“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.
“Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.” —Peter Drucker
Braxton Asks: To prepare my high-performers to take on more challenging roles, my company wants to hold a leadership training event. What should we be looking for in a training meant to prepare them for executive positions?
Joel Answers: The most important quality your talent pipeline of leaders need to have to move to the next level is executive presence. By experiencing this executive presence program, leaders will acquire the necessary traits to develop their executive presence and become the elite performers who influence outcomes, contribute to major decisions, and drive change for the betterment of the company.
If you want someone to instill your star employees with the skills and presence to excel as executives, you need someone with proven expertise in training up-and-coming execs. You also need to make sure that person can give you a detailed description of the training he or she will provide, so you’ll know exactly what you’re getting.
For example, a multi-billion-dollar biotechnology company recently contacted me for a training on executive presence to help newly minted high-potential mid-level managers reach the next level of leadership. Here’s the program and what the audience learned.
Title of the training:
Executive Presence: Four Ways to Convey Confidence and Command Respect as a Leader.
The audience learned how to:
- Radiate Gravitas: Be poised, confident, in command, and charismatic.
- Act with Authority: Be decisive, bold, accountable, and convincing.
- Build a Positive Reputation: Be seen as credible, trustworthy, respected, and reliable.
- Communicate Powerfully: Be concise, prepared, and deliver confident messages with conviction.
Often people believe that executive presence is something you’re either born with or lacking. Up-and-coming leaders need to know how to cultivate it. They need to understand the specific behaviors they can practice, day after day, in order to build the kind of executive presence they’ve admired in other leaders. In this training, I take the mystery out of executive presence so audience members can begin carefully crafting it within themselves.
Outcomes of this executive presence training:
By taking part in this program, leaders learned to carry themselves with confidence and be sure of their abilities and what they are able to produce and accomplish. They gained the confidence and respect of their co-workers and supervisors. They were assigned high-profile projects and put in situations where they can create impact and exercise influence. They gained the confidence to seize the reins in their careers.
There are thousands of speakers all over the nation, which can definitely make the selection process feel daunting. But by knowing what you want and finding a speaker who can deliver in that specific area, you’ll ensure the program will drive results.
If you want your leaders to develop executive presence, hire Joel Garfinkle. He’s the subject matter expert and has been speaking on the topic of executive presence for twenty years.
“The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.”
Easton Asks: I want to hire a great professional keynote speaker for an event I’m helping to plan. However, I don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for a feel-good speech that doesn’t deliver results. How can I find the speaker who will provide the best value?
Joel Answers: The cost of a hiring a professional speaker for your keynote address can vary significantly, but it’s important not to cut costs by choosing the cheapest speaker rather than the one who is best for the job. You want your event to shine, and that won’t happen unless you choose the best professional speaker you can afford. Having said this, no matter the cost, make sure the speaker’s service provides solid value.
What qualities should you require a keynote speaker to have?
Most importantly, the ability to not only fire up an audience but to empower them to think strategically about their careers. The best speakers catalyze lasting change by helping audiences devise a clear plan of action for stepping into leadership roles.
Whether you are hosting an all-day high-potential training or a corporate event, a professional keynote speaker has the power not just to motivate your employees, but also to help you cut costs by improving your people’s efficiency and productivity. They’ll learn strategies for working smarter, and by increasing their engagement, they’ll get more results.
- Ask questions of your professional speaker.
You can increase the value you’ll get from the speaker by asking plenty of questions during the screening process. Find out where the speaker’s strengths lie and determine whether those strengths match up with your company’s needs. Tell the speaker about the challenges your company is facing and ask how he will address those problem areas. You should interview at least two or three candidates before making a choice.
- Find out what other services the speaker offers.
Ask your candidates what services and programs they have to offer in addition to the keynote speech, and figure out how those can be incorporated into your event. Can they double as an emcee for your event? Can they hold a breakout session after the keynote address? Add an additional service or two that might normally require hiring multiple people but could be done by a single speaker, and you just might be able to get a discount and save money on the overall cost of the event.
- Treat your speaker as an investment, not an expense.
In order for your business to be profitable, you can only cut corners so much. As the old saying goes, you have to spend money to make money. Remember that your speaker is an investment in your employees. If you pick the right speaker, you’ll see a measurable return on investment due to increased confidence, morale, and productivity. Only then will your event be a true success.
Wondering whether you’ve found the perfect speaker? Watch videos of your speaking candidates online to observe their speaking style. Any accomplished speakers will have videos that demonstrate whether they’re a truly captivating presenter. Are they charismatic—when they enter the room, would people turn their heads in anticipation of what they are going to say? Listen for the audience’s reaction, too—do funny anecdotes get a genuine laugh, or do jokes fizzle out? How does the overall pacing feel?
Did you watch a speaker’s video and think, I would love to have this person speak to my people! Set up a phone conversation. Ask questions like these:
- What types of audiences do you speak to?
- What kinds of tools do you share with employees for helping them make changes?
- Are you available to lead a breakout session and/or follow-up training?
With the right professional speaker, your keynote will give your employees an actionable plan they can implement to achieve their career goals. They’ll leave the session more driven, with clearer goals, and ready to implement the changes that will take their career and their company to the next level.
Hire Joel Garfinkle for a speaking engagement and see for yourself why he is one of the most sought-after motivational and professional speakers.
“There is no advertisement as powerful as a positive reputation traveling fast.”
Nasir asks: I’ve heard that employers are checking social media more and more, to find out how professional their people really are. Should I just get rid of my Facebook profile so I don’t have to worry about my boss snooping on me?
Joel answers: That’s an option, of course, but there’s no need to stay off social media. In fact, 57% of recruiters are less likely to interview candidates who don’t have an online presence, a CareerBuilder survey found. The key is to increase your visibility wisely. Look at Facebook and other social media sites as networking tools. When that guides every choice you make on social media, you won’t have much to worry about.
Over half of employers use social media to check the profiles of their current employees, too, according to CareerBuilder, a trend that’s been growing for years. This means you need to stay vigilant regardless of your employment status!
Here are some important “dos” and “don’ts” for using social media.
- Do create a separate professional account.
Your professional contacts probably won’t want to see all those videos of your new puppy. Posting a tasteful photo from your personal life here and there can humanize you, but if you go beyond that, it’s best to create a separate profile for professional use. Set up a professional Facebook account to keep your business contacts in the loop about the things they’ll really care about. Or, use your Instagram account to share family photos and personal updates—setting it so only approved followers can see them—and use Facebook for professional networking.
- Do set your privacy settings accordingly.
With Facebook and many other platforms, you can choose how much the public sees of your profile. If you’re using one Facebook profile for both personal and professional networking, select privacy settings that allow only certain people to see those photos of you on vacation. If you’re setting up a separate professional account, give the public full access to your information to encourage them to “friend” or “follow” you. Similarly, consider whether you want your boss to see your LinkedIn activity. If you’re in the market for a new job, you may not want your boss to see your flurry of activity. Change your privacy settings so there’s no need to worry.
- Do review your existing content.
Weed through your old photos and remove anything too racy or inappropriate on social media. Even if it’s on your personal profile, don’t take the chance that colleagues or bosses won’t see it. (What if that friend from college is your coworker one day?) Google yourself to find out what comes up—like, for instance, an old profile on a platform you no longer use, or that blog of love poetry you started as a teenager, which you could simply delete.
- Do select your friends wisely.
The last thing you need after working hard to develop a professional Facebook profile is to have a goofball post something offensive on your wall. Even if you delete it, chances are someone else has seen it and the damage is done.
- Do review others’ posts before they go live.
If an unprofessional post shows up, you don’t want it to hover there for weeks until you log in, so it’s the first thing any new contact sees when visiting your profile. Change your settings so you’re required to approve all posts that others make on your timeline before they go up. You can also change your settings so you’re the only one who can post on your timeline. Likewise, set your notifications so you’ll receive an email or phone alert right away if anyone tags you. Then untag yourself if you’d rather not have your contacts see the photo or post.
- Do show personality.
Being professional doesn’t mean hiding your great sense of humor or witty personality—just don’t use them to make crude jokes. Branding yourself well means being authentic.
- Don’t post things you’d be embarrassed about later.
Remember that once you post something on the Internet, it can never truly be removed. Before you post something, think, “Would I be embarrassed if my employer saw this? Would it potentially detract from my chance of getting hired or forming a relationship with a new client?” The same holds true for words as well as photos. Even if they’re on your personal profile, always err on the side of caution.
- Don’t complain.
You don’t need to always be singing about sunshine and butterflies, but don’t use Facebook as a place to vent about work. Even if no single comment is over the top, a pattern of work negativity won’t make you seem like someone others want to be around—and it certainly won’t present you as confident and capable.
- Don’t get into Twitter feuds or feed into trolling.
These time traps can make you look like you have major anger management issues, and they’re rarely productive. It’s fine to have a lively debate, but keep it courteous.
- Don’t post during work hours.
Maybe you’ve kept it professional, posting quality content that colleagues can benefit from. But if you’ve done it during work hours, your boss or HR department might see that time stamp. Post only during lunchtime, breaks, or off-work hours so you’re not wasting time on social media at work.
- Don’t go overboard with advertising.
Make your posts and status updates interesting. One of the easiest ways to lose professional “friends” on Facebook is to abuse your status updates by spamming them with advertising. As an example, instead of telling everyone you’re the best realtor in the region, give daily tips on selling a home. Use your Facebook profile to establish yourself as an expert in your field, and your followers will naturally seek you out when they have a need for your product or services.
- Don’t stay on too long.
Set a time limit for social media. It may help to go on at a particular time every day, for ten minutes or so. That way, it won’t become a time suck.
Remember these pointers, and social media will serve as an important networking tool. Instead of compromising employment opportunities, it may bring you closer to your dream job or draw in clientele. And if your employer is checking out your social media habits, he’ll be nothing but impressed.
You want social media to help your career, not harm it. If perception management (and your social media image) is important to you, hire leadership coach Joel Garfinkle.
“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.