Who’s Really Writing Your Performance Appraisal?

The best leaders I know have one song stuck in their head as they enter performance appraisal season.

“I can’t get no satisfaction? Nope

“You can’t always get what you want?” I sure hope not.

I see them humming, that old Christmas classic, “Do you Hear What I Hear?”

Where The Input Begins

Great performance appraisals are not written in a vacuum.

Chances are your boss is looking from a good bit of input into your performance appraisal.

Great leaders know they only have one perspective.

They go for more, and ask around. Hopefully, that starts with you. Here’s your chance to influence the situation. There are at least four places your manager is looking to for input.

You

The tangible results are the most important part of the performance appraisal. You are in a position to highlight some of your key accomplishments. Hopefully you had a performance agreement, or list of goals and measures you agreed to near the beginning of the year. If not, take the lead and share tangible results with your boss. Position it carefully as helpful input to lighten the load.

Focus on outcomes. What is the % improvement over last year? What is the retention and success rate of the new hires you mentored? Avoid highlighting results that just measure activity. “I visited 25 locations.” “I trained 15 classes.” It’s also fine to share some of the behind-the-scenes work your boss may have missed– particularly work you did for other workgroups or special projects.

Your Peers

A recent study by TribeHR of 20,000 employees found 85% of the recognition employees receive throughout the year comes from peers, not bosses. And, the amount of recognition correlates to end-of-year raises. I don’t know the ins and outs of the study, but I believe the premise. While employees are not supposed to talk about ratings or pay, I always assume something will leak out. It’s important that the people rated at the top are viewed as key contributors, and their peers would smile and say, ‘well deserved, that makes sense.”

Other Key Stakeholders

This is important no matter what kind of role you are in. Are you in HR? You boss will likely ask those you support about your style and impact. Are you in a field job? Your boss may go to Finance and ask how you are to work with. No, it’s not time to go buy pumpkin cheesecakes for all your staff support. However, it is good to know that others may be asked for input and to consider that in your interactions throughout the year.

Their Peers

Not everyone does this. I always do. Before anyone submits a rating, I always meet with my direct reports as a group to go through anyone being rated on either end of the performance spectrum. It always leads to interesting dialogue about perceptions and hidden interactions. Ideally, you do it a few times a year, so nothing new surfaces this late in the game.

You want everyone in that meeting nodding enthusiastically when your boss submits you for a top rating.

Who's Really Writing Your Performance Appraisal?

The best leaders I know have one song stuck in their head as they enter performance appraisal season.

“I can’t get no satisfaction? Nope

“You can’t always get what you want?” I sure hope not.

I see them humming, that old Christmas classic, “Do you Hear What I Hear?”

Where The Input Begins

Great performance appraisals are not written in a vacuum.

Chances are your boss is looking from a good bit of input into your performance appraisal.

Great leaders know they only have one perspective.

They go for more, and ask around. Hopefully, that starts with you. Here’s your chance to influence the situation. There are at least four places your manager is looking to for input.

You

The tangible results are the most important part of the performance appraisal. You are in a position to highlight some of your key accomplishments. Hopefully you had a performance agreement, or list of goals and measures you agreed to near the beginning of the year. If not, take the lead and share tangible results with your boss. Position it carefully as helpful input to lighten the load.

Focus on outcomes. What is the % improvement over last year? What is the retention and success rate of the new hires you mentored? Avoid highlighting results that just measure activity. “I visited 25 locations.” “I trained 15 classes.” It’s also fine to share some of the behind-the-scenes work your boss may have missed– particularly work you did for other workgroups or special projects.

Your Peers

A recent study by TribeHR of 20,000 employees found 85% of the recognition employees receive throughout the year comes from peers, not bosses. And, the amount of recognition correlates to end-of-year raises. I don’t know the ins and outs of the study, but I believe the premise. While employees are not supposed to talk about ratings or pay, I always assume something will leak out. It’s important that the people rated at the top are viewed as key contributors, and their peers would smile and say, ‘well deserved, that makes sense.”

Other Key Stakeholders

This is important no matter what kind of role you are in. Are you in HR? You boss will likely ask those you support about your style and impact. Are you in a field job? Your boss may go to Finance and ask how you are to work with. No, it’s not time to go buy pumpkin cheesecakes for all your staff support. However, it is good to know that others may be asked for input and to consider that in your interactions throughout the year.

Their Peers

Not everyone does this. I always do. Before anyone submits a rating, I always meet with my direct reports as a group to go through anyone being rated on either end of the performance spectrum. It always leads to interesting dialogue about perceptions and hidden interactions. Ideally, you do it a few times a year, so nothing new surfaces this late in the game.

You want everyone in that meeting nodding enthusiastically when your boss submits you for a top rating.

How to Change the Climate

Climate matters in crowds, in teams, in organizations. Does one person have the power to shift the climate from fun to frustrating? Can another person change it back? What can you do?

It’s Cold?

We were bundled up in our coats and boots, but the biting air still stung as we waited in line for the Hershey Park Christmas show. Sebastian looked up at me with his hot chocolate-stained grin. “Mommy, do you think we will get in?”— A question being asked throughout the line by other sticky children. The friendly usher came through reminding us that at our point in the line, there were “no guarantees” that we would see this show, but there was another show that evening.

The doors opened. At first the line moved fast, but then it came to a sudden stop with about a dozen people ahead of us as we approached the door. That’s when the climate began to shift.

A man in his late 30s started causing commotion. “I MUST get into the show. My wife went ahead and is saving seats.”

“Sir, we don’t allow seat saving.”

“But, ” And then the litany of reasons HIS needs were the most important ones in the park. The scene got louder and louder as this man shared his urgent need to hear Silent Night. Exasperated, the teenaged girl watching the door finally gave up. The man went in.

The climate began to shift again.

One man piped up, laughing “my triplet two year olds are in there all by themselves, I must go in.”

And then another smiled, “this show is the most important thing of my whole Christmas season.”

The climate got even lighter “my sister is in the show” and another, “my sister’s cousin is in the show too.”

And finally, “my pet monkey went ahead, and who knows what he will do if left unattended.”

Soon all the cold, frustrated wait-ers were laughing.

Folks began looking at their families “you know there are lots of other things we could go do to keep warm.” “we can always go to the next show.” “perhaps we should let the families with little kids go in and we’ll just go see the reindeer.”

What Can You Do to Impact the Climate?

Everywhere we look there are people who think their needs matter most. That their situation is the most vital. Sometimes they are right. Often not.

We have choices on how to react to such noisemakers.

Join in the debate? Engage in a show and tell of whose needs matter more?

Or.

Chose to let go of the small stuff. Work to lighten the mood. Search for alternative solutions. Work together to change the climate of the crowd?

The 30 minute show was cute. The more meaningful lesson was outside in the frosty air, with one warm leader choosing to lighten the mood.

The crowd chose peace and understanding.

 

12 Turnaround Tactics

Turnaround situations offer a great opportunity to lead.

I had one mentor whose tongue in cheek advice was, when considering taking a new job “always look for the one where the guy before you was an idiot.”

I get most excited when the situation is a big mess.

In such scenes there seems to be more political latitude to make dramatic change.

Rocking a sinking boat is more acceptable.

Even when things look broken on the outside, there is usually more going right than wrong.

The trick is to carefully assess the situation, and then pick the right things to change.

So you’ve been asked to turnaround something important. What do you do?

Here’s my thinking based on experience what would you add?

12 Turnaround Dos

  • Start slow and ask a lot of questions
  • Give the current team the benefit of the doubt
  • Find your “A Players” and ask what they would do
  • Talk with key stakeholders about what is working and what is not
  • Create a clear and compelling vision and values
  • Clearly articulate what will be different and what will remain the same
  • Understand the current “brand” of the team or organization and where it came from
  • Clearly define the skills needed for success
  • Assess the will and skill of the current team, and get the right people in the right seats
  • Recruit for missing skill sets
  • Identify the key behaviors for success
  • Consider re-branding the organization or project with a new name and/or logo (make sure something is really different before you do this)
  • ???
  • ???

Bonus: Turnaround Don’ts

  • Talk poorly about previous leadership or strategy
  • Assume everything needs to change
  • Assume your current team can’t be effective
  • Change everything
  • Assume you know what is best
  • Be afraid to make some bold changes
  • Become frustrated change takes time
  • Start claiming victory too soon
  • ???
  • ???

Every situation and every organization is different. I would love to hear what you’ve learned along the way.

 

Development Deluge: Are You Working Too Hard?

Bob (not his real name) pulled me aside after the meeting.

Another subscriber told me, “I’m going to have to stop reading your blog, it’s getting too expensive”

“Huh?… ummm… the blog is completely free,” I reminded her.

“Yes, but I’ve gone out and bought all the books you referenced.”

“You do know, I am not selling any of those right? That they are just references?

“Yes, but they all sound so good.”

“I’ve been reading your blog and all the books you talked about. I went out and got 5 mentors, all of whom are giving me feedback. I’ve been trying out new behaviors and asking for feedback on how I am doing. I’ve been thinking a lot about my development and career plans and next steps. It’s completely overwhelming.”

Hmmm…perhaps that is why Chris Brogan is inviting his readers to join him on a 3 Book Diet this year. His movement has gained traction.

I told Chris I can’t do the 3 book thing, I need great thinking to inspire my leadership and writing. Reading other people’s work is also helping me build wonderful relationships. But somewhere between 3 and everything in sight seems like the right range.

Have You Ever Been Bob?

Leaders must work on their development to grow. Most folks I know don’t work on their development enough. On the other hand too much development can be overwhelming, even paralyzing.

It’s like working on a marriage. Sometimes you need to talk about stuff. But sometimes, you just need to go throw a frisbee.

Back to Bob, and so I asked him, “what if you just stopped?”

His shoulders relaxed. I am pretty sure he started to breathe again.

“Development work takes time to steep. What if you just steeped in all this for a while?”

Bob is steeping now. That seems to be working well. The truth is, he seems to be growing more than ever.

What’s the “Right” Amount of Development

It depends.

Development should…

  • expose you to new perspectives
  • challenge you to try new behaviors
  • feel a bit uncomfortable
  • involve feedback from others
  • ????

Development should not…

  • feel completely overwhelming
  • involve trying too many new behaviors all at once
  • require constant feedback 
  • ????

What about you? Have you ever suffered from a development deluge? What happened? How did you steep?
 

Making the Invisible, Visible For Our Children

How do we make the invisible, visible for our children? The next in our Saturday Series in developing leadership in kids. On Monday we return to our regular leadership fare.

A Guest Post from Sonia Di Maulo, Canada

Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.Jonathan Swift 

Samuel picks up the slightest change in his environment. He senses that his mom needs a hug. And of course, mom is grateful. Later that afternoon, he deliberately annoys his little brother, and a mini-war ensues.

Samuel makes choices every day. At ten years old, sometimes he chooses well. What is it about his environment that leads him towards his choices?

Expectations

The connection he has with his mother is one of mutual trust, respect and love. In that environment, he is more in tune with the needs of the people around him. The connection he has with his brother has a heightened sense of competition added to the brotherly love. And so the same boy behaves differently in different situations.

As parents, how can we guide our children to align their words and actions to their values, independent of the environment? How can we help them infuse their surroundings with LIFE, based on LIFE-giving principles? With the ability to see the domino effect and to influence their future words and actions?

It starts with self-awareness.

A Dinner Activity: Making the Invisible, Visible

“Getting my kids to talk about the details of their days is hard enough”, you may be thinking, “How can I get them to increase their self-awareness to be able to see the connections that they affect everyday?”

At every dinnertime, I expect my kids to reflect on their days and to pick out one high point and one low point. This excellent game builds awareness of self and environment and boosts their ability to influence their future actions and words for the next daily report.

Game: High Point/Low Point

How to Play: Every member of the family shares the best part and lowest part of their day. Other family members listen and ask questions to get to the details.

Objective of the Game: Making visible, the lines that connect us all and increase self-awareness

Number of Players: 2 or more

Keys to Success: Consistent play every dinner time, make it fun, keep it short, show interest, encourage laughing and connection

Why Play? This game builds essential communication skills and cultivates family unity. It encourages:

  • Thinking about, selecting, and communicating emotional events in their day
  • Respectful listening to all members of the family
  • Conversation
  • Critical thinking and self-awareness
  • Building leadership skills from a very young age (as soon as they can speak, you can play)

We’ve been playing this game for years, at dinnertime, during vacations, and on road trips. We built variations on the theme and turned it into: “What was the favorite/least favorite part of your vacation, of the movie, of your field trip” and so on.

Try it with your family for a month and let me know how it goes.

Sonia Di Maulo M.A. ― founder, author, feedback enthusiast, speaker, performance improvement professional and creator of award-winning programs ― is passionate about helping leaders cultivate trust and collaboration.

This post is part of the Virtual Blog Book Tour for Sonia’s book, The Apple in the Orchard: A story about finding the courage to emerge. Discover the new vision for the world of work and get a glimpse into the power of living systems as models for sustainability, collaboration, and growth. Purchase your copy at www.theappleintheorchard.ca. Visit the other stops on the Book Tour on her Harvest Performance Blog.

 

Gratitude Parade: Great Posts on Gratitude and Thanksgiving

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, there have been so many great posts on gratitude this month. Today, I offer you links to insights from fellow bloggers on the art of gratitude.

Why Be Grateful?

The Pursuit of Peace: Thanksgiving as a Lifestyle by Andy Tix

Andy Tix shares the positive psychological benefits of gratitude and offers suggestions and examples

“A transformation often occurs when people learn to shift their thoughts from negative to thanksgiving.”

A Slice of Gratitude, by Ryan Setter

Ryan shares how gratitude can be “life changing”

It’s possible for an individual to have spiraled downward into a depression due to a serious lack of appreciation and gratitude. In fact, it’s quite common, and can be quite devastating. Recognizing and being truly grateful for an individuals’ strengths, talents and contributions is sometimes all that it takes to set someone on an upwards path simply by feeling appreciated, feeling that they matter. When someone knows that what they do is important it can be life-changing.

Personal Stories of Gratitude

 A Persistent Feeling of Frailty, By Dan Rockwell

A poignant post by Dan Rockwell, he shares reflections from a year after his serious accident.

“People did things for me that I couldn’t do for myself. I feel the frailty, even now. But there’s more. Gratitude persists. Compassion drips in the back of my mind.

Cancer, Abundance, and the Heart of True Thanksgiving, By Michele Cushatt

Michele Cushatt shares her journey through Cancer and the vital reminders of the power of true Thanksgiving.

“Because Thanksgiving, true Thanksgiving, is pulling up a chair to the table of your life as it is, even with all its struggle and imperfection, and choosing to close your eyes and savor its uncommon, undeserved abundance.”

How to Be Grateful

Thanksgiving: Gratitude Even For the Hard Stuff, By Randy Taran

Randy, shares some approaches for learning from life’s most challenging times.

It can take some time, acceptance and inner stillness to even ask these questions. When we’re caught in the escalating tornado of emotions, it’s hard to have perspective. But by looking back, everything becomes clearer. Clarity gives birth to peace. Another aspect is self-compassion. Consider replacing “If I had only ” with “I did my best under the circumstances.” That’s part of the lesson, too.

On Leadership and Expressing Gratitude, By Aditi Chopra

Aditi Chopra writes “Remember that people, who are constantly expressing gratitude to others, tend to be happier in life. And, it makes them someone worth following ” She shares a useful list of ways to express gratitude:

  • One can express gratitude subtly by returning a favor.
  • A more explicit way of expressing gratitude is to praise someone in public for what they did for you.
  • Giving someone a thoughtful gift or a greeting card is another way to thank them. Putting some thought into what they would like as a gift works wonders.
  • If someone has unconsciously been nice to you because of their very nature, don’t let that go unnoticed. Make sure to mention to them how much you appreciate their giving nature. More importantly, don’t abuse it by taking it for granted.
  • If your mentor spends a lot of time with you in coaching, one way to thank them is by being mindful of how much and what you ask them. Being aware of how much time you ask them to spend with you, you are being respectful and grateful.

I am grateful for these inspiring thought leaders and the insights they offer.

Happy Thanksgiving.

The Secret To Increased Productivity: 3 Steps to Improved Performance

Do you hope for increased productivity? The solution may be closer than you think.

A guest post from Karin Rigas, Greve, Denmark

Karin Moeller Rigas has worked as a Sales Manager, Executive Coach, and Management Consultant within Retail Banking for more than 25 years. Founder of www.emodigy.com, an e-learning site for managers, she is the author of the book, You are special – Strong foundations make great employees.

Looking for increased productivity? Don’t look for yet another tool to implement in the organization. Instead, look seriously within yourself as a manager and leader.

Scientific studies indicate…

  • Most frustrations during the day are caused by managers
  • Frustration leads to lower productivity
  • Recognition from the manager is by far the largest trigger for increased performance
  • People want to be successful and know when they are successful
  • Highly skilled leaders create high performing teams

Why not use yourself as the tool to increase performance and productivity?

There are 3 important elements to increasing productivity: establishing key values, structuring your interaction with employees, and continuously improving your own performance.

Establish Your Key Values

It starts by leaning on simple values.

Below are the values that guide my leadership, what would you add?

  • People want to do their best.
  • People want to be involved in designing their own future.
  • People’s strengths compensate for their focus areas (when they are in the right job)
  • Great storytelling is key to emotional engagement
  • Balancing “setting direction” and “developing people” in a clever way leads to success in leadership
  • A person’s best performance is built upon solutions they chose
  • People want to learn more– everyone learns differently.
  • Leaders must be multi-dimensional to be able to support the employees’ development.
  • Receiving and giving feedback with an open mind, creates trust in the relationship and is a pre-requisite for a great learning curve.
  • Leaders must be close to their people in everyday leadership.
  • Recognition and appreciation in everyday working life is the largest driver for great performances and good health.
  • ???

Structure your interactions

Be close to people in everyday management and leadership through regular and scheduled meetings like monthly meetings. Vary meeting style to include co-hosted meetings, success-sharing meetings and performance management meetings. The core tool for these conversations is coaching and feedback. These interactions are a great way to role-model and reinforce your key values.

Improve your own performance and productivity

Get coaching and feedback yourself. Let other people see you in action and let them help you with feedback and coaching. There is nothing more effective than on-the-job training– go ”all in.” The more you are willing to get feedback (from all directions), listen to it, and change, the larger a step you will take in your own personal development. The more you improve, the larger impact you will make on people activities and results.

Thanksgiving Grace and Grappling: Growing Beyond Easy

Today I offer my grace of thanksgiving for all that I have been given. I also whisper a humble grace for the messy work that is helping me to become.

May you too be blessed in your grappling this Thanksgiving.

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thanksgiving Grace

Today I am deeply grateful for…

  • My caring husband who believes in possibilities
  • My children who amaze me with their insights, caring hearts and contributions
  • My extended family and pit crew who make my work possible
  • My creative and tenacious team who accomplished what most believed could not be done
  • An opening heart leading to deepening relationships
  • A social media infrastructure that makes it possible for me to collaborate with leaders from around the world
  • Amazing new connections now growing into friends, mentors and supporters
  • Saying yes

Thanksgiving Grappling

But also surprisingly grateful for..

  • Time stuck in airports
    … giving me time to think
  • Realizing my strengths have downsides
    … which is forcing me to fine-tune
  • Feeling a bit stuck
    … which is causing me to consider
  • Choices that ticked me off
    ….which reaffirmed my values
  • Being too busy
    … which is forcing me to prioritize
  • Friends and colleagues who are grappling too
    … so we can work on this junk together

Gratitude is tricky.

It’s easy to feel full of thanksgiving for the good parts. It’s a bit harder to feel grateful for the messy and uncomfortable aspects of our lives.

Perhaps that’s exactly the work for which we should be most grateful.

May you find a strange peace and joy in your grappling this Thanksgiving.

Namaste.

Grateful Gone Missing? In Search of Gratitude

This month many folks I know are participating in the Facebook Daily Gratitude Challenge. They are posting “something for which they are truly grateful” each day.

My friend Lisa wrote, “I am grateful for gratitude.”

Ah, I thought, now that is something to consider.

What is grateful?

What does it mean to be truly grateful?

How does gratitude change us?

Why must leaders be grateful?

What are you most grateful for?

As leaders, we spend much time on “thanks for passing the gravy” kind of thanks.

  • …thanks for this report
  • …thanks for the update
  • …thanks for coming to work on time
  • …thanks for returning my call
  • …thanks for dinner

Those courtesies are important and necessary. But they are not gratitude.

Most organizations also do a pretty good job with formal recognition— taking time to determine who deserves the plaque and celebration. These ceremonies can surely come from a place of deep gratitude, but not necessarily. Often, they are based on numbers and rankings. Gratitude doesn’t come from spreadsheets.

Gratitude involves a deeper pause of true thanksgiving. I see this missing at many levels in organizations.

Grateful is missing when,

an executive hears a presentation and immediately responds with questions, concerns, critiques and challenges, without a pause to consider the depth and breadth of work entailed, the long hours, and the creative thinking.

a middle manager is frustrated in his current role, but overlooks his long career of exciting challenges and developmental experiences

a team leader acknowledges the team’s steady progress, but fails to understand the deep personal sacrifices of her team

a team member resents the promotion of a coworker, and overlooks all the ways he has grown himself in the past year

an employee didn’t receive the same tee-shirt as the guy in the next cube, and overlooks all the ways her family is benefiting from her job

a volunteer feels slighted by a decision, and misses the magic of being part of something important in the community

???

Thanks and recognition are about the receiver. As leaders, it is our job to say thank you and recognize good work.

Gratitude is also about the giver. Gratitude can transform our leadership.
 

Kid’s Books on Leadership For the Older Crowd: Insights from India


Thanks for joining in for our continued Saturday series on developing leadership in kids. Today’s post builds on the exploration of Children’s Books on Leadership.

On Monday, we return to our normal leadership fare.

A guest post from Sandhya Varadharajan,

Age 13, Chennai, India

I connected with Sandhya through social media from our shared connections and interest in books, writing and blogging. She is an avid reader who blogs about the books she reads. She has an inspiring process worth exploring with your kids. More info can be found on her links at the end of this post.

I challenged her to share her teachable point of view on leadership and the books that help to reinforce. I am delighted to publish her insights.

Kid’s Books That Inspire Leadership

I think these leadership characteristics are important and have quoted examples of the same from my reading of books.

In the book Tom Brown’s school days by Thomas Hughes, older students bully Tom. He fights them and makes them stop bullying him. The older students, who were focusing on bullying Tom, now start bullying other boys. Tom encourages the other boys also to fight against bullying and helps them do it. He also tells them never to bully any of the smaller students. When a leader suffers from something he doesn’t want the others to suffer and helps them.

In the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, Dumbledore the headmaster of Hogwarts gives Severus Snape another chance even though he becomes a DeathEater, a supporter of the Dark Lord Voldemort. He talks to Snape patiently and changes him into a good person. He even trusts Snape and makes him a teacher in Hogwarts. A leader always gives a second chance to others to change and correct themselves.

Ginny Weasley from the Harry Potter series wants to start a defence against Dark Arts group(Dumbledore’s army) because Dark Lord Voldemort has risen again. She wants Harry who is best in defense against Dark Arts to teach everyone defensive spells. A leader should initiate things that would help others.

Yukichi Yamamatsu is the author of the book “Stupid guy goes to India”. He is one of the characters in the book. He is determined to publish a Hindi translation of a Samurai Manga in India and he does it even though it wasn’t easy for him. A leader should be determined to do things however difficult it is. 

Akiko, from the young Samurai series by Chris Bradford, accepts the English boy Jack Fletcher to study in the Samurai school while the others think that he is not fit to learn the secrets of the Japanese martial arts and also think that he does not deserve to be in Japan. Akiko also accepts his way of thoughts and doesn’t force him to do anything. A leader should accept others way of thinking.

Aslan, the great lion from the Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, fights the white witch of the north to save Narnia till the end. He never lets go of the hope that they might win her. A leader has to be honest and should not let go of hope.

More About Sandhya

Sandhya is an avid reader and writer. She enjoys singing, bhajans, blogging and helping others to do all these activities.

Her Blog:  Sandhya.varadh.com

Her first eBook: Wizile (available for a free download)

Sandhya shares her suggestions for young bloggers in an interview with Vinaya Naidu

  • Get your book suggestions from other people.
  • Even if you don’t understand initially keep reading. You will start understanding every word of it in due course.
  • Write a few sentences about every book you read.
  • The more you read, the more you can write.

Kid's Books on Leadership For the Older Crowd: Insights from India


Thanks for joining in for our continued Saturday series on developing leadership in kids. Today’s post builds on the exploration of Children’s Books on Leadership.

On Monday, we return to our normal leadership fare.

A guest post from Sandhya Varadharajan,

Age 13, Chennai, India

I connected with Sandhya through social media from our shared connections and interest in books, writing and blogging. She is an avid reader who blogs about the books she reads. She has an inspiring process worth exploring with your kids. More info can be found on her links at the end of this post.

I challenged her to share her teachable point of view on leadership and the books that help to reinforce. I am delighted to publish her insights.

Kid’s Books That Inspire Leadership

I think these leadership characteristics are important and have quoted examples of the same from my reading of books.

In the book Tom Brown’s school days by Thomas Hughes, older students bully Tom. He fights them and makes them stop bullying him. The older students, who were focusing on bullying Tom, now start bullying other boys. Tom encourages the other boys also to fight against bullying and helps them do it. He also tells them never to bully any of the smaller students. When a leader suffers from something he doesn’t want the others to suffer and helps them.

In the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, Dumbledore the headmaster of Hogwarts gives Severus Snape another chance even though he becomes a DeathEater, a supporter of the Dark Lord Voldemort. He talks to Snape patiently and changes him into a good person. He even trusts Snape and makes him a teacher in Hogwarts. A leader always gives a second chance to others to change and correct themselves.

Ginny Weasley from the Harry Potter series wants to start a defence against Dark Arts group(Dumbledore’s army) because Dark Lord Voldemort has risen again. She wants Harry who is best in defense against Dark Arts to teach everyone defensive spells. A leader should initiate things that would help others.

Yukichi Yamamatsu is the author of the book “Stupid guy goes to India”. He is one of the characters in the book. He is determined to publish a Hindi translation of a Samurai Manga in India and he does it even though it wasn’t easy for him. A leader should be determined to do things however difficult it is. 

Akiko, from the young Samurai series by Chris Bradford, accepts the English boy Jack Fletcher to study in the Samurai school while the others think that he is not fit to learn the secrets of the Japanese martial arts and also think that he does not deserve to be in Japan. Akiko also accepts his way of thoughts and doesn’t force him to do anything. A leader should accept others way of thinking.

Aslan, the great lion from the Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, fights the white witch of the north to save Narnia till the end. He never lets go of the hope that they might win her. A leader has to be honest and should not let go of hope.

More About Sandhya

Sandhya is an avid reader and writer. She enjoys singing, bhajans, blogging and helping others to do all these activities.

Her Blog:  Sandhya.varadh.com

Her first eBook: Wizile (available for a free download)

Sandhya shares her suggestions for young bloggers in an interview with Vinaya Naidu

  • Get your book suggestions from other people.
  • Even if you don’t understand initially keep reading. You will start understanding every word of it in due course.
  • Write a few sentences about every book you read.
  • The more you read, the more you can write.