Effective Leaders LEAD

A young officer in the Army discovered that he had no change when he tried to buy a soft drink from a vending machine. He flagged down a passing private and asked him, “Do you have change for a dollar?”

The private said cheerfully, “I think so. Let me take a look.”

The officer drew himself up stiffly and said, “Soldier, that is no way to address a superior. We’ll start all over again. Do you have change for a dollar?”

The private came to attention, saluted smartly, and said, “No, sir!”

Each of us commands some authority. There are or will be those we guide, supervise, rear, mentor or lead. Some of us will be effective and others will feel as if we’re running a cemetery: we’ve got a lot of people under us and nobody’s listening.

Much has been written and taught about leadership, but I find that at least four traits are common in all people of authority who effectively elicit cooperation and respect from those who look up to them. Whether you are a parent, whether you find yourself in the workplace, sitting on a volunteer committee or teaching some-one a new skill, these traits will help you effectively guide those who
would seek to follow.

These good leaders are…

L isteners. They take time to listen to the suggestions and concerns of those they endeavor to lead.

E ncouragers. They don’t try to do it all themselves. Neither do they motivate by force or guilt. They encourage others and help bring out their best.

A ssertive. They say what needs to be said without being unkind. They tell the truth as they see it, openly and frankly.

D ecisive. They know what needs to be done and they make timely, even difficult, decisions when necessary. But they can also take charge without running over the people in their lives.

In short, good leaders L-E-A-D!

It’s said that the trouble with being a leader today is that you can’t be sure whether people are following you or chasing you. But those who will develop these four traits are sure to find that their authority will be valued and respected.

— Taken from an article by Steve Goodier on the Four Traits of Effective Leaders at http://www.lifesupportsystem.com

Have a Plan for Personal Growth

Growth is not automatic; it does not necessarily come with experience, nor simply as a result of gathering information.  Personal growth must be deliberate, planned, and consistent. – John Maxwell

I came across the practical steps for personal growth in the book, Developing the Leaders Around You, by JOHN MAXWELL.

JOHN MAXWELL, who was listed as number one  in my post on  the Top Ten Leadership Gurus, outlines these five practical steps for personal growth:

1. Set aside time daily for growth. John Maxwell shares with us the two important concepts in this step:

First, time for growth must be planned.

Second, the time set aside must be set aside daily – for no fewer than five days a week.

Reading books and informative magazines while traveling and waiting is also good for personal growth.

When I was reassigned from the regional office  to the central office, I made my daily schedule of reading books and other resource materials, at least one hour when I wake up early in the morning and one hour in the evening, to prepare me intellectually to the bigger responsibilities I was facing.

2. File or copy quickly what you learn. Always carry with you a small planner or notebook where you could write what you learn from your readings or from the tapes.

3. Apply quickly what you learn. Choose a learning that you want to apply each week.

4. Grow with someone. The best way to grow is to share your knowledge with someone.

5. Plan your growth and follow it for a year. If you want to read one book per month and listen to one tape per week, you will be able to read twelve books and listen to 52 tapes in a year.

According to John Maxwell, personal growth is like investing.  It’s not your timing.  It’s your time in.  Get them going now.

Your friend,

Nimia Acebes

A Good Leader is PROUD

We look for a good leader to lead us into achieving our goals; to lead us into prosperity and greatness.  Whenever failures happen in a country or organization we oftentimes attribute it to poor leadership.

What are the qualities of a good leader?  A good leader is

People developer.

John Maxwell says, The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership. Most leaders are not successful on this because it takes a lot of hard work and patience.

People are the most important assets of an organization and developing them demands our time, attention and commitment.

A supervisor is briefing an employee on how the result shall look like.

Resilient.  The ability to bounce back when the problems arise.  Doug Dickerson  says that a resilient leader learns from every experience and never gives up in the face of adversity.

Organized.  The ability to organize time, paper and people so that potential productivity can be translated into a coherent program.

Stephanie Winston, in her book,  the Organized Executive says, Organizing is, quite simply, a learned skill – a set of methods and tools with which to arrange your time and workload to meet your goals.  

Understanding.  In his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey says, The more deeply you understand other people, the more you will appreciate them, the more reverent you will feel about them…When we really, deeply understand each other, we open the door to creative solutions and third alternatives.  Our differences are no longer stumbling blocks to communications and progress.  Instead, they become the stepping stones to synergy.

Disciplined.  The willingness to do what is required regardless of personal mood.  Self-discipline is the foundation of good relationship because without self-discipline you will be rude, insensitive and unfair to other people.

Mike Tyson, an American boxer, says, Without discipline, no matter how good you are, you are nothing!

In short, a good leader is P-R-O-U-D. If you have these qualities as a leader, you will be loved and respected by your people.

Your friend,

Nimia Acebes

Lead with Patience

You probably became the person you are today because somebody had patience with you at some critical points in your life…When you are patient with a person, you make a long-term investment in them.- Blaine Lee

On November 25, 2009, I posted an article titled Leaders Pay Attention to the Details. It stressed that there are projects which fail due to the leader’s failure to be attentive to details.

Most projects and problems encountered by us are not as simple as they seem.  It needs patience to dig into the details of each task and issue.  Much more, it takes a lot of patience to deal with the people doing the task or causing the issue –  people of varied attitude, work habits and experiences.

We develop the people we lead because people is the life of the organization .  We have to study the details of the project or of the job to help our people improve their performance. We could not teach what we don’t know.  Helping people grow requires patience.  We don’t keep digging up a  plant to know how it’s growing.

A Director is discussing the details of the job with her employees.

When I was  new in supervising people, I was so impatient with the slow learners,  slow workers and those who always commit mistakes.  I wanted everyone to be efficient and high achievers to meet and even exceed our goals.  But, I realized that my impatience has affected our relationship and didn’t motivate them to do better. Later on, I learned to be a good coach to them and most of them thanked me for the learnings they got from me.

In his book, The Power Principle: Influence with Honor, Blaine Lee suggests the following words to say to ourselves to check for patience:

Are their efforts acceptable as a place to start?

Must it really be done now?  This way?

Are the deadlines real?

Where are the pressures coming from?

Are the pressures real?

Is this good enough for now?

Are they good enough for now?

Am I open to their opinions?

How do you demonstrate patience to your people and to your peers?  Please let me hear from you by leaving your comments below this article.

Your friend,

Nimia Acebes

The Five Elements in Performance Agreements with Employees

Sometime in November 2009, I wrote an article on the Five Tips to Remember When Setting Performance Targets with Employees.  This is to guide you in effectively managing performance of your employees.

In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey shares with us the following five elements to be present during performance agreements with employees:

1.  Desired Results

2.  Guidelines

3.  Resources

4.  Accountability

5.  Consequences

Desired Results. Identify the output and when it is accomplished.   Focus on results not methods.

Let us not fall into the activity trap, which means we are so entangled in activity that we lose sight of the reason of the activity.  The activity, thus, become an end in itself.  The means has become the end.  The goal is lost in a bout of methods.  That is why we have employees who are so busy working daily but could not achieve the desired result at the targeted time because they are so busy with so many activities and methods which are counterproductive and even harmful.

Guidelines. Specify the parameters in terms of quantity, quality and time, principles, policies, etc., within which the results are to be achieved.

Resources. Identify the human, financial, technical, or organizational support available to help accomplish the results.  Tell the employees to whom or to where shall they go for help when they find problem in accomplishing their desired results.

Accountability. Set up the standards of performance and the time of evaluation.

Consequences. Specify – good and bad, natural and logical – what does and will happen as a result of the evaluation.

In performance agreements, Stephen Covey says: consequences become the natural or logical result of performance rather than a reward or punishment arbitrarily handled out by the person in charge.

If these elements are mutually understood and agreed upon by you and your employees,  performance appraisal would be easy, as the employees could judge and evaluate their own performance based on these criteria.

A Regional Director is conducting Performance Agreement discussion with her supervisors.

I’m inviting you to give your views on this article by leaving your comments below this post.

Your friend,

Nimia Acebes