Elevating your leadership | If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. – John Quincy Adams

Leaders empower people, they don’t micromanage

Micromanagement demonstrates lack of trust in the abilities of your staff and that is never the right thing to do. Enable and empower people to make decisions, take actions and move forward without the need to constantly come to you for every single detail.

Obviously, levels of empowerment and decision making abilities will vary based on experience and your familiarity with particular employees, but it needs to be there, it needs to be part of your operating culture. People must be free to make decisions, fail and learn from those failures as that is all part of development and growth that you want for each of them.

Best ideas must win

Best ideas must win. They must win irrespective of who brought them up and how long that person has been with your organization. Whether they are a CEO, a President, or another executive or a temporary employee who started last week, quality ideas must always be enabled to rise to the top.

Diversity of opinions, experiences, backgrounds and education is a positive aspect which should be leveraged for the benefit of all. Ideas should not only be generated by an exclusive number of people, but rather should be encouraged and expected from all employees.


Pay attention to expressions, mannerisms and body language

We all know that actions speak louder than words. Additionally, it is important not to underestimate the importance of our facial expressions, mannerisms and the overall body language. It is important to keep that in mind as you meet with your team, clients, boss, partners…as they are only aware of your feelings and thoughts on particular issues based on what you say and display.

I have caught myself more than once being deep in thought in a meeting where I should have payed closer attention which might have sent a wrong message across. I have since worked on correcting this but was reminded of the importance of self-awareness in today’s post by Michael Hyatt (the bit I mention is at 32:45, but I highly recommend watching the entire episode alongside the rest of his work) – he’s a great leader who has proven himself over the years in both corporate and entrepreneurial environments.

Productivity depends on energy, not time management

We would all like to be more productive and accomplish things with ease. However, frequently, there is not enough time to do everything that we need to do and there’s even less time for everything that we want to do. Is this the truth or is this something that we like to tell ourselves (and others) as a justification, an excuse of sorts?

If you really think about it, productivity depends on energy, focus and intent a lot more than it does on time management. One can manage time quite efficiently, yet not be effective at all.

Success is contagious

Surround yourself with positive, successful people who will have a beneficial influence on you. Success is contagious and it has a way of inspiring people to dream, set their sights higher and go after things with more vigor and determination.

The company you keep not only speaks of yourself, but it also influences your behavior and actions…choose wisely.

5 interview questions to ask employer

You are nearing the end of an interview where you have been asked a number of questions and now it is your turn to ask a few of your own. While there is no requirement to ask questions, it is always a good idea to do so as it shows interest, preparation and desire to join the team. Having said that, it is important not to smother your potential employer with too many questions, but to rather focus on select few which will provide the greatest insight into what may lie ahead. Please note that there is no salary or benefits talk at this stage as that comes much later once you have actually been offered the job (unless the employer brings it up sooner).

So here are five, somewhat general yet insightful questions that I like to ask and enjoy being asked during interviews. You can use all five, or select two or three you think will suit your needs best. Or better yet, come up with a list of your own that are specific to the company and position you are applying for.

  1. If I was to be offered the job what do you see as my top contributions and priorities over the first 90 days?
  2. Could you share some of the qualities of your top performers?
  3. What opportunities are presently available for further education and professional development?
  4. What do you see as the greatest values of your organizational culture?
  5. How would you describe your management style and communication preferences? (if interviewed by potential boss)

Remember, the entire interview process is about demonstrating how YOU can HELP them succeed.

Honor your word and build credibility

As you are building your professional credibility, it is important to honor your word. No matter how small it may seem, make sure to follow through on things you have said you would do. With time, these somewhat small actions will lead to larger acts which will all assist in establishing your credibility within your community.

As people (both clients and colleagues) get to know you it is important to demonstrate that you are someone who is trustworthy and someone who they can count on for help when needed.

Lead with your heart

Treat others the way you want to be treated. Show compassion, empathy, understanding and support. Now, this doesn’t mean be a softy all the time and let others take advantage of your kindness, but it means don’t go out of your way to make lives of others miserable and unnecessarily difficult.

As a leader, one of your primary responsibilities is to make lives of others better, easier and as such one should never get down to the level of vindictiveness, pettiness and resentment. Rise above personal attacks, character defamation and focus on solutions and how to achieve them collaboratively. Everyone needs to work together towards common goals, vision and that can only be achieved with mutual respect, support and collaboration.

Leaders ask questions

As you get an opportunity to meet with people who are tasking you and your team with a project or an operational or strategic need please remember to ask relevant, clarifying questions. Clarify all that isn’t clear and ask questions as soon as you have an opportunity. Don’t make assumptions that someone else sitting around that table will ask the questions you want and need answered, do it yourself. Leaders ask question, they ask good, relevant questions and you should begin making this part of your repertoire.

Having the answers will enable you and your team to make educated and informed decisions and take decisive actions as you move forward so ask questions when in doubt. It’s for your own good.

Hire people for their personality, character and abilities, not prestige

As you are expanding your team or replacing an employee who has recently left the company make sure to focus on the personality and abilities of that new individual, not the prestige they may bring. While the education and previous employment are absolutely important, don’t become enamored with “glamorous” companies or universities such as MIT, Harvard, Yale, Oxford, Stanford, Cambridge…as that alone will not guarantee a perfect fit for your needs. Quality of education and previous employment experience are certainly important, but don’t hire based on the names and brand awareness of those institutions.

In order to find that perfect fit needed today and valuable in years to come, one must focus on the individual as a whole, their character, personality and abilities. Seeing how they fit your team and how they will address immediate need and grow with the company is of crucial importance.