5 Beliefs You Must Embrace to Be a Successful Leader

Leaders embrace a different set of beliefs than managers. As much as CEOs and Human Resource Executives want all of their managers to think and act like leaders, it happens so rarely.  

While leaders possess a plethora of skills, capabilities, and competencies, there is often something missing from managers that are required to lead; the right beliefs.

A belief is a reinforced pattern in your brain.

This definition is important because it shows that we aren’t born with beliefs; they’re developed when things are experienced and reinforced until they become patterns in our brains. When it comes to leadership and life, our beliefs are fundamental because our beliefs become our behavior.

Beliefs become behaviors

Take a 25 MPH speed limit in a school zone as an example. Most drivers will slow down and drive the speed limit through the school zone because they believe speed will keep kids safe. Thus their belief becomes their new behavior. This is the good news. The bad news is that most of our beliefs might be wrong.  

Research from the book The Four Agreements found that 95% of the beliefs we store in our minds are lies. Many people have beliefs about themselves or situations that aren’t true, and this holds them back from practicing the right kind of behavior. 

Leadership Beliefs to You Must Embrace

Based on our research of thousands of leaders, we’ve found that the best leaders carry a few common beliefs, regardless of their roles, circumstances, or situation. 

1. People Can Change and Improve

There is this common misconception that people can’t change. We have all heard the quote, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” and it couldn’t be more wrong. People change all the time, and it’s required to be successful.  

Leaders assume that people cannot change when they try to force changes on others instead of empowering those people to unleash it.

Too many leaders force change instead of looking for ways to unleash it. 

Of course, change requires a willingness to be coachable and to put in consistent effort. Often, people rely too much on excuses and hold themselves back from making the changes necessary to thrive.

Reject the thoughts of putting your people in a box. So many leaders make the mistake of passing judgment on who a team member is or what they can accomplish. Be the kind of leader who challenges others’ thinking and coaches them to become a better version of themselves.  

2. Good Things Will Happen 

Jon Gordon, famously said, “Being positive won’t guarantee you’ll succeed. But being negative will guarantee you won’t.” Tony Robbins backed him up:

“Stop being afraid of what could go wrong, and start being excited about what could go right.”

As easy as that is to say, believing good things will happen and choosing positivity is difficult. The reason is simple; research from the late Trevor Moawad found that negativity is 4-7 times more powerful than positivity. When you say something negative, it’s 40-70 times more likely to end with a negative result than if you didn’t say anything.

The great news is that you can change your beliefs. Start with the daily habit called the Rule of Three Positives. The rule is simple; each day, write down three positive things you did or experienced. 

3. Failure is Not Final; Failure is Feedback

Achieving business success isn’t easy, regardless of your industry. Great leaders not only know this, but they embrace it. A breakthrough isn’t going to happen without some failure along the way. 

I wrote about Callaway Golf CEO Chip Brewer’s story in Building the Best. He told his team early in their transformational journey, “I do not care how we have to do it and how many things we have to fail on, we aren’t going to launch products that aren’t demonstratively superior and pleasingly different.”

Brewer believed failure was not final; failure is feedback. It’s not if you or your team members will fail or make mistakes, it’s when. Carry the belief that “failure is not final, failure is feedback” with you moving forward. 

4. Responsibility Lies Where You Have Control

The best leaders take extreme ownership. However, they don’t take this kind of responsibility for everything, only the things they can control. If I only had one belief that I could transfer to every leader in the world, it would be this:

Be ruthlessly responsible for the things you can control. 

There are simple things every person has control over; things such as attitude, effort, and mindset are good examples. Too often, we forget this simple truth and try to control things like the decisions of others, markets changing, or adversity. 

One of the most common characteristics of the highest performing teams is when each team member embraces this belief as well.  

5. Patience is a Virtue

Patience is hard for many people, and it’s become even harder in the world of “what have you done for me lately.” 

The word patience means the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. The keywords here are “accept or tolerate delay.” This doesn’t mean you shy away from aggressive goals, but that you’re willing to accept or tolerate delay because you know you’re playing the long game.  

This mindset allows you to make decisions that are in the long-term best interest instead of the short-term.  

Closing

While all leaders who have had success might not have the same beliefs, there is a good chance many carry these five with them daily. Since beliefs are a reinforced pattern in your brain, you can embrace these beliefs. They aren’t only meant for the select few. 

What beliefs do you carry that help you be an effective leader that isn’t on the list?

John’s New Book Sign up to get early access to John’s new book. By doing so, you will be entered to win a free signed copy when it’s released Sign up here.

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About the Author John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company helping executives and managers to lead their best. He was named one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Management & Workplace. John is also the author of Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Success. You can follow him on Instagram @johngeades.

Why Coaching is a Skill That’s Essential for Leaders

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Success as a leader is never achieved through your efforts alone.  

Too often, managers promoted because of their previous achievements as individual contributors forget this critical lesson. 

One of the ways a leader separates themselves from being a manager is by coaching their people. A coach, by definition, is one who trains and instructs. I define it in Coaching for Excellence as, “Coaching is improving the current and future performance of others to achieve higher levels of excellence.”

Leaders who coach others effectively have never been more critical than they are today because behind every excellent professional is a leader who acted as a coach and refused to settle for anything other than their best. 

Behind every excellent professional is a leader who acted as a coach and refused to settle for anything less than their best.

As easy as this is to write, its application is complex. Most managers default to typical management activities instead of coaching. Ray Smith said it well, “to create a high-performance team we must replace typical management activities like supervising, checking, monitoring, and controlling with new behaviors like coaching and communication.” Not only is Ray Smith correct, he exposes a drastic shift in that managers must make in today’s workplace around their core responsibilities.

Core Responsibilities of Every Manager

Managers have many responsibilities regardless of industry or company. However, if you boil it down, there are two core responsibilities every manager on the planet must focus on:

  1. Recruiting
  2. Coaching

Instead of going deep on the recruiting piece today, let’s keep our focus on coaching. One of the reasons managers don’t coach their people is because the outcomes of their effort aren’t guaranteed. They can spend countless hours teaching, challenging, and asking great questions, and the team member’s behavior doesn’t change. Since other people’s behavior is out of their control, they retreat to focusing on things they can control, like setting expectations and hiring different people. While expectations and getting the right people on the bus are essential to sustained performance, refusing to act as a coach is an enormous miss. 

The managers who consciously choose to act like a coach are doing the right thing for their team members. Because when a professional is fortunate enough to have a manager who acts as a coach, it dramatically increases the chances of reaching their potential. 

When you are fortunate enough to have a manager who acts as a coach, it dramatically increases the chances of reaching your potential.

If you are ready to take your coaching skills to the next level, here’s a playbook to assist you.

1. Choose the Right Moments

Timing is everything in coaching because every moment isn’t a coaching moment. So many managers who struggle to coach their team treat every moment like a coaching moment.

As painful as this is to write, I am guilty of overcoaching my team. But, thanks to a courageous team member, she brought overcoaching to my attention, allowing me to make changes.  

Do your best to choose moments like one-on-one’s, performance reviews, or training sessions to provide coaching in the right moments. 

2. Focus on the Individual 

Coaching might appear like a group activity, but it’s about the individual. While there are scenarios like a basketball coach where group coaching is essential, the focus should be on each person more often than not. 

One of the things I have learned in my leadership coaching practice is how essential it is for managers to identify where team members are currently in their development and align their coaching appropriately. The reason is that the goal is simple, to help each team member reach a stage of development that exceeds where they are today. 

The goal of coaching is simple: help each person reach a stage of development that exceeds where they are today.

3. Go Beyond Work

Coaching in the areas you are comfortable with isn’t all that difficult. What’s remarkable is when managers coach their people beyond their current role or responsibililty. While it may seem a little odd to coach your people beyond their current role, the best coaches don’t only help improve performance, they help improve lives.” 

The best coaches help improves lives, not just performance.

As I wrote in Building the Best, the simplest way to implement this type of coaching is to ask your people about their goals, dreams, and aspirations inside and outside work.

Coaching people beyond their role isn’t easy, and it often doesn’t show up in immediate results. This means most managers will ignore it because they believe it’s less important than the other things they do. Instead of taking on this mindset, embrace the challenge of understanding your people beyond the job and relish the opportunity to help them make it happen. 

Coaching for Excellence Ready to take your coaching skills to the next level? Register for the next Coaching for Excellence Workshop

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Free Downloadable Coaching Cheatsheet There is nothing easy about coaching. So we put together a list of eight of the best coaching questions to help you. Download it for free here.

About the Author John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company helping executives and managers to lead their best. He was named one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Management & Workplace. John is also the author of Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Success. You can follow him on Instagram @johngeades.

How the Best Leaders Think About Growth

growth

Everyone claims to be “so busy” these days. The truth is, we make time for what’s important to us. If you want to get in better shape, you make time for it. If you want to be a better golfer, you make time for it. The same is true in leadership. 

Before we go any further, let’s get on the same page about one crucial truth: Leadership skills are developed, not something you are born with. Your development as a leader is paramount because of the potential impact on other people. There isn’t a better quote to depict this than from Warren Buffett:

Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted the tree a long time ago.

However, many professionals in leadership positions focus on one kind of growth, revenue growth. And while revenue growth is essential for any business, it can be taken away instantly by things out of your control. Or even worse, solely focusing on financial growth can turn us into something we don’t want to become. 

The best leaders recognize this and focus on growing themselves and others in order to expand their business. 

Growth in Outcomes vs Growth in People

Let’s use two different sales managers as an example to differentiate the difference in growth in outcomes vs. growth in people.

Sales Manager A, solely focuses on outcomes. His team achieves excellent results in the first, second, and third quarters. However, when adversity hits, both he and the team struggle mightily to overcome and persevere. Thus causing significant drops in performance and an increase in turnover over the next three quarters.  

Sales Manager B, is rooted in the growth of people. Her team achieves good results in her first and second quarters and great results in the third quarter. Then, when adversity hits, each team member embraces the new opportunity in front of them, pivots their approach, embraces change, and perseveres despite the obstacles. Performance drops in the fourth quarter, but her team stabilizes much faster than her counterpart, and the group becomes stronger the following year. 

What I want you to take away from the example of the two sales managers is this: 

Bad growth is rooted solely in outcomes; good growth is rooted in people.

Why Most People Aren’t Committed to Personal Growth

There are many reasons why people aren’t committed to growing and developing as a leader:

  • Companies prioritize new products, services, and increasing short-term revenue during company events over the development of their people.
  • Performance reviews rarely focus on the development of people and instead focus solely on the last year’s results.
  • Managers think they are a finished product and have leadership all figured out.

But since you are reading this, I have a sneaky suspicion you aren’t one to make excuses but instead embrace personable responsibility. You want to answer a simple question, “How do I continue to grow even though I am busy?” 

Here are a few ideas to get you started: 

1. Growth Starts With Your Mindset

The most significant part of your ongoing professional success is constantly learning and developing. If you forget this lesson or get complacent in your role, this is precisely when your value starts to diminish.

In a recent keynote, I shared a couple of ideas worth learning from

Unsure if you’re in the right mindset, simply answer the following question:

What’s something you have learned in the last 48 hours?

If it takes you a long time to come up with an answer, it might be time to shift your mindset.

2. Start or End the Day with Growth Affirmations

The development of any skill centers around confidence. As Helen Keller famously said, “Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” If you want to grow and help people around you grow, it will only happen through increasing belief in oneself.

Since confidence comes from within, the words you say to yourself are the most important words you say. 

The words you say to yourself are the most important words you say

A leader we studied in Building the Best, doesn’t let the year’s results determine her confidence. Instead, she looks in the mirror every day and reminds herself, “I am good enough, and I am worthy.” This simple affirmation only takes three seconds but packs an enormous impact. Here are a few of my favorite affirmations:

  • “My test will eventually become a testament to someone else.”
  • “With more practice, it will get easier.”
  • “I am a magnet for good things.”
  • “I am in the process of becoming the best version of myself.”

3. Commit to Growth 20

The best leaders start their day with a routine that helps them perform at their best. Certain leaders begin at 4 am with a workout, while others get going at 8 am with prayer or meditation. Regardless of your method, the key is to commit twenty minutes or more to grow yourself intentionally. 

It’s what I refer to as “Growth 20.” Twenty minutes a day, reading, listening or watching something that will help you grow. The options are endless with the explosion of podcasts, youtube, audiobooks, and columns like this one. All you have to do is create a sustainable habit to make it happen.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Listen to a book or podcast during your commute
  • Read a chapter of a book before bed instead of watching TV
  • Block 20 minutes on your calendar to read LinkedIn or Harvard Business Review  
  • Scroll social media looking for educational lessons instead of entertainment

Closing

Something fascinating happens when you grow yourself and others. Not only will you reach your full potential, but you will attract like-minded and equally talented people into your life.

Take the Free Leadership Style Quiz Join over 55k leaders and discover your current leadership style for free.

John’s New Book Sign up to get early access to John’s new book. By doing so, you will be entered to win a free signed copy when it’s released Sign up here.

Free Downloadable Coaching Cheatsheet There is nothing easy about coaching. So we put together a list of eight of the best coaching questions to help you. Download it for free here.

About the Author John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company helping executives and managers to lead their best. He was named one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Management & Workplace. John is also the author of Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Success. You can follow him on Instagram @johngeades.

How to Empower Not Delegate as a Leader

guidance

Have you ever wondered what separates leaders from managers? The list is long, and it includes things like inspiration instead of motivation and visionary instead of temporary. However, one significant difference is under your control and, more important than ever today, empowering rather than delegating.  

A common piece of advice from executives trying to help less experienced managers is, “you have to delegate more.” While the suggestion of taking things off of your plate and putting them on someone else’s makes sense on the surface, the intention behind the ask makes the difference.  

If you take nothing else from this column, I want you to take this:

When leaders delegate, it’s about them. When leaders empower, it’s about others. 

Empower vs. Delegate

One of the most significant mistakes leaders make is confusing delegation and empowerment. So let’s get on the same page about the difference between them.  

Harvard Business Review defines delegation this way. Delegation refers to the transfer of responsibility for specific tasks from one person to another. From a management perspective, delegation occurs when a manager assigns specific tasks to their employees.

According to Oxford Dictionary, Empowerment is defined as “the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights” It enables others to be responsible for and take ownership over something. 

In Building the Best, I defined leadership as inspiring, empowering, and serving in order to elevate others. Empowering others to make decisions is an essential part of successful leadership today.  

A Mindset Shift is Required

A great example of the difference between delegating and empowering arose during one of my recent coaching calls with a rising star named Kara. Kara’s clinic was performing well, but she was getting burned out because she did everything. When asked what would help her, she replied, “I could delegate our supply buying process to one of my team members.”

While it was a great idea, she was thinking about delegation instead of empowerment. So I challenged her to change her thinking. “Instead of simply asking a team member to start ordering supplies, what if you empowered them to improve the supply buying process?”

Immediately Kara’s shifted her mindset from delegation to empowerment. This was her response as she roleplayed the conversation with her team member, “I have been thinking about how we can improve our supply buying process. Since you are so detail-oriented and a great negotiator, would you be open to taking ownership of our supply buying process for the next three months to see how it goes?”

Empowering team members transfers belief and ownership.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the difference in how the empowerment approach transfers belief and ownership versus delegating a potentially dull task.

Why Empowerment is Essential Today

Since the invention of the assembly line, delegating tasks to employees has made sense. However, thanks to remote work due to Covid-19, employees want something different and demand flexibility.  

On a recent episode of the Work-Life Podcast with Adam Grant, when describing the need for companies to rethink flexibility at work, he said, “managers are constantly creating constraints and limiting opportunities. What’s required is more flexibility while still meeting organizational objectives.” 

Today’s workplace requires more flexibility while still meeting organizational objectives.

As obvious as this may sound, its execution is ridiculously challenging. However, the payoff is a more engaged, innovative, and committed team. 

How Leaders Can Empower Others

Now that it’s clear the best leaders empower instead of delegate, how can you do it more effectively? Here are a few ideas to explore:

  1. Build a Bond of Mutual Trust 

Empowerment requires high levels of trust. Specifically, trust that’s bound together from every corner of the organization. Trust is simply consistency over time. This means trust is earned through a two-way street paved by consistent action. 

Trust is earned through a two-way street paved by consistent action. 

A street paved with leaders giving others a chance to earn flexibility so they can be empowered to do their best work, then team members willing to be patient and prove they are trustworthy.  

2. Focus on Mutual Commitments 

There is a big difference between being interested and being committed. The easiest way to have confidence that empowering others is the next move is to have a group of people committed to the mission, each other, and the effort required to succeed. 

One way to ensure you have this level of mutual commitment is for each team member to write or say, “My commitment is…” As simple as this may sound, our words are our bond. People are more likely to follow through if they verbally commit to themselves and someone else about their plan and intentions. 

People are more likely to follow through if they verbally commit to themselves and someone else about their plan and intentions. 

3. Share Common Values and Purpose

Money is easily the most popular incentivizing tool organizations use to retain and recruit employees. While pay is significant, it’s not the most important. People give their best effort when on a team that shares values and purpose. 

People give their best effort on a team that shares values and purpose. 

A consistent and systematic approach to aligning core values and communicating the deeper purpose behind the work is imperative. There is nothing worse than defining and talking about core values, yet leaders are not demonstrating them. Leaders are the primary driver of core values, so they must embody them correctly. 

Closing

If I told you it’s easy to empower others, I would be lying. Most people, myself included, have a difficult time giving up control. However, if you want to act and behave like the best leaders, empowering others is precisely what you need to do.  

If behaving like the best leaders isn’t enough, consider the business metrics you will positively impact, such as reduced turnover, increased revenue, and improved productivity. 

Take the Free Leadership Style Quiz Join over 55k leaders and discover your current leadership style for free.

John’s New Book Sign up to get early access to John’s new book. By doing so, you will be entered to win a free signed copy when it’s released Sign up here.

Free Downloadable Coaching Cheatsheet There is nothing easy about coaching. So we put together a list of eight of the best coaching questions to help you. Download it for free here.

About the Author John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company helping executives and managers to lead their best. He was named one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Management & Workplace. John is also the author of Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Success. You can follow him on Instagram @johngeades.

How Great Leaders Unleash the Best in Others

leadership

When it comes to someone developing into the best version of themselves, we’ve been tricked into believing a common myth: It’s the idea that people grow into this version of themselves on their own. 

We have all thought about this or even tried it. If you just read enough, practice enough, watch enough or get enough reps, your growth and development will take of itself. 

There is one big problem with this mindset; you are only going to be able to take yourself so far on your own, and it’s not going to be the best version of yourself. 

This is where leadership comes in. As Alex Judd, CEO of Path for Growth, reminded me in a recent episode of The John Eades Podcast, “The highest calling of a leader is to unleash the best in others.” He continued, “If you’re going to pursue that calling of leadership, you have to believe the best is possible.”

A leader’s highest calling is to unleash the best in others.

Why Most Managers Don’t Do It

There are many reasons leaders stop short of helping unleash the best in others, but to put them in the most common order, it would be:

  1. They don’t think they are good enough or worthy enough to do it
  2. They don’t know how to do it
  3. They are concerned about losing team members to turnover
  4. They are fearful team members will surpass them (thus the leader becomes less valuable)

If you have ever felt these or experienced any of these from a previous boss, know these are unhealthy and faulty beliefs. And before anyone can change how they do something, it begins with their beliefs. If you take nothing else away from this article, please remember this; the things you believe determine how you behave.

The things you believe determine how you behave. 

So how do you change your beliefs and unleash the best in others? Here are four tips to keep in mind:

1. You Can’t Do it For Them.

I know this sounds counterintuitive, but you have to start with the correct mindset that you can’t do the self-disciplined work for anyone else. You should model the behavior and demonstrate to your team the kind of effort and discipline it takes to unleash the best version of yourself, but you shouldn’t force them to do the same.  

It reminds me of the old quote; “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.” A leader’s job is not to do the work for someone else. Instead, it’s to be a vehicle to help them develop. 

A leader’s job is not to do the work for someone else. Instead, it’s to be a vehicle to help them develop.

2. Discover What They are Trying to Achieve

The best and easiest way to unleash the best in others is to have a solid grasp on what they are trying to achieve and where they are trying to go. Too often, leaders assume people want to arrive at the same or a similar destination as they do.  

For example, a salesperson may want to be a VP of Sales, but not every salesperson wants to go on to be a VP of Sales. It’s possible for a college basketball player to have a vision of playing in the NBA, but not every college basketball player wants to play professional basketball.  

The only way to unleash the best in others is to uncover their personal goals, dreams, and aspirations and tie your coaching to helping them achieve those things. 

3. Challenge Their Growth

If you settle for the same opportunities, output, or effort people give on a day in, day out basis; there won’t be much growth. One of my favorite quotes on the subject comes from Fred DeVito, “if it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you!” Often what leaders must do is to challenge their team healthily. 

If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.

Challenging people in a healthy way comes in many forms. For example, you can do it verbally in coaching interactions or with development opportunities such as industry events, distributing books, sharing blogs, or bringing in a speaker. Instead of getting caught up in how you do this for your team, the key is that you are doing it.   

Essential Reminder

The danger of this kind of challenging approach is if the people you are trying to develop don’t know you care about them, you risk challenging them having the opposite of your intended effect. So keep in mind one of my favorite leadership lessons, “connect before you correct.”

“Connect before you correct.”

4. Be an Uber Coach

One way a leader separates themselves from being a manager is the mindset they take to coaching others. A coach, by definition, trains and instructs. Coaching comes from the word “carriage,” meaning to take someone from point A to point B.  

In our Coaching for Excellence workshops, I teach leaders to embrace the mindset of an “Uber Coach.” Much like an uber driver, leaders must be willing and able to coach team members anyplace and anytime when needed or required.  

Coaching once a year in a performance review isn’t coaching, it’s negligence.

If you are going to unleash the best in others, you must coach them like crazy. While outside professional or executive coaches can provide tremendous perspective, they can’t coach daily. If you lead a team, it’s your responsibility to make coaching your people a top priority. 

Closing

Doing these things will not work on 100% of the people you pour into. But it will work on individuals who are coachable and desire to get better.

This is when your leadership efforts will propel them to unleash the best version of themselves and allow them to move onwards and upwards to bigger and better things.  

Take the Free Leadership Style Quiz Join over 55k leaders and discover your current leadership style for free.

John’s New Book Sign up to get early access to John’s new book. By doing so, you will be entered to win a free signed copy when it’s released Sign up here.

Free Downloadable Coaching Cheatsheet There is nothing easy about coaching. So we put together a list of eight of the best coaching questions to help you. Download it for free here.

About the Author John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company helping executives and managers to lead their best. He was named one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Management & Workplace. John is also the author of Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Success. You can follow him on Instagram @johngeades.

Why It’s More Important Than Ever to Be Coachable

Business Coach

Do you remember how it felt when you were unsure how to do something, and someone stepped in to coach you through it? Whether it was to finish a big project, accomplish something meaningful, or learn a new skill, chances are, you felt thankful, grateful, and empowered.

While these are natural human emotions, figuring out how to consistently seek help from others and learn from those around you isn’t easy. The reason is simple; most people want to do it independently. They want to believe the false narrative of being a “self-made man or self-made woman.” One’s ability to put ego and pride aside and be coachable is often is the difference between success and failure. 

One’s ability to put ego and pride aside and be coachable is often is the difference between success and failure.

Take Mike Grier as an example. He grew up in Massachusetts with dreams of playing in the National Hockey League (NHL). 

Thanks to some success in high school, Grier got the opportunity to play at Boston University. The problem was he was too big and slow at over 250 pounds to make a significant impact on the ice. While fans loved watching his big hits on the opposing team, most didn’t believe he had any long-term future in hockey.

However, others didn’t know the advice his parents had given him before starting his collegiate career. “We only ask one thing of you, and that’s to be coachable.”

They were right. The college coaches told him he would need to follow a rigorous offseason conditioning program. He lost 27 pounds and started his sophomore year as a sculpted athlete. And he became committed to becoming a better defensive player.

The rest was history in more ways than one. He emerged as a collegiate superstar that year. With the blessing of his coach, he left college early and went directly to the NHL. After being born and trained in the United States, he became the first-ever African-American player to make the NHL. He was never a superstar, but he had a long and successful career in the NHL. 

While Mike Grier’s story is unique to sports and him, being coachable is essential, especially for you and me.

What’s Coachability and Why is it Important?

More often than not, a person’s ability to say or do something significant is built on the backbone of hard work, dedication, and being coachable. A mentor of mine always told me:

Being coachable is how you show the world that you have a hunger to get better and are willing to put in the work and effort.

According to Leadership IQ, if you aren’t coachable, it’s also tough to make a successful job move. They conducted a three-year study of 20,000 hiring decisions and asked, Why do 46% of new hires fail within a year and a half? The number one reason from hiring managers was lack of coachability. If you have big career advancement goals, you had better learn to be coachable and show that trait to others.

What’s interesting about coachability is that it’s not technical skill or inherent to us. It’s a mental mindset that anyone can embrace.

Take Nick Saban, the legendary head football coach at Alabama constantly preaches to his players and coaches to “respect the critical eye.” Instead of getting defensive, embrace when someone is coaching you with a critical eye because they are trying to make you better.

Reject Your Natural Instincts

What’s interesting about coachability is it tends to follow our instincts. The less experienced and less mature you are, the harder it is to be coachable. (No better example than teenagers). Then on the opposite end of the scale, as you get older and have more success, your results will tell you that you have figured it all out and don’t need to be coachable. But what’s most impressive are those professionals at both ends of this spectrum who remain coachable and seek coaching. 

What I have learned studying and coaching some of the best and worst leaders on the planet is the best leaders don’t define their coachability by learning alone. Instead, they define it by their ability to apply what they learn.

The best leaders define their coachability not by learning alone, but by their ability to apply what they learn. 

Unless you lack the skill of coachability altogether, you can probably keep your mouth shut for long enough to listen to someone else. The trick is to ask yourself the following question: 

  • “Are you genuinely interested in learning from someone else and applying what they teach you, or are you just thinking about how you will respond to what they say to demonstrate all you know?”

Coachable vs. Uncoachable

You would think most people would know the difference between being coachable and uncoachable, but that wouldn’t be the case. Here is a simple way to think about it:

No alt text provided for this image

So the natural question becomes, how do you “respect the critical eye” and develop the skill of coachability.

1.Stay on the Path of Growth

I saw TD Jakes speak one time, and he summed up the best way to stay on the path of growth, “The world is a university and everyone in it is a teacher. Make sure when you wake up in the morning, you go to school.” These aren’t just wise words; they are brilliant words. It’s a reminder to never stop learning and seeking growth on your personal and professional journey. Since you are reading this, I know you are on a growth path. The challenge for you is to stay on it. I wrote in Building the Best about a patten around personal development called AOL, an acronym that stands for Action, Outcome, Learning. Embrace AOL on your path of growth. 

“The world is a university and everyone in it is a teacher. Make sure when you wake up in the morning, you go to school.”

2. Get a Coach

If you are lucky enough to have a manager or boss that acts as a coach, consider yourself in an elite class. If you don’t, get someone with outside expertise and experience to help you on your journey. If budget is a problem, try to leverage someone close to you, such as a friend or group of colleagues. The best part is coaches aren’t like a marriage, it doesn’t have to be forever.  

3. Be Willing to Accept Feedback Responsibly

There is an old saying that’s it’s tough to read the label from the inside of the jar. Often we get so close to things or people that it’s hard to accept that we have blind spots or need help. Leave your ego at the door, put the excuses in the drawer, and take any criticism or feedback as a vehicle to help you grow.

Closing

A few keys to being coachable are staying on the path to growth, getting a coach, and accepting feedback responsibiliy. I will leave you today with the exact words I tell my 7-year-old daughter when I drop her off at dance. “There are only two rules today. Be coachable and be competitive.”

I hope you will be in a relentless pursuit to be both coachable and competitive. Here is the best part, if you and your team stay coachable, results are right around the corner.

Coaching for Excellence Workshop Ready to develop your coaching skills to help others reach their full potential? Learn more about Coaching for Excellence

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Free Downloadable Coaching Cheatsheet There is nothing easy about coaching. So we put together a list of eight of the best coaching questions to help you. Download it for free here.

About the Author: John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company helping executives and managers to lead their best. He was named one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Management & Workplace. John is also the author of Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Success. You can follow him on Instagram @johngeades.

Super Bowl Winning Coach Sean McVay’s Leadership is So Simple You Should Model It

Every leader, good or bad, should be your teacher. It’s just more fun to learn from successful leaders. 

Whether you are a football fan or not, LA Rams Head Coach Sean McVay is a great leader to study. In a sport where age and experience create a perception of one’s ability, McVay has risen to the challenge and showed that age was just a number. At the ripe age of 35, he is the winningest active coach in the NFL and the youngest coach in NFL history to win a Super Bowl.

While McVay has the work ethic of many great coaches with the intellect to match, that’s not what’s most impressive. His leadership and, specifically, what he leads with that sets him apart.  

A Great Leader Cares First

McVay said it well in a recent interview, “Good coaches help their players reach their highest potential. In order to do that, it starts with being able to connect with them as human beings first. You do that by believing in guys and caring about them. When you care about the players you are working with, that’s when they want to play hard for you.”

McVay’s comments could be summarized in a simple and powerful leadership lesson: care for your people. Because when you care for your people you earn the opportunity to get everything they have. Caring means a feeling of being concerned for someone and having an urge to show kindness to them.

When you boil leadership down to the simplest form, the simple act of authentically caring for someone is leadership.

The simple act of authentically caring for someone is leadership.

In order to show your people you care, much as Sean McVay does, you have to get to know them on a professional and personal level. This starts with asking them authentic questions about their journey, experiences, challenges, and aspirations. So instead of just going through the motions, you have to be intent on listening and then remembering what you hear, so you can adjust your actions in the future to show them you listened.

Beyond the tough yet straightforward leadership lesson of caring for your team first, there are three other lessons that you should model in your leadership approach from McVay.

1. Be Demanding But Uplifting at the Same Time

McVay is a leadership junkie who reads, listens, and absorbs ideas from every possible place to apply them with his team. A great example of this was when he was asked about surpassing Steelers Legendary Coach Mike Tomlin as the youngest head coach to win a Super Bowl. Not only did he give a glowing response to the kind of leader and man Tomlin is, but he gave us a secret to leadership.

“Mike (Tomlin) is a great example for all leaders as far as how you are demanding but uplifting to your players. How you’re so steady and so mentally tough in those moments when your team needs it the most.”

Great leaders are demanding but uplifting to their team

2. Embrace Consistency as a Key to Performance

It’s easy for managers to measure performance based on outcomes. While results are essential, McVay doesn’t believe they are the best measure of performance. On an episode of the Flying Coach Podcast, McVay said something that caught me off guard, “Consistency is the truest measure of performance.”  

Consistency is the truest measure of performance.

The closer you look at his words the more accurate they become. In business or sports, the reality is that we rarely, if ever, control the outcome. However, we can control how consistent we are with our effort, preparation, attitude, and energy.

We can't control the result, but we can control how consistent we are with our effort, preparation, attitude, and energy.

When every single member of a team shows up consistently at their highest level, there is a good chance the outcome will match. However, if the results don’t end up favorable, McVay and other great leaders can live with the result because they know their team was consistently excellent in their actions.

3. Lead with Urgent Enjoyment. 

If you are a fan of HBO’s hit series Ted Lasso, you know all about the main character’s positive leadership approach that includes a simple locker room sign that says, “believe.” McVay channels his inner Lasso with phrases and mantra’s on walls of the LA Rams facility like:

  • “The Standard is the Standard”  
  • “We Not Me” 
  • “One Rule – Be On Time”
  • “Situational Masters”
  • “Embrace the Suck”

However, it’s another leadership saying behind the desk in his office that grasped my attention. All it says is “Urgent Enjoyment.” In a world that moves faster than ever before, and opportunities come and go seemingly before they arrive, urgent enjoyment is the perfect mantra for a leader and team. I like to think of the term this way:

Urgent – We don’t know what will happen tomorrow

Enjoyment – Find joy and passion in work

"You don't know what will happen tomorrow, so you might as well be urgent today."

The urgent part is easy for most leaders. The enjoyment part is much more difficult. While work isn’t meant to be easy, no one says you shouldn’t have fun while doing it.  

Closing

Whether you were happy about the outcome of the LA Rams NFL Championship, take leadership lessons from Sean McVay. Care about your people first, be demanding but uplifting, embrace consistency as the truest measure of performance, and lastly, lead with urgent enjoyment. 

Free Downloadable Coaching Cheatsheet There is nothing easy about coaching. So we put together a list of eight of the best coaching questions to help you. Download it for free here.

Effective Leadership Communication Start Communicating more confidently and effectively as a leader. Sign up for the next Effective Leadership Communication Workshop.

John’s New Book John is finishing a brand new fable story about leadership and looking for volunteers to read or listen to the first four chapters and provide feedback.  By doing so, you will be entered to win a free signed it’s when it’s released.  If you are open to help, sign up here.

About the Author John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft. He was named one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Management & Workplace. John is also the author of Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Success. You can follow him on Instagram @johngeades.

Why You Should Care More About Growth Than Tenure

Growth or business concept

Just imagine you are sitting in a boardroom, and it’s time to introduce yourself to another organization. It would be tempting to begin your professional introduction with “I have been at the company for 15 years.” But just because it’s tempting doesn’t mean you should do it.

Thanks to nearly every job application and HR hiring manager globally, most professionals have been brainwashed to believe that their tenure is essential for opportunity and respect. In 1995, that would have been true. However, in today’s market, the best leaders don’t care about tenure; they care about growth and progress. 

The best leaders don't care about tenure, they care about growth and progress.

Now before we go any further, this isn’t a green light to go job-hopping for the sake of changing companies. It’s quite the opposite because tenure by itself isn’t bad.  The reality of tenure is security, comfort, familiarity. It serves us with pay increases, job promotions, and decision-making authority. It also can create a sense of belonging, community, and identity.

But there is also a dark side to tenure. When it becomes the sole goal, it leads to a slow downward spiral. It shifts us from growth to neutral. Tenure is a beautiful outcome but an ugly path to complacency. 

When tenure becomes the sole goal, it leads to a slow downward spiral.

Tenure Creates Complacency

Employee tenure is defined as the length of time someone has been in their current job or with their employer. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average tenure for employees is 4.1 years. However, there are also many advantages and disadvantages, according to Indeed

Little by little, tenure tends to erode our hunger, drive, and engagement if we aren’t careful. In the last few years, it turns out that we were in a little bit of a complacency bubble. Research completed by an Achievers survey in 2019 found 70.1% of employees did not consider themselves “very engaged,” but only 34% of those professionals had a plan to look for a different job. While I hesitate to use any research done before the pandemic, it was clear employees weren’t engaged, yet they were comfortable staying where they were.  

Complacency is defined as feeling so satisfied with your abilities or situation that you do not need to try harder. No one, leaders included, is immune to feeling comfortable.  

As you can see in the image below, our commitment will constantly be tested as time continues. 

Constant Change is the Only Constant

In a constantly changing business environment, having team members who care more about their tenure than growing and progressing is a dangerous place to be. As Grace Hopper famously said, “The most dangerous phrase in language is, we have always done it this way.”  

To give you a sense of just how much change is happening, look no further than an example from Tony Robbins. When Covid shut down in-person travel, a significant pivot was essential. His team quickly decided to transform their in-person experience into a virtual one. He was told by many experts this transformation would take six to nine months, but this wasn’t acceptable to Robbins. He needed it done in nine weeks, not nine months.

To make it happen, he did the opposite of what most executive leaders in big companies would do. He didn’t rely on tenure; he relied only on hungry people that believed in the mission. On a recent episode of Impact Theory with Tom Bilyeu, Robbins said, “I don’t let go of someone who has the drive, desire, and hunger. If they have that, it’s a matter of coaching them on skills and finding a solution together. So when I find someone who no longer believes in the mission, I make changes quickly because the weakest link will keep us from a mission. We have to value the mission more than the individual.”

"Value the mission more than the individual."

While I have never attended one of Robbins conferences, their virtual experience is world-class by all accounts. This central pivot has allowed people from all over the world to change their lives that would have never otherwise been possible.  

Tenure Doesn't Equal Leadership

Many managers who attend any of our leadership workshops believe that the idea of complacency and growth only applies to their people. But, of course, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Just because you have been a manager for some time doesn’t mean you are a leader. 

What’s required is to know the fundamental skills (coaching, accountability, etc.) required to be an effective leader and practice them deliberately to get better faster. 

No one can do this for you because skill development is like physical fitness; it can’t be outsourced. If you keep growing and looking for new and better ways of making progress in your role, you will feel engaged at work. When you are engaged, you will be giving your best to others. When you are growing and giving, work is fulfilling.  

When you are growing and giving, work is fulfilling.

Closing

Now I don’t pretend that the tenure and people caring about length of employment will go away anytime soon. But it’s my hope that whether you lead a team or not, you first look at someone’s growth, progress, and initiative for change, before you look at their tenure.

Most importantly, the next time you are in a board room or introducing yourself to someone outside your organization, punt on the idea of leading with your tenure and instead lead with something this: “I have been in the industry a long time and remain the ultimate student of the market, there is a lot I can bring to the table.”

Free Downloadable Coaching Cheatsheet There is nothing easy about coaching. So we put together a list of eight of the best coaching questions to help you. Download it for free here.

John’s New Book John’s brand new fable book on leadership is looking for volunteers to read or listen to the first four chapters and provide feedback.  By doing so, you will be entered to win a free signed it’s when it’s released.  If you are open to help, sign up here.

About the Author John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft. He was named one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Management & Workplace. John is also the author of Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Success. You can follow him on Instagram @johngeades.

6 Bold Predictions for Leaders to Know in 2022

Traditional Chinese fortune cookies with prediction

Making predictions is tricky. The business environment is changing at a pace we have never seen, which makes getting predictions correct nearly impossible.  

For the last seven years, I have written a column dedicated to making predictions for leaders in the workplace in the coming year. It’s finally 2022, which means a new round of leadership predictions. Last year’s list aged reasonably well so before we get into the latest predictions, let’s take a quick look at how we did:

The Coaching Rage Infiltrates Managers (Correct)

Thanks to HR Executives looking for new ways to develop leaders remotely, combined with technology and funding in the space, professional coaching has never been more accessible. If that wasn’t enough, more managers took proactive steps to act and behave like coaches to their people. For example, we had a record number of signups for the Coaching for Excellence workshop, and thousands downloaded the 8 Coaching Questions Toolkit

Character Counts Again (Incorrect)

Unfortunately, this didn’t indeed come to fruition. The character of leaders didn’t end up mattering as much as their competence, which is sad.  However, I am not giving up on character counting because ultimately, people want to work with and for leaders who do what is right, not what’s convenient or profitable. 

The Same Person at Work and Home (Partially Correct)

The mental health crisis is real, but it hasn’t truly hit us yet. As freeing and flexible as remote work has been on people, burnout and resignation are at an all-time high. There have been significant strides in people bringing their authentic selves to work, but it’s not commonplace just yet. 

Less Tolerance for Average (Partially Correct)

The great resignation has caused more organizational leaders to settle for average performance because of a lack of talent. While standards for performance were raised, the reality of a limited talent pool is real.  

In-Person Events at Back by Q3 and Q4 (Incorrect)

This prediction looked the most solid of all of them until Omicron showed up and in-person events were canceled, and a return to the office was delayed again. There are certainly signs of people moving forward with in-person events regardless of the Covid situation, but it’s not close to back to normal levels pre-pandemic. 

6 Predictions That Will Shape Leaders in 2022

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1. Leaders Give People a Reason to Stay Beyond Money

The great resignation is absolute. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of American workers quitting their jobs hit record highs in November, with 4.5 million people leaving jobs. As the problem continues to grow, leaders have had to continue adapt and change. 

On a recent episode of the Follow My Lead Podcast, Davin Salvagno, Founder of Purpose Point and creator of The Purpose Summit, told me, “People have had 18 months of autonomy and flexibility, and in many cases, it’s worked. So when you have an environment like that, companies and leaders have to give people a reason to stay.”

The best companies and leaders give people a reason to stay beyond money.

While traditional thinking would be to offer more money, the best leaders look beyond money. They find new ways to invest in their people, provide learning opportunities, and celebrate their progress. 

2. Team Gatherings Spare No Expense.

Whenever the Covid-19 pandemic moves to an endemic status, companies that still have expensive real estate will reinstate a return to office policy. However, this will be welcomed for some employees, and others will struggle to embrace a daily return to the office.  

Regardless of which camp you are in, remote work in some capacity has cemented itself in the workplace. This means that executive teams and leaders will spare no expense to bring their people together once or twice a year. They will leverage great meeting places, exotic destinations, experiential team-building activities, and nice dinners as vehicles to build solid relationships and strategize for success.  

Executive teams and leaders will spare no expense to bring their people together once or twice a year. 

3. Employee Raises Are Coming

Inflation and the cost of living continue to skyrocket. While automation is software is changing jobs, something has to give when it comes to people and their salaries. To adapt to this, organizations must empower leaders to provide raises to their people that better aligns with the value they deliver.

This will be exceedingly difficult when the demands from executive teams to double EBITA contributions continue to happen year in and year out. 

There will be a point where smaller privately held companies get a leg up on publicly traded companies in the war for talent because they can compensate their people better.  

4. Accountability Races to the Forefront

Since remote work has cemented itself in the future, output and production speak for themselves. It’s evident if team members are doing the job or not. Managers have noticed and are making candid accountability a priority in their leadership approach. 

I define Accountability in Building the Best as; the obligation of an individual or organization to account for its activities, accept responsibility for them and disclose the results in a transparent manner. It is the obligation of leaders to account for their actions and the actions of their people. 

Accountable leaders provide a path for personal improvement and team performance. 

Organizations will provide additional training for managers around how to have difficult conversations, and the best leaders will leverage accountability better in one-on-ones.  

5. Bad Leaders Won’t Be Tolerated.

Gartner recently predicted 30% of teams won’t have bosses by 2024. I don’t see it this way because leaderless teams don’t work. However, this is the year bad leaders aren’t tolerated.  

With increased engagement surveys, manager assessments (360°), and employee resignations, hiding lousy leadership is more challenging than ever. Managers will be held accountable for their voluntary turnover numbers, and if they don’t show progress, they will be replaced by someone that can. 

6. Multiple Income Streams Will Be Accepted

This one is the most controversial of all. With the rapid rise of NFT’s, Crypto, side hustles, and various ways to make money online, leaders will start to embrace the idea that their team members have multiple ways to generate compensation for themselves.  

I would go as far as to say that the companies that embrace this idea and encourage their people to have multiple ways to make money will retain their best talent.  

Closing

Whatever the future holds for leaders, it will require flexible thinking, rapid action, and elevating others. I hope you are in that headspace because the current leadership environment will pass you by if you aren’t.  

Free Downloadable Coaching Cheatsheet There is nothing easy about coaching. So we put together a list of eight of the best coaching questions to help you. Download it for free here.

John’s New Book John is finishing a brand new fable story about leadership and looking for volunteers to read or listen to the first four chapters and provide feedback.  By doing so, you will be entered to win a free signed it’s when it’s released.  If you are open to help, sign up here.

About the Author John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft. He was named one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Management & Workplace. John is also the author of Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Success. You can follow him on Instagram @johngeades.

How to Coach Others When You’re a Manager

It’s a lot easier for people to perform without assistance than having to assist in their performance.

While most professionals have a decent sense of what skills they’re good at and which ones need work, most of us don’t have a manager who coaches and challenges us to get from where we are to where we want or need to be.  

Most professionals don’t have a manager who challenges us to get from where we are to where we want or need to be.

That lack of coaching from managers can be the difference between a promotion, achieving success, and increased self-confidence. When there is a lack of coaching from managers, team members are left to develop alone, which doesn’t allow one to reach their potential.  

Perhaps unsurprisingly, when this happens, professionals turn to wise voices outside of the organization, thus increasing the likelihood of leaving the organization sooner. Now, this isn’t to say executive coaching or external mentorship isn’t good or helpful; they are. However, they are best capitalized in addition to internal coaching efforts by managers and executives.  

Many coaching studies show that people who receive coaching can increase their confidence by as much as 80%. Most professionals also benefit from increased productivity, career clarity, and more effective communication skills. That’s because, contrary to what the culture might tell us, exceptional performance doesn’t happen independently. It’s often people who act as a coach who helps us reach our potential.  

Contrary to what the culture tells you, exceptional performance doesn’t happen independently. 

So, if you’re not sure if you are coaching others effectively, or you feel a little awkward trying to coach people you have worked with for some time, here’s a playbook to assist you.

1. Choose the Right Moments

Timing is everything in coaching because every moment isn’t a coaching moment. Many managers who struggle to coach their team treats every moment like a coaching moment.

Take Mark, a sales manager, as an example. Instead of having dedicated sales coaching sessions with his team to develop their skills and confidence, he chose to coach during or right after every sales call with his reps. Instead of it having the intended effect, his team began performing worse because they felt micromanaged and pressured to win. Thus, making them more tight and tense because they were solely focused on outcomes and what Mark might say about their performance. 

Conversely, if Mark chose to coach in the right moments, his team would focus on the process and skill-building, thus focusing on the process and concentrating on what they can control.  

While this is a specific sales example, it’s true for all managers because of this leadership truth:

Great coaches know there is a time to perform, and there is a time to work on things to perform.

Do your best to choose moments like one-on-one’s, performance reviews, or training sessions to provide coaching in the right moments. 

2. Focus on the Individual 

Coaching might appear like a group activity, but it’s really about the individual. While there are scenarios like a basketball coach where group coaching is essential, the focus should be on each person more often than not. 

One of the things I have learned in my leadership coaching practice is how essential it is for managers to identify where team members are currently in their development and align their coaching appropriately. The reason is that the goal is simple, to help someone reach a stage of development that exceeds where they are today. 

The goal of coaching is simple: help people reach a stage of development that exceeds where they are today.

One of the ways to do this is to make coaching a priority. I share some ideas in a video here

3. Stick to the Basics

While there are undoubtedly advanced tactics, tools, and strategies that can be used for team members at an advanced stage of development, most managers would be better at coaching if they stuck to the basics, centered around asking great questions. This allows managers to get curious and pull the information out of people instead of always giving them the answer.

Most managers would be better at coaching if they stuck to the basics centered around asking great questions.

Try to use open-ended questions, free of judgment. Here are some of my favorite examples to add to your arsenal:

  • What was a highlight and lowlight in your performance this week?
  • Can you walk me through your thought process and what you have tried up until this point?
  • What do you think we should do to create the best result for everyone?
  • Can you tell me more?

Closing

Coaching others as a manager isn’t easy. It takes confidence, courage, and a belief that you are following a proven playbook. I hope that choosing the right moments, focusing on the individual, and sticking to the basics will help you develop your people in the best way possible.  

The best part about being a manager is that even if you don’t do your best today, you will get another chance tomorrow.  

Do you agree?

Coaching for Excellence Workshop: Ready to be a more effective coach? Register for the Workshop on December 16th at 12 PM EST.

Free Downloadable Coaching Cheatsheet There is nothing easy about coaching. So we put together a list of eight of the best coaching questions to help you. Download it for free here.

John’s New Book. John is finishing a brand new fable story about leadership and looking for volunteers to read or listen to the first four chapters and provide feedback.  By doing so, you will be entered to win a free signed it’s when it’s released.  If you are open to help, sign up here.

About the Author John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft and VP of Thought Leadership at Peoplebox. He was named one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Management & Workplace. John is also the author of Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Success. You can follow him on Instagram @johngeades.