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become a better leader

4 Hard Truths You Must Face to Become a Better Leader

Go to any business or leadership blog online and you’ll find a lot of the same types of articles, ranging from general topics like “How to Become a Great Leader” to inspirational topics like “How to Stay Motivated as a Business Owner.” Great advice to be sure. But we can’t avoid discussing some of the “hard truths” of leadership, the challenges that we have to face if we want to be truly great leaders.

I know: dwelling on these truths can make you seem negative. However, paying them reasonable balanced attention will leave you much better prepared for what lies ahead.

Here are some of those “hard truths” that you should think about.

  • Business is political, period. You’re going to have to mange politics every single day in the business world; that’s just the way it works. However, this isn’t always a bad thing. For example, you need to be able to become a better leaderlearn how to read people, assess their interests and personality and determine how you can interact with them to influence their actions in support of your objectives. If you don’t play politics within reason, you’ll never get the most out of your employees, business partners or clients.
  • Success breeds contempt. While you’re climbing the ladder to success, you’re likely to have plenty of people to support you along the way. But the higher you go, the less support you’ll receive. You’ll even have others who may try to bring you down. This is reality, and it’s important to be aware of this ahead of time so that you can strengthen your will to prepare yourself for success.
  • Some people are waiting for you to fail. This goes along with the previous point. You may get to a point where people are expecting, even hoping, for you to fail. And you’re going to fail; everyone does at some point. But when it happens, you can’t give those people the satisfaction of getting discouraged or giving up. Learn from what caused you to stumble. Then get up, adjust, and move on. If you’re able to take failure as an opportunity to improve, you’ll become a much better leader for it.
  • Learn to accept blame and defer credit. We live in a society where leaders are expected to be humble and responsible. We see it in the business world, the sports world, the political world, etc. Nothing rubs the average person the wrong way like a person who takes credit for his or her team’s success, or refuses to accept blame for mistakes. Even if you are primarily responsible for a major success of your business, you’ll be expected to give the credit to the rest of your team. It might be frustrating to never get to take the credit for yourself, but that’s part of the burden that comes with being a great leader. Park your ego, accept blame, and defer credit.

There are many more “hard truths” about great leadership, but these are four are a good foundation. Embrace these truths, and you’ll find that you’re much better prepared to handle the many challenges or successes that come your way.

John J. Hall, CPA

John J. Hall, CPA

 

 

 

 

 

 

John J. Hall, CPA, is an author, speaker and results expert who presents around the world at conventions, corporate meetings and association events.

Throughout his 35-year career as a business consultant, corporate executive and professional speaker, John has helped organizations and individuals achieve measurable results. He inspires audience members in corporations, not-for-profit organizations and professional associations to step up, take action and “do what you can.”

How to be Attractive at Work

Oh, I would love to know. Did that title catch your eye?

If I saw it flash up on my computer screen, I would think – exactly where is he going this time???

Well, here’s the answer – just so you can relax.

It’s been 35 years since they pushed me out of college and into the real world of business with an accounting degree. I’ve worked in major public accounting firms, huge companies, boutique consulting companies, and I’ve been self-employed for most of the last 25 years. I’ve seen thousands of employees, managers and executives succeed, and just as many – perhaps more – flame out, stall and fail.

With these many observations in mind, for my book Do What You Can! we made the subtitle “Simple Steps – Extraordinary Results”. It’s a catchy phrase, but to me it’s the guiding statement for much of my work. Here’s why.

I’ve always sought solutions that are fundamentally effective, relatively easy to implement, and cost far less than their likely benefits. One of my favorites is that in business – and in life – you will find your effectiveness attractive at workdoubled, tripled or beyond if you cultivate the ability to attract the people and other resources you need to advance toward your goals.

So we’re clear, I’m not talking about conning people into supporting your schemes and plans. I’m talking about being so ‘attractive’ in your work that the people you need are lining up to work with you.

Here are some examples of being attractive in a work setting:

  • You are reliable. You never leave supervisors and co-workers in the dark wondering about the status of your work. And you finish your work – on time and in a high quality manner.
  • You prepare for meetings and discussions, and bring something unexpected and positive to business projects.
  • You are all about finding solutions to issues.
  • You have a reputation of willingness to help other people succeed – not someone who can be taken advantage of or walked over. Rather, you are seen as a guide, coach or mentor interested in helping others grow in their own work.
  • You have a habit of improving your technical, interpersonal, communications and administrative skills. You take it upon yourself to get the meaningful performance feedback you need, identify the blind spots and weak points in your own performance, and take daily action to improve.
  • You are positive – even optimistic – in what you say, what you write and what you show others about yourself.
  • You are focused on the task at hand. Not frantic. Focused.
  • You project a calm confidence in your abilities. Especially when you are tired, stressed, frustrated, under the gun, against a deadline, or correcting others’ mistakes. Not cocky. Confident. In a calming manner.
  •  You are conscious of being a person others want to be around and support. Not in a fake or put-on manner. But instead by following these three Simple Steps:
  •  You are Present – You’re not distracted in meetings and discussions. Others notice that you put down the ‘distraction-box’ mobile device when others are present.
  • You are Intentional – You act with Purpose. You eliminate unnecessary distractions. You produce high- quality results in your work.
  • You are Helpful – Every businessperson I have ever met has some knowledge or skill that others in their workplace need. You know this as well, and you look for the daily opportunities to help someone else. You are amazed how many of them look for ways to help you as well.

This isn’t a complete list of what to do, but it will get you started towards accelerated success.

And it certainly doesn’t hurt to look your best, too.

How you present yourself to others shows that you respect them (and yourself!), and took the time to be aware of how you appear to them. Yes, appearances are often surface level and superficial; but they can matter in a business setting and should be attended to within reason.

Look, you and I both know it’s not really fair to judge people by their appearance. But it happens – so why not just eliminate any concerns by decision makers about how you might present yourself to customers and others. Show them your best in your work and your appearance. Start with a genuine smile – finish by pressing your clothes and shining your shoes!

In short, be attractive to others. Draw them to you with your positive energy, outstanding work and helpful disposition. Be the person they want to work with and support. Take these Simple Steps. Every day.

Best wishes for your success – however you define it.

Two Questions

  • In your work, what do you do so well that everyone recognizes your expertise in this one area? Who do you know who needs this skill? How could you teach them?

Start with a genuine offer to help them? Go and have that conversation right now. Right away. Today. But be ready for their offer to help you. It’s not why we offer to help, but it’s going to happen. Think in advance – what does that other person know that would help you improve you skills?

  • What’s the one skill you’ll need to master in your next job? Is it a business or administrative skill? Communications or interpersonal (writing, speaking listening, presenting, coaching)? Or maybe your internal consulting skills?

Who do you know who is already a master at this skill? Approach them about coaching you. Be specific. Prepare and present a one-page proposal. Include how you will help or repay them for their efforts.

  • Think of just one person in your work life who is able to attract others to them? Not because they are funny or pretty, but because they have a track record of teaching and helping others. Who is it? And what do they do each day that makes you feel ‘attracted’ to them and their work results?

Let Me Know What You Think

My purpose is to give you ideas you can use on your terms to advance your performance towards your goals. Please let me know what you think. Just click here to leave your own Better! ideas.

Best wishes for Better! results on your terms –

John J. Hall, CPA

John J. Hall, CPA

 

 

 

 

 

 

John J. Hall, CPA, is an author, speaker and results expert who presents around the world at conventions, corporate meetings and association events.

Throughout his 35-year career as a business consultant, corporate executive and professional speaker, John has helped organizations and individuals achieve measurable results. He inspires audience members in corporations, not-for-profit organizations and professional associations to step up, take action and “do what you can.”

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