10 Proven Practices for More Productive Leadership

This is a guest post by J.D. Meier. He is the author of Getting Results the Agile Way and blogs on personal effectiveness and leadership at Sources of Insight. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

Leadership is a verb, and productive leadership is an art. The art part is when you use your experience and judgment to apply proven practices to the situation you are in to produce effective results.

Flow Chart on a Blackboard - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/Hiob, Image #12231515

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/Hiob

While you can always wing it, or luck into success, you can use patterns and practices to find the shortcuts and make your success more repeatable.

Advice to First-Time Authors

As the former Chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson, I receive a lot of email from would-be authors who are trying to get published. Because I make my email address public, it’s pretty easy to get to me.

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/dougallg, Image #5182627

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/dougallg

However, by the time I hear from people, they are usually frustrated. They can’t get anyone in the book publishing world to respond, and they are convinced that they have a killer-idea. “If only someone would just read my manuscript,” they plead.

How to Organize Evernote for Maximum Efficiency

Please note: The way I organize Evernote today is completely different than what I wrote here. You can find my updated methodology here.

I have been using Evernote for months. However, I have not really taken time to explore the depth of this incredible program until just recently. I have mainly just used it for a place to store meeting notes and an occasional web clipping.

Files in a Horizontal Filing Cabinet - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/STEVECOLEccs, Image #11346887

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/STEVECOLEccs

However, thanks to Brett Kelly’s very helpful e-book, Evernote Essentials, the Evernote user forum, and a little experimentation, I have begun to see the incredible power of this digital repository. So much so, then I am committed to going paperless in my new office setup.

5 Rules for More Effective Presentations

Presentation software can be a wonderful tool if used correctly. It can also be a dangerous distraction that interferes with communication rather than facilitating it. The line between the two is thin.

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/mbbirdy, Image #4746463

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/mbbirdy

Over the course of my career, I have sat through hundreds of presentations. Most of them were done with PowerPoint. Most of them are done poorly.

How a Shift in Your Vocabulary Can Instantly Change Your Attitude

This past year I have noticed how my vocabulary impacts my attitude. Words have power. They impact others, of course, but they can also have an impact on us.

A Key with a Collection of Newspaper Clippings - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/gawrav, Image #8702274

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/gawrav

For example, several weeks ago, I was headed out of town to a speaking engagement. A friend called and asked me where I was going. I said, “Oh, I’m headed to San Jose. I have to speak at a convention.” I said it with a little resignation in my voice.

Why Speaking Well of Your Spouse Is So Important

As a leader, the health of your marriage directly affects the impact of your leadership. (Click here to tweet that.) I have witnessed this time and time again. Being effective at work or in ministry begins by being effective at home.

A Couple in Love  Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/courtneyk, Image #10563305

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/courtneyk

Early in our marriage, Gail and I attended a church led by a dynamic, thirty-something pastor. He was an extraordinary communicator. He was a wise and empathetic counselor. As a result, the church grew rapidly.

4 Ways to Turn Twitter.com into Your Social Media Powerhouse

This is a guest post by Leo Widrich. He is the Co-founder of BufferApp, a Twitter app I use daily and can’t live without. You can read his blog and follow him on Twitter. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

There is this one problem I have, that might have occurred to you too as well. Having to log into ten different services on ten different sites every morning to get my social media day started is difficult and tedious.

Twitter Home Page - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/gmutlu, Image #16026915

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/gmutlu

So recently, I thought, What if you could do it all from one place? Not from a dashboard with hundreds of bells and whistles, but from a clean and easy-to-use interface.

Is Heaven for Real? An Interview with Author Todd Burpo

With more than seven million copies in print, Heaven Is for Real by Todd Burpo is one of the bestselling non-fiction books of all time. Tomorrow (Friday, July 6th) at 9pm EST, Barbara Walters will feature Todd and his son, Colton, in a special called, “Heaven: Where Is It? How Do We Get There?”

Todd is the pastor of a small Wesleyan church in Imperial, Nebraska, just 150 miles from my hometown in Kimball, Nebraska. He is also a wrestling coach and a volunteer fireman. He operates a garage door company with his wife, Sonja, who is also a children’s minister, busy pastor’s wife, and mom.

Yes, You Can Stay on Top of E-mail

A while back, one of my friends asked, “How do you get through all of your email. It’s killing me. I just can’t seem to get on top of it.” I know the feeling.

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/eyeidea, Image #3691219

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/eyeidea

Actually, I get asked this question a lot. Despite all the current technology and software tools available, many people are falling further behind with each passing day. They just can’t seem to keep up with the avalanche of digital messages hitting their inbox.

If You Missed “A Day About Books” with John Maxwell and Me

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of speaking at John Maxwell’s first-ever publishing conference, “A Day About Books.” We had almost 800 people in attendance. Numerous people told me it was the best writing conference they had ever attended. If you weren’t able to join us, I have some great news. (More about that in a minute.)

Michael Hyatt, John Maxwell, and Charlie Wetzel

Here’s what we covered:

The 5 Marks of Authentic Leadership

Many people have written on what it means to be a leader. Almost everyone identifies influence as the primary characteristic. By definition, this means that leadership and position are two different things. You can have a title, and a position of power, but this does not mean that you are a leader. Even people without these things can exert influence and thus leadership.

Business man stripped to his shorts and jumping off a dock - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/PeskyMonkey, Image #11582459

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/PeskyMonkey

But leadership is more than influence. It certainly includes influence, but it is more. I believe it includes at least five characteristics. When I speak on this topic, I call these “the five marks of authentic leadership”: