Quality People, Quality Leaders

If you want to be a leader who attracts quality people,
the key is to become a person of quality yourself. – Jim Rohn

Do you agree that before you can be an effective leader you must be viewed as a “quality person”?

A good starting point is to think about Maya Angelou’s quote: People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

As a leader, how we make people feel absolutely impacts our work culture. It’s essential that we deliver messages with not only clarity but also respectfully. There’s no doubt we will have the need to deliver tough messages, but the way we do it makes a huge difference on how well the message is received, and it will also impact the ongoing relationship.

Author and motivational speaker Jim Rohn identified the following key leadership traits:

  • Learn to be strong but not impolite
  • Learn to be kind but not weak
  • Learn to be bold but not a bully
  • Learn to be humble but not timid
  • Learn to be proud but not arrogant
  • Learn to develop humor without folly
  • Learn to deal in realities

Leaders want to show compassion and empathy. We need to be authentic and let people know they are valued and appreciated, and better yet, we can provide specific details supporting our perspectives.

If we are a “quality” person and leader, chances are our behaviors will be modelled by those we interact with. We want to engage people, we want to interact with others in their preferred style (not ours!), we truly listen to what others have to say (understanding that sometimes our message may not be well received), but we can show empathy and explain what prompted the message. ie. Company mandates, errors, cost savings, growth, etc

Quality people (and leaders) are known for their integrity, for being trustworthy, for having no hidden agendas, for influencing and inspiring others, and in general making others feel good about themselves, with a desire to want to be around us.

Are you a quality person and leader?

Become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily; even if you had no title or position. —Brian Tracy.

Effective One on One Meetings

One on ones are the bedrock of any relationship you have within your team and any organization.
-–Danielle Leong

How do you feel about attending or facilitating one on one meetings? We were in a group meeting last week and were surprised to hear that readiness levels were sometimes an issue.

  • Either the leader was ill prepared and asked “do you have anything to talk about”? If the answer was “no” the meeting would end.
  • On the flip side the, the attendee could be uncomfortable and not share their thoughts, issues, or successes.
  • Have you experienced either of these?

Tips for effective one on one meetings:

1. Schedule them regularly; some prefer weekly, others monthly. Regardless, get them on your calendar.

2. Establish expectations of the session

3. You can prepare conversation points to discuss but try not to have it too scripted, rather let the conversation flow naturally

4. Make time to “get to know” each other and build your relationship (and trust)

5. Ensure the sessions are comfortable and interactive

6. Be attentive and listen; don’t dominate

7. Ask what the attendee needs. Are there any obstacles or barriers you could help eliminate?

8. Obtain their perspective on what’s going well and what could be improved upon

9. Make them feel valued

10. Ask for feedback.  Ex. what could you do to be more effective?

11. Provide them with meaningful feedback

12. Discuss developmental wants and needs and career path desires

13. Recap any “to do’s” or commitments by either side (with target dates)

Often the sessions are primarily about business updates and not about the person. Use team meetings for business updates, organizational goal achievement, and strategic objectives instead of during one on one sessions.

How effective are your one on one sessions? Do you enjoy them? What could you change to make them even more meaningful?

Reminder: One on one meetings are meant to focus on the person.

It All Starts With Culture

It all starts with culture! You can have the greatest mission statement in the world but it’s pointless unless you have people who are on a mission.
—Jon Gordon

It’s no surprise that our work culture is important. It impacts levels of engagement, accountability, productivity, and team synergy. It also impacts attrition as well as the desire to grow and flourish in careers.

Author and speaker Jon Gordon has a blog: 14 Thoughts About Building A Great Culture.  Excerpts are below.

1. Great leaders build and drive great cultures.

2. Culture is the reason why great organizations have sustained success.

3. Culture beats strategy.

4. If you focus on the fruit of the tree (outcomes and numbers) and ignore the root (culture) your tree will die.

5. When building a team and organization you must shape your culture before it shapes you.

6. A culture of greatness doesn’t happen by accident.

7. Culture is dynamic, not static.

8. Your culture is not just your tradition.

9. When leading a new team or organization, it will take longer to build a new culture if you allow negative people from the previous culture to contaminate the process.

10. When you build a strong, positive culture most of the energy vampires will leave by themselves because they don’t fit in.

11. Creating a culture where people are afraid to fail leads to failure.

12. Change is a part of every culture and organization.

13. Progress is important but when innovating and driving change make sure you honor your tradition, purpose and culture.

14. Culture is like a tree.  Click here to read the entire blog

As leaders, it’s up to us to make a difference in our work culture. We need to share and support our organizational and team goals and values, we need to inspire our teams by listening to their views, we need to provide opportunities that support desired career paths,
and most importantly we need to build trusting relationships.

How’s your work culture?

I used to believe that culture was ‘soft,’ and had little bearing on our bottom line. What I believe today is that our culture has everything to do with our bottom line, now and into the future.
– Vern Dosch, Author, Wired Differently

Mid Year Check In

A good objective of leadership is to help those who are doing poorly to do well and to help those who are doing well to do even better.
–John Quincy Adams

Can you believe we’re half-way through the year? That means it’s time to take a pulse of where we are and what we’d like to see accomplished prior to year-end. This includes identifying any struggles or challenges we’re facing (what are we losing sleep over?), as well as taking the time to recognize and celebrate our organization’s successes.

As leaders we need to:

  1. conduct an in-depth review of our organization as a whole
  2. meet with our direct reports or colleagues to assess progress (or lack of)
  3. regularly conduct formal one on ones with each team member to review their goal accomplishments and obstacles
  4. update individual development plans; address what training is necessary for individual career advancement and what is required to create organizational bench strength.
  5. provide feedback about how each employee can better help the company achieve its goals, and ensure all behaviors are aligned with realizing positive momentum.

During your meetings ask for opinions and advice for growth and how to attain goals. Discuss ideas for cost savings and waste elimination.  Ask what they feel is working well, and why. Equally important, ask what is NOT working well, or what is impacting results and growth.

Don’t wait!  Now is the time to set realistic expectations for what you wish to accomplish in the second half of the year.  Wishing you success!

Believe you can and you’re halfway there.
— Theodore Roosevelt

Is Your Leadership Style Black, White or Grey?

Black and white thinking is the tendency to think in extremes

Have you ever been told your thinking was too black and white? That your mind-set was limited? That finding middle ground with you was difficult? That grey areas DID exist? Have you ever been called an extremist? Or that it’s okay to incorporate “maybe” or “possibly” into your vocabulary?

On the favorable side, it’s said that black and white thinkers are “great resources for personal growth and understanding”. Also, that they drive results and are needed for goal attainment.

As with any style or behavior, over-using a strength can result in a weakness.

Rebecca Joy Stanborough, MFA suggests being aware of our usage of certain words. How often do you say:

  • always
  • never
  • impossible
  • disaster
  • furious
  • ruined
  • perfect

If over-used, she shares that not only can you sabotage your career and relationships, but your physical and mental health may suffer. Wow!

Enter the grey area. Effective leadership includes building relationships, supporting goals, driving results, and seeking advice when needed, while also taking into account what’s good for your work culture, the people, and your organization.

Author Jody Maberry says: If you are a leader, working in the grey is your new normal.

How grey is your style? Do you tend to value processes and results over people and relationships?

Black-and-white thinking leaders are typically those who value processes and production over the individual concerns of the people.—Fred Jakoby, MA

Mistakes Are Learning Opportunities

Smart, successful people are by no means immune to making mistakes;
they simply have the tools in place to learn from their errors.– Travis Bradberry

Dr. Travis Bradberry believes “emotionally intelligent people embrace mistakes for what they are—great opportunities to learn”, and shares the following 10 mistakes smart people never make twice.

1.Believing in someone or something that’s too good to be true.

Some people are so charismatic and so confident that it can be tempting to follow anything they say. Don’t be naïve!

2.Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

Albert Einstein said that insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. If you want a different result, you must change your approach.

3.Failing to delay gratification.

Gratification doesn’t come quickly and hard work comes long before the reward.

4.Operating without a budget.

Budgets, both professionally and personally, establish discipline, and discipline is the foundation of quality work.

5.Losing sight of the big picture.

Assess your daily priorities against your goals; are they aligned?

6.Not doing your homework.

There’s no substitute for hard work and due diligence.

7.Trying to be someone you’re not.

Happiness and success demand authenticity.

8.Trying to please everyone.

It’s not possible to please everybody, and trying to please everyone pleases no one.

9.Playing the victim.

To play the victim, you have to give up your power, and you can’t put a price on that.

10.Trying to change someone.

The only way that people change is through the desire and wherewithal to change themselves.

Mistakes are to be learned from and can serve as a reminder of what not to do in the future. Ask yourself: What needs to change to prevent a re-occurrence?

When you repeat a mistake, it is not a mistake anymore: it is a decision.
–Author Paulo Coelho

Do You Procrastinate?

If you put off everything till you’re sure of it, you’ll never get anything done.
— Norman Vincent Peale

We all suffer from procrastination at some time or another (some of us more frequently
than others). This basically means that we choose to postpone doing a task or action and instead make the decision to action low priority tasks, those that will take less time to complete, or those that we find enjoyable. 

Per Wiley Publishing’s “Time Mastery Profile”, the three major causes for not taking action are because:
We find things unpleasant
We find things difficult
We feel tough decisions are required and we may be indecisive

Tips that may help:

  • When procrastinating, the best thing you can do is to admit it.  Stop rationalizing and you’ll be more likely to act.
  • Analyze what causes you to put things off. Most of us tend to avoid things that are unpleasant, complex, or overwhelming.
  • Do the toughest tasks first.
  • Tackle unpleasant tasks in small pieces and short time segments.
  • Delegate the task to someone who may enjoy doing it. Others often enjoy what we don’t!
  • Don’t be a perfectionist and accept that some risk may exist.
  • Don’t wait for the right mood as it may be a long time coming.
  • Get started; keep going!

Addressing procrastination requires awareness. Reflect on your reasons why you postpone doing the task and commit to a daily review of what must be done

Make a plan, and then think in terms of Nike’s motto: Just do it!  

Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness, no laziness, no procrastination: never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.
— Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield

Employees, Leadership, and Loyalty

Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence.
—Colin Powell

Success in the workplace requires understanding your employees. Matter of fact, we’ll say that your employees are the biggest component of success, which means that without strong and effective leadership, and without feelings of loyalty, success will be lacking.

Ty Collins defines a loyal employee as: a person who has worked for your company and has always focused on the success of the company. This includes sacrificing their own time and interest to put more energy into the corporation. These selfless acts are measurable and done on a daily basis.

Loyalty is a two-way street. A company and its leaders must be loyal to their employees if they are to expect loyalty in return. John C. Maxwell feels loyalty boils down to COMPASSION.  His formula for achieving success is:


As leaders, we must ensure employees understand the value they provide. Maxwell suggests we make it clear that our leader/employee relationship addresses the following:

Value your team as humans, not resources
People are more important than projects
Know what motivates each person
Share what you value most about each person

Remember that it’s a two-way relationship
What can you do to help them grow and obtain their career desires?
Each person helps you and the organization most when you help them

Keep your promises
Be consistent
Match your actions with your words

Achieving results is essential for growth and sustainability. As a leader, don’t lose sight on devoting time to your employees and building loyal relationships.

How do you view loyalty?  Is it a 2-way street?

Loyalty is a decision, a resolution of the soul.
—Pascal Mercier

Fear Is a Barrier For Success

Courage is resistance to fear and mastery of fear—not absence of fear.
–Mark Twain

We’ve worked with many leaders, teams and organizations over the past couple of decades and have observed commonly shared fears that impact effective leadership and one’s ability to succeed.

Here are 5 common fears that even the best leaders need to be able to recognize and master:

Fear #1 – Fear of documenting a Vision, Mission and Goals
Q. Even seasoned leaders may resist documenting these. Why?
A. There may be feelings of anxiousness when putting one’s thoughts on paper, sharing them with others, having them critiqued, supported, and actioned. There is a fear of trying something new and unknown and wondering if results will be obtained.

Fear #2 – Fear of Delegation and building a Collaborative Team
Q. Why don’t we act as a team?
A. Without shared and agreed upon vision, mission and goals, team members may not understand priorities and strategy and how they can collaborate to achieve even more successes. Delegation shows trust, and trust is the foundation for teamwork.

Fear #3 – Fear of accountability and following processes
Q. What happens if we aren’t accountable for our actions and processes?
A. There is a need to define processes and required roles  and assess what can be done to increase effectiveness. We need ownership and we need repeatable processes for growth to occur.

Fear #4 – Fear of failure
Q. Why do many leaders maintain a low profile and take minimal risks?
A. No one likes to fail or make mistakes so not taking action or any chances sometimes feels like the right thing to do. It isn’t!

Fear #5 – Fear of Success
Nelson Mandela said:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant gorgeous, talented and fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?

Good question! Do you have the courage to live your passion and influence others to learn and succeed? How are you contributing to the effectiveness of your team and business?

Don’t let fear be a barrier to success!

Being brave isn’t the absence of fear.
Being brave is having that fear but finding a way through it.
–Bear Grylls


Life Is Change – Growth Is Optional

The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.
–Albert Einstein

Living in times of change is a constant and because of this there are continued impacts to those we interact with in the workplace (as well as those we live with).

Some have adjusted easier than others, but regardless, what we once viewed as the status quo no longer exists and anxiety and uncertainty are ever present.

Principles of change

  • Change is an ongoing process rather than an event.
  • There is a progressive sequence of change behaviors that need to be experienced and mastered to effectively
  • manage change.
  • Denial, apprehension, anger and resistance are part of the change process.
  • The progression through the phases of change represents an opportunity for growth and responsible risk taking.

Leading through times of change includes:

  • Understanding the phases of change.
  • Pinpointing which stage you (and your team/colleagues) are in.
  • Inspiring yourself and your team to accept, understand, and assess the change(s).
  • Identify who/what will be impacted by the change.
  • View change as a need for growth and improvement vs. being an obstacle/hardship.
  • Understanding the change will help calm nerves and increase feelings of stability.

Since it’s natural to resist change, here are some questions to consider:

What is lost if I don’t support this change? Compared against:
What is gained if I accept the change and help others do the same?

Is my preferred style and behavior limiting me? Compared against:
By stepping out of my comfort zone what more could I accomplish?

What will I regret if I do not make a change? Compared against:
How might I grow personally and professionally by accepting the change?

Change is both a challenge and an opportunity. It requires courage and confidence, and can provide new and exciting opportunities! Learn, Grow, Transform, and Choose Wisely!

The most dangerous quote:
We’ve Always Done It This Way

Who, Me?

Accept responsibility for your actions. Be accountable for your results.
Take ownership of your mistakes.– Anonymous

Accountability. Chances are you know someone that struggles with this, and perhaps maybe even you.

To be a trusted leader, colleague, and friend, we need to be authentic and take ownership of our actions and behaviors.
E-Coach Associates is one of our Strategic Partners and their workplace performance tool QwikCoach shares the following about accountability:

  • Focus on results and “own” them. Successes are to be celebrated!
  • Own failures too. Learn from them; what could be done so they are not repeated?


  • Take ownership.
  • Take responsibility.
  • Buy in completely.
  • Know/support the organization’s vision.
  • Focus on excellence.
  • Be persistent.
  • Overcome barriers.Stay the course.


  • Let yourself off the hook.
  • Own successes but not failures.
  • Look to blame others.
  • Make excuses.
  • Over explain failure.
  • Take more credit than deserved.

And we’d like to add:
DO be realistic about the situation and impacts and take action before the issue escalates
DON’T point fingers
DON’T get caught up in the “Who, Me”? mentality.
DO give thought to what Moliere (French playwright, actor, poet, writer) says:

It is not only what we do,
but also what we do not do,
for which we are accountable

Accountability breeds response-ability.
–Stephen Covey


How Do You Define Leadership?

Leadership is a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal. Leadership stems from social influence, not authority or power. Leadership requires others, and that implies they don’t need to be “direct reports”.
— Kevin Kruse

We’ve learned that the term leadership means different things to different people. We promote the idea that “everyone is a leader” regardless of title since we all have the ability to influence others. (Admittedly, this opinion is sometimes met with controversy!).

We also say leaders are continual learners and that they “take others where they have not been before and would not go by themselves”.

Some of PeopleTek’s Certified Professional Leaders have shared their definition of what a good leader is:

Fabio Abreu:
A good leader is one capable of supporting the vision and making others believe and work together on it. It is the one who challenges their team constantly, making them grow and rise as leaders as well.

Karthikesan Adhinarayanan:
A good leader backs his/her team during the most difficult of situations, takes more than his share of blame, and takes less share of credit from successes.

Chinwe Anyika, PhD:
A good leader is someone who is inclusive, does not compromise quality in talent or outcome, humble, inspires, serves and coaches everyone to be the best of themselves.

Thomson Attasseril:
Leaders enable people to truly develop to their full potential, which they would not have done on their own, and have a positive impact on their lives.

Rosaura Du Toit:
A good leader leads by example, feedback is perceived as a gift, he is present, genuinely listens and provides constructive feedback looking for a win-win solution/goal for both individuals and teams.

Franco Gentile:
Leadership is the ability to influence a group to achieve specific goals. It’s taking people where they’ve never gone before and wouldn’t go by themselves. **BUT also possessing the self awareness to recognize when they, too, need guidance to go beyond their own constraints.**

Jen Hartman:
A good leader is someone who demonstrates passion, integrity, conviction and compassion in their everyday life. Good leaders take self-care seriously and encourage development of their people. They coach and mentor others, and listen more than they speak. They are impactful by how they empower and support the success of others. I aspire to be a good leader in words and actions.

Delora Kirby:
A good leader really listens to their team but makes the tough decisions to do what’s right for overall health of the team and company. They openly support their team members and privately coaches them on areas of opportunity. They protect the team from the day-to-day stressors and keeps the team focused and motivated so they would have a high EQ.

Note: More may be viewed by clicking here.

Are there any definitions you especially align with? Any you disagree with? What about one you would like to add? Let us know!

Leadership is both a research area, and a practical skill encompassing the ability of an individual, group or organization to “lead”, influence or guide other individuals, teams, or entire organizations. Wikipedia