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Showing posts from April, 2016

How To Maximize A Team's Results

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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 toask 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?

How To Identify A Leader During An Interview

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The next time you are interviewing a candidate and you want to access their leadership skills, consider asking the candidate these questions:
What personal qualities define you as a leader?  Describe a situation when these qualities helped you lead others.Give an example of when you demonstrated good leadership.What is the toughest group from which you've had to get cooperation?Have you ever had difficulty getting others to accept your ideas?  What was your approach?  Did it work?Describe a situation in which you had to change your leadership style to achieve the goal?One leadership skill is the ability to accommodate different views in the workplace, regardless of what they are.  What have you done to foster a wide number of views in your work environment? Thanks to Sharon Armstrong, author of The Essential HR Handbook, for these helpful questions!

The Ideal Company Culture

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Fortunately, most of my career I’ve worked in effective corporate cultures. If I put together the best of each, here is what made those environments effective:

•  Leaders led by example on a consistent basis and were willing to roll up their sleeves, particularly during tight deadlines or challenging times.

•  Employees clearly understood how what they did made a difference and how their contributions made the organization more profitable and/or more effective.

•  The workforce included a blend of long-term employees with a rich company, product/service and customer history; employees who had been at the company for five to seven years;and then new hires with a fresh perspective and keen sense of new technologies and techniques. That blend worked best when the mix included virtually all A-players.

•  Top managers had a clear, realistic and strategic vision for how the company would grow and compete in the marketplace.

•  Employees were challenged and rewarded through growth opportuni…

25 Ways To Be A Better Leader

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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 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 reviewsTalk 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 an opportunity to growSummarize group consensus after each decision point during a meetingPraise when compliments are earnedBe decisiveSay "thank you" and sincerely mean itSend written thank you notesListen carefully and don't multi-task while listeningTeach something new to your team…

Elements Of A Good Culture For Digital

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You'll learn a lot about marketing from the book, Does it Work?, by Shane Atchison and Jason Burby. Most important, you'll discover their 10 principles for getting digital marketing right.


What also really caught my attention was the book's discussion about the elements of good culture. Culture created from as high up in the organization as possible. A culture particularly well suited for digital.

Those seven elements are:
Stay Flexible - create a continuous learning environment with flexibility and a certain disdain for roles.Hire Learners - individuals who are curious and willing to learn on their own.Empower People to Share - cultivate an environment where people feel comfortable bringing up bold ideas and are encouraged to speak up.Encourage Thinking Outside Roles - to help you capture every perspective from all your team members.Make Sure Problems Come with Solutions - don't just point out what's wrong. Find solutions.Make it OK to Fail - failure promotes lear…

How To Unlock The Wisdom Of Your Stellar Performers

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The book, The Star Factor, shows you a unique system for unlocking the wisdom of your stellar performers and transforming that knowledge into actionable steps to help other employees internalize these new attitudes and behaviors.

The system and methodology is called affirmative leadership. In the book, authors William Seidman and Richard Grbavac, explain the science, specifically the neuroscience, behind affirmative leadership.



They also outline the four phases of affirmative leadership:
Discover - identifying your stars.Prepare - creating a learning program.Launch - using coaches to lead learning groups.Guided Practice - completing weekly practice exercises four to six months into the process. Affirmative leadership can be used with a small group or globally for thousands of employees.
And just what is it that makes a star performer? Star performers: Take advantage of every opportunity to learn.Are skilled at filtering out what's irrelevant, and focusing on what will improve their…

Online Marketing For Busy Authors

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"There has never been a better time to be an author," says Fauzia Burke, "because for the first time authors have direct access to their readers. While there is more competition in the marketplace, there is also more opportunity."
However, "readers don't just expect a new book, they expect a community along with their book. You'll need to evolve your marketing to accommodate this new kind of reader: a reader whose loyalty you can have -- once you have earned it," explains Burke.
Because of this new dynamic and opportunity for authors, Burke, founder and president of FSB Associates, wrote her new book, Online Marketing for Busy Authors: A Step-by-Step Guide.
Burke has been promoting books online for twenty years and her book addresses the major concern of most authors: how to spend their time effectively promoting their book and expanding they brands online while writing the best book possible.
The book is organized in three phases: Understanding person…

Workplace Bullying Is The Silent Epidemic

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Bullying in the workplace is the "silent epidemic," says Lynne Curry, author of the new book, Beating The Workplace Bully: A Tactical Guide To Taking Charge. How big an epidemic? According to a nationwide 2014 survey by the Workplace Bullying Institute, nearly 66 million American adults either suffer or witness "abusive conduct" during their workday.
Curry explains that workplace bullying may include: Verbal bullyingPhysical bullyingSituational bullying Today, Curry, once a target herself, answered my questions about what I read in the book.

Question: Which type of bullying in the workplace is the most common of these three types: verbal, physical, situational?
Curry: Verbal bullying, carried out by those we commonly think of when we think of bullying, is by far the most common form of bullying seen in the workplace.

The lawsuits that have been won are generally, however, won because the bully bullied physically. At least one Court ruled against a company in which mana…

How To Become An Accountable Leader

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"Truly accountable leadership is the only way to build an organization that can survive and thrive in our increasingly complicated world," says Vince Molinaro, author of his revised and updated bestseller, The Leadership Contract.

More specifically, Molinaro believes that a new set of leadership expectations is redefining how each of us will need to lead in the future. He explains that as a leader you will need to take accountability to:
Align and engageTake an enterprise-wide perspectiveBuild relationshipsMaster uncertaintyDevelop other leadersModel the values And, to be a truly accountable leader, Molinaro says that you must serve the five core obligations of leadership: YourselfYour customersYour organizationYour employeesYour communities One of my favorite parts of the book are the Gut Checks for Leaders at the end of each chapter. The Gut Checks list critical questions to ask yourself, such as: Do you lead every day with a sense of clarity regarding your obligations?What …

Five Most Important Leader Traits

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Awhile back, I was asked, "What five most important traits must a leader have to be effective?" I could reply fairly quickly, but I did take a moment to remember that when I asked a similar question in a LinkedIn group discussion, group members offered up nearly 100 different adjectives to describe an effective leader.

But, for me, I contend the five most important traits are:
Good communicator. That means effectively communicating timely and consistent messages during good and bad times. And, knowing how and when to be a good listener. Communicating is critical. Employees must hear from their leaders. And, hearing from their leaders in person versus e-mail and written memos is even more effective.Being a servant leader. Put your employees and your company first. A top manager who makes decisions that are self-serving will lack followers and will bring the company down.Adaptable. Today, more than ever, a leader needs to adapt. That means adapting to competitive and industry …

How To Say "I'm Sorry"

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One of the most difficult words for anyone, leaders included, to say is, "sorry."

Yet, the time will likely come when that's the word you need to say. Research shows that apologizing in a heartfelt way can help you reduce stress and alleviate guilt.

In the position of needing to apologize?  Do this:
Apologize immediately. Say you are sorry.Take responsibility for the situation.Acknowledge the offense.Ask forgiveness with a promise that it won't happen again.Offer restitution whenever possible. And, should your apology go unaccepted, most experts say forgive yourself and move on.

Note: Thanks to St. Joseph Medical Center in Kansas City, MO for this sound advice.

How To Make Team Engagement More Likely

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In his book, 4D Leadership. Dr. Alan Watkins, recommends that leaders create these seven conditions to help make team engagement more likely:

Create interdependency - Ideally seek to make each team member's success dependent on another team member's to foster collaboration across functions.Identify a common purpose - Ideally seek to unite the team behind a common objective. This could be the team's vision, purpose, ambition or strategy. Define authority - Teams function better when they enjoy a degree of autonomy and have the ability to determine their own destiny within defined limits of authority.Manage team size - Ideally seek to create smaller teams to minimize complexity and politics. The optimum size depends on the team's purpose, longevity and capabilities. Foster a commitment to development - Team building initiatives can be met with justifiable scepticism; however it is important to foster a shared commitment to improving the team effectiveness and enhancing t…

Get Real With Your Goals

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"People with clear, written goals accomplish far more in a shorter period of time than people without them could ever imagine." - Brian Tracy

High Performing Teams Have These 10 Characteristics

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According to Ron Ricci and Carl Wiese, authors of the book, The Collaboration Imperative, high-performing teams have the following characteristics:
People have solid and deep trust in each other and in the team's purpose--they feel free to express feelings and ideas.Everybody is working toward the same goals.Team members are clear on how to work together and how to accomplish tasks.Everyone understands both team and individual performance goals and knows what is expected.Team members actively diffuse tension and friction in a relaxed and informal atmosphere.The team engages in extensive discussion, and everyone gets a chance to contribute--even the introverts.Disagreement is viewed as a good thing and conflicts are managed.  Criticism is constructive and is oriented toward problem solving and removing obstacles.The team makes decisions when there is natural agreement--in the cases where agreement is elusive, a decision is made by the team lead or executive sponsor, after which lit…

How To Be A Responsible Leader

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Tim Richardson offers this great advice from his book on how to be a responsible leader:
The responsible leader sees things as interconnected and interdependent.The responsible leader is both future focused and grounded firmly in the present, the here and now, and the practical on-the-ground impact of actions.Responsible leadership is about connecting at a deeper level with stakeholders - at the soul, story and heritage level that provides meaning for staff teams, communities and customers.The narrative is aligned with the vision across the wider organizational system through a culture that the leader role models wholeheartedly and authentically, often at considerable personal risk.Responsible leaders know who they are, what they stand for, and are not afraid to step forward, even at personal risk. They are passionate and can inspire others through their personal energy, commitment and sense of purpose.

The Seven Ways To Be A Collaborative Leader

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Edward M. Marshall's book, Transforming The Way We Work -- The Power Of The Collaborative Workplace, remains relevant today, more than a decade after Marshall wrote it.

Particularly useful is the book's section that teaches readers how to be a collaborative leader.

Marshall says that there are seven different, important roles and responsibilities of collaborative leaders when leading teams, and those leaders should select the appropriate style to meet the team's needs.

The seven roles are:
The leader as sponsor -- You provide strategic direction, boundaries and coaching for the team. You also monitor progress and ensure integrity in the team's operating processes.The leader as facilitator -- You ensure that meetings, team dynamics, and interpersonal relationships function effectively. You also ensure internal coordination of activities among team members.The leader as coach -- You provide support and guidance and you serve as a sounding board.The leader as change agent/…

When Was The Last Time You Asked Your Employees These Six Questions?

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As explained in John Baldoni's, book, Lead With Purpose, Marshall Goldsmith suggests all leaders make it a habit to regularly ask their employees these six questions:
Where do you think we should be going?Where do you think you and your part of the business should be going?What do you think you're doing well?If you were the leader, what ideas would you have for you?How can I help?What suggestions or ideas do you have for me?

Today's Leadership Quote

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"One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency." - Arnold Glasow


Use Words That Show Your Emotional Investment

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"When you convey your vision, you must show your passion for it and commitment to it," explains Bart Egnal in his new book, Leading Through Language.

And, use words that show how you and your listeners should feel about what you are saying whether that be about your vision or the vision of your organization.

For example, here are two examples from Egnal that demonstrate how to take a generic vision and then deliver it with language that shows the speaker's emotions:

Emotionless: "To become Florida's industry leader in caring for seniors in their retirement by 2020."

With excitement: "I believe that together we can take this company to a place where we are the industry leader in Florida by 2020 - and we'll do it by becoming the first choice for seniors who are looking for a place to retire comfortably."

Emotionless: "To become a truly global fertilizer products business that serves clients on all continents."

With urgency, passion: "…