Frontline Festival: Leaders Share about Confidence, Humility, Results, & Relationships

Welcome back to the Let’s Grow Leaders Frontline Festival. This month’s festival is a celebratory finish line of the Winning Well International Symposium with themes of confidence, humility, results, and relationships. Thanks to Joy and Tom Guthrie of Vizwerx Group for the great pic and to all our contributors! Next month’s Frontline Festival is all about handling conflict in your team. Submit your relevant blog posts by June 9 here!

 

CONFIDENCE

If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life.  Marcus Garvey

John Hunter of Curious Cat Management Improvement discusses why the lack of confidence is more problematic than having confidence. Building a Great Software Development Team    Follow John.

Robyn McLeod of Thoughtful Leaders Blog shares that building our self-respect strengthens confidence and allows us to be more open to feedback. Why Self-respect is a Key Leadership Skill  Follow Robyn.

HUMILITY

Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.  Augustine

Wally Bock of Three Star Leadership explores the virtue of humility as a leader. Don’t Worry About Being Humble, Just Do It  Follow Wally.

Skip Prichard of Leadership Insights leads us in discovering a unique leadership lesson in humility from Pope Francis. You’ll find 12 leadership lessons from the Vatican. Lead With Humility: 12 Lessons from Pope Francis.    Follow Skip.

RESULTS

The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual. Vince Lombardi

David Grossman of The Grossman Group tells his story of self-discovery and stresses the value of leaders living authentically so you can be your best self, motivate your teams, and get results by showing leaders how to bring your best to work and bring out the best in others.  Respectful Authenticity    Follow David.

Artika Tyner of Planting People Growing Justice Leadership Institute shares 5 key lessons on how to achieve results in your business and professional development. 5 Lessons on Business Success from the American Small Business Champion TrainingFollow Artika.

Note: We’d like to congratulate Dr. Tyner and the Planting People Growing Justice organization on the national recognition as an American Small Business Champion!

Sean Glaze of Great Results Teambuilding  talks about the problem with getting results and buy-in on many teams is that mission statements stay on the walls. It never makes it into the hearts and minds of the people working together to establish a relationship between what they DO and what they are helping to accomplish.  How Many Mission Statements Does Your Team Have?  Follow Sean.

Hiro Taylor of HeroPay Starting knows starting a small business can be hard. When the times get tough remember these words of wisdom, from some of the most successful people of the last century. Keep your eyes on the prize – in business and in life. 10 Motivational Quotes Every Small Business Owner Should Read Follow Hiro.

RELATIONSHIPS

Trust is the glue of life. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships. Stephen Covey

Mike Kappel of Patriot Software, LLC  When it comes to leading a team to success, relationships are key. For top results, leaders need to know how to connect with the workforces they manage. How to Be a Team Player in a Leadership Role   Follow Mike.

Susan Mazza of Random Acts of Leadership.  offers her thoughts on why connection fuel progress, and is the source for progress that is both meaningful and satisfying. We sacrifice that progress when we don’t consciously take the time to just talk to each other — human to human — and take the time to connect meaningfully. 3 Reasons Why Connecting is Essential to Progress    Follow Susan.

Tanveer Naseer of Tanveer Naseer Leadership talks about how a leader’s ability to build relationships with their employees is fast becoming a critical key to their success. Learn about 3 strategies to help with this.  3 Keys For Building Relationships With Those You Lead  Follow Tanveer.

Beth Beutler of H.O.P.E. Unlimited reminds us that there is an “I” in teamwork and helps us assess whether we are a good team player.  There is an “I” in Team  Follow Beth.

Jesse Stoner of Seapoint Center for Collaborative Leadership  shares a personal experience of bridging the divide.  This is the story of how my brother and I came to terms with our differences and what I learned about how to bridge the divide.  Dialogue Bridges the Divide    Follow Jesse.

 

 

 

 

Development

Frontline Festival: Leaders Share about Growth and Change

Welcome back to the Let’s Grow Leaders Frontline Festival. This month’s festival is all about growth and change. Thanks to Joy and Tom Guthrie of Vizwerx Group for the great pic and to all our contributors! Next month’s Frontline Festival corresponds to the Winning Well International Symposium. We will run the Frontline Festival as our closing post for the symposium, the week of May 22.  Please share your best blog post that correlates with one of the four Winning Well principles: Confidence, Humility, Results, or Relationships.  Submit your item here by May 15.

Susan Mazza of Random Acts of Leadership shares that understanding your typical personal style of leadership can help you grow as a leader, by guiding your approach to the three fundamental acts of leadership  Speaking Up, Stepping Up, and Standing Up Follow Susan.

Lisa Kohn from Thoughtful Leaders Blog practices Positive Psychology, and is working to be more consistent in its application of the tools and mindsets, and also more equipped to guide clients through it. Get Serious About Your Growth  Follow Lisa.

John Hunter of Curious Cat Management Improvement gives us ways to focus on growing and changing. Our culture seems to encourage the superficial and new even when, as it so often does, it mainly amounts to fooling oneself.  The Road Not Taken    Follow John.

The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.  Ray Kroc

Rachel Blakely of Patriot Software, LLC  advises that as a small business owner, your company will experience huge benefits when you develop leadership skills. Eight Tips for Growing as Leader in Business.  Follow Rachel.

David Grossman of The Grossman Group is focused on leading with respectful authenticity. The Secret Respectfully Authentic Leaders Know. Follow David.

Wally Bock of Three Star Leadership says leading change in an organization is a lot like pouring coffee in a restaurant. You can learn a lot from a professional waiter. Change and the Gentle Pour.   Follow Wally.

Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.  John F. Kennedy

Skip Prichard of Leadership Insights is focused on growth to increase my creative side. Many of us don’t think of ourselves as creative – not only are there many types of creativity – but all of us can use hacks to increase our creativity. 23 Hacks to Boost Your Creativity.  Follow Skip.

Chip Bell of ChipBell.com comments: After watching Will Smith in the new movie Collateral Beauty I want to pay more attention to and value the details of my experiences and be more in the moment.  I am an overachiever (a trait I like) and try to maximize productivity (a trait I also like).  But I too often miss the beauty of the cardinal outside my office window or the amaryllis starting to bloom or the pain on the face of the guy who picks up my garbage each week.  I need to remember to ask him a question about his life and thank him for his work.  Follow Chip.

Beth Beutler of H.O.P.E. Unlimited provides a list of 10 Apps, Tools and Resources for Your Professional Development and Inspiration. Follow Beth.

Hold yourself responsible to a higher standard than anybody expects of you. Never excuse yourself.  Henry Ward Beecher

Shelley Row of Shelley Row Associates suggests walking a labyrinth to learn leadership discipline. Follow Shelley

According to Sean Glaze of Great Results Teambuilding leaders have a tremendous impact on their organization because the phrases they share with their teams can either produce distrust and apathy or ignite passion and commitment. Follow Sean.

Visme.com contributed the following leadership infographic by Gordon Tredgold of GordonTredgold.com which provides a compilation of 20 Habits of unsuccessful leaders.  Follow Visme.  Follow Gordon. 12 Exalting Phrases Good Leaders Share with their Team.  Follow Sean.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Power of Community: Introducing the International Winning Well Leadership Symposium

Southeast Asia is one of the world’s fastest growing regions, yet nearly two-thirds of its executives say their organizations can’t develop leaders fast enough to capitalize on growth. To help bridge the gap, David Dye and I are taking our Winning Well message on tour to Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, and Thailand from late April through late May (more details here).

Highlights include our partnership with Thriving Talents for a L.E.A.D. Mastery Winning Well Masterclass; working with  C-level leaders and keynoting and presenting a C-level forum at the HR Summit & Expo Asia 2017; presenting at the  Asia Professional Speakers Convention 2017 in Singapore, the continent’s premier convention for professional trainers and facilitators; and philanthropic work and visits to our Winning Wells with Together We Can Change the World.

The Winning Well International Symposium

While we’re there, we’ve invited thought leaders from around the world to share their unique Winning Well insights in our Winning Well International Symposium hosted on Let’s Grow Leaders Blog.

What Is The Symposium?

Every weekday for five weeks, well-established thought leaders, award winning authors and speakers will be sharing their perspectives on the fundamental Winning Well principles of Confidence, Humility, Results and Relationships–in the form of blog posts, tools, and videos. We’ll also be including video interviews with Winning Well leaders we meet in Asia, as well as Brian Tracy who will also be keynoting at the HR Asia Summit.

We’re delighted to include thought leaders who’ve become dear colleagues and friends throughout our Winning Well journey. We open each post by sharing a bit about how we know each thought leader, and conclude with additional reflections on how their work aligns with our Winning Well approach to blending the bottom line with the human spirit.

How Do I Sign Up?

The symposium is FREE. If you’re already an LGL subscriber you will receive your normal Tuesday newsletter with links to all the Symposium posts for that week. However, if you would like to receive the insights “hot off the press” each day as they appear, sign up on the sidebar and you will a daily post every weekday for five weeks.   And if you have written a blog post that relates with one of those four themes, our May Frontline Festival is your chance to contribute!

The symposium offers a great exercise to do with your team.  Why not ask them to read each day’s/week’s post and when you next meet, share their favorite points and how they might be applied in your dynamic? Take a photo of your discussion group, send it to Beth@letsgrowleaders.com, and you may see it on our social media feeds!

We encourage conversation and dialogue as we continue to spread our mission of blending the bottom line with the human spirit around the world!

Four Questions to Keep Your Team Focused and Working on What Matters Most

When I look back on my career at Verizon at the times my teams truly knocked it out the park–the times we increased results exponentially and led the Nation in results or had a major turnaround pulling a team out of the abyss, there is one common characteristic. We had the team laser-focused on the one or two critical behaviors that mattered most at the frontline– and they were doing them consistently.

Seems so basic and easy? Right? And yet it’s so easy to get distracted–focusing on the 27 other “critical” metrics on your scorecard, or the merger, or some special project, or…

4 Questions to Keep Your Team Focused on What Matters Most #MindTheMIT

If you’re looking to get your team FOCUSED on what matters most… it starts by IDENTIFYING what matters most. And then, consistently reinforcing those behaviors (as my teams would descirbe “Like a maniac”) through every means possible.

What Matters most?

  • What do our customers really need from us–consistently? (Not 37 things. Pick one or two.)
  • What values have we committed to?
  • When we walk away from our work, what will we be proud to have accomplished?
  • Win or lose, how will we know we’ve done our very best?

Which actions have the most Impact?

  • What are the critical behaviors that drive your results?
  • If we could only do one thing, which behavior would have the greatest impact?
  • What invisible behaviors might we forget? (eg: sleep, time with others, fun)

Where Do I / we need to say No?

  • What are we choosing to do instead of our MIT?
  • How can we make a different choice?
  • What are silly, creative, impossible ways to do things differently?
  • Where do we need to have tough conversations?

How Will I/we stay Disciplined?

  • What are my/our biggest distractions?
  • How can we ensure they don’t derail us?
  • How will we keep the MIT in front of us all the time?
  • How will we hold ourselves accountable for maintaining focus on the MIT?

To make it easier for you to use this tool, you can download it for free here. 

Executive Leadership: One Temptation Most Successful Executives Resist

If you’re an executive (or aspiring to be one) this time I’m writing for you. Not my usual M.O., I usually write for your teams (and how to help them deal with you 😉 But today, I write to you. Why? Because when senior leaders practice winning well behaviors, the culture shifts that much faster– and results not only go up, they stay up– and teams feel excited about what they’re up to.

The Temptation

In a recent conversation, “Mary” a senior leader at a Fortune 15 company shared the moment she “Got it.” That moment when she realized the easy temptation that was holding her back from being the best she could be in her role.

“I had five key functional areas I was responsible for, four of which I understood inside and out because I’d grown up in the business. I was confident in those arenas and showed up strong. But in a National Operations role, I also had responsibility for ‘fleet’–yup, the trucks.”

I thought, “Well, I don’t have to pay too much attention there.  I’ve got people for that. I’ll just concentrate on the aspects of the job where I can truly add value and trust my team to do what needs to be done with the fleet.”

And then one day, my boss, Carl, asked me to come with him to visit one of our garages. He opened the hood and said, “Mary is this oil supposed to be black?” I had no idea. “Mary, do you know why it matters?” Nope. “Mary, what’s the number one priority for the fleet department?” That I knew, thank God, “Safety, ” I shared confidently.

Carl continued, “I need you to go find out and understand the impact black oil has on safety. And, Mary, you can’t avoid learning about parts of this role just because you don’t like them. You’ve got to know enough to be able to inspect what’s going on.”

5 Things You Must Know About Every Functional Area You Oversee

As an executive, your job is all about strategy and execution across a large scope and scale. And like Mary, you likely have five or so functional areas you oversee. And if you’re like most execs we work with, there’s one area you particularly dislike. Yes, it starts with what Jim Collins calls “Getting the right people on the bus.” But to really rock your role as an executive, you also need to know every aspect of your role enough at least well enough to discern the following:

  1. What the data is really saying.
    When you’re not close to the business it’s easy to look at a good metric and say “Hmmm, looks great.” Take the time to dig past the averages and look at the outliers to know what’s really going on.
  2. What’s possible.
    The folks on your team who’ve been doing this forever may overlook new approaches because of they’re comfortable with the way things have always been done.  More about my experience with that here in my executive sales role at Verizon.
  3. Who’s crushing it.
    A key part of your role is ensuring the right people are recognized and rewarded for their contributions. See also: 5 Reasons Your Recognition is Backfiring
  4. The right questions.
    Asking the right questions will serve you well for two reasons: they encourage your team to think more strategically and come up with more creative solutions; AND, the better questions you ask, the more you’ll learn.
  5. Where the business is most vulnerable.
    If you’re not well-versed in an area, it’s easy to miss the “black oil.” Be sure you’re having the “own the ugly” conversations in every aspect of your business.

Are you (or do you work for) a Winning Well executive?

We would love to interview you as part of our Winning Well research. Please let me know if you (or an executive you know) would be willing to chat. 443 750 1249.

Managing Your Boss: Get the Support You Need in 10 Minutes a Week (Includes Free Tool)

When’s the last time you had a really great one-on-one with your boss? If your answer is anything but “in the last 2 weeks,” you’re not alone. A great cadence of good one-on-one meetings is unusual. Why? Well first,  everybody’s busy. It’s easier to cancel a meeting with a direct report than with your boss. Or perhaps, your one-on-ones drag on, lack preparation, or generally feel like a waste of time.

Whether you’re the manager, the one being managed, or both, one the easiest ways to take your performance to the next level is through great one-on-one meetings.

How to Hold a 10 Minute (MIT- Most Important Thing) Huddle

Of course, you need more than 10 minutes a week to build a great relationship with your manager. You need time to get to know one another as human beings and to focus on long-term goals and career development. What I’m about to share here is not a substitute for those vital sessions. This tool is for the in-between times: to help you stay focused each week to clarify expectations, to ensure the MIT stays the MIT, and to get the support you need.

It works like this. You schedule 10 minutes a week with your boss and come prepared to discuss the following:

  • What’s the Most Important Thing you accomplished last week? (This gives you an opportunity to ensure you boss is aware of the good work you are doing)
  • What’s the Most Important Thing you’re working on this week? (This helps clarify expectations and ensure alignment)
  • What support do you need? This gives you a structured time to ask for help AND also makes it easier on your boss if you keep a running list of anything that’s not urgent and can wait.

Our Winning Well clients who are using this approach tell us it’s done wonders to streamline their communications, clarify expectations, and eliminate wasteful work.

You can download the free MIT Huddle Planner here

What the Best Managers Know About Disengaged Employees

According to Gallup’s recent 2017 study, 70% of employees are not engaged at work. And countless studies have shown that the number one predictor of employee engagement and satisfaction is the relationship they have with their supervisor. So what do the best managers know about disengaged employees? Today I share a story from one of the most disengaged times in my life, and how my leader helped me get through.

The Secret to Overcoming Disengagement

I have a confession.

I was arguably the most disengaged freshman sorority pledge at Wake Forest University.

I’ve always been more of the madrigal singing, academic type, not much into the party scene–which I had assumed was what being in a sorority was all about. I’d ONLY joined because the Insiders Guide to Colleges had warned that it was my only chance of having a social life, and I was 18 and wanted a boyfriend.

Two months into pledging, I realized I was in real danger of failing my advanced biology class. And since I was there on an academic scholarship that required me to keep a B+ average, I was screwed.

I began to freak out in the kind of downward spiral you may be familiar if you’ve ever been (or been around) a teenage girl.

“OMG I can’t fail biology! I’m going to lose this scholarship! My Dad is going to kill me. Crap, I don’t even think I can stay here without that money. If I fail Bio, I’m going to have to live at home WITH MY PARENTS!–and then what? Work at the Renaissance Festival as a madrigal singer? Nope– that won’t even work, that Festival’s only open August through October.”

I began skipping “mandatory” sorority events. I ignored requirements like interviewing every sister about her major,  favorite foods and secret fantasies.

One day I ran into Brig, the sorority President, while walking to class on the quad. Brig had short, dark curly hair, sparkling eyes, an a personality so big everyone was shocked when they found out she was a math major.

“Karin, Do you have a minute?”

“Ahh,” I thought, “I’m not going to have to quit, I’m going to get kicked out. That’s a relief.”

I wasn’t expecting what Brig said next. “You seem athletic. Do you roller skate?”

“Actually, I do,” I confessed.

“Great, we need someone to do the roller skate leg of the relay around the quad for the Greek games.”

“Oh, I’d love to, but I didn’t bring my skates to school.”

“Oh, I’ll find you some skates.”

“Well, I’d have to try them out and I’m so busy studying for this biology exam,” (even I knew how ridiculous that sounded as the words spewed out. Clearly I was still trying to get voted off the island.)

Brig persisted, “What time are you done studying tonight?”

“Midnight.” (Yeah, I really was being that big of a jerk.)

“Great, meet me on the quad at midnight. I’ll bring the skates.”

That night, as I walked up to the steps of the moonlit quad there was Brig standing there with two sets of roller skates.

As we strapped on our skates and began rolling around the quad she asked,

“What made you decide to join Tau Phi Delta?”

“I wanted a social life.”

“How’s that working out for you?”

I began to cry and let it all out.

Brig listened intently. Then she stopped skating. She looked me straight in the eyes and said softly:

“It strikes me that what you have here is not so much a sorority problem as a biology problem. If you had done those interviews we had asked you to do, you would know that five of our sisters are pre-med majors. They will help you study if you just ask.

How about this?  We postpone all your pledge requirements until next semester and we spend the next three weeks helping get you through biology. You can graduate with your pledge class and make up the rest next semester.

Because one of two things is going to happen here. You’re either going to quit right here on this quad tonight, or you’re going to stick with it and become President of the Sorority some day.

My vote is for President.”

When she returned for homecoming a few years later I asked her if she remembered that night. “Of course I do,” she smiled. And I’ve heard you’ve done a great job as President.”

Brig knew a secret many managers don’t. When dealing with a disengaged employee, sometimes the best approach is to strap on your skates.

Frontline Festival: Leaders Share Team Building Ideas

Welcome back to the Let’s Grow Leaders Frontline Festival. This month’s festival is all about team time. Thanks to Joy and Tom Guthrie of Vizwerx Group for the great pic and to all our contributors! Next month’s Frontline Festival follows up on this month’s with a theme all about growth and change. The question for the month is:  What is an area of growth you are focusing on, either professionally or personally? Submit your growth and change related blog posts and answers to that question here!

This month’s question was: What tips do you have for working well with a team?

A sense of teamwork is crucial for a productive small business staff. Try steps for leaders to take for building teamwork in the workplace from Amanda Cameron of Patriot Software, LLC Follow Amanda.

If you find yourself on a dysfunctional team, or just want to get a new team off to a great start, ask yourself the following three questions from Susan Mazza of Random Acts of Leadership. You may discover that your team is nothing more than a committee in disguise. If so, now you’ll know exactly how to correct course.Follow Susan.

Skip Prichard of Leadership Insights gives us 10 strategies to help make a team work well together. They are derived by Dennis Perkins who studied the incredible survivor story of the Midnight Rambler and the storm that almost destroyed everything. Follow Skip.

Part of developing a team that works well together is developing the individual skills of people. A bigger part of it is developing an understanding of the system within which those people must operate and adjusting that system to the people on the team.  Too much time is devoted to changing people to fit into the constraints of the existing system and too little to changing the existing system to take advantage of individuals on the team now. Thanks, John Hunter of Curious Cat Management Improvement Follow John.

Building product is not about having a large team to manage. It is about having a small team with the right people on it. ~ Fred Wilson

Jesse Stoner of Seapoint Center for Collaborative Leadership asks, “How many teams have you been on that came to an official end?” If you’re like most people, it’s not too many. That’s because teams seem to take on a life of their own, even after their initial purpose has been fulfilled or no longer makes sense. Here’s how to tell when it’s time to close down a teamFollow Jesse.

Tanveer Naseer of Tanveer Naseer Leadership   helps us learn about three tactics successful leaders use to build thriving teams that can adapt to the changing needs of their organization.  Follow Tanveer.

Robyn McLeod of Thoughtful Leaders Blog notes that at times, the way a team is set up and work gets done, can cause a team to be more at odds than pulling together. But with four simple tips – as simple as reducing conflicting goals – you can help your team work as one rather than against each other.   Follow Robyn.

Wally Bock of Three Star Leadership reminds us that most of us do most of our work in teams. Here are four important things you should know that make a core work team effective. Follow Wally.

Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people. ~ Steve Jobs

Chris Edmonds of Driving Results through Culture shares an important exercise you can do with your team to help them write their unique story in “Nurture Your Team’s Narrative.” Follow Chris.

Julie Winkle Giulioni of DesignArounds shares the 10 Top Trust Terminators that will break down teamwork. Follow Julie

Chery Gegelman of Simply Understanding tells the story of an under-performing team that was feeling victimized but changed their focus, learned how to play together, built trust, began exceeding their goals and instigated organizational development projects throughout the company.  (When we create workplaces that encourage people to use their imaginations and to laugh, we will increase energy, teamwork and results!) Follow Chery.

Alli Polin of Break the Frame  shares that the best leaders know that teamwork is a dance between individual strength and team capacity. Skills matter, but team members must have each other’s back, consistently give their personal best and learn how to play well with others too. Follow Alli.

Shelley Row of Shelley Row Associates shares some ways to increase participation in your team. Follow Shelley

Beth Beutler of H.O.P.E. Unlimited acknowledges that sometimes, team building starts by looking at ourselvesFollow Beth.

The main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team. ~ John Wooden

 

 

The Worst Mistake You Can Make With a Bad Hire

“When did you know he was a bad hire?”

“Pretty much from day 1.”

“And when did you first have a frank conversation about your concerns?”

“Err… yesterday.”

“And now you want to terminate them?”

“Yeah, I mean it’s been a problem for a really long time. He’s got to go!”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this seen this scene play out–both in my HR exec days, and now in the frustrations of my clients looking to add more rigor to their performance management processes.

The worst mistake you can make with a low-performing
new hire is being overly patient.

Why are we overly patient? Well first off, we hired them, and it’s just freaking awkward that they’re this bad. So we convince ourselves they’ll be okay, and hold our breath and wait. Or, we know how hard it can be in a new job…so we just give them time and space to get better, and assume it will all work out.

Of course, most people don’t hit the ground running overnight. But if you’re REALLY worried after the first few customer interactions, or they just don’t seem to pick up anything you’re putting down, don’t wait too long. Better to lose the diaper drama as early in the game as possible– and tell them the truth (see more in our video interview).

5 Reasons to Be Real With Your Low Performing New Hire

They’re As Frustrated As You Are

No one starts a new job with the intention of really screwing it up. If it’s not working out, it’s likely they’re more frustrated than you are. It’s a good idea to be having “How’s it going?” conversations with all your new hires–and particularly those who are struggling.

A few conversation starters:

  • Why did you choose to work here? What most attracted you to this company/job?
  • Is the job what you expected it to be? Why or why not?
  • What do you find most satisfying with this role? What is most frustrating?
  • Where do you need some extra support?

You’ve Got a Limited Window to Clarify Expectations

Don’t assume you’ve been perfectly clear with your expectations. If you wait too long to articulate and reinforce your standards, your  new hire is likely to assume you just aren’t that serious, or that what he or she is doing is acceptable.

It’s fine to give some time to ramp up to be at full performance–but you always want to be reinforcing the end-goal and what success looks like. I can’t you how many times I’ve had crying employees in my HR office saying, “But my supervisor never told me…” And the truth is, often there was some truth to that. Be sure expectations are clear.

Bad Habits Are Hard To Break

Enough said. Be clear about the most important behaviors for achieving success, and reinforce those until they become a habit.

Your “A Players” Are Taking Notes

If the new guy comes in and gets away with less than productive behaviors, you will instantly lose credibility with your strong performers.

HR Can Help

Your HR manager can help you get extra resources to support your new hire’s success. AND, they can also help you deliver (and document) the conversations you are having. I’ve never met an HR professional who complained about being notified too early about a problem.

The best way to give your new hire and your team the best chance of success is to ditch the diaper drama as early in the game as possible, and have real conversations with your new hire.

One Reason Your Employees are Rolling Their Eyes

Have you ever had a supervisor who congratulated you for doing something that you knew wasn’t praiseworthy, or worse, something you knew actually made things worse in the long run? Or have you seen a peer recognized for their “great work” only to find yourself secretly muttering “If they only knew?”

I see this happen all the time. Managers encourage the wrong behavior, for the wrong reasons…setting off a ripple effect of well-meaning frustration. “Seriously!? He got the award, after we saved his butt for that dumb mistake?” “If you loved what I did, do you realize I had to break three stupid polices to get there? The next time I do this when your boss doesn’t have a customer breathing down their neck, I’m likely to get written up for non-compliance.”

If you want people to pick up the love you’re putting down, be sure you’re rewarding the MIT (Most Important Thing).

3 Characteristics of Encouraging Encouragement

Truly encouraging encouragement is:

Relevant

The first key to real encouragement is have a real understanding of which behaviors are driving your long-term results. For example, what behaviors lead to long-term customer retention? What leadership behaviors build employee loyalty and engagement?  Sure it’s simpler to focus only on short-term outcomes. But recognizing and rewarding short-term results will encourage win-at-all costs tactics that create long-term havoc. Your encouragement sends an important message to the employee you’re encouraging and everyone around them. Be sure you’re celebrating what matters most.

Specific

You’ve taken the time to identify your team’s relevant behaviors– your Winning Well MIT (Most Important Thing).  Be sure you’re linking your recognition back to behaviors not just outcomes. Describe what actually happened and why it is important.

Ineffective: “Hey, Bob, Great work.”

Effective: “Hey, Bob, I really appreciate the extra hours you put in on that project last week to take a deep dive into the customer’s account and uncover the root cause of the issue. The customer was delighted and renewed with us for another three years.”

If you can’t describe the actual behaviors, you’re not ready to offer encouragement because you don’t know what people did and they won’t know how to do it again. When you take the time to get specific, people know you understand their work, and you reinforce positive contributions.

Meaningful

Effective leaders know that people are different. They want encouragement in different areas, and they receive encouragement in different ways. Some people hate the spotlight, and would rather not be recognized at all than to be called on the stage and be given a plaque. Others will be annoyed if you didn’t take time to understand WHY their breakthrough formula worked on that spreadsheet. Be sure you’re providing encouragement in a way that will be most impactful to your employees. Recognition can backfire when people don’t feel “got.”  To make recognition more meaningful: customize it, personalize it, make it timely, encourage strengths, align it, and involve the team (for more detail and specific ideas see Winning Well chapter 20).

How Do I Get My Team to Trust Me? (Story and Video)

Our 8th Winning Well Principle: Trust the Trenches has so many nuances, all of which I learned the hard way. For me, it wasn’t the delegating, or asking for input, that was the hardest… it was trusting my team enough to be vulnerable. To trust them enough to admit that I’m far from perfect, and having the confidence to know that was okay. I still had vision. And a plan. And we could still win well.

“Because when people see leaders who are real and have real life challenges,
they look at those leaders and say,
“Wow, she’s not perfect.
And I’m not perfect.
And we can still win well together.”

The Hardest Way to Trust the Trenches

I had just been promoted to my first executive job in human resources at Verizon. All the players were new. I had a new boss and an entire new C-level suite to impress. And because sometimes life throws you curve balls, I was also going through a divorce and was trying to navigate an unexpected life as a single mom.

I hadn’t told a soul. My best friends at work didn’t know. And my boss certainly had no idea.

So here’s what I imagined would be said about me. 

Well, we know we can’t talk about this, but…

“This is probably not the right time for her. Yes she’s high-potential, but with all this personal stuff on her plate…”

“I’m not sure she’ll be able to manage the travel of this high-profile role as a single mom.”

“She’s young. Let’s skip this round with her, and wait to see how she handles her new life circumstances.”

So I did what I thought was best and ignored the unspeakable.

Which might not have been a terrible approach. Except…

My First Project in the New Role

My first assignment in my new role was to build a diversity strategy. I was to gather a “max mix” of managers (think race, age, sexual orientation) from across disciplines and cultures to talk about the very real challenges that were limiting our ability to have an inclusive culture.

And it was working.

We had an amazing team. And great dialogue. Scott, the gay man, came out to us for the first time at work–and that informed our strategy.

Sherika shared a few horrible examples of being overlooked as a woman of color–and that informed our strategy.

John, who weighed 400 lbs., opened our eyes to discrimination we hadn’t even considered–and that informed our strategy.

We were on the cusp of presenting our recommendations to senior leadership, when Sherika burst into my office, and shared her truth from the trenches.

“Karin you are a fraud.”

“All this time we’ve been talking about diversity, and what really matters. Scott came out to you and you applauded. I shared my story, and you raised an enthusiastic, ‘Game on… let’s address that.” And John was close to tears in sharing his deal, and you wrote the travel policy into the plan. And there you sat, TOTALLY QUIET, as we discussed the challenges for single moms.

Our single mother strategy is incomplete. And you know it.

Yeah, we talked about schedules and daycare. But what about the fact that executives like you have to hide who they are for fear of being discounted?”

Sherika was right.

Imagine the Difference

Sherika shared, “Karin, trust goes both ways.”

“Can you imagine what would have happened if you had told us the truth?”

“Hey guys, this discussion of single moms is only half the battle. Yeah, we need daycare, and flexible schedules. But we also need to make it safe for people to show up how they really are at work. Without judgement.  I’m a single mom too. I don’t meet the profile we’ve been discussing. AND I’m scared as hell that the minute people find out that I don’t have a husband, all bets are off.”

THAT would inform our diversity strategy.

Trusting the trenches starts with–trusting the trenches to be who you are.

Sherika’s message changed my approach to leadership forever.

To win the trust of your team, you have to trust them to trust you.

Trust the trenches to accept (and even embrace) that you are human being too.

And lead from there.

 

3 Consequences of Promoting the Smart, Successful Jerk (with video)

Oh he’s good. Very good. He gets sh__ done. It’s hard to argue with the results. So what if he’s ruffling a few feathers… with his team, with his peers, with HR, with IT?  The better he does, the better you look. And so you choose to look the other way, shrug your shoulders and chalk it up to the cost of genius.

And that may work. For a while. If you’re lucky you can get him promoted and cross your fingers that someday he will be in a position to return the favor. Which of course is a roll of the dice with a guy like that. But then again, you certainly don’t want to be on his bad side.

Another shoulder shrug, and there you are defending his obnoxious moves, helping him to move on and get out of your hair.

3 Consequences of Promoting the Smart, Successful Jerk

  1. Everyone’s Taking Notes
    I’ve been in enough focus groups across enough companies to tell you–when you promote the jerk, people assume it’s the jerk behavior that sealed the deal. No one assumes they got promoted in spite of their obvious lack of couth. You’ve just sanctioned destructive behavior that people now justify to themselves as the “only way” to make it.
  2. You Instantly Tank Your Credibility
    Even if you spend most of your time leading as a Winning Well manager, you’ll lose the hearts and minds of those looking up to you believing it’s possible to get results–without losing your soul. Promoting a jerk who gets (short-term) results without looking at the impact on the relationships they need to sustain them, is a credibility busting move with the true A players you need for lasting success. The minute you’ve made the announcement, they’re looking around for a smarter boss to work for, who gets the bigger picture.
  3. You Fuel the “Why Bother?” Factor
    When the “witch” gets promoted, there’s going to be a certain segment of your box 9  high potential employees who are going to shout “No way. If that’s what it takes, I’m not interested.” They won’t say much, and they’ll keep up appearances–but the extra effort will likely go elsewhere. True A players are always working hard… it’s just a matter of where they’re investing their energy.

Don’t underestimate the consequences of supporting and promoting a high-potential jerk. Sure, it’s the path of least resistance. But can you imagine the impact of investing strategically in their development to help them grow past it? Recovering jerky A players rank among some of the best leaders I know.

Take the time to go there.