Monday, August 18, 2014

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Become a More Effective Leader


Managing is like holding a dove in your hands. 
If you hold it too tightly you kill it,
but if you hold it too loosely, you lose it.
--- Tommy Lasorda

Here’s one of the burning questions that I have observed keeps leaders up at night: “How can I be sure the people doing the work are really doing the work?”

Many of these leaders come into work the next day and—reacting to their insecurity about whether everything is getting done up to snuff—ask questions about how much work has been done, such as “Did you get Isabel’s feedback on the proposal yet?” or “When do you think you will have the report?”

These transactional conversations are necessary at times, but when they become the centerpiece of the employer-employee verbal exchange, they sap the same energy employers so desperately need in their employees for their companies to be successful.

Herein is the argument for engaging primarily in transformational rather than transactional dialogue: transformational dialogue inspires each of your employees to own their work, to see you as a critical partner in their success whom they feel comfortable approaching for advice, and to increase their confidence in their own leadership style; transactional conversations turn you into a watchdog your employees deal with out of obligation to protect their jobs, and turn them into obedient, obsequious yes-people who do what you say and are too timid to take on real responsibility.

This week, reflect on how you can curb the micro-management and control tendencies we all share, and take a few concrete steps toward becoming a more transformational leader.

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Anthony Silard is the president of The Global Leadership Institute and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday each week in your inbox and a free copy of Anthony's new audio CD, "The Surprising Source of Your Passion", enter your email here (1-step only).

Monday, August 11, 2014

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Balance Work and Life


People often say how quiet it is in nature. 
Yet it’s really not that quiet.
It’s just that the noises are not the same
as those you hear in your daily life,
so you associate them with silence.
--- Anthony Silard

Nature certainly offers a respite from the car horns, police sirens, cell-phones, blaring radios, screeching truck brakes, and other noises that continuously derail your attempts to find peace and time for contemplation in your daily life.

Yet you don’t have to be in nature—or doing anything at all for that matter—to connect with your deeper values. Your values come from only one place: within you.

There is no coincidence that most (but not all) of the ways you remind yourself of what’s most important in your life involve a deeper connection to the earth and its elements than your normal day-to-day life affords.

If you believe that God created nature and human beings, you could consider them both a first creation. You could then view the concrete, plastic, glass, fiber-optics, and various products human beings have in turn created in the technological society that surrounds you in a new light: as a second creation.

When you step out into nature, you literally return to your roots—the first creation. The tranquil lakes, flowing rivers, and shady trees urge you to reconnect with your higher Self. Perhaps this is why most people are more easily able to reconnect with God and their inner truth when they’re strolling on the beach, biking, kayaking, or climbing mountains in the great outdoors.

Make a plan to return to nature sometime this week. While you are there, come up with a strategy to more frequently integrate time for reflection into your regular schedule.

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Anthony Silard is the president of The Global Leadership Institute and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday each week in your inbox and a free copy of Anthony's new audio CD, "The Surprising Source of Your Passion", enter your email here (1-step only).

Monday, August 4, 2014

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Become Your Greatest Fan


I got fired off Beverly Hills 90210. It was in its last stages, 
when no one was watching it, and I thought, “If I’m 
not even good enough for this, I’m never going to make it.”
So I was coming off this one-hour show, and I was testing 
for another one-hour show with this very well-known producer 
who said, “I would hire you, but you’re just too half-hour.”
But you have to trust fate, because four months 

later I got [the lead role in] Boys Don’t Cry.
--- Hilary Swank

Not only was she awarded the lead role, but Swank won the best-actress Oscar for her captivating portrayal of a lesbian woman living in a homophobic Midwestern town.

Here’s the irony of approval: the less you seek it from others, the more you receive.

Conversely, the more you focus on winning the approval of others instead of just striving to be strong, centered, and directed, the less it naturally flows in your direction. People are drawn to (and give their approval to) those who are stable and authentic—people who don’t seek reinforcement of their self-view from others.

Abraham Lincoln is highly regarded by many as the president with the most integrity in U.S. history. When ‘Honest Abe’ was once asked his opinion of a book, he replied, “People who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing they like.”

Wake up to this stark reality: the people who like you like you because you’re the sort of thing they like, and the people who don’t like you don’t like you because you’re not the sort of thing they like.

If you change yourself to fit their preferences, while you will have a shot—but no guarantee—at becoming the sort of thing they like, you’ll unquestionably lose your status as the sort of thing you like.

Take a vow this week to focus on being the sort of thing you like, regardless of what others do or do not desire you to be.

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Anthony Silard is the president of The Global Leadership Institute and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday each week in your inbox and a free copy of Anthony's new audio CD, "The Surprising Source of Your Passion", enter your email here (1-step only).

Monday, July 28, 2014

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Build Meaningful Relationships


Knowledge speaks, 
but wisdom listens.
--- Jimi Hendrix

Have you ever heard that we have two ears and one mouth because we are supposed to listen at least twice as much as we speak?

Listening is a source of wisdom not only because it’s the only way to understand another person, but also because it’s in such short supply and high demand. As such, it sets you aside from others who just blab on about their lives to an audience whose attention is focused elsewhere.

You may be one of those “talk first, ask questions later” people because you feel you have something important to say and are afraid of not ever being heard. Listen first and you will then speak to an engaged audience your words will reach.

An old saying in negotiation is ‘He who speaks first, loses.’ When you speak first, you often play your trump card without it even being noticed. The other person doesn’t pay attention because you haven’t prepared them for it, nor have you prepared yourself to deliver it within the context of what they know and value. So to this old saying I would add another: ‘He who speaks last, lasts.’

After each conversation this week, make a mental note of your listening to speaking ratio. Make a concerted effort to listen first and listen long, punctuating the conversation with incisive questions to help the other person focus on the plot they’re developing. Note how much more attentive they are to what you have to say after you’ve listened first.

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Anthony Silard is the president of The Global Leadership Institute and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday each week in your inbox and a free copy of Anthony's new audio CD, "The Surprising Source of Your Passion", enter your email here (1-step only).