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Showing posts from June, 2010

New Mobile App Makes It Easy To Find Volunteer Opportunities

You can now find local volunteer opportunities on's new free mobile app for iPhones. Download the app, type in your zip code, and you will be presented a host of nonprofit organizations with volunteer opportunities in your area. And, if you are a leader in the workforce, take note of the recently completed research that and United Healthcare recently completed. They found compelling evidence that volunteering not only enhances volunteers' physical and mental health, but also strengthens relationships between employers and employees. So, encourage employees to volunteer. Organize groups of employees to volunteer after work or on the weekends. Consider rewarding employees with incentives or extra vacation time in exchange for their volunteer hours. Some highlights of the findings from the and United Healthcare research show that: 68% of those who volunteer in the past year report that volunteering made them fee

How To Be A Better Leader -- 25 Tips

If you don't have time to read a book about how to improve your leadership skills, tackle a handful of these tips, complied from the works of many authors: Don't micromanage Don't be a bottleneck Focus on outcomes, not minutiae Build trust with your colleagues before a crisis comes Assess your company's strengths and weaknesses at all times Conduct annual risk reviews Talk about values more than rules Reward how a performance is achieved and not only the performance Constantly challenge your team to do better Celebrate your employees' successes, not your own Err on the side of taking action Communicate clearly and often Be visible Eliminate the cause of a mistake View every problem as an opportunity to grow Summarize group consensus after each decision point during a meeting Praise when compliments are earned Be decisive Say "thank you" and sincerely mean it Send written thank you notes Listen carefully and don't multi-task while l

Tips For Conducting More Effective Performance Appraisals

I'm a big fan of Sharon Armstrong's, The Essential HR Handbook , and now she's released her newest book, The Essential Performance Review Handbook . "Appraisals are meant to clarify and reward, and to be interactive and fair.  They take real time, real dialog, and a real focus on the future, rather than just the previous few months," says Armstrong. The 224-page book, at a nice price of $14.99 (now for about $10 on Amazon), provides lots of tips and examples, and even includes the actual appraisal forms used by 10 organizations and associations that are both interesting to review and handy to use as "best practice" documents. Armstrong admits that performance appraisals can be one of the most anxiety-provoking aspects of one's work life for both supervisors and employees. That's what inspired her to write this book.  In it, she provides leaders and managers of all levels advice on how to make the performance appraisal process more produ

What's The First Leadership Book You Would Give To A New Manager?

Earlier this year, various discussion groups on the social media site LinkedIn helped me build a list of favorite leadership books .  Now, I've been wondering, what is the best first book about leadership that one should give to a new manager who wants to become a strong leader. For me, that book would be Timothy R. Clark's compact, 100-page, The Leadership Test . This book has become one of my favorite and one that should be read before all other leadership books in my opinion. Clark, in a story-telling approach, takes the reader through a five-question test that is incredibly powerful. The book professes that above all else, leadership requires steely character and an unflinching desire to do the right thing. What is the first leadership book you would give to a new manager desiring to be a great leader?

How To Help Your Employees Click More At Work

Research from universities around the country show that employees who "click" with each other at work have more career success.  And, those who "click" well get to the core of the office network within 18 months, while it can take 13 years for those who don't "click" well. As a leader, there are things you can do and things you can encourage your employees to do to promote better clicking . Consider these findings from the research: How much you reveal about yourself to a co-worker helps you click. The more you open up and share your feelings, the more trust you build and the more likely you'll build a connection with a co-worker. Having an office or cubicle in the central area of your workplace increases your ability for clicking opportunities. Sitting near the middle of a conference table brings you more clicking opportunities , as well. Keeping your office door open, communicating in person versus e-mail or via the phone, allows you to

Lessons From Good To Great

Here are two of my favorite quotes from the hugely popular leadership book, Good To Great : "The good-to-great companies did not say, 'Okay, folks, let's get passionate about what we do.' Sensibly, they went the other way entirely;  We should only do those things that we can get passionate about ." "To go from good to great requires transcending the curse of competence. It requires the discipline to say, 'Just because we are good at it--just because we're making money and generating growth--doesn't necessarily mean we can become the best at it.'  The good-to-great companies understood that doing what you are good at will only make you good; focusing solely on what you can potentially do better than any other organization is the only path to greatness ."

How Will You Be Remembered As A Leader?

As a leader, you likely have asked yourself, "How do I want to be remembered as a leader?" But, perhaps the more important question is, "How will I be remembered as a leader?"  The answer to that question is likely going to be based on the valuable lessons you shared with those you led. The Kansas City Star newspaper recently featured a story about Marion Laboratories and its 60th anniversary.  In its heyday, Marion had 3,400 employees with sales of nearly $1 billion and in 1989 merged with Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals.  Mr. Ewing Kauffman, fondly known as Mr. K, led Marion during its peak, and is remembered as one of the most effective, influential leaders ever in the Kansas City area. Former employees quoted in the newspaper article remember Mr. Kauffman as a leader who shared these lessons with them: "You can do anything you want if you set your mind to it and if you study your competition." "You can't be afraid of trying something&

How To Be An Open Leader

Charlene Li, the author of the best-seller book, Groundswell , was kind enough to send me an advance copy of her newest book, Open Leadership , which she released for sale on May 24. Li explains in her new book what it means to be an open leader and why having those skills and behaviors are vital for effectively communicating with customers and employees in today's social media landscape. My complete book review is on my Kansas City Leadership page. But, here are some of the more compelling statements Li makes in her book, that I believe is a must read for leaders in large and small businesses and organizations: • "Open leadership is about how leaders must let go to gain more." • "The more power you give away, the more power you ultimately have." • "Being open requires more -- not less -- rigor and effort than being in control." • "You need to seek out opportunities to be humbled each and every day -- to be touched as