The Hidden Leader : Discover And Develop Greatness Within Your Company

"To Hidden Leaders everywhere. You are the powerhouses driving creativity, productivity, and innovation in business" - Scott K. Edinger and Laurie Sain

How many Hidden Leaders leap into your mind?

I have always been fascinated by growing any plant that I can get my hands on. As I grew up and entered the "real" world my love for growth transferred to people and relationship building. As a manager, I love finding that special "thing" in people and mentoring them to grow and develop. It's a humbling experience to see my people grow in their field and become leaders.  I'm a true believer that the best leaders don't have titles or are a designated position. The best leaders are "Hidden Leaders".

I was fortunate to be given a copy of the new book "The Hidden Leader: Discover And Develop Greatness Within Your Company" by Scott K. Edinger and Laurie Sain. The book launches today and it's a book that every "official" and "unofficial" leader should read. That means you! It's a book that you will find yourself referencing frequently as you look around your company or within your own team. The best leaders can be found in unusual places in every company. Leadership is what people do. Hidden Leaders are all over and can be your best advocates and "powerhouses". You just need to look a bit closer to find them.

My favorite aspect of this book is how interactive it is. I'm a bit of a tech geek and there are plenty of resources to use in this book. There are numerous online resources including worksheets and analytical tools for the mobile phone, tablet, and PC. There are numerous QR codes that you can scan with your phone to catch tools at your fingertips. There's more! The book offers a very helpful appendix that has several tools to discover and develop Hidden Leaders. There is also a Hidden Leader community that you can join online to connect and share thoughts with others. These tools are what make The Hidden Leader such a great book to keep handy on your desk.

Scott and Laurie really capture the traits of Hidden Leaders and what gifts that these people possess. They are enthusiastic leaders to those that they work with and a smart company will realize what champions they are. They can bring and develop excellence within a company and really help drive positive change. Hidden Leaders have integrity, form authentic relationships, focus on actions, and are very customer purposed. They can make things happen without having a leadership title or position. Wow. Why would anyone in a "leadership" role not want to take the time and energy to seek out Hidden Leaders?

Hidden Leaders don't need to possess all  4 of the listed traits above to be effective. Perhaps they are newer to an organization or less seasoned. If a team member has a few of these traits they should be identified and mentored to develop the skills that they lack. Moreover, not everyone wants to be pulled up into the leadership ranks. Some people are fulfilled by making a difference right where they are. You can't just stop at finding Hidden Leaders. Managers need to pave the way and develop a strong, nurturing, accepting culture to help grow them. Anyone who feels that a company culture is oppressive or negative may not step up to be a leader no matter how focused and passionate they are. There needs to be a culture of acceptance, innovation, empowerment and ownership in order for people to thrive.

The authors really delve into what makes up a hidden leader. These leaders are willing to speak up with courage and make decisions. They have integrity and listen while being effective mentors. They lead without people realizing it. They are skillful at building relationships and really use their empathy and generosity to do so. Hidden Leaders have compassion, value others, are very honest and remain very curious. They really focus on acknowledging others and being transparent with their intentions. They skillfully seek out solutions and resolve conflicts without added drama. Doesn't this urge you on to find Hidden Leaders within your own team or organization? I can think of a few from my past experiences, yet I never had an effective label for them.

Effective Hidden Leaders are "customer purposed". This is a critical distinction from just being "customer focused". We all think that we are customer focused and being advocates for clients every day no matter what our positions. You know from personal experience that this isn't true! How many irritating horrible customer experiences have you had just in the last month? I bet quite a few. "Customer Purposed" Hidden Leaders take service to the next level. They really strive to give value to the paying customer. They form strong authentic business relationships and really view their role in terms of what value that they can provide. They really "get" the value promise of an organization and take ownership. They strive to make a difference and seek out ways to "make things right". They are always enthusiastic, have balanced communication skills, have a sense of urgency, an ownership mindset, and are true champions of change. These Hidden Leaders are gems. You really need to refine how you will find your own Hidden Leaders or even become one.

We all have a responsibility to locate and mentor our Hidden Leaders. Needless to say, they are people that surpass goals and bring in the numbers. You need to know what to look for, how to grow your Hidden Leader network, make a plan, and go! It's in all of our interests to find Hidden Leaders and deploy them throughout organizations. They are an invisible army to encourage others and bring about solutions and change.

Scott and Laurie really hit home with this book. In addition to all of the great tools that they offer, they present some real world examples of Hidden Leaders. They also point out "false" leaders. Anyone who interacts with people at any level will benefit and enjoy this book. There are so many Hidden Leaders in our communities and volunteer groups. Think of what we can achieve if we grow these important people? Look at the silent movers and shakers that you work with. They deliver so much, yet ask nothing in return. Pick The Hidden Leader up today and start seeking out the Hidden Leaders around you and work to deploy them.

Here's a link to buy The Hidden Leader: Discover And Develop Greatness Within Your Company

Happy reading! Let me know what you think about this wonderful read! Better yet? Become a Hidden Leader yourself! 

10 Tools Leaders Need In Their Toolbox For 2015

"The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools" -  Confucius
Picture courtesy of Gardening in a minute via Compfight
Last week was the hyped up CES show (Consumer Electronics Show) in LasVegas. This is the holy grail of all the new technologies that are coming out. Some of the highlighted tech toys will never go to market and are more than a little strange. For instance, there is a Bionical looking suit that you can wear that senses your personal space and has arms that will push people away if they get too close, among other things. Just what every introvert needs! When companies introduce new products, even gardeners get some new gadgets.

 Here's a sampling of a few new gadgets that you can get your hands on this year for your garden:

  • Edyn. This gadget was introduced at the CES. It's a smart stake that you put in your garden. It does everything and connects to your smart phone. It's uses wifi and sends you alerts about bad weather, when to harvest veggies, the health of your soil, when to water. AND it's solar powered. If you really need one here's the scoop!
  • Brinno Garden Watch Time Lapse Camera. If you tire of watching your plants grow, you can get a camera to do it for you. This little gadget will take time lapse photos of your garden so you can literally watch your garden grow. Huh.
  • Parrot Flower Power. This handy tool has a wireless sensor that monitors the temperature, light, fertilizer levels for your inside plants and sends the data to your smart phone. Who needs the neighbor to care for your plants when you are away with this gadget?
  • Flymo 1200R Lawn Mower. "The Jetsons" are here. How about a robot to mow your lawn? The bots these days have more precision and power than in the past. Lay in a hammock and drink a beer while the bot mows!
  • Garden Plan Pro App. This little app will even help brown thumbs. The app will not only help you lay out your garden, it will send you weather data. It will remind you when to plant and what. It will also tell you seed spacing etc. Anyone can grow a garden with this! Bob Villa Gardening Gadgets
Gardening used to be great exercise but all this new technology may change everything. We really can be "lawn chair gardeners"! The gadgets will keep coming to make our lives easier and help us to become more productive. Do we really need all these gadgets?

"One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man" - Elbert Hubbard

Photo courtesy of Bibi Via Compfight
Just like gardeners, leaders really need to have the right tools for the coming year. Surprisingly, our best tools are low tech. Sure smart phones, tablets, blue tooth, and paper thin laptops are a necessity for most however, the best tools are what our kids may call "old".

 Here are the tools that YOU need in your toolbox for 2015:

  1. Books. Leaders who learn are leaders for life. Consume every book that you can for idea generation and to open yourself up to new ideas. I will even relent and let you read books electronically.
  2. Glue. Look for gaps and fill them. Diversity gaps. Gender gaps. Gen X and Gen Y gaps. Understand it, understand them, and use the tools at your disposal to fill the gaps so that teams are seamless and cohesive.
  3. Activity. Jump out of your comfort zone. Don't be insulated. 
  4. Costume. Be an "Undercover Boss". You don't know what you don't know. Get out there and find out.
  5. Notebook. Religiously use a notebook to jot down thought, ideas, and employee input. It's the perfect tool for when you are out of your zone.
  6. Pen. Recognize and encourage others with your pen.
  7. Twitter away. Don't fear social media. Use this powerful tool to connect, share, and be human. It won't hurt you.
  8. Lunch box. Get out there and eat with your teams. Feed them and get to know them. Ask for goodies that you can take back to look at for improvements, better processes, and growth.
  9. Fake moustache. Have fun. Get involved. Show your personality.
  10. Inventor Kit. Champion innovation to create. Create synergy, new ideas, award  teams that innovate.
You can't build without the right tools. You can't grow without putting them to use.  What are you going to put in your tool box this year?