What's the Most Important of All Leadership Traits - David DeWolf

What’s the Most Important of All Leadership Traits?

Last week, I was talking to an executive. We were brainstorming and trying to figure out why it was that, of all the leaders we were talking about, none of them seemed to have any sort of formal training or coaching. None of them had gone through a leadership development program. Yet they seemed to be some of the best and strongest leaders that we knew.

What was it that made them different?

We finally stumbled across it. We were convinced it wasn’t the question of nature vs. nurture. There had to be something about these people that made them different.

Sure enough, we started with the fact that leaders are readers. Its almost cliche. It’s embarrassing how often people say that. But do we really understand why it is? Heres what we discovered as we talked more.

Leaders want to soak up information. Leadership comes from digesting information. Learning more. Soaking up information so that you can connect the dots and notice the trends. Put this information into action.

All of the leaders we were talking about weren’t just readers, they were connected to other individuals. They were naturally curious. They asked tons of questions. They were in the market. They were connecting with other leaders. They were exposing themselves to lots and lots and lots of feedback of information. Of new ideas. Ideas from different industries. Ideas from different leaders. Ideas from people throughout the entire world.

Yes, they were reading but that was actually only one channel of information. What they were doing above all else was seeking out information.

Leaders thrive off of more information. Leaders are tasked with changing the status quo and putting new things in motion. They do this by taking information and applying it to their situation.

Leaders are hungry for more. That was the common denominator. It was these naturally curious, naturally exploring individuals who couldn’t help but put what they were learning into motion.

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How Do You Communicate "Core Values"? - David DeWolf

How Do You Communicate “Core Values”?

How do you or other leaders in your organization communicate the “core values”?

The way you communicate values to an organization must be intentional. It must be deliberate, but, more importantly, it must be based on action, not words. There are two primary ways to communicate values and to spread them within your organization.

The first is to lead by example. If you don’t live your values, if those closest to you don’t live your values, then they’re not your values. Values are all about valuing it regardless of the impact, regardless of the situation.

Nobody expects you to be perfect, but they do expect you to be genuine. You must live your values, and when you don’t you must admit it. You must acknowledge that you failed. You must share and ask for forgiveness from the organization.

The second way to communicate and to live your values is to reward and recognize based off of values. A lot of people rewarded and recognized based on getting things done, on a phenomenal effort, or on a brilliant idea. This is great. But it should not create a shadow over the values of the organization.

Do you recognize those people that live your values? That show them and demonstrate them consistently? Lift those people up! Put them on a pedestal as an example for others to see. Recognize them publicly. Reward them and thank them for what they are doing.

By clearly living your values and holding up others as examples who live your values. Your values will spread like wildfire throughout your organization.

Question: How do you or other leaders in your organization communicate the “core values”? I’d love to hear from you! You can leave a comment by clicking here. Learn to live an integrated life with humble confidence. Get it Now Join the Discussion

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Taking Joy in Someone Else's Success - David DeWolf

Taking Joy in Someone Else’s Success

If you knew José, you would have been WOWed. José was one of my best employees! Brilliant. Creative. His skills were impeccable. He was consultative and polished. Clients loved to work with José.

Not only that, but José showed leadership ability. He was able to inspire others. He was able to paint a vision and get others excited and motivated around it. He was a little bit unpolished in his leadership techniques but he was rapidly learning them.

José also had vision. Lots of ideas! Tons of Ideas! The passion and commitment to make sure he pursued them.

Unfortunately, some of these ideas simply weren’t in alignment with our company. And while several of them were, it was obvious that José’s passion was pursuing these other ideas. He wouldn’t stop at anything before they were accomplished. It began to create a disturbance within the organization. In a couple of instances, instructions would be ignored as he passionately and almost blindly pursued these ideas.

I went to José, and after several months of trying to reign him back in, had a blunt conversation. “José, I think you need to be an entrepreneur. It’s time to leave. You can have the time you need. Let’s figure out a plan. Let’s transition. Let me help you start a business.”

And that’s exactly what he did. José is an incredibly successful entrepreneur. He’s built a fabulous company, one that I am super proud of.

I don’t talk with him much, almost never, but I stand back and admire what he’s done. And frankly, it’s one of my most proud moments.

In business, it’s easy to want to keep everything for yourself, to want to protect your talent. In the grand scheme of things, I helped the organization by getting rid of a distraction, while helping an employee at the same time become a successful entrepreneur who is totally fulfilled by pursuing his passion.

There are often times when employees or others I know will ask what I think about José’s success. Its almost tongue-in-cheek where people are expecting me to be sad or disappointed, upset that José is no longer with us. Quite frankly, many people don’t have a clue that I was the one who encouraged him to leave. They just see it as a failure on my part to retain talent. I smile and I share how proud I am of him.

It’s not disappointing to me that somebody else is successful. I take great pride in the fact that this individual was able to hopefully learn a few things while with us and that I was able to give him that little nudge and that little runway to to start a successful business of his own.

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What Are the Most Important Decisions You Make as a Leader - David DeWolf

What Are the Most Important Decisions You Make as a Leader?

What are the most important decisions you make as a leader of your organization?

As a leader, there is no doubt what your number one priority is: it is to build a high performing team. Teams accomplish things that individuals simply cannot by themselves. As a leader, who you hire, the way you facilitate interactions, the way you tear down silos in politics, and how you build trust within the organization matter more than anything else.

To this end, it is the personnel decisions, the team orchestration decisions, that make the most impact on your organization. Flawless execution will beat brilliant strategy all day long. But high performing teams will overcome challenges in strategy, in execution, and in all parts of the business.

Your number one priority as a leader is to build your team. Do not abdicate your responsibility in putting that team together. The most important decision you make as a leader is that which impacts the team and the people within the team.

Question: What’s the most important decisions you make as a leader in your organization? I’d love to hear from you! You can leave a comment by clicking here.


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Why I took my online presence to the next level - David DeWolf

Why I Took My Online Presence to the Next Level [Graphic]

In late 2013, I made the commitment to taking my online presence to the next level. This was a deliberate decision and one that I didn’t take lightly.

Investing in building a platform requires a commitment of personal capital and time.  It also requires an emotional investment and a willingness to put yourself out there.

So why did I do it?  Because to be an effective leader in today’s business world, it’s required. Here are some of the reasons why I remain convinced that developing a strong online presence was and is the right thing for my business — and I’ll bet most of them apply to you as well.

People follow people. People want to know you. You can’t lead if you’re absent. People want to learn from you. You have to be in the conversation.

To read more about this, you’ll want to be sure to read my earlier post about why I took my online presence to the next level.

Question: Do you need to build a stronger online presence through your blog, social media, or some combination? I’d love to hear from you! You can leave a comment by clicking here. Learn to live an integrated life with humble confidence. Get it Now Join the Discussion

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The Dichotomy of Leadership - David DeWolf

The Dichotomy of Leadership

I often get criticized within my own company for making too many changes. I can’t stop tinkering with our strategy, the organization, or our tactics. I can’t stop tweaking our business model. I just see things that need to be fixed, refined, or evolved and I push them forward as new ideas. I can always find a way to make things better. Nothing is ever perfect and I’m resolved to keep making things better.

Leaders, by their very nature, are all about change. Managers manage the status quo; they keep the engines running. Leaders push things forward, ensure progress, inspire towards a vision, and get people to move in that direction.

In other words, where leaders prompt change, managers provide stability.

Until recently, I never considered the ramifications of this reality. By and large, people don’t like change. Change tends to disrupt people. It makes them anxious. It can be uncomfortable.

As a leader, it’s essential that we continue to push things forward and build momentum. It is upon us to ensure that our organizations and are moving forward. Yet it’s just as important that we have strong management skills or surround ourselves with strong managers who are helping to create the stability necessary for others to feel safe.

Leaders must be managers. Managers are not always leaders.

Leaders must prompt change. They must build momentum and disrupt the status quo. But good leaders also must create the stability necessary for others to perform at peak levels.

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