Think Like a Leader: Cultivating Leaders in the Workplace

“What do you want for dinner?”

“I don’t care, what do you want?”

“I’m not sure, you pick.”

“No, you pick.”

How many times have we all had this conversation? For me, nearly every weekend my boyfriend and I have some form of this conversation, about dinner, TV shows/movies, or what to do that day. Now imagine having a circular conversation like this in the workplace when decisions need to be made. For some of you, maybe you don’t have to imagine. So how do you avoid this? You help your team to have confidence in their abilities and promote leadership.word cloud

“Empathy, respect for those you lead, and acceptance/execution of responsibility and commitment to your position. Cultivate by encouraging and recognizing strengths, giving practical tools and continued monitored support in weaknesses.” – Amanda H.

To begin, we need to define what a leader is. If you google the Merriam-Webster dictionary’s (remember when you actually had to buy those for school?) definition of a leader, there are several definitions given. Out of those, one stood out to me. A leader is: “a person who has commanding authority or influence”. Now, one may see the words commanding and authority as intimidating. Not what you’d like a workplace leader to be. But, let’s think of things in a different way. When looking for potential leaders in the work place, you want them to be an “authority” on specific aspects essential to your operation. You also want them to “command” certain attributes that will “influence” and motivate others.

“A leader takes the time to learn the job of the people they are managing. Also I would say a leader has to be a good listener, get to know more about the people you manage so you can help them grow.” – Aela S.

What you may want these individuals to be authorities on, which attributes to command, and how /what they influence may differ depending on your goals. No matter what your goals may be, one should be working to foster the growth of leadership in your organization from the newest employee to the most tenured. Why is it important to foster leadership in all employees? Won’t you end up with too many chiefs and not enough Indians? Not necessarily. Just because you foster leadership among your workforce, does not mean each person will be making essential decisions for your group; what it does mean is they can think for themselves, motivate each other, and make suggestions that will help innovate from the ground up.

Here are three easy ways you can encourage leadership in your work place.

Support Innovation– Has one of your employees made suggestions or found new work-arounds that will make day to day activities more productive? Give them credit, encourage others to do the same. Ask for input and value the opinions given. If employees know they will be heard and their suggestions given a chance, they will start to think more critically about their work environment.

Acknowledge Successes and Strengths– You may not be able to promote each employee that excels but you can acknowledge them. Acknowledging workplace leaders on their successes and reinforcing their strengths will encourage them to continue to produce and in turn they will influence others with their positive attitudes and work ethic.

Let Them Lead– Micromanaging is something no one is fond of. Though it may be hard to let your employees loose to figure out processes themselves, give them some freedom to adjust things, but only when needed. Letting employees problem solve themselves promotes critical thinking, which is a key leadership skill.

Leadership in a Small Business

At some point in everyone’s career, they will have a supervisor who gives them direction and expects them to be followed with no deviation. In most organizations today, this can be considered an “old school” way of overseeing an organization or department. This way of thinking has been replaced by models of leadership. Being a leader, rather than a “by the book” supervisor is incredibly important in any size organization, but especially in a small organization. So how do you ensure you have leadership in a small business?

office meeting

Small organizations, such as ours (which has around 55 employees), need to use resources wisely. By leading your team, rather than telling them what to do, you are able to give everyone a voice which leads to ideas and invention; rather than just “getting the job done.” Leadership also inspires future leaders and helps with organizational succession planning.

The following, from General Patton’s book on Leadership, will help you understand the basics of good leadership. At ABG Capital, we try to inspire current and future leaders through innovative leadership training.

L – Leaders develop through ability, desire, and opportunity

E – Effectively develop people

A – Address issues proactively

D – Develop potential by leading and making decisions

E – Earn the respect of others

R – Respond

S – Single out and clearly define expectations

H – Have desire and trust to lead unpredictable times

I – Identify the right questions

P – Provide open, honest, trusting, and respectful communication

We’ll leave you with a few more Patton quotes to take with you and keep in mind while you’re leading at the office.

“Always do everything you ask of those you command.” – George S. Patton

“Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.” – George S. Patton

Do you have any favorite quotes or mantras that help you as you lead your team?

Just another Friday at ABG Capital

It’s finally May and that means summer is right around the corner! In celebration of starting a new month, we’d like to mention the ABG Capital Birthdays and Anniversaries for May:

  • Birthdays
    • Sally Stewart May 11th
    • Sara Warhold May 12th
  • Anniversaries
    • Jason Tapolci May 26th 16 years

As you know, we’ve been doing some massive art projects throughout the office. Well, this week we made another huge addition to the ABG Capital Office. That addition was a giant collage that includes everyone in the office. This was one project that we’ve been most excited about and we’re thrilled that it came out as perfect and we hoped. Check out the time-lapse video below to see it being installed.

While we were celebrating the new collage, we had a visit from our property managers who haven’t seen the office since we started the build out a year ago. We have made some pretty drastic changes since then and they loved everything that we’ve done. They even brought a great bottle of Scotch as a gift (which we opened for an impromptu Scotch Friday). We’re very proud of the office we have now and we’re glad they love it as much as we do.

ABG Capital Celebrates with Scotch

Shannon Hogan, the newest addition to the Inspira Call Center, got to celebrate making it to her 30 day mark by going to the Rivers Club for lunch. Jeff and Jason Tapolci make it a point to take new employees out to lunch and get to know them. See how great they looked in the picture below!

Shannon has her ABG Capital Lunch with Leadership

Thanks for checking in with ABG Capital this week! We hope everyone has a great weekend. 🙂

Just another Friday at ABG

Welcome back to another great Just another Friday at ABG Capital. This week we got a few more pieces of artwork added to our office. There are only a few more projects left to complete before the office is finished. Here are some of the projects we have coming up next: a giant collage of employee pictures, a Make-A-Wish wall (to remind everyone in the office that this is a cause that is near and dear to our hearts) and a sports wall to represent the four major sporting activities we have each year (Bowling, Kickball, Softball, Football). Below are some pictures of the new things we added to our office walls. We also want to mention that Sir Speedy has been printing and installing all of this artwork. They have been fantastic to work with and have done a great job with everything. Thank you to everyone at Sir Speedy!

ABG Capital Mission Statement

ABG Capital Portfolio Companies

ABG Capital C.O.R.E. Values

Yesterday two of our employees went out with Jeff and Jason Tapolci for their Lunch with Leadership. Chris Wallet and Jenn Williams have been with us for more than 30 days (which is usually when we have our Lunch with Leaderships), but they were just recently able to go. Both Chris and Jenn are working for Inspira and we’re happy to have them as part of the ABG Capital family!

ABG Capital Lunch with Leadership

Jeff Tapolci, Chris Wallet, Jenn Williams, Jason Tapolci

As we mentioned in last week’s Just another Friday at ABG Capital post, we have a few job openings. If you or someone you know is interested in working with us then please send your resume and cover letter to The positions we have open right now are:

  • Technical Service Representatives
  • Customer Service Representatives
  • Web Developers (please know that we’re looking for experienced candidates for this position)

As we close out this week’s Just another Friday at ABG Capital, we’d like to get your opinion on something. We posted an article to our social media sites yesterday that talked about France making it illegal to handle work emails on mobile phones or computers after they leave the office. This may seem absurd to some of us, but it’s affecting 200,000-250,000 employees in the French workforce. What would you do if you had to abandon all forms of communication that tied you to your job once you left your office? At ABG Capital, we always need to be available for any issues that could potentially affect our customers. On the positive end of the spectrum, making this kind of ruling could help employees create a better work/life balance and reduce the number of burnt-out workers. While making it illegal to send emails after work hours might seem ludicrous, it could be the future of something that creates a healthier workforce!

What benefits and drawbacks do you see with having a ruling like this in place? Let us know in the comment section below!

We’re off to play our Annual Kickball game. Check our our Facebook page later to see pictures! Have a great weekend everyone. 🙂

Just another Friday at ABG

Here we are again wrapping up yet another great week at ABG Capital. We have some great news to share so let’s not waste any more time and get right into it!


Our newest employee, Kimmie Rivetti, had her lunch with leadership this week! This is a great thing that we do so the new employees get to spend some quality time with Jeff and Jason Tapolci. It’s important to them they that the get to know their employees on a more personal level. Check out the amount of support their picture got when we posted it on our Facebook Page!

Yvonne Iwanejko

Yvonne Iwanejko, our newest employee!

While we were celebrating with one employee for making it to her one month mark, we were also welcoming another new employee into the VoIP Innovations Porting Department. Her name is Yvonne Iwanejko and we’re excited to have her with us! In the next few weeks we will be introducing to you to even more new people who are joining our team. 2014 is going to be a year of major growth for ABG Capital and its portfolio companies and it’s going to be exciting!

This week we also posted a great article on how to develop a great corporate culture. At ABG Capital, we take our culture very seriously. I’m not saying that we have a serious culture; I’m saying that the founders of this company have put a great deal of dedication and passion into developing a unique culture. What is your company doing to provide a positive culture for its’ employees? Share it with us in the comment section below!

Next week you can expect to see another great post that talks about the Return on Investment (ROI) that you can expect to see with professional development. Anyone can have fun at work, but are they having fun in a way that enhances their skills and ultimately can increase the profits for your company? This article will give you more insight on how exactly to achieve the most ROI.

We have one last announcement before you head out today. VoIP Innovations, a wholesale VoIP service provider, will be traveling to Miami next week to attend the Internet Telephony Conference and Expo (ITEXPO). We’ve been hearing about what they have up their sleeve for this and it seems like they’re going to WOW the crowd! If you have plans to attend the show, make sure you stop by Booth 606 and ask about their Industry leading BackOffice platform, Titanium III. You can’t miss them; they’ll be the guys in the orange ties!

That’s all that we have for you today! Bundle up and enjoy your weekend. 🙂

Our Managers are in Training Today with Brad Withers

Today we had the pleasure of welcoming Brad Withers into our office for day filled with training. All of our managers participated in this training so they can grow their leadership skills. Brad has extensive knowledge on facilitation and training in leadership, team building, systems thinking, communication and much more. He has worked with leaders in profit, non-profit and government settings, as well as thousands of small to large U.S. and international firms.

Here are some pictures of our managers during the training session:

Manager Training 1 Manager Training 2 Manager training 3