Lead With Questions, Lots of Questions

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At times it seems we are the constant point person for answers in our respective organizations. While there is great benefit to having the right answer at the right moment, I tend to believe it is more important to land the right question at the right moment.  If you truly wish to nurture and grow your team they need to be challenged to make decisions and gain invaluable experience.

If you’ve been in an environment where employees are constantly asking their leaders questions and are only being fed answers? It is an exhausting environment. The team slowly learns that they don’t make decisions and it cripples productivity. We need to nurture self growth in our team. When they bring us a question looking for us to make a decision, flip the script on them. Ask them what they feel is the best solution. Ask them what they need to accomplish a solution. This may initially take precious time from you but I guarantee in the long run, when they are solving problems efficiently on their own, you are going to make out in spades when it comes to time.

So get out there and inspire with questions. I’ll even lead with at few for you. How motivated are you to learn to be a better leader? What steps are you taking to accomplish this? Do you want to see your team grow? Would you like spare time to concentrate on new ideas rather than being an answer machine? Is it important to you that your team is gaining experience? Would you like more help on this? Reach out to me, I’d love to hear from you!

Regards,

John J. Keul

Follow me on Twitter @jacobleadership or reach out to me at john@jacobleadership.com. I would love the opportunity to learn from your experience or help you in your quest for a passionate life. 

Success Doesn’t Eliminate Self Doubt

 

Leaders Limit Self Doubt

One must understand that securing results in life doesn’t secure happiness.  We must be in touch with the fact that even in our highest moments self doubt and self criticism may creep into our thoughts.  What separates consistent performers and those of us that ride peaks and valleys of internal dialogue is whether or not we grasp and hold onto the voice of self doubt.

Take a moment and reflect on your key successes in your life. Really dive into that period of time, before, during, after. Can you label moments throughout that time when negative self talk crept in? Little self talks of ‘I don’t deserve this’ or ‘How can I talk about success when I’ve had my struggles’ may be common during even your more successful moments in your days. How did you address these moments?

We must feel comfortable embracing our self doubt for what it is, a thought. Those that can master the process of accepting self doubt, letting it run its process and releasing it like a passing cloud slowly become consistently positive with their self talk.  I am not a big proponent of positive self talk but I do believe limiting self doubt and self criticism or only giving it a moment to shine is crucial to leading a positive driven life.

How do you manage your self doubt? Are you struggling with it? What tricks do you implement to limit it’s powers over your success?

-John J Keul

Follow me on Twitter @jacobleadership or reach out to me at john@jacobleadership.com. I would love the opportunity to learn from your experience or help you in your quest for a passionate life. 

Are You Documenting Your Observations?

As leaders of our teams, networks, families and friends we tend to be forward looking people with the eye on the prize.  It is this mindset that naturally creates buy-in from those around us as they see we have a vision and are chasing it.  Unfortunately not every one we lead will decide to walk the ‘straight and narrow’ en-route to self growth. It is from my experience we must recognize these moments, use them as coachable situations and than document. I use coachable as a moment to address a behavior or action that is not inline with team standards or personal growth.

This post is geared a little more towards managers/leaders that are working their passion within the scope of an organization.  As you are aware, proper feedback is essential to self and team growth. It is a function of accountability. In order to keep clean eyes on your team, I have found it crucial to keep multiple forms of observational documentation in order to: 1) hold yourself accountable as to when patterns actually are occurring 2) layout proper documentation if and when Human Resources, HR, would like proof of behavior for discipline procedures.

‘IN THE MOMENT’ NOTES

As organizational leaders we are pulled in many directions throughout the day. As the day unfolds we tend to find ourselves observing behavior of our team in spur of the moment situations. For this reason we may or may not have the time to provide proper feedback, positive or coachable, to the teammate.  In situations like this I will make a quick note, on phone or notepad, with date/time/teammate name/action observed. Depending on the action or in action noticed I will either address the teammate as soon as I realistically can or store the observation for later when I do a quarterly reflection.

With so much responsibility and an ever full plate we often lose track of the time frame in which we observed behavior. I have, on occasion, gone to talk to a teammate about observations and upon reflecting on my notes realized his behavior was spread-out over a longer or shorter period than recalled. This is imperative in the direction the conversation goes. If we are providing effective feedback it must be founded in facts.

REVIEW NOTES

In addition to ‘in the moment’ notes I have a spreadsheet with more detailed observations/results pertaining to each teammate. This would include attitude of employee over a period of time as well as any positive feedback I’ve administered.  I use this as the basis for my quarterly vision reviews as well as our company yearly review. It is important your team knows the vision you carry not only the organization but also for them. Quarterly vision reviews go over the positives and coachables that have arisen over the past 3 months. Having proper documentation of the gratitude you’ve shared or the coachable moments the two of you have embraced goes a long way in building organizational trust.

It is our responsibility as leaders to not only hold our team accountable but also ourselves. I have found proper documentation as above is instrumental to accomplishing an environment where everyone know where they stand. What forms of employee documentation work for you? Please share your thoughts!

Regards,

John J. Keul

I am an active supervisor in a medium sized organization with a passion to inspire others to greater heights both in work and at play. You can reach me on twitter @jacobleadership or at john@jacobleadership.com. I would love the opportunity to learn from you and or help you grow in your journey to true leadership.

3 Foundation Traits Great Leaders Must Have

Every great leader must stand for something. They must show those around them day in and day out their values and core beliefs via action. In my 15 years of leading and motivating teammates and clients I have identified three traits that are essential to being an authentic leader.

While there are many qualities of an effective leader, which will be discussed in later posts, I believe they are all built off the 3 Keys listed below.

Be Impeccable With Your Word

Being impeccable with your word is just plain good manners. When it comes to leadership it should be darn near gospel. This, in my opinion, is the absolute base to effective leadership. We must always be accountable to the words we use.  As easy as it may be at times to part take in a little gossip vent session with a co-worker, this is detrimental to your credibility. Stay focused on communicating solutions to problem behavior or using question to spark growth in a teammate.

When it comes to your time as a manager it is extremely valuable. Do not over commit yourself. If you say yes to every meeting, event, or employee one-on-one request you better follow through! And if you follow through, as you should, you will soon be without the essential time you need to really grasp the big picture of your operation. Learn to say no. And feel comfortable with the no. Prioritize your day/week/month or some else will end up doing that for you.

Use Your Given Talents To Their Fullest

Again, good words for us all to live by. But to truly inspire a team to seek the most out of themselves, it’s imperative they see you living up to your potential. I’ve seen extremely talented individuals lay waist to unique talents they had and as a by product slowly loose the trust in those around them. We only have a short time to stay our course here and I feel it is our responsibility to always strive to live our full potential. This is especially true once we feel uncomfortable with our habits. It is in these moments we gain the most experience and growth.

Have Fun and Encourage Humor

I have had the luxury and opportunity to work along side some extremely successful individuals. Industry leaders at the tops of their field. One thing I found to be true, they had fun! They had a constant curiosity and a consistent sense of humor to boot.  Do not fall into the mindset that business is serious and we must act as so. Strive to make those you lead laugh. Find humor in your own mistakes and share that with others. Humor creates a good feeling and at the end of the day that should be our desire, creating good feeling in others.

Well, that is the scoop from my shovel. I ask you not to stand in it for to long as there are too many other good reads to get too.

My Best Regards,

John J. Keul

john@jacobleadership.com

Failure Breeds Success

Below is a note I wrote in January of 2014. I had just closed a chapter of my life and was in the process of writing the next. Going through a failed business venture as an owner is a major gut check in life. I feel I gave my all to the business for years and to comes to terms with failed opportunities and hindsight poor organizational direction can really take the wind out of a guys’ sails.  But a solid life is not built on pondering the missteps, one must learn and carry new experience forward.

Since this note I have become a leader within a large non-profit organization and have helped nurture a team into one of the stronger departments in the organization. I have returned to my roots of passionate leadership and the give, give, give nature of servant leadership. I find real joy in watching a shy co-worker blossom into a strong teammate due to a passionate leader asking him to get uncomfortable. I lead a department that has had zero turn over and moral is being recognized by upper management. These great guys needed direction to blossom and now they, and only they, are the limits to their success.

Enjoy the note below. Feedback is always welcome.

“On the to do list this year, failure. Not that I will put pen to paper and schedule in my failure date with its corresponding fallout but I assure you my 2014 will be riddled with the unforeseen failures.
We are a society driven to succeed. I think that is a good thing as long as we don’t lose the drive during the process. You see, if I’ve learned anything in my days accrued it’s that failure and misfortune happen. Period. If you are immune to not accomplishing a task, or deadline, or job demands than you are a special breed.
I am in the process of closing out a failed business venture. At times it feels as if the endless hours, scrambling, estimating, budgeting and customer meet ups were for nothing. Not to mention the financial side of trying to dig your way out of accrued debt built up just trying to stay ahead. But this failure, I believe, will take me on a new path full of different growth opportunities.
I landed a new jump quickly, due to not waiting for an opportunity to unfold. We must grow and learn from our failures so they may be teaching tools in our next go round the block. The darkest moments of the failing process only get brighter if you keep your feet moving.
Get out and risk yourself. Be uncomfortable for awhile and be open to fail. It’s your best opportunity to grow.
What failure has brought on the most growth in your life?”

Get out and start challenging life and let the failures spring you to new heights.

My best regards,

John J. Keul

john@jacobleadership.com

Follow Your Inner Child To Success

Hey folks, getting things done today? Are you challenging yourself to accomplish one more task than you though possible? How about doing one task that isn’t your responsibility? Well, you should be. And I think you were born to do these things. Allow me….

If you’ve ever had the joy, or struggles, of raising, babysitting, or even observing children you have probably picked up one one thing, endless energy. Children are filled with inquisitive can do attitude. Stop me if you’ve heard these, “let me do it”, “I want to try”, “let me show you”, “I can do it”, “can I help”.

Now, I’ll concede that the little munchkins are self serving and looking out for number 1 only. That being said, they are naturally walking the line to success. Put something in front of me and I will try, try, try again. It is coded in us, it is the reason we learn and grow so quickly in our youth. Why do so many of us lose this?

Pause for a moment and think of your day to day life. Are you running the I can’t do that or I won’t try this program? At work, are you only doing what you know you can do? Are you not performing outside your comfort zone for fear of failing? I bet a child would smash through that comfort zone.

It is my observation that the most successful people exude the child ‘can do’ spirit. They perform outside their comfort zones, they fall often trying to walk, they never stop thinking, “I can do it”.

So with my permission get out today and embrace the inner child attitude. Learn a trick or two. Ask your co-worker or partner if you can help. Smile with eagerness at the challenge of the day because you CAN do it!

Don’t let someone else’s inner child beat you to the future you deserve. Go get your bright future, it’s yours to have. I believe in you and your talents! Do you?

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