Grandma’s Christmas Gift to Leaders

As we all know, Christmas is a hectic time of year. The calendar is jammed with work and social events, the pocketbook is stretched and the need to fulfill family dreams is overwhelming.

It is a time of year when stress levels reach a tipping point for many.

And yet Grandma always pulls it off. She gets it done with flawless precision year after year.

It’s not by serendipity that she delivers the “Christmas product” so magnificently, offering joy to those around her, and strengthening the family bond. Grandma’s consistency is borne from the innate skills she possesses to produce a remarkable experience that is cherished and remembered by all who touch it.

“Christmas Grandma” is a leader pure and simple who has mastered the art of creating masterful memories in the face of pandemonium.

Leaders can learn these six lessons from her.

  1. Purposeful multi tasking is necessary in a “Code Black” environment; when the time available is woefully short of the demands made on you. She has learned that a sequential approach may be neat and tidy but it doesn’t accomplish what is needed in the precious time available.
  1. Be busy but always with the end goal in mind. Her eye is always on the end game: to deliver an amazing experience for every family member. Run if you have to, but be sure you are heading in your chosen direction.
  1. A back up plan is necessary for successful execution. Her “Plan B list” is always ready when friends or family change their mind on a gift suggestion or when stores run out of the gift she wants. Your goal is in jeopardy if Plan A is all you have because it never works out the way you originally intended.
  1. Delegate non-critical tasks. Her personal fingerprints are all over the essentials necessary to deliver a memorable experience; they NEVER get handed off to anyone else. But the work that is not mission critical goes to others under her watchful eye. She demands regular progress reports and that action be taken to remedy anything that is off track.
  1. Exploit yourself. Endure the pain necessary to meet your goal. Exhaustion seems to light her fire to deliver Christmas. It’s unacceptable to complain how tough and stressful it is; the only thing that matters is the result.
  1. Conduct research on the run. Look for gift clues constantly; don’t delay until the season is upon you. Grandma is always in the “continuous family learning” mode to gather a continuous stream of wishes and to avoid having to binge buy at the last moment.

Grandma doesn’t need a scholarly understanding of event marketing or the theory of leadership.

Her pedigree is defined by the results she consistently achieves; architecting and delivering emotional experiences which are fondly remembered in glowing terms by all around her.

That is the mark of a remarkable leader.

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Choosing to Be a Leader, Without Forgetting How to Follow

A true leader isn’t someone who operates in a single mode all the time. Our Western culture has a lot of myths about leadership. One is that to be a leader; you have to be “On” all the time. We have phrases like Alpha and Type A, which, though they do tend to describe some people within our society, aren’t descriptors that often accompany healthy lives.

Individuals who lead and never follow tend to become arrogant or unstable, often pushing themselves beyond their natural limits without taking care to rest and recover properly. Leading from a place of exhaustion is a good way to make sure your efforts will be undermined, sometimes by yourself! Here are a three vital tips to ensure that your leadership is balanced and able to follow.

  1. Put Yourself in Situations Where You Don’t Take Charge. It’s important for strong leaders to have people in their lives who take the reins. In your case, this might be your doctor or therapist. Choose someone who is obligated to hear your secrets and keep them; someone who shows you ways to improve your life and keep yourself together. It can be difficult for talented leaders to trust others to do the same to them. One valuable resource, the Leadership Challenge Overview, can help clue you into some of these challenges, even as it reveals some of your own hidden strengths.
  1. Invite Criticism. It’s common for leaders to build walls between themselves and honest feedback. We do this for many reasons. Maybe we feel that if others were to be able to express themselves honestly regarding our leadership styles, we’d lose our position and move backward in our careers. While that may be slightly true, the alternative is often much worse. Leaders who don’t listen often work themselves into a corner. Their followers notice the things that are wrong, which are going unaddressed. Sometimes a mutiny is scaled behind closed doors, or the board decides it’s time to replace you. The only way to prevent this is to invite honest criticism in the first place, and humbly adapt yourself to the people you are meant to lead and serve.
  1. Find Time to Reflect. There are a lot of leaders who run into problems when they don’t have time for rest and reflection. Many leaders aren’t true extroverts. Introverts (And really, people of any personality type at all) need time away from people. These times are very helpful at keeping you between the lines, so to speak. It allows you to reflect on recent things that have worked, and things that haven’t. It lets you adjust your own attitude and make plans for better days. It lets you recharge, so you aren’t leading out of exhaustion.

There are many ways to be a better leader. Most of them involve being less demonstrative, not more. That may seem counterintuitive. Lots of leaders seem to advocate endless pushing. But this is only a recipe for exhaustion, mistakes, and excess. Keep yourself in the right spot and you’ll do better in the long run.

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The Secret Formula for Exemplary Leadership

As the landscape of business continues to evolve, we not only see changes outside the organization, we see changes inside the organization as well. That means different communication styles, different individual work style preferences, different motivators and incentives, different corporate cultures—and as a result, leadership styles must also evolve. In today’s corporate world, leaders who take a more relational approach to management find success. Why? Because the traditional world of work that existed in the past—largely dictatorial and autocratic, is no longer an option if your goal is on not only creating a great corporate culture, but also inspiring optimal productivity from your workforce.

Today’s #WorkTrends guest, author and former New England Patriots linebacker, Dr. Jason Carthen, discussed exemplary leadership and its positive impact on the workplace. He explored the keys to this leadership style, or the “secret formula,” and why a relational leadership style is better than leadership styles of the past. Some of the keys Dr. Carthen mentioned include:

  • Leaders need to get their employees’ hearts involved if they want people completely invested
  • Intention is the difference – leaders need to be intentional in all they do

The #WorkTrends conversation that ensued and Dr. Carthen’s thoughts on the topic was informative—especially for senior leaders working to hire, motivate, inspire, and retain top talent. Carthen’s new book 52 Ways to Tackle Leadership for Your Success, is coming out soon and now available for preorder.

You can listen to the #WorkTrends podcast on our BlogTalk Radio channel here.

You’re always invited to check out the highlights of the conversation from our Storify here:

Haven’t yet tuned into a #WorkTrends show? Well, it’s never too late. You can tune in and participate in the chat with us every Wednesday from 1-2pm ET (10-11am PT). Next Wednesday, May 4, we will be joined by Scott Levy, author of “Tweet Naked” to discuss how businesses or individuals can use social media to grow their business or brand.

The TalentCulture #WorkTrends conversation continues daily across social media. Stay up-to-date by following the #WorkTrends Twitter stream; make it a regular habit to pop into our LinkedIn group; or check out our Google+ community. Engage with us any time on our social networks, or stay current with trending World of Work topics on our website or through our weekly email newsletter.

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#WorkTrends Preview: The Keys to Exemplary Leadership

The changing landscape of business requires a more relational leadership style. Why? Because the traditional world of work that existed in the past – dictatorial, autocratic, etc. – is no longer an option for optimal productivity from followers. But how do we know the keys to this leadership style? What about a relational leadership style sets it apart and makes it better than leadership styles of the past?

You don’t want to miss the #WorkTrends show next week as our guest, author and former New England Patriots linebacker, Dr. Jason Carthen, will join us to discuss exemplary leadership and its positive impact on the workplace.

#WorkTrends Event: The Keys to Exemplary Leadership

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Tune in to our LIVE online podcast Wednesday, April 27 — 1 pm ET / 10 am PT

Join TalentCulture #WorkTrends Host Meghan M. Biro joined by Dr. Jason Carthen as they discuss the keys to exemplary leadership.

#WorkTrends on Twitter — Wednesday, April 27 — 1:30 pm ET / 10:30 am PT

Immediately following the radio show, the team will move to the #WorkTrends Twitter stream to continue the discussion with the entire TalentCulture community. We invite everyone with a Twitter account to participate as we gather for a dynamic live chat, focused on these related questions:

Q1: What are the traits of an exemplary leader? #WorkTrends (Tweet the question)

Q2. How can leadership transform a workplace? #WorkTrends (Tweet the question)

Q3. What are impactful ways to improve a leadership team? #WorkTrends (Tweet the question)

Until then, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #WorkTrends Twitter feed, our TalentCulture World of Work Community LinkedIn group, and in our TalentCulture G+ community. Feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions. See you there!

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