Thursday 28 May 2015

The 5 Key A Traits of Every Successful Leader

Create a passion... and your team will bring you to the top.

The 5 Key A Traits of Every Successful LeaderThe role of a leader is getting more complex than it has ever been: the global environment is constantly changing and people have faster and easier access to information.

Today, we expect from leaders not only to communicate, but also to influence and even inspire their people to produce the results they have defined.

Former generations did not have to deal with the level of complexity and frequency of changes.
In addition to these changes, as a leader, you need to adapt your message to the various personality styles of your team members.

Let’s look at these key traits that you need to develop to gain maximum impact in your leadership communications...

To read more, please click here.

Monday 25 May 2015

5 Key Business Skills to Boost Your Career

Master the language of business to drive your people and budgets to success.

With the current fast-paced changes that organizations are going through and the new challenges they are facing with companies merging and restructuring, being only an expert in your own field will make you miss the boat. To be successful in business requires a full understanding of the core management disciplines, so that you can speak business language and understand what is being debated by management and be able to better support your organization's corporate strategy.

You need a helicopter view, which will help you see and appreciate the connections between different departments and be able to influence decision-making internally and externally...

To read more, please click here.

Friday 22 May 2015

The 6 key influencing skills for every manager

The key to success is to influence others...

The business world is complex and more and more stakeholders have a say in the game. Whether you like it or not, you can't get things done alone! In this environment, which is multi-gender, multi-cultural and multinational, the focus is on teamwork and achieving results through others, even when you have no authority. To get people to support you and your goals, you need to learn how to influence. You need to gain trust and commitment and ultimately achieve your goals.

Whether you are an individual contributor, a manager or a leader in the organization, you will be challenged by your peers, senior managers, customers, providers and even your business partners. It can be difficult to accomplish your work and get things done. It goes without saying that dealing with friends or supporters is much easier than having to manage conflicts and tensions. But in most circumstances, you will have to learn how to influence and impact people.

To read more, please click here.

Tuesday 19 May 2015

New Leadership Investment Imperatives

VIEWPOINT: “Making the numbers” is the top priority for every business – collaborative leadership can help, says Rudi Plettinx, Managing Director of Management Centre Europe, in this second in a series of articles for IEDP:

The other day I talked to a real business leader; one of those people who has won countless awards for their vision and ability to steer their corporate ship safely – and seemingly effortlessly – forwards no matter the prevailing economic weather conditions. “What,” I asked him, “was THE secret to staying on top for so long?”

“There’s only one thing that counts,” he replied, “make sure you make the numbers.” Then he added, “do that – consistently – and everything else is jam on the cake. You make the numbers; then you can do whatever else you want.”
I had heard that before, of course, mostly from heads of businesses that I didn’t admire all that much: the cost cutters, the mass lay-off artists, the hostile bidders of our business world. The ones that don’t get a good press and seem to survive by a combination of fear and the kind of ethical behavior that would put Blackbeard the pirate to shame.

Sure I knew that staying profitable was a good thing – who in private enterprise doesn’t believe that But as Ella Fitzgerald once sang, “Is that all there is?”

When I hear and read that the length of tenure of our business leaders is getting shorter (down to less than three years in some industries) and that managing for those quarterly results is still the major visible measure of success, I wonder whether we really are getting it right – or ever able to change.

What it showed was that “making the numbers” is seen today as – just as that business leader told me – by far the most important aspect of the reward/recognition criteria. It, literally, overshadows every other aspect of a leader’s role. But is there some other way? I think that many of us in the development business see a growing emphasis on teamwork and much less on solo performance, suggesting that it is these collaborative traits that need to be rewarded in the organization of tomorrow.

So, are we going to see the end of the strong, lone, visionary leading from the front? Are we to expect a new era where rewards are given for teamwork, innovation and meeting long-term objectives? Conversely, will this be looked at as a nice idea that just couldn’t work in day-to-day reality?

Having given this a lot of thought, my view is that both of these success models will prevail. While I still see a future where organizations comfortably embrace a culture of the leader, I think we will see that the leaders who rise to the top are those that offer a more open, inclusive approach than those of today. There is little doubt that managing and leading are a great deal more complicated in this global world we have created for ourselves. Equally, there is little doubt that few businesses can be effectively run – for very long – by one charismatic captain at the helm: it is just too complex.

Therefore, it stands to basic reason and logic that the business leader that can build a real team around them is probably going to be creating tomorrow’s business success model.

And “making the numbers”? Frankly, I don’t see it changing all that much. It may be nice to celebrate these softer skills, but I do think that my business leader was right when he said, “do that and everything else is jam on the cake. You make the numbers; then you can do whatever you want.”

When I look at the business leaders I admire, they have all got a lot of jam on their cake – but every one of them consistently “made the numbers.” I also suspect (despite the public image that may be portrayed) that none of them did that all alone. Numbers may be the basis of everything, but I think – as great leaders as they are – they knew all along that collaboration, teamwork and setting long-term objectives (call that vision if you like) were all part of that numbers game.

There’s more than one way to “make the numbers”, the best knew that – still do.

This column on leadership and organizational development is written exclusively for the IEDP by Rudi Plettinx, Managing Director of Management Centre Europe, the Brussels-based development organization. Have a comment or a question? Engage direct with Rudi Plettinx here

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Tuesday 5 May 2015

First Manage Yourself to Become a Real Leader by Rudi Plettinx

VIEWPOINT: Managing yourself is the first critical step on the journey to being a good leader. Rudi Plettinx, Managing Director of Management Centre Europe, offers valuable insight in this first in a series of exclusive articles for IEDP. 

Jan has been in sales management jobs for many years. When it comes to closing a sale, there are few people better than Jan for coming home with the contract signed and sealed.  His bosses knew that. As long as he beat the plan every six months, no one worried. They were happy and so was he.

Now, whether through oversight or bad luck, the firm has found itself having to promote quite a few people who have not had the benefit of much personal development to get them ready for new responsibilities.

One of the people being promoted was my friend Jan. He had been fingered for the tough job of Central European marketing director – something he neither really wanted nor felt ready for. Listening to him outline his concerns, I was reminded of that old business adage: “many a great salesman has been ruined by making them a marketing director.” I've seen it many, many times. An experienced, able employee, terrified of the next big leap AND equally terrified to say “no,” for fear that would send the wrong signals to the board of directors.
“What can I do?” I thought. The sad part was that Jan wasn't ready, he hadn't been trained or groomed for this. Worse still, it didn't look like his bosses were going to invest any time in getting him some leadership development or updating his marketing skills. They needed Jan on the job from day one.

Jan pleaded to me, “I want this to work out, but I've virtually been my own boss for the last three years. Now I’ve got to work at this really challenging job while having the eyes of the organization on me.”

I thought about Jan’s dilemma for some time. Then, I suddenly realised the best way to help him. What Jan needed was confidence, the sort of confidence that can only come with experience. Also, if Jan was to feel comfortable, he needed to use the very talents he had honed as one of his firm’s best salespeople.

Manage yourself, I reasoned, and you should get a whole lot better at managing others. The idea? Give Jan confidence and establish his reputation as a leader within his business community. The challenges we established were: 
  • Take on a dissatisfied customer
  • Serve as a team member of a task-force to solve a major organizational issue
  • Champion a change your group has been resisting 
The dissatisfied customer: What a great place to begin! In his sales role, Jan had been used to dealing with difficult, irate and downright horrid customers for years. Using all his professional skills, he was able to not only placate the customer, but get him or her to sign an exclusive agreement. This quickly established Jan as a key member of the management team and it made Jan realize that he had skills that translated easily into his new role.
Task-force team member: Always viewed as a bit of an ‘I work alone’ maverick, Jan was not looking forward to his debut as a team member. But by focusing on what he was naturally good at, he got the rest of the team to appreciate his contribution. A seemingly intractable problem, changing age-old working practices at a newly acquired business, was quickly solved thanks to Jan’s ability to persuade and negotiate.
Champion of change: Again, Jan’s ability to see the other side of the picture and put himself in another employee’s shoes made all the difference. By now Jan was unconsciously assuming the role of the leader.

I caught up with Jan a few days ago and he tells me that he is really enjoying the challenges. His natural abilities as a salesperson could be easily transformed into those of a leader. While it may not have been that easy for everyone, the lesson here is to build on what you have – all of us have skills that we can add to any organization. By learning to manage yourself you can also learn to lead others.
This article is one in a series on leadership and organizational development, written exclusively for IEDP, by Rudi Plettinx, Managing Director of Management Centre Europe, the Brussels-based learning and development organization. 
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