DeLores Pressley

In last month’s article, we looked at effective leadership. This month, I have chosen the topic of courage. Very often, leadership and courage are linked together: A leader must have courage; a leader must act in a courageous manner and so on.

While this is true, it is only part of the story about courage and the workplace. As we shall see, the virtue of courage must run throughout an organization or company –  from bottom to top – in order for it to function at the highest level.

Courage defined

Courage comes from the Old French corage, meaning “heart and spirit.” In other words, courage is an innate, internal quality that resides within the core of your being.

Courage is further defined as: “The quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.” Again, we see the word spirit.

Courage is foundational

Courage is associated with such words as fearlessness, grit and power. It is experiencing fear, yet pushing through it to achieve your desired result.

In my book, courage is the thing that underlies every other human quality. Without it, we cannot rightly be honest, dependable, generous or trustworthy. Courage is the foundation upon which all other virtues are built.

Courage and fear of reprisal

Why is so little courage seen in so many companies these days? In my estimation, it is because the leaders of those companies have fostered a culture where dissenting voices are discouraged and opinions that threaten the status quo are thoroughly silenced.

With this climate of possible retaliation before them, team members are fearful of speaking up, sharing their thoughts and voicing their values. Fear of being the first one out the door at the next downsizing has stopped many ideas dead in their tracks in the workplace.

Courage, vision and openness

The first step in harnessing your courage is to develop a vision that represents your authentic self and goals, and aligning that vision with the business and its goals. This is true for the executive, manager and employee in the workplace.

Development of a vision that all members of the team can buy into depends on the openness of a company or organization. An open-minded company allows for discussion, sharing, brainstorming and even dissenting views. An open leader sees the value of the knowledge and experience of everyone in the room, including managers and employees.

The leaders’ openness allows for others to work from a place of courage. They can step up without fear and lend their thoughts to the discussion. The ability to have that courage becomes transformational, both for the person sharing and the company or organization.

Openness leads to the ability to shape and form a vision. It is a vision wrought in courage which gives it power. That vision, brought about by the courage of the people involved in its development, will be the driving force carrying the company forward into new and exciting areas.

What does courage in the workplace look like?

I write this section because so many people have yet to see courage in action in the workplace. It is foreign to them. They have yet to experience the notion.

The best picture I have come across in my work is a picture painted by Jaime Walters in an article from 2002 entitled “Courage: Tap Greater Potential and Thrive Through Challenges.”

Walters writes:

Imagine a group, department or company where "citizen-leaders" are invigorated by the notion that they can be courageous every week -- regardless of their title or role. Picture the results of a team with such high morale and unified commitment to their own group mission, as well as the company's, that its members feel a true sense of ownership and responsibility. Or, visualize the leader who inspires a level of momentum that ushers in a new, more effective way of working and a stronger sense of purpose. All are possible, and each requires courage.

Benefits of courage in the workplace

Drawn from this quote are many of the natural benefits derived from demonstrating courage in the workplace. Benefits like: high morale; commitment to the group mission; ownership; responsibility; momentum; effective; and stronger sense of purpose.

I would add words like: openness, freedom and power.

I close with a few questions that all members of your team can ask themselves regarding courage. Use these questions to help you determine what you can do to step up, step out and find your courageous voice.

- What is your vision for the business/group/department?

- How, specifically, can you be more courageous in your role at work?

- What communication skill would help you become more courageous?

- What tangible benefits will arise from your courageous action?

DeLores Pressleymotivational speaker and personal power expert, is one of the most respected and sought-after experts on success, motivation, confidence and personal power. She is an international keynote speaker, author, life coach and the founder of the Born Successful Institute and DeLores Pressley Worldwide. She helps individuals utilize personal power, increase confidence and live a life of significance. Her story has been touted in The Washington Post, Black Enterprise, First for Women, Essence, New York Daily News, Ebony and Marie Claire. She is a frequent media guest and has been interviewed on every major network – ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX – including America’s top rated shows OPRAH and Entertainment Tonight.

She is the author of “Oh Yes You Can,” “Clean Out the Closet of Your Life” and “Believe in the Power of You.” To book her as a speaker or coach, contact her office at 330.649.9809 or via email atinfo@delorespressley.com or visit her website at www.delorespressley.com.

Thursday, 01 March 2012 03:00

How to be an effective leader

The concept of effective leadership has been changing over the years. The traditional concept of a leader being the directing chief at the top of a hierarchy is incomplete at best, harmful to the organization or company at worst. In today’s world, this view simply does not truly appreciate the very nature of true leadership.

Leadership is also misunderstood to mean directing and instructing people and making important decisions on behalf of an organization. Yes, leaders make decisions. Yes, leaders instruct and teach. Effective leadership involves much more than these.

The very nature of effective leadership is seen in an understanding of the difference between "management" and "leadership." They are often mistaken as one and the same, which they are not.

Here are the distinguishing differences:

  • Management is concerned with processes.
  • Leadership is concerned with behavior.
  • Management relies on measurable capabilities like systems, goals, planning and evaluation.
  • Leadership, while involving many management skills, relies on less tangible and measurable things like trust, inspiration, motivation and personal character.

While a bit simplified, we can boil down the main difference between management and leadership to be: Leadership is about leading people and influencing behavior. Management is about managing processes and securing results.

With this difference in mind, let’s look at five tips for effective leadership:

1. Become a servant. Effective leadership involves serving. Too many leaders go about this backwards. They see the role of their people as servants to them as the leader. Good leaders see themselves as a servant of the organization and the people within it.

Ineffective leadership takes. It sets itself up to garner favor or personal gain. Servant leadership is an opportunity to give and to give in such a way that fosters growth in people.

2. Understand that leadership is about people. While leadership does involve making decisions and taking action, it is centrally concerned with people and behavior.

Strong leaders are able to see and understand vital relationships even within large and complex networks of people. These leaders then focus on building those vital relationships in such a way that adds to the trust level between them and these networks.

People follow leaders they trust. They also are drawn to leaders who possess positive qualities like:

  • integrity
  • honesty
  • humility
  • courage
  • commitment
  • sincerity
  • passion
  • confidence
  • positivity
  • wisdom
  • determination
  • compassion
  • sensitivity
  • character

When it all comes down to it, effective leaders can express their humanity in such a way that fosters trust and builds commitment from those they seek to lead.

3. Be an engaging conversationalist. Smart leaders spend their time starting and advancing conversations within their organization, not running away and hiding from them.

It is nearly impossible to engender the necessary confidence, trust and loyalty a leader must possess without being fully engaged.

A leader spends as much time out of the confines of the office engaging in real conversation with people as they do in their office planning, decision making and organizing.

Whether in person, over the phone, via email, through the social web, or even by sending a good old fashion "thank you" note – be an engaging conversationalist.

4. Listen. This tip piggy backs off of the former one. As you are an engaging conversationalist, listen.

Great leaders realize that there is far more to be gained by surrendering control of the conversation than by dominating it.

Being a leader doesn’t give license for you to talk just to hear your head rattle.  Powerfully effective leaders realize the value of what can be gleaned from the minds of others.

Know when it is time to stop talking and start listening. People want to be heard. They need their voice to be affirmed.

5. Lead yourself. It's important that leaders have the ability to focus and motivate themselves as they motivate others. In fact, without this ability securely fastened in your own life, you cannot be a truly effective leader of others.

It is often said that we lead by example, and we do. It is vitally important that we have a handle on the leadership of ourselves so that we have a positive, strong and trustworthy example for those we lead.

Leaders know that while some people can be considered “natural born leaders,” most have to learn the art. Therefore, effective leaders seek opportunities for personal growth. They seek out books to read, seminars they can attend or personal coaches to foster their growth.

Leaders never stop learning for their benefit and the benefit of those they serve.

Leadership is an exciting thing. It can be the most joyous and personally fulfilling work you do. It is my hope that you find these tips helpful along your journey.

DeLores Pressleymotivational speaker and personal power expert, is one of the most respected and sought-after experts on success, motivation, confidence and personal power. She is an international keynote speaker, author, life coach and the founder of the Born Successful Institute and DeLores Pressley Worldwide. She helps individuals utilize personal power, increase confidence and live a life of significance. Her story has been touted in The Washington Post, Black Enterprise, First for Women, Essence, New York Daily News, Ebony and Marie Claire. She is a frequent media guest and has been interviewed on every major network – ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX – including America’s top rated shows OPRAH and Entertainment Tonight.

She is the author of “Oh Yes You Can,” “Clean Out the Closet of Your Life” and “Believe in the Power of You.” To book her as a speaker or coach, contact her office at 330.649.9809 or via email atinfo@delorespressley.com or visit her website at www.delorespressley.com.

Change is an inevitability of life.  Ironically, the fact that “change will always happen” is the only real thing we can count on in life!  We cannot always control change, but that does not mean our life path has to be at the complete mercy of random, unpredictable circumstance.

As a busy executive, are you at the mercy of events or are you in control? Do the changes roll in so fast that you find yourself struggling to stay afloat? How do you view the changes that are happening around you?

You can shake your fist at the sky, or sulk to show that you are mad at the world, or you can accept that truth that nobody escapes change. These tips are intended help you be mindful of your potential, to hone your ability to manifest positive results and to learn that sometimes you must simply “go with the flow.”

12 ways to embrace change to increase effectiveness as a busy executive:

1. CHAOS IS OPPORTUNITY.  Big changes, especially unpleasant ones, are like storms that clear the air.  Rather than perceive this as a disaster, strategically keep note of the pros and cons of the situation. Learning from a chaotic change and then implementing a series of positive changes can earn you kudos for your ability to handle a tough situation.

2. REFLECTION, NOT PANIC.  Be the calm at the center of the storm. Realize the need for rational, intelligent thinking and connection with your higher self. Often we receive answers that tell us exactly what we need to do when our mind is still. This is also a way to earn the respect of your colleagues and team.

3. AVOID STINKING THINKING.  When change happens unexpectedly, some people engage in “stinking thinking.” Try to avoid thinking negatively of yourself, your coworkers or the situation in general. Avoid words like “should”, “not” and “can’t”. Remember, the idea here is to increase your effectiveness – negative thought will not make that happen.

4. BE ACCOUNTABLE FOR YOUR ACTIONS. Being honest with yourself about what role you may have played to manifest an unpleasant change is one of the best ways to respect yourself and maintain your own integrity. If the change occurred because you made a mistake, then learn from it and move on. Accountability increases effectiveness.

5. DON’T PLAY THE BLAME GAME.  Rather than change, many people create reasons why they are incapable of change. One of the favorite tactics of ineffective executives is to blame all of their woes on others, especially their team members. Even if there is someone to blame, obsessing over it will not help in correcting the situation.

6. CONSIDER ALL OF THE FACTS.  When in the midst of change, many people find it hard to “see the forest through the trees.”  As an executive, try to develop a perspective that takes everything into consideration and not just your point of view.

7. BE PROACTIVE, NOT REACTIVE.  A reactive individual is at the mercy of change. A proactive manager takes action to make the best of it. Acting first keeps you out ahead of change and in control of it.

8. DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF. During periods of great change it is very common to find every little thing to be just another source of stress. Learn to distinguish between what is worth worrying about and what isn’t.

9. AVOID MISERY LOVES COMPANY. During times of change an executive is likely to have coworkers or others who will want to sit and ruminate over the “terrible” situation. Refuse to participate in these types of pity parties. They breed self-sabotaging negative thoughts and behaviors. They also lead to a lessening of respect for your position.

10. BE READY WITH A SMILE. People who smile are considered to be more flexible and adaptable to change. People who look stern are considered to be rigid personalities that are not capable of personal growth. Change is all about personal growth, for you and your team. A smile can make all the difference in these times.

11. GO WITH THE FLOW.  Present an easy, casual and friendly attitude that shows off your flexibility, yet at the same time portrays your persistence in the face of obstacles and adversity. This attitude will lend itself as a helpful guide through the river of change that is happening all around your company or organization.

12. REWARD YOURSELF. Too many executives only reward the good behavior of others in their organization. Do not do this. If you have mastered some aspect of change that you have found very difficult to conquer in the past, remember to reward yourself. This reinforces your subconscious mind to repeat the beneficial behavior.

Remember, the only thing you can be sure of is change. Is there anything more boring than a life without change? Embrace the lessons that life has to offer you and grow from them. Use them to teach and lead as you strive for more effectiveness in all you do.

DeLores Pressley, motivational speaker and personal power expert, is one of the most respected and sought-after experts on success, motivation, confidence and personal power. She is an international keynote speaker, author, life coach and the founder of the Born Successful Institute and DeLores Pressley Worldwide. She helps individuals utilize personal power, increase confidence and live a life of significance. Her story has been touted in The Washington Post, Black Enterprise, First for Women, Essence, New York Daily News, Ebony and Marie Claire. She is a frequent media guest and has been interviewed on every major network – ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX – including America’s top rated shows OPRAH and Entertainment Tonight.

She is the author of “Oh Yes You Can,” “Clean Out the Closet of Your Life” and “Believe in the Power of You.” To book her as a speaker or coach, contact her office at 330.649.9809 or via email at info@delorespressley.com or visit her website at www.delorespressley.com.

Busy professionals are bombarded on all sides these days to stay productive.  They are often called upon to do more with less resources and people. They need help.

Here are nine tips that you can use in your work and life as a busy professional:

1. Create daily reminders of your goals

Make sure that your goals are in plain view where you can see them everyday so you don’t lose track of how to best use your time.

This tip assumes that you have set goals for your professional life. Your goals are your guide. Without them you are likely to wander aimlessly.

Set your goals and then create a system where you are reminded daily of them. Whether you use a day planner, a dry erase board or something else, keep your goals in plain view. This keeps you focused. Successful professionals are focused on their goals.

2.  Create the schedule that works for you, not others

A schedule that is comfortable for you is more likely to help you meet your goals then one that is forced upon you by others or designed to please everyone but you.

Successful professionals also create schedules for themselves. The key to this process is to create a schedule that works for you. That has your time frames, needs and working style in mind. If you are trying to work on the schedule of someone, you will push back and ultimately cause more frustration than good.

3.  Realize that you always have choices

Make choices about how you spend your time and don’t be at the mercy of obligations that you cannot fulfill. Empower yourself by creating a schedule that manages your time as best as possible.

Having choices is the life of a busy professional is often the glue that keeps everything together and running smoothly. Realizing that you have a choice is empowering. It drives you forward rather than holding you back. Your schedule is quite frankly, your choice. Make wise choices and do not be obligated to things you cannot fulfill.

4.  Delegate responsibility

Don’t be a hero and try to do everything yourself. Take the burden off yourself by also entrusting work to others.

The true professional realizes that he or she cannot do everything that comes across their desk. We all have the same 24 hours in each day.  Delegation is the means by which we can stretch that 24 hours and get more done.

Delegation takes trust. Do you trust your co-workers? You must or you will forever be at odds with trying to get everything done by yourself.

5. Acquire necessary equipment

Hours can be wasted dealing with computers, printers and fax machines that don’t work. Don’t waste time with broken tools.

I have seen too many professionals struggle to get their work done with all the wrong equipment or with tools that are outdated and broken. This situation can be the biggest time waster for people in business. It takes away good energy that could be well spent.

Technology can be a beautiful thing if you stay ahead of the game and current with the needed tools to accomplish your goals. Save yourself the hassle and frustration of trying to work with equipment that is outdated or broken.

6.  Take care of yourself

Professionals who look haggard or tired tend to have more responsibilities heaped on them because your physical condition and dress sends the message that you permit that.

Business can be taxing both physically and emotionally. The professional can only draw from the well so many times before he or she gets haggard and weary. Burn out is often the main reason that people in business leave and go somewhere else or quit altogether.

Take care of yourself. Get proper sleep. Eat a healthy diet.  You will be thankful you did when the next big project hits your desk.

7. Commit yourself to exercise at least three times a week

Keeping yourself in shape will help you perform efficiently in all areas of your life.

Along with proper amounts of sleep and a healthy diet, the empowered professional commits to regular exercise. Exercise builds up our body’s defenses and reduces stress. It calms our minds and allows us to focus.

Walking, jogging, bicycling or joining a gym are good ways to get the necessary exercise needed to work hard and be successful as a professional.

8.  Don’t be addicted to perfection

Nobody is perfect so don’t waste valuable time trying to make things perfect. Know when to stop at “good enough.”

It's easy to say nobody is perfect; it is often hard to live like we mean it. Perfectionism can lead to frustration, anger and disillusionment — all things that can take away from our performance as busy professionals. Trying to be perfect with everything you do and say in business is just simply impossible.

Release the need to be perfect and learn to stop at "good enough." You and your team will be happier.

9.  Drop unnecessary pretense

It takes a lot of energy to pretend to be someone that you are not. Stop pretending to be a certain way to please others.

Pretentious people are fake and no one likes a fake. Your co-workers want someone who is real and approachable, not putting on pretense and trying to please.  This is another huge time waster for too many professionals.

Do not spend your energy on something that will never happen. You cannot pretend to be a certain way if that is not the true you. It just doesn't work.

The life and work of a busy professional can sometimes be overwhelming. Use these tips to guard against that overwhelm and keep you on a productive and happy path.

DeLores Pressley, Motivational Speaker and Personal Power Expert, is one of the most respected and sought-after experts on success, motivation, confidence and personal power. She is an international keynote speaker, author, life coach and the Founder of the Born Successful Institute and DeLores Pressley Worldwide. She helps individuals utilize personal power, increase confidence and live a life of significance. Her story has been touted in The Washington Post, Black Enterprise, First for Women, Essence, New York Daily News, Ebony and Marie Claire. She is a frequent media guest and has been interviewed on every major network: (ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX) including America’s top rated shows; OPRAH and Entertainment Tonight.

She is the author of Oh Yes You Can, Clean Out the Closet of Your Life and Believe in the Power of You. To book her as a speaker or coach, contact her office at 330.649.9809 or via email at info@delorespressley.com or visit her website at www.delorespressley.com.

The key to evolving into a powerful and memorable executive speaker is to stay calm and in control. The tips below will support you in learning to reduce nervousness and deliver a powerful presentation that will move your audience.

Take each tip and mold it to your personality. Make it work for your voice and style.

10 tips for preparing your speech:

1. Begin with the end in mind

Start your writing with the ending in mind. What is the purpose of your message? Once you have this definitive point prepared and an objective, it should drive all else beneath it.

Note that:

  • Objectives are measurable.
  • They have a time frame.
  • They are attainable.

2. Hear; don't listen

As you write, think about how your words will sound – not how they read. Speaking is always more finite and simple than how a novel is done. Without this crucial fact, your speech ends up sounding monotonous.

3. Brainstorm your keys

Key points should flow out of your objective. Write these down, individually, on slips of paper and physically arrange them in order. Consider this order, and then possibly rearrange them to create natural links between each key. This task creates flow.

4. Repeat good keys

Key ideas should be repeated two or more times during your speech. These points back up and drive home your main objectives. This helps your audience completely understand the main message of your speech.

5. Stories add power and uniqueness

Everyone loves a good story. Some stories can be used for almost any audience, others are more specific. Tailor your story for your particular venue and add power and uniqueness to your speech.

6. Don't jumble with jargon

The easiest way to miss the boat with your audience is with “industry-speak.” Jargon is exactly that to anyone outside a specific bubble of knowledge. Keep your words simple and understandable to all. If you do use a word that could fall on deaf ears, explain it right after you state it.

7. Convey with humor

Make it funny. An audience always needs some comic relief at times – especially if you have a serious topic. Remember though, humor must flow naturally to work, so don't plan ahead too much. Too much planning with humor makes you appear stiff. Get it right and your audience loves you.

8. Use facts for support

Don't just tell listeners what you want them to know – tell them why they should believe it. Everything that you have to impart should be backed-up by facts.

9. Involve your audience

I mean really involve them . Grab a volunteer or ask a listener to answer a question. The rest of those watching will identify with that one person and each will feel as if they were called upon.

10. Cut the fat

Be ruthless with yourself at this point. As you edit your writing, look at each sentence and decide whether or not it supports your objective or key idea. If not – remove it. Consider that each venue as a speaker is like real estate. Every inch of space is accounted for and worth money.

Five audio visual tips:

Since most executive speakers use some form of audio visual these days, here are a few tips to keep this area professional and powerful.

1. Copy size does matter

Once you know what your audience size is and the room dimensions, tailor your visual copy to suit. Those at the back of the room should be able to read without straining. The best ways to test this is to take an early visit to your venue and physically check it out.

2. Fonts

Keep fonts to a minimum. Use two per slide at the most for readability. Avoid using all caps as this appears that you are shouting at the reader.

The advertising standard is sans serif for headings and serif for copy. These help the reader scan text and are easier on the eye.

3. Colors

Less is more in terms of color. Too many bold or primary colors are hard on the eye. Pair one strong choice with subtle undertones or those that are complementary.

4. Pictures instead of 1,000 words

If what you are saying can be illustrated with a picture, do it. Pictures jog the memory and incite imagination. Pictures add another, deeper dimension to the audience experience. Have them sprinkled throughout, either with or without copy.

5. Break it up

Jolt your viewers out of staring at your visuals by inserting a blank, black slide. All eyes will turn to you. This is the perfect time to tell a story and relate something essential.

10 on-stage tips:

1. Know your content

Have your key message points memorized or displayed visually. These points will keep your material flowing naturally and jog the less familiar statements out of you. If you happen to stumble, your next message is there to help.

2. Perfect means practice

Your first audience is always you – in the mirror, and on voice recorder. Watching and Listening to yourself as others will is important to gain confidence and spot weak points.

Your second audience is family and friends. Have them critique you on body language and clarity. No audience handy? Video record yourself for a similar effect.

Continue practicing and practicing. This will give you poise for any technical hitches or curve balls that the venue may present.

3. Scope out the venue

Set up an early visit to the location of your presentation. Get familiar with the room set up so  you can fine tune your audio visuals to suit. This will also reduce nervousness as you know what to expect out of the room.

4. Pave your introduction

Write an intro and provide it to your host in advance of the event. In this way you can control your lead-in and gain some credibility that appears to come from an outside source.

5. Mingle

Make time for schmoozing before you present. Be sure to factor in time spent on equipment set up, and also leave time for more 'meet and greets' afterward. Your listeners will want to get details or discuss questions.

6. Open with a bang

You have a limited time to make a first impression – merely seconds. So be sure to walk on stage with a smile and body language that is full of energy. You may also want to think of a quick fact or question that provokes thought and gets your audience interacting immediately.

7. No need for an apology

Think of the time you ate in an expensive restaurant and a server dropped a huge order on the floor then walked away as if nothing happened. That is exactly what they are trained to do, and you should do the same. Apologizing for a mistake only emphasizes it – most won't realize that you even made one.

8. Use effective pauses

Listen to your audience and follow their lead. Allow breaks for applause, laughter and natural responses. Never lead back in too early. They will feel as if they have been interrupted.

9. Make it about you, not me

Personalize the experience for those present. This is easily done by replacing me, myself and I with “you.”  Even a personal story resonates best when you ask: “How would you feel if...?”

10. Your final actions

When the end is near, ask for more. In any presentation, your task is to generate interest and, of course, push action. Asking your audience to take specific action creates results and builds your name.

Use these tips to enhance your speech writing, present your material professionally and deliver a powerful presentation. Make the most out of your executive speaking.

Your Turn:

What things have I missed? What would you add to these tips to make them even more powerful. Thoughts?

DeLores Pressley, Motivational Speaker and Personal Power Expert, is one of the most respected and sought-after experts on success, motivation, confidence and personal power. She is an international keynote speaker, author, life coach and the Founder of the Born Successful Institute and DeLores Pressley Worldwide. She helps individuals utilize personal power, increase confidence and live a life of significance. Her story has been touted in The Washington Post, Black Enterprise, First for Women, Essence, New York Daily News, Ebony and Marie Claire. She is a frequent media guest and has been interviewed on every major network: (ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX) including America’s top rated shows; OPRAH and Entertainment Tonight.

She is the author of Oh Yes You Can, Clean Out the Closet of Your Life and Believe in the Power of You. To book her as a speaker or coach, contact her office at 330.649.9809 or via email at info@delorespressley.com or visit her website at www.delorespressley.com.

Let me start this post with a couple of concepts I have discovered over the years.

Concept #1

We are what we think.

Translation: The only thing that stands between you and your success as a person is your mind.

Concept #2

What we talk about comes about.

Translation: As a business leader (and human being) what you talk about on an ongoing basis is what controls your life. We are controlled by our positive or negative self-talk.

Truth: The true power we possess does not come from prestige or place in life; it comes from what we think and how we speak.

For the small business entrepreneur (and everyone else), true power comes from within.

With this being said, let’s dive into the four verbal traits of the savvy small business owner:

1. The savvy small business owner speaks increase into others.

In business, are you talking to your clients, customers, or teams in such a way that you build them up? Are you looking for fault or seeking out the good in those around you?

Is your strategy just about their “bottom line” or does it include ways that will help your clients to shine in all areas of their life? Are they made better because of their relationship with you — and is that because of the way in which you speak to and about them?

Turn that last question around and you are forced to ask yourself: “Is it just about my bottom line?”

The savvy small business person knows that speaking increase into others leads to a “win/win” situation for all parties involved.

2. The savvy small business owner does not gossip.

Number 2 follows Number 1.  Speaking increase builds up. Gossip tears down.

In business we must train our tongues to speak that which is positive. I am not talking about seeing the world and your leadership in it in a naive, simplified way. Business is complex. I get that.

What I am talking about is this:  A gossip is a person that habitually reveals personal or sensational facts about others. A business leader who gossips is creating rumors or reports of an intimate nature about a client, coworker or employee.

I know this sound like the antics of a high school teen, but you would be surprised by just how often this happens in the workplace — between adults — and leaders of organizations.

Things are hard enough in the business world today; do we really want to tear down our people and eventually our business with things that we should have put away years ago — like gossip?

In all ways, gossip is negative, therefore, the savvy small business owner does not gossip.

Here’s a tough one:

3. The savvy small business owner does not complain.

Some of the very same people who gossip at work are also some of the worst complainers.

You want instant power in your life and business? — stop complaining.

Remember Concept #2 above – What we talk about, comes about.

Who likes a complainer anyway?

Here's a harsh reality: Complaining is really taking the easy way out of a business related situation. It takes energy and action to encounter a problem without complaining, but the results are so much better and long lasting.

You cannot be ultimately successful and happy as a small business owner if you spend more time complaining than taking action.

The savvy business person knows that complaining brings everyone down, including himself/herself and their organization.

4. The savvy small business owner listens more than he/she speaks.

Sometimes (most times) the best things we can do as a business leader is to be quiet and listen.

Listen to your client as they describe their situation. Hear what they are saying — and not saying. This is true of the way we should listen to our employees and colleagues.

Your example of quiet listening is the very thing that lets your people know that you care. Everyone wants to be heard —it is a part of our very nature.

As the old adage goes, “God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason.”

The savvy small business owner knows that listening is the key to helping.

What verbal traits do you see as the most important for the small business owner? What am I missing? Share your thoughts, insights and experiences.

DeLores Pressley, Motivational Speaker and Personal Power Expert, is one of the most respected and sought-after experts on success, motivation, confidence and personal power. She is an international keynote speaker, author, life coach and the Founder of the Born Successful Institute and DeLores Pressley Worldwide. She helps individuals utilize personal power, increase confidence and live a life of significance. Her story has been touted in The Washington Post, Black Enterprise, First for Women, Essence, New York Daily News, Ebony and Marie Claire. She is a frequent media guest and has been interviewed on every major network: (ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX) including America’s top rated shows; OPRAH and Entertainment Tonight.

She is the author of Oh Yes You Can, Clean Out the Closet of Your Life and Believe in the Power of You. To book her as a speaker or coach, contact her office at 330.649.9809 or via email at info@delorespressley.com or visit her site at www.delorespressley.com

Personal development is sometimes labeled (mislabeled I think) self-help. Whatever we call it, this niche in the market is something that most of us have encountered at one point or another.

It’s so weird to call it a niche when the self-help/personal development market was worth a whopping 9.6 billion dollars (just in the United States) back in 2005. It's all around us and growing on a daily basis.

Personal development is out there for the athlete, the work at home mom and the entrepreneur — but is it really for the executives of our local or global companies? As a motivational speaker, confidence coach and personal power expert, I think you know my answer is very much yes.

So let's take a look at how personal development can have a positive impact on your life as an executive. As we do this, let me first clear up a misconception. You will need to hear me out on this if you are to gain an understanding on how you can use the power of personal development in your life and business.

For some, personal development has developed a bad name over the years. It has been aligned with many companies, especially network marketing companies that have used it in weird and quirky manner — a manner that it never was meant to be used.

Personal development is not the answer to all of life’s problems. It will not solve every pain that ails you, nor will it make you a millionaire. It is not a personal panacea that requires you to simply read a book or listen to a CD or watch a DVD and KABOOM — all your problems are gone and you are instantly successful, wealthy and wise.

As an executive I want you to think of personal development like training, instruction or education. Training, instruction, education, coupled with a lot of hard work and persistence is what you have used to get where you are in business today right? It is no secret that you, and everyone else, were not born with everything you need to succeed in life and business.

It takes development — both physically and mentally. That is where personal development enters your picture. It is the trainer for your mind like your trainer at the gym works with your body. Personal development, while not an answer for everything, strengthens the areas of your life like personal power and confidence and the will to act.

Let's look at a brief example of how an executive can use personal development to his or her benefit.

The smart executive can use personal development to work as an effective leader.

It was the famous football coach Vince Lombardi who said:

"Leaders aren't born, they are made."

I agree completely.

An effective leader can use the teachings of personal development to understand that in order to lead others; you must first be able to lead yourself. Leading yourself involves a few factors:

Self-discipline

Self-discipline allows us to function in the workplace in a way where we are able to regulate and correct ourselves for the sake of improvement. With self-discipline we work and act in such a way that others see us as confident. People follow confident leaders.

Self-control

Self-control keeps our impulses in check. Have you seen so called leaders that fly off the handle at seemingly any little thing? Personal development teaches, trains, and educates leaders to have control of their impulses, desires or emotions.

Self-communication

Smart, effective executives need to be able to communicate well. Personal development instructs leaders that in order to communicate well with others, you need to be able to communicate well with yourself.

Here's what I mean. Communication is about a dialogue that is both without and within. In order to have a positive dialogue with a person or an organization, an effective leader must have an ongoing inner dialogue that is positive and affirming. When this is present, the leader can then use that positive, affirming self-dialogue to effectively communicate with the people who depend on him.

These examples just scratch the surface of the powerful training that personal development can offer the effective executive.

Have I made my case that personal development is for you?

DeLores Pressley, Motivational Speaker and Personal Power Expert, is one of the most respected and sought-after experts on success, motivation, confidence and personal power. She is an international keynote speaker, author, life coach and the Founder of the Born Successful Institute and DeLores Pressley Worldwide. She helps individuals utilize personal power, increase confidence and live a life of significance. Her story has been touted in The Washington Post, Black Enterprise, First for Women, Essence, New York Daily News, Ebony and Marie Claire. She is a frequent media guest and has been interviewed on every major network: (ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX) including America’s top rated shows; OPRAH and Entertainment Tonight.

She is the author of Oh Yes You Can, Clean Out the Closet of Your Life and Believe in the Power of You. To book her as a speaker or coach, contact her office at 330.649.9809 or via e-mail at info@delorespressley.com or visit her site at www.delorespressley.com.

I enjoy the value of a good word. “Tenacious” is a good word. Merriam-Webster defines tenacious as: “Persistent in maintaining, adhering to, or seeking something valued or desired.”

As we look at the subject of increasing effectiveness, I believe we must start with this characteristic as our jumping-off point.

If increasing your effectiveness in the workplace is something that you desire and value, then you must tenaciously seek it on a daily basis. You must become a tenacious advocate for the measure of effectiveness you desire.

You have to go after it with all you’ve got. Implementing tenacity is often the difference between failure and success.

With this foundation in mind, let us look at five sure-fire ways to increase your effectiveness in the workplace:

1. Take a personal inventory.

Note: At this point, I assume that you have goals and plans in place for yourself, your team, your department, etc.

At least once a week ask yourself, “How am I doing?” and “Am I any closer to my goal?”

Assess which situations have held you back in some way. Before proceeding any further, take the time to resolve these situations.

In order to increase your effectiveness, you cannot move forward with baggage that hinders your progress. People, systems, techniques and the like must be evaluated along the way.

An open and honest personal inventory is a sure-fire way to increase your effectiveness.

2. Get organized.

Increasing your effectiveness means change, and change is very traumatic for individuals who are not organized in the first place. Organizing your work is key to your ability to do things better, faster and more smoothly.

Do you have a time-line for your goals? Do you have specific action plans to reach those goals? Do you take the time to make a to-do list on a daily basis? Have you cleared your office, workspace and life of clutter?

Getting organized is another sure-fire way to increase your effectiveness in the workplace.

3. Keep a daily journal.

Keeping a journal of the days events and accomplishments is a healthy way to clarify your goals and also think things through so you make good decisions.

Journaling your day also allows you to see the tasks and areas of your work where you spend the majority of your time. In order to increase your effectiveness, you must discover these areas and tasks and evaluate whether they are leading you closer to your goals.

It may seem tedious, but making a note of everything you do and how much time you spend is a great way to increase effectiveness. Do this throughout your day so nothing gets left out.

4. Work with the go-getters.

In any changing situation, it is to your advantage to build a small team of allies that you can rely on and trust to do specified tasks or functions.

These people are your “go-getters” – they are self-motivated, disciplined and enthusiastic about their work. Connect with these people regularly in order to build a support system around your goals. Allow their effectiveness to enhance yours.

Powerful change happens when motivated people work together towards common goals.

5.  Become obsessed with possibilities.

Protecting a familiar routine that you would rather not change is a sure-fire way to stunt and ultimately decrease your effectiveness. Simply doing things a certain way because “we’ve always done it that way” will hinder creativity and deflate motivation.

Always be willing to think of the possibilities that lie ahead. Consider new techniques and strategies that bolster excitement within your team. Evaluate (there’s that word again) everything in order to achieve success.

BONUS TIP!

6. Beware of the free lunch.

In my years as a personal and corporate coach, I have seen too many organizations and individuals who, in their desire to increase effectiveness, fall for the “free” shortcut.

If someone offers you something for free, realize this opportunity may have a hitch to it.

The “free lunch” is often a situation that signifies that something larger is about to be taken away. With effectiveness, the easy way is almost always not the best way.

Beware of people and systems that that tout effectiveness as free and easy. It takes work.

In his best selling book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” Dr. Stephen Covey wrote: “Ineffective people live day after day with unused potential.”

The potential to increase your effectiveness in the workplace lies within you. It is a matter of tapping into that potential and tenaciously using it for good.

It is my hope that these tips will give you the resources needed for the job.

DeLores Pressleymotivational speaker and personal power expert, is one of the most respected and sought-after experts on success, motivation, confidence and personal power. She is an international keynote speaker, author, life coach and the founder of the Born Successful Institute and DeLores Pressley Worldwide. She helps individuals utilize personal power, increase confidence and live a life of significance. Her story has been touted in The Washington Post, Black Enterprise, First for Women, Essence, New York Daily News, Ebony and Marie Claire. She is a frequent media guest and has been interviewed on every major network – ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX – including America’s top rated shows OPRAH and Entertainment Tonight.

She is the author of “Oh Yes You Can,” “Clean Out the Closet of Your Life” and “Believe in the Power of You.” To book her as a speaker or coach, contact her office at 330.649.9809 or via email atinfo@delorespressley.com or visit her website at www.delorespressley.com.

Monday, 31 October 2011 21:01

Who motivates the executive?

All smart, savvy executives spend a portion of their time motivating their teams. This motivation is more than just the grease that keeps the wheels of the business turning; it is a foundational part of what helps the team to bond and work as a cohesive group.

In the simplest of terms, motivation is a motive for action. Knowing what to do and how to do it is only half the battle. Acting on that knowledge is key. Motivation is the reason you actually do the things you do as a leader or a team member. It is the driving force behind the action you take.

So the executive motivates in order to bond his or her team and to provide the motive for getting things done. Many articles and studies have been written on the hard time executives and leaders have with keeping their teams motivated. I can understand this, but my question is: who motivates the executive?

How can effective leaders motivate others unless they are first motivated themselves? They cannot.

So the answer to the question "Who motivates the executive?" is, quite simply, the executive must motivate himself or herself. This self-motivation must take place for the executive to emerge as a powerful and compelling leader.

Here are four key ways an executive can self motivate:

1. Get enough rest through proper sleep

I have seen this problem too often through the years — the exhausted leader who can barely keep himself or herself motivated because their strength has run out. They work too much or too late and then they are unable to get proper sleep to rekindle their bodies.

Let's talk about "proper sleep" for just a minute. Working 12-14 hour days and sleeping 5 hours per night with the thought that the weekend will "make up" for this bad habit, is not "proper sleep." It might be a mind trick, but your body knows the difference.

I believe that this key is fundamental for every executive. Without proper sleep, the executive will not have the energy, physical or mental, needed to motivate himself or herself, let alone anyone else.

2. Review and renew your reasons for doing what you do

Maybe you have developed a mission statement as a team leader. Maybe it is a set of goals that you put to paper at the beginning of the year. Whatever form they take, you have reasons for doing what you do on a daily basis.

In order to motivate yourself, take some time to review those reasons. Go through them one by one and evaluate why you wrote them and if anything has changed since that time. Reflect on the emotion you felt when initially writing the goals.

Renew your goals and desires, but also renew your commitment to being the executive leader who instructs, inspires and motivates a team of people. Find that place within you that seeks the best for yourself and those around you.

The smart executive motivates himself in this manner.

3. Motivate through further training or education

A good executive never stops learning. The world of business changes on an almost daily basis. There is always something new to study and learn. It has been my experience that training and education is an exciting and fulfilling way to motivate oneself.

Possible learning opportunities:

  • Company led training, workshops, and coaching sessions
  • Industry based trainings within your appropriate industry
  • Company sponsored motivational speaker to present to your executive team
  • Online training appropriate to you and your team
  • The newest book relative to your work
  • A training completely outside your industry or work that you have always wanted to try

Many executives will find great motivation through undertaking an ongoing training program for themselves. Start today.

4. Take time away

Sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves and our motivation as leaders is to step away from the plate for a while. We all need times of vacation where we can rest, relax and most importantly, recharge.

The hustle and bustle of the everyday grind is a good thing. Hard working executives make the business world go around, but there comes a time when those executives need time away from that hard work. They need a period of quiet and calm.

Stepping away can be the best thing one does, especially if you are trying to motivate yourself to work and lead.

In order to remain a smart, savvy executive you must learn to work as hard on yourself as you do on your business. Motivation is key to staying fresh as a leader and having what it takes to drive your business forward. Focus on these keys, and others that you may come up with, in order to self motivate and stay sharp.

DeLores Pressley, Motivational Speaker and Personal Power Expert, is one of the most respected and sought-after experts on success, motivation, confidence and personal power. She is an international keynote speaker, author, life coach and the Founder of the Born Successful Institute and DeLores Pressley Worldwide. She helps individuals utilize personal power, increase confidence and live a life of significance. Her story has been touted in The Washington Post, Black Enterprise, First for Women, Essence, New York Daily News, Ebony and Marie Claire. She is a frequent media guest and has been interviewed on every major network: (ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX) including America’s top rated shows; OPRAH and Entertainment Tonight.

She is the author of Oh Yes You Can, Clean Out the Closet of Your Life and Believe in the Power of You. To book her as a speaker or coach, contact her office at 330.649.9809 or via email at info@delorespressley.com or visit her website at www.delorespressley.com.

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