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.

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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.

How to Leverage Accountability Before Firing an Employee

Sad Bearded Businessman Fired from Work

The tough decision to let go of an employee is especially scary right now with so much uncertainty in the business world, but truth be told, it has always been intimidating. As someone who has done my fair share of firing professionals for the wrong reasons, I know all about the loss of sleep leaders experience over human capital decisions. 

The current Covid-19 pandemic has caused many organizations to reduce expenses and resulted in millions of people being laid off. While this is understandable, evidence suggests that the immediate savings from layoffs can be canceled out by the longer-term cost of lost talent and skills. Since each organization’s situation is different, a lack of revenue might leave leaders with no viable choice other than layoffs or furloughs.  

It’s the other kind of firing, I want to focus on today. Many leaders are using the pandemic to fast track a personnel decision they wanted to make for a while but couldn’t find the courage to make the move. 

An executive in a medium-sized manufacturing business, a student in the Ultimate Leadership Academy, said to me, “The pandemic has allowed me to make some personnel decisions, I should have made a long time ago.”

While being opportunistic is a quality I typically admire in leaders, it’s not something I admire when it comes to letting people go. This scenario isn’t unlike that of many other leaders who assume they embrace accountability because they aren’t afraid to fire someone. It couldn’t be further from the truth, because:

Firing someone is the lowest form of accountability.  

Leverage Correct Accountability First

Accountability is one of these words that has been hijacked. I define it in Building the Best as; the obligation of an individual or organization to account for its activities, accept responsibility for them and disclose the results in a transparent manner. It is the obligation of leaders to account for their actions and the actions of their people.  Leaders are obligated to care for all their people equally and to serve their hearts, not their talents.  

If a team member struggles with performance or hurts the culture of your team, it’s time to turn up the correct accountability. Use these steps to help:

  1. Have a candid conversation about the current situation.  If they are falling short in a particular area, have a Direct Dialogue with them which I wrote about here. Share both the standards and evidence of the current situation and do it with courage.  
  2. Encourage and coach them to improve.  Nothing good will come of your candid conversation if you don’t follow it up with encouragement and coaching to help them grow. Dedicate time, energy, and effort to help them improve before making a final decision. 

The Lowest Form Doesn’t Mean It Might Not Be Required

There will always be people who choose not to meet the standard or aren’t in the right role to be successful. No amount of conversations, encouragement, or coaching will make the difference. If someone isn’t the right fit for your team or organization, and you keep them in a position, you not only hurt them, but you hurt the team.

If you get to this point and answer “yes,” to the question, “Have I done all I can to help them be successful?” Then it’s time to move on. While the news could hurt them in the short term, show that you care for them by finding their next job in another part of the company or outside of it. 

Closing

Deciding to fire someone isn’t to be taken lightly. These decisions can change the trajectory of companies, teams, lives, and families. But you wouldn’t be in your current position if you weren’t capable of making the decision to coach them up or move on.

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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. He is currently scheduling virtual workshops and keynotes. You follow him on Instagram @johngeades.

Why the Best Leaders Invest in Their Most Important Assets

Man holding small gift boxes with his index fingers

Leaders make tough business decisions every day that vary in importance and size.  Due to the Coronavirus, many leaders are being forced into making critical decisions with less time; one of those is, where to invest in order to be better-positioned as they emerge. 

When the current economy is on shaky ground and the future is murky, the pressure is on for all leaders to choose wisely.  After studying many great leaders, one thing is abundantly clear;  

Great leaders constantly invest in their most important assets

There are two key terms in this concept; invest and asset.  When someone invests, they put time or money into something, hoping that there will be returns greater than what was originally allocated.  An asset is simply a valuable thing, person, or quality. 

This means that leaders must put their resources (time, money, or effort) towards something they value. When resources are reduced, the residual capital must be deployed with strategic calculation in order to ensure the future of any team or business. 

Great leaders keep this in mind when investing in one or all of the following assets:

Invest in People

One of the most popular sayings from C-suites across America has been, “our people are our most important asset.”  With the massive influx of technology into the workplace, most organizational leaders don’t believe this to be true anymore.  In fact, employees didn’t make the top 5 in a Korn Ferry Study

However, elite company cultures like Southwest Airlines, Chick-fil-A, and Starbucks have been beating the drum of being in the “people business” for decades with phenomenal financial returns. Regardless of where you or your organization falls on this concept, the thoughtful commitment to people is at the center of every great leader.  

A phenomenal example of this was demonstrated by Casey Crawford, CEO of Movement Mortgage when he delivered a message to his company this week.

“We don’t celebrate numbers, we celebrate the names attached to those numbers. People give the fight a reason.”

Not only is Casey and Movement Mortgage at the forefront of technology in their industry, but valuing and caring for people is at the center of why they do what they do. 

If you believe people are your greatest asset, invest in them, even when times are tough.  With many organizations being forced into furloughs, I am blown away at the commitment of companies who continue to make efforts to develop employees who aren’t currently on the payroll.  This will ensure that these employees are both better prepared when they return and that they continue to feel like part of the team.  

Invest in the Future

The best leaders have an ability to focus on the immediate, but never lose sight of the long- term. Since the only constant is change, investing in the future comes in one of two ways; acquiring it, or building it. 

The examples of leaders who acquired the future are long; Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012 for $1B when almost everyone other than Gary Vaynerchuk thought it was a terrible idea; Microsoft acquired LinkedIn in 2016 against the consensus of tech writers; and, Salesforce invested $100M in Zoom well before their IPO.

While acquiring the future is great if you have the capital, leaders who invest in building the future are the ones I love. Building knows no size or geography; it just requires a group of people obsessed with innovation, solving problems, and a commitment to make it happen.  

This can also include further investing and building out the “goose that lays the golden egg.” Many organizations have a product or service that is already outstanding. So instead of building something brand new, they invest in making their one great thing 10X better. Thus making it even more valuable or easier for their clients or employees to use.

Invest in Yourself

Learning never stops. The moment leaders stop investing in themselves is the moment teams begin to go backward. Benjamin Franklin famously said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” When it comes to investing, nothing will pay off more than educating yourself.  There is a reason why the old leadership adage “you can’t give what you don’t have yourself” is true.  

Not only will your continued investment in yourself pay off, but those you get the opportunity to lead will take note. It won’t take long for you to see them adopt your habits in their own learning journey.

A few of my favorite ways to invest in yourself  include:

  • Surrounding yourself with the right people
  • Reading or listening to content that helps you develop
  • Taking online courses or attending seminars
  • Creating content to help others (can’t share what you don’t have)

Closing

As Peter Drucker famously said, management is doing things right, leadership is doing the right things. Great leaders do the right things by investing in their most important assets so their team is better positioned to be successful.

Instead of blindly making investments during this time, evaluate what your most important assets are and then come up with a strategy to invest properly in them.

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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.

7 Things in Leadership That Require No Talent But Lead to Enormous Success

Oftentimes, we equate talent to what makes someone successful, leadership included.

When I got my first leadership role in an organization, I assumed I would be successful purely because I had natural leadership talent. But, boy, was I wrong. Not only did I fail, but I failed miserably because I tried relying on talent alone rather than strengthening my leadership skills.

The Leadership Quarterly performed a study on the skill set and human development within leadership, and the results showed that 24 percent of leadership skills are genetic and 76 percent are learned along the way. Essentially, the “natural born leader” is a bit of a myth. Instead, leadership is something that you can develop and grow through strengthening a specific set of skills.

Here are some things you can do to be a more successful leader that don’t require any special, magical talents embedded in your DNA:

1. Doing what you say you are going to do.  

It’s super irritating to a team when their leader says one thing and does another. While the position of leadership typically carries power and authority, it doesn’t give you the green light to be inconsistent.

No matter how big or small the thing is that you say you are going to do if you don’t do it erodes your credibility, builds distrust, and stifles momentum. Of course, we are all human and make mistakes. But the point is to be sure you aren’t known for being the leader who doesn’t keep their word.

Once you’ve lost trust, it’s difficult to gain it back.

2. Remembering the main mission of a leader.

Leaders have all kinds of responsibilities, but none more important than elevating others.

Fr. Mike Schmitz summarized it well on this week’s episode of the Follow My Lead podcast: “The primary mission of a leader is to raise people up around them both professionally and personally.”

3. Setting a good example.

There are many things you can’t control when it comes to leadership, and one of those is that people will look to you as an example. They are watching your every move like hawks, whether you like it or not.

It’s important you provide your team with something positive for them to emulate. Focus heavily on your actions each and every day to ensure they are worthy of being copied.

4. Having a great work ethic.

One of my favorite stories of a leader with a strong work ethic is NFL legend, Ray Lewis. He said in his recent speech Hall of Fame induction speech, “I wasn’t the biggest, the fastest, the strongest, but then I bought into something called work ethic.”

There are no shortcuts on the road to success. If you want to become a better leader, you have to do the work required to get there. Reading, practicing, and being intentional are all things a strong work ethic will take care of.

5. Giving off positive energy.

Author Mike Erwin, the founder of the Positivity Project, told me on a recent episode of the Follow My Lead podcast, “Because of the information we all live in, people are more in tune with all the challenges and negativity in the world. It has made it hard to be more optimistic in the world. So to be an optimistic leader who is relentlessly positive in the face of challenges is a true competitive advantage.”

Essentially, from the moment you walk into the office, your positive mindset is a competitive advantage.

6. Practicing intentional listening.

A great way to be a better listener is to pick one person and anytime they say something, keep eye contact and don’t interrupt them under any circumstance. It’s a powerful way to get focused on using your two ears instead of your one mouth.

7. Conducting one-on-ones.

Where most leaders drop the ball is spending one-on-one time with employees outside of a yearly performance review.

If you are in fact the busiest person on the planet and can’t carve out 10 minutes per month per person, use that thing in your pocket that has telephone capabilities. Don’t miss the opportunity in between meetings, waiting for a plane, or during your commute to call a team member on their cell phone and ask them a simple question: “How are you doing and is there anything I can do to help you?”

You don’t need to be born with any special leadership DNA to implement and practice all of these traits, and that’s the best part. If and when you do start following them, your year will be filled with a lot of success as a leader.

A Version of this article originally appeared on Inc.com

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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 the upcoming book “Elevate Others: The New Model to Successfully Lead Today.” You follow him on instagram @johngeades.

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.

The Value of Values

It’s always been important to me to have good values, and I try to show them by making good decisions, giving to others, and sharing my talents. As human beings, that’s just what we are supposed to do, right?

Well, what about businesses? Can businesses have values that that make a difference in the world and propel them to higher levels of success? I recently saw a quote that says:

“Corporations don’t have values, the people that run them do.”

The truth is, an organization’s core values aren’t based on the executives that run it. An organization’s core values are based on the collective values of all the employees that work there.

A great example of this is the NBA franchise the Detroit Pistons. For those of you who are unfamiliar with basketball history, the Pistons were the laughing stock of the NBA during the 1979-80 and 1980-81 seasons with a combined win-loss record of 37-127. In order to turn things around management knew they had to focus on values – specifically values that had a more aggressive and defense style of play. Over the next decade, the organization brought on people like coach Chuck Daly and players (Isiah Thomas, Bill Lambier, John Salley, Dennis Rodman, Joe Dumars, Rick Mahorn and Adrian Dantley) who had aggressive, hard-nosed, don’t-back-down-to-anyone attitudes. The organization eventually went on to win back-to-back NBA Championships in 1989 and 1990 and became known as the “Bad Boys”.

While I am not advocating for your business to take on the values of the “Bad Boys,” I am saying values are extremely powerful and necessary tools for any business.

Here are three reasons why company values are so important to long-term success and growth:

Acquiring the Right Talent.

Hiring for team alignment is more important than hiring based on skill. Yes, skills are important but they can also be learned and developed. Your organization’s values should be the driving force behind any hire. They will let you know if you are hiring someone who will collaborate with and add value to your team. If open communication is something that is important to you, ask interviewees specific, scenario-based questions about how they communicate.

Creating Culture.

I recently saw retired Krispy Kreme CEO, Jim Morgan speak. When Jim took over as CEO in 2008, Krispy Kreme was nearly bankrupt. The organization was already as lean as it could be, so Jim started rebuilding the culture. In order to rebuild culture, everyone in the business had to buy-in on WHY Krispy Kreme was in business. He hosted a company-wide meeting to come up with a new mission statement. That mission statement is what drives the business culture everyday. Here’s what they came up with and it’s still on their website today: “To touch and enhance lives through the joy that is Krispy Kreme.” In 2008, Krispy Kreme was trading at around $1.00 and today, it’s nearly $18.00!

Delivering Amazing Customer Experiences.

We are in the “customer era” which has elevated every business’ need for great customer experiences. Yes I said GREAT. One example of customer experience every company can relate too is customer service. Customer service is a great weapon to use against the competition. If values are a core part of an organization’s customer service model, it will be show. Customers value things like honesty, humility, and listening skills. If you can exemplify these things better than your competition, you will win the hearts of your customers.

It’s important to note, these three reasons build on each other. If the right talent is hired because of their alignment to your values, your culture will improve, and that culture will creating employees who are intrinsically motivated to create great experiences for your customers.

Having learned from my successes and failures, I implemented employee expectations and values that guide and drive our team everyday. Here they are:

Every Employee’s Expectation and Values at LearnLoft, which we termed I.C.E.  

  1. Inspire. It’s everyones job everyday to inspire our clients and each other to become the best version of themselves
  2. Be Creative. We spend a lot of hours at the office so if you are going to be away from your family and hobbies, its paramount we all are as creative as we possibly can be. Everyone has the green light to try new things and have the permission to fail with those new ideas.
  3. Educate. We are in the business of education, so everything we do is centered around education and helping others to higher levels of performance.  Having a mindset of education is paramount.

So the question you have to ask yourself is, What values guide your organization or team?

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Online Leadership Challenge. LearnLoft’s 10 Day Leadership Challenge to help modern professionals improve their leadership skills in just two weeks. It’s filled with Microlearning videos, leadership challenges, downloadable resources, social learning, and expert leadership feedback.

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.

How Beliefs Impact Company Culture

When a team’s beliefs and behaviors come into alignment the culture improves. LearnLoft has 4 key beliefs and they go by S.O.F.T.  S stands for speed, O stands for openness, F stands for fun, and T stands for Trust.

Trust is the ultimate human currency so without trust we don’t have influence and without influence leaders cannot lead.

What are your organizational  beliefs?  Let us know in the comments section.

Want to learn more about High Performance Leadership for your organization learn more 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.

Online Leadership Challenge. LearnLoft’s 10 Day Leadership Challenge to help modern professionals improve their leadership skills in just two weeks.  It’s filled with Microlearning videos, leadership challenges, downloadable resources, social learning, and expert leadership feedback. You can also sign up for their weekly leadership newsletter.

How Leaders Can Communicate Their Vision

All great leaders have an uncanny ability to see a better future and impart that vision into others. So it’s simple, a leadership vision is some sense of what the future and getting others to believe that vision is possible.  Think of Elon Musk of SpaceX, “We are going to land people on Mars by 2025.”  What an amazing vision for his people to buy into and work towards.

This is our journey on how we are working to make our vision become a reality.  Hopefully you can learn some best practices to put into place in your own teams.

 

Learn more at about ‘High Performance Leadership’ for you or your team here.

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