Are You A Funnel Or A Cork?

“A leader’s role is to raise people’s aspirations for what they can become and to release their energies so they will try to get there.” David R. Gergen

Many people have the misconception that a leader is a person that knows everything, tells everything, and is someone who is always at minimum tens steps ahead of everyone else, and for this reason they are the leader!  But leaders are those who first of all are capable (and smart enough) to assemble a winning combination of people who are suited for the job and can teach them the joys of teamwork.

Anyone can run around and boss everyone around and tell others what to do, but who wants to do that when if you could develop the inner talent of those you work with and inspire in them to reach decisions within their realm of expertise!  If you want to always “call the shots” and be the “big cheese” and make sure everyone knows who the boss is, what you will eventually realize, if not sooner, then later is that you are becoming a cork and the bottleneck to progress!

In every business, be it large or small, there are so many things that need to be taken care of.  Surely at the beginning stages as you are forming a team, you will need to get more involved, but if you do not begin early on to use the art of delegation and teaching others to make those petty decisions, you will find yourself with a big problem.  Everything is waiting on you, and nothing is getting done because you have not taken the time to inspire in others how to make wise decisions.

If you have carefully selected your team members and are happy with who you have chosen, then it is time to become a funnel.  What is a funnel?  Someone who can take in a large amount of ideas and suggestions and begin the process to bring it down to a workable solution. It is important to be open to others observations and ideas and to encourage them to think things out and make the right questions in order to arrive to the proper solutions! You are simply there to give the thumbs up when they have reached the right decision.

You don’t have to have all of the answers, you just need to know where the ship is heading, work together with your team to find the best way to guide the ship in the right direction.  That to me is sign of real leadership!

Are you a funnel or a cork?

Steve Jobs–Never Took No For An Answer!

“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.” –Steve Jobs

I dedicate today’s post to a man who was not only a visionary, a pioneer, an inspiration, an example on many fronts but who has also shown us how to gracefully pass on to his new life!  Steve Jobs not only spearheaded the creation of the iMac, iPod, iPad and iPhone he was one that embodied the iBelieve! This should serve as a tremendous example to all who wish to move forward in life, believe tremendously in what you do and go for it against all odds.

Steve exuded enthusiasm in what he did that inspired thousands to help him create what he envisioned and millions to then buy it once it hit the market! He created a culture, loved by millions and hated by many who saw his advancement as a threat to their own market share.  No one can deny his success, his legacy lives on in the purse, pocket, office, or home to remember him by!

Having once been fired from his own company, Steve went on to pioneer with others yet another successful company, Pixar which once again showed that the word ‘no’ was not included in the dictionary, at least not in his! After his return to Apple, he turned a then struggling company into a mega corporation and won the love and respect of all those who worked for him.  His workers were willing to work days, nights, weekends, holidays in order to get a product just right for launch!  Steve was a born leader, he was going somewhere and in order to follow him everyone had to up their stride, because he not only going there, he was going in a hurry!

But Steve was not born into all of this in the most natural of ways, he was adopted, no doubt by very loving and caring parents, who gave him  opportunities and supported him along the way.  He could however had taken the road of excuses and decided that for him “it just wasn’t meant to be”, but instead against all adversity, having started in a little garage in Silicon Valley, he took flight!  Take notice of this, learn from his example because if you are able to glean just a bit of this inspiration you too could make your mark!

I did not meet Steve here on this planet, I missed that possibility, but I do know the inspiration that he was bathed in!  Pipe into this power, it is believing in what is not seen, it is going for it!  I salute you Steve and thank you for being the inspiration that you were here on earth, you live on!

Leadership Lessons Part 1

A leader’s role is to raise people’s aspirations for what they can become and to release their energies so they will try to get there.” — David Gergen

The role of a leader is something that you grow into after you have learned what it means to follow.  There are certain attributes that a leader must have and they are vision, , inspiration, initiative and courage, the guts to see something through.  A true leader is one that doesn’t need to continue to remind everyone that he is the boss. He inspires others with a desire to join in because it is evident that he is going somewhere.

Being a leader does not mean to lord authority over others and be continuously barking out orders.  It is having a vision for a certain job or project, the ability to impart the vision to others to the point that they too are excited to have the chance to take part in it.  A leader is also a person who is capable of recognizing his limitations and when it is time to confer with others who may be able to offer sound advice.

If you are a real leader, you will not feel threatened that others will take your place but rather you will pull other in that show signs of  leadership potential and will surround yourself by them.  By doing so you will be able to both benefit from their input and  train them to carry on should you have to take a leave of absence.

It is a common error when one is freshly pulled into a place of leadership that they over-compensate and err in many of the above mentioned areas.  They think that they need to prove their capability to be “in charge”, but then end up losing the following that they so desperately need in order to complete a mission. Seasoned leaders inspire a solid trust from their followers, as a follower you feel more secure if you are part of the “team” and not just part of the “pack”.

A real leader knows that he needs a team, he cultivates his team and makes them feel at ease around him, they know that if they have another seemingly better idea, they can in all confidence share their ideas without feeling as though they are not yielding to his leadership.  There is a free and trusting bi-directional flow of communication .

What do you admire about a good leader? Do you have a boss that you feel inspired by, or rather do you feel you are not being heard?  Share your points here!

Brown-Noser or Contributor?

“The danger in the leader-follower relationship is the assumption that the leader’s interpretation must dominate. If this assumption exists on the part of either the leader or the follower, creativity and problem-solving processes become stifled” — Patsi Krakoff

Any truly great leader or boss, if he is going to accomplish anything, knows that he needs to surround him or herself with people who are going to be honest and able to speak up if they see things differently than themselves.

At the workplace, it is normal that when you have just joined the team, you have everything to learn and it is time then to sit back and take it all in and learn how things are done.  But as time goes on, and you are given greater responsibility within the organization, it should become your responsibility along with everyone else to seek out ways that can help to improve productivity or service.

Too many people believe that in order to keep their job they need to become “yes-men” and just always agree with the boss.  In certain circumstances, like in emergencies, this could be what is needed, however on the long-term you will not be contributing in the way that is necessary in order to make the needed progress.

A boss who looks for people to “suck-up” to him is really insecure in his own leadership.  He feels the need to have someone affirm his position

Don't seek out this reward!

whether sincerely or not, as it tends to feed their pride. But it is better to inspire participation than it is to demand total submission.  A good leader seeks out help and knows that he, in himself, is not the “all-in-all”.  He builds a team around him, and after getting to know his team he then knows who he can pass the ball to trusting that it will not get fumbled.

The big problem with a “brown-noser” is that they are most likely to act as though they are with you whilst in your presence, but they are quick to criticize you when they are with others.  Most are entirely double-faced and can tend to cause more problems for the organization than good. The idea in the end is to build a good team so that it wins in the end, as in sports, if one team member thinks that he has to always carry the ball, the game will most likely be lost.

So if you want to keep your job, or make sure your business stays afloat, be a contributor, not just a wimpy bottom smoocher!  Your boss needs you more than he might lead on to make you think.  Naturally, keep in mind that you don’t know everything either, so don’t become over-confident or cocky either, as this also is of no help.  Be a team-player, be a contributor!