Category Archives: Leadership

Leading for Growth Summit

The time wasn’t my friend in the last period and now I have to recover it. In the last posts I mentioned you about a leadership event, Leading for Growth Summit,  organised by JCI Dublin. A well, that event happened on the 9th of November, in a rainy and gray Friday in a nice place in Dublin.

It was a good event, especially for its first edition, organised by a big multicultural team. At the event came 9 great speakers, who shared their own leadership stories and some almost made the audience cry. I will try to summarize the things that I learned at this event.

The most important thing about being a leader is first to be able to lead yourself. The first thing you should do when you get out from the bed in the morning is to lead yourself.

The speaker that started this summit  was Mary Davis, Regional President and Managing Director of Special Olympics across Europe Eurasia and she talked about Ingredients For Strong Leadership.  May started her speech with this famous quote:  “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”. The first ingredient is to take action, do the things that you want, nobody will do it for you. The time is always right to do what is right. The second is to lead by example, be a role model for the people around you and be a source of inspiration. The third ingredient is the Golden circle: Why, How, What and the most important is the Why, if the people understand it, they will follow you. If you use only the What and How you will like somebody else, but if you first say and explain the Why this takes you one step further.  Another important thing in your leadership journey is how you handle your difficulties. A leader is an ordinary person with extraordinary determination.

The second speaker was Simon Bolger, who talked about Leading With A Purpose. Simon  leads the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Online Partnerships Group at Google. The first thing you must do is to practice the basics. Earn the right to lead, have a view of the future and you have to know when to lead and when to follow. The second this is about awareness about yourself. Be present, listen and tune-in, understand your leadership style and know what you value. The last thing is about the purpose. Be yourself, be principled. Be purposeful, make a decision, then iterate.  Focus on the things that matter.

Tony Hefferman is the Founder & CEO of Bee For Battens, The Saoirse Foundation, Ireland’s National Charity For Batten Disease, he is also a Director of the Medical Research Charities Group & was recently elected as the 1st Global President of The Batten Disease International Alliance.  His subject was Social Leadership. Tony talked about the things that a leader must have and these are: the vision, focus, communication, drive, values and a strategy.  Be prepared to take risks and deal with the unexpected. As a leader it is crucial to know your team, to know their strengths and weaknesses  and to be aware of yours. Another important thing is to set challenges for you and your team because in this way you can develop more.

Another speaker was Andrew Keogh, a Presentations Consultant and Speaker. Andrew taught  us how to tell our stories. In tough times or times of change we must double the level of communication. This you can do through 4 steps: Connect, build relationships, create trust and connect to grow. Andrew talked also about changes. Today the change is acceptable, it is a journey that has to be explained, tomorrow the change will be the law of life.

The speaker that I liked the most is Caroline Casey, a social entrepreneur and Founder of the not-for-profit organisation Kanchi and its pioneering social franchise The Ability Awards.  The most dangerous leaders are the people taht dream and then are doing what they dreamed.  Caroline gave us some advices from her own experience: be an authentic self, don’t compare yourself with someone else, sometimes it is better to let it go if you see that you are not the right person to do it, be around people that believe in you and the most important thing, love what you do, it will make your life easier.

Another great speaker was Gerry Duffy and his topic was “Leaving Your Comfort Zone“.  Gerry’s’ sporting CV is filled accomplishments such as running 32 marathons in 32 days around Ireland as well as completing and winning the inaugural UK DECA Enduroman Ironman distance challenge in 2011.This ten day sporting challenge has been dubbed ‘The toughest 10 day Endurance Challenge in the World’. In his opinion, the ultimate success formula is this: “Decide what you want, take action, notice what is working and what is not, change your approach until you achieve what you want. It is very important to remember that the small keys open the big doors.

The other speakers were: PJ Timmins who talked about People Management, Theo Lynn, his topic was Social Media And The Science Of Persuasion and Johnny Walker who took us in a A Medical Entrepreneurial Experience.

As you can see, are as many theories about leadership as many people talk about it. We can learn a little bit of each other and to adapt it to our own style and preferences.



Leader of Leaders

Leader, leadership, this words are used so often by everyone and you can’t stop asking: all of them know what that means? It is like a cliche and at a point it will lose its meaning.

Or, just because you coordinate a team doesn’t mean leadership, that is TEAM MANAGEMENT, if you were curious, and it is a big difference between this two concepts.

Once I took an interview to a management consultant who was also the owner of the company, and one of the questions was: “Your employees are overqualified managers and the usual motivators don’t work with them. How you motivate your team ?” . The answer it is not relevant now, but the question can be asked  in this way: “If you are a leader of other leaders, how you motivate them, how you manage them?”. Maybe it is easy to answer, but is harder to do it.

John Maxwell wrote in one of his books about The 5 levels of Leadership, and these are:

Level One – Leadership From Position. At this level people follow you because they have to. To be an effective leader at this level know your job, be prepared to accept responsibility, exercise authority with caution, assess the strengths and short comings of your people, do more than what is expected and challenge people with interesting and tough assignments. It is important that we recognize that Positional Level is the doorway to leadership and every successful leader must pass through this doorway.

Level Two – Leadership From Respect. People follow you because they want to. To be effective at the respect level, possess a genuine concern for your people. It is important that you see life through their eyes. Deal with wisely with difficult people and make employees successful by setting them up for success. This level forms the foundation for leadership success.

Level Three – Leadership From Results. People follow you because of what you have done for the organization. To be an effective leader at this level be prepared to initiate and accept responsibility for growth by developing a purpose and seeing it through to completion. Leadership from results is built on admiration for the leader.

Level Four – Leadership From People Development. People follow you because of what you have done for them. Focus your attention on the fact that people are your most valuable asset and your leadership success will depend on your ability to surround yourself with an inner core of competent people who compliment your leadership style and goals. Leadership from people development is built on loyalty.

Level Five – Leadership From Mentorship. People follow you because they respect you. As a leader you are bigger than life and your success is shown through a life of accomplishments. People seek you out after you have left the company because you have left an indelible mark on the organization and the employees.

If you coordinate a team of leaders at the 4th level of leadership, who passed through the level of position, the level of respect, the level of results and the level of people development, what can you offer them more? What can you offer them more as a leader? You might say that you are the 5th level and you still have the mentorship, but unfortunately a few people reach that level, most of the people stay at the level 4.

I don’t say this is the hardest thing in the world, but it is more complicated than to develop a person from zero and to make him a good leader, than to take in your team 4 developed leaders. The key is to find other ways to motivate them and offer them exactly what they are looking for. If you can do this with your team, this will help you grow as a leader.

What do you want: to develop people from zero and to make them leaders or to be a leader of other leaders and to find other ways to motivate and manage them?

Not JUST a Team

We all know what it is a team, it has no sense to start explaining it. And sometimes a team it is not just some people that work together, it is a bunch of people that enter in your life, some are leaving , but some are there with you for a lifetime. And all start with a “Hi, my name is… “.

Until now I worked in more than 15 teams and each experience was different, each experience taught me a lot about myself,  about a team, about winning, about losing, about going further, about people, about friendship. And I had good experiences and others which helped me develop more.

I heard a lot of time people saying that they want to be friends way long after the project is ended, but few keep their promise. It is not easy, you might say, but WHY? Or maybe it is about the “click” between people, about the way they are, about the things they go through together and it is about honesty and carrying about each other.

After years I remember and I will always remember the team that wasn’t just a team for me, it was and it is still more than that. Those people are some of my best friends and even though we worked only 3 months together and it was 3 years ago, we are still there for each other, when we meet it is celebration, and, with modesty, we are an example for other teams, we kept our promise. You won’t remember the results, you’ll remember the experience, you have the memories and the people, not the achievement.

What it takes to become a great team? A good leader, a crazy team-building, a purpose of being the best, 6 different people (in my case) that complete each other, support, fun, hard-working, passion and an open heart.

I wish you to have a team as I had and to feel what I am feeling every time I think at those people and I remember that period of my life.

For OC LPM 2, 2009 🙂

Start doing it!

For some time I said that I will start writing in english on my blog, but every time I tried, it was just trying. But I preferred to say I can’t write in English. Bad choice. “I can’t” without really trying it doesn’t count. Maybe I had just to start doing it. And now I am doing it, I don’t know if it is good or bad, I will find this out eventually , but for now I want to do it. It’s that simple, isn’t it?

A lot of years I said I don’t know to cook, I am bad at it, but I never tried it very hard. I had a lot of excuses, the kitchen is to far from my room, I don’t have time, I don’t have all I need and so on. Now I am cooking, with some help from the internet, but I am doing it. And I am not that bad as I thought, at least from the feedback received. Funny, isn’t it?

Last year I said that I don’t like marketing and I won’t never be good at it, but now I realize that I know some stuff and it is really cool, and now I like it and I am not that bad at it.

How many times we say we can’t do that, or we are not that good, or we could never do that without trying it? You never know what you could discover about yourself, maybe it is really easy, maybe you would like it, maybe you are good at it, or bad, at least you will know for sure.

I promised myself that I will try and do all the things I want and I won’t let my fear or something else stopping me from doing it. If it is good or bad doesn’t really matter, but at least I will know for sure, without no assumptions.

All the best.

P.S.: it is my first post in English, so please be gentle :).

Step down sau Step Up?

Vad ca in ultima vreme se poarta chestii de genul ” that awkward moment when…”, asa ca am sa-l incerc si eu pe al meu: That awkward moment when you realize you aren’t a leader anymore, you are a team member”.

Dap, acest moment il traiesc acum la intensitate maxima, iar lucrul cu care ma lupt acum e sa trec de la mindset-ul de lider la cel de coechipier, sa ma obisnuiesc cu ideea ca anul urmator nu voi mai avea o echipa de oameni pe care sa o conduc si sa o dezvolt.

O intrebare imi da tarcoale: e vorba de un pas in jos sau de un pas mai sus? Esti un lider daca nu conduci o echipa? Ce il face pe un om sa fie lider?

Pentru ca imi place sa ma implic in diferite activitati, de cand sunt in Dublin mi-am mai luat o oportunitate in alta organizatie internationala, si anume sa fiu in echipa de organizare a unei conferinte despre leadership, organizata de JCI Dublin. Saptamana asta am avut o discutie foarte interesanta cu echipa despre leadership, despre ce e nevoie pentru ca un om sa-si dezvolte aceasta abilitate. Primul lucru care trebuie facut este: start doing, e atat de simplu de facut cat e de zis. Toti marii lideri asa au pornit, au vrut sa realizeze cevva, au actionat si au reusit.

Ce am observat in Irlanda e faptul ca oamenii asociaza liderul cu pozitia pe care o persoana o ocupa, se crede ca lideri sunt numai cei care au o pozitie de conducere intr-o companie sau in Guvern. Oare la asta se rezuma totul?

Sunt atatea teorii despre acest subiect pentru ca fiecare il vede in felul sau, si uneori este confundat cu antreprenoriatul.  Acest lucru l-am observat cand ne gandeam la potentiali speakeri pentru conferinta, iar majoritatea spuneau ca ar trebui sa chemam CEOs ale unor companii mari sau antreprenori care au construit o afacere de succes. Nu zic ca ei nu sunt lideri, spun doar ca nu numai ei fac parte din aceasta categorie. Pot fi si oameni care lucreaza in ONG-uri sau oameni care au avut o idee de proiect care a adus un impact sau schimbare in comunitate sau oameni care au revolutionat ceva in domeniul lor. Sau mai pot fi studenti care se implica si in alte activitati decat facultatea si care se diferentiaza de colegii lor. Un lider actioneaza, iar daca reuseste sa inspire macar doi oameni inseamna ca e pe drumul cel bun.

Pozitia e doar un plafon pe care trebuie sa construim, dar pana la urma, actiunile noastre ne definesc. Uneori, poate ca suntem lideri pentru anumite persoane fara ca noi sa ne dam seama de asta, nu trebuie sa avem neaparat o echipa “oficiala”.

Cineva mi-a zis o data ca daca as fi avut o echipa, fiecare membru ar fi realizat 10 rezultate, iar intreaga echipa ar fi realizat 50. Dar in cazul acesta, doar o singura persoana poate realiza cele 50 de rezultate (acesta e doar un exemplu 😀 ), ceea ce e un lucru minunat. Chiar daca eu voi fi responsabilul final si chiar daca eu voi conduce o arie la nivel national, voi avea sprijinul si ajutorul celor 4 colegi de echipa, ceea ce e foarte important.

Sa treci de la team leader la team member nu e intotdeauna un pas in jos, ci este un pas in sus, depinde cum vrei sa privesti lucrurile.

Pentru tine ce ar fi: step down sau step up?


Nu am zis niciodata ca sunt mai speciala decat restul, nu am zis niciodata ca sunt un guru sau ca sunt the best of the best, am zis doar ca sunt multumita de mine si de realizarile mele de pana acum. Da, stiu ca as fi putut face mult mai multe, stiu ca au fost momente de UPs and DOWNs cu farmecele si provocarile lor, dar pana la urma conteaza unde am ajuns. Si poate ca nu pare important pentru multi asta, da, nothign special, dar pentru mine e destul.

Azi stateam si ma gandeam care au fost momentele cheie care mi-au conturat traiectoria si care m-au transformat in persoana care sunt azi si mi-e greu sa spun cu certitudine ca asta si asta si asta si asta au facut asta :)).

Ingredientele cheie cred ca au fost: un strop de ambitie, un fir de pasiune, cateva legaturi de cuvinte de incurajare, un sut in fund si un kilogram de incredere de la cei din jurul meu. As putea spune ca drumul meu a inceput acum 5 ani de zile, cand a fost pentru prima data cand am inceput sa fac ceva, cand am trecut de la pasiv la activ. Dar, daca stau si ma gandesc mai bine, drumul meu a inceput de mic copil cand mi-am propus sa ajung un om de succes.

Si am crescut cu bune si cu rele, cu experiente minunate si cu experiente din care am avut multe de invatat, si am avut modele de la care am invatat ce sa fac si, mai ales,  ce sa nu fac, si am avut parte de oameni care au ramas si de oameni care au plecat, si am avut ce a avut orice om de varsta mea.

Ca orice copil, mi-am dorit sa fiu o gramada de lucruri,  de la medic pana la avocat si mai apoi pana la profesoara, pana intr-o zi cu soare, dar nu cred ca era sarbatoare.  Ceea ce stiam sigur era ca vreau sa conduc, sa fac lucruri marete, iar intr-o zi m-am hotarat ca vreau sa ajung manager la un moment dat. Si de acolo a pornit totul.

O mare influenta a avut aici unul din fratii mei, Nick, care mi-a zis ca daca va avea vreodata afacerea lui ar vrea ca surioara lui sa o conduca.  Si am avut momente in care am uitat cine sunt, mai exact momentele a doi ani de zile, si in care rataceam pe carari intunecate fara un scop, fara o directie, riscand sa dau cu piciorul la frumusetile vietii. Iar intr-o zi a rasarit soarele din nou si atunci mi-am zis ca nu voi mai lasa nimic sa stea intre mine si dorinta mea de a ajunge un manager de succes.

Alte momente importante au fost momentele in care am avut parte de esecuri si momentele in care am zis ca nu ma dau batuta. Iar acele esecuri mi-au adus lucruri mult mai frumoase, lucruri si oameni la care nici nu m-as fi asteptat. Pana la urma e adevarata vorba ca toate se intampla cu un motiv. Datorita acelor momente am avut ambitia de a ma autodepasi cu fiecare oportunitate pe care mi-o iau, cu fiecare zi, cu fiecare secunda din viata mea. Am reusit sa ma dezvolt si sa fac lucruri frumoase, sa imi las amprenta, sa fiu a better version of myself :).

Tin minte si acum ziua in care m-am hotarat ca era timpul meu sa cresc si sa dezvolt oameni, sa ii ajut asa cum am fost si cum mi-ar fi placut si mie sa fiu ajutata.  Nu se compara nimic cu sentimentul de mandrie si de bucurie cand iti vezi oamenii crescand, cand ii vezi realizand ce si-au propus. Sunt mandra de oamenii din viata mea.

Vorbeam de Role models mai devreme. Unul din ele a fost Iulian, presedintele AIESEC Iasi din anul 2008-2009.  Imi amintesc si acum cat de mult il admiram, iar cand venea in fata noastra si ne vorbea imi doream enorm sa ajung ca el. El a fost primul care mi-a zis sa am incredere in mine pentru ca am potential si datorita lui nu am parasit organizatia cand credeam ca nu imi mai gasesc locul acolo.   Faptul ca si-a facut timp sa vorbeasca cu mine a schimbat total traiectoria mea. Iar acum Iulian e un antreprenor social si e implicat in o multime de proiecte sociale. Bravo Iulian si multa bafta in continuare :).

O alta persoana care mereu m-a inspirat este dragul meu prieten Bogdan (Webila pentru cunoscatori).  Chiar daca cel mai bun prieten al lui Bogdan este web-ul si chiar daca e foarte bun in domeniu, si chiar daca munceste foarte mult, niciodata nu i s-au urcat fumurile la cap, mereu a fost un om minunat, modest si dispus sa ajute pe oricine, oricand.  Multi in locul lui ar fi devenit aroganti si ploni de sime, dar Bogdan a ramas acelasi om simplu si bun si de asta el este unul din modelele mele.

Alte doua persoane care m-au inspirat au fost Ionut D. si Alexandru N.. De la Ionut am invatat ca mai devreme sau mai tarziu totul se va rezolva, ca trebuie sa am un gram de rabdare si ca totul va fi bine.  De la Alex am luat pasiunea pentru Exchange, pasiunea pentru a ajuta studentii de a avea o experienta internationala care va avea un impact puternic asupra lor. Iar acum fac acest lucru in continuare si pot zice ca pasiunea inca nu da semne de a se termina.

Uneori imi amintesc de persoana care a fost in spatele meu de aproape 5 ani de zile, persoana care stia cum sa ma faca sa imi reamintesc ca pot face multe, persoana care a crezut in mine cand eu ziceam ca nu sunt in stare, una din persoanele fara de care nu as fi realizat multe, persoana careia i-am facut zile grele cand am lucrat cu ea. Vlad, te rog, nu ti-o lua in cap acum si iti multumesc ca esti un prieten minunat :D.

Kitty, scumpa mea Kitty. Ea e unul din motivele pentru care eu sunt acum in Irlanda, ea e unul din oamenii care m-au inspirat, ea e cea care m-a incurajat sa lupt pentru ceea ce imi doresc, ea a fost alaturi de mine si m-a ajutat de fiecare data cand am avut nevoie de indrumare si de un sfat. Multumesc, Kitty >:D<!

Pana la urma de la toti oamenii din viata noastra putem invata cate ceva si de asta mereu trebuie sa fim dispusi sa deschidem ochii si inima si sa fim dispusi sa invatam unii de la altii. Acum am 4 oameni langa mine cu care voi fi in urmatorul an si de la care sunt sigura ca am multe de inavatat.

Mi-am indeplinit visul? Inca nu. Am facut ceva in privinta asta? Da. Sunt pe drumul cel bun? Cu siguranta.

Pe data viitoare :)!

About Authentic Leadership

You just have to read this:

I can’t wait for great authentic leadership to emerge from the current context in which the trust is shaken. In times of  crisis people discover ways to better deal with the future.

As an authentic leader, self-consciousness is absolutely fundamental. You cannot be  emotionally inteligent if you are not also self-aware. This require, in adition of maturity, an intense work of self-examination or individuation. The criticism, even the toughest,  are essential for the construction of self-awareness.  To do so, you need to get honest feedback from  followers, so the followers must be also authentic. If we are all reliable, genuine and probable, organizations will be better. Here the values are crucial. There has to be a framework of values in which all believe and consider vital to achieve.

In parallel, we have great need of someone that listens to us, understand us and, abose all, tells us the truth.  Authentic leaders have to mantaion a high level of motivation, especially in the area of  “trigger events”. Such extrinsic motivation will help to see problematic circumstances as an opportunity to change the future. So, how can one become an authentic leader?

  • Talk with all your heart, conquer the followers. This implies that, after having said what you want to do, you must do it;
  • Communicate openly and frequently with teh other, we need to dialogue. This is much more than only saying the truth.  The communication is not only compossed of good news. It includes that what’s good, bad or indiferent;
  • Make clear, from the beginning, the expectations and standards of behavior that the followers and leaders have to achieve.  Be the change you want to make;
  • Look for people to take up your comitments, reflecting on this without resentiment. Commiting with the goal, not with the plan;
  • Value people and invest in them in order to create feeling of well-being and commitment within the working group;
  • Take care of people without ever infantilizing, requiring them to take responsability and developing moral and ethical bases.

In short, the authentical leader demonstrates passion for the goals, practices consistently the values and leads with the heart as wll as with the head. She/he defines the long-term, meaningful relationships and has the self-discipline to achieve results. They know who they are.

Article written by Vitor Manuel Seco