Tag Archives: Leadership

Letters From Leaders – Muhammad Ali


“The greater the obstacle, the more glorious the moment of success.”

I picked up a booked called “Letters From Leaders” by Henry I. Dormann, Chairman and Editor in Chief, Leaders magazine. It is composed of letters written by some of the greats of our time.

It shares some of their experiences, ups and downs.

This is a letter that Muhammad Ali wrote. Some of my favorite quotes in this letter:

“I listened, observed and read, taking the ideas and information that made sense to me and adapting and adopting them for my life.”

“I learned that tough times are part of our journey in this life, but that challenges make life interesting.”

“It is also important to have fun. I enjoyed my life. No matter where I was or what I was doing, I took the positive from the experience and lived in the moment, connecting with people around me… “


Follow your Niche

If you are in a position where you feel like you are stuck and you do not see any progression, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate and think again. The problem for many of us is that we tend to get complacent in our current role yet we expect upward movement within our companies. Fact, if you believe that you have given 100%, yet feel as if you are being overlooked, look at the person beside you, they are probably feeling the same way. The question is, not if you are putting in 100%, but rather if you are putting this effort in effectively. It is often that your company have hired on a new employees only to see the new employee get promoted before you. This is not that they are smarter or more qualified, this just means that he/she know how to effectively communicate their niche and maximize their potential.

Law of the Niche. In John C. Maxwell’s book, 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork, John broke down different laws that separates a great team from the rest. One of the law is called the Law of the Niche. The Law of the Niche states that everyone has a niche. This niche is where we as individuals put the most value into a team. This is also where we will get maximal exposure in the eye of our company. Remember, it is not that you can do 100 different things, its the fact that you perfect that one gift that you already have. For example, if we look at any champion teams, we will notice that every team member has a place. In order for a team to be successful, everyone in their specific position must be able to execute in order for the team to win. We’ve also witness teams who has great players, yet fail to win any championship titles. This is due to the fact that individual team members are not fitting in their natural role, therefore making it hard for them to maximize their potential. This is why we see championship teams often time move around their key players.

So, have you found your niche? Do you know what your niche is? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, it is probably a good place to start. In order for you to stand out from a room full of employees you must be able to make a bold statement. You must be able to communicate thoroughly what your niche is and show your company why you believe that you deserve a promotion. Once you have found your niche and found how your niche can be impactful to your company, that is where you take the next step in putting together a plan of execution. Remember, like you, there are other employees who believes that they are also working hard, so does this mean they too should be promoted?

The steps in taking yourself to the next level:

1) Stop thinking like an employee and start thinking like an employer. What would you want from an employee if you were looking to promote someone?

2) Re-evaluate: yourself and define your NICHE. Find out what you are good at naturally. Understand that your niche is your gift.

3) Self development: once you have figured your niche, make sure to research and absorb as much as you can to help you strengthen your niche. Make sure you passionately pursue knowledge. Resources are plentiful. Even if you need to take courses to help you strengthen your niche, DO IT!

4) Plan Of Execution (P.O.E.): once you feel ready and confident, make sure to talk to your team leader and or management to show them that you are extremely interested in playing a larger role in the company. Put together a plan to show them how you are a valuable asset to the company’s success. Remember to include goals that will make you extend yourself. Something that you know will be a challenge yet you are willing to take the challenge and overcome. This shows that you are serious and you are ready.

5) Take ownership and execute. This is the true test.

Start taking ownership of your life and your career now. Companies will not turn down great talent. They will turn down something good for something great. Get out of the “Entitlement” mentality. Rather, empower yourself to step up to the next level. Find your niche because it will always be in your favor. Focus on this niche and maximize your potential. Remember, through the process it is important to know that everything that you are doing result in a stronger character. Many of us forget how important it is to be discipline and the importance of character. If you build character through this process, who’s to say you can’t go out and find a company who will truly value who you are? Pursue your niche passionately and you will find yourself in a place where you have always wanted to be.


The D.I.S.C. Assessment

Many large businesses and organizations require their employees to take the DISC Assessment. The Disc Assessment has also been called DISC Personality Test. This test is usually required to be taken by the management team. The DISC assessment was based on the studies of Dr. WIlliam Moulton Marston PhD. Dr. Marston conducted the assessment to examine individual behaviors in their environment. The DISC assessment is a four quadrant behavioral model and is used in many different areas; Human Resource, Organizations, Coaches, Consultants, etc. The behavioral model is also known as the universal language of behavior. It states that we possess certain characteristics of behavior which can be grouped into four major personality styles.

DISC is an acronym for:

Here is the breakdown of what each personality means (credits goes to www.lifeskillsinternational.com):

D – Direct people are fast paced. They like to keep busy. They aren’t team players, preferring to do things by themselves or delegating work they don’t find interesting. They can become annoyed when having to work with others and do things differently from their chosen way. They are persistent, viewed as stubborn, overcome obstacles and win at any cost. They’re great people to have on your side. They will fight for you and protect you. They are fearless. They have high expectations of others. They are interested in meeting their own goals. Direct people are so goal oriented, they are not aware of other people’s feelings and frequently override them. They appear uncaring, however their main concern isn’t another person’s feelings but getting the job done, meeting the goal. They tend to tell people, instead of ask. They are forceful, bottom-line people who hate to waste time. They want straight talk and direct answers. They want answers to their “WHAT” questions

I-Influential people are fast paced with a lot of energy and usually very busy. They have a network of contacts. They like people and like to talk. They are good at promoting ideas and seek to persuade others to agree with them. Time gets away from them and everything takes a lower propriety when they’re discussing ideas. They would never intentionally antagonize anyone. It’s important to them that others have a favorable impression of them. Never embarrass an I – Influential person in public. It will devastate them. They’re more interested in people than in accomplishing tasks. They thrive in the social scene. They can be a poor judge of people because they are so optimistic. They believe everything will be all right and everyone is “such a nice person”. They tell people, they don’t ask. They communicate well and need freedom of expression. They may overuse praise. Some people may see it as flattery and feel manipulated. They have trouble staying focused. They can become easily distracted. They are imaginative. They like what is new and innovative. They tend to think in the future. They want answers to their “WHO” questions.

S-Steady people desire to keep their environment from changing. They have a consistent work performance. They accommodate others. They get along well with others because they are flexible in their attitude. They may not say anything if they disagree just to keep peace, however they seem to find a way to get what they want. They are moderate and controlled. They are modest. They like to help others, make good counselors and are great listeners. They can speak on an intellectual level and prefer quiet discussions with one or two people. They build close relationships with a small group of friends. They like to maintain familiar and predictable patterns. They are consistent in accomplishing work. If they receive appreciation, they maintain a high level of performance. They may need help when starting a new project. They like to feel comfortable with anything new before actually starting it. They enjoy something in writing so they can refer to it. They ask, they don’t tell. They want answers to their “HOW” and “WHEN” questions.

C-Cautious people are critical thinkers. They draw conclusions and base action on facts, correctness, the rules and accuracy. They are slow paced and task oriented. They are trivia experts, someone who might appear on Jeopardy. They are very effective in their work. They combine intuition with facts to reach a conclusion. They like to work with people who think the way they do. They like to keep peace. They may not be shy but people find it difficult to read them. They don’t show their feelings. They tend to protect their privacy. Aggressive people upset them. They control their environment by understanding the rules and following them. These may be existing rules or their own rules but they will follow them. They study privately to learn about a subject before discussing it in public. They only start a project when they’re sure of perfection. Perfection is very important to them. They tend to be critical of themselves. They defend their position and support it rather than show flexibility. They think in outline form, frequently saying, “number 1 and b”, thinking things in sequence. They make to-do lists. They ask, they don’t tell. They want answers to their “WHY” and “HOW” questions.

The purpose of the DISC test is to raise self-awareness. It goes back to my Identity blog post that I had posted a few days back. If you are looking to take on a leadership role or a management role, or even if you are looking to be a stronger individual looking for self development, I highly encourage you to take the DISC Personality Test. This test will allow you to summarize your personality and gives you insight on how you operate in your environment. The biggest advantage of knowing yourself is to be able to strengthen your communication with others. Stronger communication will result in stronger relationships. One of the draw backs that I have noticed with some individuals is that they use the test as a crutch. For example, some individuals believes that a “Direct” or “Dominance” characteristic trait is a good thing. Once the assessment shows that this is true about them, they take advantage and no matter what they do they will refer to their “dominant” personality. The key to understanding our personalities is so that we can learn to control our personalities to fit any situation.

If we can learn to understand ourselves, others then will be able to perceive us with a clearer perspective. Just because we perceive ourselves a certain way, doesn’t necessarily mean that others perceive us the same. This will allow us to relate to others and be flexible when tense moments occur due to a “clash” of personalities. This is true if you are in a leadership role or a management role. You must be able to understand your own personality so that you can communicate precisely with others to get a specific job done. Everyone is motivated differently, if someone has a high “I” (Influence), I don’t think it would be a good idea to be “direct” or “dominant” to motivate that specific person to tackle a task.

There are many different online sites that you can take the DISC Assessment test. If you are a manager or currently a leader, I highly recommend you have your team take the DISC assessment so that you can learn how to best communicate with your team. Even if you are in a personal relationship, have your partner take the assessment to learn more about their personality.

To take the DISC Assessment click here.


%d bloggers like this: