New To Leadership? Start Here.

Let’s face it, leadership as a topic is daunting.  There are many theories about how to best lead others. But regardless of the theory employed, there are attributes that great leaders share. Working with a Coach is a great way to increase your leadership skills in a safe environment.

Consider developing these qualities to enhance your abilities as a leader.

Confidence. Don’t confuse confidence with arrogance.  Confident people inspire confidence in others. When your team sees your confidence, they believe that you know where you’re going and how to get there. Confidence is contagious and elevates morale.

TIP: Keep up morale by dealing with setbacks confidently.

Trustworthiness. One of the most important attributes of a great leader is character. People need to trust someone before they will follow him or her. This is accomplished through honesty, walking the talk, and showing respect. Keep your word and follow through. 

TIP:  It’s challenging for a team to accomplish anything without trust.

Enthusiasm. Be enthusiastic about the task at hand, your position, and the opportunity to lead. No one will be more enthusiastic than you are. Let everyone know that you believe in your mission and its importance.

 TIP:  Demonstrate the type of enthusiasm you’d like to see in your team members.

Steadiness. There will be obstacles and times of uncertainty. Great leaders can weather these situations and demonstrate the steadiness necessary to keep the rest of the team focused. These are the times your team will look to you the most. Be positive. Be confident. Be a rock.

TIP:  It’s natural to have doubts. It’s not effective to share them. If you need someone to talk to, reach out to your spouse or best friend. Keep all negativity out of the workplace.

Focus. It’s easy to become distracted, especially when things start going wrong. Learn to ignore the noise and stick to the relevant facts. Avoid looking too far ahead. Deal with the current situation and maintain your commitment.

TIP:  Focus can begin to creep when projects drag on for an extended period of time. Return to your mission statement frequently to keep your focus fresh.

Flexibility. Nearly anyone can hold the course, but only a great leader can change course without tipping over the ship. Be open-minded enough to find the elegant solution to the challenges that arise. A few course corrections are the rule rather than the exception.

TIP:  Avoid confusing steadfastness with stubbornness. It’s important to realize when it’s time to make some changes.

Communication. Be able to effectively communicate your vision to others in your group. Be willing to listen to new ideas. Provide the information required for others to do their best. Communication skills are paramount to all leaders.

TIP:  If you’re looking for a single skill to enhance, this is a great place to start.

Regardless of the leadership strategy followed in your company, these attributes will serve you well. Great leaders share many of the same attributes. Learning to demonstrate these attributes will enhance your leadership abilities and increase your power and influence at work.  Leadership skills can’t be learned and developed in a day. Bringing an idea into the marketplace requires a leader. Make yourself the obvious candidate.


Accelerated Talent Group is a Leadership Development and Executive Coaching firm dedicated to developing the leaders of today and tomorrow.  We specialize in developing and coaching women and emerging millennial leaders.

Institutional Bias’ Impact On Women Leaders

“The number of women in top leadership roles at Fortune 500 organizations has stagnated around 5% for many years, despite a host of programs and initiatives designed to facilitate the promotion of a new generation of women leaders. When you consider the fact that there is mounting empirical evidence that corporations display stronger financial performance with women in senior leadership roles, the fact that this number has remained relatively unchanged is puzzling. For instance, Fortune 1000 companies with a woman in the top role saw an average return of 103.4 percent over the women’s tenures, compared to an average 69.5 percent return for the S&P 500 stock index over the same periods. Hedge funds run by women had a 6 percent return between 2007 and 2013, beating both a global hedge fund index at the stock market. Numerous studies have also found that companies with women on their boards of directors perform better than male-only boards (source – Think Progress online, July 14, 2014).”

So, what’s going on?

One answer might be institutional bias, which is caused by systemic organizational procedures and practices (written or unwritten, subtle or overt) resulting in differential outcomes for members of different groups. For example, an HR Director responsible for hiring fire fighters could be completely free of individual bias, but may perpetuate institutional discrimination against women simply by adhering to the company’s minimum height requirements (process and procedures of the organization), which inadvertently promotes continuing bias against women.  More subtly, my good friend and colleague experienced this when she became a mother.  Once a mover and shaker, she was automatically given less prominent clients, post baby. Over time, she began to earn less in bonuses, worked with less visible clientele, ultimately creating fewer opportunities for promotions (based on her given portfolio).

Unfortunately, I’ve observed organizations address some of the symptoms of institutional bias rather than the real, underlying problems.  For example, many organizations have diversity & inclusion programs to address bias and discrimination by individuals. The problem is that bias occurs in various ways, not just through the practices of individuals.  Therefore, without reviewing and correcting the written and unwritten policies and procedures, women will continue to struggle for gender parity.

What’s your personal experience with institutional bias? What do you think can be done to address these issues within organizations?


Accelerated Talent Group is a Leadership Development and Executive Coaching firm dedicated to developing the leaders of today and tomorrow.  We specialize in developing and coaching women and emerging millennial leaders.

Have Goals But Don’t Know Where To Start? A Vision Board Can Help.

Visualizing what you really want in life can be one of the most powerful ways to manifest what you aspire to. Because a majority of us think in visual ways (pictures, textures, colors, even smells),  a vision board can be a very powerful tool in creating the life you want.

Vision boards are also known as goal maps, goal boards and treasure maps, and the concepts behind them have been used for generations. Still, they’re gathering renewed interest as people realize how powerful they can be in bringing goals to life.

Use these basic guidelines

A vision board begins with a foundation. This may be a poster board, foam board, tri-fold board, or cork board. Use what works best for you. Choose a foundation that speaks to you, one that you feel you can easily and effectively build upon.

A vision board includes imagery. You can clip pictures out of books, magazines, or the newspaper. If you prefer, you can draw the images yourself. What matters here is that images are present, because your vision board needs to be visual in nature. Seeing pictures of your priorities, aspirations, and goals will help you focus on them.

A vision board includes writing. Writing isn’t mandatory, but it can play a role in identifying the key pieces of information. You want to make sure that you can look at your vision board at any point in the future and know exactly what you intended by each picture, word or thought included on it.

Your goal map is limited only by the extent of your personal creativity. It may be simple and strategic or it may be a highly detailed work of art. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what best suits your needs.

General elements

Visual. Your subconscious tends to work in terms of images and pictures, and so your vision board should be as visual as you can possibly make it. Supplement the images with phrases and words as needed.

 Emotional. Every image on your goal map should evoke some type of positive emotional response out of you. Seeing it should fuel your motivation to achieve your goals.

Strategic. This tool should be placed strategically in a location where you receive maximum exposure to it. Seeing your vision board as often as possible will help you stay focused on your goals and plans.

 Personal. Your vision board needs to emit positive energy. If you think that you’ll be criticized or forced to justify yourself for your vision board, then keep it in a private location so nobody else can bother it or you.

Beyond these basic guidelines, let this tool be whatever you want to make of it. Ultimately, it’s yours to design, develop and utilize as you see fit. You can add to it and change it over time as your goals and focuses change.  The importance of engaging in an activity like this is to tap into the creative brain.  Research shows problems are almost always best solved through creative, outside-the-box thinking.  A vision board is a fun, creative way to explore what is really important to you, and clarify your true desires and goals.


Accelerated Talent Group is a Leadership Development and Executive Coaching firm dedicated to developing the leaders of today and tomorrow.  We specialize in developing and coaching women and emerging millennial leaders.

This One Thing Is Everything In Leadership. Do You Have It?

I recently asked my network of colleagues what they thought was the single most important characteristic of a leader.  This network is full of leaders at the top of their fields, HR experts and Managers of all industries.  So naturally, I thought many would easily respond with the evidence-based research and not unimportantly, my own experience as a Leadership Development Expert and Executive Coach.

So what is it?  Drum roll please…… it’s self-awareness.  That’s right, not expertise, management style, relationship building techniques or the hundred other characteristics that are for sure important.  But without self-awareness, all of the other attributes are negatively affected.  But why?  In the next few articles, we’ll discuss in further detail.  We’ll define self-awareness, ways to cultivate it and why it matters.

Self-awareness is “knowing one’s internal states, preferences, resources and intuitions” (Daniel Goleman).  Psychologists since the 70’s found this attribute was a prerequisite of self-control.  Ahh, self-control.  In my view, it’s important to understand that self-awareness is not only what we notice about ourselves, but also how we notice and monitor our own inner world.  Furthermore, self-awareness goes beyond just accumulating knowledge about ourselves.  It’s about paying close attention to our inner state.

How much do you truly pay attention to your “inner state”?


Accelerated Talent Group is a Leadership Development and Executive Coaching firm dedicated to developing the leaders of today and tomorrow.  We specialize in developing and coaching women and emerging millennial leaders.