Kicking the New Leader Worry Habit

Let's face it, being a new leader can be scary. Even though people don't talk about it a lot, it is natural to feel overwhelmed and anxious about how to handle situations and their outcome. The thing is, though, worrying can be destructive when left uncontrolled. And as entrepreneurs and leaders, I can guarantee you, you will be placed in high-stress, high-impact situations and even have to make decisions caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place.

So what can new leaders do to help manage harmful worrying?

Really knowing that it’s harmful

The first thing is to actually recognize that it is harmful. Yes, I know. You're probably like: “I know that worrying is harmful.” Okay. But are you fully acknowledging it? Are you fully acknowledging just how harmful it is?

Have you truly considered how it is harming you as a person? It can take a toll on your mental and physical health. You will start feeling physical side effects, symptoms of that constant worry. Your...

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New Leader Development, Key to Unlocking Your Business’ True Potential

To truly unlock a business's full potential requires addressing two complementary aspects in parallel.

The first one is the business side: understanding the strategy, financials, planning, operations, product services, marketing, etc. Basically, all that comes together to make a business functional.

The second one is the people side: the individuals that make the systems work together and fulfill the organization's purpose.

Because many entrepreneurs frequently start out by themselves, they typically will focus more on the functional side of things to build enough of a profitable business to, let's say, start paying themselves.

But what happens is, as the business starts to grow, they still heavily favor the functional side to the detriment of the people side.

So what can micro-business owners do to ensure that they are growing the people at the same time as the business?

Understanding how leaders make the difference

The first thing is to understand how leaders make the difference....

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The Importance of Keeping Your Team Connected to Your Business Strategy

Typically an organization's mission and core values are shared with new team members as part of some form of onboarding activity.

Then, they may be repeated at a yearly meeting of sorts. And maybe at that yearly meeting of sorts there's also going to be goal sharing and various ways that progress will be measured.

And for most organizations, that's pretty much the extent of the team member's exposure to ongoing strategy, the mission, and the values.

Basically, “Here's how we're going to measure and here's where we're going.” And that's pretty much it. It's sporadic and it's vague.

So what can a leader do to help create more opportunities for team members to connect with that broader picture?

Make sure the elements are clear

The very first thing to verify is whether the elements are clear. Do individual team members understand what is the organization's vision, its mission, and its goals?

It's one thing to share these with the team. It’s another to know that they...

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Developing Trust to Build a High-Performance Team

Like many leadership skills, having the ability to build trust begins with recognizing the importance of this activity and understanding the necessity to behave in a manner that will contribute to the development of that much desired trust and credibility.

Yes, some believe that having positional power automatically entitles them to this precious attitude, but I feel that this is actually compliance and not really trust. And to have a truly highly-functioning team, it's essential to build trust, not just have compliance.

So what are some strategies that can help us build trust?

Open Communication

It all starts with open communication. Share information about the decisions and the associated actions. Be clear about your intentions, about the goals.

That doesn't mean being careless and justifying everything by saying it’s “speaking the truth”. We can't just come in and say whatever and start blaming and finger-pointing and throwing people under the bus because...

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Creativity in Entrepreneurship: The Often-Neglected Key to Innovation and Growth

When evaluating how our business is doing, we tend to gravitate toward stats. Numbers are that objective measure of growth or signal that there are significant issues that need to be addressed.

I know, for me, digging into numbers is that comfortable place. I just love it when I analyze the impact of implemented strategies. Okay… I don't always love it when the results aren't what I was hoping for, but it's certainly that fairly objective measure where I can really see whether the strategies are working or not.

But, as much as stats are essential – and a good SWOT – one aspect that is frequently neglected is measuring whether we’re remaining creative.

Creativity is key in helping entrepreneurs stand out from the crowd and gain a competitive edge.

So, in which ways do we employ creativity to ensure we’re driving innovation and growth?

Recognizing opportunity

One way is in recognizing opportunity. In another article, I talked about how to separate that...

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Earned Confidence, a Powerful Leadership Tool

Recently, I was chatting with a fellow business owner about training their new leaders. As part of that conversation, we talked about the importance of new leaders finding ways to build their leadership confidence.

There are some very real consequences to both having leaders who are recklessly confident and those who are unjustifiably insecure.

So how do we create conditions that will encourage new leaders to find that middle ground where they are both confident yet still able to lead with humility?

Think ahead

Ideally, it starts before you promote them. If you have a tendency of promoting internally, then you've probably already identified individuals that you feel would make great formal leaders.

And before you just assume that they want that responsibility, check with them because they may not be interested. Not everyone wants to lead a team. It doesn't make them bad people or bad employees! It's just a choice.

Some people love what they do right now and they want to do it for...

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An open communication culture starts with the leader

Talking about the leadership mindset and communication culture of a particular team, Alan Mulally, former CEO of Ford Motor Company, said “Like a lot of companies, you only brought an issue to your supervisor if you had a solution. So now, you’re just managing a secret. You don’t know what’s going on.”

This approach is not unique to that particular organization. I remember being given that same advice as an employee. Being told just that: don’t go to your supervisor with a problem if you don’t have a solution. And later, in a position of leadership, I was reprimanded by a colleague for having brought up an issue during a leadership meeting. I was told: “We don’t tell him these things. It makes us look back.”


That blew my mind. It made absolutely no sense to me.

“Isn’t that why we have these meetings?”

Of course, now, years later, with much more experience, now as an executive, I can say with...

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Crazy Idea or Business Opportunity?

Phil Knight, the creator of Nike, once said: “History is one long processional of crazy ideas. The things I loved most – books, sports, democracy, free enterprise – started as crazy ideas.”

Let's face it. Entrepreneurs are usually known for having a ton of ideas. They're idea-making machines. And it might be tempting, as a small business owner who's looking to grow, to try all these ideas. That infamous shiny object syndrome. “This is exciting, let's try this.” “That is exciting. Let's try that.”

But what quick framework could you use to begin evaluating whether you should explore pursuing your latest “crazy idea”?

Is there a market for it?

The very first thing to consider: is their market for it? Are there people with access to money who will be willing to part with their hard-earned cash for what you're offering? Because if you're targeting a group that can't afford what you're offering, that's problematic.

Of course, if...

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Problems Masquerading as Time Management Issues

Anyone leading any kind of initiative knows that there are several aspects, departments, teams that come together to contribute to success.

And the leader is usually the one keeping an eye on everything.

We are frequently the head juggler, trying to keep all the balls in the air, or – at least – we work really hard at not dropping too many. As part of that juggling exercise, we tend, some of us anyway, to want all the things all at once this month.

What we must keep in mind though, is that there's an extremely fine line between pushing for results and overextending ourselves and our team.

If you find yourself, or you're finding your team, frequently remarking that there's not enough time, then it's important to start digging into the issue and make sure that we're not in fact setting ourselves up or setting our team up for burnout.

So how can we evaluate whether what seems on the surface like a time management issue is actually hiding a much larger problem?

Review your...

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Where to Start to Craft a Solid People Strategy

In the past few years, anyone leading an organization must have noticed that there has been a higher focus on improving organizational culture, redefining the employee experience, and leading with positive impact.

And one of the strategies used to help organizations implement transformational initiatives is to craft a solid people strategy.

For leaders who know that they should have a people strategy but don't know where to start, here are a few ideas that can help.

Break down the journey

The first thing to do is to break down the journey into sections and work on one aspect of it at a time.

Create a targeted talent acquisition strategy 

The first section to start with is creating a targeted talent acquisition strategy. Why would you want to create a targeted talent acquisition strategy? To make sure that you're attracting the candidates who are most likely to be successful within your organization.

The “right talent” is not the same for everyone. Not everyone has...

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