Category Archives: Hot Topics

Influential Leaders are People Developers

Group of friends standing by a smiling young man against white

Do you find it difficult to get people to do what you want?

John Maxwell equates leadership with influence.  So how do we become better leaders?  John Maxwell describes these five levels of leadership:  Position, Permission, Production, People Development, and Personhood.

As we go up in these levels, we increase our influence over the people we lead.    At the lowest level, people follow you merely because you’re the boss.  At the next levels, people follow you because of your relationship with them and your achievements.   But where long range growth happens is at the level of People Development.

As a People Developer, you strive to bring out the best in others.  You act as your subordinate’s talent manager.  You find opportunities for them to grow.   You encourage them to hone their strengths.  You help them learn from failures and celebrate their successes.

When you become a People Developer, leading becomes easy, because your people will be doing what needs to be done almost on auto-pilot.   You will win the loyalty of your people.  They will be fired up to do their work excellently, which will enable your team to produce consistently superior results. But getting to the level of People Developer needs some hard work and new habits, especially if you are a new leader.  Here are some pitfalls I have experienced before, and tips on how to avoid them:

  • When your staff is taking a long time to do a task, invest in their development by coaching them instead of doing the task yourself.
  • Do not assume that everyone is as motivated as you are in getting the job done.  Some people need more push than you.  Discover what fires up your people to get things going and add fuel to that fire!  It can be a pat on the back,  extra challenge, rewards or some other thing.
  • When someone is not performing well, don’t wait for the annual performance review time to point out the person’s flaws.  Find out the cause of the poor performance and coach the person promptly on how to improve.

What benefits do you stand to gain from developing people?   For one, you can move up the ladder or move on to better things as you develop your successor.    And you will have that immense feeling of satisfaction as you see people shine because of your influence!



Assertiveness and Emotional Boundaries

Many people struggle to assert themselves because they are confused about their emotional boundaries.  As physical boundaries define your property, emotional boundaries define who you are.  It separates what you own from what others own.  It sets limits … it defines where you end and where others begin.  People with mixed-up boundaries may end up being passive or aggressive.

In their book, “Boundaries: When to Say Yes, When to Say No, To Take Control of Your Life” (OMF Literature Inc, 2004), Dr Henry Cloud and Dr John Townsend list several areas that make up a person’s boundaries.  Among those I find particularly tricky for Filipinos are:

o       Attitudes and beliefs.  If you often cave in to the pressure you feel from others, perhaps you are trying to be responsible for what they believe is right.  It is a belief that belongs to another person’s property, and yet you live your life as if that belief belonged to you.  For example, you may avoid friendship with a person because your “barkada” thinks that person is not cool.  Or you may feel compelled to spend the holidays with your family because your parents expect that every year.  Know what you believe in and try to live by them!

o        Feelings.  If you deny your feelings, then you would not be able to express them.  You put yourself in danger of having others dominate you, and then you end up resentful but don’t quite know why.  On the other hand, if you do not take responsibility for your negative feelings, you may blame others and be aggressive with them … like throwing your garbage across your neighbor’s fence.  Are you often angry or irritated with other people?  Instead of thinking that “they made me feel bad, own up and say “I feel bad” or “I feel angry”.  Others may have done something bad to you, but you can choose how you react.

o       Limits.  Everyone has limits in terms of resources, capabilities, tolerance, and so on.  You must assess what your limits are and live by them.  What do you do when a family member asks you for money you can’t spare? Or when a colleague chats with you too long when you are beating a deadline?  You must also respect the limits of others.  Do not demand that other people give you what you ask for, or try to control their behavior, and then get frustrated when they can’t meet your expectations.

To help you be assertive, identify, own, and take responsibility for what’s within your boundaries.  And let others take responsibility for theirs.  Assertive living means mutual respect!

Ugh … I’m glad those performance coaching sessions are over!


As early as now, prepare to be the leader you were meant to be … one who develops, motivates and inspires people to deliver their best!

Many managers wonder if they are doing right in coaching employees.  Have you asked yourself questions such as …


  • Will praising employees often spoil them or make them swell-headed?
  • How do I tell this staff about all her mistakes when she is so sensitive?
  • How do I correct bad attitudes without demotivating my people?
  • Is it better to use a gentle approach or a strict and demanding approach?
  • I am so angry with a team member.  Is it ok when I lose my temper and raise my voice when I talk to him?
  • How do I get my subordinates to follow through on their commitments?  We have talked about this a hundred times!


Performance coaching sessions do not have to be an ordeal.  It can be a mutually pleasant and rewarding experience for both your staff and yourself.  You can learn to:

  • embrace the mindset that one of your roles is to bring out the best in your people
  • listen …. really listen to their stories, concerns, aspirations, needs
  • develop the habit of affirming their strengths
  • express your feelings and concerns in a professional manner
  • get them to see the bigger picture
  • empower them to formulate solutions that they can implement

Join us in the Employee Coaching Skills Workshop  to beef up on these skills.   Then you can look forward to your next performance review meetings with confidence!

  • Jan 30, 2013, 9AM – 5PM
  • One Global Place, 5th Ave cor 25th St, Bonifacio Global City
  • P4,900 per person, inclusive of VAT.  Lunch and snacks included.
  • 10% discount for groups of 3 or more from the same company.

 Limited slots … reserve now!


Why Filipinos need to be more assertive

A Western client was explaining requirements to a Filipino analyst. The analyst was not sure she understood certain details, but was ashamed to ask for clarifications. The product was completed on time, but it did not meet the client’s requirements and had to be reworked.

A team member made plans for dinner with his wife, but the boss asked him to work overtime. This has happened many times, but he could not muster the courage to refuse the boss. He reluctantly works overtime, while resentment with his boss builds up, and his marriage goes downhill.

Our culture has instilled in us many commendable attitudes. Filipino children are taught at an early age to kiss the hands of their elders as a sign of respect. Like many Asians, we have a sense of personal honor and we do not want to lose “face” or be embarrassed in front of others (“mapahiya”). We also have a strong sense of “pakisama”, valuing harmonious relationships and avoiding conflict and confrontations.

While these are good values to live by, they could have costly consequences in business and personal relationships if applied the wrong way. We need to be able to protect our own interests while respecting the interests of others as well. If the team member wants to have that dinner with his wife, he could respectfully decline his boss and suggest other ways that the deadlines can be met. We also need to have that inner confidence to overcome fears. The analyst could remind herself of her capabilities and her value as a person, and get past the notion that she may appear stupid if she asks questions.

Our culture has given us good values and we are gifted with many talents to contribute to the world. Being assertive can push us Filipinos to contribute even more in the global economy, while enhancing the personal relationships that we so cherish.