Leadership Insights, Mentorship and a Little of What I am Up to... Look for new Blog Entries Every Monday

Unlocked: The Ultimate Christmas Gift

Book, Featured, Leadership Insights Dec 10, 2014 No Comments

Thank-you-sign1Well, most places on the planet are into full-on Christmas commercialization chaos!  It seems to me that it started super early this year too.  Not long after Labour Day stores were starting to sneak out their Christmas Displays, TV networks were running cheesy Holiday films in early November and… I actually heard a Christmas Carol being played the last week in October!

No wonder people get stressed out this time of year!

Thinking of the perfect gift?

The best one I ever got and have subsequently learned to give is… Gratitude.

Here’s the thing.  You are who you are and where you are because of your hard work, intentions and most importantly, because of the people you have had in your life.  Parents, teachers, coaches, professors, bosses (good and bad), friends, relatives, siblings, neighbours. the police officer that gave you a break, doctors, nurses – the list goes on and on!

Use this time of year – a time of reflection – to let people know how much you care by simply saying thank you for all their support and help through your life.

Your assignment…  Like Santa Claus, make a list.  A list of the 10 people in your life that you credit for helping you achieve your success.  Make it real by adding a picture beside their name.  Then reach out to the people on your list and thank them.  Tell them how much their support meant to you.  Tell them how much you love them.  Do it via FaceBook, Twitter, email, phone call, a card in the post, text message, a coffee get-together or a banner towed behind an airplane.

This is an amazing gift because it gives twice.  Once to the person you are thanking.  They will be touched in ways hard to imagine.  The second is for you.  Your heart will fill with warmth.  You will have an amazing energy renewal.  You will be thought of as someone that respects and appreciates other.  And… this will come back to you many times over.

Try it.  It is the greatest gift ever.

Robert Murray is a Passionate Leader, Stark Raving People Apostle, Turn Around Mercenary and the author of the critically acclaimed book; “It’s Already Inside: Nurturing your innate leadership for business and life success.”   Robert’s new book; “Unlocked: Finding the key to practical leadership” is now available through all the regular channels.

Unlocked: Why are you doing what you don’t want to do?

Featured, Leadership Insights Nov 25, 2014 No Comments

OrigamiI speak a lot about values, purpose and doing fulfilling work with passion to live your life with greatness.  Wow!  What a mouthful.  It might be better to simply say; “Do what YOU want to do.”

Are Monday mornings really hard to get out of bed for?  Are Friday afternoons the best part of the week?  Is lunch the most exciting part of the day?

If you answered “Yes” to one of those questions above, you need to seriously look at what you are doing.  If you answered “Yes” to all of the above, you need to quit what you are doing immediately!  You are most likely chasing your pension and the life changing benefit you are bringing with you every day is the ability to ‘fog a mirror.’

Chasing your passion is all about doing work that you can’t wait to get out of bed to do.  It means that you dream of doing it again the next day.

I am reminded of this from time to time.  I sometimes fall into the trap too.  It usually happens when I take on an project that I should not be doing.  I know this when I discover moments during the execution of the project when I feel like:

  • Surfing the internet to mindless, current news sites like CNN
  • Eating my lunch at 9:00 in the morning
  • Doing origami art out of the recycled paper
  • Making a post-it-note mural on the office window
  • Sending a “SOS” signal in morse code using the flashlight on my smartphone to the office in the tower across the way
  • Poking my eye out with a dull pencil.

The point is, as a leader, you ALWAYS need to be doing work that is in total alignment with your values, your purpose, your passion and that fulfills your greatness that you have to offer the world around you.  If we are not doing that, we will completely lack energy, enthusiasm, passion, meaning and… will be generally miserable.

I know a ton of executives and leaders that have walked away from great titles and good companies because the role was not ‘them’ and it was slowly killing them.  They are the lucky ones.  And… they have all gone onto to more fulfilling roles, more money and happiness (And happiness is contagious and spreads to every aspect of your life).

Are doing what you want to do?

Robert Murray is a Passionate Leader, Stark Raving People Apostle, Turn Around Mercenary and the author of the critically acclaimed book; “It’s Already Inside: Nurturing your innate leadership for business and life success.”   Robert’s new book; “Unlocked: Finding the key to practical leadership” is now available through all the regular channels.

 

Unlocked: Why am I here?

Featured, Leadership Insights Nov 15, 2014 No Comments

The Leader Within - Why am I here

Since the beginning of time when our ancestors were sitting around, feverishly rubbing two sticks together to start a fire, they were no doubt, grunting; “Why am I here?”   It is a great question!

It is a question I hear everywhere I go.  More and more people are questioning their purpose and their very reason for being ‘here.’  Like wise, as leaders, we are not immune to thinking, questioning and challenging ourselves about “are we making a difference?”

The real answer to those questions though is not as complicated as our minds will lead us to believe.  We believe the answer lies in being true to our passions.

For example, you have may noticed times in your life when you were totally ‘on top of the world.’  Those times when you were your absolute happiest, most energized and felt like you were living a dream.  I guarantee that those were times that you were living in total alignment with your highest values and in turn, living your purpose – Living your own personal meaning of “Why am I here?”

For myself, my purpose can be distilled down to; ‘Helping people and businesses uncover their remarkable potential.’  I know for myself, as a leader, when I am doing that, I am full of non-stop energy, passion and enthusiasm for everything in my world.

Take a moment and think about those times in your life when you were unstoppable.  Piece together as much of the scenes as you can.   You will soon find the answers to your purpose and your highest values.   Remember, it is not complicated nor should it be.  The reason why you are here is to live your highest values.

Those times when you are not happy, not energized, lunch is the oat exciting part of the day and you cannot wait until Friday, you will discover you are living someone else’s purpose.

Robert Murray is a Passionate Leader, Stark Raving People Apostle, Turn Around Mercenary and the author of the critically acclaimed book; “It’s Already Inside: Nurturing your innate leadership for business and life success.”   Robert’s new book; “Unlocked: Finding the key to practical leadership” is now available through all the regular channels.

Unlocked: Strategy versus Execution

Book, Featured, Leadership Insights Nov 07, 2014 No Comments

Vancouver 2010 - 3Rarely is the problem bad strategy.  It is usually crappy execution.

When we look at a business that is not all that it could because the culture is toxic or customer are churning away, the root cause is rarely a poorly thought out strategy.  It is almost always, no execution.  And that is a leadership issue.

We work with lots of organizations all over the world helping them develop strategy.  We often walk away with the feeling of “Wow!” that is a very simple strategy that is going to take the business to greatness.  Usually one of two throngs happen…

One is that the leadership team congratulates each each other and goes back to their day jobs.  They don’t share the vision, purpose or strategy with the entire organization – making sure that everyone from top to bottom completely understands their individual role in the execution of the plan.  There is no identified way of keeping score so that everyone knows how they are doing. There is no ongoing (never-ending actually) communication.  And finally, there is no governance to ensure that every aspect of the project (It is a project) is aligned and tasks are completed one-by-one.  Execution does not happen and then some rocket scientist will stand up and say that the team failed to ‘understand’ the strategy.

The other is an organization that understands that strategy needs to be simple – no more than 3 strategic objectives.  Strategy comes from the military.  Most military organizations are brilliant at executing on a plan because their plan is simple.  Military leaders that failed (Napoleon and Hitler) because they had complicated plans and were operating on too many fronts.  Resources get spread too thin and people don’t understand why they doing what they are doing.

A best in class example that we are working with is a major manufacturing company in Canada.  Led by a CEO that understands strategy and its need to be simple, they have invested in making sure that every single person in their entire cross-country organization understands the strategy and their role.  We are seeing magical things happen in the business with their team moving forward and creating amazing value for customers all over the world in a commodity market.

There is rarely bad strategy.  Most often it is leaders that want to prove how smart they are by creating too many complicated strategies and then failing to execute.

Execution takes vision, focus and a simple disciplined approach.  Do you have it?

Robert Murray is a Passionate Leader, Stark Raving People Apostle, Turn Around Mercenary and the author of the critically acclaimed book; “It’s Already Inside: Nurturing your innate leadership for business and life success.”   Robert’s new book; “Unlocked: Finding the key to practical leadership” is now available through all the regular channels.

B2B and B2C is dead. It is now H2H

Book, Featured, Leadership Insights Oct 27, 2014 No Comments

Heart2HeartB2B and B2C is dead. It is now H2H or, Heart-to-Heart.

I speak a lot about how the world has changed. It is now flatter, faster, more connected and so outrageously competitive that businesses and leaders are struggling with how to lead and thrive in the chaos.

Traditionally, most organizations develop plans and build structure to ‘attack’ the market with B2B (Business-to-Business) and B2C (Business-to-Consumer) marketing communications and sales teams. Wrong! In today’s environment, B2B and B2C approaches will usually result a very one-way, company driven strategy that fails to understand and truly connect emotionally with their customer. And… that is the key, emotionally connecting with people and forming ‘value connections’ that outlast a competitor’s lower price.

Now, winning leaders and organizations are figuring out how to emotionally connect with their stakeholders (I define stakeholders as anyone that your business touches – including employees) in what I call H2H.

I have to admit here that I was taught something very new this week by a client from AstraZeneca. I used to refer to H2H as ‘Human-to-Human.’ When I asked the group Heather and I were leading about: “what does ‘H2H’ mean?” The reply I got from Svetlana Shtankova,a very enlightened HR Director from their Ukrainian operation was; “Heart-to-Heart.” Wow! What an amazing twist on H2H!

It makes so much sense! The essence of leadership today in this flattened, crazy, chaotic world is touching emotions. What better way to touch emotions than touching hearts?

Last week, I was blessed to be on the stage at the #Enlightening3.0 conference in Bucharest launching my new book (Unlocked; Finding the key to practical leadership) and I was talking about the need to switch our approaches to be H2H. During the question period, I was asked to give an example of H2H. I wanted to reply that we (The person asking the question and myself) were having an H2H interaction right there in front of over 300 people as in my mind, it was just me and him having a conversation. However, the essence of H2H is just being ourselves and connecting sincerely with our hearts and the hearts of other people.

How? It is easier than you think. However, connecting Heart-to-Heart means parking your agenda and seeking to understand what is important to the heart you are connecting with. Making the other person feel special, appreciated and respected by working to truly understand what their challenges and needs are. Once that H2H feeling is created, you will then receive in return something incredibly special. Trust.

Once another ‘heart’ gives you their ‘trust,’ you will have a lasting bond with that heart that will outlive the cheap price of competitors.

It is now about H2H. B2B and B2C is dead. If you do not find a way to embrace Heart-to-Heart, you will lose employee engagement, customer loyalty and… you will only have cheap price as your competitive advantage. You choose.

Robert Murray is a Passionate Leader, Stark Raving People Apostle, Turn Around Mercenary and the author of the critically acclaimed book; “It’s Already Inside: Nurturing your innate leadership for business and life success.”   Robert’s new book; “Unlocked: Finding the key to practical leadership” is now available through all the regular channels.

Unlocked: Practical Leadership. Get it or be Left Behind

Book, Featured, Leadership Insights Oct 06, 2014 No Comments

Bob - ShoesPractical Leadership.  What is it?  Why do we need to pay attention to it?  How is it going to change the way we lead?

A whole bunch of factors are lining up to form the perfect storm for leadership in the business world right now.  The financial “situation” that started in 2008.  The continued flattening of the world caused by better access to communications, the Internet and transportation.  Highly educated emerging economies.  The vastly different expectations of the Millennial Generation in the workforce from that of the retiring Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y.  And… the extreme shortage of skilled labour.

Results?  Leadership is not anymore logical and based on mainly data and key performance indicators.

Leadership now is based more on making emotional connections with customers AND employees.  Leaders now need to focus on developing a deeper understanding of consistent value delivery to a changing demand from all stakeholders.  As leaders, we used to only think in terms of delivering value to customers or clients.  Now that that ever changing demand on value delivery needs to extend to employees and partners as well.

This change is going to be extremely hard on most organizations that spend an inordinate amount of time running their business based on the financial demands of the Board and market analysts.  Becoming ‘emotionally connected’ to employees, let alone customers, is a truly foreign concept.  Thinking in terms of differing employee needs and wants usually extends to the mentality that “Employee needs and wants are taken care of every two-weeks in the form of a pay-cheque.”

To compete against a world that is now flatter, faster and more connected, leaders will need their teams to be more creative that ever before, deliver more value and build deeper customer connections.  And to do this with a new generation of employees that do not respond to traditional reward and recognition systems, requires leaders to throw away the old model.  Leaders now have to be completely comfortable with flex-time, working from home, time-off in leu of pay, access to technology, different ways of problem solving, lack of loyalty, social media and just about anything else that was not even thought about 5 years ago.  Never have leading by values been more important.  Never has the culture of your organization been more attractive to potential employees and customers.

Are you up for the change? Or is your organization still thinking this “crazy period we are in right now will soon pass?”

Robert Murray is a Passionate Leader, Stark Raving People Apostle, Turn Around Mercenary and the author of the critically acclaimed book; “It’s Already Inside: Nurturing your innate leadership for business and life success.”  Watch for Robert’s new book; “Unlocked: Finding the key to practical leadership” coming out in October 2014.

Unlocked: Leadership can be found in Passion and Authenticity

Featured, Leadership Insights Sep 15, 2014 No Comments

PianoI was blessed enough to be able to take my family last night to see legendary rocker Elton John in Vancouver.  Wow!  What a night of memories.  So cool to see my young adult children experience a legend and enjoy the music!

What’s this got to do with leadership though? Easy.  As Elton on his grand piano and his band were pounding out hit after hit, it was obvious that the 67 year-old rocker was having the time of his life.  The energy was infectious.  In between songs at one point, he spoke to the audience about why he was there.

He quite simply said that he was finally comfortable in his own skin enough to be himself without caring what others thought and that he LOVED being on tour because he got to be with people that loved his music.

Well said Sir Elton.  The essence of leadership and succession life for that matter, is ALWAYS chasing your passion (not your pension) and being yourself while you are doing it.

Passion for what you do is infectious.  Other people can see it and feel it.  Your passion for what you do will produce better results and garner you more recognition.  If you find yourself in a role that you cannot get excited about each and every time you arrive at the office, then you are killing your career and probably yourself too through the stress of it.

Authenticity is easier than you think.  Elton said it perfectly.  “Comfortable in my own skin.”  All through our lives, we are faced with pressure from parents, family, friends, teachers, coaches, employers, etc., to be this or that.  The problem is that for the most part, this ‘helpful’ advice we receive is based on two things…

  1. Other people’s values not yours.  We all have a value set.  Our values make up our guiding principles.  The issue here is that ‘helpful’ advice we often get is based on someonelse’s values not ours.  Do some soul searching on your values.  Write down which ones are the most important to you.  Live them.  By doing so, you will begin to live authentically.
  2. Your weaknesses.  We all have weaknesses or blind spots.  And, we all have a long lineup of people that are more than happy to point them out for us.  I have lots of weaknesses.  “Attention to detail” is one of them.  That is why I make a great strategy developer because I can see the big picture.  However, get down into the tactical details and I am a disaster.  Living authentically means living your strengths as it is your strengths that have got you to where you are today not your weaknesses.  Embrace who you are and nurture your strengths.  You will happier and more aligned with who you really are.

Robert Murray is a Passionate Leader, Stark Raving People Apostle, Turn Around Mercenary and the author of the critically acclaimed book; “It’s Already Inside: Nurturing your innate leadership for business and life success.”  Watch for Robert’s new book; “Unlocked: Finding the key to practical leadership” coming out in October 2014.

It’s Already Inside: The Problem with Communications

Featured, Leadership Insights Sep 03, 2014 2 Comments

Cover Design - Final - August 2014Most of the problems businesses and organizations face today are relatively easy to fix.  At the top of the list is communication.

And leaders lead the way when it comes to communication issues.

It seems so basic to all of us.  As senders of a message (In whatever form be it verbal, written, email, etc.) what we want to say is amazingly crystal clear in our minds.  And then we get results that are far from our expectations.  Most leaders I see will then point the finger at the receiver of the message as the one to blame when they should be looking in the mirror.

Try this very simple exercise with your team or group of friends to see what most communications in businesses that are struggling are like…

  • Give everyone a single piece of 8.5 x 11 inch paper (A4 size in Europe)
  • Give your team or group the following instructions.  Do not explain more than what is written here.  Do not answer any questions…
    • Fold the paper in half and tear off a top corner
    • Fold it in half again and tear off the top corner
    • Fold it in half again and tear off the left corner
    • Rotate the paper to the right three times and tear off the bottom corner
    • Fold it half again and tear off the middle piece.
  • Ask everyone to open up their papers to reveal the results.  You should see a myriad of wildly different looking snowflake designs however, like snowflakes in winter, not one will look the same.

Why is it that even though everyone received the same directions, not everyone had the same outcome?

What would have changed if you would have allowed the group to ask questions?

In the real world, have you ever had someone deliver something different than what you expected?  How did you deal with it.

There is so much we can do as leaders to improve communications in our company’s, teams, with our customers, vendors and every other stakeholder.  Effective communications lead to better cultures (Happy, engaged employees), better planning and execution, satisfied customers and world class results.  And it starts with you.  As a leader, coach, teacher or parent, if you are not getting what you expect, you are probably the reason.

Robert Murray is a Passionate Leader, Stark Raving People Apostle, Turn Around Mercenary and the author of the critically acclaimed book; “It’s Already Inside: Nurturing your innate leadership for business and life success.”  Watch for Robert’s new book; “Unlocked: Finding the key to practical leadership” coming out in October 2014.

 

It’s Already Inside: Leadership = Humility

Featured, Leadership Insights Aug 05, 2014 1 Comment

HumilityMuch is asked about what makes a great leader.  Of all the things I hear from people describing the attributes of leadership greatness, the one I hear missing the most is Humility.”

The word humility gets its roots from the medieval saint by the same name “Saint Humility.”  The word comes from the Latin humiliates meaning “Humble.”  Humility  in the dictionary is described ‘as the act of lowering oneself in relation to others, or conversely, having a clear perspective, and therefore respect, for one’s place in context.’

The majority of the senior leaders I see and unfortunately, their resultant impact on junior leaders, put himself or herself above the team they are leading.   In the past couple of weeks I witnessed a couple of situations where businesses were struggling significantly in the marketplace and the leaders were extremely busy making sure that their needs were being served.

Arrogance and pretentiousness are the kiss of death for a leader and the business they are leading. Here’s the thing though…  Leaders that lack that humbleness to put their personal interests and unfocused priorities ahead of the customer, the team, the brand, the culture and the values of the organization NEVER see what they are doing and, when questioned about it will always say they put everything else ahead of their personal agenda.

Here’s a Humility Test for you…

  1. Do you know what the values of your organization are?
  2. Do those values align with your personal values?
  3. Do you live the values by talking about them, leading them and recognizing others that are living them?
  4. When things are going less than perfect or off plan, do you make sure your team stays focused and does not panic?
  5. Do you take full responsibility for decisions made?
  6. Do you take full responsibility when things are less than perfect?
  7. Do you regularly give your team credit for great ideas and solutions to problems?
  8. Do you find ways to connect with your team on a regular basis (and by “connect” I mean really working to understand them on an individual basis)?
  9. Do you listen twice as much as you talk?
  10. Would your team answer the same way to all of the questions above?

If you truthfully answered “Yes” to all of the above, congratulations.  Go forth and lead.

If you answered “No” to any of the questions above, thank you for being honest.  If you care about being a humble new world leader, build yourself a plan to increase your awareness so you can make better choices and therefore, become a leader that wins the hearts and minds of your team and customers.

Leadership is a privilege not a right.  As a leader, we will have that privilege taken away from us quickly when we lack the humility to lead.  There is no room in world class brilliance for leaders that work hard to make sure they “Eat First.”

Robert Murray is a Passionate Leader, Stark Raving People Apostle, Turn Around Mercenary and the author of the critically acclaimed book; “It’s Already Inside: Nurturing your innate leadership for business and life success.”

 

It’s Already Inside: The “Back Seat”

Featured, Leadership Insights Jul 15, 2014 No Comments

PedestalThis may sound obvious however, I see it so often that I must say it… “Leaders need to lead, not gratuitously take up space on a pedestal.”

It drives me crazy when I see people that call themselves leaders and go about everything they do to insure that their people are there to serve them; not the customers, not the business, not the culture or the brand.

Leaders that think they are above their people or customers usually find themselves in a situation where their culture is crap, customers are unhappy, results are behind plan and eventually, they are let go.

So, as a leader, how do you make sure that your culture is one where employees are happy, they keep customers satisfied and loyal and bottom line performance is strong and growing?  Here is my simple, easy to follow plan for you…

  1. WIIFM – Every human being on the planet listens to the radio station “WIIFM” (What’s In It For Me).  The basic hierarchy of needs as described by Abraham Maslow, states that our very primal focus is on Physiological Needs (Breathing, food, water, sex, sleep, homeostasis, excretion).  When a leader creates an environment that is so incredibly stressful, employees will start to fear for their own physiological needs – maybe not consciously however, they will lose their appetites, stress eat, lose their sex drive and not be able to sleep.  Without physiological security, employees have no hope of reaching a state of security for themselves, their job, their family, etc.  It may sound basic however if a leader is busy making sure that their position on the top of the food chain is secure, they will resort to cruel and unusual behaviour that will threaten their team’s basic needs.  My advice?  As a leader, listen to the radio station “WIIFT” – What’s In It For Them.  When you are focused on your team and what their needs are, they will deliver beyond your expectations.  In other words, help your team get what they want and you will get what you want.
  2. Be Aware – Be Present - One of the keys to developing outstanding Emotional Intelligence is developing a heightened sense of awareness.  Awareness of your own behaviour, body language and actions is critical because employees are naturally dialled into how a leader is behaving, what their moods are like and how they respond to certain situations.  Why?  Because they are acutely, subconsciously aware of their own WIIFM.  When their leader is acting irrationally or uncharacteristically, it will determine how they respond.  If crap is hitting the fan with a customer or on the manufacturing floor, this is the most critical time for a leader to be calm and in control.  Followers want to see a leader that is in control, has a plan and gives them direction (Which is really giving them ‘Hope’).  When a leader puts their needs ahead of the team or the customers, it is a symptom of a greater problem – the complete lack of emotional intelligence.
  3. Serve – One of my all-time favourite songs is Bob Dylan’s “Gotta Serve Someone” from the album Slow train Coming in 1979.  I love it because the song talks about the fact that it does not matter who you are, who still have to serve someone.  As a leader, you need to wake up everyday and serve the people on your team.  Throughout the day to the end, your job is to serve your people.  Teach them respect and appreciation by respecting and appreciating them.  In turn, you will inspire a culture of servitude, respect and appreciation.  I don’t think I have to tell you how customers will feel when they are served by that kind of culture.  Put all of your energy and passion into serving and you will be rewarded – not put on a pedestal – but rewarded.  The pedestal is already overcrowded with the countless others out there that don’t get it and will soon find themselves sweeping the streets they thought they once owned.

Robert Murray is a Passionate Leader, Stark Raving People Apostle, Turn Around Mercenary and the author of the critically acclaimed book; “It’s Already Inside: Nurturing your innate leadership for business and life success.”

It’s Already Inside: Getting stuck in an Elevator

Featured, Leadership Insights Jul 02, 2014 No Comments

ElevatorFor some it is their worst nightmare and a paralyzing fear.  Getting trapped in an elevator.

I was having an amazing morning last Thursday.  The sun was waking up to a cloudless sky in Vancouver (A rare occurrence), traffic was almost non-existent and I found a ‘primo’ parking spot.  It was shaping up to be a great day as I was heading into a Board Meeting.

As I was getting onto the elevator, I got a glimpse of a young woman rushing to get to the lift as well so I held the door for her.  With a big smile on her face, she thanked me as she boarded and the doors closed.  We both pushed the buttons to our respective destination floors and off we went.  That was until the elevator passed by my target floor (Floor 5) and lurched to a somewhat bouncy stop between the 10th and 11th floors.

My first thought was about how weird it was that the elevator went past my floor (Human nature in the age of technology when we are no longer amazed by the everyday part that technology plays in our lives).  My thoughts then shifted to; “OK, I’ll wait for the doors to open and then I’ll get out.  Once again, the trust we have in technology.

It actually took me about a minute to realize that we were in fact stuck in the elevator.  I went to the control panel and pushed the ‘Door Open’ button.  Nothing.  Same result for the ‘Ground’ floor button.  Then I was pressing the ‘Call’ button to raise the alarm that we were stuck, I said to the young lady that was with me (Turns out her name is Jacquelyn), and said; “I’ll bet your not happy that I held the door for you now?”  She simply replied that getting trapped on an elevator was her worst nightmare.  My instant thought to that was; “Oh great, now I am going to be late for my Board Meeting and be in here with someone having a panic attack.”

She was amazing though.  We talked about HR( if you can believe it) as she was an HR manager.  We talked about the school that she was about to go back to in order to get her Law degree.  Every once in a while, the intercom would come to life with someone asking us if we were OK and that help was on the way.  It was actually like any other conversation, except that it was taking place in a 5 foot by 6 foot, windowless box that had no furniture.

Here’s the thing though…  In life and in leadership, things happen unexpectedly.  Some say that things happen for a reason (I still haven’t figured out all the reasons if that is the case).  Whatever it is though that happens, as a leader, you get to choose how you respond.  In fact it is your responsibility.  And even the word “Responsibility” can be broken down into the “Ability to Respond.”

When something unexpected happens, you can choose to panic.  Or you can choose to do what great leaders do.  Assess the situation and ask “What does good look like?”  Then lead.

In my case of being stuck temporarily in an elevator (notice I didn’t say “trapped?”), I could have got pissed off about it and worried that I was going to be late for my Board Meeting.  Or, I could have made the best of the situation.  I chose the latter.  The result was that I had a really rich conversation with someone new and (hopefully) made her feel a little more at ease about being in a small, confined space with a total stranger.

Robert Murray is a Passionate Leader, Stark Raving People Apostle, Turn Around Mercenary and the author of the critically acclaimed book; “It’s Already Inside: Nurturing your innate leadership for business and life success.”

It’s Already Inside: The Many Faces of a Leader

Featured, Leadership Insights Jun 23, 2014 No Comments

Sit LeaderAs an effective leader, one needs to be a Councillor, Coach, Advocate, Sponsor, Parent, Priest, Teacher… The list goes on and on.

I see many leaders in my travels.  Young leaders with direct reports for the first time, seasoned veterans and executives that occupy the corner offices with the floor to ceiling windows and panoramic views.  Yet, I similar leadership mistakes from each group.  One of the more common ones I see is the failure of leaders to change their leadership for followers with different needs, levels of confidence, competence or maturity levels.

As humans, we are generally more comfortable with one particular style of leadership that is in line with our personalties or more often, was the style that our most influential leader or mentor used on us when we are developing as leaders.

It is critical though if we are to get the culture we want to build, deliver the distinctive excellence to our customers and, ultimately, success in business, that we as leaders are able to develop different leadership for different followers at different times.

For example, new employees with limited skills and little confidence cannot be left to figure things out for themselves.  Conversely, seasoned veteran rockstar employees do not need constant supervision and interference.   As leaders, we need to respond and behave differently during times of crisis than we would during times of consistent success after success.

Start your journey to being a leader that is capable of morphing into different styles for different followers by using a classic emotional intelligence framework.  That is:

  • Awareness – Develop the consciousness to be aware of how you are behaving during different situations.  When team members are behaving out of character, look for ways to discover what and why.
  • Regulation – Learning how to regulate your emotions and choose your response to changing situations
  • Motivation – Findings ways to motivate yourself to be the leader that you need to be when you need to be.  And… that can be incredibly hard especially when what you need to be is outside of your comfort zone.
  • Empathy – Learning how to understand what people are going through yet being the leader they need at the same time.  This takes practice, reflection, mistakes, learning and, eventually, mastering it.  The one key tool you need though is learning how to LISTEN.

Whether you are leading a team of one or a large organization, get good at being a different leader for different followers and situations.  It is a critical piece to the success puzzle.

Robert Murray is a Passionate Leader, Stark Raving People Apostle, Turn Around Mercenary and the author of the critically acclaimed book; “It’s Already Inside: Nurturing your innate leadership for business and life success.”