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Showing posts from January, 2010

Try These 6 No-Cost Leadership Tips

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I had the pleasure of interviewing Leigh Branham the other day.  He's the author of the popular book called "The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave," and he's the owner of the Overland Park, KS-based business called Keeping The People.
He said that in research that he has done about the leaders of companies that have won "Best-Place-To-Work" competitions in 45 U.S. cities, that there are six things these effective leaders do that don't cost money.  They do, however, cost time and effort.  But, that is time and effort that can pay big dividends.
Here are the six things you can do: Make the commitment to create a great place to work. Inspire employee confidence in decisions and clear business direction Work to build trust based on honesty and integrity Practice open, two-way communication, especially in times of uncertainty Look out for the organization before you look out for yourself Believe employees should be developed and retained; not burned out and …

Read A Top Leadership Book

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During the past few months, members of five groups on the professional social media web site LinkedIn voluntarily recommended their favorite books about leadership.  They responded to a group discussion question, "Best Leadership Books -- What Is Your Favorite?"

When contemplating their favorites, they likely thought about which books were in their minds the best, most favored, most inspiring, most instructional, most relevant, and which ones they might reference frequently.

As the recommendations rolled in, it became clear that leaders learn from, and are inspired by, a wide variety of books -- biographies, autobiographies, books backed by research and academia, books made famous by the popular press, books by motivational speakers, and books by professionals eager to share their personal and professional leadership success stories, tips and suggestions.

Readers' favorites included those written by or about sports coaches, athletes, CEOs, scholars, religious leaders, gover…

Follow These Leadership Tips

Here are a few tips for how you can improve your leadership skills:
Think long-term.  Too often, short-term gains, no matter how attractive, are not worth it if they could hinder your prospects for the future.Find a mentor.  Better yet, find a couple different mentors.  Perhaps you work with someone in your business and also someone who is in a business completely different than your business.  Respond quickly.  Reply quickly to e-mails and telephone calls, even  if it's just to explain what you are doing regarding the matter at hand and to inform the other party of your expect final response date.Keep your team challenged.  Always give your team members plenty of opportunities to be challenged and to be creative.  Make 2010 the year to improve your leadership skills!

Lead By Volunteering

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As the nation honors Dr. Martin Luther King on Monday, January 18, volunteer or make the decision to volunteer in your community.  King routinely asked "What are you doing for others," and Monday is the ideal day to ask yourself that question.

The federal holiday was first observed 23 years ago and in 1994 Congress designated it as a National Day of Service, inspired by King's words, "everybody can be great because anybody can serve."

Many people turn to Volunteer Match to find volunteer opportunities. Visit the web site, type in your zip code, and you will be presented with a variety of organizations seeking volunteers.

As a leader in your workplace, lead by example by volunteering, and then encourage all your employees to volunteer in your local community.

Practice good leadership skills by volunteering!

Avoid These 8 Pitfalls

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You'll learn how to avoid eight performance evaluation pitfalls in what I think is the best chapter of the book "The Essential HR Handbook," written by Sharon Armstrong and Barbara Mitchell.
If you are a leader and it's time to conduct an employee evaluation, Armstrong and Mitchell caution you to watch for these pitfalls when making your evaluation: Clustering everyone in the middle performance-rating categoriesOverlooking flaws or exaggerating the achievements of favored employeesExcusing substandard performance or behavior because it is widespreadLetting one characteristic - positive or negative - affect your overall assessmentRating someone based on the company he or she keepsRating someone based on a grudge you are holdingRating someone based on a short time period instead of the entire evaluation periodRating everyone high, to make you look goodThere's other great information in this 250-page book that is valuable for any manager, and especially good for manag…

Lead With Passion

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If you lead with passion you will gain supporters and followers who will feed off your passion.  Passion is contagious.

Your passion will inspire and excite others to share your vision.  And a team that is collectively passionate about what they are doing will have greater chances of achieving success.

Show your passion when you communicate with your team in the actions you take, the words you speak and in your written communication.

Practice good leadership skills by being passionate!


Make A Plan

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As you establish goals for your team this New Year, be sure to include making a plan as part of your five-step process.

Keep in mind that those five steps of goal setting are:


Set goalMake planGet to workStick to itReach goalOften, too many managers simply tell their team the goal, but fail to map out the specific stepsof the plan to reach that goal.  So, don't forget to do step #2!

Once your team is following your plan, be sure both you and they are sticking to the plan.  Don't let other activities and/or projects derail your progress.  It's surprising and unfortunate how often plans are abandoned in as little as three to four weeks.

Finally, explain to your team the benefits to them and your organization for reaching the ultimate goal.  Help them to continually visualize that end result.