The Action Now Ability

DSN9164-2-MI heard a man talking and he was stating that he is a man who gets things done. He admitted that he has little compassion and is not a counselor, but when something needs to get done or be addressed he can make it happen. He is not reticent to approach a person that needs to be confronted on an issue and he is confident in his ability to evaluate situations and work out reasonable and agreeable solutions. His biggest frustration is when a situation looms in front of him that he has trouble overcoming or is unsure how to address; or of a resolution. But he will always take action.

Observing this person over a period of time, he is right in his self-estimation. He is extremely talented in his abilities and they are very important qualities in leadership. Great leaders are good evaluators and are also good at taking action. Although not all leaders feel confident in their ability to address problems, or problem people, it is a skill leaders develop and have available to them to use when necessary. Great leaders know how to confront situations and people, knowing that to resolve a problem quickly can often save time, effort, money and more significant problems in the future; addressing a problem when it occurs can save from escalating into a larger, more insurmountable problem.

Great leaders may not always feel confident in what they have to do, but they know the importance of taking actions to do what is necessary even if it is out of their comfort zone.

Copyright 2014 LeadersBridge


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3 Keys to Effective Communications

DSN9164-2-MI was recently asked about leadership communications. After quite a discussion I decided there are three primary considerations for a leader when communicating with others; public or private. First – the leader takes responsibility for communication. That means the leader makes sure that communication happens. There is no room for assumptions and it is the leader’s responsibility to make sure he/she understands and is understood. The leader takes responsibility so that later on there is no room for question, and if there is room and misunderstanding has happened, then the leader takes responsibility for that as well.

Second, the leader is honest in all communication. This isn’t easy, but it is expedient. The leader must be open and transparent in all communication. Better to get problems out in the open than to have them surface later and be questioned on why the truth wasn’t told from the beginning. I also learned at an early age that if, after telling the truth you have to explain it, then your intention was to mislead. Be honest and tell the truth. And never tell the truth with the intention of using it to mislead, and never tell only part of the truth for safety sake, but the whole truth.

Always be encouraging. Use words to encourage and uplift others. Give other a sense of empowerment and ability. Use constructive communication especially if the truth is threatening or damaging. Learn to put all communication in a way that not only encourages the recipient, but gives them a model to look up to and emulate.

To be effective in communication means taking responsibility, being honest and using encouragement.

Copyright 2014 LeadersBridge

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A Question Worthy of Action

DSN9164-2-MI love small jets and small airports, but they have their disadvantages. Flying home from Ohio I was booked to fly out of the Toledo airport. A small airport served by only one airline. They have three flights in a day and three flights out. The incoming flights all come from O’Hare airport in Chicago and all outbound flights go to O’Hare. So when I arrived for my early afternoon flight and found that O’Hare was currently shut down; all flights from Toledo had been cancelled. My choices were to wait until the next open spot on a flight out of Toledo which was about 8:00 PM the next night, or drive to Detroit to catch a plane to Minneapolis and then on to home, in St. Louis.

I rented a car and headed for Detroit, only an hour’s drive away. When I arrived at the larger airport, the inconveniences of the O’Hare shut down were very apparent. The stress of the travelers was high, and the stress of the ticketing agents was also high. It seemed the stress levels at security were equally pushed for travelers and workers alike. At the gate, nothing had changed and the stress was visibly recognizable. It was very easy to see what travelers were being interrupted by the O’Hare ordeal and which airline staffs were the ones handling those stressed travelers.

A man sat down next to me and said, “Well, what can you do?” That made me think.

I got up and stood in one of the lines handing the problem-faced travelers. I waited my turn in line and finally got to the ticket counter. I am sure I seemed rude, but I asked the attendant to wait a second until I got the other service person’s attention. I then explained to them, “I know you’re having a rough day. You’re handling problems for unhappy people and you’re doing the best you can in a very difficult situation; and it’s not yours, or their fault. Could I bring you a cup of coffee, water or cold drink? And I be delighted if you would let me bring you a snack. What would you like?

That counter got very quiet. The workers declined my offer, but almost gushed with appreciation for the show of support. The people behind me in line became noticeably more patient. I hadn’t anticipated that this little gesture would be a stress reliever for all those who noticed. I went and purchased a couple waters, returned to the counter and explained it was the least I could do to show my appreciation for their hard work; they were taking the brunt of people’s frustration while trying to satisfy those travelers’ demands.

Maybe when faced with problem situations a good question to address is, “What can I do?” And then do something… positive.

Copyright 2014 LeadersBridge



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Leadership Tea

DSN9164-2-MInteresting movie, “Tea with Mussolini”. Two characters are an interesting study. Elsa is a rich Jewish – American socialite, with an entertainment background; outgoing and flamboyant. Lady Hester is the widow of an English Ambassador, acquaintance of Mussolini, and very proper and reserved.

Elsa is carefree and generous, while Lady Hester is concerned with appearances and being dignified. Elsa is let go and live and Lady Hester is formal. Elsa is forgiving, Lady Hester is brooding. Both women exude influence upon those around them and are very much in leadership positions; not by rank or position, but by influence. But Elsa is concerned about helping and doing what is right while Lady Hester is bitter and manipulative by her gossip and backbiting; there isn’t a question of right or wrong, according to Lady Hester, other than what is proper and “English”.

Throughout the movie, Elsa’s ability to influence increases, while Lady Hester loses hers.

Great leaders do so by their drive of character and compassion, not manipulation or coercion. Influence will increase for the one and diminish for the other.

Copyright 2014 LeadersBridge


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Hold the Pain

DSN9164-2-MThe doctor said the original problem was bone spurs. The pain caused by the spurs caused me to limit my movement. The limited movement caused scar tissue to form which increased the pain; which further limited movement, which eventually led to surgery to remove the bone spurs and scar tissue.

So part of the problem is pain. Old Doc Campbell from television’s Hee Haw fame, when approached by a patient who was making a motion with his arm and said, “It hurts when I do this,” responded, “Well, don’t do that!”

My first response to pain is to stop whatever I’m doing that is causing the pain.

But now, after shoulder surgery, I’m in physical therapy. I’ve been given five exercised to do three times a day. They are to stretch the muscles and to keep the scar tissue from reforming. Basically the instructions are to stretch the muscle until it hurts, then hold that to a count of ten, then relax for a ten count. And then to repeat nine more time.

My reaction to pain has always been to stop. But the instructions are to hold in the painful position for a 10 count, relax for ten and the repeat. 10 times each for 5 different stretching exercise. They reassure me that the pain I’m experiencing now will prevent pain and mobility problems in the future. It is the scare of future problems that causes me to endure the pain of therapy.

Great leaders understand that stretching is painful. Great leaders are able to communicate that the future victory is worth the present suffering. Sometimes it is necessary to endure short-term pain for a long-term solution. This doesn’t mean that all pain is good, or that leaders can inflict painful situations at will; but rather there are times when stretching the team, providing for growth, some long-term visions, mean painful stretching in the present. Great leaders are able to communicate the value of the process to make the pain worthwhile.

Copyright 2014 LeadersBridge

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Presenting Your Presence

DSN9164-2-MThere were several people gathered and a disagreement arose with people trying to choose the best course of action. There were predominantly two voices describing the situation. One voice was loud, demanding; intimidating. The other calm and reserved. The first voice was animated but seemed spontaneous. The second, quietly articulated a plan of action. The two voices were very different in their points of view and in how they communicated what they believed to be right.

In the minutes that past, seeming like hours, it was clear that the first voice was growing louder and dissatisfied. There was frustration in the second voice, but it remained focused. The first voice seemed to become divided; strongly holding to its point of view, but also struggling to insure it would win.

The two leaders displayed very different actions. The first was loud and intimidating insisting on their way. The second calm and logical trying to understand and offer resolutions. At points the debate became so heated it seemed no solution would be reached; some swayed by the loud voice, afraid to disagree. Others convinced by the logic and calm of the second.

The resolution? Put yourself in the situation, who would you have followed? Which leader would you have been?

Great leaders have a strong presence, not necessarily the loudest voice.

Copyright 2014 LeadersBridge


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Stepping Out

DSN9164-2-MIt was a great display and lesson in leadership. There was a community need, and while many people were genuinely thinking about what they might be able to do, or how they might contribute to help the situation and be supportive to people in the community, one woman took action.

She developed a plan and then took steps to set it in motion. As she did others came alongside to help and promote her genius. In the end one woman took the lead, several people got involved, and a community received aid.

Great leaders step out. They take initiative, recruit help and provide opportunities. In this case a great leader did it for a great cause.

Copyright 2014 LeadersBridge


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