Leadership

Leading with Compassion: A Requirement of Leaders Today

4 Minute Read

The word compassion holds many meanings, and it’s hard to define. Here’s what we know. Compassion consists of three main elements: recognizing or noticing when others are struggling, understanding and feeling for the person that is struggling, and responding or having the motivation to act and help relieve the struggle. Compassion takes empathy one step further with that final element: having the motivation to act.

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Executives are the Reason Development Efforts Fail

5 Minute Read

This might be a touchy subject. But we have to say it. You are the reason your people aren’t learning, growing, and fully engaging.

Picture this all-too-familiar scenario. An employee is struggling to get things done. He’s missing deadlines and always seems rushed or stressed, especially if you ask him to do anything extra. His manager notices these behaviors and immediately diagnoses the problem. He picks up the phone. “Um, yes, HR Person, John needs time management training. What can we offer?”

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The Importance of Developing High Potentials

3 Minute Read

Why should you develop high potential employees? This seems like a ridiculous question.  Isn’t it obvious why you should develop your high potentials? Yet so many companies take their high potentials for granted.  It’s easy to do.  Think about these individuals in your organization.  They often outwork their peers, get along well with others and, usually, if they want or need to learn something, they’ll take it upon themselves to figure it out.  They ask the right questions, don’t create drama, and are all-in. Let’s call them our HPs.

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Transforming the Employee Evaluation

3 Minute Read

As a supervisor, giving an employee evaluation can be dreadful. You start by staring at yet another blank form. You go through each performance category, carefully marking your choice of below average, average, or above average. And when done, you recheck your responses, making sure that the report is “balanced.” Too many low marks, and your employee might be upset. Too many high and there is nowhere to aspire. What is the answer? Rank the employee in the middle…the sweet spot! Not hanging back, not showing off. The solution is average.

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Do You Need an Executive Coach?

2 Minute Read

When you’re in a position of authority, people have a tendency to tell you what you want to hear; or at least be very “calculated” about how they share feedback with you. An executive coach can provide more honest and direct feedback.

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How to Save your Workforce

3 Minute Read

Your talent is going to walk out. Let’s talk about how to save your workforce.

You’re about to lose 40% of your workforce. Yep, we said it. That’s awfully close to HALF! Over recent years, we’ve seen many Baby Boomers retire. Waved goodbye as they took their knowledge and expertise out the door with them. As of December 2018, 39.2% of people in the US workforce were aged 55 or older. Traditionally, most people retire in their early to mid-60s. So what does this say for your company in the next 5-10 years?

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Managers vs. Leaders – BORRRRING!!

5 Minute Read

Let’s guess what you’re thinking. Probably something along the lines of: “Another article about what it means to be a leader, even if you don’t manage anyone.” And you’ll probably move on or delete this as your eyes roll to the back of your head. But wait! Keep reading…

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How to hold people accountable without ruining relationships.

4 Minute Read

Picture this scenario: People at work are unengaged. You can feel your direct reports whispering about you around the water cooler. Sometimes you feel walked on. And your team thinks that they can get away with anything…because you won’t do anything about it. Does any of this sound familiar?


Having crucial conversations with your team is hard. We know our employees have good intentions. But sometimes, they make mistakes, or we need to correct performance issues. And holding them accountable for missing the mark can be extremely uncomfortable. You don’t want to hurt feelings and you don’t want to create a combative environment. But issues arise when we, as managers, are scared to ask our teams to take responsibility for their actions. Here are some quick dos and don’ts to keep in mind.

DO: Foster communication.

Before you even try to hold people accountable for their actions and goals, you need to create an environment that encourages communication. Find out something about your team members: their hobbies, their interests, their family, their values. Create a base level of trust.

  • DON’T: Be their best friend. We get it. It is fun to have friends at work! And it shows that you care about your team. But there is a line. It becomes difficult when you must go from friend to manager and actually hold your team accountable.

 

DO: Set clear expectations.

The first step is to ensure that your employees know exactly what success looks like. What is the outcome you’re expecting? How should it be accomplished? How will we know that it was accomplished? Work to create alignment and focus within the team.

  • DON’T: Expect your team to know everything. Let your team know that it is okay to ask questions. And sometimes people don’t have questions until they get into the weeds of the project.

 

DO: Make it measurable.

In order to set a clear goal, it must be measurable. If it isn’t measurable, how will you ever know it is finished? Think about these questions: How Much? How Many? Who is involved? How long will it take? What is the desired outcome?

  • DON’T: Be vague. Or create goals that require interpretation. Your opinion or perspective might be different from your employee’s.

 

DO: Explain the potential consequences.

If the job doesn’t get done correctly or on time, how does that impact your clients? Your team? Your company as a whole? What does that mean for the person or people who didn’t get the job done correctly? Set the precedent upfront that you are fully expecting to hold people accountable.

  • DON’T: Make accountability taboo. Why is it even taboo anyway? Start the conversation, create a discussion, respond to concerns, and know when to draw the hard line.

 

DO: Train, coach, and be available.

You can’t just give your team a project and then cross your fingers and hope that it gets done correctly and on time. You need to ask the questions to see if your team has the skills to get the job done. And if not, you need to train them. You will also need to coach your team and encourage problem-solving. Start by asking questions like: “What have you tried so far?”, “What has or hasn’t worked?”, “What could you do to fix that?” Be available when they need you, but don’t provide all the answers.

  • DON’T: Micromanage. Is there anything worse than your boss standing over your shoulder watching your every move? You feel stuck, like you’re doing something wrong and second-guessing yourself at every turn. Do you think your employees feel any different? It is okay to let them make mistakes because mistakes lead to coaching moments, which leads to a more independent workforce.

 

DO: Give consistent feedback.

Be specific and give feedback in multiple avenues. Consistent feedback sounds scary. Who has time for that?! You do. Feedback does not need to be a formalized “sit–down” anymore. Stop by their desk, send a text or email, have a video conference or give them a quick call. Be specific in your feedback. What was done correctly?  What wasn’t what you were expecting? And how can they get back on track?

  • DON’T: Only focus on the negative. When we do this, we start keeping score. And we become that manager that no one wants to hear from.

 

By remembering these simple actions, you can create a relationship with your team that allows them to know that you are there for them; that you want them to succeed; that you will give them the tools to do so; and how uncorrected poor performance will impact the team and the organization. At the end of the day, “I tried” isn’t always the best business model. Results must still be achieved. And everybody wants to be a part of those results. How can you set the stage for your team to be successful?

Watch this video on accountability to find out how to hold people accountable!

Leading With Fairness, Respect & Support

4 Minute Read

We’ve all been there. And some are still there. Maybe this will remind you of the people on your team. In a spot where what was once a career is now just a job – a means to an end. All purpose is gone and people don’t feel valued. Negative behaviors have become the norm. It feels like some have given up. People start to feel stuck or are keeping their eyes peeled for a new job…far, far away from here. What happened?

The short answer: YOU could be the problem.

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Creating Critical Thinkers In A Society Of Test Takers

4 Minute Read

Not long ago, a Kindergarten teacher outlined the day that a typical kindergartener would have. She explained that her students spend about two and a half hours per day on math. The kids have twenty minutes of recess time, twenty minutes for lunch, and no nap. Then, they’re typically sent home with homework. “Tests are critical for the success of the district,” she said. “And children who come to kindergarten with out going to preschool first, are just unprepared.”

… Wow, that’s a lot to take in for a five-year-old.

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