Resolve to Be a More Powerful Leader in 2013

Building Leadership

“If your team has no clear career goals, help them see what’s possible. Take a stand for their greatness.” — Misti Burmeister

While each moment provides us with a new beginning (and there’s beauty in that reality), the New Year is a great opportunity for reflection and to make some simple, subtle shifts that, added up throughout the year, can make a substantial difference.

Just as one degree in temperature can either freeze or boil water, a small change in behavior can impact our lives – and our teams – in major ways.

Ready to take your leadership ability to a whole new level in 2013? Here are some subtle changes that create a substantial impact:

1. Learn what drives you. What are you passionate about and deeply committed to? Learn to dream bigger. Enlist the support of a colleague, boss, friend or coach – someone who will help you step outside your comfort zone.

2. Learn about the dreams of those on your team. If they have no clear career goals, help them see what’s possible. Take a stand for their greatness.

3. Become a better listener. This is a skill that can always be improved upon, and doing so will make you more powerful. A quick technique I learned along the way is to repeat what you have heard and ask for clarification, like this:

“What I heard you say is this … Did I get it? Is there more?”

Listen to what the other person is saying, and then make sure you understand.

4. Be at the center of a Tribe – which is what Seth Godin calls a “group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea.” Not only do you want to be part of a group like this, you want to be at the heart of it – the one to whom others look for introductions, growth opportunities and experiences.

5. Be aware of what you’re putting out there. Understand that your external world is purely a projection of your internal experience.If your team members are not passionate and excited about their work, consider that you are not – or that you are not communicating your passion.

Here’s to a productive, successful and happy New Year for you and your team!

Keeping it simple,

Misti Burmeister, best-selling author of From Boomers to Bloggers: Success Strategies Across GenerationsHidden Heroes and Power Suck.

Misti on Google+


7 thoughts on “Resolve to Be a More Powerful Leader in 2013

  1. Jonathan Kraft

    I find that when I’m being patient, it’s much easier for me to be a better listener. If I’m thinking about the next thing I want to say, or about how slowly they are talking, or how long they are taking to get to the point, it becomes very difficult to listen attentively. Sometimes people just need to talk things through, even if it means they repeat the same thing several times before getting to the point.

    Being a good listener is a rare skill indeed, and one which takes lots of cultivation… and patience. Great list Misti!


    • Misti Burmeister

      Patience and good listening seem to go together.

      I’ve found that when people repeat themselves, they’re simply not feeling heard, or understood.

      Without fail, every time I catch myself thinking, “How many times are they going to say that same thing?” – the truth underneath my irritation is that I’m not helping them see that I understand what they’re saying – and/or I’m not validating them. The minute I do that, they stop.

      So, for me, it sounds like – “What I’m hearing you say is… Did I get it? (if not, they re-explain and the process starts over)… what makes sense about what you’re saying is… ”

      Even if what they’re saying makes no sense at all, there’s always something in there that I am able to make sense of – when I get out of my shoes and into theirs… not always an ease feat.

      You are a great listener, btw, Jonathan… a skill to practice, practice, practice… especially when we think we’re “right” about something.


  2. Kimberly

    These are great points. I agree, one small change may create the difference you need.

    One item I continue to remind myself of is the need to “meet people where they are.” My listening skills tend to break down when I’m not doing that. It’s when my sense of urgency or importance of an issue does not align with the person I’m speaking to. Understanding where they are helps me to figure out how the issue is impacting them, what barriers they see that I may not, etc. I can then figure out what I should do next to move forward.

    Misti, this is a continuing resolution for me. 🙂

  3. Misti Burmeister

    Your self-awareness is awesome, Kimberly!

    How do you manage the desire to help them step into where they can be, and meet them where they are?

    • Kimberly

      Another great question, Misti.

      So, it depends on the topic or issue. If it’s a situation where I want people to stretch and grow into what I believe they are capable of achieving, then it’s through encouragement and expressing confidence in their abilities. It’s providing specific examples of where I see them growing today. It’s providing a safe environment for them to be comfortable in taking a risk…coaching when things didn’t turn out quite right…and acknowledging when things did go well to reinforce the behavior change.

      If the issue is hesitation due to an organizational change that may impact them, I try to balance between providing them an opportunity to express how they feel about it and providing the context of why the organization is making the change (this is discussion you are required to have many times over with org change). Never ever minimize their feelings or concerns (that’s where you lose them). Keep engaged in dialogue with them, more than before.

      The keys to both of these are patience, good listening skills, and honest, direct dialogue. Not using words that sound judgmental (again, you’ll lose them), but expressed with a sincere desire to help. People typically respond positively if you make the time and effort to do this. They also know when someone is giving them a load of….stuff, so don’t even try to put it past them.

      Again, hope this answers your question.

      I’ve always enjoyed your postings. The most recent one on connections is right on target. Keep up the great, work!

      • Misti Burmeister

        I love your comments, Kimberly! Here’s to a leader – YOU – who’s committed to mining for gold… in people! Thank you!

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