I just finished reading "Leadership When The Heats On" by Danny Cox & John Hoover. Here's the synopsis of it. Wanting to grow and be challenged as a leader? This book will do it! Here you go....

What happens when the external pressure exerted by customers’ expectations comes up against internal pressures exerted by cost controls, suppliers’ delivery, and other productivity issues? Heat, heat, and more heat. Everyone, from individual entrepreneurs to the heads of multibillion-dollar corporations, feels the innate pressures of the business world, whether the market is up or down, whether the dollar is weak or strong, whether it is sunny or rainy.

If you study the principles of effective leadership, you’ll find that when problems arise, you will have anticipated them and are prepared to address the new demands with appropriate, effective solutions. You’ll respond instead of reacting. Heat is a part of daily life for a leader. When properly attended to, warmth doesn’t need to get hot. There are seven steps to leading when the heat’s on.

The First Step: Team Building. The greatest leaders go out of their way to recruit premier talent. It’s logical. The organization won’t get better any faster than the leader does, and one sign of good leadership health is the willingness to applaud the accomplishments of others. If others are never allowed to soar any higher than the manager does, then there will always be a lid screwed over the organization’s potential and the potential of every individual in the organization.

If you’re not afraid to hire people who might be better than you, and you’re big enough to encourage all of them to realize their full potential, you’re on your way to building the most effective team possible. If you use a different report card for your staff than you do for yourself, you’ve created a double standard. The closer people come to realizing their full potential, the lower the pressure on you and the greater the morale among your people. 

The Second Step: Goal Setting. Don’t let your personal goals and/or your team’s goals live in “someday.” Before demanding specific methods and techniques for effective goal setting, it’s important to establish that goals must be achievable. Does that mean pick only easy goals? By no means. It simply means that a major goal can be intimidating until it’s broken down on an individual-by-individual and day-by-day basis. The entire organization must see the goals the leader helps to establish as attainable, especially when broken down by an individual daily commitment. Talking about goals without achieving anything reduces a leader’s credibility and the organization’s enthusiasm.

The Third Step: Time Planning. I’ve heard it said that it’s impossible to lead a successful life. The best we can do is lead one successful day after another. I personally think even that is too much to chew. In fact, people fail or succeed in 15-minute segments. That right: we can all bene t from drastically reframing our sense of time. This is all a means to draw a perspective on the question we should all be aware of throughout the day: “What was the value to me and my family of my last 15 minutes?”

The Fourth Step: Keeping Morale High. A leader must plant his or her feet and commit to raising and maintaining the morale of the organization. A commitment to improving morale is a commitment to your people. The morale of your staff members is directly proportional to the quality of their experience in being a part of your team. In fact, the level of morale is a good barometer of how each of your people is reacting to your leadership. Keep in mind that no one working for you will have a higher level of morale than yours. Show me the morale of the team and I’ll show you the morale of the leader.

The Fifth Step: Creativity. When the heat is on, creativity is a necessity, not a luxury. If what you’ve been doing has not kept you ahead of the competition, you’re probably in the hot seat. Treating creativity as an option is probably what helped to create the pressure you’re under. Creativity is a stimulant to growth, increased production, and enthusiasm. Organizations need new ideas to grow. Organizations without growth begin to die. There couldn’t be a better time than right now to tap the vast reservoir of potential in you and your team.

The Sixth Step: Problem Solving. Managers can be the number one source of problems in the organization. The problem-solving leader must remember that when the heat’s on, for whatever reason, it’s usually a result of unresolved or unanticipated problems. Make sure the people in your organization can come to you with problems before they get out of control. When they do come, listen!

Turmoil often gives us not only strength, but new direction as well. Problems are not to be feared or avoided, but rather they should be sought out and confronted with all the creativity we can muster. Problems and opportunities will always be with us. Take care of the problems before they take care of you. If you’re planning to build your dreams of tomorrow, you must be honest with the reality of today.

The Seventh Step: Leading Change (Not Just Managing It). Change leaders are needed at every level of an organization, not just change managers. Too often we think of change management as giving into change slowly and watering it down as it goes. This is not to say that this means jumping in with both feet. It means that the change leader takes chances but leaves nothing to chance. 

A leader in a world of constant change must be adaptable. If such flexibility doesn’t come naturally, it can be learned. The future has no healthy place for those who insist on remaining rigid and inflexible. Not that adapting means forcing change. Rather, it implies vigilance and open, informed acceptance of new and possibly unfamiliar people and ideas. Adaptability is not an option in becoming and remaining an effective leader and remaining competitive or attaining competitiveness in the global marketplace. Change guarantees we will never lack the opportunity to be competitive.

Never be less than your dreams. Someday you may look back and ask, “Did I really build my dream, or is it too late?” Let me assure you that it’s never too late. In business, we realize our dreams by building up internal and external customers. An organization is alive and vital when the leader helps people grow and climb over their walls. 

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