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Showing posts from 2019

The 16 Ways 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"

Don't Hog 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.

Encourage Your Employees To Volunteer

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As a leader, if you are not already volunteering, what a great time to start. Make a commitment to yourself to start volunteering before next week starts!

And, if you are a workplace leader who supports a volunteer program at your business, you already know that by encouraging employees to give back to your community you are:
building teamworkmotivating employeesattracting new hires In fact, job seekers much prefer companies that have a strong volunteer program. And, a growing number of businesses are rewarding employees who volunteer by giving them extra vacation time and other incentives.

Fortunately, throughout the U.S. there are hundreds of volunteer opportunities where employees can contribute individually, or where leaders can organize teams of employees to volunteer together on a routine and scheduled basis.

To find organizations in need of volunteers, go to Volunteer Match and type in your zip code. You'll be presented a list of nearby volunteer opportunities.

How To Have A Get-To-Know-You Conversation With Your Employee

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To help you bring out the best in your team, you need to get close and understand their skills, abilities, and motivations. So, the authors of the book, Your First Leadership Job, recommend you hold getting-to-know-you conversations with each of your direct reports.
Ask these open-ended questions. Let each team member know the purpose of the meeting in advance. And, don't cheat by adding in work-specific questions. What do you enjoy doing most as part of your work? Why?What do you miss most about the jobs you've had in the past? Why?What things about your current job do you enjoy the least? Why?How do you cope with or relieve stress?To help you do your job, what could I change about: Your work environment? The content of your work? How you get your work done?What form of recognition do you prefer or not prefer?

70 New Year's Resolutions For Leaders For 2020

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With 2020 fast approaching, it's time to identify your New Year's Resolutions for next year.

To get you started, how about selecting one or more of these 70 New Year's resolutions for leaders?

Perhaps write down five to ten and then between now and January 1, think about which couple you want to work on during 2020.
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 reviewsBe courageous, quick and fairTalk more 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 meetingPrais…

Never Say These Four Words To A Customer

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Author Harvey MacKay wrote the following spot-on advice years ago in a column in the Kansas City Business Journal.  He wisely points out that all employees at every level should never use these four words in front of a client/customer for both obvious and perhaps not so obvious reasons:
Can't -- As in, "We can't do that."  "We can't meet that deadline."  Unless you honestly cannot produce and then be honest and help them find another vendor.Busy -- As in, "I'll call you when I'm not so busy."  "I'm really busy right now." The word "busy" gives your customer the impression they are a low priority.Safe -- As in, "Let's play it safe."  Customers typically want to engage in calculated risks versus playing it safe.Fear -- As in, "I fear that we may be moving too fast."  That tells your customer you haven't done your homework. MacKay writes, "Common sense, thorough research and sound ad…

The Best Places To Hold A Job Interview

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One of the reasons you want to interview people in three different places is that candidates will usually be at their very best in the first interview (likely in your office). After that, if they are pretending, the veneer will come off in subsequent meetings in out-of-the office locations.

Also, because most employees can only be successful in their jobs in different locations as well, it makes sense to witness your candidates in different settings. So, consider interviewing the candidate over a lunch at a nearby restaurant.

And, finally, consider interviewing them in a group setting where you invite a variety of your employees to be part of the group. If you do this, be sure to let each employee voice their "vote" regarding the candidate after the meeting.

There are lots more great tips like this one in Thompson's and Tracy's book, Now...Build a Great Business!

Hire To Complement, Not To Duplicate

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Despite the temptation to hire someone like yourself, hire someone to complement your skills --not to duplicate your skills.

Managers often find it easier, more comfortable, or less threatening to hire someone with similar skills and work habits. But, to build a well-balanced team and to achieve maximum success, you need to have employees who can fill in your weaker areas.

So, if you are a great idea person, but a poor communicator, hire someone with strong communications skills. Similarly, if your team excels in sales but lacks organization, add an employee who leads in organization skills.

This may all seem like common sense. And you obviously need to hire someone to meet certain/minimum skill sets and who will be a good overall fit. However, do what you can to avoid the trap or temptation to hire someone just like you.

The Three Drivers Of Motivation

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Julian Birkinshaw shares the three drivers of discretionary effort (motivation) from employees in his book, Becoming a Better Boss:
Material drivers, including salary, bonuses, promotion, and prizesSocial drivers, including recognition for achievement, status, and having good colleaguesPersonal drivers, including freedom to act, the opportunity to build expertise, and working for a worthwhile cause Take a moment now to reflect on where your business excels and where it falls short.

Best New Leadership Book Of 2019

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Each year, after reading and reviewing dozens of new leadership books, I select my pick for the year's best new leadership book. For 2019, that book is Paul Smith's, The 10 Stories Great Leaders Tell, released this past summer.

I selected this book as best for its innovative format, timely and pertinent content, and how easy it is to put what Paul teaches to immediate use as a leader.

All of Paul Smith’s three books on storytelling are must-reads for business leaders, salespeople and parents. And, The 10 Stories Great Leaders Tell, is yet another required read for leaders – managers, CEOs and team leaders.
Every great leader is a great storyteller. And, the first and most important part of being a great storyteller is knowing what stories to tell,” explains Paul. In fact, “What stories you tell is more important than how you tell them,” he adds.
Part of an innovative book format from IgniteReads, Paul’s new book features a bold design and expertly guides you through the 10 s…

Inspiring Leadership Quotes To Start Your New Year

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These quotes truly inspire me and hopefully they will inspire you as well:
“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 neve…

How To Make Better Decisions

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On December 31, the new book, Decisions, hits the market. As seen on Public Television, the book by Robert L. Dilenschneider, features vignettes on 23 individuals who made decisions that shaped the world.
Each chapter offers practical thinking on how these women and men made decisions. You can use their decision-making skills as guidance at work, in your leadership role, and in your daily life.
You’ll learn decision making tips from Harry Truman, Margaret Thatcher, Mohammed Ali, Rachel Carson, Pablo Picasso and others who made decisions during war and peace, and in fields of science, commerce and invention.
Author Dilenschneider suggests takeaways about decision-making from each featured historical figure. Some of my favorite decision-making lessons from history and from the book include these: Own your decisions. Be responsible for them and for their implications. Do not be reactionary—that is, making decisions to spite others or because of outside pressure—but do be respectful of their…

How To Prove Your Competence And Win People Over

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When you want to improve your competence and how others view your competence, the book, Convinced: How To Prove Your Competence And Win People Over, by Jack Nasher, is your go-to resource.
With the advice in the book you will be able to exhibit your abilities in front of customers, colleagues, and superiors – whether in meetings, presentations, or crucial conversations.
Chapter 1 shows you why competence is the most important single factor for your professional success, according to Nasher.
Chapter 3 shows you how to present good and bad news in the way that is most beneficial to you.
Chapter 5 synthesizes research on the role of speech in projecting an image of expertise and provides tips for speaking like an expert.
Chapter 6 emphasizes the importance of body language that demonstrate competence.
My favorite verbal communication tips for displaying competence that Nasher shares in his book are: Speak a little faster than usual, but clearly and smoothly.Speak somewhat deeper and louder than…

The Monograph To The Iconic Good To Great

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Earlier this year brought Jim Collin’s monograph to his iconic bestseller, Good to Great book. Titled, Turning the Flywheel, Collins explains why some companies build momentum and some don’t.

Eighteen years after writing Good to Great, Collins delves deep into the flywheel approach and how successful flywheels grow through four key stages – Through: Disciplined PeopleDisciplined ThoughtDisciplined ActionBuilding to Last“One you get your flywheel right, you want to renew and extend that flywheel for years to decades – decision upon decision, action upon action, turn by turn – each loop adding to the cumulative effect,” explains Collins.
One good flywheel example is Amazon’s, discovered in 2001: lower prices led to more customer visits, which increased sales volume, which attracted more third-party sellers, which boosted efficiency.“Look closely at any truly sustained great enterprise and you’ll likely find a flywheel at work, though it might be hard to discern at first,” shares Collins.
Ke…

Learning To Lead

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Inspiring, humbling, motivating and instructional is how I describe the leadership book by Ron Williams, called, Learning To Lead: The Journey To Leading Yourself, Leading Others, And, Leading An Organization.
Williams tells his career journey from washing cars to reviving one of the nation’s largest health insurers, where as the former CEO he transformed Aetna from a $292 million operating loss into $2 billion in annual earnings.
Throughout the book, Williams provides detailed perspectives, tips, tools and practical advice to overcome the most typical challenges people encounter during the course of a career.
He reminds us that introverts can be successful leaders, you don’t need to always know exactly where you’re going when you start, and a degree in business is not necessarily a requirement for success.
By learning Williams’s approach to leadership, readers will discover how to:
Manage or adjust their career questAvoid professional pitfalls, wrong turns, and wasted effortNurture a…

How To Improve Your Decision Making Skills

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Be sure to check out the book, The Decision Makeoever, by Mike Whitaker. It's a fascinating look at decision making and the importance of decision size and timing.

As you read the book, you'll gain a better understanding of:
The power of decisionsWhy we make bad decisionsHow to deal with bad decisionsHow to deal with regretHow to take control of decision makingHow goals and decisions can help each other Perhaps the most significant part of the book is the author's perspective on goals. "Knowing your goals is the key to making good decisions," says Whitaker. "Because goals and decision-making are so intimately intertwined."
Therefore, he advises that you: Keep a few key goals close: Choice five prime goals and stay focused on them.Decide which goal is top priority and always give it favorable treatment when making decisions.Know that when a decision overlaps a prime goal, it becomes a prime decision. And, prime decisions are to be treated with more care b…

How To Identify And Develop Emerging Talent In Your Company

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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?

Today's Leadership Thought: Celebrate Learning

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Today's leadership thought comes from the new book, Trap Tales, by David M. R. Covey and Stephan M. Mardyks.

"Rejoice and celebrate in the effort, the journey, and the process as much as in the end result. Mistakes are instructive. Learn from them instead of hiding them."

Leading Versus Managing

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Here are some great insights about leading versus managing from Bob Kulhan and his book, Getting To Yes And.

He says, "Leading is not managing. Managing is not leading."

"Managing is taking care of logistical and practical details. Every team-related task needs to be managed to some extent, and the quality of managing can fall anywhere on a spectrum that runs from well-oiled machine to gear-grinding nightmare."

"The real problem arises when anyone confuses the managing of job-specific details with actual leadership. One does not need to be a visionary to qualify as a leader, but leadership does imply vision from a position of oversight."

"Managing is a part of leading, and a great leader can and should be an excellent manager. While a good manager needs to effectively communicate data and details, a good leader communicates on a broader, higher level. A leader drives for results, leads by example, and develops talent."

Finally, he adds that, &q…

Leaving Your Legacy

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Today's leadership thought comes from the new book, Trap Tales, by David M. R. Covey and Stephan M. Mardyks.

"True happiness does not come from possessions. It comes from serving others and making meaningful contributions that benefit other people long after we are gone. It is prioritizing experiences over possessions."

5 Tips For Making An Effective Presentation

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There is lots of good advice in Bob Kulhan's book, Getting To Yes And, One of my favorites is his tips for making a presentation.

Kulhan recommends you follow these five tips:
Warm Up. It's not enough to review your notecards and double-check your PowerPoint. Give yourself time to get your body and mind ready for peak performance.Relax. You've done all the prep work and you know what you're talking about, so give yourself permission to adapt to changes in your presentation as they occur.Adapt. You cannot plan for every question, and no matter how much you prepare there will always be uncontrollable surprises that pop up and potentially undermine your presentation. Don't try to control them. Try to adapt to them.Focus on Engaging. Put your energy into making sure that you are communicating your points clearly and effectively. You are not talking to a group; you are talking to individuals within the group.Be Yourself. You are not bound by slides. Your slides are ther…

Work Ethic For Leaders

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I really appreciate author Valerie M. Grubb's broader than typical definition of work ethic for leaders, as she details it in her book, Clash of the Generations.

Here is what she says defines work ethic for leaders:
Honest. Be truthful in your dealings with employees, vendors, customers, and anyone else with whom you come in contact on behalf of the company.Full of Integrity. Maintain high-quality standards despite schedule pressures. Demonstrate and uphold values and principles that create a climate of trust.Law-abiding. Act within the statutes of the law and the company's rules and regulations.Trustworthy. Speak the truth even when no one else does. Be candid and forthcoming. Give credit freely for others' accomplishments. Stand by your commitments and own up to your mistakes. Fair. Be fair and just in dealings with employees. Value and support diversity and inclusion across the board.Respectful of others. Display grace under pressure and don't lash out at employees,…

8 Seconds To Be Meaningful

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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 …

How To Be A Humble Leader

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From John Blakey's book, The Trusted Executive, here are these four tips from Jim Collins for how to be a humble leader:
Demonstrate a compelling modesty, shunning public adulation and never be boastful.Act with quiet, calm determination and motivate others through inspired standards, not inspiring charisma.Channel ambition into the company, not the self, and set up successors for even more greatness in the next generation.Look in the mirror, not out of the window, when apportioning responsibility for poor performance.

How To Create Your Mission Statement

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Here's some good "how-to" advice for creating your mission statement, from the book, Total Alignment. According to authors Riaz Khadem and Linda Khadem:

Basically, your mission statement includes:
What you doWhere you operateWhom you are servingWhy And, they explain that the first step in developing your mission is to ask and answer these key questions: What do we do?Where and for whom?Why do we do this? What is our purpose?Does what we do today limit us in fulfilling our purpose in five years or beyond?If so, how can we broaden the statement of what we do today?What would be a brief inspiring statement describing our mission?The answer to Question 6 is your mission statement.

How To Be 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