Lessons from Machiavelli

Traditionally, at beset calling someone Machivillian meant that person was manipulative and at worst meant they were evil. Whether you believe Machiavelli is the devil or a prophet there is no denying that his thinking on power and influence stands the test of time. Born in Florence in the late 13th century, Niccolò Machiavelli was the epitome of a Renaissance Man, He was a diplomat, politician, historian, philosopher, humanist, writer, playwright, poet and the number one performing fine collector of overdue books at the Florence library. He was a primary political advisor to the Midici'sduring their rule over the Republic of Florence. His book, The Prince is an examination of methods to gain, consolidate and maintain power. Every leader can learn from Machiavelli. For instance: "It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both." A leader that only panders to gain favor with their flock will not be respected. If you easily forgive bad behavior or lack of performance, exceptional team members will be demotivated to thrive. A great leader holds his team accountable and there are consequences for consistent non-performance. "Men judge generally more by the eye than by the hand, for everyone can see and few can feel. Every one sees what...

The Power of Culture

Strong Culture Rarely Exists In The Wild [caption id="attachment_78719" align="alignright" width="189"] Ghost Orchid[/caption] The ghost orchid is one of the worlds rarest flowers. Since its first sighting in 1954, it has been found in the wild less than two dozen times. Yet it can be cultivated and grown in greenhouses in large quantities. Like the ghost orchid, a powerful culture of high-performance is rarely found organically grown in the wild. The best leaders build a powerful culture by bringing together the proper conditions for their teams to thrive. Potential leaders who randomly gather groups of individuals in the hope that someday, like a rare, naturally growing ghost orchid, they will find themselves the leaders of high-performance teams are likely to be disappointed. Yet if they intentionally built a cultural greenhouse, planted the right seeds, applied the exact amounts of moisture, carbon dioxide, nitrogen and sunlight to ensure a strong culture thrives, they would have a significantly greater probability of success. To lead a great team with a strong culture it is best to be a great leader and to be a great leader, one must be like horticulturists who presides over a successful greenhouse. Great leaders must be scientific, deliberate...

The Importance of Intentional Leadership

Great leaders are empathetic. They intuitively model the behaviors of leadership that attract and retain loyal, highly-motivated followers. When it comes to leadership, few of us naturally have it, most of us must be more disciplined in our approach. Sure we can read leadership books. We can bury ourselves under piles of books by Tom Peters, Sheryl Sandberg, Ken Blanchard, Seth Godin, Daniel Pink, Simon Sinek, Doctor Suess (Really! Oh the Places You'll Go) and many more (just please don't read any Tony Robbins). All these books speak to our human minds. They are replete with logical frameworks, high falutin language, and abstracts concepts. The problem with that is humans, as in the majority of you who are reading this are not logical. Neuroscience research tells us that the part of the human brain that decides to play follow the leader or to step out of line has no capacity for language, abstract thought or logic. It is hard-wired to avoid risk at the expense of gain. This part of the brain that is the ultimate deciderer in the brain is the same part of the brain we share with alligators...

Critical Leadership Traits

What can I say about Leadership Traits? I've worked for leaders, been a leader and coached leaders for over 40 years. In that time, I've recognized certain leadership traits are common to the majority of great leaders. That's my subjective observation. In my coaching practice, I use personality assessment tools to help me, coach, understand my clients, and to help them understand themselves and their teams. I compiled a list of all company leaders/ CEOs with whom I've administered a personality assessment in order to objectively determine which leadership traits are most common. The leaders in this survey all run companies ranging from $1 million in revenue to $40 million. Most Personality Assesment tools measure Dominance, Extraversion, Patience, and Formality. Good tools, like Predictive Index, and Ngenio's MPO realize that these traits fall on a spectrum. For instance, in the case of formality, which measures things like precision, attention to detail and rules following. Some people are extremely rigid and precise while others are extremely flexible, and others still may just be slightly precise. For instance, in the case of the Predictive Index the spectrum looks like this: Low -3 -2 -1 Trait +1 +2 +3 High Agreeable Agreeable Humble Unselfish A Independent Resolute Forceful Assertive Amenable Accepting Peaceable Dominance Competitive Autonomous Aggressive Acquiescent Collaborative Caring Self—starting Venturesome Controlling Compliant Pleasing Attentive Resourceful Innovative Self-reliant Accommodating Modest Supportive Inventive Directing Confrontational Obliging Willing Cooperative Determined Challenging Unyielding Reserved Private Imaginative Quiet B Sociable Simulating Expressive Outgoing Standoffish Reserved Sincere Extraversion Persuasive Enthusiastic Gregarious Separate Unpretentious Introspective Talkative Socially poised Enticing Reticent Ruminant Contemplative Open Compelling Outspoken Isolated Insightful Candid Encouraging Eloquent Influential Reclusive Pensive Reflective Eager Animated Convincing Impatient Zealous High-strung Tense C Relaxed Deliberate Extremely steady Steady Volatile Hurried Quick Patience Stable Measured Placid Edgy Intense Hasty Calm Unhurried Habitual Impulsive Fast-paced Prompt Cool Peaceful Easygoing Urgent Abrupt Ready Composed Serene Even-tempered Rushed Rapid Restless Collected Unruffled Mellow Flexibility Spontaneous Familiar Casual D Conservative Precise Dutiful Conforming Unstructured Unworried Uninhibited Formality Thorough Careful Inflexible Extemporaneous Undaunted Easy Respectful Cautious Structured Instinctive Unconcerned Facile Loyal Exacting Strict Impulsive Carefree Flexible Diligent Proper Vigilant Improvising Unfussy Pliable Serious Rigorous Correct What patterns emerge from evaluating my database. Most of the leaders I work with are...

Leadership Versus Management

I had the good fortune to sit down with Jonathon Abermen, Managing Director of Amplifier Ventures, to discuss leadership versus management. Below is the audio of the interview which was broadcast April 27, 2018, on WFED, Fed Radio 1500. Press the little play button to hear the interview: [sc_embed_player fileurl="https://drivenforward.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/WFED_Leadership_versus_management.mp3"] Transcript of Leadership Versus Management Interview ABERMAN: Glen, thanks for joining us. HELLMAN: Thank you for having me. ABERMAN: Leadership. I think a lot of people think they know what it is, but what is leadership? HELLMAN: So, probably the best way to sum it up is the difference between leadership and management. Management is how you take care of two-year-old children or less. You put up gates, you give them systems, you protect them, but you don’t do anything that’s not under your control. Leadership is, if you haven’t taken your 17-year-old and led them, when they’re out in the car alone, on a Friday night, at ten o’clock, you have failed. You can’t manage 17-year-old when they’re not in your view. Leadership is creating an environment around your team where they behave the way you would want them to if you were there. Leadership scales, management fails. Subscribe to the What’s Working in Washington podcast on...

Foundational Strengths Creating Happy Employees

Foundational Strengths That Create a Consistent and Happy Employees By Michael Matalone The 3 Foundational Strengths Knowledge: Specific to the jobs requirements Skills: Application of the above specific knowledge that creates consistent results Traits: An alignment of the individual’s hardwired personality traits and the required behaviors of the role Knowledge: While these three strengths may appear to be simplistic, many people misunderstand them when hiring and/or making promotions. For example, with regards to the first strength Knowledge. Many people assume that if a person has a college degree or especially an advanced degree, this sets them apart from those that do not and therefore they have a greater ability to succeed in the role. This is simply not true. We have all read about or even have known or worked with people who defy this belief. Maybe your one of them. For example, let’s say you graduated from a top university with a degree in Finance, then you get your MBA and CPA. Based on their educational accomplishments, you hire them to be the Director of Operations for your company. Did their education prepare them with the required knowledge to be a successful Director of Operations? Well, it may have provided “some” of the required knowledge, but not a majority...