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

What’s the Difference Between a Manager and a Leader?

One of the most popular questions I get all the time is, “whats the difference between a manager and a leader?”  While there are many differences I think comes down to one simple word…

IMPACT

It all comes down to making a positive impact on the lives of other people.  While being an effective manager isn’t easy it’s even harder to be an effective leader.

In order to do this, you have to have a mindset to serve and empower other people.

The Welder Leader Program Take your leadership game to the next level by signing up the Welder Leader 180° or 360° Programs by clicking here.

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. Follow him on Instagram @johngeades.

One Thing Every Professional MUST Bring to Work

A lot of people are talented, but something separates the successful ones from the others. Take for example a contractor named Lucas.

Lucas worked for several years in a company specialized in building houses. After a few years in the organization, he came to the realization he wasn’t growing at the rate he desired.  He approached the owner and expressed his desire to grow, make more money and to take more responsibility.

While the owner seemed receptive to the idea, the next year provided promotional opportunities yet, he was not selected. The owner explained that he was not ready for some of them and that took a toll on him. Lucas didn’t cope well with the setback. At some point, disappointed, Lucas decided to leave the company and explore new pastures.

Lucas then approached the owner and resigned. The owner asked him to think better and reconsider his decision, but Lucas was determined to leave.

The owner then expressed how much he appreciated the work Lucas did and how important he was for his business. Also, mentioned the high standards of his work and the top-quality houses he delivered. After a long dialogue, the owner asked Lucas to build one last house. Lucas rejected and said he was not willing to.  The owner insisted in the name of their long relationship.

Lucas finally accepted but didn’t keep the high standards he used to apply. He built the house using low-quality material, left doors and windows with gaps, and put on the roof poorly. But because it was the last house he was going to build for the man, Lucas declared the house done and his part of the agreement delivered.

On his last day, he met the owner to deliver the key of the house. The owner then asked ‘So you finished the house?’Lucas answered ‘Yes, I sure did!’ and gave the keys to the owner.

The owner then said you don’t need to give me the keys, these keys are yours. This is your house and my gift to you.’

So, what happened here?

We should never compromise quality and good standards of what / how we do our work irrespective of the situation we are in. Regardless if our outlook is bright and promising or cloudy and uncertain, we remain committed to delivering outstanding results till the end.

We sometimes hear people saying ‘I would do more if… I earned more, I got a promotion etc’. Whereas commitment to do and deliver more should come first, then stand out the crowd and as result deserve and get more in return.

As Margaret Mead said, ‘never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.’

Here are few characteristics of committed people:

Come Together for a Cause

Committed people come together for a cause even if they have nothing to do among themselves in terms of culture, background, language etc. They align on a common goal and find a way to deliver outstanding results.

Do the Work

Committed people do the work others don’t want to do. They get involved and do the extra mile. In that process, good opportunities surface for them.

Align to the Business Strategy

Committed people are constantly asking how they can support management in succeeding on the overall business strategy.

Back to Lucas, building the last house was a hidden opportunity for him. How committed are you building your ‘house’ and do you see these characteristics in your own actions?

About the Author Domingos dos Reis Silver Junior has over 20 years in the shipping industry and now shares his experience and expertise in writing.  He is passionate about improving the leadership skills of others.  You can learn more about him here.

The Real Reason People Leave Their Manager

At the end of the meeting, my soon to be ex-colleague sat across the table from me and said something I will never forget “I didn’t know what my job was, why I was doing it and how I was doing.” It was those words that summarized almost exactly why the cliche “People leave managers, not companies” is true. Reality had set in, she was leaving me, not the business.

As hard as that was to deal with, the only way I knew how to handle it was to never let it happen again and start doing things differently from a leadership perspective. Fast forward 5 years and its become my purpose to not only improve my own leadership skills, but help others as well.

Just this week, I had Patrick Lencioni (author of 5 Dysfunctions of a Team) on the Follow My Lead Podcast and asked him, “Why do people leave their manager” and his answer was simple, yet profound.

“If people don’t get what they need from their manager they can’t possibly like their job and are eventually going to leave. At the end of the day, people need 3 things from their manager:

  1. To Be Known – Employees need to know their manager cares about them and is interested in their life
  2. Why Their Job Matters – People can’t stand to be irrelevant, so managers have to help people understand why their job matters to the overall objectives of the team and money can’t be it.
  3. Whether or Not They are Succeeding in Their Role – Every employee needs to know tangible and or observable ways to assess whether they are being successful”

It was if he had purposefully aligned his answer to what I had failed to do 5 years earlier with my team and former employee. So the next natural question is, what can all leaders do to ensure these three needs of their people are met?

The Team Member Conversation

It doesn’t matter if you are a 20 year leadership veteran or you are a brand new manager, you should burn the following these words from Lencioni into your head and say this to any and every team member.

“I want to know all about you and take an interest in you, because I care, I want you to know why your job matters, and I want to give you a way to measure how it matters”

At the end of the day if your people feel anonymous, irrelevant and unmeasured you stand roughly no chance as a leader. Once these kind of servant leadership conversations start happening with your people, you can turn your attention to the behaviors, actions and habits to ensure you execute on them. Because we all know actions speak louder than words.

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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.

How to Escalate Quickly In Your Career and Be a Leader

I knew immediately something was wrong. Her shoulders slumped a little, she was walking slower than normal and as I looked into her eyes you could start to see tears beginning to form. I quickly pulled her aside and asked, “Can you tell me what’s going on?” Before she could even get out a word, the tears began to stream and her head dropped. As I gave her a hug, I sensed relief as she let it all go. After a couple minutes she composed herself and opened up about the situation. “I just don’t know what to do, I feel unappreciated, I don’t feel challenged here at work, the team members who are more senior than me treat me poorly. I know in my heart I am capable of doing so much to help this team be successful, but nothing I have done up until this point mattered. I just don’t know if what I am doing is right, but I love this company and I want to help more.”

Before I responded I chose my words carefully since she wasn’t on my team. “You are such a talented professional who has so much to give not only to this company but to the community. Just a year into my own professional journey I was sitting at a conference table surrounded by 5 people and not more than 30 minutes into the meeting I was in uncontrollable tears. It was one of the most embarrassing days of my career to date. So let’s start by saying you are already way ahead of me by pulling it together and crying just between us and not in front of 5 high level executives. Next, you’re still alive, you weren’t fired, and you will learn a lot from this. Look at this moment as a positive.

Your professional career is a journey, think of the long game — what doesn’t kill you, will only make you stronger.”

She looked up at me and she cracked a smile. I continued, “Everything you experienced and will experience at this company can and will make you a better professional throughout your career, but only if you want it to. If you can keep a positive mindset, you will always be growing and helping your career’s long game. Your career is a long-term investment, not day trading. Most people who believe in overnight successes are foolish. If you show me someone who has achieved great things today, I could easily show you they were working for 5-10 years before they ever were recognized.”

Her response was perfect, “Thank you, that’s exactly what I needed to hear.”

I finished by saying, “There is an important concept and framework that helped me progress faster in my career and be better prepared to be a leader worth following. Would you like to know what it is?

“Absolutely! Is it that F.M.L. thing you’ve mentioned before? I hope it doesn’t mean what I think.”

“It sure is… and no, it doesn’t mean what you think.”

F.M.L. Framework

What I described to her that evening is what I am going to share with you now. F.M.L. is a framework you can use that includes a collection of best practices and ideas that follow a natural progression. Unfortunately, professional progress and leadership aren’t destinations you can pinpoint on a map. There aren’t step-by-step or turn-by-turn directions to ensure you are in a leadership position at a certain date. But having these fundamental concepts in place will help you stand out and move up. If you use this framework and the elements within it, you will create your own unique path to leadership and be better prepared to effectively lead others.

The best part is, the framework is simple to remember. It’s “F-M-L”! No, it’s probably not the first thing that came to your mind… but I bet you’ll remember it now. F.M.L. stands for “Follow My Lead” and here’s what the framework stands for:

  • F – Follow First
  • M – My Development
  • L – Lead by Example

Follow. Follow First 

Most people think of a follower as someone who is weak or unable to lead. Quite the opposite is true. In order for you to be a great leader, it starts with first being an active follower. The key word there is active. Active followers understand this stage of their professional journey is about learning, gaining experience, and ultimately turning these two things into expertise. I don’t know one person who has become a great leader without first being an active follower.

My. My Development

A focus on your personal growth will help you become the best possible professional and person you can be. Once you take ownership of your own development, you will have the opportunity to truly turn the corner and perform at levels you can’t even imagine. Being tuned-into your development is critical to aligning yourself with people and activities that will enhance your professional progress and potential impact.

Lead. Lead By Example 

The choices you make every single day will be watched and judged by others whether you like it or not. This means you have the ability to earn credibility and build trust through your actions. At the end of the day, you have to earn the right to lead and you can do this through leading by example. People will create a perception of you based on how you lead by example and it will have an enormous impact on your ability to create traction and momentum in your professional progress. Most people believe they don’t have control over the perception others have of them. While it’s true you can’t control someone else’s brain, you have much more control over people’s perception of you than you probably believe.

As a by-product of implementing the F.M.L. framework, you will also improve your personal and professional life. So I am putting the ball in your court and challenging you to put it into action.

This was taken as an excerpt from the brand new book F.M.L. Standing Out & Being a Leaderwhich outlines a simple three step framework to elevate your career the right way.

Run the Program In Your Organization – Our Getting Leadership Ready Program is designed for help modern professionals stand out and become a leader.  The program can be deployed online or in person.  Contact Us to find out more, sales@learnloft.com.

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About the Author John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft and host of the Follow My Lead Podcast, the latest show from season 7 episode 4: How to Live a Radically Inspired Life with John O’LearyHe 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 or learn What Effective Leaders Do Differently on YouTube.

Top 10 Team Achievements in 2016

As I reflected on the words I was going to say to the LearnLoft team at this year’s Christmas party, I took a moment to reflect on what this small team had accomplished in 2016 in support of our purpose as a business.  In case you don’t know our purpose as a business is to:

“Teach Modern Professionals Add Value to Their Organization and the World”

It filled me with gratitude thinking about the effort and energy every team member put in over the past 365 days. Now I share these statistics not to brag, but to get you thinking about what your team has achieved towards your organization or team’s purpose.

teamachievements2016

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your attention and if you or your organization played a part in helping our team with these achievements.  Without you none of this is possible.

Share your team achievement below and regardless if you share them here please do your team a favor and share it with them. #teamachievements2016 #leadership

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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.

Why Sales Leadership is So Hard

Sales is a tough career. From the moment you start, you’re judged on the numbers. There is no where to hide.

When you start out in sales, you’ve got to learn how to do it quickly or you’ll be looking for another career. Sales is ‘sink or swim’ and your numbers indicate whether your head is above or below the water.

On the flip-side, the rewards can be significant.

Senior Sales Executives tend to have Swiss watches and German cars. This is deliberate. There is an element of ‘work hard now, and you will reap the rewards later’ that organizations’ seek to reinforce.

This type of reinforcement works well.  ‘Work hard now and you it will pay off in the long-term’ appeals to resilient people – which is a key sales characteristic.

But what are the unintended consequences of creating this type of environment? What are the long-term impacts of creating this culture and what are the risks that we need to be aware of?

What gets measured gets done.

If a person is developed  in an environment where there is a focus on the numbers, the numbers will always be their primary concern. They will probably get good at managing them because they will realize that their daily tasks have an impact on those numbers. This type of behavior tends to create people who are focused on what they need to get done. They don’t tend to work collaboratively because collaboration slows them down.

But by this stage, they’re great salesmen, and they now rely on the bonus that they earn every month. So despite being in charge of a team, they will still be measured by a number.

This creates a problem because there is now a split in focus.

When the ‘going gets tough’ and the team are not hitting their targets, often the leader of the sales team will focus on what he understands and work hard to make up the shortfall. Often, this approach works although it comes at a cost to the leader in the form of stress.

But it doesn’t solve the problem. The problem will come back when the team has a difficult month.

The problem is that the sales team is under performing – and the leader doesn’t know how to solve it.  Selling and leading are two different skills. There is an assumption that just because you can do one, you can do the other.

In the Royal Marines, we were all taught to shoot. But the snipers weren’t always promoted to leadership roles. The reason for this is that just because you’re a good shot, doesn’t make you a great leader. In the same way – just because you can sell,  doesn’t mean you can lead.

Leadership is about ‘doing the doing’ but through other people. The conductor of the orchestra doesn’t play an instrument, he coordinates the team. In the same way, the best way to lead a Troop attack is to put your rifle away and coordinate the men. The impact you have is far greater when you coordinate and lead the team as opposed to trying to ‘do it all yourself’.

Sales Leadership is hard because salesmen have to go through this learning curve. They have stop doing what they have always done and learn how to influence and lead others to perform.This is easy to say but have you ever tried to learn a new and unfamiliar skill without being taught?

Imagine expecting one of your children to be able to ride a bike just because you gave them one.

Motivational talks, incentives, bonus structures are all a complete waste of time if the person hasn’t been taught the skill.

This is why Sales Leadership is so difficult. Sales leaders get promoted because they can sell. They get rewarded for doing the doing. But leadership is about doing less and leading by getting other people to perform – and few sales leaders get taught how to do that.

Roderic Yapp is the CEO of Leadership Forces, a partner of LearnLoft in England and brain child of High Performance Leadership.  The program can be deployed online or in-person.

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What Charlotte Needed Was Leadership

I am a 33 year old white male that has grown up all my life not worried about oppression.  I am not going to pretend to understand or act like I know what many in the black community feel. Having said that, I truly believe, what Charlotte has is a leadership problem.

It’s time for leaders to act from the the front lines.  During the first few nights of riots in downtown Charlotte, Public defender Toussaint Romain did just that. He parked himself right in the middle of a wall of policemen and an amorphous crowd of demonstrators. Unfortunately he was one of the few leaders on the Charlotte streets those nights.  Many other city leaders had taken that time to talk to media outlets like CNN and Fox News seemly focused on publicity. There certainly are times for such publicity but it seemed ill timed.  The only way this attention on Charlotte ends up being any good is if this creates a better environment than before and results in the creation of more leaders, not less.

Why it was a Leadership Problem:

The best definition of leadership comes from the second President of the United States, John Adams:  “If your ACTIONS inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more you are a leader.” I highlight the word actions, because during times like this it’s the RIGHT actions that create the change needed.

Unfortunately it’s inaction of leadership that’s failed to create an environment that sets people up for success. They’ve created a community of people, both black and white, who feel completely helpless, with no ability to change their situation. No one chooses the environment in which they are born into, or the color of their skin, but it’s our parents, political systems, churches, and companies who must pick up the slack and create environments that provide education, opportunity, and empowerment regardless of neighborhood or color.

I wish there was a magic formula or way to create a perfect environment, but there isn’t. I wish there was an easy way for people on both sides of the isle to come together and solve these issues immediately, but there isn’t.  The only way towards improvement is for every single person involved to lead with action, stand up the in the face of fear, and be courageous.  We need every person regardless if they are the Governor, Mayor, or Police Chief to be more like Toussaint Romain that understand the leadership formula I picked up from Tim Knight, E + R = O.

Event + Response = Outcome.

Every single person, community, and country will have events happen that are beyond their control.  What they do have control over is their response to those events which will ultimately affect the outcome.  It’s time that people from top to bottom become true leaders, and think hard about their response to events so they can create a better outcome for all.

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.

Weekly Leadership Newsletter – Sign up for LearnLoft’s free weekly leadership newsletter here.

Why Modern Leadership is So Hard

In many ways the current beliefs and thinking around leadership seem amazing compared to the leadership beliefs of prior generations.

No longer does it feel like leaders have to rule with an iron fist, not care about the people being lead, or are afraid to show vulnerability in front of those people.

Instead it is encouraged to be a servant leader, to be committed to the development of people, and to try and create more leaders, not more followers.

In spite of all of this, being a leader today can feel almost impossible because it seems like you are being pulled in two widely different directions. On one hand, many executives in the c-suite expect immediate results and have the mindset of profit over people because they have shareholders and quarterly earning expectations to make. So their first line leadership team must get results and make an impact quickly or they are deemed a failure. On the other hand, you have to play the long game; with your primary focus being the people you lead. Not to mention you must cater to the range of different generations and display the leadership styles that each individual on the team needs to perform their best. It puts modern professional leaders in a difficult situation and it’s hard to know which is the right path to follow.

Lead How You Authentically Lead or Lead How You are Being Told to Lead

A recent survey showed that there are roughly 2 Million new employees promoted into leadership roles in organizations every year.  Consequently, 60% of them fail. Meaning 1.2M people fail at leadership every year. It’s astounding to think about and the effects are enormous:

  • Loss of confidence
  • Lack of work fulfillment
  • Eroding workplace culture

The list could go on and on, so here are some things you can do to avoid becoming a statistic in the failure column:

Learn From Others, But Be Authentic

Just this week, I interviewed SAP CEO, Bill McDermott on the Follow My Lead Podcast and he said something interesting. “At the end of the day leaders have to be authentic and the only way to do that is to learn from other great leaders and make those lessons your own.”  Regardless of what the leader above you is telling you about hitting numbers, making cuts, or giving up on a person early in their journey, you have to do it your way. Make bets on people that you believe will create long term growth, success, and improve your culture.

Invest in Your Development

Don’t wait for the next corporate leadership training initiative or pass another bookstore without picking up a leadership book. Professionals are in the golden age of education.  Every day we create as much information 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.  Yes, I said A MINUTE.  Online programs, MOOCS, books, podcasts; the amount of valuable content is literally limitless. If you are reading this you are on your way but don’t stop at reading a blog while you are at work.  You get to decide whether to waste time watching a mindless TV show when you get home or invest in your development.  As Tony Robbins famously said, “There are only two options: make progress or make excuses.”

Get Really Good at Thinking of Others

When you look at a picture on Facebook or Instagram, who is the first person you see?  Nearly 100% of the time it’s yourself.  We are hardwired to think of ourselves and our own self interest first, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. You can train yourself to think of others first and put your own self interests to the side.  I don’t pretend this is easy, but in order effectively lead, you absolutely have to think about your team first and yourself second.

You will never be a perfect leader because leadership isn’t a destination, it’s a journey.  You will fail more than you succeed, but what’s most important is you understand that being a modern leader is hard.  Through work, self discipline, and authenticity, you will provide yourself the best opportunity to be successful.

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3 Powerful Reasons to Provide Customer Education

I was nervous when I got home from work and saw the envelope lying on the counter. It was clearly a bill from the hospital where my daughter was delivered.

With a sense of dread, I opened the letter. My suspicions were quickly confirmed – the delivery and hospital stay was astronomical. Although they did ensure my wife and baby were healthy, I still felt like they owed me something more, especially considering the size of this bill… Did I mention it was astronomical?

6 weeks later as our daughter broke out with a rash. That’s when it clicked. The hospital did everything to take care of us while we were there, but that was where their service stopped. What I needed was continuing education. This hospital system had delivered hundreds of thousands of babies, seen hundreds of thousands of rashes, and they had the expertise and experience that could help us long after we had left that hospital.

But why weren’t they? And why aren’t other companies providing education online to their clients on an ongoing basis? Here are 3 ways providing online education to customers can positively impact a business’s success:

Engagement. Regardless of industry or product offering businesses miss the opportunity to engage with their clients every single day. Customer Engagement by itself takes on many different meanings but at its core it’s about having an ongoing relationship or dialogue to improve a business’s relationship with their customers.

Differentiation. In this “copy cat” or “me too” world we live in today it is harder than ever to create long-term product differentiation. Businesses have to come up with creative ways to differentiate themselves over the competition. I was recently shopping for a ceiling fan. I found the model I wanted, and both Lowes and Home Depot had it at the same exact price. A great way to earn my business would have been to provide me education on how to install the exact model.

New Revenue Stream. Yes, you read that right. Organizations can provide customer education and monetize it! Every month I pay $100 bucks to the YMCA of Charlotte. What if the YMCA added online education so I could do home workouts on the days I don’t get to the gym (which happens often)? Could they charge me $5 more a month to have access to “15 minute home workout” series that one of their trainers creates everyday? Take any B2B company as an example. A service-oriented company could put their expertise or intellectual property in a series of online courses and charge their customers to access it, interact with their in-house experts, ask questions, and receive feedback.

This is just scratching the surface of the potential impact client education could have on businesses, whats sad is more organizations don’t make it a priority.