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LeaderValues April Newsletter – Lee Kuan Yew biography, “Easy Ways to Become a More Effective Leader”, and “10 Expert Tips to Improve your Leadership Skills”

Lee Kuan YewClick here to see this month’s LeaderValues newsletter 

There’s a straight-forward “leadership” theme, this month. The leadership biography, by Victoria Yates, is on Lee Kuan Yew, who passed away in March.

Lee’s influence on the course of Singapore cannot be overstated. Throughout his life he campaigned ardently for policies that would further the nation’s stability and standing as an independent country. Truly, he was “The Father of Singapore”. Yet some of this legacy is controversial; his authoritarian approach including crushing dissent and political opposition as well as elitist tendencies towards the ruling classes. A fascinating and complex leader.

He said “The task of the leaders must be to provide or create for them a strong framework within which they can learn, work hard, be productive and be rewarded accordingly. And this is not easy to achieve..

We have two featured articles. The first is “Easy Ways to Become a More Effective Leader“, by Amy Klimek. Amy is an experienced HR recruiter and believes that simple rules and a fun environment are key to a great workplace.

The second is from Petra Wilton, of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), on “10 Expert Tips to Improve your Leadership Skills“. Some very practical advice. Few managers are formally “qualified” for management – and that is the CMI’s mission, to improve management standards.

Easy Ways to Become a More Effective Leader – Amy Klimek


When you take on a leadership role, it is now your job to guide your team towards achieving specific goals. While you may be successfully reaching these goals now, there are always way you can better your leadership to obtain some improvement. Below are 5 easy ways to become a more efficient leader:

1. Build a Relationship with Your Team

In order to lead a group, you must build a mutual, true sense of trust and understanding with your team members. The best way to do this is to communicate with everyone involved. Remember, you want to form a real personal connection with each and every team member. This kind of attitude will ultimately be what develops a shared trust that produces both accountability and outstanding performance. When you display traits like positivity, empathy, compassion, love and humility, you will notice genuine connections building left and right.

2. Focus Heavily on the Positives

While you may wish that your team’s daily activities could run smoothly every day, that’s probably not going to be the case. The occasional obstacle is bound to happen. This could be everything from a small miscommunication to a huge error. However, what matters most is the way the leader handles this negative issue or situation. After all, this will say a lot about your leadership skills. That’s why whenever there is a problem, you should always look for at least three positive things about it. The more you focus on the positives in an issue, the more positively people will act with each other. In fact, it has often been seen that when individuals point out things they’re happy about in a bad situation, they don’t feel as strongly about the problem anymore. This allows them to think much more clearly and better solve the problem. The same can be said about a leader. If you notice that a course of action that the team is taking just isn’t working, look at some things you’ve done in similar situations that have worked.

3. Instead of Always Telling, Show

Every single team member works differently, which is why some people work better when they’re shown what to do instead of always being told. What many leaders don’t realize is that if you are constantly controlling your team to do certain things in very specific ways, you are not going to reach that level of engagement you want. Coaching is ultimately about helping the people you lead identify the choices and options they have right in front of them. When they get a say too, they take much more ownership over the direction and end result of the project. In particular, you should ask yourself, ‘Am I being a teacher or simply just a teller?’, ‘Am I gaining the trust and respect of those I lead or am I ruling them by fear?’ and ‘Am I allowing my team to get to their greatest potential or am I actually stopping them from this?’

4. Seek Out Feedback

It can be tough to get an honest self-assessment of your own leadership skills. Obviously, you are going to be a bit partial on what needs improvement in your leadership efforts. That’s why it’s best to ask for feedback from team members, fellow leaders in your role and mentors. These individuals will be able to evaluate your effectiveness and provide you with invaluable information. It is often said that talking to friends and peers can really bring some much needed perspective on your leadership style and approach. This is what you may really need to discover areas in your leadership that need improvement. It’s this information that may end up being much more valuable than any books or seminars can be, since you have the opportunity to integrate, process and reflect how you lead.

5. Figure Out Your Motivation

If you’re simply viewing your leadership position as a job, it’s going to come quite across that way to all your team members. That’s why to be an effective leader you must have the right motivation behind everything you do. Do you care more about the high salary you are receiving in this role and the title itself or do you genuinely want to inspire the people you come across. In order to be effective, you must really dig down deep and ask yourself why it is that you want to lead. Being a leader in any capacity is truly an honor that should be looked up upon. If you feel that deep in your heart leadership is your destiny, you are starting in the right place. It’s this attitude to make a difference in the world that will allow you to achieve greatness and be the best leader possible.

Amy KlimekAmy Klimek is an experienced HR recruiter and VP of Human Resources for ZipRecruiter, she was employee #7 at, where she first worked with ZipRecruiter’s founders.

Her philosophy on human resources infuses the company culture: “To create an open, enriching environment by hiring the best, keeping the rules to a minimum and making it fun.”

She’s married and has three active children to whom who she enjoys playing chauffeur.

Inside the Mind of a Successful Manager – Pepperdine University

Pepperdine University Online MBA Degree

Don’t make Assumptions – Wally Bock


From Wally‘s excellent Three Star Leadership blog

“Don’t make assumptions.”

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard that in my life. Instead of making assumptions about others, we’re supposed to “just ask.” When we’re making decisions, we should take nothing for granted. Is that a good idea? Is it even possible?

Assumptions aren’t always bad

A lot of the time those assumptions make things better. They streamline our decision making and allow us to get through our days without using up precision mental energy on routine things.

We simply can’t examine all our assumptions

The fact is that we simply can’t question or examine our assumptions. They’re mostly unconscious and the result of our upbringing, education, life experience and reading.

The challenge isn’t to avoid making assumptions. The challenge is to understand when your assumptions can get you in trouble. It’s to identify which assumptions you should examine and when.

Examine your assumptions when people aren’t acting like you expect

When you’re working in a different country or culture or company and people aren’t acting the way you expect, examine your assumptions. We’re talking about culture here. The culture of a group is the bundle of shared assumptions the members have about how people should act.

Examine your assumptions before committing to a big decision

When you’re about to make an important decision, stop and ask, “What are we assuming here?” This is especially important when you’re making a big change or a big bet or you find yourself in unfamiliar territory.

Bottom Line

You can’t examine all your assumptions, so examine the ones that can have the most impact.

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