Posts in business
8 Tips to Handle Workplace Absenteeism

Simply put, absenteeism is a big deal for business leaders. It costs a lot in terms of lost productivity and temporary labor costs. Add in weakened morale and the price of absenteeism grows even more substantial.

So, what can leaders do to address it? Here are some strategies to consider.

  1. Be proactive – Don’t let the problem go on for so long that you eventually react in anger or, in the interim, come across to others as unresponsive.

  2. Keep records – While you don’t want to be breathing down people’s necks, it is important to have accurate attendance data at your disposal. This will give you the information that you need to have corrective conversations.

  3. Demonstrate concern – When you notice a trend, approach the employee and demonstrate concern. Ask her what’s going on and what can be done to rectify matters. Approach the conversation with the assumption that the employee wants to be on time and reliable. See what you can do to be helpful.

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Become a Leader of Influence

At the heart of great leadership is influence, as in the ability to influence others to do what needs to get done.

In a piece written for Forbes, Kevin Kruse defines leadership as “a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal.” I like his approach because it factors in some important primary leadership elements: (social) influence, others, effort optimization and goals.

Leadership is about influencing others, rather than demanding and coercing. It speaks to the ability to win people over to a new way of thinking and practice, through idea sharing, collaboration and role modeling. It emphasizes persuasion and motivation over coercion.

Influence occurs primarily through emotional connections, such as when we share triumphant or challenging times together. It also develops when leaders routinely demonstrate feelings of appreciation, care, concern, and empathy.

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The 3 I's of effective leadership

For leaders, the letter “I” represents three key elements in their ultimate success. These elements build from the inside out, starting with one’s core identity and purpose and extending far beyond self. They remind us of what we can do and become when we solidify our core and make others’ success our focus.

They are: (1) integrity, (2) influence and (3) impact.

  • Integrity helps us become the best versions of ourselves and communicates what we stand for.

  • Influence allows us to direct and augment the work of others.

  • Impact is all about results. We create impact when we achieve our goals.  

These three do not exist in a vacuum. In fact, they lead one into the next.

When we’re in integrity (A), we become more influential (B). This, in turn, drives results, magnifying our impact (C).

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Tips to Meet with More Great People

I recently went to Chicago where I was able to hook up with some really great people. We talked about where each of us is professionally, how we can help each other, and I even did some basic coaching as well.

This Thursday I have some more meetings scheduled in NYC, all with folks who have appeared on my podcast.

These are not just regular sit downs. Rather, they are with awesome people that I want to get to know better and either coach, collaborate with, and/or get referrals from.

For me, every meeting has to serve a purpose. It could be a total waste of time for one or both of us to meet without an agenda or underlying goal.  

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5 Tips to Increase Workplace Engagement

The statistics about worker disengagement are staggering. We read all the time about how workplace engagement levels are low here in the U.S. and even lower around the world. Loss of productivity is estimated to cost employers hundreds of millions of dollars annually, if not billions. And it all stems from how disconnected folks feel from the people working around them, the work that they do each day, and the purpose that it serves to them and to others.

Workplace connection results in many benefits, including stronger communication, greater synergy, enhanced anticipation of others’ needs and worries / concerns, and, last but certainly not least, increased worker engagement. When we feel connected, we operate with a sense of purpose and utilize our many talents and abilities to advance that purpose, consciously as well as subconsciously.  

The need for connection at work is perhaps stronger today than ever before. It has become an expectation, especially amongst younger workers, that the workplace be a source of meaning and intention, not just a place at which to collect a paycheck.

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What to do When Your Clients Disappear

Recently, I have encountered an unexpected spate of established, solid client relationships that simply vanished in thin air. Retirements, changes in title or budget, or shifting priorities have led to a number of longstanding, strong client relationships to go up in smoke. Rather than basing my work schedule on a predictable stream that I built over time with these clients, I have been forced to act quickly to develop new relationships and rebuild my base.

Unfortunately, no one is immune to sudden, impactful changes to their clients or their clients’ needs. Despite many years of exemplary service, market, company or personal factors can force service providers and sellers to have to start again.

Here are some strategies that can help preempt such change and minimize its impact.

  1. Always be in client creation mode – Regardless of how many clients you have in the bag, it’s imperative to continually create new ones. This is true even if you’re at capacity and can’t seem to find time to make new connections, let alone serve them. Make the time to regularly connect with new people, at conferences, online, or one on one, even if it means hiring someone to do some of your own work. Then, find ways to keep them in the window of engagement, such as adding them to a waiting list and an email list. Regularly check in on them and add value to the relationship.

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Confront With Care

Few leaders can avoid confrontation. There are simply too many items and employees that require oversight and guidance. The likelihood is very high that every leader will need to address numerous areas of concern within her organization at various points.

Whether the matter is personal (a coworker's attitude or manners, for example) or performance related, confronting someone about an issue can be one of the hardest things for a leader to do. It is generally unpleasant for someone to have to bring this concern forward and demand change and improvement. In fact, many leaders will go to extreme lengths to avoid it. Some reasons for this include:

  • Fear of how your relationship will be affected moving forward;

  • Concern over being seen as overly demanding or callous;

  • Bad feelings from past confrontations that went awry;

  • Second-guessing and questioning ourselves regarding our grounds and motives for the confrontation;

  • Negative memories from times that we were confronted by others.

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When NOT to Delegate

As valuable as delegation can be, there are times where it’s simply not advisable. The following list presents when it’s better to not delegate but rather keep the project for yourself:

  1. The task has not been fully thought through – If you aren’t able to explain the task and its goals in concrete terms, then you have more work to do before handing it off to someone else to accomplish.

  2. The project must be done in a specific way – In some situations, such as an intricate project that you developed and possess intimate knowledge of, delegation may create more problems than benefits.

  3. It takes more time for explain what to do than to just do it yourself – This assumes that this is a one-off project that just needs to be done and taken off the list. A recurring project or one that will provide opportunity for meaningful subordinate development should not be included in this list.

  4. When you really enjoy doing it – There’s nothing wrong with doing some things that can be taken over by others but still provide you with a positive burst of motivation or excitement, such as greeting students and parents in carpool. But learn to limit these so that you can ensure that you’re still doing the work that you really need to be doing.

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Adding a Sense of Urgency to Your Work

Research is clear that people respond better – both qualitatively and in terms of completion time – when there is a sense of urgency to their work. While it’s important that leaders not overplay the urgency card (that can dull people’s responsiveness and induce unneeded stress) with their teams, there are many benefits to strategically adding an element of healthy pressure to the workplace.

Here are some “E.A.R.N.E.S.T.” ways to increase a sense of urgency at work:

  • Expectations – The first thing that people need to know is where things stand and what needs to change. Once you get your team clear on where they are and what needs to happen, you can reasonably expect that they will focus their efforts and energy to move things forward.   

  • Awareness – They also should be made aware of why this task is of increased importance, as in what’s going to happen if nothing changes. In my example, it would be that we need to prioritize dismantling the sukkah to ensure that it gets into the shed before the sky opens up and everything gets soaked. Your consequence may relate to losing customers, taking a loss on a faulty product or service, or an opportunity to gain market share.

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