Posted by: Robbert Gorissen | February 14, 2013

14 Books on Leadership Every Young Entrepreneur & Leader Should Read

English books

“The Flip Side” from Flip Flippen | @flipflippen #leadership #success

“9 Things You Simply Must Do” from Dr Henry Cloud | @DrHenryCloud #strategy #personal

“The Tipping Point” from Malcolm Gladwell | @Malcgladwell #leader #change

“7 Habits of Highly Effective People” from Stephen Covey | @StephenRCovey #effective #leader

“Leadership Challenge” from Kouzes & Posner | @KouzesPosner #leadership #business

“Developing The Leader Within You” from John C. Maxwell | @JohnCMaxwell #development #personal

“The 21 Irrefutable Laws Of Leadership” from John C. Maxwell | @JohnCMaxwell #leaders #growth

“The 5 Levels Of Leadership” from John C. Maxwell | @JohnCMaxwell #leadership #development

“Developing The Leaders Around You” from John C. Maxwell | @JohnCMaxwell #leaders #growth

“The one Minute Manager” from Ken Blanchard | @kenblanchard #effective #leadership

Dutch books

“Dromen, Durven, Doen” from Ben Tiggelaar | @BenTiggelaar_BT #change #development

“Dienend Leiderschap” from Henk Jan Kamsteeg | @HenkJanKamsteeg #servant #leadership

“De volgende 30 jaar” from Henk Jan Kamsteeg | @HenkJanKamsteeg #leadership #change

“Hart horend” from Harry van de Pol | @harthorend #hearing #personal

Posted by: Robbert Gorissen | November 13, 2012

Working with Stress

A while ago I had to catch the bus, I had a good look around me and noticed that so many people are anxious, nervous and stressful. It seems like the stress level has gone up so much over the years. Stress is not always automatically something bad. It all depends on how you take it. Personally I love some stress, it gives me a thrill, keeps me excited and it keeps me working at a faster pace. But stress is now mostly viewed as a bad thing, with a range of long-term effects. Honestly, leadership, working with teams and people can be stressful.

While learning some stuff about stress in regards to the human body you can learn some interesting things. The interesting fact with stress is that the hormones it produces help you to run faster and fight harder. They increase heart rate and blood pressure, bringing more oxygen and blood sugar to power important muscles. And because of that they boost sweating in an effort to cool down these muscles. As well as these hormones focus your attention on the threat. It helps you survive in difficult situations. It’s absolutely amazing to see how this works.

But not only life threatening situations trigger this stress reaction. We experience it almost any time when we come across something unexpected or something that disturbs our goals and targets in life and for our organisation.

Unfortunately stress also has negative consequences. We are emotional, anxious, worried, prickly and upset most of the times. This actually reduces our ability to work effectively with other people and it has a massive effect on how we lead. We find it difficult to use our ability to make difficult decisions and choices. You notice every time that your effectiveness on the workplace and at home is highly affected by stress.

I only know a few situations where a stressful response is useful, and that’s only for a short period of time. Most situations profit from a calm, sensible and controlled approach. A little bit of stress is never wrong, but the extreme stress levels people are facing these days is abnormal.

I’m not an expert on stress and can’t give you professional advice, and if you’re dealing with a lot of stress and it is affecting your health and personal life I will encourage you to seek professional help and speak to your boss.

There are stress diaries and stress tests you can use. There are different techniques to deal with stress and methods to think more positive. Personally what I’m doing to reduce stress is putting my workload in a job & performance planning system, it helps me to get on top of my work. Good planning and knowing what’s going on helps me a lot. It’s easier said than done, but try to reduce your stress. Make sure that the stress is not using you but that you use positive and controlled stress to work and lead more effective, we want productive days and not stressful days.

I would love to hear your comments and feedback.

Posted by: Robbert Gorissen | October 9, 2012

Making effective Decisions and Choices

Making big or even small decisions for your organisation, teams and personal life isn’t always easy. As a leader there is a risk attached to the choices you make. Often it can get very overwhelming and difficult in some situations. As leaders we face this tension a lot, and honestly it isn’t getting any easier, leadership and the economic world keeps changing.

We are going to have a look at how we can make the right decisions in every situation. First of all you have to understand that our actions are attached to our beliefs! The way we think and believe has a massive impact on how we make decisions and the choices we make. We can have limiting or positive beliefs, those beliefs will shape how you act and live out your life and lead your organisation and team.

Before we make a decision we want to do it from a place of strength. We don’t want to make out of control choices. There are 4 things that I take into consideration when I make decisions:

Making a decision:
– How does it impact me personally
– How does it impact others
– Time
– Resources

I always make sure I take those 4 things into consideration.

The question is, after taking those things into consideration, what would be the correct response + action to take? How I choose to act is totally in my own control. We want to make the right decisions and be strong as a leader, because the stronger you are the stronger your leadership and influence will be.

We sometimes have to think systematically when we make decisions, however as leaders we want to be innovative, which means that we need to do things out of the box! To keep momentum happening we need to do new things and keep improving ourselves and our organisation. It’s difficult to predict the outcome of being innovative, because most of the time we have no idea what lays ahead on the other end of our decision. Most decisions are a big step of faith and basically we just need to give it a go.

There needs to be a balance when you make decisions. When making decisions and choices you need to have a good look at the stats, think it through logically but you also need to add some courage and boldness to the mix. Use your guts! Sometimes leaders are too afraid of making choices and we hold back. When that happens we don’t progress and often stop being innovative.

If we want to lead organisations, businesses and teams that are cutting edge, moving forward and making a difference we need to do things out of the box and stop being afraid of making difficult decisions and choices.

I truly hope this would have helped you with making decisions.

I would love to hear your comments and feedback.

Posted by: Robbert Gorissen | September 4, 2012

Servant Leadership

Some people just don’t stop talking about servant leadership while others almost never talk about this subject because they view it as a weak habit. But I am convinced that the true measure of your leadership is not the number of people who serve you, but it is the number of people you serve. Good leaders always have an attitude of being a servant first and being a leader second! Every good leader should serve the mission of the organisation, serve the people and lead by example. Putting others first and yourself second is a strength and not a weakness! Here are just a couple of thoughts about servant leadership.

Firstly servant leadership doesn’t mean that you are weak. It takes a strong leader to be a servant. They need different qualities like: listening, humility, awareness, nurturing, building community, boundaries, serving and much more. They are humble stewards of the organisations resources and put others first. Servant leaders are very effective because they look after people and help them reach their full potential and goals in life. They aren’t scared to see others succeed in life.

Secondly servant leadership and leading by example is a must have quality for every great leader. People will listen to you and respect you much faster if they see you leading by example. Because leadership should not be position based, but it should be relationship based. The only problem is, it’s not some method you do, but has to be a genuine and natural part of who you are. You can’t fake it! You can’t care about people one day and the next day neglect them. It has to be genuine!

Thirdly servant leadership is a culture you create in your team and organisation. Everyone should serve each other. It’s having a ‘yes mentality’, always being able to help, support and encourage each other. Servant leadership should create a positive flow in the organisation! If we serve and encourage one another we will both grow and be successful.

So you have to realise that servant leadership is a strength, you have to be an example and create this servant mentality in your organisation. If you are genuine about this, the sky is the limit for your teams. It’s not pushing people down so you can step up, but it’s together lifting each other up in order for everyone to win. Take your mind off yourself and start thinking like a real leader who has the best interest for the people under them and wants them to reach their goals. If you are a servant leader, you are a strong person!

However let me make one important note: when you are a servant leader it doesn’t mean you let people run over you. One of the qualities you need is boundaries. You will need strong and healthy boundaries in your life, and the key is to communicate this effectively and in a good way to your leaders, peers and followers.

Like I already said leadership should be relational based and not position based, and that is what servant leadership is all about because your position will only bring you so far, but your servant heart will bring you to a higher level.

I would love to hear your comments and feedback.

Posted by: Robbert Gorissen | July 30, 2012

Leadership programs for young leaders

There is so much we can do to train and coach young people. These young people are such a vital part for our non-profits, businesses and organisations. We can set up leadership programs and get them practically involved in leading. Businesses can offer workplace trainings and they have heaps of other possibilities to train them. This week we want to take a look into the different sorts of programs we can do and I will give you some practical tips.

Almost everything we do is outworked through a team of passionate people who give of themselves to see the lives of others built up, and who want to build organisations. A vital part of our teams are our new and young leaders, most of them are students. In order to train and equip these leaders we can develop special programs. We can do this in businesses and schools. These programs can provide students with the opportunity to be able to get practically involved in a specific area, and puts structure in place to see them to be equipped and gives them the leadership tools they need.

In order to train these student leaders in the most effective way we can set up our own leadership programs. Most programs consist of major components like: practical involvement, monthly training and mentorship/coaching.

The practical involvement of young leaders is really important, because most people learn by doing. Training is a vital part as well, you can have monthly trainings or some people prefer to do weekly trainings. Personally I think monthly training is great, and you can do weekly or fortnightly coaching sessions. The coach will work with them on specific leadership development that they require.

You can personally do the coaching, or you can get other great leaders to help you with this. These people can set an expectation for the students and help them on their journey. Especially in large organisations with different area’s you want people to help you who can do on the job coaching.

In everything we do we want to bring a leadership culture, empowerment, equipping and encouraging them, and give them a sense of belonging by getting them practically involved.

I encourage you to start thinking about setting up Leadership Programs for young leaders. Take what I have said, and be creative with it. Leadership Programs are a great initiative that allows you to keep building and influencing the next generation.

I would love to hear your comments and feedback.

Posted by: Robbert Gorissen | July 2, 2012

The next generation

The next generation of leaders is going to play an important role in what the future is going to look like for us. I discovered that age in combination with leadership isn’t a dilemma, because leadership is a journey! You are never too young and you are never too old to start on the leadership journey. But can I encourage you that leadership flourishes in a surrounding where this is stimulated and valued by others! That’s why it is so important that we train, equip & coach the next generation of leaders in a positive and effective way.

In everything we do we want to bring a leadership culture, empowerment and equipping them. Giving them a sense of belonging by getting them practically involved.

Think back to elementary school and high school, you see the leadership principles already developing in young people. Popular students are the leaders of different groups, there are class leaders, they lead sport teams and more. What if we start training and coaching those young people and students already in an earlier stage of their lives?

If leadership is influence then young people are definitely leaders. They influence other people and lead new trends, fashion, technology and they definitely lead and influence their friends. You can have a positive or negative influence on others, the challenge is how they can influence others in a positive way. As leaders we want to leave a positive impression, that’s why we need to set an example for those young people.

But why don’t we invest time in training young people effectively in leadership? Older people can have trouble in their approach to young people and are sometimes even fearful that the next generation can do it better than them. Some people are negative and cynical about the next generation, a problem many people face is that they are uncertain of themselves and they project that on others. However will that stop us in training young people? But how can we become better in training and coaching the next generation of leaders? Is it actually necessary that we spend time on this?

The answer on the last question is ‘yes’. It’s so essential that we see the importance of developing those young people in leadership. Soon the teenagers of today are the new CEO’s and leaders of your organisations. You need to see their development as an investment! It is important that we spend time to develop young people, they are very driven and passionate to make a huge difference in the world. The younger you learn something, the more valuable it will be for the future.

But how can we take the focus off ourselves and start helping those young leaders? If we look to coaching we must not focus on ourselves, but on the client. We need to take the attention off ourselves and focus it on others. It’s not easy to do that in a postmodern world, because everything is self focused. Self leadership is amazing, because how can you lead others if you can’t lead yourself! But it would be awful if it stays at that level. My focus as a leader must always be on others. We have a culture in which scepticism and negativity is dominating, but let’s focus on the positive side and bring out the best in these young leaders.

There is so much we can do in order to train and coach young people. It doesn’t matter if it is in the business world, non-for-profit, church or school, we all can set up leadership programs and get young people practically involved in leading.

But I reckon it all starts at home with the family, and it starts at school with education and practical involvement! If we can set up Leadership Development Programs at High Schools it will change the world. When students learn at a young age how effective positive leadership can be, they will have a massive advantage when they are older. And the effect on society will be phenomenal, a whole new generation of good leaders will stand up! Lets start training and coaching those young people now in their early stages of life.

Be creative, put structure in place to see those young people be equipped & empowered and give them the leadership tools they need!

Personally I believe in the next generation and think that they can make a difference. Are you willing to work with them and start coaching, training and supporting this next generation? Let’s make a personal commitment to do this. Value those young people and make sure you train them in leadership!

I would love to hear your comments and feedback.

Posted by: Robbert Gorissen | June 5, 2012

Can you lead Volunteers?

For many years I had the privilege to lead multiple teams. The most exciting sort of teams I have led where volunteer teams. If you want to test how good you are in leadership, go and lead a team of volunteers. If you lead an organisation or team and you wonder who you need to pick as a leader, ask them to lead a group of volunteers! Because with volunteers you can’t lead out of a title but you will need to lead out of relationship.

There are so many indicators if someone has leadership potential. Does someone have the ability to make things happen, vision, strong people skills, self discipline and desire! But there is one great test to see if someone has leadership potential and that is to ask them to lead a group of volunteers.

I encourage you to test your own leadership ability and try to lead volunteers. You might be wondering why that is so difficult! Because with volunteers you have no power, you can’t lead at all out of position. Almost everything needs to be action and relationship based. They don’t have to do anything you ask them to. If you’re not challenging them they will lose interest, but if you push them too hard they will drop out. If you don’t have a vision or you can’t communicate the vision they won’t know where to go. And if you don’t have good enough people skills they won’t spend any time with you.

And I encourage you to not only lead volunteers, but you should also volunteer yourself. Servant Leadership and leading by example is a very good quality to have. People will listen to you and respect you much faster if they see you leading by example. Because leadership should not be position based, but it should be action and relationship based.

If your organisation or team has any kind of community service, encourage the people to volunteer. And if you work for a not-for-profit organisation, definitely encourage your people to volunteer. You will notice very quickly if people have the potential to go to another level and step up if they have the ability to lead volunteers.

I would love to hear your comments and feedback.

Posted by: Robbert Gorissen | May 21, 2012

Self Awareness

A couple of weeks ago I was training a group of students about the subject of Self Awareness, and it was remarkable to see what we came up with and how self awareness can help us, and how it can help our leadership journey. With self awareness we focus mostly all our attention on ourselves, we evaluate and compare our behaviour to our standards and values. With self awareness we recognise our personality, strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes. We need to encourage ourselves to look at our self to improve our self. But it needs to be in the context of building others.

It is simply knowing who we are and understanding why we think, feel and behave the way we do. Developing self awareness can help us to know ourselves better, and to develop our leadership and how we relate to others.

If we are not self aware we are doomed to repeat the same mistakes we made in the past or in our last organisation/job. As leaders we want to break through the internal barriers to grow ourselves for which we and others can benefit from. Because as a leader I want to be able to master my actions and control my behaviour and the things I do. If not I just react to external events. I don’t want to stay bound to what shapes me into who I am becoming because of external events. We need to make active decisions to evaluate who we are, who we want to became and how we are going to do that.

Self Awareness and Self Leadership is all about becoming a better you and leader, so you can lead and build others and your organisation in a more effective and positive way. I already said earlier that we need to encourage ourselves to look at our self to improve our self. But all in the context of building others! Ask yourself the questions; how do I relate to others? How do I encourage others? How do I confront others? And how can I improve the way I build and lead others?

I want to encourage you to write down your strengths and weaknesses. Write them down on a paper and think about it, evaluate it and ask others to give you feedback. Because what you might see as a weakness, someone else might see it as a strength! And trust me you never get too old doing this and becoming more self aware. So let’s take the leadership challenge and become more self aware, and improve our self in order to lead and build people in a more effective way!

I would love to hear your comments and feedback.

Posted by: Robbert Gorissen | November 5, 2011

Leadership Culture

With my business I’m often training organisations and teams, and one of the most asked questions is if I want to help them with their leadership programs, structure and teams. It’s always challenging because leadership should not only be a program, but, ultimately, leadership should be a culture in the organisation! A program can help facilitate this, but the ideal is that leadership is a part of the culture, and the program should serve the culture. Question: if you are the leader of a team and you go on a holiday for a couple of weeks, who will continue to lead? Did you put a system in place that will manage them for that time? Or, will there be someone on your team who stands up to lead, because you created a leadership culture?

How do you create a healthy leadership culture? It all starts with you! Because people do what people see. You are the biggest example and influencer for your team. Ask yourself these three questions:

– Am I investing time in my self?
You have to invest time in yourself. When you are growing and developing as a leader, learning new things, reading books and challenging yourself to go further it is obvious and people will notice. They will see you flourish and will start doing the things you do.

– Am I really interested in other people?
Have you ever been talking to someone who constantly looks the other way, or someone who is checking the time every minute? But do you do the same with your team member? Hopefully the answer is no, and that your team feels valued when you talk to them. Do you know your team? Do you know what they like doing on the weekend? Don’t fake it, show an authentic interest in others.

– Am I taking time to develop leaders?
Do you take the time to develop leaders, and invest your time with them? As leaders, we are in the people business. Leadership is all about people, and taking them to higher levels by investing our time and energy in them. It’s important to develop leaders and help them succeed in life.

Set a good example for people to follow. If it is a part of your DNA to invest time in yourself, being interested in other people and taking time to develop leaders, it will have a positive affect on your team. They will notice it, and start doing the same.

How we build a certain culture into an organisation looks different for everyone, it depends on the organisation and the values they have. But the core principles stay the same. There are 4 key principles you need to have which will definitely help you create a leadership culture.

1. Trustworthy:
When you have a team that is trustworthy, the possibilities are endless. You can trust them with new ideas, concepts and with other people. There is a massive barrier when there is no trust. Make sure you build trust! It’s so good to be open and honest with each other.

2. Positive:
It’s so easy to be negative and see the bad things in everything and everyone. What you need is an empowering team which sees the victory and the good. A team that is positive and builds each other up. There are so many battles to win and you can do it!

3. Teachable:
If you have a teachable culture, people are open for leadership development and new things. They want to learn and they want to grow. Make sure your team is self motivated to learn and not only dependant on you!

4. Faithfulness:
Are people faithful to you and to the organisation? When you have people who are faithful, they will stick- even in the hard times. You need people who do every season with you! Set a positive example and do the same.

It’s not impossible to do this! You can create a leadership culture and it’s worth while to do. Leadership is a great journey and hopefully you are creating a positive culture for people to flow in!

I would love to hear your comments and feedback.

Posted by: Robbert Gorissen | September 12, 2011

The L-Myth

Today we have the honour of having guest blogger Paul Andrew‘ sharing some thoughtful insight:

In his bestselling book “The E-Myth” Michael Gerber attacks some common misconceptions around what it means to be an entrepreneur. He debunks why people become entrepreneurs, what a business really is, and helps explain why so many people struggle with their small business that was supposed to give them “freedom”.

I believe there’s an L-Myth too. The Leadership Myth has kept many a capable person from believing they could lead others.

Millions of people have accepted fallacies like these-
* “Real leaders are born leaders” – as though it’s a birthright… yet so many of us need to lead, even when it doesn’t come easily
* “You need to be an extrovert to be a leader” – as though it’s a personality type… yet some of the best leaders in history were quiet achievers or introverts
* “The leader has to be the smartest person in the room” – as though it’s an IQ test… yet many smart people don’t lead, and many world-class leaders didn’t finish school let alone their PhD
* “You can’t learn to be a leader” – as though it’s a completely mysterious art… yet there is a science of leadership too

In many ways I write these articles on The Leadership Coach™ for the 90% of leaders who find themselves leading out necessity. Not because they were born leaders. Not because they love the limelight or were the best and brightest. But because there was a need or an opportunity and they stepped up.

I actually believe that leadership is more an attitude than it is a position. That it’s more about the way we carry ourselves and our organisations than it is about the corner office or the fancy title.

Everyone leading. That’s the goal. Thinking like leaders, acting like leaders, making choices like leaders, carrying the vision like leaders, taking responsibility like leaders.

So great companies don’t build leadership structures, they build leadership cultures. They harness the latent leadership in all of us.

It’s time we rethink leadership.

So what do YOU think are the myths or half-truths people believe that keep them from becoming the leaders they could be?

I’d love to hear your comments.

Find more of Paul’s articles

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