Leading By Example by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

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Leaders often do a lot of talking. We speak at meetings, we train, we motivate and encourage our employees. We also spend time talking about what we expect from those employees. images

If you want to have those expectations met, however, you must, as the saying goes “walk the walk, not just talk the talk”. It’s not uncommon for people in positions of power to expect others to behave in a certain way, yet fail to behave that way themselves.

If you’re a business leader, there is simply no substitute for “walking the walk”.  When you behave the way you expect others to behave you immediately gain credibility with others, who will see you as being more authentic. You will gain the respect of your employees. You demonstrate that you are the “real deal”.

You’ll also find that when you model the behavior you’d like to see in your team, they are more likely to display those behaviors, too. Leading by example motivates your employees to be the best version of themselves. Employees become more of a team when everyone begins to model the appropriate behaviors, too.

When employees have a boss who leads by example and expects nothing of others that he or she would not do himself or herself, they become more open to taking on new challenges. They strive to do the best job that they can, because demonstrating their capability and loyalty becomes important.

Take a hard look at your own behavior at work, and list those things you expect others to do, but fail to follow through on yourself.  It’s not always easy to see our own shortfalls, but doing so is the only way to grow as a leader and a person. Whether it’s something as small as ensuring you get to work on time, or something bigger like structuring your calendar or devoting time to an outside charity, you will begin to become the best version of yourself when you consistently model this behavior. You’ll feel it, and others will see it.

We’ve all known a legendary leader at some time in our life. They were honest, hardworking and dedicated to their cause. These are the people we remember and respect. Do your best to become one of those leaders by making sure you always “walk the walk”.

 

Making a Difference by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

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As business leaders, we solve problems every day. But, sometimes solving problems becomes a rote action – one we do without really considering what we could do with the opportunity before us. index2

In many business opportunities, we have the chance to not only solve a problem, but make a true difference for someone, whether it’s our own business, the life of a customer, an employee, or someone who simply needs our help. Taking a few extra minutes to look for the opportunity in each problem we encounter can make a big difference in our business or in someone else’s life.

For example, consider filling an open position in your office. When you look at applicants, do you ever consider who needs the job the most? Most of us do not. Instead, we consider who has the most experience, the best education. We look at who will fit in our office environment best, and whose salary requirement is lowest. These are all important considerations. However, if you add who needs the job most, or who will appreciate it most to the list of considerations, you might have an entirely different hiring decision.

Sometimes, when we take an extra moment to consider the impact of our decisions on others, we find ways to make a difference that we never imagined. And, this impact affects us, as well.

One of my colleagues recanted to me one of the best decisions she ever made. She took a job in a business that had just had a serious accident, resulting in the death of an employee. The owner, who had run a successful business for 26 years, without so much as person with a paper cut, had suddenly had a death and serious injury from a single accident. He was devastated and needed someone to come in and evaluate his processes, deal with regulatory authorities and help him make changes. The money wasn’t great, but the need was extraordinary. She made a lot of changes, she made a lot of friends and she kept a business from going under because of regulatory fines. She made a difference.

What can you do to make a difference in someone’s life or someone’s business?  Once you evaluate a few decisions based on the difference you can make, you’ll never look at situations the same way again.

Be More Curious by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

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In the business world, you’re faced with challenges everyday. Some are routine, while others offer new problems and issues to be solved. It’s not unusual to get into a bit of a “rut” when it comes to solving problems, whether it’s always talking to the same advisers, always using the same vendors or always taking the same management approach. index

It’s wise to rethink these habits from time to time, and it’s wise to do so without always having a specific agenda for it. Sometimes it’s a good idea to “be more curious” about other ways you might solve your current challenge. This doesn’t necessarily mean something is falling apart, nor should you wait until a process is falling apart or a major crisis has occurred to look at how you’re handling things. It just means you’re looking at the possibility of doing things in different ways on a regular basis.

Why is This Productive?

If things are working well overall, this exercise might seem counterproductive. However, it’s always a good idea to look for ways to make things better, especially as new programs and options become available. You might find something simple, like the ability to complete a process online that you once filled out by hand. Even though this might not be a big deal, it may save you 15 minutes of time every month. You may also find big things that can make a dramatic difference in your business, such as finding a whole new way to get leads for your sales team.

This exercise in curiosity will pay off by helping you to find new ways to solve problems and create new processes for your business. And, even when the exercise only confirms that you’re already doing something the best way, it helps you to keep challenging yourself.

The ability to adapt to a changing marketplace, changing technology and a changing economy is one of the greatest assets any business can have. Consistently challenging your ways of thinking and of doing things helps you to stay adaptable and ahead of the curve when it comes to change.

So, what will you challenge this week? Take a moment to look at the things you do every day and pick one or two to explore doing differently. Maybe it’s a simple as how you structure your weekly staff meeting or how you arrange your day. Just be curious……and see what happens.

Emotional Intelligence Builds Resilience by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

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Over the past weeks, I’ve talked a lot about the importance of resilience, particularly in terms of helping you to persevere in reaching goals. Over the next few weeks, I will focus more on how to build resilience, so that life’s curveballs don’t knock you down. We will examine the traits that help increase a person’s resilience.

The first trait that is key in resilience is emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to emresileince8otions: both your own emotions and those of other people. Emotional intelligence is a key factor for success in many areas, because emotionally intelligent people are better able to relate to others.

Emotionally intelligent people are more resilient for three primary reasons. The first is that they are more in tune with their own emotions, including having the ability to understand when their emotions are running high and might be getting the better of them. These people clearly understand that their emotional reactions are often temporary, making them better able to sleep on a problem and approach with a fresh head the next day.

Emotionally intelligent people are also more in tune with the emotions of others. They are less likely to be devastated by someone who is overreacting, because they recognize the reaction for its real merit. Emotionally intelligent people don’t make rash decisions in the heat of the moment, and they don’t allow those around them to do so either. These people are able to say, “Let’s revisit this tomorrow”, to avoid making a poor decision.

Finally, emotionally intelligent people are often better at hiring the right people for the job. They recognize traits like loyalty, rational decision making ability and fairness in others, along with being able to assess another person’s intellect and concrete skills. Emotionally intelligent people are more likely to surround themselves with the right people to create success.

If you want to improve your emotional intelligence, ask yourself a few questions:

• How do I react to stressful situations? Am I cool headed or do I blow up?

• How do I react to other people? Do I judge before knowing the facts? Am I empathetic?

• Do I take responsibility for my actions? Am I comfortable with admitting fault and apologizing when I’ve wronged someone?

Once you answer these questions honestly, you may find some areas where you could increase your emotional intelligence by improving how you interact with others. As you become more emotionally aware, you may find that your new found awareness not only improves how you deal with others, but makes you more resilient in dealing with the issues you face in reaching your goals.