate this information to.

We always have choices to make, and since one of the choices could be to contribute to having more good news to share with others, I strongly encourage you to do so. Especially if it can help to offset in any way all the negative news that tends to override the good news we could be hearing about.

#Leadership #Communication #Leaders #Teams #Goodnews #Happy #Positivity #Management #Thinkingdifferently #Positiveinfluence #Business #Sports #Sportsteams #Corporateteams #Professionaldevelopment #Personaldevelopment #Strategy #Motivation #Beingpositive #Optimisticthinking #Optimist

The power of possibilities.

Right now, I’m thinking about a sports team that is one game away from repeating the amazing performance and season they had last year. This time they are at home, and their opponent traveled from the west coast, so the toll of traveling and far different weather conditions will not be in their favor. Even though these factors might seem to be detrimental to their outcome, I can assure you they won’t be, and my team is prepared for this.

Some of the preparations the team has taken into consideration is making sure their individual mindsets are focused, and visualizing the outcome they want their upcoming game today to have. In other words, they are harnessing the power of the possibility of ending their season exactly the way they want to. Two of the other preparations they are taking to ensure the outcome they are anticipating is to fully appreciate the “why” and “who” they are playing their game for. They each know this, and are hyper focused on these two concepts. Although this might seem easy to do, it’s not. It’s also several of the reasons they have had such a successful season.

Of course, this teams coaches play a large role in their success too, and each of them brings their specialized talents to infuse into the collective team’s performance. The coaches consistently apply their specialized methods to their team, but two of these factors they include might be different and perhaps surprising. What are these factors? It’s humor and kindness. One of the coaches excels in each of these areas, and these are a few of what I’ll refer to as her “superpowers”. Seeing her apply them is like watching a professional ballet, as she is so poised and elegant with her application of these elements.

Perhaps you are surprised by the two factors I noted that are applied to making the team I am referring to so successful? The interesting part of this is that these are exactly the same factors that can be applied to a corporate team. Yet, they so infrequently are. However, when they are, that is what separates their performance outcomes from other teams and companies.

The team I am also referencing ,is admittedly at the greatest disadvantage on so many levels, but they never leverage this as an excuse for achievement. Many sports and corporate teams could learn a great deal from watching this team in action, but more so off the field. Why? Because they are only on the field a relatively short amount of time, and what they are putting into practice and their outcomes off the field is arguably more critical to their success. How do I know this? Because I engage in very strategic and creative conversations with one of their coaches on a regular basis, and we have done so for the last three years.

During our conversations very few topics are off limits, and many times I feel like we are two philosophers discussing anything but sports and team dynamics. Naturally we are, but the intensity of our discussions and where they lead is always intriguing. The best part, is that they always produce thought provoking options to consider relating to challenges we always have woven into our conversations. Options which are then applied soon after we talk. Almost like a “test kitchen” concept to see which ones will produce the results we were expecting.

Sometimes I wish we were recording the discussions we are having, but I think that might take away from the intensity and open-mindedness we can have without feeling constrained to speak freely. Although, it’s possible at one point we might test out whether having our conversation recorded would restrict what we are talking about. For context, none of the subjects we talk about are ones we wouldn’t openly discuss in front of others, but some of them might make others slightly uncomfortable. 

In terms of how to leverage the power of possibilities like I do on a regular basis, I have some suggestions below for you to consider.

  • On a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the highest, how would you rate yourself in terms of being openminded? Hint…the more openminded you are, the easier it will be to leverage the power of possibility thinking.
  • Make a list of what you think holds you back from achieving what you or your team want to accomplish.
  • Are the items on your list realistic constraints or potentially excuses. Perhaps a mix of both? Coming to terms with especially the excuses and coming up with solutions to address not having them be excuses is going to open up the power of possibility thinking for you.
  • Commit to stop thinking “small” in terms of what you can achieve. Yes, it’s easy to do, but you first need to take steps not to do this all the time. Eventually you will want to have the goal of eliminating “small” thinking in terms of what you can achieve.
  • Do you realize that you might be more often thinking in terms of scarcity versus abundance? Reverse your thinking on this one. It will serve you well doing so.
  • When was the last time you thought about achieving something you may never have admitted out loud, or written down and looked at? Perhaps something really big and what others might think is audacious? In my opinion, I would be thrilled if you thought this way, and I am always saying to others “Go big, or go home!” Why not?
  • Do you have someone you admire that you can look to for inspiration? If not, consider what would be the qualities of someone you would admire who has achieved perhaps the things you would like to achieve too?

Leveraging the “power of possibility thinking” is something that will take time to master. Even if you are only slightly open to thinking this way, you will be amazed at what will be happening both in your life, professionally and for those that you lead when you master this concept. More importantly, you should have fun doing this, and lots of laughter along the way.

TAGS: #Leadership #Motivation #Teams #Sports #Sportsteams #Corporateteams #Executives #Sportscoaches #Communication #Achievement #Success #Leader #Business #Teamdynamics #Success #Mindset #Positivethinking

Surround yourself with awesome people.

The last few weeks in my life have been beyond stressful and overly emotional. No matter how much you think you are prepared to deal with both stress and emotions, I don’t think you can ever truly be ready to appreciate the toll they can take on you.

Emerging from the experience of my Dad passing away is going to take time. How much? I don’t think anyone can put a time limit on this. One of the most difficult aspects of facing the reality of my Dad not being with us, was not being able to have an actual conversation with him this week. Sure, I had a number of one-way conversations this week with him, but it certainly wasn’t the same. Yes, this is something I’ll need to adjust to, but it’s not going to be easy.

If anyone of you have someone that inspired you or was perhaps your muse, you will be able to comprehend the struggle I am having since this person is no longer here for me to engage with. Of course, I have other people in my life who I can talk to, but very few of them were at the caliber level of my Dad. He was one of the few people who completely understood and fully supported me without any judgement both emotionally and intellectually.

As I am going through the grieving process, it is therapeutic for me to write about how I am feeling, and to have an outlet to express myself. I realize I am fortunate to have this outlet, and I can’t imagine how others cope with the type of feelings I am having. So, thank you for indulging me with my written emotional expressions, and being by my side right now.

During a conversation I was having with a family member last week, they made a remark that was in pure alignment with how I think. Their statement was based on an observation relating to the emotional and physical support our family was receiving during this difficult time period. What they expressed was how amazing it was to see that our family was surrounded and supported by such awesome people. I completely agree with this sentiment, and it’s what makes it possible to look forward knowing my Dad won’t be a part of our daily life. At least not in person.

When I started thinking about how did our family become so fortunate to have such an amazing collection of awesome people in our life, it came down to a few factors. The first factor was that our family is a very kind family, and my parents modeled always being gracious and non-judgmental of others. Another factor was that my family seldomly asked for support, but yet would always be one of the first people to help someone else. In essence my family modeled the importance of having compassion and appreciating aspects of other people, ones that potentially others don’t see.

Being a compassionate person my whole life is something that my family instilled in me and my siblings. I have intentionally passed this down to my own children, and have also modeled this type of behavior in my professional life too. In fact, I can’t imagine behaving any other way. Even during really difficult time periods such as the one I’m in right now.

If you are curious about how to go about including more awesome people in your life, I have some suggestions for you about how to go about doing so.

  • This will require you to tap into your emotional intelligence, but it will be well worth it. Consider the first time you met everyone currently in your life. Did you automatically have a good feeling about them? Be honest, perhaps you didn’t.
  • If you didn’t have a good feeling about someone, have they changed and become a better person? If not, perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate whether they need to be part of your life.
  • Consider a situation when you needed support. Which of your friends or family members were there for you?
  • People have different capacities for helping, so try not to be too judgmental on people who can only provide certain levels of support (e.g., emotional, physical, spiritual).
  • Think about how you have helped someone else during a time they needed your support. What were you able to offer them that was comforting to them? Perhaps this is what you will need at some point?
  • Don’t be intimidated to express in advance what type of support would be best for you.  For instance, some people need others to be with them, and conversely, others might need more alone time.
  • What makes the people in your life awesome? Are they qualities you let them know how much you appreciate them today for? These are likely the qualities that will be highly desirable and applied when you especially need them. Or, that will help you when you come across a new person to consider including in your life.
  • Don’t ever think you don’t deserve to have amazing people in your life. We all deserve this, and this is one of the aspects of what makes our lives so meaningful.

Thank you for all of the incredible heartfelt advice I have received over the last week about how to cope with the loss of my Dad. All of it was truly meaningful, and I feel very fortunate to have so many awesome people in my life.

TAGS: #People #Family #Friends #Leadership #Motivation #Communication #Advice #Tipsonfindingamazingpeople #Supportingothers #Personaldevelopment #Awesomepeople #Howtofindawesomepeople #Management