Tag Archives: leader

Selective Emotional Intelligence:

Selective Emotional Intelligence:

Emotional Intelligence, some people say it is the stuff that turns us into leaders. Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to monitor one’s own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different emotions and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior. So why did an article in Forbes recently report that EI decreases as Management levels Increase? If Leaders have a higher level of EI, why do some many of us seem to have to work hard to like our superiors?

I believe there is such a thing as Selective Emotional Intelligence. Bear with me. Let me explain. Welcome to 60 Seconds of Motivational Mojo where I try to look at things from a slightly different angle. I have no empirical data to back my opinion in this post. I do not have any Double Blind Studies or Business Journal Case Studies: Walk with me and talk with me for a minute.

I have held a few jobs and I have had the honor and privilege to work for people I really respected. I have also been in situations where my Personality did not mesh with the Personalities of all my superiors. That is fine, I have seen many Leaders’ and Managers disagree. My point is not that they lack Emotional Intelligence, heck for most of my career and most of my life, I can say that I have lacked EI; what I am saying is that people have a knack for turning on and off areas of their personality depending on who is in the room at the time.

I have worked for Managers who were Super Duper Nice when their Superiors were around. They could turn on the charm for the crowd or for their Leadership and then turn it off when dealing with people one on one. Does this sound familiar to any of you? Sometimes it is simple a difference of opinion, other times it is a difference in personality or ideology. My point is not that the Managers or Leaders lacked Emotional Intelligence; it is just what we see of them depending on what they think of us.  I think people can be Selective with what they will deal with and what they won’t deal with from others.

Now I also find this a two way-street, some Mangers treat their Superiors with like Gold and their Subordinates like lumps of coal. I have also seen some Worker Bees think it is wrong to get scammed by the people above them, but it ok for the guy next to them to be scamming people. Everyone has their tolerance levels. Each of us need to be aware of what we are dealing with, and at what levels. Are you equal, fair and try to treat everyone with the highest respect?  Why does it seem that the people who have the Highest levels of being able to read people are the ones who are the most likely to scam people? Selective Emotional Intelligence is the reason; just because people know how to read other people does not make them a Trust Worthy Leader or a Non-Biased Manager.

Just as much as I am trying to harness the power of and increase the level of my Emotional Intelligence, I also try to apply it the same regardless of if you are above me or below me in the Proverbial Food Chain. At the end of the day we are all the same anyway, but how do you treat people from 9 to 5 vs all the rest of your day? Are you only nice when you stand to gain something? Are you sympathetic to those less fortunate than you and angry with those who have more? I think people turn on and off their Emotional Intelligence. This is how I think people can get ahead at a job even though no one likes them or would not follow them unless their job was on the line. Selective Emotional Intelligence:  That’s how!


From Loner to Leader:

From Loner to Leader:

Can you really make the jump from a Loner to a Leader? Yes, you can; but not in one quick step. I have been a loner in the middle of a crowd my whole life. I have study, reflected on and challenged myself to become a better leader. I think anyone can make the transition; you may have to ask yourself a few questions and overcome a few hurdles; but let me say it again. You can go from Loner to Leader.

So I totally understand why people become and consider themselves “Loners.” Maybe you feel misunderstood? Maybe you feel like to do things right you need to do them yourself. Maybe you feel frustrated by everyone talking and no one acting so you are tired of waiting around and you go it alone. Either path can lead to becoming a loner. So “Why” you may ask; “Why then become a Leader?” The answer is simple. Teams get more done and birds of a feather flock together. Sooner or later if you are doing anything worthwhile, you will get noticed. If you want to increase your chance of success, increase your leadership skills.

Let me say this again; this does not happen in one quick step. Here are the steps I have discovered along the way. The first Step is to believe that you are doing something worthwhile. What you think matters. What you are doing matters. If you are not thinking or doing anything then even that matters. If you are not thinking; start. If you are not doing; start. Think and act upon the things that you believe are worthwhile. You may feel all alone in the beginning; this is OK, we all don’t think alike. Just get started and believe in what you are doing regardless if anyone helps you at this stage. I beg of you, do something positive. Don’t let life pass you by and all you are left with is sour grapes.

Step Two is to learn more about what you are doing. Search out information from experts. Scour the internet, go to the library, read a book, watch a “How to Program;” do what it takes to increase your knowledge of what you are doing! This is a very important step. You need to know when someone is snowing you, you need to know when someone is scamming you or promising you things they cannot deliver. This may have been one of the reasons you became a loner in the first place. Don’t be the person who talks without knowing; know what you are doing and what you are talking about.

Step Three is to get around people who are doing the things you are aspiring to do also. Learn from them and talk to them face to face. This is why Step One and Two are so important. You have to know that you are bringing your unique skill and style to the table and that you deserve a place at the table. You will become known for what you know and what you do. Do you better than anyone else can.

Step Four is to practice, practice and practice some more; both in a group and by yourself. Practice with the intention of continually getting better at what you do. Again, you must believe that what you are doing is worthwhile, and that you are good at what you do. You do not have to be perfect, you just have to be good and have your own style and your own ideas.

Step Five is to accept the fact that you need a mentor. This must be someone you can trust, and the best way to trust them is to know what you are doing and where you are going and to get around enough people so you know who is serious and who is just faking it. Find a mentor who is the real deal. Find someone you look up to and is not trying to feed you a line. This will help you grow even faster.

Step Six is to in turn mentor others. This is where you will really see why being a leader matters. You will get more done and you will learn more. Being a loner means it is harder to find new information and you have to learn by trial and error. Trial and error is an ok place to start in a safe environment, but you really want to excel, a strong team environment is the best place to learn and grow. Being a Leader inside of the group means you can help shape the vision and direction of the group and you can also help protect the group from people who are there to take advantage of others or to waste time.

Be the Real Deal. Know that what you are doing is worthwhile. Sometimes it seems like being a loner is the faster and easier way. It may seem like it at the start, but in the end; team work wins out. A strong team can carry a heavy load, can cover more ground and in the end will thrive. You can go from Loner to Leader; just follow the steps!

You can go from Loner to Leader!

Step One is to believe that you are doing something worthwhile.

Step Two is to learn more about what you are doing.

Step Three is to get around people who are doing the things you are aspiring to do also.

Step Four is to practice, practice and practice some more; both in a group and by yourself.

Step Five is to accept the fact that you need a mentor.

Step Six is to in turn mentor others.

From Loner to Leader:

The people you need in your start up!

The people you need in your start up!

So you decided it is time to go out on your own.  The dream of all dreams is to start your own business.  It doesn’t matter if it is online or in a store front or in your basement or in your garage, these are the people you are going to need to be a success.

The Moral Coach:  This is the most important person you can add to your startup.  Hopefully it is you, if not find the person who always wants to do the right thing and keep close.  I am not talking about a person who pays lips service with a wink and a nod; I am talking about the person who refuses to take the easy way out when it comes to ethical decisions.  Set the highest possible standards and do it for the principal of it all.  The first person to add to your start-up is the Moral Coach.

The person who is doing it for the love:  This is the second most important person and they should walk hand in hand with the Moral Coach.  This is the person who loves what they are doing enough to make you want to leave the comfort of your full-time job to go into business with them.  It could be you.  It could be the person who inspires you or amazes you.  There will be good times and bad times, breakthroughs and setbacks.  Every start-up needs someone to turn to in crunch time who truly loves doing the work.

The person who is doing it for the money:  If you want to start a business and stay in business, you need someone who will make sure the bottom line adds up.  Now doing it only for the money is a dangerous thing; that is why it is important not to go after the money person first; but it is also dangerous to get too far down the road and not know if there is any money to be made.  Find a good accountant who wants a bigger piece of the action down the road, and not just getting paid up-front.  This might be you, it might not be you, but you need this person in your startup.

The Morale Coach:  Ever know someone who can seeming walk through hell while singing show tunes?  You know the person who can make anything seem like fun?  I am not talking about someone who says, “Let’s do some team building!” because they read it in a book.  I am talking about the person who gets their work done and everyone still wants to be around them.  This person actually likes making other people enjoy themselves without tearing down others or creating unsafe environments.  The Morale Coach knows how to have pure and innocent fun and knows when everyone else needs to take a break.  Great Morale Coaches can use a light touch to lighten the mood, but still make sure you reach your goals.

The Moral Coach, The For the Love Guy, The Money Guy, The Morale Coach; these are people you need to be in your start-up.  The last person you need is the person who can transfer the vision.  The person who can tie it all together so everyone stays on target.  They will have a sense of balance so that you can work hard, make the hard choices, make money and still have fun without taking advantage of others or taking shortcuts or burning people out.  Now if you are starting your own business, you need to be one of these people; and you also need to bring these other people to that table.  Keep a good balance and you will be successful, lose your balance and your start-up up may come crashing down.

How do I know this?  I have seen others start their own business and be successful.  I have seen others try and fail.  I have tried and been successful for short periods of time.  I have tried and failed.  So I have tried to learn and I am trying again.  I am convinced these are the people you need to surround yourself with, the people who coach others at the things that come naturally to them.  These are the people you need in your start-up!

If everyone is delegating, nothing is getting done.

Delegation: Some people think that delegation is good management. Delegate – to give or commit (duties, powers, etc) to another as agent or representative: I have seen people delegate their work to others in small doses and it is better than micromanagement. Delegating your work in large doses creates a large buffer and can cause resentment. Too much delegation can cause an environment of distrust and resentment. Too much delegation can make you wonder; if everyone is just passing their work off to others, what exactly is getting done? If you are constantly delegating your work to others, why are you needed? I say that if everyone is delegating, nothing is getting done.

Everyone thinks that managers are by default leaders. I do not agree. A Manager that can motivate others to be the best they can be by transferring a vision that everyone can agree on is a Leader. So to either extreme are the Micro-Manager and the Macro-Delegator. The Micro-Manager feels the need to do everything and the Macro-Delegator feels the need to have everyone else do everything. The Micro-Manager makes you feel like you are not capable of doing anything right. The Macro-Delegator makes you feel like they are not capable of doing anything right. A Manager that is a Leader can motivate by creating an environment where everyone can excel and feel good about their accomplishments.

So imagine for a minute if everyone is just delegating who is doing the work? Sooner or later, someone has got to do the work. I get it, there needs to be someone who can divide the work equally so that everyone can learn and grow and excel at the things they are good at doing. Managers need to understand that being in authority is not enough to bring out the best in the people who work with and for you. Leadership is not Micro-Managing and Leadership is not Macro-Delegating. Leadership is setting an example that others feel compelled to follow.

There is a lot of energy that goes into people delegating and pushing people beyond their limits. There is a lot of energy that goes into the backlash, the push back when people over-step their boundaries. There is a lot of energy in the pushing back and forward. There is a lot of wasted energy in everyone trying to delegate as the “New” Leadership or Management Style. Too much delegation leads to a lot of wasted energy. There is a balance that needs to be maintained between doing the work and showing others how to do the work. There is a balance between being a Manager who is a Leader or a Manager that seems to fall to one side or the other; Micro-Manager or Macro-Delegator. Why do people follow the Bad Leadership of either of these Managers? The fear or losing their jobs is usually more than enough reason.

If I have said it once, I will say it again; being a Manager does not by default make you a Leader. I have learned a lot from bad management because I take the time to ask the question; what is wrong with this situation? I question Management and Leadership styles based on what I have read and the Leadership I am compelled to follow. I again understand the need to delegate and I understand the need to show people you are capable; I am just very strongly compelled to also state that a Leader finds the balance between setting an example and teaching others to excel at what they do. A Good Leader motivates more than they delegate. If everyone is delegating, nothing is getting done!

Perception versus Reality:

Perception is not Reality. I have heard many Leaders say that Perception is Reality and I understand why they say it. But a Leader cannot afford to teach something that is not true and then fall victim to their own false teachings. So here at 60 Seconds of Motivational Mojo, I am forced to take that other view. I am here to shake up the status quo. Let me state it again. I understand why some Leaders say Perception is Reality, but I am here to say that Perception is False Reality. Stick around and let me explain.

Perception versus Reality:

Perception is what people think they see. It is how something appears to be even if they are not quite what they appear. Perception can be based on someone’s mood, state of mind, and prejudgment. Reality is Reality. Let’s use a Movie as an example. If you do not know a Movie was made that appeared to be a News Report; you may perceive the Movie to be true. Now imagine someone replaced your window with a Movie Screen that looked so real that you thought you were looking out a window. From your perspective, it would appear to be true until you tried to open the window and found out it was a movie screen. Reality is real, perception is a false reality. Perceptions can change, reality does not change. This is a very simple example, I know; but this is why a Leader should always challenge people to find out the reality and not make decisions based on perception.

Perception versus Reality:

Are you familiar with the term “Keeping up Appearances?” Have you know people who are really nice to you depending on who is around, and then will not give you the time of day when it is just you and them one on one? Have you ever know someone who makes it look like they are working very hard when the boss is around, but is the first one to slack off when the boss is not around? Have you ever seen some work really hard and then others take credit for their ideas? Every office and factory has the stories. Gossip, rumors and appearances are all based on Perception. Shouldn’t a Leader want to know the truth or should they play into the hands of those who are feeding their Perceptions? Have you ever been burned by the buddy system?

Perception versus Reality:

Why do we call it “Reality Television” when it should be called “Perception Television?” Let me ask you a question, “Do people behave the same when they see they are on camera?” The answer is no, some people pose for the camera and some people run from it. Some people crave attention and some people hide from attention. So imagine if you went to the mall and had two or three security guards, two cameramen, a lighting crew and a boom microphone following you around everywhere you went. To the people at the shopping mall, you would appear to be famous, even if you are not; even if it was all staged. So how much have you heard about “Perception Television” being Reality? Are you trying to “Survive” or “Keep Up?”

Perception versus Reality:

The reason a Leader should not say “Perception is Reality” is because this allows people to appear to do one thing while they really intend to do something else. A Leader should say “Live the Reality” or “Be the Reality” or “Make Reality the Perception.” I say this because we should all be striving to do our best and our best effort is what should show through. People need to find out the facts before passing judgment on any circumstance or performance. A True Leader should understand this; Perception can be based on Lies, while Reality is based on the Truth. Seek the truth and find the facts to learn the reality of any situation. Make Reality the Perception!

Leadership V.I.E.W.-P.A.C. for Success:

Welcome to 60 Seconds of Motivational Mojo.  Leadership V.I.E.W.-P.A.C. for Success:  Sounds like some kind of Political Machine doesn’t it?  Well if you have been reading my post on a regular basis, you would see I try to stay politically neutral.  Let’s get back to this new acronym.  V.I.E.W.-P.A.C. stands for Vision, Ideas, Energy, Workload, Pain, Accolades and Compensation.  Leadership V.I.E.W.-P.A.C. for Success means a Leader has to try to balance and share each of these items.

A Leader must strive to balance and share Vision, Ideas, Energy, Workload, Pain, Accolades and Compensation to be successful.  Now some people, some managers and some leaders get these concepts out of balance.  It is my belief that you should try to balance them as honestly and fairly as possible.  Let’s take a closer look.

A Leader should strive to share the overall Vision.  The Leader should take a balanced approach to sharing the Vision.  How would you like it if you were following a Leader who was only sharing the Vision with a select few people, and leaving others in the dark or out of the loop?  To be fair, a Leader should try to make the Vision, Plain and Simple and available to all.  Everyone should know the direction they are heading and if they choose to follow.  This may be the easy step to understand.  A Leader should take a balanced approach to sharing the Vision or Mission of their team.

A Leader should strive to share their Ideas and the Leader should also strive to allow others to share their Ideas.  This is a two-way street.  Everyone has ideas, opinions, points of view and a voice.  Everyone should be able to give input.  Everyone should be able to see how they fit into the overall Vision of the team.  A Leader should encourage everyone’s input and find the balance between everyone’s Ideas and the Vision.  This does not mean to change your Vision based on Popularity or Political Pressure.  No, this is just the opposite.  This is why a Leader should be open and honest, but in the end they still must lead.  The Leader has to find a way to balance everyone’s input while staying focused on the Overall Vision.  Again, this should be easy to understand.

A Leader should strive to share their Energy and balance the Energy of the Team.  A Leader can not do it all, and a Leader should do more than just give inspiration speeches.  A Leader has to roll up their sleeves and put the Energy into making the Vision and the Ideas a reality.  A sure sign of a bad Leader is one that barks orders or never lends a hand when the going gets tough.  A Good Leader should be one of the first to help push the car or pull the rope when the going gets tough.  A Good Leader sets the best possible example.  This should also be pretty easy to understand.

A Leader should strive to share and balance the workload.  Again, a Leader can not do everything all the time.  A Leader can not even do most things most of the times.  A Leader has to realize why every person on the team matters.  The best if not the only way to do that is to share and balance the workload.  It is not fair for some people to be working hard all the time, while others seem to only do the bare minimum if anything at all.  If every member of the team is important, everyone should pull their fair share.  A Leader gives everyone a chance to excel why maintaining a balance that everyone can respect.  A Good Leader does not play favorites while the team suffers.  A Good Leader maintains a fair balance of the workload and pitches in wherever they can help even things out.  Maybe this is not so easy to see, but maybe it is not so hard to see either.

A Leader must strive to share and balance the Pain.  Pain, no one wants to hear those words.  Everyone wants to believe that Leadership and Teamwork are all cushy and comfortable.  If you want to be Successful as a Team and as a Leader there will be some pain involved.  There are growing pains while you learn to be a team.  You will win some and you will lose some.  You may have to work or practice long hours.  You may have to ask people to do extra to get over the top.  A Good Leader does not heap all the pain on a select few while others seem to skate.  A Good Leader is striving for Balance, Balance, and more Balance.  If as a Good Leader, you have been open, honest and balanced about the Vision, The Ideas, The Energy and the Workload, than you should not find it hard to figure out why you need to balance the painful times when they arise.

A Leader must strive to balance and share the Accolades that come with success.  It is amazing what people will do to get credit for the things they have accomplished.  It is more amazing what people will do to take credit for what someone else has accomplished.  Ever want to change the energy in a room.  Break out a camera and see how much people’s personality’s change.  So people love to have their pictures taken, others will run for cover.  This is only one small window into what I am trying to explain.  Everyone knows someone who tells exaggerated stories.  Everyone knows someone who talks about how they never get credit for they work they perform.  Now a Good Leader can not solve all of these problems, but they can share and balance out the credit with their team.  Too much credit can lead to ego problems, too little credit can lead to moral problems.  If this is too much to ask, go back and start at the beginning.  If it is still too hard to handle the second time around, either I have it all wrong or you do.

Ok, so as a Leader you have shared and balanced your Vision, Ideas, Energy, Workload, Pain and Accolades of both the Successes and Failures of your team.  Now it is time to make sure you are taken a balanced approach to sharing the Compensation.  I believe that a lot of companies pay their Executives too much and people in the middle and bottom too little.  I truly believe there is more than enough wealth to go around.  The only way to prove it is to Lead successful teams and share the wealth.  For me it is more than words, it is a life’s mission.  Now I have given you a chance to reread and leave this post.  Now you are stuck with it.  I believe a Good Leader who has shared everything up until this point should not stop now.  Share the Compensation when the team earns it.  Take a balanced approach.  I have seen Incentive Bonus given out to freely in good times and then taken away in tough times.  People felt cheated when they lost bonuses they never really earned and were never really explained to them.  Balance and Share all the way around up to and including the compensation.

No Leadership V.I.E.W.-P.A.C. for Success is not a Political Movement, it is a 60 Seconds of Motivational Mojo Movement.  Leadership V.I.E.W.-P.A.C. for Success is a new acronym, a new motivational phrase for the readers of this blog.  Now like most of my beliefs, theories and or posts; I will tell you to think for yourself.  I will also tell you that unless I can get out and prove this you will have to take it on faith.  You can choose to follow or choose to ignore.  Either way I believe a Good Leader must strive to share and balance their Vision, Ideas, Energy, Workload, Pain, Accolades and Compensation with their team.

Back to the Basics, Part Two:

I love playing the Bass Guitar.  I love making music.  I have told me exploits as a Drummer and a Servant Leader.  I have been trying to learn to become a better leader by doing the best I can to help move the group of musicians I jam with forward.  Well this week I learned quite a lesson.  I will share it with you if you will stick around for a minute.  Welcome to 60 Seconds of Motivational Mojo.

Have you ever heard of the term, “Fake it until you make it?”  I am not sure I agree with that term.  I believe you should do the best you can, do not be afraid of making mistakes; but learn from the mistakes you make, and keep trying to get better at what you do.  I play the Drums in a Praise Band, because that is what we need the most.  Every now and then I get to play the Bass Guitar.  This week for the second time only I got to play the Bass.

Now as a Drummer, I have tried to make sure everything was good for all the other musicians.  I bring extra Cables, converters and spare batteries to make sure you can clearly hear each instrument.  I have explained to the people in the band that the person running the Sound System can make or break our performance.  The mix of the Sound through the Main System is what the people in the crowd will hear.  We will hear the mix through the stage monitors first, and the sound going out to the crowd will sound like an echo to us on stage.  Everything has to be mixed just right.

I have gotten used to different mixes because I have played different instruments and different styles of music.  It never sounds exactly the same twice.  Most of the time people in the crowd are not 100% sure if what they are hearing is mixed just right, or if it is even being played live at all.  You see people pantomiming to music in the Movies, On TV and even at some Concerts.  A lot of Television Appearances are set to pre-recorded music.  I never much liked watching people fake it on Television or in the Movies.  I really like movies where when you watch the musicians’ they look like they can really play, not just fake it.  I never like watching people fake it on Television or Live.

Ok, quick switch.  Name your five favorite singers.  Now name your five favorite bass players.  Most people can not even name five bass payers.  Most people can not really tell who is playing what on stage.  I can. I am a musician.  Some styles of music are truly built upon what the Bass Player and Drummer are doing.  Usually the best Bass Lines can be found in Jazz, Rhythm & Blues and Funk Music.  In other Styles of Music the Bass Player can sit in the back ground and just provide deep notes that sit under what everyone else is doing.  I like playing the Bass in a way the weaves in and out of the mix.  I play the bass in a way that can sit back or take the lead.  I like to play in a way that will push the other musicians’ and add a lot of energy to the music.  I want people to feel what I am playing.

Well because of strange scheduling we did not get to practice with our sound man.  We made it through practice, but there we some sound problems.  Noisy cords that were creating a popping sound in the music.  Because we were not able to really pin point the problem we just did the best we could and got through practice.  During our performance, something went terribly wrong.  The Acoustic Guitar and Bass Guitar were low in the mix to start with, but halfway through the first song the Guitar and Bass were turned completely off in the mix.  We were reduced to playing along, but nothing was coming through the Main System or the Monitors.  We tried to wave to the Sound Man but we could not get his attention.  I was basically faking it.  The keyboards, drums and vocals were the only thing being heard by the crowd.  Everyone seemed to enjoy the music, everyone but me.  The Bass Guitar was plugged directly into the Main System, no Bass Amplifier on Stage.  I knew what I was playing, and I was trying to play to the best of my ability.  I really, really wanted people to feel the Bass parts I was playing.  I wanted to take each song to New Heights.

All the weeks I spent behind the drums making sure everyone else could be heard, and now I was not being heard at all.  Many a Rock Star has walked off the stage when the mix was wrong.  I wanted to sit down the bass and walk off stage.  I had to convince myself that the sound could be fixed at any minute.  I had to fake it.  I had to keep playing not knowing if I would be heard or not.  I have read stories of Guitar players who would jump around and go crazy one night and really concentrate on their playing the next night.  People like to see people jumping around more than really trying to play their best.  I knew what I was playing.  I could hear it in my mind.  No matter how much I tried it would not be heard by anyone else.  I would not be able to make people feel what I was playing.  They would only see what I was trying to play.

I gave up trying to signal to the sound made.  I tried to let it go and just have a good time, somewhere between faking it and really playing.  The performance made me realize it is not about me; and if the sound man could not hear what was wrong, no one in the crowd would hear it either.  No one else could tell that the Acoustic Guitar and The Bass Guitar were turn off in the mix.  We were really playing but not being heard.  We were being seen though.  A few people even told me, that they could not hear me in the beginning.  The Bass was actually “On” early in the first song.

The whole thing made me wonder if I could every “fake it” for a TV show.  I am not sure if I could.  I think I would at the very least need an Amplifier turned “On” even if it was not part of the Main Mix.  As much as I wanted to show off my skills to the world, how much will it really matter?  Someone has to really be tuned in as much as I am to what each instrument is doing.  Maybe this is why some many people can just fake it.  Maybe people really do not even really know what they are hearing.  Live or Pre-Recorded.  It is more about liking what they hear more than how it is being made.  I still want to really play; I do not want to fake it.  Maybe this is why more and more bad singers are famous, and why so many acts out there can just put on a tape and jump around.  They just fake it.

The most important thing is to do what is best for the group and move forward.  The lesson is to really tune in that sound system and each sound man to what sounds they are hearing.  The sound man can make or break the mix of the music.  So on wards and upwards in my journey as a leader, sometimes you just have to adapt to the worst possible scenario and keep moving forward.  Next time, there will always be a next time!

I want to bang on the drum all day.

I don’t want to work; I want to bang on the drum all day.  Todd Rundgren

This is my continuing story of being a drummer, and trying to be a leader even though it does not always seem like a drummer would be a leader.  Or how I am a drummer and how I can serve and follow and how that impacts leadership.

I play the drums in a Praise Band.  No I am not a lead singer or even a lead instrument.  I am a guy who has been in and out of a lot of bands playing various instruments and various styles of music.  I have been playing the drums lately and it is a lot of fun.  I actually don’t want to work; I want to bang on the drum all day

Are we the best musicians?  No, but we are having fun, and we are serving others.  A lot of the music we play have more parts or instruments than we have people in our band.  We have a keyboard player who sings, a guitar player, a bass player and I am on the drums.  Some of the songs we play have multiple guitar and keyboard parts.  We have to scale things down because we do not have enough people to cover all the parts.

I have one message when we play.  I tell everyone to play with confidence.  You do not have to try to cover a lot of parts, but you must be confident in the parts you are playing.  I listen to some of the songs we play and the drummers are full-time musicians who are playing at a very high level of musicianship.  I am a Bass Player who is playing the drums part-time, a couple of times a week if I am lucky.  I may only get to play a couple of times a month if my day job gets in the way.  I don’t want to work; I want to bang on the drum all day

I can not play at the level of the drummers who are on the recordings we are copying, but I can play based on my own experience.  My experience tells me to keep it simple, play with confidence and have fun.  When a musician is having fun, people can tell.  It rubs off on the audience.  When a musician is playing with confidence, people can tell.  You can see it and hear it in the performance.  When a musician is playing with confidence the audience can feel it in the performance.  The best way to be confident and have fun is to stick to the basics.

I often find myself playing basic drum beats.  I keep basic patterns but I switch the combinations of what drums and cymbals I am using.  I keep this simple, but I play with power.  I call it my Big Lazy Rock Drummer imitation.  Sometimes when I play I miss a beat or miss hitting a cymbal.  I make a mistake, but it makes me laugh.  It makes me laugh because I am having fun.  I do not have to be drinking or taking anything to have fun.  I am having fun because I am making music and I can tell other people can feel the performance.  It makes me laugh because I wonder what it is like to be on a big stage playing for a big crowd.  I don’t want to work; I want to bang on the drum all day

In my own mind I am one of the Top Ten Bass Players in the world.  In my own mind I am the greatest Non-Famous Bass Player you have never heard about in a magazine or have never seen on television.  I am not the world’s greatest drummer.  I am a bass player playing drums who is having fun.  I am having fun and playing with confidence and it rubs off on the people around me.  I miss playing the bass guitar, and people tell me they miss me when I am not able to pay the drums.  They miss the feeling that a simple, confident and fun performance brings to the table.  A good drummer keeps a good foundation not matter how simple or complicated the parts they are playing.  A good leader can stick to the basics and keep things simple and make sure everyone is confident in their part.

The best leaders in my mind are servant leaders.  The best leaders prepare others to take the lead.  The best leaders can follow others.  The best leaders provide a solid foundation and know how to keep things simple and fun.  This is my approach to playing the drums.  I want to be a better leader.  I want to be a better musician.  I know there are more and better drummers out there.  I hope I can help teach others and I hope other drummers will come forward so I can switch to guitar or bass or keyboards and help add more parts to our music.  I hope more drummers will come forward so nothing is missing if I can not be there one week because of work.  Until then, I don’t want to work; I want to bang on the drum all day!

Finding your gear!

To day I am going to do something rare.  Today I am going to try to combine Fitness Advice and Leadership Advice.  Let me know if I fall flat on my face.  Let me know if my meaning does not get through to you.  Ok, today’s topic is “Finding your gear!”

Finding your gear, today I am fresh off the exercise bike and had a pretty good workout this morning.  Today I am inspired to tell you how I find my gear and hopefully how you can find your gear.  Not everyone likes to exercise, some of us do it because we like to, some of us do it because we need to, and some of us do it because we have to; exercise can help save or lengthen your life.  Now I like to ride bicycles, and I like to ride exercise bikes.  I like to put on my headphones, listen to music, have a bottle of water and pedal until I run out of energy or run out of time.

With any exercise program you should take it easy when you get started.  The same thing goes with any leadership program.  You should take it easy from the start.  In exercise your body needs to get used to a new routine.  In leadership your team needs to get used to your routine.  So take it easy when you start.  If you over work your muscles when you exercise you will get sore and maybe even give up.  In leadership, if you over work your team, they make get sore with you and some may even give up.  Be careful in the beginning.  Settle into your new routine.

Bicycles have gears, some are made so you can move fast on flat land, some are made so you can still pedal when climbing hills or riding into the wind.  You have to use the easy gears to tackle the big hills or ride against the wind.  Leaders should also use easy gears when they have to tackle big hills.  You have to push people, but you can not push them until they break.  Sometimes it is better to ease off and encourage.  Everyone is different and will use different gears based on their skill level.

You will have to find your gear.  Exercise bikes have different programs and different levels to help you simulate the feel of a real bicycle.  Don’t be fooled, it is not the same.  This is also true for leadership; you can not simulate leadership and fool people who have experience.  Leaders must know when to do team building exercises and training exercises before trying to lead people into the heat of battle.  This takes practice, and I will attempt to explain to you how I find my gear when on an exercise bike.  I will also try to let you know how I think it applies to leadership.

Finding your endurance gear:  The first thing you have to do is find the correct frame of mind.  On an endurance ride, you must be in it for the long haul.  You can not go crazy riding fast and expending all your energy and then run out of gas half way through your ride.  You must learn to pace yourself.  This means start slowly in a low gear that is easy to pedal.  One an exercise bike this may mean starting at level zero or level one.  Do not pedal fast, pedal at a nice steady pace where you are never short of breath.  For a leader, this means teaching your team something easy, something fun.  You must build a good solid foundation.  It may even seem boring at first, but it will become a challenge, see how long you can ride, see how far you can go without trying to play beat the clock.

Finding your speed gear:  Again, you have to find the correct frame of mind!  Start out in the easy gear or the lowest level program on your exercise bike.  Now pedal at a nice steady pace.  Every 60 seconds go up one level or one gear.  Pedal for another 60 seconds and go up another level.  Do not try to pedal super fast in the low gears, keep a steady pace at each level.  It will take more strength and more energy as you move up each level.  This is not a long haul exercise; it will become a challenge very quickly.  At the lower levels you will feel strong, as you move up through the levels it will start to challenge you.  You will find a level where even though you give it all you have in you, you can not keep a steady pace.  You will find a gear that will break you, then back down one level; back down one level and see if you can still ride strong and steady.  The gear that is one below your break point is your speed gear, this not the gear you ride in for a long time, this is when you need to go fast.  This is a leadership lesson; you can not be in your speed gear for a long time.  You may not break, but you will break your team.

Now remember two things, when you are riding for endurance stay in the lower gears, and see how long you can go.  When you are riding for speed, find the gear where you can ride strong and steady but not break down.  You will get stronger over time, one ride at a time, but you can not do it all in one day.  Pick one or the other, one day ride for endurance, another day ride for speed, and some days you will need to just rest.  This is also true as a leader.  When you are doing team building exercises; long exercises should be easy and fun, intense exercises need to be kept short.  Let people know what they are in for before hand and schedule breaks to let people recover.

Finding your grind gear:  This is the gear you will need on long flat rides!  This is when you want to cover the most ground in the quickest time.  Before you attempt this, you should be comfortable riding for endurance and riding for speed.  Your grind gear is usually one or two gears lower than your speed gear.  This is the gear where it takes an effort to maintain your pace, but you can ride at this pace for a long time.  This is not a comfort ride; you are riding for your best time.  The real trick to this gear is you will need a day to rest when you are done.  You will push yourself to your limit without breaking.  You can not know what gear this is until you know your limits, your speed gear and your endurance gear and how far you are able to ride.  The same goes for a team leader.  You have to test people at different levels before you can put them in a grind it out situation.  This is why some sports teams practice twice a day to get ready for an upcoming season.  You must know your limits before you put your team in grind it out mode.  And as a leader, you have to tell them what they are in for and set the best example you can.  If your team trusts you, they will follow you.  If they don’t you will look around and your team will be gone.

Finding your climbing gear:  This is the gear you need to get over a big hill!  This is a tricky gear to find.  The best riders are tested on hills.  You have to be able to pedal in an easy gear for a long time and a strong and steady pace.  This is not a sprint or race gear; but because you are climbing a hill, it will feel like more of a challenge than flat-out race.  The best riders in the world are made and broken on big mountain climbs.  The best leaders are made or broken in the field of battle.  A leader needs a strong team.  A leader needs to set a good pace without losing their team.  This is why it is so important to build trust and endurance early.  People will not follow you into a fire fight unless they can trust that you actually care about them not just yourself.

So what does bike riding have to do with leadership?  Well, at the highest professional levels, bike riders work as a team.  They put their leader in a position to win, and the leader shares the prize money with their team mates.  The team leader may not be the fastest rider or the best climber on the team, but they will have the best combination of skills to handle whatever is required for that given race or series of races.  The world’s greatest bike races can take over two weeks to complete.  The strongest team is the team that puts together the best series of races without breaking.  The leader of the team can not break, and they also can not break their team.  It takes a combination of skills to win and the teams that can best balance strength with speed and endurance are usually in a position to win in the end.  Same goes for leaders.  The leaders who can balance their team’s speed, strength and endurance without breaking them apart are usually in a position to win in the end.  When you win, share the wealth with your team.  Be leery about taking all the credit and all the wealth for yourself.

So how do you find your gear on your bike?  You practice, you train, you push yourself at a steady pace working through the different gears.  You find that gear that is comfortable and you go past it.  You find that gear you feel strong in and you go past it.  You find that gear that breaks you and hang on as long as you can.  You then back down and build up your endurance.  After you have built more endurance you push your self to your limits again.  In practice in controlled settings, you get your self ready for battle.

So how do you find your gear as a leader?  You practice, you train, you push yourself to set a great example for your team and you encourage your team along the way without breaking them.  You let them know what they are in for so they will trust you when it is time for battle.  Win as a team, and lose as a team; but first and foremost, let your team know your really care about them.  They will be the ones who put you in place to win.

Proactive Mentoring: Unleash the Leader in You!

Welcome to 60 Seconds of Motivational Mojo:  How would you like to become better at something?  How would you like to leave a lasting impact?  It is really simple.  Proactive Mentoring will not only make the people around you better, but also make you a better leader.  What do I mean by Proactive Mentoring?  I will try to explain. Proactive Mentoring:  Unleash the leader in you!

First let’s define Proactive:  Acting in advance to deal with an expected difficulty; anticipatory:

Now let’s define Mentoring:  To serve as a trusted counselor or teacher to (another person)

So it is really easy to put the two together: To serve as a trusted counselor or teacher to another person acting in advance to deal with an expected difficulty; anticipatory:  This is Proactive Mentoring.  Now the reason I say this will unleash the leader in you is because when you teach others you will learn for yourself.  Now there is a difference between teaching someone and ordering someone to do something.  A wise teacher learns through the eyes of their students.  So if you are a trusted counselor and you are helping someone reach their goals, hopefully you will not tell them what to do, but you will show them what to do.  Hopefully you have common goals, otherwise why are you their mentor?  If you are acting in advance to deal with an expected difficulty, it means you have experience, and you are trying to safely pass that experience to someone else.  You are not putting them in harms way, you are trying to show them how to avoid harms way.

Now, how can I cook up a good example for you to better understand?  Think about maintenance of your car.  Some people wait until things go wrong before they take their car to a mechanic, this is called reactive maintenance.  Something goes wrong and then you fix it.  Other people check things like their tires and their brakes on a regular basis, this is called Preventive Maintenance.  You check and fix things before something goes wrong.  Then there are people who take their car into the shop for every oil change and get their brakes done based on the number of miles they have driven if it needs fixing or not.  This is called Predictive Maintenance.  You use the known history of things that can go wrong and you fix problems before they happen.  This is the most Proactive Style of Maintenance.

Ok, let’s say you like to play the guitar and you want to play on stage.  It would be wise for you to get around people who have been on stage and ask them what they have been through, but pick your mentors carefully.  Now if you are a guitar player and someone came to you and asked you what you have been through, will you give them the best advice possible or will you ignore them and turn them away?  Would you help them get ready to perform on stage, practice with them and maybe even loan them the things they might need in case they break a string or break a cord that plugs into their equipment?  Will you mentor them through the problems you have experienced?  Maybe you are an established musician but you need to warm up act or a song writing partner.  Who better to choose from than people you have worked with in advance.  Maybe you work with your trainees at smaller shows and open microphone nights to get them ready for their big break.  Maybe if they make it big, they will help you out in return.  Who knows, but being a proactive mentor helps your chances.

Now how does this apply to leadership and to business?  Well if you are going to start your own business, do you want to know who you can trust so you can take some time off?  Do you want to know who you could put in charge of a second or third store as your business grows?  Why not teach someone how do deal with things that may go wrong before they go wrong.  You might learn from them in the process.  You may learn there are things you are good at and things the people you are working with are good at that they can teach you.

There is a big difference between being a mentor and being a boss.  Bosses like to give orders.  Mentors try to create a system where everyone can learn.  Servant Leadership is a great start, the Proactive Mentor is even better.  Servant Leaders think about others before they think about themselves.  A Proactive Mentor can leave things in well prepared hands.  It is great to be the magic that makes things happen, but it is even better to teach others the magic also.  Teaching others means you do not have to be all things at all times in all places.  This is how businesses grow.  This is how systems are developed.  This is how people learn.  By mentoring others and continuing to learn for them selves.

Unleash the leader in you.  Teach others how to do the things you do, and also continue to learn for yourself.  Be proactive and be trustworthy.  Be the type of person you would like to follow.  Be a Proactive Mentor and unleash the leader in you.