“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
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
Stop Resisting – Learn to Use Them Well
I grew up around the construction trades. Before I was even a teenager I owned my own power tools: A drill, jig saw, and circular saw. I still have the jig saw. But the circular saw had a problem. It was misaligned and it was hard to cut straight with it. I learned then that bad tools get bad results.
Good tools, on the other hand, make getting good results easier – assuming you know how to use them well.
Since a leader’s job is to influence, most of a leader’s tools involve communication. For many leaders, meetings are a powerful tool in their shop that they haven’t learned to use well. Continue reading MEETINGS: Tools of a Leader’s Trade
How Leaders (Should) Handle Differences
There’s no one-size-fits-all formula for handling difficult conversations. Different cultures, personalities, relationships, and histories all call for high emotional intelligence in determining how to address conflict. But here are some tools that most leaders would benefit from pulling out of their toolboxes more often. Continue reading Healthy Disagreement
Even If You Know the Answer
Good questions are powerful. Not just because of the information they surface, but even more because of how they impact the asker, the answerer, and everyone else in the room. In short, our brains engage differently when we hear a question than when we’re told something. Continue reading Ask Anyway…
The Danger of Assuming They Know
“They know that”. Possibly one of the most growth-stunting phrases in a leader’s mind. We tend to assume that others know what we know. The ideas have floated around in our own heads or in closed-door meetings for weeks (or months, or years), but they’re coming out-of-the-blue to others. We have to talk about them rather than assume others already share our head space.
Talk About What?
Here are some things you might be under-communicating because you assume others already understand them: Continue reading Talk About It
Meeting the Needs of Your Audience
Get me talking about one of my passions and I can bore you to tears in minutes. But that doesn’t mean I won’t ramble on for hours! Whether you’re in a one-on-one meeting, presenting to the board of directors, or addressing a large audience, how do you decide how much to say when sharing your expertise?
Know Why You’re There
Unless you’re the one who called the meeting and set the agenda, it’s a safe bet the organizer invited you to provide some information or perspective that the audience lacks and needs. It’s your responsibility to find out – preferably ahead of time – exactly what need you’re expected to meet. Clarity sets you up for success. Making assumptions sets you up for failure. Rarely is an audience satisfied just by you rambling on to demonstrate the breadth of your knowledge. Continue reading Deciding How Much to Say…
I slipped up this week. On Monday I told several people I would have something out to them by Tuesday. This was Wednesday morning. Someone else owed me the last piece I needed so I could do my part. It might come in any minute. Or maybe not. But naively thinking I would have it, I had made a commitment.
Here was my Wednesday morning thought process…
Continue reading The No-Brainer We Often Miss…
The Method Matters
Never in history have we had so many options for how to communicate with each other. Face-to-face was once the only alternative. Then we added written words and pictures – although before paper, being carved in stone was a constraint! Radio and telephone introduced real-time remote options, and now the internet offers many ways to communicate with almost anyone, anywhere in the world instantly.
But all communication channels are not created equal — each has advantages and disadvantages. Continue reading How (vs. What) to Communicate
What Happens When a Leader Speaks
One of the benefits of being a leader is that we have the privilege – and responsibility – of influencing others. When we speak, our followers listen.
But what do they hear?
Often way more than we intended to say. Continue reading Whispering Through a Bullhorn