How DiSC changed my life…

For the last two or three years of my career as a teacher, I was able to finally be somewhat effective with those students who were so very different than me.
This affirms two huge things:
One, effective communication and leadership are behaviors that can be learned and practiced behaviors.
Two, DiSC is powerful.
I have become an Inscape Publishing authorized distributor of DiSC products; not because it adds to my “bag of tricks” as a consultant, but because it can make a profound, immediate, actionable difference in the lives of the people who grow to understand it, even at the most rudimentary level; all I did was hear about it and learn a little bit about it and it made a powerful difference. It changed my life, and that is why I use it and recommend it to everyone.

Positive leadership isn’t the same thing as “soft” leadership

Sometime, when people are urged to take a positive approach to leadership, there is some push-back. Some people seem to equate “positivity” with being super-nice, but being kind is much deeper than a spewing of empty compliments like “good job” or “nice work” or “super!”
An approach that upholds high standards and is very specific about behavior is positive, but not soft. Be rigorous, not ruthless.

Effective Leaders Focus on Follower Engagement

Much of what I write and teach about servant leadership comes, frankly, from a moral, “do good”, outlook. This may sound cheesy, but I’m a cheesy guy; servant leadership from all leaders and teachers and coaches and managers and parents, everywhere, would make the world a much better place for everyone. But there is a utilitarian way of looking at this also. Keeping people engaged insures a much greater likelihood that the goals of the organization will be attained.

Effective Leaders have Vision, but what IS “Vision”?!

So many believe that leaders are “visionary”. It’s true – but a problem is this:
The concept of vision is “out there”, esoteric, hard to grasp. Aren’t visionary leaders somehow “special” in that regard? How can you “teach” vision?
A working definition of “Vision” as it applies to leaders:
Vision is a two-fold ability:
1) the ability to accurately see the current reality of the organization/situation, and
2) the ability to creatively see the possibilities of the organization/situation.

Effective Leaders Pause and Listen

“What don’t I know I don’t know?”

Putting the needs of others first, and acting in support of your organization are key elements of servant leadership. That’s basic. But there can be an arrogance there, too; you can assume that you know what is needed – because you’re the leader, and you ought to know. This is what Peter Block refers to as a paternalistic view of leadership — “taking care” of people who “don’t know better” as opposed to a true commitment to learning what is needed.

Leaders Model the Behavior they Expect

What would it be like if the managers modeled the behavior that ought to be expected?

Ever seen a train? Ever seen the cars pass the engine? Never. If you’re a leader, and you do things at level 10, your followers will likely do them at an “8”. If you have a rough day, and your effort is a “7”, expect your followers to be at a “5”.

To paraphrase Kouzes and Posner:

Leaders model the way by setting the example for others in ways that are consistent with their values. This promotes consistent progress and building of commitment.

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