How to Be a Leader

Do you get frustrated by things that don’t seem to happen the way they’re supposed to? People are milling about, but nothing gets accomplished. In the hustle, do you feel that your goals remain just that – goals?

Maybe its time for you to stand up and do something about it.

Most people are content to sit around waiting for orders. It’s not difficult adopt a follow-the-leader mentality. Maybe that doesn’t work for you. You have a desire to make things happen – to be the head, not the tail. Maybe leadership suits you.

Some people believe that great leaders are born, not made. While it may be true some people are born with natural ability, without practice, drive and experience, it’s difficult to develop leadership.Good leaders continually work and study to improve their skills.

What is a leader?

To be a leader, you must be able to influence others to accomplish a an objective. The leader contributes to the organization and cohesion of a group.

Contrary to what many believe, leadership is not about power. It is not about harassing or bullying people using fear. It is about encouraging others towards the goal. A leader brings unity of purpose, keeping everyone informed. You must be a leader not a boss.

How do you get people to follow?

People follow a clear sense of purpose. People will only follow you if they see you know where you are going. You know the bumper sticker, “Don’t follow me, I’m lost too.” The same holds for leadership. If you don’t know where you’re going, people will not want to follow you.

You have to have a clear vision of the “big picture”. Have a clear sense of hierarchy, know who’s who, understand the goals and objectives, and how the thing works. Then, others feel confident you know what you’re doing.

Leadership is not about what you make others do. It’s about who you are, what you know, and what you do. You are a reflection of what you want those following to be.

Another basis of good leadership is trust and confidence. If people trust you they will follow through difficulties to achieve the objectives.Trust and confidence is built on good relationships,transparency, and ethics.

The manner in which you deal with people and the relationships you build will lay a strong foundation for your group. The stronger your relationship, the stronger the trust and confidence in your capabilities.

Communication is third key to good leadership. Without this you can not be a good leader. There are 10 key communications principles every leader should know and use

  1. Everything communicates.
  2. The golden rule works.
  3. Stand for something.
  4. Everyone wants to be heard.
  5. One size does not fit all.
  6. They both end in “tion” but there’s a big difference between “information” and “communication.”
  7. Communicate courageously.
  8. Remember the competition.
  9. If it looks important, it must be important.
  10. Good communication is a good investment.

Leaders are not do-it-all heroes. You should not claim to know everything and should not rely upon your skills alone.

You should recognize and take advantage of the skills and talents of others. Only when you come to this realization will you be able to work as one cohesive unit.

Being a leader takes work and time. It is not learned overnight. It is not about just you. It is about you and the people around you.

Do you have the drive and desire to serve to be a leader? Do you have the desire to work cooperatively with other people? Start now. Take your stand and become a leader today.

Improve Hiring Success with Behavioural Interview Questions

Behavioural-descriptive interviewing is an approach that looks at past behaviour as a predictor of future performance. The goal of the interview process is to predict future job performance based on a candidates responses from previous specific behaviours, which illustrate desired competencies through careful probing.

Interviewers look for behaviours in situations similar to those to be encountered in the new job. By relating a candidate’s answers from past experience, you develop indicators of how the individual will likely act in the future.

Behavioral questions ensure more spontaneity than traditional questions since candidates can’t practice as easily for them in advance.

Here are a number of examples of behaviour-based interview questions

Organizational, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills:
  • Describe a situation that you have encountered (or how you would handle such a situation if you have not been faced with one) when you had responsibility for the operations of a unit. You determined that staff was not being used in a way that helped meet goals, but many of them were very resistant to change. What options did you explore to handle the situation? What did you do to overcome the resistance? What was the outcome?
  • Tell me about an accomplishment in a work setting that makes you feel good to remember and why you are proud of it.
  • Describe a problem you confronted without success. If you could go back in time, how would you handle it differently?
  • Give an example of the most significant problem you have faced and solved at work. Describe the process you used to find a solution.
  • Tell me about the most difficult co-worker with whom you have ever had to work. What actions did you take that proved helpful? What did you find made things worse? What would you do differently if you were faced with a similar situation in the future?
Initiative and flexibility:
  • Describe your vision of an ideal supervisor. Now tell me about the worst supervisor you have ever had.
  • Tell me about a project that you undertook that was your idea and that you had to persuade others to let you do.
  • What new skills have you learned in the past 12 months? What would you like to learn in the next year?
  • Describe a significant change in your job responsibilities and the steps you took to manage the transition smoothly.
  • Tell me about a situation when you abruptly had to change what you were doing.
  • Tell me about a time when you worked on a project that did not turn out well. How did you handle that?
  • When you take on a new project do you like to have lots of guidance and feedback up front, or do you prefer to try your own approach?
  • How do you measure your own success?
Teamwork, sensitivity to the needs of others, ability to work well with others:
  • Describe a sensitive situation in which you were able to guide your actions by your understanding of others individual needs or values.
  • Describe a time when you felt it necessary to modify or change your actions in order to respond to the needs of another person.
  • What kinds of people do you not enjoy working with?
  • Tell me about a work situation that bugged you.
Creativity:
  • Describe the most creative, work-related project you have done.
  • Give me an example of a time when you had an unusual idea that worked well.
  • When was the last time you “broke” the rules and what did you do?
  • What is the most interesting thing you have done in the past year?
Managing priorities:
  • Describe a situation when you were asked to meet two different deadlines given to you by two different managers and you could not do both. How did you handle this?
  • Describe how you handled a request to take on an exciting new project that you really wanted to do at a time when you already had more to do than you could do well.
Honesty, integrity and judgement:
  • Have you ever experienced a personal loss from doing what is right?
  • In what business situations do you feel honesty would be inappropriate?
  • Describe a situation when you were faced with making a decision that involved important conflicting needs between an individual and your employer and explain how you handled it.
Ability to influence others:
  • Describe a project or idea that initially met resistance but that you were able to “sell” to others and implement.
  • Tell me about a time when you disagreed with the others in a group about something important but were able to work with them to reach a consensus that you felt was a good one.
  • How have you handled a situation when you needed to “correct” your boss?

Download a free ebook from Gaping Void

The team over at Gaping Void has put together an ebook, available for free download – Leadership In The Time Of Coronavirus Part 1 of 3

There are probably few people on the face of the earth today who are not aware of the crisis we are currently facing. Your social media feeds are likely full of responses, from silly memes, to cliched advice, to weird treatments that will eliminate infection.

One of the popular memes going around says something to the effect that, “when this is over, let us remember it wasn’t the CEOs and billionaires who saved us, it was the janitors, nurses, grocery workers, …” That’s not really true. There has been great leadership exhibited at all levels, from heads of state to retail staff.

Strong leadership is critical for an effective response to the crisis; from everybody.

Head over to Gapingvoid and download the ebook. It is 12 pages of great advice for being a leader in in this time of coronavirus.

Part 2 of 3 is now available for download – Love in The Time of Coronavirus.

7 Free or Almost Free Things to Do as a Family

Today’s post is perhaps a sidebar to leadership development. However, work-life balance is a key factor in being able to give strong leadership to others.

Right now, we are finding our way difficult circumstances as we work to contain the virus outbreak. Schools and businesses are closed. People are working from home, or e-learning.

Maybe you’re finding yourself with more family time than you might usually experience. Here are 7 things to do as a family that have little or no cost.

  1. Catch up on your reading – take advantage of the extra daylight and free time to dig into those books you’ve been putting off reading. Make sure you add some fiction to the list.
  2. Have a movie or television binge-day – pop some popcorn, get everone in the family room, log onto your favourite streaming service and watch some movies, together. Or maybe it’s time to introduce your children to some classic television shows from your youth.
  3. Tune up your photography skills – dust off the camera(s), read some photography tips and spend some time taking pictures of everyday objects. Take a photo “walk” around the house or property.
  4. Get active – Turn off the small screen and get the whole family active. Depending on your circumstances and location, it may have to be indoor activity; dust-off Wii Sports and get playing. Maybe you’re able to get out into the yard toss a ball or play some badminton. Even raking and yard-work would do.
  5. Start a blog or a Facebook page – Blogging may be past its peak, but there are still lots of blogs out there. If you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon, why not start a family blog to keep the rest of your relatives informed as to what is going on in your life? Or, if blogs seem passé, get the family connect via Facebook.
  6. Watch online concerts or plays – In this time of closures and self-isolation, many performers and venues are streaming content online, at no charge. Pick your favourite genre of music or live performance and check out Facebook pages, or artist websites to see what’s available.
  7. Plan special family meals – skip the turkey or roast beef dinner. Now’s a great time to get everyone involved in the kitchen. Have a DIY pizza night. Spread out a variety of fixings and everyone designs there own pizza. Now’s a good time to experience variety by having family members take turns making meals.

We have great opportunity to work on building a strong family. Don’t bury yourself in all the negative media reports. Take this opportunity to grow closer as a family.

How to Motivate and Inspire Others

The Green Bay Packers were a lacklustre team prior to the arrival of Vince Lombardi. The now legendary coach turned the Packers into the dominant NFL team of the 1960s. Why such a turnaround? Frank Gifford says it wasn’t Lombardi’s knowledge that made the difference, it was his ability to motivate the players. “He could get that extra ten percent out of an individual,” Gifford says. “Multiply ten percent times forty men on the team times fourteen games a season—and you’re going to win.”

We have all known those people who bring out the best in others—coaches, teachers, parents, bosses. They seem to possess a knack for inspiring people. How do they do it? How do they inspire and motivate people?

Here are four actions that will help motivate and inspire others:
  1. Identify with people. Don’t say, “Look at the challenge you face,” but rather, “look at the challenge we face.” If you want people to look at a problem from your point of view, don’t stand across from them and yell. Go to their side and identify with them and guide them to your side.
  2. Acknowledge the seriousness of the situation. Don’t hide things from those you’re working with or try to sugarcoat the problem. Face the facts.
  3. Have a call to action. Challenge others to specific action. You can think, discuss, investigate and plan all you want. Until you get people to take action things are not going to move forward.
  4. Assign tasks. Once you have a response to action, lay out the plan. An effective leader can cut the problem down to size. Assign each person a task that they can manage.

The people who make an impact on the world don’t have to be geniuses or the best looking or the most talented. They are those who can inspire others to action.

7 Ways to Develop Your Employees

One of the ongoing challenges of operating a business or running an organization is that of employee recruitment and retention.

One strategy that can improve recruitment and retention is training. Investing in staff training and development can alleviate skill shortages by improving your current staffs abilities to handle increased or new challenges.

Training may sound expensive, but the cost of turnover is even more expensive. Replacing and employee can cost between 50 and 100 percent of a positions’ annual salary! With this in mind, take a look at the following 7 ways to develop your employees.

  1. Training
    • A well-designed training program that maximizes learning before, during and after instruction translates into positive, lasting changes on the job.
    • Effective programs should include orientation, on-the-job training and classroom instruction.
    • Internet-based learning is an option that allows employees to learn at their own pace and on their own schedule.
  2. Self-directed learning
    • This approach puts individual employees in control of their own learning, allowing for personal differences in learning styles and encouraging ownership of the learning process.
    • When using this approach, many employers work with employees to develop a learning contract or personal development plan. The contract or plan, which is signed by both parties, outlines clear learning goals.
  3. Coaching and mentoring
    • Demonstrated benefits of these approaches include improved quality and quantity of work, transfer of learning and, for employees, improved communication and problem-solving skills.
    • Effective coaching and mentoring programs depend on the skills and personality of the mentor or coach, adequate time for coaching and mentoring sessions and established time-lines and goals.
  4. Job enrichment
    • Job enrichment increases the employee’s authority or responsibility within their current position. Examples include committee work, special assignments or serving on cross-functional teams.
    • This approach increases interest and motivation by allowing employees to try new skills, build new relationships and explore new areas of specialization.
  5. Job rotation and cross-training
    • Job rotation moves an employee through one or more different positions. The rotation can last several hours, several months or even a year or two. Cross-training is a specific type of job rotation where an employee learns the skills of a different position.
    • These approaches can effectively add diversity and interest, prepare individuals for promotion, rejuvenate work units and improve communication.
  6. Lateral moves
    • In a lateral move, an employee moves to a different position with similar status, pay and responsibility. A lateral move may offer new challenges or encourage the development of different skills for an employee who may not necessarily want increased responsibility.
    • This approach increases flexibility and communication among work units and, in small businesses with few opportunities for advancement, helps to retain valuable employees who might otherwise leave.
  7. Job aids
    • Job aids include checklists, tip sheets, wallet cards, posters, pictures, code lists, flow charts and diagrams—anything that offers on-the-spot practical help or reminders. Job aids can reduce the amount of information employees need to recall by providing easily accessible facts.
    • Well-designed job aids are concise, written in plain language and make good use of white space and graphics for easy interpretation.

Effective training and development better equips an organization to meet business challenges from filling staffing shortages to retaining current staff. Developing employee skills help generate the kind of performance that carries employers and employees forward.