3 Strategic Actions to Lead Amidst Uncertainty

By | Leadership

One of the greatest challenges for leaders is guiding their followers through the challenges of unknown situations and circumstances. Many times, the leader hasn’t experienced the situation previously. This means everyone is walking into the fog with some level of fear or trepidation together. However, when leaders boldly advance despite the uncertainty, they gain significant credibility and trust. 

In order to courageously lead your followers into uncertainty, implement the following three strategic actions:

1 – Prepare Continually

While you can’t predict the future, you can look for trends and indicators of what could be coming your way. Invest in your personal growth so you can be the leader people need when challenges arise. Don’t wait for critical moments to prepare; make it a daily habit. The more you grow as a leader each day, the better prepared you’ll be when moments arrive to lead your people into unknown territory. Block out at least 15-30 minutes each day to invest in yourself. Read books. Listen to podcasts. Attend conferences. Watch webinars. Find a mentor. Hire a coach. Whatever it takes, prepare for the challenges that will inevitably come.

2 – Build Trust Daily

Trust takes a long time to build and a moment to lose. If you want to be able to lead your followers through the fog of uncertainty, you need to invest in relationships. While this takes time and diligence, it pays big dividends when you need people to trust you most. People find it easy to follow leaders when things are easy and calm, but they want to know they can depend on their leaders when challenging situations arise. If you will focus on building trust each day, you will be prepared to ask for more from your people when you need it most. They will step up in ways that may surprise you when they trust you to lead them from a place of healthy relationships.

3 – Advance Boldly

Leadership requires courage. Leading through the fog of uncertainty requires even more courage than normal. When you prepare yourself and build trust, you will be able to advance boldly into the unknown knowing that your team has your back and are willing to go the distance with you. Advancing boldly doesn’t mean you are wreckless. Rather, it means you step into the fear and break through what some call the “terror barrier”. This invisible barrier pops up when you can’t predict what’s on the other side of the situation. I’ve also heard it called the “tunnel of chaos” that you enter without knowing what’s on the other side. This is precisely when leaders are needed most. This is where leaders are made or gain greater credibility with their followers. You won’t know all the answers, but you can figure things out with your team if you have prepared yourself and built trust along the way. It’s easier to advance boldly when you know you have a solid team surrounding you. 

Imagine having greater confidence to lead during the toughest of challenges. 

Imagine having a team of people who are excited to tackle the biggest challenges with you because they know you have their best interest in mind. 

Imagine growing in your leadership credibility because you confidently and boldly advance despite the uncertainty. 

This can be your reality when you implement these three strategic actions consistently. 

If you’re ready to step up to higher levels of leadership capabilities, CLICK HERE to purchase your copy of The Magnetic Leader: 18 Essential Actions of Leaders People Love to Follow!

Until next time…make today GREAT!

3 Intentional Actions to Express Value to Your Followers

By | Leadership

People respond exceptionally well to leaders who value them, but it’s easy to inadvertently devalue them in the hectic pace of business and life. This often happens when you focus too much on tasks rather than relationships. 

If you want to be a leader people love to follow, showing others that you value them is critical for your success. 

In order to express value to your followers, implement the following three intentional actions daily:

1 – Pay Attention

We live in a world that is fighting for our attention at all times. Whether it’s on TV, social media, email, or a multitude of other things, we are living in a highly distracted era. Being a leader is not an easy task when people’s attention is being targeted 24/7. It’s easy for leaders to be distracted in the process of trying to get important things done, but when you genuinely pay attention to your people, it pays incredible dividends. They feel valued. They feel seen. They become more committed to their work because they feel cared for. Instead of being a number in the system or a faceless team member required to accomplish certain tasks, they feel like actual human beings. Because distractions are so strong in our world today, giving someone your attention is extremely valuable and needed. People can find new ways and places to earn a living, but they’re all desiring to be seen and heard. Pay attention to your people and you will reap incredible rewards of greater loyalty and productivity.

2 – Listen Deeply

Most people feel overlooked and underappreciated because few leaders slow down long enough to listen to their ideas, needs, or concerns. Leaders who listen deeply find great favor from their followers. They become valuable sounding boards, which lead to better ideas. They become confidants who resolve workplace tensions. This leads to better, healthier cultures. This leads to a more positive work environment that is attractive to new team members. The ripple effect of listening deeply goes far beyond the effort required. Many leaders fear that their time will be wasted by people in pointless conversations. However, most people don’t need huge allotments of time but rather focused listening sessions in short bursts. If team members become time-wasters, respond by setting clear boundaries and expectations. Don’t allow the fear of what “could” happen to hold you back from listening deeply to those under your care.

3 – Express Appreciation

Many leaders overlook a simple way to build people up in the midst of busyness. Also, when people perform the tasks on their job description, it’s often seen as simply doing what they’re paid to do. While that may be technically true, expressing appreciation for a job well done goes a long way. How people accomplish their tasks matters just as much, if not more, than simply getting things done. It’s a quality issue. Those who feel appreciated want to excel and will exert more effort. Those who are disengaged and distracted will do enough just to get by. How leaders respond to the quality of their employees’ work often determines how they continue to produce. When you express appreciation for working with excellence and diligence, performance will improve. Motivation will increase. Attitudes and behaviors will improve. People want to feel appreciated and when you express appreciation to them, they feel more valued. This leads to better outcomes and more loyalty toward their leader.

Imagine having a team of highly engaged people on your team who work diligently to produce quality results.

Imagine being the go-to leader who others can depend on because they feel valued each day. 

Imagine the kind of culture you could have if everyone feels valued and in turn values one another. 

This can be your reality if you’ll implement these three intentional actions to express value to your followers.

If you’re ready to up-level your leadership so you can attract high-quality team members and keep them engaged, CLICK HERE to purchase your copy of The Magnetic Leader: 18 Essential Actions of Leaders People Love to Follow!

Until next time…make today GREAT!

3 Critical Steps to Become a More Trustworthy Leader

By | Leadership

Leaders are action takers. That’s often the reason they are given promotions and opportunities to lead. However, it’s incredibly easy to be so focused on “doing” that we forget about improving our “being.” This has significant ramifications. 

Who you are matters more than what you do and how you do it. “Being” informs and impacts what you do and how you do it. If we can get the being part right, the what and how will become easier and more successful. 

If you’re ready to develop the “being” side of your leadership, take the following critical steps:

1 – Develop Your Character

The “being” aspect of your life is all about your character. This is you becoming the best version of yourself possible. It’s about becoming stronger, better, faster, smarter, etc. It’s about having integrity and being trustworthy. If you overlook developing your character, it will cost you much. When you focus on developing good character, it will take you farther than you ever thought possible. Developing your character requires a daily commitment to investing in yourself through learning, thinking, listening, praying, and challenging yourself. Find ways to get better every day.

2 – Protect Your Integrity

It’s been said that integrity is who you are when no one is watching. Integrity is defined by Dictionary.com as “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty; the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished; a sound, unimpaired, or perfect condition.” While none of us are perfect, leaders people love to follow strive to give and be their best each day. When you’re tempted to lie, cheat, steal, or slander someone’s character, integrity restrains you. Integrity causes you to take the high road when you’d rather take a cheap shot at someone with whom you’re frustrated or angry. In order to improve your “being”, protect your integrity as a critical action.

3 – Focus on Consistency

One of the great characteristics of leaders people love to follow is consistency. This allows your followers to be confident in knowing what to expect from you. Unpredictable people are hard to follow. In fact, most people won’t follow them for long. They may stay in their organization or on their team, but they’ll secretly ignore the person’s words because they aren’t dependable. Consistency requires you to show up with a predictable demeanor and operate with a predictable approach. Your people need to know what to expect from you. Be yourself. Authenticity makes consistency easier. Choose each day to be calm in the midst of the chaos that inevitably ensues. Steadiness and consistency go hand-in-hand, especially during turbulent times.

Who you are matters to your followers. Continue to be an action-taker since it is necessary for leadership, but don’t allow your “doing” to supersede your “being”. If you do, it will be to your detriment. 

Imagine being the kind of leader people are glad to see arrive each day. 

Imagine being the kind of leader people trust for guidance and support during challenging times. 

Imagine being the kind of leader people know they can depend on because you are consistent in how you “show up” each day. 

This can all be possible when you implement these three critical actions of focusing on your “being” before “doing”. 

Are you ready to become the kind of leader people love to follow so you can attract high-quality team members and clients? If so, CLICK HERE to purchase your copy of The Magnetic Leader: 18 Essential Actions of Leaders People Love to Follow!

Until next time…make today GREAT!

5 Key Actions to Become an Adaptable Leader

By | Leadership

If the COVID-19 pandemic taught us anything, it’s that adaptability is critical for leadership in uncertain times. Looking back, I’m quite amazed at how so many organizations pivoted in a very short period of time when they had to adjust to survive. 

I love the commercial of a bike company that shifted its business model to offer virtual video demonstrations using the Microsoft Teams app with customers all over the world. The owners tell the story of how their business expanded quickly because they were no longer bound by a specific brick-and-mortar location. What could’ve been crushing for this business became an opportunity to expand their reach globally. 

Not every business was able to easily adjust like this based on what they do, but many leaders who went virtual are saying they’re never going back to the way they did business prior to the pandemic. Only time will tell if this holds true, but the reality is that adaptability is a vital characteristic of leaders in today’s world.

How can you develop your adaptability “muscles” in order to adjust faster and better whenever the need arises? Consider the following five key actions:

1 – Always Be Prepared

When I was a teenager, I remember the youth leaders at our church teaching us to make decisions in advance so we would know how to respond when we found ourselves in various situations. They taught this because they knew we could either freeze up or make poor decisions at the moment, but if we thought about how to respond in advance, we could remain calm and think more clearly. The same is true in leadership. You don’t have to run “worst-case scenario” drills every day, but it helps to think through various situations to be prepared for critical moments. Think about how schools run practice emergency drills periodically in order to prepare the students for real threats. Determine “emergency drills” to do with your team so you’ll be more prepared for a variety of challenges.

2 – Expect Challenges Daily

No matter how solid your team and organization are, challenges will arise. In fact, leadership is needed most because of the inevitable challenges. Each day may not bring a crisis, but most have their moments of frustration. I once spoke with a leader who said he metaphorically walks around each day with two buckets in his hand – one with water to put out fires and one with gasoline to start them. I love that illustration because it’s so true! Some people are starting fires that need to be put out and addressed. Others need a fire lit under their seats in order to take action. Both are challenges that leaders must address.

3 – Respond, Don’t React

If you’ve done #1 above, this action is much easier. There is a fine line between responding and reacting. Responding carries with it a much calmer, thoughtful approach. Reacting can cause chaos. Think about first responders who show up on the scene of an emergency. You don’t see them running, but rather walking with intention. Why? Because if they run, they’ll be reacting based on adrenaline and be emotionally charged. This could lead to poor decision-making. But a calm, intentional pace allows them to assess and address the problem better. As a leader, if you run toward problems you’ll find yourself easily worked up and reacting. But if you slow your breathing and pace, giving yourself the space to assess things clearly, you’ll be able to respond intentionally. 

4 – Enlist Your Team

While the buck may stop with you as the leader, you shouldn’t ignore the very people you’ve assembled to help solve problems. You will see challenges from only one perspective, but your team members will add additional perspectives to help you see things differently. This is extremely helpful in times of challenge or crisis. I’m continually amazed that when I look at projects one way I don’t see a solution, but when I shift my view even slightly I can see things differently to accomplish my goals. We recently had a new stove delivered to our home and I didn’t think our old one would fit through our door to be removed with the door on its hinges. However, when the delivery crew arrived, they simply said to turn it sideways and it would fit fine. While I felt a bit silly, it reminded me to look at things from multiple angles more intentionally. The same is true in leadership. Ask for different viewpoints. Even if you don’t like what you hear, you can determine the best next move with a well-rounded assessment.

5 – Take Action Even When Uncertain

At the end of the day, leaders can’t sit still even when they don’t know what to do next. We gain momentum through movement. It’s like trying to steer a parked car. You’ll exhaust yourself trying to come up with a perfect solution and waste precious time. However, when you start moving in any direction, you can make simple course corrections that lead to better outcomes. Don’t let “paralysis of analysis” set in. Be thoughtful about how to respond, but then do something. The best action may be to enlist your team or quickly draft possible solutions on paper to brainstorm. Whatever feels right to do, do it. The only true wrong action is inaction. 

Imagine being able to confidently lead your team through chaotic, uncertain situations.

Imagine having a reputation for being a leader others can depend on when things to be falling apart all around you.

Imagine being looked to for guidance when challenges arise because you’ve built a reputation for success amidst difficulties. 

This can be your reality when you implement these five key actions.

In my book, The Magnetic Leader, I teach about 18 essential actions that leaders should take if they want to attract high-quality team members and keep them engaged. If you want to become a leader people love to follow, CLICK HERE to learn more and to purchase your copy today!

Until next time…make today GREAT!

3 Agricultural Actions That Can Transform Your Leadership

By | Leadership

Producing results is expected of leaders, but many fail to live up to their potential because they aren’t intentional with what they do on a daily basis. Many leaders are left wondering why they couldn’t achieve more.

However, it’s possible to produce massive results when you become intentional with your daily activities and improve your thinking.

In order to produce optimal results in your life and business, follow this simple (not necessarily easy) three-step process that we see in demonstrated in agriculture:

1 – Plant Seeds

Salespeople understand that in order to acquire new customers and clients, many seeds have to be sown daily. Not all seeds bear fruit. Some produce massively. However, leaders often overlook this in regards to developing and managing their followers. If you want better leaders, you must sow seeds in the form of skill and character development consistently. If you want stronger teams, you must invest time and attention to make it happen. Nothing worthwhile happens by accident. It takes intentional planting day in and day out over extended periods of time so you can later receive the fruit of your labor.

2 – Cultivate Growth

Beyond consistently planting seeds, leaders must work daily to make sure weeds of dissension and disengagement are removed. You must invest time, energy, and resources into your followers so they can perform and produce at the level you expect of them. You must make sure your team and organizational environments are conducive to growth rather than dysfunction. You simply can’t leave growth to chance. Planting seeds isn’t enough. You must also make sure the soil is in good condition to produce the fruit you want.

3 – Yield Results

If, and only if, you’ve done the consistent diligent work to plant seeds and cultivate growth you’ll then later achieve the results you desire. Yielding tremendous results is what everyone wants, yet many leaders aren’t intentional about the planting and cultivating aspects to achieve them. The results you achieve are evidence of the upfront work you’ve put into the process. Annual reports reveal how the organization did over the previous 12 months. As a leader, you must focus on increasing your inputs in order to increase your results. While you can’t always control your results, you can control the effort of planting and cultivating. If you need more leaders in your organization, then you need to develop more people. The time to start raising up new leaders isn’t when you need them. That’s too late. You must be diligent now in order to have quality trained leaders available to you when you need them most.

If you care for your people and are a person of high character, you can still fail as a leader if you’re not producing results. People want to be on a winning team. Shareholders expect a good return on their investment. Customers and clients expect quality from your organization. When they don’t get it, they move on to someone else who will provide it. Producing results matters too much to leave it up to chance.

Imagine having a pipeline full of skilled leaders who you can place in a variety of roles as your organization grows. 

Imagine having a culture that fosters the growth and maturity of leaders now and into the future.

Imagine reaching the end of each month, quarter, and year excited to see your organization or team producing incredible results repeatedly. 

This can be your reality when you intentionally plant and cultivate so you can yield increasing results over time.

In my new book, The Magnetic Leader: 18 Essential Actions of Leaders People Love to Follow, I go much deeper into Essential Action #18 – Produces Results. CLICK HERE to learn more and to purchase your copy today!

Until next time…make today GREAT!