The Mood Elevator and Secrets of an 80-Year-Old Triathlete

The Mood Elevator and The Secrets of an 80-Year-Old Triathlete

Guest post by Dr. Larry Senn

I don’t know how to say the word “retirement” as the concept is foreign to me. I tell people “how can I retire from my purpose” which is to help more and more people live life at their best mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually.

The Mood Elevator is the best tool I have found to support me and others in that purpose. And Senn Delaney the firm I founded 40 years ago is best at creating healthy cultures where that purpose is alive. I still love writing about the Mood Elevator, speaking about it to groups and being an active partner in a firm that teaches it as part of shaping the culture of companies around the world.

Most weeks I am traveling around the country meeting with, coaching and facilitating culture shaping session. Weekends and most mornings I am running, biking, weight lifting or swimming as part of training for the half dozen sprint triathlons I do each year. I win most in my age group because I’m often the only person in the group (last man standing).

The Mood Elevator is the best tool I have found to support me and others in that purpose.

Family is incredibly important to me, and I am committed to being fit to keep up with all of them including a teen age son we had when my wife was 52 and I was 65. I’m blessed to have raised a very adventurous family with 5 children and 5 grandchildren so in the summers you’ll find me water skiing, off road motorcycle riding, zip lining, or jumping on the trampoline with my kids and grand kids.

This is probably not what most people picture for an 80 year-old so I am frequently asked “how do you do that?”

I think it is largely based on having a purpose which inspires me to need to be my best. For me that purpose is family and the work I do. I can’t do that if I’m not at my best and I can’t be at my best mentally and emotionally if I’m not at my best physically. That belief and the understanding that you use it or lose it and the body is a sacred gift provides me motivation and some discipline. I tell people that when I look at a chocolate chip cookie I see my 17 year old sons face– and I don’t eat it.

For those who want to know some specifics here are my tips from the 82-year old triathlete:

  1.  If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. This motto came from Dr. Kenneth Cooper who wrote the original book titled It states that the body doesn’t wear out; it rusts out from lack of use. After reading this book I changed my mindset on movement, I had always been an athlete growing up but once I started my business and I got busy I stopped making the time for exercise. This book encouraged me to develop a regular cardiovascular exercise routine and I started running 50 years ago, and I haven’t stopped since.
  2. Aerobics and Beyond. There are three important types of exercise that I make an effort to incorporate into my routine: aerobics, anaerobic, and stretching. My aerobics is my running- I also swim and bike ride which I picked up after I did my first triathlon at 70 years old. For anaerobic, I do strength training. Strengthening your muscles helps with core strength which prevents back injuries and improves posture, it increases bone density, and increases your metabolism which can help with weight loss. The last and perhaps most neglected form of exercise is As we get older we become stiff and less flexible, I notice in some elderly people that when they’re driving they can’t even turn their neck far enough to see what’s behind them when they’re driving- this is an image that motivates me to stretch regularly.
  3. Foods You Choose. There is so much information that I have read over the years on what the best food to eat is. I do firmly believe that the food I eat has had a profound impact on my health. I haven’t had to be on any medication, I have had no sign of high cholesterol, blood pressure, or any other medical issues and my doctors are often astounded when they do my blood work on the kind of shape I’m in. Below is the foods I have tried to avoid and what I incorporate daily that has helped me keep healthy.
What I avoid:
  • Saturated fats from dairy products, processed or red meat, and the wrong oils (saturated or trans fats) found in most processed food
  • Simple carbohydrates and non-naturally occurring sugars found in pastries, desserts, soft drinks, white flour, and most fruit juices
On the other hand, these are what I try to get plenty of:
  • Vegetables, whole fruits, and nuts like almonds and walnuts
  • Protein mainly from legumes (beans and lentils) and other plant products. If more protein is needed, I use plant-based protein powder supplements. For meat, I choose fish, such as wild caught salmon or tuna.
  • The right oils, especially those that have high omega-3s
  • Fiber from vegetables, as well as grains such as brown rice, oatmeal, and whole wheat
  • Antioxidants, such as those found in blueberries, acai berries, and pomegranate juice
  • Water, while limiting juice consumption and cutting out fish

 It took me a while to develop and implement these habits and guidelines for myself. All it takes is a small step towards bettering your health. From my experience, it has been so incredibly worth it and allows me the gift to play with my kids and grand kids and do the work I love.

About Dr. Larry Senn

Dr. Larry Senn pioneered the field of corporate culture and founded in 1978, Senn Delaney, the culture shaping unit of Heidrick & Struggles. A sought-after speaker, Senn has authored or co-authored several books, including two best-sellers. His newest is The Mood Elevator (August 2017), the follow up to his 2012 book, Up the Mood Elevator. You can learn more about Larry and his work at his website, www.themoodelevator.com.

 

feedback

This Feedback Could Change Your Life!

My Love of Feedback

I published a piece on my love of feedback several months ago and I am back to introduce another method of delivering feedback that works exponentially well.

With all the talk about eliminating performance management processes, it’s imperative to have something else, a process, to provide feedback in place.  This is so employees know how they are doing, to repeat productive behaviors or eliminate counter-productive behavior.

Imagine for a Moment

Imagine for a moment that you recently gave some feedback to a team member. You told her that her meeting agendas looked great, but she needed to significantly improve her presentation and meeting management skills.

It’s time to follow up a few weeks later to find out why she hasn’t made the changes needed to be more effective in the areas mentioned. In your follow-up, you discover that she didn’t understand what she could do to improve and that your feedback generated more questions than the benevolent help to intended. She was left thinking “What’s good about my agendas that I can leverage again?” and “What’s wrong with my presentation skills?” and “How did I mismanage the meeting?”

Developed by The Center for Creative Leadership, the Situation – Behavior – Impact (SBI) Feedback tool outlines a simple structure that you can use to deliver more effective feedback. It focuses your comments on specific situations and behaviors, and then outlines the impact that these behaviors have on others.

[Effective] Feedback is a focused dialogue between a manager and an employee, a method of sharing information and perspectives about performance. The goal of ongoing feedback is to identify where performance is effective and where performance needs improvement.

Effective feedback helps the receiver understand exactly what he or she did and what impact it had on you and others. When the information is specific, yet without interpretation, judgement, or evaluation, there is a better chance that the person hearing the  feedback will be motivated to begin, continue, or stop behaviors that affect performance.

Situation – Behavior – Impact

The Situation – Behavior – Impact technique of giving feedback is simple and contains three elements:

SITUATION: Anchors feedback in time, place, and circumstances and helps receiver remember and/or understand the context.

BEHAVIOR: Observable actions that can be recorded (audio or video) and allows feedback receiver to know exactly what he or she did that had impact.

IMPACT: Feelings and thoughts the feedback giver had, and how the feedback giver or others behaved as a result of the feedback receiver’s behavior.

In an organizational and work context, the impact of the behavior can include work outcomes, client satisfaction, work team, and/or the larger organization and business. It can also include the impact on the individual who demonstrated the behavior; in essence, the consequences or result of their behavior on their reputation, perceived professionalism, capability, etc.

Most often, a description of the impact will start with, “I felt …” or, “I was” or, “It appeared to me others were … “.  If you find yourself saying, “you were … “, you’re probably on the wrong track. An impact statement is not an interpretation of why the individual showed that behavior, and it is especially important not to label the behavior in a psychological way or to make a judgment about the person.

SO, before you jump on the bandwagon and eliminate your performance management process, contact us to help you and your employees give each other more effective feedback.  Getting this process in place first will help you make sure you make the right decision in the long term.

Who Are We

EDGE Business Management Consulting, a Network Partner with the Center for Creative Leadership, is a Human Capital Consulting firm, focusing on three primary areas to help you achieve exponential growth.  We can serve you in many ways, however our focus is in the areas of Talent Management, Organizational Development, and Leadership Development.

For immediate inquiries, contact Dan Freschi at (414) 301-3343 or email dan@edgebmc.com, and visit our website at www.edgebmc.com.

Learn to Love the Process not the Result

Learn to Love the Process not the Result

Learn to Love the Process not the Result

Over a long weekend, watching my son and his team experience the highs and lows of competitive baseball, I had a very cathartic conversation with one of his baseball coaches over a 2-hour wait until they played again.  We talked about baseball, the military, and everything in between.  One thing he said to me I’ve known for as long as I can remember, but this time it really struck me and has been rattling around in my head.  As we were talking about baseball, he said “you have to learn to love the process and not the result”.

Some context.  This particular coach on my son’s team was drafted by the Brewers in the mid 90s and unfortunately never made out of the college ranks.  He received high level coaching and advice from a young age through his early twenties about how to play baseball at a highly competitive level.  And now he is the head coach for his older son’s team and an assistant coach for his younger son’s teams of which my son is member, imparting his knowledge and wisdom, developing these boys into young men.

Through the course of our conversation I could not help but think about the correlation to and lessons for developing leaders, whether aspiring or seasoned, the message was the same.

The process of developing the skills to play baseball is a paradox, it’s simple yet complex.  Throw the ball catch the ball, see the ball hit the ball, simple, yet it’s important to have the right arm angle and body posture all in sync to throw a 96 mph strike or hit to the opposite field, complex.

Developing the skills to play baseball is much like developing the skills to be an effective leader.  Simple, from the perspective that a leader has a title now and tells others what to do and they do it, but complex from the perspective that the leader needs to understand how to emotionally connect with each one of his or her direct reports and engage them on an individual basis to motivate them to want to do something on their own accord.  The first perspective represents a result.  You have a title and now tell people what to do.  While the latter perspective represents the process.  The process of learning about self, learning about others, and learning about the context in which one is leading.

As one develops into a successful and effective baseball player, you have to practice, change, try something new, fail, practice again, fail again, try again, and practice some more until you get into a rhythm where you can deliver results consistently (yet, a career .300 batting average might be HOF worthy).

To me, this looks like the same process a mentally tough, emotionally strong, ego-in-check, leader would follow to develop their leadership skills.  While it is true some are born predisposed to be great athletes, the same is true for leaders, however, the process remains the same, simple, yet complex.  Add or expand to the complexity by thinking about a specific position such as a catcher or from a business perspective an overseas assignment.

A leader needs to learn to love the development process not the result.  If a leader can learn to love the process they will likely get an even better result (At EDGE BMC we believe in leveraging the 70-20-10 development process).

You can read a book about baseball, watch a video, but there is nothing quite like going out to a diamond, experiencing baseball for yourself and going through the development process.  Such is the same for leadership, reading the latest NYT bestseller or attending a workshop does not make you a better leader.  You have to actually practice, change, try something new, fail, practice again, fail again, try again, and practice some more until you get into a rhythm where you can deliver results consistently.  Can you succeed your first time out?  Sure you can, but don’t get complacent, cocky, and careless.

As one develops into a successful and effective leader or baseball player, you have to practice, change, try something new, fail, practice again, fail again, try again, and practice some more until you get into a rhythm where you can deliver results consistently.

Think about all the successful people in your life, they’ve ascended to the levels they are at because they learned to love the development process.  They learned that failure is okay as long as it turns into learning and a new beginning requires something else to end.

Whether you are a struggling small business owner, a highly successful athlete, you have to learn to love the process.  The process is going to be hard work in the end, but the pay-off will be much greater, the result will more rewarding when you fall in love with the process.

Process Leads to Results

Chase’s Head Coach on why we do this for our kids:

We do it for the excitement on our kids faces when they win a championship game.  We do it because being part of a team is a valuable lesson. We do it because sometimes we lose and learning to lose gracefully is a valuable lesson.  Lastly we do it because when down 7 runs, and nothing seems to be going right, perseverance, teamwork and determination made our kids successful.  There are few other activities that teach kids these lessons outside of competition.

 

EDGE Business Management Consulting, a Network Partner with the Center for Creative Leadership, is a Human Capital Consulting firm, focusing on three primary areas to help you achieve exponential growth.  We can serve you in many ways, however our focus is in the areas of Talent Management, Organizational Development, and Leadership Development.

For immediate inquiries, contact Dan Freschi at (414) 301-3343 or email dan@edgebmc.com, and visit our website at www.edgebmc.com.

For the Love of Feedback

Those that know me well, know that I am a huge fan of feedback. I love feedback of all kinds and constantly ask for it to get better and make changes to how I approach things, train others, speak, teach, etcetera. My colleagues at a previous employer even called me the Feedback King.

Yellow Card

ROTC Yellow Card – Click to see larger

I believe my love of feedback started when I was developing in ROTC to be an Army Officer. In ROTC we had to complete the Cadet Self-Assessment Reports or yellow cards. These yellow cards were required after every mission and assignment when we were in some form of a leadership role. Yellow cards were a summary of our performance while in the leadership role and was detailed using the well-known STAR model, where we would describe the Situation, assigned Task, the Actions taken, and the Results.

 

Blue Card

ROTC Blue Card – Click to see larger

At the same time the student cadre or leader would complete a blue card called the Leadership Assessment Report. This report was where they rated behavior actually observed and recorded their counseling, and would measure certain attributes, skills, and actions.

We would then meet for a quick counseling session to compare notes and discuss my performance. The discussions focused on things I did well and where I needed to improve, along with actions I planned to take to sustain or change the behavior.

As a cadet and as student cadre I experienced both sides of giving and receiving feedback. This practice, however, did not end with my commissioning. This practice of feedback continued through my time in all my professional military schools. Whether it was at the Infantry School or at the Combined Logistics Captains Career School doing peer evaluations through leading soldiers, teams, and units on active duty with counseling, evaluation reports, and pulse and climate surveys. Feedback was a constant and always encouraged.  I encouraged it despite rank and protocol, as long as it was done respectfully and with the proper intent.

Another powerful means of giving and receiving feedback that I still find extremely valuable today is the After Action Review or AAR.  The Army training circular shares that:

The AAR is a professional discussion of an event, focused on performance standards, that enables soldiers to discover for themselves what happened,why it happened, and how to sustain strengths and improve on weaknesses. It is a tool leaders and units can use to get maximum benefit from every mission or task.

The AAR in a corporate or professional setting can be executed in the same way, as a structured debrief process for analyzing what happened, why it happened, and how it can be done better by the individuals involved and those responsible for the project , event, or situation. 

Take a look at the link provided below for more info on how to conduct an AAR.

You’ve probably already seen these, but here are some tips I’ve learned over the years about feedback:

  • Never, ever give someone harsh, critical, developmental feedback in the presence of others. This can be extremely embarrassing to the person receiving the feedback.  Find the right time and place to pull them aside in private.
  • Only give feedback on the things that you heard someone say or behaviors you saw someone do.  Giving feedback from a 3rd party, on something you did not hear or see can be a slippery slope and deteriorate trust.
  • Make feedback a dialogue.  Avoid making assumptions. Make sure to check your information and biases, giving the benefit of the doubt to the other person.
  • Allow yourself to be emotional.  Deal with your emotions, allow yourself some time to be mad, angry, sad, upset, …., and then comeback and deliver the feedback.  Use that time to also prepare, write down what you want to say, focusing on what the things said or done, and as a result how they made you feel and the outcome.
  • Be specific.  Vague feedback might seem insincere or calculating.  Saying “I don’t remember exactly what you said, but it … ” diminishes its impact severely.
  • Be Timely.  Give feedback, both positive and developmental feedback, immediately but no more than 5 days after it happens.  Don’t put it off as not urgent if it’s good. Don’t avoid it or put it off if it’s not so good.
  • Avoid the feedback sandwich, “you did great, but here’s what you did wrong, but I thought you did great”.  You can give both positive and developmental feedback in the same conversation, however, you have to finish one type of feedback before giving the other.  In other words, get through the STAR for positive or developmental before giving the other.
  • Always ask for feedback, for everything you do.  Asking for feedback as a leader builds a culture that asking for feedback is encouraged and more than likely when you give it will be also be received well.
  • When you ask for it, do something with it.  Change your behavior and/or change your own self-perception.  Asking for it without doing something with it is disrespectful and can lead to a lack of trust.
  • Listen.  Ask questions. Admit your mistakes.  Listen to learn how they perceived your behavior, ask questions for clarification and examples, admit your mistakes.

Delivering feedback is a skill that must be fostered and developed.  Delivering positive feedback is easy, yet too many leaders don’t do a very good job at it.  Developmental feedback is not always easy to deliver, accept it.  Your best bet will be to find someone to rehearse if it’s going to be emotional.

Early in my career I learned the valuable lessons and gifts of feedback.  Feedback can be one of the most powerful tools for anyone to learn how to use.  It might be clunky at first, but It’s never too late.

 

 

References:

ROTC Blue Card

ROTC Yellow Card

TC 25-20: A LEADER’S GUIDE TO AFTER-ACTION REVIEWS


 

EDGE- Where Leadership Begins is a Human Capital Consulting firm, focusing on three primary areas to help you achieve exponential growth.  We can serve you in many ways, however our focus is in the areas of Talent Management, Organizational Development, and Leadership Development.

For more information, visit our website www.whereleadershipbegins.com or contact us at 414-301-3343.

 

HR’s Business Case for Talent Management

Today’s global economy is forcing a shift in the role human resources plays in organizations, moving from a transactional-administrative role to a strategic partner and facilitator of an organization’s most important asset – its people. However, projects in human resources and their functions may find it particularly difficult to obtain funding, and are typically one of the first things to be cut when budgets are tight. This unfortunate reality is principally due to human resource’s inability to align a credible business case followed by positioning it with key executives as having a quantifiable, direct impact on the bottom-line of the organization. Breitfelder and Dowling (2008) suggest human resources sits in the middle of some of the most compelling and competitive battlegrounds in business, where organizations deploy and fight over that most valuable of resources, their talent. Therefore, building a business case for talent management has become a strategic imperative for human resources professionals that will buttress an organizations ability to achieve its goals and objectives and in due course improve the performance of the bottom-line.

What is Talent Management?
The term talent management was conceived many years ago and initially referred to the programs used to manage and develop the top talent in an organization. Today, it has transformed into a key strategic and sustainable competitive advantage for organizations who are looking to recruit and retain talented employees throughout an organization. Where it was once for only the hand-picked few is now for many employees throughout an organization. Talent management today can be viewed from a holistic and strategic view and may be defined as a method to optimizing human capital through integrated organizational processes designed to attract, retain, develop, motivate and deploy employees, with the goal to create strong culture, engagement, capability, and capacity that meets current and future organizational objectives. Avedon and Scholes (2010) suggest talent are employees with strategic importance to the purpose and objectives of the organization. However, in today’s workplace it has expanded beyond the strategic few at the top to the strategic many deep and wide in the organization.

Building the Business Case
When building the business case, human resource leaders must structure it in a way that business leaders can understand the need. Building the business case for talent management begins by defining a strategy in the context of the business strategy. In other words, the strategy should help the organization to achieve its business goals through focusing on its talent. Business leaders understand the need to make money and talent management, when done well, makes money (Bersin, 2012). Therefore talent management needs to move away from just being a human resources project or program and forward towards being a true sustainable business strategy.

Strategy is about change and should not stand alone as a management process (Kaplan and Nadler, 2001). A talent management strategy needs to describe what the changes will be and how the changes will happen. Strategy maps can help by describing the changes an organization would like to bring about and, just as importantly, the systems and processes that ensure those changes happen. Kaplan and Nadler (2001) see strategy maps explaining what will be different and how organizations change in a cohesive, integrated and systematic way. In that same vein, human resource leaders will face a nearly impossible challenge to persuade executives to fund a business case for a talent management strategy if it fails to reflect a genuine understanding of the business. Consequently, strategy is also about a series of choices to do things differently than competitors so to provide a unique and attractive value proposition to attract, manage, develop, motivate and retain key people. (Kaplan and Nadler, 2001). Mapping a talent management strategy will be integral in demonstrating how an investment in talent management processes and programs can deliver value to the organizations customers and the bottom-line.

Organizational Benefits
Organizational benefits of a talent management strategy will vary depending on the industry and mission, vision, and goals of the organization. Bersin (2011) adds that talent management is not something to copy from a book and that the strategy will be unique to the organization as well as the benefits. However, a structured talent management strategy will systematically close the gap between the current human resources in an organization and the talent it will ultimately need in order to respond to business challenges in the future (Smith, Wellins, and Paese, 2011). Closing this gap will mean the organization will be able to remain competitive and retain key talent, attract new talent, and assemble plans for key roles and people in the organization in order to allow for proper development experiences. According to a study by The Hackett Group, Inc. (2010), they found that organizations with strong talent management strategies were like to see an increase in their bottom-line earnings by 18 percent. Additionally a Bersin study from 2010-2011 showed that organizations deployed strategic talent management saw twice the revenue of other organizations, 40% less employee turnover, along with 38% higher levels of engagement (Bersin, 2011). So, the evidence is clear, organizations that spend money and time on strategic talent management efforts will see their investment essentially pay for itself.

Conclusion
Organizations that deploy effective strategic talent management practices truly understand that talent is a key competitive advantage. Building the business case will be the hardest part for human resources professionals, however, they can help themselves by genuinely understanding the business and seek and give guidance to the executives who generally do not want to invest their time in these processes. Building the business case and coupling it with a strategy map will provide for a simple and powerful way for the human resources professional to demonstrate value and communicate visually how the strategy can be executed. Additionally, it will be critical for the human resources professional to decouple the strategy from being just a human resources initiative but instead a whole organization or business initiative. Doing this will allow for human resources to be viewed as a true strategic business partner. When organizations leverage strategic talent management practices they can project confidence to their market and remain nimble and flexible regardless of the market conditions.

References
Avedon, M. J., & Scholes, G. (2010). Building Competitive Advantage through Integrated Talent Management. In Silzer, R. F., & Dowell, B. E. (Eds.), Strategy-driven talent management: A leadership imperative (73-116). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Bersin, J. (2012, January 22). The Business Case for Talent Management: Steve Ballmer Agrees. Retrieved from http://www.bersin.com/blog/post/2012/01/The-Business-Case-for-Talent-Management--Steve-Ballmer-Agrees.aspx
Breitfelder, M.D., & Dowling, D.W. (2008, July-August). Why Did We Ever Go Into HR? Harvard Business Review, 86, 39-43.
Kaplan, R.S. & Nadler, D.P. (2001). Building Strategy Maps. In Kaplan, R.S. & Nadler, D.P. The Strategy- focused organization: How balanced scorecard companies thrive in the new business environment (pp. 69-105). Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation.
Smith, A.B., Wellins, R.S. & Paese, M. (2011). The CEO’s Guide To: Talent Management A Practical Approach. Pittsburgh, PA. Development Dimensions International. Retrieved from http://www.ddiworld.com/ddiworld/media/booklets/ceoguidetotalentmanagement_bk_ddi.pdf?ext=.pdf
Study Finds Experienced Talent Management Brings Higher Earnings & Other Benefits. (2010). HR Focus, 87(3), 8-9.

Need to Communicate Better? Focus on Synergy

The time we spend communicating is immense, whether it’s face-to-face, email, video, phone, social media, an individual or a networking group, a formal or an impromptu discussion, every interaction must produce results and accomplish its purposes efficiently, effectively and generate as much action as possible. The key to generating maximum action is to focus on generating synergy when we communicate.

Synergy is the interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects.

Simply put synergy means the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The relationship which the parts have to each other is a part in and of itself – the most empowering, unifying and exciting parts.

synergy chalkThe essence of synergy about valuing the mental, emotional, and psychological differences between people. The key to valuing these differences is to realize that all people see the world, not as it is, but as they are, commonly known as perception.

When focused on synergistic communication you are able to develop creative possibilities, including better solutions and services. If synergy isn’t achieved, even the effort will usually result in a better compromise.

Focusing on synergy enables us to be more participative rather than suppressive in our communication. Especially so when making decisions about how to achieve a goal or complete work, make it a habit to ask for others ideas. Be genuine and open to others ideas and their possibilities, build on them and use them.

Dr. Steven Covey in his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People shares that in Habit 6:

Synergy lets us discover jointly things we are much less likely to discover by ourselves.

When we focus on synergy in our communication we generate trust. High trust leads to high cooperation and communication. Leading to better results in many aspects including our business and personal relationships and balance sheets.

Let us show you how we develop synergy with our Syn-EDGE-y Communication Model.  Visit our website at www.edgebmc.com today.
synergy comm model.2

Defining Leadership for Yourself

How would you define leadership for yourself?

Leadership is about influencing the behavior of individuals and groups, and motivating them towards a common goal. Therefore it is a communication process, one between a leader and follower. Leadership can be a positive force such as Abraham Lincoln or a negative force such as Adolf Hitler.

Leadership is a process, a state-of-mind, a choice one makes to demonstrate. Therefore, leadership is personal and unique to the individual. Leaders who demonstrate a positive force of leadership in their organizations do so by developing their followers potential and increase their quality of life, by building meaningful relationships based upon establishing trust, principles, credibility, respect, setting an example and equally important, giving clear structure and purpose to their followers work. Leaders take a genuine, authentic interest in their followers and work hard to provide meaning and purpose to their followers lives and work.

Leadership is about who you are at your core, your values, and your authentic self. If you know who you are, what you believe in, and what you want to do, then regardless of what you are or are not, you still have to make the choice to lead.

There was never a more prevalent time to demonstrate positive authentic leadership than when I served as a commissioned officer in the United States Army.  Many people that I have encountered since I left the service don’t understand the how leaders are developed in today’s military.  At the core we are taught the same sets of tools that all business leaders are taught, even how we use them and why we use is the same.  We just might have different names or acronyms for the tools.  In the military accomplishing the mission is everything, however, without a mentally and emotionally strong and engaged group of soldiers following you, the mission has a strong likeliness of failure.  The health and welfare of a soldier always came before mission and this requires leaders who are confident in who they are, know what they believe in, and respect for the people who surround them, or simply put a great emotional intelligence ability.  Leaders who were toxic and disregarded their soldiers for the sake of the mission, fail.  Without the will of your followers and the freedom of their choice to follow you, you simply are not a leader.