Leadership Simplified: Doug Van Dyke

Leadership Blog

Leading In an Internet-Driven World

Ponder the Internet for a moment. Most of us enjoy or utilize the Internet quite a bit. We zip around credible and non-credible websites gleaning information and being entertained. Our Internet experiences are a crush of activity as we blast through electronic kudzu to mine nuggets of stuff we need or will use or do not need or will not use. Our focus and our attention ping-pongs from article to article, website to website, topic to topic. Our frenetic pace and zigzags of thought, however, are unfortunately a microcosm of how we live and lead in the workplace. In short, our Internet behavior mirrors our work-life behavior: fast and unfocused. Without realizing it, many leaders are no longer leading. Rather, they are caught up in the frenzy of the workplace as they attempt to multi-task and believe that it leads to greater productivity.

 

Here is my tip to leaders: Relax, take a breath, and focus. Realize that frenetic behavior leads to disconnected results. So think strategically about what you wish to accomplish. Attempt to be consistent in your leadership approach. Your calm and path-driven approach will have a delightful byproduct – a calm and path-driven team.       

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2011-02-28 at 08:29 AM
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Team Member Development

Nothing enhances teamwork quite like helping team members increase their skills. Building skills gives team members more tools with which to communicate and collaborate with other colleagues. In addition, enhanced skills not only foster collaboration within a team, but with related teams as well – this is a must for any matrix structured organization. Leadership training can be delivered by outside sources like the fine folks at Leadership Simplified, or it can come from internal sources such as selected, talented team members.

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2011-02-27 at 09:33 AM
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Improving Organizational Awareness

Whether you work in a large organization or small, the odds are good that you experience some level of office politics. Many people, even leaders, choose to ignore the political currents of work. Frankly, I am not a big fan of them myself. Bureaucracy, however, is a part of organizational life, thus need to be understood. In fact, possessing a level of organizational awareness is part of emotional intelligence. More on that in later blog posts.

 

So let’s shift gears and review five items to keep in mind while negotiating the web of organizational life.

  1. Understand the organizational agenda. In other words, seek to have clarity on the medium and long-term goals of the organization. If you are not clear – ask questions of leadership to ensure you know where the big bus is heading. If you are the leader, make certain your team is clear on where you are driving the organization.

 

  1. Balance needs. You have business goals that you want to accomplish – this is a good thing. Do not let your personal agenda, however, trump the organizational agenda. When your business goals are in conflict with the organizations goals, trouble will appear on the horizon.

 

  1. Fight the right battles. If you fight every battle that comes your way, you may have some level of satisfaction, but your internal colleagues will perceive you as combative. As such, reserve your confrontational energy for the battles that are most important to you and your team.

 

  1. Develop collaborative relationships. To the best of your ability, build workable relationships with your peers, direct reports, and superiors. The artful use of working agreements will greatly assist you with this endeavor. Remember: as your organization grows larger it becomes imperative that you build healthy collaborative relationships with as many people as possible.

 

  1. Agile communication. The leaders who are agile tend to anticipate what the future will bring. In this regard, seek to be anticipatory with your communication. If you are driving an initiative, make certain to keep key influencers apprised of your actions before they learn about them in a meeting or a report. Ask for the opinion of others and build a feeling of team involvement.    

 

In sum, think strategically about your organization. Understands its politics and objectives. In the process, grow your relationship base and focus on mutually-beneficial needs.

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2011-02-12 at 10:20 AM
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Perception of Leadership

Lots of change is going on out there. As a leader, you must not only embrace change but also drive it within your organization and the marketplace. Sometimes leaders have to change. The changes may occur as a result of broadening your mastery of leadership styles, or by making a concerted effort to change your reputation in the organization. Whatever the cause, if you want your changes to stick so that perceptions of you change, keep the following formula in mind: 

 

Change + Consistency  = Positive Perception

    Time

 

Effective professionals decide how they will be perceived in the workplace. And positive perception is driven by embracing change and exhibiting consistent behavior relative to that change over a prolonged period of time. To make this happen, leaders must be intentional with their actions and skillful with their leadership technique. 

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2011-02-11 at 08:25 AM
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The Happy Leader

The stresses and strains of work life often affect the demeanor of a leader. The most visible signs of workplace pressures manifest themselves in a leader’s body language. Leader’s frequently walk around with pained expressions or a scowl, yet it is not their intention to send negative signals to their team members. A recent study highlighted the productive benefits, and the health benefits, of being happy – or just in smiling! Leader’s who are perceived as happy help boost morale, increase production, and even lessen the amount of sick days taken by colleagues. Want an easy fix to workplace malaise? Smile. And be intentional about being happy and influencing others to be the same.

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2011-02-10 at 09:31 AM
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