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Leadership Skills for Challenging Times
Ed Sykes

Leadership Skills for Challenging Times
By Ed Sykes �2003

We consistently face new and ever growing challenges in the workplace such as reorganizing, downsizing, and �left out sizing.� We are faced with the question, �How do we lead in this storm of change?� It may seem difficult at times and the decisions we make define our short-term and long-term outcomes. I will share with you five leadership techniques guaranteed to keep you on track during these difficult times.

* Integrity.
I put this first because the lack of integrity will make or break you as a professional, as a leader, as a person in the long run. The lack of this will turn yesterday�s heroes in today�s villains. For example, �MCI was the apple of the business community�s eye. High revenues, high profits, and high growth; MCI was beating the competition hands down. Then it was discovered that there were gross accounting irregularities that accounted for the astounding profits. You see, management made a decision, �Do I continue to sustain good growth and be able to look at myself in the mirror or do I cook the accounting books and spend the rest of my time covering up this integrity deficiency? The real shame of the MCI situation was that AT&T, Sprint, and others in the industry had to cut costs and lay off thousands of employees to compete with MCI�s false numbers. The lack of integrity at MCI not only affected the company but also the livelihood of thousands and the industry as a whole. I was recently speaking with a recently retired City Council member who is well respected in the community. I asked her what the secret was to her success while on the council? She mentioned that one of her political adversaries said to her, �While you were on the council, I didn�t like the way you voted, but I respected the way you voted because you were consistent with your votes and had the city�s best interest in mind.� Ask yourself what decisions that you make are right for the long term? Be consistent in your actions, whether it is with management, your team, or your family.

* Knowledge.
With change happening faster and faster every moment, it is extremely important that you gain the knowledge to master these changes. You owe it not only to yourself, but to your team and management. As I always say, �It�s not having the right answer, it�s that you have the right answer faster than before.� Many times during my teambuilding programs a student will say, �I didn�t know where to find the answer.� Then I will say, �That is an unacceptable answer.� Because part of being a leader is acquiring the skills to find the right answers. With the Internet, classroom and online training, mentors, etc., the knowledge is at your fingertips. Challenge your team members to use the same resources to acquire the knowledge to master their challenges. By acquiring this knowledge, you will be able to navigate your team through the ocean of change and achieve your goals.

* Decisiveness.
You have seen them. They wait for information, then more information before making a decision. Then they need more information to support the information they already have. Then they need a committee to analyze the information. Then they wait for the perfect time to make the decision. Well, you know what I mean. Anyone you know? Make the decision! Good things happen when you take action; you grow, you adapt, and your team grows. There is no perfect time to make a decision. Leaders make decisions based on past experience, putting into action the decision, and staying and adapting the decision if needed. But make the decision. The worst quality you can show your team is indecision. What do you think your team sees when you can�t make a decision? Make the decision and go for it.

* Vision.
This is the ability not only to see what is the present - anyone can do that - it�s the ability to see the future. Outstanding leaders can not only see their team for what they can do now, but what they can become, and paint the picture for them. These leaders are consistently communicating and coaching their team members to that vision. One of the best ways, and least used methods, to convey your vision is the team meeting (Teambuilding and Coaching Skills for Outstanding Results). Every meeting should start out with the team vision, mission, and goals; and the rest of the meeting should tie into the vision. For example, the motivation portion of the meeting should tie into the vision, the information portion of the meeting should tie into the vision, the training portion of the meeting should tie into the vision, etc. Also, invest time to develop your team members� personal visions and show them how they can accomplish their personal goals by tying into the overall vision. By consistently communicating the vision, your team will move with purpose, feel they are personally making a difference, and achieve their goals sooner.

* Unselfishness
Stephen Covey, in his successful book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, wrote that a true leader must be a servant to the ones he or she leads. The leader must be able to �give of oneself for the good of the team.� In other words, be unselfish in words and action. Be unselfish in praise of others, in public, especially in front of management. Be unselfish in the ability to take time to listen, really listen to your team�s concerns. A recent management survey said that the average time management invests doing �pure listening� to employees during the year is a mere two hours-just two hours! What was meant by �pure listening� time was listening with eye contact, acknowledgement, and not answering the phone while listening, not speaking with another person while listening, etc. Be unselfish in the ability to help your team. Whether it�s the ability to readily assist with a difficult telephone call, jump in and remove road blocks for team members, or �be there� for a team member during challenging moments. Believe me, your team will remember those moments and excel for you.

Now I challenge you to put into action just one of the leadership techniques I mentioned above to achieve your vision, your mission, and your goals in the future.

About the Author

Ed Sykes is a professional speaker, author, and success coach in the areas of leadership, motivation, stress management, customer service, and team building. You can e-mail him at mailto:[email protected], or call him at (757) 427-7032. Go to his web site,, and signup for the newsletter, OnPoint, and receive the free ebook, "Empowerment and Stress Secrets for the Busy Professional."

Free Fun Team Building Games Activities News

Club 360 a degree of parental ease - Dallas Morning News (subscription)

Dallas Morning News (subscription)
Club 360 a degree of parental ease
Dallas Morning News (subscription), TX - Mar 2, 2007
"We do a lot of team building. We want them to make friends and learn that skill. "We try to make it as fun as we can because some kids are there from when ...

Community Calendar - Times-Herald

Community Calendar
Times-Herald, MD - 16 hours ago
Enjoy the family fun at our upcoming fund-raising event! Lots of games and activities, prizes and give-a-ways for everyone! Marshy Point Nature Center, ...

Things to do this week and beyond - Salt Lake Tribune

Things to do this week and beyond
Salt Lake Tribune, UT - Mar 1, 2007
"A SEUSSICAL NIGHT" This free family event will be chock full of activities, crafts, stories, games and a special guest visitor from 7 to 8:30 pm at the ...

Math Day brings out the numbers, parents and fun - Spooner Advocate

Math Day brings out the numbers, parents and fun
Spooner Advocate, WI - Feb 28, 2007
22, where math was the center of fun activities throughout the hallways, the classrooms, the library, and even the gym. Games involving math and brain ...

A matter of values - Express Computers

Express Computers
A matter of values
Express Computers, India - 22 hours ago
Sify has a committee called “Fundoos”, which focusses on creating fun at work place. There are many games and competitions that are organised both in-house ...

East Baptist - Sherman Denison Herald Democrat

East Baptist
Sherman Denison Herald Democrat, TX - 16 hours ago
There will be no other activities. Grow G. Team will meet at 9:30 am Tuesday. The church has a devotional and singing for the residents at Brentwood Place ...

Outdoor and Recreation News and Events - Tampa Bay Newspapers

Outdoor and Recreation News and Events
Tampa Bay Newspapers, FL - Mar 1, 2007
There will be live music, food and drinks and it isn’t necessary to run since there will be other festivities, including a Kids Fun Run and 1.5 mile walk. ...

Every School Every Thursday -- Des Moines West -

Every School Every Thursday -- Des Moines West, IA - Mar 1, 2007
Fine and Applied Arts Team would like to invite all students and their families to family arts night March 8 from 6-8 pm There will be games and activities ...

Briefly in Tompkins - Ithaca Journal

Briefly in Tompkins
Ithaca Journal, NY - Mar 1, 2007
Dinner will be at 6 pm, with fun and games to follow. The evening is free and open to the community. There will be a representative from the American ...

Skating with the Squirts - Princeton University The Daily Princetonian

Skating with the Squirts
Princeton University The Daily Princetonian, NJ - Feb 28, 2007
... that's the most fun." Part of the Tigers' success can be attributed to the emphasis McNally and Koch have placed on team-building activities. ...