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Friday, January 31, 2020

Lean Quote: Empowerment and Delegation

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"I don’t know about management techniques as such. I only know about engineering and people. The most important thing is the respect for people within the corporation and so it is incumbent on the managers to create an environment within a corporation in which all employees are encouraged to take initiatives in carrying out the work and doing the work with pleasure.  — Soichiro Honda, Honda Motor Co., Ltd.

One challenge many managers experience surrounds delegation. You can’t do everything yourself which means you need to respectfully delegate work throughout your team. Leaders need to motivate and empower their employees to want to work for you and with you.  

Empowerment may not be a new concept to you, but many organizations experience problems because they don’t know how to ‘live it’. It is still too common for ‘delegation’ and ‘empowerment’ to be confused, and for the latter to be regarded as something you can use over somebody else, like having authority. 

Empowerment is not delegation because:  

Empowerment is where the organisation has enabled or coached the employee and now continues to support that person within the scope of his or her own work, as previously agreed

Delegation is about giving away parts of your own job to someone else; it is not about giving people scope within their own jobs 

However, the processes involved in delegating should be similar to those for empowering. With empowerment, accountability and responsibility rest with the person empowered. With delegation, responsibility can be passed on but accountability for ensuring the work is done stays with the person who delegated the task.

An empowered organisation encourages the entire company to believe in empowerment and checks to see that the ‘infrastructure’ for empowerment is in place.

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Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Lean Roundup #128 – January 2020

A selection of highlighted blog posts from Lean bloggers from the month of January 2020.  You can also view the previous monthly Lean Roundups here.

Ten Lessons I’ve Learned Over the Last Decade -  Ron Pereira shares 10 valuable lessons he’s learned over the last 10 years which he says has been the most transformative personally and professionally.

The Word of the Year for 2019 – Jon Miller explains why “daily” ties in the lessons and aspirations of the last 12 months.

Break the Bad Habit of Overreacting to Metrics – Mark Graban shares his advice from his book “Measure of Success” that deals with performance measures (metrics).

A Simple Way to Start Building a Continuous Improvement Culture – Jeff Hajek says a simple way to implement continuous improvement is to fix what bugs you.

Poka-Yoke – Preventing Inadvertent Errors – Al Norval explains what jidoka means and were poka yoke comes in.

Boeing Starliner Failure: Lessons for Your Lean Program – Dan Markovitz explains that successful Lean companies have leaders who spend significant time in the gemba.

Refining and Reinforcing Principles – Kevin Meyers explains his simple grounding principles: reduce friction, share, and grow.

Wanting to Know, Preferring to Ignore – Bob Emiliani talks about Toyota Management System and Lean Management and why it isn’t embraced by many top leaders.

The 4Cs of Trust – Jamie Flinchbaugh shares the ingredients that are important for building organizational trust what he calls the 4Cs of Trust: the demonstration of Care, effective Communication, the Competency to deliver on the promise, and doing all of these with Consistency.

Sustaining Gains with the Continuous Improvement Ratchet – Jon Miller explains why daily management is the ratchet in the PDCA cycle that sustains the gains of continuous improvement.

It’s Your Duty to Make Things Right – Steve Kane talks about his time in the military and the approach to problem solving and why leaders need to take the same approach in their business.

It’s Hard to Ask Leaders to Change the System in Which They’ve Risen and Excelled – Mark Graban discusses why leaders need to change if they want to change culture.

Time To Make Time – John Shook explains 2 reasons why lean could be considered a time-based strategy and why time is the enemy.

Ask Art: What happens when standard cost accounting meets takt time? – Art Byrne explains why takt time and standard cost accounting are not good friends.

Working Hard...For One Minute – Orry Fiume talks about SMED, getting buy-in from operators, and respect for people from experience at Wiremold.

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Monday, January 27, 2020

Lean Tips Edition #149 (#2446-2460)

For my Facebook fans you already know about this great feature. But for those of you that are not connected to A Lean Journey on Facebook or Twitter I post daily a feature I call Lean Tips.  It is meant to be advice, things I learned from experience, and some knowledge tidbits about Lean to help you along your journey.  Another great reason to like A Lean Journey on Facebook.

Here is the next addition of tips from the Facebook page:

Lean Tip #2446 – Allow Time for Big-Picture, Strategic Thinking. 
People tend to try to squeeze strategic planning discussions in between putting out fires and going on much needed vacations. But to create a strategic plan, your team needs time to think big. Do whatever it takes to allow that time for big-picture thinking (including taking your team off-site).

Lean Tip #2447 –Get Full Commitment From Key People in Your Organization on Your Plan. 
You can’t do it alone. If your team doesn’t buy in to the planning process and the resulting strategic plan, you’re dead in the water. Encourage the key people to interact with your customers about their perception of your future and bring those views to the table. 

Lean Tip #2448 – Make Strategy a Habit, Not Just a Retreat. 
Review the strategic plan for performance achievement no less than quarterly and as often as monthly or weekly. Focus on accountability for results and have clear and compelling consequences for unapproved missed deadlines.

Lean Tip #2449 – Communicate The Plan
You simply can’t over-communicate. Communicating the plan has to be done in multiple ways to engage and inform all stakeholders. Everyone should know what the plan is and what their role is in executing it. Find out how your various stakeholders prefer to receive information and try to meet them where they are.

Lean Tip #2450 – Make Plans Realistic, Measurable, and Data-Based.
The three key differences between successful and good strategic plans are:
Having a realistic connection between the intrinsic motivations of employees, organization’s goals, and client outcomes.
Creating accountable, measurable activity at individual, team, division, and group levels.
Continually challenging processes. Decisions should be based on robust, unbiased, intelligent information, not emotion.

People are the ones who get things done. If your plan does not get down to the point of having specific people responsible for initiatives within your plan, then the work will never get done because nobody will have ownership in it.

Your plan must include measurable results. We call them “Performance Measures”. If not, then people will never know when the goal has been achieved.

Lean Tip #2451 – Take a Key Role in Communicating Company Strategy
Have you ever played the children’s game “Telephone”? By the time the message gets to the end of a long line of people, its content has likely been drastically altered beyond recognition. Miscommunication costs businesses more than $37 billion USD each year – you don’t want to add to that total. Be direct, make sure everyone understands your plans, and ensure that you communicate your vision and goals to all staff members.

Lean Tip #2452 – Encourage All Employees to Commit to Your Strategies
The more that your employees engage and interact with your goals, the more likely it is that they will stay committed to them in the long run. During meetings and performance reviews, remember to encourage commitment and remind everyone of goals and their own roles in achieving them.

Lean Tip #2453 – Transparency is Key
Maintaining a sense of transparency throughout your entire organization will allow your employees to see the productivity of their managers and vice versa. Overall transparency can translate to a healthier and more productive work environment for everyone, improving overall engagement.

Lean Tip #2454 – Build Trust When Times Get Tough.
Something beautiful happens in a migrating flock when a bird is sick or wounded: two of the birds drop out of formation to assist, aid and protect their fellow member until the bird can fly again. They are a team, all in it together. A team is a formation of trusted relationships, fostering natural accountability. This is the basis of success.

Unfortunately, many work teams don’t function like this. If one person is struggling, people sometimes gang up on that person and feel “let down” that he is not pulling his weight. They complain about this person to management, and feel burdened to have to take on more of the work.

Instead, when situations arise when one team member is struggling, managers should take time to find out what is happening and why. When people fall short, think of it as an opportunity to build trust and inspire better work. Ask the person what is going on and together discover ways to improve performance. That might mean shifting the person’s role, or inspiring that person to take on more of a leadership role. Working through hardships together builds stronger teams.

Lean Tip #2455 – Everyone Gets Recognized.
In the 2015 Employee Recognition Report by the Society for Human Resource Management and Globoforce, 90 percent of the 823 HR professionals surveyed said an employee recognition program positively impacted engagement.

Engagement is essential to keep a company growing and reaching for its vision. When employees aren’t recognized, they lose track of their purpose. But in contrast, when wins are celebrated, employees want to win more.  

A simple expression of gratitude, such as a thank-you note or gift, shows employees that management is paying attention and notices that they are consistently working hard and succeeding at their individual goals.

When recognizing top talent, explain how employees' efforts are pushing the company toward large-scale goals. Show how their performance is meeting and exceeding expectations to encourage more hard work and dedication.

Lean Tip #2456 – Lay Out the Vision for Change
Clearly state what is changing and why. Show employees where you are today and where you intend to be tomorrow. Make sure you show them why this matters to the organization, how it will positively impact their careers and how you plan to measure success.

Lean Tip #2457 – Personalize Tasks For Success.
Make sure the tasks you assign to each person play to their strengths. When people are set up for success, they are more motivated to achieve. Like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, nothing will get done if you have a big-picture person working on detail-rich tasks. Be clear with each person about how their work is vital to the outcome. Then set measurable goals and let them know how they will be held accountable. If appropriate, let the individuals take part in defining the work they will be undertaking.

Lean Tip #2458 – Stay Connected with Employees.
Stay connected to ensure that everyone is clear about the mission that they are working toward. Keep an open-door policy as much as possible. If that's not feasible, consider making yourself available via email or during certain hours of the day. It's important that employees let you know when challenges arise. That's not to say you should listen to every gripe and complaint, but you can let everyone know you are empathetic to their concerns and are willing to work with them to find solutions. Further, encourage employees to bring a solution with them when making you aware of a problem.

Lean Tip #2459 – Nip Resistance to Change in the Bud.
Be aggressive in addressing instances where you see resistance. This is important for two reasons. First, small problems have a nasty habit of ballooning into bigger ones. Second, you don't want unhappy employees poisoning the minds of other employees who have already bought in.

Lean Tip #2460 - Be Prepared to Change the Change.
Just as employees resist change, sometimes we fail to realize that our own changes aren't working the way we want them to. Assuming you have the right workers on the right task, solicit their feedback. You have to be prepared to take the advice they give and adjust your own game plan. Sometimes that means midcourse corrections. Other times, it means scrapping the plan and starting from scratch. That's not defeat -- it's the ultimate sign that you value the buy-in your employees have for your ideas.

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Friday, January 24, 2020

Lean Quote: 5 Reasons Why Business Strategy Planning Is Important

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"Hope without plans is like a car without wheels. — Terry Mark

Developing strategy takes time and resources. It requires the time and commitment of some of the most highly paid and highly experienced people in your organization. So, if your team isn’t willing to invest what is needed, I recommend that you don’t do it. Poor planning is often worse than no planning at all.

So, why do you need a strategy? Why take time for planning? There are many reasons. But these five reasons are important considerations.

1) To set direction and priorities:

First and foremost, you need a strategy because it sets the direction and establishes priorities for your organization. It defines your organization’s view of success and prioritizes the activities that will make this view your reality. The strategy will help your people know what they should be working on, and what they should be working on first.

Without a clearly defined and articulated strategy, you may very well find that your priority initiatives—the ones that will drive the highest successare being given secondary treatment.

2) To get everyone on the same page:

If you find that you have departments working to achieve different aims, or going in different directions, you need a strategy.

Once you define your strategic direction, you can get operations, sales, marketing, administration, manufacturing, and all other departments moving together to achieve the organization’s goals.

3) To simplify decision-making:

If your leadership team has trouble saying no to new ideas or potential initiatives, you need a strategy. Why? Your strategy will have already prioritized the activities necessary for success. Priorities make it easier to say no to distracting initiatives.

4) To drive alignment:

Many organizations have hard-working people putting their best efforts into areas that have little to no effect on strategic success. They’re essentially majoring in the minors—because their activities aren’t aligned with the priorities. Your strategy serves as the vehicle for answering the question, “How can we better align all our resources to maximize our strategic success?”

5) To communicate the message:

Many leaders walk around with a virtual strategy locked in their heads—they know where their organization needs to be and the key activities that will get it there. Unfortunately, the strategy isn’t down on paper and hasn’t been communicated thoroughly. As a result, few people are acting on it.

When your staff, suppliers, and even customers know where you’re going, you allow even greater opportunities for people to help you maximize your success in getting there.

Planning is essential to the success of any business. When a company has a plan to follow, leaders are better equipped to prepare for the future. A business plan creates a focus for the company, uniting employees toward common goals. When everyone works together, it’s easier to manage time and resources, to position the company for growth.

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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

9 Leadership Tools To Inspire Employees To Give Their Best

Employee engagement has always been a big deal in business operations. After all, no tool or system can replace the productivity of your workers as they are the core of the organization. The way they function as a team will make or break your hopes of running a profitable company.

However, it seems like 85% of employees are not engaged in the workplace. There are many ways to explain such behavior, but it all comes down to one simple fact – the lack of leadership. A genuine business leader has to keep an eye on every member of the team and create preconditions for the successful functioning of the organization.

In this article, we will show you nine leadership tools that can help you to inspire employees to give their best. Let’s take a look!

1. Set Clear Goals
If you want to build a team of highly productive employees, you need to define your expectations. What is it that you want them to do? The most important thing is to answer this question and set clear goals for each member of the group and the team in general.

We recommend you to quantify achievements. That way, employees know exactly where to go and how much they have left. But if you make them wander around without a concrete objective or purpose, rest assured their engagement will decrease steadily.

2. Pay What They Are Worth
We could love or hate our jobs, but in the end, it all comes down to earning enough money to make a decent living. This is exactly why you should pay employees what they are worth. 

According to the report, more than 40% of employees say a higher salary would improve their job satisfaction. Of course, almost all of them would leave the company in case they received higher compensation somewhere else. 

Therefore, a leader should make sure that everybody gets what they deserve. All it takes it to follow the industry average and reward top-performing employees. 

3. Provide Training Opportunities
Do you know that the top factors of greater engagement are job-specific training and career development opportunities? We live in a rapidly-changing world where talented professionals expect you to help them grow and develop new skills. 

If you don’t want to chase them away, you better provide employees with continuous learning opportunities. Organize seminars, training programs, study visits, and all other types of learning sessions that can make the members of your team better and more skilled workers.

4. Be a Role Model 
A true leader is always a role model who inspires subordinates to work better and harder. If you want employees to work overtime, you have to do the same thing. If you want them to communicate clearly and concisely, you have to showcase the same mindset. You are the one they look up to, so don’t forget to act as a genuine role model.

5. Avoid Micromanagement
Another way to prove leadership skills is to avoid micromanagement. In case you don’t know, micromanagement is a management style whereby a manager closely observes, controls, and reminds the work of his/her subordinates or employees.

It is always a big burden for every worker because they feel like being under surveillance, so it often leads to professional underperformance. If you find yourself micromanaging, remember that you did not hire high school kids but rather full-time professionals who are better than you in their fields of work.

6. Let Them Speak Freely
A manager who doesn’t listen to his/her team members is never a good leader. Although there are times when you have to make big decisions single-handedly, your employees should contribute to decision-making 99% of the time. 

After all, they are most likely talented workers with lots of professional experience, so why wouldn’t you let them speak their minds freely? It will help you to brainstorm alternatives, boost engagement, and improve business results long-term.

7. Show Empathy 
Even the best-performing employees have their ups and downs. No one is able to maintain the highest level of personal productivity day after day because it’s just not how the human mind functions. For this reason, you have to show empathy and understand your colleagues when they make a mistake.

First of all, don’t penalize workers for every little blunder. Secondly, try to talk with them and learn what’s going on in their heads. Sometimes the smallest personal problem can significantly jeopardize professional engagement, but it’s a leader’s duty to discover it and help employees to make it through the hard times.

8. Promote Work-Life Balance
Studies reveal that 40% of people use their computers after 10 PM, while 94% of professionals put in 50+ hours a week. These are only some of the stats that prove how diligent and hard-working a typical employee really is these days. 

However, it is impossible to go on like that year after year. A leader should give employees a break and encourage the balance between life and work. You can do it simply by allowing team members to take a couple of extra days off work or letting them work from home. You can test many little tricks to increase the quality of employees’ personal lives without degrading business performance.

9. Encourage Employees to Exercise
Physical training can do miracles engagement-wise. According to the research, workday exercise doesn’t only improve well-being but also leads to a 72% improvement in time management and workload completed. All it takes is to create a small gym or sponsor training programs for your staff – it will have an excellent impact on the performance of your team.

People are the essence of each company, but the leader is the person in charge who has to make sure that everyone is doing their jobs professionally. If you want to make the most of your team, then you need to utilize state of the art management principles.

In this post, we discussed nine leadership tools that could help you to inspire employees to give their best. Which tactic do you believe to be the best here?

About the Author:
Becky Holton is a journalist and a blogger at resume writing service. She is interested in education technologies, australian assignment helprush my essay reviewsessay writing help and is always ready to support informative speaking at uk best essaysEdubirdie review. Follow her on Twitter.

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Monday, January 20, 2020


World history has been filled with leaders who have done incredible things. Every one of them has contributed significantly to this world - proving that great leadership comes in many different forms.   
A great leader, for many, is one that inspires action. Whether it's to make a change in the world, chase your dreams, or create a movement.  
Politics or views aside, many of us can agree that individual leaders are indeed the best. Regardless of whether you agree wholeheartedly in the action that they provoke; we can all appreciate the inspirational ways that they invigorate others.   
What makes a great leader?   
To be a great leader, you have to possess specific skills and traits. You have to respect others, be loyal, and maintain a degree of confidence. After all, if you don't believe in yourself, will anybody else?   
Below, we've listed the most influential leaders in the modern age - who have all inspired action.   
1. Nelson Mandela   
Of course, you'll always find Nelson Mandela's name on lists regarding leaders. He truly is not only one of the most inspiring leaders, but people of all time.   
Mandela accomplished what many have not been able to - he inspired generations of people, even after his death. He proved that human resilience and passion is the most powerful tool.   
Mandela has held various titles. He's been a prisoner, activist, revolutionary, and President. That's quite the resume.   
For those that don't know, Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years. He was sentenced to life for conspiring to overthrow the state. This kind of sentence would understandably break many people, but Mandela stood firm.   
He campaigned vigorously for his freedom and later became the first black President of South Africa. He was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize and received more than 250 honors.   
To this day, he is seen as one of the most influential leaders - and resilient humans.   
The takeaway: We can all adopt Mandela's mindset into our leadership techniques. The struggle shouldn't deter us from trying to achieve our goals. Draw a line under your past, and share your story and dreams.  
2. Marie Curie   
Marie Curie gathered an extensive list of accomplishments during her life. Many have argued that she was one of the leading forces in science.   
She is best known for her discovery of radioactivity. It's this discovery that has led to effective cancer treatments, as well as other world-changing things.   
She was also the first woman to ever win a Nobel Prize, the first female professor at the University of Paris, and the first person to ever win a second Nobel Prize.   
While she might not fit the mold of a "leader" that you have in mind - Marie Curie definitely remains one of the greatest leaders. She overcame obstacles.   
Marie Curie broke through in a time when women were not allowed to speak in forums and established herself as a worthy leader.   
She led by her expertise and thoughts and has changed the world.   
The takeaway: Marie Curie had a passion for her work and an insatiable love for learning. As a leader, you should adopt these qualities and let it shine through your work.  
Though it won't be easy and obstacles might arrive, your determination should ultimately trump this.  
3. Martin Luther King, Jr   
MLK was an American activist and humanitarian. He essentially became the figurehead for the African-America Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.   
He is well-known for leading in a nonviolent and civil way. Causing slight disobedience to bring attention to important matters. His work, along with his supporters and allies, changed America for the better.   
Perhaps his most famous accomplishment, as a leader, is his part in organizing the 1963 March on Washington. It's here where he delivered the iconic "I Have a Dream" speech.  
MLK also received a Nobel Peace Prize. His leadership qualities included a kind temperament and meaningful action.   
He created a nation-wide movement based on acceptance.   
The takeaway: One of the biggest learning lessons from Dr. King is to know your cause. Believe in what you do, and stand for it.  
Also, persevere, embrace fear, and get everyone around you involved. You may be surprised at who will join you.  
4. Mother Teresa  
Mother Teresa was an Albanian-born Roman Catholic nun. She's well-known for her selfless, revolutionary work. She cared for the poor, orphaned, sick, and dying.  
She proved herself to be a reliable and influential leader - breaking barriers and perceptions of what a leader should be.   
She founded the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India. This was a religious congregation that is now active in more than 130 countries.   
In 2003, Mother Teresa was beatified (made a saint) bu the Pope - giving her the title of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.   
Her leadership skills differ from other leaders. She led the way with compassion and thoughtfulness - her one goal to make the world better, with no financial or popularity gain for herself.   
The takeaway: As a leader, it's not always about your personal hopes and dreams. Sometimes, trying to make the world or people around you succeed is more important.  
Your team should be your priority - ensure that they're happy and thriving.  
5. Greta Thunberg   
Regardless of your personal opinions, nobody can deny that Great Thunberg is one of the most influential leaders in the 21st century.   
At such a young age, she has begun international protests and movements that have entirely changed the world. Now, she has become a figurehead for the climate change movement - showcasing the new face of politics and activism.   
She began fighting in her home country, Sweden. Her focus is on freeing the world of pollution, ending climate change, and environmental degradation. She has inspired action amongst students, famous for shaming apathetic adults.   
"At just 16, she has planned an array of student protests and has become an international figure. The reality is, youth activists like Great are doing amazing things. How she has rallied such a significant movement, only shows what a fantastic leader she really is." — Nadine Johnson, anthropologist, and writer at Studicus. 
The takeaway: It might be a little strange to learn leadership qualities from a teenager, but it's still very possible.  
The most important is to practice what you preach. That's the key to a good leader. Always set an example, and lead in a noble and honest way.  
6. Abraham Lincoln   
On the other end of the spectrum (or timelines) sits Abraham Lincoln. He was the President of the United States from 1861, before getting assassinated in 1865.   
Lincoln was a self-taught lawyer before joining the active politics of America. While it is argued that his short time as President was overshadowed by the Civil War, it cannot be debated that he led the way heroically.   
At such a difficult time in US history, Lincoln strengthened the nation and abolished slavery. He also modernized the economy and has become a symbol of equal rights, liberty, and democracy.   
The takeaway: Truly, you have to work to achieve your goals. Things won't just fall into place. He once famously said: "Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four hours sharpening the axe.”  

7. Che Guevara   
You'll often see his face during left-wing protests - Che Guevara was a major face of the Cuban Revolution. The fact that he is still a symbol of rebellion and revolution places him on this list.   
Guevara was born in Argentina, he was a Marxist revolutionary, author, guerrilla leader, and diplomat. He saw the conditions that people in South America were living in - saturated with disease and poverty, and decided to make a change.   
He dedicated his life to amend the economic conditions of the people and is well-known for prioritizing others over himself.   
His primary leadership belief was that humans shouldn't be a slave to their situation - instead, they should be able to design their own destiny.   
The takeaway: Though he may be a different kind of leader, he was still a leader.  
His premise in life was that you have to give meaning to all your decisions. Make sure that the path you take is meaningful, and your leadership skills will certainly develop.  

8. Albert Einstein 
Lastly, we have to mention the man who rewrote the laws of nature for the betterment of humanity. He's still one of the most famous scientists and has had an unmatched impact on our understanding of the universe.   
"Einstein is remembered for overcoming adversity - he struggled as a child and even struggled to find work after graduating. His ability to remain positive, regardless of the situation, is why he's considered one of the best leaders." — Ben Larson, a history writer at Trust My Paper and Grab My Essay. 
Now, even after his death, his work and findings are still be used to guide physicists - that's great leadership.   
The takeaway: There's no denying that Einstein was curious. That's what made him so great.  
As you're leading, you should be curious, try new things, and use your imagination. You're more powerful than you realize.  

Which such a diverse group of leaders, you'll notice that they all have different tactics, views, and backgrounds. It becomes clear that being a great leader isn't one-size-fits-all.   
If you're passionate, hard-working, and empathetic, you can inspire generations of people to make a change and invoke action in those around you.  

About the Author: Nicole D.Garrison is a content strategist, writer, and contributor at Pick, The Writer, along with several platforms for marketing specialists. She is a dedicated and experienced author who pays particular attention to quality research. In her free time, Nicole is a passionate runner and a curious beekeeper. Moreover, she runs her own blog LiveInspiredMagazine. 

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