Power Under Control in Leadership

Power Under Control in Leadership

 

               Defining your Leadership style early in your career or community involvement can sometimes be tricky. You have to balance being a leader whom people respect by being likeable, with the confidence in your capability to lead your team toward the intended goal. It’s a delicate balance that those who are new to leadership positions have to establish early on. There is the fear by some that if they are too “meek”, their teams won’t take them seriously or trust their leadership decisions. You should remember, however, that “meekness is not weakness. It’s power under control.”

              Leadership should not be an ‘in your face’, aggressive method of influencing others. Garnering trust from your team and leading by example is a perfect way to exercise leadership power under control. Sometimes, simply verbalizing your own version of this quote below is necessary to remind people of your capabilities.

               Has your “power under control” in Leadership ever been confused with you being less capable? If so, in what ways can you use your leadership skills to convey your strengths to your team?

– Dr. April

Leadership

Dr. Carmen April's Speaker Series

Dr. Carmen April’s Speaker Series

          This post is part of a series on Leadership presented by Dr. Carmen April. She is a young entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is currently a 2014 New Leaders Council Fellow – Nashville Chapter.  Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on this topic.

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Be Brave in Leadership: 5 Tips for Initiating Crucial Conversations

Be Brave in Leadership: 5 Tips for Initiating Crucial

Conversations

 

              There are often times when leaders are tasked with having Crucial Conversations with members of their team. Crucial Conversations are those conversations that can be uncomfortable because they involve risky, emotional and critical topics. One definition of Crucial Conversations states it this way, “A crucial conversation is a discussion between two or more people where (1.) Stakes are high (2.) Opinions Vary, and (3.) Emotions run strong. The outcome greatly impacts the lives of those involved.”

                Crucial Conversations should not be avoided and should be addressed with planning and clear intention. Mastering the art of initiating a Crucial Conversation is a key Leadership Skill. Here are 5 tips to help initiate a Critical Conversation:

1.) Create a safe environment –  Crucial Conversations are best when not had in public. I learned a long time ago to “Praise in public and reprimand in private”. Most people, when feeling like they are being criticized, become defensive. This can intensify if done in front of others. Instead of focusing on the subject at hand, the person on the receiving end of the information may begin to focus more on defending themselves and their dignity than on being fully engaged in the conversation.

2.) Be prepared for a number of responses from the other person(s) in the conversation – When planning to have these types of conversations, we often play them out in our heads the way we expect the other person(s) to respond. Well, what happens when that other person gives an alternative response? How will you redirect the conversation? Remember that the person you are having the conversation with may be either (1.) fully receptive, (2.) genuinely confused and caught off guard about why they are being approached in regards to the situation, or (3.) may become defensive. Be prepared for your response to various scenarios.

3.)  Approach your Crucial Conversations using the Sandwich Method – Imagine you have a fabulous cheeseburger with all the fixings in front of you. The major components of the sandwich are the bun, top and bottom, and the beef patty. Crucial Conversations are best structured with offering some sort of positive reinforcement about what the team member has done well (top bun), followed by the sensitive issue that needs to be discussed (beef patty), then followed up again by positive reinforcement (bottom bun). Essentially, you are ‘sandwiching’ the hard part of the discussion in between some positivity.

4) Remember that mutual respect is important for the accurate transference of information – Most adults don’t like to feel “talked down to” by anyone, including their boss/team member, etc. As the Leader, you must remember that the “fight or flight instinct”  kicks in when people feel threatened. These Crucial Conversations can easily go left if a mutual respect is not had by both parties. I did not say both parties had to “like” each other, but mutual respect is important here.

5.) Stay in control of the conversation – Stay on task with the conversation at hand. Keep emotions in check. Deal in the facts and not conjecture and remember the initial goal of the conversation.

How will you handle your next Crucial Conversation at work/community organization, etc?

– Dr. April

Crucial Conversations

Dr. Carmen April's Speaker Series

Dr. Carmen April’s Speaker Series

This post is part of a series on Leadership presented by Dr. Carmen April. She is a young entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is currently a 2014 New Leaders Council Fellow – Nashville Chapter.  Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on this topic.

Leadership Power

Leadership Power

Leadership

 

               Leadership is an action. Leadership is something you give, not take. Leadership is designed to empower others, not take power away. Power can be abused by those in leadership positions and we’ve seen it abused by politicians, celebrities, managers, educators, coaches, parents, etc. Anyone in a position of influence over others has the choice to use their leadership position for good or abuse it for bad.

             History is full of people who where leaders in the sense that they influenced others to follow them, but who abused the leadership position they had. Adolf Hitler and Fidel Castro were both able to round up a slew of followers and influence them to follow their lead. However, I don’t know many who would agree that they were admirable leaders due of the pain and suffering they caused large populations of people.

             Abuse of power is an easy trap to fall into and leaders on any level should do self-evaluations regularly to ensure that their leadership style is working to empower and not devalue the efforts and work of their teams.

What are you doing to ensure that your leadership style is empowering, not harming, your team??

— Dr. April

 

Dr. Carmen April's Speaker Series

Dr. Carmen April’s Speaker Series

 

This post is part of a series on Leadership presented by Dr. Carmen April. She is a young entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is currently a 2014 New Leaders Council Fellow – Nashville Chapter.  Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on this topic.

True Leaders Admit Mistakes

True Leaders Admit Mistakes

 

Leaders Admit Mistakes

 

               Mistakes are inevitable and are proof that you are working and trying. Show me a person who has not made mistakes and failed and I will show you a person who has not tried anything new! Mistakes are useful for growth if we learn from them and heed the lessons they teach us. However, before you can decipher the message from the mess you must first admit the mistake.

               Admitting mistakes is tough because it makes you vulnerable. Admitting mistakes also strengthens your leadership skills because it actually makes you more trustworthy and relatable.

                A couple of years ago I actually showed up for a business meeting an entire day late because I made the mistake of putting it on my calendar incorrectly! Talk about EMBARRASING!!! Instead of making up some kind of lame excuse as to why I missed the meeting and showed up late, I admitted my mistake to the person I was meeting with. That colleague actually agreed to meet with me the day I was “late”, we had a good laugh about it and even had the meeting over a nice business lunch! This taught me an important lesson – be honest about mistakes you make. The outcome from admitting them may actually be better than the initial intended result!

What is a recent mistake you could have handled differently?? How do you plan to rectify the situation?

— Dr. April

Dr. Carmen April's Speaker Series

Dr. Carmen April’s Speaker Series

               This post is part of a series on Leadership presented by Dr. Carmen April. She is a young entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is currently a 2014 New Leaders Council Fellow – Nashville Chapter.  Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on this topic.

You don’t have to hold a position to be a leader

You don’t have to hold a position to be a leader

Leadership

 

          You don’t have to hold a position to be a leader. Many times, the work you do when you don’t have a leadership title or position is as genuine as it gets! When you are going above and beyond the call of duty in your work and it’s not because you “have” to, your due diligence probably won’t go unnoticed for long.

          I sit on the Board of Directors for a couple of non-profit organizations in Nashville and was approached for each of these positions because others admired the work I was doing in my career and community. Without a specific leadership title such as “Board of Director’s Member”, I was doing the work that those currently on these boards sought out. I was showing my leadership abilities without the official title and so can you. Find a career-related or community organization you have a passion for and work with them/volunteer because you have a genuine interest. Volunteer to participate on committees and for special events. Not only will you learn more about activities that interest you, you will probably start to discover your own “leadership style”!

— Dr. April

 

Dr. Carmen April's Speaker Series

Dr. Carmen April’s Speaker Series

          This post is part of a series on Leadership presented by Dr. Carmen April. She is a young entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is currently a 2014 New Leaders Council Fellow – Nashville Chapter.  Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on this topic.

True Leaders Empower Others

True Leaders Empower Others

 

Leaders Empower others

 

          I recently read a story on Inc. about Pal’s Sudden Service, a hotdog and burger drive-thru chain based in Kingsport, TN. There are 26 restaurants led by CEO Thomas Crosby. Every day, Mr. Crosby and every other company executive spends 10% of their time training employees on developing a new skill or aptitude. Pal’s Sudden Service was recognized with the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, placing it in the ranks of Ritz-Carlton, Cadillac, and Federal Express.

          During every shift, a computer produces a list of 3-4 employees who need to be re-certified on a specific skill. Employees who have scored 100% on 4 skills tests can keep their certifications and are eligible to become coaches within the restaurants helping their colleagues stay on standard. Crosby says, “We are looking to get people to this mastery level.” They value empowering others to master the essential skills critical for daily operation.

          This is a great example of true leaders empowering others! No only are the store managers participating in critical employee training, but the CEO of all 26 restaurants is as well! Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.

 

– Dr. April

Dr. Carmen April's Speaker Series

Dr. Carmen April’s Speaker Series

This post is part of a series on Leadership presented by Dr. Carmen April. She is a young entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is currently a 2014 New Leaders Council Fellow – Nashville Chapter.  Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on this topic.

Why I Hate Meetings After The Meeting

Why I Hate Meetings After The Meeting!

Attitude Reflects Leadership

 

            I’m going to be very transparent here and talk about my disappointment in how I handled a particular situation not too long ago. I HATE “meetings AFTER the meeting.” We are all familiar with these. A group, usually of disgruntled members, veer off on their own to talk about everything they hated about the meeting AFTER it happened. Instead of speaking up when they should have, showing more professionalism, or asking the right questions, they wait to talk about it when nothing they discuss can truly make a difference. I hate these type of “meetings” because nothing ever gets accomplished and it becomes a complaint-fest complete with insults, accusations and gossip.

                Not too long ago, I found myself in one of these. I should have stuck to my guns and never have taken the bait in the first place. However, I did and I’m disappointed in myself and the lack of leadership it showed. I’m honestly ashamed to admit how much time I actually spent involved in this “meeting after the meeting”. Just know that it was over an hour. That’s an hour+ that could have been spent doing something more productive. Once this “meeting” was over, I thought, “Why did I just waste my time with that?” “Was anything productive accomplished?”

               At any given moment, I could have suggested we end the conversation all together or at the very least, I could have removed myself from it. I did not present an attitude of Leadership. An attitude and act of positive LEADERSHIP would have been to say, “Hey everyone, I don’t do “meetings after the meeting” because nothing really gets accomplished. How about you bring up your concerns the next time we meet and let’s work it out from there?”

                  I could have better influenced the attitude of the conversation by being brave enough to suggest alternatives and walk away. Lesson learned – Attitude reflects Leadership!

What does your Leadership attitude say about you??

— Dr. April

 

Dr. Carmen April's Speaker Series

Dr. Carmen April’s Speaker Series

This post is part of a series on Leadership presented by Dr. Carmen April. She is a young entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is currently a 2014 New Leaders Council Fellow – Nashville Chapter.  Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on this topic.