Leadership: How Can You Identify a Leader?

Identifying leadership qualities

Are YOU a leader?

What is Leadership?

Have you ever met someone and automatically had the feeling that they are a leader? Did they have that power of attraction in that their personal and professional presence pulled you toward them?  Did you observe that they moved with focus and intention?

Did they appear that they knew where they were going, and it made you want to follow along?  Those thoughts and feelings are very real.  You experience them for a reason.  Your growth and awareness are influenced when you learn more about the leader.  You want to possess similar qualities and model their behavior.  You see their strengths as positive traits to build relationships and to build your business.

Characteristics that exemplify a leader

These qualities stand out in a crowd and make a difference in those with whom they come in contact.

  • Confidence
  • Positive Attitude
  • Action Oriented
  • Empowerment
  • Humor
  • Honesty

 

The vocabulary of leadership

What do you like to hear from someone you recognize as a leader?  Which power words get your attention?  Here are several to consider:

“This is the situation,” “Here’s the plan,” “Tell me more,” “I trust you,” and “You can count on me!”

These words inspire and give confidence.  They demonstrate vision, values and abilities.  They make a long lasting impact.  Become a leader, make your life better, and be the one who makes the difference in someone else’s life.

Steps to leadership

While taking the next step into leadership excellence, note these factors:

  • Trustworthiness-The highest level of professional confidence.
  • A Proven Reputation-The background of reliability and trust.
  • Communication-Providing clarity and understanding.
  • Accessibility-Allowing the opportunity to be heard.

 

For more on this topic, read John Hall’s article in Inc.  “5 Surefire Ways to Become a More Approachable Leader” .  The more approachable you are the more opportunities will come your way. Do you consider yourself an approachable person?


Shirlie Taylor, South Carolina business development and life coachI hope the information in this post is a helpful resource for you. If you are interested in taking your professional development a step further, I encourage you to learn more about our Mastermind Groups. These interactive, round table discussions for like-minded professionals are held once a month.  Or investigate our Seminar and Workshop topics.

Want to learn more about our services? I have posted many articles on topics critical for entrepreneurs and small business owners. You’re invited to read and share with others who may find insight from them.

 

Please contact me via email or phone  (843) 873-6769.

 

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Productivity: Small Changes Yield Big Results

 



Control time and increase productivity.

Increase your productivity by making small changes.

Control Time, Gain Life

Many people work very hard and feel they have little to show for it. They accept this as a fact of life. Don’t settle for this myth.  You can lead a much more productive and balanced life, both professionally and personally, by taking control of your time.

As a business and life coach, I work with individuals and executives to help them improve their work / life balance and feel more productive. Here are a few of my top tips to help you become more productive.

Eliminate Waste

Identify nonessential tasks and inefficient processes.  We are creatures of habit and have a natural tendency to repeat the same behavior, even if it’s unproductive. Keep notes about the inefficiencies of which you become aware. Create a NOT-to-do list. Eliminate anything that is on your NOT-to-do list, and use your regained time to address other priorities which increase your productivity.

Limit Distractions

De-clutter your desk or work space. Limit socializing and leisure Internet use during the day. Designate time blocks for certain activities (email, calls, meeting, etc). Consider turning off email notifications which can interrupt work flow throughout the day and sabotage your productivity. Group similar tasks together, and work through them in an organized fashion.

Improve Processes

Comfort zones can inhibit us both personally and professionally. Don’t let the fear of change keep you from exploring new (and potentially better) ways of doing things. Once you’ve noticed inefficient behavior, change it. Keep in mind that it is easy to fall prey to old patterns and habits. If this is something you struggle with, try working backwards. Start by defining the results you desire, and build a new process, step by step working backwards. You can make adjustments and potentially eliminate some steps all together. Remember that it is important not to over-complicate things.

Utilize Your Network

Your network (business associates/coworkers/employees and strategic partners) is one of your greatest assets. Relationships provide a way to work towards your goals. Frequently ask yourself, “Is this task something I can and should delegate or outsource?” If the answer is yes, pass that task along and move on to something that is a better use of your time. Remember that the most effective business relationships are those in which everyone contributes and has a potential to benefit. When you form strategic partnerships in this manner, the productivity benefits are twofold:

  • Exposure – A strategic partner can expose you to dozens of new contacts, if not more.  This maximizes gain (securing multiple new clients vs. one at a time) and maximizes your time investment.
  • Credibility – Your strategic partners have already established credibility with their clients.  Their transferred endorsement improves your credibility… And again this is with a minimal investment of time.

Evaluate Productivity Results

You’ve made a conscious effort to be more productive. Is it working? Track changes and corresponding data (sales, output, etc). Look for patterns and trends over time. Focus on the changes that achieve favorable results. Continue to evaluate productivity on a regular basis, and take a proactive approach to process improvement.


Shirlie Taylor, South Carolina business development and life coachI hope the information in this post is a helpful resource for you. If you are interested in taking your professional development a step further, I encourage you to learn more about our Mastermind Groups. These interactive, round table discussions for like-minded professionals are held once a month.  Or investigate our Seminar and Workshop topics.

Want to learn more about our services? I have posted many articles on topics critical for entrepreneurs and small business owners. You’re invited to read and share with others who may find insight from them.

Please contact me via email or phone  (843) 873-6769.

 

 

The Value of Questions in Business Communication

Are we asking the right questions?

business communication

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you ever asked someone a question and had them look at you with a puzzled expression?

Has the response you received not matched what you thought you had asked?

Last week in our Mastermind group the topic was focused on developing the skill of powerful questioning. This was the perfect follow up topic from the last Mastermind where we discussed how to develop professional listening skills as part of our business communication process.

The value of questions

Today let’s explore how we can use questions more powerfully in business communication.

Questions can be labeled in many categories:  The traditional who, what, why, where, when and how, is open-ended, meaning the recipient needs to respond with more than a “yes” or “no”. The goal is to have the other person expand on the topics at hand so that you can learn how best to respond.

Every business decision is made based on assumptions. Here are some key insights to consider to ensure clear business communication.

The first question is to ask yourself “What am I assuming in this scenario (the situation we are discussing)?

Know that there are always two sides of the story, yours and theirs. What does the other person need or want from me?  What do I want or need from them? It is critical to look at the situation from both sides.

Ask more, tell less

Be okay with doing more asking rather than telling. Asking questions to clarify what you know versus what you think you know will help you discern facts versus speculation.

Ask appropriate follow up questions. Delve in more deeply to get the answers you need to move the conversation forward.

Avoid commenting on each answer given by the other person, as the real answer you need may not be revealed until you’ve gone several questions deep.

Get comfortable with the silence as the other person considers the answer. You may be surprised at the information shared after a few seconds of pause in the conversation.

In the recent book “Power Questions” recommendations are made for the importance of drawing out others, asking thought provoking questions, soliciting solutions, showing interest in others, building relationships, and knowing thyself.  The right questions lead to new opportunities and business success. Check out the book here.

The worst question

Wondering what the worst question is to ask? There are great insights in this article, “The Absolutely Worst Question to Ask.” Read it here.

Take a second look at the information provided here and identify at least one new idea you can apply this week.


Business Success Dynamics provides the added support and a safety net through business coachingPlease contact me for an introductory session to discuss how you can achieve success through powerful business communications.

Success Through Challenges

Success through challenges

Success is a mindset.

It must become your belief system. It is a place you don’t settle for less.

People and businesses are challenged daily. Do they give up? Some do. Though the individuals and businesses who achieve Success are those who continue moving forward. If knocked back, they get up. They begin again.

Focus positively.

As your business coach, I encourage each of my clients to remain positively focused. I encourage you and suggest that you must not allow challenges to hold you back. This is the hallmark of Success. Successful people look for options and opportunities. They focus, work and strive for their dream.

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” – Neale Donald Walsch

Move forward by getting out of your comfort zone.

Sometimes in order to move forward you must get out of your comfort zone and take calculated risks. Is there something holding you back? John Hall, in a Forbes article, The Struggles That Prevent Entrepreneurs From Taking Risks, writes about the kinds of hurdles entrepreneurs face: Self Doubt, Fear of Failure, Lack of Support and Denial.

He then goes on to discuss methods on “how to get out of your own way.” Learn more about taking risks, overcoming self-doubt, taking positive action steps, and implementing strategies to move forward, grow your business, and realize success.

Read The Struggles That Prevent Entrepreneurs From Taking Risks


Business Success Dynamics provides the added support and a safety net through business coaching. Please contact me for an introductory session to discuss how you can overcome your challenges and achieve success.

Professional Development: Is your business in full bloom? What steps are you taking to grow your business?

Professional development to grow your business

Tips to grow your business to Full Bloom:

 

Establish a clear vision of what you really want.

What does your business look like to you? How much do you want your business to grow? In what amount of time? Consider that ‘bigger’ is not always better. How do you need to grow in your professional development to reach your objectives? Set realistic, time-lined goals with defining measurements.

Move confidently in that direction.

Nurture your business, your employees and your customers with fertilizer in order to grow. Commit to support staff who wish to grow in responsibility with training. Provide solutions to customers before they ask. Do away with oppositional thinking that creates an “Us” and “Them” mindset and limits your ability to grow. And most of all, don’t let self-doubt get in your way.

Take consistent and persistent actions to achieve each level of growth.

Develop an action plan with specific tasks and targeted deadlines. What do you need/want to accomplish today? This week? By the end of the year?

Avoid activities that steer you off course.

Understanding how best to use your limited time is crucial as you grow your business. Develop a mental “yardstick” to apply to every opportunity and be ruthless in your use of it. For example, if you are invited to attend a luncheon meeting and you also have a major deadline, avoid putting yourself in a spot where you are scrambling to accomplish either one. Offer to accept the lunch date on another day, and schedule yourself as “busy” until you meet your deadline.

Surround yourself with positive, like-minded professionals.

We all need a strong support system. Seek out colleagues, business associates and professional organizations that provide expertise, experience and encouragement. Commit to yourself and your colleagues that you will invest time and energy in developing alliances to support each other and your businesses. Over time, alliances help you solve problems, gain perspective and get peer guidance. Learn more about how to succeed at networking.

Continue your professional development and life-long learning.

Keep up with trends in your industry and what is happening in your marketplace. Join your industry’s professional associations to keep up to date with continuing education and knowledge specific for your business. Attend professional association events and network with other business owners facing the same challenges as you are. Share your ideas and be open minded to fresh perspectives and new processes.

Perform with tenacity and perseverance to meet all challenges.

Define what is holding you back. Seek help. Discover resources. Take action so you constantly move forward. Never give up! Learn to think creatively and move out of your comfort zone. Remaining slightly off kilter helps you see problems and solutions from a different point of view, and can yield amazing breakthroughs. Remember, safety is not always the place from which you make your greatest achievement.

Honor your resilience through the process.

Own your successes. Remember to take small moments of time to “stop and smell the posies” like the ones in the photograph above. These grow outside my office and are a seasonal reminder that if we are tenacious, growing a bit each day, we will bloom in full glory as both individuals and as business owners. Appreciation of meaningful achievements breeds satisfaction and reward.

Celebrate your accomplishments as your business reaches “full bloom.”


 

Continue your Professional Development with coaching support. Contact me for your complimentary session.

Professional Development for Business Owners and Entrepreneurs

Business Coach Shirlie Taylor Workshop Leader

Business Coach Shirlie Taylor Workshop Leader

County Offers Three Workshops for National Small Business Week

Since my passion and professional background is to coach entrepreneurs and small business owners, Small Business Week is particularly timely and significant. Business coaching professionals and the owner’s community involvement contribute powerfully to a small business’s success.

From the time an entrepreneur begins work on a business plan, and takes the steps to make valued connections, to the establishment of  a successful venture, each careful step can lead to success. It is through trust, working through a plan together, leadership, and accountability that success is real and achieved more quickly.

Small Business Week in Charleston May 12-16

The recognition of business owners and entrepreneurs is well deserved.  I would personally like to take the time to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of business owners.  Take a moment to follow the link for the upcoming May 2014 Small Business Week event hosted by Charleston County Small Business Enterprise Program to find out more about how attending this event can help you become more successful.

Professional Development

Participants can expect to learn:

  1. New initiatives sponsored and available through the Charleston Metro Chamber which help small business owners and entrepreneurs stay up to date with current business trends and opportunities.
  2. How to use social media to establish your online presence and stay top of mind with current contacts, while expanding your positive reach to serve new customers.  Establish your brand and differentiate yourself and your business by the value you deliver.
  3. Tips to establish valued relationships through effectively connecting and interacting with like-minded professionals.  Learn the process of improved business networking.
  4. How impeccable business ethics create a culture of integrity and trust and why it matters.

 

I encourage you to REGISTER for this professional development opportunity to increase your interactions and associate with like-minded small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Shirlie Taylor received the Certificate of Appreciation from Charleston County Council in 2012 for her inspiration, leadership and dedication to small business growth. She will be a presenter along with other community leaders for the 2014 Small Business Week.

 

6 Steps to Improved Business Networking

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Many business owners struggle with networking.

According to Harvard Business Review Blogs,

­­“…networking has the potential to dramatically enhance our careers; making new connections can introduce us to valuable new information, job opportunities, and more. But despite that fact, many of us are doing it wrong — and I don’t just mean the banal error of trading business cards at a corporate function and not following up properly. Many executives, even when they desperately want to cultivate a new contact, aren’t sure how to get noticed and make the right impression.”

Why is networking a necessary business function?

Douglas Hart experienced first hand how valuable “results oriented networking” can be, “It was through the networking skills that I developed…that I eventually discovered the right people at the right firm where I am currently pursuing my new career.”

There is essential truth and insight in Dorie Clark’s closing note in her HBR article,

“Networking is possibly the most valuable professional activity we can undertake. But too often, we’re inadvertently sabotaging our own best efforts by misreading power dynamics, failing to give first, and not making our value proposition clear. Fixing those crucial flaws can help us connect with the people we want and need to meet to develop our careers.”

Results Oriented Networking

Consider including results oriented networking in your business success plan.  By ‘results oriented’ I mean that you set the intention to meet qualified contacts.  You use a networking process that produces results by way of new leads, develops client prospects in your target market, and realizes valuable referrals.

Follow our steps to improve and deepen connections created via business networking:

  1. Adopt the Mindset.  Networking is a Mindset.  Networking means connecting and building long-lasting relationships.  Think of it as a way to make new business associates and friends.
  2. Get comfortable.  How do you become comfortable with networking? Arrive early, see yourself as a greeter, be enthusiastic, invite a friend to meet you there, move around in the crowd, and introduce contacts to others.
  3. Make a connection.  How does that happen?  When you make a new friend or contact for your business, you make the introduction, show interest in them, ask questions to learn about them, remain positive, express a compliment, then relate when you discover something you have in common.  By all means, smile, listen, and engage.  Be helpful.  Offer the value of a resource that applies to their professional interest.
  4. Plan the next meeting.  Set the intention to reconnect.  When you take this step, it shows that you have a true interest in learning more about them, identifying their need, and cultivating a way to be of service.
  5. Follow-Up.  Add your new connections’ contact information to your database with notes on where you met them, topics you discussed, what impressed you, and your next form of communication.  Follow-up is the key to achieve results oriented networking rather than simply meeting new people.
  6. Communicate.  Stay in touch.  Whether with an email, call, or appointment, they all matter in the process of building relationships.  Stay connected!  It makes every networking event a worthwhile business effort.

In summary:

The value of building relationships is a critical factor in growing your business.  Without it, you limit your ability to develop new business or even maintain your current business.  Networking makes your business stronger and more profitable by positioning you as a leader in your field.  Need to sharpen your networking skills?  Need help learning which networking events are right for you?  I would welcome the opportunity to assist.

Refocus To Spring Forward

“The journey of a thousand miles
begins with a single step.” —Lao Tzu
By: Gerard McGovern

 

Are you standing still?  Feeling stuck?  Needing encouragement?

Do you feel like you are not moving forward in a positive direction to attain your goals? Then REFOCUS is the answer.

When do you refocus

What does refocus mean? Refocus is to change emphasis or direction. If you find yourself

  • fearful,
  • overwhelmed,
  • unable to get in the flow of joy and accomplishment,

then it may be time to evaluate the cause.  What’s holding you back? Consider your options.  What is the ONE thing you can do today to change the emphasis of your business?  Your life?  Give yourself a good enough reason to move forward.

A great example in the corporate world is how Starbucks reconnected to their core values and refocused on delivering impeccable customer service, essentially restarting the company. I highly recommend Onward by Howard Schultz, How Starbucks fought for its life without losing its soul.

Begin to refocus

Not sure the direction in which to start or restart?  Visualize what motivated you to launch your business, change careers, or take on a new project.  What did that look like? What do you truly love?  Are you willing to take the first step toward recapturing your vision?

Progress begins when you do what is most meaningful to you.  It allows you to gain confidence and fulfillment in service to others by giving what you love most.  If you could use assistance in creating options and understanding what is holding you back, then let’s make the connection. You don’t have to walk this path alone…

The Value of Time and Decisions

Become aware of what’s important every day. By: Barta IV

Become aware of what’s important

In our Business Success Dynamics Mastermind sessions, we have identified that every decision matters.  When we think about all of the distractions and drains on our time and energy, it is necessary that we know our most productive time of day and focus on high outcome for that time period.  We are also aware of planned events and appointments.  It is our responsibility to schedule around those to maximize results.  Purposefully set your own agenda.  Concentrate on what’s important, not what’s unimportant.  Know yourself.  Make good choices.

Block off time for what’s important

Consider intentional time blocking.  What will this mean for you?  How will this impact your productivity?  What can you let go of?  What freedom and peace of mind will you enjoy?

“It’s not what you do one day; it’s what you do every day.”

How’s Your Vision?

How's your vision

“Vision without action is a dream. Action without vision is simply passing the time. Action with Vision is making a positive difference.” Joel Barker

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