Skip to main content


Showing posts from March, 2019

Let A Team Member Lead Your Meeting

A great idea from the book,  The Little Book of Leadership Development , is to ask each team member to lead a meeting to gain experience leading your team. Authors  Scott J. Allen  and  Mitchell Kusy  suggest that you allow the team member to be responsible for: Developing the agenda Leading the meeting Disseminating the meeting minutes After a full rotation of your staff, your team will better understand how difficult it is to set an agenda and guide a group of people with many opinions and competing commitments. Most important, your team members will better understand how to lead a meeting and will actually become more effective team members. And, here are a few tips for your team members: Always distribute the agenda ahead of time. State how much time is being allotted to each agenda item and state whether it is an actionable item or merely a topic for discussion.

10 Tips To Maximize Employee Engagement

Here are 10 tips for how to maximize employee involvement: Have active ways to  listen to your employees . Check often with employees  to see if the information you are sharing with them is what they need and what they want. Share information about customer satisfaction  with employees. Discuss financial performance  with your employees and be sure everyone understands the importance of profitability and how they can contribute to profitability. Allow ad hoc teams among employees to form to address organizational problems  and work with those teams to tackle the identified issues. Encourage employees to make suggestions  for improvement whether those ideas are large or small. Take an idea from one employee and share it with other employees  and teams and let everyone make a contribution to build upon that idea. Train! For long-term employees, find ways to  keep their jobs interesting through new assignments  and challenges. Conduct meetings around specific issues  and bra

The Difference Between Positive Feedback And Praise

There is an important difference between giving your employees  positive feedback  and giving them  praise . Positive feedback focuses on the specifics of job performance. Praise, often one-or two-sentence statements, such as “Keep up the good work,” without positive feedback leaves employees with empty feelings. Worse yet, without positive feedback, employees feel no sense that they are appreciated as individual talents with specific desires to learn and grow on the job and in their careers, reports Nicholas Nigro, author of,  The Everything Coaching and Mentoring Book . So, skip the praise and give positive feedback that is more uplifting to your employees because it goes to the heart of their job performance and what they actually do. An example of positive feedback is : “Bob, your communications skills have dramatically improved over the past couple of months. The report that you just prepared for me was thorough and concise. I appreciate all the work you’ve put into i

Hire To Complement, Not To Duplicate

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. 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. But, do what you can to avoid the trap or temptation to hire someone just like you.

Close Your Door

This may seem obvious, but some managers don't, or forget to, close their door when disciplining an employee. If you don't have a door to close, move your discussion to a private area away from the rest of your employees. Some employees like to be praised in public. Some prefer to be praised in private. But, all employees should be disciplined in private.

Admit Your Mistakes

We all make mistakes. Yes, even leaders make mistakes. When you do, admit to them and apologize for the negative consequences they have caused your team members, vendors, or customers. Your ability to admit to a mistake will gain you the respect of your employees.

Be Verbal About Being Thankful

You and your team may not hit your revenue or profit goals this year. Or, perhaps your organization won't accomplish all its non-financial goals during in 2019. But, as a leader, you likely still have plenty to be thankful for within your workplace. So, be thankful. And, most important, verbalize your thanks ! Take time this week and then the rest of the year to smile and say "Thank You" to: Your employees  who may not have had pay raises in some time Your customers  who still do business with you, even though they had tight budgets Your vendors  that work with you on pricing and terms Your partner businesses  that band together with you like never before Your team  that helps you think of ways to reduce expenses and repackage your services to drive sales Your co-workers and peers  who encourage you to hang in there Your team that puts in more hours and tackles additional duties beyond their job descriptions Your former employees  for all they did for you

Must-Read Book For Nonprofit Leaders

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.

Words To Lead By

Words to lead by : "It's amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit." -  President Harry S. Truman . "Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it." -  President Dwight D. Eisenhower . "I not only use all the brains I have, but all I can borrow." -  President Woodrow Wilson .

How To Stay Relevant In A Fast-Changing World

Alan Adamson , co-author of the book,  Shift Ahead , says that “the ability for companies and organizations to stay relevant is being significantly challenged by the accelerating pace of change – and new ways of doing things – that are emerging with every passing day.” At a speed of change unlike every before.  That’s why this book, sub-titled,  How the Best Companies Stay Relevant in a Fast-Changing World , is a both a timely and pertinent read.  The book is based on the hands-on experience of both authors, Adamson, a branding expert, and  Joel Steckel , a professor of marketing and vice dean of doctoral education at NYU Stern School of Business.  And most significant, it’s based on academic research and  more than 100 interviews/case studies  with senior management, business leaders and category experts from a wide spectrum of applicable fields who have lived through change or analyzed the phenomenon.  For example, you’ll discover the lessons learned by Kodak, Xerox, B

Learn To Take Risks

Inspirational leadership wisdom came awhile back from Bahram Akradi, the CEO of Life Time Fitness. From that health club's monthly fitness magazine,  Experience Life , Akradi says: Once we get comfortable in our habitual patterns, we may fail to notice when they have outworn their useful purpose, or when new alternatives might serve us better. Once you've encountered a second way of seeing things, you're more likely to entertain the possibility of a third and fourth way, too. Do something that makes you just a little bit uncomfortable--and that renders you a little more awake. Thanks Akradi for encouraging us to break out from predictability.

Think Like An Elite Warrior To Lead And Succeed

Seeing this book (circled in the above picture) in the bookstore this week reminded me of my 2014 blog post about the book and the author. Realizing the book is as relevant today as it was five years ago, here is my post from 2014: Want to be a leader who is tough? Cool under fire? Able to sense danger before it's too late? In  The Way of the SEAL: Think Like an Elite Warrior to Lead and Succeed , ex-Navy SEAL Commander  Mark Divine  reveals exercises, meditations, and focusing techniques to train your mind for mental toughness, emotional resilience, and uncanny intuition. Along the way, Divine teaches you how to reaffirm your ultimate purpose, define your most important goals, and take concrete steps to make them happen. A native of Oneida County, New York, Mark   served in the U.S. Navy SEALs for 20 years, retiring as a commander, and holds an MBA from New York University's Leonard N. Stern School of Business. Having coached thousands of Navy SEAL and other Special O

The Secrets Of Productive People

According to  entrepreneur and author   Margaret Hefferman , as reported a few years ago in  Inc.  magazine, the  secrets of the most productive people are that they do these three things : They  take breaks . Breaks refresh the mind and allow you to see new situations.  They  are   great collaborators .  They  have lives outside work . In fact, the most successful have rich private lives that include interests that hone different skills and that let them think in different ways

How To Become An Accountable Leader

"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 engage Take an enterprise-wide perspective Build relationships Master uncertainty Develop other leaders Model the values And, to be a truly accountable leader, Molinaro says that you must serve the  five core obligations of leadership : Yourself Your customers Your organization Your employees Your 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

Leadership Conversations

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 pages. 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 relationships Develop others Make decisions Take action And, they provide real-world example

The 27 Challenges Managers Face

Take a look at the list below. How many of these 27 management challenges are you facing right now? And, how many do you believe you'll face this year? Going from  peer to leader Coming from the outside  to take over leadership of an existing team Bringing together an  entirely new team Welcoming a new member  to your existing team Helping an employee who has a hard time  managing time Assisting an employee who needs help with  interpersonal communication Getting an employee more  organized Helping an employee who needs to get better at  problem solving Working with an employee who needs to increase  productivity Helping an employee who needs to improve  quality Managing an employee who  knows more about the work than you do Showing an employee how to start " going the extra mile " Working with an employee who does " creative work " Helping an employee make an  attitude adjustment Managing  conflict  between and among individuals on your team

When Change Is Good

"Change is disturbing when it is done to us, exhilarating when it is done by us." -  Rosabeth Moss Kanter .

Five Cultural Fit Interview Questions

If you are leading an organization and are the last person to interview a candidate, focus your questions more on trying to see if the person is a cultural fit. Here are a few questions to pose to potential new hires (from the book,  Advisory Leadership : What motivates you? What are you passionate about? (Finding out what people are passionate about and why is a great window into someone's personality.) What are you telling your family/spouse about our company? (This question often takes candidates off guard and results in some often very honest answers.) What did you enjoy most/find most challenging in  your last position? (There are no right or wrong answers, necessarily. This question is a great assessment of the candidate, especially when considering certain roles.) What opportunities do you see for yourself here? 

How To Ignite Your Inspiration At Work

If your work no longer excites and inspires you, then the book,  Find the Fire , is a timely read. And one that will help you rekindle your own inspiration.   You’ll learn how to: Overcome the common fears of failure, change and criticism. Adopt an open mind and seek out new experiences. Embolden yourself to take more risks. Build upon progress and create momentum. Unleash creativity and produce work you’re proud of. Kick-start learning and growth. Banish perfectionism. Lift your self-confidence and earn respect. Most important, you’ll find the fire in work that eliminates the common factors that drag people down, such as disconnectedness, fear, inundation, settling and boredom, dwindling self-belief, loss of control, feelings of insignificance, lack of evocation and dearth of creating – all things that sap your energy and optimism.   One of my favorite parts in the book is the list of  nine ways to negate the fear of change . “Change threatens our sense of stabi

10 Essential Elements of Dignity

In their book,  Millennials Who Manage , authors  Chip Espinoza  and  Joel Schwarzbart , quote Donna Hicks's explanation about how  dignity is different from respect . Dignity is different from respect in that it is not based on how people perform, what they can do for us, or their likability. Dignity is a feeling of inherent value and worth. Therefore, Espinoza and Schwarzbart recommend that leaders treat those they are leading with dignity and follow Hick's  10 Essential Elements of Dignity : Acceptance of Identity  - Approach people as being neither inferior nor superior to you. Assume that others have integrity. Inclusion  - Make others feel that they belong, whatever the relationship. Safety  - Put people at ease at two levels: physically, so they feel safe from bodily harm, and psychologically, so they feel safe from being humiliated. Acknowledgment  - Give people your full attention by listening, hearing, validating, and responding to their concer

How To Lead Your Boss

The Courage Solution , a book by  Mindy Mackenzie , is all about the simple truth that the only thing you can reliably change or control is yourself. So, that is why Mackenzie wrote her book -- to teach you how to take actions that ultimately will improve your impact on the job and increase your happiness and fulfillment in your career. Mackenzie's  quick-read strategies focus on these four key areas : Part 1: You First  offers techniques to take ownership and accountability for creating a career and life you love. Part 2: Lead Your Boss  describes proven techniques to transform your relationship with your boss. Part 3: Lead Your Peers  provides methods for accelerating positive peer relationships to improve business results. Part 4: Lead Your Team  gives approaches for generating and creating the most effective teams and having more fun while doing it. Mindy Mackenzie A preview from the book of Mackenzie's advice on  Leading Your Boss  includes:

The Book Of Mistakes

Skip Prichard’s new book, The Book of Mistakes , provides a motivating and inspiring fable and journey to finding the secrets to creating a successful future. This 175-page self-help tale, wrapped in fiction, teaches you the nine mistakes that prevent many from achieving their goals . Full of wisdom, this is a book for everyone, and particularly valuable to anyone who wants to be a better leader. I won’t reveal the nine mistakes, however, here are some of my favorite takeaways and snippets from the lessons the book teaches: Be the hero of your story, not a minor character in someone else’s. Know your inherent value. Surround yourself with the people who will help you achieve your purpose. The journey to success requires both risk and failure. Look at everyone your meet as a wise teacher. Be motivated, not intimidated, by another’s success. Successful people have a sense of urgency. Prichard has featured, interviewed, and studied over one thousand of the world’s

How To Be A Modern Day Legacy Builder

Legacy in the Making  is the fascinating book where authors  Mark Miller  and  Lucas Conley  provide readers a toolkit for how to be a  modern day legacy builder  for your company/brand.   The tool kit provides the roadmap for leaders who can harness the power of long-term thinking in a short-term world; the skill needed to create a modern day legacy. The fascinating part of the book is the stories from the authors’ exclusive interviews with modern legacy thinkers who are transforming business as we know it – stories from  The Honest Company ,  Grey Goose ,  Taylor Guitars ,  Girls Who Code , and the  San Diego Zoo . “These are the legacy builders that are out-performing rivals, attracting and keeping the best talent, and changing the way others engage with their work and think about their own legacies in the making,” explain the authors. Modern day legacy building is a new kind of legacy creation that simultaneously encompasses what was and what

How To Be An Active Listener

Today's leadership tip on how to be an  active listener  comes from the book,  Stronger . The authors explain that perhaps the best single technique t o convey effective listening  requires you to be an  active listener . When someone has finished making a point, use that person's name and then paraphrase in your words the essence of what you understood that person to say. Then ask a follow-question. Frame your question to keep the focus on the person speaking.

How To Lead Breakthrough Change Against All Odds

David S. Pottruck 's book,  Stacking the Deck ,  teaches readers a  nine-step  course of action leaders can follow from the first realization that change is needed through all the steps of implementation, including assembling the right team of close advisors and getting the word out to the wider group. This book tells the in-the-trenches stories of individuals who led bold, sweeping change. Stories that walk you through the social and emotional reality of leading others -- many of whom are fearful of change. Stories from eBay President and CEO John Donahoe; Wells Fargo former CEO and Chairman Dick Kovacevich; Starbucks Chairman, President and CEO Howard Schultz; San Francisco Giants President and CEO Larry Baer; and Pinkberry CEO Ron Graves. Part one of the book outlines the  Stacking the Deck process  -- the nine steps through which nearly every breakthrough change inevitably goes: Establishing the need to change and creating a sense of urgency.

The Eight Ways To Show You Value Your Employees

There are  eight specific actions  business leaders can take to  show that they value their employees , according to  Andrew Leigh , author of the book,  Ethical Leadership -- Creating and Sustaining an Ethical Business Culture . Those  eight behaviors  are: Attention  -- Pay attention to what people say to show your interest. Listen  -- Make time to hear what colleagues, peers and employees have to say to show you care. Positive Language  -- Find words and phrases to show employees they're needed.  Examples are, "We couldn't have accomplished this without you," "That was really useful." Document  -- Put praise in writing to increase its impact.  Make clear where the credit belongs. Micro Sessions  -- Create two-way communication sessions. Visits  -- Schedule visits to teams and work areas. Stories  -- Share stories that highlight unusual contributions and provide your personal response to them. Invite  -- Ask people to contact you direct

How To Talk About Inconsistencies With An Employee

If you’re having a difficult time clarifying inconsistencies you are hearing from an employee about a project’s/task’s progress, try asking these questions (or making these statements) the next time you meet with the employee: •  Here’s what I see. Here’s what I hear you saying. •  Here’s what we know so far. •  So let’s see if I’m on track with you… •  Let’s see where we are… •  How about we step back from a moment and look at a few different ideas… •  Did I hear you correctly when you said…? •  Am I missing something here? Always be sure you’re on the same page and have the same understanding of the progress being made with your employee’s projects. Thanks to Jane Murphy for these tips from her book,  What Could Happen If You Do Nothing .

Find The Truth In The Middle

If you're a parent of two children you already know that when the two are fighting and child #1 tells you what happened, you then ask child #2 what happened, and most often  the truth is somewhere in the middle  of what the two children have told you. Surprisingly, many managers, even when they are parents, don't use this parenting "discovery" skill in the workplace. Instead, they often listen to only one side of a situation. Whether it is because of lack of interest or lack of time, they don't proactively seek out the other side of the story. The unfortunate result is those managers form incorrect perceptions that can often lead to poor decisions and/or directives. So, the next time two employees are at odds, or when one department complains about another department within your organization,  take the time to listen to all sides of the situation to discover the truth that's in the middle .

How To Be A Good Coach. How To Be A Bad Coach.

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 failures Setting "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 actual

Why Giving Positive Feedback Is Better Than Giving Praise

There is an important difference between giving your employees  positive feedback  and giving them  praise . Positive feedback focuses on the specifics of job performance. Praise, often one-or two-sentence statements, such as “Keep up the good work,” without positive feedback leaves employees with empty feelings.  Worse yet, without positive feedback, employees feel no sense that they are appreciated as individual talents with specific desires to learn and grow on the job and in their careers, reports Nicholas Nigro, author of,  The Everything Coaching and Mentoring Book . So,  skip the praise and give positive feedback  that is more uplifting to your employees because it goes to the heart of their job performance and what they actually do. An example of positive feedback is : “Bob, your communications skills have dramatically improved over the past couple of months. The report that you just prepared for me was thorough and concise. I appreciate all the work you’ve pu

Bedtime Stories For Managers

Nights this month, unplug from your mobile phone and both enjoy and learn from Henry Mintzberg ’s 42 former blog posts compiled into his new book, Bedtime Stories for Managers . The stories teach you how to transform an organization from one that: Functions as collections of Human Resources to communities of human beings. Where thinking always comes first to one that sees first or does first in order to think better. Measures like mad to one that serves with soul. Must be the best to one where they do their best. At less than 200 pages, you can read the 42 succinct, enlightening and actionable stories/lessons in a few hours. Or, perhaps you select a couple stories each night to read over the next month. Some of my favorite takeaways are: Managers are important to the extent that they help other people be important. An effective organization is an interacting network, not a vertical hierarchy. Effective managers work throughout; they don’t sit on s