What do you consider to be a good leadership quality

Leadership means something different to everyone.  This was what I discovered at my latest group coaching session.  Of course, I was expecting a difference of opinion.  But the one opinion that surprised me was that some thought of leadership as a role and not a skill. The old-school leadership was your boss and his boss and his boss’ boss. And that is still true today.  But for someone in a senior leadership position who doesn’t have leadership qualities, are they still a “leader”?

For those who considered leadership in today’s definition had a different primary quality in mind. Some answers were: trust, respect and honesty. Many didn’t think that a required quality had to be taking initiative or being proactive as most didn’t like to be accountable.

The qualities I had are:

  • Trust
  • Respect
  • Honest
  • Accountable
  • Self-Motivated
  • Empathy
  • Confidence 
  • Vision
  • Servers others
  • Inspire
  • Listen
  • Aware
  • Optimism  and positive energy

What do you think? Can you be a leader without being accountable?

Hate your boss? Email tips that you need now.

Writing proper emails is important for your career if your career is important to you. Yet too few make the effort to reduce miscommunication, anger and frustration.  A well-written email will go a long way to improving your relationships in all areas of your life.

To keep my emails on par, I’ve put together five rules that I follow daily.

Never write or reply to an email when you’re emotionally charged. Writing an email when you’re angry or frustrated can get you into trouble fast.  There are two ways I go about tackling this type of situation.

1) Take a walk.  I’m lucky enough that I work in downtown Montreal above the underground mall.  So if I feel a need to write an email and feel I may be a bit emotional at the time, I go for a walk in the mall. During that walk, I think about how I should best write the email if at all.

2) Write but don’t send the email.  There are times I’m so angry I need to write the email right away. Writing is a great therapeutic exercise. But most times, once I’ve written that email I don’t feel the need to send it, so I delete it.  Which is good because although I try to be diplomatic, what comes out is usually harsh.

Never write an email in less than five minutes.  The more important the nature of the email the more time you should spend to write it.  I’ve taken anywhere from two to twenty-four hours to write critical emails. The vocabulary you use is of utmost importance. You want to be sure the message is on point.

Edit, edit, edit. Once you’ve written your email, re-read it. If you didn’t change anything, then you’re not reading it correctly.  And if you still haven’t changed anything after reading it, then have someone else review it.  There’s nothing wrong with someone reviewing your emails. It shows you care about your message.

Never put more than two recipients in the TO field.  Otherwise, you may as well be chasing cats.  Too many times I’ve written emails addressed to five or more people and get no responses.  It’s because everyone assumes someone else will respond.  And what are the chances they’re they’ll get picked on for not replying. So I always choose two people at most, everyone else goes in the CC field.

Always be constructive, supportive and positive. I’ve never liked receiving angry and negative emails.  And I bet you haven’t either. They ruin your day and don’t really help you in any way. They just point out how much of a horrible person you are and that you should probably go hide. So do the person at the receiving end of your email a favour and be gentle. You want to be supportive if they’ve messed up. If something broke, offer a solution and be willing to help implement it.

The SUBJECT field should be meaningful yet benign. Also, it should never include sensitive information. Nor should it be the first sentence of the email. I dislike receiving emails only for it to make no sense at all. Then I realize after staring at it for a few minutes that a key piece of the information was in the subject line.

Why you absolutely want group coaching for your career?

Careers are one of the toughest obstacle courses in life.  If you’re not pushing yourself to grow and improve you’re going to get far.  Worse, if you’re not self-aware, you’ll have no idea that your career is idling. And the skills you need to advance in your career are often the ones you’re not aware you are missing. This is why soft skills are so important.  If you don’t realize that they’re a skill you can actually improve, then you won’t make the attempt.

Last year, I started a series of group coaching sessions.  Some of my reports had gotten feedback of having poor communication skills.  For those who don’t know that is. Well, a coach is a private teacher who gives someone lessons in a particular subject. In this case, however, we have ten to twelve individuals involved in a single group. We meet every two weeks on a Monday to discuss and work on a particular topic.

Each group session follows a simple formula:

First, I start with a presentation to introduce the particular soft skill.  The presentation is usually a PowerPoint presentation.  I’m a big fan of TED.com, so I try to make my presentations just as engaging.

Then I provide an explanation of how to use the skill. Or in some cases, an overview if the skill topic is broad. This usually also involves questions and discussions which, after all, is the point.  We want everyone in the group to engage in the discussion.

Finally, we do the workshop where I give the group one or more scenarios to work with.  Everyone spends a few minutes to write their solution on a provided index card. And when everyone is ready every member provides their solution and we discuss.

Since then I’ve learned three things:

1. My co-workers and direct reports have taught me a lot.  There’s always more than one way to do anything.  Soft skills are no exception. As long as you’re comfortable and it gets you the result you want is what counts.

2. Their motivation, self-worth, and engagement improve.  For those who are looking to contribute something meaningful, this is a great place to do it. They feel respected and heard.

3. I’m required to stay ahead of the curve. Like everyone in the group, I don’t know everything.  So every two weeks, I’m off doing research for the next session.  The next session’s topic is usually based on the direction the previous session went. So I started with communication, then did self-awareness and moved on from there.

My goal for group coaching is to give each member just enough so that they learn something.  But are also willing to go out and learn on their own. The reason I do the sessions on a Monday is so that everyone can put into practice that week what they’d just learned.

Categories ABC

The best online tools you need to be an awesome writer

Communication is the number one skill to have in any situation. Whatever skill you think is more important. If you can’t effectively express yourself then your better skill is worthless. Yet not a lot of people seem to be able to express themselves.  And most think that if you can enunciate your words then that’s enough. Just because you can speak doesn’t mean people understand what you. 

Another wonderful thing about communication.  If you have good intentions whatever the situation.  But you can’t express yourself. You’d be surprised at how bad your work and personal relationships can be.  If people don’t respect you, communication could be the culprit. So of course, for me, communication is the skill I work on the most simply because I do it so often.
I use tools like Evernote, Outlook, Google Docs and GMail quite regularly. But ninety percent of the time, all my writing goes through these two online tools I’m about to mention.  One of the tools is a web app.  The other is a Chrome extension.  So really, I’m getting one amazing tool. Of course, these tools won’t solve all your issues, but they’re a good start.
These two tools are:
Hemmingway is a great tool to manage your writing.  It catches excessively long, runaway sentences.  Helps you eliminate the use of the passive voice.  It kills the overuse of adverbs.  And analyzes the complexity of sentences.
Grammarly is the extension that helps you manage your horrible, horrible grammar. I use Grammarly extensively with Hemmingway. But because it’s an extension, it can validate your, um, amazing writing almost anywhere you type.
You’ll find a lot of other online tools, but these are the simplest and easiest to use.