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Good Leaders Know They Don’t Know Everything

Association Leaders

If you study leadership, read about great leaders throughout history, or even if you just think about what you should do (and not do) to be a good leader, you may come away with a very wrong conclusion – that good leaders are always the smartest people in their organization and therefore have all the answers.

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What Do You See When You Look In the Mirror?

Association Leaders

Good leaders have many common traits and behaviors. We’ve explored many of them through this blog. For example, good leaders often surround themselves with good, smart, effective people; good leaders have a sense of purpose and are able to communicate that purpose with those around them; good leaders have certain values they live by and to which they hold themselves accountable. I also believe good leaders try to make decisions and take actions that they can be proud of.

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Are You a Good Listener?

Association Leaders

“Listening is a skill” I have used those words many times – mostly saying them to my children when they haven’t done what they were asked to do – not because they’re bad kids, but because they didn’t listen to the instructions. Listening truly is a skill. As leaders, one of the most powerful things we can do is listen.

How do you Nurture Future Leaders?

Association Leaders

Interesting post recently from the Leadership Freak titled, “ 32 Things to say to Young Leaders “ Read the list. I’m sure you’ll agree with several and disagree with a few; you’ll also probably have more you could add to the list. One thing should be clear from reading the list, though – Future Leaders are important to your organization and its your job as a current leader to develop them.

Can a Company Survive Without a CEO?

Association Leaders

Interesting article in Associations Now today. The article asks the question, ‘Can a company or organization survive without a CEO’? Read the article here. I was confident I knew the answer without reading the article – “NO”! But I read the article anyway. I guess I was curious more than anything else. Turns out my instincts were right.

The Future of Associations

Association Leaders

On Friday, January 17 I had the privilege of moderating an esteemed panel of experts in a discussion titled, The Future of Associations at the National Association of Manufacturers Council of Manufacturing Associations Winter Meeting. The audience included more than 100 association executive members of the NAM CMA and more than 200 people joining live via webcast. If you missed the session, you missed a lot.

Making a Great Presentation

Association Leaders

One of the things all leaders must do is make great presentations. Sometimes that means giving a speech to a large audience; other times it means delivering a presentation to a smaller group; still other times its effectively communicating one on one with an employee. Whatever the case, great leaders are great communicators. I read a blog post today providing eight steps that must be followed to make an effective presentation. You can read the blog by clicking here.

Leaders are Mentors – Whether They Like it or Not

Association Leaders

Leaders are mentors (role models) whether they want to be or not. The concept of a mentor is one who shares his experiences and knowledge with another to help the subordinate grown professionally or personally. Everyday leaders (in business, associations, communities and families) are presented with the opportunity to mentor a subordinate.

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Fact or Opinion?

Association Leaders

Great leaders seem to always have a set of values upon which they rely when making decisions. These values are a barometer for them – If I make decision A, my company will be more profitable but we will violate one or more of our key values in doing so. I believe great leaders don’t abandon their values, even when they require more work, less profit or more stress. These values or guiding principles can also cause leaders to form opinions about certain issues or even people.

Good Leaders Know How to Get People off the Bus

Association Leaders

Probably every business leader today has read Jim Collins’ best selling business book Good to Great. The book explains a study that Collins and several of his business school students did on the attributes of successful companies – not just marginally successful, but industry leading companies who sustained their success over long periods of time.

How Do You Get A Volunteer Board to Perform its Best?

Association Leaders

Whether you are a volunteer leader of an association or an association staff member, its critical that you are doing everything you can to help your Board of Directors perform at its best. Hopefully the reason is obvious – if a Board is performing at its best, the association it is leading should achieve its mission.

What Will Your Organization Look Like in the Future?

Association Leaders

One of the most important responsibilities of leaders is to have a vision for the future of their organization and to be able to communicate that vision in such a way that all stakeholders (employees, customers, members, investors, etc) share the vision. All stakeholders need to be able to see the same vision.

The Best Leaders are Caring Servants

Association Leaders

We can talk all we want about the characteristics of great leaders. We can suggest great leaders are charismatic, smart, driven, strategic and more. One thing we don’t hear (or say) very often is that great leaders are servants. Servants? They can’t be servants. If they are to be leaders, how can they also be servants? Here’s how. The job of the leader at its most basic is to lead. That is, to help others collectively achieve more than they otherwise could individually.

Leaders are Learners

Association Leaders

It’s been quite a while since I created a post on this blog. Something caught my attention today and I was inspired to share it through my blog. Most of my posts relate to leadership. Not because I hold myself up as some great leader, but because I aspire to be a better leader. One way to become a better leader is to study great leaders. Identify the characteristics and traits they shared and adopt them as your own.

Are Great Leaders Lean?

Association Leaders

To most people, the concept of becoming “lean” connotes having less or doing more with less. For example, I am 35 pounds lean er than I was fifteen months ago. My company is managing more associations today with fewer employees than we did two years ago – we are lean er. To many businesspeople the concept of lean is also associated primarily with manufacturing businesses. It’s a concept that’s applied to the operations of the business, not to leadership.

Sharing is a Critical Leadership Trait

Association Leaders

There are many traits successful leaders have. We have discussed many of them through this blog. Of course, there are some traits shared by most, if not all, successful leaders such as, honesty, focus and commitment. There are other leadership traits that we commonly think of when we think of great leaders such as communication, selflessness and humility.

Do Smartphones Hurt Your Leadership Ability?

Association Leaders

I’ve often wondered if I could be a better leader if I was less connected to email, google, news feeds and apps through my smartphone. I try not to be rude about my smartphone use. I try hard to not check it during business meetings or when I’m in a conversation with someone else. I was particularly struck by our connection to smartphones the other day during a family meal. We were having a conversation.

Leadership Lists

Association Leaders

We’ve all seen them. Some of us have written them. I’m talking about lists…not grocery lists or to-do lists. I’m talking about the tenets of leadership lists. I love reading other people’s tenets of leadership lists. I like what those lists allow me to learn about the people who wrote them. The lists give a real insight into the kind of leader these people are. I’m constantly working on my tenets of leadership list – I hope you are too.

Good Leaders Know They are Role Models

Association Leaders

NBA great and Basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley once famously said, “I am not a role model” I like Sir Charles and even can understand his point to a certain extent – I think he was trying to let parents and teachers know that they have daily interactions with children and should be their role models. Unfortunately, Charles was wrong and so are many leaders. You see, whether he liked it or not, Charles was in a leadership position.

20 Mantras Great Leaders Live By

Association Leaders

I came across a great blog posting recently related to – you guessed it – Leadership. What a cool story this blogger has to tell about their grandfather and the 20 Mantras of Great Leaders he developed through a business and teaching career. Read the full post here. I think my three favorite (maybe the ones I connect best with) are: 1. Followers choose leaders they trust, respect and feel comfortable with.

Don’t Be an Idea Killer

Association Leaders

Many times leaders are presented with ideas by their teammates. How they respond to these ideas separates the good leaders from the bad leaders. Think for a minute about how you responded the last time an idea was presented to you by one of your teammates. Did you keep a positive look on your face or a negative one? Were you enthusiastic or dejected? Did you comment positively on the idea or negatively? I recently read a blog posting on this topic that was helpful to me.

Good Leaders Understand the Value of the Team

Association Leaders

I recently read an article published in the New York Times about how IBM develops new ideas through a collaborative team effort. You can read it here. A critical value most successful teams have is TRUST. When members of a team trust each other, they can accomplish great things together. Unfortunately, trust doesn’t always exist on teams. IBM has developed this interesting collaborative structure for teams that seems to work for them when trust doesn’t exist. (Be

Trust, Commitment and Caring – Lou Holtz Philosophy

Association Leaders

Just about everyone knows who Lou Holtz is. Some people love him, others may not care for him (especially if you’re not a Notre Dame fan). For those who don’t know, Lou Holtz was a very successful (mostly college) football coach. He is probably best known for coaching Notre Dame from 1986 to 1996. During that time he lead Notre Dame to an unmatched record and a National Championship. Coach Holtz credits much of his success to the lessons he learned from his mentors.

Acknowledging a Leader and Mentor

Association Leaders

I want to recognize one of my mentors and a lifelong leader in today’s blog post. The founder of my company, almost 40 year association management leader, former political party leader, and my father is being recognized for his leadership within the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) working on conformity assessment issues. Click here to read more about why Richard W (Dick) Church is receiving the prestigious award Gerald H. Ritterbusch Conformity Assessment Medal. .

Do Good Leaders Know When to Step Aside?

Association Leaders

We explore a lot about leadership in this blog. Most of the discussions revolve around `characteristics of great leaders’, or `values of great leaders’, even `behaviors’ of great leaders. We haven’t talked yet about when a great leader decides to step down from his leadership role. Frankly, I haven’t thought about it much. Why would I? After all, I think of great leaders as leading their organization until they decide to retire altogether.

Travel Tips for Leaders

Association Leaders

Leaders tend to travel frequently – I know I do. If you are a road warrior, you probably have developed a routine of things you do to make your travel more convenient and as pleasurable as possible. Here’s an article I recently came across about the rituals of a road warrior.

Thank You

Association Leaders

I believe that a team reflects its leader. By that I mean if a leader is compassionate, his team will be compassionate. If a leader is grateful, his team will be grateful. If a leader is a hard worker, his team will work hard. Identifying and practicing the traits you want your team to possess is an important practice for successful leaders. I read an interesting article today that addresses this. You can read it here.

Healthy Leaders are Happy Leaders

Association Leaders

Three months ago my wife came to me and said – ‘We aren’t healthy anymore. We are overweight; our clothes don’t fit right; we are tired all the time; as a result, we aren’t happy’ I of course reacted by acknowledging the truthfulness of her statements but took no accountability – ‘You’re right but what can we do about it? We’re too busy with four kids, sports, music, other activities, school and of course running a business.’

Leadership Lessons from the Military

Association Leaders

There have been many great military leaders throughout history. Some of them have gone on to become leaders in other arenas as well – political, business, media, etc. Being in the association business, we often see professional speakers who talk about management, change, people, leadership, and more. So when I saw this article today it caught my attention.

Is Grittiness one of the Keys to Success?

Association Leaders

I like to read but don’t make enough time for it. In particular I like to read biographies. I suppose I like biographies because they give me insights into what makes leaders tick – as you know that’s something in which I am very interested. Currently I’m reading David McCullough’s “Truman” So far, an excellent book – like all of McCullough’s works.

Lessons Learned from March Madness

Association Leaders

There are many lessons we can learn from sports – both positive and negative. Just off the top of my head I am thinking about these – how to build a great team; how to coach, not preach; the virtues of ethical behavior and more.

Do You Encourage Communicating Bad News?

Association Leaders

“I have some bad news” What’s your reaction when you hear this phrase from a co-worker? I’ll tell you mine – I get a lump in my throat, a strange feeling in my gut, my palms start to sweat, my heart beats a little faster. I probably even roll my eyes and exhale loudly sometimes. Most people don’t like to receive bad news. I’m certainly no different. But great leaders DO want to hear bad news, in fact, they encourage it, they seek it out.

“Hard to Say I’m Sorry” – And Other Leadership Anthems

Association Leaders

Remember that song by the seemingly timeless band Chicago? The lyrics go something like, “Hold me now, it’s hard for me to say I’m sorry, I just want you to stay; after all that we’ve been through, I will make it up to you, I promise to” You can almost hear the Chicago trademark horns in the background as you read those words right? I’ve been thinking about apologies a lot lately.

Was Machiavelli Right? Are the Best Leaders Situational or Steadfast?

Association Leaders

I subscribe to an electronic newsletter published by booz&co called ‘strategy+business’ It often has interesting business and leadership related articles. If you read this blog regularly, you know I enjoy reading about leadership, particularly business leadership. I even have a few opinions of my own on the topic that I occasionally share. A recent article in ‘strategy+business’ caught my eye.

Are You Happy?

Association Leaders

My mother-in-law sent an email to the family recently that really resonated with me. Maybe it was all the Holiday celebrating or the recent changes we’ve made in our business but I am feeling happier than I have in a few years. However, I have a long way to go to be as happy as I think I should be – and to make others around me happier as well. Reading, understanding and practicing some of these habits will help me get there I think.

Are You As Productive As You Could Be?

Association Leaders

I enjoy reading. In particular I like to read biographies, historical novels, newspapers (on the iPad of course), business publications, blogs, and more. Unfortunately, I often find I don’t have the time to read all I would like to. I get too busy “working” and allow my reading to take a back seat. As a result, I often wish there was more time in a day or that I was more productive than I am.

Tis The Season

Association Leaders

Tis the Season for office parties. I saw this article today and thought it would be a good reminder for our readers. . I hope your office party is successful and safe.

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How Do You Know What Your Employees Are Thinking and Doing?

Association Leaders

One challenge for any leader is understanding the “pulse” of their organization. Often times people try to shelter leaders from concerns, issues and bad news. As a result, leaders can get a false sense of what’s going on in their business. I read a great post today about just this topic.

How Good Leaders Give Negative Feedback

Association Leaders

Though we may always want to be positive and praise those who work with us, there are times when we must provide criticism. How a leader chooses to deliver that criticism makes a difference in whether they are a good leader or not. I saw an interesting list today that was a perfect followup to my last post, “Don’t be a DM” – remember DM stands for De-Motivator.

Don’t be a DM

Association Leaders

Sometimes the best leadership lessons are not positive examples of what great leaders are doing but rather examples of what poor leaders are doing – in other words, what not to do. I read an article today entitled, “The Three Habits of Highly Effective Demotivators” The article suggests there are three habits de-motivating (DM) leaders have: 1. They tell people how to do things they are already doing – and often are doing well.