Decision to Delegate

Written by Jerry Justice. Posted in Leadership

One of the most common mistakes a coach can make is to misjudge the level of a player.  If the leader doesn’t work with each player according to where he is in his development, the player won’t produce, succeed, and develop.

According to management consultant Ken Blanchard, all team members fit into one of four categories with regard to the type of leadership they need:

Players who need direction – These players don’t really know what to do or how to do it.  You need to instruct them every step of the way.

Players who need coaching – Players who are able to do more of the job on their own will become more independent, but they still rely on you for direction and feedback.

Players who need support – Players able to work without your direction still may require resources and encouragement.

Players to whom you delegate – At this stage, players can be given a task, and you can be confident that it will be done.  They only need you to lead.  Provide them with vision on the front end and accountability on the back end, and they will multiply your efforts toward success.

Excerpt from Developing the Leaders Around You

Health Tips for the Holidays

Written by Jerry Justice. Posted in General, Motivation

The holiday season is upon us and it’s a particularly difficult time to think about our health.  We eat more, drink more, stress more, get less rest.  All of these take a toll on our poor bodies!

To help us all, I’d like to share…

4 Ways to Keep the Holiday Pounds Off:

1.  Walk Away.  Know when to walk away; tell yourself, “OK, I’m done.”

2.  Walk It Off.  Walking is a fundamental form of fitness.  It’s also a great way to facilitate digestion following a meal, and burn calories in the process.  And it can help fight holiday weight gain.  It’s also a few minutes to de-stress from spending so much time with so many of the ones we love!  😉

3.  No Grazing Allowed.  Fill your plate, leave some room for dessert and a few “second tasters” of things you liked the first time around, but then call it a meal and move on.  Just because the food’s still on the table doesn’t mean you’re obligated to eat it.

4.  A Time of Sharing.  If the holidays are about one thing, it’s celebrating with friends, family and loved ones.  In many cases, you have the opportunity to spend time with people you might not have seen all year or longer.  That’s the spirit of the holidays, not the food.  So enjoy a good meal, but spend most of your time enjoying the company of those who matter most.

In all your rushing about during these Holidays, remember the Reason for the Season! BE KIND TO EACH OTHER AND TO EVERYONE YOU MEET!

Do You Have a Good Attitude?

Written by Jerry Justice. Posted in General, Leadership, Motivation

Many years ago, a large American shoe manufacturer sent two of its sales representatives to the isolated outback of Australia.

In a short time, the company received a telegraph from each one of them.

One said, “No business here.  Aborigines don’t wear shoes.”

The other said, “Great opportunity here.  Aborigines don’t wear shoes!”


Q + Q + MA = C

Written by Jerry Justice. Posted in General, Leadership, Motivation

The Quality of service rendered, plus the Quantity of service rendered, plus the Mental Attitude in which it is rendered, equals your Compensation in the world and the amount of space you will occupy in the hearts of others.

If you follow this formula with the right mental attitude and with no expectations of immediate reward, your compensation will be much greater than your investment.

Your Two Worlds

Written by Jerry Justice. Posted in General, Leadership, Motivation

You exist in two worlds:  your physical world and the world of your mental attitude.  Although you may not have control over your physical world, you can shape its circumstances by the way you relate to your mental world, over which you have complete control.

If enthusiasm thrives in your mental world, enthusiasm will be evident in your physical world.

Touch a Heart First

Written by Jerry Justice. Posted in Leadership

One of the most common mistakes people make is trying to lead others before developing relationships with them. It happens all the time. A new manager starts with a company and expects the people working there to respond to her authority without question. A coach asks his players to trust him when they don’t even know each other. A divorced father who hasn’t seen his children in years reinitiates contact and expects them to respond to him automatically. In each of these instances, the leader expects to make an impact on his people before building the relationship. It’s possible that the followers will comply with what the leader’s position requires, but they’ll never go beyond that.

As you prepare to develop other people, take time to get to know one another. Ask them to share their stories with you-their journeys so far. Find out what makes them tick, their strengths and weaknesses, their temperaments, and so forth. And spend some time with them outside of the environment where you normally see them. It will develop your relationship in a way it hasn’t before, and it will help you grow.

Source:  John Maxwell

Five New Year’s Resolutions Every Leader Should Make

Written by Jerry Justice. Posted in Leadership

This article is by Nathan Bennett, a professor of management at the Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University as published in “Forbes”:

The time for resolutions is rapidly approaching. You should take deciding what to resolve seriously, so it’s not a bad idea to begin thinking now about what you might want to accomplish as a leader in 2013.

To help you focus your self-reflection, I conducted a strictly unscientific survey of my social network on Facebook and LinkedIn. I’ve been a professor for more than 20 years, so my networks are made up largely of former students. I’d guess the preponderance are working individuals between 27 and 47 years old who have MBAs. I suspect that makes them quite a bit like the teams you lead. I simply asked them what New Year’s Resolution they’d like to see their bosses make—and keep—during 2013. Here are their top five.

5. Resolve to be the kind of leader we want to follow.

Be consistent. We can tolerate even a poor leader if he isn’t channeling a different sort of poor leadership each day. Be real. Let us see how you as a leader effectively manage emotions and frustration at work.  Show us what excites you about the challenges ahead. Help us celebrate when we overcome a perplexing challenge. Set an example. Everyone watches you—how you dress, how you treat others, when you come to work, and when you leave. Your behavior is the best argument for how you would like us to behave.

4. Resolve to help us understand how we can develop.

This helps us be better in many ways. It allows us to understand our future with the company; it gives us a way to structure our efforts to learn more about our jobs, our company, and our industry; and it shows that you have a personal interest, because you have made an effort to know our individual strengths and weaknesses.

3. Become a better listener.

We have ideas. They won’t all be great ideas, but if you listen to us you can coach us to develop our ability to better vet and sharpen the next one. Listening is one of the most considerate things one person can do for another. What better way to earn loyalty and respect than by being a genuinely interested listener?

2. Hold the micromanagement. Let’s talk trust.

Nothing is more frustrating than to be prevented from just doing the job you hired me to do. We understand that it can be uncomfortable to delegate work. We understand that in many cases it is your reputation on the line when our team fails to produce something to our standard. We get the risk to you. But when you micromanage, what you are saying is that you don’t trust me. Was I a hiring mistake? Did you get stuck with me on your team when you really wanted someone else? These are not thoughts that are going to help me become a better employee. Instead, let’s get the issues of risk and trust on the table. Let’s acknowledge what’s real and then work together to find a plan that allows me to make steps every day to earn your trust. And let’s make sure that plan gives me room to contribute and to grow.

1. Hold poor performers accountable. If they can’t improve, pay the price necessary to cut them loose.

What could be more damaging to the morale of the team than the struggle associated with carrying dead wood? We understand that you may not want to lose a position, that you may have some hope that you can magically restore someone’s motivation or suddenly implant some talent, or that politics may provide the poor performer with protection. We don’t care. Those are your problems, not ours. Our problem is that we see the ironic truth in the expression “addition by subtraction.” We would all be better with this person gone. The fact he or she remains does a lot to erode your credibility, and broadly, not just in regard to what you might consider an isolated situation.

These top five resolutions are not that surprising. They are frustrations I hear repeatedly in class and have heard for more than 20 years. So they are formidable challenges. But I don’t think they need to be destiny. Let’s make a start this year. I invite you to take some time during this last month of the year to think about the resolutions above. What would your team think if you were to announce that your goal for 2013 was to improve on one of them? How much might a real effort to improve make your life as a leader more enjoyable?

What will make your resolution work? We know that promises that are made publicly and negotiated with others involved are the most likely to be kept. You can talk with your team about the list above. There may be one item that will provoke smirks and chuckles around the table because it clearly is your Achilles heel. Or maybe your team would prefer you work on something else. Once you’ve identified your assignment, work with the team to agree on what success looks like. Make sure that process includes agreement on metrics and milestones. You all know how to manage a project. Make this a project. Your team will thank you, and I expect you will be surprised at how much easier they become to lead.

And, team members: This doesn’t have to begin with the leader. The conversation can begin with you. Make it one of your resolutions to share this article with a leader you’d like to see get better.

Leading With Creativity

Written by Jerry Justice. Posted in Blog

As many of you know, especially those of you who are history buffs, Sir Ernest Shackleton was a great explorer who found himself and his crew in a life-or-death crisis when they had to abandon ship in the icy waters around Antarctica.

The year was 1914, and Shackleton’s expedition had planned an unprecedented land crossing of the frozen continent. When the ship got stuck in the ice and sank, the crew began a harrowing 18-month survival test.

They stayed alive as they moved among the drifting ice floes until they eventually found an island, where they established a camp. When their provisions began to run low, Shackleton and several crew members boarded one of their salvaged lifeboats and made a daring 800-mile voyage to a whaling station. They returned with a ship, and all 27 men survived the ordeal. Their story is incredible and nothing short of miraculous.

Many books have been written recently covering the profound lessons found in this dramatic story of survival and endurance. I personally think there are many lessons we can learn about crisis leadership from Shackleton’s experiences, specifically creativity.

There are two types of people during a crisis — those who freeze, and those who focus. Shackleton and his men were stranded in one of the coldest places on the planet, but his creativity never froze. Instead, it was critical to the team’s survival. His creativity was central to the survival of the lives of the men who had entrusted themselves to him for their journey.

As I have studied Shackleton’s experiences, three principles about leading with creativity during crisis came to mind.

1. Creative activity increases creative ability. As you become active in creativity, you gain more creative ability. Many people would love to have creative ability, but they’ve never done creative activities. When we freeze, we stop creating.

Shackleton practiced ‘routine’ creativity, for himself and for his crew. So when problems presented themselves, he and his crew never gave up on their ability to come up with creative solutions.

Creativity can be seen much like a muscle: The more you use it, the stronger it gets.

2. The rule book no longer rules. Everybody wants to give you the rule book. David Kelley was right when he said, ‘The most important thing I learned from big companies is that creativity gets stifled when everyone’s got to follow the rules.’

And Thomas Edison, probably the greatest inventor ever, would tell people who visited his laboratory, ‘There ain’t no rules around here! We’re trying to accomplish something.’

Structure and rules serve us well, but legalism can choke our creative spirit to its death. Imagine if Shackleton would have followed the ‘rules.’ The story would have certainly had a different ending.

3. Creativity always finds a way. Imagine yourself stuck in the same situation. It would have been very easy to have simply looked at the first couple of options, realized they really weren’t options and waited to perish.

Instead, Shackleton began to be creative. He began to think of things that were seemingly impossible. He had no other option than to consider all options — impossible or not — because it was a case of life-or-death. Most of the time in the life of our organizations, we aren’t facing life-and-death and so we do not pursue creativity long enough to let it find a way for us.

Peter Drucker once said that the best way to predict the future is to create it. We, just like Shackleton and his men, can create the future we desire if we allow ourselves to begin to think in ways that we haven’t thought before; if we allow ourselves to dream of new ways to do things.
In our fast-paced, competitive marketplace, few resources are more valuable to organizations than creativity, and this is especially true during a crisis. That is when real leadership either rises or falls, and unfortunately, creativity often finds itself swallowed by urgency. Who has time to think outside the box when the box is collapsing around you?

Shackleton, however, saw beyond the problems to the big picture. He recognized creativity’s importance in keeping him and his crew alive and functioning as a team when they had little margin for error in the bitter cold and isolation of Antarctica.

Not just a skill, creativity was also an attitude in his life that enabled him to find the solutions to the obstacles they faced. When others would have frozen — literally as well as figuratively — Shackleton focused creatively on surviving the crisis.

So, use your creativity, letting it get stronger. Throw out the ‘rule book,’ and let creativity help you find a way, just as it did for Sir Ernest Shackleton.

Source:  Dr. John C. Maxwell

People Who Make a Difference

Written by Jerry Justice. Posted in General, Leadership, Motivation

People who make a difference in life have . . . .

Initiative – being a self-starter with contagious energy
Vision – seeing beyond the obvious, claiming new objectives
Unselfishness – releasing the controls and the glory
Teamwork – involving, encouraging, and supporting others
Faithfulness – hanging in there in season and out
Enthusiasm – providing affirmation, excitement to the task
Discipline – modelling great character regardless of the odds
Confidence – representing security, faith, and determination

Source:  Charles R. Swindoll

7 Traits of Extraordinary Bosses

Written by Jerry Justice. Posted in Leadership

Today, I’d like to share an article with you entitled “7 Traits of Extraordinary Bosses”, written by Geoffrey James in Inc Magazine.  How many of these do you recognize in your own leadership style?

“Great bosses understand what employees truly need and then provide it to them.

Why do some bosses attract the best and most loyal employees, while others constantly drive them away? The answer lies in the basic traits that each boss brings to the job.

While average bosses are obsessed with their own goals, extraordinary bosses understand what employees need and then give those things to them.

With that in mind, here are the traits that employees want to see the most in the people for whom they work:

1. Simplicity

The business world is a complex collection of trade-offs. When confronted with these ambiguities, most people either become frozen into inaction or revert to doing whatever seems familiar. Employees need a boss to simplify these complexities, so that their daily activities and actions make sense and have more purpose.

2. Fairness

While it’s undeniably true that “life is not fair,” the desire for equitable treatment is so ingrained in the human psyche that even murderers protest when they feel they’re being treated unfairly. Employees therefore want their boss to reward people in proportion to their contribution and to avoid anything that smacks of favoritism.

3. Humility

Most people strongly dislike arrogant individuals. When employees are forced to tolerate a know-it-all boss, that dislike quickly changes to contempt. On the other hand, employees respect bosses who are humble enough to admit they don’t know everything and that they’re sometimes (and even often) mistaken.

4. Transparency

A boss who disappears into his or her office, makes a decision, and then emerges with a set of commands leaves the impression that the decision is arbitrary. Even if they don’t like a decision, employees far prefer to understand the workings of boss’s mind and exactly why that decision was made.

5. Generosity

This is not about money. Money is what employees expect from their job, not from their boss. Employees want bosses to be generous with useful information, generous with their time, generous with their praise, and generous with the kind of coaching that helps employees learn how to do their jobs more quickly and effectively.

6. Patience

Employees secretly despise bosses who are so emotionally weak that they must foist their anger and frustration onto others in order to make themselves feel better. By contrast, employees deeply appreciate a boss who both remains calm in a crisis and is patient with each employee’s learning curve.

7. Honesty

In a business world where everything seems up-in-the-air and uncertain, employees crave the security of knowing that a boss will do the right thing, both when dealing with employees and dealing with the outside world. Bosses who can inspire such trust inevitably attract employees who are themselves trustworthy.”

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