Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Learn from Reading 'Leadership 2.0': Action

"People don't take action when they're told to. People take action when they're compelled to."
     As a leader, you want people to work on their own free will but in your direction. You need to find a creative way to connect to people and to influence them to work in your direction. To this end, you need three critical skills: Decision making, communication, and mobilizing others.

Decision Making

"As a leader, you are as good as you last decision."
     You cannot always make good decision. But, what you should do is to try to control the environment, i.e., the risk, as much as you can, as opposed to letting the environment control you and force you to make a certain decision.
     The following methods help you process a load of information, stay focused, and make good decision:

  • Do not let your emotion get in the way when you are making decision. Good emotion makes you arrogant. Bad decision makes you anxious. Get rid of emotion, and you will make good decisions.
  • Seek council
  • Be careful of raw data. A lot of people suffer from confirmation bias. They tend to pick out a part of raw data that supports our belief. You will make bad decision if your belief is wrong.
  • Seek knowledge rather than information. Information is what you get by analyzing raw data. Knowledge, on the other hand, is the reason why the raw data is what it is. It can be obtained by, for example, a scientific experiment. Knowledge is less prone to bias than information.
  • Be neutral. Get rid of your preconception.
  • Consider every angle.
    • Why do I need to make this decision?
    • What will happen if I don't make this decision?
    • Who will be affected by this decision?
    • How will this decision affect them?
    • What are consequences of each decision?
    • Do cost-benefit analysis.
    • Check against your intuition.
    • Plan for a Plan-B (i.e., in case of contingency).


"Great communicators inspire people. They create a connection with their followers that is real, emotional, and personal, regardless of any physical distance between them. Great communicators forge this connection through an understanding of people and an ability to speak directly to their needs in a manner that they are ready to hear."
     Eight strategies to master communication are

  1. Reach individuals not the group. When you give a talk, do not think that you are talking to 'them'. You need to reach 'each of them'. You need to make each of them think that you are talking to him or her personally. To do this you need to eliminate the distraction each individual might have so that you can deliver your message, your energy, and your emotion.
  2. Focus on the audience. Find out the right moment that people are ready to listen to whatever you have to say. Adjust your talking on the fly according to the reaction from your audience. You talk so that people will listen.
  3. Listen. Listen to the content, the tone, the emotion, the hidden message, and pretty much everything. When the other side is talking, stop doing other things like checking email, texting, etc. A true communication needs one side to talk while the other is listening.
  4. Connect to your audience emotionally. Stop acting cool. Show your audience your human side. People like similar people. Show them that you are one of them, not another one above them. Show them your emotion, what motivate you, why you are excited to do what you do. When they feel that what you do is doable and what you feel is feelable, they will pay attention to you.
  5. Read body language. People are not open to the authority--that is you--as much as their peer. So you need to pay attention to what isn't said as much as what is said. Body language is a great source of information for what isn't said.
  6. Plan your intent. Know what you want to achieve and how you will achieve it during the conversation, ahead of time.
  7. Avoid jargons. Use simple words.
  8. Be an active listener. Here are what you should do
    • Listen more that talk
    • Do not answer questions with questions.
    • Avoid finishing people's sentences.
    • Focus more on the other side.
    • Focus on what people are saying, right now, not on their interest.
    • Reframe what the other just said to verify your understanding.
    • Think of what you want to say 'after' the other side finishes speaking, not 'while' the other side is speaking.
    • Ask question.
    • Never interrupt.
    • Don't take note.

"People will forget what you said and did. But, they will never forget how you made them feel." 

Mobilizing Others

"People need to feel respected, valued, and emotionally engaged in their work, if you want them to mobilize."
     It's good to have employee satisfaction. But it's not enough. You need to have employee engagement. You want them to work 110% for you. You want them to turn down a job offer from other company with better salary. Here are strategies you might employ to mobilize other:

  • Appreciation: This is the cheapest but really effective gift that you can give to your people. Everyone wants to be recognized for their good deed. Give sincere appreciation and they will be happy to work hard for you.
  • Thoughtfulness: A lot of people do not care much about little things like expressing appreciation often, offering help, sharing your plans, or offering training. But these things are personal. And, people appreciate personal thing much more than general things.
  • Clarity: Be clear on the job description so that everyone knows what they should and should not do. Make sure that there is an information channel between you and confused people so that you can help clarify issues.
  • Earn respect from your people.
  • Integrate ideas from your people. You might get an unexpected solution. Also, you might even earn their respect as a by-product.
  • Have an open door policy which allows anyone to talk to anyone in any level. This helps increase employee engagement and mobilize your employees.
  • Tell your managers to engage in activities. You can be the only example, You managers need to be the ones who carry the message. They need to be an example for your employees. When they do, your employees will get engaged too.
  • Get mad on purpose, not by your emotion. Showing your anger to the right person, at the right place, at the right time, with the right reason could be very effective to get your people focused. However, if you get angry emotionally, no one would want to work with you.

Source: Leadership 2.0 by Travis Bradberry, Jean Greaves 

Book or Audiobooks?

          Personally, I prefer audiobooks. It's fun, and I can listen when I'm doing something else. It also makes other activities (e.g., jogging) a lot more fun. For more detail about audiobooks, please read [this post]. 
          There is one more reason that may encourage you to go for the audiobook version. You can get it now for FREE. Audible offers you a free trial for 14 days. Even if you get the book and cancel the subscription right away (so that you don't have to pay), you can keep the book. And, don't worry if you lost the audiobook file. Just log into audible.com. You can keep downloading the over and over again.
    About the summary: It takes time to finish up a book. And, when you do, sometimes, you want to review what you learn from the book. If you do not make  notes as you read, you might have to go through the book once again. This can be time-consuming when you are dealing with a book. But you can still flip through the book and locate what you are looking for.

However, when the material is an audiobook, it is extremely hard to locate a specific part of content. Most likely you will have to listen to the entire audiobook once again.

This book summary will help solve the pain of having to go through the book all over again.

I am leaving out the details of the books. Most books have interesting examples and case studies, not included here. Reading the original book would be much more entertaining and enlightening. If you like the summary, you may want to get the original from the source below.

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