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Showing posts from May, 2013

Leadership Thought From Author Roger Schwarz

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Wise advice for leaders from author Roger Schwarz in his new book, Smart Leaders Smarter Teams:

"You can express your own views as passionately as you want, as long as you're equally curious about others' views."

What You Must Ask 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.

Be More Like Southwest Airlines - Where All Employees Own The Culture

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If you've flown Southwest Airlines you know they're tops in airline customer service, driven by a leadership style that creates a company-wide culture where all employees own that culture.

According to SWA Chairman, President and CEO Gary Kelly, as reported in the company's in-flight magazine, "every company has a culture, whether that culture is supportive or stifling, active or passive, fun or discouraging."

"One way we do culture differently is by making Southwest's culture everyone's responsibility. In fact, we ask everyone to 'own it,'" says Kelly.

Here are some of the ways that SWA keeps its winning culture in the forefront that you can also do to keep employees motivated and to drive great customer service:

1. Form a corporate culture committee and a local culture committee that organizes low-cost employee events throughout the year.

2. Include a section related to culture on each employee's annual performance appraisal. T…

Brian Tracy On Motivation

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All you need is one hour to read Brian Tracy's newest, pocket-sized guide for managers, Motivation.

"You cannot motivate other people," explains Tracy, "but you can remove the obstacles that stop them from motivating themselves.  All motivation is self-motivation.  As a manager, you can create an environment where this potential for self-motivation is released naturally and spontaneously."

In the book, Tracy presents chapter-by-chapter his 21 most reliable and powerful methods for increasing the effectiveness of any individual or group.

Each chapter includes a couple different action exercises.

Toward the end of the book, Tracy explains the importance of the Friendship Factor in motivating employees.  "Every manager can tap into the power of friendship in everyday employee interactions by remembering the three Cs:  Consideration, Caring and Courtesy.
Practice consideration by expressing an interest in your employees as individuals.Express caring for your s…

Job Descriptions Should All Fit Together Logically And Strategically

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Whether you have one or many employees, be sure each has a current and accurate job description.

A job description is a written document that should include the:
employee's dutiesemployee's responsibilitiesoutcomes needed from that position. It should also include the required qualifications and reporting relationship.

If your employee has a poorly written job description, or one that is out-of-date, it will lead to confusion and misunderstandings.

Once you have a job description for each employee, you'll be able to ensure the descriptions all fit together logically and leave no holes in the duties that need to be assigned.
Check your job descriptions at least yearly to be sure they reflect the employee's proper title and current duties. Very often employees get new job titles or are assigned new tasks mid-year, and those don't get reflected in their job descriptions. Don't let that happen. Finally, if you don't have access to a Human Resources department t…

5 Leadership Quotes For Today

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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 Broca These and many more compelling quotes can be found in Susan H. Shearouse's book, Conflict 101.

Consider Honest Feedback As Generous, Not Critical

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Negative feedback is part of growing as a leader -- both delivering that feedback and sometimes receiving that type of feedback.

Keith Ferrazzi, CEO of Ferazzi Greenlight, a research-based consulting and training company, suggests practicing "caring criticism," as he explained it in a past issue of the Harvard Business Review.

"Negative feedback can hurt, but usually it's a gift aimed at helping the recipient improve performance or avoid mistakes.  We should deliver and receive it that way," says Ferrazzi.

"Use phrases like 'I might suggest' and 'Think about this'" when giving feedback.

And, then Kerrazzi suggests when receiving candid feedback, that you thank the person who offered it and make clear the points on which you agree.  He's found that if you think of the person giving you honest feedback as generous, rather than critical, you become less defensive and more open to changing your behavior.

What To Do To Help People Win At Work

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Here are 10 important questions business leaders should ask, according to Ken Blanchard and Garry Ridge, authors of Helping People Win At Work:
Does my business have a clear, meaningful, and easily understood vision/mission?Do I have the right people in the right seats on the bus?Do I have a BHAG (big hairy audacious goal), and have I communicated it to my employees?Are my values driving the behavior I want in my organization?Am I creating a culture that increases employee engagement?Am I cultivating a spirit of internal and external learning?Do my employees know what an A looks like, and am I supporting them to get that A?Are our products/services creating lasting, positive memories for our customers?Do I have the best, most timely data and information to help my business make good decisions?Are our key performance indicators the right ones, and are we measuring what matters? And, one more questions to ask is:
Do we celebrate success?

Today's Thought For Leaders

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"Some of the biggest challenges in relationships come from the fact that most people enter a relationship in order to get something.  In reality, the only way a relationship will last is if you see it as a place you go to give, and not a place you go to take." -- Anthony Robbins

Book Review: Leadership Conversations

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When I read business books, I turn the corner of every page that has something I really like, want to remember and easily reference in the future. Halfway into the 300-page book,  Leadership Conversations, I had turned the corners of nearly every fifth pags.  So, you can see why I believe this is such a good book.  There is so much to learn from Leadership Conversations.  It's a must read for today's business leaders.  Leaders who are leading multi-generational workforces.  And, leaders who want the skills to get promoted and move up the corporate ladder. Authors Alan S. Berson and Richard G. Stieglitz wrote the book because they believe that a leader's most powerful skill is the ability to hold effective conversations. So, in their book, they detail the four types of conversations every leader must effectively master.  Conversations that: Build relationshipsDevelop othersMake decisionsTake action
And, they provide real-world examples and tactical guidance for each of those con…

Be Tough With Your Soft Skills

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Soft skills, all too often deemed the less important skills for a leader, are needed now more than ever.

Soft skills are interpersonal skills that demonstrate a person's ability to communicate effectively and build relationships with others in one-on-one interactions as well as in groups and teams. According to Maxine Kamin, author of the new book, Soft Skills Revolution, "The practice of soft skills aids in communication and promotes problem solving, negotiation, conflict resolutions, and team building."

Each of the book's nine chapters, listed below, provide dialogue, questions, tips and recommended activities:
What Are Soft Skills?The Hidden Side of CommunicationThe Power of Positive IntentionsTack and DiplomacyThe Challenge of Problem SolvingSoft Skills and TeamsThe Personality FactorTaking the Sting Out of FeedbackConflict and Cooperation One of my favorite parts of the book is where Kamin explains the common expectations of staff members when it comes to the Pri…

Don't Hog All The Credit

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Insecure managers hog the credit for a job well done. Or, they hide the credit and don't give credit where credit is due. These managers are afraid to let their employees be in the limelight.

Secure and successful managers talk up their employees, highlighting the good performance they've done, and are eager to give credit where credit is due. They promote their staff to their supervisor and to others within their organization.

Successful managers know that they look good when their employees look good.

Giving credit where credit is due is a sign of a manager who is wise and confident. It's a sign of a manager who demonstrates good leadership skills. So, when your employees excel, allow them to take the spotlight.

Book Review: The First-Time Manager

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AMACOM's (of the American Management Association) sixth edition of the best-selling book, The First-Time Manager -- originally published in 1981 is a must-read for new managers and leaders in business.

The book covers eight core responsibilities of a new manager, including:
HiringCommunicatingPlanningOrganizing TrainingMonitoringEvaluatingFiring
Expert advice is additionally provided regarding:
Using Your New AuthorityManaging Your MoodBuilding Trust
One of my favorite sections of the book is the one about class in a manager:
Class is treating people with dignity.Class does not have to be the center of attention.Class does not lose its cool.Class does not rationalize mistakes.Class is good manners.Class means loyalty to one's staff.Class recognizes the best way to build oneself is to first build others.Class leads by example.Class does not taken action when angry.Class is authentic and works hard at making actions consistent with words.
The First-Time Manager is an excellent how-…

Good Coach Versus Bad 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…

How To Praise An Employee

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Entrepreneur magazine's February 2012 issue offers these great tips on how to give praise:
Praise followed by criticism is not praise.Praise followed by praise is probably a little too much praise.Ending an expression of praise with "...and stuff" nullifies the praise. And,
Make it timely.  The closer the recognition is to the behavior, the more likely the behavior will be repeated.Be sincere.  Be impromptu. Remember, a handwritten note is worth more than a gift card. Having trouble writing your handwritten note of praise?  Try this template to get you started:
_______, I couldn't be more impressed with how you______.  Not only did you____, but you_______.  Beautiful.  Thanks, ________

Four Ways To Put People First In Your Company

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According to a survey as reported in John Baldoni’s book, Lead with Purpose, more than 80 percent of those surveyed say that leaders can best demonstrate that they truly do put people first by:
Delivering intrinsic awards (comp time, bonuses, etc.) Offering developmental opportunities Providing timely recognition Promoting from within