Lessons from the Ordinary

Yesterday, I was a guest blogger on my good friend Michael Hyatt’s leadership blog.  In Lessons from the Ordinary, I shared observations of everyday, ordinary people and lessons we can learn from them. By being alert and slowing down, we are able to see beyond the obvious.  You can read the full post here.

This was my very first guest post on another blog.  Since I’ve previously written about the benefits of guest posting, I thought I would give it a try.  My own policy of accepting guest posts will be modified in coming days since managing the process is more involved than I previously realized.

Some of the lessons from the post:

People teach us remarkable lessons if we are open to learning.

Criticism we launch at someone else likely has its roots in our own shortcomings.

Everyone is hurting in some way. Everyone needs praise. Get comfortable praising good work.

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9 Qualities of the Servant Leader

Photo by Michael W. May on flickr.

Leading With Others in Mind

At first blush, you may think a servant leader literally takes on the role of a servant. Taken to an extreme, that definition would look like this:

As you pull into work, the leader meets you at your car, opens your door, and welcomes you to the office.  Maybe the leader gets you coffee mid-morning and drops by in the afternoon to see if you need anything.  When you need assistance on a project, or maybe just someone to do the grunt work, there your leader is, waiting for you.

No, that isn’t servant leadership.

 

“Servant leaders lead with others in mind.” -Skip Prichard

 

Servant leadership is a blend and balance between leader and servant. You don’t lose leadership qualities when becoming a servant leader.

A servant leader is one who:

1. Values diverse opinions.

A servant leader values everyone’s contributions and regularly seeks out opinions.  If you must parrot back the leader’s opinion, you are not in a servant-led organization.

 

“Servant leaders regularly seek out opinions.” -Skip Prichard

 

2. Cultivates a culture of trust.

People don’t meet at the water cooler to gossip. Pocket vetoes are rejected.

 

“Servant leaders cultivate a culture of trust.” -Skip Prichard

 

3.  Develops other leaders.

 

The replication factor is so important.  It means teaching others to lead, providing opportunities for growth and demonstrating by example.  That means the leader is not always leading, but instead giving up power and deputizing others to lead.

 

“Servant leaders give up power and deputize others to lead.” -Skip Prichard

 

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4.  Helps people with life issues (not just work issues).

It’s important to offer opportunities for personal development beyond the job.  Let’s say you run a company program to lose weight, or lower personal debt, or a class on etiquette.  None of these may help an immediate corporate need, but each may be important.

 

Leading So People Will Follow

Erika Andersen is a Forbes blogger, a facilitator, consultant, coach, and the founding partner of Proteus International.  She’s also the author of three books:  Leading So People Will Follow, Being Strategic, and Growing Great Employees.  I follow Erika on Twitter and regularly read and share her blog posts.  In all of her writing, she offers advice gleaned from her thirty years of working with executives.
Leading So People Will Follow

I thoroughly enjoyed her most recent book, Leading So People Will Follow and wanted to share this great resource with you.

Erika, this is your third book and really they are related.  For people who aren’t familiar with your work, tell us about each of the books.

Thanks for asking! The three books each have a strong connection to one of our three practice areas at Proteus, the business I founded in 1990.  The first book, Growing Great Employees, is a kind of Boy Scout Handbook for people managers. It’s a very skill-based, practical approach to the whole realm of managing and developing employees: why it’s important and how to do it well.  That book is most connected to the management and leadership training part of our client offer, which we call Building Skills and Knowledge.

The second book, Being Strategic, is most closely connected to our Clarifying Vision and Strategy practice area, where we focus on helping organizations clarify the future they want to create – and then achieve their vision.  That book teaches our model and the associated mental skills for thinking and acting more strategically – in any part of your life.

This new book, Leading So People Will Follow, is connected to our Developing Leaders practice area, where we focus on coaching individual leaders and teams of leaders to get ready and stay ready to succeed into the future.

In your latest book, stories and folklore play a big part.  I love that because children’s books are filled with powerful leadership lessons.  Why did you choose to use fairy tales and stories to get your points across?

Turning Pain Into Strength

My friend Robert Goolrick is one of the most remarkable people I’ve met. He’s a first class novelist, writing two New York Times bestselling books: A Reliable Wife and Heading Out to Wonderful. These are stories that will linger with you long after you finish them. He writes the kind of novels you have to tell someone else about. He also wrote the bestselling, non-fiction book The End of the World as We Know It about his unbelievably difficult life.

A Perfect Life?

Look at his life now, and you’d think it was made-for-movie perfect. His books sell millions of copies. He lives a gentleman’s life in Virginia. He travels to exotic destinations. On his wrist, you are bound to see a timepiece to remember.

You may see the external life of dreams, but dig a little more and learn his story.

As an adult….

  • He was fired from his job as an advertising executive.
  • His manuscripts were rejected by publisher after publisher.
  • He was addicted to drugs and drinking.
  • He cut himself.
  • He literally lost a decade of his life in a world you wouldn’t recognize.
  • He was institutionalized.

As a child….

  • He was verbally abused.
  • He lived in squalor (complete with rats!).
  • He was raped. By his father.
  • He was neglected.

Most of us don’t understand that kind of life, that kind of pain. But all of us have obstacles thrown in our path.

Responding to Challenges

Reinvent Your Personal Brand

Have you been passed over for a promotion?  Again?

When others describe you do they use words like “visionary” or “dinosaur”?

Are you looking for a job?

How would you describe your own personal brand?

Have you missed an opportunity because someone thought of you incorrectly?

Take Charge of Your Personal Brand

Karen Kang is one of the world’s authorities on creating a personal brand.  As a brand strategist, Karen guides individuals through a process to strategically create a personal brand.  Karen knows what it takes to build a brand.  She is a former partner with world-renowned Regis McKenna, Inc., the marketing firm that created and launched the Apple brand.  She’s the founder and CEO of BrandingPays, and she has consulted with over 150 organizations around the world.

Her new book BrandingPays is a step-by-step guide to reinventing your personal brand.  I recently had the opportunity to ask Karen a few questions about her work and her book.

Karen, you’ve worked with startups all the way to some of the world’s biggest companies.  Although you continue to do corporate branding, your new work is mainly focused on individuals.  Why is personal branding so important today?  Has personal branding increased in importance?

Personal branding has gone from being a “nice to have” to a “got to do.”  Competitive forces in business and communication—from globalization to social media—have combined to make personal branding a requirement.  Gone are the days when you got on a career track with one company and rode it until the end of the line.  Whether you work for a company or not, you are a free agent.  You need to think like a “company of one” in how you position and market yourself.

Karen Kang