What’s in Your Leadership Box?

Leadership BoxYou’ve likely heard the saying, “Big things come in small packages,” which can be translated into practical terms as: “Do not underestimate something’s value based on its packaging.” This concept applies as much to leadership as it does to a gift.  Leadership is not necessarily packaged in a big box with a boldly colored bow but likely wrapped in a modest box with a refined ribbon.

Although leadership expresses itself in casting vision, building effective teams, setting goals, solving problems, and inspiring teams to action, I propose most people would describe leadership by the attributes of a leader who casts vision and inspires people to change.  While many give leadership recognition to the person who articulates the vision, Hybels (2009) describes 10 key leadership styles that are required for any organization to grow.  Which ones can you identify on your team?

  • Visionary: casts vision; draws people in
  • Directional: chooses the right path at critical junctures
  • Strategic: align teams and breaks an exciting vision into actionable steps
  • Management: organizes people, processes, and resources to achieve the mission
  • Motivational: keeps the team fired up
  • Shepherding: builds, nurtures, supports, and listens to the team
  • Team-building: finds and develops the right people with the right characteristics, character, and chemistry, and puts them in the right positions to get the right results
  • Entrepreneurial: possesses many leadership styles but optimally functions in start-up mode
  • Re-engineering: thrives on turning around teams who struggle because they are missing a leadership element
  • Bridge-building: deals with complexity and brings many groups under a single leadership umbrella

I believe great leadership involves building an organization, where all the leadership styles are represented and recognized for their contribution.  No leadership style is more important than another, because failure in one area impacts a company’s ability to achieve their goals.  A company is only as successful as the sum of its parts or as strong as its weakest link.

Each leadership style has a critical mission to accomplish.  Do you know your primary leadership styles and how they impact your organization?  I suggest all leaders answer these three questions for themselves:

  1. On a scale of 1-10, what is your ability on each of the 10 leadership styles?
  2. Does your current position allow you to drive on your leadership strengths?
  3. If not, how can you use more of your leadership strengths in your current role?



Hybels, B. (2009). Courageous Leadership: Field-Tested Strategy for the 360o Leader.  Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

HE21118Davis_07-medAbout the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach and consultant with an extensive background in business development and leadership.  She coaches individuals as well as designs and facilitates workshops that address her clients’ specific  business needs.  Reach out to her at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com or 281.793.3741 to further the conversation and determine how she can help you grow your business.

Agility Is The New Must-Have Work Competency

Leaders Agile ChangeAs the speed and impact of technology continues to advance, agility is the new must-have competency that many employers are asking of their employees and screening for during the interview process. Agility has become as important as the those “bread and butter” competencies of personal initiative, concern for effectiveness, enthusiasm for work, and excellent communication skills. Many people assume agility is the same as flexibility, but I believe agility demands a higher performance level that leaves the typical definition of flexibility in the dust.

As a work competency, flexibility refers to the willingness and ability of employees to respond to changes in their job expectations and work environment. Flexibility is certainly valued by employers, who understand that human nature typically resists change and prefers predictability. I propose that agility is a proactive competency and defines how employees approach and carry out their work. Since agile employees expect change, they proactively develop ways to organize and adapt to deliver transformational results. Great leaders coach change management and help their teams grow their agility quotient, so they can continue to innovate in a volatile and complex business environment.

HE21118Davis_07-medAbout the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach, leadership expert, and consultant with an extensive background in business development.  She coaches individuals as well as designs and facilitates specific workshops that address her clients’ business needs.  Reach out to her at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com or 281.793.3741 to further the conversation and determine how she can help you grow your business.

Why Employees Should Have Access to a Professional Coach!

Good coach

Many organizations struggle with how to integrate, align, and achieve the full potential from their employees. For many employers, this struggle has intensified with multiple generational cohorts (Baby Boomers, Gen-Xer’s, and Millennials) in the workforce, who have different identities, motivations, and preferences in how to work, lead, and be led. The challenge is how can the contributions of all employees and leaders be acknowledged, appreciated, and rewarded.

Education around generational differences helps to create respect and harmony which ultimately builds a solid foundation for organizational success. Leadership development and coaching then help employees become more sensitive to workplace diversity while promoting deeper and more productive engagement. These intentional initiatives result in higher levels of performance.

As the Millennial workforce population continues to increase, the influence of their general expectations continues to be felt by employers and managers. As a generational identity, Millennials typically value leaders who listen, push them to achieve more, take the time to develop a professional relationship, and provide feedback. In contrast, over the past two decades, technology developments and pushes for productivity have forced managers to take on more administrative activities at the expense of mentoring and coaching their direct reports.

A professional coach can help his/her organization leverage cohort diversity. Leadership is not a position but a way of being and behaving, and a coach can help managers, teams and individuals become aware of the generational dynamics and how to leverage these differences. Development and leadership coaching should not be for select senior leaders but a resource available to all professional employees.  When an employee improves, the company wins. When employees are coached, they typically feel better about their working environment, become more engaged in supporting the team, and have a higher probability of achieving their goals. A professional coach delivers an investment grade ROI by partnering with organizations to develop a workforce that delivers higher levels of performance.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach, leadership expert, and consultant with an extensive background in business development.  She coaches individuals as well as designs and facilitates specific workshops that address her clients’ business needs.  Reach out to her at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com or 281.793.3741 to further the conversation and determine how she can help you grow your business.

With an Emphasis on Recruiting Talent, How Can a Company Better Invest in All Its Employees?

Coaching Success ModelYou are probably familiar with the old saying, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease?” Based on my informal conversations around the coffee bar, this seems to be a more common metaphor expressed by long-term employees as it applies to their employers’ investment of time, energy, and resources in recruiting new talent in comparison to investing in their current employees.  Many frustrated professionals are asking, “What about me?  What about my future?”  They perceive they are being left behind as their companies appear to offer more support and opportunities to new hires because of the competition for top talent.

As a coach, I hear many professionals express disappointment in their current employers, whom they believe are not or are only superficially investing in them.  Many do not feel valued and appreciated for what they are or can contribute.  When I ask, “How could your company take greater advantage of what you can contribute,” common responses are: (1) provide me with stretch opportunities that help me grow, yet are still aligned with my abilities and interests, and (2) help me manage the cultural changes influenced by the waved of Millennials entering the workforce.

Saladhuddin (2014) described the four distinct generational cohorts and their identities which are Veteran/Mature/Traditionalist, Baby Boomer, Generation X, and Millennial/Nexter.  Most Veterans have left the workforce with Baby Boomers also rapidly entering retirement.  As of 2015, the estimated distribution of the three most represented workforce cohorts was nearly equal with Baby Boomers at 29%, Gen Xers at 34%, and Millennials at 34%, with the latter projected to increase to 50-75% of the workforce by 2025 (Woods, 2016).  Ten years from now, the Millennial worldview identity will likely have the greatest influence on the workforce landscape, but businesses will still need the skills, experiences, and talents of the remaining Baby Boomers and Gen Xers.

Historically, new employees acclimated to their company’s culture, now culture is adapting to accommodate rapid globalization and technology advancements as well as the influence of the Millennial work identity.  These factors are pressing American companies to rethink the way they do business, who they hire, and how their culture will have to change to position themselves for success.  A company’s cultural has never been more in question.  A recent Korn Ferry Institute (2017) study showed that executives believe the main reason that candidates join or leave an organization is because of its culture.  Millennials want to feel good about where they work and have a shared sense of purpose.  Gen Xers want to take their skills to a place where they can make an impact.

Strategic discussions on cultural change are more prevalent today as companies grapple with understanding their current culture, define a cultural vision, identify their cultural gaps, and act on a path to transform culture.  Organizational studies (Kanter, 2012) show that most employees resist change either because of the environment or personal motivations.  How can companies best help and empower their employees with cultural transformation without leaving them behind or having them leave?  I believe the answer can be found in access to a combination of formal personal, team, and organizational coaching.  In the past, coaching used to be reserved for senior executives and leaders.  In the current business climate, I believe most if not all employees can benefit from coaching, and those organizations, who are the trailblazers in how they leverage human capital, will make coaching services available to their employees.  An organizational and leadership coach can help employees find greater fulfillment, engage in cultural change, and meaningfully contribute to their organization’s strategy and goals.

Constructive opinions, viewpoints, and comments welcome on this hot topic.

  1. Do you feel valued at your company and believe management makes reasonable efforts to tap into your talents for mutual benefit?  If not, why do you think your company is not utilizing your full abilities?
  2. What thoughts do you have in how companies could better leverage the power of all employees across generational identities?


Kanter, R. (2012). Ten reasons people resist change. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2012/09/ten-reasons-people-resist-chang

Korn Ferry Institute (2017). The talent forecast, part 1: Adapting today’s candidate priorities for tomorrow’s organizational success. Retrieved from  http://www.kornferry.com/the-talent-forecast/the-talent-forecast

Salahuddin, M. (2010). Generational difference impact on leadership style and organizational success. Journal of Diversity Management, 5(2), 1-6.

Woods, K. (2016). Organizational ambidexterity and the multi-generational workforce. Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict, 20(1), 95-111.

HE21118Davis_07-medAbout the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach, consultant, and mentor with an extensive background in business development, leadership, and ministry which provides her with the experience, relational skills, and proven processes to move individuals, couples, and leaders to higher levels of personal awareness, effectiveness, and goal achievement.  She coaches in a variety of areas including life purpose/plans, business, finances, relationships, and premarital/marriage.  Contact: sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com