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Showing posts from 2017

Six Questions To Ask Your Employees Today

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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?

How To Communicate Your Message In Eight Seconds

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According to a 2015 Microsoft study, the average attention span for us ever-scattered humans is now shorter that a goldfish's; eight seconds. So, how do you stand out? How do you communicate effectively? How do you not waste time?


Paul Hellman answers these questions and gives you 100 fast and actionable tactics to make your eights seconds meaningful. It's all in his new book, You've Got 00:00:08 Seconds.

He teaches you three key ingredients:
Focus: How to say less with more meaning.Variety: How to stand out as slightly different.Presence. How to be notable and boost your reputation.
Paul Hellman
His tactics will serve you well in all these types of situations:
Making presentationsInterviewingEmailingNetworkingStorytellingLeaving voice mail Here are some of my favorite takeaways from Hellman's book: In one-to-one conversations, talk less than the other person. Ask at least one thought-provoking question per conversation.In meetings, speak in 30-60 second bites. Provide the …

Golden Rules Of Effective Communication

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Here are the 12 golden rules of effective communication from Paul Falcone, as highlighted in his book, 2600 Phrases for Setting Effective Performance Goals.

Always remember to:
Recognize achievements and accomplishments often.Celebrate success.Deliver bad news quickly, constructively, and in a spirit of professional development.Praise in public, censure in private.Assume responsibility for problems when things go wrong, and provide immediate praise and recognition to others when things go right.Create a work environment based on inclusiveness, welcoming others' suggestions and points of view.Listen actively, making sure that your people feel heard and understood and have a voice in terms of offering positive suggestions in the office or on the shop floor.Share information openly (to the extent possible) so that staff members understand the Why behind your reasoning and can ask appropriate questions as they continue along in their own path of career development and learning.Remembe…

Optimum Meeting Behaviors

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While recently reading C. Elliott Haverlack's new book, Unbundle It, I found his 11 ground rules for meeting behaviors to be particularly helpful:
Arrive on time.Be respectful of other attendees.No phones or computers if at all possible.No leaving the meeting or getting up to walk around until scheduled breaks.No eating unless during working meal meetings (consuming beverages as appropriate is acceptable).No side conversations.Good posture.Listen intently (even if you don't want to).Ask questions at the appropriate time.No filibustering.Take notes.

What To Do Today

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Six Ways To Stimulate Your Creative Thinking

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From the book, Leading With Strategic Thinking, by Aaron K. Olson and B. Keith Simerson here are the terrific six ways the authors suggest for stimulating your creative thinking:
Engage in communities, conferences, or reading outside your typical area of expertise.Set aside time in your week that doesn't involve completing routine tasks.Visit places where you will encounter unfamiliar people, cultures, or ideas.Spend time with coworkers in your organization with different roles.Debate commonly held ideas or question assumptions about your work or business.Imagine a situation in which you (or your organization) could no longer work the same way -- what would you do?




How To Write Your Nonprofit Annual Report

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Here are some tips for leaders responsible for writing an effective annual report for their nonprofit organization.

Consider making these objectives for your report:
To demonstrate accomplishments (not activities) (results and how you did it).To recognize important people (volunteers, donors, major funders, partners).To provide an account of your organization's work for the past year.To share your mission with a wide audience.To generate new donations, retain donors and grow partnerships.Consider these audience sectors when writing your report: DonorsVolunteersCommunity leadersFuture board membersSupporters (in-kind)Elected officials Potential partners, grant funding entitiesAllow three to four months to prepare your report: Create and outlineGather an organize contentEngage your management teamDesignReview/ProofPrintDistributeConsider packaging your report with a theme, such as one of these: TransformationDay in the lifeMilestonesCritical issuesProgress toward the futureNew undertakin…

The Business And Leadership Quotes That Inspire Me

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These quotes truly inspire me:

“The three common characteristics of best companies -- they care, they have fun, they have high performance expectations.” -- Brad Hams
“The one thing that's common to all successful people: They make a habit of doing things that unsuccessful people don't like to do.” -- Michael Phelps
“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit." -- Harry S. Truman
“The leader of the past was a person who knew how to tell. The leader of the future will be a person who knows how to ask.” -- Peter Drucker
“Leadership: The art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” -- Dwight D. Eisenhower
“Good leadership isn't about advancing yourself.  It's about advancing your team.” -- John C. Maxwell
"People buy into the leader, then the vision.” -- John C. Maxwell
“Great leaders have courage, tenacity and patience.” -- Bill McBean
"People never learn anything by being told, they have to…

Your First 100 Days As A Leader

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There are seven major onboarding land mines that you are likely to come across as a new leader and there are specific points in the first 100 days where you are most likely to encounter them, explain authors: George Brant Jayme A. Check Jorge Pedraza ...in their third edition of, The New Leader's 100-Day Action Plan.
Ill-prepared, without a plan, and lacking proper onboarding, the land mines will get you.  And, if you miss one or more of the critical tasks that must be accomplished in your first 100 days, you'll likely fail.
The book is packed with: Examples and case studies Action plans Tools, techniques and tricks of the trade The authors also explain why you need to start even before your official first day on the job. For example: Cultural engagement is extremely important in a successful transition; and it is essential that you know what your cultural engagement plan will be before walking in the door for Day One. A new leader's role begins as soon as you are an acknowle…

How To Achieve Personal Resilience

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If you want to build the psychological body armor to achieve personal resilience, then the book, Stronger, is a must-read for you. 
That body armor consists of five factors of personal resilience: active optimismdecisive actionmoral compassrelentless tenacityinterpersonal support According to the authors, these five factors of personal resilience are keys to improving your work habits and output in the workplace, and to achieving overall satisfaction from life.
Backed by compelling scientific findings and packed with powerful stories of resilience in action, Stronger teaches you how to gain an edge on making sound decisions under pressure, bounce back from setbacks and layoffs, and motivate peak performance in others as well as yourself,

Each chapter includes self-assessment questions and homework for choosing one thing you'll do the next day to help you begin to develop each of the five factors of your personal resilience body armor.
In addition, the authors explain that their prof…

How To Become An Optimist

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Every leader experiences periods of ups and downs. Hopefully, more up periods.

If you struggle with too many down periods, it might be because you have perfectionist tendencies.

Transform yourself into an optimist by:
Viewing failure as an opportunity to learn and understand that failure is part of a fulfilling life.Making room for pain. Don't deny yourself permission to feel painful emotions.Setting standards that are attainable because they are grounded in reality. Don't set goals and standards that are essentially impossible to meet. You can learn more about being an optimist by reading the book, The Pursuit Of The Perfect: How To Stop Chasing Perfection And Start Living A Richer, Happier Life, by Tal Ben-Shahar.

Thought For The Day

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"Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in a world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it." -- David Beckahm

How To Retain Employees

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I had the pleasure of interviewing Leigh Branham over the past few years. He's the author of the popular book called, The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave.
He told me that in research that he has done about the leaders of companies that have won "Best-Place-To-Work" competitions in 45 U.S. cities, that there are six things these effective leaders do that don't cost money. They do, however, cost time and effort. But, that is time and effort that can pay big dividends.
Here are the six things you can do: Make the commitment to create a great place to work. Inspire employee confidence in decisions and clear business direction Work to build trust based on honesty and integrity Practice open, two-way communication, especially in times of uncertainty Look out for the organization before you look out for yourself Believe employees should be developed and retained; not burned out and discarded Thanks for these great leadership tips, Leigh!

How To Enable Your Employees

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"Frustration in the workplace is a silent killer," claim authors Mark Royal and Tom Agnew in their terrific book, The Enemy of Engagement.


Further, "in an organizational context, frustration is not as simple as failing to get something you want. Rather, it involves the inability to succeed in your role due to organizational barriers or the inability to bring the bulk of your individual talents, skills, and abilities to your job."

Royal and Agnew further explain that a staggering number of highly motivated, engaged, and loyal employees quit trying--or quit, period---because they feel frustrated.
And what's causing all that frustration?  It's lack of enablement.  According to Royal and Agnew, as employees grow in experience in their roles, they begin to focus less on learning the ropes and more on achieving desired results. In the process, they are increasingly confronted with enablement constraints that limit their ability to get their jobs done effectively.

How To Transform Your Sales Force In Seven Steps

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A successful sales force transformation can mean increased revenue, increased sales productivity, and reduced cost of sales. But, up to seventy-five percent of attempted transformations fail, according to the authors of the book, 7 Steps To Sales Transformation - Driving Sustainable Change In Your Organization.

Transformation failures are often a result of an organization that neglects to address the human factor (skepticism, resistance, avoidance). Equally important, transformations must focus on truly transforming and not merely making tweaks.

Authors Warren Shiver and Michael Perla use their own experiences transforming sales organizations, the lessons they learned from a host of interviewed sales professionals, and original, quantitative research to show readers how to transform and modernize a sales force -- including ones that are typically intrinsically resistant to change.

The recommended transformation seven steps are defined by these transformational levers:
DriversVisionCas…

How To Be A Serial Winner

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The Cycle of Winning has five parts: Decide, Overdo, Adjust, Finish, Keep Improving. These are the five actions that winners take to get on track and to help stay on tract. Theses actions create Serial Winners, explains Larry Weidel in his book, Serial Winner.

"Serial Winners leverage a cycle of winning action to make progress," says Weidel. "They do something every day that puts them on a course for the things they want in life."

"As you read [the book], you'll realize that you're already doing some of these things. But one or more of them will jump out at you -- the things you're missing," adds Weidel.

In the book, Weidel presents a step-by-step process that you can apply to your life, career and in your business.

Larry Weidel
For example, Weidel teaches:
Don't Hesitate, Decide -- Serial Winners make up their minds to being and then they keep moving. They know the clock is ticking and they need to continually make decisions and take actio…

Resolve To Find A Mentor In 2017

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Having a mentor is one of the best things you can do to advance your career as a leader. So, decide today to secure a mentor who will work with you during 2017.

A mentor can benefit leaders new to their leadership role and they can benefit experienced and seasoned leaders, as well.

A strong mentoring relationship allows the mentor and the mentee to develop new skills and talents, to build confidence, and to build self-awareness.

Proper mentoring takes a commitment from both parties and it takes time to develop and to reap the rewards of the relationship. Plan to work with your mentor for no less than three months, and ideally for six months or longer.

When seeking out a mentor, think about these questions:
1.  Will the relationship have good personal chemistry?
2.  Can this person guide me, particularly in the areas where I am weakest?
3.  Will this person take a genuine interest in me?
4.  Does this person have the traits and skills I want to develop?
5.  Is this a person I admire?
6…

Questions To Ask When Checking References

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Awhile back, the Harvard Business Review published some great questions that Gilt Groupe CEO Kevin Ryan asks when he is checking references.

Ryan serves on the board of Yale Corporation, Human Rights Watch, and INSEAD, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.  He holds a B.A. from Yale University and a M.B.A from INSEAD.

His main seven honest-feedback-extracting-questions (and follow-ups) are:
Would you hire this person again?  If so, why and in what capacity?  If not, why not?How would you describe the candidate's ability to innovate, manage, lead, deal with ambiguity, get things done and influence others?What were some of the best things this person accomplished?  What could he or she have done better?In what type of culture, environment, and role can you see this person excelling?  In what type of role is he or she unlikely to be successful?Would you describe the candidate as a leader, a strategist, an executor, a collaborator, a thinker, or something else?  Can you…

How To Build Trust

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You can't lead if your employees, team or followers don't trust you.

Building trust takes energy, effort and constant attention to how you act.

To help build trust, follow these 16 tips, recommended by author Susan H. Shearouse:
Be honestKeep commitments and keep your wordAvoid surprisesBe consistent with your moodBe your bestDemonstrate respectListenCommunicateSpeak with a positive intentAdmit mistakesBe willing to hear feedbackMaintain confidencesGet to know othersPractice empathySeek input from othersSay "thank you"

Today's Leadership Thought

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"A smile is a curve that sets everything straight." - Phyllis Diller

Six Questions To Regularly Ask Your Employees

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As explained in John Baldoni's, book, Lead With PurposeMarshall 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?

The Three Elements Of An Apology

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The following great advice about how to apologize is from the book, The Courage Solution, by Mindy Mackenzie. Mackenzie recommends you include these three elements when you apologize:
Actually say "I'm sorry" out loud, while making eye contact, if possible.Acknowledging your error by adding the phrase "I was wrong...but more importantly, you were right."Asking humbly, "How can I fix this?" Keep in mind that an effective apology requires you to have actually begun working on a solution by the time you get to this step.

The Seven Arts Of Change

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David Shaner's compelling, The Seven Arts of Change, shows business leaders that transforming a business only happens when each employee equates organizational change with the process of deep personal growth.

"The bottom line is that, despite how technological and automated organizations have become, at their core they remain a collection of human energies that are merely being applied in an organized environment," explains Shaner.  "Resurrecting and guiding that human core of your organization is the secret to leading and sustaining change," he adds.

Shaner pulls from his vast professional and personal experiences, including having been a member of the Olympic Valley USA Ski Team and a former Harvard University teacher, to lay out a seven-part "spiritual guide" for change:
The Art of Preparation (Assessment)The Art of Compassion (Participation)The Art of Responsibility (Accountability)The Art of Relaxation (Clarity, Focus, Visibility)The Art of Consc…

When To Be A Coach And When To Be A Counselor

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A good manager is both a coach and a counselor.  Generally, coaching should precede counseling.

As a coach,a manager:
identifies an employee's need for instruction and direction and this need is usually directly related to his or her performance or career goals.  Coaching is collaborative. It relies on mutual, progressive goal-setting, personal feedback, and an ongoing, supportive relationship.

You coach to help retain employees and to show you care about your employees as individuals.  It's best to coach when a new procedure is introduced, a job is changed, and/or a skill gap is identified.

As a counselor, a manager
first identifies a problem that interferes with an employee's work performance and then helps the employee to define specifically what behavior he or she needs to change in order to improve his or her performance or resolve a problem. So, the difference between coach and counselor is subtle, but important.  And, as Sharon Armstrong further shares in her book, &qu…

How To Stay Motivated

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To learn how to stay motivated, read High-Profit Prospecting, by Mark Hunter. It's a powerful read that includes counterintuitive advice and cutting-edge best practices for sales prospecting in today's business world.

Today, I share one of my favorite sections of the book where Hunter describes his seven things motivated people do to stay motivated:
Motivated people ignore voices in their lives. These might be people in the office and friends who have bad attitudes. They're out there, and if you're not careful, they'll control you, too.Motivated people associate with highly motivated people. Just as there are negative people in the world, there are also positive people. Your job is to make sure you spend as much time with the positive people as possible. Motivated people simply look for the positive in things. Positive people count it an honor to live each day, learn from others, and impact positively those they meet. Positive people take great satisfaction in help…

Checklist For How To Identify And Develop Emerging Talent

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From the book, Mastering the Challenges of Leading Change, comes this useful checklist from author H. James Dallas for how to identify and develop emerging talent in your company/organization.

Dallas recommends that each question should be graded on a scale of 1 to 3, with 3 being the best. Use the questions and the scoring for you and your employee to work together toward the highest ratings across the board.
Has the person demonstrated a "getting lost with confidence" mind-set?Does the person communicate with authenticity?Has the person created a strong personal brand that is recognized by colleagues of all levels?Does the person know his or her blind spots and have people watching to prevent him or her from crashing?Is the person getting exposure to executive management?Does the person seek out and seriously consider advice?Is the person building an inclusive team and sponsoring others?Is the person proactive in finding opportunities to initiate and lead change?

The 10 Questions Every Leader Must Ask

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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?

How To Listen And Learn As A Leader

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In John Baldoni's bookThe Leader's Guide to Speaking with Presence, he provides these tips for listening as a leader and learning as a leader:

When Listening As ALeader: Look at people when they are speaking to you. Make eye contact.Ask open-ended questions, such as "Tell me about..." or "Could you explain this?"Consider the "what if" question:  "What if we looked at the situation like this?"Leverage the "why" question:  "Why do we do it this way?"Employ the "how" question:  "How can you do this?"When Learning As A Leader: Reflect on what people have told you.Think about what you have not observed.  Are people holding back?  If so, why?Consider how you can implement what you have observed.Get back to people who have suggested ideas to you and thank them.Look for opportunities to collaborate with others. For about 20 years, Baldoni has coached and consulted for a number of leading companies in a var…

There Is No Shame In Asking For Help

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If you are new to managing, or if you are struggling with a management dilemma, ask for help. There is no shame in asking for help.

Seek the guidance of a colleague at work. Reach out to a mentor at or away from work. Turn to an online resource. Consult a book on managing.

Whatever you do, don't sit back and do nothing. Managing even one employee can be challenging. And many managers receive little or no formal training on how to be a manager. That means you have to be proactive about learning how to be a good manager.

Your team is depending on you, and to lead them effectively you need to know to how manage effectively. So, ask for help.

Always Follow Through

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Set a good example for your employees and follow through on everything you say you are going to do.

If you promise to get an employee an answer, get it for him or her. If you say you'll send a team member a report, do so. As the Nike campaign/slogan so aptly says, "Just Do It."

Too many leaders don't follow through. Perhaps they get busy. Perhaps they forget. However, following through is critical to keeping your team effective and efficient. And it's necessary for gaining respect from your employees.

Following through also means doing so in a timely fashion. If you take too long to follow through, it's as bad as not following through at all.

14 Action Items For Establishing The Need To Change

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Stacking the Deck: How to Lead Breakthrough Change Against Any Odds, is as relevant today as it was when published two years ago. That's because the pace of change in business is just as fast as it was two years ago.

Unfortunately, even when business leaders know they need to make changes at their company, many struggle with how to start making that change. And, how to create a sense of urgency around that need.

Author David S. Pottruck offers these 14 action items for establishing the need to change and a sense of urgency. Ask these questions and take these steps:
What is your company's mission statement? Do employees believe the company is committed to this mission?What is your perspective on the problem you need to solve or the opportunity you need to capture?What evidence do you have of this problem or opportunity?How is this problem or opportunity connected to the company's purpose and mission?Define your stakeholders (customers, employees, leadership, shareholders, ve…

Be A Manager Who Makes Decisions

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A manager who can't make a decision or who can't make a timely decision will frustrate his/her employees. Equally bad, a lack of decision will impede the progress of the manager's team.

Some managers make endless requests for data as a way to postpone their having to make a decision. Employees end up spinning in circles, slicing and dicing the information far beyond what is truly needed for the manager to make a decision.

Some managers are simply afraid to make a decision in fear of making a "wrong" decision. These managers don't necessarily request needless data, but simply just never decide.

Successful managers gather the data from their employees, make any truly necessary follow-up requests (probing beyond what their employee may have researched/gathered on their own), and then make their decision...knowing that in virtually all cases most decisions are not black and white "right or "wrong," but are the best decisions made at that time for …

Powerful Leadership Quotes From The Book, Leading With Grit

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In addition to Laurie Sudbrink's, Leading With GRIT, being a great book for leaders, it's packed with powerful leadership and life quotes. Here are some of my favorites:
Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are - Kurt CobainThe respect you show to others (or lack thereof) is an immediate reflection on your self respect - Alex ElleYou never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view - Harper LeePeople only see what they are prepared to see - Ralph Waldo EmersonWe make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give - Winston ChurchillIf it doesn't challenge you, it won't change you - Fred DevitoThe secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old but on building the new - SocratesThe biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to rely - AnonymousAttention is the rarest and purest form of generosity - Simon WeilGood leaders inspire people to have confidence in …

Highlights From The Book, Connection Culture

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"Connection is what transforms a dog-eat-dog environment into a sled-dog team that pulls together," says Michael Lee Stallard, author of the new book, Connection Culture. "Connection builds an emotional bond that promotes trust, cooperation, and esprit de corps among people in the workplace."

Based on shared identity, empathy, and understanding, connection moves primarily self-centered individuals toward group-centered membership.

"Without that sense of connection, employees will never each their full potential," states Stallard.

The 10 ways you can improve your connection skills are to:
Recognize varying connection needsBe present in conversationsDevelop the ability to empathizeDevelop the habit of emphasizing positivesControl your tone of voiceNegotiate with the mindset to solve a problems rather than to winProvide autonomy in executionLearn to apply the five languages of appreciation Apologize when you make a mistakeDevelop social skills and relationsh…