Leadership

Leadership Lessons from North American Leaders

 

ThinkstockPhotos-636064846In the spirit of the upcoming U.S. presidential inauguration and the 150th anniversary of Canada, Movin’ On Up takes a look at admirable leadership qualities from iconic North American leaders. From making work/life balance a priority to accepting blame to herding cats, these trailblazers exemplify leadership traits we can all adapt to our career.

Make work/life balance a priority.
Theodore Roosevelt was not only the 26th President of the United States, he was also a father of six children. He was regarded as a powerful, playful father who told ghost stories and had pillow fights with his kids. Even when his schedule was busy, Roosevelt still found time for his family. In fact, in the summer of 1905, Roosevelt took his family on their annual camping trip, even though he was busy preparing for peace talks and consulting about the building of the Panama Canal.

So, what can we learn from the leadership style of Theodore Roosevelt? Simply put, it’s all about the importance of work/life balance. A great leader must be dedicated to his or her work, but finding a balance between career and personal obligations is essential. If you’re determined to make a name for yourself, build your career, or earn a promotion, it’s important to invest a lot of effort into those goals. But, remember to take time for yourself, and your family, to maintain a healthy work/life balance.

Accept blame as quickly as you accept praise.
The 33rd President, Harry Truman, had a famous sign on his desk in the Oval Office. It read: “The buck stops here.” This well-known statement, believed to have originated from a game of poker, means that blame cannot be passed from one person to another. In his farewell address in 1953, Truman referred to this famous saying. “The President—whoever he is—has to decide. He can’t pass the buck to anybody. No one else can do the deciding for him. That’s his job,” Truman said.

How does “The buck stops here.” apply to leadership? It means that great leaders must not only make decisions, but also accept responsibility for the outcomes of those decisions. Whether it’s good or bad, leaders must own those outcomes. If you’re in a position of leadership—or you aim to be someday—remember to take responsibility when things don’t go according to plan.

You can’t do everything on your own.
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, and remains one of the most highly regarded leaders due to his devotion to those he led. It’s believed that Lincoln met every Union soldier who enlisted in the early days of the Civil War, and spent more time outside of the White House than he did in it. According to Time, Lincoln spent 75% of his day meeting with people. And, despite being the leader of America, he maintained an open-door policy.

What made Lincoln’s accessibility such a great leadership trait? He was always trying to obtain the best information in order to make good decisions. He wasn’t resolved to making decisions on his own, and valued the opinions of those around him. If you’re trying to implement a new workplace strategy or starting a new project, consider asking your co-workers for their input. Don’t shy away from the advice of others, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Know how to herd cats.

In 2017, Canada celebrates its 150th birthday. In honour of our Canadian colleagues, our final leadership trait comes from the Great White North.

Canadian biographer Richard Gwyn argues that without Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. MacDonald, there would be no Canada. Sir John A., as he is known, embodied a key leadership trait that still holds true for prime ministers and leaders today—the ability to herd cats. If you’re going to run Canada, which is a much decentralized, diversified country with immense distances and hard weather, huge communication barriers, and an enormity of different interest groups and ethnicities, you have to know how to herd cats. You’ve got to be able to convince people to go along with your vision, to make them believe in what you know is right, and that requires inspiration, skill, art, and determination.

What other leadership lessons can we learn from our North American leaders? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

 

Great Leaders Who Overcame Huge Obstacles

overcomingYou may have heard the saying, “If you get knocked down; get back up and try again.” Not everyone on top today got there by having success after success. Many people face obstacles that forced them to work harder and show more determination than others. In fact, the greatest triumphs often come from situations that seem overwhelmingly awful. The way in which you respond to those adversities can be seen as victories themselves. People who have encountered challenges may agree that the factors in overcoming obstacles are determination, focus, and self-discipline.

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The Results Are In: How Do You Prepare for a Future Leadership Role?

Leadership MsgA company is ultimately shaped by those in leadership positions, for better or worse. Because of this—and because having the right leadership is vital to company success—we wanted to know how Movin’ On Up readers might prepare for future leadership roles.

The Results
According to our poll, the majority of respondents (49%) said they prepare for a future leadership role using a combination of the following: pursuing higher education, finding a mentor, and learning new skills, among others.

Approximately 15% of respondents selected “learn new skills through work or volunteering” as the sole way they prepare for a leadership role, while “study leadership” and “pursue higher education” tied with 10% of the votes.

In addition, each of the following choices received less than 10% of the votes:

  • Find a mentor
  • Become involved with networking or industry organizations
  • Change careers

Readers were also able to select the “Other” option and provide their own answers. Of the 3% who chose this option, responses included utilizing personal connections, going beyond the average duty of their jobs, and taking responsibility for special initiatives—just to name a few.

To learn more about how you can prepare for a future leadership role with every day habits, check out this article.

Do you aspire to be in a leadership position someday? Are there other ways you’re preparing for a future leadership role? Let us know in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Celebrate Women’s History Month With These Stats

March is Women’s History Month in the United States and is a great time to reflect on the many accomplishments of the nation’s leaders. In 1981, Congress requested President Ronald Reagan to proclaim the week beginning March 7 as “Women’s History Week.” Since 1995, a series of annual proclamations have designated the entire month of March “Women’s History Month.”

To help you celebrate the annual observance, take a look at this infographic from ATG Stores.

ifg_main_womenshistory
Click for full-size image.

Everyday Habits That Make You a Better Leader

habits_better_leader_webBecoming a great leader doesn’t take a lifetime of work. Rather, there are everyday habits you can start right now that will help you learn to successfully lead others. From communicating effectively to being courageous in the face of adversity, these tips can help you mold yourself into the leader you want to be today.

Learn to set clear expectations.
It’s fair to say that no one can read minds. So, it’s especially important to make sure you are setting clear expectations before starting a project or delegating an assignment. If you’re leading people on a project, ensure you’re being precise, both verbally and in writing, about what is expected and when you expect the work to be completed. If you’re being assigned a task, make sure you ask questions that clearly establish the expectations of your job before you start. By clarifying expectations, you decrease the opportunity for problems to arise and make it easier to deal with them when they do.

Focus on people.
If you’re a supervisor or a leader of others, it’s important to visit with your teammates on a frequent basis. Investing time in your co-workers helps grow your team and build trust, accountability, and understanding. And strengthening your relationships with those you lead helps you give important feedback during annual reviews. If you aren’t in a leadership position yet, the same rules apply. Getting to know your co-workers and being someone people trust is a great way to help you move up the ladder and get noticed.

Get involved.
One of the easiest ways to gain experience, network, and build your resume is through volunteering. When you give your time to help with community service or an organization that’s important to you, you’ll gain valuable relationships, enjoy the feeling of giving back, and gain skills you may not have otherwise. You may also learn how to lead others, which can be a valuable tool back at the office.

Be brave.
When faced with difficult decisions, leaders have to be brave. In fact, employees will often look to how a leader behaves during turbulent times before deciding how to react themselves. When you’re faced with adversity in the workplace or at home, take a deep breath and consider your options before moving forward. Remember to assess the outcomes of your decisions to learn from your mistakes and celebrate your accomplishments.

Know yourself.
According to Forbes, 90% of top performing leaders possess an abundance of self-awareness. Having a strong sense of self-awareness means you have a clear image of yourself, which includes your leadership style, strengths, weaknesses, and skills. You know where you can improve, and you know where you shine. Once you develop stronger self-awareness, you can craft a plan for improving areas that need work.

Hold yourself accountable.
When things go wrong, it’s easy to blame someone else. But, great leaders know when they’re at fault. Instead of shifting the blame to someone else, own up to your mistakes and any role you had in the problem. Don’t be afraid of what may happen when you’re honest, and never point the finger at those who are not at fault. Furthermore, be there to back up those who need you when things go wrong.

Love what you do.
When you’re passionate about something, it shows. And often, it’s contagious. Take time to be thankful for your job and gain enthusiasm for what you do so others can pick up on your energy. Strive to share the passion you have for your work with others before boredom and apathy take over your team.

How do you prepare yourself to be a successful leader? Share your tips in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to by Express Employment Professionals.

Peak Performer’s Life: FOCUS … Your Personal Guide to Success

walterbond_webIf you’ve ever been on an airplane, you know how quickly big things appear small. Cars look like ants, acres of land become colorful squares, and skyscrapers become miniscule. It’s amazing what a little perspective can do. Being able to see from a different perspective can make a significant difference in life, and can help you focus on the things that matter. This week on Peak Performer’s Life, Walter Bond continues his series on the importance of focus.

According to Walter:
“I believe this topic is a game changer for you. I believe this topic might be the one thing you’ve been missing all these years that can position you to be successful. ”

Check out Walter’s inspirational message below:

 

 

What are some ways you can change your perspective in your work life? In your personal life? Let us know in the comments section below.

New messages each week!
Walter Bond and Peak Performer’s Life is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals. Don’t forget to check back each Wednesday for a new message from Walter Bond! If you missed an episode of Peak Performer’s Life, visit the archive to catch up.

About Walter Bond
A former American professional basketball player, Walter Bond’s NBA career included 153 games with the Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz, and Detroit Pistons. Now, Walter takes what he learned from his life on the court and translates it into motivational and educational messages for thriving businesses and careers. For more information, visit WalterBond.com.

Movin’ On Up and Peak Performers Life is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

5 Laws Successful Leaders Live By

5_leadership_laws_webWhether you consider yourself a leader or not, there are always leadership opportunities to be found in the day-to-day responsibilities of your career. From taking a lead role in a team project to simply taking it on yourself to ensure a task is done right, you are most likely leading more than you realize. An article from Forbes explains it like this: “Leadership is not indicative of position or title but rather personal choice ….Anybody and everybody is a leader…”

There’s no exact formula on how to be a great leader. However, for the sake of personal and professional growth, you must begin taking steps now to ensure you’re becoming the best leader you can be. And one way is to adopt these five laws successful leaders live by.

Live and Let Live
Sometimes you have to make decisions that other people won’t like. At the same time, there will also be people above, beside, and below you who make decisions you don’t agree with. A wise leader knows this and is able to distinguish between the times that disagreement is okay and the times that agreement is necessary.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words
What you say is important, but what you do is even more important. How you act and the things you do are the true measure of what you value. And if co-workers, employees, managers, or customers hear you say one thing but then see you do another, you’ll quickly lose their trust and credibility as a leader.

A House Divided Cannot Stand
Nothing hurts a project, relationship, or business worse than strife between the people involved. There will always be disagreements, but everything will fall apart if there isn’t a unifying goal and a willingness to work together. A leader is always aware of this and constantly works to ensure there is cooperation and harmony.

A Job Worth Doing Is Worth Doing Right
There may be times when you’re faced with the choice of quality or speed. Ninety-nine times out of 100 you should opt for quality. The quality of your work, or your company’s, is what sets you apart, and nothing hurts a reputation more than a low-caliber final product.

Don’t Judge a Book By Its Cover
Appearance and first impressions are important, but a good leader also knows that looks can be deceiving. The most eye-catching candidate may not be the most qualified, and the less exciting option may be the most logical choice. So decisions must be based on more than just a hasty judgment.

Whether it’s by adopting these five laws, learning from the example of some of the greats, or implementing some of the most common habits of successful leaders, you have to learn to lead. Not only is it important for future career growth, it’s also important for your own personal fulfillment.

Are there other leadership laws or principles you follow? Share your own leadership tips in the comment section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.