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Posts tagged ‘Lead and follow’

Push or Pull

Today I had the opportunity to witness something, that not only have I done, but Leaders have done for years on end. Have you ever gone up to a pull to open door and pushed on it? Perhaps you approached a push to open door and pulled on it. Either way, the result was definitely not what you had planned as you came up to that door. The comical thing is when the person does it again as if to say, “If I do it harder this time, it surely will work!” Once I tried the door four times before stopping to see what was wrong and corrected my method!

The reason people do this is because we often move through life in a very assumptive mode. Working on a form of auto-pilot not really paying attention to what we are doing until the “door” does not do as we thought it should. Leaders often fall into the push/pull syndrome when they fail to take time to pay attention to the ever-changing environment around them and to the people who make up their Team. Too many times Leaders are so determined to push when they need to pull, or pull when they needed to push, that they strongly move forward convinced that their way is correct and if they just put a little more effort into it, it surely will work. Then to top off the ill-fated effort, when the mistake is brought to light, they frequently do not accept responsibility for the incorrect move, shift blame to the “door” or worse yet, simply ignore it and their credibility goes into a downward spiral.

Even though the push/pull syndrome happens daily across our great business world, there is a remedy. First, the Leader needs to take time to properly plan their moves and be aware of the people and happenings around them on a daily basis. Review at the beginning of the day the events of the previous day and the challenges of the day ahead. Then plan for success in that days activities. Second, once you have a plan and are prepared for what you know the day will bring, work the plan, but be flexible as the situations may call for last-minute changes. Third and finally, once you work the plan, review either your success or identify your area for growth in the plan. Then make the changes in your future plans when confronting similar issues in the future.

We all make mistakes and often we are slow to recognize when we are working in the wrong methods.  If you fall victim to the push/pull syndrome, don’t be too hard on yourself if it is just an occasional happening. The key is to identify it early, change it quickly, plan and then adjust the course as needed for the future.

Until next time, watch out for that door!

Rod

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Let’s Strive to be an HP Leader!

How would you like to skyrocket yourself and your Team in the following areas: Approachability, Trust, Business knowledge, Accountability, Morale, Productivity?

You can, by becoming an HP Leader!  William Hewlett and David Packard, founders of Hewlett Packard (HP), famously used a particular approach Leading their company. Tom Peters, in his wildly successful 1982 book “In Search of Excellence,” included lessons learned from HP and other companies that used a similar style of Leadership – and the term MBWA immediately became popular. What is MBWA you ask? Managing By Wandering Around, a key to relationship, Team building and overall Leadership in the world today! To get connected and stay connected, you need to walk around and talk to your team, work alongside them, ask questions, and be there to help when needed.

Here’s how it can make changes in the above listed areas:

  • Approachability – When your staff sees you as a person and not just a boss, they’ll be more likely to tell you what’s going on.
  • Trust – As your team gets to know you better, they’ll trust you more. You’ll be naturally inclined to share more information, and that will break down barriers to communication.
  • Business knowledge – Getting out and learning what’s happening on a daily basis can give you a better understanding of the functions and processes around you.
  • Accountability – When you interact daily with your team, agreements you make with each other are much more likely to be completed. Everyone is more motivated to follow through, because you’re seeing each other on a regular basis.
  • Morale – People often feel better about their jobs and their organization when they have opportunities to be heard. MBWA makes those opportunities available.
  • Productivity – Many creative ideas come from casual exchanges. MBWA promotes casual discussions, so people will more likely feel free to come to you with their ideas.

Despite its obvious benefits, use of MBWA has been hit-and-miss. To be successful, it takes more than simply strolling through your office, warehouse, or production facility. MBWA isn’t a “walk in the park”: It’s a determined and genuine effort to understand your staff, what they do, and what you can do to make their work more effective. Don’t just do MBWA because you feel it’s an obligation – this probably won’t work very well. You have to truly want to get to know your staff and operations, and you have to commit to following up concerns and seeking continuous improvement.

Remember, Leadership is about Relationships! So get out there and start wandering around!

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.

A Piece of the Puzzle

There are many pieces to the puzzle that draws all the elements together for successful leadership. For leaders, having emotional intelligence is  a key piece of the puzzle for success. After all, who is more likely to succeed – a leader who shouts at his team when he’s under stress, or a leader who remains in self-control, and calmly assesses the situation?

Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to understand and manage both your own emotions, and those of the people around you. People with a high degree of emotional intelligence usually know what they’re feeling, what this means, and how their emotions can affect other people.

According to Daniel Goleman, an American psychologist who helped make the idea of EI popular, there are five main elements of emotional intelligence:

  1. Self-awareness– If you’re self-aware, you always know how you feel. And you know how your emotions, and your actions, can affect the people around you. Being self-aware when you’re in a leadership position also means having a clear picture of your strengths and weaknesses. And it means having humility.
  2. Self-regulation– Leaders who regulate themselves effectively rarely verbally attack others, make rushed or emotional decisions, stereotype people, or compromise their values. Self-regulation is all about staying in control. This element of emotional intelligence, according to Goleman, also covers a leader’s flexibility and commitment to personal accountability
  3. Motivation- Self-motivated leaders consistently work toward their goals. And they have extremely high standards for the quality of their work
  4. Empathy- For leaders, having empathy is critical to managing a successful team or organization. Leaders with empathy have the ability to put themselves in someone else’s situation. They help develop the people on their team, challenge others who are acting unfairly, give constructive feedback, and listen to those who need it. If you want to earn the respect and loyalty of your team, then show them you care by being empathic.
  5. Social skills –Leaders who do well in this element of emotional intelligence are great communicators. They’re just as open to hearing bad news as good news, and they’re experts at getting their team to support them and be excited about a new mission or project. Leaders who have good social skills are also good at managing change and resolving conflicts diplomatically. They’re rarely satisfied with leaving things as they are, but they’re also not willing to make everyone else do the work. They set the example with their own behavior.

The more that you, as a leader, manage each of these areas, the higher your emotional intelligence. So, if you are wanting more help in any of these areas, contact Ascend Business Strategies and we will be glad to assist you in any way we can! You can reach us at: 1-866-549-0434

 Until next time, Lead on! 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