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

Leadership teams must reflect the larger population they lead

Adequate representation within leadership and governance teams is essential. This not only means getting the best people you can get to join your leadership teams, but it also speaks about the importance of being mindful of appropriate gender and racial representation as well.

Examples of misrepresentation are everywhere. I have recently come across a governance body representing a very large population, population which is 60% female, yet all six members of the committee are males. While I am not aware of their selection process, I find it strange to see such a large discrepancy between the overall population and their representatives. Choose wisely.

Customer service 101: Listen and engage your clients on social media

In today’s world, customer service is of great importance in everything we do, and as such, it should be approached and handled carefully. Client support and services in person and online matter and should be tailored to the needs of your clients.

When starting the initial engagement we may use templates, but they should not be our guide in every exchange as they are often irrelevant and not applicable. Instead, listen to your clients and address their concerns, problems and frustrations and don’t fall back onto templates and predetermined responses.

Leaders own problems and provide solutions, not excuses

Leadership is about solutions, collaboration, motivation and empowerment.
In order to be successful as a leader you must be honest, transparent and accountable. You must take ownership of issues that lay within your area of responsibility and leadership and move towards their ultimate resolutions.

When they came into existence is less important than what will you do to solve them.

Quitting, self-defeat, six suitcases and your purpose

Quitting on your dreams and your goals should never be one of your options. You are not done until you achieve them and no matter what others may say, you are not defeated until you admit self-defeat.

I came to the U.S. with six suitcases, my parents and I were allowed to bring two each when we arrived to Paterson, NJ without knowing anyone, without speaking the language and I have started from zero. This is why you will always get a bit of tough talk from me when people who should count their blessings begin to doubt themselves and consider giving up on their hopes, dreams and goals.

Remember, if you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will.

Ideas are cheap, execution is priceless

While ideas are important and valuable, often they are no more valuable than that piece of paper you wrote them on. We all have ideas, some are great, others not as much, but what differentiates success from failure, what determines the overall outcome is what we do with our ideas; how do we execute them.

Life, health, family and a Ph.D.

I am finally breathing again! That is such a simple fact of life we take for granted until it becomes a challenge and an issue. Over the past week, I have dealt with respiratory issues (bronchitis) along with our three year old boy having a hairline fracture on his metatarsal bone (right foot) which is very challenging considering how much energy he has.

While I could have given up on some of my goals, these recent challenges have further strengthened my resolve to move forward and complete some longstanding items such as my Ph.D. dissertation. My dissertation has been a source of frustration for a while now and I have finally embraced the course I need to take to see it through and most importantly, I have finally remapped my why. Once you realize why you are doing something, how will fall in place. Don’t give up, don’t quit and move forward towards finally completing those longstanding items from your life.

Audit your life

Audit your life annually to retain focus, intention and determination on people and things are truly matter to you. Your family, your health, your career, your education…whatever the priorities may be at this time, refocus on them and do away with those (both people and things) that provide no value and are a complete waste of time.

We each have 24 hours in a day, what differentiates us is how we use them.

People want to be heard and appreciated

People have an innate desire to be respected, heard, understood and appreciated. Once they reach out to those of us in customer service (READ: we are all in customer service) they want to feel that their concerns and problems are important to us, that we will take them seriously and be of assistance to them.

Even when we are not able to answer their questions immediately, it is important to keep them informed of our progress and be proactive and responsive to their needs. Listen, learn, act, collaborate and communicate at all times.

After all, this is an essential component of great customer service experience, customer service 101.

Be a humble leader and accept criticism

Environment must be safe for dissent and as a leader you must be accepting, even welcoming of criticism and different ideas. As long as these ideas are presented professionally and courteously, you need to accept them with humbleness and give them serious thought and consideration.

After all, be mindful that people on your team and other teams may know a lot more than you do on particular initiatives and as such they certainly deserve your attention, respect and consideration. Communicate, collaborate and work together.

One conversation at a time, no side chatter & respect the calendar

Communication is an essential pillar in building successful teams, but at times, it needs to be managed. While in meetings it is essential for everyone to be on the same page and focused on the topic at hand. People must be both physically and mentally present and engaged into what the team is working on. This is something that I was reminded of by Michael Hyatt in one of his latest videos where he shared someone’s dinner rule: one conversation at a time.

You can watch the episode I reference here [specific part begins at 11:52]

Second important aspect of management and leadership to be aware of is to respect the calendar, respect the schedule. I have disregarded this rule myself on few occasions, but it is important to be respectful of the time you were provided by other people and don’t take more than what you have agreed on. Stick to the calendar and schedule and enable others to get back to the rest of their plans, projects and responsibilities on time.