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Champion Leadership Blog

5 Traits of a C.H.A.M.P. Leader

The 5 Traits of a CHAMP Leader

These five characteristics of a CHAMP are to be applied inside organizations in two ways:

1. A standard for how organizational leaders must lead;

2. As a standard against which all potential team members are measured for during the hiring process and are held accountable to after becoming a part of the team.

These are same characteristics expected of all within an organization although they are applied slightly differently. This article will outline how leaders should apply the five traits. For an overview of how individual team members should be expected to appy these CHAMP traits view the article titled, The 5 Self-Leadership Traits Expected of Employees in a High-Performing, High-Morale Workforce.

Leaders need to know how to gain commitment to a compelling vision and the strategy to achieve it. This also includes investing the time and energy in creating that compelling vision and strategy and having the courage to ask for help in achieving it. This comes from leaders who know how to communicate in a way that influences their team members in a positive way. It’s a way of communicating that shows how each individual team member benefits when the organization fulfills it vision and strategy, gaining buy-in from all.

Leaders must lead by example in setting the expectation of constant and never ending improvement, and they show it by being open to feedback from all sources. Being open to feedback means more than just proclaiming there is an “open door” policy. It must be shown by actually taking feedback and true appreciation for that feedback by saying “thank you’ without rationalizing and justifying the present situation and then communicating back to the individual who offered the feedback with what is being done with it (it doesn’t have to be implemented, it just needs to be shown as being truly considered, to have been effective).

Leaders must set the tone that there is accountablityto responsibilities and roles throughout the oganization. Leaders must set up systems for identifying realistic goals and outcomes with accountability to them (in all sports there is a Scoreboard in the arenas, a Scorecard for everyone involved to track progress in a game and a Box Score in the newspaper for all to see the results the next day).

Leaders must be exemplars in showing they are motivated in nuanced ways. It is usually easy for leaders to look motivated by showing up early and staying late and expecting others to do the same. But motivation is more than just “hard work” and “long hours.” It means being motivated to take action on difficult decisions and in challenging situations. This means avoiding procrastination at all costs and refusing to tolerate things that do not improve the organization and support the best efforts of team members.

Leaders must understand human motivation and apply the following assumptions in their approach:

* Everyone on the team wants to do a good job

* Actions/decisions are always done with positive intent with the best resources indivdiuals have available to them at the time

* People want to be recognized for their contributions

* People are motivated by intrinsic factors

Leaders must also lead by example and set the tone for their organization that preparation is vital to an organization’s success. It means that leaders should be certain any meeting they hold are designed in a way in which all those invited to a meeting are aware of their role in the meeting and the purpose for their inclusion, agendas and meeting outcomes should be clearly communicated. Schedules should be well maintained and projected as far in to the future as possible while offering enough flexibility to allow for reasonable adjustments.

The leader should be continually looking for ways to raise the bar on individual and organizational preparation. This includes punctuality, meeting deadlines, returning phone calls, and planning the year, quarter, month, weeks and days to maximize results.

To learn more about applying these 5 Traits of a C.H.A.M.P. Leader to your style of leadership and throughout your work environment you may want to consider a private, 1:1 Breakthrough Leadership Strategy Session. You can learn more about them here.

‘Til next time, make it a great week!
skip weisman, transforming leadership and workplace communication to deliver champion level results

Champion Leadership Tip #7 – The 4 Rules of Effective Delegation

Delegation is like flossing your teeth.

It’s something we are told we need to do regularly but instead we do it infrequently and not thorough enough. Thus, we get poor results from it and refrain from doing more frequently. It’s a downward cycle we need to turnaround.

Great leaders delegate for success!

The best way for leaders to grow into better leaders themselves is to invest in delegating to their direct reports, yet so many are challenged by it.

The challenge comes from fear. Fear of their direct reports not fulfilling the task as comprehensively at as high a level, fear of a lack of follow-through, fear of being seen as dumping grunt work downward, fear of giving too much responsibility to someone not ready for it, fear of having to invest too much time to train/coach someone when the leader could just do it themselves. Which excuse have you used?

Yet, if leaders want to grow their departments or their business overall the number one skill they have to master is delegation. Effective delegation can provide a multitude of results, such as:

  • Improved productivity for the leader
  • Greater opportunities for strategic thinking by the leader
  • Improved self-confidence and self-esteem of the direct reports
  • Improved motivation as the direct report begins working on hire level projects and decisions
  • Higher levels of trust between the leader and direct reports

There are only 4 Key Rules to Effective Delegation leaders need to keep in mind to do it successfully:

Delegation Rule #1
Its about delegation, not abdication – leaders will continue to have ultimate responsibility for the delegated activity getting done and must check-in regularly and possibly coach and mentor until direct report masters the required task. Depending on the level of the person being delegated to leaders will need to balance the accountability with giving too much respect and autonomy.

Delegation Rule #2
Specificity in instructions, directions, details and expectations a MUST – without all of the above leaders offer their direct reports nothing but fear and uncertainty in moving forward to learn the task and what is expected from them. This will guarantee a failed delegation experience, preventing a desire for further opportunities on both sides.

Delegation Rule #3
Its about a successful result, not a specific process – too many leaders are in love with their methodology and tactics. There are more ways than one to skin a cat. Allow the person being delegated to to do it their own way at first and they may surprise you with their ability. They may even have a better way. Either way, debrief after to decide the best way to do it next time, and if it really doesn’t matter let them do it their way.

Delegation Rule #4
Failure Is Just a Learning Opportunity – Both the leader and the direct report must be open to allowing failure. Growth comes through learning and learning comes through failure. Allow failure, use it as a teachable moment and build from there.

Have fun!

Great Leaders Measure for Success

I am writing because I recently had a conversation with a prospect regarding a consulting project that I think has value for other organizational leaders.

This prospect and I agreed on the project objectives and then I asked how were we going to measure success and our progress towards those objectives. His reply left me speechless:

“I don’t know and I don’t care about a return on the investment, I just want us to be the best we can be,” he said.

I’m confused. How can you be “the best you can be” if you don’t know how to measure progress between where you are and where you are going? It’s impossible.

Great leaders determine metrics to measure performance and growth towards desired success levels.

One of “The 3 Strategies of Champion Organizations” I wrote about in my white paper earlier this year is “performance management.” This means organizations that want to be Champions must measure performance with clear standards and metrics.

This is standard in sports. Athletes are constantly measured by their statistical performance. There are box scores in the newspaper everyday, stats are lit up on a scoreboard. Fans, coaches, teammates, media and owners know how whether the athletes are performing to expectations.

And, it is well documented how if performance isn’t at or above the expected standards, changes are made.

Business and organizational leaders must take the same approach.

How can you, as a leader, be better at the following:

  • Defining specific performance standards and expectations with measurable metrics;
  • Communicating the importance of tracking these performance measures;
  • Coaching your team members to move towards achieving the performance standards
  • Be willing to make appropriate changes if the performance standards can not be met after reasonable efforts at development.

But, my main point of this post is that you really can’t be a successful leader if you are not willing to clearly identify measurable results.

What do you think?

Here’s a link for to learn how to get better at managing for high performance.

Champion Leadership Tip #6 – Focus On Being Respected, Not Liked

Because I was young and naive when I took a leadership position during my first career in Minor League Baseball management, my focus as a leader was to keep everybody happy so they would “like me.”

Big mistake!

This leadership strategy backfired and had the reverse affect. However, it took a long time, like 10 years, before I realized I needed to improve my leadership skills.

Focusing on just “being liked” caused me to be slow in making decisions, to not tell people the complete truth, to promise things I couldn’t deliver and just be wishy-washy in general. These are not the traits of a strong leader and create a low-morale, low trust work environment.

As years went by and I carried that leadership approach into my future roles as general manager and president of other franchises, I continued to struggle with environments that evolved into low morale workplaces. Years later, when the stress of these negative work environments became too great for me to ignore (one situation led directly to the dissolution of my first marriage), I realized that I had to step up and improve my leadership skills and begin to address issues promptly, directly and respectfully.

When I made that shift in my approach, my focus changed. I began to focus on becoming a respected leader first, and a leader that was liked, second.

When you focus on being respected. You can be both respected and liked as a leader. Not everyone will like you, but over time they will respect you. Those that truly do not like or agree with your style will move on to an environment that fits more with their personality. When that happens you will find more people joining your team that are attracted to your style.

How to do this is more art than science and next week I’ll write about how to balance the two most important people management techniques so that you can become a respected and liked leader.

But, first you have to make a decision do you want to…

1) Focus on being “liked” by those you lead and you will be neither liked or respected, or

2) Focus on being “respected” by those you lead and you will be respected and have great chance at being “liked” too.

If you would like to improve the leadership skills of those in your organization it starts with understanding the foundation of influential leadership communication, which I train and coach to leaders at all levels of organizations in a program called “Influencing Options.”

Great Leaders Embrace Failure, Then Succeed Faster and Greater! What About You?

Here’s a 90-second video worth watching.

This video proves failure is absolutely necessary and should be embraced if we want to success beyond our wildest imagination.

As one of my business mentors tells me, “If you’re not failing, you’re not trying!”

How did you fail forward this year?  Enjoy the video!

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