MEETINGS: Tools of a Leader’s Trade

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.Meeting

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

Healthy Disagreement

How Leaders (Should) Handle Differences

There’s no one-size-fits-all formula for handling difficult conversations. DifferentDisagreement 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

Talk About It

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

Deciding How Much to Say…

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…

The No-Brainer We Often Miss…

Managing Expectations

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…

How (vs. What) to Communicate

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

Gratitude: High Yield, Low Risk Investments

Opportunities You Can’t Afford to Miss

thank-you-490607_640This week I talked with a man who was frustrated by a boss who wouldn’t say, “thank you”. This isn’t a “high-needs” guy, but he’s self-aware enough to recognize that, like most of us, he’s energized by gratitude. Having just poured extraordinary effort into a successful endeavor, a little appreciation seemed reasonable.
Continue reading Gratitude: High Yield, Low Risk Investments

Influential Listening

Raising the Bar on Leadership Listening

Think about a conversation with someone who gives you his full attention, is genuinely interested in what you say, and doesn’t talk about himself all the time.  These conversations leave you energized and willing to do your best to help that person.Ear-Crop

Compare that to a conversation with someone who is all about his own agenda and knows you need his wisdom and stories.  Your energy and commitment to help him succeed is diminished. Continue reading Influential Listening