It’s the end of October, and Budget 2017 was announced last week…not that I want to get into that…
Before you get too caught up in work, I would like you to ponder & reflect on this message, as the 4th Quarter draws the year to a close. Hopefully, it will help you chart the course of the year to come, and possibly, your Life!
Leadership is part of Life, and we are all Leaders in various aspects of life.
This video from a team called The Jubilee Project is about the gift of Life. It poses a question to us that we are often chasing, only to realise the penalty too late.
I would like you to take a pause in Life, and Click here to watch this video, and be lifted!
Dear Esteemed Leaders
I would like to share this article I just read from Centre for Creative Leadership. It talks about the importance of equipping our Frontline Managers so that they can rise up in the corporate ladder confidently. You will notice that all the skills listed have nothing to do with industry knowledge or technical skills because naturally, those would be given expectations and competencies. Instead, the skills listed are of self awareness, and of people skills. This is especially important where our next generation of Leaders can be quite immersed in the social media, but can be daunted by actual human interaction!
Develop Yourself First!
YOUR FRONTLINE MANAGERS NEED THESE CRITICAL SKILLS
Frontline managers are the managerial foot soldiers, responsible for many of an organization’s critical day-to-day operations.
They supervise other contributors, yet they’re usually the least experienced tier of managers in a company, often newly promoted into their first leadership role.
Despite their importance, organizations face big challenges when trying to make these managers more effective. According to a 2011 CareerBuilder survey:
- 20% of first-time managers are doing a poor job, according to their subordinates;
- 26% of first-time managers say they felt they weren’t ready to lead others; and
- 60% say they never received any training for their new role.
Since these frontline managers may go on to middle- and even upper-management jobs, it’s little wonder that 50% of all managers in organizations are rated as ineffective.
In order to succeed, frontline managers must possess 6 key skills:
- Self-awareness.Managers who understand their own strengths, weaknesses, quirks, and preferences are better equipped to make day-to-day decisions and interact effectively with others who have different personalities.
- Political savvy.Managing internal stakeholders and navigating organizational politics to achieve goals is a key competency for managers.
- Learning agility.Learning quickly from experience is the ability to integrate experiences and adapt to the environment. This allows managers to swiftly recognize, analyze, and address new problems.
- Influence.Effective managers are able to accomplish goals by affecting the actions, decisions, and thinking of others. Influence allows you to get things done and achieve desired outcomes.
- Communication skills.Skilled managers can communicate with people at all levels in the organization, including team members, superiors, peers, and others. It’s especially important to effectively communicate goals and expectations.
- Motivating others.The most successful managers are able to inspire and guide direct reports and others to complete work, especially when goals are unclear. This may include motivating others to exceed expectations or put in extra effort — without monetary incentives.
For most organizations, frontline managers comprise the largest group of leaders. They are often scattered across multiple locations.
Companies have traditionally been forced to compromise between quality, cost, and flexibility when considering leadership development solutions for this large audience. Digital solutions are the obvious choice because they are cost-effective, but can they be engaging and impactful, too?
In recent months, I have been facilitating workshops with Senior Leadership teams to enhance Team Work, and to remove “Silo” mind-sets and behaviours.
My engagement as a Coach often requires a scope of focus to work with my coachees. Increasingly, the stakeholders are stating “teamwork” as one of the top priority of development for Senior Leaders.
The Leadership Team of every organisation is required to provide the vision, aspirations,and goals of an organisation. These Leaders permeate the entire organisation with significant impact and influence. If for a moment, the Leadership Team were not in sync, how else would the many departments reporting to them be aligned to the organisation’s vision and aspirations?
Therefore, it is imperative that the Leadership Team of any organisation, large or small, understand the significance of building a strong Leadership Team.
A strong Leadership Team have to possess a common set of core values, even though they are made up of individuals with varying values. This set of common core values become the “bedrock or foundation” of the team.
The establishment of the core values serve as the starting point in forming a “Great Team.” Consequently, the Leaders would consciously impart these values to their respective teams (departments or units). “Teamwork” is officially formed when a set of share core values are being lived by the members.
Some Key Qualities of Great Teams:
- “Common Purpose and Core Values”
- There is a Common Purpose that binds every team, be it the vision, aspirations, or goals. This is the very reason that the team chooses to own together, build together, and achieve together.
- The acceptance of Core Values is crucial as that is the platform that will enable the team to function synergistically, producing a well-oiled “machinery and environment.”
- “Working Chemistry” brews easily because all team members share the same top values.
- The set of values enables relationships to thrive, as individuals with similar values “attract each other.”
- The Purpose is the “Being” and the “Desired End State,” while the Core Values are the “Vehicles” that bring them towards the Purpose.
- “Believe in One Another”
- Members know the strengths and talents of every individual, and they do not hesitate in acknowledging them or tapping into them. the strong belief in each other builds a common bond of “backing each other up,” and it involves stepping in voluntarily to provide assistance or help without being asked.
- It is equivalent to the military or any armed forces (Policemen, Firemen, etc.) where the members “entrust their lives” to one another. In the corporate world, it would then be “entrusting their livelihood.”
- “Deep Trust”
- Instead of competing against each other, they unite to compete as a team.
- Trust between members is deep. They value the team’s desires and goals, more than their individual desires because the team’s achievements will ultimately outweigh the individual’s achievements.
- Trust is built over time, tested and reliable.
- Team members work as partners, and not as colleagues. There is recognition that working together intentionally produces extraordinary performances and outcomes. The outcomes are equally tangible and intangible.
- The common belief is that collaboration efforts reinforces that One Plus One is Greater Than just Two [1 + 1 > 2].
- Building Relationships Beyond Professionalism.
- One of the most recognised Employee Engagement survey in the market is “Gallup.” A question in their survey is: “Do you have a best friend at work?”
- A team strives to thrive because they have strong relationships within the team. They do not work for themselves; it is about working for the person next to them, and perhaps the entire team.
- Most of the relationships extend beyond the confines of the physical office, and into their personal lives in a holistic manner.
- Depending on the depth of the relationships, and all things being equal in terms of strengths and competencies, the team with the stronger relationship beyond the professional would have an indisputable upside!
Sourced in part: Carol E. Becker, Growth Design Corporation.
We always start the new year with Great Hope, but as the days turn into months, the great hope somehow fizzles out. It is only the month of February, and yet so many things in the media (on all platforms) have a sense of gloom.
It is my Hope for you that this year will be different. I want you to stay focused. Focus on only a handful of things because when we try to do too many things, we will lose that focus, and find ourselves being torn in every unnecessary direction thus not accomplishing anything significant that deems worthy of great celebration. And for those of you who have been with me in my programs know how big I am on CELEBRATION!
How do we stay focused?
1] Take Small Steps (Keep things bite-size)
Choose 3 areas in your life you want to focus on. Could be:
- Work – Career/Business
- Faith (Religion)
Within these 3 areas are specific aspects. For instance, Family – build the family bonding by planning short excursions on long weekends. Marriage – make fortnightly dates with your spouse to keep up the spice of love! Work – to be more proactive. When you break it down to bite-size, it is easier to plan and you will feel the sense of accomplishment more!
2] ACT – Action Changes Things!
You have to put your plans into action. You can plan to be proactive, or have that date night and family trips, but if you don’t get down to thinking through, or actually making that reservation at the restaurant/hotel, then they remain just plans. Again, bite-size. Doesn’t have to be in that order either – choose what is easiest for you to do to give you that sense of accomplishment, and the other actions will follow through with your extra boost in confidence!
The actions you have taken … Did they work? Was the outcome as expected? How was the experience? Don’t stop exploring, enjoy the journey and process of learning by reflecting on the positive and negative concurrently. Let the experiences bring out your best in life.
Get a support structure – a marathon is hard to run alone, but so much more fun and “do-able” when you have family, friends and colleagues cheering you on, or just plain sweating it out along with you! A core group that encourages in truth sharpens you.
Life is a journey. It will not stop unless you want it to stop. Your life is to be lived to its fullest potential with abundance – emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically. Live out your Destiny and ensure you work it out daily – be a blessing to all around you.
Finally, GONG XI FA CHAI to all my friends who celebrate the Chinese New Year, and for the rest, don’t let the word “Chinese” stop you from celebrating as well!! Enjoy the long weekend and festivities!! After all, we are fellow Malaysians!!
A lot happened in the last quarter of 2015, and I hope to share some learnings soon, hence my quietness in this space! However, as I close for the year 2015, it is my norm to reflect on what has worked well for me this year, and of course, what could be improved for the future to come.
In the aspect of Leadership Development, I found an article that resonates very closely to what I believe in. In my opinion, gone are the days of cold corporate leadership (although many still exist) but if you want to differentiate yourself clearly, and retain your talents, then I would encourage you to be inspired and ignited to embark on a progressive leadership journey.
If you have been exhibiting the same form of leadership with no growth in breadth nor depth, you need to re-evaluate yourself, evaluate the team you are leading, and the business organization you are managing.
This article stems from a recent gathering of 500 leaders for a week from different industries and nations at the Global Institute of Leadership Development. This Leadership programme was facilitated by 60 Thought Leadersm Coaches, and Business Leaders.
The 10 key leadresip takeways are summarised below with somewhat personal input and it is my hope that it will trigger you to reflect in the areas relevant to you.
- Finding your purpose in life, and as a leader. Purpose would be defined as the mindset and choice that we make which causes us to wake up for everyday. Be a leader with clear intentions, be it in the long or short term period.
- Allow yourself to be vulnerable and take risks. Courageous and decisive leadership helps to build a culture of excellence without the fear of penalty. Build a culture of curiousity by asking questions. Seemingly making a “wrong decision” could be better that not making a decision at all.
- Learn to ask for help – it can make your life easier. A leader cannot be “on the go” all the time. You need to learn how to press the “pause button.” Hold yourself accountable by trusting someone around you. We can learn from someone, no one knows it all.
- Bring out the best in your team. Culture is heavily dependent on what the leader says, and does. Your emotional intelliegence also plays a key role. People do not care what you know until they know you care.
- Practising resillence will define your mission. It’s human to assume the status quo because it is within one’s comfort zone. However, you must break free if your past successes are holding you down. Create something new in your business, and stay the course.
- Focus on things you can influnce. Challenging circumstances will cause a leader to arise in new and different ways. Focus on your circle of influcen and expand from that core. Read a firsthand account of another leader’s journey through crisis.
- Create the opportunity for success for others. “Build a leadership pipeline, not a pipe dream.” Develop your next line of leaders for long-term success. A Leader creates leaders.
- Live your values for real. Don’t use surveys as an assessment of your people. Sit them down with you and ask the simple, yet often important questions in life so that the values of individuals and teams are aligned. Knowing what is important your team on a personal basis can help to align their values to those of the organization’s.
- Articulate your vision. Model sincere openess and vulnerability with your team. Clairty and direction is needed for high performance.
- Identify opportunities to innovate and grow. In this day and age, innovation is the basic foundation for remaining competitive. Be courageous, and invest, but avoid “proven common traps.”
Finally, I would like to leave you with this thought – Keep it real, no one is perfect, and the people in your team/organization know that already. Be genuine and sincere, surround yourself with a team that complements you, and lead courageously!
Merry Christmas and Happy 2016!
Dear Esteemed Leaders
I enjoyed this article JohnMaxwell recently shared on his blog.
While we typically employ a “Top-Down” management culture, working with the Gen Y particularly, has taught me that they want and desire to be part of the decision-making process. In fact, all employees want to be engaged.
This article illustrates how we can merge the traditional styles of management with a new way of thinking, with the intention to get the buy-in from our “younger colleagues & partners.”
I believe cohesiveness in “Thoughts & Actions” can be achieved through effective engagement between different layers of colleagues. Ultimately, we as Leaders want to achieve Oraganizational growth and progression. So, let’s do something to start the change – it’s got to be INTENTIONAL!
4 LEADERSHIP STYLES THAT TRIGGER PEAK PERFORMANCE
BY JOHN C. MAXWELL.
Most teams don’t naturally get better on their own. Left alone, they don’t grow, improve, or reach championship caliber. Instead, they tend to wind down. The road to the next level is always uphill, and if a team isn’t intentionally fighting to move up, then it inevitably slides down.
The team loses focus, gets out of rhythm, decreases in energy, breaks down in unity, and loses momentum. At some point, it also loses key players. And it’s only a matter of time before it plateaus and ultimately declines into mediocrity.
The good news is that your leadership style can build a winning team, or transform the one you have. Here are four leadership styles you can employ that can make or break your ability to succeed – because no one succeeds alone.
LEADERSHIP STYLE #1: “ENCOURAGE SIGNIFICANCE”
One is too small a number to achieve greatness. Become a better team leader by thinking about the greatest dream you have for your life.
Start by asking yourself:
Is my dream bigger than me?
Does it benefit others as well as myself?
Is it worth dedicating part of my life to?
If you answer yes to all of these questions, then think about the kinds of people who should join you to achieve that dream. Make a list of the like-minded people you know who might want to join you in the process, then begin inviting them to take the journey with you. And be on the lookout for others who would benefit from being part of the team.
LEADERSHIP STYLE #2: “SHARE IN THE BIG PICTURE”
The goal is more important than the role. A team isn’t supposed to be a bunch of people being used as a tool by one individual for his or her own selfish gain. Members of a team must have mutually beneficial shared goals. They must be motivated to work together, not manipulated by someone for individual glory.
To employ this leadership style, think about a team you are currently part of. What kind of attitude do team members have about the big picture? Are they team players who desire to do whatever it takes for the team to succeed? Or do they desire to benefit only themselves?
Begin to foster a team mind set in others by modeling a willingness to serve the big picture, rather than yourself. Motivate people by painting the big picture. Publicly honor team play, and give rewards to people who sacrifice for the good of the team.
LEADERSHIP STYLE #3: “BENCH STACKING”
Every team has three groups of players:
First, there are starters, who directly add value to the organization or who directly influence its course. Second, there are bench players, who add value to the organization indirectly or who support the starters who do.
The third group is a core group within the starters that I call the inner circle members. These are the people that without whom, the team would fall apart.
Your job is to make sure each group is continually developed so that bench players are able to step up to become starters, and starters are able to step up to become inner circle members.
To employ this leadership style, try this exercise: Write the names of the people on your team who are starters. Now, look at the people supporting your starters. These are your bench players. How can you lead, train, or inspire them in order to create a strong, deep bench? What value can they add from their position, and how can you create an environment for them to grow and succeed?
Every team member is valuable in their own way. But it’s important to figure out which group they’re in. Moving in from bench to starter to inner circle member, you’ll discover that each group becomes more and more important to the big picture vision for the team. Develop your bench, and you’ll always have a pool of fantastic team players who can help the team win.
LEADERSHIP STYLE #4: “CLEAR COMMUNICATION & GOOD LISTENING”
As the leader of an organization, you set the tone for communication. Your communication must be consistent, clear, and courteous. Leaders must also be good listeners. When leaders don’t listen…
Ultimately, poor listening leads to hostility, miscommunication, and a breakdown of team cohesion.
To employ this leadership style, ask for feedback concerning your listening skills from your superior, mentor, colleagues, and subordinates. If you don’t get good grades from all of them, do listen up. This is one of the most effective ways to improve as a communicator.
As we celebrate 58 years of independence as a nation, something I read from one of John Maxwell’s Leadership blog comes to mind. In this particular article, he asks the question:
Culture vs. Vision : Is It Really Either-Or?
As you read his article, I hope you will also think about how you, as a Leader of your organisation, can impact the nation with a culture based on good moral values, impeccable ethics and integrity in order to achieve that vision of being a “Top Notch” organisation. “Top Notch” is defined by you as the Leader, as it can be a diverse range depending on the vision of the organisation.
You are also a leader in your family, community and as a citizen of Malaysia. You are accorded the privilege and responsibility to impact the nation by building a culture that is grounded in peace, harmony and unity in order to achieve the vision of being a developed nation blessed with prosperity.
Enjoy this powerful article, and you will come to understand how the outcome of this joint-partnership of these two very important words, i.e. Culture and Vision, can have in building a Successful and Sustainable Entity, that is, our beloved nation of Malaysia.
CULTURE VS. VISION : IS IT REALLY EITHER-OR?
– John Maxwell –
Culture seems to be the new emphasis for leaders these days. Five years ago, if you would have brought up the subject, people would look at you blankly. Now, everyone recognises its importance.
Recently at a conference, I stated that I believe culture eats vision for lunch. Afterwards, someone asks me, “So does that mean that vision doesn’t matter?”
My answer: NO.
While it’s true that culture is very powerful, it works best in relationship with vision. Another way to say that while culture is what gets you to your destination, vision determines the destination.
If you articulate a great vision to an organisation without the appropriate culture, you’ll never achieve the vision.
If your organisation has a wonderful culture, but no vision, then you might really enjoy your time together, but you’ll never go anywhere.
I believe that the issue is not vision vs. culture, but how to achieve vision + culture.
VISION IS “I HAVEA DREAM,” AND CULTURE IS “THIS IS HOW WE MARCH.”
When Martin Luther King Jr. spoke those words in 1963, he inspired people from all over the nation to participate in the Civil Rights Movement. But the movement was about so much more than listening to a speech.
In fact, King and his leaders had been describing and modelling a very specific culture to the participants for years: one of nonviolence and passive resistance. They demonstrated it over and over, and the culture of the movement spread, from lunch sit-ins to the March of Selma.
Look at how vision and culture work hand-in-hand:
1. VISION IS ABOUT “ONE DAY,” AND CULTURE HAPPENS EVERY DAY.
This means that the people in an organisation must be able to look toward both the future and the present. They need to know where they’ll eventually be and what to do every day to get there. It’s the leader’s job to articulate an inspiring vision for the future and make sure everyone in the organisation does the right things day after day.
2. VISION IS DESCRIBED, AND CULTURE IS MODELLED.
Vision can’t be demonstrated because it’s not yet a reality. But culture can be modelled, and it needs to be, from the top leader down on. Have you ever started working in a job where the grand vision that was shared by the top leader has nothing to do with what anyone actually does – including that leader? A leader and his or her team must act every day in a way that takes the organisation in the direction of the vision. This is the only way the culture will infiltrate every layer of the organisation.
3. VISION ALIGNS WITH VALUES, AND CULTURE DEMONSTRATES THEM.
This is where vision and culture can most easily diverge. Most people’s grand visions align with equally grand values – for example, honour, and follow-through. But there can often be a big difference between the values communicated by an organisation’s vision, and the values demonstrated by their culture. If your value is excellence, do people’s daily action reflect that? Or do they indicate apathy?
Culture and vision need each other, so it’s important to give enough attention to both. So when you share your dream with your people, make sure you teach them how to march.
Reading a great article tickles the brain and may even move your heart. However, it is all about being intentional with a plan that builds and impacts your organisation. With that in mind, I humbly ask of you/encourage you to review the culture and vision of your organisation, and to ensure that they are both aligned.
In conjunction with Father’s Day, and myself being a Father, I would like to share on the leadership role of a Father. I will be drawing on an article by James B. Stenson, “Unity of Life”1 which has wonderful comparisons, or shall I say, expectations of a man in a leadership role as a Father Leader for those of us that are married, or in a similar capacity as an Uncle, Foster Father, Godfather, etc.
Stenson clearly states an important concept,and that is, I quote, “You are one person, not two. You are the same man, both on the job with your colleagues and at home with your family and friends. You cannot live two lives; you must be the same person in both spheres of responsible operation.” In fact, this concept is not new, nor rocket science. But in recent times, people these days tend to compartmentalise their lives, where their “professional lives” are separate from their “personal lives.”
He goes on to say, “Men who are not aligned in these 2 key areas are known as ‘Producers at work’ but ‘Consumers at home.’ On the job, they dedicate their powers to serious, responsible activity;but at home, they rest passively in pleasurable recreation. In the workplace, their character strengths operate at all=out exertion; everyone sees and respects their sound judgement, sense of responsibility, tough-minded perseverance, and self-control. But at home, their inner strengths rest idle, set aside (so to speak) for the day, and thereby hidden from their children’s eyes.”
Successful parenting, especially fathers, do not live like this. They are equally effective and participative in both their roles at home and at work. Their character strengths are demonstrated in both environments of home and the office. It is a fact that a man’s devotion to his family gives meaning and purpose to his stress-filled professional, and it carries him to strive.
The nugget I want to stress is that a successful father exercises leadership character and qualities at home as much as on the job, if not more, for the sake of his children who will carry on his legacies.
Leadership On The Job
What are common leadership traits found among successful entrepreneurs and professionals? Think about the best superiors you have ever worked with, or met in your line of work. What are the qualities they carry that inspire you to be a better leader?
- Visionary: A leader has a clear long-term vision. He is able to communicate that vision and its goals clearly to his team members, and is the driving force to achieve the set goals in an effective manner.
- Teamwork: A leader who exhibits teamwork by recognising that each member of his team has certain strengths that can be brought to the table to achieve the collective endeavours of the company. Where there may be lack, he will look for ways to develop them to be more effective/productive.
- Priorities & Resources: An effective leader sets priorities, and maximises resources. These two traits help keep the company’s objectives and goals focused, and reduces unnecessary distractions.
- Responsible: He is a man of integrity, and take personal responsibility. He is where the buck stops, and he bites the bullet, accepting the consequences of his decisions, particularly in times of failure or mistakes. He adopts a teachable attitude in order to turn an experience in failure into one of learning.
- Recognition: A good leader recognises good efforts, and rewards accordingly. He affirms and encourages his people, to bring out the best of them despite their shortcomings. In addition, he finds ways to develop them to achieve their potential.
- Good listening skills are an essential trait of a good leader, as he actively listens by understanding their needs, challenges, and perhaps to identify if there is a deeper underlying problem, and how he can help to overcome them.
- Development: A good leader is not afraid of developing his people to be better than himself because he knows that by caring for his team, his team will respect him and the organisation they work for.
If you have had the experience to work for such (a) leader(s), then you are probably one of the few who jump out of bed each day, motivated to go to work!
Reflecting on the above traits, these are exactly the same qualities children strive for from their parents, especially fathers, because it is the father’s role to give a child his/her identity in life. We know that men and women are wired differently, and so it is no surprise then, that as a man, there are qualities and traits on a father can teach and instil in his children, likewise a woman also has specific qualities only a mother can instil.
Leadership At Home
Now, let’s look at how these same traits are translated in the home:
- Long-term Vision: A father’s long-term vision is to see his children building their character to be upstanding, useful citizens of society. As a father who loves his children, he needs to have the courage and boldness to correct his children’s faults without fear of being “temporarily unpopular” because the long-term benefits of teaching good moral conduct and principles of life will outweigh the short-term bruised egos, or even resentment. He combines correction and discipline with affectionate forgiveness, understanding, and encouragement. He is neither weak nor harsh but rather affectionately assertive. He loves his children too much to let them grow up with their faults uncorrected. Of course, the difference from the workplace would be the manner in which he delivers his vision, and that would be with fatherly love.
- Teamwork: A father is first of all, a husband to his wife. As a team, they must endeavour to present a united front to the children, draw on each other’s strengths to complement each others weaknesses as to support one another in their roles as parents. A good marriage is like an umbrella that provides shade and shelter in all kinds of weather conditions. A good marriage can shelter any and every kind of storm for the family, particularly for the children. Thus, raising them up to be confident, secured and loved individuals.
- Priorities and Resources: Any parent knows how time flies. It would seem, a newborn baby can suddenly turn into an identity-in-crisis teenager, from a charming adolescent to a responsible young adult excited to be embarking on his/her life. So, a father must prioritise the needs of his children versus his own. No matter how tired he may be, he must shrug the temptation of taking the easy way out by letting the television entertain or teach his children. Instead, he intentionally spends as much quality and quantity time doing the things his children like to do, or exposing them to new experiences in order to build rapport and bonds of love. Because he knows his time is limited, and he has to instil qualities of integrity, responsibility, family honour, trust, honesty, and a desire to strive for excellence.
- Responsible: A responsible father will not only teach good moral values, but also model those values. Instilling responsibility in our children is paramount because any kind of talent and gifting a child may have will not blossom sustainably without acts of responsible nurturing.
- Recognition: A loving father will give due recognition and encouragement to his children when they exhibit the desired qualities and principles taught. He will also take time to rectify undesired behaviours by giving “just discipline” as children need to know and understand boundaries. Boundaries work out of mutual respect and honour because of the relationships that exist out of love and responsibility.
- Good listening skills: a father goes the extra mile to get to know his children by listening to them, understanding and figuring what makes them tick. As Asians, this is probably one of the most difficult areas, because father are deemed to know much more or should know it all. People enjoy getting attention (particularly adults) and when fathers listen to their children, he is telling them they are important to him and he values their attempts to communicate, thus building a deeper relationship.
- Development: A father’s lasting legacy is how he develops his children by identifying their gifting and talents. he encourages them to pursue their dreams with hard work, and excellence. He endeavours to provide for his family’s needs to the best of his ability. There will be sacrifices and regardless of the short term responses, the long term fruits would be to see the children rise to the occasion, fulfilling their individual dreams, goals and passion. A father needs to knows when to guide and leads, but he also knows when to release his children, confident that his efforts as loving father will not be in vain.
As a Father Leader, we are living in turbulent times, whatever your faith and beliefs are. According to the Business Insider2, the divorce rate in the US is 53%, Spain, Portugal and Hungary record 60%, while Belgium a staggering 73%. Based on a compilation of data by Wilkinson & Finkbeiner Family Law Attorneys3, half of the children in the US will witness their parents obtain a divorce
What does that say for the future of our children? Who will lead them? Who will teach them? How will they learn about values such as enduring love, trust, loyalty, integrity and commitment when the very foundation they were born into cannot withstand the pressures of the world?
I challenge and encourage you, whether you are a father or not. You can contribute to stop this vicious cycle when you embrace leadership skills of excellence in the workplace and especially at home, and be part of a generation that endeavours to raise our children to rise to the occasion!
1 James B. Stenson, Educational Consultant: ParentLeadership.com
2 Business Insider: Divorce Rates Around The World, Pamela Engel. 25th May 2014
I would like to share my insights to an interesting Saturday I had with my family last weekend.
My wife and I are planning to climb Mount Kota Kinabalu in August, together with my wife’s brother, his wife, and one other couple. As part of our preparation for this expedition, we have been wanting to trek Gasing Hill for the past few weeks. As it turned out, we finally got the chance last Saturday, together with my brother-in-law and his wife too.
To the experience trekker, going into the forest at 5:55p.m. would have triggered some warning bells, as any trails would take 1 – 1.5 hours to complete. Since we were feeling adventurous and elated that we finally got to “train” together, off we went, taking a calculated risk on the time factor.
Initially, it was a relatively easy trek in and about the “Watch Tower,” taking only 40 minutes of walking. We decided to exert ourselves a little more and pushed on to the next destination, i.e. the suspension bridge. On the way, we met people coming from the opposite direction (indicating that they had come from our intended destination), and asked if we were on the right path, but failed to ask how far in or how much longer wit would take us.
Subsequently, we were told that we would have to trek back the same trail in order to get back. Two other men were also heading the same direction as us, so we were not too troubled, though it was already pushing 6:45p.m. We had no inclination that the condition of the trail, and as we neared the bridge, we were climbing up and down contours of deep roots for a considerable distance at 45 degrees – not your normal walk in the park!
Eventually, we got to the suspension at 7:15 p.m., much later than we expected, and the two men who were heading in the same direction were no where to be found! (They probably left through a different exit, as we saw on the map, later). We got out of the forest at 8 p.m.
In hindsight, we were very ill-prepared for the hike as we only had 2 bottles of water (both of which belonged to my in-laws’!) and thank God for the torch light app on our mobile phones! =P
As if the night had not been exciting enough, whilst we were finishing dinner with our families, I received a call from a neighbour to say the streetlight outside our house was on fire!!
I rushed out the restaurant with my wife and 10-year old son running after me, jumped into the car, cut through traffic like an ambulance on siren, and drove like a F1 driver to see this sight:
The lamp post was 20 feet away from my house. Three things could have happened:
- The live current running through the cables could have cause a major explosion;
- The wire could have burned through, and the cable would have fallen onto my car, and other neighbours’ vehicles parked along the same side of the road would have been damaged.
- The wires connecting to my house could have also caught on fire, which would have done the unthinkable!
The fire brigade and 3 police cars arrived at the scene in less than 20 minutes, and manged to put out the fire. But it took 2 TNB teams (the electric company) to resolve the situation over the course of the night and the following day.
Dear Leaders, the insights from these two experiences revealed the following:
1. “Be Vigilant/Watchful”
As individuals and Leaders, we are wired to achieve “financial soundness.” Depending on the complexity and belief in investment choices, the outcome obviously can differ.
Somewhere along the line, we got laxed and could become “overly aggressive or confident” and miss out on the signals. To be prepared, we need to observe the internal and external elements in our lives and our businesses.
There is a need to assess and be highly aware of our environment, and the potential consequences of the decisions we make for ourselves and the business. Likewise, to grow ourselves, we need to be intentional – not only plan, but put into action!
2. “Be Ready”
There is a saying, “To be ready in and out of season.” It is never too ridiculous to be prepared for the unexpected.
My wife had just attended a training workshop on how to respond in times of disaster 2 weeks ago, earning her a certificate to be an emergency relief worker for disaster zone. One of the most important task she learned was to have a “Go Bag,” not a “Gold Bag.” It is a bag filled with critical essential items that will enable survival for a few days. We are truly living in volatiles and uncertain times, economically, politically, and environmentally. Business-wise, we need to be as prepared as best as we can. Who would have guessed we would experience a “mini disaster” of our own in such a short space of time?
Are we ready to change our leadership and management styles? Change in strategies and direction despite years of track records?
3. “Be Anticipative”
Don’t be lulled into a comfort zone. As leaders, we need to be on the ball – resources, and ultimately, it may or may not be utilised. Many organisations have embarked on “Business Continuity/Contingency Plans.” These plans are rehearsed and “blue-printed” time and again to ensure that operations can continue despite disruptions.
“Without an anticipated plan. one certainly plans to fail.”
Between the four of us, we had three mobile phones, and two bottles of water, and that would have been sufficient if we had good stamina. We thought we were going for a simple “hike in the park” We had not planned for, nor prepared for the extended trek and the sudden nightfall.
4. “Be Disciplined”
I knew for a fact we were taking a risk going into the forest at 6 p.m. But in my mind, it couldn’t be too difficult. An unknown fact to me was that my wife had not had any substantial food the entire day, and her right knee was starting to get strained by the ups and downs of the terrain. Towards the last 30 minutes, she was limping, and it slowed us down even more.
If I had been disciplined in preparing myself as I usually do for these situations, we could have averted some of the unexpected variables that cropped up during this experience.
In our daily leadership capacity, are we disciplined in the manner we conduct ourselves and in managing our businesses and responsibilities?
Are the necessary mechanisms in place? Are the bases covered? Are the infrastructure and processes strengthened consistently? Are people being developed to handle unexpected environmental changes, etc.?
In getting to the state of “Preparedness,” we, as Leaders, have the responsibility to lead in the area of “being prepared, in and out of season.” We are expected to be watchful by recognising the signs, be ready with anticipation at all times, and to carry out the plan with discipline.
As Asians, we have been drilled to succeed. Failure has often been frowned upon, and seen as a weakness. For some,it is not even an option.
However, as globalization is making the world smaller, and where core values crosses borders, we are in an age where the severity of failure is not deemed as serious, as say, as little as 20years ago…
In fact, the term “Failing Forward” where if and when we fail, we learn from those failures. As leadership guru, Peter Drucker says, “The better a man is, the more mistakes he will make, for the more new things he will try.”
For myself, one of my required value in the workplace is to work with an organization that would permit me to make mistakes within a certain defined boundary. An organization that would not penalize me if I had demonstrated the genuineness and sincerity in placing the well-being of the organization above my own interests.
The culture has to start from the Top Leadership and over time, the employees will grow to be more confident and would take significant ownership in executing their roles and responsibilities.
The assurance of a “Visionary and Forward Looking” Leader stem from the basic human understanding of “NO ONE IS PERFECT” and in Life, “Trials and Errors” mark the beginnings of great success, Progress, and Achievements.
I like how John Maxwell has written this article to not fear failure, but to learn to embrace the learnings we can gain from them:
HOW CAN WE BECOME SUCCESSFUL FAILURES?
1. OPTIMISM. Find the good or positive aspect in every bad experience. Thomas Edison termed the failures in his experiments as “10,000 ways that won’t work”
2. RESPONSIBILITY. Change our response to failure by accepting responsibility. It’s easy to blame when we fail. But we also rob ourselves of the opportunity to learn from that lesson.
3. RESILIENCE. Say Goodbye to yesterday. The ability to move on and forward from a failure is the key factor that will enable us to continue trying new things. Our minds can be our most powerful tool or worst enemy. If we focus on what we did wrong, we cannot look beyond and see what we did right.
There are 5 behaviours of people who cannot overcome past mistakes: Comparison – measuring their failure against other , or that their circumstances were much harder. Rationalization – convincing oneself the reasons for not overcoming failure are good, and those who try to encourage you “don’t understand.” Isolation – isolating oneself to avoid reality, or for plain self-pity. Regret; and Bitterness – always a victim, and never the victor.
4. INITIATIVE. Take action and face your fear. It is normal to fear making mistakes, but we must not allow that fear to paralyse us. Worrying will not help us to achieve our goals. Corrie ten Boom sums it well when she said, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.”