Leaders looking to grow their organizations to a world-class level often ask me,

“What’s changed that makes the dynamics so challenging today?”

The short answer? The Information Age is now dominant in our lives.

This Two-Minute Leadership Talk is part one in a series on “Information Age Leadership.” Now that getting and sharing information is as easy as pressing a button in the palm of our hand, we fall into the trap of thinking that this is the best way to communicate as leaders to our team… but it’s not!

Watch this video and learn how to use deliberate leadership tools to communicate effectively in this Information Age and enable “The Big Six” to come to life. Over the next few videos I’ll share what these tools look like and how to use these tools to set the azimuth for your team, listen actively, empower others, create mutual trust, take charge, and achieve balance.

In the Information Age, having a strong intent is more powerful than ever. Leaders must constantly be reiterating the mission and driving the intent in order to effectively communicate the organization’s values to their team.

In this Two-Minute Leadership Talk, I discuss what “Setting the Azimuth” looks like for leaders in the Information Age. In order to set your azimuth, you’ll have to answer, “Who are we, and why do we do it?” and not be afraid to routinely revisit your intent so that your mission has clarity.

The azimuth defines our mission, intent, values, and culture. This is why “Setting the Azimuth” is the first of The Big Six and the essential launch point in Information Age Leadership that I’ll be exploring in this video.

For leaders in the Information Age, it is tempting to send out mass texts or emails and assume that they are communicating well with their team.

But this is not effective.

Using active listening and deliberate confirmation ensures that you and your team are really hearing what’s being said by all.

In this Two-Minute Leadership Talk, I discuss what “Listening” looks like in the Information Age. It involves using tools like the backbrief technique, and asking questions such as, “tell me what you think you heard?” and “could you please summarize the conversation we just had?” in order to establish clarity with those you work with on a daily basis.

As a leader, active listening has many dimensions and means listening to individuals, groups, teams, and the organization as a whole. Listening well helps you assess the health of your organization, but it requires some art.

In this age of instant connectivity, it can be very hard to be patient.

First, listen. Resist the impulse to immediately intercede. Observe the situation and ask the power questions that enable your team organize and address those issues. Build the systems to enable your team to put out those fires.

Leadership in the information age is based around fire prevention, not fire-fighting. When your team acts according to the intent or concept of your mission, values, and culture, then provide the support they need.

Empower your team to put your training into action.

Bottom line, difficult conversations are absolutely necessary and critically important to improvement and correction.

In “Difficult Conversations,” my fifth Two-Minute Leadership Talk, I talk about how to approach a difficult conversation and why they are so very important – not only for course-correction, but for future development.

Be direct. Don’t minimize a difficult conversation by using the “sandwich technique” of compliment-criticism-compliment, and don’t allow a negative tone to drive them to a defensive attitude. Instead, flip the expected script.  Ask them about their challenges and how they’ve performed in the face of those challenges.

To be most effective, put them in a position to discover their own deficiencies. Ask them how they would solve the problem were they in your shoes.

Before ending a difficult conversation, develop and agree to an action plan. This cooperation can lead to great results.

In this era of increased interpersonal connectivity, you must resist the temptation to interject or even overshadow a team leader. Trust and empower them to meet the goals you set.

We owe our upcoming leaders the ability to grow and learn, to make decisions and to make mistakes, to develop their teams and themselves, and to become better leaders. But they need the space to do this.

Give them authority and responsibility and step back to see what they can do.

Even your very best people need guidance. To amplify the success of your team, take the time to set clear goals and expectations. In this Two-Minute Leadership Talk, you’ll see the power of a team covenant in establishing a unified vision of success. A team covenant creates a guide for the future success of your team by coordinating your goals and your expectations.

Instead of developing something new, we often simply try to make something established and understood incrementally better or faster. Sticking to “the way we’ve always done it” creates obsolescence.  In this Two-Minute Information Age Leadership Talk, you’ll discover how opportunity can be another word for inspiration.

A thriving organizational culture requires effort and investment.  Everyone on your team must agree to prioritize this ecosystem every day. This is a commitment you must exercise from the top on down.

In this Two-Minute Leadership Talk, “Creating a World-class Culture,” you’ll learn how and why your culture contributes to who you want to be and how you’ll get there.

We all have the same finite 24 hours in a day, but how you use yours will impact the caliber of leader you are. Take two minutes right now to learn how to maximize the other 1,438 minutes in your day to become a Level Five leader, then pass that wisdom on to the balance of your leadership team.

We live in a world of transparency. It’s the way things are today’s world of high technology. Learn how to leverage that transparency for all things good in this two-minute video from Robert Mixon.

It’s very difficult to overcome a bad first-impression, so why chance it on a new hire? Are you aware of the impression your incoming team members are presented with on their first week or so on the job? Onboarding is leadership business, not HR business, so take two minutes and learn what you can do to ensure the first impressions inside your organization are outstanding and worthy to be lasting for many years to come.