Category Archives: effective leadership

12 Tell-tale Signs That a Person Will Be Successful: What to Look for in a High-Value Person

By James D. Roumeliotis

Whether you’re looking to team-up with someone for a project, business partnership, hire for your organization ─ or even consider as a prospective long-term intimate partner (wink-wink), that individual, whether prospective or on the right track has certain traits which increase the likelihood of his or her success in life and/or business or profession.

This is by no means scientific. However, there are well-known characteristics of existing successful people ─ whether in their profession, trade, in business and or in any other endeavor. There is certainly a specific pattern that decreases the chances of disappointment.

Choose your key person or people wisely

Some people have the knack and intuition, whether they seek and hire talent such as an employee, bet on a senior executive or partner, for business development, or even choose an heir for their empire. What they look for, at the very least, are the following 12 high-value traits in a person, regardless of gender.

1] Ambitious: An essential start as it signifies the person has something he or she really wants to achieve. This could be considered his or her goal(s) in life and will go above and beyond to achieve them.

2] Self-motivated: Constantly taking action and initiative without any prodding by others. Showing commitment and drive to achieve. Likewise, passionate enjoying every moment spent working on a chosen pursuit.

3] Spends Time Productively: This person manages his or her time properly and cognizant that using time effectively increases the chances of accomplishing his or her goals. Among others, practical time spent may include activities such as exercising, reading, learning, volunteering, and devoting quality time with loved ones.

4] Timely & Reliable: They produce winning relationships and results. With such people, it not only means doing what they say, but it also means doing what is right, regardless of what they have committed to. They are results-oriented. If they tell someone they can do something or meet at a certain time, they have made a promise they keep. Being on time shows others that this a person of his or her word and makes the habit of always being on time for meetings and appointments.

5] Takes every Hurdle/Challenge as a Learning Opportunity: Recognizes what he or she is good at and polishes his or her strengths along with acknowledging weaknesses and works to improve them.

6] Enjoys the Company of Successful People: He or she understands and follows the stock phrase of “You’re known by the company you keep.” This person enjoys having others’ success inspire him or her. Those who don’t achieve success would rather be around smaller people because it makes them feel bigger. Moreover, he or she realizes the importance of support from those he or she admires when determined at accomplishing bigger goals.

7] Relentlessly Competitive: The people who are going to be successful in life are super competitive. It doesn’t matter what it is. It’s the one who sees winning as the job that needs to be done, so he or she will show up and do it each and every time. This person is determined to do it better, faster and to the fullest of his or her abilities than most people as he or she thrives on competition and welcomes the challenge.

8] Not a Fan of Excuses/Pretexts: Successful people find a way and refuse to cop-out, whereas failures find feeble excuses to avoid pain and commitment to their obligations and responsibilities.  No successful leader or entrepreneur makes excuses for inaction or action gone wrong. He or she make things happen regardless of the situation or circumstance.

9] Tenacious:  He or she knows that as long as he or she keeps at it, regardless of hurdles to overcome, a victorious outcome will be achieved. It’s all about persistence, perseverance, and determination to get things done.

10] Educates Oneself Constantly: This person has a growth mindset and mindful of the importance of permanent self-development, as well as very curious in nature who seeks to keep learning, discovering, thus improving his or her knowledge and skills.

11] Acknowledges Mistakes: This person is willing to admit to his or her flaws and errors and keeps refining himself or herself, as well as learn from mistakes so they aren’t repeat. In addition, this person possesses integrity with honesty and strong moral principles.

12] People Skills: A genuine interest for others and for long-term relationships. A person with a high EQ. Selfless, willing to help others do well with the ability to get the best out of someone, seeking mutual beneficial outcomes, and loyal to those with whom he or she has committed to. Thus, excellent interpersonal skills are essential for leading effectively.

How do you look for them?

It goes without saying that as far as knowing whether the person or people you seek possess the above characteristics, you ought to be familiar with them for an extensive time. It’s not possible from merely a casual acquaintance or interview.  With the latter, situational/behavioral questions can be asked which may give a glimpse of the candidate’s character and thought process. One way to spot them is identifying people who assume unofficial authority within the framework of their jobs within your organization. Such individuals possess certain traits that distinguish them from others on the team and build their credibility. Two other ways is either through casual or frequent observation over time or through a trusted referral from someone who knows him or her quite well and offers a personal endorsement.

In the end

Realistically, there is no perfect formula to any of this. No one’s ever going to fulfill 100% of the traits unless you’re seeking a unicorn. At the very least, one should expect somewhere between a 70% or 80%. If done right, much of the time, you should be able to put together an incredible team in your business so you will grow it and rise above and beyond. An effective leader doesn’t operate alone and neither taking all the credit.

On a final note, once ideal candidates are discovered and hired, good leadership and employers perform proper onboarding along with empowering them and providing ongoing training and development.

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The Four T’s of Leadership: Truth, Trust, Transparency & Teamwork

By James D. Roumeliotis

Those, like myself, who are drawn to the discipline of “leadership” have read our share of articles, research papers and oodles of third-party opinions on the subject matter. However, most if not all of us, will agree that the definition arrives at the same conclusion: Leadership is a skill and talent, mainly by an individual, to lead, motivate, influence other individuals, teams, and entire organizations to act toward achieving a common goal. In business, this implies directing colleagues and workers with a strategy to meet the company’s attainable goals and objectives.

For leadership to possess credibility, it must earn three sacred principles: Truth, Trust and Transparency plus an additional and equally important one ─ Teamwork. These elements will be expounded below.

Leadership styles

Regardless of leadership style applied, the four T’s presence are not to be discounted.

Without going much into detail on the eight leadership styles, as this subject is an article or book unto itself, its effectiveness is summarized in the following table:

Leadership StyleCommonly EffectiveOccasionally EffectiveRarely Effective
DemocraticX  
Autocratic  X
Laissez-Faire X 
StrategicX  
Transformational X 
Transactional X 
Coach-StyleX  
Bureaucratic  X

The four T’s of leadership

The four “T’s” are considered the cornerstone to a leadership’s personality and long-term success. Those skills are all within reach and should be brought to the top of a leadership personality.  

Truth: Lack of truth expressed in any organization can take many forms. It could be departments not sharing information because it might put them in a bad situation with peers or it could be information not reaching a manager because no one wants to pass-on any bad news. Leaders need to know the truth to make intelligent business decisions and the employees at all levels should know the truth to do their jobs effectively. 

Trust: Without trust, a leader will not succeed instigating a productive team culture. Moreover, the most important attribute building trust is transparency. Leaders build up their team members’ trust by communicating transparently and truthfully – in other words, by being trustworthy. In addition to the importance of team members trusting their boss, it is essential that supervisors also trust their direct reports and facilitate their success by creating the conditions for it.

Transparency: A recent Forbes poll revealed that 50% of employees think their organizations were held back by a lack of transparency. When an individual or an organization is transparent, there are no hidden agendas and no information is being kept from people who need to know it. Transparency also promotes recognition of common goals. This is important because you are not stating one thing while covertly trying to achieve something else. Trust and transparency go hand-in-hand because transparency builds trust.

Teamwork: Teamwork is critical to success in any effort. Excellent leadership requires inspiring the people around them by empowering them, by enabling them to contribute their expertise as a collective and cohesive team, and ultimately trusting them.  Teamwork and leadership in tandem are important because they provide clarity for your team and have a direct impact on the vision of the company and its results.

The way these principles need to be applied will vary with each circumstance. However, the principles themselves remain the same. Therefore, leaders can and should apply these principles in an adaptable way.

The takeaway

Leaders must create the conditions in their organization to succeed, as well as trust their colleagues and workers to do so, and verify that they have done so ─ by keeping in consideration the proverb, “Trust but verify.” By applying the principles of trust, truth, transparency and teamwork, leaders will help ensure their teams’ success. I realize that helping others grow brings me fulfillment. I see how being an educator, mentor or coach and an advisor, as well as an employer are rewarding roles for me. 

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Filed under Business, business transparency, crisis management, decision making management, effective leadership, inept management, leadership, management, reputation management

The Inept Organization: Weak Leadership as the Culprit

by James D. Roumeliotis

Embarrasing Moment Photo - Pants down

How often do you come across a company, either as a consumer or at a business relationship level, and realize how frustrating it is to deal with?

To understand and penetrate the corporate governing structure and “culture”, you need look no further than the upper echelon of the hierarchical tree. It is here that procedural decisions are shaped and executed. An entity’s leadership is expected to head the enterprise by governing its long-term growth and sustained wealth.
Moreover, there is a constant search for the “right” human resources. Recruited and fresh talent must resemble the leadership in tone and style. Call it the organization’s DNA. Exceptional organizations are good at these types of corporate strategies, thus strengthening performance effectively.

We notice that in certain types of B2B transactions, there can be scope for unscrupulous behavior. One or both parties are tempted by “disservice” during their business exchange. Shortsightedness might lend itself to make this underhanded approach appear “profitable” on paper. Such relationships inevitably end badly because they are not conceived with trust or respect.

Success Breeds Success

Companies that foster the right attitudes and strategies put the firm on track for success. Examining their corporate histories, you can witness a trajectory of growth. They have a tendency to dominate their markets and “win” through competent talent, innovation, and an entrepreneurial mindset within the leadership at the executive level. These choices underscore the prosperity and rapid growth of the institution. An examination of Alphabet (Google) or Facebook shows this quite nicely. They are not built like “traditional” corporations nor do they act like them.

Organizational leadership is accountable for creating value for customers, employees and its owners/investors. When Bill Gates conceived Microsoft, he put the firm on track for providing constituent audiences with what nobody else could provide. Understanding “asset” management in an expanded meaning of the term guaranteed that Microsoft would succeed under Gates stewardship.

The opposite is equally true. When top executives lack knowledge or experience for board positions, they should not be promoted to these leadership roles. Some family owned firms run afoul here and this brings up the issues of sustainability and corporate governance. Another weakness in running an organization, in my view, is pushing for short-term profitability at the expense of solid planning. For example, with large organizations, competence is not the primary value but rather connections, politics, and clever tactics. Such “benefits” can usually compensate for incompetence.

No business can continue to prosper unless it attracts fresh and eager talent. Despite the dilemmas within the financial world, top organizations consistently lure new talent with lucrative compensation packages. It is easier for a firm such as Goldman to tap the “best” because of its reputation, size and success than a small local financial player. When Goldman recruits they know where to look, whether it is Harvard or the London Business School. Prospects will already contain the seeds of the corporate culture in their past. Given the “right” conditions, new talent blossoms. Qualifications are never enough. They are a starting point reinforced by attitude and values. The selection and screening process is designed by HR to weed out inappropriate candidates.

Established software companies’ interview process include quizzing candidates with challenging technical questions. This practice not only assesses problem-solving and knowledge ability, but also explores the ability to perform under pressure, which is a key skill required for software engineers to succeed in their intense work environment.

One thing is firmly certain ─ the best-managed companies have “one” factor in common:
They are constant achievers in their respective industries. These companies exude managerial excellence. Financial performance is the result of this style of management. Consider companies such as Amazon, Apple and Cisco, among others, which thrive and ranked in 2019 by the Drucker Institute as America’s largest publicly traded companies according to Peter Drucker’s principles of effectiveness—“doing the right things well.

Deeds Not Slogans

Companies with inept leadership usually fail in the first year or two, but even established companies can stumble badly when they outgrow the capabilities of the founding team. Research by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics demonstrates that nearly 6/10 businesses shut down within the first 4 years of operation.

To be a successful entrepreneur is not an effortless task. It takes plenty of sacrifice. A new generation of young entrepreneurs think the road is smooth and a fast track to easy wealth. Not everyone will become Jeff Bezos. Obstacles and sacrifice are part of the deal. Harnessing opportunity and overcoming challenges daily to top the competition is constant work. These conditions are true no matter what the sector of business engagement or company size.

Telltale signs of weak organizations can be traced to inept leadership. The following points highlight the deficiencies:
Poor customer service – slow or no customer inquiry replies – abysmal handling of sales and service complaints. Service is portrayed as a reward, not a right or benefit.
No Unique Selling/Value Proposition – Companies need to define and articulate their unique value proposition and deliver on it consistently. Create the platform for sustainable and competitive advantage.
Operational deficiencies – various ailments and no structure
Absence of or very little communication among staff and management – Divisions aren’t well-coordinated and do not function as a team.
No transparency – There is hardly any openness from management.
Unethical practices – short-term selfish objectives in search of market share. Top executives should promote social norms and principles as moral agents.
Lack of proper execution of decisions and with new products/services.
Productivity incentives should be implemented to boost results and employee morale. People must be given a reason to work hard and be efficient.
Creativity is practically non-existent – An absence of innovation and employee empowerment will hurt progress and stifle new ideas.
No clear vision/strategy – there needs to be a strategic vision that reflects a truly unmet need and has the commitment of a dedicated CEO. That means that there is a well-defined target audience with a distinct value position that is differentiated, meaningful, and deliverable.
A weak sales force along with an unattractive compensation plan.
Favoring nepotism and bias – promoting family members over other qualified employees often leads to resentment or, worse, prompts valuable non-family employees to leave the company.
Poor hiring practices – should hire for attitude and train for skills.
Slow/delayed decision-making process – too many layers – overwhelming bureaucratic structure.
High turnover, which leads to poor employee morale, reduced intellectual capital, lower service levels, higher operational costs and decreased productivity.
Management in a state of denial about their organization’s shortcomings – remaining with the dysfunctional status quo
No specific and/or stable channel strategy – Some companies focus on building a product, but don’t think through how to get it into the hands of customers. Even if your product is great, unless you can sell directly, you may be dead in the water without strong channel partners.
The hidden game – corporate politics – power plays by a handful of individuals for their own benefit to the detriment of their colleagues and the company.
Misrepresentation of brand(s) – too much hype – empty promises – not delivering on expectations – leads to dissatisfied clients who will alienate the brand.
Weak financial controls – cash flow dilemmas – over leveraged/undercapitalized (high debt-to-capital ratio) – not reinvesting a certain percentage of profits for future growth.
Absence of sound marketing program(s) and/or brand strategy – A brand is defined by how it behaves, from the products it builds to how it treats its customers, to the suppliers with whom it works.
Growing too fast and not staying on course as the company grows.
Lack or very little employee training & development.
Deficient in control systems – reactive rather than pro-active.
Lack of continuous improvements or complacent.

Top executives need to be accountable to the ownership or Board of Directors – whichever applies, or at least to an outside arm’s length and neutral party such as an adviser who can also play “devil’s advocate” when necessary.

Good Organizations Matter

The way to solve an organizational problem is to confront the structural issues with a moral sense of purpose and ethics. For its clients to receive stellar service, the firm must have its house in order. Besides structure and an efficient operation, employees should be trained and empowered to do their jobs efficiently.

Seth Godin, a renowned marketing strategist, stated succinctly: “If you want to build a caring organization, you need to fill it with caring people and then get out of their way. When your organization punishes people for caring, don’t be surprised when people stop caring. When you free your employees to act like people (as opposed to cogs in a profit-maximizing efficient machine) then the caring can’t help but happen.”

Companies that disrespect their employees and shut-out clients get willfully isolated and have a short life span through an erosion of market share and significant loss of revenue. A company’s goal should place emphasis on serving its people properly and fairly. Higher morale generates higher profits – though occasionally other priorities hinder that objective, for example, self-serving behavior by certain executives.

Enterprises spanning a wide array of industries, have earned distinction as “well-” or “best-” managed” by demonstrating business excellence through a meticulous and independent process that evaluates their management abilities and practices – by focusing on innovation, continuous training, brainstorming and caring for their employees’ well-being – as well as investing in meeting the needs of their clients.

In a nutshell: Well-run companies thrive no matter what by hiring the right people, taking good care of them, listening to customers and never ceasing to innovate and improve.

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