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Empowering Your Workforce: Bringing Your Company Together through Thought Leadership

downloadBy: Mitchell Levy

Thought leadership is often viewed by marketers as a platform that is focused externally. But while thought leadership is an effective means of influencing customers, it’s also a very successful way of empowering employees.

Over the last decade, various organizations have shifted their policy towards encouraging employee empowerment. Studies have shown that organizations with empowered employees perform better than their competitors by up to 202%. Empowered employees are known to be more engaged, inspired and productive in their work. They are more likely to take initiative and are expected to last longer within the company.

Though thought leadership is a great tool for spreading your brand message, it can also be used as an effective means of empowering your staff from inside your organization.

How Thought Leadership Empowers Your Employees

Influence is the currency of thought leadership. That’s because an effective thought leader can have a profound effect on the people they influence. As a tool for change, influence has a longer lasting effect than simply giving out orders on the office floor or through e-mail. It can refocus your company and empower your entire workforce. Here are just a few of the ways thought leadership can empower your employees:

 Thought Leadership allows employees to see the bigger picture of the organization by sharing the company’s long term goals and long standing principles.
 Thought Leadership encourages employees to excel at their responsibilities, inspiring them to come up with solutions that allow them to go above and beyond their roles.
 Thought Leadership provides employees incentives outside of monetary gain. They understand the larger, more intangible goals of the organization: success, satisfaction and service.
 Thought Leadership allows employees to discover the importance of their roles in the organization. It allows them to see the worth in their actions and become proud of their accomplishments.

This is why thought leadership should help influence the organizational culture beyond one that is geared towards customers, but one also focused on staff and employees. The infusion of thought leadership into an organization’s culture can unite and empower the organization.

Empowerment through Influence

As mentioned earlier, influence is the currency of thought leadership. But to gain influence over your employees, it’s important to equip them with the right tools, skills, and responsibilities to make sure they perform to the best of their professional abilities.

On average, only 29% of employees are actively engaged in their work. While managers can increase salaries, improve benefits, and promote key staff, nothing takes the place of genuine leadership.

Thought leadership utilizes edu-training tools that empower your workforce by making them advocates of the organization. These internal initiatives provide insight and ideas that are of value to employees. They are activities and platforms that help inspire the staff and bring the organization together. Whether it’s through an internal social media platform, speaking, training or other forms of internal communication, these are all means of introducing a culture of empowerment into the organization.

Followers are the lifeblood of any thought leader, but followers can be found inside as well as outside of the organization. In truth, empowered employees are the most effective followers of all. They look to their leaders for more than just their next pay check. They look to them for inspiration and ideas.

About the Author: Mitchell Levy is the CEO and Thought Leader Architect at THiNKaha who has created and operated fifteen firms and partnerships since 1997. Today, he works with companies who are active in social media to leverage their IP and unlock the expertise of the employee base to drive more business. He is also an Amazon bestselling author with eighteen business books, including the recently released #Creating Thought Leaders tweet. Mr. Levy has provided strategic consulting to over 100 companies and has advised over 500 CEOs on critical business issues. Get a free copy of his latest ebook at http://mitchelllevy.com.

 

 

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Improving Leadership through the Brain-to- Belly Nerve


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Business Execs Should Embrace Mind-Body-Business
Connection

You’ve heard the expressions: “He lost his nerve;” “He doesn’t have the stomach for it;” “No guts.”

“As it turns out, those expressions are anatomically accurate,” says Dr. Stephen Josephs. “The nerve that you lose when you’re afraid is the vagus nerve, which runs from the belly to the brain. It transmits messages about whether the world is a safe or dangerous place. What we now know about the functioning of this nerve has direct applications making leaders more effective and all of us happier and more courageous.”

Josephs, author of the new book, “Dragons at Work,” (www.DragonsAtWork.com), teaches executives how to reliably create states of optimal performance by achieving control of the vagus nerve. When making decisions about resources, leading teams or talking with the board of directors, courage and poise in the face of rapidly changing business environments are essential for a leader.

“Rather than losing your nerve, you can strengthen it. Courage is a skill you can learn and a capacity you can systematically build. The vagus nerve has been linked to everything from digestion issues to stress and depression,” he says. “A benefit of inner body balance includes the projection of true poise; authentic confidence from a leader is what can create a business culture that breeds financial success because employees and clients trust the person in charge to make important decisions from a stable perspective.”

Using specific techniques from martial arts, meditation and other mind-body disciplines, Dr. Josephs guides executives to build resourcefulness and courage as a habitual response to challenge.

He offers tips for business executives to promote a healthy, vagus nerve-friendly environment:

• When angry or afraid, take a high quality breath: People might tell an agitated person to “take a breath,” but it’s the quality of the breath that makes all the difference. For someone who has practiced breathing has wired in an automatic relaxation response, one breath immediately begins to calm them. To practice do this when you’re not under stress: As you inhale, relax your belly and the muscles of your torso, and soften your muscles on the inhale. On the exhale become still. Widen your peripheral vision – take in more of the room, and rest in a more wide open awareness. At this point, your vagus nerve will be sending you messages that the world is a safe place and your ability to respond intelligently will be greatly enhanced.

• Move forward with a relaxed vagus nerve. Now, in a calmer, more resourceful and masterful state, you can apply a saner perspective to a variety of tasks: connect with employees; complete the agenda; let good ideas emerge from employees, with less pressure from management, so they affirm their own competencies. Acknowledge what’s already working well by giving individuals and teams credit. Enjoy your work, knowing that whatever emerges, you can handle it.

• Get over thyself and lighten up: See how much you can accomplish with the least amount of force. And drop self-importance. Remember, unless you’re Donald Trump or Miss Piggy and self-aggrandizement is part of your brand identity, it’s bad for business. It introduces unnecessary noise into the system and distorts communication. Drop self-importance and you’ll hear critical bad news faster, and people will trust that you can handle it.

About Dr. Stephen Josephs

With more than 30 years experience as an executive coach and consultant, Stephen Josephs, Ed. D, helps leaders build vitality and focus to make their companies profitable – and great places to work. His doctorate at the University of Massachusetts focused on Aesthetics in Education: how to teach anything through art, music, drama and movement. Josephs is particularly interested in the intersection of business performance, psychology and mind/body disciplines. His new novel, “Dragons at Work,” tells the story of a tightly wound executive – a fictionalized case study of coaching that produces fundamental changes in a leader. Josephs has also co-authored “Leadership Agility: Five Levels of Mastery in Anticipating and Initiating Change” (Jossey-Bass, 2006) with Bill Joiner, which shows how certain stages of psychological development affect leadership.

 

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How To Become A Better Leader

Warren Buffett Speaks At Economic Club Of WashingtonIn every aspect of life social skills can make or break your plans. You have to be able to handle people in a positive way if you intend on doing many of the fulfilling opportunities available in life. Whether we are talking about romance, friends, family, or even work social skills are a key component in your individual happiness as well as the happiness of those around you. By learning how to handle each of those areas socially you are essentially learning some of the key aspects to being not just successful in those individual areas but leadership as well. Consider the essential area in which leaders must shine, being likable. Your abilities can only be helped by increasing your ability to lead and throughout this article we will discuss how to improve your leadership capabilities.

Listen

Often overlooked, listening is a critical part of any good leader. Being able to stop talking to others and simply opening your ear and giving them your time creates an environment in which those under your direction feel like a part of the team. This can increase their willingness to put in extra hours, or even higher quality output for any work you may have them complete. Even those in high executive positions are still required to lend an ear to their consumers. The possibility of missing out on a golden opportunity because you were too busy concentrating on what you perceive to be the problem can be costly.

Story Telling

When most people think back to memories of inspirational and unforgettable people within their own lives they remember a story. The greatest leaders knew how to tell unforgettable tales that create a shared memory. This bond can easily drive and motivate people into action. Good story telling can captivate friends, engage and motivate employees, and create a sense of romance for your significant other that roses and chocolate couldn’t hope to match.

Be Honest

Honesty is an essential no brainer to me in every aspect of life. Simple matter of it is that even if you don’t want to lead a group of people honesty is expected. In that sense it’s also an essential building block for being an effective leader. By being honest and admitting flaws and mistakes you are showing that you are aware of the problems. Burying your head in the sand will discourage your employees and endanger your goals.

Transparency

Secret arrangements are bound to fail in this day and age. Everything is available online and rumors are leaked out on an almost constant basis. Engaging in secrets and private deals will only serve to hurt your chances. Establishing transparency will protect you from rumors and backtalk that could effectively undermine your ability to lead.

Team Player

Getting your hands dirty in the work that you are actively telling others to do is a team playing move and a sign of a truly involved and caring leader. Show those that you are working with that you are just as equally committed to your vision as you expect them to be. Team efforts can change the world, don’t just order people around, and challenge them!

Finger on the Pulse

Great leaders keep an eye on every event they can in an effort to be fully prepared for any reaction they may need to carry out. This effort on your part as the leader will foster a culture of responsiveness as those under your guidance will begin to understand the value of keeping an eye out for any problems. It also shows that you aren’t just bossing people around and that this isn’t just about having a title of authority.

Flexibility

Life is constantly throwing out curve balls providing challenges that could sink your efforts. Be flexible with your plans and learn how to navigate each issue as its own issue. Don’t get stuck in a single mindset as it will degrade your ability to effectively lead people. The moment those around you feel that you are oblivious to the changes going on around is the moment you lost your team. No one wants to stick around for failure and neither should you.

Excitement

Leaders need to do more than simply tell others how to act. You need to motivate through means beyond being a decent human being. Surprise those that you lead with special events that truly let them see how much you actually appreciate the work they do for you. A simple tactic that is very powerful in leading others is to under promise and over deliver. Disappointment can create a negative environment that sinks other people into it. Over delivering avoids that issue by eliminating the possibility of disappointment.

KISS

The age old adage of keep it simple stupid applies to more than just first dates. Powerful leaders were able to disseminate visionary ideas in simple ways thus reaching larger audiences. Consider something as necessary as your work plans for your employees. If you give each employee a twelve page long stack of text and expect them to understand everything you present then expect to confuse them. If you make an effort to simplify the materials you provide those under with then you will be greasing the wheels so to speak. People want simplicity in design, form and function. Provide them with it and they will be grateful.

Be Thankful

Modesty is crucial in establishing and maintaining long lasting leadership. Leaders that can truly appreciate and reward those that put forth solid efforts are given full effort time and time again. Every cog in the machine is important and you don’t want to be sunk by something as easily avoidable as a disgruntled employee. Remember to thank those that help you live out your vision.

Eduardo Dieguez is a creative writer for CareerRelay.com. He is a 1st generation American born Cuban that is currently in pursuit of his AA Degree at Valencia CC. Eduardo believes one of most important questions you will ask yourself is: what career is right for me?

 

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Project Management, Leadership: All Skills Which Can Be Developed Whilst You Are Studying At University

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Your time at your university is spent preparing for the rest of your life once you graduate, and while most of this learning is done in the classroom, there is plenty that you can learn outside the classroom, as well. If you are going to school for business, there are a number of skills that you’re going to need in the business world which can be learned outside of class while you’re at university. Leadership skills and project management are two of the main skills which can be learned.

 

Learning Leadership Skills at University

Leadership is one of the easiest skills to develop. If you are ever given a group project, this is the perfect opportunity to step up and cement yourself as the leader of the group so that you can then delegate tasks to the other members of the group and learn those important leadership skills. In addition, you could host a study group for a big upcoming test and take the leadership role in that environment, as well. Both of these scenarios will allow you to hone your leadership skills; you can figure out how to motivate others and command them.

Learning Project Management Skills at University

University in itself is a giant project that needs to be managed. You have to balance studying, homework, class time, work, your social life and more all at once, and learning how to organize yourself to get through this alive will help you immensely once you get started in your career. In addition, you can use those project management skills in your group projects and study groups as well- any situation where you are working with multiple people, you can flex your brain and put these skills to use, so it’s good to always keep that in mind.

Other Opportunities to Hone your Skills

In addition to study groups and group projects, there are plenty of other opportunities for you to use your project management and leadership skills. Look for volunteer opportunities and ask your boss at your current job if there is any additional responsibility that you can take on for an opportunity to work on your skills. There are opportunities almost everywhere you look, the key is to know how to make them work and how to apply your leadership and project management skills so that they are developed in the best way possible.

Start Developing your Skills Today

As you’ve seen, there is definitely plenty of opportunity to build your leadership and project management skills while you’re at university. You can rest assured that this will help make you a better candidate once you start applying for jobs, and it also gives you some great answers to interview questions when you’re asked how you have shown competency in these areas in the past. Overall, just remember to look at everything as an opportunity to better yourself in some way, and you should have no problem coming out of college with a lot more than just a degree.

Richmond University are the American University in London offering Batchelor degrees in history and psychology as well as good number of postgraduate subjects.

 

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Is Your Leadership Hurting the Bottom Line?

leadership4 ‘Bad Leader Behaviors’ That Affect Productivity, Profits

What can business leaders and managers learn from watching the earnings of publicly traded companies?

“Plenty,” says Kathleen Brush, a 25-year veteran of international business and author of “The Power of One: You’re the Boss,” (www.kathleenbrush.com), a guide to developing the skills necessary to become an effective, respected leader.

“When looking at the corporations reporting lower-than-expected earnings, you need to read between the lines. They are not going to admit that the reason is a failure of leadership, but 99 times out of 100 that’s what it is.”

She cites Oracle, the business hardware and software giant, which recently reported a quarterly revenue shortfall based on a decline in new software licenses and cloud subscriptions.

The company is “not at all pleased with our revenue growth this quarter,” Oracle co-president Safra Catz told analysts. “What we really saw was a lack of urgency that we sometimes see in the sales force …”

They are pointing the finger at the employees, but they are really admitting a failure of  leadership, Brush says.

“Do you know how simple it is for managers to motivate sales people? If indeed the lack of sales urgency is the problem. There are dozens of bad leader behaviors that can cause sales to decline,” she explains.

In her work for companies around the country, from restructuring operations to improving profitability, Brush says she sees an epidemic of bad leader behaviors.

“When I point them out, most leaders downplay, or refuse to acknowledge, the impact their behaviors are having on their bottom line. But, in companies where leaders change these behaviors, employees become engaged and motivated. It is really that simple to increase productivity, innovation, and the bottom line,” she says.

“If you’re a boss examining your own lower-than-expected performance, instead of wasting time searching for scapegoats, look in the mirror. Most bosses unwittingly exhibit bad leader behaviors daily that cause their businesses to suffer.”

Here are four increasingly prevalent and damaging behaviors:

• The unethical boss: This is a category that doesn’t just annoy employees, it appalls them. As such, it’s a powerful demotivater. When a boss breaks or fudges the rules, cheats, lies or indulges in behaviors that reveal a lack of moral principles, he or she loses employees’ respect. Without their respect, a boss cannot lead. In addition, when a leader indulges in unethical practices, he gives his employees permission to do the same. Padding mileage reports, splurging on business travel expenses, failing to take responsibility for mistakes – they all become endorsed activities by the boss – the role model.

• The unfair boss: Our current societal efforts to treat people equally – think gay marriage, health care reform, the children of undocumented immigrants – have led to confusion among some leaders about “equality” versus “fairness” in the workplace. “I talked to a manager who gave all his employees the same pay raise because ‘he wanted to be fair,’ ” Brush recalls. He then seemed mystified that the productivity of his best employees declined to that of an average worker. “Rewards can be powerful tools of motivation, but they must be administered fairly.”

• The buddy boss: Bosses can never be buddies with their employees. Ever. Friendships neutralize the boss’s authority and power. They can also cloud a leader’s objectivity and hinder her ability to correct behaviors, to delegate, and to hold employees accountable. When friendships compromise output, it’s the boss who will be accountable. “Be friendly to employees, but do not cross the line that muddies the relationship between boss and friend. It could cost you your job.” Brush says.

• The disorganized boss:  Workplaces are filled with employees who lack direction because disorganized leaders don’t deliver and manage plans and strategies to guide their teams. What’s the chance of an unguided team maximizing its productivity to create competitively superior innovative widgets? “What’s the chance of employees being inspired by a leader who leads like a doormat or by random thoughts?” says Brush.

“As a manager, you wield a tremendous amount of power,” she says. “You can be an incredibly negative power or a positive one who’s looked up to by both peers and employees.”

“For the latter, bosses have to purge the bad behaviors.”

About Kathleen Brush

Kathleen Brush has more than two decades of experience as a senior executive with global business responsibilities. She has a Ph.D. in management and international studies. Brush has been teaching, writing and consulting on international business and leadership for companies of all sizes, public and private, foreign and domestic.

 

 

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