Divergent CIO

An innovative, transformative, and digital leader experienced in Technology and Executive Leadership

First Step to Success: Build the Right Team

First Step to Success: Build the Right TeamSuccess doesn't come about overnight or all at once. Like a home, it needs a foundation, brick by brick, to form a stable structure that can support the weight of a business over time. The first building block to success, then, is building the right team. To draw another analogy, just like in sports, recruiting the top people to join your team is of paramount importance. You need a wide range of talents to make up a well-rounded team. You may be looking for attributes like: plays well with others, shares ideas openly in group settings, values transparency and aligns around a shared vision, individuals who bring you opportunities for growth, and down to earth teammates who celebrate victories together in an atmosphere of positivity.

Taking a Look at Yourself

Looking for these qualities and more when considering building your dream team is priority #1. However, before you even think about the types of people you want to work for you, the first step should be to look inward and ask yourself "am I the type of boss people want to work for?". Do you treat people fairly? Do you give your team the tools they need to be empowered and get the job done from within or do you control every aspect of the project? Are you transparent in your expectations? Do you foster a culture that is supportive and positive, or one of competition and rivalry? Do you have your team's best interests at heart? What do you think people say about you when you're not around?

The foundation of exceptional leadership lies in putting the needs of others first, says the Jack Welch Management Institute. You have to fight for the resources your team needs to do its job effectively and efficiently, lobbying for the raises and bonuses that your employees deserve. We're not saying this has to be a culture of "everybody gets a trophy." Rather, what we mean is, those who truly deliver on stellar performance will get rewarded for their efforts. Transparency in the workplace ensures that each teammate knows where he or she stands.

Upgrade Your Team

True leaders relentless upgrade their team, utilizing every encounter as a unique opportunity to coach, evaluate and build up self-confidence, according to Inc. Just like in sports, the team with the best players wins. Their leaders must put the time and energy into what famed business exec Jack Welch calls "people development" -- something that should be honed daily and integrated into all aspects of your interactions. You as the leader have to recognize and acknowledge your team's hard work if you want to encourage peak performance and instill confidence in the very core of your team.

Live and Breathe the Vision

As the owner or manager, you know what the vision of your company is. You invented it, you grew it, you live for it. That's not enough. You also have to make sure the people who work for you not only know that vision as well but live and breathe it every day. Not everyone will buy into this. It takes a special breed of person to truly embrace the goals you've set for yourself and help you realize them. Effective leaders, then, will cast the vision of the future and fuel that passion in the people who work for them. You should constantly be talking about that vision, reinforcing it with rewards in order to light a fire that will help them accomplish even the most difficult of assignments.

Follow Your Gut -- Even if People Hate You for It

People in a position of power -- whether that be the president, a coach or a parent -- can't be friends with everyone all of the time. They are in a position of power to make the tough calls that aren't always popular but that serve the greater good. Leaders will bring the courage to make gut calls, regardless of what team members think. Jack Welch goes on to say in his book Winning that "tough calls spawn complaints and resistance." Your job as a leader is to listen and explain yourself clearly but then start moving forward rather than dwelling.

Clear, sharp, definitive decision making is what you will be judged on as a leader. Because the choices you make will determine the overall success of your organization, it's you who will ultimately have to answer for the success or failure of your company. Transparency, trust and clear vision: if you employ these things, the right team will stand behind you every time.

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How Leaders Maintain Confidence During Uncertainty

How Leaders Maintain Confidence During UncertaintyAgility...patience...poise...unwavering strength...these are all qualities displayed by true leaders in times of uncertainty. There are many things that can contribute to uncertainty, from increased marketplace demands to competitive factors. Leaders must display confidence to minimize the impact of uncertainty; indeed, how leaders respond to growing pressures directly speaks to their leadership preparedness, maturity and acumen, according to Forbes.

This composure can be seen not just in what leaders say but how they carry themselves. From attitude to body language, leadership in its most basic form is all about making colleagues feel safe and secure and not just about helping them increase their performance and effectiveness. Employees are sick of running on empty, trying to get ahead just to survive the jungle that is the workplace. They want to know they have a place in that workplace with a leader who will ensure their job security in tumultuous times. No one can do their best job during the day when they're constantly looking over their shoulders and fearing for their jobs.


Avoiding Crisis Mode

Too many CIOs and other leaders are thrown for a loop when difficult situations are presented to them. While they may have all the credentials and experience in the world, some simply can't handle the pressure of maintaining composure during times of crisis and change. This leads to ineffective leadership because those individuals can't adapt to the unexpected. A true leader can stand above the chaos, see it as a chance for opportunity, maintain composure, and overcome that adversity. They can see beyond the present, institute change, and see it through to the other side. Instead of panic, there is calm.


This doesn't mean the leader is a push-over. This doesn't mean he or she is lacking in temerity, steadfastness and grit. It means the leader pushes through the noise, sees it for what it is, and institutes a clear objective without backing down. There's no doubt that uncertain times can test the mettle of even the strongest of companies. This is precisely when solid leaders must act in a decisive manner, setting an example that all can follow with confidence.

 

Tips for the Confident Leader

1. Keep emotions at bay: Wearing your heart on your sleeve may be good in love and romance, but it has no place at work in positions of leadership. Good leaders don't let their emotions get the best of them; they don't yell, panic, stress out, or cast blame. They keep their feelings in check, push through and channel that passion into a positive outlet of energy: solving the problem at hand quickly and efficiently. Expending all that emotional energy wastes opportunity and only tires you out for the real task.

2. Don't get defensive: It's natural for people to take things personally in the work place when things don't go their way, assuming the unfair reality of office politics is the culprit. But while office politics does exist, the true leader doesn't take a defensive stance; rather he takes a proactive stance. It's a simple reality that business decisions won't always go your way. That's part of living in a society. How you maintain composure and move on during those times of seeming unfairness will make all the difference. We all know people in our professional and personal lives who figuratively stomp their feet and say "that's not fair!" every time they don't get their way. Strong leaders don't waste time on taking things personally.

3. Stay fearless. Showing vulnerability or uncertainty is catching -- just like a cold. Rather than infect your staff with fear, take a fearless leader approach and project a sense of calm under pressure. The projection of confidence helps you to act rationally, objectively, and fearlessly. And -- also like a cold -- that fearless attitude is catching among your staff. Having the confidence to step up to challenges without wavering will put a positive spin on those challenges and allow you to work through them with a clear head.

Maintaining confidence in your position of leadership is imperative in showing your colleagues and employees the right path.

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