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Showing posts from January, 2017

How To Handle Conflict In The Workplace

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Handling conflict is one of the most difficult things a leader has to deal with. Unfortunately, conflict in the workplace is inevitable.
In fact, research shows that 42 percent of a manager's time is spent addressing conflict.  And, over 65 percent of performance problems are caused by employee conflicts. Managers new in their leadership role typically have had little to no training on how to deal with conflict.

Fortunately, in Susan H. Shearouse's book, Conflict 101, you can learn:
How conflict is createdHow we respond to conflictHow to management conflict more effectively Shearouse explains that even though conflict is inevitable, it can lead to both growth and progress. "There is little progress that is not preceded by some kind of conflict," says Shearouse.

I found particularly helpful in the book the definitions of the following five different types of conflict and then how best to deal with each:
Problems to solveDisagreementContestFightIntractable situation Also…

How To Make An Effective Team Even Stronger

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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 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?

When To Be A Coach And When To Be A Mentor

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Author Kristi Hedges, in her book, The Power of Presence, provides these explanations of the roles of a coach and of a mentor and how they differ from each other:


The Coach shows empathy through a mixture of tough love and strong support.  The coach is not afraid to push you because she sees the best in you.  This leader has a good sense of what's going on in the rest of your life and isn't afraid to mention it as it relates to your performance and potential.


The Mentor makes you feel that your success is always top of mind.  Mentors have your back to guide you along in your career.  They will act as a confidante as you hash through ideas and won't hold it against you as your iterate.  Because they have done well, they operate from a point of helping others do the same.

Eight-Point Checklist For Identifying And Developing 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?

Must-Read Book For Nonprofit Leaders

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If you lead a nonprofit organization, the one hour it will take you to read Peter F. Drucker's book called "The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization" will be well worth it.

This book may fundamentally change the way you work and lead your organization.

Perhaps one of most challenging questions Drucker asks the reader is:

"Do we produce results that are sufficiently outstanding for us to justify putting our resources in this area?"

Because, Drucker argues that need alone does not justify continuing. Nor does tradition, if your results are not sufficiently outstanding.

If you volunteer for a nonprofit or are seeking employment at a nonprofit, this book is also an insightful and inspiring read.

Ten Important Questions Every Leader Should 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?

Seven Ways To Be An Open Leader

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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!

How To Lead And Live

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Here are some of my favorite leadership and life tips and advice from William Arthur Ward, one of America's most quoted writers of inspirational maxims:
Do more than belong: participate.Do more than care: help.Do more than believe: practice.Do more than be fair: be kind.Do more than forgive: forget.Do more than dream: work.

This Week's Three Tips For Leaders

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Be Decisive
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 made a decision.

Successful managers (true leaders) gather the data from their employees, make any 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 decisio…

How To Be A Developing Leader

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One of my favorite lessons from the book, The DNA of Leadership, is the importance of being a developing leader.

Developing leaders:
Create the next generation of leadersAre great listenersGrow talent by challenging others to take on more than what they think they can doAre open, honest and directModel the behavior they want to mentor for others If you haven't read Judith E. Glaser's book, The DNA of Leadership, give it a read. You won't be disappointed.

How To Achieve Extraordinary Results

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“Making small changes to reach big goals is the answer,” says entrepreneur and bestselling author Michael Alden in his book, 5% MORE: Making Small Changes To Achieve Extraordinary Results. “If you just put 5% more effort into any aspect of your life, you will not only achieve your goals, you will surpass them,” he explains. 
“Far too often, people become paralyzed when they want to improve their lives, because the effort to reach their goals seems overwhelming,” adds Alden. “Or the opposite occurs. They decide to dive into something one hundred percent, but then quickly lose steam.”
Therefore, Alden demonstrates that long-lasting success is based on small increases in effort. “Five percent is almost unnoticeable in terms of effort—but it accrues quickly, with each step boosting the baseline,” he declares.
Although much of Alden’s advice is based on personal experience, observation, and common sense, he is careful to discuss the studies and research that support his ideas throughout t…

The Do's And Don'ts Of Being An Effective Listener

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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

10 Leadership Quotes By John C. Maxwell

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Here are some of my favorites quotes from John C. Maxwell's book, The 5 Levels of Leadership -- a book Ibelieve should be a must-read for any workplace/organizational leader:
Good leadership isn't about advancing yourself.  It's about advancing your team.Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.Leadership is action, not position.When people feel liked, cared for, included, valued, and trusted, they begin to work together with their leader and each other.If you have integrity with people, you develop trust.  The more trust you develop, the stronger the relationship becomes.  In times of difficulty, relationships are a shelter.  In times of opportunity, they are a launching pad.Good leaders must embrace both care and candor.People buy into the leader, then the vision.Bringing out the best in a person is often a catalyst for bringing out the best in the team.Progress comes only from taking risks and making mistakes.Leade…

How To Hold Effective Brainstorming Sessions

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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.

Discover Your One Word To Leave A Legacy

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You've likely selected your New Year's resolutions and set some goals for 2017. I have. However, I just discovered and read the new book, Life Word, and now I'm going to select my one Life Word. The one word that as the book authors say will significantly impact my life and legacy.

Life Word shows you the three-step process for how to identify your Live Word and the "why" behind that word so you can live with a renewed sense of power, purpose and passion.
Your Life Word becomes the driving force to align your efforts and eliminate distractions. And, by living your Life Word you create your legacy, defined by what you leave behind that lives on in others. Your legacy is always about the lives we touch and the people we influence. And, as the authors explain, the value of your life and your legacy is revealed in the stories that those who were most important to you--those who knew you best--will tell.

In less than 100-pages and something you can read in about a coup…

Best New Leadership Book Of 2016

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After reading nearly 30 new books about leadership this past year, my pick for 2016's best new leadership book is, Mastering the Challenges of Leading Change, by H. James Dallas. Technically, the book came out in the fall of 2015, but gained its popularity and momentum in 2016, hence my selection as my 2016 pick.


Virtually every business is undergoing change. And, one of the most difficult things for a leader to do is to successfully lead a change initiative. And, change is what most employees fear most. That's why, says Brown that on average nearly 75 percent of change initiatives fail. What's more...

When the rate of external change exceeds the rate of internal change, the end is in sight.
Fortunately, Brown has written what I consider to be one of the most straight-forward, practical and timely books on how to lead a transition through change effectively.

H. James Dallas

More specifically, Brown covers much more than tasks, timing and technologies. He also covers the all…

How To Learn The Art Of Change Leadership

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The Art of Change Leadershipdemystifies the psychology behind our reactions to change and offers a powerful collection of tools to inspire individual and collective transformation quickly and more effectively, explains author of the book, Cheryl Cran.

The book teaches you how to:
Leverage your current technical knowledge to increase the rate of innovation.Use the cycle of change to foresee and handle change-related issues affecting yourself, others, and business.Raise your emotional intelligence to match your IQ.Guide "change" initiatives with repeatable success by using the reliable three-step change model. Cran also explains the differences between a Change Manager and a Change Leader.
For example: A Change Manager creates a plan, directs projects and people to achieve a goal. In contrast, a Change Leader sets the compelling vision; tells a story that includes the hero's journey for each person involved.
In addition, a Change Leader does the following: Provides a project …

This Is What Makes A High Performing Team

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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 Apologize

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The following great advice about how to apologize is from the new book, The Courage Solution, by Mindy Mackenzie. I'll be posting a full review of the book in a few days. In the meantime, 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.