How To Better Communicate As A Leader

To say that communication, as a leader is a critical trait, would be an understatement.  Leadership cannot exist without communication.  The two go hand-in-hand.

How To Better Communicate as a Leader

Coincidentally, the best communicators in the world tend to be the best leaders.  When you can communicate as a leader you are able to do the following:

Cast Vision

Teach Skills

Convey Ideas


Being able to communicate as a leader is not always a natural trait found in many of the world’s great would-be leaders.  Communication is a learned trait.  It is a skill that can be mastered if you understand a few keys to help you communicate as a leader.

Clear Thought – Just as you’d create an outline for a speech, you should also create a mental outline of what you’re going to say.  This helps you to create a clear thought that can then be articulated.  Consider these three questions:

What do I want my listener to learn?

How do I want them to feel when I finish?

What are the potential outcomes of what I’m going to say?

Dialect – Just as what you say is important, how it is understood is equally important.  While both Americans and British speak English, the difference in dialect can make it hard for one to understand the other.  I’ve written a post about the four major dialects.  First, know whom you’re speaking to, then you’ll know how to communicate as a leader.

Style – Your preferred style of communication will have great impact on your level of communication as a leader.  There are times to be conversational, approachable, and personable.  There are also times to be candid and frank.

Tone – How your message is delivered is often conveyed in your tone.  Mixing tone and style are tools you can use to increase the effectiveness of how you communicate as a leader.  A stern style mixed with a gentle tone can get a point across while keeping others at ease.

Body Language – People understand how you feel less by what you say and more by what you’re saying with your body language.  Pay attention to make sure that your body language is in sync with your message.  It is hard to come off as approachable when you’re standing in front of someone with your arms crossed.  Your body language plays an important role in how well you communicate as a leader.

Learning these keys can help you to communicate as a leader more effectively.  Having people understand your stance and understand your meaning will make you a more effective and efficient leader.  Remember, no one knows what you’re thinking unless you can convey it to him or her in a way they understand.

Can you think of a time when communication fell apart and made you less effective as a leader?


Should You Be An Early Riser – Three Famous Examples

It has been said that to be an early riser means that you’re more productive, wealthy, and successful.  Look no further for proof than to these three famous examples of what it’s like to be an early riser. A President of the United States, A CEO turned blogging expert, and a young up and coming author can’t be wrong.  They show why it is important to be an early riser.

Should you be an early riser?

How would you feel if you could accomplish more in each day by simply changing your sleep schedule?  Those who choose to be an early riser tend to accomplish more than those who stay up late.  The theories for why this is true abound.  The theory that makes the most sense is a simple one.  There isn’t much to do in the morning.

To be an early riser means you’re awake when the world is often asleep.  The sun has yet to rise, the world is quiet, and you’re often alone.  Most early risers use this time to do one or more of the following:

Self-Reflection and Care – such as, time with God or time to read the morning news

Intense Productivity – such as writing a book

Exercise – many early risers use this time to run or hit the gym

To be an early riser also often translates to be an early starter.  Most early risers arrive at work earlier than they must.  By the time most people arrive at the office, early risers are already in full swing.  Below are a few examples of what it’s like to be an early riser.

Jeff Goins – Jeff is a successful blogger and author.  He decided to be an early riser in order to grow his blog and his tribe.  Despite having a full time job and a newborn, Jeff used his early mornings to grow his readership and tribe.  Ultimately, Jeff was able to quit his day job and write full time.  Thanks to his decision to be an early riser, Jeff is now making more money working for himself.  It has been amazing to watch his site grow over that last few years.

Michael Hyatt – Michael chose to be an early riser to help him in both the corporate world and to grow his platform.  His decision to be an early riser played a role in him become the CEO of Thomas Nelson.  It also helped him to grow his platform and become the number one website for leadership advice in the world.  He was ultimately able to leave his CEO position and become a New York Times best seller, again.  He blogs in this link about being an early riser .  You can see his morning routine in his ideal week.

George W. Bush – A famous early riser, George’s decision to be an early riser ultimately lead him to eight years in the White House.  This article has some interesting insight into his typical day. It would begin at 5:30 am.  He was in the Oval Office by 7 am.  He used his mornings to catch up on news, spend time with God, and prepare himself to lead the nation.

The decision to be an early riser is a decision to become more successful.  Early risers tend to accomplish more, make more money, and are ultimately more successful in accomplishing their dreams.  Becoming the person you want to be can be as simple as making the decision to be an early riser.

What could you accomplish between 5:30 am and 9 am?


My Current 5k Playlist

The beats, rhythms, and tempos of my current 5k playlist power me through my runs. Playing the right songs while you run can increase your stamina, efficiency, speed, and enjoyment of running. Your 5K playlist will also decrease your time, fatigue, and mental strain.

My Current 5K Playlist

The advancements in portable music players have given runners a leg-up on runners of the past. Correctly utilizing a 5k playlist is proven to make you a better 5k runner. The old saying “garbage in equals garbage out” couldn’t be more truthful when it comes to your 5k playlist.

Just as your body needs the proper nutrition and hydration on race day, your ears and mind need the proper rhythm and distraction. I’ve written a post on what types of music should be on your 5k playlist. The post explains how many beats per minute (BPM) your music should have in order to achieve the times you want.

Now I’ll share what is actually on my current 5k playlist at this very moment. I’ve carefully crafted my current 5k playlist to help me achieve a sub 24 minute 5k race. Here is what I’m listening to.

Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) – The Essential Bruce Springsteen  – I have a nasty habit of starting a 5k race at too fast of a pace. To slow me down, I use this song, which is 145 bpm. Once I’m in a groove, I switch to faster songs.

Jack & Diane – Words & Music – John Mellencamp’s Greatest Hits  – at 98 beats per minute, this song will speed you up ever so slightly, helping you unconsciously crush your personal best. I look to add songs to my playlist that are just over 90 or 180 beats per minute to help push me for a better time. Buy this song here:

Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangsta – The Best of the Geto Boys – This song is on the soundtrack to the film Office Space. Every time I hear it, I crack up thinking of Michael Bolten (the programmer, not the singer). Humorous songs add a lighter note to your run and keep you positive.

Hey Ya! (Radio Mix/Club Mix) – Speakerboxxx / The Love Below -This song is fast and really gets my legs in tune with the beat. Andre 3000’s hyper style plays really well into a 5k runner’s need for energy and excitement.

Lose Yourself – 8 Mile (Music from and Inspired By the Motion Picture) – Eminem – I’m suddenly realizing that rap is not something I ever listen to… unless I’m running. This song has the right beat to help you break records in your 5k race. An added bonus is the angry style and the call to action of the song. This song is guaranteed to give you a boost of dedication.

Jesus Walks – The College Dropout – Kanye West – Jesus and 88 bpm are a deadly combination for anyone looking to set a 5k race record. “The only thing that I pray is that my feet don’t fail me now” is the chorus. How perfect for a 5k runner who’s legs are numb and tired. This song, while short, helps me keep the pace and power through the wall.

My 5k playlist is loaded with songs that have either 90 or 180 beats per minute. If the song has 90, I make sure my right foot hits the pavement on the beat. If the song has 180 beats per minute, I make sure each foot hits the pavement on a beat.

Using a 5k playlist designed like mine will help your body find a fast rhythm that will lead you to a 5k race personal best record. Download these songs and you’ll be well on your way to a record.

Want to buy the whole playlist?  You can do it here on the iTunes Store: 

Understanding The Stages of Life

Understanding and embracing the stages of life, as one grows older is the key to a fulfilling and enjoyable life. I was fortunate, at a young age, to know what type of person I wanted to be. But I did not understand what stage of life I was progressing through.

Understanding the Stages of Life

When we are young, we long to be older and established. When we are older, we long for our youthful days. Until we understand and embrace the stages of life, we’ll find ourselves missing out on the best things life has to offer us right now.

The stages of life each have their own unique and wonderful joys and challenges. As we progress through life, the goal should be to enjoy the current stage you’re in so that in the end we have lived a fulfilling and meaningful life. The stages of life are marked by each passing decade.

The First Decade – The first ten years of life are the discovery years. Around every corner is a new adventure. We long to be a “big kid” but this will be the only time in our life we’ll have someone to do almost everything for us.

The Teens – Your teen years are marked by experience. Learning to drive, casting your first vote, attending a party, finding and losing love. These are the experiences of our youthful stages of life.

Twenties – The twenties are for learning. You hopefully attend college and obtain a bachelors or masters degree. You learn who you are and what you want to be. You learn what industry you desire to work in and who your mentors will be. You learn the skills that a will become your launching pad for success in the future.

Thirties – Your thirties are a time of investment. Your time is a scarce resource as you find yourself on the fast track at work during the day. At home, you’re family is beginning to expand. The sounds of little voices fill the air and your heart. This is one of the most memorable and difficult stages of life.

Forties – The forties are not for a mid-life crisis. Those are for people who skipped through the other stages of life in an attempt to get ahead. The forties are for maximizing performance. You’ve learned to balance work and family. Now your focus changes from just getting by to getting the most out of every moment. This stage dictates how well you’ll set yourself up to really enjoy the remaining stages of life.

Fifties – Your fifties should focus on leadership. The experiences in the previous stages of life have endowed you with a great deal of knowledge and wisdom. In your fifties will be where you’ll begin to give back.

Sixties and beyond – The sixties are a time of coaching and counseling. Gone are the days of high output and sacrifice. This is your chance to sit on the sidelines and help those around you progress through their stages of life well.

As we grow older we must not only understand the stages of life but also embrace them. Not fully living one stage only takes away from the later stages of life. When we are young, we often long to obtain the success of the older people we see around us. Do not make the mistake of trying to live their life.

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:34. Live for today. Enjoy each of the stages of life as they come. Do not waste today worrying about tomorrow or longing for yesterday.

What stage are you in and what can you do to better embrace it?


How To Show You Care About Your Employees

Leadership is a tough game to play. You must be able to show you care, without becoming a rude micro-manager. When polled, employees say they’d prefer to receive negative feedback over no feedback at all. Showing that you value their work is important.

How to Show You Care

When I first began leading a team, I struggled to make sure they knew that I cared about them and the work they turned in. I would constantly fret, “Jayson, how do you show you care in a way that they’ll understand?” What I found working for one employee, seemed to have the opposite effect on another. This went on until I read The Noticer by Andy Andrews.

To show you care about your employees you must think about your employees. You must be able to speak to each on his or her own terms. While Americans and Scots both speak English, our dialects make it hard for us to communicate. The same is true when trying to show you care about your employees.

As a leader, it is your responsibility to figure out each person’s dialect so you can communicate in a way they’ll understand. In Andy Andrew’s The Noticer, the beloved character Jones uses animals to help us better understand these dialects.

Cat – Cats show affection through touch. When a cat says, “I love you”, he does it by rubbing up against your leg. To show you care to a cat, you must use touch. A hug, a pat on the back or shoulder, a high five, even an elbow nudge or hair tousle will work to show you care about a cat.

Dog – Dogs love positive encouragement. When you say, “that’s a good boy” to a dog, his whole body wags. When you train them, you do so using praise. To show you care about a dog, use good positive praise. “Good job”, “at-a-boy”, “way to go”, or even an “I’m proud of you” will go a long way with a dog. But be careful, the same is true about negative speech. One bad word and you can destroy a dog’s drive.

Canary – A canary doesn’t care who feeds it, how you talk to it, what you say to it. A canary only wants your attention. They just want you to sit there and listen to their beautiful song. If you lead a canary, show you care by stopping by their office often, keep them included in activities, and always be there to listen to them.

Fish – A fish doesn’t care if you’re watching them. They certainly don’t want you touching them. I’m not sure they can even hear you through that thick glass. All a fish wants is for you to feed them, clean their bowl, and straighten their castle. To show you care about a fish, do favors for them and tend to their needs.

How do you know which animal your employees are?  This is a difficult thing to figure out. The truth is, while we all lean to one or the other, we also share similar qualities of each. Incorporate a comprehensive approach and implement it.

After a few weeks, you’ll start to see who is responding to what. This is when you’ll know how to show you care in such a way that each person will understand your dialect.

What type of person are you? I’m definitely a dog!

John C. Maxwell’s Filing System

I first became acquainted with John C. Maxwell’s intense filing system while attending a seminar. Have you ever wondered how he knows so much about Leadership? He has used this one filing system his whole life.

John C. Maxwell's Filing System

Have you ever read a John C. Maxwell’s book and noticed all the boxes with very fitting quotations from authoritative personalities? I, incorrectly assumed that there were tons of people working at Thomas Nelson Publishers who took his books and found quotes that fit nicely into the context of each section. I was wrong.

It turns out Mr. Maxwell knows so much about leadership because he is a sponge – absorbing and storing information. His car stereo only plays audio books. He is a speed-reader and finishes a book a week. He often speaks at seminars where he sticks around to catch the presentations of other thought leaders.

All the while, John C. Maxwell is taking extensive notes. I’ve actually seen him pull out his iPhone on stage and take down a quote he just heard from a fellow speaker he was sharing the stage with. The man’s filing system is s source of knowledge and wisdom.

I use Evernote as my external memory.  For months, I had Evernote loaded on all my devices but never really knew how to use it until I read Evernote Essentials.

Equipped with Evernote and the knowledge of how to use it, I began my intense filing system to remember everything.  Here is how you too can create an extensive and vast collection of knowledge and wisdom using my filing system:

Paper – I use Scan Snap, which is just like the one Michael Hyatt uses.  I use this to capture any thought or idea that I find on paper. This is often in a magazine, book, or pamphlet. I use the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i because it connects seamlessly with Evernote.

Web – I scan more than 200 blogs and news sites on the web everyday. When I find something of interest, I use the Evernote web clipper extension in my Google Chrome browser. I can clip the entire article or just the quote I highlight. This is the single fastest method I’ve ever found for capturing and storing information found on the web.

Things I See – The other day I saw a quotation on a hanging sign in a store. I opened Evernote on my iPhone and captured an image of the quote. Forever captured.

Seminars – I try to attend a seminar each quarter. While there I take notes on my iPad or in a Moleskine Plain Notebook Large. See Michael Hyatt’s Lost Art of Note Taking to find out how I take notes and still enjoy the presentations. Whether I’m taking notes on my iPad or Moleskine, I transfer them to Evernote as soon as the seminar ends.

Notebook on Evernote – I have a notebook on Evernote called “filings.” I know, original. I save all my filings and interesting thoughts in this notebook. It helps keep the clutter down since I add at least 5 – 10 things to this notebook daily. This way I can open this single notebook, then begin searching for tags from there.

Tags – What good is a shoebox full of baseball cards when you’re trying to find only the Yankees players? The same is true for your filing system. What happens when you want to seek wisdom on leadership and you’ve got to sift through a few thousand quotes about life, faith, and business? Thank you Evernote Tags. I use the following tags the most often: leadership, business, life, faith, wisdom. Just tag your filings then you can search for that tag when you need it later. Evernote will display only filings with that particular tag applied.

Review – What good is a filing system of knowledge and wisdom if you just write it down and forget it? I prefer to go to the well at least once a week and focus on one particular topic per week. It is also a good idea to find ways to use the thought and ideas. You’ll learn the fastest by actually applying them.

John C. Maxwell is smart, but he’s not that smart. How can one person possibly remember so much information? Store it in your external memory by applying this system and you’ll be surprised how much you actually retain.

What device do you prefer to store your filings?