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3 Leaders Reveal Their Hardest Conversations

Not all decisions are easy to make. How do you give a difficult talk to your teammate, boss, or even yourself? Andrea Williams covers this in her article for Michael Hyatt, on Nov. 27, 2018.

Building a successful organization requires interpersonal skills as much as knowledge of finance or marketing strategies. Perhaps the most important tool in the relational toolbox is the tenacity to have tough talks that lead to the sort of necessary change that makes growth possible.

Here, three individuals relate their most difficult conversations, revealing insights and advice applicable on a fairly wide scale. Their problems are likely to be yours at some point, if you are leading people.

Calling out a trusted team member

Addressing an individual’s poor decision making is never easy, especially if that person is a valuable part of the team and someone you want to continue working with long-term. The solution, says Shyam Krishna, founder of SKI Charities, is to empower that individual with more ownership over their role and the future of the organization as a whole.

SKI Charities supports local entrepreneurs in developing countries by providing microloans to women, giving them the necessary resources to lift their families out of poverty. In order the execute this mission, Krishna depends on project managers who are based in each country and are directly responsible for recruiting and developing entrepreneurs for SKI’s microfinance program.

During the organization’s growth in eastern Zimbabwe, Krishna discovered that one project manager was “overly-aggressive” in decision-making and enrolling beneficiaries who were not ideal for the program.

“She had been a stalwart member of our team and played a vital role in our early growth,” Krishna says, “so when I noticed this movement away from our core mission, I knew I had to speak with her about changing her mindset while balancing her continued engagement.”

Ultimately, Krishna reminded the project manager of SKI’s core mission, while also encouraging her to take an active role in creating and enhancing the company’s future vision. “With her involvement and ownership, she began to make decisions less as an employee and more as a leader herself,” Krishna says.

Giving the boss an ultimatum

While the onus for effectively tackling difficult conversation typically falls on leaders who need to address their subordinates, there are times when the need to initiate an important discussion starts at the bottom.

Before becoming the founder and CEO of business consulting firm Trebuchet Group, Chris Hutchinson was working under a leader who stifled his growth, taking over a number of his responsibilities once he had achieved success in those areas.

Hutchinson’s frustration was mounting.“I needed to help my boss do the role the business needed of him and let me do mine, or help transfer my responsibilities to him and leave the business,” he says.

Hutchinson presented his boss with two solutions: Either his boss would need to step back and focus on being the president of the organization, while Hutchinson exercised full autonomy as general manager, or Hutchinson would depart, transferring his responsibilities back to his boss.

“He chose the latter,” Hutchinson says. “Over the next few weeks, I coached him on how we would announce my transition…It was very difficult to leave my colleagues when I believed they would not be successful, yet I also felt I was in a no-win situation. The harder I tried to help, the less authority I had to be able to help.”

Hutchinson’s experience shows that not all difficult conversations will achieve an ideal result for both parties, but it’s important to have them nonetheless. His advice? Prepare in advance to ensure that your message is delivered with clarity and focus.

“A good friend gave me The Four Agreements book as I worked up the courage to present my boss with a clear choice and then follow through on that choice,” he says. “The book helped me make commitments to myself to do my best to be impeccable with my word, not make assumptions, and not take things personally. These lessons made a tremendous difference in that situation and have served me in other, difficult conversations with people at work.”

Owning up to your own mistakes

It’s estimated that one-in-five American jobs are held by contractors, and that, within ten years, half of the workforce will be comprised of contractors and freelancers.

For contract workers, the beauty of free-agent employment is the ability to assume full control over their schedule and work-life balance. But, in the face of poor time management and everyday life challenges, your schedule can quickly become an unwieldy monster.

As a self-employed attorney and mediator, Nance Schick has found that her most difficult conversations were the result of having to disclose her professional errors. This was certainly the case after a recent health crisis.

“I kept trying to work and thought I could get more done each day than I did, and this only made the work backlog pile up more,” Schick says. “This client’s project went further down my priority list each day, in part because I overestimated myself and made promises I couldn’t keep. Worse yet, I stopped communicating with her about my delays, thinking the project would be done before she even realized I was late completing it. I told myself this was okay because a lot of businesses operate this way, even if that is not how I run mine. But it was not okay.”

After recovering from laryngitis, pink eye, and a sinus infection, Schick was able to complete the project and submit it to her client for review. She also included and explanation, an apology, and a discount on her fees.

Since then, Schick has realized that it’s her responsibility to fully regain the trust of her client, but she’s also realistic in understanding that unforeseen circumstances may once again delay her productivity. Going forward, she plans to handle those situations with a different approach.

“First, I will be more realistic and honest about my schedule, even if it means I have to refer a project out to a trusted colleague,” she explains. “Second, I will notify the client immediately if I suspect a deadline won’t be met, and I will give the client a true opportunity to adapt, including by reassigning the project. Third, I will apologize by phone and allow the client to express her anger, disappointment, or whatever she feels.”

That may be a tough conversation to have but if she wants to grow, Schick believes it is a necessary one. “I must be the change I wish to see in others,” she says.

This article is written by Andrea Williams, digital content strategist, author, and journalist. You can find this post here.

The opinions expressed here by Andrea Williams are their own, not those of MichaelHyatt.com.

If you need help getting started in a new business venture, and you are in Chicago, Oak Brook or surrounding areas, contact us today if you feel you need some coaching on this topic!

ABOUT GREG LEE


Stop Relying on Your Company for Career Development

As one holiday ends, another begins. The path to career advancement doesn’t slow down for Mike Guggemos though, as this week we will be looking over his article written for Fortune in March 12, 2017.

Stop Relying on Your Company for Career Development

You probably aren’t doing these three simple and easy-to-adopt professional habits to raise your visibility at work—but you should be. Despite being simple, these are generation-agnostic, can be tested by any person at any point in their career, and, for the most part, are universally applicable across companies and industries.

Take control of your own advancement

As part of my job, I look at employee surveys, and one thing that habitually comes up is people wanting more career development and advancement opportunities. This fascinates me, because a lot of people aren’t doing very simple tasks—which can’t be replaced with organized committees or training programs provided by the company—to advance themselves.

In fact, I make a point to have one-on-one conversations with people to better understand their point of view around this idea, and invariably it becomes obvious that they haven’t put the onus on themselves to go out and look for—or even create—opportunities to get noticed. To put it bluntly, that is backward, and it won’t get you where you want to go.

Taking control and creating opportunity does not have to be part of a grand scheme or something that will eat away at your productivity. In fact, it comes down to basics. Introduce yourself, shake people’s hands, and get comfortable with putting yourself out there. If you are interested in a particular area, even if it isn’t related to your education, background, or current job focus, find out who the manager is—and introduce yourself in person.

“Hi, my name is…” can go a very long way.

Learn the art of strategic exposure

If you really want to get noticed, you have to put yourself out there in strategic ways. Volunteer for work and new responsibilities—even if it means stretching outside your comfort zone or having to put in a few more hours of effort at night or on the weekends.

If you want to have your boss’s job or boss’s boss’s job, you need to show what you are made of to large groups of people. There are three ways to do this: Speak up in meetings; find opportunities to give presentations; and write emails that will be seen by either large audiences or key decision makers.

Here is the hard part: Make sure you are clear, concise, and emotive when presenting and corresponding. These types of interactions are how you build your personal brand and credibility within the organization.

Make sure to show up

It’s old news that many companies have embraced a heavy telecommuting culture. For example, here at Insight, about 80% of my team telecommutes. However, this means that showing up once in a while is that much more important to getting noticed. Even though it may not be mandatory, make the trip in once or twice a week. If that isn’t possible, find a schedule that works for you. Even great work can’t supplant a handshake or a face-to-face interaction with teammates and managers. Conversely, if you are in the office but work with teammates or managers who are remote, make sure to introduce yourself to them when they are in town or ask them to grab a coffee.

While there are easy things to do to get noticed, there are also a few easy mistakes that can be made along the way. In short order, don’t take too much of people’s time, don’t over-communicate—less is more when you are striking up that initial conversation—and do your homework so that you have the right information to be brief, but effective.

In the few times I’ve seen people put these best practices to work, I have not only been impressed by their behavior, but often have noticed their realization of career dividends as a result.

This article is written by Mike Guggemos, chief information officer at Insight Enterprises. You can find this post here.

The opinions expressed here by Mike Guggemos are their own, not those of Fortune.com.

If you need help getting started in a new business venture, and you are in Chicago, Oak Brook or surrounding areas, contact us today if you feel you need some coaching on this topic!

ABOUT GREG LEE


6 Things Leaders Should Be Thankful For Everyday

With Thanksgiving arriving soon, I thought I would share this article published on November 22, 2017 on jmalonde.com, written by Joseph Lalonde. Taking a moment to remember the little things can make a big difference, no matter how busy the holidays become:

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day in the United States. Because of this, I wanted to reflect on 6 things leaders should be thankful for on Thanksgiving and every other day.

There’s a lot of pain that comes with leadership. Struggles no one else ever sees. Betrayals by coworkers and friends. Business failures. And so much more.

Yet there are also things leaders should be thankful for. Let’s take a look at these today.

6 Things Leaders Should Be Thankful For Everyday

1. Success:

Yes, be thankful for your successes. Your successes mean you’re having an impact on the world around you.

Don’t hide your successes. Celebrate your successes and be thankful for them.

2. Failure:

Hold up… You mean leaders should be thankful for failures? Oh yeah, leaders need to be thankful for failure.

Failure is an opportunity to learn and grow. You can examine your failures and see why they didn’t succeed.

Learn and grow from your failures. They’re a great stepping stone to your next success.

3. Influence:

If you’re a leader, you’re influencing other people. These could be team members, customers, even your vendors.

Your influence is guiding and leading people. Be thankful for the influence you have on others.

4. Team members:

Your team is a valuable part of your leadership. From leaders in training to the people working on the ground floor of your organization, these are the people who are the foundation.

Without your team, there’d be a lot more work for you, the leader, to take on.

Be thankful for your team members. They take a huge weight off of your shoulders.

5. The organization:

Sometimes it can be hard to be thankful for the organization you work for. There comes a lot of stress and frustration when you lead an organization.

There are times when you feel unappreciated. You begin to wonder why you’re there when no one values the work you do.

This shouldn’t negate the thankfulness you feel towards the organization. You have the opportunity to guide, build, and lead the organization in a new direction.

Be thankful for the organization you work in.

6. Your family:

Sadly, I’ve seen families get passed over by leaders more often than not. The leaders dedicate themselves to leading an organization yet forget to lead the most important organization they chose to join: Their family.

Your family is part of your mission. You chose them. And they’re a godsend.

Be thankful for your family every day. One day they may not be there.

Joseph Lalonde created JMLalonde.com to help inspire current and future leaders. You can find this post here.

The opinions expressed here by JMLalonce.com columnists are their own, not those of JMLalonce.com.

If you need help getting started in a new business venture, and you are in Chicago, Oak Brook or surrounding areas, contact us today if you feel you need some coaching on this topic!

ABOUT GREG LEE


The 5 Skills and Behaviors That Make Entrepreneurs Successful, According to Harvard Research

In keeping with the theme of entrepreneurship, the following is an article published in Inc.com on February 27, 2017, written by Marissa Levin, Founder and CEO, Successful Culture, discussing the skills and attributes the Harvard Business School found in common in successful entrepreneurs:

Richard Branson has tremendous passion. Elon Musk sees no limitations. Steve Jobs was relentlessly focused on perfection and the customer experience. Oprah Winfrey and Tony Robbins were determined to build a life of abundance by overcoming poverty and abuse.

What is the secret to successful entrepreneurship? Is it passion? Vision? Focus? Intelligence? Grit?

Harvard Business School (HBS) set out to unpack the answer to this question, which hasn’t been easy.

HBS Professor Lynda Applegate, who has spent 20 years studying leadership approaches and behaviors of successful entrepreneurs, shared that it has always been challenging to capture the skills and behaviors of successful entrepreneurs.

“Part of the problem is that people usually focus on an entrepreneurial ‘personality’ rather than identifying the unique skills and behaviors of entrepreneurs who launch and grow their own firms,” she said.

To uncover the most common skills and attributes, the Harvard research team administered a self-assessment to 1,300 HBS alumni, and then a follow-up 360-degree assessment that collected data from the peers of the 1,300 participants.

To prepare for the assessment, the research team combined literary reviews and entrepreneur interviews. Through this analysis, they identified 11 skills and attributes that are common in entrepreneurs. These are:

  1. Identification of Opportunities. Measures skills and behaviors associated with the ability to identify and seek out high-potential business opportunities.
  2. Vision and Influence. Measures skills and behaviors associated with the ability to influence all internal and external stakeholders that must work together to execute a business vision and strategy.
  3. Comfort with Uncertainty. Measures skills and behaviors associated with being able to move a business agenda forward in the face of uncertain and ambiguous circumstances.
  4. Assembling and Motivating a Business Team. Measures skills and behaviors required to select the right members of a team and motivate that team to accomplish business goals.
  5. Efficient Decision Making. Measures skills and behaviors associated with the ability to make effective and efficient business decisions, even in the face of insufficient information.
  6. Building Networks. Measures skills and behaviors associated with the ability to assemble necessary resources and to create the professional and business networks necessary for establishing and growing a business venture.
  7. Collaboration and Team Orientation. Measures skills and behaviors associated with being a strong team player who is able to subordinate a personal agenda to ensure the success of the business.
  8. Management of Operations. Measures skills and behaviors associated with the ability to successfully manage the ongoing operations of a business.
  9. Finance and Financial Management. Measures skills and behaviors associated with the successful management of all financial aspects of a business venture.
  10. Sales. Measures skills and behaviors needed to build an effective sales organization and sales channel that can successfully acquire, retain, and serve customers, while promoting strong customer relationships and engagement.
  11. Preference for Established Structure. Measures preference for operating in more established and structured business environments rather than a preference for building new ventures where the structure must adapt to an uncertain and rapidly changing business context and strategy.

Five Standout Traits

Out of these 11, Harvard found that founders scored significantly higher than non-founders for:

  • Comfort with uncertainty
  • Identification of opportunities
  • Vision and influence
  • Building networks
  • Finance and financial management

Founders had significantly lower ratings for “preference for established structure.”

Men Versus Women

HBS also examined the differences between men and women founders:

  • Women ranked higher in the dimensions of “efficiently manage operations” and “vision and influence.”
  • Men ranked higher in “comfort with uncertainty” and “finance and financial management.”

Serial Versus First-Time Entrepreneurs

Not surprisingly, serial entrepreneurs have much more confidence than first-time entrepreneurs, having more confidence especially in the areas of “building networks, securing financing and financial management, and generating creative ways to identify and meet market opportunities.”

The Future of Entrepreneurship, According to Harvard

As more and more people participate in the assessment, Harvard will be able to tap into the data to learn what entrepreneurs and organizations need in terms of leadership to help them grow.

Researchers will be able to extrapolate data around criteria such as age, gender, country, size of business, industry, type of venture, pace of growth, and many other factors that will shed light on how entrepreneurs are similar and different.

This knowledge will help all business owners tap into their own strengths, and surround themselves with others that can achieve their greatest potential.

If you need help getting started in a new business venture, and you are in Chicago, Oak Brook or surrounding areas, contact us today if you feel you need some coaching on this topic!

Greg A. Lee is also available on Advicoach.

ABOUT GREG LEE


The 5 Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make When Going From Employee to Self-Employed

Focusing on entrepreneurship, I’d like to share an article published in Inc.com on February 16, 2017, written by Beth Doane, managing partner of Main & Rose, discussing what you should know what you are getting into before making the leap:

Thinking about leaving your cubicle for the thrills of the startup world? So have 27 million other people like you. The good news is that there are more resources now than ever to help you find success when making this leap. The bad news is that just one small misstep and you can end up right back in your 9-to-5 gig.

I never worked in a corporate environment, started my first company when I was 22, and made a slew of expensive mistakes in those first few years. I attribute being able to survive to the fact that I had great mentors along the way and met fellow entrepreneurs who I could lean on for guidance and support.

I recently caught up with one of these fellow entrepreneurs, Darren Humphreys, who now spends his time tracking lions across the Serengeti or lounging on a remote beach on a hidden corner of Madagascar, but his original career was the farthest thing from this lifestyle. Darren hails from the top ranks of Wall Street and walked away from it to start a travel company. Like me, Darren learned how to scale and be his own CEO through making mistakes.

Below, we compiled the top mistakes founders make and what you really need to know to make it as a true entrepreneur.

Not Finding the Real Niche

Knowing what you want to do — and are passionate about — is not enough to make it a business. Even having a business plan, a marketing plan and a whole lot of venture capital won’t cut it these days. You must dive far enough into your concept to find the niche within it. If you can identify this niche within your “passion” industry, you will be truly distinctive and it will set you up for success.

Budgeting Incorrectly

Don’t leave your career without a plan and enough money to get you through the first six months. A new venture always costs more than you think, and that includes “opportunity cost.” When Darren first started his company, he knew if he had to budget and without a plan, he wouldn’t get very far. It’s worth hiring an expert for your budgeting (and making sure to budget for that expert!).

Underestimating Timeframes

New ventures always take longer than you anticipate. Darren advises that you should aim for validation within the first 12 months, and profitability within the first three years. I found this to be true: The companies I see succeeding wildly are able to bring a simple product to market and test it quickly, so they can make adjustments and improvements on the fly.

Not Being Selective Enough

You are only as good as the people you surround yourself with. Finding a co-founder who complements you is crucial, and if you make the wrong choices, it can tank you before you even start. We always eventually become what we are surrounded by, so choose your staff and partners very carefully. Both Darren and I learned to hire slowly (and fire swiftly) in our ventures.

Having Incorrect Definitions of Success

Not all success is measured in dollars and cents: Darren knows this to be true, because he sacrificed things to be able to call the ocean his office. It’s easy to forget that success is what you make of it when you are trying to survive and build a business. Quality of life and crafting your own path hold a great deal of value, so before you start on your journey, make sure to write out what is truly most important to you — like family, your hobbies, giving back and learning new skills.

If fulfillment came from cash, America would be the happiest place on earth. Instead, pay attention to what really inspires you — and make sure you include that in your daily life.

Beth Doane is an award-winning writer, speaker and social entrepreneur. She is the managing partner of Main & Rose.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

If you need help getting started in a new business venture, and you are in Chicago, Oak Brook or surrounding areas, contact us today if you feel you need some coaching on this topic!

Greg A. Lee is also available on Advicoach.

ABOUT GREG LEE


What Gets You Up in the Morning?

In keeping with the theme of Leadership, the following is an article published in Strategy-Business.com on March 28, 2016, written by Sally Helgeson, author, speaker and leadership development consultant, discussing positive leadership, asking the question, “What makes me leap out of bed in the morning?” rather than “What keeps you up at night?”

What keeps you up at night? It’s a question we’ve heard posed in nearly every panel and senior leader interview conducted in recent years, and as a result, it has become tiresome and rote. But I believe the effect of this query is more pernicious than simply boring — stay awake long enough to think it through, and you’ll recognize its essentially negative nature. The question assumes that leaders are in the habit — indeed, that they have a responsibility — to let worry pervade their every hour, even those precious few required to refresh, balance, and sustain human effort.

That’s why it was bracing to hear the chief economist of a global bank describe how his CEO responded to this question at a recent meeting of senior employees. “I’m sick of that question,” the CEO had said. “Besides, it misses the point. More important is: What makes me leap out of bed in the morning?

The CEO then told his listeners that “the terror of missing an opportunity” impelled him to get up every day. Within 24 hours, the bank’s shiny new headquarters became known throughout the company as “the tower of terror.” That’s hardly the most positive vision. But if we focus on the invocation of opportunity rather than terror, we’ll recognize that the CEO made an important point: It is vastly more productive to spring out of bed eager to spot new opportunities than it is to greet the day in a defensive crouch brought on by post-midnight agony fests. And it is a far more powerful way to lead an organization.

In other words: In an economy in which the harnessing of human knowledge offers the chief — and perhaps only — competitive advantage, the need to engage human talent has become paramount. And just as leaders on the lookout for opportunity can build and stimulate engagement, they also can undermine engagement by exuding negative energy.

Beverly Kaye, founder of Career Systems International, an engagement and development consultancy, is coauthor of the engagement classic Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em: Getting Good People to Stay, now in its fifth edition (Berrett-Koehler, 2014). She has been examining the sources and advocating for the importance of employee engagement longer than anyone I know. “One of the first questions we asked people when doing our original research on engagement in the 1990s was what about their work motivated them to get out of bed in the morning,” she told me. “If you understand that, you can understand what engages people.”

People want a few basic things in their work, Kaye pointed out: “They want to feel valued, they want to be able to use their skill sets, and they want to be challenged by new ways to exercise and build those skills.” If jobs don’t give people the opportunity to fulfill these basic needs, many employees will leave — and the best are often the first to go. “And those who stay will often check out mentally and simply disengage, which from an organizational point is probably worse,” she said.

Over the years, Kaye and her researchers have also asked thousands of people why they left their organizations. “What we hear usually comes down to some variation on their not being able to see any opportunities in their job,” she said, which is why a focus on opportunities is critical in a leader. “People’s experience at work is determined by their manager, and the experience of managers is determined by those who manage them, going all the way up to senior leaders….Leaders who are optimistic about what their people can accomplish, and see challenge through the lens of opportunity, inspire confidence throughout the organization.” Optimism cascades down.

By contrast, leaders who worry excessively — the up-all-night types — can set a cautious or even frightened tone that spreads discouragement. In Kaye’s experience, “worried leaders tend to fail their people in one of two ways. They may be distracted and overlook signals people send about what they are capable of. Or they micromanage, either because they don’t trust their people or as a way of managing their own anxiety.” Both approaches inhibit morale and make it impossible to build a culture of engagement.

Over the years, Kaye and her researchers have also asked thousands of people why they left their organizations. “What we hear usually comes down to some variation on their not being able to see any opportunities in their job,” she said, which is why a focus on opportunities is critical in a leader. “People’s experience at work is determined by their manager, and the experience of managers is determined by those who manage them, going all the way up to senior leaders….Leaders who are optimistic about what their people can accomplish, and see challenge through the lens of opportunity, inspire confidence throughout the organization.” Optimism cascades down.

By contrast, leaders who worry excessively — the up-all-night types — can set a cautious or even frightened tone that spreads discouragement. In Kaye’s experience, “worried leaders tend to fail their people in one of two ways. They may be distracted and overlook signals people send about what they are capable of. Or they micromanage, either because they don’t trust their people or as a way of managing their own anxiety.” Both approaches inhibit morale and make it impossible to build a culture of engagement.

It’s interesting to note that the CEO who pushed back on the original question — “What keeps you up?” — had been chief risk assessment officer at another large financial institution. A former member of his executive team who heard about the pushback observed that the answer showed how much the CEO had grown as a leader. Worrying about what could happen, Kaye observed, is practically a job description for risk managers. “If you don’t have a few sleepless nights, you may not be doing your job,” she said. “But a CEO has a different brief. He or she needs to prepare the company for the future, which is all about seeing the opportunities in the larger picture.”

Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, my gurus in all things leadership, note in their classic work, The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations (Wiley, 1987), that successful leaders always “challenge the process.” That is, they look for opportunities to go beyond the status quo and innovative ways to improve the organization. Kouzes and Posner are clear that doing so always requires some degree of experiment and risk, as well as a willingness to accept the consequences when a risk does not pan out.

In a highly uncertain environment, that’s a pretty good prescription for what most of us can do. And recognizing it might bring us to a renewed recognition that wakeful worry does not a good leader make.

If you need help with any of this, and you are in Chicago, Oak Brook or surrounding areas, contact us today if you feel you need some coaching on this topic!

Greg A. Lee is also available on Advicoach.


7 Habits of Masterful Managers Who Their Teams to Coach Success

In keeping with leadership, I’d like to share the following article published in Entrepreneur.com on 9/19/16 written by Sherrie Campbell, a psychologist, author, and speaker:

Managers are the quarterbacks and coaches of their teams. Managers with great reputations for producing the most successful teams are those who have cultivated the habits of success and leadership designed to keep their teams cohesive, motivated and driven. There is nothing more powerful than a leader who has faith in their team. Like children, the last thing any of us want to lose is the faith our parents have in us, and this dynamic plays itself out from team members to their manager. To follow are the seven habits that masterful managers utilize to guarantee team success.

1. Collaborative.

Managers who collaborate rather than command create team cohesion and positive morale. Collaborating doesn’t put anyone down. Commanding managers are arrogant, emotionally violent and secure results through the production of fear and game-playing. These types of managers may see results, but their team members and customers will show high turnover, producing only short-term successes.

The most lucrative and stable path to getting results is through collaboration. There is something deeply bonding when working together to secure common goals. Team members learn to model the collaborative vibe of their manager and apply it amongst each other and also with customers. Great managers know that collaborating in any endeavor, inside or outside of the company, produces the most worthwhile results.

Related: How Complaining Rewires Your Brain for Negativity

2. Relationship oriented.

Great managers, manage people not numbers.  Although numbers are important, the purest method to get employees to work hard is for them to work for and receive approval. Approval is the greatest form of payment. Numbers are non-emotional. They have no lasting impact on self-worth because there are always going to be higher numbers to meet.

Under a relationship-oriented manager, where approval and encouragement are woven into the fabric of the relationship, team members become unafraid to reach for higher quotas. They come to believe they can meet them, and to keep the faith of their manager, are more motivated to do so. The more relationship-oriented a manager is, the more team members are willing to perform because they are receiving the guidance and encouragement the need instead of fear and punishment.

3. Give credit.

Great managers give credit wherever and whenever credit is due. They do not have the selfishness or arrogance to need to take credit for the success of their team to feed their own ego. In fact, managers who are collaborative prefer that team members receive the credit for their results. When the team gets the credit, it cultivates a deeper drive within them to work hard to earn that type of credit again and again. This makes work a pleasant and fun place to be.

People who enjoy work and the dynamics they share with upper management, are those who feel good about sacrifice and working hard because there is purpose and reward driving them internally. When teams are given credit it allows them to experience the fruits of their labor, providing them with a deep sense of passion and satisfaction for what they are doing.

Related: 6 Ways to Work Less but Get More Done

4. Equal treatment.

Cohesion on any team is the x-factor for success. For this reason, great managers treat each individual team members according to their unique gifts. Wise managers avoid playing favorites; only preferring to work closely with those members who get their numbers. Equal time and equal treatment are vital to the development of team cohesion, as it rids teams of destructive emotions such as jealousy, which can be hugely destructive.

When managers play favorites, the team is fragmented by the divide and conquer approach set by the manager, creating animosity between members. Animosity inevitably leads to people trying to cheat and or undermine others on their own team. While managers will naturally work better with some members more easily than others, differential treatment goes directly against any formula of success. Equal treatment doesn’t take away individuality. Each team member is coached individually based on the strengths and weaknesses the manager identifies. Equal time given to all members creates positive morale between team members and their manager.

5. Open.

Effective managers are humble, not know-it-all’s. Rank doesn’t always reflect knowledge, especially in a world that is on the fast track of change with the continual advances in technology. Those who manage well, listen and learn from their team members and take in what they bring to table before advising or directing them. Great managers are open to learning and also open to receiving feedback from their team on what more they may need from them or others in management.

Know-it-all managers see themselves as perfect and above their team, instilling a great divide between themselves and their connection with team members. No one wants to approach a know-it-all with a problem, out of the desire to avoid confrontation or condemnation. Hence, more mistakes are made in the know-it-all environment because communication is low, not always forthright and stress is high. Managers who are willing to listen and learn succeed and get results because the issues in need of discussion are comfortably on the table for analyzation.

Related: Deepak Chopra’s 7 Ways to Reduce Stress and Anxiety

6. Sensing.

Successful and well-liked managers are like a “players coach.” They are sensing people who pay attention to both immediate data from their five senses and data from their own direct experience. They develop understanding from conscious thought, rather than trusting their subconscious and are happy to dig into the fine detail of the situations they are in with their team. In other words, they focus on what is immediate, practical and real, and manage in a reality-based framework supportive of their team, rather than trying to change what is not under their control.

Sensing managers are grounded in logic and manage in practical and realistic ways. They like to pursue things with a well-devised plan, having the details worked out in advance. These types of managers are phenomenal because they serve to ground the more emotionally labile moments experienced by team members in uncertain situations. Team members can come to their manager to calm down and gain perspective, giving them the ability to be rational and think things through intelligently.

7. Intuitive.

Masterful managers are able to be sensing and intuitive in tandem. They are able to process data rationally while also following their gut feelings when risk is necessary, or when their gut feeling is so intense that it is the only correct decision to make. Although they often trust and rely upon patterns and practical data, they are also great at predicting or intuiting patterns of behavior and market trends, allowing them to get out of the detail and into a higher level view.

Being intuitive takes managers out of the practicality of the now into a more future-focused mindset.  A future-focused mindset is the driving force of innovation amongst a manager and their team. An intuiting manager encourages team members to dream and imagine, provoking all members out of their comfort zones into acquiring new skills and towards the development of news ideas.

Related Book: No B.S. Ruthless Management of People & Profits, 2nd Edition by Dan S Kennedy

Masterful managers show a high degree of sensitivity to team members, and encourage them to operate with a high degree of respect and sensitivity to each other. When equal-treatment is the management style all members have equal voice where each has the chance to speak and express their ideas. Equal treatment leads to a collaborative environment where everyone feels important. Mangers who create teams with the foundation of these elements are successful in the short and long term. Great managers believe in their purpose, their individual team members and all that it takes for everyone to feel satisfied, happy, motivated and successful. The morale created by these elite mangers guarantees personal and professional success and esteem.

Exclusive Business Resources

We hope you master these 7 habits to lead your team to success. If you are in Chicago, Oak Brook or surrounding areas, contact us today if you feel you need some coaching on this topic!

Greg A. Lee is also available on Advicoach.


Happy New Year!

 

In our world of business, we enter 2017 with great hope and anticipation of an invigorated economy and yes, some trepidation about whether it will all come together once again to lift our businesses, big and small.

We know that in fixing our business climate here in the United State, we have significant hurdles to overcome.  Our labor force participation is at its lowest level in 40 years.  Our principal generator of new jobs, small business startups, is growing at a rate of 30% less than in 2008.  One million new startups have failed in the last 8 years, resulting in the loss of 7-10 million jobs; GDP growth has been less than 3% for 10 years running.  I can go on and on about the issues of our stagnant economy, but we all know that we now have a major opportunity to reverse these negative, confidence-draining trends.

The optimist in me tells me that this is a mountain not too steep and difficult to climb.  Here’s why – we are, at our heart, a nation of doers that want to make things better for all of us, individually and collectively, and when slapped down, we confidently and aggressively get back up, rebuild, innovate and work hard to find solutions that solve the problems that confront us and satisfy our customers’ needs.

To me, confidence and risk taking go hand-in-hand and make our country unique in history.  Here’s my logic flow:  If businesses of all sizes see a favorable business climate with less regulation, lower taxes and available financing, there will be the entrepreneurial and corporate confidence to invest, innovate and take the necessary risks to create new and better goods and services that our customers want and desire today and tomorrow.

It’s all about a business culture in our country that incents and rewards growth, risk taking, entrepreneurship, innovation and community.  If we are smart about it, the rising tide will lift all the boats.  Here’s to a great 2017!


9 More Strategies for Successful Leadership (Part 2)

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Last week I shared a post written by Ed Shultek, Founder and Managing Principal @ Sandler Training, published on LinkedIn July 2016.  This week I’d like to share the follow-up post Mr. Shultek published on LinkedIn in September 2016 after learning of a study out of Duke University that found people were motivated more by pizza than a cash bonus.  These are 9 more strategies for successful leadership that you can implement today and start seeing results.

  • Do things that make subordinates feel good. Little things that show people how much you value them goes a long way.   People like to feel important. Oblige them and they will oblige you.
  • No promises allowed — Just deliver.  There is always a risk in making a promise. Either a fulfilled promise is expected or an unfulfilled promise can end a relationship. You know the saying, “Actions speak louder than words.
  • Don’t withhold information.  Information is on a need to know basis and employees always need to know what will help them in their job.   Employees are more motivated to perform at higher levels when they feel empowered with all the information they need to accomplish the organization’s goals.
  • Address disagreements honestly and with no judgment. Employees need to feel empowered by the independence in their roles. One should learn the results of their own conflict resolution style as well as the styles of others and deliver difficult conversations in a manner that best resonates with the communication style of the receiver.
  • Listen to your employees. All people want to be heard and they want to feel that what they have to say is important. Its an easy way to gain their respect and loyalty as well as learn more about what is going on within the team.
  • Provide honest and immediate feedback to each team member.  Not only does this set the expectations regarding their contribution but it tells them how well they are meeting your expectations so they can improve.
  • Reward loyalty and hard work. When you reward good performance, you can expect to see more of it. Don’t take their efforts for granted. The rewards don’t have to be grandiose. Remember the pizza study?
  • Encourage ideas and participation.  No one should ever feel that his or her idea wouldn’t be heard. Set expectations in meetings by rewarding all ideas and contributions.
  • Make time for team building. Encouraging active participation with team members is a great way to keep the team focused on the overall goals.

If you are in management, you have been tasked with the responsibility of achieving results through the efforts of others. Your efforts in making your organization a place where employees can grow should be a part of your own growth plan and is what will turn you into a leader and not just a boss.

Download the Step By Step Coaching Guide for Improving Revenue for quick ways to implement some of these leadership strategies.


Twelve Strategies for Successful Leadership (Part 1)

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In keeping with the theme of Leadership, I’d like to share a post written by Ed Schultek, Founder and Managing Principal @ Sandler Training published on LinkedIn on July 25, 2016, discussing leadership skill sets needed to get others to do things.

So you got promoted to management! Congratulations! By now you realize that you have the most difficult position in the room. You were promoted because you rocked as a sales rep or were clearly the most competent in terms of the technical aspects of the job. How long did it take you to realize that knowing how to do something and getting others to do it are two completely different skill sets?

 Twelve Strategies for Successful Leadership

  • Maintain a good relationship with your boss. He or she will be your champion, information source, and support.
  • Demonstrate to your employees the behaviors that you want them to show you.   Modeling is a very powerful and effective leadership strategy.
  • Be a human first. Laugh at yourself and with your people. Bonding and rapport are not just for the sales call.

“Sandler rule: People respond to people they trust; people trust people like them.“

  • Effectively use up front contracts to make your expectations known. An up- front contract establishes who is responsible for what and identifies the desired outcomes.
  • Encourage idea sharing. Run meetings that encourage participation and strengthens the team. Keep the group focused on outcomes and goals.
  • Identify employees’ unique abilities. Communicate that some people will prosper in jobs that cause others to stagnate. Encourage all employees to recognize where they shine, not just the superstars.
  • Use assessments to identify strengths and gaps in the team. There are tools to help employees communicate more effectively with each other as well as tools to develop a roadmap based on the expectations between management and employees.
  • Hire the right people. No amount of training will make a reluctant employee a rock star for you. Screen candidates carefully and stop wasting resources when trying to reform mistakes.
  • Get “buy-in” on the goals, visions, and reasons. When you tell people what to do without them knowing the motivation behind it, you will find yourself in arm-wrestling matches. Explain what your needs are in a situation and get them to help you decide the best way of accomplishing those goals.
  • Admit your mistakes. Demonstrate this as a sign of strength and expect the same from them. Establish a no judgment policy so everyone can benefit from the learning opportunity (See no. 2 on the list).
  • Help employees find the jobs that they both enjoy and will meet the needs of the organization. By identifying their unique abilities, they will be more motivated to perform their jobs well.
  • Manage your time well. Delegating and outsourcing are not a sign of incompetence. It is recognition that someone may be able to do it better than you or that it is simply not the best use of your time.  

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