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Archive for the tag “selflessness”

13 ways how to become a leader and a manager

13 ways how to become a leader and a manager 

I have just read yet another article on LinkedIn about how you are either a leader, or a manager. It separated leaders being the folks that do the lofty dreaming and entrepreneurial stuff, and managers are the drones who just make the stuff leaders come up with happen. I have grown to believe that this is absolute nonsense. There is always a combination of the two. If you are the CEO you still need to possess better than average managerial skills. Conversely, as a line manager or team lead you still need to be able leading your team members by creating a purposeful and engaging work environment. Here are 13 quick tips that can make a huge difference for how well you lead and manage your team.

  • Park your personal agenda and ego: Did you ever like a boss that is only concerned about his / her own issues, but never yours? Turn that down a notch or two. Have you ever seen the movie “Saving Private Ryan”? In it there is a great line about leadership: “Never gripe down, always gripe up.” Your folks are not interested about your woes; their’s are big enough the way they are.
  • Be fair: Kick up the old golden rule to platinum level. Treat others how they would like to be treated. Never treat people differently. You will regret it in the end. The moment you lose their trust you will no longer be privy to vital people and company information. There has to be clarity about what applies to everyone.
  • Help promote your team members: Nothing shows more respect than to be a great career steward. Help your team advancing in their careers.
  • Give them a great reason to spend their time at work: Purpose and impact is what people are looking for. Especially Millennials will emphasize on this point.
  • What happens at the work place, stays at the work place: Other than the heavy hitters of employee safety, harassment, discrimination, moral, and ethical problems, no other team member information is supposed to leave your lips. Confidentiality is the keystone to how much you will be trusted as a leader.
  • Make sure having a great one on one contact with your team members: Nothing beats being able to help and assist your team members on a one on one basis. You get to know about their struggles and aspirations and you can help make a difference happen.
  • Listen, listen, and listen: Your organization can tell you anything you want to know about the state of mind of your folks and also the strategic and tactical progress you are making (or the lack thereof). Boy, did that take me a while to learn how to do this better. Asking engaging questions is the tougher but better thing to do and you get to listen to your organization’s creativity come alive.
  • Embrace transparency and collaboration: This builds trust. Trust begets creativity. Realize that you cannot and should work alone. You need all the help you can get working toward common goals. The worst that can happen in business is to have success. Success can outgrow and outspend you in a heartbeat. You need a team that is nimble and fully engaged in order to make it through the ups and downs of the economy.
  • Be humble and grateful: Nothing beats a little self-depreciating humor when you make mistakes. Admit them and make them public. No one – not even you – should be able getting away with not learning from your mistakes. At the same time you want your team to stay informed enough such that they will not have to make the same mistakes either. Be grateful for the openness your team affords you. Not allowed are intentional or pattern of mistakes.
  • Do something with what they tell you: When your team is trying to tell you that there is a systemic problem with a process, policy, people, etc. do something with this info. That is why you became the leader-manager in the first place. Do not let anyone else handle this important detail for you. This needs to come from and through you. Taking charge of difficult situations is (unfortunately) something you will to get to deal with. Do it well and people will trust you.
  • Be mindful of other people’s time commitments: Knowing when to end a conversation is tough. Sometimes it feels great speaking with like minded folks about issues you are mutually facing. Cut it short if it no longer serves the purpose. Do not fall victim to scope creep either. One issue leads to the next and then there is another one, etc. etc. Trust me, there are more challenges than you can shake a stick at. Keep it to solving one short and effective issue at a time.
  • Prepare meetings well ahead of time: Most meetings are really not necessary, or the are simply not effective. Too often leader-managers look at them as a “working meeting”, meaning that the problem, problem statement, and possible solution finding happen with the attendees hearing about this issue for the first time.
  • Start and end meetings on time: Do this religiously. Yes, there are times when it may be necessary to run over. Attempt your very best to get a reputation for beginning and ending on time. Your folks want to get their tasks done.

Do not be afraid to fail with any of the above topics. Only very few business schools are providing leadership and soft skill training – yet. I am hoping that one day leader-manager training will become a mandatory topic at graduate and undergraduate level. Plan, Do, Reflect, and Correct your future behavior and you will have made the biggest change already. Remember that you are a leader-manager. Good luck!



5 ways of being better about being in the moment

5 ways of being better about being in the moment 

Social media are great. I just love using all sorts of platforms as they have really enriched my life and I can get and stay in touch with so many old and new friends. And then again, nothing beats a great warm hug – person to person. One thing that social media has not been able to do is to genuinely connect us humans the same way as sharing a moment together in person. So how do you balance the two?

The answer is surprisingly simple. Use social media and all its bounty to the fullest. At the same time scan for opportunities where you can connect with folks at a deeper level. Seek face-to-face meeting time wherever and whenever you can. Do not be afraid of personal contact like a hug either. Here are some examples where personal connection can foster a much brighter future:

  1. Moments of collaborating genius: No matter where you meet, there are tremendous opportunities getting to know new people, and / or meeting folks at a completely different level.
  2. Major disagreement: Using texts and e-mails when you are upset are mind-numbingly ineffective. Get up and meet in person.
  3. Friends in need: This is the positive version to number 3. When friends are in dire need of help, meet in person. Flush out the real back ground of the issues. Your active listening may lead to finding a solution, and you earn respect and trust.
  4. Meeting your future significant other: You may be able finding your mate online, but you had better eventually meet in person sooner rather than later.
  5. Funerals: Filled with emotions they can be really tough. As tough as it is, try making a genuine new connection or rekindle an oldvvvv one.
  6. What are your greatest moments of meeting with folks in person? Please share in the comment section.

Don’t get me wrong, I just love connect over the Internet and use whatever new tools come our way enhancing my relationships and helping other folks wherever I can. At the end of the day, I still make sure that I go out into our interesting world seeking personal contact. A truly genuine moment between two or more people can still take our breath away, and it will be with us forever. I’ll give you a hug before you can get out your smart phone…


Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! 

I wish everybody a peaceful Christmas holiday. May it be filled with plenty of time spent with people who mean the most to you.


9 bad sales and networking practices to avoid

9 bad sales and networking practices to avoid 

If you are in sales you may want to check out the list below. As of late I have been the subject of some unbelievable antics out there. The economy appears to be in fairly good shape and that makes it even more peculiar why quite a few sales people turn towards totally useless sales activities.

Some of the practices are outright so bad that they are funny. What is not so funny is when you are at the receiving end of them. They totally waste your time. Not only does the sales person not sell anything now, he will probably never sell anything there. He will carry the stench of being a useless time sink for a long time, if it can be overcome at all.

Check out a few must-know resources on this topic as a bonus at the end of this post.

Please find below a few time and effort wasters that will not go over well with customers (they do not work with me at all):

  1. Abusing “networking” events for shameless sales pitches. Networking is networking. This is a platform for getting to know people better – not selling to them since they may be a captive audience and they cannot run away from you. Rule of thumb here is that if you do not have anything of value to share with folks, either do not go at all, or make a point of preparing a lot better.
  2. Circumventing the “gate keepers” and sneaking into the business office. Morale of this story is that you may end up getting into the business, but at what price? If anyone finds out what you did you will be toast and may risk never getting invited back. Even if after some time you got invited to bid again, chances are that most likely someone will hold grudge against you and your organization.
  3. Inundating prospects with voice and e-mails. Sometimes I get a “follow up” mail and phone call about the same item whoever small it could be. If that is your mode of operation then think again. Being pushy maybe necessary sometimes. That only works though if the buyer has established in form of showing action that he trusts the sales person.
  4. Sending meeting invitations via Outlook to prospects – with no prior connection. This is a fairly new one to me, but it appears to be prevalent around our area. It is an outright sneaky practice in which the subject line even suggests you know the folks and the topic. Slick. Except the recipient finds out that she does not know the people who sent the invitation. It’s another form and bait-and-hook spam. Nothing more. So what is the point?
  5. Sending mails that look legitimate reply mails (“Re.:…” in the subject line). This is a subset of no 4. Here a few prankster mass mail pieces of documentation that are used to make the recipient think that he/ she knows the sender. This can be a terrible time waster. What message does this send to the recipient of the mail? I do not get it.
  6. Sending LinkedIn connection requests to then immediately try selling you products and services: Selling and marketing through social media does make it very economical speaking with a mass of people in a short period of time. Problem is that selling without having a personal relationship to speak of is nothing short of self-destructive.
  7. Calling a prospect’s colleagues to get an appointment. When in doubt then call someone else in the same department as the original stake holder and see what if anything can be done – wrong! Really annoying is when a sales person calls your colleagues in trying to find out background information that they use against you when they finally get you on the phone. Totally incorrect and useless practices. You may be excluded from any future bidding in the future at that company. How is a customer ever supposed to trust you after this interaction?
  8. Selling based on only one thing: price. It may be good for getting the initial attention. That is it though. Price is always important. Very rarely is it the only criterion a customer uses for making a decision (unless you are buying paper towels or TP). What else have you got to offer? How is your product or service going to make everyone better off? How does it integrate with the customer’s infrastructure? Are you still trying the “it’s free” and other try and buy routines? Oh, please!
  9. Asking a prospect “so what is it that you do here”. This is the hotline to listening to the proverbial crickets on the other side of the line. Good luck trying to open up a selling conversation after you totally wasted the customer’s time. There is so much good information around about the company and people working there. You are telling the customer that you do not even have 5 minutes to invest online before picking up the phone? Yikes!

Bottom line is that when you want to sell, you need to be real, genuine, helpful, and most of all you need to provide value. Do not start sales conversations if you know nothing about the customer and his needs. You do not need to push to sell anything. Customers want to buy, if you understand them and you provide choices and options.

Three folks that totally get what I am talking about are listed here below:

Jeffrey Gitomer

Seth Godin

Chuck Piola


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