Category Archives: Leadership and Team Building

The Lollipop Moment

My daughter is in grade seven and just made house captain. She’s thrilled by this honor. Her teachers and peers say she was chosen not for her outstanding popularity or nor her ability to influence others by extroverted behavior. Her most outstanding leadership characteristics have been demonstrated every year since Kindergarten in her ability to take her own initiative and to lead by example.  Today, she showed me this TEDx video that truly resonated with me on the theme of leadership. My daughter is totally inspired by the concept that leadership can take light in the everyday, ordinary world.

It’s in the small stuff where one can make the biggest differences.  Leadership can thereby be found in every individual. It is in the art of these small, lollipop moments that the biggest impacts on people can be made. This is a good challenge for us all to regularly have our lollipop moments by giving them naturally without premeditation or agenda.






Leadership is over-glorified

This short and concise TED Talk video beautifully breaks down the definition of leadership.

Derek Sivers encourages us to have the courage to follow, and show others how to follow.

“The first follower is actually an underestimated form of leadership in itself. … The first follower is what transforms a lone nut into a leader.”

Does your leader have heart?

leadership keyNo one really leaves a job just because they have found a better opportunity or better pay. The number one reason people leave is because they fail to connect with their bosses as leaders and as people.  Think about it. Most people in their careers can share in this experience. Although missteps can happen, the best leaders strive to make their actions consistent with the philosophy of having an engaged and excited team.

I interviewed Cameron McNeill, owner of MAC Marketing Solutions, on what it means to lead. Here’s what Cameron said on this subject: ‘As a leader, I am constantly challenging myself to think about my team’s enjoyment in their career with my company. There is one test we have- when people wake up in the morning, are they excited about working with our company?  If they aren’t excited then I have failed. This philosophy is the driving spirit within our business and permeates all levels of the company. It boils down to two things: every person is driven by different circumstances, and you, the leader, must care about each individual as a fellow family member in the context of the vision of the company. Everyone then looks after each other and their collective well-being. It is hard to create this and impossible to fake. No marketing team could ever produce this spirit. It requires champions big and small to express this in an individual way. It is done with a common set of core values that everyone knows. They all know which way they are going and are pulling in the same direction. I never stop thinking about nor ever get tired of saying, “when you wake up in the morning…” ’.

And this theme is true with every executive of some of the top Canadian business’s I’ve had the pleasure to know. An effective leader lives and breathes the company’s core values. They obsess over the clarity of these core values. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. Repeat. Repeat and repeat.

The best leaders have tremendous passion for what they do. Yet they operate with a level of genuine humility and with the sole purpose of their company’s welfare.  It’s not about them, rather, it’s about the company as a whole. These leaders protect their teams aligned with their vision at all costs. Lose your core team and you lose the heart and soul of the company.

Called To Coach And Lead The Team

Tina Del Buono of Practical Practice Management shares some worthy leadership advice. Enjoy the read.

Practical Practice Management

Whether it is called coaching, managing, or supervising if it is not done with the   right persons in mind, then maybe the person doing it shouldn’t do it at all.

That may sound pretty harsh, but let’s think it through before making any critical judgments.

The “manager” works under someone, perhaps a supervisor or the business owner.  They have been entrusted to instruct, guide and inspire those that they oversee.  It is what the job description states, and it is what is expected.

Three small words, but three difficult tasks for several reasons;

1. Instruct:  Not all people learn the same or at the same speed.  Communication during training may require different teaching methods to get everyone on the same playing field and understanding what the game plan is.  Some players may catch on quickly and others may take longer.  Instructing then is not a “one size fits all”…

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Is being the smartest person in the room getting in the way of your growth as a leader?

Mike Desjardins of ViRTUS shares some valuable advice. Enjoy the read.

Some thoughts on strategy, leadership, and corporate culture.

I can remember back to the first business I ran: I was new to a leadership role and everyday I realized how much more I didn’t know about people and how to lead. One of my key learnings was a few techniques that actually helped give me the freedom and flexibility to focus on my strengths.

It started one day when I realized that almost every customer service decision in the business had to flow through me in some way. Now of course, this helped me keep a pulse on everything that was happening with our customers but it was a trap that I slide right into. Everyone just assumed the easiest thing to do was “just check with Mike.”

Here’s what I learned: when every decision had to flow through me, no one learned and my day was filled with solving problems with no time left to focus on…

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Leadership Lesson

Image representing Richard Branson as depicted...

Image via CrunchBase

Last week I was inspired…

I had the good fortune to listen to two strikingly  different yet exceptional leaders:  General Richard Hillier, Retired Chief of Defense Staff of the Canadian Armed Forces, the Forces highest rank and Sir Richard Branson, Founder of The Virgin Group.

I found it so interesting to hear a common theme in both their messages around leadership: respect for people.

 “To be an effective leader you have to care about people.  You have to make it personal”, said General Hillier.

 “Having a personality of caring about people is important,” says Branson. “You can’t be a good leader unless you generally like people. That is how you bring out the best in them.”

What else was compelling was their “down to earth” nature. Both extremely accomplished people yet they never lead with their titles. Both leaders don’t take themselves too seriously.

They both have passion for their work.  They are 100% committed to what they do.  They know where they are going and they enlist other competent people around them, listen to them and let them take over- they delegate and truly empower them.

Define your leadership style. Respect the people who work with you. And take care.

The Importance of Teamwork and Positive Energy in the Workplace

Employees are a company’s greatest asset or the biggest liability.

It is one thing to hire exceptional individuals it is another to hire exceptional individuals who are leaders and who understand the importance of positive energy and the power of working together as a team to achieve dynamic results.

Positive energy flow and teamwork is vital to the long term growth of any establishment. Be aware that negative energy and ego can contaminate an entire establishment – all it takes is one individual.

Creating a strong positive team environment is important. Each individual plays a significant role in the overall energy force contributing positive or negative energy in the workplace. “Teamwork not only allows a person to do what he couldn’t otherwise do; it also has a compounding effect on all he possesses – including talent. A group of talented people committed to working together is a work of art. – John Maxwell

Understanding each team member’s strengths and weaknesses including varying energy levels and pairing up individuals who balance one another to create a team can be beneficial to all. In addition, hire individuals who are willing to learn from one another and support one another’s growth regardless of their position within the company. Look for the greatness within each individual and pair them with teammates who complement one another encouraging growth, support and teamwork.

A Chinese proverb states, “Behind an able man there are always other able men” The truth is that teamwork is at the heart of great achievement. The question isn’t whether teams have value, the question is whether we acknowledge that fact and become better team players – John Maxwell

One is too small a number to achieve greatness. Nothing of significance was ever achieved by an individual acting alone. Look below the surface and you will find that all seemingly solo acts are really team efforts. – John Maxwell

You are only as good as the employees you hire.

This guest post was written by Janis Gall of MAC Marketing Solutions

photo credit: kool_skatkat