Monday, 21 December 2015

You aren’t fit to lead until you know how to follow.

Thanks for your wisdom Dan Rockwell!

If you want to become a good leader, follow a leader of character, conviction, and vision.  Don’t ask people to follow you until you’ve humbly followed someone else.
You aren’t fit to lead until you know how to follow.

Following is perhaps the most neglected development principle of remarkable leadership. Ego wants to be the leader. Humility, on the other hand, aspires to add value and make a difference, regardless of position.

Opportunities abound for dedicated followers. But opportunities pass by while you’re waiting to become a leader.

Jimmy Collins, the retired COO of Chick-fil-A, and author of, “Creative Followership,” said, “Seeking Leadership roles never produced anything for me. When I chose the follower role there was no end to what I could accomplish.”

  • Follow advice from those more knowledgeable.
  • Follow a vision bigger than yourself.
  • Follow someone you respect. Get behind the most noble person available.
  • Follow someone who is going somewhere.

Good leaders are good followers.

Our admiration of big-egoed-leaders degrades us all.

Worry less about becoming a great leader and more about becoming a great follower.

A couple of questions for you to ponder:

What role does following play in developing leaders?

What role does following play in the day-to-day life of successful leaders?

Monday, 9 November 2015


Too much problem-solving is a problem. Dis-empowered employees want you to solve their problems for them.

every time you solve problems others could solve you weaken your team.png

12 Steps to Stress free problem solving:

#1. Choose compassion, not solution. Solving problems for others is stressful and perhaps a little arrogant. Begin problem-solving conversations with an open heart toward people. Focus on them – help them focus on the problem.  Every time you solve problems others could solve, you weaken the problem-solving power of your team.

#2. Determine if the problem is one only you should solve. Own it if it’s yours.

#3. Give the monkey back. People walk into your office with a monkey they want you to own. Every problem you own – that isn’t yours – limits your ability to lead.

#4. Set your solution aside. Solutions you provide invite dependency. It might be good for your ego, but it doesn’t strengthen organizational capacity.

#5. Relax. You aren’t going to solve their problem, they are.

#6. Create small buckets. Divide big problems into small buckets. 

#7. Choose a bucket.  Asked which issues were most pressing. 

#8. Encourage people to focus on what they want. 

#9. Encourage positive language. “How might you shift what you just said from negative to positive?”

#10. Focus on their behaviors, not the behavior of others. They can’t control others.

#11. Explore small changes. Aim low to reach high.

#12. Try something. It might not be perfect but it is progress.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Five things a leader does

Leadership is complex and there are lessons to learn for all of us no matter where we see ourselves or where we may think we are on a leadership scale.  

Five things I find helpful to keep myself on track in leading others:

1.  Model the way  
This is about being authentic and genuine with others around you.  By all means learn but please model! Fail here and you will be found out quickly!  Others want to see the evidence of the knowledge and that means how you live consistently.  It's no good talking the talk you have to walk the walk.  Practice what you preach!  Dishing out the latest leadership lesson with no back-up of your example is shallow and short lived, leaving those you attempt to lead confused, frustrated and  and often in despair.

2. Inspire shared vision
It is crucial for a visionary leader to inspire others about the mission and the vision regularly. However, it is also equally important to inspire and allow others to be a part the visionary development process. Good leaders value their teams wisdom, experience, perspectives, challenges, gifts and commitment. This is crucial to anyone who aspires to to be a leader of leaders.  Team also provides accountability to all in fulfilling the vision.

3. Challenge the process
If you want things to be better, if you want others to grow do not settle for the 'status quo.'   Reviews, and analysis are important.  Examine results, look at performance, Ask challenging questions: Why are we doing this? Is what we are doing working?  Where are the weaknesses? What needs to change?  What are the threats?  Develop a strategy from this to implement the actions you need to take to move things forward.  

4. Empower others to make decisions
Delegation without giving authority dis-empowers development and personal growth. Remember that! A leader assists others to make good decisions.  Ask yourself, what does each person on your team need to learn to make better decisions.  Suggest ways the people around you can grow.  Fid resource to help them: books, websites, blogs, podcasts, training events, conferences, visit other churches, meet with other leaders, etc. 

5. Encourage regularly
People who are encouraged thrive!  They sense their contribution is valued and are empowered in their role as part of the team.  Look for opportunities to encourage others in around you constantly.  If issues need to be challenged, take people aside, connect them again to the vision, express their importance and value of their role, then tackle the issues - can we talk about what's not working or what just happened.  Leadership influence for the long haul  rises and falls on this issue.

Monday, 19 October 2015

What followers want the most from their leader

What leadership behavior do employees and team members most want from their leaders?

You’ll be surprised! 
Here is Dan Rockwell to share his insights.
Originally posted by Dan Rockwell

The Leadership Behavior Employees Want The Most

We often search for the most important thing. Christine Porath, associate professor at Georgetown University, along with other researchers, believe the leadership behavior that employees most want is  respect.
48% of people who experience disrespect at work intentionally decrease their work effort. 78% are less committed to their organization.*
“Being treated with respect was more important to employees than recognition and appreciation, communicating an inspiring vision, providing useful feedback — or even opportunities for learning, growth, and development.” Christine Porath
Respect is a feeling, but showing respect is a behavior.

Ten things that make people feel disrespected:

1.  Looking at computer screens and cell phones during conversations.
2.  Outburst of anger.
3.  Cursing and slang.
4.  One sided conversations. Not listening.
5.  Wasting people’s time.
6.  Asking people to re-do work, even though clear instructions weren’t given up front.
7.  Not following up.
8.  Not showing up for meetings.
9.  Aggressiveness.
10.  Lies.

Seven ways to show respect:

1.  Speak to aspirations.
2.  Talk more about strengths than weaknesses.
3.  Ask, “What do you think?”
4.  Take time to ponder suggestions.
5.  Focus on issues not personalities during disagreements.
6.  Say please and thank you.
7.  Feeling understood.
Feeling respected is an individual matter. You must know people in order to respect them. You might try asking, “What could I do that would show my respect for you?”

Three Qualities that enable leaders to show respect:

1.  Humility.
2.  Compassion.
3.  Trust.
What makes you feel disrespected? Respected?
How might leaders make teammates feel respected?

Friday, 16 October 2015


What an amazing Post by Dan Rockwell!

The worst enemy to have is yourself. Others may hold you back, but who can help when you sabotage yourself?

External enemies are easy compared to the accuser within.
external enemies are easy compared to the enemy within

Talented leaders sabotage their leadership when they:

#1. Take control. Leaders are control freaks, but influence requires permission. There’s a difference between taking control and being in control. Coercion works when people don’t feel in control.
The more control you take the less influence you enjoy.
#2. Seize power. It easy for leaders with position to make others feel powerless. Power feels exciting. That’s why you want others to feel powerful.
The seduction of seizing power at the expense of others isolates leaders and dilutes influence. The more power you seize, the more power you need to seize.
In order to give power you must release power.
#3. Compete with team members. It’s easy to win at the expense of others when you control resources and raises. Step back, if you’re the leader, and let others win. When they win, you win.
Roaring lions go further than whipped puppies.
#4. Know more. Leaders who need to know more than others lead dumb teams.
Aspire to be dumb and learn from everyone.
#5. Limit choices. When others have expertise, go with their gut. You’re a fool if you believe your way is always the best way.
Repeat after me, “I could be wrong.” 

3 tips to ramp up leadership influence:

  1. Don’t allow your aspirational self to bully your actual self. The flaws you see in yourself limit your ability to appreciate your strengths.
  2. Practice improvisational leadership. The number one rule of improvisation is “go with – not against.” You might force your will on people, but you lose their hearts.
  3. Tell people your intentions. You have positive stories in your head. They wonder what you’re up to.

Monday, 12 October 2015


One of the best posts I have read from Dan Rockwell.  

Listen to your language. It points to the future.

Habits of speech are the potter’s wheel of leadership. Both you and your organization are formed by the language you repeat.

Choose your language before it forms your future. In order to lead, you must lead your personal habits of speech.

Reflect on your language.  Your  language is a leading indicator.

  1. Do you feel optimistic?
  2. Would you like to hang around with you?
  3. Are you powerful or helpless?

The words you say point the way. 

Choose the focus of your words:
  1. Vision or history.
  2. Opportunity or adversity.
  3. Solutions or problems.
  4. Success or failure.
  5. Strength or weakness.
  6. Likes or dislikes.
  7. Honor or dishonor.
  8. Happiness or unhappiness.
  9. Beauty or ugliness.
  10. Excellence or average.
I’m not suggesting you ignore problems or negative topics. I am saying that successful leaders spend more time talking about solutions than problems, for example.

Successful leaders create common language.

Direction determines destination. Habits of speech create environments and establish direction.   Understand that hared direction requires shared language.

7 ways to create shared language:

  1. Explain the power of shared language to all leaders.
  2. Talk about the same things. Choose two or three topics and talk about them all the time. You dilute your leadership when you talk about too many things.
  3. Invite leaders to craft shared language. “How will we talk to our teams?”
  4. Use the same words. It’s not boring. It’s reinforcing.
  5. Ask the same questions. “How are we engaging new people,” for example.
  6. Listen for common language. When you hear it, reward it.
  7. Confront sideways language. “That’s not our focus right now.”
People who talk alike move in the same direction.

Words create environments, set direction, and make people feel they belong.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Lead compassionately

Leading people is a great PRIVILEGE and an honour.  There is so much more going on than just getting ta project or task done - There is a person, a life, emotions, a family, ASPIRATIONS & dreams!

I'll say it as it is - some Some leaders are jerks!

When it comes to leadership, the good news is, you can have heart and lead. 

7 ways to lead with compassion:

  1. Courageously commit to be human. We all know posturing and image-building is fear and fakery. The world doesn’t need another fraud, it needs you.
  2. Connect with yourself. Compassion for others is born in personal experiences, struggles, and challenges. Have you failed? Embrace it. Do you struggle? Feel it.
  3. Allow others to feel. Don’t minimize emotion. Say, “I see this means a lot to you,” for example.
  4. Rise above your inner fixer. Let yourself feel compassion, but don’t feel the need to fix everyone. Fixing people is more arrogance than compassion.
  5. Be tough and compassionate at the same time. Fear makes us believe that saying hard things requires detachment. It’s the opposite. The tougher you have to be, the more tenderness you must feel.
  6. Beware drama. Some use emotion to gain attention. They’re energy vampires. Be tough with those who persist in “woe is me” behaviors.
  7. Commit to more than results. Work to enhance the well-being of teammates, employees, customers, and the larger community.
Successful leaders enhance the well-being of others.

Sunday, 9 August 2015


Another great post by Dan Rockwell....
You care about coaching because it’s the path to energy, responsibility, fulfillment, and results at work. You also care because the workforce desires opportunity, purpose, development, mentors, and coaching.
The ultimate goals of coaching are effectiveness and fulfillment.
Coaches help coachees maximize potential, exploit opportunities, and breakthrough barriers.

12 secrets for successful coaching conversations:

  1. Relax. Lower defenses. Be your curious self.
  2. Identify goals. Define the win.
  3. Discuss the process. What do we expect from each other?
  4. Embrace silence. Don’t feel pressure to fill the silence. Wait a bit longer than feels comfortable. Allow coachees to fill the silence.
  5. Release the need to be an expert. Don’t solve problems or fix people. Remember #1 and relax.
  6. Watch for resistance. Coachees often bump against resistance. Points of resistance are growth points. Take your time. Allow coachees to push into resistance themselves.
  7. Develop next steps. Always identify next steps in behavioral terms.
    • What will you do?
    • How will you know you’re taking a next step?
    • How will colleagues know?
  8. Monitor and explore swings in energy. When energy goes up, ask, “What just happened?”
  9. Practice permission accountability. “What would you like me to ask about next time?”
  10. Be yourself. Don’t use canned approaches unless they express your heart.
  11. Say what you see.
    • Give feedback on both the content and tone of conversations.
    • Watch for patterns.
    • Explore when your coachee looks weak, powerful. energized, discouraged.
  12. Bring up awkward topics. Explore apparent inconsistencies, assumptions, and avoidance.


  1. Fixing and helping. Control your inner fixer. Successful coaches give responsibility and ownership. They don’t take it.
  2. Analyzing like a psychologist or therapist, unless you have training.
  3. Defending personal conclusions and agendas.
  4. Interrupting.
  5. Circling problems. Focus on solutions, not problems.
  6. Asking two questions at once.
  7. Using “why.” Begin questions with how or what.
What tips help manager-coaches have successful coaching conversations?
Which idea is most useful to you?

Thursday, 6 August 2015


An outstanding post by Mac Lake!
Sometimes I think we make leadership more difficult than it has to be. The truth is if you follow some simple rules leadership is easy 90% of the time. The other 10% is where leaders earn their paycheck.
But some find themselves facing leadership problems with their team 90% of the time! That’s when a leader has to stop and look in the mirror. Is the problem the people or is the problem the way you’re leading?
Leading would be a lot easier for us and those we lead if we’d follow a few simple rules.
  • Demonstrate a high confidence in your people. I’ve discovered the higher the confidence I have in people the higher the confidence they have in themselves. When people have a high confidence in themselves they’re more likely to take greater risks and innovate in ways that add great value to the organization.
  • Praise progress not perfection. Imagine the difference it would make if leaders would stop looking for what people are doing wrong and started looking for what people were doing right and praising their progress. Team members would begin to discover and maximize their strengths. And that’s always a win for an organization.
  • Establish shared expectations regarding performance outcomes. If you don’t establish shared expectations you’ll experience shared frustrations. One of the wisest things you can do is talk to your people about what their performance will look like in the future not just what it looked like in the past.
  • Give people the tools and resources they need to do their job well.This will not only help them be successful but also feel successful.  Often times it’s not lack of commitment or competency that creates poor performance, it’s lack of the right tools.
  • Smile, laugh and enjoy what you do.  When you enjoy what you do that joy spreads to the team. A simple smile is an expression that communicates you love being there and you love what you do.   It’s amazing how much smiling and humor can create a work culture people love.
  • Lead from trust rather than leading from suspicion. If you lead from a position of suspicion then you create a tentative team. They will be guarded and operate out of fear.  If you fail to establish a culture of trust you’ve failed to establish a spirit of team.
  • Make it meaningful.  Let’s face it sometimes the work our team does feels very menial.  You and I know it all works together to make the mission move forward.  But it can be easy for them to forget.  So make the work they do meaningful by always pointing them to the big picture vision, celebrating the wins and showing them that their contribution made a difference.
What are some other simple rules of leading well you’d add to this list?

Monday, 3 August 2015


An amazing post by Dan Rockwell!

A time for honesty?
Your Toxic Leader Score* (TLS) is the level of unnecessary irritation you cause others. If you occasionally irritate colleagues by arriving late, you’re a 3 on a range from 1 to 10.

If you frequently irritate colleagues, but don’t realize it, your TLS is 9. The worst leaders don’t know they’re toxic.
the most powerful thing leaders do is create environments where people love coming to work.png

10 ways to elevate your Toxic Leader Score:

  1. Make everything about results. “Relationships are for babies and losers.”
  2. Minimize or ignore emotion and energy. “Just do your job!”
  3. Change course in mid-stream without preparing people or giving reasons.
  4. Complain more than affirm and compliment.
  5. Devalue progress. When someone makes progress, remind them they have far to go.
  6. Set long-term goals – ignore short-term wins.
  7. Focus on fixing weaknesses, rather than maximizing strengths.
  8. Be a know-it-all.
  9. Interrupt people.
  10. Believe it’s all about the money.
Leadership is more than vision and strategy. It’s also inspiration. Your unscientific Inspiration Score (IS) is your ability to tap the power of happiness.

10 Ways to elevate your Inspiration Score:

  1. Dedicate yourself to building positive energy environments. The most powerful thing you do is create positive environments where people love coming to work.
  2. Show respect. If you want people to act like owners, stop treating them like slaves.
  3. Be decisive with openness.
    • Seek input.
    • Explore options.
    • Explain purpose.
    • Make decisions.
    • Adapt as you go.
  4. Trust people. Meddlers and micro-managers top the Toxic Leader chart.
  5. Ask questions, gently. Questions feel like interrogations when all you care about are results.
  6. Make work about them, not you. Help people get where they want to go.
  7. Give helpful feedback.
  8. Practice open handed generosity.
  9. Pat people on the back, literally. Touch energizes. But, don’t lay your hand on people.
  10. Pursue excellence collaboratively. Set high standards and figure out how to reach them together.
What behaviors make leaders toxic?
What behaviors make leaders inspirational?

Monday, 27 July 2015


Nice one Dan Rockwell.

The challenge of coaching teammates is technical skill. You know how to do their job the “right” way, if you’ve been promoted up the ranks. Or, at least you think you know! 

Don’t explore options when there is only one. It’s disingenuous, manipulative, and humiliating.
don't be a know it all because you know one answer.png
If there truly is only one way to accomplish the goal, then teach, don’t coach. Tell, show,  give room to practice, and evaluate.

If you know “a” way:

What if you know “a” way to get the job done, but want them to explore their options?
Tell them you’ve done the job and you know a way to get it done. Ask permission to explore options that make sense for them.
“Would it be ok if we explore ways to accomplish this goal in ways that make sense to you? What works for me, may not work best for you.”
Don’t be a know-it-all because you know one answer.

Coach after you give advice:

If coachees want your advice, and you are inclined to give it, coach after they’ve tried your methods.
“Go ahead and try it this way. Let’s talk about the things that worked and didn’t work for you at our next meeting. Perhaps we’ll find new ways to get the job done that suit your strengths.”


  1. My way is the right way.
  2. “I didn’t think your way would work, but I wanted you to learn a lesson.”
  3. Coaching as coercion or manipulation.
  4. Pretending you don’t know, when you know.
  5. Savior-coach attitudes.

Coaching teammates:

  1. Ask at least two questions before making statements.
  2. Provide space for progress, if time allows.
  3. Pursue solutions that work for others, not you.
  4. Give advice reluctantly.
  5. Honor their strengths and celebrate progress.
Bonus: Ask, “What’s next?”
How might internal coaches answer the challenges of coaching teammates and direct reports?

Thursday, 23 July 2015

How to identify "Character" in potential leaders

Character is still important and still prominent in the biblical passages on leadership. But how do you spot “Character” in potential future leaders?  

Dan Rockwell helps us to identify character in leaders before we pick them and give them responsibilities. Originally posted by Dan Rockwell

You dare stand with men and women of character. But, protect yourself from leaders who love position, rely on authority, and need admiration.

Character invites respect and loyalty.

Five ways to spot leaders with character:

1.     Under authority.
o    Fully embrace organizational values.
o    Speak well of those in authority.
o    Supportive of board decisions.
o    Publicly stand with decision where there was private disagreement.

2.     Able to press through resistance.
o    Tenacious when it comes to excellence.
o    Willing to suffer for principle without retaliation.
o    Serving others when it would be easier to serve self.
o    Prepared to disadvantage self for a higher cause.

3.     Open to correction.
o    Willing to acknowledge wrong.
o    Passionate about improvement.
o    Open with ideas they’re learning.

4.     Passionate about next steps.
o    Haven’t arrived.
o    Not self-sufficient.
o    Provide second chances.
o    Trust others who have expertise.

5.     Emotionally steady.
o    No tantrums.
o    Openness to suggestion.
o    Curious regarding disagreement.

A leader with character believes success is about others.

What do you look for in leaders with character?