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? 

11 Ways To Create Accountability And Increase Productivity At Your Organization. Download this whitepaper.

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.

11 Ways To Create Accountability And Increase Productivity At Your Organization. Download this whitepaper.

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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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.

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How to Ensure Your Leadership Style Is Adapting to the Ever Changing Market

By Leadership Resources 12/13/2021
Notepad that says "adaptive leadership"

The world of business is always in flux. Whether it’s a global pandemic like the one we’ve seen in recent years or the accelerating growth of technology across industries, the only constant is change. Rather than run away from change, leaders must be ready and willing to adapt to uncertain circumstances. Getting too stuck in your ways can quickly lead to organizational stagnation. On the other hand, constantly switching up leadership styles can create instability and confusion in the workplace. Sustainable leadership strikes a balance between resolve and flexibility. Here are some ways to ensure your leadership style can adapt to an ever-changing market and world.

How to Adjust Your Leadership with the Culture

Communication Comes First

As we’ve discussed many times before, communication lies at the heart of leadership. In order to continuously adapt as a leader, you must not only keep your people apprised of relevant information — you must also actively seek feedback to make sure your leadership style remains productive. Open and reciprocal communication allows everyone within an organization to stay in the know, address their ideas and concerns, and get ahead of issues before they arise. In this way, maintaining strong communication elevates company culture and allows it to bend with changing circumstances without breaking.

Stay Savvy to Current Trends

The list of important leadership qualities can become extensive. One key quality that’s sometimes overlooked, however, is staying informed — not merely in regards to internal matters but also relevant trends and changes occurring outside the workplace. After all, the only way to ensure your leadership style is adapting to a turbulent world is having a finger on the pulse of said changes. Losing sight of the world around you can silo you and your company in detrimental ways. Knowledgeable and worldy leaders can better anticipate important changes and therefore enter the future with more confidence and direction. 

Never Stop Learning

This piece of advice is related to the previous one. More specifically, however, leaders should never feel as if they’ve completed their leadership journey. There is always more to learn about being a leader, especially considering how often and quickly the world around us changes. Indeed, ongoing leadership development prevents stagnation and opens new doors. Moreover, the more you grow as a leader, the skills you learn will naturally pass down to others in your workplace, promoting growth across the board. So, if and when possible, seek new opportunities for leadership growth — this might mean taking classes, attending networking events, hiring an executive coach, teaching others, and more.

Review Your Progress

Lastly, the only way to stay on the right track as a leader is to track your progress over time. Every business and leader will approach periodic reviews differently, but the idea is to check in at certain intervals and go over how specific strategies and goals are panning out (or not panning out). Taking the time to audit your personal performance as well as the performance of your peers, employees, and business at large will help you identify areas of improvement and celebrate successes. Once you have a more tangible sense of what’s not working, you can take steps to make purposeful change as a leader and an organization.

Embracing Change

We all would like certain things to stay the way they are, but most of these matters are out of control. While we can’t force the world to go in our direction all the time, however, we can respond to a changing world with tact. Focusing on strong communication, staying informed, constantly learning, and holding yourself accountable will allow you to adapt your leadership style for everyone’s benefit.


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 onstacles 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 Properly Promote Employees With Leadership Qualities

By Leadership Resources 09/28/2021
Boss shaking hands with promoted employee

Leaders aren’t born — they’re made. If you’re fortunate enough to have team members with leadership potential in your midst, you’ll want to keep them around and help them grow. Retaining the top talent in your organization can be difficult if you don’t provide the proper incentives — your best employees won’t stick around if they don’t feel like they can grow with your company. That said, employee promotion comes with its own set of challenges. Leadership skills don’t necessarily equate to preparedness for a specific role, after all. And you don’t want to overlook your other employees when serving promotions, either.

With all that in mind, here’s some advice for properly promoting employees with leadership qualities in your organization.

How to Promote Good Employees

Hone Employees’ Existing Leadership Skills

Raw talent can open many doors, but even your most talented hires need ongoing training and education to refine their skills. Providing leadership training for employees is a great way to both create new leaders and strengthen existing leaders in your company. With access to the proper resources, employees can transform their abilities into reinforced skillsets that can be applied in a variety of contexts. Ultimately, this scaffolding will help prepare your leaders for different types of promotions.

Provide New Challenges and Opportunities

This tip takes more of a real-world approach. Training is undoubtedly useful for leadership development, but there’s no replacement for actual on-the-job experience. If you want to put your people to the test, give them opportunities to take on new roles and responsibilities, even if only for short periods of time. These trial runs will help those with leadership potential discover their interests, strengths, and weaknesses while also providing you with important information on their candidacy for specific promotions.

Understand an Employee’s Personal Goals and Desires

Communication plays a vital role in proper promotion protocol. For starters, not every employee will want a promotion at a given time, and springing such an opportunity on them when they’re not ready can lead to several issues. Moreover, some emerging leaders will be more inclined to take on certain roles as a way of reaching their personal goals and/or boosting their careers. In every single scenario, the more you know about an employee’s unique goals and desires, the easier it will be to offer the appropriate promotions. So, have regular one-on-one meetings with employees, asking them about what they enjoy doing, how they wish to grow in your organization, what they wish were different, etc.

Determine the Type of Promotion Best Suited for the Situation

Not all promotions are created equal. Dry promotions refer to title upgrades without a pay increase, up-gradations feature increased pay but don’t change anything about an employee’s responsibilities, accretion of duties derive from an increase in workload and come with a relative pay bump — the list goes on. There are also a variety of reasons/methods for promoting an individual, such as merit, seniority, necessity (ad hoc), or some combination of these. The exact type of promotion you dish out must correspond with your company’s needs and goals. You must also keep in mind that some leaders will be more or less receptive to certain types of promotions.

Stay Alert to Potential Openings

Succession planning is all about filling the right roles with the right people, so there’s always a pipeline of strong leadership even when current leaders retire, leave, or can no longer work. The more time you have to plan for such a transition, the better. As such, it’s important to constantly be on the lookout for up-and-coming leaders in your organization that might be able to step into a higher position when the time comes. Once you have some candidates in mind, provide them with the tools, education, and experience necessary for them to take on these new roles in the future.

Make It Known

Lastly, don’t leave your employees in the dark when promotions are available. Even if you have a select group of employees in mind for a given promotion, offering it to anyone interested creates more competition. In this way, creating promotion opportunities serves as a useful employee management tool. It’s also fairer to your current employees to offer the position internally before looking outside the business.

Promoting Better Leadership in Your Workplace

Leaders at every stage need experience, direction, and opportunities to achieve their full potential. Providing these things for your employees will allow you to more easily deliver the right promotions to the right people.


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. 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 Maintain Strong Relationships and Culture Despite Remote Working Conditions

By Leadership Resources 04/13/2021
Office having a Zoom happy hour

The “virtual office” isn’t a new notion by any means, but the COVID-19 pandemic that continues to ravage the world has made remote work the norm rather than the exception for countless businesses. While some companies saw a smooth transition to these workplace changes, others had a more challenging time adapting to them and continue to struggle with the ramifications of working from home. There’s no denying the obvious differences between in-person and remote work (e.g., no more commutes, less interaction, adjustments in hours, etc.), but these surface-level distinctions have broader implications on productivity, mental health, relationships at every level, company culture, and more. Those companies that can hold onto and even improve these aspects of their enterprise in the midst of such a global shift will have a major advantage moving forward, and every employee will benefit to boot.

Let’s go over how to manage employee relations effectively and maintain a strong culture despite remote working conditions.

How to Keep Relationships While Working Remote

Don’t Avoid Company Culture Conversations

When everyone is suddenly working from home, there’s often an elephant in the virtual room that needs addressing. That metaphorical elephant represents the clear change in communication and culture that occurs when people stop seeing each other face to face. Rather than ignore the obvious, though, leaders should point it out and spark conversations about workplace culture, how it’s changed, and how it can be improved. These conversations will keep everyone thinking about and discussing tangible short- and long-term goals that can be achieved virtually and, when the time comes, in person.

Take Advantage of Modern Technology

We’re fortunate to live in a time that offers so many methods of long-distance communication — phone calls, video chats, text-based chat rooms, and message boards, etc. While there’s no replacement for in-person interactions, there are also countless opportunities to keep in touch with team members throughout the workday when working remotely. If you’re concerned about keeping up with employee relationship management, then use this technology to your advantage in practical and creative ways — have regular video meetings to go over projects and discuss new ideas, host virtual happy hours weekly or monthly to unwind and discuss non-work-related matters, replace the time normally reserved for commuting with remote coffee or breakfast check-ins with employees, have lunch over video call with team members, the list goes on. The bottom line is this: communication is key for maintaining strong management-employee relations, boosting team morale, and fortifying culture. Of course, you’ll want to make sure each of your employees has access to the necessary technology to partake in these various virtual activities.

Encourage a Proper Work-Life Balance

Finding a healthy balance between work and non-work can be a challenge for many people, regardless of extenuating circumstances. Of course, striking this balance is even more difficult during remote working conditions. Working from home creates a dynamic in which it’s difficult to separate one aspect of your life from another. Even if you have a dedicated home office, you’re never far from your living room, TV, child/children, pet(s), etc., during the workday. And when you’ve finished your work for the day, it can be hard to switch your brain from “work” to “play” when you’ve never left your home to begin with. This lack of boundaries between work and life can quickly lead to burnout and negatively affect one’s mental health. It’s up to leaders to encourage and exemplify a healthy work-life balance, so employees don’t feel trapped in their work or too distracted to get anything done. You can do this by:

  • Providing resources for employees regarding these matters to help them achieve a positive balance in their own lives
  • Establishing boundaries that limit or restrict work-related communications to a certain range of hours (e.g., 9 A.M. to 5 P.M.) so employees aren’t tied to work at all times
  • Prioritizing productivity over hours worked, so employees feel free to set their own hours and work at their own pace

Different companies will have different ways of promoting a good work-life balance; making this a priority and leading by example is one of the best leadership qualities you can have.

Recognize Your People and Accomplishments

Lastly, don’t let virtual work take away from the important ritual of workplace recognition. Whether in-person or remotely, everyone likes to feel seen for their contributions and accomplishments, and recognizing your people for their hard work is key in maintaining strong relationships and strengthening your culture. In many ways, employee/team recognition is more important than ever now that so many of us are working from home, as it’s normal for people to feel underappreciated and unseen when siloed from their coworkers and managers. Letting your people know that their work and fortitude haven’t gone unnoticed is an important role for all leaders during this time and in general.

Remotely Challenging Times

Navigating leadership in times of stress and change like the ones we’re currently living in is no walk in the park. That said, current remote working conditions provide the perfect opportunity for companies and leaders everywhere to test their strengths, bolster their weaknesses, and create an even more cohesive company culture that can withstand the most difficult circumstances.


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. 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 Lead Despite COVID Burnout

By Leadership Resources 03/19/2021
Woman wearing a mask burnt out from COVID-19.

One year ago, when COVID-19 was just starting to acquire its pandemic status, few people could have anticipated what the following months would have in store. The early toilet paper shortages and panic buying seem somewhat quaint compared to the havoc wrought on individuals, families, and businesses between then and now. With effective vaccines and rapid distribution on the way, there is now a light at the end of this tunnel. That said, even when the pandemic ends, the world will have to deal with its consequences for many years to come. 

Business leaders are already looking ahead to what the future may hold while battling the burnout that has plagued everyone, from students, workers, leaders, and owners alike. As we’ve discussed before, the stress of leadership can be daunting enough to deal with during normal times, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated this pressure. Businesses everywhere have had to lay off or furlough employees, suddenly switch to remote work protocols, reduce hours and customer capacity, adjust their supply chain, implement intensive cleaning and disinfection protocols, and so on. One year in, people everywhere are on their last legs, and leaders are no exception.

How to Lead Your People if They’re Burnt Out from COVID-19

Prioritize Self-Care and Stress Management

When challenging times arise and work piles up, it’s easy to fall into the trap of pushing yourself past your limits to keep up with deadlines. You might be able to go on this way for a little while, but eventually, your work will suffer — more importantly, so will your mental and physical health. This common situation describes burnout, and it can take a long time to reignite the flame. It’s better to prevent that proverbial flame from burning out in the first place by maintaining its heat and oxygen through self-care. In our previous blog on managing leadership stress, we discussed key ways to take care of your overall well-being, such as getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, practicing mindfulness (i.e. meditation, yoga), staying hydrated, maintaining a healthy diet, and taking breaks for enjoyment and relaxation when needed. Encouraging your employees to do the same by sharing your experience with these stress-relieving techniques is key for preventing (or at least mitigating) COVID burnout in your workplace. When everyone feels motivated to take care of themselves first and foremost, they will be better equipped to handle the challenges before them.

Keep on Communicating

We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: communication is one of the most important leadership qualities there is. And during COVID-19, strong communication has never been so crucial. At the most basic level, your people should be regularly informed about how the business is navigating COVID-related challenges. Any updates and changes must be clearly delivered, and everyone should feel free to ask questions and voice their concerns. Considering the nature of this pandemic, you may need to convey these messages via virtual meetings, emails, and other means. To keep burnout at bay, your communication style should be steeped in empathy — if you’re feeling burnt out, odds are your peers, partners, and employees are, too. Use your emotional intelligence to understand the shared and unique challenges faced by others to enhance your organization’s sense of community. Hosting virtual and community events will help you maintain and improve your company culture so everyone feels connected and valued.

Simplify Your Processes

If anything good has come from COVID-19, it’s that this pandemic has revealed what matters most, both in terms of everyday life and in business. While the initial shock of COVID sent many businesses into a frenzy, many that have been able to recover have gradually adjusted their priorities and trimmed the fat in key areas. Simplifying your processes by streamlining tasks, delegation, and your broader vision can reduce the risk of burnout and ultimately reshape your business in positive ways. You might, for instance, realize that remote work is a powerful tool for team management and that it greatly reduces overhead costs associated with rent, energy, commuting, etc. Every business and employee is different, of course — while some might appreciate the freedom of working from home, others might require more structure and crave in-person encounters. How you decide to adjust and simplify your processes during this latter portion of COVID-19 and afterward will depend on what you learn during this time. The key is paying attention to what your people are feeling and how it’s affecting your bottom line.

Keep the Big Picture in View

As we stated earlier, the implications of COVID-19 will carry on far beyond its official conclusion, contributing to leadership stress and potential burnout. As such, you must view this situation as a marathon rather than a sprint. The day-to-day doings of your business matter, but thinking too small and short-term can cloud your judgment and impede your view of the future. Of course, looking too far ahead can induce plenty of stress in its own right. To avoid burning out in either sense, you want to achieve a balance between short- and long-term thinking, where the way you handle things each and every day is informed by where and how you wish to steer your team and enterprise. In order to accomplish this, you must focus on becoming more adaptable and resilient, regularly taking stock of what is and isn’t working so you can fine-tune your business for the future.

Providing strong leadership in times of stress and change is no small feat, but it’s essential for alleviating burnout in yourself and your team. Taking care of your own well-being, maintaining emotionally-intelligent communication, simplifying your operations based on necessary changes, and implementing long-term thinking will allow you to lead your organization to a brighter future despite these challenging times.


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. 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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Team-Building in Omaha, NE: How to Encourage Leadership from More Reserved Employees

By Leadership Resources 02/24/2020
Women working and looking at a laptop

While it’s true that some individuals naturally possess certain leadership qualities, many of the best leaders weren’t “born with it” at all. Rather, they became leaders over time with the help of good mentors, experience in both life and business, and a network of support, all of which gave them a sense of ownership and confidence necessary in a strong leader. Indeed, your Omaha, Nebraska organization might be filled with hidden leaders that simply need direction and encouragement to reach their full potential. 

Facilitating this leadership development should be a major priority for your business, as it will boost productivity, stimulate strong and innovative decision-making, strengthen your culture, and secure its future. Here’s how to encourage leadership from more reserved but promising employees in your company.

How to Get the Most Out of Shy Employees

Be a Good Leader Yourself

Good leaders have a tendency to pass on their qualities to those near them. Don’t shy away from expressing what you’ve learned on your journey to becoming a leader, but don’t limit this expression to mere words. You must also act the part. Communicate, collaborate, listen, and prioritize transparency. Setting a strong example for your team is the first step toward developing leadership talent in your organization.

Cultivate a Team-Oriented Culture

Leaders must be good listeners, but they can’t be afraid to speak up, either. The less vocal employees in your company will be more inclined to share their ideas and opinions if they feel comfortable and encouraged to do so. Building a team-based culture can go a long way toward achieving this level of openness. You might start hosting more team-building events, developing projects that require coordination, or actively asking your employees to share their thoughts on a given matter.

Deliver Consistent, Constructive Feedback

People struggle to grow if they’re not fully aware of their strengths and weaknesses, and your reserved employees might not actively seek help or ask questions about their performance. Delivering constructive feedback on a regular basis helps keep your employees on track, and lets them bolster their strengths while working on areas of improvement. Maintaining this honest line of communication will also encourage them to reach out to you and other leaders for guidance in the future.

Unlock The Leadership Potential Within Your Organization. Download this whitepaper.

Expand Employees’ Responsibilities

If you see potential in an employee, entrust them with more responsibility. Soft-spoken employees might initially lack the confidence to take on certain tasks and roles, but giving them more responsibilities can actually empower them and show them a side of themselves they didn’t even know existed. This can have a domino effect, where a once-reserved team member suddenly shows an appetite for accountability, growth, and other skills needed to be a leader. And if it turns out they weren’t quite up to the task, dial things back and help them gradually work their way back up.

Offer Leadership Training Programs

Ultimately, there’s only so much you as an individual can do in terms of team building and leadership training. You may need to create and/or outsource specialized leadership development programs to give your employees the resources they need to develop as leaders in the broader sense. Investing in these programs can be a major boon for your Omaha, NE organization. After all, your business’ growth and success depends on the growth and success of your people.

At Leadership Resources, our purpose is making 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. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow.

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How to Create a Living Strategic Succession Plan

By Leadership Resources 09/16/2019
Chess move as symbol of great strategic planning and choices

The business world rewards both careful planning and spontaneous action. At the same time, conventional wisdom warns against both of these extremes. All of this seems contradictory. How is it that caution and risk both work to our benefit and our detriment? And how can we know which path to take?

Perhaps the solution to this conundrum lies in the balance. Planning or acting on impulse isn’t inherently good or bad, but going too far in one direction can leave you vulnerable. When it comes to promoting employees or shifting leadership roles, you need a system that integrates strategic oversight while also embracing the dynamics of your company’s landscape.

Check Out How to Create a Living Strategic Succession Plan

Focus on the Big Picture

When developing a succession plan, it’s always good to start with the big picture in mind. What’s involved in this picture? Things like your vision, mission, various long-term goals, culture, and areas of your company you wish to maintain, do away with, or improve. With this broad view in mind, you can begin to formulate the types of roles, duties, and leadership qualities required to ensure your business’ continued success. This will help you begin to target those within your organization who might be a good fit for various roles.

Help Your People Grow

No matter how developed or limited your succession plan is, one thing remains constant: you will need good leaders to take over vital roles in your company. And good leaders don’t just fall from the sky; they must be developed and prepared to take on your company’s needs. Your living, breathing succession planning model should focus prominently on leadership training so your people are prepared to take on whatever sudden challenges might arise.

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Respond to the Data

Nothing is set in stone, and your succession plan shouldn’t be either. As you work on developing leaders within your organization, you might find that your regiment isn’t as effective or practical as you had hoped. Perhaps your training is too broad or too narrow. Maybe you’re not giving the right people the right amount of attention. Whatever the case may be, pay attention to how your programs are performing. If they’re not doing well, you must adjust your succession planning strategy accordingly. This might involve bringing in different coaches, hiring new recruits, or outsourcing some of your leadership training programs.

Anticipate Changes

The most important part of ensuring a flexible and effective succession plan is to always keep Murphy’s Law in mind: anything can happen, good or bad. Work with your succession planning team to envision “What If?” scenarios that capture possible changes in your industry, company, or leadership. You don’t want to become paranoid, of course, but the more aware you are of life’s uncertainties, the better prepared you’ll be to make necessary sudden changes with tact. In short, keep calm but look ahead.

Make Routine Updates

Finally, it’s not enough to merely anticipate potential changes. You must also react to the current moment, including any recent changes in your company culture, outlook, outcome, etc. To keep your succession plan alive and well, and to stay on top of these changes, revise it once a quarter or more. What has changed in those few months? What’s working? What’s not? And what will set up your organization for success in the short-term and the long-term?

Opportunity lies somewhere between chaos and order. Your succession plan should be thorough and strong, but also elastic enough to adapt to changes in your organization and the world at large. By finding this balance, you can maintain a steady flow of competent leaders who will bring your business into a bright future.

At Leadership Resources, our purpose is making 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. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow.

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