“Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal.” —Vince Lombardi
Renae Asks: I’m trying to use my time wisely, and that means being strategic in the leadership training opportunities I pursue, as well as the ones I set up for the team I manage. Which qualities would you say are most necessary for people to develop if they wish to become key leaders in their organization?
Joel Answers: Let’s start by demystifying what leadership actually means. It’s the ability to influence followers in order to meet organizational goals through change. That’s something you absolutely have the capacity to do—and you can help every one of your star employees learn to do it, too.
To many, leadership is an elusive role. Some people seem to have a natural talent for leading, while others struggle to grasp how to do it.
Great leaders are not necessarily born, however. Often there’s a lot of self-defeating behavior to overcome. Anyone with the motivation to lead can develop core leadership qualities.
Great leaders play multiple roles inside of an organization. You need to explore what these roles involve in order to analyze areas of weakness. These roles and responsibilities include:
- Decision-making roles, which involve innovating ideas, instituting change, resolving conflict, and allocating company resources such as payroll and inventory.
- Interpersonal roles, such as leading a team, representing the company to the outside world, and acting as a liaison.
- Informational roles, involving gathering information to uncover problems and opportunities, delegating tasks, and reporting to a boss or board of directors.
Poor leadership can lead a company to failure. By contrast, McKinsey & Company is an organization that demonstrates the benefits of developing leaders who stand out. Many executives trained by McKinsey go on to become leading executives at major companies, more so than for any other firm.
In a great business leadership training program, a motivational speaker will share valuable advice like these 5 key tips on developing the qualities of a great leader.
- As a leader know when to step back.
Sometimes being a great leader means knowing when to let people do their jobs. Micromanaging your staff wastes company resources and frustrates employees. A good boss empowers employees to make their own decisions and do their jobs in the way they deem best.
- Make yourself available as a leader.
Leaders can’t afford to be aloof. Showing their staff that they care is an essential component of the ability to influence. Celebrate success, praise and reward a job well done, and let them know that they matter.
- Leaders focus on the vision.
A great leader remembers the fundamentals and keeps their team tuned into the elements of success. They keep everyone focused on fulfilling the company’s core vision rather than getting off course. Leaders must “keep their eyes on the ball” and not lose sight of the bottom line.
- Great leaders nurture their people’s growth.
Ask them what matters to them; what goals they’ve set for themselves. If they have trouble with goal-setting, walk them through it. Be the coach and mentor your people have been looking for, and they’ll be eternally grateful for your support. A great motivational training will help you supercharge their growth, too!
- Leaders don’t put off things that are hard.
If you have something difficult to do, do it first. Otherwise it will consume your mental energy and rob you of your productive time. Have the tough conversation; make that difficult decision. That way, you won’t be stewing about it, and you can move on.
To make your business more competitive and achieve organizational goals, encourage people in managerial roles to develop their leadership qualities. Great leaders who find deep fulfillment in their work will allow your whole business to reach new heights of success. A training on influential leadership will help you achieve that goal.
To instill great leadership qualities in your people, hire Joel Garfinkle. He’s been helping promising employees develop into star leaders for twenty years.
“The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born—that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.”
Randall, an HR executive, felt that he and many other company managers possessed excellent leadership skills. However, he wanted to bring in someone who not only modeled leadership skills but could articulate exactly how to develop them—all within a captivating presentation. That was a tall order, and it called for a skilled outside speaker.
He was well-networked with senior executive’s at the most prestigious companies in the world. He learned how they would invest in training courses on business leadership for their top-performing employees. They hired the best speakers on corporate leadership to elevate their star employees to the next level. He wanted to take his employees’ success just as seriously by hiring the best speaker he could afford.
Top organizations hire top-tier speakers because they choose wisely. They know the most important criteria to look for in a corporate trainer. They choose someone who’s not just charismatic, but who instills vital knowledge and skills in employees that drives results.
When it comes to succession planning for your organization, here are three things you should keep in mind when choosing a training program for your future leaders:
- Get to know the style of your speaker.
No two speakers on leadership are alike. Everyone has a different style and technique. Some are purely motivational—firing up your employees to perform—and some offer factual case studies and industry examples to show how to elevate managing skills, build a cohesive team, or maximize productivity. The best kind of leadership speaker is one who compels your people to take action but also offers them the hands-on tools they need to get started.
- Make sure the leadership program fits your needs.
Prior to a talk, experienced leadership speakers will conduct research to develop a better understanding of what your company is about and what you want to achieve.For example, if you’ve identified that decision-making and delegation are two key areas that need extra attention, the speaker will work to pinpoint the specific hurdles you’ve addressed in those areas. If you need to strengthen leaders’ communication skills, that’s what your speaker will hone in on. Talking to multiple people at different levels of the organization will help the speaker understand what most needs to be addressed. The speaker will also interview star employees to learn more about the issues affecting them and what areas they’d like to strengthen to help identify additional areas for improvement.
- Select a leadership speaker who will follow-up after the training.
Speakers who specialize in leadership trainings recognize that sustaining the lessons learned from the training requires follow-up. They’re willing to maintain a continuous relationship with you to give employees the mentoring they need if you desire. By doing so, they can help leaders to excel in their roles, providing valuable insight into how both leaders and the company need to grow.Ask your potential speakers what additional services they offer. Even if you’re not sure yet which extra services you need, having options gives you flexibility in your leadership development planning.
Randall secured a speaker who accomplished all of those objectives, providing ongoing leadership development to promising employees. There is no better time to plan for the future of your organization than now. It takes time to build, sharpen, polish, and perfect strong leadership. A speaker who delivers a top-notch leadership training program will prime your rising stars to become tomorrow’s top execs.
Hire the right speaker on leadership and rest assured that the future of your organization is in safe hands.
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
– Benjamin Franklin
Patrice knew she needed to get serious about succession planning. As the Chief Human Resources Officer at a multi-billion dollar company, she had hundreds of aspiring leaders not prepared for the next level.
As part of this plan, she wanted to hire a corporate trainer to help the aspiring leaders by giving them the tools they needed for the next level. She knew her employees deserved a top-tier speaker, and she wanted someone who would provide the follow-up needed to ensure their success.
Hiring a top-notch speaker with the right expertise can change the game by shifting workplace culture. A skilled trainer can help employees break free of any undesirable patterns and fully leverage their company’s collective talent, guiding them to become great leaders.
Since she wanted to get a great return for her investment, Patrice carefully outlined a strategy for planning the training. If you’re looking for a corporate training for your company, here’s the 3-step process that the trainer should follow.
- Corporate training – pre-event briefing
What happens before the actual training or event is as important as the event itself. Prior to the corporate training, a good speaker will interview company leaders and key decision-makers as well as seminar participants to understand company dynamics and employee pain points.
The speaker might also inquire about past team-building or leadership skill-sharing initiatives, asking you to share what worked and what didn’t. By doing so, the speaker gains a deep understanding of the company culture and the people who will be attending the presentation.
The speaker can then give your company a corporate training that will address specific concerns instead of providing a superficial cookie-cutter solution that may sound grand but leaves no impact.
- Corporate training – during the event.
Effective speakers know how to train on leadership by incorporating genuine employee stories that emerged from pre-event discussions to make their arguments compelling. By sharing anecdotes, interacting with the audience, and asking questions, a good speaker ensures that participants are hanging on every word and leave fired up to work together as a team.
But is that enough? Not if you ask an exceptional trainer. To really get the speech to “stick,” the best corporate trainers also offer the company’s employees tools to help them unravel the pain points troubling them. Along with motivation, they deliver a plan of action that directly impacts the bottom line.
- Corporate training – post-event process.
So, the event was a raving success, the employees are fired up, they’re got the tools to get started—that’s the recipe for team-building success, right? Well, almost. The final ingredient to ensure that it all comes together is following up. Holding employees (and yourself) accountable is critical. Encourage employees to take on new creative projects and publicly reward those who take extra initiative. Roll up your sleeves and get involved; it says a lot about the way you lead. Email participants for feedback on the event or organize a post-event anonymous survey.
You can also invite the speaker to come back for a shorter follow-up event to reinforce the results you want. This can be done with a webinar. Finally, a great speaker might help you lay out a game plan for how to keep your team motivated and elevate their performance to higher levels.
Patrice found a speaker who understood the importance of coaching and mentoring employees as well as delivering a stellar motivational speech. The employees were ecstatic afterward, filled with the excitement of having new strategies for success and knowing their company took their growth seriously.
All corporate leadership trainings are not created equally. There’s a lot of work that goes into a uniquely designed customized seminar that fits the needs of your organization. Look for a speaker with a commitment to thorough pre-event preparation and post-event follow-up. The top candidates will not only answer your questions thoroughly, but will ask you insightful questions that show they’re working to understand exactly what you need a speaker to do. That’s the difference between a feel-good seminar and a company training that takes corporate success to a whole new level.
If you’re looking for real results, hire a corporate trainer who is a leading expert in the above 3-step process today!
“Trust is a core currency of any relationship. Sometimes our need to control and micromanage everything erodes our confidence in ourselves and others. The truth: People are much more capable than we think. A hearty dose of trust is often what’s needed to unlock the magic. Go ahead, have faith.”
Client Gerald asks: Some of the employees I supervise really seem to self-sabotage at work a lot. It’s clearly coming from a lack of belief in themselves. How can I instill confidence in my employees to get the best results from my team?
Coach Joel answers: Glad you reached out for support, Gerald. Employees who feel confident about their abilities will drive an organization’s success. Meanwhile, those who don’t believe in themselves will settle for the safety of mediocrity. By instilling confidence, you’ll prime your employees to take worthwhile risks, thereby growing into even better performers.
- Focus on strengths
Focusing on strengths doesn’t just make employees feel good—it’s far more effective than targeting weaknesses, according to Gallup’s research. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give feedback about areas for improvement, but don’t fixate on them too much. When employees use their areas of strength, they’re six times more likely to be engaged at work as those who don’t, Gallup emphasizes.
- Be specific with your praise
When you give praise, make it abundantly clear what behavior you’re praising. Highlight key strengths that led to a project’s success, or observations about things that employees consistently do well. Better yet, give this praise in front of others so employees feel their visibility growing.
- Reduce stress in the workplace
As Chris Adalikwu says in How to Build Self Confidence, Happiness, and Health, stress can make people feel less capable, even if they’re fully equipped to handle the situation at hand. Lowering workplace stress will thus bolster employees’ confidence. Being more flexible about deadlines if need be, encouraging employees to leave work at work, and ensuring they have all the tools they need to get the job done are just a few ways to reduce workplace stress.
- Have a plan for building skills
Develop a plan for how to help employees reach the goals you’ve set together during your performance reviews. Otherwise, they may feel daunted about how to get there. Focus on incremental growth, helping them build skills gradually over a series of projects rather than all at once. Small successes will give them the courage to persevere.
- Coach them from the sidelines
If an employee feels daunted about taking on a challenging project, don’t just throw her into it and hope for the best. Instead, coach her from the sidelines. Check in often (but without micromanaging how she does things). Ask if she has questions or needs advice, so she knows it’s okay to feel confused or want feedback.
- Ask them for help
The four most powerful words you can use as a leader are “I need your help.” Say them often, whether you need help with a task, developing a new strategy, or helping the company through a transition.
- Model confident behavior
Some leaders strive to appear invulnerable, but that sets a poor example for everyone. Show your people that strong leaders have questions, need support from others, and solicit others’ advice. Ask for their opinions, and for their feedback on how you can be a better boss. In doing so, you’ll instill self-confidence in your employees and improve communication in the workplace.
As you implement these tips for building people’s confidence, you’ll see your team blossom. To further enhance their growth, consider hiring a motivational trainer who will work to thoroughly understand and address the challenges your people face.
Contact executive coach Joel for more support in growing as a leader so you’ll get the most from your people.
“I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”
Trevor wanted his people to be pillars of innovation and creativity. When he came to me for coaching around innovation, he mentioned how fearful his team was in taking risks and possibly touching failure. I asked him, “What are you doing to celebrate failures?” Like many leaders, he had no answer. We then looked at some fun ways that corporate leaders have learned to take their failures and celebrate them. In doing so, they help their most creative people to develop exciting new ideas.
Celebrating your failures is just as important as celebrating your success. Here’s some ideas for you.
- Hold an Idea Funeral
Holding an idea funeral is a fun way to learn from the failure as a group, as Annabel Acton says in an Inc. article. Take turns eulogizing the idea or project you’re “burying,” sharing lessons learned. Focus on its merits as well as the reasons it ultimately failed. This creates a culture of trying out new ideas and learning from the results. “Startup funerals” have taken off as well, as budding entrepreneurs are increasingly embracing failure as a stepping-stone to success.
- Create a Fail Wall
The finance website NerdWallet creates a “Fail Wall” where mistakes are posted, emphasizing that everyone fails and honoring outside-the-box thinking. Why not set up a “Fail Wall” in your own workplace? Give it a brightly colored banner and encourage people to write down their failures on post-it notes and stick them on the wall.
- Give a Heroic Failure award
Advertising company Grey gives a “Heroic Failure” award to employees who take ambitious risks and go down in flames. Giving this award changes the culture of feeling shame or humiliation if a risk doesn’t pan out. Rather than letting failure become part of people’s identity, they become branded as risk-takers.
- Hold a “F— Up Night”
In a popular social meetup event called “F— Up Nights,” a handful of entrepreneurs tell their stories about failure, followed by a Q&A session. These events been held in over 250 cities across 80 countries. Hold a similar event with your own people, encouraging everyone to take a turn at the mic. If it’s a hit, hold a series of them so everyone gets time to share and ask questions. Find a fun way to host the event outside of the office, like reserving a large room at a restaurant or finding a community space that hosts performances.
- Record What You’ve Tried
Keep a track record of failures, with detailed information about what people tried. Just as a failed cancer drug proved incredibly useful for managing the AIDS virus, a past failure can become a wild success in a different context. Take notes on why the idea failed—it might succeed under the right conditions, or if certain aspects of it are revamped.
It’s most fitting to celebrate failures related to innovation, rather than execution, Harvard Business Review points out. You want to celebrate the failures that show you took a leap. If someone failed to follow through on a task, you obviously won’t want to throw a party. If she gave her all in a new project and it just didn’t achieve the desired results, that’s different. Celebrating those kinds of failures will help your people learn to fail gracefully, growing from the experience.
Most importantly, stop thinking—and talking—in terms of “win/lose.” When you eliminate the shame around failure, and show it’s okay to be vulnerable, people can talk about it. That means they can learn from it, finding the germ of a great idea within it.
Want more advice on boosting creativity and innovation in your company? Hire leadership coach Joel Garfinkle so he can help you develop and implement ideas that get results.