Posts tagged leaders
It Needn't be Lonely at the Top

Loneliness is, in a relative sense, measured in the eyes of the beholder. Some argue that the loneliest professionals in the world are those who toil in isolation, with limited opportunity for interpersonal communication. Yet there are others who weigh loneliness not by the frequency or infrequency of their interactions with others but rather with the quality of such exchanges.

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Make your feedback personal

It is not a secret that job satisfaction in this country is not where it should be. A 2014 Conference Board report says that the majority of Americans (52.3%) are unhappy at work. What makes our workers happiest? The CB report says that “interest in work” provides satisfaction to 59% of the workplace. Even more fulfilling was “people at work,” which 60.6% said they liked. Similarly, an expansive study by Boston Consulting Group found that the No. 1 factor for employee happiness on the job is getting appreciated for work. The question for me is this: If interpersonal relationships and the expression of appreciation are so important to employees, why aren’t leaders spending more time doing it?

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Connection: The Anti-Silo

It’s a central part of far too many organizations. Bickering. The lack of healthy communication. Folks sitting quietly at their desks, hoping to stay under the radar and not be burdened with more work, let alone someone else’s work. People prioritizing their wants and needs over those of the team, or those of their own team over the organization as a whole.

Territorialism. Silos.

Silo mentalities and the turf wars that they enable devastate organizations by wasting resources, killing productivity, and threatening goal achievement.

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Taking the Fear out of Change

Few words scare people like “change.” While we know that change is critical for organizations who want to stay cutting edge and prepare for the future, the fact is that change and disruption are hard on individuals and teams. They mess with our routines, raise questions about proper procedure and protocol, and force us to change our behaviors. Worst of all, they create a fundamental baseline of uncertainty, which cause many to descend into fear and doubt.

So what can leaders so to manage change effectively in the organizations and with their teams? The following are strategies to help manage change effectively:

1.       Set the expectation that change is inevitable – Communicate your vision of a dynamic and evolving organization, where progress and change are inevitable. When a major shift happens, your people will be more likely to accept it as a matter of course.

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From barracks to boardroom: How Bill Sandbrook parlayed military experience into corporate success

When I asked Sandbrook whether it was harder to emerge from Chapter 11 or to resurrect a defeated leadership team, he quickly said the latter. You can find ways to get funding and other components that are needed for a turnaround, he told me, but it’s not so easy to change people’s mindsets and behaviors.

Success, he said, works from the inside out or from small to big. To use a military analogy, he sought to make winners out of people who weren’t used to winning. Once they developed a greater sense of control, efficacy and success on a personal level, it was just a matter of time before the company would benefit. As of this writing, the stock trades well over $50 per share.

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How to foster workplace passion

It is well-documented that many folks are not passionate about their work. According to this white paper by Deloitte University Press, up to 87.7% of America’s workforce do not contribute to their full potential because they don’t have passion for their work.

At the beginning of "StrengthsFinder 2.0 "(p. ii-iii), author Tom Rath presents some equally disheartening data. He relates that Gallup had surveyed in excess of 10 million people worldwide on the topic of employee engagement. In that survey, only 1/3 strong agreed with the following statement: “At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.”

In a related poll of 1,000 participants, all of whom responded that they disagree or strongly disagree with the above statement (“At work…”), not a single one said that they were emotionally engaged at work.

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Be aware of your blind spots

Let’s be frank. We all have them, regardless of our robust talents and successes. We may know a lot about our work and our industry and think that there’s nothing else for use to learn. Perhaps we see ourselves as connecting great with others and fail to identify problematic relations. Maybe we think that we run great meetings, while participants feel disengaged or that we do not solicit sufficient input. Regardless of the issue, we need to be cognizant that things aren’t always as rosy as we may think and we'd benefit from getting and maintaining as clear a picture as possible of our job performance.

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Know Your Why

In a moving video talk, comedian Michael Jr. describes the power of knowing your “why.” In it, he showed an audience a clip from a different event, in which he asked a member of that audience to sing the opening stanzas from “Amazing Grace.” The gentleman, a music teacher, began in a deep baritone and sang the refrain flawlessly.

After praising his performance, the comedian asked the teacher to do it again, but this time painted a scenario of true appreciation, such as a family member being released from prison. Not surprisingly, the second performance far outshone the first. This time, the song was performed with added feeling and emotion. The words were more animated and the tone was deeper and richer. Michael Jr. concluded that, “When you know your ‘why’ then your ‘what’ has more impact, because you’re working towards your purpose.”

Leadership expert Simon Sinek calls this “the golden circle.” He says that it’s not enough to know what you do and how you do it. At our essence, we are most motivated by knowing why we do things. And it’s through that awareness that we can best connect with and sell to others.

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Why Emotional Intelligence Matters

Oftentimes, the biggest obstacle for a new leader has little to do with how well she knows the job or whether she possesses the right technical skills. In fact, most leadership experts identify poor interpersonal qualities and practices as the main reason that so many new leaders stumble out of the gate. They suggest that such relational transgressions as not communicating often, not being available for people on a consistent basis, and being unpredictable emotionally are primary contributors to new leaders failing to gain traction.

These and other negative interpersonal behaviors may mean that a person is weak in the area of Emotional intelligence (EI.) EI refers to a person’s ability to understand and manage his/her personal emotions and interpersonal conduct, as well as those of the people around him/her. People who rank high in EI are in tune with their feelings and emotions and can accurately predict how they might affect other people.

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