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Showing posts from March, 2019

Let A Team Member Lead Your Meeting

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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 agendaLeading the meetingDisseminating 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

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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 brainstorm solutions. "Involvin…

The Difference Between Positive Feedback And Praise

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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 it, as do your team …

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.

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

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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

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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

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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 timeYour customers who still do business with you, even though they had tight budgetsYour vendors that work with you on pricing and termsYour partner businesses that band together with you like never beforeYour team that helps you think of ways to reduce expenses and repackage your services to drive salesYour co-workers and peers who encourage you to hang in thereYour team that puts in more hours and tackles additional duties beyond their job descriptionsYour former employees for all they did for you before you had to exit them fr…

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.


Words To Lead By

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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

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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, BlackBerry, Delta, Barnes &a…

Learn To Take Risks

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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

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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, Markserved 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 Operations candida…

The Secrets Of Productive People

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According to entrepreneur and authorMargaret 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 aregreat 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

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

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

Leadership Conversations

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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 relationshipsDevelop othersMake decisionsTake action And, they provide real-world examples and tactical guidance for each of those convers…

The 27 Challenges Managers Face

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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 leaderComing from the outside to take over leadership of an existing teamBringing together an entirely new teamWelcoming a new member to your existing teamHelping an employee who has a hard time managing timeAssisting an employee who needs help with interpersonal communicationGetting an employee more organizedHelping an employee who needs to get better at problem solvingWorking with an employee who needs to increase productivityHelping an employee who needs to improve qualityManaging an employee who knows more about the work than you doShowing an employee how to start "going the extra mile"Working with an employee who does "creative work"Helping an employee make an attitude adjustmentManaging conflict between and among individuals on your teamDealing with an employee who has personal issues at…

When Change Is Good

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

Five Cultural Fit Interview Questions

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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

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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 stability and robs us of our sense of control,”…

10 Essential Elements of Dignity

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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 concerns, feelings, and experiences.

Recognition -…

How To Lead Your Boss

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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: Intensely study your boss to get to know the huma…

The Book Of Mistakes

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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 most successful people, from sp…

How To Be A Modern Day Legacy Builder

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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 CompanyGrey GooseTaylor GuitarsGirls 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 will be. Modern day legacy building leaders bridge the past, …

How To Be An Active Listener

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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 to 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

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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.Recruiting and unifying your inner team.Develop…

The Eight Ways To Show You Value Your Employees

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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 directly with their issues and concerns -- not to …

How To Talk About Inconsistencies With An Employee

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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

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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.

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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 failuresSetting "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 actually save time by preventing extensive retrain…

Why Giving Positive Feedback Is Better Than Giving Praise

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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 it, as do your team memb…

Bedtime Stories For Managers

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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 some top.Out of the network emerge strategies, as …