Lead a Good Life

Daily hints and tips to enhance your life

3 Invaluable Abilities

When you hear the word “work”, you probably imagine sitting in front of computer, or cutting grass in the front yard. In fact, there are three important aspects that lots of people don’t realize

1. Ability to Pay Attention

Paying a good attention requires a lot of efforts, To do it right, you have to listen, and maintain proper eye contact. That’s not all, you will also need to think and digest about those things you are hearing at that moment. On another note, even you have this urge to cut the conversation and speak, you may not. You have to wait your turn for giving comments or to ask something back.

2. Ability to Admit

Admitting that you don’t understand is a way to gain additional information or knowledge. We can have this by asking, but admitting that you need help to finish a job or project that you run is even more important.

Many people do not want to admit they have messed up. They worry that it will ruin their perfect images, result in more works for them, or being blamed by others. Nevertheless, keeping on pretending as the perfect one makes us incapable of learning and growing.

3. Ability to Show Gratitude

Thanking someone for helping us should not be something that has to be told. It should be spontaneous. They just helped us and they will know the sincere-ness in our gratitude. There’s been a lot of stories about decent people that return lost wallet, saving lives, didn’t get any gratitude at all.

Sometimes, however funny it sounds, people feel embarrassed that they need help or have just lost something, but that should not block their way to show their form of appreciation.

December 8, 2008 Posted by | Career, Intra Personal Skill, Leadership | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Take Monkeys Off Their Shoulders

One of the primary duty of leaders is to develop their people, that includes sharpen their competence in problem solving and decision making. So you have to realize that the danger from load of tasks that will occur if you take over their works. But what if you are being held on a deadline and somebody ask you to handle ‘one or more monkeys’ – problems that should be dealt by sub-ordinates, popular terminology that was introduced by William Oncken Jr. and Donald L. Wass in their article “Management Time: Who’s Got The Monkey?” from Harvard Business Review 1974.

Here are few tips that you can possibly do.

1. Let Them Work

To many people, the pathway to effective delegation starts with studying two basic assumption of their roles. First, a lot of managers believe that handling their people’s problems is a faster and more effective than teach them to handle it themselves. Second, they also believe that they know more from their people.

These assumptions, will only raise the need of managers to break the problem and make decisions, instead of delegating and empowering their men. To deal with this problem, you have to position yourself as a leader, not a manager. Managers deal with details, while leaders, on the contrary, raise sense of belonging and responsibilities in their people.

2. Ask, Don’t Tell

Professional delegator choose to ask their men, rather than dictate the solution to them.

The question “What is it that you think should be done?” stimulates people to come with solutions when they approach you. Another additional questions like “What is the effect of this action?” or “What is it that we need to pay attention to if we are to go your way?” could also reveal how far have they think about the solution to the problem.

3. Match Person With The Job

Avoid adding your current jobs with handling your people’s problem. This can only happen if managers delegate the right job to the right people, according to each competence and potential.

Steven R. Covey stressed about delegation based on interest. “Find out the best outcome and the most preferred job of your people” he said “Then combine their unique talents and interests with job needs. When people work with interest and desire, they don’t need guidance. They will eventually create creative solutions independently.”

4. Cultivate Independent Thinking

If someone manages to think independently and feel that he own his job, then he will definitely bring less problem to his boss.

Shane Pliska, Business Development Director of Planterra, a landscape interior company, uses “monkey rating”, a method extracted from Oncken and Wass’ article. “We ask the workers to self assess their problems with numbers,” she said. “One means your manager solved it for you. Two means your manager told you the solution and you follow the solution, three means you proposed a solution and seek approval from your manager, while four means you took action, solve the problem, and let you manager know afterwards.”

When people came to their boss’s chamber, managers will ask “what number is on your current problem?” To raise the sense of belonging, Planterra managers encourages their people to have number four on every problem as much as possible.

5. Connect Them With Resources

Connecting your people with resources will also help you reduce your load. Think about the term “resource” in wider perspective, like human, tools, information, and opportunities that can help your men to work independently. Being the matchmaker between your people to the resources is actually not hard at all, like “You can talk to Mr X in marketing division.”


So, take that monkey of their shoulders immediately, let them deal with their own monkeys, because you already have your own, right?

December 7, 2008 Posted by | Career, inter personal skill, Leadership, Stress Management, Workplace Improvement | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Charisma – The Invisible Power That Gives You The Edge

Most people think of charisma as something mystical, almost undefinable. They think it’s a quality that comes at birth or not at all. But that’s not true.

Charisma plainly stated, is the ability to draw people near you. And like any other traits, it can be developed.

To make yourself the kind of person who attracts others, you need to personify these pointers:

1. Love Life

People enjoy leaders who enjoy life. Think of people you want to spend time with. How would you describe them? Grumpy? Bitter? Depressed? Of course not. They’re celebrators, not complainers. They’re passionate about life. If you want to attract people, you need to be like the people you enjoy being with.

2. Put a “10” on Every Person’s Head

One of the best things you can do for people which also attracts them to you is to expect the best of them. I call it putting a “10” on everyone’s head. It helps others think more highly of themselves, and at the same time, it also helps you. If you appreciate others, encourage them, and help them reach their potential, they will love you for it.

3. Give People Hope

French General Napoleon Bonaparte characterized leaders as “dealers in hope.” Like all great leaders, he knew that hope is the greatest of all possessions. If you can be the person who bestows that gift on others, they will be attracted to you, and they will be forever grateful.

4. Share Yourself

People love leaders who share themselves and their life journeys. As you lead people, give of yourself. Share wisdom, resources, and even special occasions.

When it comes to charisma, the bottom line is otherminded-ness. Leader who think about others and their concerns before thinking of themselves exhibit charisma.

Now, to improve your charisma, do the following:

1. Change your Focus. Observe your interaction with people during the next few years. As you talk to others, determine how much of your conversation is concentrated on yourself. Determine to tip the balance in favor of focusing on others.

2. Play the first impression game. Try an experiment. The next time you meet someone for the first time, try your best to make good impression. Learn the person’s name. Focus on his interests. Be positive. And most important, treat him as a “10”. If you can do this for a day, you can do this everyday. And it will increase your charisma overnight.

3. Share yourself. Make it your long term goal to share your resources with others. Think about how you can add value to five people in your life this year. They can be family members, colleagues, employees, or friends. Provide resources to help them grow personally and professionally, and share your personal journey with them.

November 28, 2008 Posted by | Career, Change Management, Intra Personal Skill, Leadership, Self Improvement, Workplace Improvement | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Character – The Single Factor That Delivers

How a leader deals with the circumstances of life tells you many things about his character. Crisis doesn’t necessarily make character, but it certainly does reveal it. Adversity is a crossroads that makes a person choose one from two paths: CHARACTER or COMPROMISE. Every time he chooses character, he becomes stronger, even if that choice brings negative consequences.

As Nobel prize winning author Alexander Solzhenitsyn noted, “The meaning of earthly existing lies, not as we have grown used to thinking, in prospering, but in the development of the soul.” The development of character is at the heart of our development not just as leaders, but as human beings.

What must every person know about character?

1. Character Is More Than Talk

Anyone can say that he has integrity, but action is the real indicator of character. Your character determines who you are. Who you are – determines what you see. What you see – determines what you do. That’s why you can never separate a leader’s character from his actions. If a leader’s action and intentions are continually working against each other, then look to his character to find out why.

2. Talent Is a Gift, But Character Is a Choice

We have no control over a lot of things in life. We don’t get to choose our parents. We don’t select the location or circumstances of our birth and upbringing. We don’t get to pick our talents or IQ. But we do choose our character. In fact, we create it everytime we make choices, to cop out or dig out of a hard situation, to bend the truth or stand under the weight of it, to take the easy money or pay the price. As you live your life and make choices today, you are continuing to create your character.

3. Character Brings Lasting Success With People

True leadership always involves other people. As the leadership proverb says, if you think you’re leading and no one is following you, then you’re only taking a walk. Followers do not trust leaders whose character they know to be flawed, and they will not continue following them.

4. Leaders Cannot Rise Above the Limitations of Their Character

Have you ever seen highly talented people suddenly fall apart when they achieved a certain level of success? The key to that phenomenon is character. Steven Berglas, a psychologist at Harvard Medical School and author of The Success Syndrome, says that people who achieve great heights but lack the bedrock character to sustain them through the stress are headed for disaster. He believes they are destined for one or more of the four A’s: arrogance, painfull feelings of aloneness, destructive adventure-seeking, or adultery. Each is a terrible price to pay for weak character.

To improve your character, do the following:

  1. Search for the cracks. Spend some time looking at major areas of your life (work, family, marriage, service, etc.), and identify anywhere you might have cut corners, compromised, or let people down. Write down every instance yo can recall from the past two months.
  2. Look for patterns. Examine the responses that you just wrote down. Is there a particular area where yo have a weakness, or do you have a type of problem that keeps surfacing? Detectable patterns will help you diagnose character issues.
  3. Face the music. The beginning of character repair comes when you face your flaws, apologize, and deal with the consequences of your actions. Create a list of people to whom you need to apologize for your actions, then follow through with sincere apologies.
  4. Rebuild. It’s one thing to face up to your past actions. It’s another thing to build a new future. Now that you’ve identified any areas of weakness, create a plan that will prevent you from making the same mistakes again.

“Never “for the sake of peace and quiet” deny your own experience or convictions” – Dag Hammarskjold

Source: The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader – John C. Maxwell

November 28, 2008 Posted by | Career, Change Management, Discipline, Intra Personal Skill, Leadership, Self Improvement, Workplace Improvement | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Listen To The Ideas Of Others

“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen”
(Ernest Hemingway)

If you think you know it all, chances are you will be too busy listening to yourself and how great you are to have time to listen to anyone else.  Listen to your people in your team.  They are the ones who knows to work with the resources and the products. They are the ones at the cutting edge and they may well have ideas, good ideas.  Talk to them.  Get their feedback, their ideas, their creativity.

But you obviously have to be careful to make sure that although you are listening to them, that doesn’t mean that you are going to act on every one of their ideas.  Listen, assimilate and then decide based on what you’ve heard, your own experience and ideas and what is practical.

You have to listen without always giving the signal that you will necessary use their ideas, so then they won’t be disappointed when you do something completely different.  But you can make them think their ideas were incorporated into your overall strategy.

If you regularly doing this, ask good questions and listen without prejudice, you’re immediately in a different class to most leaders.

source : The Rules of Management – Richard Templar

November 21, 2008 Posted by | Career, inter personal skill, Leadership, Workplace Improvement | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment