Effective Leaders Stay Up-To-Date

Thought evolves, the world changes, and research keeps on happening.

Are you going to “stick with what works” or “change with the times”?  Neither solution is right all the time, of course, so how do you decide?

Stay well-read, and keep thinking, and talking, and networking, and make up your own mind.

Last week, we

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How DiSC changed my life…

A major shift in my teaching effectiveness occurred after I absorbed and applied “The Leadership Challenge” by Kouzes and Posner. I especially embraced their concepts of “inspiring a shared vision” and “encouraging the heart” as ways to increase my own effectiveness at rallying students to stay attentive and hard-working. Being enthusiastic and affirming as a way of doing things, which is the opposite of what I had done before, was like changing the world from black and white to being in color. This shift marked a measurable difference in my engagement of students.

And yet, every once in a while, I would be frustrated

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Positive leadership isn’t the same thing as “soft” leadership

Sometime, when people are urged to take a positive approach to leadership, there is some push-back. Some people seem to equate “positivity” with being super-nice, but being kind is much deeper than a spewing of empty compliments like “good job” or “nice work” or “super!”

You can’t be too kind. But, you can be too soft. That is the difference, and I’ll admit that I have had trouble sometimes helping folks understand the difference. I just read Good to Great and have taken quite a liking to Jim Collins’s phrase “rigorous, not ruthless.” This is the message for leaders who would like to be positive. In fact, participants in Group Dynamic workshops are often trained in the art of “behavior –> outcome” statements. (Covered in an earlier post). This focus on behavior, and the high standards of the organization, can be done in a way that is positive, not negative. In a way that is rigorous, not ruthless.

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Effective Leaders Focus on Follower Engagement

The posts on this blog have been primarily about effective behaviors of good leadership. But leaders do not exist in a vacuum, and it’s important to remember that much of the work in a high-achieving organization is accomplished by the “followers.” The readings on this site focus on things leaders do to keep those followers engaged and motivated. Let’s take a moment to look at the big picture of follower engagement. I know that sounds like a buzzword, but you can call it whatever you like; keeping people happy, firing people up, making people feel loved, keeping them on your side, maintaining loyalty, whatever.

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