21st Century Leadership: 9 Skills You Must Master

This is Part I of our special series on what traits comprise a 21st century leader. Today’s article focuses on the nine skills 21st century leaders need to master.

As our world becomes increasingly complex, the traditional leadership style of “command and control” is fast being replaced with a more facilitative style of leadership. Facilitative leadership is team oriented, allowing for everyone to bring their piece of the puzzle into conversations. It is collaborative and supports diverse perspectives coming together. No longer can one person synthesize all the diverse data and come up with a solution as leaders have been trained to do in the past. A team of diverse people with good scanning abilities under the right leader can bring their specialized information; share it and together to create innovate, powerful solutions to complex challenges and problems.

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    Here are the nine key skills that the 21st century leader needs to master:

    Key skill No. 1: personal presence;

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    Key skill No. 2: High degrees of self-awareness;

    Key skill No. 3: the ability to acknowledge their habitual behaviors for the positive and negative impact;

    Key skill No. 4: clear core values that guide their actions and decisions;

    Key skill No. 5: clear and compelling vision that others can join;

    Key skill No. 6: facilitative skills to support all voices being heard and respected in the dialogue and collaboration;

    Key skill No. 7: practical understanding of systems and how change happens;

    Key skill No. 8: ability to see and hear others; and

    Key skill No. 9: spiritual practice, someplace you can turn when there is nowhere else to go.

    These skills support both the leaders’ personal self-mastery and their team and organization to move powerfully on their own self-mastery journey. Together they become high functioning and high performing team and/or organization.  In this environment, everyone contributes at a high level and team members will report high employee engagement and satisfaction.

    In Part II of this series, we’ll dig a little deeper into each of these key skills and how you can apply them to your own leadership style.

    Monika Moss-Gransberry is a 30-year entrepreneur, business coach and organizational consultant, author of Life Mapping: A Journey of Self Discovery and Path Finding and The Technology of Doing Creating & Being, both self-mastery books teaching readers how to make their visions real. She is on the faculty of the Goldman Sachs 10K Small Business Initiative and the Gestalt OSD Center. For more information on Monika’s work: www.mossgransberry.com and www.monikakmoss.com


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    Next up: 3 (More) Business Books You Should Have Read by Now

    3 (More) Business Books You Should Have Read by Now

    Periodically through the year, Mind Your Business checks in with our members to find out which business books they’re reading and why. Listed below are three more books to add to your reading list.

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    No. 1: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

    This is a classic, but should be on everyone’s reading list if you are serious about being successful in life and in business. This book was first published in 1937 and is a compilation of the interviews of more than 500 successful men—including Andrew Carnegie and Henry Ford. It is not a quick-fix or feel-good book, it breaks down 14 key focus areas that need to be understood and put in practice to actually see results. One of my mentors shared this book with me and I have not only read it multiple times this year, I have implemented several of the concepts and continue to do so as I grow my business. Here are a few of the things that I have implemented:

    • Persistence. The mind is a creature of habit—it thrives upon the dominating thoughts fed to it—control of the mind through the power of will comes from persistence and building habits.  I am creating a habit of a daily organizing routine in the morning and a short reflection period at the end of every day.  Doing something over and over seems boring—and it is—but the more you do it, the more it becomes automatic and you won’t resist it because it is just part of what you do. 
    • Subconscious mind. This was a game changer for me. Your subconscious mind will not remain idle and if you fail to plant your desires and the RIGHT THOUGHTS, you will never get the results you want. You need to feed the right thoughts in your subconscious mind—making them positive and repetitive. “Man can create nothing which he does not first conceive in thought”—when you really understand the power of thought, it can change everything for you. Every day I have said aloud my intentions, what I want and what I will give in return for it and it has brought me clients and friendships this year.
    • Power of the master mind. He defines the master mind as “coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose.” It seems obvious—get other great thinkers around you to help shape, perfect and grow your thoughts and ideas and the whole group benefits from the energy and intelligence available to everyone in the group. You must pick the right people. I have facilitated a few of these and will continue to do so next year with people who want to grow in areas of leadership—everyone who participates has grown because we love to learn from others versus just a book. I am starting my own master mind for my business as well and in 2018 I know that my group will reap tremendous benefits!

    No. 2: Everyone Communicates Few Connect by John C. Maxwell

    “According to the Harvard Business Review, ‘The number one criteria for advancement and promotion for professionals is an ability to communicate effectively.’  That means connecting! If you learned to connect better, it would change your life! This book has so many applications from a leadership perspective. It is broken into two parts—the principles of connecting and the connecting practices. When we communicate, we tend to think of ourselves and ask “will we look good, did they like me, did they hear me?”

    Here are a couple of my takeaways from this book:

    • The power of connecting is thinking of the ‘other’ person, when you realize that it’s not about you—growth really begins to happen. I have used this in my business as I thought about attracting the clients that I am really looking for—what are their wants and needs? What do they care about? What would really help them?  Instead of what I wanted them to know about me or what I wanted to tell them. I also use this in my coaching practice. The most common challenge I have seen in leaders is ability to influence and influence happens when we connect with others. It starts with the first connecting practice “common ground”—what does the other person want or need that you have in common with them so they see and feel a connection. 
    • Tips for connecting to a large group. The use of storytelling is so powerful. Don’t make your presentations death by powerpoint, show a picture and tell a story, our brains light up and we will listen and connect with you. I have used this in my speaking engagements—the most powerful stories are personal and the stories that show you when you were not perfect!
    • Use interesting facts and data points to make it interesting as well. One of my coaching and mastermind clients used this for a presentation she was giving and was so successful that one of their largest donors asked for a copy of her speech!

    No. 3: Your Brain at Work by David Rock

    If you are someone who brags about the fact that they are such a great multi-tasker, then this book is for you. This book helps to break down what we know about the brain and how it applies to becoming a more effective leader by understanding how to:

    • Make better decisions.
    • Stay cool under pressure.
    • Collaborate with others.
    • Facilitate change.

    I have applied this to how I approach my day and get things done by doing my biggest thinking in the morning when I am fresh and making sure that I don’t waste precious cognitive time with reading emails in the morning. I am a reformed multi-tasker and still slip once in a while but I have been conscious of having a “space” for thinking and not taking my phone with me when I am doing this. I have also helped dozens of executives have more effective meetings by doing one simple thing—removing the phones and computers from their meetings. They will end in half the time, people will pay attention and decisions will be better and made quicker! 

    Another concept I have used here relates to managing change and our tendency to get easily distracted. The anterior cingulate cortex lights up when something is different and in your brain—this novelty gets attention. If there is too much change all at once or over a very short period of time, it can cause anxiety or fear.  You might see this in organizations as people “shutting down” and feeling overloaded because their brains really are! I have used this in my consulting practice to help organizations and leaders “break-down” their changes and keep it simple. If you are trying to change 10 things all at once, you will get chaos, but try to change three or four things, with good explanations as to why and help in making the change and you will see much more success. 

    An overarching principle about the brain is that it is organized to minimize danger and maximize reward. When you apply this principle and the others in this book to your own personal leadership style and how you run your business to be more ‘brain friendly’ you will see great increases in performance, engagement and satisfaction.

    What are you reading these days? Let us know on Twitter!

    Jill Windelspecht has spent 20 years coaching executives, leading global and regional talent strategies, managing change and developing people. She works with mid- to senior-level executives and business owners to reach their potential and help create organizational climates that lead to lifelong prosperity. Helping executives develop their leadership and communication skills so that they can build a strong, cohesive team and break through any barriers holding themselves and their team back ... and not have to burn themselves out by doing so!  View her website by clicking here or contact Jill via email at Jillwindel@talentspecialists.net.  

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    Next up: 4 Leadership Lessons from BizConCLE

    4 Leadership Lessons from BizConCLE

    From enhancing customer retention to what sets transformational entrepreneurs apart, BizConCLE 2017 was filled with useful takeaways and lessons that small- and medium-sized businesses can use to build their business. In case you missed it, check out the below for recaps of the four impactful keynotes that took place during the show. Learn more about BizConCLE and how it can help your company by clicking here.

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    Next up: 4 Ways to Be a Better Leader

    4 Ways to Be a Better Leader

    What traits do you think of when you consider what makes for an effective leader? During a recent Small Business Boot Camp session, Jeff Nischwitz of The Nischwitz group took a deep dive into the qualities all leaders share, and how those characteristics can help a small business—and its staff—thrive. Below are X takeaways from the presentation.

    What traits do you think of when you consider what makes for an effective leader? During a recent Small Business Boot Camp session, Jeff Nischwitz of The Nischwitz group took a deep dive into the qualities all leaders share, and how those characteristics can help a small business—and its staff—thrive. Below are X takeaways from the presentation.

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    Entrepreneurs need to understand what kind of leader they are striving to be. And as part of that discovery, should ask themselves three questions:

    • What kind of leader am I committed to becoming?
    • Am I willing to let go of how things have always been done?
    • Can I tolerate living outside of my comfort zone?

    2. What Not to Do

    Leadership is not bullying. It is not about being disengaged. What is it about, then? Continue reading …

    3. Be Accountable

    A leader has to have the trust of their staff. Being accountable is one way to build trust, but what are the others? Try being human:

    • Ask for feedback.
    • Admit mistakes.
    • Be honest if you don’t know the answer to something.
    • Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
    • Allow staff the freedom to challenge perceptions.
    • Understand the ‘3 I’s of Leadership.’ 

    4. Be Conscious

    Remember back in the second item that talk about being disengaged? A Gallup Survey found that 70% of employees are not engaged with their work and employer. The steps outlined above will go a long way toward helping eliminate a leader’s blind spots and increase team engagement. It’s important that leaders take a “conscious” leadership position, that is, be aware of not only the needs of their staff but also to honor their staff’s perception of their leadership. And if you want to know more about conscious leadership, check out Nischwitz’ book: “Unmask: Let Go of Who You’re Supposed to Be & Unleash Your True Leader.

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    Next up: 5 Lessons to Learn from the Cleveland Indians' Success

    5 Lessons to Learn from the Cleveland Indians' Success

    The Cleveland Indians experienced a historic run of success in 2017. It didn't happen by accident. Here are five lessons businesses can learn from the Indians and apply to their own operations.

    As we begin the 2017 Major League Baseball Playoffs, the Cleveland Indians are the favorites to take home their first World Series title since 1948. This season has been impressive, especially since the team could have experienced a letdown following a heartbreaking Game 7 loss in the 2016 World Series.

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    The 2017 season has been historic. Beginning on Aug. 24, Cleveland went on a 22-game winning streak, the longest in Major League history. It is the second longest unbeaten streak behind the 1916 New York Giants who had a 26-game unbeaten streak, which included a tie. The Indians will enter the postseason with the most prolific strikeout pitching staff in baseball history, more than 1,550 strikeouts and a 3.9 strikeout-to-walk rate, both records.

    So how did the Indians get so good? It all comes down to the team, a collection of individuals who work as one to accomplish their goals. There are several foundational elements of a winning team, and the Cleveland Indians are a perfect example of how to put these elements into action.

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    But this doesn’t just apply to professional baseball. There are lessons for business, too. Here are five traits of the 2017 Cleveland Indians team that can be applied to your organization.

    Trait No. 1: A shared vision. The Cleveland Indians have a clear vision for 2017. The ownership, management and players all have expressed the same ultimate goal for the team—to win the World Series. This doesn’t mean that it will happen. A vision isn’t guaranteed. However, it does mean that all team members are focused on the same end state. The best teams develop a clear vision, ensure alignment of all team members, and continually reinforce the organization’s vision through both words and actions.

    Trait No. 2: Clearly-defined roles. From starting pitchers to the bullpen, all players understand what their roles are as part of the pitching staff. The same goes for the position players. Winning teams create clearly-defined roles for everyone, and make sure that all team members understand what they are accountable for and how they are being evaluated.

    Trait No. 3: Highly-skilled talent. From Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber to All-Star position players such as Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez, there is no shortage of talent on the Indians. To build a team of talented players, management was tasked with determining the needed skills for the team and securing players who matched up with those skills. The team also used analytics to evaluate talent before signing them. Finally, ownership gave resources such as money to attract high-level talent. For many organizations, the ability to secure talent is the most important factor to success. Just like the Indians, your organization should identify the skills you need, develop a thorough process to evaluate candidates who match those skills and create a compelling value proposition that attracts talented people to join the team.

    Trait No. 4: A strive for greatness. Many sports teams have talented players, but most of those teams don’t achieve the level of success of the 2017 Cleveland Indians. A key to Cleveland’s success is that the players are reaching for greatness. They are motivated to be better every day. They work hard at their craft. They aren’t satisfied until they reach their full potential. The tone of “strive for greatness” is something that permeates from the top down and through every person on the team. Successful teams in any organization have people who are not only talented, but also motivated to be their best.

    Trait No. 5: Strong leadership. Many people believe that Terry “Tito” Francona is the best manager in baseball. Not only does he know baseball, but he possesses other traits that lead to the team’s success. What Francona does best is managing his players. He does it by talking to them. "Tito is the total package," star relief pitcher Andrew Miller told cleveland.com. "It's his ability to communicate with anybody. It doesn't matter if it's a pitcher or position player, he has the ability to put players in a position to succeed.” All winning teams, whether in sports or business, should have strong leadership that motivates, communicates and puts their team in the best position to be successful.  

    Because the Cleveland Indians possess these five traits, it’s not surprising that they have built a winning culture that permeates throughout the organization. The 2017 Indians are an easy team to root for. They are a collection of players who believe in each other, have strong leadership and strive to be excellent. A team that is built with these characteristics is much better positioned to achieve success than a team that does not possess these crucial qualities.

    Nevin Bansal is the president and CEO of Outreach Promotional Solutions.

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    Next up: 5 Simple Phone Tactics to Overhaul Your Image

    5 Simple Phone Tactics to Overhaul Your Image

    Have we gotten too casual on the phone? Are we being lazy when communicating with clients or prospective clients? Don’t just phone it in—or maybe you can! Give your image a facelift by taking these quick and easy actions toward improved phone communication.

    Most small businesses facing the challenge of improving their image in the marketplace are staring at major investments of time and money. Properly planned and launched, those investments can earn significant positive results.

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    But what about the rest of us with similar needs but no deep pockets to pull all that off? Are we doomed to endure the mediocre or amateurish image we’ve created by what we’ve done or not done since we started our businesses?

    Not to worry. Here are five simple and easy phone tactics to overhaul your image. So easy you can phone them in. They require no investment—only some creativity and effort. Start small and simple. See how many you can add to your small business tool kit and start using them immediately.

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    Simple and easy tactic No. 1: Personalize you voice mail greeting

    Most small businesses use a voice mail greeting when they can’t answer incoming calls. This message might be the first impression a prospect or new customer gets of the company’s style and values. And it might reinforce those impressions with repeat callers. Listen to your voice mail greeting like a caller would. How do you feel about the business and the people running it? Do you want to do business with them?

    What kind of impressions does this recorded message cast?

    “Your call is being forwarded to an automated voice messaging system … 475 338-0298 is not available … “           

    Probably not favorable. More like lazy, dumb and cheap. How simple to invest a few minutes to personalize that greeting?

    “Hi, this is Ben Dover with Glitztronics. Please leave a message and I’ll get back to you by the end of the day.”

    Job done—concise, courteous and helpful. Now, that wasn’t so hard, was it?

    Simple and easy tactic No. 2: Listen to what callers hear

    So, what do callers hear when you do answer the phone? What kind of an image does your greeting cast? “Hi …” is a good start, but it needs help: “Hi, this is Ben with Glitztronics …” is better, but “Hi … this is Ben Dover with Glitztronics. How can I help you today?” really works well. Which one casts the best image of Ben? Which is the most like yours?

    Simple and easy tactic No. 3: Turn a problem into a pleasure

    What do you say when a caller needs help, asks a question or just says, “Thanks”? I do have a problem with responding, “No problem”, which seems to be most everyone’s default response these days. Simply say, “You’re welcome” instead. And even better is, “My pleasure.” While the shift from “problem” to “pleasure” is subtle, it does say something about your attitude.

    Simple and easy tactic No. 4: Review how you place out-going calls

    When you place an out-going call, what do they hear first after answering?  Consider a concise and courteous statement such as, “Hi … this is Ben Dover from Glitztronics … Is this a good time to discuss next week’s meeting?”

    And if the other person says it’s not a good time, no need to apologize. If you knew that, you wouldn’t have called and also, remember, they picked up the phone in the first place.

    Because most people have some version of Caller ID installed on their phone, make sure the read out isn’t lame like “unknown caller”, “not available” or blank. Those all signal a robo or spam call. Would you answer a call like that yourself? If I don’t recognize the name or number, I let the call go into voice mail where they hear my concise and courteous message. Most don’t leave a message, which tells me they were robo or spammers.

    Simple and easy tactic No. 5: Please leave a (complete) message

    When you do leave a voice message, what do they hear? “Hi … This is Ben returning your call” Is a good start, but not enough to really be helpful. “Hi … This is Ben Dover with Glitztronics returning your call. I can meet with you Tuesday at 10 or Thursday at 3. Let me know what works for you at 459-703-3162.’ While longer, it’s a more courteous and complete communication.

    Little effort, big results

    As you’ve seen, it doesn’t take much time or effort to phone in your image-casting make-over tactics that differentiate your business from the competition who don’t think it matters or have even bothered to try.

    Everything your customers and prospects hear over the phone should be on purpose and for a purpose. What kind of an image-casting score would they give your business?

    Phil Stella runs Effective Training & Communication, www.communicate-confidently.com, 440-449-0356, and empowers business leaders to communicate confidently. A popular trainer and executive coach on workplace communications and sales presentations, he is also on the Cleveland faculty of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Initiative.
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