Take Me to a Leader

The news of the day appears to confirm what we already know. There is a serious lack of leadership in the world. Corporate World (my phrase for what many call Corporate America) is no exception. Whether it is people in high profile positions preying on adolescent interns, nation heads thinking power is measured in mega tons or boards compromising their company and personal values to protect corporate secrets, it would seem challenging to find examples of leaders whom people would want to follow no less aspire to become.

That said we all know there are excellent and talented people out there. Many are under the radar or overshadowed by the spectacular headlines of the day. There are individuals and teams who have shown intelligence, skills, maturity and courage day-to-day and under challenging circumstances. The question is “Where will our future leaders come from?”

There are a number of factors contributing to our leader deficit. No longer do children aspire to be President or other positions of service (the pay is poor; the criticism relentless and working for Google just seems more rewarding and fun). The children of family owned businesses rarely want to follow in the footsteps of their parents, often writing the epitaph of thriving enterprises. Women and minorities are starting their own businesses at twice the rate of white men, cutting into the pool of potential candidates. Many women take time off for child rearing. When they re-enter the workforce they often do not return to the organizations or fields that train them, rather they decide to work in small business or consulting. When people choose to work in a corporate environment they have difficulty learning by example. Watching the hoards of people at the top exiting could be interesting if it didn’t mean a new regime and you having to prove yourself all over again. Not even the CEO position is secure. In 2005 there was more than 10% turnover of Fortune 1000 CEOs alone.

So what is it that makes a good leader? In my experience the best leaders are often the most courageous people. Not foolish, but calculating risk takers with solid values. They are also excellent readers of people, the landscape and are great weather forecasters. Leaders know when to expose themselves and their ideas and when to lay low. Patience is a sign of a good leader. But the quality I think serves the leader best is listening. I heard Sumner Redstone, Chairman of the Board of Viacom and CBS Corporations, and former employer of Tom Cruise, speak the other night. A self-made success story at 84 he is a force to contend with. While many might disagree with his methods few would argue with his financial track record. When asked how he reached such success he quickly replied “I listen more than I talk”, “I take quick and decisive actions” and “I trust and admire my advisors”. An applicable approach; one I can show you and help you with.

So here is your challenge:

  1. During the next week try and self-audit. Do you listen more than you speak with your colleagues, employees, family? If the answer is “no” then what important information are you missing? And why do you need to hear yourself?
  2. Is there an action you need to take and move on decisively? Whether it is changing jobs, firing a poor performing employee or getting your finances in order, how can you cut your losses to move on and up? (Remember to use that timer or hour glass).
  3. Who do you trust? If you are not surrounding yourself with trustworthy people the world can be a very scary and lonely place. There may be a need to expand your network. More likely you need to reconnect with those you have known for quite sometime. Make the call.

The action steps I have mentioned are but a few on the road to successful leadership.

In coaching sessions I work with clients to identify their aspirations, build on their natural talents, address challenges and practice new behaviors. We prepare for new leadership roles and address unexpected calls to leadership. Many coaching clients see me as part of their executive board, the trust advisor.

I have never heard a great leader say “I did it myself, alone, asked no one for help, got no advice.” So why would you think of creating your career strategy, honing your management skills and acting as a leader by yourself, in your office, or toughest, when searching for a job? WHY DON’T YOU HAVE A COACH?

Jane Cranston is an executive coach, career coach and “The Job Search Expert” based in New York City. She shares with success driven executives and professionals techniques, skills and goal setting strategies that advance their careers, increase people management skills and assists them in career change or job search. Receive Jane’s free "Competitive Edge Report" and the free audio download “Creating a Career Strategy” by visiting www.ExecutiveCoachNY.com

About the Author

Jane Cranston - Executive Coach NY (New York)Executive and career coach, “The Job Search Expert,” Jane Cranston understands the challenges and opportunities in the workplace. She integrates years of experience as an accomplished senior executive with global brand name companies, with the lessons learned from opening three successful businesses, and then applies her education and coach training. This sophisticated mix affords her clients her unique perspective, business sensibility, and entrepreneurial spirit.

Jane is the founder and Managing Director of ExecutiveCoachNY, an executive and career coaching business based in New York City with clients nationwide. She coaches success-driven executives and managers to develop a career strategy that accelerates advancement, increases compensation, enhances people-management skills as well as gets the competitive edge in all business activities.

Coaching with Jane is dynamic, structured, forward-focused as well as fun and inspirational. Working with clients in fields such as finance, technology, media and entertainment, real estate, and the law, she assists them in recognizing and achieving their full potential at work and in their personal lives.

Clients claim coaching with Jane has “changed my career focus,” “helped me better understand how to motivate my staff,” “given me ideas that have increased my income by $100,000s,” and “made me realize what is my part and what isn’t,” and claim coaching is “the best thing you could do for yourself.”

Jane’s soon to be published “Great Job Tough Times” is a step-by-step job search system designed to assist managers and executives looking for employment, or contemplating leaving their current positions, with their resume writing, interviewing skills, networking techniques, and negotiating need to get the right job fast.

Jane Cranston is frequently seen on CNN’s “Your Money” and quoted in nationally syndicated newspapers, magazines, as well as Internet article sites and virtual programs. She authors the free, twice monthly, “Competitive Edge Report.” Learn more on her website www.ExecutieCoachNY.com.


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