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Showing posts from October, 2009

Mix Your Feedback

When you provide overall feedback to your employees, mix praise with constructive feedback about what they can do to improve.

By mixing your input, you are satisfying a person's thirst for knowing both what he/she is doing well and what he/she can do to continue to improve.

Be sure to always start with the positive when giving feedback.

Learn Team Member Names

If you are a leader high up in an organization, or in charge of a large team, learn the names of as many of your team members/employees as you can -- even if that means learning hundreds of names.

And, then, equally important, address team members/employees by name when you pass them in the hall, share an elevator ride, or see them in the parking lot.

Everyone likes to be addressed by their name. And, the impression you'll make by addressing someone many layers below you within an organization by name will be powerful and memorable.

Unfortunately, many leaders don't practice this behavior often enough.

Foster Mutual Commitment

I read the following in a discussion forum on Linkedin recently and want to share this good advice about leading from writer Joseph Marzano:

"Great leaders clearly and constantly remind people of their mutual common mission, keep people and resources pointed in the right direction on the right things, and are personally known for what they expect and will do. It's all about mutual commitment, given and returned."

Nicely said, Mr. Marzano!

Clearly Communicate Change

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.

Admit Your Mistakes

We all make mistakes.

Yes, even leaders make mistakes.

When you do, admit to them and apologize for the negative consequences they have caused your team members, vendors, or customers.

Your ability to admit to a mistake will gain you the respect of your employees.

Lead Through Personal Relationships

Create an environment where your employees want to follow you and achieve common goals because they respect you and because they feel a personal relationship with you -- a relationship built on open communication and not one based on your positional power.

If you lead through only your positional power your team will always be fearful of being blamed and being judged, and their personal development and your ability to truly lead will be stifled.

Show Courage

Here's a powerful paragraph from the book "Execution -- The Discipline of Getting Things Done" by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan:

"Most people know someone in their organization who doesn't perform well, yet manages to keep his job year after year. The usual reason, we find, is that the person's leader doesn't have the emotional fortitude to confront him and take decisive action. Such failures can do considerable damage to a business. If the nonperformer is high enough in the organization, he can destroy it."

If you have a nonperformer bringing down your organization, show courage to confront that situation.

Give Constructive Feedback

Eric Harvey and Al Lucia wrote a booklet called "144 Ways To Walk The Talk." They provide the following great advice about giving feedback:

1. Make it timely -- give your feedback as soon as possible to the performance.

2. Make it individualized -- tailor your feedback to the feedback receiver.

3. Make it productive -- focus your feedback on the performance and not the performer.

4. Make is specific -- pinpoint for the receiver observable actions and behaviors.

Seek These Qualities When Hiring

Hire individuals who demonstrate these behaviors and attributes, even if they don't have all the technical skills you require:

* Energy
* Enthusiasm
* Ability to persuade and galvanize others
* Ability to follow through
* Proven consistency in deliverables
* Strong work ethic
* Resourcefulness

Either a person has these qualities or they don't. If they have them, even if they are short on the technical skills, they will likely succeed and grow within your organization. They also are probably prime candidates to be mentored by you.

Be A Volunteer

Use your leadership skills outside your workplace and volunteer in your community.

You can find volunteer opportunities in your area on the following web sites:

http://www.iparticipate.org/

http://www.volunteermatch.org/

Being a volunteer sets a good example for your employees and team members. It also helps to enrich your life while you are positively impacting the lives of others.

Promote Good Internal Customer Service

Too often, we think of only external customer service, and forget about the need for excellent internal customer service.

No matter what type of business, organization or team you lead, teach your team members/employees the need for and importance of internal customer service.

Similar to external customer service, that means employees/team members should:

1. Return phone calls on a timely basis.
2. Answer e-mails.
3. Be polite.
4. Probe to discover how else he/she can be helpful to a co-worker.
5. Be respectful of co-workers.

Lead your team in providing excellent internal customer service. If need be, make internal customer service a discussion topic at your next group meeting.

Show Trust

If you as a leader don't show trust in your employees, you and your team will not achieve maximum results.

Judith E. Glaser states it so well in her book "The DNA of Leadership:"

"Leaders who are secure in their own abilities allow others to display theirs."

So powerful. So true.

Encourage Peer Coaching

Do you create an environment at your business/organization that allows peer coaching to succeed?

Hopefully you do. If you don't, encourage peer coaching among the members of your team. Peer coaching can be formal, informal or a combination of both.

You'll likely find that everyone on your team has a skill, technique, behavior that they can teach a fellow team member. That coaching is rewarding for both parties, and it helps everyone to learn an important skill for being a successful leader -- coaching.

Welcome Input

If you are a manager or leader, you likely know more than your employees or team members about many things within your business or organization. And, you often have many of the answers.

But, you don't know it all. So, readily admit when you meet with your employees/team that you do not know all the answers. Invite others into conversations. Ask for their input. Value diversity of thought.

Encourage inclusion. Welcome input.

Be Willing To Change Your Decisions

Leaders make decisions.

Good leaders are willing to modify their decisions as changing circumstances and data dictate.

If you are stubborn about a decision and think that tweaking your decision will be a sign of weakness, think again. In fact, just the opposite is true.

Often, circumstances change and new information becomes available after a decision has been made. If that takes place it is a sign of strength to modify your decision to fit the new situation.

Share Compliments

Paying a team member a compliment is powerful.

Even more powerful is repeating a compliment to your team member that you heard from someone else about your team member.

So, if a co-worker, fellow manager, customer or vendor compliments one of your employees, be sure to share that praise with your employee. Then watch him/her smile.

Be A Good Role Model

The first day of each month I like to remind us to be good role models. Successful leaders lead by setting a good example.

So, as you start October, don't forget to incorporate these behaviors and actions in your daily/weekly/monthly activities:

* Praise when compliments are earned.

* Be decisive.

* Say "Thank You" and sincerely mean it.

* Show and demonstrate trust.

* Communicate clearly.

* Listen carefully.

* Teach something new.

* Work hard and lend a hand when deadlines are tight.

* Show respect for everyone on your team.

* Follow through when you say you will.

* Allow learning to happen when mistakes are made.

* Allow prudent autonomy.

* Respond to questions quickly and fully.

* Take an interest in your employees.

* Give credit where credit is due.

* Be humble.