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

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Q. What is one important leadership lesson we can all learn from stories like the recent Amazon profile(s)?

yec_Shavin Parikh1. Be intentional with your culture

Different companies have different cultures and expectations. There’s no “right” way to run a business. However, whatever your culture is, be intentional about it. Document your values, communicate them to new hires, and celebrate them over and over again throughout the company. If employees know what to expect, they’ll likely be happier. — Bhavin Parikh, Magoosh Inc

yec_Andrew Thomas 32. Empower people instead of pushing them

Pushing people and grinding them down is not as effective as empowering them to greater heights. (read more…)

In the first part of our series on vocal delivery, we introduced the basic components of vocal expression (power, pace, pitch and pause) and provided some expert advice for improving each.

This week, we’ll share some vocal exercises that will get your voice into shape for your next presentation. And you’ll also learn some surprisingly easy strategies to make your voice sound more confident and compelling.

Get in training with vocal exercises

Whether you want to prepare for one high-stakes presentation or be ready for hours of daily conference calls, it’s essential to train your voice for its best performance. Just like exercise prepares your muscles for a challenging event like running a marathon, your voice needs training to get in shape for the demands of public speaking.

Vocal coach and owner of Command Communication Helen Moses, who also has a background in opera singing, shares some easy and effective vocal training exercises. (read more…)

How would you rate your personal integrity? On a grading scale of A (high demonstrated integrity) to F (low demonstrated integrity), what grade would you give yourself? Even more important, how would the people you live with and work with grade you?

What should one consider when rating their own or someone else’s integrity? Here’s a client’s approach to integrity, which is one of their company’s core values.

First they define integrity: “We are accountable for our actions. We do what we say we will do. We do the right thing for all concerned.”

Then they specify exactly what behaviors all leaders and team members must demonstrate to ensure they are living the company’s integrity value.

  • I hold myself accountable for my commitments and actions. I keep my promises.
  • I attack problems and processes, not people.
  • I accept responsibility and apologize if I jeopardize respect or trust.
  • I align all of my plans, decisions, and actions with my organization’s purpose, values, and behaviors.
  • (read more…)

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 210,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

Have you ever struggled with the right way to use the power of your position?

  • Never — I’ve always wielded power very responsibly: 22%
  • Sometimes — I’ve made an occasional mistake: 72%
  • Often — I have trouble wielding power appropriately: 4%
  • All the time — I tend to abuse the power of my position: 1%

The Perils of Power. Being in a leadership role brings great responsibility with the power that comes along with it. While you might not abuse your power on a regular basis, even one small slip can be devastating. To avoid those issues, be aware of the major power mistakes you can make and actively avoid them. Put policies, practices, processes, and procedures in place to maintain fairness and prevent overstepping your bounds. (read more…)

Through years of consulting to many organizations, I’ve been blessed to work with wonderful, accomplished leaders — individuals who are deeply in touch with themselves and are focused on bringing the best of their skills, talents and passions to leading others. They view leading as both a privilege and a responsibility, one that surpasses any other role they may have in their organization.

At the same time, these gifted leaders are strongly committed to the business of growing the business, as they should be. They recognize that being an effective leader while holding a position of excellence in the market are not mutually exclusive objectives.

Conversely, I’ve also met individuals with leadership titles who failed to embrace the most profound aspect of their role — courage to lead well in the face of adversity and ambiguity. I call them “faux leaders.” In nearly every case I’ve witnessed, the behaviors of these leaders had a profoundly negative impact on their teams and their organizations. (read more…)