Leading yourself …


The first step in articulating your leadership philosophy is determining how you’ll lead yourself. Nobody is going to follow you if you don’t know where you’re going (except out of curiosity).

This aspect of leadership is tricky. It requires introspection and a frank, honest conversation with yourself to understand where you’re headed and how you want to get there.

To start that discussion, there are four areas you must explore:

1. Finding your internal motivation

Why do you get out of bed every morning (alarm clocks, crying kids, or an overfull bladder are not  acceptable answers here)? Why are you excited to drive to the office? The answers to these two questions can help you articulate a leadership maxim.

2. Charting your path

What are your professional goals? What will your epitaph say? Grim, I know. But at the end of it all when you become worm food, what will you want the summation of your career to be?

Allow me to assist you in developing your maxim on this one Mad Libs style. Simply fill in the blanks for this sentence: “(Your name) stood for (BLANK) and we’ll never forget (BLANK) about him/her.” Imagine someone is reading that statement as your eulogy. Once you’ve reflected on that and filled it in, you have a good start on a maxim for this point.

3. Stating how you’ll move down your path

We’re human. We make mistakes. Having guardrails on the path of our lives helps keep us on track. Sure, we’ll run into those guardrails occasionally (and sometimes find ourselves crashing through them and ending up in the ravine on the side of the road). The important thing is to put those guardrails in place and adhere to them as much as we’re able.

4. Inspiring yourself

Life will knock you down. It’ll kick you in the teeth. It’ll spit on you and call you names. The big question is how will you pick yourself back up, dust yourself off, and get back in the fight?

As a leader, your team is looking to you in these situations. There won’t always be someone there to lift you back up. You sometimes have to find that inspiration within. This maxim is all about creating an anchor phrase for yourself that you can use to reignite the fire in your belly.

My maxim on this comes from Ernest Hemingway: “Man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated.” Every time I’ve had the wind knocked out of my sails, I find myself referring to that quote to remind myself that I don’t stop fighting and I need to get back up. What phrase, quote, or image will you use as your anchor?

That summarizes the leading yourself aspect of leadership. Is it holistic? No. Is it a great way to start articulating your leadership philosophy? Absolutely!

5 Strategies for Thriving in Changing Times

Beautiful young woman jumping on  a green meadow with a colored tissue

Today’s leaders know a changing economy means taking action that moves them from surviving to thriving. Here are a few steps you can implement to start thriving now.

1. Write Your Own Rules for a Rebound.

That’s according to a Fortune Magazine article that asks, “When will the business climate improve? That’s exactly the wrong question to be asking. Top CEOs are ditching the waiting game and writing their own rules for a rebound.” These CEOs have decided that instead of waiting for normal to return, they will run their businesses as if “this is the new normal.”

2. Be a Leader, Not Just a Manager.

This lesson holds true during any business climate and more so in a challenging one. Rapport Leadership International graduates know being a leader is about much more than possessing management skills, it is about focusing on people, unleashing others’ potential, being innovative, and inspiring trust to create profitable outcomes for your company.

3. Soar Like an Eagle.

In a tough economy, it is easy to pressure your team into doing better or blaming them for not working hard enough to impact the bottom line. Leaders who swoop in, make noise, and dump negativity on their employees and then leave, are like seagulls. Leaders who provide support, listen to feedback, and empower their teams to take charge, soar above the competition like eagles.

4. Become the CEO of what you do.

Regardless of your title in a company, you are the leader of what you do. Taking complete ownership of your role as if you were the CEO of sales, marketing, or human resources causes you to look deeper for ways to earn revenue, cut costs, or make systems and processes more efficient.

5. Be at Cause, not in effect.

The difference between being at cause versus being in effect as a leader is simple. When you worry, are being a victim, are angry, or resentful you are in effect. When you are willing to be responsible, joyful, at peace, or be free, you are living at cause.

By implementing these strategies and remembering that, “It’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do with it,” you will begin to shift your attitude from surviving in a challenging climate to thriving in changing times.

Start Thriving!

Weekly Leadership Book Review …

In order to be an effective leader – you need to be honing your skills. At Rapport Leadership we address the need to find your voice as a leader. This week’s book explores the importance of having presence in order to be a leader, regardless of title or authority.

Own the Room: Discover Your Signature Voice to Master Your Leadership Presence

Own the Room Book

People are drawn to and influenced by leaders who communicate authentically, connect easily with people, and have immediate impact. So how do you become one of them? How can you learn to “own the room”?

According to co-authors Amy Jen Su and Muriel Maignan Wilkins, having leadership presence is having the ability to clearly articulate your value proposition while connecting (and influencing) with others.

So how do you get leadership presence and own the room?

The book states you need to do two things.

1) Demonstrate your authentic value and distinction

2) Connect to others in a positive way.

Leaders who do this have what these authors call a “signature voice”.

The framework of creating a Signature (Leadership) Voice is done through ACE (Assumptions, Communication and Energy).

This book takes the mystery out of the concept of having leadership presence. The book is peppered with case studies and examples, along with tool to help you really hone your skills in creating greater leadership presence.

Now if reading is not for you – the two Rapport Leadership Courses that teach you how to find your presence as a leader are Power Communication and Leadership Breakthrough One.


Can you have leadership without rapport?

Not all leaders have rapport – but all great leaders do. The ability to build rapport is a skill many leaders know they must possess in order to get the very best out of their teams.


Peter Drucker said: Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes.

However results in business cannot be achieved without people – and you get the best out of people when you have a rapport with them.

Prior to the presidential election, Mitt Romney famously said of Barack Obama “The president may be a nice guy, but he’s just over his head”.  So why did he win the election?

People do business with people they KNOW, LIKE and TRUST. Businesses are lead by people who build TRUST and RAPPORT.

What do you think? How important is the skill of rapport-building when it comes to leadership?