While engaging with other people is a staple of being a good manager, being a successful leader lies in something more: the ability to manage yourself. The world is full of executives who spend their days strategizing and weighing external outcomes, but real leadership means looking inward to find how your own strengths, values, and assets can help you manage yourself as well as others.
This process has many pieces to it, but at the heart of it, there are a few core principles that play a vital role in being a leader (versus a manager) and getting the impactful results you want:
Spend your time and energy improving on strengths instead of weaknesses.
This concept is based on the idea that it takes far more to get from incompetence to mediocrity than it takes to improve from first-rate performance to excellence. As a leader and influencer, why would you spend all of your time and energy trying to be a jack of all trades and a master of none? It’s important to recognize early on that successful individuals excel in one or two areas, as this focus allows them to pursue excellence rather than settling for a skill set that, while multi-faceted, proves generally lackluster.
Do not try to change yourself, you are unlikely to succeed. Work to improve the way you perform.
All people are different, which means individuals perform best under different conditions. But overall, performance can be tied to the following questions:
How do you process information: reading or listening?
How do you learn best: listening, reading, writing, doing, or talking?
How do you work best: alone, in a team, as a coach/mentor, or as a subordinate?
How do you produce the best results, as decision maker or advisor?
Think about these four categories carefully to decide if you are putting yourself in a position to perform best. What’s working, and what can you do more of?
To be effective in an organization, a person’s values should be compatible with those of their employer.
Before you become a successful and innovative leader, you need to discover what comprises your core values. What shapes your ideology and way of life? What do you really, truly care about on a fundamental level? It’s important to know if these things align with your employer.
Think about it from a few different perspectives:
Human Resources: What if you value promoting employees from within, but your employer values hiring from the outside first. Research and Development: What if you prefer small but consistent improvements, but your employer values larger breakthroughs that sporadically improve the bottom line. Marketing and Sales: What if you’re a big proponent of new customer acquisition, but your employer values existing customer retention?
Knowing where one belongs can transform an ordinary person (hard-working and competent but otherwise mediocre) into an outstanding performer.
Successful careers are not planned; they develop when people know their strengths, values, and style of working. When these things are in place, you are in a more educated position to make better career choices. In addition, you’ll have the courage to better negotiate roles and responsibilities of your position (“Yes, I’ll do that, but this is the way it should be structured” or “This is a good start, but our relationship should morph into something that benefits both partners.”)
Contributions should be ambitious, meaningful, visible, and measurable
Three questions often come up when you’re evaluating your own contributions:
What does the situation require? Given my strengths, my way of performing, and my values, how can I make the greatest contribution to what needs to be done? What results have to be achieved to make a difference?
When working towards a goal or objective, the results of your work should not be easy to achieve. Be ambitious – reach for something that requires you to step outside your comfort zone or preferred way(s) of thinking, while also ensuring it makes a difference in your organization in a highly visible, measurable way. Even if you don’t fully succeed in your goal, the experience you had in trying to get to that level may work for the better.
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HEADLINE The survey definitively shows that product innovation leads to more growth, while “grow your own workforce” strategies will be needed to fill the major labor shortages hampering small manufacturer growth. Emerging technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, and digital manufacturing are beginning to enhance innovation and productivity, but still have significant room for adoption amongst Ohio’s small manufacturing businesses. ABOUT THE SURVEY Under the direction of the Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership (Ohio MEP), MAGNET: The Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network conducted a thorough survey of Ohio’s manufacturing base. Contributing approximately 20% of Ohio’s jobs (and driving in some regions up to 50% of Ohio’s economy), and generating a disproportionate amount of export revenues and Gross Regional Product, manufacturing is critical to Ohio. Greater than 95% of Ohio’s manufacturers are small (under 500 employees), and these manufacturers need to remain competitive both nationally and internationally to ensure our economy’s health. Ohio’s Development Services Agency and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which runs the MEP, recognizes the importance of this sector and fuels MAGNET and the Ohio MEP program to directly serve and support innovation, efficiency, and growth in small and medium manufacturers. What manufacturers need
How Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Can Help Keep Our Engineers Safe and Our Manufacturing Strong Recall how difficult it was to put together complex LEGO creations when you were a child or helping a child. Now, picture assembling a fighter plane from a room full of parts. Even highly trained engineers can benefit from technology to help improve consistency and quality. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are making near-perfect assembly a possibility in the manufacturing space. By wearing AR glasses that use cameras, depth sensors and motion sensors to overlay images onto the real working environment, engineers and factory workers can visualize the exact bolts, parts, part numbers and instructions on how to assemble a particular component correctly. Lockheed Martin began using AR goggles and improved F-35 assembly time by 30 percent, in addition to increasing accuracy to 96 percent. In order to remain competitive, businesses should consider the ways VR and AR can improve efficiency and supply chain productivity. According to a recent BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research report, AR platforms can provide companies up to 25 percent in cost savings on installation of equipment. Here are four ways VR/AR is disrupting the mid-market manufacturing space:
Why should you consider TechLink? To date: More than 1,270 technology transfer partnerships brokered between companies and 110 DoD labs or centers, including all 65 DoD labs that generate patented inventions More than 600 license agreements facilitated between DoD and companies nationwide, transferring over 1,000 DoD inventions to industry Facilitated 60% of total DoD licensing agreements over the past 10 years What does TechLink Specialize in? TechLink specializes in 10 technology areas: Energy, BioTech, Materials, Sensors, Photonics, Software/Info Technology, Military Technology, Electronics and Environmental Technologies. 4 Ways TechLink can help you: Actively market DoD inventions to industry nationwide Help companies evaluate these inventions and submit license applications Facilitate communications between DoD labs and companies leading to “win-win” license agreements for both parties Maintain the nation’s only comprehensive database of DoD-patented inventions, fully searchable through techlinkcenter.org Why should you believe in TechLink? Check out the TechLink technology database and the Technology Spotlight for regular updates on available technologies and contact information for the related Technology Manager. The Manager will help you assess the technology for your company needs, facilitate your connection with DoD, and walk you through the licensing process. Most DoD inventions have civilian and commercial applications. DoD technologies licensed by TechLink have generated