“You grasped our group’s attention effortlessly and carried them places where they could see goals achieved, greater satisfaction in what they do, and greater pride in the journey.”
National Account Sales Manager
Tom Flick Communications, in alliance partnership with Kotter International, exists to help your people become better leaders throughout all levels of your enterprise, to successfully lead change, and to accelerate your strategies in a very competitive and rapidly-changing world. We work with organizations to help them move faster, with less chaos and more efficiency, enabling success no matter the obstacles. Whether executive leader, manager, salesperson, or frontline employee, leadership keynote speaker Tom Flick motivates audiences to lead change, seize opportunities for growth, and increase teamwork and organizational performance.
As a leadership keynote speaker, I aim for the heart. An effective message inspires the heart, and when successfully delivered, real power is unleashed. People find newfound belief in themselves. An urgent behavior to succeed in a turbulent world not only through a set of thoughts, but a set of feelings. Feelings that create fast moving actions that are focused on important issues. A deep-felt determination to move, make things happen and win now.
July 28, 2015
“Leaders aren’t born, they’re made.”
Leaders are those who have the ability to command attention. They have the ability to make people feel confident in themselves and work towards a common goal. Not every leader is the same, that’s for sure, but every successful organization has strong leadership. Likewise, there are a few common traits shared among great leaders, and they are:
“There is no substitute for hard work” – Thomas Edison.
That quote rang true when Mr. Edison first said it, and that continues today. Great leaders rise to the top because they know what it’s like to work hard. It’s this effort that allows them to make their way up from the bottom. A great leader puts all of their effort into everything they do. A great leader is not only willing to put in the effort themselves, they are able to inspire others to put in the effort as well. No matter what, they make sure that the job gets done. Have you ever heard of a great leader, one who was both loved and respected, who didn’t work hard?
Composure and Resilience
This year in Seattle, we witnessed what may be one of the greatest comeback victories of all time in the NFC championship game. The Seahawks were down 19-7 with 5 minutes left in the 4th quarter; they won 28-22 in overtime. They were able to do that, even in an incredibly adverse situation, because they kept their calm. They didn’t panic, they didn’t make foolish penalties. They didn’t try to do too much, and they certainly didn’t throw in the towel. They simply stayed the course and continued to do what they had done all season: play hard and play smart. Those principles can be applied to any adverse, high stress situation; keep your poise, keep working hard and doing what you know will work, and things will work out. Great leaders don’t panic, and they don’t quit; they keep their composure, and instead of quitting, they work even harder.
“When you point the finger, just remember there’s three pointing right back at you.”
This well known phrase really speaks to a common truth; when problems arise, great leaders don’t start blaming people around them, they look at themselves and to see where they could have performed better. At the same time, great leaders hold their organization accountable; if someone isn’t getting the job done, a leader needs to let them know that underperformance isn’t acceptable.
Being inspirational doesn’t mean you have to be an incredible orator or public speaker. Being able to inspire change/progress is really just a matter of hard work, enthusiasm, and encouragement. To inspire, you must perform at a high level. Leaders are looked up to because they perform at a high level; this is true in sports, in business, in the classroom, and everywhere else in life. The third piece is enthusiasm. No one is inspired by the mope, or the quiet one who tends to hang out in the corner and not say much. High energy and zeal for the task at hand are infectious in every environment. If leaders want an enthusiastic squad in tow, they had better first demonstrate and communicate that enthusiasm on their own. Finally, encouragement and positivity are huge for inspiration; encouraging those around you to continue to work hard and strive for strong performances is paramount.
Every great leader has confidence in their arsenal. That’s not to say every great leader hasn’t once doubted themselves, but even when they do, they still project confidence. Leaders can’t afford to lose confidence. Without it, there’s no reason for anyone else to follow them. Imagine if your boss, coach, or teammate looked at a forthcoming task and said “ I’m not sure how we’ll get this done.” Would you really feel comfortable following that person? It’s safe to say that you’d much rather follow someone who believes that they can get the job done no matter what it is. A leader who is not confident in themselves will not inspire confidence in those around them, but the opposite is also true; a leader who is confident will inspire confidence in those around them.
A great leader needs to have the ability to communicate well. Without communication, a coordinated effort among teams is impossible. Miscommunication breeds dysfunction, dysfunction leads to chaos, and chaos leads to failure. Sure, some more casual-minded workplaces like to practice different styles with less structure, but they still communicate. Even if there is little structure within an organization, communication is crucial for success. If a leader does not communicate with those who follow, how will they know what to do at all? Regardless of size and structure, communication is key for the success of any organization.
In this case, empathy is going to take on a slightly broader meaning. Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes; to think about how they’re feeling and how things affect them, rather than just thinking about yourself. Great leaders are empathetic with those around them; they consider the consequences of their actions and how it will affect their followers, teammates, and employees. They are not selfish. A broader definition of empathy concerns the ability to see the bigger picture. Great leaders are able to see scenarios from all angles and consider the consequences of every action by empathizing with the other team members involved.
Above all, great leaders understand that they don’t do everything on their own. Leaders don’t make decisions entirely on their own, and they don’t act entirely on their own. They depend on the team as much as the team does them. Because of this, humility is necessary for a leader to know and understand his or her place. Run-of-the-mill leaders can be brought down by hubris, being stubborn and strong-headed and only doing things their way. Great leaders won’t make that mistake.