12 Questions to have your employees answer about you!

Are you a leader with influence? Can you engage and mobilize your employees?

One way to assess your ability to influence your employees is to ask them a series of questions. Find out to what degree they agree or disagree with the following:

1. I am competent

2.I am credible

3. I demonstrate personal commitment

4. I have character and integrity

5. I am resilient

6. I serve

7. I care about my employees

8. I am committed to my employees’ success

9. I admit mistakes

10. I lead by going first and setting the example

11. I seek respect even if I am not always popular

12. My words and deeds match

Where you sit with your employees on these questions determines how effective you are as a leader. Where ever you sit now, we can all improve. Good leaders are continually growing and improving. We don’t start out as Level 5 leaders.

But to grow and gain in influence we must know where we are now. That is what this kind of assessment is designed to give you.

After getting feedback on these questions, determine one behavior and one attitude you can change immediately to better earn the right to lead.

For more comprehensive feedback to identify areas and opportunities for your leadership growth, you can take the Maxwell Leadership Assessment. This is an online based 360-degree assessment based on John Maxwell’s book, The Five Levels of Leadership.

Visit my webpage to find out more about this assessment.

 

adapted with permission of Coach Master Toolkit

Are you a Decisive and Confident Leader?

I’m reading a book called American Generalship about WW II leaders. Many of the leaders interviewed cite that a list of characteristics of leadership must include a certain decisiveness and a certain confidence.

They state that in most cases decisiveness and confidence come from knowledge based on studies and training. Examples include General MacArthur and General Patton. One general believed that their broad knowledge of the military profession contributed greatly to their boldness in decision and their success as leaders.

Are decisiveness and confidence just as important for leaders outside the military? Where have you seen these characteristics displayed in good leaders? Where have you seen leaders struggle due to a lack of these characteristics?

I believe leaders need to develop these characteristics to be successful regardless of where and who they are leading. I know I always felt more decisive and more confident when I had studied and put in the time to learn about the organization I was leading and the mission we performed.

Are you constantly learning and developing your mind? Can you then apply this knowledge as you go along in your career? Knowledge leads to confidence which leads to decisiveness. When you get to that point you become more competent as a leader.

How would you rate yourself in decisiveness and confidence? What other characteristics would you add to the list?

Why Not You?

Super Bowl winning quarterback Russell Wilson talked of his dad asking him the question, “Why not you?”

Do you ever ask yourself this question? When you have doubts about yourself and don’t believe you can do something, do you ask, “why not me?”

Our minds are powerful. We develop self-limiting beliefs that constantly tell us that we are not good enough, not smart enough, not attractive enough. We begin to believe this self-talk and consequently don’t even try to do things because we believe we can’t.

Could asking yourself the simple question, “why not me?” help you break free from you self-limiting beliefs? It could be a start to understanding some of the false beliefs that all of us carry around in our minds. It may not help you become a Super Bowl quarterback but it can help you get out of your comfort zone and try things you have been afraid to do.

How many dreams have been squashed by these type of beliefs?  Where would Russell Wilson be if he had listened to all those experts who told him he was too short to play quarterback in the NFL? Are you listening to your doubters?

The next time someone tells you that you are not good enough or you tell yourself that you can’t do something, ask yourself the question. Then step out of your comfort zone. Don’t let these self-limiting beliefs keep you from reaching your dreams.

 

How Much Potential Do You Have?

A guest post from my friend and mentor Scott Fay. His new book, Discover Your Sweet Spot: The 7 Steps to Create a Life of Significance, is making its launch this week.

13.5 Million Acorns in Your Hand

By Scott M. Fay

Author, Discover Your Sweet Spot

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In order to build my organizations, I first needed to build myself. And in order to build myself, I needed to create an environment conducive to growth.

Think about it. As humans, space is essential. For starters, we take up space.

But more than that, we also design space, build space, and even maintain space. In landscaping, we intentionally utilize space with a specific purpose in mind. But too often when leading ourselves and those around us, we unintentionally permit a space that sabotages our potential.

I’ve never met people who felt they achieved their full potential. This tells me that we’re all living and leading below our capacity. Imagine what we could do if we were just a few percentage points better. Imagine what we could create or accomplish.

When we look to nature, we can see a powerful and encouraging example. Think about an acorn for a moment. It possesses tremendous potential. As the fourteenth century proverb teaches, “Great oaks from little acorns grow.”

But if we place an acorn in a safe, comfortable, and protected place, we will watch it slowly die over time. In these types of environments, acorns will do nothing. Yet if we take this same acorn and place it inside the ground, something miraculous happens. This little acorn sends out a powerful signal to the surrounding soil. It attracts everything it needs in order to grow and thrive.

The acorn doesn’t need a safe, comfortable, and protected place. It needs a conducive environment to unleash its potential. And when it grows, it increases in size and strength, but also in productivity. This same acorn—now a mighty oak—produces other acorns.

The average oak tree produces 70,000–150,000 acorns a year. During the tree’s entire life, that number jumps to around 13.5 million acorns. 2 And this staggering number doesn’t even account for the other acorns that will come from that first acorn’s acorns and so on.

The next time you hold an acorn, realize the potential of 13.5 million other acorns coming from the one in your hand—all conditional upon its environment.

And then consider the value of one human life compared to an acorn. How much potential do YOU have? I guarantee it is much more than you can imagine. Create an environment conducive to growth.

————–

Excerpt taken from Discover Your Sweet Spot by Scott M. Fay, published by Morgan James Publishing, available here via Amazon. More info:  www.thesweetspotsystem.com .

What I learned about 360-Degree Leadership Assessments

Recently I took the new John Maxwell 360-Degree Leadership Assessment. I wanted to familiarize myself with the tool. The assessment evaluates 64 leadership attributes from John Maxwell’s book The Five Levels of Leadership. Here is what I learned:

  1. There is a tendency for resistance to a 360-degree assessment. Being confronted with uncensored data can be upsetting and I needed to explore my feelings about the feedback.
  2. It was most helpful to use a coach to help me process the data and think into the results I want to get from the assessment. This is one of those things I would recommend to not do at home by yourself.
  3. It was best to look at the data and try to identify several patterns or themes. Otherwise the feedback can be overwhelming when trying to decide on an action plan.
  4. Ultimately I had to decide if the feedback was valid and what the results really meant. I also had to decide what areas were worth working on. Not every area brought up in the feedback would contribute to the results I am trying to achieve if I worked to improve it.

About the feedback:

  • It affirmed some areas of my leadership
  • It validated other areas where I knew I needed improvement
  • It identified some blind spots

All together the experience was positive and gave me a solid action plan to improve my leadership abilities. I recommend the 360-Degree Leadership Assessment for anyone that wants to get better as a leader.

To check out the assessment go to my website at www.JohnMaxwellGroup.com/RobertEnglish. Contact me for assistance in administering the assessment, processing the feedback, and developing an action plan.

Are You Living In Your Sweet Spot?

A guest blog from my friend and mentor Scott Fay:

 

Are You Living In Your Sweet Spot?

By Scott M. Fay

Author, Discover Your Sweet Spot

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The Sweet Spot is the convergence of three things: Purpose, Passion, and Plan.

  • Purpose is who you are designed to be.
  • Passion is what you love to do.
  • Plan is the strategic convergence of being and doing.

 Living and working from our Sweet Spot results from intentional design, not accidental disorder. Similar to what I do with my new landscaping clients, we must design our lives with the end in mind. Unfortunately, too many people just accept their lives rather than lead their lives.

Living to and from your Sweet Spot yields exponential potential.

My mother still tells me that I first found my Sweet Spot at the age of four while playing in the sandbox. Every day in summer, I loved spending time in a gigantic 10-by 15-foot sandpit with toy ‘dozers, trailers, and trucks. Like boys my age, I built roads and rivers during playtime. But perhaps unlike other boys, I also built little homes out of sand and then I felt the need to landscape those little properties. I’d use pine cones for shrubs, twigs for trees, and place little stones around freshly-dug miniature swimming pools. In that vast sand pit, I made a little square shop out of red bricks that I’d found lying around from my father’s projects. On top of that square shop, I made a flat roof out of pine boards.

I’d spend nearly all day playing in the sand pit. But just before dinnertime, I’d perform a unique ritual. I’d drive the equipment up onto the trailers, hook them up to the trucks, and then drive the trucks back to the square shop with the flat roof. By this time, mom would make a final dinner call and, according to her, I’d spend a couple more minutes at the shop off-loading the equipment, lining up the trailers, and, finally, backing up the trucks. Ritual complete, I’d head off to dinner, satisfied and smiling.

More than forty years later, I still perform an odd ritual. Today my sandpit is a bit larger, though. On most days before dinnertime, I pull into a square shop with a flat roof at 7900 SE Bridge Road in Hobe Sound, Florida. While driving around the lot, I see my employees off-loading the equipment, lining up the trailers, and, finally, backing up the trucks. Waving to them, I see the ritual completed, and then I head off to dinner, satisfied and smiling.

What about you? Have you ever functioned in your Sweet Spot? Do you know what it is? Is your Passion, Purpose, and Plan clear? If so, you don’t even need to look to see if you’re effective. You already know.

————–

Excerpt taken from Discover Your Sweet Spot by Scott M. Fay, published by Morgan James Publishing, available here via Amazon. More info:  www.thesweetspotsystem.com .

Are You Ready for Personal Growth in 2014?

This is a blog I wrote for the John Maxwell Team blog about a system I use to reflect on and evaluate experiences so I can learn from them.

Good leaders use TACT
Posted on December 28, 2013 by Bob English

Good Leaders Use TACT – How about you?

Tact is the ability to say the right thing. Leaders definitely need to develop this skill but I am talking about the acronym TACT. It stands for Think, Apply, Change and Transfer.

Good leaders are continual learners. One of the best ways to learn and to grow is to reflect on and evaluate your experiences. You may have heard that experience is the best teacher, but without reflection and evaluation of an experience, it is just an experience. The only way to truly learn and grow from an experience, a book, an article, a talk is to evaluate it by asking what it meant to us, what can we learn from it, what can we apply in our lives, what do we need to quit doing based on the experience.

How many times have we read a great book, heard a great talk or had a great experience and thought how much it would help us but never did anything with the information and experience?

When I joined the John Maxwell Team, we were taught to use the acronym ACT to reflect on teachings and experiences. First I annotate the book or my notes with an A for those things I want to apply in my life. I put a C next to those things I want to change in my life and a T next to those items that I want to transfer or teach to someone else to help them. When I review my notes, I can incorporate these items I have annotated on my calendar or action plan for the week or month. This is helping me to make better use of these learning and growth opportunities.

At a recent John Maxwell Team training event, I had the privilege to see the movie Lincoln with John teaching leadership lessons during the movie. He stopped the movie about 10 times and taught lessons from those scenes.

He stopped after one scene where Lincoln got some information then walked away to think about a big decision. John taught that great leaders take time to think. He told us that leaders have a bias to act but sometimes need to think. He commented that he ought to add another T to the acronym ACT. Adding Think makes sense to me; leaders Think before they ACT.

Since then I have added Think to my reflection and evaluation process. I try to identify those things I just need to think on for a while. John told us that what would separate us from others is not our actions but our thinking. So now, I try to take time to withdraw and just think. What about you? Do you take time to just think? Do you reflect on and evaluate experiences so you can learn and grow as a leader? Just remember to use a little TACT.

About the Author

Bob’s passion is to pour into others and help them find their purpose and passion.

His goal is to use to the fullest his experiences from a military career and skills learned from the JMT to coach, teach and speak to leaders who want to learn and grow.

Contact Bob at : http://www.johncmaxwellgroup.com/robertenglish

 

Be All You Can Be in 2014

This is traditionally the time when we make resolutions for the year ahead. We want to lose weight, get better organized, spend less, save more, spend more time with family, etc.

A New Year’s resolution is a promise that you make to yourself to start doing something good or stop doing something bad on the first day of the year. Statistics show that 46% of Americans usually make resolutions and only 8% of people are successful in achieving their resolution.

What if you entered the New Year with a little strategic planning rather than making resolutions? First, ask what is your life purpose, what are your dreams, what is your mission in life? You have to know where you are going before you start down the road to get there.

You may already have this figured out or you may need to do a little thinking about where you want to go. Then develop goals for the year, both personal and professional, to move you toward your destination. Next, assess what you need to do this year to reach those goals.

Remember, companies continue to improve their products, think iPhone. You are your own product and realizing and embracing this fact is the essence of personal development. To improve and grow, it is critical to invest in your own self-development.

Look at areas in your life where improvement will move you forward. Your leadership ability is the first area to examine. You need to continue learning and growing as a leader whether you are leading others or just leading yourself.

Communicating is another important area to continually develop. Learning how to better connect with others helps our relationships and our communication results. Remember, most things we do are done with other people. If you are intentional about growing in these two areas, you can bet you will move along toward your goals for the year.

Then determine other specific actions you need to take to reach your goals. All of these actions become your plan for the year. Make them measurable and give them a timeline. If you base your daily and weekly agendas on this plan you will move toward becoming all you can be as you live life to its fullest potential.

So, forget the New Year’s resolutions and lay out your personal development plan for the year. Good luck!

 

How can coaching make you a better leader?

My friend and colleague Gloria Burgess has a great take on going from an average leader to a great leader.

 

WHAT SEPARATES AVERAGE LEADERS FROM GREAT LEADERS?

NOVEMBER 11, 2013 BY  2 COMMENTS

A Fortune 500 company, a small business, a sports team, a cadre of youth volunteers. Whatever the size or focus, every successful organization has one thing in common: great leadership.

But what separates an average leader from a great leader? Is it enough to have years of experience, a degree from a top-notch university, or an impressive title? No: especially not in today’s complex, ever-evolving workplace.

The difference between average and great leaders begins long before they assume the mantle of leadership. In fact, a person can be a great leader even if they do not have a leadership title or position.

How is that possible? Because great leadership begins from within. It begins with who you are. Who you are when no one else is looking. Your core values and how you act on those values is what will distinguish you as a leader—every single time.

Recently, I was coaching a finance executive who was under intense pressure from the CEO to act in a manner that was inconsistent with his integrity. Sam (not his real name) knew in his heart what he should do. But his wife had been out of work for almost a year, and his son had just started his freshman year in college.

Contrary to popular notions about the role of a coach, this was not about fixing Sam. Nor was it about telling him what he should do or how to do it. My role was about supporting Sam to trust himself and to discover his own answers, so that he could act in a way that was authentic for him.

Unlike average leaders, great leaders are attuned to their inner selves—they are aware of their strengths and weaknesses. Self-awareness is a powerful attribute, especially when you are also courageous enough to acknowledge what you do not know and work diligently to find the answer! Being attuned to your inner self is an important aspect of leadership, because it allows you to be still, listen to your inner voice, and act with authenticity.

As our coaching relationship progressed, Sam gained a new appreciation for what it means and what it takes to stand firm for his beliefs and values. Although he cared about his boss and wanted to keep their relationship intact, Sam eventually concluded that he must confront his boss and tell him where he stood.

Given the gravity of the situation, Sam recognized that his decision to confront his boss could be a career-limiting move. More importantly, he recognized that yielding to the CEO’s wishes would compromise his character, which would ultimately diminish his relationships with the people he cared about the most—his family. Sam realized that if he were to devalue himself, he would be granting others permission to devalue him, thereby impacting his ability to influence others.

As my friend John Maxwell rightly reminds us, “Leadership is about influence. Nothing more, nothing less.” When we take a stand for what we believe and we act in congruence with our values, not only do we communicate our values, we also demonstrate our character. And we join with other great leaders who demonstrate that leadership is measured by the small acts we commit every single day.

Will you be an average leader or a great leader?

About the Author

Gloria_Burgess_WebLrgGloria Burgess is a Featured Writer for the John Maxwell Team Blog.

She is an inspiring, dynamic speaker who brings a wealth of experience to the platform.

A seasoned business executive, her powerful keynotes and seminars connect with audiences because she brings real-world, in-the-seat experience to corporate events, conferences, and meetings. Gloria speaks at events around the world.

Contact Gloria at http://www.johncmaxwellgroup.com/gloriaburgess/

What can a lake teach you about implementing change?

Have you encountered resistance when implementing improvements that cause change? As I plan to introduce several initiatives in one of the organizations I serve, I think about Ilan Shimar’s Advice from Nature Series. A lake would tell us to:

:: Be Clear

:: Make positive ripples

:: Look beneath the surface

:: Stay calm

:: Shore up friendships

:: Take time to reflect

:: Be full of life!

I am the type of person who always is looking for ways to improve things. This usually means change. Most people don’t like change. The lake would advise me to first be clear. Be clear about what I am trying to improve, why it needs improving, and what are the impacts of changing the status quo. Too many times it seems like people go off on some improvement initiative without being clear on what they are doing. I sometimes have a tendency to jump out and think my way through something as I go along. In this instance, I certainly need to be clear before I start making big waves.

Make positive ripples and look beneath the surface remind me to understand all the issues and approach the change in a positive manner. If I understand other people’s issues, I am better equipped to keep things positive. Nothing kills an initiative faster than a negative approach that causes walls of resistance to immediately go up. Getting too emotional can also fan the negative flames, so stay calm is always good advice here.

Shoring up friendships or developing your relationship with stakeholders is critical to making change. My chances of success are greater if I can use my relationships with stakeholders to make them a part of the process. After reflecting on all this, I am struck by the last piece of advice, be full of life. Remember, the goal here is to add value to the organization and improve it the best you can. The last thing I want to do is to poison my relationships with others in the organization and kill any current organizational effectiveness.

Advice from a lake will help you to keep the organization fresh, full of life and productive. If you approach change with good intentions but violate this advice, you could end up with a “dead sea” organization.

In what other situations could you apply advice from a lake?