Keiths Executive Blog

Monday, 24 February 2014 19:51

Five Ways Executives Ruin Their Reputations

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Reputation is something every leader possesses. In fact, many executives feel that in a leadership role, your best asset is your reputation. Further, a good leader understands the importance of maintaining a healthy repute, as it is an integral part ofyour professional career. Still, there are many executives who choose to engage in activities that demoralize their character, subsequently ruining their reputation overall. Some of these activities include:     Engaging in inappropriate relationships. Office relationships can become problematic.Fraternizing withan employee can lead to concerns surrounding the idea of favoritism. Additionally, some may view it as a sign of poor judgment and an inability to honor commitment. Being indiscreet in casual conversations.Be careful to whom you disclose information to. Sharing company business or talking about colleagues, especially in a negative light will tarnish your reputation quickly due to your lack of discretion and respect for the company. Displaying unbecoming behavior.Executives who engage in belligerent and foul language, aggressive driving, excessive alcohol consumption, appear sloppily dressed , and spend time in less than ideal places, such as bars and strip clubs, subject themselves to a career-lifetime of scrutiny where values are questioned. Joining associations inconsistent with your organization’s values. When you…
Monday, 10 February 2014 15:00

Embracing Constructive Conflict

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In my latest book, Corner Office Rules: The 10 Realities of Executive Life,I stress the importance of constructive conflict and why it is necessary for companies to embrace. Within any organization, big or small, there is sure to be disagreements along the way. Often times, dissimilarities cause tension, so the obvious ploy is to avoid it all together. However, conflict is a normal part of working together as a team. It challenges the organization to find innovative solutions to new and existing problems, as well as helps employees to develop deeper thinking skills.A company that does not embrace constructive conflict will result in damaged relationships amongst its employees, colleagues, and perhaps even the boss. Moreover, a culture that eludes conflict will only hinder a team’s success, negatively impacting the company as a whole. Good leaders understand the value of conflict, recognizing that disagreements amid the organization often leads to superior results, sharing of ideas, and individual professional growth. The advantage of constructive conflict is that it teaches employees how to advocate for differing and opposing opinions without taking things personally. Furthermore, conflict proves beneficial to a leader’s growth in the sense that it teaches executives to differentiate between who a…
Tuesday, 28 January 2014 16:35

Determine Your Core Values

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Leadership occurs within the context of core values. These values define the priorities, beliefs, and fundamental driving forces of an individual or company. Such principles form a solid core of who you are, what you believe, and what you want to be going forward. Because an organization must stand for something, its values are a good way of creating the framework that occurs in and outside the company. These core values make up a significant percentage of what determines your corporate culture. Particularly, for a senior leader who has a great deal of power to set the tone for a quality work environment, having a clear understanding of your core values is critical. However, not everyone in the organization will share the same principles. In fact, reality is, most of us don’t even think much about our values at all until we feel we have to compromise one of them. The successes (and failures) you achieve as a leader has a lot to do with your values. These values don’t necessarily determine what you do, but rather, how you approach challenging situations and the choices you make when faced with decisions. To determine your core values, ask yourself the following questions:…
Friday, 10 January 2014 00:17

The Lonely Executive

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“It’s lonely at the top,” a reoccurring theme for most executives making their way up the ranks. Just as, the higher you rise, the narrower the environment becomes; and while challenges arise at every level in an organization, it is at the executive level that isolation can become problematic. Not only is an executive privy to highly confidential information, but once you have reached leadership status, the future of the organization as well as its overall success rests heavily upon your shoulders. With that in mind, it is of utmost importance that as an executive leader, you maintain discretion at all times, which limits the executive to only a select few of confidants whom they can discuss certain business matters with. Additionally, to prevent the perception of favoritism or unfairness, leaders will also try their best at avoiding close relationships with particular staff members. Many executives are reluctant to let others come too close for fear that their imperfections may be revealed or that they may appear weak or incompetent as well. While we all know that no one person is perfect, as a leader, people will still hold you to unrealistic standards and consequently a sense of isolation soon…
Thursday, 19 December 2013 20:05

Criticism: More Intense At the Top

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With leadership comes big responsibilities, so when you accept the role of executive, your choices are automatically subjected to various opinions and sometimes, even tough scrutiny. Much of what you say and do is noticed and critiqued. Quite naturally, the decisions you make will directly impact the business and overall culture of the company, so as your status elevates, so does the level of criticism. It certainly intensifies at the top. Let’s be honest, none of us particularly enjoy receiving less than ideal criticism. It can bring your confidence down to an all-time low, ultimately compromising your leadership success. However, good, bad, or indifferent, it is still a form of feedback, which gives you insight into perceptions that may be negatively impacting your ability to lead effectively.   As a leader, you must acknowledge and address both positive and negative criticism, no matter how tough it is to receive. By doing so, you are saying that you are not perfect and that, even at your level, you are willing to work hard to improve in these areas. Additionally, by using criticism constructively, you position yourself as someone who learns from mistakes. For the good of the company, respectable leaders will…
For many young professionals, the term, “Executive Presence” remains a mystery.  It has been talked about during development plan creation, sought after in succession planning meetings, and offered as feedback during performance reviews. However, if you ask a dozen leaders to define executive presence, you will no doubt get a dozen different answers. Similar to charisma, you know it when you see it, but trying to develop executive presence can prove a challenging exercise. For many professionals this is where frustration sets in because in order to advance to the executive ranks, having executive presence is essential. The irony is, just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, executive presence is in the eye of the observer, and is extremely subjective. My first experience with this term was early in my career when, as part of the feedback I received after not earning a promotion to Vice President. When I asked the hiring manager “what could I do to be a more attractive candidate in the future?” his only advice was to work on my executive presence. I had the skills, the knowledge, the track record of success, but lacked “presence.” Interestingly enough, when I then asked how…
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