Tag Archives: trust

New Year’s Resolutions for Elected Officials Who Want to Leave a Legacy That Matters

Worker carrying suitcase on the road with numbers 2016

In electing me to office, my fellow citizens have entrusted me with the sacred duty of shaping the future of our community. Because I am committed to creating a future that is brighter and healthier and more beneficial to all citizens than when I was called to lead, I will:

  1. Base my decisions on the next generation more than the next election, committed to the ideal that my loyalty must be to the entire community (both now and in the future) and not merely to those who got me elected.
  2. Focus on mission, vision and values as the benchmark for my decisions and recognize that my responsibility is the pursuit of the greatest good for the entire community and not the satisfaction of any particular group’s agenda.
  3. Make decisions based on fact based evidence and not allow myself to be manipulated into bad decisions for the future based on the decibel level of critics.
  4. Recognize that “it takes a smart man to know where he is stupid” and have the wisdom to be smart.   Accordingly, I will value those who have the courage to tell me what they really think and will listen sincerely to those who disagree with me to truly understand their perspective, recognizing that understanding other perspectives makes me a better leader.
  5. Embrace my responsibility to govern rather than to manage; recognizing that if I am doing staff’s job I am not doing my job, while also understanding and embracing the appropriately exercised governance role of holding staff accountable.
  6. Place a greater emphasis on solutions than on problems; while refusing to offer solutions before I understand the problem.
  7. Understand that mutual trust is the foundation for everything and that if I refuse to trust others they will be unable to trust me.
  8. Protect the integrity of the process more than the rightness of my position; I will fight hard for my issue but then unify behind the governing body when the decision is made because the decision was made with integrity of process, even if I disagree with the outcome.
  9. Understand that my deeply held beliefs, values and positions will be strengthened, not compromised by courteous, respectful and civil discourse. I will not treat someone as the enemy just because we disagree.
  10. Treat everyone with dignity and respect because of who I am as a leader… not because of how they treat me or what I think about them.
  11. Be a role model for civility. I will not treat my colleagues or staff in any way that I would be embarrassed if my five year old child treated someone the same way.


Written by:
Ron Holifield
CEO, Strategic Government Resources


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Saving Yourself from Scandal

Like many American’s I am pretty much obsessed with the confident television phenomenon that is Scandal’s Olivia Pope. As a communication’s professional, it’s hard for me to not want to be her. She’s confident, she’s smart, and she’s basically everything that you would want in a crisis management professional. So instead of ranting about how great the show is, I’ve opted for informing you on some of the things that I’ve learned from Scandal that directly translate to real-life communications situations.

  1. Never Tell a Lie

DonotLieThis is probably the most important one, especially for government employees. In government as well as the business world, it is vital that you maintain transparency with your public. The days where “no comment” would suffice are no longer here. “No comment” has warped from a way to avoid responding to a topic to a term that evokes wrongdoing and gives your public the impression that you are hiding something. So, don’t ever use that. Instead, stick with the truth. Don’t make anything up, don’t stretch the truth, simply state the facts that you do know. And if you don’t know how to answer a question, it’s perfectly OK to respond to someone by telling them that you will get back to them. But, let me emphasize that you MUST get back to them. You can’t leave them hanging.

  1. Always Have A Backup Plan

Another important thing that Olivia Pope does is that she develops multiple plans. It is vital for organizations to formulate crisis plans so that they are prepared to respond to just about any scenario that they may come across. If your organization does not already have a crisis plan in place, say something. Lead your organization in the development of a plan, the creation of a crisis team, and acquire or reach out to obtain the necessary resources that are necessary in  implementing something of this magnitude. It is far easier to respond to a crisis when there are already steps outlined on how to respond. If you have no plan in place, you are relying on your reactions and emotions to formulate a plan at the last-minute, and this has the potential to add to the crisis rather than help to solve it.

  1. Confidence is Key

I feel like that phrase is strong enough to use on its own, however I will elaborate a bit so you see where I’m coming from. In a crisishandled scenario it is vital that you choose a confident spokesperson to respond to the community about what is not only happening, but also what is being done to solve the problem at hand. The spokesperson needs to not only believe what they are saying, but they need to be empathetic with their audience, letting them know that the situation is being handled and that there is nothing to worry about. Sometimes all it takes is a little confidence to reassure the public that they are in good hands. There’s nothing worse than having an unconfident spokesperson, as their lack in confidence in themselves translates to the community as untrustworthy and creates panic and worry in a crisis scenario. Both things that you do not want proliferate.

  1. No One Is Perfect

Always remember, no one is perfect. Not even Olivia Pope or Mary Poppins (who was only practically perfect). We all have our faults and we all make bad decisions every once in a while. It’s how you respond to these bad choices that makes you a good leader. tweet-graphic-trans

  1. Be a Gladiator

Finally, this is my favorite take-away from Scandal, “be a gladiator.” Get out there and be a leader. If you see something wrong within your organization or if you have an idea on how to improve something, be a gladiator and take the necessary steps to lead your organization down the right path.



Written by:
Michelle Pelissero
Communications Coordinator

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Cutting Out Workplace Negativity

We’ve all heard the phrase, “it only takes one bad apple to spoil the bunch,” and while much of the time this can ring true in an office environment, it really doesn’t have to.

giphyIf you have someone in your office that you feel has a “negative” attitude toward work, this is a huge red flag for you as a leader to look around and make sure that all of your employees are satisfied with their positions and the work environment. Chances are, the negativity or frustration is affecting more than one person. This is where relationship building comes in and the importance of actually getting to know your employees. Not just their names, but actually who they are.

Let me give you an example. Many moons ago I worked as a retail manager. While in this position I was transferred to a new store, a store that already had their own culture and employees who were used to a certain management style. Let’s just say that the change in management did not go over well with employees, because after all, adding someone new into the mix, especially a newly promoted manager, can be a hard thing to adjust to. Instead of letting the defiant attitudes get me down, what did I do? I got to kIf you treat employees as if they they makenow my employees. I learned about who they were, what they liked to do for fun outside of work, and most importantly what their aspirations were for their careers. I listened.

What I learned from all of that is that, like customers, frustrated employees simply want to be heard. They want to build that rapport with their managers so that they can go to them with any issue they may be facing, because they then know that their manager will look out for them and get things done. So while you must listen, you also must show that you follow through with your promises. Never make promises you can’t keep. This is what makes a good leader.

So here’s a list of some suggestions for how to become a better leader and cut out office negativity:

  1. Get to know your employees and build a lasting rapport with them.
  2. Listen to them. This is where that open door policy that everyone talks about comes in.
  3. Show them that you are a doer not a don’ter, because the minute you promise something to an employee and don’t follow through, you lose their trust.
  4. Finally, ensure that you are treating your employees as well as you treat your customers.

In my opinion, dedicating yourself to these steps will help to cut out any negativity that may invade the workplace. Treating your employees as well, if not better, than how you treat your customers will give them the motivation to succeed, contributing positively the organization’s goals.

That’s just my two cents. What are your thoughts?



Written by:
Michelle Pelissero
Communications Coordinator


Leadership Lessons from an Unassuming Role

Have you ever caught yourself watching a sporting match where you end up yelling at the TV screen thinking the referee might hear you? You become so invested in the game that you feel that berating them through the screen will have some effect on the way the ref’s subsequent decisions will be made. I can hear some of you groan at another sports analogy about to be applied here, but stay with me on this one because it may change the way you think about trust and leadership in public service, AND, the way you view the referee at your child’s next little league game. But, to begin with, what actually gives me license to talk about both officiating sports and public service? Two topics that, quite frankly, have probably never even come close to entering your mind at the same time! I started refereeing basketball at the ripe young age of thirteen and had no idea the impact it would make on my life. I went on to referee state championships in Australia and College Basketball in Canada. My educational background and professional life also happen to be in governance. As a person who has always aspired to a career in public service, I could not help but see the extraordinary links between these two seemingly juxtaposed topics.

As referees, we are responsible for making split second decisions, often under extreme pressure. These decisions that we make affect the way people feel, think and react to any given situation. Does this experience sound familiar to you? Referees actually display some of the most extraordinary qualities of leadership. Now, I am a person who completely understands the begrudging feelings many have towards referees. giphy2 I apologize if you are still cradling the scars from THAT decision that came from THAT referee back in junior high that lost you the championship match! BUT, and as obscure as it may seem, public service and refereeing actually share some very similar experiences, and recognizing this can actually teach us some very important lessons about leadership. So, hear me out.

Referees, like those in public service, are facilitators, they are the enablers, the diplomats, the judiciary, the rule enforcers, the teachers and the carers. They do this all for the love of the game and for a sense of community. It’s a calling. It’s a dedication to a certain level of responsibility. These aspects of a referee’s job ring remarkably similar to the roles and responsibilities involved in public service. In the stadium, we are the police, we are the firefighters, we are the courts and councilmen, and sometimes, we have to be animal control as well. Yes, you heard me right… animal control.

One of the complaints often heard by local referees is when a player or coach did not like a decision, and as a result says “I can’t believe I am paying YOU for this!” As with game fees that pay a referee’s wage, many people in society are also sensitive to where their tax money goes and what they see these taxes outwardly being spent on. In all honesty, the greatest thing that both positions have to develop is trust. I did not even come close to realizing this early on in my refereeing career, but this is what makes us successful at our jobs. The weight that trust carries is actually astounding. Creating trust and building relationships and rapport with those around us through clear communication and demonstrating objective and transparent decision-making, makes all the difference in the world. This goes for referees and it most definitely goes for those in public service. Surely, I get an “Amen” on that one. The bottom line is, the greater people’s trust is for the public servant and the referee alike, the criticisms and public outcry will not come nearly as swift and harsh if that level of trust and faith in a well demonstrated ability to lead, is there. On the court, if I have built and established a level of trust with players and coaches (and sometimes parents), a bad call on my part is far more easily forgiven, and they perhaps will not call for my head on the way out the door or in the parking lot.

As a basketball player (albeit not a very good one), I know I have caught myself walking into an arena looking at which referee would be on my game. I would find myself either mentally high-fiving myself knowing that this person was capable and I trusted them to be the arbiter, or, I would audibly groan knowing that I was up for a tough match, as I was just as likely to be going to battle with the referee as much as the opposition.giphy Those who have played competitive sports know this feeling. Honestly, the same thing goes when I walk into a stadium and see who I will be refereeing with on the next match. Like walking into the workplace and trusting who you have to work with, knowing who I would be walking onto the court with, made all the difference. What it came down to was, did I trust that person’s judgement? Knowing them, their background, how long they have been doing this for, their level of integrity, the calls they have made (good and bad), do I trust them not to mess up and make us all look like fools? One of the greatest compliments that I received refereeing came one day when the president of my association came to me after a tough match and said, “I would follow you into battle”. What this meant was that, on the court, he trusted my judgement, he trusted my skills, and my ability to communicate and relate to people and build those vital relationships. This absolutely also rings true in the workplace.

On the court as in public service, consistency is key. Consistency in your calls takes away the element of surprise. Consistency builds credibility. In the arena, whether it is the basketball arena or the public service arena, when there is mistrust for those in charge, chaos can ensue. Think of what mistrust does in your own mind, then expand that thought to an entire organization. It can be destructive. Successful leadership takes an extraordinary amount of emotional intelligence. Authority without trust DOES. NOT. WORK. For me, success came when I learned to be deliberate and thoughtful about each decision I made. What that does in terms of creating a level of respect from those around you is quite amazing. Referees, as many working in public service, are on the front lines. We can go through a game and can be called every name under the sun with abuse being hurled from every direction for doing things and making decisions we were trained to do and make. Overwhelmingly my experience on the court drastically changed when I began to realize how important elements like consistency, clear communication, transparency in decision making and a demonstrated willingness to communicate calmly, changed how people perceived me and approached me. All of a sudden reactions to my calls from coaches and players went from “I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU MADE THAT CALL, REF! ARE YOU BLIND???” to “Ref, can you please explain that one for me?” at which point a short explanation was all coaches and players needed to be satisfied that the right decision had been made.

Let’s face it, sports has a funny way of bringing out extreme emotion in people and can make us act in ways we would not even dream of otherwise. The fact that in that moment, I had stopped and listened to their question and gave them that one moment to express their concerns, rather than just fobbing them off as just another unjustifiably frustrated player, changed the way they reacted to me entirely. Suddenly there was a level of trust and respect present on the court that made the whole experience that much more profound. Amazing how these same principles can be applied to so many aspects of public service, whether it is in customer service, the folks on the front lines or those in leadership positions. There is a saying in the referee world “You are only as good as your last call”. Just as Warren Buffett said “It takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you will do things differently.” I’ll let you think about that one for a moment…


Being a referee and working in the arena of public service are both positions that are highly public, they are highly open for criticism and many consider them a necessary evil to keep their world turning. But, we know we are so much more than that. But perhaps another lesson learned… be nice to the referee! They are doing their best in a very tough situation!!

Written by:
Marlie Eyre
Member Collaboration Manager

Leadership and Diversity

Marlie_EAllow us to introduce to you The 16 Percent’s newest blogger—SGR’s own Marlie Eyre. Marlie joined SGR in February 2015,  as a Member Collaboration Coordinator. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations, Indonesian Language, and Politics as well as a Master’s Degree in Diplomacy and Trade. Her focus of study has been on government and governance both at a local and an international level. Marlie has traveled to more than twenty countries both as part of her studies, to pursue various work opportunities, and to broaden her understanding of local governments, policies, and cultural understanding. Prior to joining SGR, Marlie worked with various government and non-government organizations including an internship with U.K. Trade and Investment based in Melbourne Australia, Scalabrini Refugee Center in Cape Town, South Africa, and for the previous four years. has been working with a consulting company based in Montreal, Canada. Marlie is also fluent in Indonesian.

The demographic changes that America is experiencing currently is and will continue to be one of the most pressing topics in leadership circles. The demographics are shifting, this cannot be denied. But what does this mean for public service? What does this mean for those in leadership positions in public service? In today’s blog, we will explore why it is so important to be informed about demographic shifts and how this will make us more successful in our jobs and the services we provide.


Gregg Popovich

The San Antonio Spurs team is one of the most culturally diverse professional sports teams in the USA, not to mention one of the most successful NBA teams in recent times. Last year an action taken by head coach Gregg Popovich demonstrated one of the most profound examples of leadership and how important it is to recognize diversity I have ever seen. The San Antonio Spurs have players in their line-up from all across the world. One of these players is Patty Mills, a young indigenous man from Australia. Mills’ father is an Indigenous Torres Strait Islander and his mother is an Indigenous South Australian. He is the first Aboriginal Australian to play in the NBA and carries the pride of the entire Australian nation on his shoulders.


Eddie Mabo

On June 3rd, right before the Spurs were about to begin their preparations to come head to head with the Miami Heat for the championship, Gregg Popovich walked into the locker room and asked his players “do you know what today is?” Popovich then proceeded to flash an image of an older indigenous Australian gentleman up on the projector screen. Mills and fellow Aussie and team mate, Aron Baynes knew right away what he was referring to. The photo was of a gentleman named Eddie Mabo. Gregg Popovich proceeded to explain to his team the importance of June 3rd, Eddie Mabo Day, in Australia. Indeed this day, “Mabo Day”, is an important date on the calendar for all Indigenous Australians and Torres Straight Islanders, as it marks the day the Australian Government recognized Indigenous land rights. Mills was overwhelmed and filled with emotion by this action. Mills mother and father were in town at the time to watch their son play in the finals against Miami Heat and heard about what happened in the locker room. They were said to be just as taken aback by this extraordinary act of recognition and leadership.

The fact that Gregg Popovich felt it important enough to take time out from NBA finals preparation to recognize and educate his players on this topic demonstrates the enormous amount of respect he has for his players and their diversity. On a team that has more international players than domestic ones, he felt it was vital to recognize diversity to build his team and strengthen the relationships and respect between his players. This was not a stand-alone act by Popovich. He has done this on more than one occasion for others on the Spurs team. Popovich is a leader. He is a coach. What he did for Patrick Mills, as a leader, is truly inspiring.

So what can we learn from this extraordinary demonstration of celebrating cultural diversity from a leadership perspective? Diversity is special. It is a thing to be celebrated. It breaks down barriers in the most incredible ways. It reduces frustration and improves communication. It builds relationships that, as leaders and service providers, we cannot have success without. In our communities, knowing who we serve and not just recognizing diversity but embracing it, will lead to greater success and understanding.

A Job Satisfaction Checklist

10583892_10152176775975685_7374245496433923175_nAllow us to introduce to you The 16 Percent’s newest blogger—SGR’s own Muriel Call. Muriel joined SGR in December 2014 as a Research Assistant and is currently the Research Coordinator. Before joining SGR, Muriel was on the Library Staff for the City of Southlake, Texas. She has 15 years of experience working in the library and information science field in academic, public, and special libraries. She earned a BA in English and a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science, both from Louisiana State University. 

We’ve all had bad jobs. And maybe jobs that could have been great if the management hadn’t been so terrible. I’ve found myself in the latter situation at several points in my career and there’s nothing more frustrating. Everyone wants to feel that the person who hired them is just as grateful to be working with them as they are to have the job—but, in many cases, you may be made to feel that you are lucky you were even hired in the first place and that you could easily be replaced. When I’ve worked for organizations with this kind of leadership, I didn’t stay with them for very long because a) I couldn’t see a future for myself in the organization and b) the low morale problem with the rest of the staff; these weren’t happy places to work.

Annex-Chaplin-Charlie-Modern-Times_04Have you ever worked under “insecure leadership”? I have, and I can tell you, there was a great deal of frustration because I felt I had no voice, no agency—that I wasn’t really a part of the organization. I felt like little more than a cog in a huge, inanimate machine. My years of knowledge and experience weren’t valued and when I was able to express an idea for making a process more efficient or implementing a new way to increase productivity, management would use the idea and not give me credit or any sort of acknowledgement for it. Insecure managers aren’t good at recognizing the strengths in others or, worse, feel intimidated by them when they do recognize them.

In Mike’s blog on Leadership Rehab, he mentioned the following destructive leadership habits:

  • Blaming others for failures that are beyond anyone’s control
  • Verbally abusing employees
  • Mind games that send mixed messages so that employees never feel secure
  • Creating a moving target for success
  • Expecting perfectionism from others, while denying their own flaws1300x759xWhat-is-the-autocratic-leadership-style-and-when-is-it-best-to-apply-it.jpg.pagespeed.ic.bi-d-HNo0z

I have worked under managers who did these very things—one manager even made her employees cry on several occasions! These types of managers never seem to realize that they won’t get the best from their employees by these methods.

I have to confess, I never thought much about leadership before I came to work for SGR. I could definitely tell the difference between a bad boss and a good boss but never considered what it takes to be an effective leader, and what constitutes the difference between a “leader” and a “manager.” Now I know the positive effects that great leadership can have on both one’s personal and professional outlook.

Most managers just want to maintain an even keel. They want to get things done but so many rarely strive to achieve more than the minimum required. The goal is to float along with the current and try not to sink; they’d rather no one rock the boat, even if there’s potential for great success. Or maybe they micromanage to the point that innovation is completely stifled. That’s why they are managers and not leaders; they manage and maintain mediocrity, they don’t make sincere efforts to go beyond functioning at a basic level. When this is the culture, it’s often a systemic problem and the entire organization may be in need of “rehab” to fix the problem.

As employees, we all have different needs, different strengths, and different expectations.  These are the characteristics I now know I need for job satisfaction and engagement:cbd368e6cf52a0ff5bf06e889929d5d9e79d5e81a18efce8ac4ee987bd0c315c

  • An environment in which there is a high level of trust amongst staff. While a bad manager will often pit employees against one another or take sides, a good leader will find ways to build trust with employees so that there is a real sense that you are functioning as a team. You will achieve so much more if you work as a team.
  • An environment in which to flourish and grow. A good leader will recognize your strengths and utilize them to achieve goals and set new goals. For me, this means being given opportunities to learn, be creative, and challenge myself intellectually. You may require different things, but the point is, a good leader will help you meet these needs. There are incentives for leaders to do this. As a recent Harvard Business Review article pointed out, “…identifying and capitalizing on each person’s uniqueness saves time. No employee, however talented, is perfectly well-rounded.” Time is much better spent focusing on natural abilities. The article also says that, “capitalizing on uniqueness makes each person more accountable.” By challenging an employee to make their natural abilities the cornerstone of their contribution to the organization, they take ownership of their skills and can practice and refine them.
  • Acknowledgement. Raises, promotions, and other rewards are great when you get them but even just a kind word from management when you’ve put time and effort into a project makes a huge difference in staff morale. It makes you feel that the work you do is acknowledged and appreciated.2014-02-04-Pay-Rise

A great leader will give you these things. Organizations with strong leadership aren’t like inanimate machines, they are living, breathing entities that grow and change with time and that allow you to grow and change as an employee (Tweet This). It took a major career change for me to find a work environment that provided me with job satisfaction, engagement, and the opportunity to learn and hone new skills. Consider your own job satisfaction checklist and determine if your leadership is helping or hindering you in meeting your goals.

Can we Rely on People and Companies to Always Follow the Rules?

A union group is suing American Airlines, claiming supervisors are pressuring mechanics to release planes before they are safe to fly.
Local 591 of the Transport Workers Union says that union officials who raised objections were threatened with termination or even arrest.
American Airlines denies the allegations, saying that it complies with federal safety rules.
American Airlines Pressuring Mechanics on Safety by David Keonig

So, let’s think about this…

If we could rely on all companies and company owners to genuinely care for the safety and well-being of their workers, there would have never been unions. Right?

Image_of_Triangle_Shirtwaist_Factory_fire_on_March_25_-_1911If you don’t know your history, just read the story of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire for starters. The answer to the question is no—we cannot rely on all companies and company leaders to always do the right thing. The moral, ethical, treat-your-people-well right thing.

And, if we could rely on all companies and company leaders to treat all of their employees fairly in the compensation department, then there would have been fewer unions. But, the reality is that not all companies are good about such matters. Not at all. Thus, there is a need for people to look after the safety, well-being, and fair wages of workers. Enter the unions.

Have unions ever over-reached, or misrepresented, or broken the law themselves? Yep, they have. Thus, the checks and balances, wherever we can install them, are probably needed.

So… consider this story.  A few years ago, a quarterback did not like the fact that for all of his “away” games, he had t"Nope -- it wasn't me..."o use footballs provided by the home team. They weren’t “prepared” the way that he liked the football to be prepared. So he recruited other quarterbacks, like Peyton Manning, to write letters to the league in agreement with him, saying that each visiting team should be allowed to provide their own footballs. The effort was successful, and the league changed the rules. That man was Tom Brady (read about this here). No one objects to the idea, the premise that each quarterback should be able to play with footballs prepared the way that he likes them. That’s ok—a good idea…But, what if one of those teams decides to go beyond the rules, and under-inflate the footballs. Who will check the air pressure? Should that quarterback, that team, which prepares its own footballs, always be counted on to follow the rules of the game?

(And, by the way, how does it look when the team that was apparently caught in the act was the very team, the very quarterback, that sought the rule change? Makes you wonder just why he sought the rule change after all…)

By the way, I’ve got a hunch that someone not connected to the Patriots will be checking the air pressure of the footballs used by the Patriots from now on.  In fact—and this is the larger cost of people not abiding by the rules—the league will probably have to go to some extra expense to check all teams’ footballs; even the teams that would never cheat, just because of the bad actions of the one(s) that would/did cheat.

Do players, and teams, and companies, always play fair? Always do the right thing? If they did, it would be a better world. But, they don’t do they?

A while back, I heard a guest on an NPR interview show (sorry; I don’t remember the guest’s name, or the date—it was on the Diane Rehm show, I think). This person acknowledged that yes, there were probably too few regulations leading up to the 2008 crash. But he was thoroughly convinced that the move now was toward too many regulations. (I have a hunch that if we went back to before 2008, he, and/or the folks he traveled with, were saying that “we don’t need any more regulations now. You can trust us to do the right thing for the country, and the economy.”  How did that turn out?).

So, I do not know if the Union’s grievance against American Airlines is legitimate or not. But I think I can say this with great certainty—there is some company, somewhere; there is some athlete, somewhere, right now—not following the rules for safety, and/or not providing fair wages to its workers, or breaking the rules for an unfair advantage.

I think I’m right about that. I wish I wasn’t, but I am, in fact, certain about that. I bet you think the same.

Randy Mayeux
Contributed by:
Randy Mayeux
Professional Speaker & Writer
Co-founder, First Friday Book Synopsis

Three Characteristics of Great Leaders

“Leadership”. Few topics have so many experts offering so much advice with so little actual impact!

It would take years to read all of the books on leadership currently on the shelves of your local Barnes and Noble. And yet, the lack of effective leadership continues to mire far too many organizations in the tar pit of mediocrity.

Yesterday, I engaged in a thought-provoking conversation with one of my authentic role models on the type of leadership required to create a dynamic and satisfying environment in which team members find a high-degree of job satisfaction and, as a result, perform at their highest levels. The insights I gained from this thought-provoking conversation are worth sharing.

  • Great leaders are not afraid to make themselves vulnerable.
    This is so counter-intuitive to our normal human inclinations. We tend to protect, conceal, and hide our shortcomings and limitations. We are afraid that if anyone knows we have a weakness, they will not respect us, they will not trust us, they will not like us, and they will not follow us. In reality, just the opposite is true. When a leader finally develops the courage to acknowledge their shortcomings, no one who works with them is surprised — they already could see the shortcomings and knew that the leader was hiding from those shortcomings! Vulnerability demonstrates strength (not weakness) and builds trust (not doubt). Leadership built on a foundation of anything other than trust is doomed to fail.
  • Great leaders are confidence builders.
    After a leader has earned the trust of their team, the leader must make the team trust and believe in itself (both individually and collectively). Achieving great things can only be achieved once your team truly believes they are capable of achieving great things. The greatest obstacle is not a lack of training, know-how, education, money, staffing, or political support — it is a lack of confidence that the vision is achievable. Great leaders know how to build the confidence of their team that they can accomplish amazing things.
  • Great leaders are dream enablers.
    The vast majority of your team members are motivated first and foremost by the desire to know they are making a difference in what they do. I absolutely love the description of the leader as a dream enabler. Few things are as exciting and satisfying as leading a team as they translate their individual and collective dreams and visions into a reality that makes a huge difference in the world. A leader who can align organizational goals that make a difference with the dreams of their team members will have captured lightening in a bottle… and amazing things will happen.

Build trust with your team by being strong enough to make yourself vulnerable; build confidence in your team that they are capable of achieving great things; and enable your team to make their dreams and visions a reality, and you will leave a lasting legacy as a great leader!

Ron Holifield

Written by:
Ron Holifield
CEO, Strategic Government Resources

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