3 Things All Great Leaders Know How to Be

3 Things All Great Leaders Know How to Be

87% of millennials rate “professional or career growth and development opportunities” as important to them in a job (Gallup). Are you providing that career growth and development opportunities to your employees? If you want to elevate individual growth, focus on the value of personal relationships. Get to know and connect with your team. Really listen to who they are and their personal and professional goals. Building trust allows you to coach and mentor more effectively. Knowing what inspires and engages your team members will give you better insight when assigning projects and job responsibilities. When you have an employee that is feeling bored in his current role and would like to try something new, go with it. When team members are encouraged to use their own creativity and expertise to produce the desired results, they feel inspired to give their best effort. Employees want to be challenged. Smart managers encourage an environment of continuous idea exchange and readily acknowledge that new and better approaches can and should be discovered. Here are some simple principles that you can use to invite sincere, authentic dialogue and idea exchange among your team. Encourage them to: Be Bold. If you want new (and better) solutions, try new things. Mike Markkula, an American entrepreneur and former CEO of Apple Computers said, “The overall quality of work improves when you give people a chance to fail.” Be Open. Encourage your team to share any and all ideas, no matter how crazy they sound. Make it safe for others to experiment and possibly fail; make the people you lead feel confident and secure so they will...
The Best Ever Solution for Managing Remotely

The Best Ever Solution for Managing Remotely

If you have a job in 2017 (and if you’re reading this, that’s a safe bet), you know work has undergone what I call an “extreme makeover: corporate edition” in the last 10-15 years. Gone are the days of coming into an office and working 9 to 5. Now we work whenever and from wherever. In fact, according to Forbes, in a mere three years the mobile workforce is projected to comprise roughly three-quarters of U.S. employees. There are definitely perks that accompany this dramatic shift. On the plus side, businesses save big on office space and other overheard costs. It’s also a good deal for remote employees: they avoid a stressful commute and can create a schedule that matches their needs. It’s a win/win. But, hold up. While the benefits of a mobile workforce are many, there is one significant drawback—communication. Only 7% of human communication is found in content. The rest is conveyed through body language, tone of voice and facial expressions, things that get lost in email and text. So, get a video conferencing platform and you’re golden, right? Being able to see the smiling faces of your team is a great first step, but it doesn’t go far enough. The way we hold conversations also has to change if we want to keep remote workers connected and engaged. The next time you talk to your team, whether it’s over phone or video, consider including this one practice: Ask open-ended questions! Can you spot the difference in these two questions? Is the project going well? What are your next steps with the project? You got it....
3 Mistakes All Managers Make and How to Fix Them

3 Mistakes All Managers Make and How to Fix Them

All managers make mistakes. Some make mistakes because their intentions are wrong—they want more power or ego—but most of us lead with the best of intentions. We care about our team, as individuals and as a whole. Ironically, that care sometimes gets in the way of good decisions. Here are some of the most common pitfalls from well-intentioned managers and what to do about it. We think they can’t handle the truth As managers, we often forget how we felt as we entered the workforce: we wanted to know how things really were. But now that we’re managers, we only want to give good news (or carefully metered bad news). Why not give employees the truth? “Well, they might leave if they knew,” you say. When you were starting out, wouldn’t you have preferred to be given information and make the decision to stay or go for yourself? Your employees can handle it. They may leave; they may be discouraged. But other things will happen, too: 1. They will trust you. If you tell them the bad news, they will believe the good news you share is not just carefully applied sunshine designed to make them feel a certain way. 2. They will commit. They might leave, but they may stay. And if they do, they will stay with full clarity. 3. They will become part of the solution. They will think about how to deal with the problem, because it’s their problem, too. They will try to help, not just for your sake, but for their own, and when that happens, they invest their best. What should we...
The 7 “C’s” of Great Leaders

The 7 “C’s” of Great Leaders

Navigating the rough waters of management for the first time can feel like crossing an ocean. Master these 7 C’s of a Good Manager and see the difference it can make for your crew. Communicate Communication is the key to any relationship. Frequent, targeted conversations are the best way to improve performance. Try practicing SayDoCo: say what you’re going to do; do what you said you’d do; communicate when you can’t. Collaborate In most situations, better performance doesn’t lie in learning more, but in doing more of what you already know. Your conversations should start by bringing out the knowledge your employee already has. Then you can share your ideas. Conversations are a two-way street, but the employee has the right of way. Care Take a genuine interest in your employees. Working relationships are about more than tasks. Check in on your employees’ personal lives as well as their work. Showing you care increases engagement and can reignite that fire your best employees started with. (This infographic explains the business case for engagement.) Create a Culture A great culture is more than a foosball table or soda machine. It’s about creating a place where employees feel trusted, valued, and empowered to do their best stuff. Create a coaching culture through weekly one-on-ones, regular check-ins, and open dialogue. Concentrate (on what employees say) When you’re in a meeting, make a point to be present in the conversation. Conversations shouldn’t be about waiting for your turn to speak and focusing on what you can add, but rather, about seeking to understand and draw out the best in your team. (Give) Credit...
Why Leaders Are Not Born, But Trained!

Why Leaders Are Not Born, But Trained!

There goes a popular fable, which talks about how once a monkey got to become the king of the jungle. The day that happened, everyone heaved a sigh of relief that now things might change. But the next day they found the monkey prancing around the jungle and jumping on tree tops. They wondered what is wrong, but said nothing thinking this might be the new way of doing things around. This went on for some time, the jungle was now a mayhem. Animals approached the monkey to ask why isn’t he doing anything, to which he replied, “Can’t you see I’m doing what I can?  Tell me if there’s something wrong with my efforts? I keep jumping around all the jungle for you people and this is how you talk to me?” With this the monkey left everyone dumbstruck, and went away hopping on tree tops. Moral of the story:  No matter how good you think your efforts are, in reality you might just be a monkey hopping on trees. Nope, just kidding. The real lesson here is to understand that leading people is not an easy task, and understanding what you job entails is a tough thing to conquer. One might do all what they can to make things work, but that doesn’t mean it will succeed.  And that is exactly where it becomes crucial.  Leadership is not what we perceive it to be, it is what the people and the organization needs. People elevated from individual contributors’ role to team managers have hardly any experience in management, in the first go. According to IBM’s Global Chief...