Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Leadership: Social Intelligence


Leaders who are successful are often highly skilled in high social intelligence. 

This is the ability to embrace change, utilize all of their resources/team available to them while maintaining self-awareness and self-mastery in the process. 

So if you think of your most successful leader, they most likely had the ability to translate a vision into reality. This takes mastery of holding a vision, communicating that, knowing what moving pieces had to happen in the background and who needs to do it. Normally, this isn’t just one person driving the ship but rather a whole crew of people working together under the leadership of a captain (leader). 

Warren Bennis, a pioneer in leadership research says, “leadership is the capacity to translate vision into a reality.”

Leaders pioneer the research, create a vision for people and companies they lead and also effectively communicate their priorities. 

Leadership has nothing to do with a title. We all know people who wear a title but have leadership ability that is not up to the expectation of the need. 

Leadership can be at any level of an organization amongst those they collaborate to meet a common goal. 

So let’s look at you. What qualities can you work on to be a great leader. 

Let’s say you have a new idea. In sharing it with others to see what you think, let’s consider the steps a leader would take. 

You can start small with an idea in your life. It can be things like having a beautiful garden. 

  • Vision - Grab an idea you are passionate about (like the beautiful garden) and map out what it would look like ideally. 

  • Communication - Make your communication plan so you can share it with a few others to see what they think. 

  • Collaborate - Figure out who in your world can do what and if they are bought into the idea too. 

  • Resources - With your team, maximize your resources. 

  • Oversee - check in on the progress of the plan. 

  • Celebrate - make sure to celebrate all of the people involved and their contribution to the whole. 

I am excited to hear what small project you cast your vision about and how you work through the steps of great leadership. During this process, there is no question you will use your social intelligence. 

You are not in this alone. Leverage your social, communication, collaboration and vision casting skills. 

Have fun with this. 



Thursday, May 6, 2021

8 Characteristics & Qualities of a Great Leader


Leaders have the ability to impact the current state and mold the future. 

So we want to make sure they are leading with the characteristics we think are most important.

Here are 8 characteristics and qualities of a great leader:


the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.

the state of being whole and undivided.

Ability to delegate. 

entrust (a task or responsibility) to another person, typically one who is less senior than oneself.


share or exchange information, news, or ideas.


the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.


feeling or showing an appreciation of kindness; thankful.

Agile Learner.

able to move quickly and easily.

Learning is the process of acquiring new understanding, knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, attitudes, and preferences.


the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.


the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

When you think of these 8 characteristics, what great leaders from your life come to mind?  If you think of someone and you are able to mentor with that person, ask them how they grew those areas of their skillset. 

I recommend you make a leadership development plan. 

This is simple in that you take each of the 8 characteristics and qualities and measure where you are at on a sale of 1 - 10. 1 being low and 10 being amazing. 

Let’s say in integrity you are a 7 because you break promises to yourself and you are a 6 in gratitude. 

Some simple ideas might be to share your commitments to yourself with someone else and work towards moving that to a 10 - where you always keep your personal commitments. For the gratitude number, perhaps it is slowing down for 5 minutes each morning and writing down a gratitude list or closing your day with that before bed. 

You can move your own personal needle to the high levels of great leadership with practice and consistency. 

Much success leaders! 



Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Giving Versus Earning Trust


As leaders, we want others to trust us. 

I think it is important to ask yourself about your own personal relationship with trust? 

Let’s start this conversation by asking some questions. Many of us grew up hearing the statement that trust must be earned. 

  • Do you trust others automatically? 

  • How easily do you grant your trust to other people? 

  • What factors play into your ability or inability to trust certain individuals around you? 

  • What do people need to do to earn your trust?

Most likely your life’s experiences showed up when answering these questions. That is the case for most people. We have been conditioned when it comes to trust.

Oprah Winfrey says, “Trust is one of the most critical elements of healthy relationships, families, teams, organizations and communities. However, you may have an odd or disempowered relationship to trust - you've been taught that people must earn your trust, when in fact, it's something you grant to others.”

What would life be like if you granted your trust more easily? 

What if you were willing to make yourself vulnerable, to count on other people in a genuine and healthy way and to expect the best from others authentically? 

This sounds like an amazing way to live. 

The more you are willing to grant your trust consciously, the more likely you are to create a true sense of connection, cooperation and collaboration in your life, relationships, families and teams—even if you feel scared to do so or it seems counterintuitive at times.

You'll almost always get what you expect in life. What if you start expecting people to be there for you, to do things that are trust-worthy and to have your back and your best interests in mind? As with just about everything else in life, it's a choice. 

As Albert Einstein so brilliantly stated, "The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe." 

Grant others trust versus making others earn your trust. 

If you choose to live like this you might be happily surprised and those who lean into your given trust and do life with you.



Monday, April 19, 2021

What You Focus On Expands


Have you ever noticed that what you focus on expands? 

Tony Robbins says, “Where energy flows is where focus goes”.

We all do this in everyday life. Where you put your focus and attention will be what grows and expands. When you attach an emotion to it, you intensify the feeling of it.

For example, if I was excited to purchase a 2021 BMW 5 Series I might start seeing these on the road. But if I focus on what exact model and color, a 530i 4 door in Mineral White Metallic, I’d see these everywhere. It is like I could feel myself behind the wheel. 

Where before wanting this vehicle, I may not have ever seen these on the road at all. 

Why doesn’t this happen? 

Science actually has an answer for this, and it involves the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon.

According to Wikipendia, frequency illusion, also known as the BaaderMeinhof phenomenon, is a cognitive bias in which, after noticing something for the first time, there is a tendency to notice it more often, leading someone to believe that it has a high frequency. This is a form of selection bias. Your brain does this without you even knowing it is happening. 

Think of all you’re exposed to in a single day. It’s simply not possible to soak in every detail. Your brain has the job of deciding which things require focus and which can be filtered out. Your brain can easily ignore information that doesn’t seem vital in the moment, and it does so every day.

When you’re exposed to brand-new information, especially if you find it interesting, your brain takes notice. These details are potentially destined for the permanent file, so they’re going to be front and center for a while until the next thing that grabs your energy and focus.

This is why as leaders we must be clear on what we want and where we are going. It is so easy to be derailed in the process of reaching our goals. Stay focused and on track.



Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Leaders Listen Intentionally

Have you ever wanted to talk to someone but they were solely listening to the person they were talking to? 

You wait on the sideline waiting for your turn. 

You may have the desire to quickly interrupt, say your thing and then move on but the listener in the scenario has the posture and body language that says, “the person I am talking to right now is the most important person”.

They acknowledge your twitch on the sideline but touching your arm, nodding, or by keeping their presence securely fixed on that person. 

So let’s talk about this leader who is listening and understands some of their possible beliefs. 

  1. Be in the here and now. 

Good listening means stopping the inner monologue we all give and give your undivided attention to the person who is talking. 

  1. Distractions don’t stand a chance with you. 

Put your phone away, turn off the TV and put your multitasking skills aside. 

  1. Be curious. 

When listening to someone else, don’t anticipate their next statement or answer but truly listen. Ask questions like who, what, when, where, why and how to stimulate conversation. 

  1. Be interested.

Don’t try to be an interesting person, be genuinely interested in the other person/people and you will have created a raving fan(s) for life. 

  1. Be sincere and open.

Nothing ends a conversation quicker than a stern opinion or a rude tone. Make sure you are being sincere, asking questions and finding out what makes the other person light up. 

  1. Watch your body language.

Though you may not say it, if you are letting your eyes wander to others or shifting your body to acknowledge others, people may feel rejected, misunderstood and hurt that they don’t have your full attention.

  1. Truly listen. 

Even if you have a varying opinion, listening should not become a debate on your views vs their views. Fully hear what is being said and you may have some new insight as to what the opposing viewpoint looks like or come to the conclusion that you believe the same thing but perhaps express if differently. 

  1. Don’t be in a hurry. 

If you have limited time, tell them you have x minutes up front. Then give them all x minutes.

  1. Wrap up your conversations in a way that feels good to all. 

Be full of gratitude and love in your communications. Thank the other person for sharing.

If you are the person waiting, you could learn a few things about listening if you slow down and watch too. Listening truly is a remarkable art.

You might be surprised at what you hear.



Tuesday, April 6, 2021

What Areas Do You Want to Grow In?


In my March 23, 2021 article, I talked about leaders generally wanting constant and never ending growth in one or more of the seven main areas of life. They are: 

  1. Physical body

  2. Relationship with self

  3. Relationship with others

  4. Schedule

  5. Work, career or mission

  6. Finances

  7. Contribution

Let’s pause for a moment and not talk about everyone else, let’s focus on you. Knowing where you are and where you want to be is half the first half of any equation. 

Where you are + Action = Where You Want To Be

On a scale of 0-10 (0 being never and 10 being the best) how do you rate yourself in these areas of life? 

  • Your physical body health?

  • Your self-care routine?

  • Your quiet time? 

  • Your sleep? 

  • Your relationships with family?

  • Your relationships with a significant other?

  • Your relationships with people you work with?

  • Your relationship with your boss?

  • Time to do what you want to do?

  • TIme for growth and personal development?

  • Time for faith?

  • Fulfillment at work? 

  • Your finances? 

  • Your contribution to the world? 

When I first did this years ago, I realized how unbalanced my life was. There are generally a few areas that are glaringly obvious as far as what needs improved most. 

This is the great part, you are full in charge of picking what areas you want to grow in. 

Now go back through and decide where you want to be on each item and put that as a second number. 

Next you will decide what SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) goal/actions will get you there. 

This is called your gap. 

Now I want you to go through the areas one more time and write a date next to it when you would like to see your second number be realized. 

Your final step is to get it on your calendar. Otherwise, it may stay as wishful thinking. 

Let’s get you moving in the right direction toward what you want to achieve. 



Wednesday, March 31, 2021

The World Has Forever Changed

One thing that is clear from the world we live in is that the world has forever changed. There are businesses who had their worst year in 2020 and there are others who had their best year. Besides industry, let’s look at what leadership traits helped those leaders have their most successful year in business. 

Businesses that thrived during the pandemic are those that have been led by leaders who prioritized their people. 

They used traits like flexibility, vulnerability, empathy and openness to lead their teams. These have always been vital leadership characteristics but 2020 required a more attentive focus to these attributes. 

Many leaders had never led a remote team before this. They had to keep abreast of the context in which their people were working, and pay close attention to their energy, efforts (and extra effort) and capacity to do a job well done. 

As we move through business during a pandemic, it is vital to know that most people just want to connect, be seen, understand and be appreciated for work that is done behind a monitor. This is especially true when all communication is done digitally. People crave connection. 

According to Simon Sinek, “The leaders who get the most out of their people are the leaders who care most about their people.” 

We won’t be in a pandemic forever. In fact, some states and parts of the world are more open to people gathering than others. The lessons of leadership during a pandemic are clear. Recognize the effort as well as outcomes so that you can build a high performing, highly engaged team. Take the time to show your team you care about them as much as you care about the outcomes they are producing for you and the business. 

This may require you to use new skill sets like curiosity, collaboration, shared learning and the use of ever-so-valuable technology. 

ADP Research Institute did a global study of engagement in 2018 that reported that people who trust their leader will be 12 times more engaged. Trust as a leader is built when you show you genuinely care about the person working with and for you. 

Go make it happen and show your people that you care!