Dave Lo . Lead

Lessons for Leaders

Here is a collection of tips I've gathered from various sources regarding being a good leader and communicator.



10 tips for being a good leader

According to star naval commander Mike Abrashoff, good leaders...

  1. Lead by example
  2. Communicate purpose and meaning
  3. Create a climate of trust
  4. Look for results, not salutes
  5. Take calculated risks
  6. Move beyond standard operating procedure
  7. Listen aggressively
  8. Strengthen others
  9. Generate unity
  10. Cultivate quality of life

How to be Perceived as a Leader

by Marjorie Brody

Contrary to popular beliefs, leaders arenít born -- leadership skills can be learned. Effective leaders possess eight attributes. They ...

1. Promote a vision.

True leaders are visionaries. They can persuade and convince others that their cause is just and worth working for. An effective leader conveys a vision--whether itís to revolutionize a new way of printing, hitting a certain sales mark, or going global. A leader communicates his or her vision first by defining reality--a message that boils down to "where weíve been" and "where we are." Then comes the challenge of vividly describing a new reality: "where we must go."

2. Make others feel important.

"Those you have followed passionately, gladly, zealously--have made you feel like somebody."--Irwin Federman, former president and CEO of Monolithic Memories.

Self-centered people do not draw a crowd. No one wants to work with or for someone who is only interested in self-acclaim. Make sure that your colleagues and others you interact with receive the praise they deserve. Notice their accomplishments and emphasize their strengths and contributions--not just your own activities.

3. Follow the "platinum rule".

It may be as old as time, but this axiom is definitely true for leaders. Treat your followers the way they want to be treated. Abusive leaders attract few supporters.

4. Admit mistakes.

There is nothing bad about admitting a mistake or error. True leaders have no problem recognizing they were to blame or wrong. If others believe you are hiding mistakes, they are likely to do the same.

5. Criticize others only in private.

It can only embarrass, demean, and alienate workers to criticize in a public forum something they have done or said. Public praise is good, but if someone needs to receive negative feedback, do it one-on-one -- with no one else around.

6. Stay close to the action.

Leaders donít hide. They are active members of their society. They belong to trade groups and associations. They have a vocal presence in their industries. They are always trying to meet new people, learn new things, and gain new insights.

7. Celebrate success.

There's no denying that competition exists--the world is more competitive now than ever before. A leader turns this around into a game of sorts--setting team goals, and rewarding those who meet or beat them. Leaders examine shortcomings and celebrate accomplishments. Big visions and ambitious goals mean there is always more to do and higher ground to reach. However, focusing only on what is yet to accomplish can ironically lessen the likelihood of success. An effective leader maintains high morale and commitment by also celebrating progress.

8. Make trust a priority.

Downsizing and re-organizing weakens people's loyalty and generates a great deal of cynicism. Only a highly trusted leader can generate support for a new vision. This means being candid, truthful, and consistent. It means being authentic and reachable when others are more concerned about maintaining an image.

8 Tips for Becoming a True Leader

by Jeff Wuorio

Here are eight attributes that separate genuine leadership from leadership that's more a matter of chance:

1. Real leadership means leading yourself

Passing out orders is as easy as passing out business cards. But a prudent leader also knows how to lead himself or herself -- not merely to provide a genuine example to others, but to become a working element of the overall machinery of your business. "It's important that leaders have the ability to focus and motivate themselves as they motivate others," says Larraine Segil, an author and consultant who teaches executive education at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

2. Don't be a monarch

Thoughtful leadership likely means you already have a talented work force in place. That's terrific. But be careful not set up a throne room in the process. Accidental leaders often inadvertently establish a system of guidance that's unnecessarily restrictive. Guide employees, but don't implement more parameters than are absolutely necessary. "It's importance to influence the people with whom you work," says Segil. "Don't see your business as a hierarchy."

3. Be open to new ways of doing things

One potential land mine of a prosperous operation is to repeat anything that proves successful. It's hard to argue against that, but an inadvertent leader will put far too much stock in sticking with what always works. By contrast, thoughtful leadership acknowledges success but also recognizes there are always ways to do things better.

4. Remember that white males are fast becoming a minority

Statistics show that white males now make up only a small fraction of the workplace population. Couple that with growing partnerships across borders, and it becomes obvious that blending a variety of cultures and backgrounds in a work environment is an essential leadership skill. A thoughtless leader will try to cope with this as best as he can. One with more vision will work to take advantage of differences. "Competition -- the constant push for faster, better, cheaper -- mandates that we learn to effectively deal with differences in the workplace," says career consultant Susan Eckert of Advance Career and Professional Development in Brightwaters, N.Y. A company that weaves an appreciation of diversity into its cultural fabric will make itself "unbeatable," Eckert says.

5. Establish a genuine sense of commitment

I must admit this is a personal sore point with me. I've seen too many company slogans and catch phrases whose import is no deeper than the paper they're written on. Want to be "committed to superior service"? More power to you, but a genuine leader will see that as words and little else. Instead, put some meat on those bones -- establish how to quantify excellence, design a cogent plan to achieve it and set a reasonable but real timetable for its completion.

6. Finish the job

Many business leaders yak about their complete game, but how many actually finish what they say they're going to start? A thoughtless leader who never genuinely finishes anything loses the confidence of clients and customers. That lack of follow-through isn't going to be lost on his or her employees, either. Instead, set goals and establish pragmatic, accountable measures to actually finish what you start. "The ability to complete things is critical," Segil says. "Nothing's useful unless you actually complete it."

7. Show genuine appreciation

Thoughtless leaders must have forearms like Popeye's, what with all the back-slapping they do. That's fine, but good performance requires a more substantive response. Leaders with an eye to the future hand out praise but augment it with real rewards: promotions, raises, bonuses and other tangible tokens of appreciation. That motivates your people, not only to apply themselves with enthusiasm but to stick around your company longer than they might otherwise.

8. Know that leadership skills come from learning, too

Far too may business executives believe leadership skills stem from some sort of wondrous epiphany or other such flash of insight. Sure, great ideas can come to any of us, but being a bona fide leader also means study. Read books on effective leadership, attend seminars and pick the brains of colleagues to see what works for them. It can be a long education, but one with rewards that multiply with the more knowledge you have under your belt.

Building great leaders within a user group

from Microsoft Mindshare

Leadership skills aren't innate, they are developed over time. You can be an effective leader in a volunteer organization if you understand how people are motivated. Hereís a look at the five challenges facing leaders in user groups:

1. Recruiting volunteers.

The best way to recruit volunteers is to ask people face-to-face. Tell them what your role is, what you are trying to achieve, and that you would like their help to reach these goals. Let them know that the reason you asked them is because of their unique talent. It is very flattering to be asked in person to volunteer, regardless of whether you can accept the position or not.

Requests for help to a large general population rarely work for several reasons. Members usually feel someone else will step forward; they do not know enough about the task or position from your general request; and few people want to take on a task that is so generalized. Because everybody was asked, people tend to think that anybody can do it. The secret is to make people feel special by being asked to do something specific and unique to their talents.

2. Delegating tasks.

Itís important to assign meaningful tasks to your volunteers as soon as you recruit them to your team. If you donít, they wonít feel needed and will question their role within the group. It is imperative that leaders delegate enough work to keep everybody feeling that they are contributing without overloading them. The absolute worst thing you can do is to do everything yourself or hog all the more enjoyable tasks.

3. Inspiring volunteers.

As a leader, give credit to your team members at every opportunity and take the blame when things go wrong. If you have a good team, more good things will happen than bad. Tell the audience which member is in charge of a specific task when giving verbal or written reports at meetings. Another opportunity to give praise and recognition is when submitting articles to your group magazine or newsletter. Keep in mind, public praise and recognition are no substitutes for an in-person display of appreciation for the significance of their contribution.

4. Retaining volunteers.

Effective leadership skills include retaining volunteers for future tasks. Unfortunately, there is always a high degree of turnover of volunteers in user groups, but leaders can slow this trend with proper planning. As your volunteers gain experience, knowledge, and confidence, give them new challenges that make them stretch just a little more than before. If you are a group leader, appoint an assistant group leader. If you are a committee chairperson, appoint a co-chairperson. These added positions will help you retain many key volunteers. Lastly, make the tasks and atmosphere fun and challenging!

5. Grooming your replacement

To ensure that your organization continues with strong leaders for tomorrow, train your volunteers to become your replacement. Sooner or later, you will be asked to take on a new role as your leadership skills grow. Choose one or two people from your volunteer staff who appear to have the desire and ability to succeed you as the leader. Start preparing these people by allowing them to make assignments, write reports, and attend meetings you typically attend. Provide guidance but donít overdo it. Each person will develop his or her own leadership style.

4 Mistakes Team Leaders Must Avoid

by Robert M. Gignac

Mistake #1: Refusing to accept personal responsibility and accountability. Leaders understand mistakes happen, and refuse to blame others when things go wrong, even if it was out of their control. Leaders refuse to fall for the victim mentality, realizing that sometimes people will let them down, and if it happens, they get over it.

Mistake #2: Concentrating on the problem rather than the objective. Leaders know people will work hard and endure hard times because the effort will produce a result that is greater than the effort expended. The moment the result is no longer worth the effort -- theyíll quit, and the team will falter. When you are up to your butt in alligators, the fact that your intention was to drain the swamp, somehow seems less important. Leaders keep people focused on the goal, not the problem.

Mistake #3: Trying to control results, rather than influencing thinking. Leaders influence and motivate, but in order to influence, donít just tell them -- teach them. In order to connect Part A to Part B, leaders do not fall back on the basics of a) activity produces habits, b) habits produce results, and c) results produce success. Instead, they get people to focus on the thinking that produces feelings, and how those feelings allow you to produce the activity to get the results.

Mistake #4: Overestimating where their people are. A leader knows they canít make people run faster than they are capable, but should make sure that they are running as fast as they can.

As your organization grows or changes: be entrepreneurial about developing your leadership skills. Manage your personal leadership development. Be assured that what comes naturally or feels comfortable will not always be good leadership. Remember, if you look behind you, and people are not following, then you are probably not leading.

7 tips to become a good coach

from Profit Magazine

  1. Look at the finish line. Understand what skills you want each member to have, and focus on developing those skills. Help each member understand how they can best contribute to your organizations success, and work with them to develop measurable goals and an action plan.
  2. Work from strength. Find ways to help members use their individual strengths more often. They'll be more motivated, which is the key to productivity.
  3. Never yell. The biggest mistakes coaches make -- in sports and in business -- is yelling at their players. People need to feel comfortable asking you for help. If they fail at something, try to find out why it didn't work and work through it with them.
  4. Reinforce success. Recognize member's achievements with specific feedback. Point out the goal they've attained and what behavior achieved it. if they don't achieve a goal, ask them why they think they fell short. Then talk about how they can reach it next time.
  5. Coach by calendar. Coaching should be ongoing. Start with weekly meetings. It doesn't have to be a long session, but you need progress checks to find out what's working and to celebrate your members' successes or discuss failures.
  6. Train more coaches. If you run a large organization, consider paying a professional to teach your managers how to coach their staffs.
  7. Support your stars. Don't spend all of your coaching time with poor performers and ignore your stars. They also want to know what to do to get better.


7 tips to be a good public speaker

from Profit Magazine

  1. Talk to yourself. Practise in front of a mirror, trying to look relaxed and friendly. Stand with your arms in front of your body with your elbows at 90? and palms at 45?, leaning forward. Universally, this gesture says "I'm here, I'm engaged and I don't have a weapon."
  2. Have a point. Decide on your core message ahead of time. Bring the listener quickly to the point of action by crafting your theme into your introductory passages.
  3. Make eye contact. Making frequent eye contact for a few seconds with listeners in the audience will create an aura of confidence and familiarity, which will help you get your message through.
  4. Know the room. Boost your comfort level by examining your speaking venue in advance and practising with the microphone and any visual aids.
  5. Crack a smile. Smiling tells the audience you're enthusiastic and confident -- just the kind of person they want to hear. Smiling can also relax you, reducing your heart rate and helping you breathe deeper.
  6. Pump up the volume. You need more energy than you think to make a strong presentation. Use a louder voice than you think you need.
  7. Don't be a comic. Whenever you tell a joke, you offend somebody. Opt for a funny anecdote instead.

7 more tips to be a good public speaker

from Toastmasters International

  1. Know the audience. Greet some of the audience as they arrive. It's easier to speak to a group of friends than to a group of strangers.
  2. Relax. Ease tension by doing exercises.
  3. Visualize yourself giving your speech. Imagine yourself speaking, your voice loud, clear, and assured. When you visualize yourself as successful, you will be successful.
  4. Realize that people want you to succeed. Audiences want you to be interesting, stimulating, informative, and entertaining. They don't want you to fail.
  5. Don't apologize. If you mention your nervousness or apologize for any problems you think you have with your speech, you may be calling the audience's attention to something they hadn't noticed. Keep silent.
  6. Concentrate on the message -- not the medium. Focus your attention away from your own anxieties, and outwardly toward your message and your audience. Your nervousness will dissipate.
  7. Gain experience. Experience builds confidence, which is the key to effective speaking.

5 tips for improving presentation handouts

from Presentations magazine, Feb99

  1. Stay focused on your goal. Always customize your handout around what you are trying to accomplish.
  2. Avoid an information glut. Avoid the temptation to overload audience members with information simply because it's possible. Your handout should not include any "data dumps." Delete any material that does not directly support your message.
  3. Use graphics whenever possible. Any time you can put a graphic in a handout instead of text, do it. People will study a chart or diagram to learn information but may skip a detailed explanation of the same data.
  4. Don't be afraid of white space. Use wide margins and leave lots of room for taking notes. A good guideline to follow is to fill no more than 2/3 of the page with words or graphics.
  5. Make sure it looks good. The appearance of your handout is vital. When people pick it up, the handout should feel good (paper quality) and look good (printing or copying quality). A well-designed and planned handout can make the difference between a good presentation and a great one.

How to Listen Effectively

By Kara Kuryllowicz, profitguide.com

You can become a better communicator and negotiator by improving the way you listen. But all too often we fall short, says Jamie Broughton, a leadership coach in Toronto. The most common pitfall? "Instead of listening," he says, "we're thinking about how to respond." Hereís how to improve your listening skills:

  1. Stop talking. This is harder than it sounds.
  2. Be completely present. Eliminate distractions and interruptions.
  3. Listen between the lines. "Look for the subtext," says Vancouver personal coach Lisa Martin. "Tone of voice, inflection and body language can completely change the meaning of words"
  4. Be aware of your own assumptions, attitudes and beliefs.
  5. Show speakers you care. Be enthusiastic, interested and curious.
  6. Avoid rushing or interrupting speakers.

Reading Effectively

Many psychologists think that the best way to remember what you read is to follow the PQ4R method. PQ4R is a mnemonic device for Preview, Question, and four R's: Read, Reflect, Recite, Review.

Preview: Take a look at the material: skim the headings and highlighted words, and read the outline summary. Studies show that subjects who read a summary recalled the material better, particularly when they read the summary first.

Question: Make up questions about the things you found in the preview. One study showed that subjects who study a passage without questions recall about 30% of it, with questions provided by the experimenter they recall 60%, and if they make up their own questions then they recall 75%. So this simple technique can double the amount you can remember.

Read: As you read, try to answer the questions. Making notes is also useful, provided you make the notes in your own words.

Reflect: Think about the material you have just read. Can you think of examples from your own life? Can you relate it to things you already know about?

Recite: Say the material over to yourself, put it into your own words. Studies have shown that it is better to spend your time here than in reading and rereading. Spending 80% of the time in recitation improves recall three times over reading and rereading. One form of recitation is to try to write your own study guide; write out the ideas in your own words, using your own organization. Another is to try to explain the ideas to somebody else.

Review: Try to recall the material and test yourself. Study partners can help here. Making up a quiz for yourself as part of recitation and then taking it as review is a good way to study. You should review several times during your studying so you know what to concentrate on.

The PQ4R system has been shown to be an effective way of learning from text. There are several reasons for its effectiveness. Firstly, by following the steps you become more aware of how the material you are reading is structured, and are more likely to find and use all the relevant information contained in the text. Secondly, the steps require you to study the text in sections instead of trying to learn all the information at once. Thirdly, by generating and answering questions, you are processing the information you are reading more deeply and thoroughly. Fourthly, reviewing regularly encourages you to make connections between what you are reading and what you already know.