The Daily Challenges Leaders Must Overcome to Be Successful

challenge

As he verbalized his most significant leadership challenge, it was apparent there wasn’t a simple solution.  

“Our company looks at its leaders as player-coaches, so I am responsible for my results and the results of my team. How do I balance driving business results with taking care of my people?” He continued, “When push comes to shove, I have to work on this account worth six figures instead of training the new hire on my team who is struggling. So what do I do, let her fail, or choose the revenue?”

What this high-potential front line manager described is a macro challenge faced daily by not just him many leaders. The reality of the situation is that he didn’t have to choose one or the other. He had to commit to both. As a leader, he is responsible for the people who are responsible for the results.

“Leaders aren’t responsible for the results. Leaders are responsible for the people who are responsible for the results.” Simon Sinek

As an individual contributor to the team, his results are his responsibility. Thus making the balance of time and energy between both responsibilities a key to his success. 

This common, yet complex challenge got me thinking about the more extensive balancing acts leaders face every day. These are the three significant challenges leaders face daily:

Metrics vs. People

Recently it was reported that Salesforce cut 1,000 jobs while the stock surged after an incredible earning report. Even though a spokesperson for the company said, “We’re reallocating resources to position the company for continued growth,” it provides evidence to support the delicate balance between metrics and people. 

I have written before; there’s a substantial difference between the title of “manager” and the actions of a leader; one is vastly more important than the other in today’s business environment. However, most job responsibilities for people in positions of leadership are related to reporting metrics and sending performance reports. While there is nothing wrong with the metrics, many tasks eventually will be automated and replaced by technology.

The more leaders lean into focusing on their people and their daily habits, behaviors, and choices, the better the results will be. 

Love vs. Discipline

The best leaders today use a style of leadership, often referred to as servant leadership. Author Pat Lencioni said it well, “We shouldn’t call it servant leadership anymore; we should just call it leadership.”

While Lencioni is 100% correct, leaders also need a methodology to lead this way. In our research, we’ve studied leaders who do this well. The common thread was their ability to balance high levels of love and discipline in the way they lead.  

While some may shy away from using the word love in the workplace, I assure you it’s in no way referring to any sort of HR violation. Instead, I define love in Building the Best as “to contribute to someone’s long-term success and well being.” 

Researchers at the University of Berkley studied what motivates productivity in professionals. They found when people felt recognized for the work they did, they were 23% more effective and productive. But what’s even more astonishing is that when people felt valued and cared for, their productivity and effectiveness experienced a 43% increase. While recognition is essential, there was an additional 20% jump by in performance by showing your people you care or love them. 

But balance is essential. Therefore, if you have love, you must also have its counterpart, discipline. In Building the Best, I defined discipline as “to promote standards in order for an individual to choose to be at his or her best.” This means setting high standards and holding others accountable for meeting and exceeding those standards. 

Achieving a balance of love and discipline in a servant leadership approach is not an easy task. The best leaders not only embrace the challenge, but they excel at it giving their team-high levels of both. 

Short vs. Long-Term Decision Making

Often short-term and long-term views can contradict each other, while other times, they are in direct alignment.  

In today’s short term business cycle, most leaders are prioritizing the short-term over the long-term, and who can blame them. The pressure from executive teams, investors, and even their bosses lends itself to “get results now, and we will deal with the future later.” 

I coach leaders to leverage Colin Powell’s 40-70 Rule when making a tough decision, then running it through both the short and long-term ramifications. If you aren’t familiar with the 40-70 rule, Powell says, “every time you face a tough decision, you should have no less than forty percent and no more than seventy percent of the information you need to make the decision.”  

This makes so much sense because if you are making a decision with less than forty percent of the information, you are taking a wild guess but if you wait until you have over 70% of the information, you are making it too late. The art of this rule is using both your intuition, experience, expertise, and also the priorities of short vs. long term ramifications. 

Closing

I told the leader in the LearnLoft Leader Program, “if leadership were easy, everyone would do.” He is capable of navigating these challenges and so are you.

You have chosen to be a leader and to embrace the responsibilities that come with the territory. Your people are counting on you to rise to the challenge.

Take the Free Leadership Style Quiz? Join over 45k leaders and discover your current leadership style for free.

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

Why the Best Leaders Connect Before They Correct

Conceptual image of business partnership

Are you leading others the correct way? If you don’t know about the importance of love and discipline in your leadership style, you might be making a huge mistake.

It’s important to understand what love and discipline are both are in the context of leadership. I defined both terms in Building the Best this way:

Love is to contribute to someone’s long term success and well being (to will the good of another)

Discipline is to promote standards in order for an individual to choose to be at their best .

What’s More Important

So what’s more important love or discipline if you are going to lead others in the correct way?  Like most leadership questions it’s tricky.  In our research of over 45k leaders from all different roles and industries, we have found the use of both love and discipline in their leadership approach is essential in order to elevate others, (which by the way is the key to successful leadership today.)

But, there is one that is more important than the other.  

Love is more important. For one simple reason, you must:

Connect before you correct.  

In this video, I share which one is more important (love or discipline) for leaders to leverage.

When both love and discipline are correctly used, our research indicates that leaders see:
– 14% increase in team performance and results
– 18% increase in the development of more leaders
– 11% decrease in voluntary turnover

Those leaders whose style is to elevate outperform all other leadership styles. So use high levels of love and discipline in the way you lead.

Take the Free Leadership Style Quiz? Join over 45k leaders and discover your current leadership style for free.

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.

6 Signs You Are a Tremendous Leader

After surveying thousands of organizational leaders, interviewing hundreds of leaders on the “Follow My Lead” Podcast and being a true student of leadership for over five years, it’s beyond evident to me there is an upper echelon of leaders. So much so, it forced us to come up with a name where these leaders stay called the ‘Welding zone.’ It’s also clear they hone their leadership craft by relentlessly pursuing the development of their skills every day because they know:

Leadership is a journey, not a destination

While most of the best leaders have an idea they are great, I have found there to be a group of leaders who are unaware of how great of a job they are actually doing. In an effort to help you identify if you are a tremendous leader, look for these signs.

You “love” your people

No, I am not talking about any kind of Human Resource violation here. I am talking about, “to contribute to the long-term success and well being of your people.” There is no doubt you want what’s best for others in their career and you consistently show it through your actions.

You help others make better choices

Most people assume leaders provide discipline. In fact, it’s very much the opposite. It’s the leader’s job to “promote standards in order for an individual to choose to be at their best.” You understand this and make conscious decisions to not choose for your people. You encourage them by providing consistent standards and holding yourself and others accountable to them.

You say “us” and “we” a lot

The easiest thing for a person to do is to look out for themselves. You understand the importance of giving the glory to others but are quick to take the blame when things go wrong. You consistently talk to others in terms of the collective team instead of your own achievements.

You allow enough room to fail

Chip Brewer the CEO of Callaway golf was a guest on the Follow My Lead Podcast and said. “As I think back to leaders who made a big impact on me throughout my career, it was the ones who allowed me the room to fail. They didn’t lose confidence in me through that process. In today’s world, being a leader isn’t about getting everything right, it’s a continuous improvement process. It’s giving people the room to grow and improve and not being that quick to always step in.”  You live this out by giving your people enough space and freedom to try new things and sometimes that means failing.

You inspire others to achieve more

There is nothing worse than showing up for work every day just to punch the proverbial time clock. Life is too short to be mediocre and achievement is at the core of our human nature.  You understand this and consistently challenge your team and gives you to achieve things that they never thought possible.

You have trust-filled relationships

In any relationship, the essence of trust is not in its bind, but in its bond. The relationships you have with your people might as well be a playbook for others on how to build relationships. You know and live out a leadership principle from the Welder Leader Program:

Elevating a team’s performance requires a bond of mutual trust

Ultimate Leadership Academy Do you lead a team and want to go to the next level? Learn more about our 3-month online academy based on servant leadership principles, expert coaching, and practical action plans. Learn more here

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About the Author John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a full-service organizational health 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 FML: Standing Out and Being a Leader and the upcoming book “The Welder Leader.” You follow him on instagram @johngeades.

The Leader Profile That Will Have People Following You

The feeling in my stomach was sickening. At first, I sat there in slight disbelief with the simple thought running through my head over and over, “How in the world could my team possibly rate me like this?” As I continued through my leader report, the feeling didn’t get better as I read, “He micromanages a lot” and “He treats people differently based on who you are.” Candidly, it was hard to read. As I sat back in my chair fighting off feelings of anger and disappointment, I saw the words a mentor had spoken to me that I had written on a notecard:

“Don’t ever underestimate anyone”

I had been underestimating my team and failing to empower them to become the best version of themselves.

I hope you have never had the experience of your own team saying negative things about you, but I am sure you can relate. For me it was the green light I needed to improve and make real lasting change to ultimately become a more effective leader.

Fast forward 4 years and we have set out to make sure those feelings don’t happen to you. A recent survey we conducted revealed what the most effective leaders do differently. In short, it’s their ability to lead with high levels of both love and discipline, simultaneously, or in what we call “the Welding Zone.”

Love & Discipline are defined as:

Love (verb): To contribute to someone’s long term success and well being.

Discipline (verb): To promote standards in order for an individual to choose to be at their best

From the survey results, 4 distinct Leader Profiles became evident depending on the levels of Love and Discipline a leader leveraged.

Exploiter

The Exploiter has never been about the team and thinks about number one first. They often use their positions of power to rule from the high tower, push people instead of pull, and rarely lead from the front lines. Here are a few other highlights:

  • Scores low in love and discipline.
  • Manipulates situations to their advantage.
  • Rarely loved by their direct reports.
  • Highly driven by financial success.

Pleaser

The Pleaser has a difficult time giving constructive feedback and prefers harmony over conflict or discomfort. They often let poor behavior or questionable work go without saying a word in an effort to “protect” the other person’s feelings.

  • Scores high in love, low in discipline.
  • Looks out for the interest of others over their own.
  • May get taken advantage of by their direct reports.
  • Often passed over for promotions.

Ruler

The Ruler loves process, whether it’s needed or not. They love to feel in control and conflict often arises if their control is threatened. They keep their direct reports at a distance and spend little to no time building relationships.

  • Scores high in discipline, low in love.
  • Driven by a set rule-book. Rigid.
  • Typically gets good or bad results quickly.
  • May have a difficult time sustaining long-term success due to team burnout.

Welder 

The Welder is the leader people want to follow. They pull people, as opposed to pushing them. They don’t shy away from jumping right in on the front lines. They aren’t afraid to show some tough love and have the difficult conversations in order to help their people reach higher levels of performance.

  • Scores high in discipline, high in love.
  • Has deep relationship with their direct reports.
  • Generates organizational leaders from direct reports.
  • Sustains long-term success and results.

The good news is, no matter what profile you are today, you aren’t stuck to one particular profile. Leadership is a journey not a destination. So even if you have had that sick feeling in your stomach like I did when looking at real assessment responses from my team, it should be comforting knowing you have the ability to improve.

Free Leader Profile Assessment Through our work and research around what effective leaders do differently, we have identified four leader profiles (Ruler, Exploiter, Pleaser and Welder.) Find out which one you are for free.

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, a contributing editor on Inc.com, and is passionate about the development of modern professionals. You follow him on instagram @johngeades. Special credit for the article goes to Christina Wilder one of the most gifted professionals I have ever seen.