10 Leadership Tips for Managers Who Want to Be Great in Their Job

Mislead, word in 3D wooden alphabet letters with mis crossed out leaving the word lead.

It’s often the small things that make the biggest difference.  

What manager doesn’t want to be excellent in their job? To not just get consistent results, but to have team members fully engaged, developing, and living out the organization’s mission.  

Now, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that most managers aren’t very good. My in-the-field research, gained by training managers to become leaders the last several years, suggests that 50% of managers should turn in their title and go back to being individual contributors. The list of reasons is long but boiled down; it’s their inability or unwillingness to inspire, empower, and serve their team members. 

Most managers aren’t leaders because they are unwilling to inspire, empower, and serve their team.  

However, a significant group of managers enjoy their role and aspire to become the best leader they can be but struggle to make the leap. Often, there is too much focus on doing big or significant things like giving a big speech, solving a huge problem, or making changes to the team. But the truth is, rarely is it one big thing that causes one to be perceived as a leader. It’s often the small things done repeatedly well that make the biggest difference.  

The Aggregation of Marginal Gains

Take, for instance, David Brailsford, the British Cycling coach who made famous the theory of marginal gains. If you are unfamiliar with either Brailsford or Marginal gains, here is the summarized version.

Coach Brailsford took over a British Cycling team that was abysmal and had been for 100 years. Instead of changing everything about the team, he adopted a different strategy known as the aggregation of marginal gains or the 1% rule. The idea was simple; if you broke down everything you could think of that it takes to be a successful rider, then improved by 1% every day, you would get a significant increase in the long run.  

The cycling team took on the manta of 1% better, and day after day, they focused on getting a little better, and eventually, it added up on the scoreboard. In the 2012 London Olympics, they won 8 gold, 2 silver, and 2 bronze, and in Rio, in 2016, they won 6 gold, 4 silver, and 1 bronze. An enormous improvement from a team that has just won 2 bronze total since 1984.  

In other words, the aggregation of marginal gains works whether you are talking about sport or leadership. So, with that in mind, I listed 10 tips for managers to get 1% better to become the leader they can ultimately be.  

1. Do One Thing Every Day to Build Trust-Based Relationships

Your ability to lead and not just manage a team starts with good, quality, professional relationships built on the bond of mutual trust. George Macdonald famously said, “To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.” To do this, you must consistently share your competence, care, and character for people to trust you. The key here is consistency, Reid Hoffmann, a founder of LinkedIn and partner at Greylock, provides a simple formula for quickly understanding trust.

Consistency + Time = Trust

2. Take Leadership Outside the Business Conversation

In a hybrid or remote work environment, most interactions between managers and their team focus on business and results. While results are essential, understanding that part of a leader’s job is to elevate others inside and outside work. As Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said, “my job is to serve my player’s hearts, not just their talents.”  

Create opportunities to take your leadership outside the business conversation by asking one of my favorite questions: “Is there someone whom you admire or aspire to be like because of the kind of person they are inside and outside of work?”

3. Put 1-on-1’s on the Calendar

Spontaneous 1-on-1 meetings with team members are great but not super realistic as the daily hustle and bustle take over. Sure, the idea of scheduling dedicated time to help support the growth and development of people doesn’t sound super realistic, but it can help keep people on track. If this is an area of improvement for you or the managers in your organization, check out Peoplebox

4. Let Other People Solve Problems

Maybe you’re a bit of a control freak. Maybe you are an elite problem-solver, which helped you get to your position today. Those things by themselves are great, but if you are the only person who can solve your team’s problems, you won’t go far or fast. There is an old African proverb that all leaders must remember, “if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” 

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” 

Find at least one opportunity each week to challenge team members to solve a problem independently or develop a list of possible solutions to solve it collaboratively. When you do this, you will have shared responsibility and be moving together as a team of people pulling their weight. 

5. Tell a Story a Day

If you want to inspire people like the best leaders in the world, you might want to think about telling a story every day. Storytelling allows you to reach both the emotional and the rational parts of an employee’s mind. Unfortunately, many managers forget how important storytelling is and stick solely to facts and figures, which turns their team members’ brains to negative or neutral. 

Managers speak primarily in facts and figures; leaders talk in stories.

6. Embrace Taking Blame

Taking the blame for something that you didn’t physically do can be challenging. However, that’s exactly what the best leaders do because they know this essential lesson:

Leaders are responsible for the people, and those people are responsible for the results.  

Your job is to be responsible for your people, and when a mistake happens (which it will), don’t throw them under the bus; fall on the sword for them. You will be amazed at how hard team members will work to make it up to you, knowing that the mistake should have fallen on them. 

7. Don’t Forget to Give Credit

If it’s hard for you to take the blame, that means it’s even harder to give credit. Dave Cancel, the founder of Drift, said, “My best advice for leaders: when things go wrong, take all the blame. When things go right, give away all the credit.”

Following up and following through on this leadership truth is hard and takes practice. From the time we are in school, we are taught to raise the trophy high above our heads, not above others.

8. Say Something When Effort Isn’t There

When it comes to getting better as a leader, we tend to focus on changing the behavior of others. But the reality is, we should be focused on looking at our behavior first. An example of this is our courage and skill to have difficult conversations.

When something isn’t right, like a lack of effort or a bad attitude, it’s your obligation to determine what is going on. Find the courage to say something, and get to the root of what may be causing the issue. 

9. “Thank You” a Day Keeps the “My Boss is an Ass” Away

There is nothing wrong with being a leader who elevates the standard of what’s required to help produce positive results. However, if you refuse to say “thank you” or “great job,” it will eventually wear your people out. Instead of being called a “leader,” you will be called “ass” behind your back.  

Challenge yourself to give praise or recognition on a more consistent cadence and rhythm than you are today. 

10. Invest In Your People

Being invested in feels good. It shows that either through money or time that someone cares about you. The best companies in the world and the best leaders in the world understand that investing in people is a worthwhile investment. Or you could say it this way, a company that doesn’t invest in managers doesn’t value leadership. 

A company that doesn’t invest in managers doesn’t value leadership.

If you don’t control the company budget for the investment in people, look for smaller opportunities to invest in your people with learning opportunities. You could start a book club, run an internal training session, or simply pass around a leadership column (hint…hint)

Coaching for Excellence: The development of your coaching skills will make a tremendous difference in helping you lead your best in 2021. Join me for the next Coaching for Excellence Workshop. https://bit.ly/3goZLv2

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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 the Best Leaders Embrace the Uncomfortable

angry businessman yelling and working with documents and cardboard laptop in box

Doing hard things isn’t easy.  

Most people avoid challenging things altogether. Others choose to start, but when they figure out the difficulty of what’s ahead of them, they decide to take the path of least resistance. 

Take Mike, a former front-line manager in a manufacturing facility as an example. After seven years of honing his skills as an engineer in the plant, he applied for an open management position in another organization. It seemed like the next logical step in his career progression and there was a significant jump in pay. To his surprise, he was awarded the job.  

Even though he started with good intentions, he quickly began to dislike his new role for one big reason; the people that reported to him. As he described it to me in a coaching session, “Outside of a few team members, employees weren’t passionate, motivated, or very skilled. If that weren’t enough, they complained and made excuses instead of taking responsibility.” He paused, then continued, “I was young and inexperienced as a manager, so instead of coaching, developing, and hiring new people, I put my head down and did the jobs of as many people as I could, working 60+ hours a week.”

In less than two years, Mike resigned from his management job and went back to his old engineering position at his previous company. Even though each person’s situation is slightly different, Mike’s story reminds us of an authentic leadership truth:

There are so many bad managers because being a good leader is hard.  

Leadership is Hard, But You Can Be Successful At It

Just because leadership is hard doesn’t mean you can’t be successful, especially if you start the complex topic of being a successful leader through the correct lens. I defined a leader in Building the Best this way, “someone whose actions inspire, empower, and serve in order to elevate others over an extended period of time.”

Instead of thinking about a leadership position as unattainable or something that is only meant for certain people with unique talents, start thinking that it’s for you. The most essential element of leadership isn’t talent; it’s choosing to lead right from where you are.

“The most essential element of leadership isn’t talent, it’s choosing to lead right from where you are.”

Leading from where you are starts with a decision. After that decision is made, success will require you to navigate two primary issues:

  1. Time
  2. Effort

Overcoming Time and Giving Maximum Effort. 

Leadership is not an action to be carried out one time and then forgotten. There will be moments of leadership in one’s journey where one courageous act will demonstrate leadership. These moments should be celebrated and then replicated as much as possible over the course of your daily life.

Do not imagine that leadership is an action to be carried out one time and then forgotten

Once you choose to inspire, empower, and serve to elevate others for the long term, you will be on a path to successful leadership. At some point on this journey, you will realize that only hard work allows you to be a great leader. Here are two action items to carry in your leadership toolbox that will allow you to succeed along the way: 

1. Invest in Your Development Daily

Karl Popper famously said, “True ignorance is not the absence of knowledge, but the refusal to acquire it.” Don’t wait for the next corporate leadership training initiative or pass on opportunities to pick up a book. We are in the golden age of education. Research indicates that we create as much information every day as the world did from the dawn of civilization until 2003. To put this in perspective, blog writers post 1,400 blogs, and YouTube users upload 72 hours of content a minute. That doesn’t even begin to touch content added to platforms like LinkedIn, TikTok, and Podcasts. The amount of valuable and invaluable is limitless. 

“True ignorance is not the absence of knowledge, but the refusal to acquire it.” – Karl Popper

Your job is to invest in your development daily, and put the right content in your brain. No excuses because no one can do it for you. 

2. Get Good at Thinking of Others

When you first look at a group picture on Facebook or Instagram with yourself in it, who is the first person you look for? Nearly 100% of the time, it’s yourself. We are hardwired to think of ourselves and our self-interest first, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. You can train yourself to think of others first and put others’ needs ahead of your own.  

I don’t pretend this is easy, but to lead effectively, you have to get good at thinking of others. If this is an area where you struggle, start small. Look for small opportunities daily to put someone else’s needs before your own, and you will find it’s often more rewarding than the alternative. 


Being a leader is hard and, at times, uncomfortable. This is precisely why you should run towards it instead of away from it. Living a life of significance and creating a career with a positive impact isn’t found in easy or comfortable things.  

You will never be a perfect leader because leadership is a journey and not a destination. You will fail more than you succeed: but, what’s most important is you understand that being a successful leader is hard, but you should pursue it anyways. Through investing in your development and getting good at thinking of others, you will be on the correct path. 

Do you agree? Tell me in the comments

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.

Drive Better Results and Retention: Exciting news! LearnLoft has partnered with Peoplebox to help provide HR Leaders and Executives an all-in-one engagement and performance platform. Learn More 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

5 Elements Required to Successfully Develop a Leader

Making real and lasting change is difficult. CEO’s, Learning and Development, and Human Resources invest time, money and energy to help managers make lasting change to the way they lead. More often than not, those efforts fall short and managers go back to old habits. The results are dismal including increased turnover, less than stellar performance, and low employee engagement.

We’ve learned a tremendous amount about what it takes to successfully develop a leader while implementing leadership development programs with organizations of all sizes and industries. Whether you work with us or not, these are the 5 critical elements that need to be a part of your leadership development program in order to successfully develop your leaders.

1. Self-Awareness. In order for anyone to make changes in their life, it starts with deciding themselves its time to change. A great way to get managers to open up to change is to create self-awareness of their leadership strengths and weaknesses. We create self-awareness with Elevating Others 360°  Reports that are completed by a manager and their direct reports. Regardless of whether you use LearnLoft’s assessment or someone else’s a few of the essential competencies you should measure are:

  • Vulnerability
  • Empathy
  • Trust
  • Accountability
  • Coaching

2. Proven, Implementable Content. You attend a class full of theory and the materials that look like they were from the 1970’s. If you were able to get past the hideous powerpoint (because of an engaging trainer), by the time you return to work, you’re scratching your head wondering how to actually implement what you just learned. Sound familiar?

The content you use to develop leaders has to be easy to recall and even easier to implement. LearnLoft has spent years researching and testing our content. It’s actionable, and it works! Our workshops not only use models, and very specific examples but also exercises that get people thinking about themselves and their teams. Whatever content you choose or build for your program make sure it works and it’s aligned to what’s happening in the workplace today.

3. Coaching. Coaching not only adds accountability it also drastically improves the success of leadership programs. The latest research shows leadership development programs that include coaching see as much as a 60% improvement over programs without coaching. Whether you use peer coaching, group coaching or one-on-one coaching, the point is to include it with your program. You will see a drastic shift in engagement and in results for your organization. Depending on your size, a great option is to certify a group of people within your organization to coach your content.  

4. Ongoing Education. Workshops or training events should be the beginning, not the only part of your program. We all know the statistics on information retention, so I won’t bore you. Whether you do online training or reinforcement webinars, you should be touching your learners with some type of reinforcement to keep their development top of mind. Let’s face it, they’re leading teams and attending learning events or logging into an online module is at the bottom of their priorities. Make reinforcement events worth their time by providing valuable content, and they will engage.

5. Elective Enrollment. Instead of forcing your leaders through training, offer them the opportunity to improve their leadership skills by enrolling in an incredible experience. Doesn’t that sound a lot more tempting? Registration into a leadership development program shouldn’t be something they have to do it should be viewed as an opportunity they’re given. If you include an application step or other requirements (ie: being nominated by peers or direct reports) to attend, you’ll see an increase application of your program and engagement.

If you include these 5 elements into your next leadership development program, it will have the best chance to be a success.

7 Best Practices to Develop Leaders In Your Organization Need some more ideas to help ensure the leadership program in your organization is up to par?  Download the the whitepaper here.

Don’t know where to start? We’d love to help! Talk to a leadership expert here.

Coming this Summer! Our book Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Success with publishing partner McGraw Hill.

3 Simple Learning Strategies To Implement Today

There is no better words in sports than “Game 7.” It’s the pinnacle of pressure and competition.  Tonight is Game 7 of the Major League Baseball World Series. – While it might not be currently but there is no arguing that baseball is America’s favorite pastime. One of the game’s most famous players was a player named Hank Aaron better known as “Hammerin Hank”. Aaron is most famous for hitting 755 career home runs, a record that stood from 1976 to 2007 until Barry Bonds broke it. But what’s interesting is – Hank had 799 more singles than Barry Bonds did in his career. Hank wasn’t just a homerun guy, he was arguably the best, most well-rounded player in the history of the game. He did what it took to help his team win and that wasn’t just swinging for the fences.

The same is true in corporate learning. It isn’t just about being great at one thing – like learner enrollment or test scores. It’s about being a well-rounded department that focuses on employee growth, powerful development programs, and innovative thinking. It’s hitting singles and doing the small things that add up to be great.

To improve corporate learning in your organization here are three strategies to evaluate against to ensure you are ahead of your learners and not just reacting to a current need:

  1.  Mobile Learning. 51% of total time spent on the Internet is spent on mobile devices. For the first time it’s pulled ahead of personal computers. The mobile movement is on! Your LMS’s ability to be accessed from an iPhone isn’t mobile learning and it isn’t going to cut it. Think mobile-first.  
  2. Microlearning. As learners’ screens have shrunk, so have their attention spans. The average learner on an hour-long webinar is going to be distracted 22 Times! Align by keeping your content short – under 4 minutes is the sweet spot.
  3. Content Medium. Facebook users view 4 billion videos per day! Now it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that most learners in organizations are on Facebook. Video is the preferred medium.

Channel your inner “Hammer Hank” and make corporate learning an important part of your organizations success. Start with these 3 strategies, but don’t limit yourself. Get creative and stay ahead of the curve!

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John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft and Host of the Follow My Lead Podcast. He is passionate about the development of people. He writes, and speaks about modern leadership and learning techniques. You can find him on instagram @johngeades.



The Powerful Lesson Corporate Learning Can Learn From Social Platforms

Instagram made big news this month releasing a new feature to compete head to head with Snapchat. While many people are curious why they released it, how to use it, and what social platform to choose between the two, this article isn’t for that. For a quick crash course on Snapchat, check out How Snapchat Is Changing Corporate Learning. This article is about what corporate executives can learn from this big news in the consumer social media space and it’s really simple: Video, and particularly short video, is a massive part of how people prefer to consume content today.

The Situation

It doesn’t seem to matter if the video is highly produced or not. What matters is it can be consumed in a short amount of time when people have the availability and motivation to consume it.

Contrast that with what I hear out of Learning and Development departments every day; it’s concerning. Just this week, I heard a learning executive say “as long as we keep the Virtual Instructor Led Training under 4 hours, that’s ok with me”. 4 Hours? Yes you heard that right, 4 hours! Unless they plan on showing live NFL football games during those 4 hours, I can assure you those professionals are going to open their phones and start scrolling through Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, or Facebook to kill the time.

So, why have organizations been so slow to adapt and align their corporate learning mediums with the way their own employees are consuming content in their personal lives? I believe it’s because they are caught in the mentality of “we’ve always done it this way”. That’s a dangerous way for any organization to think, made famous by the Grace Brewster Murray Hopper:

Dangerous Phrase

The question that must be asked:

“Would organizations get better engagement, increase knowledge transfer, and become more aligned with their employees and partners by adapting the way they create and deploy training content?”

Now, let’s not kid ourselves. The challenge many Learning and Development executives face is figuring out how to make meaningful changes in their large and complex organizations. So, our advice is to start small. Get a few wins one day at a time, and eventually add those small wins up into big wins that make a huge impact.

Here are 4 ideas to implement to get small wins:

1. Create A Weekly Microlearning Video To Send Out Internally   

Once a week, publish a short microlearning video teaching a key topic to provide a short reminder of something that many employees might forget. Don’t let creating a video stop you. Just open your phone, grab a selfie stick or colleague, and make it happen. As you progress in creating video, you can get fancy with editing.

2. Delete Every Other Slide 

In your next lunch and learn just try to shorten it by deleting every other slide. Most likely you have too much content in there anyways. Use the minimum amount of content necessary to meet one learning objective. Include links or additional resources for people to explore further on an as needed basis.

3. Use Real Life Or Engaging Stories  

People remember stories and examples they can relate too. Try leveraging a capture story at the beginning of anything you do, and then relate what you are teaching back to the story to help them remember. A great best practice is to use famous people, quotes, or current events to relate to the topic you are teaching.

4. Leverage A Tool Outside Your Learning Management System For Publishing

Most learners have a negative mindset about their Learning Management System. So if you do something creative like a weekly microlearning video, you automatically decrease your odds of it being successful by deploying it inside your Learning Management System. There are all kinds of alternative options such as: Email, text, a mobile learning platform, or even getting employees to follow you on a social media network.

Final Thoughts

So whether you are into Instagram, Snapchat, or LinkedIn, hopefully you can take a few lessons from what is happening in the consumer world to improve the learning experience in your organization. Regardless if you are shot down or the first few tries don’t go as planned, do your best to persevere and keep your mind on the picture. Thomas Edison said it best:

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up”.

Learn more about LearnLoft’s offerings for organizations here

3 Ways to Improve Confidence in Yourself

When I joined the 10 million people who have discovered their strengths through the Gallup Assessment, I wasn’t all that surprised to see my results.

  1. Strategic
  2. Command
  3. Belief
  4. Responsibility
  5. Maximizer

There is no doubt we are all more confident when we know our strength’s and then play to them in our professional life.  One of my strength’s stood out to me though; Belief. Meaning my core values are unchanging.

One of my core values when it comes to leadership came from Peter Drucker, and it was highlighted in one of my most popular articles, The Best Thing a Leader Can Give

  “If we want to be seen differently in the world it starts with how we view ourselves.”

To summarize the article, the greatest thing a leader can give to their people is a belief in oneself, better known as confidence. So we built a video to show three simple ways to improve confidence in yourself or with your team.

So remember:

  1. Surround Yourself or Employees with Positive People
  2. Make the Input Positive
  3. Celebrate Successes with Visual Reminders

Online Leadership Programs. LearnLoft’s out of the box training approach to helping modern professionals learn how to add value to their organization and world. Find out more about ‘Getting Leadership Ready’, a program designed to help young professionals understand what leadership really is and how to stand out as a potential leader. Their brand new program ‘High Performance Leadership’ teaches the core principles of performance leadership and provides tools and techniques to drive accountability in teams.

The Critical Foundation of High Performing Teams

This is a guest post written by Roderick Yapp:

A couple of months ago, I was sat in a meeting with someone who was looking to recruit people to their growing organization. We were talking about the type of people they were looking for and the fact that a service based business is heavily dependent upon the quality of its people.

We started to talk about ex-military candidates – at which point someone said ‘we want to attract them because they follow orders and do what they’re told…’

Once I had ‘corrected the individual’ on the fact that former servicemen don’t simply follow orders, I was left reflecting on the myth that still exists – that servicemen follow orders doing what they are told without challenge or pausing to think about the consequences of their actions.

It doesn’t work like that

People need a reason to do something – they need a purpose to support their actions. If they don’t have that, then they will never truly commit to doing something whole-heartedly. When the ‘going gets tough’ their enthusiasm and engagement will crumble…

Lessons from the Holocaust

Victor Frankl discovered this concept during the holocaust. A brilliant psychotherapist, he was imprisoned in Auschwitz by the Nazis during the second World War. Frankl details his account in the book, ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ which Tony Robbins  describes as arguably ‘the most important book ever written’.

Frankl explains that there is no universal meaning to life. Each individual has to find their own meaning – their own purpose for which to live. Without that, we struggle to find direction or commit ourselves in pursuit of a goal that is worthwhile.

During his four years in Auschwitz, Frankl was one of the few prisoners with medical training so he was placed in charge of the sick. He was able to predict with worrying accuracy when someone would die based on the moment they lost the will to live. He describes how cigarettes were used as an internal currency in the camp. The moment that someone started to smoke all of their cigarettes was the ‘beginning of the end’ for them.

They’d lost their will to live – they’d lost their purpose – smoking the cigarettes was one of the first behaviours that was symptomatic of that loss.

Frankl survived the war and created logotherapy (logos = meaning) – the central concept being that a person needs a purpose, a reason to live.

Simon Sinek built on this concept with his TEDx Talk using the Wright Brothers and Apple as examples to explain his point.

So how does this relate to the military?

How does the military ensure that it has a sense of purpose in everything it does?

It is written into our doctrine – our standard way of doing things. Every mission is required to have what is called ‘a unifying purpose’. A mission statement must include the phrase ‘in order to’

It is our mission to recapture this vessel in order to secure the safe release of the hostages.

It is our mission to conduct a patrol of the local area in order to reassure the local population.

It is our mission to provide a block to the south of Musa-Qala in order to prevent enemy reinforcements from reaching the town.

When you are taught how to write orders, you are taught that soldiers and marines need a purpose – a reason to do what you ask of them.

They’re no different from anyone else in that respect, they need to know why they are doing something – they don’t just do it because someone tells them to. They don’t do it because they are just following orders. When people simply follow orders, it usually leads to bad things happening because they don’t stop to think if it is the right thing to do.

Having a purpose is vital, both at an individual and at a team level. The military make sure that they provide a purpose in every mission statement – it wouldn’t be a mission statement without an ‘in order to’. This approach has been standardised across NATO because it is universal – it crosses cultural boundaries addressing the need we all have for a purpose behind our actions.

A Sense of Purpose is one of the Foundations of a High Performing Team

High Performing Teams are the reflection of Great Leadership

Maintaining the purpose as a central principle is vital to ensuring that when the going gets tough, people have a reason to keep going.

In our High Performance Leadership Program the first thing that we help leaders to create on the course is the teams purpose.

We help people to understand the concept and coach them to discover their own purpose – because without it, why should anyone follow you?

For more information on the High Performing Leadership programfor individuals and for organisations – please click the following link

First Published on the on the Leadership Forces Website.

The Most Important Conversation a Leader Can Have

I looked up nearly in tears as my manager finished his 30-minute berating rant about my performance, and all I could focus on was the exit sign in the distance. It was my only outlet at that point. I was chasing a goal arbitrarily set by my manager, that I had no chance of achieving unless something miraculous happened.

Whether you have been in a performance-driven sales role or not, you can relate to having a manager provide results-oriented goals with no clear purpose, vision, or mission behind them.

It’s shocking how many bosses still live in a world where it’s “do as I say and don’t ask questions.” What’s worse is when you do what they say and you don’t meet their unrealistic expectations, it somehow is entirely your fault or just a major lack of skill.

Here is a simple conversation construct that all leaders must have with their people in order to avoid these bad situations and set their leader-employee relationship up for major success.

Why are we here.

Steve Jobs said, “The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.” It’s a leaders job to communicate a purpose to their team that helps them wake up every morning thinking how lucky they are to be doing what they are doing. Without a purpose, there is really no reason for a team to follow you. Does your team know the reason you are on this journey?

What Do We Do and for Whom.

Leadership expert Roderic Yapp, says it beautifully, “A Mission is simply what you do and for whom.” It should be stated in very simple language and is used to keep you focused on the right activities. So simply, mission is the following equation:

Mission= We do X in order to achieve Y for Z

The mission of Rod’s business, Leadership Forces is ‘to develop leaders in fast-growing companies who are able to deliver business performance’. Have you communicated what your teams mission is to your people, if so could they repeat it?

Where are we going.

Like the old saying “ When you are lost, any old map will do.” Great leadership entails vision, because without it we don’t know where we are leading people. If leaders can’t communicate direction effectively, then we have no right to ask people to join us on the journey. A vision takes into account the current status and paints a clear picture of a future state that will be successful by a certain timeline.

Just this week, Elon Musk the famous SpaceX CEO said “We are going to land people on Mars, by 2025.” I have no clue if they are going to get there and I am certain I won’t be one of the people on the spaceship, but I have little doubt that his team has a clear vision and timeline to make it happen.

What do we expect from each other.

Most people have heard of the story of Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. If you haven’t, check out this video. Too often people are unclear about what is expected of them and how they are going to be held accountable. The best leader-employee conversation I ever heard was simple and it went something like this: “These are my strengths, these are my weaknesses, this is what I am going to commit to doing for you and this is what I expect back in return. If either of us don’t meet these standards we both have the right to call each other out.” Simple, straight to the point, and clear – the only way expectations and accountability can work.

Have a conversation with your team where you clearly and confidently answer these four questions. When you do so, your professional relationships with your team will improve and the results will follow.

Online Leadership Programs. LearnLoft’s out of the box training online approach to helping professionals improve their business performance. Find out more about ‘Getting Leadership Ready’ here and their new program ‘High Performance Leadership’ here.

The Most Effective Methods to Align with the Modern Learner

The modern learner is misunderstood. Yes, they love technology, enjoy collaboration, and prefer shorter content. What’s interesting is despite all that, they don’t actually learn any differently than previous generations. Furthermore, as our society moves more towards connectivity, seasoned professionals are growing to expect these same things.

The availability and accessibility of quality learning content has increased dramatically since the invention of the Internet. Organizations are now expected to create and deploy meaningful content to their learners, while still simultaneously measuring its impact.

Of all the training methods organizations are using to align to the modern learner, which ones are most effective and can be best measured?


Asking the learner to do something in response to training content. Getting them actively involved in the learning to not only ensure knowledge is transferred to be to engage them beyond traditional training. This could be responding with a video, uploading a picture, etc.


Using the power of the collective intelligence and todays modern technology. Essentially leveraging other people beyond one learner to engage and educate. Things such as likes, views, comments, etc.


Allowing team members to curate and build their own training content. Whether that be a YouTube video or a first line manager recording their own video, curating content from the audience is powerful and effective. The best part is people are more than willing to participate.


Breaking down content into small digestible chunks can be an extremely effective way to align with the modern learner. We define microlearning as “short burst of content ensuring knowledge is transferred in a visible, tangible or measurable way.”

It’s time the modern learner isn’t treated differently and organizations begin effectively aligning with them.

If your organization is already using some of these methods you are ahead of the curve.   If you are still stuck in the dark ages using an LMS, hour long webinars, and multi-day instructor led training events, pick one of these methods out and give it a chance. You will be amazed at what happens.

Want to try an a new way to train an develop? Sign up for LearnLoft’s Learning Platform and leverage a free 14 day free trial. Here.

The Simple Essentials for Fulfillment at Work

Every professional has struggled being fulfilled in his or her profession at one point or another. A recent report by The Conference Board showed that 53% of Americans are unhappy in their work and a Gallup report showed 71% of millennials are not engaged (or actively disengaged) at work.  The frequency at which people checking Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or just wasting time during working hours makes me believe these numbers are low.  

Even so, these  fulfillment numbers are important because the average person spends over 92,000 hours working in his or her lifetime, the equivalent of 35% of their waking hours. What professionals get while working those hours goes a long way towards being happy, engaged, and ultimately fulfilled.

We’ve discovered a formula for professional fulfillment that we call the PEG factor.

PEG Graphics.001

Providing + Experiences + Growth = Fulfillment at work.

The P in the PEG factor stands for Providing. Statistics show that providing financially for yourself and/or your family is a the most important necessity in order for a professional to be fulfilled by their job.  Each individual’s financial threshold is different based on personal expectations, but a Princeton study found that once an individual is making $75,000 the majority of their happiness that is derived from money (the ability to provide) is fulfilled. Providing to your expectations and standard of living is the second necessity in being fulfilled with our work.  

The E stands for Experiences. The second necessity in being fulfilled with our work is having positive experiences. These experiences can come in a lot of different forms; completing a difficult project, traveling to industry conferences, giving a group presentation, or hiring an employee.  Each organization, job role and or industry can provide different experiences but the key is they are positive and present on an ongoing basis.  

The G stands for Growth. William Butler Yeats said it best, “we are happy when we are growing”.  When employees are acquiring new skills, given challenging work, and adding value that they can realize —  they are  growing. There is a simple test every professional can do to be sure they are growing.  Ask yourself, “Am I growing in my job?” and answer it in less than 5 seconds with a yes or no.  If it takes you longer than 5 seconds or you are unsure then the answer is clear.  

All of these necessities of our professional fulfillment are measured with our personal expectations.

If any of them aren’t equal to your expectation, there’s a high likelihood that you will become one of the 2/3rds of professionals that are anticipated to switch jobs in the next 5 years in search of fulfillment.

So remember, If you are providing, having positive experiences, and growing professionally to your expectations, you will be fulfilled in your work.  So, Providing + Experiences + Growth = Fulfillment.

Getting Leadership Ready moving into a leadership role within an organization typically provides the opportunity to increase each element of the PEG Factor.  You can learn more about standing out as a potential leader from our Getting Leadership Ready Program HERE.