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Showing posts from November, 2020

The Difference Between Informal And Formal Mentoring

Sports heroes mention their mentors at award ceremonies. Successful business people thank their mentors at career milestone celebrations. Young adults who later become accomplished acknowledge their mentors when asked who was influential in their success. Mentoring is indeed powerful . Most leaders have been both a mentor and a mentee at some point in their careers. Sometimes, though, not everyone understands the important difference between informal mentoring and formal mentoring. •   Formal mentoring is structured, intentional, and short-termed (typically about three to six months). It also requires the support of top management. As a leader in your workplace, consider establishing a formal mentoring program to supplement the informal mentoring that is surely taking place at your company/organization. And, to offer employees mentoring options for those who can’t participate outside the workplace.

Use Negative Feedback As A Positive

When someone gives you negative feedback, think of it as a positive. If it’s accurate, it provides a growth opportunity; if it isn’t accurate, it provides an opportunity to strengthen your conflict resolution skills. Remember, no one is perfect. We all have blind spots when it comes to our strengths and weaknesses. And, we all do things that bother people. The best teacher often comes in the form of negative feedback, but only when we take the time to analyze what we’re hearing. Thank you Reneee Evenson , author of the book,  Powerful Phrases for Dealing with Difficult People ,  for this good tip. Her book provides more than 325 ready-to-use words and phrases for working with challenging personalities. Evenson is a small business consultant and write specializing in organization psychology in the workplace.

Tip For How To Think Outside The Box

Here is a tip for how to  think outside the box . Thanks to  Michael Kallet , author of,  Think Smarter: Critical Thinking to Improve Problem-Solving and Decision-Making Skills . To think outside the box, you have to acknowledge that the box is bound by your premise. You therefore have to push the box's sides and premise components to think outside of that. Use  what if  and  what other  questions to push on those boundaries and discover new ideas.

How To Lead Your Workplace With Gratitude

  This Thanksgiving holiday week is the perfect time to read the leadership book, Leading With Gratitude , by authors Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton .  Published this past spring, the book provides managers and executives with easy ways to add more gratitude to the everyday work environment to help bolster moral, efficiency, and profitability.  Gostick and Elton also share eight simple ways managers can show employees they are valued. Then, they supplement their insights and advice with stories of how many of today’s most successful leaders successfully incorporated gratitude into their leadership styles.  Today, the authors answered this question for me:  Question : During this most unusual and challenging pandemic year, why is it more important than ever to express gratitude? And how best should a leader do that?  Gostick and Elton : “Our research shows there is a staggering gratitude deficit in the work world, especially when times get tough. People are less likely to e

How To Be The Leader You Want To Be

“By focusing in specific ways on five key leadership elements— Purpose, Process, People, Presence, and Peace —you can increase your time, capacity, energy, and ultimately your leadership impact,” explains  Amy Jen Su , author of the book,  The Leader You Want To Be: Five Essential Principles for Bringing Out Your Best Self—Every Day . Su shares both Western management thinking and Eastern philosophy to provide a holistic yet hands-on approach to becoming a more effective leader with less stress and more equanimity. She draws on rich and instructive stories of clients, leaders, artists, and athletes. And, she focuses on three foundational tenets: s elf-care, self-awareness, and personal agency . Most important, Su explores in depth, chapter-by-chapter the  Five Ps : Purpose  – Staying grounded in your passions and contributions, doing your highest and best work that has meaning and is making a difference. Process  – Relying on daily practices and routines that honor your natural energy


  The book subtitle in the headline above convinced me to read,  Humanocracy , by  Gary Hamel  and  Michele Zanini . The authors present a fascinating look at how to breakdown the bureaucracy within your organization and unleash the power and true abilities of the human beings in your organization – making your organization more bold, entrepreneurial and as nimble as change itself.   Humanocracy  expertly lays out a detailed blueprint for creating organizations that are inspiring and ingenious, and provides you research-based examples, practical guidance and, most important, action steps to take immediately.   The authors explain that:   Human beings are resilient . Our organizations aren’t. Human beings are creative . Organizations are (mostly) not. Human beings are passionate . Our organizations are (mostly) not.   Some of the broader themes for how to harness the power of humanocracy include:   Teaching frontline staff to think like businesspeople. Cross-train associates and organiz

This Week's Leadership Book To Read: The Leadership Challenge

There is good reason why,  The Leadership Challenge , book is now in its sixth addition. It expertly teaches you what to do as a leader to mobilize others to want to get extraordinary things done in your organization. Revised to address current challenges, this sixth edition marks thirty-plus years since the book was first published. Embedded in  The  Five Practices  of Exemplary Leadership  are behaviors that can serve as the basis for becoming an exemplary leader. The authors,  James M. Kouzes  and  Barry Z. Posner , call these  The  Ten Commitments  of Exemplary Leadership . Chapters in the book explain the conceptual principles that support each practice and prescribe specific recommendations on what you can do to make each practice and commitment your own. The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership: Model the Way Inspire a Shared Vision Challenge the Process Enable Others to Act Encourage the Heart  Kouzes and Posner explain that leaders who use these five practices more frequentl

Examples For Creating Your Company Culture

  In  Peter Block ’s book,  The Empowered Manager (Second Edition) , he shares that the following values and statements can shape a vision of greatness for your employees and company. Each starts with, “We want:”  Consistency between our plans and actions. A willingness to share. To disagree without fear. Commitment to a long-term strategy. To create a safe workplace. To live our values. To have each person connected with the final product. To treat each person in a unique way. To overcome levels and hierarchy. Our people to be the business. A positive attitude, and less energy spent on bad situations. To see caring and love in all our actions. Every person to be responsible for building the business. To work as a team. Each person to have a place at the table. Each person to feel valued and respected. To provide meaningful work. Managers to exist to serve their employees. To eliminate nonproductive work. Each person to have the right to say no. Control of our own destiny. The freedom

Effective Storytelling Includes These Seven Elements

According to  Kristi Hedges , author of the book,  The Power of Presence , a good story includes these seven elements: Has a clear moral or purpose. Has a personal connection to the storyteller and/or the audience. Includes common reference points the audience can understand. Involves detailed characters and imagery. Reveals conflict, vulnerability, or achievement others can  relate  to. Has pacing (a beginning, ending, and a segue back to the topic). Serves to strategically underscore your intention (it's not randomly told).

Your Leadership Guidepost

Today's  leadership thought  is  John Wesley's Rule : Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, At all the times you can, To all the people you can, As long as you ever can.

Nine Lies About Work

I'm a big fan of  Marcus Buckingham 's work, teachings and books, so I was eager to read his book, co-authored by  Ashley Goodall . Titled,  Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader's Guide to the Real World , the book debunks what we've come to believe as basic truths in the workplace. What at first may seem provocative and counter-intuitive, you'll learn why the nine lies "cause dysfunction and frustration, ultimately resulting in workplaces that are a pale shadow of what they could be," explain the authors. Keep an open-mind as Buckingham and Goodall take you through these nine lies (each a chapter in the book) with engaging stories and incisive analysis as they reveal the essential truths behind these lies: People care which company they work for The best plan wins The best companies cascade goals The best people are well-rounded People need feedback People can reliably rate other people People have potential Work-life balance matters most Leadershi

The Book Of Mistakes For Leaders

Skip Prichard’s 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 you 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, fro

Are You A Perceptive Listener?

" Perceptive listening requires you to be totally focused, completely mindful, and perceptive of the conversation -- about what is spoken and what remains unspoken," explains  John Jantsch , author of the book,  Duct Tape Selling . He adds, "Perceptive listening reveals things that a distracted or even mostly active conversation can't reveal." To be a  perceptive listener , ensure you hear and interpret the words as they're said, and also consider what the person isn't saying. What they might really be thinking, and how they are acting as they speak.

8 Tactics For Making Better Decisions

These  eight decision-making tactics  from  David Lahey ’s book,  Predicting Success , are helpful to me and hopefully useful to you as well: Deep breathing , to clear your mind. Researching , to feel confident that you have all the information in front of you. Listing your options , in either verbal or written form, to keep the whole picture front of mind. Following through on the possible outcomes , complete with likely predictions and acknowledgement of whether they’re negative or positive (or design yourself a decision tree, that lays out every possible consequence visually). Testing your intuition , by imagining a committed decision and then gauging the corresponding feeling it inspires in your gut. Taking the time you need , so long as it doesn’t become an overly indulgent distraction. Evaluating your decision , an after-the-fact exercise that engages a conscious inventory of the lessons learned. Coming to terms with your pick , always cognizant of the reality that no decision is

My Favorite Nelson Mandela Leadership Quotes

My favorite  Nelson Mandela  leadership quotes are: "Lead from the back--and let others believe they are in front." "The greatest glory in living lies not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall." "It always seems impossible until it's done." "I like friends who have independent minds because they tend to make you see problems from all angles." "I've learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.  The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear." "Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again."

Critical Questions To Ask New Employees Within Their First 90 Days On The Job

  In  Paul Falcone ’s book,  75 Ways For Managers To Hire, Develop And Keep Great Employees , he recommends asking new employees the following questions 30, 60 and 90 days after they were hired:   30-Day One-on-One Follow-Up Questions Why do you think we selected you as an employee? What do you like about the job and the organization so far? What’s been going well? What are the highlights of your experiences so far? Why? Tell me what you don’t understand about your job and about our organization now that you’ve had a month to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty. Have you faced any unforeseen surprises since joining us that you weren’t expecting?   60-Day One-on-One Follow-Up Questions Do you have enough, too much or too little time to do your work? Do you have access to the appropriate tools and resources? Do you feel you have been sufficiently trained in all aspects of your job to perform at a high level? How do you see your job relating to the organization’s mission and vis

How To Explain To Your Team The Decisions You Make

Making a decision is one of the most important actions you'll take as a leader. When communicating your decisions to your team, be sure to explain both the process (how you came to the decision) and the reason for making your decision . Sometimes, unfortunately, managers announce a decision without clarifying the process and the reason for the decision. If you take the time to be clear you'll get better understanding of your decisions from employees, and also more buy-in from your team.

Eight-Question Checklist For Identifying And Developing Emerging Talent

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?

10 Important Questions Every Business Leader Should Ask

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 ?

Six Questions To Ask All Your Direct Reports

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?

Strategies For Becoming The Person Others Follow

Yes, it will take you some time to read  Joshua Spodek 's book,  Leadership Step by Step . Yes, it will be a little like doing "homework." Yes, this is a book you'll read and likely need to revisit a few times for the concepts to fully sink in.  Yes, this is a book you must read if you want to become the person others will follow . The time and effort you put into,  Leadership Step by Step , will be well worth it! Spodek guides you through what to do and how to do it in an  integrated and comprehensive progression of exercises  designed to cultivate key abilities, behaviors, and beliefs through experiences. The progression contains four units : Understanding Yourself Leading Yourself Understanding Others Leading Others Each chapter within the four units provides you: Hands-on Exercises Reflection Questions Post-Exercise Observations "By the time you finish the book, you'll have competed 22 exercises." explains Spodek, who is an Adjunct Professor at NUY a

Nine Effective Ways To Connect With Your Individual Team Members

Here, from the book,  Be A Network Marketing Leader , are some tips on how, as a leader, you can connect with your individual team members: Send cards on their birthdays and anniversary-of-joining dates. Keep yourself updated with what's happening in their personal lives. Show your support during personal or family crises. Schedule weekly one-on-one phone calls or meetings. Pay attention. When you see an increase, decrease or change in results, get in touch. Schedule monthly whole team meetings. Applaud achievements and address concerns immediately. Be consistent. Make frequent thoughtful, spontaneous gestures. Thank you to the book's publisher for sending me a copy of the book.

How To Lead During COVID-19

Today, the following 10 leadership and business book authors answered this question for me: Question: While we surely will find ourselves challenged by COVID-19 in the foreseeable future, what is the most important thing a leader can do as they lead their business/organization? “Leaders have had some great opportunities as a result of COVID-19. Topping the list: hire the best people, not just the best people geographically convenient. The world just gave permission to have people working remotely. Take advantage. As a bonus tip, it is more important than ever to remember that your team is made of humans and this is an extremely difficult time for humans. Build in extra supports for your team.” --  Michael Solomon and Rishon Blumberg, co-authors of, Game Changer . “First, don’t allow yourself to become so overwhelmed and distracted by the uncertainties—what you don’t know—that you lose sight of what you do know, and what you can control. Second, you must establish a protocol for