Building Businesses and People to be the best they can be!

Posts tagged ‘Education and Training’

The Key!

“In organizations, real power and energy is generated through relationships. The patterns of relationships and the capacities to form them are more important than tasks, functions, roles, and positions”. ~ Margaret Wheatly

Organizations are only as successful as their Leaders, and the Leaders are only as successful as their Team Members! Again, Leadership has to be about RELATIONSHIPS. I say this a great deal and here is why: I find that when the going gets tough in an organization the first thing that suffers are the relationships. It seems that as long as things are going relatively well in an organization, Leaders are all about making and building relationships. However, when the numbers aren’t coming in or stiff change is on the horizon suddenly the focus is off of relationships and back on number crunching. That is just the opposite of what should be happening. When times get a little rough in an organization that is when relationships are the MOST important to focus on. It is then that the Team Member needs to know they are supported and that their Leader is not a “fair-weather” Leader, only building relationships when times are good.

Truly the key to success in Leadership is measured by  the growth of the people he or she supervises. The Team can only grow in a healthy, relationship based environment where they believe that the Leader is truly out for the Team Members success and that the Team is valued above all things. In the Business World we operate in today, there are many variables that change day-to-day that effect bits and pieces of operation and profits. With that said, it is difficult to concentrate consistent effort on constant changes to try to make lasting, steady effects. That is why a Leader must focus on the one thing that they can have the most lasting impact on, their people and the relationships they can build with them. The people of the organization will be what gets the Leader and the Company through the hard times., but you have to build the relationship prior to the hard times for it to be effective! Start today to build or repair any and all relationships!

Interesting tidbit: “The Center for Creative Leadership conducted a survey of 300 managers and executives from around the world asking if the definition of Leadership had changed in the past five years. 84% responded that Leadership had indeed changed, primarily due to having more complex challenges causing hardships for their organizations. Interestingly, the flip side was that they were impacted positively by forcing greater collaboration, improving work processes and increasing work boundaries.”

In closing remember this, when times are tough, and they are or soon will be, a Leader has really only one thing that he or she can truly count on; the people around them. Those people will either be working for the Leader or against the Leader, it is the RELATIONSHIP that will determine which it will be!

Good leaders make people feel that they’re at the very heart of things, not at the periphery. Everyone feels that he or she makes a difference to the success of the organization. When that happens people feel centered and that gives their work meaning”. – Warren Bennis

Until next time, BUild, BUILd, BUILD those RELATIONSHIPS! You have to have them!

Rod

I Will Follow You

In Leadership blogs, seminars, books, videos and etc. you can find many tips and methods on how to make yourself a great Leader. As a matter of fact, there are so many techniques out there, it is hard at times to know what to do, or where to start! Even on this blog you have a plethora of tips and tricks to be effective in your given Leadership role, however, with that said I ask you for a moment to step back and let’s look at probably the single most important tip a Leader can have: Be the Leader that your Team WANTS to follow, not HAS to follow!

Now the question is, “How do I become that Leader?” I am sure that many people will have various ways for that to happen, but what I am talking about is not the methods in which you get things done, not the way in which you talk to people, not the way you dress nor is it the people you spend time with at work. While what I am referring to will have a direct effect on those things, it is deeper than all of those. What I am referring to is something that has caused people problems in relationships since the dawn of time, SELF.

So many times Leaders are so wrapped up in themselves, (i.e. what they want, what they think, how they think things should be, etc.), that they never take time to consider others and their thoughts, ideas, wants and wishes. The Leader that people WANT to follow is the Leader that takes the time to care about them, their success, their contribution to the overall success of the organization and values them as a person, not just a worker.

Over my years of Coaching I have seen SELF get in the way of so many Leaders and organizations finding effectiveness and lasting success. Too often the Leader just steamrolls on through the day giving directives, assigning duties and barely touching the true inner parts of the individual Team Members. These Leaders say they care, (sometimes), but that they just don’t have time in a day to be diverted from the tasks at hand. They tell me that it is easier to just assign the duties, do what they know has to be done and move on. Well, maybe that’s true, but is it effective? NO! Generally the work environments that surround these types of Leaders are filled with resentment, high turnover rates, lower than average production and Team Members that can’t wait to go home!

As a Leader, true success on an individual basis is seen when those you lead actually WANT to follow you. They don’t just do it because of your title, or position in the company they do it because the trust you and feel you value them and their efforts. If you wish to learn more about how to become this type of Leader, feel free to contact me and I will be glad to assist you in that process.

Now with all of this said, (and I could go all day on this subject), let me ask you this series of questions:

Why are the people you lead following you? Is it because they have to, or because they WANT to?

If you are struggling as a Leader, does your Team feel like you are too self-involved?

If someone were to take an anonymous poll of your direct Team, would they say they believe you actually care about them as individuals? What do you need to change to fix this?

Do you show your Team daily that you are over SELF and you are about helping them be the best they can be, thus making your organization they best it can be? If not, why?

 

Leaders, it time to get over SELF and move on to the high ground of Leadership where people WANT to follow you!

Until next time, check those who are follow you and why they are following you…………. then get over yourself if need be!

Rod

It’s in the Roots!!

For every hundred men hacking away at the branches of a diseased tree, only one will stoop to inspect the roots. – Chinese proverb

How true this proverb is for Leaders trying to assess performance issues on their Team! If you are going to  try to figure out what’s causing the performance issue, you have to get to the root of the problem. However, due to the fact that employee performance affects the bottom line of the organization, often the quick fix is what is sought after. We look at training courses or  we try to determine if a move to a new position would do the trick. Maybe, just maybe there is a different possibility.

The thing we have to remember about the above options are they focus on the ability of the person performing the task. Performance, though, is a function of both ability and motivation.

Performance = Ability x Motivation

  • Ability is the person’s aptitude, as well as the training and resources
  • Motivation is the product of desire and commitment

Someone with 100% motivation and 75% ability can often achieve above-average performance, of course the opposite is true. One of the best ways to increase motivation is make sure, that as a Leader, you give your Team Members timely, honest and accurate Performance Appraisals. It is important that the Team Member is clear on their goals, objectives and resources in these appraisals.  In addition, this is why recruitment and job matching are critical parts of performance management.

If you would like even more tips on Performance Appraisals and Workplace Culture, contact Ascend Business Strategies and make your Leadership stronger!

Until next time, make sure you examine the roots!

Rod

Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes

Leaders with poor people skills often find themselves in the middle of unnecessary conflict. This can be exhausting and stressful for all concerned, and it can destroy even the best of work environments. Many people are confident that they can develop new technical skills and knowledge through training and experience. However, there’s a common belief that “you are who you are” when it comes to people skills – or “soft” skills – and that there’s little or nothing you can do to change these. Fortunately, this is far from true. And a great place to start improving soft skills is by developing the ability to empathize with others.

Empathy is simply recognizing emotions in others, and being able to “put yourself in another person’s shoes” – understanding the other person’s perspective and reality. To be empathetic, you have to think beyond yourself and your own concerns. Once you see beyond your own world, you’ll realize that there’s so much to discover and appreciate! People who are accused of being egotistical and selfish, have often missed the big picture of who they are in relation to those around them.  If you’ve been called any of these things, then remind yourself that the world is full of other people, and you can’t escape their influence on your life. It’s far better to accept this, and to decide to build relationships and understanding, rather than try to stand alone all of the time.

How to use empathy more effectively:

  1. Step aside from your thoughts long enough to see things from the other person’s point of view. It is important for us to value other people and their opinions. As Leaders we must live diversity if we expect to have a well-rounded life or office. If we honestly stop and think for a few moments about our work life, even though fellow workers might mess up things occasionally, where would we be without them. As much as we might think, we cannot go it alone!
  2. Validate the other person. Once you better understand why others believe what they believe, acknowledge it. Remember: acknowledgement does not always equal agreement. You can accept that people have different opinions from your own, and that they may have good reason to hold those opinions, but it does not mean you have to agree with them. Validation simply means you recognize the different perspective and you let them know it is appreciated.
  3. Open your mind and attitude.Empathy requires an open mind and a welcoming attitude. What are you more concerned with getting your way, showing your “intelligence”, winning, or being right? A true Leader’s focus should be about finding solutions, building relationships, and accepting others? Without an open mind and attitude, you won’t have room for empathy in your life, nor will you value the enormous worth!
  4. Listen with many senses. Listen to the entire message that the other person is trying to communicate and pay attention to them when they are sharing with you.
    • Listen with your ears – try and relate to the content and not form judgments?
    • Listen with your eyes – much can be “heard” when being attentive to their body language?
    • Listen with your instincts – do you sense their might be more to the story that they might be leaving out?
    • Listen with your heart – is the person emotionally attached to the issue and if so, why?
  5. Seek explanation and input from the other person.Where lack of clarity exists, ask the person to explain his or her position. This is probably the simplest, and most direct, way of understanding another person. Often, this is the least used way to develop empathy.  Too many times Leaders feel like they have to be the one with all of the answers. They have to come up with all of the ideas. When in reality, you foster buy-in by allowing the other person or people in the office to participate in solutions. Remember, it’s fine if you ask what the other person wants: you don’t earn any “bonus points” for figuring it out on your own.

When you begin to implement these skills as you interact with people you will see your Leadership influence rise greatly. You will appear much more caring and approachable as you increase your interest in what others think, feel, and experience. The value of being willing and able to see the world from a variety of perspectives is impossible to put a price tag on! The really amazing part about this Leadership tool is anyone can develop it with time and focus!

Okay, Now What?

One of the really fulfilling things about Coaching is being able to tell a person that they are doing some good things and then watch their face light up with a smile! I enjoy being able to see how this type of coaching can put a spark into a Team Members step and motivate them to even greater victories. A positive, praise oriented coaching exchange is an easy conversation to have, but what happens when there has to be some not so positive feedback given?

When negative feedback, or opportunity feedback is necessary, the best time to give it is now before the problem gets any worse. Early attention to developing problems lets you harness the moment and turn it into a constructive process. Opportunity feedback not only stops unacceptable behavior, but also places the Team Member on the track to better performance.

As with positive feedback, don’t always wait for a formal performance review. Spot coaching is a highly valuable tool in todays fast paced world. Take one or two minutes after you observe a sale, or an issue, to meet with the Team Member and discuss what went right and what opportunities for growth you may have observed. It is highly important during this coaching exchange to get the Team Member to mentally review the time you observed them and ask them how they thought it went and get their ideas for improvement as well as your own.

Now the question arises about how to deliver the tougher messages that we call opportunity feedback. Listed below is a framework to mentally go through when having to approach someone in an opportunity feedback situation:

1. State the issue at hand. Remember not to pile many issues into this meeting. One issue, two at most will be all a Team Member can or should have to handle at once. If you have more than one or two issues to cover than you have allowed them to go too long unaddressed. Filter, prioritize and then deliver over the course a few different settings.

2. Recognize the Team Member’s efforts. No one does everything wrong. Keeping that in mind, give specific detailed praise for a behavior that the employee is doing well and let them know how much that means to you as their Leader. People need to know they are noticed for other things than when they do something wrong.

3. Detail the behavior that is needing changed. You will need to be very specific and use examples to illustrate your concern.

4. Detail the effect of the behavior. It is important to show how the behavior not only affects the Team Member but also how it affects the Organization.

5. Review what is expected. During this phase it would be a good idea to ask the Team Member if they know the Organization’s expectation concerning this behavior. Have them tell you what it is and correct the explanation if necessary.

6. Ask for a brief explanation of why the standard was not followed. Do not use this portion to point blame or try to degrade the Team Member. Remember to keep your emotions out of the entire process and address strictly the behavior, not the attributes of the person. The person is not the issue, the behavior is.

7. Ask the Team Member to suggest solutions. The Team Member will buy into a plan much quicker if they had a part in developing it. Granted, you may have to guide them to an acceptable conclusion but let them have much input into the corrective action plan.

Any of the above steps are great stand alone coaching tips, and when used together will provide a smooth journey through a once rocky road of giving opportunity feedback.

Until next time, look for opportunities and help guide your people to victory!!

Rod


Say What? Part 1

Nothing irritates me more than someone not listening to what is said or the information given. Listening is one of the most important skills you can have. How well you listen has a major impact on your job effectiveness, and on the quality of your relationships with others.

Given all this listening we are supposed to be doing in a day, you would think we’d be good at it! However, most of us are not. Depending on the study being quoted, we remember between 25% and 50% of what we hear. That means that when you talk to your boss, colleagues, customers or spouse for 10 minutes, they pay attention to less than half of the conversation. This is dismal! Turn it around and it reveals that when you are receiving directions or being presented with information, you aren’t hearing the whole message either. You hope the important parts are captured in your 25-50%, but what if they’re not?

Clearly, listening is a skill that we can all benefit from improving. By becoming a better listener, you will improve your productivity, as well as your ability to influence, persuade and negotiate. What’s more, you’ll avoid conflict and misunderstandings. All of these are necessary for workplace success!

Good communication skills require a high level of self-awareness. By understanding your personal style of communicating, you will go a long way towards creating good and lasting impressions with others. The Extended DISC Profile is key to this. Contact Ascend Business Strategies for information on this economical way to turn your workplace around!!

The way to become a better listener is to practice “active listening”. This is where you make a conscious effort to hear not only the words that another person is saying but, more importantly, try to understand the complete message being sent. In order to do this you must pay attention to the other person very carefully.

You cannot allow yourself to become distracted by whatever else may be going on around you, or by forming counter arguments that you’ll make when the other person stops speaking. Nor can you allow yourself to get bored, and lose focus on what the other person is saying. All of these contribute to a lack of listening and understanding.

To enhance your listening skills, you need to let the other person know that you are listening to what he or she is saying. To understand the importance of this, ask yourself if you’ve ever been engaged in a conversation when you wondered if the other person was listening to what you were saying. You wonder if your message is getting across, or if it’s even worthwhile continuing to speak. It feels like talking to a brick wall and it’s something you want to avoid.

Acknowledgement can be something as simple as a nod of the head or a simple “uh huh.” You aren’t necessarily agreeing with the person, you are simply indicating that you are listening. Using body language and other signs to acknowledge you are listening also reminds you to pay attention and not let your mind wander.

You should also try to respond to the speaker in a way that will both encourage him or her to continue speaking, so that you can get the information if you need. While nodding and “uh huhing” says you’re interested, an occasional question or comment to recap what has been said communicates that you understand the message as well.

As important as active listening is, read tomorrow’s blog to find out how to become an awesome active listener!

Until then, Listen Up!

Rod

Questions, Questions and more Questions

Leadership naturally requires you to be a curious individual and the more curious you are, the more successful you and your Team will be!! During Coaching interactions with your Team, ask many questions to help your Team Member arrive at the root issues of performance and production limitations. Too often as a Leader we are tempted to talk more than listen when dealing with Team Members. Time is too valuable to expend by droning on with your own assumptions and theories about possible issues and problems the Team Member might be facing or having.

Listed below are questions that any Leader can use to dig deeper into the  success well during any Coaching interaction:

* “What one thing could I do to make you more effective in your role?”

* What roadblocks are holding you back? (or preventing your projects from moving ahead?)

* What’s the most important issue you are dealing with in your life right now?

* What does the competition do better than us?

* What do we do better than our competition?

* If you were the President of this Company, what’s the first thing you would change and why?

* What do we/you do better than anyone else?

* Looking at your personal productivity, what two things do we need to work on to improve your productivity?

* What are the two key behaviors you need to keep doing to remain successful?

* What one thing can we do to make our weekly meeting more effective?

* What are your top three goals for this/next month?

* What one thing can you do today that will have the greatest impact on you reaching your goals?

* If I could do just one thing for you as a result of this discussion, what would it be?

 

If you incorporate a few of these questions into your coaching interactions and then follow the path they lead you on, you will be well on your way to moving your Team and yourself to victory!!

Until next time, keep asking questions!

Rod