“I can’t believe he wrote that to a client!”
Have you ever found yourself surprised by things your representatives say on behalf of your organization? Instead of blaming them, consider that maybe it’s your fault.
If the problem is a poor command of grammar, spelling, and vocabulary, it probably starts with the hiring process. If you don’t screen for that, don’t be surprised at what you get. But that’s a topic for another day.
Continue reading The Voice of Your Organization
I want to be an influential person. But after starting my career as a computer programmer, I’ve recognized that people are much harder to influence than computers. Computers do exactly what you tell them to do – although that can be a problem when I don’t get my instructions exactly right. With people on the other hand…even precise instructions can go wrong if I don’t take emotions into account.
Continue reading Managing Emotional Bank Accounts
The Easy Way vs. The Right Way
Leaders must be willing to have tough conversations. But the temptation to find a way to avoid those conversations is strong. If we’re committed, as we should be as leaders, to helping those we lead to succeed then we must be willing to do the hard thing. Here are a few of the common cop outs that we’re tempted to use instead of having a tough conversation:
Continue reading Don’t Cop Out on Good Leadership
Advancement Requires Change
“What got us here won’t get us there” is a truism that applies as we advance from one level of organizational leadership to another. When someone with professional or trade skills does their craft well they may be promoted into leadership roles – often without training in how to lead. The same is true when people are promoted through leadership ranks, say from supervisor, to manager, to VP, to CEO. They are frequently left to figure out on their own what the new role requires. At best, that’s inefficient. At worst, they never figure it out and keep doing what they did before without recognizing the changes required to do their new role well.
Continue reading Bends in the Leadership Pipeline
Content and Delivery Matter
A leader’s success is measured by the success of their followers. Those followers want to know whether or not they’re doing a good job. Good leaders use skillfully given feedback to keep them in the know.
The Ups and the Downs
Feedback doesn’t just mean making sure they know what they’re doing wrong. If your followers were computer programs you could just fix the bugs and move on. But they are people. People with energy to be harnessed, emotions to be leveraged, aspirations to be fulfilled, and skills to be developed. Ignore these and your leadership won’t tap the full potential of your followers. Continue reading Skillfully Giving Feedback
Leading Yourself to Greater Fulfillment
Looking forward to retirement? Perhaps you have visions of endless travels abroad or rambling around the country in a motorhome when you retire. That could be an exciting season, but is it a permanent lifestyle?
Maybe you dread the “R” word. Your identity has been wrapped up in that successful career that’s about to disappear…
If you believe that to retire is to end all meaningful purpose in life then you’ve been badly misled. Now’s your chance to really make a difference!
Continue reading Retire…Then What?
So Be Careful What You Think…
It’s often said that life is 10% about what happens to you and 90% about what you do with what happens to you. That’s why some people overcome seemingly insurmountable odds to achieve great success.
Reaction vs. Response
Our split-second reaction when something happens is based on our history of conditioning and responses in similar situations. We can’t control that reaction in the moment. But in the seconds and minutes that follow we do get to decide how we’ll respond: Follow our conditioning or choose something different. Choosing a different response creates new conditioning that will not only change our present course but also influence future reactions. Continue reading Stress Is What You Think It Is
Part of a leader’s job is to create stress.
But before you get stressed about that statement, let’s dig a little deeper.
Eustress vs. Distress
In 1974, Hungarian endocrinologist Hans Selye introduced the term “Eustress” (Greek prefix “eu-“ means “good) to distinguish positive stress from its negative form, “distress”.
Stress, in itself, is a normal response to pressure. Putting weight on a steel beam will stress that beam. As long as the beam has the capacity to carry that weight, the beam is just doing what it was made for. Put more weight on it than it can handle and that beam will be in a state of distress.
Human beings are more complex than steel beams, so our stress may come in different forms, such as physical, emotional, mental, or relational. But stress is essential to growth. Your muscles, for example, will become weak if never stressed. Change always creates stress, and without it we can’t change and therefore can’t grow. Continue reading Stress is a Good Thing…
Rule #1 of Performance Management
Brett was excited about his upcoming 90-day performance review. He knew he had gotten off to a rough start, missing some deadlines and overlooking some important details. But the goals his supervisor, Sherry, had set for the last month were reasonable, and Brett had hit them all. He felt like he had finally hit the stride for success in his job.
So it was quite a shock when Sherry rated his performance as “Unsatisfactory”! How could that be when he had hit all of his goals? Sherry said she was trying to set goals to stretch him to grow, but his “beginner goals” were a fraction of what he really needs to be able to produce. So she raised the bar for the next month with tighter schedules and fewer errors. She even added new goals for things he didn’t know about before. Brett wondered if he could ever be successful in this role. Continue reading No Surprises!
It’s Easier to Do It Myself…
You’re probably good at what you do. That’s why you’re in the position that you’re in. But now you’ve become the bottleneck. How can you possibly find time to do the tasks you’re expert at and lead others?
The answer is…You can’t!
Something Has to Give
As your organization grows, the demands on you also grow. If you want to model the Peter Principle and “rise to your highest level of incompetence” just try doing it all yourself.
So you have a choice. Continue reading Delegate? But I Do It Better!