Posts Tagged "Leadership Skills"

How Your Leadership Style is Perceived: Leader, Imposter, Enemy or Loser?

The way others perceive you and the way you think about yourself will determine why people follow you.

Leadership can be looked at from two perspectives. The first is you – do you see yourself as a leader? The answer is yes or no. The second is your followers (staff, superiors, market etc). Do they see you as a leader? Again it’s yes or no.

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If your followers see you as a leader, and you carry yourself as one, they will perceive you as a Leader. It’s a case of your followers saying that they want someone else to take control and make decisions. You see yourself as that someone and fill the need they have. This is what everyone wants.

If you’re not in the Leader quadrant you will have trouble.

If your followers see you as a leader, but you don’t carry yourself as one, they will perceive you as an Imposter. It’s like the team leader who has been promoted from within but won’t take charge for fear of not being liked. The Imposter is the sales person who goes to see a customer but won’t lead the sales call. The customer is not interested in doing the sales person’s job and won’t see them the next time they come back.

Where you have real problems is when the followers don’t see you as a leader.

When the followers don’t see the person in charge as a leader, but that person carries on as though they are, then they are seen as the Enemy. It’s the motivational speaker who comes out after lunch and says, ‘We’re having a great time – let’s do some star-jumps’ and the audience thinks, ‘No – you’re a tool!” It’s the sales manager who declares, ‘This month we’re going to get budget! Why? Because we’re just going to get it!’ There is no grounding in reality and you get lots of push-back. This is the most dangerous place to be.

The final place is where no one sees the person in charge as a leader. Here they are simply perceived as a Loser. It’s a case of the followers saying “I don’t want to listen to a message you don’t want to give’.

Levels of Engagement

The Loser has to deal with disengagement. No one is listening – but that’s not usually a problem as the person in charge is not speaking.

The Enemy has to deal with disinterest. They could be giving out next week’s PowerBall numbers but the followers don’t care because they think the leader is an idiot.

The Imposter is dealing with disillusionment. The followers want to follow or buy but are not getting the guidance and leadership they want. This is why good staff leave poor managers and reliable customers start looking elsewhere.

It is only when you are perceived as the Leader that you get engagement. Here people want to listen to what you have to say. In this position you have influence and can sell more. This makes your life easier. You’re happy because you’re getting budget. Your superiors are happy because you’re doing your job. Your followers are happy because they are getting the leadership they want.

From Imposter to Leader

Over the last dozen years of working with senior managers I have seen that about 90% of people hold themselves in the Imposter position. They want to be the leader, but are afraid that if they step up they will be seen as the enemy.

The key to stepping up from Imposter to Leader is courage. Do you have the courage to take the next step in the process? Don’t look for confidence and that is often too far down the track. Have a plan to follow and have the courage to take just the next step in the process.

How have you found working for Leaders, Imposters, Enemies and Losers? Leave your comments below.



Don’t sack the mistake

The 2016 Census was by all accounts a debacle. The day after it, in an apparent show of leadership Prime Minister Turnbull said that heads would role over the incident.

Why would you do that?

We all know that we learn more from our losses than our victories. What will throwing out all those valuable lessons give the ABS? A new group of people who learned the lessons from a book.

​​​​​​​‘Heads will roll’ might get the headline, but not a better census count.



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Information Is Not Power

It is said that information is power. But that’s not the case.

It is only the application or sharing of information that gives power. When you apply information it shows your level of knowledge/expertise. Sharing information shows you are an insider – a very powerful position.

From a power perspective, the fatal mistake is to share information when it can’t be applied – this is simply giving away your power to show you are an insider. But giving it away makes everyone else an insider to – or you an outsider.

But the paradox is that unless you share information, others don’t know you have power. If they don’t know you have some power, do you really have it?

True power is about knowing that you have information that gives you power yet refraining from sharing it.

That’s why people let secrets slip, leak information and like to gossip. It’s how they show they have information and therefore power.

The irony is that when they share the information they lose any power that it had given them.

Become comfortable holding information that gives you an edge on others without giving into the need to share it. This will be true power.

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Information is Power

Information is power. Sharing the right information, in the right way, at the right time, will make you a more influential person.

There are three types of information that can be shared with your audience.

    1. What you could say. This is everything you know about a particular topic. If you’ve been in your role for a number of years, you’ll have a number of years’ experience on what it is you could say.
    2. What you should say. Now, this is looking only at the information that your audience should hear. If you’ve been in your role for a number of years’ and you’re selling a product, you’ve got a couple of years worth of knowledge that you could share. The audience wants to know about the features-benefits, and that is what you should share with them. This is what your audience wants to know about so this is what you should share.
    3. What you shouldn’t say. If you’re selling a product, you shouldn’t talk about supply issues; you shouldn’t talk about office politics and you shouldn’t talk about the product manager and how you don’t like them.


While this all sounds very basic and obvious, it is something that people trip up on all of the time. The reason they trip up is because information is power. We like to show that we have power and the way we do this is by sharing information.

What happens if you’re not aware of what you could, should and shouldn’t say? You’ll end up talking about all three types of information. What happens then is, you begin sharing all sorts of information and then halfway through, you realise, “I shouldn’t be talking about this, and if I keep going, it’s going to be a disaster. But if I stop where I am right now, it’s going to draw attention to it and I’m going to look just as bad.”

Now, this problem affects people in areas of their life. Unless they are aware that there are different types of information, they will share information that they shouldn’t.

Be aware of the information you are sharing. By sharing the right information, in the right way, at the right time, you will become a more influential speaker.

The Spot Light of Your Message

Where you focus your message, you let people know how aware you are of other people’s perspectives.

When most people stand to speak, they speak from their own perspective, and they sell their message in terms of ‘what it means to them’, the person speaking. However, the audience only care about themselves. They will only take action in a way that’s going to improve their lives. If you want to be seen as an influential person, you need to structure your message in terms of what the benefit will be for your audience. In the world of sales, it’s known as the WIFM – what’s in it for me?

Next time you are speaking, assess your message to see what perspective it comes from:

  • For whom are you framing it?
  • Are you framing it in terms of “what I want to do, what I want to achieve?” (e.g. I’m just calling you to see if you have done….”).
  • Or, are you framing your message for your audience so it is all about them.

This is going to require some dynamic reflection. You will reflect on how you conducted yourself during your encounters with others (e.g. meetings, phone calls, presentations etc) after you have finished the conversation.

Ask yourself, was your conversation focused on you or was it focused on the person you were having a conversation with? This is a powerful technique that once you get control of it, and understand, you can apply it and structure your message so it fits your audience’s world very quickly. This will increase your influence.

Superannuation: Why Alan Kohler has the story right

Each night on the ABC News, finance reporter Alan Kohler gives a small insight. It might be how a drop in the Yen against the US $ is directly related to increasing the value of the Nikkei.

These small tidbits of information are visual, not readily available to the average viewer and show a level of insight. When we see them, they explain a small piece of the economy. In, and of themselves they are not very useful, they are memorable, and they show his insight. He can see what I can’t. He sees this because he has access to the data and the understanding of how to interpret it.

Most of this information is trivia to the viewers watching at home. They won’t be able to apply it to any meaningful money making venture, but it is an important and a regular part of his 2-minute segment. So why does he include it?

He includes it to position himself as the person who knows. Every time he can show us a small bit of insight, we see him as ‘the man who knows’.

There is one further element that makes these bits of information stand out. We can take them and share it at a BBQ on the weekend, and feel informed. We repeat the information without acknowledging its source, we use it, and we own it as our own. This is Social Object Theory, and it is at the heart of ideas that go viral.

  1. As an expert in superannuation, you want your workplace presentations to have high Social Object value. You want your members to share what it is you present in your workplace presentations, and pass it off as their own. When they do this, three things happen:
  2. It’s proof to your members that your presentations are interesting and memorable. This will make them want to come back to your next presentation and even bring a friend.
  3. It gets them mentally engaging with their super via the memory of your message. (McDonalds repeats their ads to us all the time. This is your version of the happy meal jingle.)

It positions you as the expert who knows. When they take your message and repeat it as their own, they secretly acknowledge you as the source of the message. This builds your credibility in their eyes.

Superannuation is an important part of every Australians life. Making your message more memorable will enable your members to engage mentally with their super and have the retirement they are after.

Currencies That Convert

There are only five currencies that people care about and they are:

  1. Time
  2. Money
  3. Happiness
  4. Health
  5. Legacy

Everything you sell needs to address one of these currencies. Every time you speak, you need to address how your audience will benefit from these currencies. If you cannot address these currencies, you’ll find it difficult to get your message across.

While there is no hierarchy to the currencies, most people default to money as it is the most tangible. This is wrong.

The most powerful one to sell on is time. It is the only currency you cannot get more of.

Would love your thoughts on this, leave a comment below in the comment section.

Superannuation: Bored Members Don’t Book

Superannuation is one of the greatest assets anyone can have. Yet it is sold in the most boring of ways.

A highly qualified and skilled planner stands at the front of the room and reads slides to the audience. They talk of great returns and retirement lifestyle while the audience nods off. The presentation has valuable content that is hidden by an inability to engage and inspire.

In the most part, this is caused by planners having to stick to a rigid format to present. They are provided with a slide deck from the Member Services Department that Marketing has approved. The font is the right colour and size, and looks good on the corporate PowerPoint template. The legal disclaimer is comprehensive and prominent. The ensuing slides explain in detail, the average of history, so that members can walk out informed, and who will be excited to book a financial planning appointment. Unfortunately, this rarely happens.

Member disengagement with superannuation is stubbornly high. It shows no sign of abating. While the workplace presentation will always be an important part of member engagement, it needs a make-over so it is more relevant to the member.

Better Presentation Skills All Round

Having good presentation skills is not only about being nerve-free when standing at the front of the room. It is also about engaging the audience with relevant material delivered in an appealing manner that motivates the member to become involved. Only when this happens, will members be drawn to the message that your fund sells.

Being more engaging starts with these three steps:

Ditch 80% of the slides. The planner is the source of the information – not the slides. When members spend their time reading the slides the planner becomes superfluous. This detracts from their positioning as a leader within their field. If the planner is an expert in their field, why do they need to read their message?

Tell stories. Humans are hardwired for stories – every culture, religion and society is based around stories. There is a reason for this. Tap into this hardwiring and people will become engaged.

Explain today. The return that you present, is a single digit representation of the last 12 months. It’s the average of history. More-over it does not represent what could happen in the future. To become relevant to the member, explain what is happening today. Explaining why the Chinese market lost 10% in 2 days is far more relevant and exciting to TODAY than the average of the last 12 months. This engages members.

When members are engaged in your message, they are more likely to book planning appointments. They will value the insight you offer and the skills you bring. When they value this it will be easier to engage them in their superannuation.

Bored members don’t book. Engaged members do.

Would love your thoughts on this, please leave a comment in the comment section below.



Warrior Breathing

People perceive your influence through the level of energy you have. If you have lots of energy, they will want to listen to you. If you’re lethargic, they will not.

We all know people who walk into a room and brighten it up. We also know people who brighten the room, when they walk out. You want to be in the first category – you want people to look at you and to see that you have good energy. When you have good energy, people become attracted to you. They see something in you. That is what we’re looking to manifest.


Today, we’re going to draw on a yoga style of breathing. It’s a technique that’s been known for thousands of years, and when you use it, it will lift your energy and it will keep it high for four or five hours. Many people take a coffee, have a caffeine drink or whatever it is they need to boost their energy. This technique will boost your energy, and give you the high that you’re after without any of the negative consequences of using artificial stimulants.


The technique is called Pranayama Breathing. Below, you will find a link to a website that will show you how to do it. The technique is also known as Alternate Nostril Breathing.

What you do is take your right index finger and your left index finger. You’re going to be using these to regulate the nostril through which we breathe. You cover your right nostril with your right index finger and breathe in through your left nostril. You then swap nostrils – cover your left nostril and breathe out through your right nostril. Then, breathe back in through your right nostril, and out through your left. In through your left, out through your right. In through your right, and out through your left.

You don’t need to take particularly deep breaths. You don’t have to take any unusual steps when breathing. You don’t have to do anything out of the ordinary. And you can do it by using just one hand – you don’t have to use the right index finger and the left index finger. You can just use your thumb and your index finger to block the nostrils off alternatively.

Practice this technique for as long as you can. Go for at least five minutes. You will find that this will lift your energy. You will find that people will start looking at you as if to say, “What’s going on?”

This is the energy that people want. This is the energy that people are drawn to, that will make you an influential person. If you’re feeling tired, use this technique – it will lift your energy and it will make you feel better, people will see that, and it will help you become a person of greater influence.

Link to website
The Healthy Living Lounge

Superannuation: Why Members Always Seem Disappointed With Their Returns.

The returns you report to your members in workplace presentations, will always leave them disappointed. They will always want more.

It does not matter how well your fund performed, they could have made more money. It’s not a reflection on your investment strategies, but rather member bias to the situation.

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When we see the return from the last 12 months, our first reaction is to find meaning in the result. Does it meet my expectations? Is it good or bad? How does it compare to other investment strategies within the fund? How does it compare to other funds? Without something to compare against we don’t know how to react to the situation. This is the members search for meaning.

But this search for meaning can only ever lead to a feeling of missing out. It’s not missing out from what your fund has done – it’s missing out from what could have been.

Greed Over Gratitude

Compare two different returns ~ 2% and 20%. The member reaction will always be the same – just on different levels.

If there is a 2% return, the member will compare it to other strategies. If 2% is the best return in the market, they will be glad they were with you, but disappointed that they made no money. If it’s not in the ball park for what other funds have returned they will be furious!

If they make a 20% return they will still compare – it’s the natural thing to do. If 20% was the best in the market they will be ecstatic, but they’ll still have a twinge of disappointment. They’ll be disappointed that they did not invest more – even if they didn’t have the money to invest.

This reaction is the clashing of two human traits – greed and loss. Greed is well understood – we always want more.

What is less understood is that we are more likely to mourn what we have lost before we celebrate what we have won. This forces our greed to appear before our appreciation of growth comes through. It’s a human trait that we must learn to deal with. This is the triumph of greed over gratitude.

When we compare we are always seeing what we lost.

What does this mean for Super Presentations?

If comparisons induce disappointment, be judicious in how you share them. Know that every time you share a comparison you create a sense of disappointment within your audience. This can be a good thing if you have the right strategy to engage them for a planning meeting.

However, if you are just asking people to make an appointment you will be left with an empty diary.

Would love your thoughts on this, please leave a comment in the comment section below.



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