Posts in relationships
How to Reward Employees Without Spending Money

In a recent post we talked about gifting experiences instead of money. But sometimes, even experiences are not in the cards. Or perhaps you want to set a standard that not every good act needs a tangible What then?

Consider gifting privileges.

When I was a head of school, we introduced a behavior management program that was built around core values. Students who demonstrated behaviors and attitudes that were in line with our values (safe, friendly, respectful and responsible) would receive tickets that could be cashed in for prizes. Some of those prizes were physical rewards, such as a toy or slice of pizza. But many were privileges, like having lunch with a certain adult or becoming my personal assistant for a day. Students were able to choose what they wanted, and many chose the privileges over tangible rewards.

We all want to feel respected and important. And what better way to gift somebody that feeling than by fostering opportunities for them to be recognized and pampered?

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How to Find the Right People and Train Them, Part I

Part of determining who to delegate tasks to will depend on who you have available as well as your purpose and intent when delegating. For example, tasking something to a new hire that you are looking to groom may look very different from asking a seasoned member of the team to complete the same task. One may be better equipped to do it today than the other, but that may not be your primary consideration.

Here are some factors to consider when seeking to identify the right candidate for delegation.

  1. The experience, knowledge and skills of the individual. What knowledge, skills and attitude does the person already have? How do they match up to the task at hand? What will they need to learn? Do you have time and resources to provide any training needed?

  2. The person’s current schedule and workload. Does the person have time to take on more work? Will this task require reshuffling of other responsibilities and workloads?

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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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How to Deepen the Workplace Bond

One way for leaders to develop a strong bond with their people is to roll up their sleeves and get to work. Not just their own work, but the work of their direct reports, as well as their reports’ reports. Take time to sit in various offices and seats within the organization and seek to develop new skills and make connections on different levels. Ask about existing challenges within the company and develop empathy for those who are tasked to address them regularly. Brainstorm with staff about how best to address these issues to optimize performance. By bringing yourself down to your people, you will gain their admiration as someone who really seeks to know their situations and improve them.

Another, more sustainable approach to bonding with employees is to actively connect with them on a regular basis. Hewlett Packard (HP) founders William Hewlett and David Packard used a strategy that has become known as MBWA, or Management By Wandering Around. As its name implies, MBWA requires regular walking throughout the workplace. It offers many benefits to leaders and their employees

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When to Keep Pushing or Pull Back?

Recently, I needed to have a service performed on my car, so I reached out to some providers. I had used one of them, who I’ll call Jake, in the past and was leaning towards doing so again. At the end, however, I decided to go with someone else and communicated my decision to Jake.

Unfortunately, Jake was not all too happy and would not leave me alone afterwards. Instead of accepting my decision, he continued to text and call me to try to discuss. I made clear that my decision had been made, but it took some time until the “harassment” ended.

Suffice it to say that Jake did not earn any credit towards future work with his choice of response.

After thinking about it, I started to realize that I have more Jake in me than I may care to admit.

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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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Make What’s Most Important Most Important

One morning last week, I made myself my favorite breakfast – fruit-filled pancakes – before heading downstairs to my home office to get my day started.

Shortly before I finished, I used some of the batter to prepare a plain pancake for my teenage daughter (she doesn’t seem to feel that pancakes and fruit go together), and she decided to sit down to eat it. This is a girl that almost never eats breakfast, certainly not in the kitchen.

So, instead of making my way downstairs, I sat down right there in the kitchen and ate with her.

We chatted about breakfast, school, and other stuff.

It was short but pleasant and a great way for both if us to start our days.

Sometimes, in our rush to get to work and (officially) start our days, we jump in, power up and plow ahead, leaving our lives behind for the time being.

At least, that’s what usually happens to me.

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