Sunday, March 29, 2015

How To Give Praise To An Employee

Entrepreneur magazine's February 2012 issue offers these great tips on how to give praise:
  • Praise followed by criticism is not praise.
  • Praise followed by praise is probably a little too much praise.
  • Ending an expression of praise with "...and stuff" nullifies the praise.
  • Make it timely.  The closer the recognition is to the behavior, the more likely the behavior will be repeated.
  • Be sincere.  Be impromptu. 
  • Remember, a handwritten note is worth more than a gift card.
Having trouble writing your handwritten note of praise?  Try this template to get you started:
  • _______, I couldn't be more impressed with how you______.  Not only did you____, but you_______.  Beautiful.  Thanks, ________

Saturday, March 28, 2015

How To Really Listen

Here are some great tips from Michelle Tillis Lederman's book, The 11 Laws of Likability.  They are all about:
  • what to do and what not to do to be a leader who's an effective listener:
  • Maintain eye contact
  • Limit your talking
  • Focus on the speaker
  • Ask questions
  • Manage your emotions
  • Listen with your eyes and ears
  • Listen for ideas and opportunities
  • Remain open to the conversation
  • Confirm understanding, paraphrase
  • Give nonverbal messages that you are listening (nod, smile)
  • Ignore distractions
  • Interrupt
  • Show signs of impatience
  • Judge or argue mentally
  • Multitask during a conversation
  • Project your ideas
  • Think about what to say next
  • Have expectations or preconceived ideas
  • Become defensive or assume you are being attacked
  • Use condescending, aggressive, or closed body language
  • Listen with biases or closed to new ideas
  • Jump to conclusions or finish someone's sentences

Friday, March 27, 2015

Five Ways To Get More Ideas From Your Employees

Your employees have lots of ideas. So, be sure you provide the forums and mechanisms for your employees to share their ideas with you.

Hold at least a few brainstorming sessions each year, as well.
And, when you are brainstorming with your employees, try these five tips:
  1. Encourage ALL ideas.
  2. Don't evaluate or criticize ideas when they are first suggested.
  3. Ask for wild ideas. Often, the craziest ideas end up being the most useful.
  4. Shoot for quantity not quality during brainstorming.
  5. Encourage everyone to offer new combinations and improvements of old ideas.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Three Ways To Discuss Change With Your Employees

When you communicate change to your team, explain the logical and rational reasons for the change:

1. Explain how the change will make employees feel before, during and after the implementation.

2. Explain the tactical plan and goals.

3. Answer questions from your team.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Twenty-five Of My Favorite Leadership Quotes

All year during 2012, I collected my favorite quotes about leadership from Twitter. When the year ended, I published the list.

So, for today's leadership flashback, among the thousands of tweets and retweets on Twitter about leadership during 2012 these 25 were my favorites. A mix of advice from some unknown individuals along with many from leadership book authors and famous leadership experts, and a few from past U.S. presidents and current-day athletes.

Great leaders know the power of asking questions.

Lead with your heart, not just your head.

Learn to let go of fear and embrace the unknown.

People are much more impressed by your potential than by your track record.

Smart leaders use the power of stories whenever they have important messages to convey.

To be effective, leaders have to close the conversational gap with their employees.

One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency -- Arnold Glasow

Managers assert drive and control to get things done; leaders pause to discover new ways of being and achieving -- Kevin Cashman

It doesn't matter where you're coming from. All that matters is where you are going to -- Stephen Covey

Great works are performed not by strength, but by perseverance -- Samuel Johnson

Strength doesn't come from what we can do. It comes from overcoming what we once thought we couldn't -- Rikki Roberts

The art of progress is to preserve order amid change and to preserve change amid order -- Alfred North Whitehead

The most powerful predictable people builders are praise and encouragement -- Brian Tracy

Few things help an individual more than to place responsibility upon them and to let them know that and trust them -- Booker T. Washington

Ask because you want to know. Listen because you want to grow -- Mark Scharenbroich

If you want execution, hail only success. If you want creativity, hail risk, and remain neutral about success -- Marcus Buckingham

To get the best coaching outcomes, always have your 1-on-1's on your employee's turf not yours. In your office the truth hides -- Marcus Buckingham

The three common characteristics of best companies -- they care, they have fun, they have high performance expectations -- Brad Hams

The one thing that's common to all successful people: They make a habit of doing things that unsuccessful people don't like to do -- Michael Phelps

It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit -- Harry S. Truman

The leader of the past was a person who knew how to tell. The leader of the future will be a person who knows how to ask -- Peter Drucker

Leadership: The art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it -- Dwight D. Eisenhower

Good leadership isn't about advancing yourself. It's about advancing your team -- John C. Maxell

People buy into the leader, then the vision -- John C. Maxell

Great leaders have courage, tenacity and patience -- Bill McBean

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Encourage Employees To Learn From Their Mistakes

Mistakes happen. The best thing you can do as a leader is to help your employee learn from his (or her) mistake.

If your employee is afraid of ever making a mistake, he will be paralyzed from taking action or taking even calculated risks. If he knows that mistakes happen in the course of doing business and that one learns from making mistakes, you will have a more productive employee.

Most important, be sure your employee knows that if he makes a mistake, he should let you know as soon as possible.

As soon as he does, quickly rectify the situation.

Then, discuss with him how the mistake happened. Find out what he did or didn't do. Ask him what he thinks he can do in the future to avoid the mistake from happening again. Chances are he has already figured this out. If not, teach him what he needs to do differently to avoid the mistake from reoccurring.

Finally, you may discover that the mistake happened because policies, procedures or your assignment instructions were confusing or unclear. Learn from that discovery and decide what you can do differently as the manager to help your employees avoid future mistakes.

Monday, March 23, 2015

How To Define Your Organization's Purpose

John Baldoni offers these tips in his book, Lead With Purpose, for how to define an organization's purpose. He suggests that you must ask three questions:
  1. What is our vision -- that is, what do we want to become?
  2. What is our mission -- that is, what do we do now?
  3. What are our values -- that is what are the behaviors we expect of ourselves?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Your First 100 Days As A New Leader Will Make Or Break You

There are seven major onboarding land mines that you are likely to come across as a new leader and there are specific points in the first 100 days where you are most likely to encounter them, explain authors:
  • George Brant
  • Jayme A. Check
  • Jorge Pedraza
in their new third edition of, The New Leader's 100-Day Action Plan.

Ill-prepared, without a plan, and lacking proper onboarding, the land mines will get you. And, if you miss one or more of the critical tasks that must be accomplished in your first 100 days, you'll likely fail.

The book is packed with:
  • Examples and case studies
  • Action plans
  • Tools, techniques and tricks of the trade
The authors also explain why you need to start even before your official first day on the job. For example:
  • Cultural engagement is extremely important in a successful transition; and it is essential that you know what your cultural engagement plan will be before walking in the door for Day One.
  • A new leader's role begins as soon as you are an acknowledged candidate for the job. Everything you do and say and don't do and don't say will send powerful signals, starting well before you even walk in the door on Day One.
By Day 30 share with your team:
  • Mission -- Why here, why exist, what business are we in?
  • Vision -- Future picture - what we want to become; where we are going.
  • Values -- Believes and moral principles that guide attitudes, decisions, and actions.
  • Objectives -- Broadly defined, qualitative performance requirements.
  • Goals -- The quantitative measures of the objectives that define success.
  • Strategies -- Broad choices around how the team will achieve its objectives.
  • Plans -- The most important projects and initiatives that will bring each strategy to fruition.
By Day 60:
  • Over invest in early wins to build team confidence.
This must-read book for anyone in a new leadership role also includes:
  • A new approach called BRAVE on how to engage hearts and minds in the intended culture.
  • 100-Hour Action Plan for crisis situations.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Path From Your Beliefs To Your Destiny

I ran across this the other day and found it so compelling and powerful:

Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become you values,
Your values become your destiny


Friday, March 20, 2015

What More Can I Say?

Dianna Booher's new book, What More Can I Say?, presents nine core principles of persuasive communication in an easy-to-read and easy-to-digest format that makes for a compelling read for anyone wanting to succeed in changing behavior or changing minds.

The nine core principles are:
  1. The Law of Trust vs. Distrust
  2. The Law of Collaboration vs. Monologue
  3. The Law of Simplicity vs. Complexity
  4. The Law of Tact vs. Insensitivity
  5. The Law of Potential vs. Achievement
  6. The Law of Distinction vs. Dilution
  7. The Law of Specialty vs. Generalization
  8. The Law of Emotion vs. Logic
  9. The Law of Perspective vs. Distortion
Booher draws on her decades of experience coaching and conducting workshops, and through the various Laws illustrates how messages can be delivered to:
  • Make a sale
  • Cement a relationship
  • Lead employees through a corporate restructuring
  • Inspire employees
  • Recruit top talent
  • and much more
The book includes plenty of real-world, use-tomorrow, examples. And, Booher sprinkles throughout the book many inspiring leadership and communication quotes. Booher has written 46 books.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Favorite Leadership Quotes From, The Five Levels Of Leadership

Here are some of my favorites quotes from John C. Maxwell's book, The 5 Levels of Leadership -- a book I believe should become a must-read for any workplace/organizational leader:
  1. Good leadership isn't about advancing yourself.  It's about advancing your team.
  2. Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.
  3. Leadership is action, not position.
  4. When people feel liked, cared for, included, valued, and trusted, they begin to work together with their leader and each other.
  5. If you have integrity with people, you develop trust.  The more trust you develop, the stronger the relationship becomes.  In times of difficulty, relationships are a shelter.  In times of opportunity, they are a launching pad.
  6. Good leaders must embrace both care and candor.
  7. People buy into the leader, then the vision.
  8. Bringing out the best in a person is often a catalyst for bringing out the best in the team.
  9. Progress comes only from taking risks and making mistakes.
  10. Leaders are measured by the caliber of leaders they develop, not the caliber of their own leadership.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

How To Practice SPARK Leadership

You practice SPARK leadership if you:
  • Share Information
  • Play to Strengths
  • Ask for Input and Appreciate Different Ideas
  • Recognize and Respond to Individual Needs
  • Keep Your Commitments
A great reminder from the President and CEO of American Management Association, Edward T. Reilly.  You'll find more good advice in his new book, AMA Business Boot Camp.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Terrific Leadership Quotes From The Book, Just Listen

Here are some terrific quotes from Mark Goulston's book, Just Listen:
  • Good management is the art of making problems so interesting and their solutions so constructive that everyone wants to get to work and deal with them. -- Paul Hawken
  • Life is mostly a matter of perception and more often misperception. -- Dave Logan
  • Everyone has an invisible sign hanging from their next saying, "Make me feel important." -- Mary Kay Ash
  • Do the unexpected. The expected is boring.  The expected is tuned out. -- Steve Strauss
  • Humility is the surest sign of strength. -- Thomas Merton
  • Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning. -- Bill Gates
  • The secret of getting ahead is getting started. -- Agatha Chrisie
  • Don't find fault.  Find a remedy. -- Henry Ford

Monday, March 16, 2015

Why It's Important To Not Forget Your Middle-Layer Employees

As a leader, your focus may gravitate toward your lower level employees and your higher level employees on your team.

But, don't forget your middle-layer employees who appreciate your attention and coaching, and your training and opportunities for new challenges.

Often these employees are more eager to learn and to tackle new projects because they have the drive to move up and to learn new skills. And they recognize they have a shorter path to achieve advancement.

So, develop your middle layer employees. It's a win-win situation.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Fortune Highlights Core Value Statements That Inspire

Thanks to Holly Lebowitz Rossi for quoting me in her recent, 7 Core Value Statements That Inspire, article for Fortune.

Her article features:

  • Twitter
  • Build-A-Bear Workshop
  • Whole Foods Market
  • L.L. Bean
  • Wegmans Food Markets
  • Bright Horizons Family Solutions