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Posts tagged ‘Human Resources’

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

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

Adaptability- A Must

An old Chinese proverb says that the wise adapt themselves to circumstances, as water molds itself to the pitcher. Now, like no other time in recent history has adaptability been more important to a Leader’s success. Adaptability – the ability to change (or be changed) to fit new circumstances, surroundings and people mixes – is a crucial skill for leaders, and an important competency in emotional intelligence.

A 2008 study conducted by the Economist Intelligent Unit, entitledGrowing Global Executive Talent, showed that the top three leadership qualities that will be important over the next five years include: the ability to motivate staff (35%); the ability to work well across cultures (34%); and the ability to facilitate change (32%). The least important were technical expertise (11%) and “bringing in the numbers” (10%). This is one of the reasons why this blog touts relationships and motivation for the growth of a Leader! This willingness to get out of one’s comfort zone, and learn continuously as a way of adapting to changes, marks a key difference between successful and unsuccessful leaders.

Here are a few tips for developing adaptability.

  • If you catch yourself shooting an idea down, take a moment to consider what mental scripts you might have developed, which are influencing your thoughts. Mental scripts are ways you have been patterned to think over the years through experiences and life, whether voluntary or involuntary.  They are so automatic that you have to be intentional to change them and improve your leadership.
  • Do you habitually insist on going “by the book”? Is this actually necessary for every issue? You can have a great effect on your Team’s productivity if you paid more attention to the effect that this might have on the people involved. What would happen if you applied creativity to standard procedures?
  • Consider that when we push the envelope, when we intentionally put ourselves in situations that are outside our comfort zone, we grow. Are you trading on old knowledge? Do you need to update your skills? Are you relying too much on your title as the sign of authority? In today’s working environment, surrounded by highly intelligent and specialized knowledge workers, this no longer works. We can adapt by continually evolving and reinventing ourselves.
  • When we are in a position for a length of time, we may tend to become accustomed to the status quo and fail to challenge the process in order to continue to grow and improve.Here is a question to ask yourself:  “If you left tomorrow, what would your successor do to improve things?”  Now consider making these changes yourself, today!

Until next time, free yourself to accept and lose the potential of your Team!

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

Winning in Leadership!

Want to win in Leadership with powerful Teams and exceptional people? Here is one of the ingredients: DIVERSITY! Accept it, practice it and win with it!

THE DIVERSITY CREED 
By Gene Griessman, Ph.D. © 1993 

I believe that diversity is a part of the natural order of things—as natural as the trillion shapes and shades of the flowers of spring or the leaves of autumn. I believe that diversity brings new solutions to an ever-changing environment, and that sameness is not only uninteresting but limiting.

To deny diversity is to deny life—with all its richness and manifold opportunities. Thus, I affirm my citizenship in a world of diversity, and with it the responsibility to….

  • Be tolerant. Live and let live. Understand that those who cause no harm should not be feared, ridiculed, or harmed—even if they are different.
  • Look for the best in others.
  • Be just in my dealings with poor and rich, weak and strong, and whenever possible to defend the young, the old, the frail, the defenseless.
  • Avoid needless conflicts and diversions, but be always willing to change for the better that which can be changed.
  • Seek knowledge in order to know what can be changed, as well as what cannot be changed.
  • Forge alliances with others who love liberty and justice.
  • Be kind, remembering how fragile the human spirit is.
  • Live the examined life, subjecting my motives and actions to the scrutiny of mind and heart so to rise above prejudice and hatred.
  • Care.

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

Examine the Connection

Recently I was reading a Leadership communication forum and agreed so much with what was said I wanted to expand on it in my blog today. The subject of the forum concerned the difference between communication and connecting. The question was asked, “Do you communicate or do you connect?” In the realm of Leadership this is a crucial question! If all you are doing is communicating and not connecting with the Team, you may as well save your breath!

The key to Leadership is relationship and you can’t have a relationship without connecting with your Team. So much of a person’s communication is lost by how they deliver the message they are trying to get across. Too often we put little thought into how we say something while putting a great deal of thought into what we are saying. I would venture a guess that the rapid development of technology has some to do with this issue. We are living in a world of ‘super connectedness’. We “connect” via mobile phone, Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, Skype. However, I find it that we have many ways and means of communicating, but we are often never truly connecting.

Connecting is more than just communicating. Communicating is getting a message across. Connecting is how you get the message across. Connecting means that you care for and take an interest in the person you are communicating with right now. It has been said that if we would do more connecting, we would have less correcting to do! The more we connect to people, the better our chances of influencing them and making a positive difference in their and our outcomes.

Technology has made it easy to no longer have face to face communication. It is commonplace to see and hear misunderstandings because of a lack of connecting with a person in a face to face, or at least on the phone, complete conversation. When a Leader has a message to communicate he/she must take into to consideration that communication styles of the people they are trying to reach. The best way for this to happen is through an Extended DISC process for all involved. (PLEASE CONTACT ME FOR MORE INFO ON THIS WORKPLACE REVOLUTIONIZING TOOL!!) If you don’t take into consideration those who will hear the message and how they receive that message, half to two-thirds of your impact is lost!

Next time you have a message to communicate, think first about how you are going to connect to the people that need to hear your message. If you start there, your success rate with your communication will sky-rocket!! Remember: People may hear the words you say, but what they will remember much better is the attitude you displayed while saying those words.

Until next time, care enough to connect, don’t just communicate!

Rod

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 2

So what does active listening entail? How do you do it?
Listed below are a few tips to help us all be better listeners and for those talking to know that we are doing more than a surface job of hearing what they say. Remember, hearing is what most everybody is able to do in a conversation, listening is what the sincere Leader does!
Pay attention.

Give the speaker your undivided attention, respect, and acknowledge the message. Recognize that non-verbal communication also “speaks” loudly.

  • Look at the speaker directly. Make eye contact if possible.
  • Put aside distracting thoughts. Don’t mentally prepare a rebuttal!
  • Avoid being distracted by environmental factors. Concentrate of what is being said.
  • “Listen” to the speaker’s body language. Observe the non-verbal’s but don’t let it take you away from the conversation.
  • Refrain from side conversations when listening in a group setting. Focus, focus, focus!

Show that you are listening.

Use your own body language and gestures to convey your attention.

  • Nod occasionally.
  • Smile and use other facial expressions.
  • Note your posture and make sure it is open and inviting. Don’t cross your arms or roll your eyes.
  • Encourage the speaker to continue with small verbal comments like yes, and uh huh.

Provide feedback.

Our life experiences and beliefs can distort what we hear. As a listener, your role is to understand what is being said and put aside prejudices. This may require you to reflect what is being said and ask questions for clarification.

  • Reflect what has been said by paraphrasing. “What I’m hearing is.” and “Sounds like you are saying.” are great ways to echo back.
  • Ask questions to clarify certain points. “What do you mean when you say.” “Is this what you mean?”
  • Summarize the speaker’s comments periodically, just don’t cut off the speaker to do so.

Tip: If you find yourself responding emotionally to what someone said, say so, and ask for more information: “I may not be understanding you correctly, and I find myself taking what you said personally. What I thought you just said is ***; is that what you meant?”.

 Defer judgment.

Interrupting is a waste of time. It frustrates the speaker and limits full understanding of the message.

  • Allow the speaker to finish no matter how you may feel about what is being said.
  • Don’t interrupt with counter arguments. This makes the entire conversation useless and puts those around you on edge and an understanding becomes farther away if not impossible.

Respond Appropriately.

Active listening is a model for respect and understanding. You are gaining information and perspective. You add nothing by verbally attacking the speaker or otherwise putting him or her down.

  • Be candid, open, and honest in your response but remain respectful. Remember that diversity is valuable in all areas of life.
  • Assert your opinions respectfully. Keep in mind that everyone has opinions and your’s is no more important that their’s.
  • Treat the other person as you would want to be treated in the same situation.
These are just a few ways to enhance your active listening skills, not to mention your personal and professional relationships.
Until next time, Listen, Listen and then Listen again!!!
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