The Best of L2L Blogazine 2013 (Top #8 and 7)

This week L2L is bringing you a recap of the Top 10 most popular blog posts over the last year. Enjoy Top #8 and 7!


#8 | 5 Questions To Become a Better Leader | by Georgina Stamp

Become a Better Leader

Leading a group of people is not an easy endeavor. There are so many responsibilities, duties, and things to remember. And once you have considered all of these things, you then have to take your employees into account.

You have to consider both the way you lead them and the way you look after them.

For those of you who are concerned about your leadership skills, here are 5 questions that you should ask yourself before you can become a better leader.

5 Questions To Become a Better Leader

How Do My Employees See Me?

To be a good leader you must be seen to be a good leader.

  • Are you the type of leader that your employees fear?
  • Do your employees scatter as you walk past?
  • Do they exhibit their trust in your leadership?

If this is the case you need to interact with your employees more often and in a less formal manner. Your employees should view you not just as their manager, but as a part of the team; because that’s what a workforce should be, a team.

Am I Leading by Example?

It’s inevitable that your employees will attempt to “follow in your footsteps”, due to this you must tread carefully.You should be seen to take responsibility and work well, cutting corners and spending too much time on the phone or talking with colleagues implies that it’s okay for the staff beneath you to do the same.

It would be hypocritical of you to caution your employees for doing something that they have witnessed you doing, so be the best role model that you can be.

Do I Provide my Employees with Enough Motivation?

Understanding how your employees are motivated and what you can do to motivate them further is imperative as a leader. Discover what it is that makes your employees tick and use it to help them; a motivated employee is often a productive employee.

A more productive workforce could see you with an increase in profits overall.

Methods of motivating your employees include competitions, rewards and bonuses for hard work or targets that have been met.

Am I Devoting Enough Time to Helping My Employees Progress?

There simply aren’t enough hours in the day when you are in a management position or a role where you are having to lead others.

But is this an excuse to neglect your employees?

It’s understandable that you may feel stressed due to your work but to be an effective leader you must overcome this and take some time to speak with your employees.

Help your employees overcome the obstacles that they are facing in the workplace and support them where possible; if one of your employees is dealing with a difficult client take over for them and later explain to them the best approach when dealing with demanding customers.

Do I Listen to The Needs of My Employees?

If you want to maintain mutual respect between you and your employees it’s essential that you listen to any problems that they may have within the workplace. Bear in mind that not all employees will be forward enough to tell you of issues straight away, you must take the time to speak with them on a regular basis and encourage them to discuss their problems with you.

When they are telling you of their troubles it’s imperative that you don’t interrupt at any point as this can make people feel nervous which in turn makes them less likely to discuss things with you in the future.

There are several other things that you can do to improve your methods of managing and to become a better leader, one of these would be to speak to your boss and ask them how they have achieved their position within the company and how it affected their leadership skills.

So how long has it been since you have taken one or more of these steps to improve your personal leadership effectiveness? Are you ready to make the personal changes in attitude, demeanor, tone, and tenor that it will take to improve? What other steps have been successful for you? I would love to hear your thoughts and stories!


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Georgina Stamp
Georgina Stamp works for Marble Hill Partners
She helps Organisations to Recruit for Executive Roles and Interim Management
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Image Sources: tommyland


#7 | 7 Ways Leaders Can Hack Into Their Own Life: Tips From A Former FBI Counterintelligence Agent | by LaRae Quy

Hacking Your Mind

As an FBI undercover and counterintelligence agent, I spent twenty-four years investigating people. But the most important life I ever investigated was my own.

When I sleuthed out my own story, I could begin to pinpoint patterns in the way my mental toughness was developed over the years—the times I’d persevered in business and life, and won.

Just as importantly, the times I’d given up and sold myself short.

Hacking Into Your Own Story

You can do the same by hacking into your own story so you can apply the same knowledge to understanding your behaviors, traits, and strengths. You learn which ones move you forward in business and life, and also identify the ones that hold you back.

In my book, Secrets of A Strong Mind, I discuss many ways to hack into your own life.

Here are 7 ways:

1. Take Ownership. FBI new agents spend a great deal of time defining their strengths, talents, and skills so they can quickly lean into them when confronted with risk, uncertainty, and discomfort. The secret to strong living in both business and life is being able to repeat instances of success again and again.

Hack tip: Train yourself to recognize your strengths by recalling a time when you reacted to adversity in a way that moved you forward in the direction you wanted to go. Chances are good that you responded from a place of strength, so take ownership of it by acknowledging it.

2. Strut Your Stuff. It is not uncommon for FBI agents to move assignments several times in their career. Over time, they will settle in one area of expertise that has been defined, in large part, by their strengths, talents, and skills.

Hack tip: Keep your strengths easily accessible by constantly working to develop them so you can call them into action when you need them. When you use your strengths, you’re in the zone where the right decisions come to you. You feel challenged in the way you like to be challenged.

3. Admit you’re not perfect. Survival in hostile and volatile environments often requires an honest assessment of talents and skills. A small but agile FBI agent may be a good choice for a SWAT assignment; a brawny but empathic agent might be used in sensitive interviews. The most competent agents are those who have identified their weaknesses so they can navigate their career in ways that allow them to minimize exposure to areas where they lack proficiency.

Hack tip: Do not worry about what was left out; instead, develop what was left in.  It is the mark of a strong and wise mind to respect your weaknesses so you can anticipate your response and minimize their impact. Read Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham.

4. Keep moving. FBI agents are placed in a variety of fast-moving situations. There is no time to let a self-limiting barrier keep them from confronting an adversary or pushing ahead in an interrogation. Constant training throughout their career allows agents to continually move though barriers, because the closer they get to them the more they can educate ourselves about them.

Hack tip: Break your barriers by continually pushing beyond the the limits you have set for yourself. You do not need total clarity to move forward. Many times, the steps to follow and actions to take will not reveal themselves to you until you have moved closer to the very thing that creates fear inside you.

5. Get emotional. FBI agents know that emotions like fear and anger are OK. It’s complacency that will kill them. A little emotion keeps them on their toes. Agents understand that an emotion like fear is their early warning system in fast-moving situations. Their awareness of the fear doesn’t mean they back away from the unknown because they don’t know what they’ll find; instead, they move forward with caution and strategy.

Hack tip: Acknowledge your emotions for what they are rather than let them lead you towards poor judgments and irrational behavior. Learn how your brain recruits your body to express emotion. Understand what you’re feeling when you’re feeling it. Emotions are often a pacifying system to deal with stress, and as such, can be excellent indicators of a change in our environment.

6. Put yourself under surveillance. FBI agents routinely place the target of their investigation under surveillance to uncover patterns in their behavior. It is an essential first step in an FBI investigation. A surveillance log is kept, and once a target’s normal routine is established, it’s much easier to recognize aberrant behavior.

Hack tip: Keep a log of everyday activities so you can pinpoint situations that influence your attitude or behavior. Rather than reviewing your daily activities as a linear recitation of facts and figures, scan them so you can identify highlights: specific experiences that produced a reaction or moved you in some way. Once those experiences have been identified, you can drill down further to see whether you responded the same way on other days or in different circumstances.

7. Scare yourself. Much of the training at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia involves moving new agents out of their comfort zone. If instructors aren’t challenging new agents physically, intellectually, and emotionally, they aren’t doing their job. It’s not a bad thing to be alert and uncomfortable. Training does not encourage agents to become paranoid, but a little discomfort keeps a person from becoming too comfortable with past or current success.

Hack tip: To gain a better awareness of your behavior in situations of risk, uncertainty, and discomfort, go out of your way to place yourself in uncomfortable situations. Expose yourself to activities that you might ordinary avoid because you’re worried about the downside. Your awareness of your reaction to risk, uncertainty, and discomfort is more acute and focused when you purposely place yourself in these situations. Use them as a learning tool so you can anticipate your responses when confronted with the real thing.

What tips would you add on how to hack into your life?


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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

LaRae Quy
LaRae Quy is former FBI Agent and Founder at Empowering the Leader in You
She helps clients explore the unknown and discover the hidden truth in self & others
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Web | Blog | Book

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L2L Contributing Author


  1. John Smith on December 9, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    Reblogged this on THE STRATEGIC LEARNER and commented:
    A “ton” of good leadership thinking here … enjoy the look at the year past.

  2. Jagoda Perich-Anderson, M.A. on December 10, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    The FBI “Hack Tips” are great and it’s refreshing to read about leadership from a new (to me) discipline. I especially appreciate the one about putting yourself in uncomfortable situations so you can anticipate and prepare for handling those tough, inevitable leadership situations.