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Leadership Skills are Life Skills!

November 6th, 2013

How to Lead So Others Will Follow – Tip # 8Leadership and Life Skills

by Jean Gatz, Motivational Keynote Speaker

Where can STANDOUT Leadership take you? The answer is simple. On the Road of Life, the Leadership skills we’ve covered in this blog series are LIFE skills that can take you wherever you want to go! So here’s what else you need to know!

Good leaders are versatile. They use their unique combination of strengths and learned skills to positively impact every area of their personal and professional lives. Leadership is a strong part of their personality and shines through in everything they do and with every person they meet.

Good leaders are great role models. They realize that the opportunity to impact people in a positive way exists in every situation, relationship, job and activity. Therefore, they always do their very best to model the behavior, attitudes and values that others would choose to imitate. They are constantly looking for ways to be better leaders, better people and better influencers.

Since this is Week 8 in this STANDOUT Leadership series, you now have a list of leadership strengths to keep in mind when you are thinking about your own ability to influence others in a positive way. They are also some of the traits you should look for when choosing the people you want to influence you.

And here’s the best part. All of the work and effort you put into developing your leadership skills will extend far beyond the workplace. You have opportunities to exhibit good leadership skills every day.

Think about the CHOICES you make about how you live your life, communicate, act, respond, handle change, deal with stress, negotiate, cope with difficult people and work with a team. These choices all reflect your character and represent your core values and beliefs to others.

Do you live the kind of life that others would choose to imitate, follow and respect? If so, then you are an INFLUENTIAL person.

Remember: LEADERSHIP SKILLS ARE LIFE SKILLS that apply in all areas of your life!

Keep reading to identify your own leadership strengths from the list we’ve discussed. Then make sure you look for these key elements in others and model them in your own life if you want your leadership style and skills to set you apart and help you STAND OUT from the crowd!

And if you missed any tips from previous weeks, click here to catch up.

As you look at this list of traits and think about the various leadership roles you hold in your organization, your family, friendships, community, church and volunteer committees, indicate which leadership traits describe you.

Good Leaders:

____ Work hard and make sacrifices for themselves and others
____ Stay focused on goals
____ Keep challenges in perspective
____ Commit to lifelong learning
____ Integrate excellence into everything they do
____ Serve as a teacher and mentor for others
____ Are willing to follow as well as lead
____ Can be counted on to do what they say they will do
____ Have a sense of pride in themselves and their accomplishments
____ Are trustworthy, ethical and act with integrity at all times

Which of these is your strongest area?

Which of these is your weakest area?

What can you do to improve?

Want to be the BEST Leader that people would like to follow?  Learn more in my all new Leadership eBook today! 

Good Leaders Are Always Looking Ahead

October 31st, 2013

How to Lead so Others Will Follow Tip 7JG Forward thinking

by Jean Gatz, Motivational Keynote Speaker

Good leaders are a guiding force when it comes to successfully dealing with change. They understand that the choices they make today will impact the future of their team, their organization and their customers … tomorrow. While they realize there are times when immediate action and quick decisions are necessary, they are always committed to ACTING, rather than REACTING, to situations. Good Leaders avoid taking the easy road filled with short-term answers and focus instead on making smart decisions based on positive, long-term results.

Looking beyond day-to-day life, they have an intuitive ability to experience what’s happening in the moment, while creatively thinking of all the ways those experiences could fit into their vision for the future. In other words, Good Leaders are usually one step ahead of everyone else in terms of creating a plan for success that is imaginative, results-oriented and on-target.

In my experience as a motivational keynote speaker it’s easy to identify these leaders in conversations after my keynotes. They have the confidence and integrity to be accountable for their choices, along with the consequences and outcomes of those choices. No matter what challenge they are sharing with me, they never say: “That’s not my job”… “It’s not my fault”… “It’s out of my control.”

Instead they use phrases like: “This job will get done.”

“I will do whatever it takes to make it work.”

“I can figure out a way to make this happen.”

Good Leaders know they can lead others to success only by modeling the behaviors and attitudes that others would CHOOSE to follow, imitate and adopt. Their values, ethics and character show through in every conversation they have and every decision they make.

Because they know that leadership is both a privilege and a responsibility, they never take their leadership role lightly. And they know that leadership skills are LIFE skills that will take them wherever they want to go!


Do you spend more time looking backward than looking ahead? See how you measure up by taking the quiz below. And if you missed any of the other tips, click here to catch up.

Which of these leadership traits describes you?

Good leaders:

____ Adapt to change without resorting to whining, complaining

____ Acknowledge their fears about change and deal with them

____ Understand that today’s choices impact their future

____ Avoid taking the easy road when it comes to making choices

____ Make smart decisions based on positive, long term results

____ Hold themselves accountable for their actions

____ Don’t offer excuses

____ Take personal responsibility to get the job done

____ Act, rather than react negatively to whatever comes their way

____ Demonstrate attitudes and behaviors needed to make change work

Which of these is your strongest area?

Which of these is your weakest area?

What can you do to improve?

Have a STANDOUT Week!



How to Lead So Others Will Follow – Tip 3: Be an Idea Magnet!

October 2nd, 2013

by Jean Gatz, Motivational Keynote Speaker

Everyone has heard the phrase “knowledge is power.” But smart leaders know that knowledge is power

… only when it is shared. So they are constantly attracted to new ideas and new ways of doing things. But they don’t stop leadership speaker Jean Gatz idea magnetthere! Because they believe there’s an abundance of good ideas to go around for anyone who has the willpower, initiative and confidence to go after what they want, they are excited to share their information with others. As a result, people are attracted to them because they radiate such enthusiasm about new possibilities and opportunities.

Always interested in attracting opinions and ideas other than their own, they view healthy debate as a privilege. In addition to sharing their own ideas, good leaders are ready and willing to listen to others’ ideas and learn from them. And they make sure to acknowledge and value the contributions of others. In doing so, they give credit where it is due – to the person who created, manufactured, initiated or put into action whatever new business strategies or plans have helped the organization to grow.

Ever on the lookout for the latest, most innovative ways to communicate new ideas, they stay up-to-date with current trends and are always ready to meet new people who can give them a different and unique perspective. And they are secure enough – and confident enough – to step out of the spotlight once in a while and give others a chance to shine.

While some people get caught up in the power of leadership and begin to confuse issuing orders with influencing thoughts and behaviors, smart leaders know the difference between influencing others in a positive way and just bossing someone around. They are committed to solving problems, not causing them. Do any of these traits describe you?

In my work as a motivational keynote speaker I’ve met leaders from all across the world who are information and idea magnets. How many have you met? And if I asked someone who knows you that same question, would your name be mentioned? If you’re not sure, take the quiz below to find out what skills you must add to STAND OUT from the Crowd as a leader

And if you missed any of the posts from this series – find tip one here, tip two here!

Have a STANDOUT Leadership Day!


How to Lead So Others will Follow

September 12th, 2013

 Tip #1: STAND OUT from the CrowdLeadership Speaker Jean Gatz's #1 tip for leaders

by Jean Gatz, Motivational Keynote Speaker

It you’re planning to skip this short article because you don’t think you’re a leader, I have two words of advice. Think again! While you may not see yourself as an “official” leader and influencer, others are watching you. No matter what “title” you hold – colleague, coworker, customer or vendor, mentor or student, leader or follower, management or support staff, parent, spouse, friend or partner – you have the power to influence others in a positive (or negative) way. So read on… especially if you want to move up the leadership ladder and want to make the climb easier. If you’re already in a leadership position, feel free to share this leadership series in the coming weeks with those you lead. It will make your job much easier!

In my experience as a motivational leadership keynote speaker, I’ve found that most people think that leadership is all about being in charge. That’s not always the case. True leadership is not about bossing others around. It’s about creating an environment where everyone feels empowered and engaged. Memorable leaders realize that the opportunity to influence others exists in every situation, relationship, job and activity. So they constantly strive to STAND OUT as better leaders, better influencers, and better people.

Leaders whose actions influence others in a positive way have certain strengths in common. So what are they? It’s important to identify them, because if you don’t believe you possess good leadership qualities, you’ll miss countless opportunities to demonstrate your added value and to influence others in a positive, dynamic way.

Two of your most important leadership assets are your willingness and ability to navigate through difficult times, fluctuating economies, continuous growth and significant change. Do you model the attitudes and behaviors others would choose to imitate and respect? Does your performance make you a STAND OUT leader among your peers?

Here’s a quick video I created to share more ideas on how to be a leader others will want to follow!

Take the quick quiz below to see  if you’ve got what it takes to lead so others will follow.

Learn more about becoming an empowered leader from Jean’s award-winning book 10 Ways to Stand Out From the Crowd! And read the first chapter FREE! 

Think You’re Not in Sales?

July 16th, 2013

JG-Standout-PPT-graphics-2-150x150by Motivational Business Speaker Jean Gatz

I recently had the privilege of watching the four finalists in the LSU Student Incubator “Shark Tank” competition – though it was much kinder and gentler than the TV version! These young entrepreneurs pitched their ideas to grow and expand their dreams to a panel of local business leaders, who then decided how the $25,000 in prize money would be awarded.  They did their homework, focused on the positive, answered questions honestly, and demonstrated enthusiasm, confidence, and innovative thinking with every sentence they spoke. Calm yet confident, they focused on selling themselves and their ideas to get the buy-in and commitment they needed. They knew, without a doubt, that they had 10 minutes to “make the sale.”

Glad you’re not in sales?  Wait a minute. Think you’re NOT in sales? Think again. No matter where you work or what you do – even if you’re not directly involved in selling products and services – you’re still in sales. Every time you search for just the right words to present your ideas to get the buy-in you need from others – you’re selling. Whenever you persuade someone to see something from your point of view, you’re selling. Influencing others, getting people to think differently or even change their minds about an issue, a concept, a project or an idea – that’s selling. When you promote all the benefits of your next event to get attendance numbers up, you’re selling to those potential audience members. We all “sell” our ideas every day – with customers, coworkers, colleagues, friends and family.

Think about the successful salespeople you know. Notice how they work hard to nurture relationships built on mutual trust and respect, take time to learn what’s important to others, and listen to learn instead of doing all the talking.   Knowing how to sell yourself, your ideas, your passion and your beliefs are vital to success in your personal and professional life.  They will give you the competitive advantage you need to STAND OUT from the Crowd!

Secrets to Success in Dealing With Difficult People at no cost. And if you’re planning a conference or in-house training event, let’s work together to make it STAND OUT like nothing you’ve ever done before! Email me at jean@jeangatz.com or call me today at 225-907-4138. We’ll make it work with the budget you have!


What’s YOUR Story?

July 15th, 2013

Jean Gatz Standout Strategiesby Motivational Keynote Speaker Jean Gatz

Did you really give your sister a kidney or did you just make up that story to add punch to your keynote?”

Whenever I get that question my answer has two parts. “Yes, I did give my sister a kidney 35 years ago, and we’re both doing great. And do you really think I would risk my reputation by telling that big of a lie on stage?” (Talk about bad karma!)

Although I didn’t share that story for many years because I didn’t want it to set me apart from the audience, I finally realized how it actually connects us in a powerful way. It’s not a story about being a hero. It’s about weighing your options and moving forward when there are no guarantees. It’s about making tough decisions in life when none of your choices are easy.

Although I’ve spoken to thousands of people, I’ve met only five who came up afterward to tell me their story. They had donated or received a kidney, or they knew someone on a transplant waiting list. If so few people can relate to my experience, why do I share it? Where’s the connection?

As a keynote speaker and trainer my job is to create changes in mindsets, attitudes and behaviors. Whether it’s an audience of 20 or 2,000, I know that everyone in the room is searching for something…an idea, answer, strategy or insight that will make their jobs and their lives less stressful. And because we live in an imperfect world, I also know that my audiences are filled with good, honest, hard-working people struggling with their own tough decisions about their health, relationships, marriage, career, finances, job security, their parents, their kids, and their future.


How about you? What tough decisions are you facing at work or at home? Are you waiting for a guarantee that all will go well? What needs to happen next? Who’s stopping you from moving forward? What’s stopping you? Who needs to act? Who needs to get out of the way? And the most important question of all: how much longer can you afford to wait until the easy choices come along? Answering these questions can provide the clarity you need to take action, move forward and make the right call.

If you want to experience the transplant story for yourself (and yes, it has some humor in it too!) click here.

It’s video #6, “Make Tough Decisions.”

All of the clips are brand new, so take a few minutes to enjoy them all! Be sure to click here to check out the new additions in our store for free downloads, chapter titles and introductions for three of my books, along with three brand new downloadable CDs of some of my most popular programs.

And if you’re planning a conference or in-house training event, let’s work together to make it STAND OUT like nothing you’ve ever done before! Email me at jean@jeangatz.com or call me today at 225-907-4138. We’ll make it work with the budget you have!

Powerful or Powerless – It’s Your CHOICE!

May 10th, 2012

Jean Gatz Standout Strategiesby Motivational Keynote Speaker Jean Gatz

Experienced any changes in your workplace lately?  (In the last year … or the last hour?) No matter where you work or what you do, it’s obvious that “business as usual” is no longer enough. If you want to be taken seriously, be seen as a strategic partner, earn the respect of your co-workers and management, and STAND OUT from the Crowd, you must be able to handle change.

Easier said than done? Not really.  You see, CHANGE is not the problem. It’s been around forever. The real problem occurs when we’re unwilling to accept change and integrate it into our lives because we feel afraid, uncomfortable, overwhelmed, inadequate or indifferent.

Does this sound familiar? “Why can’t things stay the same? I don’t mean to be negative or resist new ideas. But just the thought of having to adjust to more change upsets and worries me.”

That’s a natural reaction when you’re staring CHANGE in the face. Today’s organizations need people who willingly choose to keep their skills current, stay open to new ideas, and lead the way for others. But most people don’t want to admit that their ability to integrate new ideas, technology and business strategies might require talents they don’t have, resources they haven’t tapped into, or skills they haven’t yet mastered. The honest truth is this: Resisting change will not keep it from taking hold. It simply makes the process longer and more painful.

When it comes to your success, there are two ways to look at change… and at your life in general. You can choose to feel powerless… or powerful. You can choose to whine and complain or take positive action steps. Your choices are important to your future because no one can motivate, teach, coach or train you to maintain an attitude that will positively impact your co-workers, customers and the bottom line. Your attitude is totally “an inside job.”

To STAND OUT from the Crowd in a positive way, you must do more than “endure” change.  You can choose your approach, outlook and attitude. And that applies to change in your personal life as well. Maybe you’re thinking, “But my attitude is my business. As long as I’m doing my job, what does it matter what I’m thinking inside?”

It matters much more than you realize – because your attitude is obvious to every person who interacts with you. It’s a visible indicator of your thoughts, ideas, perceptions and opinions about CHANGE…and about everything else happening in your workplace or your personal life.

Your attitude is reflected in your conversations, tone of voice, facial expressions and actions. It affects how others perceive you, evaluate you, cooperate with you, work with you, relate to you and communicate with you.  Think about it this way. Your attitude influences your Thoughts > your Behaviors > your Performance… and ultimately the RESULTS you deliver. In other words, your attitude about Change …. can change EVERYTHING. Make sure you choose well.

How to Keep Your Balance in an Unbalanced World

April 3rd, 2012

By Motivational Keynote Speaker Jean Gatz

Remember learning tJean Gatz Standout Strategieso ride your bike without the training wheels? You were so proud of yourself and didn’t realize you were losing your balance… until it was too late. Hopefully, all you did was scrape a knee or an elbow. Not exactly how you planned it, right? Getting your life in balance is sort of like that. You first have to recognize and admit that things aren’t going exactly as you planned.

Life can get out of balance when you’re so busy concentrating your energy and attention in one area that you don’t see how unbalanced other areas have become. When you’re thrown into a tailspin because of an unexpected crisis, ask yourself what you can do to regain your balance in mind, body and spirit. Turn to someone you trust for help.

Even when we’re not in the middle of a crisis, our lives are in a constant state of imbalance. When small problems are ignored they can become big problems. So you must pay close attention to what’s happening in ALL areas of your life. Sounds like a big job… but just like learning to ride without your training wheels, you can do it. Start by looking at your job – and your life – and identify small problems that have gradually gotten worse. Sometimes it’s much easier to look the other way instead of being brave enough to honestly acknowledge the problem and then work on a solution. You can’t begin to address a problem you won’t admit exists.

If you’re known as everyone else’s caretaker, others may become overly dependent. So you try to do it all. You try to be it all. Taking care of everyone else leaves very little time to take care of YOU. If you’re at this point now, what conversations need to take place? Who needs to be involved in those conversations? Nobody is a mind reader, so you have to speak up and tell people what you need or want.

Your job is definitely important, but don’t ever make the mistake of letting your job define you. In today’s turbulent times you have to be MORE than your job to survive whatever happens – in the economy, in the world, or in your organization. Balance is more important than ever because you have to face your challenges with more creativity and energy than ever. Here are six steps you can take to help get your life back in balance.

Turn Your Liabilities Into Abilities

February 22nd, 2012

Jean Gatz Standout StrategiesBy Motivational Keynote Speaker Jean Gatz

Now we come to the hardest part of implementing my Success Equation in your work and life. It’s time to commit to a plan for self-improvement to overcome any limitations standing in the way of achieving the results you want. Without a doubt, it takes a lot more confidence to identify and “claim” your limitations than it does to focus only on your strengths.

Can you relate to this statement?  “I feel ‘good’ when I’m using my strengths and ‘bad’ when I think about my limitations.” Here’s my advice. Stop feeling “bad” because you aren’t perfect. Who is? So you have a few flaws, some skills that aren’t up to par, and a couple of personality traits that drive people crazy. Who doesn’t? The good news is that your limitations do not have to define you. They are simply your personal set of unique challenges, and you can choose to do something about them.

As you can see by now, all three parts of the Success Equation don’t require the same amount of effort. Utilizing your strengths is fairly easy. Learning new skills is challenging, but you’ve done it before so you know you can do it again. Overcoming limitations, however, is hard work! It starts with taking an honest look at what’s really going on inside you, and admitting exactly what’s keeping you from your goal to STAND OUT in a positive way.

Part three is also the most revealing and satisfying part of the Success Equation. So don’t give in to the temptation to avoid, ignore, or make excuses for NOT learning everything you can to be a better person, friend, spouse, partner, parent, colleague, co-worker, leader or follower.

If you think that focusing only on your strengths is enough, ask yourself:

  1. Can you rely on your strengths alone to get you where you want to go?
  2. Will others always be willing to overlook your flaws and focus only on your strengths?

In a perfect world, the answer to both questions would be “yes.” But we don’t live and work in a perfect world. In the real world your strengths won’t get you through every situation. And instead of ignoring all your flaws, the people who count on you will expect you to be willing to improve in certain areas. So you must decide how to turn your limitations – your liabilities – into abilities.

First, decide which limitations are truly obstacles to your success. Then work on what’s really important and don’t feel guilty about the rest. Work on being better, not perfect. All of us can get better. None of us will ever be perfect! Got questions or comments? I’d love to hear from you! jean@jeangatz.com.

© 2012 Jean Gatz CSP   www.jeangatz.com

Need a Boost?

February 8th, 2012

Jean Gatz Standout StrategiesAdd the Right SKILLS to Your Strengths

By Motivational Keynote Speaker Jean Gatz

If you identified your strengths after reading last week’s blog, you noticed that you’ve needed more than just your strengths to be successful in work and life. And you’re right! Very few strengths can stand on their own without some great skills to back them up. Strengths are important, but combining them with the right skills will take you to a whole new level. And that brings us to Part Two of the Success Equation: Develop strong skills that support and complement your strengths.

What’s the difference between strengths and skills? Your strengths come easily, but that’s not necessarily true for skills. Every skill you have today was learned and practiced over time. Your skills represent the time and effort you’ve put in to accept new ideas, behaviors and information – and then add them to your skill set.

Some skills were easy to learn because they reinforced your existing strengths. You caught on without much effort. Other skills were fairly difficult to master. They required serious effort. You had to stretch far to learn (or try to learn) those skills. And there are still more skills you’ll need to add if you want to STAND OUT from the crowd in a positive way.

People often ask me: “OK, Jean, what skills should I go after first? There aren’t enough hours in the day to learn everything there is to know about my job, my relationships, my health and my life.”

I couldn’t agree more! You may choose to learn new skills that will make you a better leader, colleague, co-worker, partner, spouse, parent or friend. Even if you choose only ONE of those categories, it will take time. Strong skills are important, but not EVERY skill is important for you to learn right now. So where do you start? You must be very selective. You start by asking yourself this very important question: WHAT RESULTS DO I WANT?

In next week’s blog we’ll look at how to determine what skills you need to add – and when – and how. So stay tuned! And I’d love to know how you’re coming along with identifying your strengths so far. Were there any encouraging surprises when you asked others for their feedback? Email jean@jeangatz.com and let me know!

© 2012 Jean Gatz CSP www.jeangatz.com