Showing posts from November, 2011

Time To Select Your New Year's Resolutions

Lose weight.  Exercise more.  Stop smoking.  Read more.  Shop less.  Volunteer.

Okay, so you're likely already working on selecting your New Year's resolution for your personal life. But, have you identified your New Year's resolution for your workplace life?

If not, and you want to be a more effective leader for your team at work in 2012, select one or more of these 70 New Year's resolutions for leaders:
Don't micromanageDon't be a bottleneckFocus on outcomes, not minutiaeBuild trust with your colleagues before a crisis comesAssess your company's strengths and weaknesses at all timesConduct annual risk reviewsBe courageous, quick and fairTalk more about values more than rulesReward how a performance is achieved and not only the performanceConstantly challenge your team to do betterCelebrate your employees' successes, not your ownErr on the side of taking actionCommunicate clearly and oftenBe visibleEliminate the cause of a mistakeView every problem as …

9 Tips For Delivering Excellent Customer Service This Holiday Season

Leading a customer service team? Have the team members use these 9 tips for delivering excellent customer service this holiday shopping season:
Rely on winning words and soothing phrases. A simple but sincere “Thanks for your patience” or “I’m listening” can go a long way toward defusing a holiday shopper’s frustration, anxiety, or panic. Develop a repertoire of short, easy to remember phrases around issues that are important to customers. Practice until the words come naturally.Communicate with silence. Remaining silent while your customers are talking is a basic courtesy, and nodding tells them you’re listening and understanding what you hear. An occasional “uh huh” or “I see” tells them you’re still listening without interrupting.Make customers feel seen. Making eye contact acknowledges that you see your customers as individuals. But there’s a balance to be struck here: staring can make your customers uncomfortable, too. Also keep in mind that eye contact is governed by specific …

9 Times When You Should Thank Customers

In your leadership role, it's vital that your team members know how to deliver excellent customer service.  "Knock Your Socks Off" type service as book editor Ann Thomas and Jill Applegate would say.

Part of delivering excellent customer service is saying Thank You to your customers and knowing when to say Thank You.

Thomas and Applegate recommend telling your customers Thank You during at least these nine situations:
When they do business with you...every time.When they compliment you (or your company)When they offer you comments or suggestionsWhen they try one of your new products or servicesWhen they recommend you to a friendWhen they are patient...and even when they are not so patientWhen they help you to serve them betterWhen they complain to youWhen they make you smile You and your team members can say thank you:
VerballyIn writing (and don't underestimate the power of personal notes via snail mail)With a small, tasteful, appropriate gift

How To Make An Effective Team Even Stronger

High-functioning and effective teams can disagree and still produce excellent products and results. Team members can also disagree and still care about each other. And, they can challenge each other to think differently.

Best-selling leadership book authors Scott J. Allen and Mitchell Kusy recommend that leaders ask seven tough questions of their teams to help maximize their results. Here are those questions to ask each team member:
What are some obstacles affecting this team?What are opportunities we could take advantage of that we have been largely ignoring?Where can you take greater ownership on this team?Where have you let this team down?Compared to other teams with which you are familiar, how are we doing?When was the last time you complimented the team or one of its members?How open are you to giving direct feedback to team members?

Book Review: Lead With Purpose

“Purpose is the why behind everything within an organization,” says author John Baldoni, of the new book, Lead With Purpose. It hits the brick and mortar and online book stores this week.

Baldoni also believes that it is up to leaders to make certain that organizational purpose is understood and acted upon. And, to harness the talents of their employees, leaders must recognize their responsibility to instill purpose in the workplace.

Other recommendations include:
Make purpose a central focusInstill purpose in othersMake employees comfortable with ambiguityTurn good intentions into great resultsMake it safe to fail (as well as prevail)Develop the next generation According to Baldoni, purpose forms the backbone of what an organization exists to do; upon which you can build vision and mission.

To define an organization’s purpose, 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…

Leadership Lessons From Abraham Lincoln

Did Abraham Lincoln really say, "Get out of the office and circulate among the troops," back in 1861?

He did.  But, not in those exact words.  What he said, according to author Donald T. Phillips, is this:

"His cardinal mistake is that he isolates himself, and allows nobody to see him; and by which he does not know what is going on in the very matter he is dealing with." Lincoln made this statement when describing his reason for relieving Gen. John C. Fremont from his command in Missouri (September 9, 1861).

Phillips writes that for Lincoln, casual contact with his subordinates was as important as formal gatherings, if not more so.

Phillips, includes many more leadership lessons from Lincoln in his fascinating book, Lincoln on Leadership, where Phillips presents 15 of Lincoln's leadership statements in today's vernacular.

Another leadership lesson from Lincoln is to:
Influence people through conversation and storytelling Phillips explains that Lincoln had a …

Improve And Grow Your Leaders

"If you want to improve an organization, improve its leaders.  If you want to grow an organization, grow its leaders.  When you increase the number of leaders you have and you make the leaders you have better, the potential of the organization increases greatly."
These are great recommendations from Maxwell's newest book, and more specifically from the sections of his book on the importance of developing your employees: People Development Empowers Others to Fulfill Their Leadership ResponsibilitiesPeople Development Empowers the Leader to Lead Larger

70 Ways To Be A Better Leader

The list below is a good list for learning how to be a better leader when you don't have a lot of time to read books about leadership.

And, if you've been a leader for a long time, how about taking a few minutes to run through the list and scoring yourself on how well you carry out each leadership skill?

1. Don't micromanage
2. Don't be a bottleneck
3. Focus on outcomes, not minutiae
4. Build trust with your colleagues before a crisis comes
5. Assess your company's strengths and weaknesses at all times
6. Conduct annual risk reviews
7. Be courageous, quick and fair
8. Talk more about values more than rules
9. Reward how a performance is achieved and not only the performance
10. Constantly challenge your team to do better
11. Celebrate your employees' successes, not your own
12. Err on the side of taking action
13. Communicate clearly and often
14. Be visible
15. Eliminate the cause of a mistake
16. View every problem as an opportunity to grow

5 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:
Encourage ALL ideas. Don't evaluate or criticize ideas when they are first suggested.Ask for wild ideas. Often, the craziest ideas end up being the most useful.Shoot for quantity not quality during brainstorming.Encourage everyone to offer new combinations and improvements of old ideas.