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

Posts tagged ‘Employment’

I See More Clearly Now….

Recently I had a discussion with a newly promoted Leader facing a very difficult Leadership issue that should make us all stop and recheck how we lead. His Company was and has been hurting and choices were having to be made, change was unavoidable, but how to approach all the change that need to happen was the issue. In every business the Leader is responsible to make sure that the Team he/she oversees as well as the organization they lead is taken care of at the highest level of individual ability. The problem comes when taking care of one conflicts with taking care of the other. When choices for the positive growth of the company seems to be in direct opposition of the positive growth of the Team, what do you do???

Come along on this journey and maybe we can help “John” figure this out together. The bottom line of a business is simple, success= profitability! However, many business guru’s hold to the fact that the key to a successful business is purely relational. Build the right relational culture in your company and success, profits will be a natural result. Okay, so which is it? Where do you focus your energies on a daily basis, relationships or numbers? Dollars and cents, or people and culture. Undoubtedly there are many of you standing on each side of this conundrum! Let me share with you what I have believed, and recently become even more re-affirmed. What if every decision you make as a Leader took both relationship/culture, and the profitability factor, rolled them together, and made a WIN-WIN outcome? That is the goal, or should be the goal of every Leader out there. The question is how do you achieve it? Granted, this is just one man’s opinion but here we go:

It appears to me that no matter how one slices this issue in the professional world we exist in right now, a company has to error on the side of developing and taking care of their people. A quote I read recently helps me keep my focus on this issue, “But I like to think that a lot of managers and executives trying to solve problems miss the forest for the trees by forgetting to look at their people — not at how much more they can get from their people or how they can more effectively manage their people. I think they need to look a little more closely at what it’s like for their people to come to work there every day.” Gordon Bethune, Continental Airlines  

This leads me to this quote, “Long-term success is the result of relationships built on a foundation of trust. People get more value from those they trust.” – Garrison Wynn. If you keep the culture of your Team the number one focus, over time, your profits will rise. Time and time we see companies that are teetering on the edge of closure come rising up from the ashes to highs of success that they never thought possible. What do we generally find at the root of this recovery? Most always you will find a Leader that realizes the time they invest in restoring the faith and loyalty of the Team will be the key to making a long-standing and thriving company. A Leader that comes in with great plans to cut costs, reform compensation and make quick, broad moves are generally sitting in their offices 6 months down the line wondering why things aren’t any better, or even worse than they were.

John, take your time and stay true to your people despite the up and down numbers. Don’t be crazy, you will have to make some cut of those that don’t get on board with the rest of the family, but whatever you do, make all of your decisions based on one thing while trying to recover your company: What is the best move to heal my people and make them stronger, more loyal and feel the most valued? This John, will pull your Company up, give them hope, direction, a sense of purpose and value. Your Company will rise with the days of under performance and low profits will be a thing of the past. Just remember, it will take time. Hang in there John and don’t give up on your Company, your Team or yourself!

Until next time, lead with your people in mind first, your profits will come; history proves it!

Rod

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Team Success In the Hard Times

If I were able to give you a brief ingredient list that would allow you as a Leader to help encourage, inspire and build your Team during times of economic uncertainty, would you take it? Well, if you answered yes, this blog is for you!

Leaders have an obligation and responsibility to make sure they keep their Teams strong and focused during not only the good times, but the not so good times as well. There are 3 basic things a Leader can do that will increase the stability and longevity of their Team when difficult times arise.

1. Be Real–  Share with the people in your organization the areas you as a Leader need to grow in. Trust me, if your Team has been around for a while, they already know your areas of growth and are just waiting for you to admit it. Let your Team know  how much you need and appreciate them. Commit to them that both you and they can get through these difficult times if you work together as a Team.

2. Connect with Your People– Get to know your Team, if you haven’t already, at a level where you know their motivators and their dreams. Let them know that now more than ever you are dedicated to helping them achieve the success they are longing for. Take this opportunity to align their jobs with their motivators and ambitions. Capitalize on occasional slow times to grow the depth of your Team through deeper connections!

3. See in Them What They Can’t See in Themselves-  Identify and share with each Team Member their unique abilities and hidden talents. As you become more aware of a Team Member’s talent or strength, let them know you noticed it and be specific about what you noticed. Encourage further development of the strength and find ways to help them use it to achieve success in their daily activities. When they see you genuinely caring about their development and growth, their success and their best interest, the Team will rise in even the toughest times.

Granted, these are just a few things that a Leader can do to make a difference in their Team, but if you as a Leader will implement these three easy steps, you will revolutionize your culture and even the toughest of times will find your Team strong and growing!

Until next time, use the 3 basics and see your Team rise in the hard times!

Rod

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

Doing the Right Thing

To lead your team with character and integrity, you must set an example. Your team looks to you. To begin, you must know your own values as well as your organization’s values.

For example, the global technology giant 3M is well-known for its company values. Why? Because the entire team – from top executives all the way down to the mailroom – live and breathe the principles of honesty and integrity every day. 3M communicates clearly that it wants its staff to keep promises, have personal accountability, and respect others in the workforce. Every leader in the company knows this, so they work by these rules. Hopefully, your company has clear rules about how it wants team members to act. As a leader, it’s up to you to know these rules and codes of conduct – and to make sure you live them.

Your personal values are also important. Good leaders follow their personal values as well as organizational values.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What standards of behavior are really important to me, to my company?
  • What specific values do I admire in certain leaders? Do I identify with those values?
  • Would I still live by those values, even if they put me at a competitive disadvantage?

At times, you’ll make a decision but still wonder if you did the right thing. You may be uncomfortable, but these situations can teach you to trust yourself and your instincts. If you calm your anxiety and look logically at the situation, your instincts will often guide you in the right direction.

Ethical living – and leading – takes courage and conviction. It means doing the right thing, even when the right thing isn’t popular or easy. But when you make decisions based on your core values, then you tell the world that you can’t be bought – and you lead your team by example.

Once you identify your company’s core values as well as your own, you can start to set the tone with your team and your organization. Actions always speak louder than words, so make sure you do as you would wish others to do.

Until next time, Examine the values and do the right thing,

Rod

Getting it Right the First Time

In theory, hiring should be simple, and many managers perform the same routine: they write a job description, put an ad in the newspaper or online, wait for the résumés to arrive, and then hire the person they like the best. It all sounds so simple. However, there’s a lot more to the process than just “picking the best.” How will you know if a candidate is likely to get on with the rest of the team, or with your organization’s culture? What if a candidate doesn’t accurately describe their skills, and so, in reality, is incapable of doing the job? And how can you make sure that the best people apply for a position? These are all valid questions that seem to have a very elusive answer.  The truth is, a few hiring mistakes can be avoided with a little preparation and a tool called, Extended DISC. This tool has an assessment that will allow a Leader and his Team to indicate what are the major attributes of the job in question. Then you have applicants fill out a few pre-interview questions along with their resume,  that will help narrow down the field. Once you have your top 5 candidates, you have them take the Extended DISC to help determine the right fit for your organization.

It is ever increasingly important in today’s society that hiring mistakes be minimized. These mistakes waste time, money, and they can really hold a team back. This is why learning how to hire effectively is such a smart move for Leaders. There are a number of  reasons why it’s worth the extra time and effort to hire effectively. For example:

  • The right people in the right roles will be more productive – They’ll also be less likely to leave the organization. High staff turnover is a serious problem for any Organization.
  • A poor hiring decision may cause stress and conflict within your team – If your new recruit has personality issues or isn’t a “team player,” this may lower productivity for everyone. Be proactive and take time to do the Extended DISC process to save yourself this headache.
  • You’ll save time and resources – Frankly put, a Leader today cannot afford to lose any more money from the bottom line then absolutely necessary.
Take time to do it right the first time. Sure, mistakes can happen to even the most cautious of hiring Leaders. However, many mistakes can be avoided if go the extra mile to get it right the first time!
Until next time, hire right the first time!!
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

The Villain in the Workplace!!

There is an evil villain that lurks in many workplaces today. Often times he/she can be found hiding in the shadows watching your every move, checking up on you and waiting for the prime time to pounce! Worse yet this villain often times does not hide at all but is right out in the open for all to see and often we feel powerless to do anything to stop him/her.  Who is this age-old villain I speak of in the workplace……. it’s………………MICROMANAGER!!!!

Some would say that occasionally micromanaging is needed. This would be true with a new Team Member or someone venturing into an area they have not encountered before. Otherwise a true Leader never has to micromanage because he/she knows the Team and each ones unique abilities and therefore assigns tasks to each one accordingly. Thus, the true Leader can trust the Team Member will move forward and succeed or at least the Leader knows that he/she and the Team Member have an open line of communication to the point the Team Member feels free to come and ask for help. No need for the Leader to be constantly checking in or making suggestions. He/She knows that the project will be done correctly and has already set up times to come together with the Team Member to discuss their progress and/or roadblocks they have encountered.

Are you wondering if you might be the villain, MICROMANAGER? Is your Leader the villain MICROMANAGER?

Here are some symptoms that can be observed in those who are micromanaging:

  • They appear frustrated that nobody is “getting it” or taking things as seriously as they do.
  • They want frequent status updates, even when things are operating normally.
  • They are quick to point out errors and mistakes of Team Members.
  • They have an overloaded task list, but their teams are looking for things to do.
  • They get upset if they’re not consulted before decisions are made.
  • They’ll take back delegated tasks to do them quicker or better themselves.
  • They assign a task and then go out first and do the task they assigned to someone else
  • They show up unannounced and often change directions you have given your team
So, what do you do if you are micromanaged? 70% of the respondents of a recent random survey feel they have been or currently are working for a micromanager. The sad part of this is that fact that as long as an organization is seeing results from the department that is being micromanaged, they often will not do anything to the one doing the micromanaging. If that happens, it is up to the Team Member to adjust, here are some options:
  • Take a critical look at your own performance. Is there anything you are doing that is adding to the problem? Self-identified micromanagers often claim that they wouldn’t have to micromanage if their people would just do what they were supposed to do. It may not fix the problem, but delivering your best may give you a little more breathing room.
  • Play by their rules. Admittedly, spending your day requesting permission for every action, justifying every decision or rewriting every sentence is not productive. However, fighting it will be even less so. Figure out the hot buttons, pet peeves and sticking points and try to abide. Sadly this may mean spending more time on the non-value-added appeasing tasks, but if you can streamline them, you may be able to create a workable relationship.
  • Try not to take it to heart. Assuming your work is sound, try not to let the constant nit-picking affect your self-confidence. The problem is the manager’s, not yours.
  • Talk to them about their behavior. You may want to attempt a frank, but respectful discussion with the Leader about the issue. Come prepared with recent examples and ideas for how you can work better together. Be aware though, that they may be unable to recognize that their behavior is problematic and their inherent lack of trust may create a contentious discussion.
  • Take it up with a “higher authority”  Often this approach may end up doing more harm than good. At the very heart of micromanagement is a lack of trust, and going over the Leader’s head, potentially making him/her look bad is a cardinal sin in the eyes of this type of Leader. Although it may buy some momentary relief, chances are you will suffer in the long run.
  • Leave the organization. This option may be the only choice in some situations. Assume your Leader is not going to leave. If you find that your work, your family and most likely your health and well-being are suffering because of a work situation that has become intolerable, looking for a better job may be the best thing you could do for yourself and your long-term career. Ultimately, you are in control of your own future and can make the decision to leave for greener pastures.
No one likes to be micromanaged because, generally speaking, if you were hired to do a job, trained to complete that job and have on open communication line to your Leader and the resources need to complete the job; then you should be allowed to do the job!
Until next time, if you are micromanaging…stop it! If you are being micromanaged, hang in there and send the Leader this blog………….
Rod