5 Tips Leaders Can Use Today

One of the benefits of working with lots of leaders in many different organizations is the chance to see what really works, regardless of the individual personality or industry. 

So, here are:

5 Tips That Make A Difference

1. Leading starts with clarity. The time that a leader spends getting clear about what needs to be done will pay off in quickly-focused effort as a result of increased understanding. 

When things aren't clear, the day doesn't  go well. Minds and bodies gravitate toward something that does seem clear. The world abhors a vacuum. When a vacuum is created, people will fill in the blanks with their own content.That content seldom matches your fuzzy intent and is frequently a more negative interpretation.


2. The Leader is the Mediator of Meaning. Clarity is the first part of the issue. The other part is taking the time to show exactly how "what" you are proposing to do is directly connected to the success of over-arching goals.Your kids will tell you to "make it real." Your employees are thinking it.

3. Leaders Understand How People Learn and Work. Intellectually, we all acknowledge that people learn and work differently. Really successful leaders take time to pinpoint what those styles are and genuinely acknowledge their inherent value. Hands-on 'Doers,' Readers, Questioners, Ponderers. . .

4. Leading Means Knowing How to Orchestrate the Experience. When to have a meeting or not have a meeting; who needs one-on-one attention? What isn't negotiable and what will work best with a full discussion? Is the objective really achievable--at the level of quality desired--in the originally designated timetable? (Go ahead and add your favorites to this list).

5. Leaders Lead from Every Proximity. You'll spot a good leader out in front of the group; alongside of a direct report who is struggling; or standing in the back of the room listening to a discussion and only joining in when re-direction or a fact is needed. And everyone knows how they're doing in relation to what's expected.

Consistently add these five to your repertoire and you'll bump up your game exponentially.

How Culture Impacts Perception

Re-published by request.

Clear-thinking people everywhere acknowledge that it's easy for two people to see the same situation very differently. 

In a world where we increasingly work across time zones and cultures, this would have even greater meaning if perceptions were influenced by one's culture. While those of us who work globally may have experienced--and thought about-- the inherent reality of these perceptive differences, Canadian and Japanese researchers  have confirmed some very specific distinctions.

EastWest When East Doesn't Meet West

According to the study:

Researchers showed Japanese and North American participants images, each of which consisted of one center model and four background models in each image. The researchers manipulated the facial emotion (happy, angry, sad) in the center or background models and asked the participants to determine the dominant emotion of the center figure.

The outcome?

The majority of Japanese participants (72%) reported that their judgments of the center person's emotions were influenced by the emotions of the background figures, while most North Americans (also 72%) reported they were not influenced by the background figures at all.

Takahiko Masuda, a Psychology professor from the University of Alberta, noted:

"Our results demonstrate that when North Americans are trying to figure out how a person is feeling, they selectively focus on that particular person's facial expression, whereas Japanese consider the emotions of the other people in the situation."

This may be because Japanese attention is not concentrated on the individual, but includes everyone in the group, says Masuda.

Why Is This Important for Business?

1. It has always baffled me when I've watched Western corporations decide to indiscriminately import programs and processes that  work well in the East. Looking for a "quick fix" or a "magic pill" is a very North American business characteristic. At the same time, there is no reason not to examine the principles behind things that work elsewhere; then, figure out what might be applicable and how to make it work,

When corporate meeting rooms ring with the cry, "Perception is reality," then Masuda's study should be a caution that global reality can't be driven by local perceptions.

2. Even more specifically, definitions of "team" hugely influence what happens across cultures. North American "teams" are made up of individuals who see themselves as individuals participating in a group with a common purpose for some finite period of time (my observation and experience). Eastern team members honor the group as the important entity to be served, not as a vehicle to one's individual career aspirations.

While time and exposure have somewhat altered instances of the above in the minds of some, Masuda's study should be taken seriously by organizations involved in East-West business and collaboration.

This is one instance where perception can be grounded in reality--for the good of all concerned.


Leaders Connect Visually

Influential people create compelling images.

But of what?

6a00d8341c500653ef0147e0a31f1d970b-320wiOf the benefits those around them will gain from the ideas they propose. They take time to let us know what we'll see, hear, and feel. You can do this, too. Take time to choose words that create pictures, sounds, and feelings that will make your ideas connect in different ways all at once.

For example: "Using this plan offers clear benefits that are in total harmony with our goals and will have an impact on customer satisfaction." In one sentence, you've touched the visual, auditory, and feeling senses of your listeners.

It's not about manipulation, it's about communication. The kind that successful leaders carefully craft before stepping into a meeting.

Consistency and Trust

"Who you are speaks so loudly I can't hear what you say."

ConsistencyThat line was spoken by an associate to a speaker at a recent business business event we attended. The interaction between the speaker and the audience was totally out of sync with what he was professing. The result: Great words, no credibility. A few attendees even referred to him later as a "liar."

Not good for his business.


We communicate through our actions, not just our words. Which policies you decide to enforce or ignore, what you say and don't say, what you reward and what you punish, what you fund and what you don't fund--all tell the truth of your heart. Every instance of consistency builds credibility; a single instance of inconsistency can begin to build doubt about your trustworthiness. 

It's a lot more difficult to regain trust than it is to build it. 

Where will you show consistency today?

Coaching Your People?: Manage Risks

We all want to stretch the capabilities of our team members. At the same time, think about minimizing failure when someone has a "stretch" goal with high risk attached. Any high risk goal can damage your reputation, your staff member, and even the organization. 

RiskManagement__300x285 (1) Manage risks by discussing the actions your person plans to implement. Then, monitor the results and agree on frequent reviews to catch anything that needs adjusting before things get "off track." Stretch goals are great confidence builders for everyone involved; they also require more follow up conversations than low risk goals. 

Speaking of low or lower risk activities: it usually works well to have the person you're coaching act first, then report back and discuss how things went and what was learned.

Important point: Solid coaching agreements include mutual responsibility. Show loyalty to your staff even if something goes wrong, then help them pinpoint lessons learned for the future.

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Steve Roesler, Principal & Founder
The Steve Roesler Group
Office: 609.654.7376
Mobile: 856.275.4002

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