Cognitive Development Skills
to Accelerate Leadership


“If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.”

~Daniel Goleman ~

Henry is in high level management of a dominant retail company.  Because it spreads nationally with global products, Henry deals with leaders on all levels.

“We’ve learned that intelligence, determination, and vision alone, will not guarantee a successful leader,” Henry says. “When we can accelerate cognitive development, we have a better chance at creating successful managers and executives.”

Henry explains that they like promoting from within. The more they can understand and accelerate the abilities of their team to grow these leadership skills, the more successful their leaders become.

“Cognitive development is a way of thinking differently,” Henry says. “How do they interact, motivate, and regulate themselves?  How do they think about themselves and to what degree are they concerned about others?”

Henry feels these five specific skills give them a higher probability of becoming successful leaders.

1. Realistic Self-Confidence.  Good leaders understand who they are.  They recognize their moods, emotions, and what drives them.   They know that their moods affect those around them.  Their excitement is contagious.  Their displeasure can be motivating or discouraging depending on how they use it.

People with cognitive awareness of their strengths and weaknesses tend to not take themselves too seriously.  They can laugh at themselves as they build up others.

2. Self Control.  Powerful leaders learn not to react immediately to problems or situations.  They have the ability to suspend judgment and to think before acting.  This gives them time to consider alternatives and options, to step back and evaluate more thoroughly.  They can be open to change.

Self control also helps leaders avoid leading with negative emotions.  When they master themselves, it’s easier to act with integrity and to be trustworthy.

3. Motivation.  Every leader must be a self-starter.  Sometimes it seems leadership is swimming upstream.  It takes that inner motivation to move forward and influence your organization to produce.

Leaders need a passion beyond money to motivate them to want to work.  Even beyond status.  “This is one of the traits we discover,” Henry says. “If the leader we are grooming doesn’t have this motivation, there’s not much we can do.”

You’ll see evidence of a manager’s motivation through his team’s commitment to succeed and his or her strong desire to achieve. 

4. Understanding People.  Leaders need to know what makes people tick.  What emotions cause them to work hard?  What concerns reduce efficiency?  Good leaders are adept at seeing things from someone else’s point of view. Then, the master leader uses that knowledge to help each person be their best.

Leaders develop cognitive awareness of the people around them.  This accelerates their leadership expertise as they build trust and retain talent.  They exhibit more cross-cultural sensitivity and give better service to customers and clients because they have empathy.

5. Relationship Management. “We find our successful leaders understand how to build networks,” Henry said.  “They listen.  They respond.  And the employees respond to them. It can’t be a manipulative kind of thing. It has to be genuine.”

Leaders use social skills to find common ground, build rapport, and persuade. This is essential in team building.  The majority of our communications are non-verbal. A raised eye-brow. A nod. A pat on the back.  Leaders with great social skills connect with their organization.

As Henry works with his succession plan, he tries to develop these cognitive leadership traits and increase their strength in each prospective leader. “When we do this, we find it accelerates or amplifies all their other virtues of intelligence, skill sets, and experience,” Henry says. “We are pleased with our results.”

Are you looking for a way to ramp up the effective cognitive development of your leadership? Contact Joel to help you expand on these traits.

Talkback: In your experience, how essential are these cognitive traits for successful leadership?

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7 Ways to Accelerate Your Career Without Interrupting It

Accelerating Career

“I want to look back on my career and be proud of the work, and be proud that I tried everything.”

~Jon Stewart~

Client Tony Asks: In today’s environment, it seems so many careers get derailed.  Things start out promising, then bam! You’re taking a nose dive. What can I do to accelerate my career smoothly—without interruptions?

Coach Joel Answers: We live in a roller-coaster society with booms and busts. But there are ways to safeguard your career and make it much more likely you can keep it accelerating on an upward trend.

Take a look at these seven critical areas of business expertise.  As you increase your skills in these areas, you become more valuable to your employer—or any employer.

These skills can super-charge your career to ensure that you give more and more value, and in turn, are appropriately compensated.

1. Become an Expert. Look at the work you currently do—or what you want to do. Find ways to become more skilled and more effective in this field. Research, implement, get mentored. Do what you need to do increase your expertise until you become the person everyone naturally turns to for answers.

2. Communicate Well. Businesses run on clear communication. Mistakes and miscommunication can sink careers. So to keep yours moving forward successfully, master good communication skills. Choose methods that work best for you—in person, email, text, reports.  Ask for responses so you can be sure your messages have gotten through as you intended.

3. Invite Feedback. You need to know the quality of your work. When you ask for feedback you can be assured you’re working to the expectations of your boss and others. When you invite frequent assessments, you can stop potential problems when they start.

4. Align Your Vision. Make sure you are focusing on what your boss or the company sees as most important. It’s terribly frustrating to work hard and produce excellent results—only to discover that what you’re doing isn’t part of the core competencies of the company. It isn’t valued as you expected.

5. Team Work. Every job is part of a team effort to create the products of the business. Your ego needs to be neither too big nor too small to work effectively as a team member.  Support others.  Give credit. Be generous.  People enjoy being around and want to work with those who are likeable and produce results.

6. Ensure Ethics. When you compromise your integrity you run a deep risk of placing your career in recession. To accelerate your career, choose a company that matches your ethics. Then monitor your actions to make sure they fit that standard. One of the most important reasons people give for their decision making is trust. Be trustworthy.

7. Customer Service. Even if you are not dealing with the public, you can give great customer service to those around you. Make sure you are giving good value for what you are earning. Think of management and your peers as your customers and serve them appropriately. This will help accelerate your career.

Stephen R. Covey says leadership is not a position, it’s an action.  Regardless of your position in a company, you can practice leadership skills. You can make yourself responsible, forward thinking, and you can empower others.

As you do this, you accelerate your career—without any interruption or slow-down—and you reach the goals that define your success.

If your career is not on the upward path you’d envisioned for yourself, contact Joel for the strategy and skills necessary to accomplish your dreams.

Talkback: What steps have you taken to move your career off a plateau? Is there a particular trait or event that boosted your career?

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