We all know how important it is to empower the people in our organization. As leaders, it’s our job to recognize areas of strength and foster the growth of others. This increases productivity and job satisfaction. It helps sustain work environments that are positive for everyone.
But what does being an empowering leader mean from the other side of the equation? What do empowering leaders need to do for themselves? It’s a fresh perspective worth a closer look. Don’t be surprised if you meet resistance. Casting a fresh eye on what you need to do for yourself could mean letting go of long-held assumptions about positions of control.
Seventy-five-year-old John Timpson has been empowering the people who work for him for decades. He’s chairman and owner of Timpson, a successful shoe repair chain with more than a thousand shops in the United Kingdom.
He follows a philosophy called upside-down management. Take a...
People naturally follow leaders stronger themselves. Great things are accomplished because of that. John Maxwell calls this The Law of Respect and it’s a powerful force. It doesn’t rely on age, experience or resources. All it takes is a great leader who is willing to speak up.
Canadian hero, Ryan Hreljac, was six years old when he began to inspire the respect of a leader. In school, he’d learned about how difficult it was for many people in Africa to access clean water, and he wanted to help. His parents paid him for doing household chores and he diligently saved the money, but it wasn’t enough. Since he’s a leader, he didn’t stop there. He began reaching out to clubs and schools and anyone who would listen. Because he was sincere and inspired confidence, he gained respect. People wanted to help. Within a year he raised $2000 and the money was used to drill his first water well in Uganda.
After that initial...
Each of us starts the day with a valuable resource within ourselves. We're so used to relying on it, we hardly recognize it's there. But when that resource dwindles, we can be brought to a complete halt. The resource I'm talking about is energy, but it's more fun to call it gusto.
It can happen at the peak of success, when you're going all out and enjoying the passion of the moment. It can also happen when you're in a period of transition and redefining your life goals. It can even happen during routine moments of ordinary life.
We all know what it feels like to run out of gusto. Everyone has those days some of the time. We have to push harder to get things done and our capacity for handling challenges is not as strong. It's not that we don't know how, but our energy levels are low.
John C. Maxwell recognizes this challenge and he knows how important it is. Like he says, "it's more important to manage your energy than to manage your time." In his book, "No...
No one likes to make a mistake. I know I certainly don’t. But it happens to all of us. Some mistakes are the result of a poor choice.
Other mistakes are just dumb. They happen during a temporary lapse of attention, and afterwards we can see how easily they might have been avoided.
A few years ago in the early weeks of December, I made a dumb mistake. For a moment, I did not pay attention. As a result, a person I value might have felt uncomfortable and just as he was starting a new role.
Lucky for me, the person in question has a great sense of humour.
It was my job to organize a gathering of board members from across Western Canada. We began with a networking dinner, which was to be followed by meetings the next day.
I selected an appropriate restaurant and arranged for the menu in advance.
People arrived in cabs I'd organized. The networking was great, the dinner was delicious, and the atmosphere was fun.
Everyone thanked me as we were heading out the door. I hailed some cabs...
As John C. Maxwell says in his book, "Everyone Communicates Few Connect", the key to success in life and leadership is connection. If you can connect with people, you will have a genuine influence on the world. People will be happier and more productive. Teams will be stronger. Communities will be better places to live.
We all like to be heard. We all like to feel that we've been considered. That's what connection is all about. It's about identifying with people and relating to them in a way that makes them feel valued.
"When we seek for connection, we restore the world to wholeness. Our seemingly separate lives become meaningful as we discover how truly necessary we are to each other." – Margaret Wheatley
In today's world of information overload and busy people, we could all work harder at forming basic human connections. It's the fabric of our society.
Recently, Jon had an appointment with an eye specialist. He needed to talk to several people and...
Around the world, people have been glued to the news, watching progress on the cave rescue in Thailand and daring to hope. For more than two weeks, twelve boys and their soccer coach were trapped in a flooded cave in the Chiang Rai province. We all celebrated when they were rescued from the cave a few days ago, alive and well.
We are glad the young lives were saved and that is a big part of the collective sense of gratitude. But there is another element to this story that has captured our attention. This rescue is proof of what can be accomplished when people with a clear purpose work together in harmony.
The rescue seemed close to impossible. The pitch-black caverns were already flooded, and since it was monsoon season, they were in constant danger of flooding more. The children in need of rescue did not know how to swim, never mind dive. The rescue divers struggled to find a safe route through the murky water.
But the central purpose was clear to...
Some of the best lessons in life come from the youngest among us. As adults, all we need to do is watch and learn. In fact, we'd do well to copy some of the attitudes and behaviours of children. Recently, we were in Newfoundland visiting family and we took our three-year-old granddaughter out for pizza at a popular restaurant. Waiting for food to arrive can be difficult for children. In most restaurants, there are a few children getting antsy and starting to fuss. That's human nature when a person is bored. Children feel boredom sooner than most.
But this pizza joint was different. Although the place was filled with children, none of them were fussing. Every child in the place was busy and happy. Here's the reason why--they were being creative. A waitress came to our table and took our order. Then she asked our granddaughter if she'd like to make a pizza of her own. Wow, you should have seen our granddaughter's face. She said yes with enthusiasm and they...
It's hard to find a person who doesn't know Harry Potter and the woman who brought him to life. J.K. Rowling ignited a reading frenzy around the world. People of all ages who were not avid readers before they read her books stood in line for hours just to get an early copy. She created an imaginary world that entranced the world.
But her journey to success was not easy. When she began writing novels, she was an unemployed single mother and poor. In the Commencement Address she gave to the Harvard Alumni Association, called The Fringe Benefits of Failure, she talks about her encounter with failure. If you haven't seen this inspiring video, I highly recommend that you watch it.
We've all heard about how important it is to not be afraid of failure. J.K. Rowling takes that notion further. She sees failure not only as something we can survive. She sees it as a gift. Her marriage ended, she was not gainfully employed, and she was struggling...
The Danger of Assumptions
Your communication skills affect every aspect of your life. The success of your job, marriage and personal relationships depends on your ability to communicate. Without strong communication skills, leadership is not possible. People will not follow you if they don’t know what you want or where you're going.
Yet, we often take communication for granted. We assume we are communicating well when it may not be true. We say what we think is important and assume the message is understood.
The Floral Clock Fiasco
Many years ago, my extended family gathered in the Toronto area to enjoy quality time together. It was summer with many fun things to do. On a particularly beautiful sunny day, the men decided to go golfing, the women went shopping, and our children who were by that time young adults went to Niagara Falls. The adult children took an early morning bus ride to the world-famous waterfalls and I agreed to pick them up later in the afternoon.
In our previous blog last week, we reviewed the first four benefits outlined in Maxwell's book, "Good Leaders Ask Great Questions":
1. You only get answers to the questions you ask.
2. Questions unlock and open doors that otherwise remain closed.
3. Questions are the most effective means of connecting with people.
4. Questions cultivate humility.
This blog explores more reasons to embrace questions as part of strong leadership.
5. Questions help you engage others in conversation.
The best way to get people talking is to ask them great questions. There are so many great, outside-of-the-box questions you could ask.
Here is one example: "If you had 30 minutes to spend with any person alive today, who would that be, and why?"
You could also organize a dinner with a group of like-minded people in your industry and keep the conversation moving by asking great questions. Everyone at the table could learn and grow while also enjoying time together.
6. Questions allow us...