Tag Archives: Leadership

How To Become A Leader That Inspires Loyalty

Mother-TeresaGreat leaders not only understand how to get the best from themselves; but, they know how to teach, guide, and empower others to do their best, as well.

Great leaders recognize what a privilege it is to lead; and they view themselves as servants to those they lead.   They are constantly seeking ways to improve; so, they can become even more effective.

Great leaders inspires loyalty; which goes beyond simply following the leader.  A great leader creates an inspired loyalty, generating a partnership where everyone has a stake in the outcomes of the work that is performed.

Rarely, leaders that inspires loyalty are born; however, they can be developed.

Let’s examine three things that great leaders do to inspire loyalty:

  1. Self-Awareness

Massive_KirkLeaders that inspire loyalty have a high degree of self-awareness.  Self-Awareness is having a clear perception of your personality; including strengths, weaknesses, beliefs, motivation, and emotions.

Leaders can increase self-awareness with a deliberate campaign of using several of the established self-awareness tools:

The Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI): The Myers–Briggs Type Indicator assessment is a psychometric questionnaire; designed to measure psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions.

Roughly, 2 million people a year take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. It has become the gold standard of psychological assessments; used in businesses, government agencies and educational institutions.

Find out more about The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator by going to www.myersbriggs.org

DiSC – DiSC is a personal assessment tool used to improve work productivity, teamwork and communication.

The DiSC measures four areas of leadership interaction:

Dominance Measuring the emphasis leaders place on accomplishing results; the bottom line, confidence.
Influence Measuring the emphasis leaders place on influencing or persuading others, along with openness in relationships.
Steadiness Measuring the emphasis leaders place on cooperation, sincerity, and dependability.
Conscientiousness Measuring the emphasis leaders place on quality and accuracy, expertise and competency.

Find out more about DiSC by going to www.discprofile.com

SWOT Analysis

A SWOT Analysis is a structured project management planning method that is typically used to evaluate the prospect of success of a project or business venture.  However, the principals of the SWOT Analysis can also be converted into an easy to use yet effective self-assessment tool.

The SWOT Analysis will allow you to perform a self-assessment of your:

S Strength Characteristics of your personality, education or experience that give you an advantage over others.
W Weaknesses Characteristics that place you at a disadvantage relative to others.
O Opportunities Elements that you can exploit to your positive advantage.


T Threats Elements in the environment that could cause trouble for the business or project.

Click here to download a SWOT Analysis Template.

  1. Achievement Via Goals


Hand underlining Set Goals with red marker isolated on white.

Great leaders know the importance of goal setting.  More importantly, great leaders understand that goals can help them:

  • Get teams and people focused on what is truly important
  • Transform the hard to the easy
  • Establish a culture of accountability

Leaders use the SMARTER method to set and keep powerful and inspiring goals:

S Specific A clear thing to be accomplished
M Measurable Actionable identifiable items
A Agreed Upon Announced and accountable
R Realistic Can be done
T Time Framed Scheduled with a start and stop
E Evaluate Redo, reload for success
R Rewrite Adjust the goal to meet the new need

A leader who establishes clear and concise goals can create the energy and drive needed to push teams and people to new heights.  This type of high accountability, and high performance in the workplace inspires the type of loyalty that will drive long term success.

For more on goal setting read:

3 Ways to Dramatically Increase Your Work Productivity

How to Manage Time, Especially When You Think You Don’t Have Any

5 Ways to Become More Powerful at Work

  1. Building Solid Relationships

kids-sharing-ice-creamGreat leaders understand that they can’t just boss people around from the corner office. Building solid relationships mean that they need to have a sense of who you are, and know what is your definition of success.

Mary Shapiro, a professor of Organizational Behavior at Simmons College and the author of the Harvard Business Review Guide to Leading Teams, has the following suggestions for building rapport with your team:

Communicate Your Values

While you are building relationships with your employees, you also need to impart your values, the way you think, how you will measure performance, how you make decisions, and how you expect them to work.


Employees feel good when the leader takes the time to talk with them.  Great leaders make regular communication, both formal and informal a key part of the way they do business.

Know Your Employees

As much as we extol the ventures of democracy, the work place is not democratic.  Your role as leader is to be in charge and your subordinate’s role is to adapt to your style.

However, great leaders can inspire employees with the simple act of getting to know them.   Keith Ferrazzi, the bestselling author of the business networking book Never Eat Alone suggest that leaders should at least know these things about their employees:

  • Your employees birthday
  • The names and ages of your employees children
  • Hobbies and other non-work interests

While some may want to shy away from the personal lives of employees, great leaders know how to walk the fine line and show the real interest that inspire them to new heights of loyalty.

For more on relationships read the post:

Are You Leading Your Boss?

 Are You a Leader Who Inspires Loyalty?



The cost to replace an employee can range from 11% of annual salary to over 21% and above, based on the complexity of the job.

According to statistics compiled by Americanprogress, over 50% of all respondes indicated that they did not leave a jobs, they left a leader.  Therefore, a key competent of leadership is to inspire loyalty.

Great leaders inspires loyalty by being self-aware, setting goals that are challenging, building solid relationships and much more.  However, the real key is continued investment in oneself and the employees that they lead.

The author, salesman, and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar said it best: “The only thing worse than training employees and losing them is to not train them and keep them.”

With more than 10 million satisfied customers Fred Pryor Seminars and CareerTrack provides high-quality, convenient, and practical business-skills training around the world, in every industry and sector.  Go to www.FredPryor.com to discover more about the inspiring training opportunities available.  Use the Customer Appreciation Code 2378 at checkout.


How To Lead Like An Alpha Dog

In the animal kingdom the Alpha Dog set the rules and boundaries for the rest of the pack. The Alpha Dog doles out correction to members of the pack when rules are broken.

There are Alpha Dogs in the business world as well. They develop the strategy. They set the tone; and they direct the activities of the other members of the pack.

I understand Alpha Dogs. I am honored to say I have seen some of the best Alpha Dogs in operation; up close in the military, the faith community and in business. I understand Alpha Dogs; because I happen to be one.

As a self-acknowledged Alpha Dog, I know that there is a delicate balance between the good we can do as leaders; and the bad things our dominate attitude can bring as leaders to the pack.

Clearly there are bad Alpha Dogs; however, in this post let’s take a moment to focus on the higher qualities and thinking of great Alpha Dogs.

Therefore if you are an Alpha Dog or being led by one here are some things to consider:

  1.  Know that there are other Alpha Dogs out there

Top dogs must be acutely aware that there are others out there who have equal or perhaps greater status; and they should learn how to work with them. Alpha Dogs who can make things happen with their fellow top dogs have developed a skill that isn’t easily shared by most Alphas. However, when they can join and lead as a team it is beneficial to all in the group.

  1. Protect the non-Alpha Dogs

An Alpha Dog is only as good as the others in the pack. For many times they are the one doing most of the hard work. Therefore, Alpha Dogs are not only the leader; but are the protectors and promoters of the pack.

Empower, share the credit and demand accountability; but, take the heat when needed. Remember, your duty as the Alpha Dog is to preserve, serve and defend the pack.

  1. Understand the sound of your bark and the effects of your bite

Leaders must know the power that they bring to the position. The things that they do and the things that they say have an impact.

Alpha Dogs should not be afraid to use their bark and bite to praise, cajole, motivate and move the pack to action. However, the Alpha Dogs must be strategic with their words and careful with their actions. For regardless of what they do, the pack will be watching; and even more importantly, they will react to the bark and the bite.

  1. Never forget the days when you were not the Alpha Dog

Alpha Dogs may not have started at the top; and the memories of those days of apprenticeship should not be forgotten. Remember to respect the role of leadership; because it is a level and role of honor. Yes, you are the leader; but, not necessarily the smartest, the fastest or the best in the pack. But you are the leader; and this is your pack. So, set the goals, communicate the expectations, understand the capabilities and lead the pack.

  1. Realize that every Alpha Dog will have its day

You will not and should lead the pack forever. Your time as leader is limited. So, use it wisely. Be a fearless listener. Be bold in the execution of your duties; even when the tasks seem mundane. Remember to be endless in your service to the pack. However, know that your time as Alpha Dog will end; therefore one of your most important service to the pack will be to find, develop and coach a diverse number of dogs to take over as the Alpha Dog.

We are all Alpha Dogs

Great Alpha Dogs are needed to lead our military, businesses, churches and nation. Moreover, we need to develop the inner Alpha Dog within us to meet the greatest leadership challenge of all; that is, leading ourselves.

©Copyright 2015 Marben Bland

Did You Enjoy This Article?

I would love to learn about your time as an Alpha Dog or other Alpha Dogs that you have been exposed to. Write a comment below or send me an email: marben@marbenbland.com

Five Leadership Tips for the Terrified Leader

m32Last Sunday, I was assigned as the worship leader at our church service.  My job was to open the service, lead hymns, give the alter call prayer, and generally keep the service moving along smoothly. So how did it turn out?  In a word, it was horrible!!!  I flubbed references to scripture; I miss-quoted song titles, and had the choir singing at the wrong time.  Now, why was I a horrible worship leader?  In a word, I was terrified!!! Yet, I am an accomplished “Professional Speaker”!

We have all seen it; perhaps you have had the same experience as I had, trying to fill in at doing an unfamiliar task.  You were called on to lead and were terrified about the prospect of failure in leadership.

Traits of a Terrified Leader

  • Incapable of making a decision because of fear of the outcome.
  • Fearful of communicating a vision or direction for the organization.
  • Frightened about comforting the facts or about making the hard decisions that have to be made.

What do these traits have in common?  Fear. Let’s face it; the terrified leader is an afraid leader and a leader leads badly when they are afraid.

Leading With the Fear Factor

Leadership is the relationship that exists between people, organizations, and purpose all directed toward accomplishing a goal.

Fear is a human emotion, as leaders, and as individuals, we are all afraid.  However, as leaders we must learn how to understand how to lead with the fear factor, use our fears, and the fears of those that we lead, to become the confident leader who people and organizations, must have to achieve our goals.

Five Leadership Tips for the Terrified Leader:

1. It is not all on you.

Leaders never do it alone. Even if you are leading, just yourself, there is a cadre of people in your corner just waiting to help you, not only with the things that you are trying to accomplish, but also to help you with your fears.

  • o Fearless Leadership Tip: Don’t be a Loan Ranger; get people involved because they want to help.

2. Understand your fears and the fears of those you lead.

Fear can cripple us as leaders and organizations, stopping progress on anything we want to accomplish.  Making decisions based on fears or based on how to avoid fears, can be a toxin to the organization. Over time, fear stifles innovative ideas, creative thinking, problem-solving, and passion.  Additionally fear distracts employees from the vision of the organization. In fact, the Gordon Institute of Business Science estimated that fear-based decision-making can cost organizations from 20% to 80% of their potential.

  • o Fearless Leadership Tip: Use fear to your advantage only by leading the fear .

3. Communicate and Listen  

Terrified leaders communicate, and more importantly, listen in fear. It is simply impossible to lead without interpersonal communication skills. Fearless leaders find their voice and become skillful at expressing both their hopes and fears to the ones they lead.

  • o Fearless Leadership Tip: Effective leadership is about finding your leadership voice. For nearly a century  Toastmasters has helped people worldwide become better communicators and leaders.  Find out more at  www.Toastmasters.org

4. Trust Yourself

Leaders cannot lead without trust. When people sense that a leader is worthy of their trust, they will invest time and take risks in ways they never would if their leader had a reputation built upon poor character or lack of integrity.  However, the first place leaders must build trust is with themselves.

  • o Fearless Leadership Tip: Build self-trust with a personal commitment to transparency, authenticity, and integrity

5. Knowledge Can Overcome Fear

A leader with a lack of knowledge is a terrified leader. If you do not possess subject matter expertise, you will lead scared.  The fake it until you make it days have long since passed, because in this information Internet age, the people you lead can and will have as much access to knowledge as you have.

  • o Fearless Leadership Tip: Embrace knowledge develop a technical command over your subject matter.

The Only Thing We Have To Fear Is…

FDR 1933When Franklin Delano Roosevelt was inaugurated as President of the United States on March 4, 1933, Americans were griped with fear as the county was in the clutches of The Great Depression.  The fear was warranted; a quarter of the workforce was unemployed. Farmers were in deep trouble as prices fell by 60%. Two million people were homeless. In more than half of the states the banks were closed.  In this backdrop of fear and trepidation, the new President challenged the nation about fear saying, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” The potency of that statement is revealed in a closer examination of the man making the remark.  For Roosevelt to lead the nation, he had to overcome his own fear, the terror of living with polio. Which made the simple act of Roosevelt standing to deliver a speech on fear, a fearful event for him because of his concerns about falling during this important moment.

Fear is real, but we do not have to be terrified by fear, for scripture tells us: “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid. Deuteronomy 31:6

Go out and Lead!


5 Traits of Effective Leaders

Woman LeadingLeadership is the x-factor, the secret brew, the clear and unquestionable element that can bring clarity to dysfunction, understanding to confusion, and achievement when there is a challenge. 



I believe that true leaders are made not born; the effort, the commitment; the dedication to develop into a leadLeadershiper is a lifetime endeavor.    Becoming a leader, studying how the best ones operate to influence change and make things happen is one of the 8 passions of my life


Leadership Styles

Happy WorkerI also believe that leadership is not a one size fits all endeavor; leaders bring their own style, expertise, and belief systems to the task at hand.  During three decades of work in the military, corporate, and small business worlds, I have been privileged to watch and to learn from some of the best leaders and, I am sad to say, some of the worst leaders in the world. Those experiences have shaped my own belief system into an operating manual if you will, that guides how I lead.  Today, I humbly share my observations about leadership to influence your belief system as we all navigate this most intriguing and, I believe, most central factor in our interactions as humans.  

5 Traits of Effective Leaders

1. Visionary    

Steve JobsVisionary leaders are the builders of a new dawn, working with imagination, insight, and boldness. They present a challenge that calls forth the best in people and brings them together around a shared sense of purpose. They work with the power of intentionality and alignment with a higher purpose. Their eyes are on the horizon, not just on the near at hand. They are social innovators and change agents, able to see the big picture and think strategically.

Writing in the Journal of Leadership, Corinne McLaughlin, the executive director of the Center for Visionary Leadership says this about visionary leaders:  “What is it that makes a visionary become a visionary leader? A visionary may dream wonderful visions of the future and articulate them with great inspiration.  A visionary is good with words. But a visionary leader is good with actions as well as words, and so can bring his/her vision into being in the world, thus transforming it in some way. More than words are needed for a vision to take form in today’s world. It requires leadership and heartfelt commitment.”

2. Likable

like logoBob Summers writing in his Likable Guy Blog says that leaders can be effective and likable. “Study after study shows that people will work harder for the leader they like than for the leader they don’t like. The problem is this, many leaders are confused they believe that if they like and are liked by their employees they will be seen by their employees as weak.  Or someone that employees may want to have a beer with. They believe that showing the slightest degree of sympathy or compassion or even sharing a laugh with an employee is a sign of being soft. News Alert!  It’s not.  If anything, likability and respect go hand in hand.”

Dave Kerpen, author of the New York Times bestsellers, Likeable Social Media and Likeable Business, in his wonderful post 11 Simple Concepts to Become a Better Leader demonstrates the traits that will allow a leader to be both likeable and strong.

3. Credible

People TalkingEffective leadership is all about establishing personal relationships; credibility is the bread and butter of those relationships.  Credibility is the quality of being believable, dependable, and worthy of people’s trust and confidence.

The credible leader is one whom followers perceive as effective. The followers’ perception of the leader’s effectiveness bears directly on the leader’s credibility, the followers’ willingness to follow and the leader’s ability to lead. For people to follow on a sustained basis, they must perceive the leader as effective. However, by itself, a perception of effective leadership is not sufficient to lead.  Therefore to be truly effective a leader must be credible.

4. Storytelling

StorytellerDaniel Goleman, The internationally known psychologist and author of the 1995 blockbuster best seller Emotional Intelligence says “Good storytelling is a hallmark of effective leadership. It’s a medium that allows leaders to move others. It also lets others know who the leader is. How the leader thinks and feels.”

Presentation Zen, author Garr Reynolds, advocates leaders to break out the old outdated mode of PowerPoint presentations filled with bullet-points, charts, and smart art and become story tellers.  “Storytelling is the key to communication in leadership in business and in life.  Forget PowerPoint and statistics, to involve people at the deepest level you need to tell stories.”

5. Zeal

ZealZeal: The Enthusiastic devotion to a cause, ideal, or goal; the tireless and diligent pursuit of achievement.   Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Leaders bring energy, cause, purpose and passion to the things that that they are charged with.  However, leaders with zeal work much like the queen bee, inspiring other bees to go out and pollenate the flower of the enterprise to bloom in ways they never thought possible.

The Bottom Line: Effective Leaders Embrace Leadership

JFKLeadership and learning are indispensable to each other. John F. Kennedy

Leadership is not for the faint of heart… wimps need not apply.  Effective leaders embrace leadership they learn from other leaders, good and bad so that that they can become better.  They lead because the times, the business and the cause demand it.   Go forth and Lead!


Marben BlandMarben Bland is an award winning speaker, writer and executive coach. He has worked with some of the best companies in the world including; Sara Lee, Advanced Micro Devices, Eaton, PPG and Fiskars Brands.   To comment on this post email Marben: marben@marbenbland.com




A Tribute to Robert W. Curtis: When Performance Trumps Color

I grew up in the segregated South, where “separate but not equal” was the accepted norm.  And even when the separate but equal mandate was ruled illegal and the schools integrated fragments of our former way of life remained.

Students were required to nominate and vote for one “black girl” and one “white girl” homecoming queens, and the attendances to their courts were selected based on race.  While the intention for this form of homecoming equality may have been noble ensuring that lovely young ladies of each race would represent the school as its queen, thus easing potential racial tensions.  The practical effect for me as a coming of age black child was our back girls were not good enough be elected homecoming queen if we had a single queen.  So we needed a bit of “separate but equal” magic to tip the scales.

Ironically, this formula was not in place for any of the other visible parts of my high school life, we had one basketball point guard, we had one football quarterback, we had one captain of the debate team, and we had one high school principal.  And so it was not surprising when our principal Ted Guthrie died suddenly of a heart attack that the vice-principal Robert Curtis was promoted to principal.   What was surprising is the fact that Robert Curtis was black and his race made no difference in his promotion.   While he was elevated to the top job in our school because of an untimely death he earned the job because his performance trumped color.

Robert CurtisMr. Curtis had proven himself as a successful coach, first at the all black Maggie Califf High School and then at the integrated Jones County high school. Notably lifting our high school basketball team to the state title game while earning the respect of the players he coached, their parents his fellow educators and the entire county.  His imposing size could be scary but for those who played for him from high school sensation, college All-American and NBA start Al Wood to a lowly bench sitter like me, Coach Curtis was a man of wit and wisdom while teaching the game of basketball and important life lessons.

Mr. Curtis earned his promotion from coach to vice-principal because he was an involved, caring man dealing with the life problems, hormones and misbehaving’s of teenagers in grades 9-12.

Mr. Curtis earned his promotion as principal leading the school through the difficult trauma and grief of losing its principal while ushering in a new era of academic and athletic achievement.

Mr. Curtis earned success in business serving customers and influencing lives as a State Farm insurance agent for 33 years.

On March 18 Mr. Curtis lost his battle with lung cancer leaving this earth with his wife Sarah by his side.  His legacy as a successful coach, principal and business man surpassed only by his dedication as a husband, father, grandfather and great-greatfather.

However, for me Mr. Curtis will always be a man of enormous size but even more enormous capabilities.  And in my high school world of voting for one black and one white homecoming queen he was a living demonstration of when performance trumps color.

Marben Bland writes and speaks about the passions of his life. Send comments about this post to marben@marbenbland.com