The Leadership Coach™ Insight for leaders from Pastor Paul Andrew, Keynote Speaker and Director of The Leadership Coach™ - New York Sun, 21 Dec 2014 02:40:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Dealing With Entitlement Fri, 27 Sep 2013 02:09:29 +0000 An attitude of entitlement is the poison ivy of team cultures. It looks innocuous enough and nothing much happens when you first come in contact with it, but later its poison burns you and spreads until you’re itching and can think of nothing else.

I travel fairly regularly and my kids started to get used to the idea that every time I’d come home I would have presents for them. Even if I was only away for a night they’d ask, “Dad, what did you get us?”. One time I arrived home and my five year old had clearly been coached by his Mum because his first words were, “Dad, I’m not going to ask you about presents”. I busted up laughing. It’s funny when it’s just a child who is still learning that life isn’t all about then. It’s not as funny when it’s a 35 year old employee though.

You know you’ve allowed entitlement to creep in when the team speak as though everyone owes them. Or when “bonuses” are not so much a bonus as an expectation, and all hell would break loose if they weren’t handed out. Entitlement is focused on rights not responsibilities. It constantly asks, “What’s in it for me?”.

As a leader I’ve found it robs the joy of doing something generous for your team when you’re met with entitlement instead of gratitude. Ironically people are generally willing to do much more for the first who doesn’t act as if it’s their God-given right. Most of us unconsciously resist the self-centered person and help the humble person instead.

Even as a leader I need to watch that it doesn’t creep into my mindset.

  • Am I assuming everyone is here to serve me?
  • Do I forget to thank people for what they do?
  • Do I have higher expectations of others than I do of myself?

The time to dig it up is when it’s small. Let’s nip the attitude of entitlement in the bud.

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What’s Your Exchange Rate? Mon, 21 Jan 2013 20:54:31 +0000 I believe every relationship has a different exchange rate.

When I travel I sometimes need to exchange my dollars for another currency. When I have a strong exchange rate the purchasing power of my money can be much greater than it would be at home, but when my exchange rate is weak I can wind up paying a small fortune just for a cup of coffee.

Your relationship with each of your team members (and customers for that matter) has an exchange rate too. When your exchange rate is strong the felt benefit of things you do is made even greater… like a compliment, some quality time, or a performance bonus. It amplifies the impact of your efforts. But when you have a weak exchange rate, the value of the same efforts is far less.

We see this in every day life. Like the absent parent who buys expensive gifts for their kids and wonders why the kids aren’t grateful. Personally, I love genuine encouragement, but I don’t love it the same from everyone! There are some people whose words could motivate me for years, and others could say the very same thing and have little impact at all.

So what makes the difference? I believe it’s the combination of trust and credibility that determines our exchange rate with others.

Without a foundation of trust and credibility, you’ll always see your investments in others being less fruitful. But with earned trust and real credibility, even small deposits in people’s lives can pay huge dividends.

It’s only fair to acknowledge that these take time to establish. So if you’re a new leader or have a new team don’t expect this to happen overnight. But it also doesn’t just happen. Unless we’re purposeful we can actually find our trust and credibility decreases over time.

John Maxwell said, “Success is when those who know me the best, respect me the most“.

So what’s your exchange rate like with each of those you lead?

I’d love to hear your comments and feel free to use the links below to share this article with others

Paul Andrew is Founder of The Leadership Coach
He is a Keynote Speaker and Management Consultant based in New York | LinkedIn | Website | Blog | Twitter
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The Extra Mile Mon, 11 Jun 2012 18:48:31 +0000 In ancient Rome a centurion could command those who were not Roman citizens to carry their equipment for a mile. Generally the conquered citizens resented the forced labour, but first century Christians began a tradition of “going the extra mile”. Not only would they do what they were required by law to do… but they would do more… by choice.

Two millennia later the principle of going the extra mile is still a powerful philosophy in life and leadership. No wonder Wayne Dyer observed, “It’s never crowded on the extra mile”. It’s a rarer breed who are willing to go beyond what is required, but that’s what world-class leaders are made of.

I’m sure you’ve discovered that mediocrity is the most crowded marketplace of all. It’s what Kim & Mauborgne refer to as the “red ocean” of competition and overcrowding in their breakthrough book Blue Ocean Strategy.

These days business leaders often speak about “delivering on expectations” as if it’s a worthy benchmark of some sort. That roughly translates “doing what we said we would do”. Is it just me, or does that sound more like base camp than an actual goal?

Delivering on expectations is about integrity not excellence, so if you can distinguish yourself from your competition just by acting with integrity, it might be time to think about working in a different industry.

The extra mile is about the stretch. It’s about doing the unexpected (delivering on UNexpectations). It’s about customers who are surprised not just satisfied.

  • So what does the extra mile look like for you?
  • In what ways could you go beyond expectations and leave a lasting, positive impression?
  • Does your organisational culture reward or punish (even subtly) team members who go above and beyond their duty for your clients?

Put some space between you and your competition. A mile would be a good start.

I’d love to hear your comments and feel free to use the links below to share this article with others
Paul Andrew is Founder of The Leadership Coach™
He is a Keynote Speaker and Management Consultant based in New York

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Don’t Feed The Birds Fri, 20 Apr 2012 16:08:28 +0000 As a kid I remember being pestered by aggressive seagulls at the beach. I thought if I threw them a few hot chips they’d be appeased and go away. How wrong I was. Suddenly there were more, and bolder still, with endless appetites!

The Mayor of London recently reduced soaring pigeon numbers simply by banning people from feeding them. To most they had become a nuisance and an eyesore, yet even in Trafalgar Square this strategy has reduced their numbers from many thousands to a few hundred.

“Don’t feed the birds” is just as effective as a leadership habit.

I’ve noticed that too often as leaders we give attention, and even unintentional reward, to the very things we don’t want more of. Then we’re surprised when it seems like we only have more of it to deal with.

Perhaps you get wind of some gossip amongst people in your team. So you sit them down, hear them out, follow up a few of the rumours, hoping that if they feel heard they won’t gossip again in future. You just fed the birds. What they actually learned was that they can get both your attention and your action with gossip.

Or maybe you operate like an organization I once worked with that believed in the importance of budgets but sometimes rewarded bad behaviour. Those who overspent their budgets were certainly scolded, but then the new year’s budgets were based on last year’s performance as a benchmark of what they needed. So one year in particular I had my budget cut since I had underspent the previous year, while another team who blew their budget was rewarded with an increase the following year since “they obviously needed it”. Birds will come back, even if do you yell at them before feeding them.

If you want to put out a fire, starve it of air.

  • I wonder which fires you might be giving air to in your team?
  • I wonder what irritations you’re experiencing only more of because you feed them?
  • What values, what language, what culture, what behaviour or issues do you need to stop fueling?

Feed what you do want, starve what you don’t.


Paul Andrew is Founder of The Leadership Coach
He is a Keynote Speaker and Management Consultant based in New York | +1 917 913 4598 | LinkedIn | Website | Blog | Twitter
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Culture Eats Strategy For Breakfast – Paul Andrew in Vienna Thu, 15 Mar 2012 02:49:56 +0000 ]]> 7 Tools I Use For Social Media, Blogging & Productivity Tue, 28 Feb 2012 23:02:17 +0000 Sendpepper // 123rf // Hootsuite // Buffer // WordPress // Action Method // Woothemes

People often ask me what tools I like to use as a leadership blogger, a non-profit entrepreneur and professional speaker. I need to deliver my creative best in the most efficient and leveraged way I can.

Never ones to be conventional my wife and I moved from Sydney to New York City with three kids, took The Leadership Coach LLC global, and launched Liberty Church in the heart of Manhattan. You could say that life is full!

So “these are a few of my favourite things” (insert musical moment here)… and they’re helping me build my influence without losing my sanity. In no particular order…

1. SendpepperEmailing My Posts

I wanted to have an opportunity to build a relationship with those who read my blog. By offering them the chance to subscribe by email, I can make sure they never miss a post (especially since I only write a few times a month). A friend recommended Sendpepper three years ago and I haven’t looked back.

My current database of 2500 people costs only $39.95 a month to email with customized templates that look just like my website. Plus I get access to a host of data about how my readers are interacting with the blog, and they are my most active audience for comments and sharing the content.

2. 123rf – Creative Images

Every post I share has an image that heads the article. A well chosen photo can add a lot, conveying my core idea in a different way or creating interest to read further. On the other hand I’ve seen great content on many blogs that is badly let down by poor quality, ill-fitting or cliché images that actually detract from the content.

While better known sites like are great, I came across where royalty-free photos are a fraction of the cost. Admittedly the site also includes some lesser quality work but it’s rare for me to need to look elsewhere, and for a few dollars I can have a high-impact image to match the hard work I put into writing.

3. HootsuiteSocial Media Hub

Why jump back and forth between multiple Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts when I can post to all of them from one central hub? Hootsuite allows me to curate my messages for different social media platforms from a web browser or mobile app, both for my personal channels and for the enterprises I lead.

Better still, I can create customized streams to ensure I never miss posts from certain people… other streams where keywords that are important to me are captured (like every time some mentions “The Leadership Coach” in a tweet)… and I can schedule tweets or posts for a future time- handy when you do all your social media work in a blast but don’t want your followers trying to survive feast then famine.

4. BufferSharing What I Read

It’s a simple app that makes sharing the online content I’m reading… well, simple. Buffer adds a button to your web browser so that when you see a post or page you want to share all you need to do is press a button and then some genius things happen. First it uses the social media channels you connected to automatically create a draft tweet or post that includes the title or page header and a shortened link.

But my favourite part is that it then drops your edited tweet into a predetermined posting schedule. I like to use Google Reader to follow about 40 blogs, but I don’t want to blow you all away with 10 articles in 10 minutes when I finally carve out a moment to catch up on reading. So I use Buffer to trickle feed my favourite stuff twice a day at times that lots of people like to read something interesting (well, something I thought was interesting at least).

5. WordPressWebsite Platform

Let’s face it, WordPress has made having a quality website cheap or even free. I don’t need specialist knowledge to post my content, and there are thousands of plugins that add just about any feature I need from calendars to twitter feeds and social media sharing. In fact it’s so versatile that I find it hard to understand why more small businesses, ideators and entrepreneurs don’t use it and quit paying web developers to build them expensive websites that make their lives harder not easier.

6. Action MethodStaying Organized 

The legends behind Behance and 99% blog produced a productivity app especially for creatives that I think is better suited to dynamic organisations than GTD tools. Action Method allows me to track, delegate and monitor a host of tasks with my team from my iPhone, iPad or desktop. I can sort them into projects, tag and colour code them, view in a range of ways, and get notifications any time someone accepts, changes or completes a project. These days if I want something done, I don’t send an email I assign a task and the system holds people accountable until it’s done. Accounts are inexpensive and they have huge non-profit discounts.

7. WoothemesFor Website Design

Last, but not least, though my love for WordPress is undying I wasn’t so excited about the free design templates. There’s no point in writing good content but then having people leave your site in the first few seconds because it’s badly designed. In stepped with a collection of customizable themes that plug straight into your WordPress blog. For I used the “BusyBee” theme, but there are themes for everything from portfolios to magazines, and from blogs to sales sites. For as little as $70 you can make sure your site look clean, fresh and professional .

So there it is, the Wizard of Oz is an old man behind a curtain! Sorry if I burst your bubble- but this really isn’t rocket science folks.

And now the BIG question is… what do YOU like to use? I’d love your comments on the things that have made a difference, grown your platform or saved you time and money.

Paul Andrew is Founder of The Leadership Coach™
He is a Keynote Speaker and Management Consultant based in New York | +1 917 913 4598 | LinkedIn | Website | Blog | Twitter

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Are You Punishing Loyalty? Tue, 17 Jan 2012 00:04:41 +0000 Maybe you’ve had an experience like this?

I called my cable television provider a few weeks ago because I’d seen them advertising some special deals for the holidays. I’ve been with them for a few years, and their hold message repeatedly claims that I’m a “valued customer”.

Well it turns out that their advertised rates are only for new customers and as an existing “valued customer” I did not qualify. On pressing the salesperson I discovered that the only way to qualify would be to close my account, wait 30 days, then reapply as a new customer.

This is called punishing loyalty.

I wasn’t on contract. Needless to say they lost me to a competitor.

In a day when business leaders talk so much about customer loyalty, why do we allow business strategies that punish loyalty? Why do we so often reward the fickle and neglect the faithful?

Sadly TimeWarner is employing a philosophy of value that can be seen in all kinds of organisations.

So what else does punishing loyalty look like?

  • Managers who take their longest-serving staff for granted.
  • Leaders who wait for everyone to arrive before starting meetings punish the timely and reward the tardy.
  • Companies that lure new staff with premium salaries while loyal team members are trickle-fed CPI increases.
  • Fostering “squeaky wheel” cultures where those who complain or rock the boat get your attention and those who are conscientious and compliant get ignored.
  • Offering the best price/ best deal/ best seat/ best project to the last on board.
  • Shipping substandard products to the passionate early adopters that require endless patches/ fixes/ recalls (think software giants).

If new customers or new team members around you feel special, while the loyal ones feel unappreciated, it might be time to rethink your values.


I’d love to hear your comments and feel free to use the links below to share this article with others
Paul Andrew is Founder of The Leadership Coach™

He is a Keynote Speaker and Management Consultant based in New York
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You’ve Changed! Wed, 14 Dec 2011 19:16:57 +0000 It’s said like an insult… “You’ve changed!”

Perhaps you were in a conversation with a lifelong friend or a family member. Something you did or said wasn’t quite what you always used to do or say. And then out it comes, with a hint of disgust… “You’ve changed!”

Here’s the problem: if you want to reach your potential in life or leadership you have to change.

Those jibes might be subtle or even well meaning. Yet they still reinforce a fundamental mindset that in order to be “true”, “authentic” or “fair dinkum” (for the Aussies!) we should always be how we’ve always been.

The opposite phrase is just as much of a problem. Why is it generally considered a compliment when we say to someone, “You haven’t changed a bit”?

If you haven’t seen me in ten years and you say to me, “You haven’t changed a bit” that might just be the lowest insult of all.

The inability or unwillingness to change is the path to extinction. If your clothes, your business strategy, your cell phone or your website are still “staying true” to how the world was ten years ago, prepare for extinction.

Let’s reverse the trend. This week find three people who’ve changed for the better and compliment them by saying “You’ve changed!”

I’d love to hear your comments and feel free to use the links below to share this article with others

Paul Andrew is Founder of The Leadership Coach™

He is a Keynote Speaker and Management Consultant based in New York
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Armchair Critics Wed, 30 Nov 2011 16:14:29 +0000 Through the years of leading people experience has taught me that there will always be armchair critics, the only question is how I will respond to them.

While I welcome constructive feedback and critical thinking from those who share my values, I have no time at all for the armchair critic.

Armchair critics are the backseat drivers of this world. Rather than do something they prefer to criticise those who do. They can usually be found in the company of other critics picking apart what people do and say, from the safety of their comfort zone.

I heard someone say recently that, “Critics are like the eunuchs in a harem – they know what you’re supposed to do, but can’t do it themselves.” Sadly for all the impotence in their actions, their words still have the power to discourage and distract you if you let them.

Truth be told, I’ve let the critics get to me too many times over the years. I got defensive. I stewed on their accusations. I got my eye off the ball and focused on the hecklers. And as long as I focused on the critics in the grandstand I couldn’t play the game on the field to the best of my ability.

I’m determined to stay open to the right opinions… the voices of those who know and believe in me.. the perspective of people working alongside me. In fact I’m in very a dangerous place as a leader if no-one can question me.

We see journalists, police officers and presidents alike weighing the value of information that comes to them on the basis of the credibility of the source themselves. A reliable source who is close to the events is a precious resource. But if the source is without credibility and proximity it’s unlikely anyone will even read their “information” let alone act on it.

So leaders, let’s develop the habit of weighing criticism according to its source before we react. And at the same time, let’s cultivate a circle of trusted advisors around us who can speak truth from a proven track record and a shared vision.

Leave the armchair critic to his armchair. It’s called a La-Z-Boy for a reason.

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt (Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910)

I’d love to hear your comments and feel free to use the links below to share this article with others
Paul Andrew is Founder of The Leadership Coach™
He is a Keynote Speaker and Management Consultant based in New York

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The Most Crowded Marketplace Of All Thu, 27 Oct 2011 17:55:12 +0000 I have always pursued the ideal that if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing well.

As I’ve worked with leaders around the world, I have discovered that mindset is not only a more satisfying way to live but it’s also a hallmark of those who rise above their competition.

The most crowded marketplace of all is mediocrity.

Think of your own industry. How many leading companies or organisations are there that have clearly risen above the crowd? And by comparison, how many of the “mediocre masses” are there? The eagles have a different experience of this world than the pigeons.

So here are a few exits on the highway to mediocrity that you might consider if you long to escape the throng-

1. Do less.
Thin out how much you do… in order to do what you do with excellence. Hold three events not ten. Offer two services instead of seven. Creativity is as much about what you leave out as what you leave in. And often doing too many things is the enemy of doing the most important things with excellence. Often, but not always…

2. Do more.
At the risk of contradicting myself, sometimes the answer is to do more. Go beyond what others offer. Market research would have told Ford and Jobs that people just wanted faster horses and smaller phones. Instead they gave them something more, something they didn’t even know they needed until they experienced what “more” looked like in the automobile and the iPhone.

3. Do it differently.
There’s a wine shop in my neighbourhood that I like. They’re not the closest, the largest or the cheapest. But they do something their competitors don’t- they get out from behind the counter and talk about their wines. They make it fun and educational without making customers feel inferior. Remember that whether you’re selling a product or a service, you’re really selling an experience. So do it differently.

So if you’re ready for the air up there, scorn mediocrity and ask yourself, “How could we do less, do more or do it differently?”

I’d love to hear your comments and feel free to use the links below to share this article with others
Paul Andrew is Founder of The Leadership Coach™
He is a Keynote Speaker and Management Consultant based in New York

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Work Horses And Show Ponies Mon, 03 Oct 2011 22:10:53 +0000 I’ve come to realize that being gifted and being productive aren’t always the same thing. Every leader makes a largely unconscious choice to encourage either show ponies or work horses in their leadership stable.

Show ponies remind me of those team members that are gifted to the eyeballs, look the part and parade around to be judged on their appearances.

On the other hand, the work horses are best known for their strength and productivity, and they are valued for their output. They’re both horses, but they’re two different animals to lead.

Show ponies need constant grooming

If you find your team members need continual affirmation and attention, or for their egos to be stroked… perhaps you have some show ponies in the stable. There’s a lot of coddling, sheltering and special treatment required to protect them from anything that might cause a blemish or real exertion.

Show ponies don’t like to work hard

It’s usually easy to spot a show pony when the team is working hard. You’ll find them excusing themselves from responsibilities, “supervising” in some self-appointed role, or absent with something they deemed more important. The truth is they have little stomach for hard work (and leaders- make no mistake, the rest of the team know it.)

Show ponies shine in the limelight

Unlike their sudden absence during hard work seasons, the show pony is front and centre when there is attention or applause to be gained. They were born for the spotlight, where the work horse earns their keep far away from the crowds and accolades.

Personally, I’m most grateful for those selfless, unassuming and hard-working individuals who care more about getting the job done than who gets the credit. They’re low maintenance and high output. Give me that rugged beauty over pampered perfection any day.

I’d love to hear your comments and feel free to use the links below to share this article with others
Paul Andrew is Founder of The Leadership Coach
He is a Keynote Speaker and Management Consultant based in New York

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Affirmation Addicts Wed, 24 Aug 2011 16:51:30 +0000 Over breakfast recently I was discussing the journey of leadership with a new friend when he described himself as a “Recovering Affirmation Addict”. Just quietly, so am I.

Reflecting on my own past as a world-class people pleaser, it was clear to both of us that we had not become truly effective as leaders until we had broken that self-sabotaging mindset.

Of course receiving affirmation should be a perfectly normal and positive thing. We all need some encouragement from time to time. A healthy team should point out people’s successes and remind them of their value as an individual.

But when a person allows insecurity or a feeling of inadequacy to rob them of their sense of confidence and personal worth, then an Affirmation Addict can be born who craves encouragement to fill the void in their life.

Affirmation Addicts want a good thing for the wrong reason. And sadly, like all addictions, it brings dependance, then debilitation and even destruction if it continues to grow.

Affirmation Addicts receive less from their affirmation
Ironically the more emotionally needy you are, the less impact each encouragement tends to have. You need more encouragement, more times, with more adjectives, from more important people, in more public settings. The dosage gets higher and higher to give you the feeling you used to get from a simple compliment.

Affirmation Addicts get tainted encouragement.
Once those around you see the addiction in action, they begin to watch what they say. People mince their words, tell you what you want to hear, or embellish what they really mean. Their words get tainted by the complications that come with trying to navigate your brokenness.

Affirmation Addicts find their leadership gets compromised.
It’s hard to make the tough decisions when you need everyone to like you. All too often doing the right thing as a leader has nothing in common with doing what is popular. So the Affirmation Addict is torn in their leadership between ensuring the long-term success of those they lead and trying to meet their own short-term craving for praise.

Affirmation Addiction is like reversing your polarity.
Far from being attractive, the addiction reverses your magnetism and repels the very things you hope to attract. It’s as though there is an invisible energy field around you pushing people away.

So, take it from a leader who got clean a while back. You can be free… you can comfortable in your own skin… and you can make your relationship uncomplicated again… by breaking the addiction.

I’d love to hear your comments and feel free to use the links below to share this article with others
Paul Andrew is Founder of The Leadership Coach™
He is a Keynote Speaker and Management Consultant based in New York

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Three Potent Words Mon, 01 Aug 2011 20:48:05 +0000 Three words in Rudy Giuliani’s book titled “Leadership” had a lasting impact on my life.

In it he explained the essence of his philosophy on leadership as he reflected on leading New York City as its Mayor through both triumph and tragedy, including the attacks on the World Trade Center. On his desk throughout his time as Mayor sat a sign with just three potent words:


It strikes me that many of us could use a reminder like that sitting on our desks.

How do you lead a city like NYC and at the same time hold yourself to such a tough standard? Does “I am responsible” mean that I’m to blame for everything that goes wrong?

In the aftermath of terrorist attacks when many were pointing fingers, Giuliani focused instead on taking responsibility for the needs at hand. In fact throughout his tenure as Mayor he led a reversal of the city’s crime record with a myriad of seemingly small actions that worked together to achieve change on a massive scale.

Something in all of us prefers to resist responsibility and focus instead of what’s outside of our control. But the true leader doesn’t waste energy and precious time fixating on issues they can’t address. Instead they take action. They step up and do what they can.

Living those three potent words – I am responsible – means knowing that although it’s not only up to you… keeping focused on your own responsibility is the surest way to live to your real potential.

So be your own leadership coach for a moment and ask…
* To what extent am I allowing myself to be distracted by issues or others, rather than focusing on my own part to play?
* If I was to take 100% responsibility for this… what would I do differently?
* What action can I take TODAY to begin to address a situation that’s important to me?

Your time starts… now

I’d love to hear your comments and feel free to use the links below to share this article with others
Paul Andrew is Founder of The Leadership Coach™
He is a Keynote Speaker and Management Consultant based in New York

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The Inner Circle Test Wed, 18 May 2011 15:39:57 +0000 Real leaders surround themselves with people who challenge them, not people who worship them.

You can tell a lot about a leader by the sort of people they surround themselves with. Often the conversations on this subject focus on the calibre of those you have in your inner circle, and I agree with that to a point. Getting highly capable people around you is a real key to your next level of success. But… a high calibre / low diversity team is not the answer.

Weak leaders seek “yes men” and agreement.
Sadly it’s possible to train your team to blindly agree with everything you say and do. With enough fear, manipulation and control even a high calibre can become vulnerable and find themselves telling the emperor his new clothes are splendid when the truth is that he’s naked.

Weak leaders create monocultures.
In a monoculture there’s an overwhelming prevalence of one way of thinking and acting. It’s like a clone army. We dress the same, talk the same, see the world the same. It doesn’t take very long for a culture like that to isolate and ostracize a new person who is different.

Weak leaders equate “different” with “bad”.
The low diversity team rejects someone different in much the same way as a body can reject a transplant. They sense different DNA and in thousands of microscopic ways they attack it until it’s removed. This team sees it as a negative to be different. Something that person needs to work on, or overcome in order to “fit in”.

Real leaders enjoy the different perspectives that diversity brings.
We can all see the same issue from our different viewpoints, and all be “right”. I’ve observed some world-class leaders in action and their capacity to bring diversity to the table is clear. They synthesize the best of these perspectives and then set the direction of the organisation. Interestingly they experience greater unity later having had the disagreements up front, where weak leaders discourage disagreement upfront and often experience disunity later.

Real leaders are comfortable with a certain level of tension.
I don’t mind a level of tension in my team. There’s a healthy tension that drives creativity, and without it we’ll likely oversimplify our challenges. The quality people and the quantity people are both right. Sales people should push the design team to get a product to market, and the design team should push back so it’s of the highest standard. Don’t let conflict get personal, or it’s effect be cumulative… but declare war on mediocrity and may the best idea win.

Real leaders unify their team through what they have in common.
Rather than fixate on the differences in their team, effective leaders use their common ground as the focal point. Perhaps they share a common goal, a common enemy, or a common value. When they keep these at the centre, they enable a team that would otherwise fragment to stay united.

So take a moment now and put yourself to the Inner Circle Test. Have you made diversity your friend or your enemy?

I’d love to hear your comments and feel free to use the links below to share this article with others
Paul Andrew is Founder of The Leadership Coach™
He is a Keynote Speaker and Management Consultant based in New York

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Everyone Leading Thu, 21 Apr 2011 16:12:29 +0000 Truly great teams are places where everyone leads. While most organisations are content to build leadership structures, the best companies instead build leadership cultures.

Leadership is more than a title, a job description, a corner office or place on the org chart. Leadership is as much about how we carry ourselves, and how we carry the vision, mission and values of our organisation as it is about how many people report to us.

I have a goal: Everyone leading.

Sure, someone needs to have the final say on the direction of the team. But everyone should approach the challenges and opportunities faced by the whole group as a leader, not as a mere passenger.

When everyone is leading-
* A high level of ownership is standard fare.
* There’s a pipeline constantly producing quality candidates for senior roles.
* Those at the top spend far less time motivating or micro-managing their people.
* Innovation comes from team members everywhere, anytime.
* The culture of the organisation is reinforced and multiplied.
* People bring their “A game”, every game.

It’s a goal worth pursuing.

If you want a team that is comfortable to lead then just build a mediocre team full of workers and followers instead.

Franky, when everyone is leading you’ll have some strong personalities to contend with… frank opinions will be shared… conflicts will occur… boundaries will be tested… change will be par for the course. But that’s the sort of pressure that can turn everyday coal into a diamond.

Maybe today is the day to promote everyone on your team to leadership.

I’d love to hear your comments and feel free to use the links below to share this article with others
Paul Andrew is Founder of The Leadership Coach™
He is a Keynote Speaker and Management Consultant based in New York

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