Category Archives: Leadership

Leadership Quotes from amazing leaders

Categories: Leadership, Quotes | Leave a comment

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” — John Quincy Adams

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” — Steve Jobs

“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” Warren Bennis

“If you do not change dirction, you may end up where you are heading.” — Lao Tzu

“The faster you rise, the faster you fall.” — lyrics from hip hop song

“Nature does not hurry, yet all things are accomplished.” — Lao Tzu

“A great leader must be willing to stand for his cause alone against all odds.” — Myself

“The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness.” — Lao Tzu

“He who does not trust enough, will not be trusted.” — Lao Tzu

“You have to think anyway, so why not think big?” — Donald Trump

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” — Mahatma Gandhi

“The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” — Mahatma Gandhi

Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish. — Sam Walton

“The way management treats associates is exactly how the associates will treat the customers.” — Sam Walton

“The key to success is to get out into the store and listen to what the associates have to say.” — Sam Walton

“Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain cool and unruffled under all circumstances.” — Thomas Jefferson

“Discipline is the soul of an army. It makes small numbers formidable; procures success to the weak, and esteem to all.” — George Washington

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” — Benjamin Franklin

“When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.” — Benjamin Franklin

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” — Benjamin Franklin

“The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.” — Niccolo Macchiavelli

“Punctuality is one of the cardinal business virtues: always insist on it in your subordinates.” — Don Marquis

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” — Confucius

Giving people a chance to lead

Categories: Leadership | Leave a comment

When thinking about cultural differences, people look at superficial things first. Indians eat samosas and have arranged marriages while Americans love hamburgers and freedom. Although there is a lot of truth to these statements — or at least there was a few years ago as Indians are now mostly having love marriages and Americans have given up the idea of due process in favor of having the government engage in kidnapping and torturing suspected threats to national security. But, putting aside my snide remarks and cheap blows to American values, culture is complicated. One could say that culture is an evolving body of commonly embraced ideas and practices in a particular geographic area or social circle — or both. Cultures influence each other as they merge and the study of how they influence each other is quite complicated.

In any case, what I found in India — samosas aside, is that there is a vast shortage of leaders and followers. Few in India lead, and even fewer follow. So, how does business get done? Many companies have self-managing employees. What a concept. Is there a system of checks and balances? Additionally, there is very little question and answer as it is bad manners to question your authorities in India. Unfortunately, sometimes you need to question your authorities to clarify their instructions, ask for opinions if there are multiple ways of tackling a task, and sometimes it is good to criticize them when they are off base. As India is a very authoritarian culture (the opposite of America) it is hard for the locals to ask enough good questions and to have meaningful interactions between people of different levels in a company.

So, just how do people interact in Indian companies? I am not so familiar since I have only observed as a customer. They seem to like to get together to have chai time every day as I also do. I have heard that the lower level employees like to huddle around a higher placed employee or boss. Perhaps they think that their physical proximity to him/her will help the greatness of the boss rub off on them. Or perhaps they feel they will gain more privilege at the company if they do.

But, what if Indian companies adapted a system of letting inexperienced employees lead the entire company? Most people think that their job lacks job satisfaction and meaning. I know a way to give your job meaning. You get to run the entire company for a day or a week. Of course you can’t just let anyone do that. You have to train them and give them smaller responsibilities first to build them up to the level where they can handle an entire company. Additionally, let’s try to remember back in time when we were taking driver’s education. I remember that my teacher had a brake pedal on his side of the car so that if I made a mistake, he could intervene and take over at a moment’s notice. What if running a company were like that and the boss could let someone else manage everything, but if he saw something bad happening, he could step in. It is an interesting concept and I think it would make great material for a reality show, blog, or just plain meaningful gossip. I bet Donald Trump would love a scenario like the one I just described. But, if you mess up…

“You’re FIRED!”

Hiring difficult personality types

Categories: Leadership, Management | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

There are many personality types out there. But, dealing with them in the business world is just not easy. If you have a small company, you might not have easy access to the cream of the crop as they prefer to work for Google or other big companies with stellar reputations. So, how do you survive? You need to decide if you want to hire difficult people or not.

But, there are different types of difficult people. You might be able to handle some of them, but not others.

The mediocre type
Some people don’t argue much. They just do their work in a mediocre way. They don’t care if they made a mistake, and if they have to take the day off at a critical time, that is your problem, not theirs. They will be uncooperative about returning phone calls or about doing anything that you are not forcing them to do. In a sense, the mediocre type are sort of like adults with the psychology of American 13 year olds. Personally, I don’t like the mediocre type, because their performance is too pathetic to justify a normal paycheck in my opinion. Also, they dull my enthusiasm for work which is another factor which you should consider. If you work with underachievers, they will lower your standards without saying a word.

The complainer
Every company has one of these. They complain about everything. If you are nice to them on Monday, they will complain that you weren’t nice on Tuesday. If they didn’t get a bonus they complain. If they get a bad customer they complain. If someone does good work, I will tolerate a lot of complaining. But, complaining can bring you down. See if you can master the art of handling a complainer. Try to get them to see the good side of their job. Compare their situation to someone’s that is much worse. The Dalai Lama uses this technique to teach happiness by the way (not that I read Dalai Lama’s literature.)

The egomaniac
Some people are just into themselves. I had a friend who was like this. Some people say that egotists are not good team players, but that is not necessarily the case. Egotists in the long run care about coming out on top themselves, and not about your operation even if they seem to be cooperating. On the other hand, nobody cares about the success of an entrepreneur except the entrepreneur him/herself! Other egotists put everyone else down. It can be a pain to listen to this. But, on the other hand, they might make useful and legitimate statements about faults in others that you overlooked. So, don’t fear the egomaniac. Just try to understand their psychology and learn how to deal with them.

The backstabber
Unfortunately, the backstabbling type don’t usually wear a sign on themselves announcing to the world who they are. Backstabbers are a problem. Some of them only threaten you but don’t actually do anything. Others tell horrible things about you to your clients. Some try to steal a position from someone else who works from you. There are many things a backstabber will try to do including telling you things that will raise your blood pressure on a regular basis. In my personal opinion, backstabbers are not ideal people to work with. Try finding someone who just does their work without all the drama!

The secretive type
Some people are not bad workers, but don’t get back to you, don’t follow through and keep you in the dark. The problem is that if they didn’t actually do critical work on time, you will not know about it. The secretive type needs to know how important their work is in the bigger picture and that following through and communicating are required. Penalize them with small penalties and offer bonuses if you can adapt their behavior. Otherwise, I would not put a secretive person in any position where their bad habits can damage your business’ performance.

The follower
From a boss’ point of view, the follower looks like the perfect employee. However, they have some very deceptive flaws that you might be completely unaware of. Particularly if you are an Indian boss who hates being questioned! The follower just goes along with what you say, doesn’t question you, doesn’t rock the boat, and doesn’t come up with much that is innovative either. The problem with these types is that if they see a huge problem, they might not warn you or try to find problems to solve the problem. If there is a way to get the company far ahead, they will be more interested in just keeping the show moving along than trying to innovate to capitalize on a new opportunity. I have a good friend who is the following type. He maintains order, but nothing around him ever improves in his business or personal life. Sometimes you need an employee who lets you know when something happens that is noteworthy that could be an opportunity or crisis. On a brighter note, the other types of employees on my list will probably not inform you of serious issues either — except for the backstabber since they want to scare you!

Summary
In real life it is often not possible to find perfect employees. So, if you decide to work with problem types, find a way to calculate how expensive their flaws are in terms of lost productivity. Without that analytic you could go out of business! Never pay a problem worker more than they are worth. But, on a brighter note, if you find a good employee, perhaps consider paying them handsomely as they are a rare commodity in any of the companies that I have associated with!

What is the best mix of business mentors you could get?

Categories: Leadership | Leave a comment

If you run a business, you need advice even if you are really intelligent. But, what types of people are best to give advice? Sometimes it is not so obvious. The guy who hangs out at the bakery might give you good advice, but more often than not, you will need the types we are going to discuss below.

1. Someone who knows you
Someone who knows you well might not understand your business, but they know what makes you tick. They knew how you were as a child, and know what works for you and what doesn’t. Their input matters and you should consider it although they don’t know enough to make final decisions for you.

. Someone who understands business in general
It might be hard to find people who understand your exact industry or the current technology that you are using. But, basic business aptitude never goes out of style. Even a general from the 1400’s might be a good business coach for you as they know how to deal with soldiers which is a little like dealing with employees. Some with business knowledge understands hiring, firing, marketing, management, and a lot of other very basic types of business skills.

3. Someone who understands your industry or business
It is good to also get advice form people who know the type of business that you are in who did well. If you are in the plumbing business, someone older and more successful than you might be able to give you quite a few pointers.

4. Someone who understands parts of the technology you use.
If you need to focus on innovation for a year or two, that might not be the core of your business, but someone like Steve Jobs would be perfect to help you out assuming they were alive and had time. If you were doing more marketing with social media, someone who was a crackerjack with social media would be helpful to guide you along your way. Although those “specialist mentors” might not understand your business well, they could be very helpful with specific types of endeavors.

Having the right mix of mentors is critical to your success, so don’t overlook this. Additionally, having high quality mentors in all four of these departments is another huge issue. There are people who are shortsighted, in a hurry, or limited in their thinking. Those people will not help you see the bigger picture or isolate what is important to think about. You need mentors who can help you make two or three really important decisions that will change your entire business around. Sure there will be other decisions too, but it is the life changing ones that count the most. If you get the wrong mentors, they will suggest petty changes here and there, but your overall success will not change much.

Do your employees get distracted surfing the web?

Categories: Leadership | Leave a comment

It is common for employees to become distracted. There are many forms of distraction at home and in the office. Social media and web surfing in general are two of the most common forms of distractions. But, if you work in an office with many people mulling around, that can be distracting as well. Hard workers can get distracted by their email account as they often want to keep it up to date every five minutes.

Offices vs. Working From Home
If you are trying to focus on getting work done, it is better to be isolated from any people, animals or other distractions. But, most offices are not designed for this. Working in an office makes it easier to get coaching from others, work on group projects or attend meetings. Working in isolation makes it easier to focus on getting work done. I personally work from home and I get a lot more work done than most others. This is true partly because I work with a sense of purpose, but also because I have developed patterns for efficiency over the years.

Managing Distractions
As a manager, it might be a good idea to restrict the use of the internet at work. If it were possible to cut people off the web, that would be one solution. Another solution is to tell them that they are forbidden from using the web for anything other than job assignments. It might be good to monitor people’s computers to see what sites they are visiting on the web as well. However, there is a unique twist you are not thinking of.

Lunch Breaks Decrease Distracted Working
Workers who work too long without taking proper breaks tend to become mentally agitated. Their circulation will be deficient if they don’t walk around much. They might also be hungry if they work too much without eating. But, their minds will experience what Buddhists call “Monkey Mind” after a while as well. Having a lunch break, having a change of scenery, or socializing can decrease distractions. But, having a lunch break is also a great opportunity to catch up on personal emails, Facebook, and other social media. If workers can get the internet out of their system during a generous lunch break, they might function a lot better throughout the day!

Summary
Personally, I would not allow a worker to surf the web during work time because they might get very distracted and the efficiency of their work could really suffer. However, reading an article during a break might make sense. It is more sensible to get your eyes off the computer screen and take a walk. We spend far too much time in front of computers and it is really bad for our eyes, neck, shoulders, and overall circulation!

How good are you at mediating?

Categories: Leadership | Leave a comment

When you started your business, you were thinking about offering a service. You were thinking about having a room filled with productive workers and managing them. But, were you thinking about conflict resolution? In real life, when you have a bunch of different personalities in a room, there will be conflicts. The key is learning how to resolve them early so they don’t get out of hand. Or, just fire the person causing the conflict!

One of the issues with conflict management in the workplace is that business owners are not trained in this art. In many companies, employees are often not satisfied with how managers resolved their conflicts. It may just not be a priority, or perhaps the managers were not trained. It might make sense to call in some professional help. Hire a consultant. It is that important. How will your team function as a team in the long run if you continue to have arguments and personality clashes going on?

In many cases, certain personalities just cannot get along with other particular people no matter what managers do. It is important to understand the personalities on your team, so you can quickly figure out how to solve any personality clashes they get themselves into. It might make sense to test your employees out. Have them work in conjunction with other employees and then rotate them. That way you can get some practice seeing who gets along with whom and how to resolve the various conflicts that arise. Other than that, read more articles on the topic and hire an expert!