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Showing posts from April, 2012

Leadership Lessons From TouchPoints

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Some of my favorite parts of Douglas Conant's and Mette Norgaards' 2011 book, TouchPoints, are these lessons for leaders:
You need to have dual vision. You need to be able to address the most pressing need and do it in a way that makes your employees more capable and ready to take on the next issue.No leader can succeed by being only tough-minded or only tender-hearted. The perfect balance is to be both tough-minded on the issue and tender-hearted with people.Leading with heart doesn't mean you always decide in favor of the individual. It just means that when you need to make a tough-minded decision, you are acutely aware of how it will affect the people involved.The people who are the most committed to mastering their craft are often the most humble. That is because, instead of comparing themselves to others, they are moved by an inner vision of what they might achieve.Ask often, "How can I help?" Doing so at the start of an interaction opens up space for p…

Why Experience Should Come Last When Hiring And Promoting

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In Leigh Branham's terrific book, The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave, he quotes these sound insights from Dee Hock, the founder and former CEO of Visa:
Hire and promote first on the basis of integrity; second, motivation; third, capacity; fourth, understanding; fifth, knowledge; and last and least, experience. Hock explains that:
Without integrity, motivation is dangerousWithout motivation, capacity is impotentWithout capacity, understanding is limitedWithout understanding, knowledge is meaninglessWithout knowledge, experience is blind She concludes that experience is easy to provide and quickly put to use by people with all the other qualities.

How To Be A Good Coach

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Former Verizon Wireless CEO, Denny F. Strigl offers these tips for how to be a good coach to an employee. He explains that good coaches help performers by:
Keeping them focused.Giving them objective, helpful feedback.Acting as a sounding board for new approaches.Identifying blind spots that may be holding the performer back.Reinforcing key values, principles, and behaviors that improve performance.Recognizing positive behavior and performance.Providing encouragement after setbacks and failuresSetting "stretch" goals.Acting as an accountability partner. Strigl believes that some managers fail in their coaching roles because they:
View coaching as babysitting.See coaching as only correcting performance.Don't spend enough time with their employees.Are reluctant to criticize.Have social relationships with their employees.Have a "sink-or-swim" philosophy.Believe coaching is not helpful or meaningful. "Coaching may actually save time by preventing extensive retr…

Step Beyond Your Comfort Zone

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Inspirational leadership wisdom came awhile back from Bahram Akradi, the CEO of Life Time Fitness.

From that health club's monthly fitness magazine, Experience Life, Akradi says:

Once we get comfortable in our habitual patterns, we may fail to notice when they have outworn their useful purpose, or when new alternatives might serve us better. Once you've encountered a second way of seeing things, you're more likely to entertain the possibility of a third and fourth way, too.Do something that makes you just a little bit uncomfortable--and that renders you a little more awake. Thanks Akradi for encouraging us to break out from predictability.

Integrity In Management Means These Five Things

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Some words of wisdom from author Thomas Teal: Integrity in management means:being responsiblecommunicating clearlykeeping promisesbeing an honest brokeravoiding hidden agendasknowing oneselfGreat managers serve two masters; one organizational, one moral.Managing is not a series of mechanical tasks but a set of human interactions.One reason for the scarcity of managerial greatness is that in educating and training managers, we focus too much on technical proficiency and too little on character.You can find more advice and expertise from Teal in his book, First Person: Tales of Management Courage and Tenacity (Harvard Business School Press, 1996)

4 Ways To Make Your Executive Coaching Experience More Successful

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If you are a leader already engaging with an executive coach, or contemplating engaging one, here are four ways to make  your coaching experience a success, as reported in a relatively recent issue of Fortune magazine:

Find the right match.  Find someone to push and challenge you.  To encourage you and to hold you accountable.  Be sure the person you engage with is a person you can trust and can talk to easily.Be aware of your company's expectations.  If your boss hired the coach to work with you, make sure your boss, and your boss's boss, share their expectations and hoped-for outcomes with you.  Then, make sure your coach knows that those things belong at the top of your goals list.Get your money's worth.  Work with your coach on issues or questions that have a direct correlation to success in your job.  Be sure your coach sees you in action.  Allow your coach to observe you interacting with your peers or direct reports.  This also gives your colleagues a sense that you&…

Today's Leadership Quotes

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I really like these motivating and inspiring quotes from a 2011 issue of Men's Health magazine:

The best way to predict the future is to invent it -- Alan Kay

Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty -- Winston Churchill

I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody -- Bill Cosby

The greatest accomplishment is not in never failing, but in rising again after you fall -- Vince Lombardi

4 Must-Ask Questions During An Exit Interview

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As a leader, it's critical that you understand the real reasons employees leave your company. To do that, you need to ask specific questions that may not be ones you currently include in your exit interviews.

Fortunately, Richard Finnegan, shares in his book, Rethinking Retention in Good Times and Bad, four key questions you should include in your exit interviews:

Why did you decide to leave us?Of all the things you've told me, what is the top thing that caused you to resign?It's great that you've found such a good opportunity, but why did you look?What one thing could we have done that would have caused you to stay? Your goal is to learn the most important leave reason rather than learn which three or five things contributed to your employee's decision to leave. The four questions above will help you learn the most important reason.

How Do You Answer These Leadership Questions?

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Open Leadership author Charlene Li reminds leaders to periodically ask themselves these "open leadership skills assessment" questions:
Do I seek out and listen to different points of view?Do I make myself available to people at all levels of the organization?Do I actively manage how I am authentic?Do I encourage people to share information?Do I publicly admit when I am wrong?Do I update people regularly?Do I take the time to explain how decisions are being made? Thanks for these great questions, Charlene!

You Can't Not Communicate - David Grossman Delivers Again

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Can't decide what business book to read next? I recommend David Grossman's, You Can't Not Communicate, 2."

Why, because this updated installment of his previous best-seller with virtually the same title is an easy read and one you can finish in an afternoon.
And, even more important, David gives you lots of practical, real-world, wise, straight-forward advice on how to communicate more effectively as a leader -- all tips and techniques you can start to implement the day after you finish reading it.
Particularly helpful are the: Top 10 must-do strategies for persuasive presentationsFive easy strategies for managing the company rumor mill Twelve must-have skills for effective two-way communication David also explains: the importance of having a "messagemap" ways leaders at all levels can build trust by aligning actions with words the four things you need to know about communicating with Millennials Some of the more interesting facts in the book are: Nearly 50 percent…

How To Pump Up Employee Involvement

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Here are 10 tips for how to maximize employee involvement: Have active ways to listen to your employees.Check often with employees to see if the information you are sharing with them is what they need and what they want.Share information about customer satisfaction with employees.Discuss financial performance with your employees and be sure everyone understands the importance of profitability and how they can contribute to profitability.Allow ad hoc teams among employees to form to address organizational problems and work with those teams to tackle the identified issues.Encourage employees to make suggestions for improvement whether those ideas are large or small.Take an idea from one employee and share it with other employees and teams and let everyone make a contribution to build upon that idea.Train!For long-term employees, find ways to keep their jobs interesting through new assignments and challenges.Conduct meetings around specific issues and brainstorm solutions. "…

Today's Five Leadership Quotes

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Some of my favorite quotes for leaders are:

A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit -- Arnold H. GlasgowI praise loudly, I blame softly -- Catherine II of RussiaHonest disagreement is often a good sign of progress -- Mohandas GandhiA long dispute means that both parties are wrong -- VoltaireThe least questioned assumptions are often the most questionable -- Paul BrocaThese and many more compelling quotes can be found in Susan H. Shearouse's new book, Conflict 101.

Effective Listening: Do's And Dont's

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Here are some great tips from Michelle Tillis Lederman's book, The 11 Laws of Likability.  They are all about:
what to do and what not to do to be a leader who's an effective listener:
Do:
Maintain eye contactLimit your talkingFocus on the speakerAsk questionsManage your emotionsListen with your eyes and earsListen for ideas and opportunitiesRemain open to the conversationConfirm understanding, paraphraseGive nonverbal messages that you are listening (nod, smile)Ignore distractionsDon't:
InterruptShow signs of impatienceJudge or argue mentallyMultitask during a conversationProject your ideasThink about what to say nextHave expectations or preconceived ideasBecome defensive or assume you are being attackedUse condescending, aggressive, or closed body languageListen with biases or closed to new ideasJump to conclusions or finish someone's sentences