LEADERSHIP RESOURCES BLOG

Guidance on leadership development & strategic planning.

How Self Care Can Improve Your Performance as a Leader

By Leadership Resources 05/10/2022
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The hardworking leader is often portrayed as a sleep-deprived, stubborn, borderline manic individual obsessed with the bottom line and neglectful of their own self-care. While some people might fit this category, most do not. 

This stereotype can be harmful when it’s meant to lampoon leaders and mock anyone who struggles to achieve a healthy personal and professional lifestyle. Being a healthy high achiever doesn’t come naturally to everyone, and that’s okay.

In reality, the best leaders make time to take care of themselves physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially. Being able to balance the challenges of work with the importance of self-care is one of the most important leadership qualities. Failing to achieve this balance is a strategic leadership error that can bleed out into the rest of the business.

Ignoring the needs of one’s mind and body hurts one’s ability to think, focus, and help others in need. Conversely, engaging in self-care boosts the mind, body, and spirit, which also gives a boost to the others around you.

How strong is your self-care routine? Do you find yourself struggling to maintain a work-life balance? How are your coworkers and employees faring on this front? Here’s a deeper dive into how self-care can improve your performance as a leader and support a habit of good personal and professional health.

Proper Sleep: Alertness and Ability to React

Sleep science has come a long way in the past few decades and researchers have found a critical link between good sleep and improved work performance. The National Sleep Foundation reports that 29% of workers regularly feel sleepy while at work, which impacts their ability to function optimally. 

Missing out on a good night’s sleep can lead to a loss of focus and increased irritability. A Harvard study found that a consistent lack of sleep was associated with lower work productivity, poorer job performance, slower career progression, and a lower level of overall job and career satisfaction.

When work piles up and deadlines loom, people often put sleep on the back burner. This is a big mistake. The importance of proper sleep can’t be overstated, especially for leaders. 

Effective leadership depends on maximum alertness. By sacrificing precious hours of slumber, leaders are less equipped to react to challenges, prioritize tasks, and help other employees deal with their levels of stress. Conversely, getting proper sleep allows one’s mind to refresh, retain important information, and handle new problems as they arise.

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The Healthy Body, Healthy Mind Connection

While improper sleep plagues a large chunk of the population, so does poor nutrition and exercise. As people rush from one place or task to the next, they forget to take time to nourish themselves with proper food, water, stretching, and other basic body needs.

To keep things moving in their busy professional lives, people may skip meals or grab the nearest, fastest option from the vending machine. The fast-food drive-through or microwave might become a substitute for fresh, nutrient-packed meals. While these choices may be convenient, they can do serious harm to one’s work performance and overall health.

Foods low in nutritional value don’t provide the vitamins and nutrients the brain and body need to thrive. Over time, poor choices negatively impact brain function and the results become obvious at work and in your interpersonal relationships. The National Institutes of Health call this the “food and mood” connection, which has long-term impacts for your physical and mental health.

While nutritional science is always evolving, most studies have shown that a diet of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean meat and fish, and minimal sugar is the most healthful approach. Drinking water is especially important, as is avoiding large amounts of alcohol.

Additionally, regular exercise has an array of positive effects. It improves metabolic function, burns calories, and also produces endorphins to increase alertness, reduce tension, and improve your mood. In this way, eating well and exercising are two of the best ways of managing leadership stress.

Setting an Example: Helping Others Find Self Care

Self-care does not equate to selfishness. Quite the opposite. By practicing self-care, leaders can do more for their employees because they do what it takes to maintain the personal capacity to nourish others. 

As a leader, you might wonder how you can support your team members in their journeys of self-care and personal productivity. At the most basic level, how can managers help their employees deal with stress? 

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First, they can share their own experiences of dealing with stress with employees. People appreciate having a caring boss who takes time to listen to their challenges. By advising on beneficial sleep patterns, diet, exercise, and other methods of stress reduction, leaders can set a great example in the workplace and create a culture of healthy performance.

Additionally, leaders who practice self-care regularly will have more energy to help their employees. With enough rest and restoration, leaders can prioritize their workload to set aside time for helping others, honing these crucial leadership skills

Leaders can also share resources that encourage positive routines, habits, thoughts, and behaviors. When they come across a book or program that helps them operate at peak performance, they can offer to connect a struggling employee or coworker to this same helpful resource.

Self-Care With the Accelerate Leadership Program

Do you need to update your professional self-care routine? Here’s a reliable resource with proven benefits for professionals and organizations. 

The Accelerate Leadership Program (ALP) encourages positive self-care as a person builds their leadership talent, confidence, and knowledge. This is a health-positive method of learning leadership habits because ALP allows each participant to hone their leadership style in a personalized and individualized program.

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ALP is different from many other types of leadership programs because it involves interpersonal coaching, not just training. Strategic leadership coaching programs go far beyond basic leadership training programs with a more caring and robust approach that incorporates leadership coaches, customized coursework, peer connections, and a highly interactive environment.

At Leadership Resources, our goal is to help people thrive and keep their personal and professional self-care at the heart of the learning process. We’re here to provide guidance and support that allows people to flourish in the workplace.

Leadership in times of growth, stress, and change truly tests one’s abilities. Self-care should remain at the forefront during these times, for the sake of the business, its leaders, its clients, and its employees who deserve the very best health and well-being.

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We're All in This Together: Creating Buy-In at Every Level

By Leadership Resources 05/06/2022
high five

A successful organization constantly rides the line between change and stasis. Growth cannot occur without new ideas, but radical shifts also threaten to collapse the entire structure, especially when there’s tension among team members. 

Change brings new interpersonal and leadership challenges. When a new policy is proposed or restructuring is in order, it’s imperative that leaders and staff members come to a sincere agreement and work together to enact such a change. 

This voluntary collaboration is known as “buy-in” because individuals must truly buy into and support an idea to help bring it to fruition. Simply put, more buy-in leads to more success.

How does one create buy-in?

In a perfect world, every member of an organization would agree on what’s best. This would eliminate the need to create buy-in because everyone would already be a willing proponent for change in their growing company

However, the real world relies on proper team management and strategic leadership, which involves taking several different perspectives into account and synthesizing them into an optimal solution. To create buy-in, then, leaders must effectively communicate with each individual team member.

What does this communication entail? First, it involves honesty and openness. Leaders must make it clear why they support change, based on the organization’s culture and values. Team members shouldn’t feel afraid to try new things and suggest changes because it feels that everyone is working together toward a shared goal.

By framing it this way, more skeptical team members can better see how this potential shift can benefit the company’s overall vision or mission. Leaders must stay open to feedback about the process, welcoming concerns and answering questions along the way. Any idea worth buying into should be easily defended against such criticism.

This communication might also require some give and take. You can’t expect every idea to strike the hearts and minds of everyone. There may be a period of negotiation that includes active listening, brainstorming, strategic thinking, and compromise. As long as this flow of communication is positive and fits within the company culture, these negotiations can result in the best possible outcome for everyone.

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creating buy-in at every level

The term “buy-in” often turns our minds to investments. In the stock market, buying in early will yield the highest profits, as long as the stock becomes more valuable over time. This principle also applies to buying into ideas in an organization. 

As a team manager, you want your team to buy into potential changes at every level. If the idea is valuable, this will benefit everyone. As a team participant, you also want others to have buy-in because it helps teamwork flow more smoothly as you move toward accomplishing the group’s and company’s goals.

The key here, of course, is to enhance the value of this change over time. This happens in a couple of ways. First, decisions made by a team tend to hold more value than decisions made by a single person. Consider the three types of decision-making: Command, consult, and consensus. 

There is a time and place for each of them, based on the decision that needs to be made and the amount of time you have to make the decision. Knowing which applies to each situation that arises is a skill of strategic leadership. Below, we’ll discuss each type of decision-making in more detail.

Command, Consult, and Consensus Decisions

A command decision is made solely by the decision-maker without input from the team. It A consult decision is made by the decision-maker but includes input from others. This takes a moderate amount of time within which there is some level of give-and-take, and this approach ultimately results in a moderate level of buy-in. 

A consensus decision is made entirely by the group. It has the highest level of buy-in, but it also takes the most time as the group pursues the full extent of the concept that “two heads are better than one.” Consensus decisions sometimes require a laborious process of building buy-in and working together as a team.

Among these three types of decision-making, consensus decisions hold the most value because they affect everyone involved. Each team member feels personally invested and has a stake in the success or failure of the idea.

Remember, while the real dollars-and-cents value of a decision matters, so does perceived value. When staff members buy into a change at every level, the perceived value of said change increases. Of course, an organization must be careful to not allow this perceived value to run away from the real value of an idea, as this can lead to disaster.

Company Structural Considerations for Building Buy-in

Buy-in isn’t something that happens magically. It takes a commitment to work together cohesively and allot the resources required to thoughtfully share feedback and develop action plans.

During any type of decision-making process, it’s vital to have a strong operating system in place to provide structure and direction for the plan to come together. This involves utilizing processes like strategic planning, succession planning, and retaining the top talent it takes to maintain consistency in leadership over the long term.

In general, the sooner team leaders can build buy-in for a particular change, the better. But first, leaders must approach their team with honesty, focus, a solid argument, and a willingness to listen. If they do this, they’ll more easily create buy-in at every level of the process.

The Accelerate Leadership Program

As you can see, buy-in is an essential part of running a successful company. Leadership Resources aims to enhance the leadership qualities of communication and teamwork in order to create more buy-in for your organization and set the stage for success.

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Any company looking to boost buy-in among its employees and leaders can do it through leadership development coaching. Companies looking to have meaningful, lasting guidance in support of developing leaders should invest in coaching and development programs as opposed to training programs.

Consider the Accelerate Leadership Program (ALP), which helps participants expand their leadership confidence and develop a talent for building buy-in. ALP uses a proven process that involves leadership coaching, peer interactions, educational software, and skill-building on topics like emotional intelligence, interpersonal interactions, and honing one’s personal leadership style.

At Leadership Resources, we help companies identify emerging leaders and nurture emotionally intelligent leadership that builds buy-in. When your company needs to implement an effective leadership development plan, we’re here to provide expert guidance and support.

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Habits of a Successful Leader

By Leadership Resources 05/05/2022
Group of leaders smiling

No two leaders are exactly alike, but the most successful leaders often have plenty in common. Personal preferences, opinions, and life experiences aside, certain leadership qualities ring true across the board.

Characteristics like honesty, responsiveness, passion, and integrity are almost universally valued in successful and growing companies. While these traits might be somewhat inherent in certain leaders, the best leaders become successful by honing specific skills through hard work and habit formation. 

What, exactly, are the habits of some of the world’s most effective leaders? Let’s outline the habits of a successful leader that most reliably allow people to acquire and maintain leadership success in their workplace and life.

Cultivating a Thirst for Knowledge

One of the most important qualities of an effective leader is the willingness and ability to continuously learn. Curiosity counts because it keeps people reaching out to educate themselves about new topics and innovative ideas arising in the world.

A successful leader gathers knowledge from a wide variety of sources. They read books across genres and fields of expertise, listen to people with diverse backgrounds and experiences, and ask questions of their peers, employees, friends, and even strangers. All of these activities allow leaders to expand their horizons. 

Even if a piece of information might not seem immediately relevant to a leader’s life or career, it could be immensely helpful later. This is why a successful leader often has an unexpected type of hobby or interest. The diversity of their learning leads to a diversity of hobbies and habits.

The culmination of these various bits of knowledge can be synthesized over time in new and unique ways. Creativity abounds when your brain is constantly in a state of stimulation. There is no downside, only upside, to receiving an ongoing education. Successful leaders know there’s always more to discover.

Maintaining a Balance of Confidence and Humility

There are always areas of growth for leaders, and the only way to identify and improve those areas is to put your ego aside, then pick it back up to act on those necessary changes. Leadership success comes with power and privileges, and this prestige can cloud the mind of individuals who lack humility. 

Conversely, leaders who lack confidence can struggle to get things done, create buy-in, and maintain positive forward momentum. The void in their interpersonal skill causes people to keep them at a distance, which makes team-building a struggle.

As such, the most successful leaders strike a careful balance between confidence and humility. They’ve developed a skill for listening closely to their peers and team members while not backing down from bold ideas.

Focusing on Physical, Mental, and Social Health

The aforementioned array of power and privilege inherent in leadership also brings its fair share of stress, which manifests both in the mind and body. Leaders who fail to take care of their mental and physical health can burn out, lash out, and/or simply become less effective overall. 

Social health is also important because it keeps people connected to their colleagues, friends, family members, and society. Ample research has shown that when someone is overly isolated, their socio-emotional health suffers and they’re at higher risk for conditions like diabetes and heart disease.

Overall leadership success largely depends on maintaining a healthy lifestyle both in and out of work. The best leaders focus on managing leadership stress by exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, eating healthfully, taking breaks, practicing mindfulness, and more. They may engage in relaxation techniques like meditation and yoga, which have positive effects on the heart, mind, and body.

Taking the time for self-care allows leaders to operate with a clear mind and high-functioning body. This is crucial for maintaining a Success ChainTM of positive habits like getting things done quickly and getting them done right.

Staying Organized Personally and Professionally

Effective leaders are also well-organized where it counts. While a messy desk might be a proverbial sign of genius, it’s not exactly ideal for strategic planning, scheduling, goal-tracking, and so on. 

Organization helps everything stay on track, especially when someone is in charge of managing people and teams. Keeping documents and items in their proper places, taking regular notes, journaling, and maintaining a detailed calendar helps keep things straight so leaders can spend less time and energy shuffling papers around and more on other matters.

When a leader has good organizational skills, this sets the stage for other high-level leadership tasks like team-based brainstorming, innovative idea generation, performance management, employee check-ins, executive meetings, and much more.

Positively Pushing Themselves and Others

Organizations can only grow if leaders and their teams are constantly coming up with new ideas and taking calculated risks. Indeed, this willingness to push the envelope is one of the key qualities of a good leader, and honing it depends on leaders pushing themselves out of their comfort zones in every area of their lives, including at work. 

When we refer to “pushing themselves and others” in this context, what we mean is positive pushing. Good leaders aren’t pushy, but they bring others along through positive motivation, inspiration, and a drive to achieve greater things in the future. They challenge others to accomplish things because they’re constantly challenging themselves to do so too.

Successful leaders are always challenging themselves, whether it’s running an extra quarter-mile than initially planned, trying a new type of cuisine, attending an unlikely event, making a new friend, or almost anything else. Living life “on the edge” in this way conditions leaders to be bolder in the workplace and mitigate the fear of the unknown so their organization and people can grow in unexpected ways.

Successful leaders are creatures of habit – but not just any habits. These are positive, proactive, and productive habits that help growing organizations. The habits of leadership involve pursuits like gaining new knowledge, becoming more self-aware, improving one’s mental and physical well-being, staying organized, and always staying open to trying new things.

Remember: Leadership Habits are Learned, Not Inborn

People often assume that leadership habits naturally arise from certain personalities and backgrounds, but that’s not the case. There is no “leadership gene” or inborn trait that automatically makes someone a good leader.

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Leadership is learned behavior that comes from building habits and practicing leadership skills. This includes actively practicing a wide variety of leadership-related habits such as:

  • Building strong paths of communication between oneself and others
  • Regularly putting organizational skills to work
  • Openness to joining and leading teams
  • A desire to grow and learn
  • Practicing flexibility and adaptability in thinking
  • Forging interpersonal connections
  • Strategic thinking whenever possible
  • Finding humor and creativity in daily life
  • Openness to receiving feedback from peers and supervisors
  • Willingness to be held accountable for one’s work

Almost every company has plenty of potential leaders who need a supportive culture that provides enough guidance to go to the next level. They’re ready to learn new leadership skills and habits, but aren’t sure how to pursue a path to leadership without their organization’s help. 

Do you have emerging leaders who could benefit from leadership development coaching and education? If so, take a look at the information below about a proven program that builds productive leadership habits.

The Accelerate Leadership Program

At Leadership Resources, our goal is to help companies thrive through proven techniques for developing positive leadership habits that lead to organizational success. The Accelerate Leadership Program (ALP) helps participants expand their leadership talent, confidence, and knowledge. 

This is an effective way to learn leadership habits because ALP allows each participant to hone their leadership style while learning the essential skills it takes to motivate and inspire people. It’s a personalized and individualized program that allows each person to build productive new habits in their own way.

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ALP is different from many other types of habit-building programs because it’s coaching, not just training. Leadership coaching programs go far beyond basic leadership training programs because they use a more robust approach that incorporates a proven process, customized coursework, peer connections, leadership coaches, interactive software, and an archive of helpful resources to help them stay engaged.

At Leadership Resources, we help companies identify emerging leaders and give them the habits they need to stay successful. We’re here to provide guidance and support when your company needs to build positive habits of leadership that will last for the long haul.

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The Top 5 Recommended Strategic Planning Process Steps

By Leadership Resources 04/30/2022

As you research ways to grow and optimize your business, you’ll come across the term “strategic planning” quite a bit. But what is strategic planning, exactly? Strategic planning refers to a carefully crafted and supervised process (or processes) that helps you make informed decisions to grow your business and overcome obstacles. Like any competent strategy, this planning involves many moving parts that must remain flexible enough to allow for changes when necessary. Let’s break down five crucial strategic planning process steps so you can safely steer your organization in the right direction.

What Are the Five Steps in the Strategic Planning Process?

1. Understand Where You Stand

The strategic planning process begins with a thorough analysis of your organization’s current situation. If you don’t know where you stand right now, you won’t know where to go next. Determining your strategic position requires collecting good data from multiple angles. Seek detailed insights from your leadership team, receive feedback from employees and customers, and compare key performance indicators (KPIs) with those of competitors in your market. Take a look at your company’s current vision and mission statements as well. Once you’ve gathered all of this information, break it all down into four categories of interest: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT). This SWOT diagram (or similar visual aid) will help clarify your standing so you can better move forward with your strategic planning.

2. Form a Coherent Vision

Now that you’ve got an aerial view of your organization’s strategic position, it’s time to develop a new vision that addresses every weak point and bolsters your existing strengths. This vision should capture a broad, general, and concise picture of what your company wishes to achieve and become. Developing this vision can help you write a mission statement as well, which lays out your business’s reason for being. Having a clear, coherent vision and mission statement in place will provide a solid bedrock for your decisions moving forward.

3. Identify the Gaps

Strategic planning is all about getting to where you want to go efficiently. Your vision provides the general direction, like a compass – without a map, however, you’ll have a hard time avoiding the obstacles that stand in your way like rocks dotting the sea. The next step in this process, then, is to identify the barriers and gaps that separate your current position from the one you’re trying to achieve. Common gaps faced by companies of all sizes include public relations, financials, market share, internal systems, communication, and so on. Conduct a thorough gap analysis by breaking down specific gaps and asking key questions that dig to the heart of the matter. If, for instance, your business isn’t meeting a specific customer demand, you might ask why you’re not positioned to meet this need and realize you haven’t devoted the proper resources to that task.

4. Get Your Goals in Order

At this point, your organization should know where it stands, where it’s headed, and how to chart a course to get there. There’s still the matter of doing the work, however. This is where proper goal-setting comes into play. Every gap you identify should be met with a specific plan (i.e. goal) that addresses the problem with precise actions and indicators that relevant parties can keep track of. These goals should have a concrete date, specific figures, and list of individuals responsible for achieving them. Each goal, no matter how small, should be in service of the larger vision and focused by your latest mission statement.

5. Execute, Analyze, Revise

As you deploy your strategic plan, you’ll soon find that many variables are out of your control, such as market forces, personnel changes, destabilizing world events, and more. In some cases, you’ll simply fail to meet certain goals. If you cling too tightly to your plans or start from scratch, you’ll likely suffer setbacks. Rather than retrace all of your steps in strategic planning thus far, it’s better to adapt accordingly. Check in on your goals at intervals to track your progress and identify any unforeseen issues that have cropped up. If necessary, adjust your goals to account for these changes and repeat this cycle. Frequent monitoring is crucial for ensuring the success of any strategic plan, even if it means the details of said plan don’t look exactly the same over time.

At Leadership Resources, our purpose is to make the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease obstacles and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.

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How to Spot Future Leaders at Your Organization

By Leadership Resources 04/28/2022
Leaders in a meeting

Quality of leadership largely determines whether an organization rises, falls, or remains stagnant. But leaders do not magically descend from some higher realm. They are cultivated over time through experience, education, and perseverance. 

Nearly every company contains its share of potential leaders, and it is the responsibility of current leaders to identify and foster future leadership roles or else risk leaving a major hole in the organization. Failing to spot a future leader puts the company at risk of losing them forever.

Of course, not every worker is destined to be – or interested in being – a leader. Investing in these individuals is not a waste of time, but the lion’s share of leadership development resources are better spent on those who display the potential to hold a leadership role. 

With that in mind, let’s go over how to identify future leaders at your organization.

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Who Goes the Extra Mile in Your Company?

Past behavior is a good indicator of future behavior, especially when it comes to self-motivation and a willingness to learn. When seeking the future leaders of your company, a good place to start is by looking at previous results. 

Consider who in your organization consistently goes above and beyond expectations. Look for people who think beyond the basics and seize opportunities to try new things and assist others. 

  • Who seems to have a burning desire to do more, learn more, and connect more?
  • Which salesperson might not have the best sales numbers yet, but seems genuinely interested in being the top seller?
  • Which customer service rep always leaves customers chuckling and smiling?
  • Who’s always talking about wanting the company to grow?
  • Who’s bursting with creative ideas?

In addition to work-related tasks, give a closer look to the employees who seem personally dedicated to outside causes and personal hobbies that show dedication. On an even more basic level, keep an eye on who helps out around the office simply because they care. They may have hidden leadership potential.

  • Who stays behind to help clean up after an employee lunch?
  • Who seems to remember everyone’s birthday and helps them feel special?
  • Who has ideas for company celebrations and outings?

Employees who are highly motivated, results-driven, and interpersonally connected tend to show their enthusiasm without specifically being asked to do so. These are highly valuable employees and team members who come up with new, innovative ideas that drive the company’s efforts into new territories. 

Pay close attention to the people in your company who keep the enterprise moving forward with passion, as they already exhibit strong leadership qualities. With extra support and encouragement, they could become your company’s future superstar managers and executives.

Weigh Both Potential and Performance

Also, look beyond your sales and customer service staff. Even if they’re not your top performers in terms of your bottom line, they might be perfect fits for various leadership roles in the future. Provide leadership training now, and your company could help all kinds of people become top performers who reach new heights. Performance is undoubtedly a key indicator when spotting future leaders, but it’s not the only indicator. You may have employees who hold high potential but who are currently diamonds in the rough. They may work extremely hard but don’t seem to exude much leadership role potential quite yet. 

“Leadership potential” is a somewhat ambiguous metric, of course, and therefore more difficult to pick apart than hard data. Still, pay attention to potential leadership skills, such as:

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that a quiet or reserved person is incapable of being a leader. Not every leader is a bold, take-charge type. Some leadership roles call for more measured forms of leadership that are a great match for more reserved people.

Shake Up the Structure

Another helpful way to identify future leaders is by stirring the pot a bit. Start rotating job duties or assigning new roles to people every now and again. In doing so, some individuals will take full advantage of the opportunity, learning new skills and pushing themselves beyond their perceived limits. 

Others may wish to stay in their comfort zones or might buckle under the pressure. You’ll be able to see who thrives when given more responsibility and who shies away from it or outright rejects it. This technique is known as job rotation, and it’s common in certain industries. Companies use it to see who can handle leadership, to prepare for audits or prevent fraud, and to keep employees engaged so they don’t burn out.

Job rotation is a powerful exercise for succession planning, as it can help you determine which candidates can adapt quickly and take on new roles when necessary. Not everyone is the right fit for leadership, and that’s okay. The goal is to find the right candidates for immediate additional leadership development.

Ask Yourself: Who Is Asking Questions?

While not everyone who asks questions is bound to be a leader, all future leaders ask questions. Leaders are curious, peppering people with questions about pivotal issues that impact the company, their teams, and their personal futures.

This spirit of inquiry is directly related to strong communication and therefore strong leadership. Questions are a huge part of tackling thorny issues and finding workable solutions. People with leadership potential also have the bravery and boldness to be inquisitive.

So keep an eye on those who take the time to clarify concepts, inquire about plan specifics, seek solutions to ongoing problems, and ask seemingly simple questions that others might be too timid to ask. These are the hallmarks of a potential leader and someone who inspires others to achieve great things.

Train Your Eye for Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence, or EQ, is one of the most important qualities of a good leader. Those who can listen to the concerns and suggestions of others and act accordingly strengthen the company’s culture, encourage employee buy-in, promote teamwork, and improve the organization’s reputation and operations as a whole. 

EQ is about understanding what people mean, even when it’s not what they say. This is a challenging concept for many people who aren’t naturally intuitive. In a professional setting, EQ is about being willing to have complex interpersonal interactions that reveal deeper truths and help move issues forward. 

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Contrary to popular myth, emotional intelligence is learned and not inborn. It’s a skill that can be developed through education, coaching, practice, and determination. Emotionally-intelligent company cultures tend to be more successful because they can nimbly seize opportunities that arise day after day. 

When looking for EQ in future leaders, look for individuals who display empathy, self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, and strong social skills. These individuals are often poised for leadership positions, with some additional guidance and support.

Who’s Personally Invested in the Organization?

Even if you’ve found a handful of candidates who meet the above criteria, you have to consider whether or not they’re in it for the long haul. Are they invested in your company? This isn’t a strictly financial question. It’s about an emotional and psychological investment that goes beyond the paycheck.

Those who show strong future leadership role potential are in high demand, after all, and many businesses spend significant resources training future managers only to have them exit the organization shortly after. This is a cycle of employee loss that’s much easier to prevent when you identify future leaders and nourish them to their full potential.

Developing future leaders in your company starts with identifying the best candidates and continues with retaining them. You may be pleasantly surprised at how many people in your organization want to move up in the company and remain working there if you give them the right motivation to do so through leadership development.

While you can’t force any of your leaders to stay at the company, investing in their growth is a crucial way to retain your top talent. And those who routinely express their interest in the company’s future and their role in it are top contenders for future leaders. In short, if a potential leader is invested in your organization, you must invest in their development.

The Accelerate Leadership Program

Does your company need additional assistance with how to identify future leaders and give them the support they need to flourish? At Leadership Resources, our goal is to help companies thrive through deploying effective leadership techniques, especially when it comes to nourishing emerging leaders. 

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Any company hoping to spot future leaders among its employees would benefit from leadership development coaching and education. Leadership coaching and development programs go far beyond basic leadership training programs because they use a holistic approach that incorporates a proven process, customized coursework, peer interactions, leadership coaches, software, and an archive of helpful resources to help them stay engaged.

Consider the Accelerate Leadership Program (ALP), which helps participants expand their leadership confidence and knowledge. ALP allows each participant to hone their leadership style while learning the essential skills it takes to connect with people and lead teams to success.
At Leadership Resources, we help companies identify emerging leaders and encourage them to reach their full potential. When your company needs to implement an effective future leadership strategy, we’re here to provide expert guidance and support.

Enroll in The Accelerate Leadership Program
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Strategic Leadership: Pros and Cons

By Leadership Resources 04/27/2022
Strategic playing of Jenga

There is no single “right way” to operate a business or poise it for long-term success. Every enterprise is unique. Still, specific leadership development approaches transcend these differences, offering near-universal benefits to businesses of all sizes and types. 

Strategic leadership refers to one such approach to business management that can yield numerous long-term benefits when properly implemented and executed. Of course, it’s worth noting that the upsides of the strategic leadership approach are contrasted with some downsides, too. 

Let’s look at the pros and cons of strategic leadership. In particular, we’ll focus on how your company can gain the immense benefits of strategic leadership while minimizing the impact of any potentially limiting factors.

What Is Strategic Leadership?

Strategic leadership can be defined as a leadership philosophy that prioritizes the communication and execution of a particular vision via tangible, streamlined actions and processes. In other words, the strategic leader not only generates and clarifies a business’ vision but also adeptly leads its team toward realizing said vision one step at a time.

The best strategic leaders can simultaneously keep the big picture and the key details in mind, which is precisely what allows their business to achieve its short- and long-term goals. The leadership skills required for this brand of leadership include strong communication, a focus on culture, judicious deployment of power, self-control, compassion, consistency, loyalty, and strong motivation.

The Plus Sides of Strategic Leadership

Many potential leadership development benefits come with the strategic leadership approach. First, strategic leaders can unite teams, generate buy-in, and keep everyone on the same page as they work together toward a collective goal. In this way, each strategic leader keeps their team members from losing focus or losing touch with one another, which makes it that much easier to move the entire business forward. 

Also, strategic leadership establishes a framework for practical decision-making. When goals are clearly communicated, everyone can better contribute to the collective vision. Strategic leadership also facilitates impartial, long-term thinking because it filters daily decisions through the lens of the broader vision.

Strategic leadership also encourages company-wide accountability and productivity, which sets the stage for overall success. Although some employees may fear the concept of accountability because it sounds a bit scary at first, the strategic leadership approach embraces positive accountability by incorporating active listening, interpersonal feedback, emotional intelligence-building, and leadership training.

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Finally, the best strategic leaders cultivate commitment among their teams by acting as daily role models for proficiency and practicality. In other words, they practice what they preach! For all of these reasons, businesses should consider investing in strategic leadership training

In fact, pursuing the strategic approach to leadership is one of the best ways to ensure a company succeeds at attracting top talent and retaining superstar employees. High achievers are naturally attracted to companies that come with the benefits listed above, and they’re more likely to remain at companies that are supportive and successful.

Imagine your company as a huge rowboat that’s out at sea, spinning out of control. A strategic leadership plan not only helps everyone put their paddles in the water and row together in unison, but it also points the boat in precisely the right direction so you arrive at the desired destination as quickly as possible.

The Setbacks of Strategic Leadership

A strategic leadership approach isn’t always a flawless one, of course. As with all long-term processes and goals, there’s no way to know for certain what the business, industry, or global situation will look like in the next year, five years, decade, and so on. A major challenge like a national economic instability or worldwide health crisis can put a strain on your organization.

Personal and professional stress is a side effect of these situations. In this way, long-term strategic thinking itself can become a significant expense and source of leadership stress, especially if a seemingly solid plan becomes irrelevant in the face of unpredictable changes. This is why strategic leaders must be as flexible as they are visionary. 

In a similar vein, strategic leaders can get lost in the bigger picture and start neglecting the business’ most pressing issues and needs, which can cause budding problems to go unresolved and eventually interfere with the very vision in question. This can put pressure on sales performance and other key metrics of success.

Ultimately, a lack of attention to the present moment can halt company growth and even result in long-term harm. Strategic leaders who either take too many risks or are too risk-averse can cause the company to miss out on key opportunities.

On the flip side, even sudden rapid growth can come with a dangerous downside. What if you leverage strategic leadership and suddenly find runaway success? The human beings responsible for handling extremely fast growth can become bogged down and overwhelmed in the process. Your employees need the company to help them cope successfully with this rapid pace of change.

To avoid negative outcomes, a company can prioritize fostering a positive and supportive organizational culture. This includes addressing the foundational elements of the Success ChainTM, like actions, behaviors, attitudes, and habits of thought.

It’s also essential to implement company structures and procedures that nurture strategic leadership, like succession planning, using an entrepreneurial operating system, and choosing technological solutions that support rather than hinder success.

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Developing a Winning Strategy for Your Leaders

Strategic leadership is not inherently good or bad, but rather a tool that can raise a business up for years to come or sink the whole ship for lack of seeing the iceberg straight ahead. Every enterprise must determine its own balanced approach to strategic leadership development so it’s able to safely navigate the current moment while aiming for the bigger goal in the distance.

At Leadership Resources, our purpose is to make the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. We offer a wide range of coaching and business consulting services that help you support your valuable employees’ personal and professional success.

Contact us to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most. We strongly encourage any company interested in strategic leadership to explore the Accelerate Leadership Program, which is explained in more detail below.

Strategic Leadership With the Accelerate Leadership Program

The Accelerate Leadership Program (ALP) is one of the best ways to ensure your company takes full advantage of the benefits of strategic leadership while limiting any potential downsides. It helps you get the most out of your leaders at all levels.

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Enroll as many emerging leaders as you wish, and they’ll each experience a leadership program that feels personalized and individualized. They’ll develop their leadership skills alongside their peers in a proven leadership curriculum that involves interpersonal skill-building, leadership coaching, and a progressive two-stage program that uses our proprietary Accelerate software to guide each participant to success.

Ready to learn more? Explore ALP now or schedule a consultation with us today. We’ve helped hundreds of companies support their high-potential leaders through skillful strategic leadership. You could be our next of many success stories!

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Are Talent Development and Succession Planning the Same and What Does My Leadership Team Need?

By Leadership Resources 04/15/2022

Competent leadership lies at the heart of every successful organization. That said, strong leaders don’t appear out of thin air. While some individuals display a propensity for leadership at an early stage, their skills must be honed and directed towards the business’s long-term goals. When properly managed, a company’s top talent paves the way for its future, taking over roles left vacant by previous leaders who have moved on – two terms describe this larger process: talent development and succession planning. But while these concepts are closely related, they’re not one in the same. Understanding the similarities and differences between these two processes will help you figure out how to approach the ongoing development of your leadership team.

What Is Talent Development?

Put simply, talent development (also dubbed talent management) refers to an organization’s various processes dedicated to the assessment and advancement of their most promising employees. This process begins at the recruitment and hiring stages, wherein existing leaders seek the best candidates for particular roles. Once a new hire is on board, efforts must be made to retain this talent, especially in a highly competitive market. Talent retention and leadership development go hand in hand – when employees are incentivized to grow within an organization, they’re more likely to stick with it. There’s always a risk associated with talent development, of course, as this process also makes your employees more attractive to other employers. Generally speaking, the potential benefits of continuous talent development and management outweigh the risks.

What Is Succession Planning?

Whereas talent development takes a close look at individuals, succession planning first takes a close look at specific roles. Once key roles have been identified, current leaders must consider which qualities are required for filling said roles when they become vacant, and which employees are prime candidates (internal or external) for taking on these responsibilities when the time comes. If you’re wondering, “Why is succession planning important?” consider the pitfalls of losing a C-level leader without an adequate substitute for an extended period of time. Proper succession planning ensures that every vital position maintains strong leadership, securing the organization’s legacy.

How Talent Development and Succession Planning Interact

Succession planning and talent development are unique processes, but they’re inextricably linked. Without a thorough leadership development plan in place, you’ll have a hard time filling existing and new leadership roles in your organization. Likewise, without the incentive structure inherent in succession planning (i.e., major promotions and structural changes), your top talent may feel less motivated to grow within your company and stick around for the long haul. In other words, the best approach to both talent development and succession planning is one that understands the connection between them and facilitates a structure that cultivates leadership that propels the business forward.

Determining the Needs of Your Leadership Team and Organization

Different leaders within your organization’s leadership team will have different ambitions and needs. Budding leaders still have plenty to learn, but they also have a lot to teach their more seasoned peers. Leaders who have been around for some time might be preparing to retire, and others might be seeking employment elsewhere. Figuring out what your leadership team and your business needs requires strong communication and transparency. Leaders should promptly know when a vacancy is on the horizon and whether or not they’re in the running to take over the position. Everyone should also be kept in the loop regarding the organization’s mission and direction moving forward. And talent at all stages should continue to receive first-rate training and development to prepare them for whatever the future may hold.

At Leadership Resources, our purpose is to make the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease obstacles and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.

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Why Leadership Training Fails – And What to Do About It

By Leadership Resources 03/23/2022
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No one would argue against the importance of training. Whether you’re trying to get fit, learn a new skill, or form new habits, sticking with a training regimen is necessary for helping you achieve your goals and continue to grow. And yet, when it comes to training leaders within an organization, so many efforts fall short. Why is this? In this blog, we’ll explore why traditional leadership training models so often fail, and what you can do to foster more effective leadership development.

What to Know About Failed Leadership Training

Pitfalls of the “One and Done” Mindset

Training can take many different forms, but it always contains an educational component. As all students know from experience, some educational tools are primarily focused on delivering concrete answers that one can memorize and check off on a multiple-choice questionnaire – other programs, however, are rooted in cultivating a deep understanding of a topic and all its nuances. Leadership training too often falls into this former category, placing more emphasis on the completion of a course than on continued growth. A comprehensive leadership development program, on the other hand, recognizes that leaders never stop learning, providing foundational tools and support systems that help leaders adapt and grow throughout their careers.

Training Can Be Too Narrow or Too Broad

Leadership training programs often have another major problem: they’re either too hyper-focused on an organization’s specific operations or so broad that leaders struggle to apply what they’ve learned in any tangible way. Much like the story of Goldilocks and the three bears, the key to continued growth lies somewhere in between. The ideal leadership development program should offer a wide range of resources and tools, so all bases are covered – but it should also be customized to comfortably mesh with your organization’s vision and goals. At Leadership Resources, our Accelerate Leadership Program is multi-faceted in this way, providing integrated software, leadership content, personal and communal development processes, emotional intelligence training, one-on-one coaching, and more.

The Issue Is Systemic

There’s a bit of push and pull when it comes to training leaders within a particular organization. On the one hand, existing business leaders want to maintain a steady ship, so leadership training is key. On the other hand, cultivating new leadership can put this stability at risk, for better or worse. What often happens, then, is that training protocols become too restrictive. This stagnation is usually unintentional and systemic in nature. Simply put, if individuals aren’t empowered to make necessary changes to the existing system, the system will retain its power, preventing meaningful change. So, in order to unlock the true potential of budding leaders and foster ongoing leadership growth, certain structural barriers must first be overcome.

Overcoming the Obstacles of Leadership Training

The question remains, then: how can a business overcome its systemic issues and provide a leadership program that makes a lasting impact on the individuals and the whole? For starters, top-level leaders should re-establish the organization’s values and clearly define a strategic plan. From there, collect anonymous feedback on current management and training protocols to pinpoint key issues. To tackle these concerns, you may need to reconfigure roles and responsibilities and create new goals aimed at affecting real change. Use key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure how well you’re achieving these goals and make adjustments as needed. Taking the time to dig into your business’ systemic failures and obstacles in this way will allow you to implement more effective leadership development processes. And as you cultivate stronger leaders, it will become easier to continue making these structural improvements, creating a positive feedback loop that propels your organization (and everyone in it) forward.

At Leadership Resources, our purpose is to make the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease obstacles and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.

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Top 5 Signs It’s Time to Begin Implementing Leadership Team Development

By Leadership Resources 02/28/2022
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What to Know About Leadership Team Development

What Is Leadership Team Development?

Leadership team development refers to initiatives, materials, and opportunities aimed at helping your leadership team hone existing skills and learn new ones. The best leadership development programs help uncover potential blind spots in your leadership team and form new habits that propel the entire organization forward – leaders also find ways to grow as individuals. Let’s explore five key signs it’s time to begin implementing a strong leadership team development program in your organization.

1. Team Members Aren’t Fulfilled in Their Current Roles

Ideally, each and every one of your employees will be well-suited for the tasks under their purview. However, as time goes on, some team members might lose interest in their current roles, and others might no longer perform as well as they once did, despite their previous proficiency. One way to resolve these setbacks is to provide new opportunities for your team members that allow them to explore other roles and take on new responsibilities. However, without proper leadership development, said employees might not be prepared for a promotion or even a lateral move. Therefore, it’s crucial to provide leadership team development resources for your people so they’re ready to accept new challenges and switch roles when the time comes. Otherwise, you may be left with dissatisfied team members and uncomfortable overlaps in duties.

2. Communication Is Faltering

Leaders and employees within your organization must stay on the same page in order to make progress – this requires strong communication. If team members begin to lose sight of the collective vision or establish different benchmarks for success, everyone will struggle to work toward common goals. Improper communication will also make it difficult to resolve issues, which can fester over time. The importance of leadership development programs in regards to improving communication cannot be overstated. The best leadership development programs prioritize transparency and consistency so that there’s little room for misunderstandings or long-term conflicts in the future.

3. You’re Experiencing High Turnover

If your business is having a hard time holding onto its best people, it certainly stands to benefit from leadership team development. Simply put, people won’t stick around for long if they feel they’re not appreciated or that they’ve run out of room to grow within your organization. Honing leadership skills in all of your employees improves retention rates by, 1) expressing how much you value their personal growth, 2) opening doors for promotions and other opportunities, and 3) keeping your business competitive. The stronger the leaders inside your organization, the more formidable and valuable your business becomes – and people will want to be a part of that.

4. Your Team Is Missing the Mark

Performance issues are another key indicator that your company needs to invest more heavily in leadership development. It’s important that your employees not only continue to meet their goals but also that they’re able to adapt to a shifting marketplace. Goals and benchmarks are bound to change, and everyone within your organization must be able to face these challenges and changes head-on. A comprehensive leadership development plan improves employee flexibility and proficiency, ensuring that your business’s goals are continuously met or exceeded, no matter how things change over time.

5. Your Organization’s Future Is in Question (Succession Planning)

Even your most loyal and long-term employees will retire or otherwise leave at some point. If you want your organization to stand the test of time, you must be prepared to replace existing leaders with new blood when the time comes. As alluded to earlier, these roles can only be properly filled if you have employees at the ready who harbor the experience, skills, and passion to move up the ladder. So, you must always consider who someone’s successor will be – if you struggle to find an answer, you must make a quick and concerted effort to increase your business’ leadership development initiatives.

At Leadership Resources, our purpose is to make the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease obstacles and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.

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Top 3 Ways to Start Business Succession Planning Before It’s Detrimental to Team Members

By Leadership Resources 02/15/2022
Group of women on a team

What to Know About Starting Succession Planning

What Is Succession Planning?

The most enduring organizations see many people come and go over time. These companies have remained successful for so long thanks to one generation passing the torch to the next. Succession planning describes this strategy of preparing key employees for leadership roles as existing leaders move toward other opportunities or retirement. You can find many succession planning examples by browsing the histories of many major companies. Properly planning to fill vacancies in your business is essential for ensuring an organization’s legacy. However, succession planning features a number of potential pitfalls that can lead to stagnation and frustration. As such, deploying the proper strategy is crucial. Let’s explore the top three ways to start  business succession planning before it becomes detrimental to your team members and your organization as a whole.

1. Maintain Open Communication with Your Team

Transparency is always important when managing a team. While there’s always room for some discretion, withholding important information can damage trust and reduce your ability to plan for business succession. Simply put, your team should know when existing positions are preparing to open up. Not everyone in your organization will be a strong candidate for the role, of course. That said, failing to inform your team might cause certain high-potential employees to seek other opportunities, as they might feel they have no further room to grow within your business. By letting your people know what changes are on the horizon, you further motivate your team to maintain high achievement and consider their long-term involvement – this is good for morale, productivity, and longevity.

2. Remain Flexible

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for succession planning. Not only is every organization and role unique – each role within your business may be subject to change. For instance, an existing role might no longer be necessary due to changes in the market or technology; conversely, brand new roles may need to be created for similar reasons. Moreover, a high-potential team member might end up leaving before they can take over a role – without a backup plan, your organization can be left in a challenging position. So, if a leader is planning to leave in the near future, your succession plan might be more complex than replacing that one individual and role. Your plan should be flexible enough to adapt for these potential changes. As a general rule, reevaluate your current succession plan at least twice a year. Such a dynamic process deserves periodic updates.

3. Continually Invest in Leadership Development

You can’t implement a business succession plan if your people aren’t ready to take on new opportunities and challenges. By actively engaging your team in ongoing leadership development, you help ensure that the right people will be ready to take on new roles when the time comes. As mentioned earlier, not every team member will be capable of or interested in filling vacant positions down the road, but providing your entire organization with the tools required for leadership growth is essential for successful succession planning.

At Leadership Resources, our purpose is to make the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease obstacles and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.

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