Be a Better Leader at Work

As a business owner I think about leadership a lot.  Come to think of it, I think about leadership a lot period.  I’m always looking for great articles and books on leadership (share your favorites with me please!)  So I thought I would give you a couple ideas on how to be a great leader at work today.

Customers:  Customers are funny people.  Some want just a little attention and want to get in and get out.  Others want you to do practically everything for them.  How do you find a balance?  Ask them!  “Hi, how can I help you today?”  If they’re regular customers, you should know how much attention they want, and do your very best to meet and beat that expectation.  They’re harder to please, but ultimately it’s more rewarding when you get their recommendation.

Personal Growth: One of the best ways to make a difference in your job and life is to dedicate at least 20 minutes each day to personal growth.  Read books that will help you be a better communicator, take lessons on how to read body language, attend workshops on how to improve your business or an aspect of your business.  Learn how to cultivate great relationships and take time to observe your successful coworkers or employees and learn from them.

Attitude: Your attitude is a make or break factor in a lot of things, and being a leader is one of them.  There will be difficult customers, there will be rough days, there will be seasons of loss, accept that now and prepare for those times.  Great leaders are realistic, but don’t accept failure as the final word.  There’s always a tomorrow for great leaders, a tomorrow to learn from today’s mistakes and plan accordingly for the mistakes in the future.

Writing: Not everyone enjoys writing, reading emails or sending correspondence.  That doesn’t mean you should do a sloppy job on it.  I’ve been thinking lately about depth, brevity and professionalism when it comes to writing (look for an upcoming post!).  Handle all emails possible within a 24 hour window of time, don’t abbreviate words that aren’t usually abbreviated (like thx, tms (tomorrow is), cld (could) etc.).  Take the extra 10 seconds to spell the words out and check your spelling!

These are just 4 ways you can stand out from the crowd as a leader.  What other thoughts do you have on how to be a great leader?  Share them below.

Would You Like to Buy a Box of Cookies?

In 1912 on March 12 the girl scouts were formed.  I’m a huge fan of their cookies, but I also have other reasons for loving the girl and boy scout programs, and for writing about them today.  As a parent, future parent, caregiver, and/or human, we all have a responsibility to raise up the next generation in a way that not only sets them up to succeed but secures a future for them and generations to come.  Programs like the Scouts as well as Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and Big Brothers & Big Sisters have helped the world raise the upcoming generations.

They teach leadership.  The world needs great leaders, the way things have been the past few years it’s pretty evident that real leaders are needed.  There have been many groups like CNN Heroes and Beliefnet Inspirationals who have recognized the great steps some kids have made over the years.  But we need more great leaders.  We need to raise kids who don’t look for the violent solutions, look to create helpful and world-changing solutions that green the planet and help us all live better.

They help parents raise kids.  It’s not easy to be a parent or caretaker, and just about everyone I know could use a little help with parenting, whether it’s from a babysitter, advice from a friend or homework help.  The great thing about our planet is that there are so many others around who are willing to help you raise a well educated, hopeful child!  If you’re a single parent, this is a great way to have a mother/father figure in your kid’s lives too.

They expose your children to each other.  This means that kids learn how to interact with each other, with adults and with nature.  They learn wise advice on everything from food and plants to making an income/selling to communication skills.  You have your gifts and others have different ones.  I can’t teach anyone how to work on a car, but I could help them start a business.  But there are smart men and women who volunteer with these clubs who can teach kids all about cars.  In other words, you don’t have to pretend you’re perfect!  Let others use their gifts and talents, and use yours to love your kids and do the best job you can.

You can learn more about the Girl Scouts, the Boy Scouts, Boys and Girl’s Club and Big Brothers & Big Sisters at their respective websites.  Also check community churches and organizations for other great programs you can volunteer with, donate to or have your kids attend.

I know how busy kids are today, but as beneficial as sports and other afterschool activities can be, there is nothing more important than giving a child the tools, support and wisdom to have a healthy self esteem, fun, leadership qualities and hope for the future that these clubs can do.

Have you had a positive experience with clubs?  Do you know another club that is making a great difference in kid’s lives?  Share your thoughts below.

Supporting Change

This month, March, we’re talking about change.  In February we talked a lot about transformation, and in January we discussed hope.  Since I’m passionate about helping you navigate through the changes you experience in life, I do often talk about change.  Today I want to kind of take a step back from change to help you have the foundation and support that you, and your family, needs to successfully get through change.

Everyone needs a safety blanket of some sort.  Some people bake cookies for the neighborhood, constantly chew gum, read a couple chapters a day from a rather mindless book, watch their favorite movie each weekend, do extra painting or crafting, or go for runs.  Whatever you do that helps you get back to center and feeling balanced is important!  Don’t shake it off as silly (unless you eat a gallon of ice cream a day!), or as unimportant.  These little techniques you have incorporated into your life are really important.  They will help you adjust to the changes and still be true to your values and passions.

These techniques and actions are just as important when children are involved or experiencing their own changes.   Maybe you’re in the habit of bringing home a special rock, flower or book you found for your child, don’t neglect that just because you’re moving or things are changing.  Don’t neglect the normal evening habits you have with your kids just because you’re changing from working mornings to afternoons.  And don’t close up your craft room just because you’re having a baby.

Ask someone to watch your kids for an hour so you and your partner can have that alone time, or you can craft a bit, or you can pick up that special something.  Look for ways you can include those who are important to you in your change, don’t just shut them out.

What do you do that helps you through changes?  Share your tips and ideas below.