WHAT WILL YOUR LEADERSHIP LOOK LIKE IN 2020

“Don’t Fool Yourself; LEADERSHIP IS HARD!”

In my effort to cultivate and grow my leadership, I find it challenging to stay the course and achieve what I read, witness, and teach. In fact, I often find myself telling people one thing and doing the exact opposite. Doing that can hurt those you lead, coach, mentor, or teach. If you don’t improve, you will ultimately lose respect, trust, and, eventually, the ability to influence. 

As 2020 approaches, I decided to evaluate my leadership abilities and identify those things I do well and those areas where I need to improve. The last four years have been a personal leadership challenge for me. I’ve had a job change that put me in a role with no direct reports and limited my decision-making authority. I’ve had to learn to lead differently. The term; “influence without authority” has become an actual reality challenge for me.

During my self-evaluation, I identified my top 5 strengths in leading others and having a strong influence on the decision making process.

1. I am a very HIGH ENERGY AND PASSIONATE leader in the areas I believe in.

2. I am willing to embrace CHANGE, even if I don’t entirely agree with it

3. I am PERSISTENT in my approach to achieving my desires, goals, and objectives

4. I am CONFIDENT in my decision making but open to ideas and suggestions

5. I am a strong ENGAGER of people

It is always good to identify your strong points, but it can be challenging to identify areas for improvement. The way I approached this was to reflect on 2019 and the many conversations, suggestions, and feedback I received throughout the year. I am always asking for feedback (although many times I don’t want to hear it or I have an excuse) 

Based on my evaluation and reflection, I will focus on building and improving the following five leadership traits in 2020. 

1. Being Clear in My Communication – I will work to enhance my communication approach through tone and word choices. Working to pull my feelings and frustration back and undoubtedly transfer my thoughts, ideas, and expectations. I will explain the “why” more often and ensure people are well informed. People want to be “in the know.” People want to deliver expectations, but can’t be successful if we don’t clearly and successfully communicate. They also want to know what the rewards are for good work and the consequences for sub-standard work.

2. Build Stronger Relationships – Relationships are critical to leadership. Strong relationships build trust and respect and offer the opportunity to influence. I will work to be present with my customers, leaders, and the workforce. I will reach out for general conversations and make sure I follow-up with the right people. I will work to show how much I care about all facets of the business. It is said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care!” They are looking for you to care for them and build a working relationship. I will work harder to learn and remember names and recognize that life is going on outside of work.

3. Humble Myself – I am am very confident in my role but must be better at leading with humility. I don’t know everything and always make the right decisions, but I will work diligently to illustrate my knowledge through the quality of my choices. I will recognize all persons, regardless of position, and work to realize that no one is any more important than anyone else. I will demonstrate this through my actions and interactions. I will let each know how important they are by involving them and getting their brains in the game.

4. Be a Stronger Encourager – I will continuously look for and recognize the great work people are doing. I will express my gratitude and exemplify the positive difference they are making. I will encourage them for their actions, the work they perform, and the value they add.

5. Have Courage – I understand creativity and innovation drive progress and performance. I will make bold decisions, push back when needed, but fully support the final decision. I will have difficult conversations when necessary, and I will do the difficult right things.

With a new year and new decade roll into place, I feel like it is the optimal time to increase my influence and achieve more than I ever have. I don’t know where most of you fall within your leadership needs (unless I know you). Still, I believe the results from my self-evaluation will encourage many of you to look within yourself, identify areas of improvement, and make the necessary changes to become a stronger influencer and more effective leader.

3 LEADERSHIP PRINCIPLES YOU MUST GET RIGHT

Like some of you, leadership has been a continual growth process for me. It seems that there are some who “get it” from the get-go. However, for me, it’s been a journey. I’ve struggled with resistance from individuals. As a safety professional, the most difficult thing to change in a program is the belief that “we’ve always done it this way,” or “we didn’t budget for that.” In the safety profession, influence is the key to success. The safety profession serves an essential purpose in the work field, but it does not produce a product or generate cash flow.

Consequently, we must be able to influence others to make the right decisions for the right reasons. Success in the safety field is determined through the reduction or elimination of injuries. Ultimately, the worker and their families benefit from our efforts. Over the past several years, three principles have emerged that have helped renew my energy and commitment to influencing those who make the decisions. These principles aren’t new, but I have become more intentional in my implementation. I am deliberate in focusing on each of these principles, and because of such, I have seen significant results.

“Principle-centered people are constantly educated by their experiences.”  – Steven Covey

I want to share these 3 principles with you. I believe that EACH leader should acquaint themselves with these truths to obtain powerful influence.

RIGHT PEOPLE
The first question to ask is “Am I influencing the right people?” Different people need to be influenced by various reasons and circumstances. For instance, does a production employee need to be influenced to purchase a new piece of equipment? No. The focus needs to be on finance and production leadership. However, the production employee does need to be influenced by the need to make appropriate behavior choices. If we are not influencing the right people for our current demand, then our time and effort become lost. The second question is “Do you have the right people on your team?” For leaders, the motto has been that people are your greatest asset, but that saying needs some fine-tuning. It’s not just people; it’s the right people. When you’re bringing someone aboard your leadership team, put forth ample time into the resume/interview process. Develop engaging interview questions and include other team members to ensure the person can become an effective team collaborator and has the right skillset to “fill in the holes.” A leader is only as good as his/her inner circle. These are the people that make the vision a reality. Sometimes organizations put excessive emphasis on the senior leader, when in fact it’s more than just one man.

Moreover, it’s not just whom we bring on, but also whom we hang onto. It’s hard to let an employee go or to tell a team leader that their season has come to an end. Ultimately, do what is best for the team and the overall organization.

Consider whom you are currently trying to influence, are they the right person for your needs? Do you have the right people on board and in the right positions? Focus on influencing the right people and ensure your inner circle consists of qualified, committed individuals and success will be achieved.

WELL-DEFINED MISSION
Second, it is vital to have a well-defined mission. A clear mission keeps us on track to complete critical tasks. You and your team must define a mission that supports your vision. Evaluate all the things you’re doing and make the difficult decision to cut out (even good things) that don’t fit within that defined mission. This pruning process will help you avoid “mission drift” and make your leadership more effective.

UNWAVERING FAITHFULNESS
So finally, when you have the right people and a well-defined mission, go after it with all your heart. Those who are passionate about what they want will be successful. Passion drives us through difficult times. In our ready-made culture, we want immediate results. The reality is that any constant endeavor, a marriage, business, or ministry takes time to build. I remind people that they’re embarking on an adventure that requires an investment of faithfulness. Be committed to putting the time and effort in; day by day, person-by-person, project by project.

undefinedDenis is a former VP of Safety, HR and Risk Management As an Executive Director of the John Maxwell Group, Denis is a certified leadership coach, trainer, keynote speaker, and DISC Behavior Consultant. He is a passionate person of influence committed to teaching and communicating practical and relevant influencing techniques.  His unique passionate and emotionally driven style resonates with many, creating a desire to become an effective leader.  

You can contact Denis at dbaker@leaderinfluence.net for information on coaching, leadership, team and culture change training, DISC Behavioral consulting or to be an inspirational speaker at your next event.

If it’s Lonely at The Top, Then Something’s Wrong

 

Executive-Coaching

During a recent executive coaching session, my client and I were engaged in a conversation about leadership when he made the following statement;

“I am passionate about leading my staff, but I don’t feel anyone cares or likes me.” 

It is true many leaders feel lonely. In fact, one of the most common phrases I hear during coaching sessions is: “it’s lonely at the top.”   I disagree with the context of that statement. And so does John Maxwell. In his book, Leadership Gold, John says;

“If you are lonely at the top, then you are doing something wrong.” 

As leaders, we spend our days surrounded by people, so the last thing we expect is to feel alone, but many do. Why? I believe the feeling of loneliness is a not a positional issue, but rather one of personality.

Let me take a few words y from John Maxwell’s book, Leadership Gold to explain. In his book, John says; “If you are leading others and you’re lonely, then you’re not doing it right. Think about it. If you’re all alone, that means nobody is following you. And if nobody is following you, you’re not really leading! What kind of a leader would leave everyone behind and take the journey alone”?  John Maxwell answers that question with;

“a selfish one.”

As leaders, our job is to make people better. To give them the tools and knowledge to achieve their greatest desires.

However, if you’re feeling lonely, it can lead to many things like; poor decision-making, inept problem-solving, frustration, dysfunctional teams, and angry and frustrated employees. Not to mention the internal stress that builds and eventually causes negative behavior and discord between your spouse or significant other and those within your inner circle. Success is nowhere to be found.

There is no doubt that Colin Powell’s statement; “sometimes leadership means pissing people off” is true. Leaders must hold people responsible and accountable for their actions or lack thereof.  This can cause a temporary feeling of isolation or loneliness. Jack and Suzy Welch wrote in a Business Week article: “There’s something about being a boss that incontrovertibly lends itself to isolation. I’ve learned that people dislike people who hold them accountable and will withdraw themselves. I might even say that if you’re feeling some loneliness, you might be on the right track to becoming an effective leader.

I have been there.  I know how lonely it can feel. But my loneliness is base on my desire to have friends, to enjoy conversations and laugh and tell jokes. But leaders must remember; we are not here to make friends, but rather build relationships. When we realize our job is to build relationships, create trust and add value, we’ll do everything we can to connect with those we lead and create an atmosphere of coaching and collaboration. When that occurs, your not lonely, your fully engaged!

How do we eliminate the loneliness at the top and get our leadership focus right?

Here are five principles I lead by to eliminate the loneliness of leadership:

  1. I’m VISIBLE every day. I make a point to talk face to face or through the phone or video chat with EVERY direct report. I also strategically reach out to indirect reports to continue to build those relationships.
  2. I set clear BOUNDARIES with my team. I lead through a philosophy of Ready, Fire Aim. Meaning I empower my team to identify what needs to be done and go do it! We’ll make it perfect as we progress. However, there are boundaries in regards to people, operational interruptions and costs. When setting boundaries, be careful not to shut yourself off from your team.
  3. I INVOLVE my team in the vision and strategic plan. I make it a priority to get people involved in the process of decision-making, problem-solving, communication, and training.  I make sure everyone has input.
  4. I spend a large part of my time COACHING my team. I meet with each direct report weekly and conduct one-on-one coaching session where we continue to set, adjust and create goals and objectives, conduct on-going performance reviews and develop a mentoring relationship using character-based coaching to achieve their desired goals.
  5. I make sure and COLLABORATE with those outside of my direct reports and team. I made it a priority to meet with every department once a month to listen to their concerns and suggestions, as well as to share information.

There is no doubt that being a leader offers extraordinary challenges in connecting, building relationships and creating an atmosphere of trust. However, just because you’re no longer invited to lunch doesn’t mean that you’re a terrible leader.  Don’t take it personally. More importantly, accept it, because the more you try to be liked, the more you’ll compromise your role and lose respect from the team. Remember you are not there to create friendships, but rather build relationships.

happy-leaders

 

Managing Work/Life Balance

 

o-WORKLIFE-BALANCEI recently began a new job. Yes, I said a new job. The last two years have been very challenging, but that is a topic for a future blog. Man, I wish I could keep a job like I keep my wife (we’ve been married for 32 years).

With a new job comes the need to re-balance the commitment to work with the commitment to life. That takes a lot of effort. Let’s face it, a new job not only takes a lot of effort to build relationships, learn the job and become familiar with the organization, but it creates a desire to make a great first impression.

However, our personal life is the most important. Whether you are married, dating or simply just like your alone time, work-life balance is essential to your physical and mental health.

As leaders, we want to set the pace and set the expectation. If you are a true leader, the best way to do that is to exceed your own expectations. I find many leaders do this by coming to the office early and staying late. In fact, if I come to the office and someone is already there, I find myself questioning my commitment and leadership. Even though I know better, I will fall into this thought process sometimes.

I think the challenge of work-life balance is one of perspective and mindset. I heard someone say,

In order to change the way we work, we must change the way we think.”

I agree, to achieve balance we must think like the leader we are and not the doer we want to be.

I’ve heard it said that being “busy” is the badge of honor among leaders.”
I used to model that saying. However, I realize I was merely wasting time. There is a time within the end of a day (for me about 9-10 hrs) where my concentration and focus lacks. I only exist at the office to create a perception. Longer days don’t generate accomplishments.

As a leader, here is what is needed to create a fair work-life balance:

  1. Make a list of things you need to do. And make a list of things you want to do. Create a combined list based on both “need” and “want.” This will generate a desire to accomplish both while creating a more enjoyable work environment.
  2. Identify your priorities each day. Priorities change, so it is essential to take time in the morning, and afternoon to re-evaluate and make adjustments.
  3. Schedule time in the early morning to give you an opportunity to achieve items on your priority list before people start interrupting.
  4. Look for ways or opportunities to overlap projects.
  5. Limit emails, answering calls or checking voice mail.  Set aside an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon to answer emails and voicemails. In fact, I have a code for my staff and family. If there is an emergency or critical situations, they are instructed to use the code, and I will immediately answer.
  6. Assign appropriate roles and responsibilities to your staff. This will reduce your workload and free up time to accomplish your priorities.
  7. Trust your team. Some of you will say this is easier said than done. If that is the case, I suggest you reevaluate your team members. Give them a challenge and the freedom to perform and succeed. I use the approach of “Ready, Fire, Aim.” Meaning I let them do what they do, and we course correct as needed.
  8. Learn to say NO! It’s ok to say no. People will respect you more when you do. When we figure this out, we free up time to accomplish other things and spend more time with family or taking care of ourselves.

Creating a healthy work-life balance doesn’t just happen. It takes commitment and persistence every day. However, seasons do come and go. There will be situations where the balance is off, however, be persistent in trying to maintain and create the balance because a good work-life balance will create a better you and stronger relationships.

balance

 

PERSONALITY BASED GOAL SETTING

Our personality impacts everything we do; how we respond to pressure, how we network, socialize, and react when there is an emergency. Our personality is something that we cannot escape. When I reflect upon those who are successful, I see bold individuals who are assured within. They know what they are good at and they maximize upon those strengths. Successful people, regardless of their industry, are always boldly self-aware.

With the beginning of 2019, the New Year provides us with an opportunity to build upon the experiences and lessons learned from the previous year. I don’t believe we ever truly start over, instead; we build upon our achievements and/or the lessons learned from past failures and shortfalls. In retrospect, one of the things I’ve gleaned over the past couple of years is that our personality identifies our strengths and weaknesses. It directly affects our ability to achieve our goals and meet our objectives.

As a DISC Behavioral Consultant, I’ve learned to identify personality types through consultation, and help others develop goals that coincide with their character. In doing so, individuals maximize their opportunity for achievement.

These 3 actions will help individuals streamline their personal goals:

  • Tailor your conversation based on personality traits. This gives you the ability to make adjustments within the discussion to lead the path forward.
  • Generate goals that motivate the person to put in the necessary effort to achieve each one.
  • Identify areas to stretch the individual and achieve things that will take a focused effort.

By successfully implementing these 3 things into the development of goals, I believe we give people the ability to be successful and achieve more than they might expect.

So how do we set goals based upon a person’s personality? To answer this question, I will identify methods that reflect the DISC personality styles in general. I’ll use the behavioral traits and the typical strengths and weaknesses of each personality style. Let’s take a look at how to set goals for each personality style.

Dominant

People with dominant personalities are direct, decisive, problem solvers, risk takers, and self-starters. People with a strong dominant personality are hard-charging, get-it-done kind of people! I identify with this particular personality type. I tend to set very ambitious, lofty goals. However, if I don’t see immediate results, I’ll quickly lose motivation.

People you identify as having a dominant personality need to have goals that meet the following parameters;

  • Identify a few more than required. If you want 3-5 goals, a dominant person will set 7-10.
  • Make the majority of the goals short-term. This serves as motivation to accomplish many things.
  • Set a couple of long-term goals with the expectation to endure until the end.
  • Each goal must be clearly identified and the timeline for completion well established.
  • Establish regular one-on-one follow-ups and progress meetings.

When developing goals for a dominant personality consider the following:

POSITIVE CHARACTERISTICS

  1. Autocratic in teams and will rise to the top in a crisis
  2. Good at providing direction and leadership
  3. High assertiveness
  4. They have a clear idea of their ambitions and goals and will push hard for accomplishment
  5. Function well with heavy workloads
  6. Very competitive attitude
  7. Welcomes new challenges
  8. Tend to follow their own ideas

AREAS FOR GROWTH

  1. LEARN TO LISTEN MORE AND SPEAK LESS
  2. Gather consensus on decisions
  3. Don’t act alone
  4. Learn to answer the question “why” when asked about decisions and proposals
  5. Work on body language and tone of voice when dealing with frustration
  6. Focus on developing sincere personal relationships
  7. Can intimidate others
Influential

People with an influential personality are enthusiastic, trusting, optimistic, persuasive, talkative, impulsive and emotional. They are just pure FUN! They are the life of the party and are typically the ones we talk about after the Christmas party. They love to set goals and dream about the things they want to achieve.

These fun-loving social characters need to have goals that meet the following parameters:

  • Harness their enthusiasm when identifying goals
  • Identify goals that will move the company forward and acknowledge their value
  • Clearly define the steps to achieve each goal and have them focus on each stage before moving onto the next
  • Set smaller goals
  • Identify the timeline for each goal
  • Prioritize each goal for the company and the individual
  • Establish regular one-on-one meetings to verify progress and determine the next steps for successful performance

When developing goals for those with an influencing personality style, consider;

POSITIVE CHARACTERISTICS

  1. Great communicators who are both influential and inspirational
  2. Have the ability to motivate others
  3. Great advocates of change and deal well with change themselves
  4. People are drawn to them, thus creating a great opportunity to lead others
  5. Positive attitude
  6. Great at brainstorming and visionary projects

AREAS FOR GROWTH

  1. Impulsive in decision making
  2. Can be slow to action (a lot of talk, but little action)
  3. Need to exercise control over actions, words, and emotions
  4. Need to talk less and listen more
  5. Tends to over-promise
Steady

The steady personalities are good listeners, team players, possessive, steady and predictable. They are understanding and friendly relationship-based people. Goal setting usually means change is coming, which immediately causes tension for a steady personality—because they don’t like change.

If you see yourself as a person with a steady personality or will be working to set goals with someone described above, consider:

  • Goals that establish step by step directions with a clearly defined plan for achievement
  • Establish the benefit for achieving each goal
  • Needs more time to develop their goals
  • Set timelines for each goal and hold them to it

Consider the following when developing goals for the person with a steady personality:

POSITIVE CHARACTERISTICS

  1. Supportive and natural relationship builders
  2. Grounded in reality and common sense
  3. Talented multi-taskers
  4. Patient
  5. Loyal
  6. Even-tempered
  7. Peacemakers in groups and teams

AREAS FOR GROWTH

  1. Struggles with change and making adjustments
  2. Can be overly agreeable
  3. Tends to put other’s needs before theirs
  4. Need to be more direct in their interactions with others
  5. Their pace tends to be slow, thus causing them to miss deadlines
Compliant

A person with a compliant personality is accurate, analytical, conscientious, careful, precise, meticulous and systematic.  Those with a complaint personality are very focused on procedure and making sure things are done the right way. They don’t have a problem with setting goals, but they do need help prioritizing. A compliant personality wants to accomplish EVERYTHING!

To set effective goals, a person with a compliant personality must consider:

  • Start the process early!
  • Focusing on goals that are important to YOU!
  • Ensure each goal is practical and detailed
  • Create clear, identifiable goals that establish their role within the group, department, and organization
  • Establish data-driven goals that focus on details others may not see
  • Stretch the person by developing one or two visionary goals

As you consider developing goals for the compliant personality, consider the following:

POSITIVE CHARACTERISTICS

  1. Instinctive organizers
  2. Excellent at creating and maintaining systems and processes
  3. Consistent in their approach
  4. Will see projects through until completion
  5. Strive for a diplomatic approach
  6. Strive for a group and team consensus

AREAS FOR GROWTH

  1. Tend to be critical of others
  2. Consider other’s ideas and methods
  3. Need to speed up to help the team or group accomplish their goals
  4. Work on focusing more on building strong relationships
  5. Make faster-informed decisions
  6. Take more risks

Final Thoughts

Each one of us has a unique personality style. Sure, we can put people in “personality” buckets, but that only helps to identify our approach. As leaders, we must know our coworkers and ourselves well enough to understand what motivates them and how they react to different situations. Knowing a person’s personality style can proactively help you and your employees make adjustments. Consider the information presented and strive to achieve your personal best and the best from your employees in 2019!

Denis is an Executive Director at the John Maxwell Group, is a certified leadership coach, trainer, keynote speaker, and DISC Behavior, Consultant. He is a passionate person of influence committed to teaching and communicating practical and relevant influencing techniques.  His unique passionate and emotionally driven style resonates with many, creating a desire to become an effective leader.  

You can contact Denis at dbaker@leaderinfluence.net for information on coaching, training, DISC Behavioral consulting or to be an inspirational speaker at your next event.

What Message Are You Sending? PART 1 of 3 – 10 Rules and Etiquette for Crafting and Sending Effective Emails

email 2You’ve been there.  You get an email accusing you of some action or lack of action. The tone is rude and inappropriate.  The sender includes several people, many who have no reason to be involved. As you read what is written, the words spark enraged anger from deep within your soul.

You immediately react by hitting “Reply All.”  In fact, you want to vindicate yourself, so you “Bcc” your supervisor. Through your rage, you unleash a barrage of words that support your position.

Immediately, after hitting the send button, you receive a text from your boss.  Yes!  He wants to congratulate you on an excellent response!  Only when you open the text, it says “meet me in my office first thing in the morning.”

Emails and texting, perceived in the wrong way, can lessen or eliminate the influence email-logoyou have with your staff or groups. The relationships you spent months or maybe years to build and foster are now in jeopardy.

Email and texting should never be a substitute for face to face communication or phone conversation. However, if crafted properly, these can be useful in reinforcing your ideas and increasing your influence.

In part 1 of my 3 part series, I provide 10 rules and etiquette for crafting and sending using emails.

I find these very useful and productive to lessen the chance of responding in a destructive or unprofessional manner.

EMAIL

When preparing or an email consider the following 10 suggestions:

  1. First, consider a face-to-face or phone call before sending an email. 
  2. Send the email to those that absolutely need to know.  
  3.  “CC” people for information only.  “CC” responses should only be sent if the data reinforce or add additional pertinent information.
  4. Make sure the “subject” accurately depicts the content.
  5. Content must be specifically related to your “TO” group. Be precise, concise, and clear.
  6. Begin the email with a positive statement. Sets the tone for the responses.
  7. Continued disagreement or confusion, set up an in person meeting, conference call or video chat.
  8. READ IT BEFORE YOU HIT SEND AND THEN READ IT AGAIN. Read and re-read your email.  Make sure your grammar, spelling, and choice of words portray the intended tone and message.
  9. Emails should NEVER be used to reprimand, counsel or address disagreements. 
  10. When in doubt…….have a face-to-face conversation.

TRANSFORMATIONAL INFLUENCE. The Unexpected Changing of Lives in the Midst of Hurricane Harvey

RAIN TOTALS

As a Native Houstonian, I am experiencing survivor’s guilt. It is heartbreaking to see family and friends suffering, houses being lost from flooding every day. I moved from Houston 6 years ago, and there is very little I can do but pray and encourage. I am also a first responder in my heart. God has given me the talent to keep people safe, and I am unable to do that. Even though there are things I can do to help and support (and I am), I know that friends and families are struggling, anxious at not knowing what the future brings. As of writing, there is still the possibility of an additional 15-30 inches of rain. Pray for their safety, peace, and sanity. Pray that they will know that ultimately good will come out of this catastrophic disaster.

In fact, I already see the good being done. In a nation where there is a focus on the debate over race, religion, and income equality. In a time where the country criticizes every decision made by local, state and federal governments. Where unity is but a distant hope, I see the people in the nation’s fourth largest city and surrounding areas, banding together in solidarity to help their neighbors, friends, and family.

I see the rich and poor, people of all ages, races, religions and rising up hurricane-harvey_culture_getty-1150x724and becoming leaders within their homes, families, and neighborhoods. I see leaders taking time off of their jobs and coming from all over the United States to support and save lives. I see leaders donating money, food, clothes and goods and their time for those who have lost everything. I see leaders risking their lives for others. I see churches and organizations opening their buildings up shelter, clothe and feed those in need. I know there are some working and staffing those shelters that are facing or have lost their home, have family in desperate need and are experiencing the same anxious thoughts as anyone else. But rather sulk in their despair and hopelessness, they chose to serve others and make a difference.

I SEE PEOPLE SACRIFICING THEIR COMFORTABLE LIFESTYLES FOR THE BETTER GOOD OF MANKIND!

170828121341-14-harvey-0828-super-169

What the Houston area is witnessing is called, Servant Leadership. Serving others unselfishly with little or no regard to their circumstances. Out of this Servant Leadership, I see something much deeper occurring. I call it Transformational Influence. Leaders making a difference in people’s lives by influencing through their generous serving of others, and positive and encouraging conversations. They possess a positive attitude regardless of the situation or circumstance. Transformational Influence is a term I created from witnessing the transformation of people’s lives through conversation, prayer, and commitment to others. Transformational Influence occurs when we affect the way a person thinks, acts or behaves through our conversations, personal actions or simply our intention.

How can you have Transformational Influence in a time of crisis?

  • Be genuine in your relationship with those you encounter – Focus on the individual’s needs and desires. You can only do that by being sincere, involved and curious.
  • Be intentional – Go out of your way to get to know a person. See someone hurting or sitting alone? Go sit with them and let them share their struggles with you. Ask to pray.
  • Be a servant – Serve them with your whole heart. Make it a priority to help them get settled.
  • Be humble – Realize that you are not them. You are not feeling what they are feeling.
  • Be encouraging – Encourage through your conversation or simply just be there for them. Sometimes the most encouraging thing you can do is simply sit there and not say a word.
  • Give them Hope – Regardless of the situation or circumstance, there is hope. Hope shines brightest when the hour is darkest. Let them see and hear hope for something better. Hope is our greatest asset and the greatest weapon we can use to battle our losses. Without hope, there is nothing.
  • Pray for Them, Daily and Often – Prayer changes people. Prayer changes situations. Even if you don’t pray with them, pray earnestly for their salvation and their success in life.

CalvaryUse this catastrophic and tragic situation to transform the lives of others through your Servant Leadership. Have Transformational Influence on those you come in contact with.

To the people of the greater Houston Area……..Continue to UNITE and Serve One Another! Show the world why Texas is the Best!

To those who have traveled to the area to assist……THANK YOU! Your commitment and service will be remembered for generations to come.

GOD BLESS HOUSTON, TEXAS!

Texas Helping Texans

To Improve Performance, Change Your Attitude

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Life has its ups and downs, its turbulence and its smooth flying. We sometimes stall, but hopefully, we change our attitude and recover to make a smooth landing.

I love flying. I am not a pilot, but I have been interested in flying for most of my life. I love watching pilots perform their pre-check routines. I study every move they make and try to identify every instrument on the panel; altimeter, airspeed indicator, vertical speed indicator, magnetic compass, attitude indicator, heading indicator, turn indicator, etc. If you ever see a nerdy guy sitting up front watching the pilot(s) perform their pre-flight checks, it’s probably me.

I’ve had the privilege of flying in private planes and charters. One of the coolest things is most of these planes have open cabins. You can watch out the front window and every move the pilot performs. I notice that pilots are always watching their instruments. While we gaze out the window trying to identify landmarks or enjoy the scenery, the pilot is intently focused on his instrument panel. One particular instrument, the attitude indicator, seems to be one they refer to and watch most often. In fact, it is placed in a prominent position within the panel, typically right in front of the pilot. While there are other instruments of importance, I believe the attitude indicator is placed in the most prominent part of the panel, because of its significance to the safe operation of the aircraft.

attitude indicatorThe Attitude Indicator depicts the position of the airplane in relation to the real horizon. It shows whether the wings are level and if the plane is climbing or descending, or flying straight and level. A pair of wings represents the attitude of the aircraft in relation to the sky (blue) or ground (brown). Basically, if the wings are in the blue, the plane is climbing, if they are in the brown, the plane is descending. The attitude of an airplane indicates its performance. To modify the performance of an airplane, you must change the attitude.

Through my recent studies on personal attitude, I realize there is an analogy between the performance of an aircraft to the performance of a person. Just as an airplane’s attitude determines its performance, the attitude of a person will determine their performance.

What happens when a person attitude dictates unfavorable results? How can that attitude be changed? I believe the key to having a good attitude is the willingness to change. To change, one must choose to change.

If you want to achieve and maintain a good attitude, do the following:

  1. Evaluate your present attitude – Identify your problem feelings, behavior and thinking. Clarify the truth, secure your commitment and act on your decision immediately and often.
  2. Realize faith is stronger than fear – To succeed, one must have faith from the beginning knowing he/she will succeed.
  3. Want to change – When all else fails, desire alone can get you on the right track and keep you there.
  4. Live one day at a time – Success and failure follow us. Forget yesterday and focus on today. For what we do today, has an impact on tomorrow.
  5. Change your thoughts – What we focus on and remember, determines our actions. Our attitude is developed through our thoughts and feelings. Change your thoughts and feelings, and you will change your attitude.
  6. Develop the right thoughts – Our attitude is nothing more than our thoughts. It is as easy to form a thoughtful habit of success as it is a failure. Work to develop the habit of success through positive thinking.
  7. Choose to have the right attitude – The choice of a good attitude is just the beginning. Attitudes have a tendency to revert back to their original pattern. You must deliberately choose to have the right attitude.

The only way a person’s attitude can change is through their personal desire to change. As leaders, we can influence those we lead to change, but ultimately they make their own decisions. Just as an airplane’s performance changes with a change in attitude, so will the performance of an individual. But remember, attitudes can be bad or good. Make the wrong attitude adjustment in an aircraft and the results can be catastrophic. The same could be said for people. Make a bad attitude change, and the suffrage can be devastating.

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How to Stay Motivated and Influential in Difficult Times

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” Zig Ziglar

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It’s Friday, you are finishing up a few last things and then heading out for the weekend. As you are sitting in your office reading a report, you hear a light tap on the door. Looking up, you see your boss closing the door. S/he starts out by saying, you have really done an excellent job, but…… you probably know where this ends. Most of us have been there. You are about to encounter the harsh truth, you are out of a job. Maybe you just received news that you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer. Or maybe you find yourself falling on difficult financial times. Whatever it may be, there will be difficult times in all of our lives. Difficult times also bring on frustration, anxiety, and fear of the unknown.

As you stare down on this big ugly beast, realize that your reaction will determine your success or failure. What will your reaction be, discouragement or comfort? Your answer depends on you. I think we all feel disbelief and despair in the beginning. But it doesn’t have to consume us. In fact, I believe we must take advantage of these situations and find ways to stay motivated and encouraged in difficult times.

Here are 10 ways I stay motivated during difficult times:

  1. Realize life flows up and down – Life is a cycle. There will always be good and bad times. It’s how we react and handle those times that determine our future.
  2. Remember, things don’t change overnight – Things take time to work out. Be patient and work diligently for your desired outcome.
  3. Focus on the positive – Although the past is with us, it doesn’t have to haunt us. Focus on what matters today and tomorrow. Remember, yesterday ended last night, focus on today in preparation for tomorrow.
  4. Continue self-growth – When difficult or trying times hit, it is a perfect time to take personal inventory and determine where you need to grow.  Spend time becoming a better you. Physically, mentally and spiritually. You can GROW or GROAN. However, I don’t think the latter will get you much.
  5. Consider all options – Take time to consider your options. Maybe it is time for a career change, or to downsize in your home, vehicles, etc. Whatever it may be, remain open and ready to take initiative.
  6. Serve others – As difficult times come upon us, look for ways to help others succeed. In fact, this is an excellent time to move the situation away from you. Serving others creates a heart of gratitude and gives us the opportunity to meet the needs of others.
  7. Consider the big picture – Remember that everything happens for a reason. You may be the reason you have fallen on difficult times. Whatever the reason, maintain a big picture point of view. Consider your current situation and look for opportunities to achieve your future desires and goals. Never a better time than the present to begin a new road to the future.
  8. Embrace change head-on – Change. I LOVE IT! Many hate it, fight it and despise it. Become a person who embraces change. Consider the many opportunities change presents and capitalize on them. Remember, the only thing constant in life is….change.
  9. Never give up – Whatever you do, don’t give up and don’t settle. Too many give in too quickly. Continue to push through the muck and mud, and you will be victorious!
  10. Pray and stay in the Word – During difficult times, it’s important to understand where your strength comes from. I  believe one must stay connected to God through prayer and reading His Word, the Bible.

These 10 ways help me maintain my motivation during the difficult times. I believe one or all can help you do the same. Remember that difficult times affect us all. No one escapes the difficult times in life. However, the way we handle and react in those times determines our success or failure.

When you remain motivated, others see how well you adapt and handle the situation and will allow you to influence them. Tim Tebow said, “I’ll always use the negative as more motivation to work even harder and become even stronger.” Use the difficult times to become a better and stronger person.

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Are You A Leader? Then You Must Be a Learner!

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In my journey to increase my leadership, I’ve come to realize the importance of self-growth and the value of always learning. Let’s face it, if you want to lead, you must learn to lead yourself first.

I’ve found that most successful leaders become successful through their insatiable drive to learn more. They are never satisfied with what they know; they always want to know more. In fact, successful leaders are somewhat obsessive with their desire and drive to learn.

Here are eight (8) ways to create an obsession to learning:

  1. Do it every day – Every discussion, every wrong turn, every meeting, every confrontation, every conversation; learn from it. Don’t waste the day; we only get so many. Never pass up an opportunity to learn!
  2. Never be satisfied with today – Whatever you accomplish, good for you, but remember tomorrow is coming and today will just be yesterday. Never forget yesterday, but rather learn from it and take today straight on!
  3. Serve others by helping to solve problems – Learn by helping others succeed. Leaders help those whom they lead. Invest in your people’s development, give words of wisdom and encouragement. Be a part of their struggles and successes!
  4. Read! – Everything and anything! Need to solve a problem? Need an answer to a question? There’s a book for that! Reading will not only increase your knowledge, but it will also improve your vocabulary and creative process. I used to hate to read. After college, I don’t think I read a book for ten years after graduation. Apparently, I’m not the only one. 42% of all college graduates will never read another book after completion of their formal education! Make reading a habit of learning and get ahead of 42% of the people!
  5. Ask questions – John Maxwell said, “Answers inform, but questions transform.” Ask questions and be willing to challenge the answer with the notion to understand the answer given. Remember, we don’t know it all, never will.
  6. Be an active listener – If you ask a question, be willing to listen to the answer actively. I’ve found I learn more by listening and less by talking. Listen and learn.
  7. Keep an open mind – Be open to new ways of thinking. Realize there is always another and maybe better way to do things. Remember you don’t know what you don’t know because you don’t know it!
  8. Always fail forward – You failed? Get over it! What did you learn? J.M. Barrie said, “We are all failures – at least, all the best of us are.” Always find the positive in failure. In fact, I think failure is the best way to learn.

Leaders who never stop to improve themselves are eager to take on new challenges, embrace change and help others succeed.

Become a leader who yearns to learn!

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