Faith or Fear?

Are you going to choose faith or fear? When faced with a decision, all leaders will have to make the choice.


Faith or fear? Every leader will have to face this question. Business decisions, for instance, can be driven by faith or fear. We can say that “a particular investment X will lead to benefit Y” (faith) or “if we don’t do this, we’re going to lose to the competition” (fear). Both decisions can also be driven by hard facts and can seem logical. Which should you choose?


Choosing fear

Fear can be driven by a lot of factors such as:

  • lack of faith in your abilities
  • negative external circumstances
  • change
  • possible conflict
  • taking a risk


Fear makes you reactive. When you act out of fear, you zone in on the negative facts and resort to escapism, paralysis, or agression.   For instance, you may know that you’re not a good speaker, so you shy away from all speaking engagements (escape). Or you stay on the job you hate, since finding a new one would mean that you would have to give up a comfortable schedule (paralysis). Or new opportunities may make you very wary, leading you to put all your defenses up and become very suspicious (aggression).


If you look at all the negative facts, there’s actually a strong basis for deciding in fear. The problem is, you only see one side of the whole story — the one that automatically closes your eyes to positive outcomes and rewarding experiences.

Choosing faith

Contrary to popular thinking, faith doesn’t have to be blind.  The person who acts out of faith may recognize negative circumstances and still move forward in faith.  A person who chooses faith thinks: If I become reactive and all edgy, will it accomplish anything good?  I’d rather be proactive and believe that I have a chance to succeed.


In other words, people who act out of faith don’t allow the negativities to overpower their chance for success, happiness, reward, and the ideal.

How to eliminate fear and decide in faith

You might not be able to totally do away with fear, but you can drastically reduce it in your life.  Here are some suggestions:


Stop being a perfectionist – the drive to succeed and become “perfect” or “the best” often leads to fear of making mistakes, which are inevitable in this life.


Embrace failure – look at failure as an opportunity to improve and grow.

Accept that you can’t control everything – sometimes, everything seems to be perfect but still goes wrong.  The key is to do your best, so you won’t have regrets.


Ask for support –  being alone can magnify fear. It’s easier to act in faith when you rally the support of trusted people.


Focus on your strengths – instead of focusing on the negatives that make you fear, look at your sources of strength and faith.


The next time you have to make a decision, remember that you always have the choice to move forward in faith.

Dealing with Different Personalities

Wouldn’t it be great if everyone in an organization just agreed with each other and have the same ideas all the time?  Frankly, no.  In this article, we explore the importance of variety in an organization and learn how to deal with these differences.

As a leader, learning to deal with different types of people is a highly important skill. When opinions clash, you’ll have to learn to analyze, synthesize, or reject ideas in a positive way. You’ll have to learn to deal with different. Here’s how you can do just that.

Build a culture of respect

Start off on the premise of respect. From the onset, communicate the importance of having different ideas, learning how to widen our perspectives, getting out of our comfort zones, and listening to others’ opinion. Remember that you’re a role model for your team. As your team learns to listen to each other, you’ll notice that they’ll start being more open to ideas, no matter how different they are.

Know each of your teammates personally

You can’t use a cookie cutter approach if you want to be an effective communicator.  For instance, you’ll have to use different approaches with someone who’s very shy and someone who’s very obnoxious. Getting to know your team individually will help you discern the right approach to use.

Learn the different personality types

People are complex and can’t be pegged down to a particular stereotype. But there are general guidelines you can use that help you deal with different personalities.  You can usepersonality tests like Strengthsfinder, which is available online or in print. Used in a lot of organizations, Strengthsfinderassesses your top five strengths.  Leaders will find this particularly helpful in motivating and engaging different personality types.

Give effective feedback

Feedback is important in making improvements and setting boundaries. Unfortunately, many of us don’t know to give encouraging yet honest feedback. Try to see which one works best for the person you’re dealing with:

  • Feedback sandwich – for people who can’t deal with negative feedback. Start off with the positive (I really like the work you’ve been doing), continue with the potentially offensive feedback (but I’d really appreciate it if you could come to work on time), and then end with another positive comment (I’m sure you’ll understand knowing how important this project is to you, as well).
  • Feedback forms – some people can’t take face-to-face confrontation and would rather see comments on paper.
  • Direct feedback – there are those who prefer no-nonsense and very frank criticism. These are the types who feel that work is work, no hard feelings.

The word “different”brings with it negative connotations.  Differentmay make you uncomfortable, but it’s also a fact of life. You and another person may be very similar, but you’ll always have your differences.

Differences may separate us, but they can also teach the value of listening, compromise, empathy, and flexibility. Different can actually be good if you know how to deal with it.


Self-Limiting Beliefs

Some of the beliefs that we acquire aren’t really true at all, but we treat them as if they are. Unleash your full leadership potential when you free yourself from these self-limiting beliefs.  

Your beliefs will determine your action.  For instance, if you believe that giving is better than receiving, you might become more generous. How you act will also reveal your beliefs; what you do says more about what you believe than what you say. This is why what you feed your mind is important. Your repeated thoughts become agreements and decisions of what is true; they become your beliefs. And these beliefs will determine the course of everyday actions (and inactions), which in sum, become your life.

What’s a self-limiting belief?

There are beneficial and good beliefs. But there are those that cripple your capacity for a joyful life. These are what we call self-limiting beliefs, which can be conscious or unconscious. In the context of leadership, these beliefs hinder your success, negatively affect others, and prevent organizational growth.

Common self-limiting beliefs

Self-limiting beliefs may be ingrained in you since childhood. Or you may have picked them up through experience. Jonathan Mead from Paid to Exist cites some examples of the most common ones:

  • the feeling of not being enough
  • the feeling of not having enough
  • having to work hard for money
  • not deserving success

If you found yourself agreeing with one or many of these statements, congratulations. By identifying your self-limiting beliefs, you’ve at least gone through the first step of changing them.

What you can do about them

After identifying your limiting belief (you may need the outside help of a life coach or counselor to do this), here are some steps you can take:

  1. Accept that these beliefs are not hard, fixed truths. If your beliefs are hindering your progress and producing negative behavior and relationships, it may be time to let them go.  You may need to ask for a huge dose of humility to accept this.
  2. Recalibrate your thinking. It’s hard to let go of deeply ingrained beliefs that you’ve identified with.  Renew your mind by listening to and reading empowering material. In the blogosphere, Jeff Goins and Chris Guillebeau are two of the most inspirational. If you’re craving for a book, John Maxwell is a great start for leaders. You may also need to choose the people you hang out with the most more carefully.
  3. Try on a different belief and take action. Dr. Matthew James writes in Psychology Today that you go beyond saying your new belief – you have to step into it and feel how it feels. Saying things won’t make them magically become real. Slowly taking action will help you acquire new habits and ways of thinking.

Attempting to move forward when you have backward thinking is impossible. Think of self-limiting beliefs as huge roadblocks that make you think you’ve reached a dead-end when in reality, you still have a long way ahead that may lead to different exciting possibilities.

Earn the Confidence & Trust of Others by Keeping your Agreements

Do you find it hard to keep your word? This can be a hard habit to break, but you can do something to change it. Learn how you can walk the talk with this article.

You’ve probably been disappointed by someone who didn’t keep his promise.  It could be as simple as a lunch date that was reset or a phone call that wasn’t returned.  Broken agreements can put a dent in any relationship. In our business dealings, these can even lead to dire consequences like losing a contract or your job.  But the most unfortunate consequences are compromising your integrity, losing self-respect, and losing the relationship itself.

The cost of breaking your word

Jack Canfield highlights very important consequences of not keeping our agreements:

  • you lose your authority with employees, colleagues, vendors, and customers
  • you lose valuable clients
  • you create messes that require attention, time, and money
  • you work overtime to regain someone’s trust

Relationships deteriorate when you don’t keep your word. But the biggest price you have to pay, says Canfield, is that you lose trust in yourself. Breaking agreements impacts self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-respect. You undermine your sense of integrity and personal power. You start distrusting yourself more and more.

Lou Tice over at the Pacific Institute agrees and adds that when you break an agreement with yourself, you won’t help but act in ways that reflect this.  In other words, you’ll trust in yourself less and less, which leads to insecurity.

Why you can’t follow through with your commitments and what to do about it

People usually can’t keep agreements for four reasons.  You can actually avoid being in these situations:

  • If you have too much handle, cut down and reprioritize. Bigger disappointments can be avoided when you learn to say no.
  • If you’re forgetful, keep an organizer and to-do list. This solution might sound oh-so simple, but it works!  An organizer with a calendar that shows your whole month will help you avoid overbooking and double-booking.
  • If you have misplaced priorities and something comes up that seems more fun, reread the first part of this essay. Then decide if it’s really worth it.
  • For your consistent laziness concerns, check if it’s time to move on to something you can be more passionate about. Ancient wisdom says, those unwilling to work will not get to eat. This is great motivation you’ll find to be true.

Delays and broken promises sometimes can’t be avoided for unexpected reasons.  When this happens, communicate. If you can’t follow through, say so at the earliest time possible and hope that the other party understands.  It’s best to say something than nothing at all.

Have you lost someone’s trust?  You may have to swallow your pride and apologize. If the person gives you a second chance, then do your best to keep your word.  A good name and valuable relationships are always worth keeping.

Importance of Accountability in Leadership

Accountability is a desired trait for any organization.  If you’re running a business or any organization, expect your members, employees, stakeholders, and shareholders to desire it.  Why is accountability such an important leadership principle? Here are four very important reasons.

Accountability builds trust

Perhaps the most important result of accountability is trust, which is essential in any relationship.  Being accountable to something means that you’re willing to make commitments and be responsible for your own actions. This promotes trust between you and the people around you. In a contract or covenant, you’re entrusted to protect something.  When you allow yourself to be accountable to this trust, you’re effectively telling people that you’re going to admit it and make amends when the trust is broken.  In effect, you’re emphasizing how important and committed you are to what you pledged to protect.

Accountability improves performance

Accountability eliminates the time and effort you spend on distracting activities and other unproductive behavior. Research shows that some people have the tendency to engage in ineffective behavior. Without accountability, you may only catch these behaviors when mistakes and errors have already been made and your organization has already suffered the loss. By building a culture of accountability on the onset, you rid your organization of ineffective behavior, put the right people on the right jobs, and send the message that you’re serious about excellent work.

Accountability promotes ownership

When you make people accountable for their actions, you’re effectively teaching them to value their work.  Through positive feedback and corrective actions, they learn that their behavior and actions have an impact on the team. They’re not just floating members without clear roles to play – they’re important to your organization. When people know that they’re valued and important, they’re more driven to work hard. They learn to have a sense of ownership in what they do.

Accountability inspires confidence

When done right, accountability can increase your team members’ skills and confidence. Don’t mistake accountability for controlling behavior. The key is to provide the right support – give constructive feedback, improve on your members’ suggestions, give them freedom to decide, and challenge them to think of better solutions as a team.  When people know that you’re actually listening and concerned about their performance, they’re more likely to step up and do their best.

Given these reasons, it’s important that you build a culture of accountability from the start.  Remember that accountability is building a culture of trust and not fear.  Your goal is not to punish and look for errors and mistakes. Instead, you seek to open up multiple feedback mechanisms, fill in gaps, improve on solutions, reward productive behavior, and remove unproductive ones. As a leader, you yourself should hold yourself to the highest level of accountability.

Some organizations do away with accountability, because they think that people will feel like they’re under constant surveillance. However, when done with the right motivations and the corresponding appropriate actions, accountability will give people more freedom to be their best.

Servant Leadership

Is servant leadership actually doable? Here’s a summary of this idealistic leadership philosophy.


Servant leadership was first coined by Robert K. Greenleaf in an essay called The Servant as Leader (1970). But the concept itself goes further into the past and can be reflected in ancient texts such as the Tao Te Ching and the Holy Bible. Today, some well-known advocates include Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, and M. Scott Peck. Just what is servant leadership and why is it so ideal?

A desire and decision to serve

At the heart of the best leaders is the choice to serve. Greenleaf puts it this way:

It begins the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first.  The conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead.

Servant leadership is thus a subversion of traditional leadership concepts where the leader leads in order to satisfy his ego.  A servant leader intentionally takes himself out of centerstage.  He empowers others and lets them shine.

The Servant Leader mindset

How does a servant leader think and act? Greenleaf puts forward these 10 principles:

  • listening – identifies and clarifies the will of the group
  • empathy – understands others’ point of view and feelings
  • healing – brings about wholeness through healing of self and others
  • awareness – fosters self-awareness that brings inner security
  • persuasion – convinces rather than coerces
  • conceptualization –  dreams great dreams and goes beyond day-to-day realities
  • foresight – has an intuitive sense of how past lessons and present realities connect to bring about future decisions
  • stewardship – understands that each person in the organization is significant
  • commitment to the growth of people – recognizes that people have an intrinsic value and  nurtures their holistic growth
  • building community: creates a sense of community

Citing the likes of influential leaders such as Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Jesus Christ, William Wallace, and Jimmy Carter, Steve Murrell distills servant leadership characteristics into 3 points:

  • influence not position – influence is what makes others follow, not position
  • service not glory – concerned about service and not plaques or applause
  • guidance not authority – never demands;  guides by setting an example to follow

Does servant leadership work?

As Jim Heskett asks in the Harvard Business School Blog, if it’s so ideal, why isn’t it more prevalent? No doubt, servant leadership takes a lot of character.  Its very nature requires virtues that sound “utopian”. Perhaps Dan Wallace stated it best when he asked, “Where do you go to learn how to lead this way?”

But we argue that it’s still better to stick to a high standard when it comes to leadership. Research led by organizational psychologist Adam Grant shows that servant leadership is both effective and beneficial. Servant leaders are more highly regarded by others, more productive, and feel better about themselves at the end of the day.  Grant goes on to conclude that although giving can be exhausting, it is also self-replenishing.

Servant leadership may sound too ideal, but those who stick to it find that it also yields positive results.

Keep Learning, Listening, Reading and Developing

Are you a leader or aspiring leader? Then this is a must read.

One of the main tasks of a leader is to develop himself. Sometimes, you become so busy that you neglect this very important aspect. A leader who doesn’t continue developing becomes irrelevant. The question is, what’s the best way for you to hone your leadership skills? There are no shortcuts — you have to keep on learning, listening, and reading.

Leaders are learners

Leaders need to continue learning.   As the world changes, organizations and their needs also change. If you want to be effective, you have to learn to develop new leadership skills.  This is the reason why corporations and higher institutions of learning invest so much in developing leadership skills.

So how do you learn and teach leadership? The International Journal of Leadership Studies cites the most promising and popular practices:

  • 360 feedback – feedback from peers, direct reports, supervisors, and outside stakeholders increases self-awareness of your impact on others, which in turn increases intrapersonal competence
  • coaching – one on one learning. Learners should be ready to change and willing to be coached by a compatible coach.
  • mentoring – junior is formally or informally paired with a more experienced organizational member
  • networking – connect to others outside your work who can help you improve
  • job assignments – work assignments intentionally matched with your developmental needs are given to you
  • action learning – you work on real-time organizational problems

Leaders are listeners

Do you want to become a better leader? Here’s some blunt advice for you: Stop talking and start listening.   Well-known American author, speaker, and leadership trainer John Maxwell says, “Leaders listen, learn, and then lead.”

Listening is an effective way to learn and grow. You can’t be isolated and withdrawn if you want to be a good leader. A heart and mind to listen captures the hearts and minds of your people. When you listen, you get to have a sense of where your people are. You understand where they’re coming from and gain insight to what your organization needs. Listening is also a great way to keep problems from escalating.  You hear the issues before they even get out of hand. You find solutions before problems get bigger.

Leaders are readers

For those who want to learn to lead, read. This is how the Harvard Business Review directly puts it. Evidence shows that reading has great leadership benefits:

  • improves intelligence, which leads to insight and innovation
  • helps you acquire and assimilate new information quickly
  • enhances creativity
  • increases verbal intelligence to help you communicate more effectively
  • improves empathy and understanding of social cues to help you work with and understand others better
  • keeps you relaxed and improves your health

If you’re finding it hard to read, you can motivate yourself by joining book clubs, varying the things you read, and reading for fun. Even satirical comic strips like Dilbert can provide frank insight as to how employees really feel about organizational structures, supervisors, and work ethics.

Developing leadership skills through learning, listening, and reading involves time and effort. But if you’re passionate about leading, you’ll enjoy the whole process and the results that come with it.


Your Attitude Makes The Difference

Here is what I have found out. My having a positive attitude makes a lot of difference on how my day turns out. And this will in turn improve my chances of success of my business. How about you?

Young Businessman holding black glasses

Nothing can stop the man or woman with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man or woman with the wrong mental attitude. ~ Thomas Jefferson

Have you noticed the effect your attitude and mood has on your colleagues at work? While we hope it is never the case, everyone has bad days. From the moment you get out of bed, it can feel like the entire universe is against you. If you are in a bad mood, your staff will be on edge, productivity can decrease and the stress of the day may increase.
Leadership begins with a positive attitude; it is therefore your responsibility as leader to keep your attitude in check. Keeping things in perspective can improve your attitude and your business.

Look for Opportunities

How we look at life colours everything we do. That is why improving your attitude is an important step in your professional and personal development. It can lead to a change in your leadership style, and that can alter your entire business operation.

For example, when you are sitting in that slow moving  traffic, you have a choice: you can rage and stew over how bad the situation is, or you can remain calm and use that time to mentally go over what you’ve got scheduled for the day.

After being caught up in traffic a few times, I have learnt to use the time to mentally reschedule my day, listen to music or catch up on my audio books. Since there is nothing I can do about the traffic, there is a lot I can do to alter my mood and start my day at work with a positive outlook.


What do you do when you get caught up in unexpected delay?

A Question of Time

I find myself in recent times asking the question – “what do you do in your spare time?” Here is what I have found out. There is so much variety in what people do with their down time. And there is a growing number of people who truly believe that they have no spare time. Twenty flour hours a day, seven days a week and fifty two weeks a year and you have no spare time?

A Question of Time

You are right. I don’t have a lot of spare time because I love to stay busy and keep my calendar full ~ Kiana Tom

Let me suggest three things that will enhance your life. You can schedule them into your daily to do list.

Why Do People Hate Change?

People are always going to resist change. That’s because we love what’s predictable and we don’t want anything in our lives that’s going to lead to a loss of control. Everyone wants to feel as though they’re powerful and autonomous.

Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better. ~ Sydney J. Harris

When we’re faced with change, we either rebel or just sit back and practice passive resistance.

Here are 7 things people hate most about change.