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.

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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.

How to Ask for Help the Right Way as a Leader

He needs help.

Do you remember how it felt to ask for help from someone else when what you were asking seemed like part of your job? Whether you did it well or not, chances are you felt weak, nervous, and a bit embarrassed.  

While these are natural human emotions, figuring out how to ask for help is a key to your success as a leader. The good news is that asking for help isn’t a weakness, it’s a strength. It demonstrates to others you are humble, vulnerable, and trust others to do something meaningful.  

Asking for help as a leader isn’t a weakness, it’s a strength. It demonstrates humility, vulnerablity, and trust in others. 

When a manager is unwilling or unable to ask for help from others, it increases the tension in a team and lowers the potential for what the group can achieve.  

Take Carol, a first-time manager, as an example. In her first three months in her new role, she did many things well, including building trust-based relationships and developing a high level of competence in the business and industry. After 90 days, her management team began to raise the bar on results and revenue performance expectations.  

However, instead of asking her team for help with ideas and execution, she did the opposite. Carol attempted to do everything on her own because she felt it was ultimately her responsibility. While her initial efforts positively moved the results needle, the business saw significant dips in performance shortly after.

Her regional manager saw what was happening and suggested Carol enroll in one of the company’s leadership development programs to assist in her development. One of the first steps of the program was a 360° leadership style assessment. In the digital assessment, her team provided feedback that helped unlock the answer to the problem, “Carol doesn’t have to do it all on her own and take the blame for everything. We are here to help. She just has to ask.”

All Carol was missing in her approach was this simple leadership lesson that we all need to be reminded of:

Asking team members for help exercises empowerment. 

Ask For Help or Ask For a Favor?

Help in the context of leadership is defined as providing someone with something that is useful or necessary in achieving an end result. This definition is critical because it exposes an essential distinction between asking for help and asking for a favor.  

Asking for help is about performance, asking for a favor is about convenience.  

The best leaders know to ask for help on things that directly impact performance. This means asking for assistance in completing critical tasks, coming up with innovative ideas, or giving ownership over something important.  

Asking for a favor in things of convenience are things like getting a coffee, getting something off of the copy machine, or sending out a meeting invitation. While there is nothing inherently wrong with asking for a favor, they don’t have the same positive effect as asking for help with things that directly impact performance. 

When leaders ask for help around things related to performance, it creates an empowered team. When leaders ask for favors around things of convenience, it just exercises authority. 

How to Ask for Help

Even though we now know asking for help around performance is essential because it demonstrates humility, vulnerability and builds trust, it can still be challenging to do. So here are a few tips for making the ask:

1.Frame it as they are the “Batman” not “Robin.”

Rather than acting as if you are “Batman” and you need “Robin” for a quick assist, reframe the request as they are “Batman.” It might sound like, “I am struggling to solve a specific problem, and I have seen you solve difficult problems before. Would you be willing to help me?”

2. Be Specific

Most leaders make a mistake when asking for help in not being specific about what they need help with. The more precise you can be about what outcome needs to be achieved and by when, the more urgency and focus it will create in your team members. 

3. Make it Conclusive

People are more likely to help when they know “why” their help is so important. An example might be, “Our team’s quarterly bonus depends on achieving XYZ, and I couldn’t think of a better person to help us get there.”  

Closing

Asking for help isn’t easy, but it’s a leadership superpower. I hope that you will begin to look at asking for help as a strength instead of a weakness. Because when you find the courage to invite your team into the improved performance process, excellent outcomes are right around the corner. 

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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 Great Leaders Believe in Success Before They See Success

Businessman building a graph or ladder of success

If you are worried about achieving success, you aren’t alone. The vast majority of people struggle to believe that the future will end with a good outcome; which is precisely why it won’t.   

The best leaders and top performers understand this important truth:

Believing success will happen doesn’t guarantee it will, but not believing ensures it won’t.  

A belief, by definition, is an attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition about the world is true. An alternative definition is; trust, faith, or confidence in someone or something.

The power of this definition is constantly on display in the world of sports. Take Trae Young, the leader and best player of the Atlanta Hawks, as an example. In a pivotal game against the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA’s 2021 Eastern Conference Playoffs, Young and his teammates found themselves down by 20 points heading into the 4th quarter. Instead of giving up and mailing it in to get ready for game six at home, they chose belief.  

Over the next 12 minutes of game action, the Hawks erased the deficit and overcame the long odds to win, 109-106. After the game, during the on-court interview, when asked about the comeback, Young said, “We never stop believing until the final buzzer goes off.”

Young’s words unlock the fact that great leaders believe it before they see it, and just because they think it, doesn’t mean it will be easy.

Seeing it Makes it Easy to Believe, But Rarely Does it Happen

In a 1950’s study, Harvard professor Dr. Curt Richter placed rats in a pool of water to test how long they could tread water. On average, they would give up after 15 minutes. 

Just before giving up due to exhaustion, the researchers would pull them out of the water, dry them off, let them take a rest, and then put them back in the water for a second round.  

In this second attempt, the rats didn’t tread for 15 minutes; they lasted for 60 hours on average!

There is no denying that psychology is a complicated field of study, but just by experiencing and seeing they were going to be pulled out of the water when they got tired, the rats lasted 240 times longer.  Unfortunately, leaders rarely have the luxury of testing the waters of success.  

Great leaders and top performers know they must believe before they achieve.

Train Your Brain the Same Way You Build Skills

There is no denying that believing something that hasn’t yet happened is difficult, which is why most people don’t do it. Instead, they use a strategy of hope, but as Rick Page used to say, “hope isn’t a strategy.”  

To believe excellent outcomes will happen well before they do takes training. You must build the belief in your brain the same way you build technical skills. It requires mental reps, affirmations, and building habits around looking for the good in things. It also requires you to look beyond your past experiences.  

On a recent episode of the Tim Ferriss show, Chip Wilson, the founder of Lululemon, said, “I could see how constraining my beliefs were by creating my future from the past.” Not only is Wilson right, but the best way to believe is not to look back but to look forward.

The best leaders are visionaries because they can easily manifest future possibilities. The late great Dr. Myles Munroe used to say, “vision is the capacity to see beyond what your eyes can see.” Your eyes and your past are the enemy regarding building belief and becoming a visionary leader. 

Your eyes and past are the enemies regarding becoming a visionary leader.

There aren’t many secrets or shortcuts to increasing your belief except one: Set goals you care about achieving.

The Power of Goal Setting

Whether you lead a team or want to increase your personal belief, setting short and long-term goals is a phenomenal strategy. It will force you to think about the future and challenge you to define things you and your team want to accomplish. 

Even if you or the team fails to meet the goals, there is a 100% chance you learned from the failure, and got closer to achieving it. There are all kinds of incredible goal-setting systems and formulas; however, instead of regurgitating SMART goals or something similar, I want you to consider writing down one goal for yourself or your team today. Use your favorite formula or the one I wrote about in Building the Best:

Clear Objective + Completion Date + Carrot.

Closing

Regardless of your faith or religious background, there is a scripture in the Bible that says, “we walk by faith, not by sight.” There is nothing easy about having belief in something we can’t see; but, just because it’s not easy doesn’t mean you can’t do it.  

Today, challenge yourself to define a new goal, keep it visible, and invite others to hold you accountable. You will be amazed at what you or your team will see in the future!

Do you agree? If so, how do you believe something in order to help make it happen?

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.

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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 Great Leaders Focus on Actions Not Intentions

Business concept for growth success process

Most managers and executives don’t intend to fail at leadership. While failing might not mean a demotion or losing a job, it almost certainly includes a disengaged team, poor results, and a high voluntary turnover rate.  

Research suggests that between 50% and 70% of executives fail within 18 months of taking on a role, landing somewhere between “failing spectacularly” or “quietly struggling.”

But not even the most narcissistic professionals set out to fail. Most leaders start with great intentions, but don’t back up those intentions with quality leadership actions.  

Good intentions without quality actions are meaningless in leadership.

Intentions Aren’t Enough in Leadership.

Anyone who has been married for any length of time has used the line “that wasn’t my intention” in an argument or disagreement. Which in turn is met with, “that doesn’t matter.” Maybe I am projecting my shortcomings there, but either way, intentions by themselves aren’t good enough in marriage, and they’re not good enough in leadership either.  

An intention is a person’s design, an aim, or a plan. It comes from the Latin word intention, which means “stretching, purpose.’  

It turns out we all have a set of intentions that we would like to achieve as a leader, but its action on that aim separates managers from leaders. Pablo Picasso famously said, “Action is the foundational key to all success.” Not only is Picasso right, but team members and colleagues don’t want to hear about your intentions; they want to experience your actions.  

Team members don’t want to hear about a leader’s intentions, they want to experience quality actions. 

I wrote in Building the Best about a pattern I have observed in many great leaders that lead to their a growth mindset in life and the development of their leadership skills. It’s what I call iAOL; an acronym that stands for intentions, action, outcome, learning. As you can see below, many leaders start with good intentions, but don’t follow through with quality actions. Intentions alone will never lead to learning and development.

No alt text provided for this image

Following up and demonstrating leadership actions regularly isn’t easy. It’s tough because leadership by definition, is all about elevating other people, and the people you lead aren’t perfect and neither are you. 

Here are the four most popular areas where leaders start with good intentions but don’t follow up with quality actions. As you read through them, evaluate whether you have good intentions in these areas or you are backing up those intentions up with quality leadership actions.

Effective Communication

No leader sets out to be a poor communicator, but it’s an all too normal reality. The vast majority of professionals are in a consistent state of miscommunication with their boss or the organization. While this seems like an obvious misstep, team members fill the silence with their own story when leaders don’t communicate effectively.

Instead of allowing extended periods of silence, communicate what you know about the current situation or, at a minimum, the actions you are taking to figure it out.  

Aligned Expectations

Having clearly defined standards and expectations of behavior is at the center of every successful team. Unfortunately, most leaders are in constant disappointment because of the wide gap between their expectations and reality.  

Many leaders are in constant disappointment because of the wide gap between their expectations and reality.  

Instead of having misaligned standards and expectations, remove the invisible barrier. Set the expectations clearly, then do everything in your power to help your team meet and exceed them.  

Continuous Growth and Development

Teams see better results if the people on them are getting better every day. The way this happens is by leaders in a constant state of learning. Karl Popper famously said, “true ignorance is not the absence of knowledge but the refusal to acquire it.” In today’s modern internet, information is more readily available than at any time in history.   

That presentation of information is accompanied by the opportunity to comprehend it. Sometimes we can comprehend the information on our own, and other times we need a teacher, instructor, or expert to help us. Part of your job as a leader is to coach your team to deeper levels of understanding and wisdom.  

Instead of just hoping your people grow and develop, ensure you don’t leave them on an island on their own. Instead, invest in their development and coach them for growth daily.  

Honesty and Integrity

Last but certainly not least, is the mack daddy of them all. Being honest and leading with integrity has become the exception instead of the rule, and that’s beyond sad.

Being honest and leading with integrity has become the exception instead of the rule, and that’s beyond sad.

No one sets out to lie or consistently participate in acts of omission, but once it starts, it’s like an avalanche. Pretty soon, you do it so often it becomes second nature. Nothing will cause a leader to fail more than covering up the truth or lying. When the truth inevitably does come out, it will disintegrate trust, and without trust, you can’t lead.  

Closing

As someone who has failed as a leader, I can tell you first hand it wasn’t fun for me and I know it wasn’t fun for my team. The quicker you grasp the idea that “your intentions don’t make you a leader, your actions do,” the better your odds of success.

Do you agree?

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.

What Great Leaders Do To Coach and Develop Others

Conceptual image of business growth and development

Developing people is an art and a skill that’s essential in leadership. However, thousands of professionals worldwide have leadership titles but do very little to help others grow. Then there is a segment of those with a title who not only measure their success based on their short-term results, but also on their legacy of helping other people achieve their potential. 

According to Gallup, 87% of millennials say professional growth and development opportunities are a top priority. If the lasting impact of helping someone become a better version of themselves wasn’t enough, attracting and retaining employees is also a byproduct of development.

Dr. Will Sparks, the author of Actualized Leadership, told me in an episode of the Follow My Lead Podcast, “If leaders reframe their job to be around the development of their team as opposed to managing every outcome to their definition of perfection, it will have a profound impact on their success and on the lives of their people.”

If there is one thing I’ve learned from people like Dr. Sparks and studying great leaders throughout my career, it’s that people’s development is always high on their priority list. They are constantly looking for opportunities to teach, coach, mold, and shape the people they get the chance to lead.  

Great leaders are constantly coaching and developing the people put in their path.

The Part of Development Not Talked About Enough

There are very few secrets when it comes to leadership. However, one thing isn’t talked about enough when it comes to development that seemingly only the best leaders grasp. 

Personal development is a choice each one of us makes, and under no circumstance can a leader make that choice for someone else. Sure, they can host a workshop or invest in a training program, but they can’t claim someone else’s development outcome. 

Great leaders know they can’t claim the outcome for someone else.

Easy to write, difficult in practice because if you care about people and their development, you want nothing more than for them to be successful. 

Since you have gotten this far, I will assume you want to get better at developing talent. Here are three ways you can help grow your people right now:

1. Coach Them Daily

One of the ways a leader separates themselves from being a manager is by coaching their people daily. A coach, by definition, is one who trains and instructs. Coaching comes from the word “carriage,” meaning to take someone from point A to point B. The late great John Whitmore took the formal definition even further, saying:

“Coaching is unlocking people’s potential and helping them learn rather than teaching them.”https://www.linkedin.com/embed/feed/update/urn:li:ugcPost:6743214540462284800?compact=1

If you are going to help your people develop, you must play the role of coach. While outside professional or executive coaches can help provide tremendous perspective, they can’t coach daily. If you lead a team, it’s your responsibility to make coaching your people a priority daily. The reason is simple:

Coaching unlocks potential and elevates performance. 

I have written before about coaching strategies for people at different levels of development, but know listening and asking great questions is at the center of modern coaching. 

2. Always Look for Things Causing Interference

There have been many seminal thinkers and significant books that advanced the world of coaching and development. One of those is Tim Gallwey and his book, The Inner Game of Tennis. According to Gallwey, our greatness already exists inside of us. We reach our full potential by subtraction of the interferences that degrade our inherent brilliance. He positioned a powerful equation: 

Performance = Potential – Interference 

A fantastic way to develop your people is to look for things causing continuous interference. Sometimes this might be an internal process or procedure, or other times it might be a mental belief holding them back. Either way, part of your job is to listen for interference or observe where it might be coming from and work to remove it. 

3. Challenge Them With Opportunities

If you settle for the same output or effort people give on a day in, day out basis, there won’t be a lot of growth happening. You must challenge people because when you challenge others to raise their game, you show them you see more in them than they see in themselves. 

Challenging people is crucial because it’s human nature to only stretch ourselves to the point where we feel discomfort. Often it takes someone challenging us to go further or reach higher for it to become a reality.

Here is the key; having a solid relationship and a strong bond of mutual trust is critical for you to challenge others to get a positive response. If and when this foundation is in place, I want you to remember these four words.

Go before you are ready

Part of your responsibility as a leader is to provide your team with opportunities to go before they are ready. If you are growing and developing your people, you should be having them doing things before they are ready.  

Closing

Something fascinating happens when you develop others. Not only will talented people meet their full potential, but you will attract like-minded and equally talented people who want to be a part of your team or organization.  

As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, “Your leadership is temporary, your impact is lasting.” Whether your development efforts others show up on the short term results or not, know you are making a lasting impact on people. 

Coaching for Excellence Workshop: The development of your coaching skills and relying on a coaching framework will make a tremendous difference in helping your coach and develop others. Join John on January 20th for the next live Coaching for Excellence Workshop from 12-1 PM EST. Sign up today and get the 2021 Leadership Plan for free today!

Take the Free Leadership Style Quiz? Join over 50k leaders and discover your current leadership style for free.

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 Leaders Develop Better Employees

Employees stand in a row at the briefing

No one makes it alone. In business, in life, in reaching personal or professional growth, our journeys are filled with other people. Their influence, wisdom, and coaching can drive us towards accomplishing our goals. While the impact of anyone’s encouragement can propel you towards success, there is one person whose support makes a professional impact, unlike any other: Leader support.

Those professionals whose current or previous bosses have gone above and beyond to support their people’s growth and development have an enormous advantage over those who have not. In our preliminary research, employees who have a leader who prioritizes and supports their development get promoted 18% more often than those who do not. 

 Why Don’t Some Leaders Make Growth and Development a Priority?

Tom Peters famously said, “Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders.” Many managers and bosses have read, seen, or even agreed with his quote; but, their people aren’t developing beyond their role or the skills required to do the job. There are three reasons for this:

  1. Bandwidth Availability – There are only 24 hours in a day, and many leaders have so many responsibilities that their bandwidth runs out.
  2. Scarcity Thinking – Instead of having an abundance mindset around talent and people, some leaders have scarce thinking. They hold people back for fear of losing them. 
  3. Ego Driven – Unfortunately, some managers and executives think of themselves first. They use people as cogs in their wheel, stepping stones to get where they are trying to go.  

When leaders believe something is important, they prioritize, when it’s not, they rationalize. – John Eades

Personal and Skill Development Changes Lives

For the first 25 years of my life, I didn’t take my development seriously. I did enough to maintain an acceptable GPA and received the obligatory high school and college degrees, but my own personal development was never a priority. Everything changed when I went to work for a sales performance improvement company (now Richardson Sales Performance), and I reported to a VP of Sales that obsessed over employee development. The combination of seeing how great professional education could be immediately applied and having a boss that made reading mandatory changed my life. 

At first, I thought that my experience of growth under a dedicated leader was personal and unique. But after teaching, speaking, coaching, and watching others, I realized that it was universal. Growth under supportive leadership can and is experienced by everyone who embraces personal development because they start thinking like this:

Instead of thinking small, they think big

Instead of making excuses, they make results.

Instead of rejecting coaching, they embrace coaching.

Instead of believing success is for others, they believe it’s for them.

Instead of having bad habits, they form good ones.

Instead of being pessimistic, they become optimistic. 

Instead of struggling in their career, they thrive in it.

Last week, Brendan Burchard hosted a virtual influencer summit. In it, he shared a two-word lesson that should be a mantra for all leaders. He said, “Change Lives.” If every leader had the mindset of “changing lives” and asking themselves at the end of every day, “did I change someone’s life today?” we would be in a better place. 

How to Support Employee Growth and Development

You lead a team, and you wonder if you are doing enough to help support employee development. Start with this fundamental principle: “your example and the support you provide matter.”  If you want to improve how you support your employee’s growth and development, give some of these a try.

1. Ask Them Their Dreams and Ambitions

The best way to support team members’ development is to know where they want to go. Their dreams and aspirations might not be the same as yours; focus on helping them get where they are trying to go versus where you want them to go.  

The book Dream Manager by Matthew Kelly introduced a simple idea: the key to motivation for employees was not necessarily the promise of a bigger paycheck or a title, but rather the fulfillment of a personal dream. Many companies, like Lipper Components, have adopted programs to help educate, equip, and empower employees to live more intentional and engaged lives through personal coaching and connection.  

Since dreams and ambitions change as time progresses, make sure at least once a year you ask the question, “Is there a professional goal either inside or outside the organization you aspire to reach or grow into?”

2. Encourage Them to Do Things Where Failure is Likely

As I wrote in Building the Best, “Encouragement is rocket fuel for confidence, and confidence fuels perseverance during adverse times.” Achieving or completing anything that someone hasn’t previously accomplished requires courage, risk-taking, and behavior change. Part of a leader’s job is to be an encouraging voice in people’s heads, so they try things where failure is likely.  

Failure is not final, failure is feedback. 

Use words like: 

“You will,” “You can,” and “Don’t quit; you are on the cusp of making it.”

While these might sound corny, they are essential words to hear from someone else, especially your boss. 

3. Have Them Teach or Present to Others

Waiting too long to give an employee more free rein can result in them feeling bored or losing faith in their abilities. If we ask them to make too many decisions too early, we may increase the risk of failure and dampen their sense of competence. To help you gauge each employees’ readiness, I shared four distinct stages of development on a recent episode of “The Modern Manager” with Mamie Kanfer Stewart.

  1. Model. The best leaders first model how to do the expected behavior or task. If you don’t know how to demonstrate the skill, find someone to teach it who does.
  2. Observe. Have your employee demonstrate the skill, task, or behavior for you while you observe them. Don’t be scared to embrace “the uncomfortable pause.” Instead of offering advice or solving the problem, first, ask your employees questions when they are stuck. Then give them the space to come up with their own solutions.
  3. Report Back. Give your employee encouragement to go do it on their own and report back how it went.
  4. Teach. When your employee can teach or present to others, they have fully integrated the instructions and mastered the skill.

Closing

Supporting your employee’s development by asking about their dreams, encouraging them to do tough things, and having them teach what they have learned to others isn’t easy. It requires you to think of yourself as a coach and have endless patience. Often the effort put into personal development doesn’t yield immediate results.  

This means most managers and bosses ignore this massive responsibility because they think it’s less important than other things they do. Instead of embracing this mindset, relish the opportunity to support your people and change their lives.

Become a Member of the Ultimate Leadership Academy. Now is the time to lead your best. Starting today through Black Friday you can become a member of the Ultimate Leadership Academy for $99, 50% off! A few of the latest exclusive leadership lessons include:

  • Goal Setting for Teams
  • Be a Great Active Listener
  • How to Inspire Others with Storytelling
  • Improve Your Emotional Intelligence
  • How to Improve Your Presentations and Speeches
  • How to Lead with Purpose

Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity, join 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 Being Excited About Your Work Will Accelerate Your Success

Excited businessman

“People want to see other people be excited about something.”

In season 26 episode 5, Tamsen Webster joins the show.  She is a speaker, coach, and power communicator. 


Listen on iTunes


Excitement Matters

Being excited about your work is underrated. Most people go about their workday, checking the proverbial box. This is precisely why those professionals who are excited about the work they do or the content they present stand out from those who aren’t.

The word excitement is defined by Webster’s as; having, showing, or characterized by a heightened state of energy, enthusiasm, eagerness.

Having more energy than the average professional is a real competitive advantage. Tamsen Webster knows a thing or two about competitive advantages. As a speaker and coach, she is continually looking for even the smallest slivers of competitive advantages to help her own business and her clients. She gave a masterclass on the importance of excitement on the Follow My Lead Podcast.

Great Quotes about Excitement

“No one will ever be as excited about your content as you are”

Tamsen Webster

“People want to see other people be excited about something.”

Tamsen Webster

Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

“You don’t get to choose people’s interpretation of you, all you get to choose is the experiences you offer to them.”

Tamsen Webster

How to Get Excited

Clearly being excited about your work matters. However, most people struggle to get excited about anything but their favorite sports team or a beloved hobby. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are a few strategies to help you get excited at work.

  1. Find Something Small In Your Job to Get Excited About – Instead of trying to get excited about every single part of your job, look smaller. Start by looking at something you get the opportunity to do that you like and want to do more of. For some people, this might make up 10% of their job, and for others, it could make up 90%. Regardless of where you fall, the key is to find one thing and find ways to develop your skills in that area so you can do more of it.
  2. Take a Part of Your Job and Make it Your Own – One of the secret strategies of being excited about something is taking something given to you and making it your own. As Tamsen Webster said, “Find what is interesting to you and make it your own.” A coaching client of mine is in sales. He didn’t like prospecting, but instead of complaining about it, he customized his call and email scripts and made a game out so he could get excited about it every day.
  3. Use Your Own Excitement Meter – Some people wake up excited about everything. But if I have learned anything in my work with leaders, it’s to compare yourself to the best version of you and not anyone else. As C.S. Lewis said, “comparison is the thief of joy.” Your excitement might not reach the levels of someone else’s, but it doesn’t mean it’s not essential for you to be successful.

You can learn more about Tamsen Webster and subscribe to her Red Thread Newsletter Here.

About the Author: John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company making virtual training easy and effective. 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 and host of the “Follow My Lead” Podcast, a show that transfers stories and best practices from today’s leaders to the leaders of tomorrow. You follow him on Instagram @johngeades.

Why Your Company Needs a Leadership Development Academy

Business markets operate in cycles. The Stock Market moves up and down. The housing market favors buyers or sellers depending on the month. The talent market is no different. At times, you may find it to be an employer’s market while at others it quickly shifts to an employee’s.

According to the Trading Economics, an online data platform, the U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 3.7 percent in September of 2018. That is a noticeable decrease from the previous 3.9 percent over the preceding two months. What a far cry from the 2009 Recession as unemployment rose to 9.6 percent.

While having a low unemployment rate is a wonderful thing, it greatly decreases the pool of talent for employers. It has become difficult for businesses to snag top talent as there are so few qualified candidates and even more who lack modern skills for success.

Because of the current market trend in unemployment, developing current talent is exponentially more important than ever before. Companies must invest in their employees if they want to have a fighting chance of retaining them.

Kyle Porter, CEO of SalesLoft, a leading sales engagement platform, recently penned a viral LinkedIn post detailing this responsibility. The inspiration came after Porter lost one of his top performers to a competitor.

Porter’s realization is authentic, and most importantly, correct. When employers had a leg up on the talent market trends, the paycheck was enough to draw in potential employees. That could not be further from the truth at present. Recruiters, HR professionals and even CEO’s are simply being forced to poach talent from other organizations due to the increasingly dry unemployment pool.

What Companies Can Do?

In the financial markets, the very best investors find unique and creative ways to play offense. They aim to make the maximum amount of return or alternatively, lose less than the average. Applying this approach directly to recruiting can be a boost for any company.

The best leaders have found a way to play offense in a seemingly defensive market. Jason Lippert, CEO of Lippert Components, is a top-notch example. His components manufacturing company had a turnover rate hovering around 130 percent and a shrinking list of potential job candidates.  Lippert chose to address the traditional industry-wide manufacturing problems differently and aggressively hone the leadership skills of his employees at every level and proactively deliver the company culture.

Over a four year period, the Lippert Component team created a leadership academy to train people from the front lines up to the C-Suite. The principles of servant leadership and a proactive culture were engrained in the hearts and minds of the team members and the results followed. Turnover dropped to 30 percent, well below the industry average and job candidates filled out applications at a pace they had never seen.

Your company doesn’t have to be the size or have the budget of Lippert Components to have a leadership development academy. What you need are business leaders who value the development of people and understand success isn’t sustainable without great leadership at all levels. If you are up for making the leap ensure your leadership academy includes these three things:

  1. 360° Assessments – There is nothing worse than business leaders thinking they are leading well, only to find out from their people how wrong they are. Use employee feedback to improve the self-awareness of your leaders.
  2. Modern Content – Many of the foundational principles of leadership in today’s workplace remain the same as decades prior, but also many have changed. Ensure your content is up to date with the challenges facing today’s leaders as well as the way in which the content is delivered.
  3. Continuous Learning– Much of the real true development of leadership skills take place on the job. Provide opportunities for reinforcement and coaching to ensure what is learned in training can be applied.

Regardless of the ebbs and flows of the future talent market, the mentality of potential employees will remain the same. The new normal is a belief that it is the responsibility of an employer to develop their skills in the long-term.

A version of this article originally appeared on Inc.com.

7 Best Practices for Developing Leaders In Your Organization Download the Free Whitepaper to learn more.

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About the Author John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company which exists to turn managers into leaders and create healthier places to work. John was named one of LinkedIn’s 2017 Top Voices in Management & Workplace and was awarded the 2017 Readership Award by Training Industry.com. John is also the host of the “Follow My Lead” Podcast, a show that transfers stories and best practices from today’s leaders to the leaders of tomorrow. He is also the author of the upcoming book “Building the Best.” You follow him on instagram @johngeades.

4 Simple Steps to Be a Better Manager

The vast majority of professionals get promoted into management roles without any prior experience or training on how to effectively lead other people. This kind of approach would be fine if the job was putting mail in mailboxes, but managing other people has massive effects on peoples’ lives.

The obvious effect on people is their ability to get a paycheck and make a living.  The less obvious effects are work satisfaction, engagement, and overall happiness.  Clearly being a better manager is important.

Here are 4 simple steps to be a better manager:

Lead Yourself First

Focus on Relationships

Communicate a Vision

Focus on a Healthy Culture

Speaking Opportunities Book John to Speak at Your Next Leadership Event:  John has set aside 20 speaking opportunities in 2018 and only a few days remain.  Learn more here.

Welder Leader for Organizations Want to decrease voluntary turnover, improve employee engagement and help the managers in your organization become more self-aware and effective leaders? Find out more here.

About the Author John Eades is one of LinkedIn’s 2017 Top Voices in Management & Workplace. He is the CEO of LearnLoft, host of the Follow My Lead Podcast and author of F.M.L. Standing Out & Being a Leader.

You can follow him on LinkedIn and Instagram.

Are Leaders Born or Made?

Are leaders born or made?  It’s a question anyone who has or wants to have a leadership position has asked themselves.  Turns out the answer is quite simple:

So the next time you think about if you are good enough to be a leader, think back to this video and know this world and your company needs you.

About the Author John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft and host of the Follow My Lead Podcast. He is also the author of F.M.L. Standing Out & Being a Leader, and is passionate about the development of modern professionals. You can find him on instagram @johngeades. He has set aside 20 speaking opportunities in 2018 and there are only a few spots remaining, learn more here