Major change initiatives may bubble up from the ranks, but their success depends upon the advocacy of those at the top. Winning those folks to your side is essential, but it’s not enough. You have to make your influence felt one on one, person to person.

Get involved where you can have the most positive impact.

As a change agent, your challenge is to integrate your way of thinking into the organization in ways that do not threaten individuals but rather complement the goals and strategies of the organization.

John Baldoni is chair of leadership development at N2Growth, is an internationally recognized leadership educator and executive coach. In 2014, Trust Across America named him to its list of top 100 most trustworthy business experts. Also in 2014, named Baldoni to its list of top 100 leadership experts, and Global Gurus ranked him No. 11 on its list of global leadership experts. (read more…)

Feeling like everyone but you is being promoted? Wondering why your team has lost its spark? Questioning how few people at work are interested in your ideas and opinions?

Perhaps it’s time for a leadership practice checkup.

Professor and author Michael D. Watkins offers seven topics for leaders to take into account as they assess their leadership practices. These methods require maintaining an equilibrium between analytical thinking and conceptual mindsets—a fundamental necessity for leading as well as managing effectively. If your career growth and influence are stalled out, reflect on your answers to these seven questions.

1. Are you working as a specialist or a generalist?

Vikram Mansharamani notes that “the future may belong to the generalist.” A fast-moving, quickly changing business environment requires the ability to deal with a broad range of uncertainty. “Ideological reliance on a single perspective appears detrimental to one’s ability to successfully navigate vague or poorly-defined situations (which are more prevalent today than ever before).”

2. (read more…)

Earlier this month, I had the privilege of facilitating a webcast for the Association of Talent Development, which is the world’s largest professional training organization, with 40,000 members. ATD provides important training, information, learning opportunities and services that significantly help their members.

During the webcast we discussed the critical need for more women in business leadership. This is truly the most effective way businesses are running companies right now. We must combine the proven leadership skills and talents of women with men’s leadership strengths.

We discussed how men and women generally have different, yet very compatible leadership strengths. Where men tend to be aggressive, bold and decisive, women tend to be collaborative and inclusive, caring and risk-aware. Each of these skills is equally important. Men and women together have a lot to offer, and all benefit from this dynamic combination of talent!

Let’s face it, companies should not be run by men only, or predominantly by men, or by women only. (read more…)

“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” ~ Winston S. Churchill

One of the hardest things for leaders (and all people, for that matter) to deal with is criticism. We all want to be right, do right and have others consistently agree with and admire us. But every leader who has been around for even a short while knows that criticism is part and parcel of the experience. There is simply no way of avoiding it.

Consider all of history’s greatest leaders. Regardless of their era and role, every person that we would associate with positively changing the course of history was censured during his or her lifetime, often in scathing, relentless terms. It makes no difference whether they were people of great character or not. Nor did it matter if they were on the winning side of the argument or struggle. If they stood for a cause, led a nation or advanced a noteworthy agenda, then they were at times discouraged, condemned and perhaps even physically impeded from achieving their goals and aspirations. (read more…)

The Young Entrepreneur Council is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. Read previous SmartBlogs posts by YEC.

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yec_Kenny Nguyen21. When it’s specific

When asking or giving feedback, it’s important to be specific. We like to follow the format of SMART goals: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-sensitive. Rather than saying, “You need to track accounts better,” it’s better to say, “You can track your accounts better by checking in with customers every two weeks on the status of their project/ask if they have any questions.” — Kenny Nguyen, Big Fish Presentations

yec_Beck Bamberger2. When you ask what you can take action on

Make feedback actionable in the effort to improve. If the feedback is, “Sam rambles during in-person meetings with clients,” then the follow up could be a discussion or plan with Sam’s input that outlines, “Sam will sit in three meetings with Sally and Tom to observe their concise approach in meetings, and Sam will join Toastmasters and attend 10 meetings to brush up on his speaking skills.” — Beck Bamberger, BAM Communications

yec_alexandra levit3. (read more…)