A.C.T. to become an Effective Leader by Jim Johnson

ACT a

I’m always looking for ways to engage my leadership team to become the best leaders they can be.  In 2015, we are going to learn how to A.C.T. like leaders.  What does this mean?  We want to identify, know, and embody the

Attributes

Characteristics

Traits

of effective leaders.

 

Together, each month, we will select an A.C.T.  Then individually, for the next 30 days, we will research this A.C.T. to find a good working definition, discover areas where we are already individually strong in and where we need to improve, and then work to identify what success will look like when we put this A.C.T. into practice with our teams and colleagues.

Then in our monthly meetings, we will collaboratively choose the working definition of the A.C.T.  We will then share what we’ve learned, where we personally need to grow and develop (accountability), and explain what we believe success will look like. I know my team – there will be great discussions, encouragement, and challenging moments.

I’ve started a list of A.C.T.s we might consider.  Here’s a partial list:

 

  • Vision
  • Communication
  • Decision Making
  • Energy/Drive
  • Staff Development
  • Accountability
  • Results/Performance
  • Reputation

 

This blog has readers from around the world.  I would love to read your ideas of some the A.C.T.s of effective leadership.  Simply make a comment, and I’ll publish it so we can all share our thoughts and ideas.  I appreciate, in advance, what you will contribute to this experiment.

I’m looking forward to 2015 with my leadership team.  Thank you for being a part of this experience.  Together, let’s grow great teams!

 

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Perform Under Pressure by Jim Johnson

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Proud dad moment here. My 8 year old son – who was incredibly shy a year ago – has grown so much in the past 12 months. Tonight he faced a pressure situation and did not fail to perform.

He plays little league baseball. It was the bottom of the 5th inning. 2 outs. Runners at 1st & 3rd. A storm was about to roll in. Winds were blowing from left field and gusting over 15 mph. My son came up to bat. The score was tied.

After a ball and then a strike, my son hit a single and the runner on 3rd scored!

He knew the game was on his shoulders. He stepped up, concentrated, and performed when it really counted.

I’m beyond proud. Not only for the win, but for how he handled himself under pressure. He learned how to perform under stress. He did the basics and followed through.

You are Your Own Business by Jim Johnson

You are your own business. I heard this from a favorite radio personality, Charly Butcher of WOWO radio. Have you ever thought of your job that way?

Most of us probably live our lives at work fairly passively. We do our jobs, and expect the paycheck. We get assignments, we’re assigned projects… we just do our jobs.

But what will set you apart from others at your office who have been living just like you?

It basically comes down to being actively involved in your job rather than being a passive participant.  What if you took a different approach to your job?

Look at you as your own business.

– Act as though the money you spend is your money. Will you use that resource the same?

– Protect your personal brand. Always be aware of your working relationships.  Pay attention to how you communicate and interact with others.

– Find efficiencies that will make you more effective and will allow you to bring more value.

– Increase sales and revenue. Businesses do not thrive if revenues disappear. Exceed your goals. Find new revenue streams. Understand which delivery channels are performing and which are not.

– Champion innovation. Read. Think. Experiment. Inquire. Try something new. Interact with other innovators.

Think about this idea. Try it. I think it can transform how you approach your work and will improve your results.

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Think Outside the Rut by Jim Johnson

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Here in Indiana, we are praying for an early Spring.  Winter has been rough this year.  My neighborhood is full of ice ruts making driving difficult and unsafe.  My wife even got stuck in one the other day requiring some good Samaritans to come to her rescue.

Ruts don’t get us where we need to go.

You’ve heard the expression “think outside the box”.  For me, a better way to say this is “think outside the ruts” because it’s in a rut where I get caught up, stuck, needing help.

Do you find yourself in a rut?  New ideas at work are hard to come by?  Your work seems blah.  You need a shot in the arm?  It’s time to break out of that rut.  But how?  Try these ideas:

Read

There are a lot of great resources available to us today that we didn’t have just a few years ago.  The amount of reading free reading material is enormous.  Check out the apps Flipboard and Zite.  You can select topics you want some new exposure to.  The apps are easy to use and are available on your smart phone and tablet.

Venture outside your expertise. Explore new worlds.  Are you in a traditional business?  Read about entrepreneurs.  Find out how they tackle obstacles, getting a product to market, how they deal with staffing issues.  Not tech-savvy?  Read what is happening in the high-tech world.  Learn.  Grow.  Become inquisitive.  READ.

Broaden your network

Do you spend most of your time during your work week with your colleagues?  It’s time to branch out and meet new folks.  Attend a Chamber event. There are many in my community.  I bet there are in yours.  How about going on a business call with your outside sales folks.  You can learn a lot about your department and company by doing this.

Are you on LinkedIn?  You can meet a lot of great people here and you will be exposed to even more great reading and insights.  I recently made a connection with a local business owner who was in the process of doing business with my company.   I had the opportunity to help smooth out some rough communication and misunderstanding in this process.  That wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t broadened my own network.

Change your perspective.

When was the last time you looked at your business through the lens of your customers? It’s difficult to do.  But we can go for years thinking we are producing products customers want all the while they are slowing leaving our business and products for someone else who “gets them”.

Mystery shopping initiatives can help change your perspective.  Does your company collect and monitor customer feedback?  Pay attention to it!  Act upon it!  Let your customers know you appreciate their input!

Learn something new

Spend time with a colleague discovering what they do. You probably don’t know how what they do impacts your work (and neither do they).  You can learn so much more about your work and your company by doing this.  Ask a lot of questions.  Ask to see the reports they review.  Find more of the “story behind the numbers” while you’re with them.

Move

Getting out of rut demands motion.  Many times, you sit at your desk for hours (right?).  Get up and move.  Walk up and down the stairs (if you have them).  At my company, we built a walking path around our campus.  My CEO and I had our 1-on-1 walking this path multiple laps (when it was much warmer).  Moving can clear your mind.

Get out of your rut.  Get some exposure to new ideas, thoughts, and perspectives.  Your mind, department, and company will thank you for it!

try something new

Blind Eye by Jim Johnson

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A pit fall of any leader is turning a blind eye to things that can ultimately hurt you, your integrity, and your reputation.

 

  • Ignoring poor performance of a staff member over and over.
  • Allowing certain staff members to “get away” with coming in late, taking longer lunches, gossiping, surfing the internet while others on your staff work hard to do right and be right.
  • Allowing some staff members to regularly share negative thoughts and feelings about their coworkers and then you begin to believe these things, too – and you haven’t personally invested in those other people.
  • Allowing yourself to say what’s on your mind without filtering your thoughts and words first.
  • Blowing up and getting angry in public.
  • Playing favorites.
  • Saying one thing, but doing another

 

Many leaders succumb to some of these things during their career.  The successful ones aren’t blinded to these and other shortcomings.  They know what they need to do in order to minimize and/or eliminate their blind eye:

  • They hold their staff accountable to their performance.  They have regular coaching sessions which keep results and behavior standards in the fore front.
  • They hold everyone on their team to the same basic/core standards.  If arriving to work on time is good for the team (and it is), it is good for ALL of the team.
  • Do not allow a staff member talk with you negatively about another staff member.  As the leader of your team, it is YOUR responsibility to monitor and deal with each of your team members.  It is the responsibility of your team to focus on their own personal performance.  If a staff member insists on bad talking another (I’m not talking about ignoring violations such as stealing, harassment, etc), try saying this next time:  “I understand you have a personal issue with that person.  But it is not appropriate for me to talk with you about that person’s performance.  That’s not your job.  That’s my job.  Your job is to focus on your results and performance.  So, we can talk about what you’re doing right now to move this department/company forward.  But what I won’t allow is for you to talk to me about someone else’s performance.  That’s not your job.  So, how are you doing with….?”  Become a broken record on this point.  Your staff will quickly realize that their responsibility is on their own personal results.
  • Seek out a trusted resource at your work place and allow them to ask you tough questions.  “What am I being blind to?”  And if they tell you, act on that!  Seeking truth and then ignoring it will quickly ruin your integrity and reputation.

We all have blind spots.  All of us.  If you are fortunate enough to discover them, intentionally act to remove them.  Will most people see this happening?  Perhaps not.  But you will move yourself towards becoming a respected, trusted leader who is recognized as authentic, approachable, and effective.

 

“Authenticity is the alignment of the head, mouth, heart, and feet – thinking, saying, feeling, and doing the same thing – consistently.  This builds trust, and followers love leaders they can trust.” 

Lance Secretan