Leadership – Where Possibility, Productivity, and Creativity Start

Teamwork climbing

A few weeks ago, my sister and I had a long conversation. She owns a business in China with a few hundred people on her team. She was rewarded greatly when her business took off last year, but she shared that her team is now experiencing difficulties in growing their business. My sister is smart, hardworking, and inspiring. She has tried new sales strategies, trained her team with more information, and encouraged them to provide even better customer service, however, her team still complains about how hard it is to make sales grow. Together, we identified ways for her to lead her team more effectively.

Prepare and prime your team to win.

It is essential to set your team up to succeed, not only through skills training, but also through preparation for change.

What does this mean? When a new coaching client starts working with me, I give them an assignment to share with their family and friends that he or she will likely be changing in many ways. Our family and friends want us to be successful, but most people don’t handle change well. By helping my clients prepare their support network, they are more accepted and supported during the process.

In my sister’s case, most team members are young moms who want to start their own business. They start by spending more time on training, bringing products home to try, and they don’t necessarily make money right away. Often their family becomes concerned quickly. If they are not primed to give their family notice that changes are expected, the new members end up quitting before they can succeed.

Never assume people know what you know.

Provide guidance for self-regulation.

An effective leader guides their team to become more self-aware, thereby becoming more responsible of who they are while creating results. When my sister’s team leaders complain they’ve hit a bottleneck, what they are really saying is: I don’t have control. If my team members could just change, it would be better.

I suggested that she ask simple discovery questions. For example, tell me more about a difficult conversation you had with a team member; how did that feel? Or, tell me about a great conversation you had with a team member; why did it feel good? What worked?

To really listen, don’t try to fix their perspective. Rather, ask what they need. What do you want to see, hear and feel to move forward? Self-regulation is empowering.

Trust is a gift.

My sister told me that the main roadblock her team runs into is that people don’t trust easily. She said, “I understand, because why would they? I don’t trust people that I don’t know.”

I reflected: how do you see your relationship to trust getting in the way of your team creating trust out there? She paused, then said, “Wow, I’m enabling that culture in my team!”

Trust is a gift, and we have unlimited trust to give. It does not mean that she will just trust blindly. It simply means that she will try to trust a few times every day, and be aware of what shifts each time. She took it on and invited her whole team to play as well.

Who the leader is creates who the team will be.

An effective leader leads a winning team by helping others shift from resistance to relationship; blame to responsibility; doubt to trust. It’s a skill that can be learned and polished through relentless practice.

Boss vs Leader

Five Keys For A Highly Effective Leader

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Through my years of coaching I’ve worked with many leaders, entrepreneurs, professionals and change makers. I have noticed, repeatedly, how much more effective my clients have become when we implement simple but foundational focuses in their daily routine. Inevitably, they are happier because they create results that are aligned with their intentions.

These points of focus, or keys, are applicable not just to business owners or managers with many employees. Anyone who strives to make positive changes in their lives can become more effective in what they do by applying them.

 Key #1 – Fill your cup. 

Simple. We are less willing to give if our cups are empty. To be responsible for your own wellbeing is nothing but a form of self-love. How can we expect others to love us when we do not? It is impossible to inspire or truly connect with others when we neglect our own physical and emotional health. 

  • Write down five things that you know will immediately increase your wellbeing.
  • Start to integrate them into your daily activities.
  • Build a checklist to track your progress.

We think more clearly and creatively when our energy increases.

Key #2 – Be present to your goals.

Everybody has goals. People who achieve their goals know what they are. If you hang it on the wall and look at it often, a vision board is a great tool for remembering your goals. However, it’s not the only method.

  • Write a blurb of your goals and put it up by your nightstand or bathroom mirror.
  • Record your goals on your phone and listen to them often.   
  • Be precise. What does achieving my goals look like? How will I feel when I accomplish them?

 Key #3 – Plan your day the night before.

  • Take five minutes before finishing your day to plan tomorrow. 
  • Make a list of all tasks and prioritize them by importance and deadlines. Prioritizing does not mean doing everything by yourself and getting it all done. It means completing what’s most important then moving on to the next task. 
  • Ask yourself: what are the three things that will make the most impact for me if I accomplish them today? Then put these three to the top of your list.

 Key #4 – Take action.

No action, no results. Without action, your goals can quickly become toxic so that you wish you had never set them in the first place. 

  • Break the goals into small pieces.
  • Then take on mini-actions that prevent you from setting yourself up for failure. Lots of people made the mistake of taking on too much before they have built strong action muscles. 

Key #5 – Acknowledge what you have accomplished. 

This is the perfect antidote to the nagging voice in your head: I should go for a walk, I shouldn’t have had that ice cream, I should … (fill in the blank). 

  • Keep that voice checked! At the end of each day, ask yourself: what have I accomplished today?
  • Take 30 seconds to review what you have done that day. You’ll be surprised how quickly the nagging quiets down. 

 Lastly, consistency is critical for anyone to sustain positive changes. Be like a dog with a bone. Persevere and thrive!