VOCL 020 – Looking at Leadership Articles #5

Twitter Show Summary: A review and discussion of interesting leadership articles featured in the media. Intro Hi there!  Welcome to the Voices of Canadian Leadership podcast. “Oopsie” while I was in Ottawa – trying to clean up all of the VOCL podcasts as per best practices – I filled up my site limitation for uploaded […]

Written By chris

On December 11, 2013

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Show Summary: A review and discussion of interesting leadership articles featured in the media.


Hi there!  Welcome to the Voices of Canadian Leadership podcast.

  • “Oopsie” while I was in Ottawa – trying to clean up all of the VOCL podcasts as per best practices – I filled up my site limitation for uploaded files.  New month, new limits, start podcasting again.  I still have a few more files to clean up, but I should be okay to continue publishing in December.
  • Several tweaks to the website.  You can access VOCL via tablets and smartphones, but these can display items in different places so I will focus on websites as seen on laptops/desktops
  • Added leadership quotes in the top right-hand section.  I’ve started with a few, but I really want this to be a community-based podcast.  Please send me your ideas for leadership quotes, and I’ll be happy to add them to the website and mention them on the podcast.  You get “bonus points” if the author of the quote is Canadian.  As you know, I am a big fan of giving credit where credit is due, so please let me know the author of your quote if you know it.  If you don’t, that’s okay – I’ll do some research and try to find it.
  • As I look at the stats, I realize that VOCL is being listened to from many different countries.  I’m glad that VOCL is providing the international audience with some value as well, and I want to increase that value.  As such, I’ve now featured a Google Translate button underneath the leadership quotes.  I’ve set flags to represent English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese – this seems to cover the vast majority of countries.  If you would like your language featured, please let me know – it’s a quick fix!
  • In addition to big details, I want to focus on the little ones as well.  On the left-hand side of the URL bar (where you would see VOCL.ca), I’ve now included a little maple leaf – that kind of symbol is called a “favicon”, and it helps personalize your website.  Creating legible art that is 16 pixels x 16 pixels was not as easy I had thought…
  • Sorry Android users – I am still working towards getting the artwork complete for submitting my Android app.  As we start hitting the Christmas holiday season, I should get some more time to get this done.

VOCL Resources and Articles

This week – a random selection of articles on different aspects of leadership.

9 Reasons to Lead in a No Spin Zone” by Mike Myatt at Forbes

I like a lot of Mike’s articles, and this one is no different.  It’s a standard-sized article that provides nine good reasons to remember a single point – telling the truth as a component of leadership.  Although you shouldn’t need reasons to tell the truth, my favourite is captured in point #8 – you have to like what you see when you look in the mirror (physical or metaphorical).


A fine blend of leadership styles” by Mohinish Sinha at Moneycontrol.com

This article discusses the advantages and optimal times of using an authoritative style (predominantly in North America) and using a coaching style (predominantly in Asia).  Although you can have a main style, you can still adapt your leadership to suit the individual(s) involved – you can “coach” your high performers within an authoritative framework.

//original link has been deleted//

The business of leadership” by Li Aoxue at China Daily

An article on how some Chinese educators and entrepreneurs are using the leadership thoughts from former Chairman Mao Zedong (the founding father of the People’s Republic of China) as guiding principles.  The article focuses mainly on Li Kaicheng, a former army colonel, who is now teaching business leaders about the values of educating employees, influencing their ways of thinking, setting goals, and being an example.

(//original link has been deleted//

Civil Military Leadership Pilot Initiative Launched” – a press release at Market Wired

“A pilot program to allow people to simultaneously obtain a university degree while also gaining leadership experience in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Reserves…” and “The leadership program, open to both officers and non-commissioned members of the reserves, aims to develop future citizen-leaders by offering significant academic and extracurricular opportunities that will broaden the participants’ experience and develop skilled, disciplined leaders. Students must apply to, and be accepted by, the university and one of the local army reserve units separately.”  I wish this program had been around when I first joined…


Bush camp teaches leadership” by Murray Brewster at Winnipeg Free Press

An article about a camp for Zhibaahaasing First Nation youth with leadership lessons being given by the Canadian Armed Forces military.  There are no leadership “nuggets” in this one, but I’m bringing it to you since it ties together many of the comments that were brought forth by David Foot and Calvin Helin during the opening plenary sessions of GGCLC 2012.  The end of this camp had some pretty heavy hitters in attendance – Ontario’s Lt.-Gov. David Onley, the Deputy Minister of Aboriginal and Northern Affairs Michael Wernick, and the Commander of the Canadian Army (now retired) Lt. Gen. Peter Devlin.  Teaching leadership skills and values to a growing youth demographic makes a lot of sense to me – I just hope that this is simply not perceived as being a “recruitment camp”.


Leadership Lessons from the British Royal Family” by Sanyin Siang at Huffington Post

Since Canada is part of the Commonwealth, it only makes sense to include leadership lessons from its leading family.  The article speaks to how the British Royal family has been demonstrating some best practices in recent times:

  • Don’t rely on title to cultivate influence
  • Show others who you are and what you are about
  • Keep the common touch
  • Collaborate with other leaders
  • Be selective and fearless about what you change
  • Two mainstays of the Royals that continue to bolster their credibility throughout the ages are their sense of duty and their resilience


Social Intelligence and the Biology of Leadership” by Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatzis at Harvard Business Review

“Your behavior can energize—or deflate—your entire organization through mood contagion.”  The beginning of the article kept me reading, especially when you consider that leaders set the tone for their organizations.  It discusses how some 360 reviews (assessments by supervisors, peers, and subordinates) have generated actionable feedback for leaders to improve how they communicate – with noticeable results.  The article also provides some social skills that leaders can improve, and the difference (if any) that gender brings to communicating.

In the section “Followers Mirror Their Leaders – Literally”, they introduce research that demonstrates that the mechanism of delivery can actually be more important than the message you are trying to convey (of course, this is something intuitive to the PowerPoint warriors…)   At this point, the rest of the article is for paid subscribers, but there is more than enough interesting content to make it a worthwhile read.  As a bonus, there is also a ten-minute interview with the author, who reinforces and expands on the concepts of the article.


7 Tips for Giving Feedback (and Making It a Lot Less Difficult, Too)” by Carol Anderson at TLNT.COM

Some leaders dread providing feedback, but it is a necessary skill in order to shape our teams to go in the direction that they need to go.  The author provides the following tips:

  • Provide context
  • Make it real
  • Involve the employee
  • Be objective
  • Don’t try to change the employee
  • Make it a two-way dialogue
  • Don’t be intimidated.

Try out these tips, and let me know if following them makes it easier for you to provide feedback.  If you have your own tips on the subject, let me know and I’ll feature them on the show.

//original link has been deleted//

How great leaders fire up employees and customers” by Tim Cork at Globe & Mail

Book excerpt from “G3: The gift of You, Leadership, and Netgiving” with a focus on asking questions as a component of great leadership.  The author makes a compelling case on why leaders need to ask questions – it can motivate and excite your subordinates.  Although you can simply provide the answers that people are looking for, it is much more powerful if you ask questions such that they come up with the answer themselves.   Even asking people for their thoughts on the matter can make a profound difference since they are being asked to provide an opinion (and therefore insight) instead of just providing an answer.  Finally, near the end of the article, there are some good introspective questions that leaders should ask themselves.


VOCL Listener Feedback

A few posts for this episode:

Jane Goldner provided a post from the Goldner Group via Google+ with the following intro: “A good leader will ignore self-interest to reach out and do the best they can for those they lead. Good leaders always keep those they lead in mind and are constantly looking for ways to do a better job as a leader.”  The article that she mentions can be found in the show notes.

Thanks for sharing this article, Jane – it was a great read.  I really liked your statement, “People are drawn to people who exhibit strength and can also inspire belief.”  As you rightly observe, this is not only for female leaders – it’s something that everyone should keep in mind.

I agree with your point that integrity is important.  Integrity is also something that must be a constant focus in a leader’s life – years of effort can be ruined by a single careless action or statement.

Bill England on LinkedIn, in response to the “Moneyball” article by Dan McCarthy at smartblogs.com //original link has been deleted// – this article was featured in VOCL 019.

“Interesting article Chris. I have seen how successful many small businesses are with a business coach and as the stats in the article show how many CEO’s benefit from a coach. I wonder how receptive senior military leaders working in an HQ environment would be to having a leadership coach. I think many could benefit from a coach.”

I agree and endorse the concept of having a leadership coach.  Unfortunately, financial or organizational constraints can sometimes preclude obtaining a paid-for coach.  Leaders, however, will work towards finding a solution – this can come under the form of mentorship.  Finding the right mentor within your organization can be challenging (and not necessarily optimal), so mentorship is one of the areas where I see providing value to your network and developing your network can pay huge dividends.

VOCL Closing Thoughts / Future Episodes / Call to Action

  • Leadership messages in music.  Perhaps I’m getting older, but I sometimes find it difficult to find positive messages in music – a medium that many people listen to on a daily basis.  If you constantly surround yourself with neutral (or even worse, negative) influences and messages, it may be harder to become the person that you want to be.  That’s why I’m pleasantly surprised that my daughter has turned me on to a new song, “Anything” by Hedley, a rock band from British Columbia.  Although the lyrics include some swear words (I’ve had to be selective in my clip to maintain the “clean” rating), the central theme is one of believing in yourself.  I’ve included an iTunes-like 30-second preview clip.  The whole song is $1.29 on iTunes – give it a listen for yourself.

(Note: My original intent was to provide a sound clip that would get people interested in the song and perhaps even want to download it.  Unfortunately, listening to podcasts about podcasting, I since learned that it would not be considered acceptable use, no matter how much I want to support Canadian artists.  As such, I have re-edited the file to feature silence where the clip originally was.  I have even removed the lyrics of the clip in these show notes, although you can easily find them on Google.  Although I have removed the clip, I still recommend that you check them out!)

Takeaways and introspection

  • 9 Reasons to Lead in a No Spin Zone” by Mike Myatt – do you like you see when you look in the mirror?  If yes, think about why that is.  If no, think about what you will change so that you like your new reflection.
  • A fine blend of leadership styles” by Mohinish Sinha – think about your leadership styles.  Do you have more than one?  Is there one that you tend to prefer, and if so, why?
  • 7 Tips for Giving Feedback (and Making It a Lot Less Difficult, Too)” by Carol Anderson.  Think about how you provide feedback to those you lead  Do you provide the right level of feedback at the right time?  Is it constructive or destructive?  On the other hand, how good are you at receiving feedback?  Do you feel defensive, or do you treat it as an opportunity to grow?

I’m Chris Hache, asking you to be VOCL for a better Canada.


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