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Showing posts from February, 2010

Use This Six-Step Approach For Discussing Poor Performance

As a leader, the time will come when you will have to speak with an employee about his or her poor performance.  Here are six steps that will guide you through that process: Tell him what performance is in need of change and be specific. Tell him how his actions negatively affect the team. Let the discussion sink in. Set expectations of performance improvement and timeframe, and get his agreement on the desired outcome. Remind him that he is a valuable part of the team and that you have confidence his performance will improve. Don't rehash the discussion later.  You made your point.  Give him to make his improvement.

Make These Part Of Your Routine

Here are some good tips for leading a successful business operation from the handy booklet " 144 Ways To Walk The Talk " by Eric Harvey and Al Lucia: Involve your team in setting standards that are achievable but also require everyone to stretch their knowledge and skills. Remember that regardless of what you say, it is the performance you're willing to accept that becomes your true standard. Work as a team to stay abreast of technology advancements.  Have different employees read different trade and professional magazines and blogs.   Ask others to share key learning from workshops, webinars, seminars and conferences they attend.  Make it easy via meetings and or within an Intranet forum/Blog area to share what everyone is learning and hearing. Ask each member of your group to identify the three most significant obstacles to their performance.  Create a master list and develop strategies to eliminate them.  Then, reward employees for identifying obstacles!

Try These "Best Companies" Practices

Fortune magazine published its annual list of " 100 Best Companies " list earlier this month.  Here are some of the things the companies on that list are doing to attract and retain employees.  Many of these programs and activities take little to no investment.  But, they all can only happen when there's strong leadership at the company's helm. Try some of these in your workplace this year: Mentoring programs, especially for new employees Volunteer opportunities/days Lunches with the CEO or president On-site wellness fairs Pep rallies Telecommuting programs Summer picnics for employees and their families Retention bonuses Lending libraries Unlimited sick days Employee team sports after hours, such as bowling and baseball On-site child care services Awarding vacation time in exchange for community volunteering time Employee pot-luck breakfasts Monthly birthday parties On-site fitness equipment Frequent town hall meetings with upper management S

Persuade To Lead

My favorite book about leadership is " The Leadership Test " by Timothy R. Clark.  You can read it in an hour and its message will guide you through your entire career. Here are some important points from the book that are particularly powerful: Leadership is the process of influencing volunteers to accomplish good things. The spectrum of influence ranges from manipulation to persuasion to coercion. Only persuasion is leadership.  Manipulation exploits.  Coercion controls.  Neither manipulation nor coercion can produce lasting results or consistent good results. Leadership is based on the influence-through-persuasion at the front end, combined with accountability at the back end. Clark further points out that: Leaders qualify themselves based on the manner of their influence and the nature of their intent. If you haven't read this gem of a book, pick up at copy today.

Drive Your Success

Drive your leadership success by: Funding what makes your business unique and valuable Not rushing to cut prices Hiring talented castoffs from competitors Being seen and being seen often by your team Making decisions in a timely manner Using a story to put situations in context

Jump-Start Your Business

As a leader in your business, try these ideas to give your business a jump-start: Ask for ideas from employees in all parts of your business. Don't ask for ideas only from your product development or marketing departments. Be sure all employees clearly understand your vision and the mission of your business. Brainstorm ways to take advantage of your strengths. Determine how to overcome your business' weaknesses. Choose which opportunities you will prioritize to help keep everyone focused on a common goal. Celebrate your successes regularly and encourage learning from your mistakes.

Button Up Your Crisis Management Program

It's too early to make a final judgment about Toyota's handling of its current automobile recall, but it's not too early for all business leaders to check to be sure they have a crisis management program in place. Sadly, most businesses don't have a plan.  Or, don't have a plan that is up-to-date, comprehensive and/or flexible. With a crisis management program, you: Forecast potential and most likely/probable crises Plan in advance for how to deal with them Document your sequential, step-by-step action plan, including having a time line Share your written plan with all the appropriate players on your team A crisis can be any event or series of events that threatens your financial results, brand and reputation, and your relations with employees, customers and vendors.  Most important, be sure you have a plan in place for a crisis that negatively impacts the general public. The first step in developing your plan is to gather your team and identify your like

Tell A Story To Share Your Vision

"Most leaders' visions fail, not due to a leader's inadequacies, but due to the leader's lack of communication," said Margaret Reynolds of Reynolds Consulting, LLC in Lee's Summit, MO.  Reynolds shared her expertise with me recently during an interview. She added that it's not that leaders don't communicate, but that they don't beat the drum regularly enough. "Leaders need to communicate often, regularly and consistently," she recommended. "In terms of how to communicate so people get it, it is pretty widely accepted that story telling is the most effective," explained Reynolds.  Leaders need to paint a vision where people see it often.  She recommends that leaders share their vision at least seven to 10 times with their employees, and to make it clear to everyone what specifically each person can do each day to help achieve the collective mission. Reynolds' other advice to leaders is to be one whom: listens with res