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Investing in your employees now for the road ahead

Making sure a business survives through the day-to-day, month-to-month, and year-to-year can be a challenge, but how do you make the move from surviving to thriving? Mick Yates writes this article to explain how investing in your employees now can create a positive effect for your business for years to come.

It is not easy keeping up with the current business market. With millennials taking over the lead, employers and business owners constantly need to search for new ways to keep their employees motivated and therefore retain them. Opportunity for millennial’s success are everywhere and if they do not feel content on their current position, they will easily move on to the next opportunity they see. Young people are highly confident in their career goals, and they have no time to spare in a place which gives them no room for growth. There is no better way to keep your staff engaged and motivated than to help them thrive and improve their skills. Here are some of the reasons why you should start investing in your employees’ growth as soon as possible:

1. It Boosts Productivity And Morale

Employees want to be recognized for their own qualities and talents. When an employee is confident about their work and knowledge they own, it directly affects their productivity (or lack of). Investing in their career and knowledge will show them that you, genuinely care about them. It helps to build a healthy and motivated working environment. Giving them space to rise and shine is going to make them more confident in their skills. But not only that they will feel confident, they actually will have a pretty good reason for it.

2. It Keeps Staff Turnover At A Lower Rate

With options lurking everywhere, the easiest thing for one Millennial with no, to little experience, is to walk away and find a position where their needs will be properly met. Younger employees are hungry for knowledge and they tend to lose interest quickly if you do not provide them with a constant chance of improving. It is your job as a leader to be interested in your staff and in their needs. Investing in their skills will not only make them feel more confident, but it will also prepare them for more serious positions in your company. That way, you do not have to start from scratch every time you need a new manager or a leader – you can offer the position to one of your existing staff members that already know the job. Believe me, they will most certainly appreciate it.

3. Fewer Mistakes

If you skimp on your employees’ training, you are most certainly going to face their failure or lack of skill. Undertrained or unskilled staff members are always the ones making most of the mistakes. Thankfully, with proper training/programme, your staff members will feel more in control over their own work and they will actually know how to do it (properly).

4. The World Needs Leaders 

Investing in training and leadership development is one of the leading ways of keeping Millennials engaged and loyal. Who would want to leave the job where opportunities for growth are endless? But even if they do, it is not that big of a deal. The world is in the need for strong, and young leaders, who can offer valuable leadership skills to the world’s job market. One of the first countries that seem to realize this, are Australia and Canada. Providing leadership development in Australia became almost mandatory in some business industries, and for some, training is at least once in a few months.

5. Reputation Matters, A Lot

A good leader who left your company for another opportunity should never be underestimated. Millennials will usually wander off to another workplace after 18-25 months of the same job (and position). Remember, wherever they go, they will take your company’s reputation with them. For every good employee you lose, you may gain triple – but only if you put your effort into engaging with your team. If they remember your workplace as a safe place for growth, they will most likely even come back after they have satisfied their need for change.

Coaching programs and leadership development training are slowly becoming almost mandatory in this chaotic business market that is spinning 24 hours per day. Keeping up with the current trends is not even a choice anymore – it has become crucial for the success of any comp

This article is written by Mick Yates, an executive leadership coach who is the founder and CXO level consultant for LeaderValues. You can find this post here.

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 2 Rare Skills You Need to be a Great Leader

 Looking to take the next step as a leader? Lolly Daskal writes this article for her blog where she lists two  of the skills needed to take your leadership abilities to the next level!

At some time or another, most of us have experienced a boss, manager, or leader who made us feel recognized and valued. And as a result, we were able to do more than we ever thought we could.

More than anything else, that’s the sign of a true leader—someone who makes you feel, think, act beyond the limits you imagined to your own capabilities and capacity. What’s more, they make you feel you are valued and that you’re part of something bigger than yourself.

What skills do these leaders have that allow them to help others become their best? Fundamentally, there are only two. Even the first is far from common on its own, and because the second builds on the first, it’s especially rare.

But here’s the good news: rare as they are, they’re attainable. You can learn them and practice them and master them, and go on to help and empower others to exceed their self-imposed limits.

First, great leaders have a strong foundation of self-awareness. All great leaders draw strength from a well-built foundation of self-awareness. To lead from within requires a comprehensive understanding of yourself. That includes the ability to identify your own strengths and weaknesses—in terms of skills, which you can leverage by hiring people who make up for your weak spots, and also in terms of emotional triggers. Managing these triggers  requires a high level of emotional awareness, plus the knowledge of how to be adaptable and the willingness to alter your behavior to be an effective leader. You have permission to be human—that is, sometimes flawed and vulnerable—but you must never allow inner turmoil to wreak havoc upon those you lead.

True leaders understand that their attitudes toward themselves set the tone to which others respond.

Second, they have the single-mindedness to instill power within others. It’s one thing to understand yourself and to be aware of who you are. But the highest leadership quality is knowing how to empower others. A true leader is able to inspire their team, to encourage them to go beyond excellence and accomplish far more than anyone expects of them—or than they expect of themselves. A good leader may take people where they want to go, but a great leader takes them where they don’t necessarily want to go but ought to be.

A true leader doesn’t create more followers; they create more leaders.

A good leader may ask, “Is this working for me?” But a great leader will ask, “Is this working for my people?”

Great leaders can change the world, but first they must learn to lead from within. It’s only after they’ve developed that level of self-awareness that they can they lead and others to greatness.

Lead from within: Leaders become great when they are able to find their inner power and use it to inspire, strengthen and empower others.

This article is written by Lolly Daskal, an executive leadership coach who is CEO and founder of Lead From Within. You can find this post here.

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 Difficult Day Every Leader Has to Face

Is this the year for change? If you can prepare for a move, then setting up the ground work can reduce the stress on you and your employer. Lolly Daskal writes this article for her blog where she lists the steps you need to take to prepare for a move.

At some point every leader has to face what is for many a difficult day—the day they are no longer the leader. Maybe they’re retiring or just slowing down or moving on to something new.

The reason for the departure isn’t as important as the work that precedes it. Every leader should have a succession plan in place. (Even if you’re young and plan to stay where you are, you should still prepare for the remote possibility of a sudden illness or accident.) If you haven’t yet made a plan, here are some guidelines that can help:

Take your time. A great plan can’t be put together overnight, but the time to start is today. Start by sketching out your areas of responsibility, the reporting and governance structure of your organization, and any parties—team members, colleagues, board members—you want to have input into your planning.

Groom those with potential. Identify the people in your organization you believe have the potential to be great leaders and begin to teach, coach and prep them. When you invest in your organization’s future leadership, your influence remains long after you’ve left.

Recognize your emotions (and understand they’re normal). As in many other areas, the best leaders are those who know how to manage their emotions. They don’t allow themselves to be blindsided; they give themselves healthy outlets for voicing and expressing what they’re feeling so when the day does come, the emotions aren’t overwhelming.

Map your second purpose. I believe our lives comes in stages. For many of us, the first purpose consists doing what’s expected of us, and our work life is driven by the arc of our career. When that stage is over we can move on to our second purpose, where things slow down and we spend our time on things that align with our values. It’s time to be intentional about where you spend your time and energy.

Let go and move on. Once you’ve decided to move on, the worst thing you can do is to not let go. Trying to keep hold of the reins leaves you—and everyone around you—in limbo. Especially if you’ve spent years or decades in control, it may be among the most difficult challenges of your life—that’s why you have to prepare far in advance.

Learn your lessons. Sometimes looking back can help you move forward. Reflect on all the struggles, the lessons you’ve learned, the strengths you’ve developed, all the connection and growth and regrets of your career as leader, and you’ll attain a greater awareness of yourself and where you’re headed.

When the day comes that it’s time to change seasons, it will be a much easier and more fulfilling transition if it’s handled with care for all concerned—yourself, your organization, and the new leadership.

Lead from within: Every succession plan will be different, but the only way to know what’s next is to be prepared long before the day arrives and it becomes difficult.

This article is written by Lolly Daskal, an executive leadership coach who is CEO and founder of Lead From Within. You can find this post here.

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


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.


3 Leadership Skills Critical for Driving Change

In keeping with the focus on leadership, I’d like to share the following article written by Brent Gleeson, Keynote Speaker and Leadership Coach, published in Inc.com on August 16, 2016.  This article proides some key takeaways from the book “Change the Culture, Change the Game” authored by Roger Connors and Tom Smith on the skills leaders need for improing organizational culture to drive better results.

All organizations experience periods of much-needed culture change in order to achieve the results they need to grow, compete and win. Changing or improving the culture of a company or team requires focus, accountability and consistency. And it must be led from the top. Without total and complete buy-in from the senior leadership team the desired culture will fail to be achieved.

Leaders either move actively through an organization or unconsciously. When an unconscious leader attempts to fake their way through culture change they will not create the necessary experiences required to instill the correct beliefs. Without the needed cultural beliefs, actions will not achieve results.

There is also a misconception that leaders driving significant culture change must be bold in nature, give inspirational speeches and take wild leaps at greatness. That is simply not true. They must be honest and sincere in their effort exhibiting true passion for change. They must take aggressive strides in mastering three critical culture change leadership skills. And most of the time the organization can’t wait for them to do so, it must be done in tandem with driving change. This requires a consistent and deliberate effort and places this ability within reach of leaders at all levels.

These three skills are: leading the change, responding to feedback, and having a facilitative communication style.

Leading the Change

Culture change initiatives are not something that can be delegated to Human Resources or any other department. This is a leader-led model which must start at the very top. Every experience a leader creates, communication they deliver and action they take will either support or undermine the effort. The senior leadership team must actively manage the process and make sure that it’s at the top of every manager’s priority list.

Some of the best practices leaders must own include: establishing accountability across the organization; defining the results needed from the culture change (what are we trying to accomplish?); developing a cultural beliefs statement (again, this shouldn’t belong to the marketing team); developing and communicating the case for change; and consistently ensuring alignment across the leadership team.

For leaders to master the ability to lead the change, it requires learning and practicing the tools, planning what to do and what to say, and internal and external coaching.

Responding to Feedback

Without the team there can be no leadership. During a change effort the team will scrutinize the leadership team more than ever. They will be hopeful for new change they have been craving for a long time, but they may also look for signs of potential failure.

Providing feedback

Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

focused on supporting the desired cultural beliefs and desired outcomes to team members is critical for success. But it goes both ways. Senior leaders must ask their reports, or anyone for that matter the question, “What feedback do you have for me?” Leaders must create a culture supportive of managing up and transparency.

Some leaders are good at taking constructive criticism and other are not. Responding with an excuse or dismissing the feedback as irrelevant or incorrect will foster beliefs about that leader’s willingness to change. In times of culture change, leaders must usually be the first to change the way they think and act.

Feedback will not always be accurate or grounded in reality but it is the leader’s duty to ask for it, as well as respond to it. Letting the team know that their voice is heard and what you are going to do to take action when necessary is the most important component to mastering responding to feedback.

Facilitative Communication Style

When I speak to organizations or perform workshops with their leadership teams, communication is always a key component. As a former Navy SEAL, we used to evangelize the saying “move, shoot and communicate.” We work in highly chaotic environments which require effective communication in order to adapt to change.

Leaders must not just ask for feedback every now and then but create organizational experiences that foster ongoing collaboration and communication. It doesn’t happen on its own. These experiences will empower the team and involve everyone in being accountable for driving the positive change forward.

Needed change is usually created through many internal and external environments. Either way, it can be scary for the team. It is up to the leadership to drive the change, ensure alignment, and see it through. It can have revolutionary effects to the bottom line when done right.

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

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