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Leadership

Leadership

Your team wants to know what you have learned.

additional wheels to the bike

With Father’s Day approaching, I’m reminded of one of my dad’s favorite sayings, “She’ll learn.” He used to say that at times when I made decisions that he didn’t necessarily agree with. It was a way of allowing me to let my own experiences teach me lessons… like the time I insisted on learning how to ride my bike on my own without training wheels. I was in Kindergarten when our family lived in Boston. I crashed a number of times. Even though I didn’t want Dad’s help, I knew he was there. I learned.

In your leadership role, it’s tempting to want to guide, direct, teach or coach those you lead. And that’s a good thing. However, there are times when your team members need to learn on their own through their own experience. Sometimes you want to jump on the bike and show them how it’s done. Or you may want to help them pedal faster… or slam on the brakes!
If they need a new bike, help them get one or build one.

Let them ride.

You’ll be helping them build capability through their own experience.

To foster their development, do the following:

• Ask what they have learned recently about a success and/or failure. Have them reflect on what they did well and what they would do differently.

• Ask them to share their learning in some way. For example, they could share what they have learned in a team meeting, especially if it will help someone else.

• Challenge them to take on another task or responsibility that stretches them out of their comfort zone.

• Recognize their efforts. Yes, results are important, but you can’t win them all. Reinforcing effort will help them stay more motivated.

• Model the learning behavior you want to see in them. Let them know what you’re learning based on your own leadership experience.

You may have a strong team with great skills, but if they are not continually learning, they won’t maximize their potential.

Next time you find yourself in a typical meeting with everyone reporting in on activities or giving status updates, invite each person to share something specific they have learned through the project or through their experience with the team.

Break the “busyness” with just a little time to reflect. You’ll likely gain valuable tips, insights or ideas you may not have considered.

Try it. You’ll learn.

Gayle Lantz is a leadership consultant, speaker, author and founder of WorkMatters, Inc. She works with organizations, executives and top performers who are serious about growing their businesses and themselves.

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Leadership

Ready for a Coaching Conversation?

Word “communication” with colorful dialog speech bubbles. Communication vector concept

Ever struggle to find just the right words when you’re in a sensitive conversation? If you’re in a leadership role, it’s not uncommon. If you’re like many of the executives I coach, you just want to get things done, but “people issues” get in the way. While the words you choose to use are important, there are other factors that matter as well.

Here are some quick tips to help you address difficult people and situations as they arise.

Focus on:

Intention: What do you want to happen as a result of the conversation you now need to have? Be clear about the purpose or expectation you have for the conversation. For example, your intention may be to encourage some type of change or to help someone improve performance. Maybe you’re trying to smooth relationships.

Tone: What do you want the person to feel as a result of the conversation? Encouragement? Trust? Willingness to improve? Keep your tone light when you can. If you are stressed and serious, other people will sense that. Have a positive expectation for the conversation.

Questions: Hear the difference between “WHAT were you thinking?” And “What do you think you can do differently next time?” Use good questions to help bring out the best in others, not to shut them down.

Timing: Timing is everything. If you are reacting to a person or situation that makes you angry, wait. Allow the dust in your mind to settle. Many times the situation is not as bad as it first appears. Even if you’re ready to have the conversation, the timing may be off for the other person. Read the other person. Open a difficult conversation when people are more likely to be receptive.

More people and companies are recognizing the value of coaching conversation to address difficult issues. They realize the role of the lead is not always to solve problems, but to be a good coach or mentor–to build capability in others. Whether you are trying to improve a difficult situation or develop a top performer, make your conversation count.

Gayle Lantz is a leadership consultant, speaker, author and founder of WorkMatters, Inc. She works with organizations, executives and top performers who are serious about growing their businesses and themselves.

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Business StrategiesLeadership

Quick Tips for Getting Back on Track in the New Year

2017

It’s the New Year–a time for new beginnings. Are you feeling excited, optimistic and energized?

If you’re like many people I know, you might be feeling tired, sluggish and overwhelmed already. And it’s okay to admit it. It’s easy for pressure to build quickly after you’ve had a change to let go of work during the holidays. If you’re having trouble getting back on track, you’re not alone.

Here are some quick times for easing back into the New Year:

1. Take your time. You may not feel like you have a choice about the pace in which you operate, but you have more control than you realize. Set realistic expectations. Set boundaries where needed. Get clear about your priorities. It’s okay to walk before you run. What pace feels right for you?

2. Notice your resistance. When you’re too tired or you’re avoiding some activities, this might actually be a good sign. Pay attention. Maybe you don’t want to step back into the same environment or activities that don’t serve you well. Think about something new you can try–a change you can make that would give you more of what you really want. What are you resisting?

3. Don’t judge yourself. Too many people say, “I should be accomplishing more,” or “I should be more active,” or “I should lose more weight.” They think they are not good enough, capable enough, etc. Replace those thoughts with “I am…” positive statements like: “I am figuring things out,” or “I am taking one step at a time,” or “I am moving in the right direction.” What do you really need to hear right now?

4. Start small. Choose one area of your life or work that you would like to improve. Set a short-term goal. If you want to run a marathon, you don’t go out and run the entire distance. Maybe you’ll run a mile this week as a start. What’s something small you can do that will still give you a sense of accomplishment?

Pay attention to how you feel, not just what you do as a leader. When you feel strong, healthy and vibrant, you are more likely to enjoy life and work. Make your own well-being a top priority this year.

Author: Gayle Lantz is a leadership consultant, author, speaker and founder of WorkMatters, Inc., (www.WorkMatters.com) a consulting firm dedicated to helping leaders think and work smarter. Learn more at our Contributors tab.

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Leadership

Make your conversations count

Listen to me

Ever struggle to find just the right words when you’re in a sensitive conversation? If you’re in a leadership role or own your own business where you interact with the public, it’s not uncommon. Some leaders have admitted they will avoid an employee because of having to tiptoe around an issue or worrying about striking a nerve. The idea of confronting the person becomes more stressful than dealing with the negative impact of ignoring it.

As a business owner, you just want to get things done, but “people issues” often can get in the way. While the words you choose to use are important, there are other factors that matter as well. Here are some quick tips to help you address difficult people and situations as they arise.

Focus on…

Your intention: What do you want to happen as a result of the conversation you know you need to have? Be clear about the purpose or expectation you have for the conversation.

For example, your intention may be to encourage some type of change or to help someone improve performance. Maybe you’re trying to smooth relationships.

Your tone: What do you want the person to feel as a result of the conversation? Encouragement? Trust? Willingness to improve? Keep your tone light when you can. If you are stressed and serious, other people will sense that. Have a positive expectation for the conversation.

Your questions: Hear the difference between…”WHAT were you thinking?” and “What do you think you can do differently next time?” Use good questions to help bring out the best in others, not to shut them down.

Your timing: Timing is everything. If you are reacting to a person or situation that makes you angry, wait. Allow the dust in your mind to settle.

The situation often is not as bad as it first appears. Even if you’re ready to have the conversation, the timing may be off for the other person. Read the other person. Open a difficult conversation when people are more likely to be receptive. More people and companies are recognizing the value of coaching conversations to address difficult issues. They realize that the role of the leader is not always to solve problems, but to be a good coach or mentor–to build capability in others.

Whether you are trying improve a difficult situation or develop a top performer, be sure to make your conversation count.

GayleLantz_headshotAuthor: Gayle Lantz is a leadership consultant, author, speaker and founder of WorkMatters, Inc., (www.WorkMatters.com) a consulting firm dedicated to helping leaders think and work smarter.

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Business StrategiesLeadership

Time to catch your second wind?

2013 Concept New Year Clock

As you head toward the end of the year, you’re likely thinking about what you most want to accomplish over the next couple of months — trying to squeeze in that last bit of business activity before the holidays arrive.

You might feel like you’re pushing toward the end of a marathon — running out of steam, losing energy, allowing your body to move on autopilot just to cross the finish line.

That’s one strategy.

But there are a couple of better ways to gain momentum — to get a second wind to carry you across the finish line. (It’s really not a finish line. It’s the starting line for next year.)

Catch your breath to review your progress.

That’s right. Stop what you’re doing for a minute. Think about the progress you’ve made in whatever areas of your business or life are most important to you. Simply list anything that represents progress of any kind: small steps to major breakthroughs. Seeing your progress is motivating.

Imagine your best future — or at least the best picture of the year ahead.

It’s too easy to dwell on problems. If I asked you to describe what you are most looking forward to in the year ahead, what would you say? What would be most exciting to accomplish? Where are your best opportunities?

Think about:

•             The impact you can and want to make next year.

•             The role you want to play.

•             The partnerships you want to create.

Your optimism about your future will help you gain more momentum heading into the New Year.

You’ll give yourself a running start.

So…

The secret to a strong finish is preparing for a strong start — taking a little time to reflect on your progress and to imagine compelling new possibilities.

Choose carefully the lens through which you want to view your past progress and your future success. It can propel you and your business.

Catch your second wind!

Author: Gayle Lantz is a leadership consultant, author, speaker and founder of WorkMatters, Inc., (www.WorkMatters.com) a consulting firm dedicated to helping leaders think and work smarter. 

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Business StrategiesLeadership

Three ways to overcome a stalled strategy

Guy Pushing Car

What’s next? It’s tough to think about it when you’re focused on what’s needed now.

Customers call. You’re there.
Discover a problem. You fix it.
Deadline. You meet it.
New business opportunity. You chase it.

Often business owners talk about how busy they are, yet they’re frustrated because they’re not accomplishing what they really want. They feel stalled. Their engine is running in high gear, but they’re not moving forward. This happens when they’ve lost sight of their business strategy — the bigger picture that should be guiding their actions.

Effective business owners know that to be most successful they must constantly strike a balance between strategic and tactical thinking. Tactical action might get you through the day, but strategic action will position your company to thrive well into the future.

Here are three important keys, along with specific actions you can take, to help your thinking pendulum swing over to the strategic side more frequently.

1)      Discipline – Set a date on your calendar to “force” yourself to focus on strategy by setting aside time during the year to set new goals and refresh their vision. Do this periodically throughout the year. As a start, determine what you really want out of the business. Write it down.

2)     Clarity – The more clear you are on what you want to accomplish and why, the easier it becomes to prioritize. You will act with greater intention, instead of reacting to whatever lands in your lap. Can you express your top three strategic objectives? When you can, help your team gain the same level of clarity.

3)      Execution – Do what needs to be done. It’s not enough to set aside time to focus on strategy if you can’t act on it. Identify just one way you can execute more effectively (e.g., chart progress; increase leadership capability; remove impediments; gain commitment). If you can’t execute, something needs to change.

While the thought of spending time on strategy may sound laborious, rethinking your strategy can actually be an ideal way to gain new energy for yourself, your team and your company.

 

Author: Gayle Lantz is a leadership consultant, author, speaker and founder of WorkMatters, Inc., (www.WorkMatters.com) a consulting firm dedicated to helping leaders think and work smarter. Learn more at our Contributors tab.

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Human ResourcesLeadership

Five Easy Tips for Learning to Pass the Baton

canstockphoto2038055

Are you struggling to achieve big goals while being consumed by petty issues that slow you down? If you’re like many business owners, you feel like you’re carrying a heavy load. You’re taking on entirely too much — and you know it — but you won’t let go. It’s not enough to tell you that you should be delegating more. You’d likely agree. Logically, it makes sense.

But in practice, you’re not following through. Start with these five easy tips for learning to let go:

  1. Accept that you are not the ONLY person who can do a task well. As one client said, “I realized I was putting my ego first.”
  2. Start small. Rather than handing over a major responsibility, ease into it by creating a less risky assignment for a direct report.
  3. Look at the alternative. If you don’t stop trying to “do everything,” you’ll continue to be frustrated and burned out.
  4. Develop your staff. The stronger their capability, the better you’ll function as a team.
  5. See yourself differently. Leaders don’t do it all. They lead! Revise the image you have of yourself or your role.

Having trouble delegating? Put your excuses on the table. Then note the reasons why you must pass the baton when it comes to some tasks. What could be different in your business if you let go more easily?

Release your grip.

 

Author: Gayle Lantz is a leadership consultant, author, speaker and founder of WorkMatters, Inc., (www.WorkMatters.com) a consulting firm dedicated to helping leaders think and work smarter. Learn more at our Contributors tab.

 

 

 

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Leadership

5 Ways to Motivate Your Managers

Businessman Wearing Cape

Does your management team seem unmotivated?
Are you looking for ways to increase productivity or improve employee morale? Here are five ways to inspire your managers to stand up and lead.

  1. Issue a challenge. Some people need a specific challenge to motivate them. By laying down a challenge you also create very clear and measurable goals for the manager to achieve.
  2. Appeal to more noble motives. Many employees can think that their work does not make a difference. By appealing to a noble motive you can increase morale while also setting higher standards for your managers.
  3. Be sympathetic. Never tell a person they are wrong. Rather listen and be empathetic to the other person ideas and desires.
  4. Back up your ideas with proof. By providing evidence you can give instant credibility to your ideas. If you have evidence even the most hard to reach managers will take notice.
  5. Listen to what your managers have to say. Some employees may not have aspirations to reach top corporate positions; rather they are content if their opinions and ideas are valued.

 

Author: Bethany Meadows is the owner of Vertical Solutions Media Inc. She has over 20 years of solid marketing experience in a wide array of industries including insurance, financial, pharmaceutical, retail, hospitality, and more.

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