5 Top Leadership Articles for the week of November 6, 2017

5 Top Leadership Articles for the Week of November 6, 2017

Each week I read leadership articles from various online resources and share them across social media. Here are the five leadership articles readers found most valuable last week. Click on the title of the article to read the full text. I have added my comment about each article and would like to hear what you think, too.

How to Handle Tough Performance Conversations by Wally Bock

For a couple of decades, I began every supervisory skills class by asking the participants what they wanted to learn most. “How to talk to team members about behavior and performance” was always at the top of the list. Here’s what you need to know if you want to do that part of your job well.

My Comment: This issue continues to be both one of the most sought-after leadership development skills as well as the hallmark of effective teams and organizations that succeed in their work. Bock does a great job laying out important aspects including the vital need to build a relationship with your team members long before you’ve got to have a tough performance conversation. I’d also call attention to what he calls “the really hard part:” being quiet. As we’ve shared the Winning Well INSPIRE model for holding coaching and accountability conversations, many organizations are reporting back that when they ask what’s going on and invite the other party to come up with solutions – and then be quiet – they are seeing tremendous results. The people involved come up with better solutions that they own and then implement.

The Secret to Employee Engagement Isn’t About Your Employees by Ryan Westwood

Creating a healthy company culture is my passion. It began with the development of my first technology company, PC Care Support, and it has continued throughout my work with Simplus. As I study the online performance reviews of competing businesses, I have noticed something interesting: while companies offer incredible benefits like personal budgets for employee development training, free doughnuts, and gym passes, the reviews for some of these companies are poor.

Studies show that companies spend about $270 million per year on employee engagement strategies. “But approximately 63 percent of U.S. employees aren’t fully engaged in their work,” says Forbes writer William Craig. Here’s what I’ve found: If you want a great culture and true employee engagement, provide benefits that positively impact not just your employees but, more importantly, those whom they love.

My Comment: No work perk will ever overcome poor leadership or a bad culture. If you really want good employee engagement, build a clear strategy that helps them to win, generate ongoing wins, and cultivate awesome leadership at every level. Westwood’s suggestions are strong ways to focus your benefits – his suggestions communicate to your employees that you see them as a human being, that you are aware they have a life beyond the workplace, and that you care about those things. That said, even those types of perks will only be valued when they’re offered from a foundation of good leadership and a positive workplace culture. Otherwise, great benefits can’t help engage people with their work.

Speaking of Leadership: Speak Your Words by Scott Mabry

That moment you realize that the words coming out of your mouth belong to someone else.

I remember one of those moments. I sat across a table from the new CEO. Just the two of us. His question felt like a fist to my stomach.

“What do you think about the new team?”

To be honest I don’t even remember all the details of the conversation. I just remember I didn’t speak the truth. Oh, I tried to toss out a few subtle hints but in the end, I bailed and told him what I thought he wanted to hear. I spoke his words, not mine.

This was mostly because I didn’t trust him. Many of new the team members were people he had handpicked and that worked with him at his prior companies. To say anything critical seemed dangerous.

My Comment: I think we’ve all been there. Perhaps because you were scared. Or you didn’t yet know what you thought. Or perhaps you were trying to manipulate the situation. Regardless, you can’t lead without owning your voice and having the confidence and skill to speak your truth. Speak the truth compassionately. It doesn’t always mean you’ll get your way, but your confidence and influence will grow, as will others’ respect for you.

The #1 Killer of Change by John Thurlbeck at Lead Change Group.

I recently had a great catch up with my younger brother and youngest sister over a meal in their favorite local restaurant. Our conversation was free-ranging, covering a multiplicity of subjects.

However, a part of that conversation with my brother struck the deepest chords and prompted my thoughts in this post.

He works for a large national, not-for-profit organization in the UK, and it is mired in yet another major restructuring process, driven, as ever, by dwindling funding. The current process has been on-going for months.

My brother has worked for this organization for many years, and it appears to me that ‘change’ for this organization is an ever-present, as it strives to find the ‘best’ solution to delivering on its agenda. However, the current change process must be at least the fifth or sixth such process in about the past eight or so years.

Why so much change with so little apparent effect?

My Comment: Early in my career I would watch, amazed, as people I knew to be decent human beings, who were fairly self-aware and understood on-the-ground realities, would get into leadership roles and seem to change into unaware user managers. As I share in Winning Well, I’ve also had employees come and point out to me that I had undergone the same transformation and was not acting in line with my own values. What happens that causes these changes?

There are several reasons, but among them is the issue Thurlbeck brings up: groupthink. It’s a failure of all members to think critically and independently analyze an issue. It’s human nature to think that ‘enough of us can’t be wrong,’ but it happens all the time. We invite you to Channel Challengers – to find your truth-tellers and intentionally introduce different opinions. To consciously ask yourselves to “Own the UGLY” and explore the silent places that may be eroding your effectiveness or the opportunities that are right in front of you, but invisible until you seek them out.

Practical Tips to Practice Empathy by Shubha Apte

I recently read the book Hit Refresh by Satya Nadella.

What stuck with me is the episode he narrates about a question that he was asked while interviewing with Microsoft.

Here is what the story says…

Satya Nadella was asked this question when he wanted to be part of Microsoft.

“Imagine you see a baby laying in the street, and the baby is crying. What do you do?” he asked.

“You call 911,” I replied without much forethought.

Richard walked me out of his office, put his arm around me, and said, “You need some empathy, man. If a baby is laying on a street crying, pick up the baby.”

It is interesting how a CEO of a large company like Microsoft talks about empathy and its importance.

Empathy is considered the most important skill to have in the corporate world. People at all levels in the corporate hierarchy need to have this skill. With so much technological disruptions taking place in the digital global world, the human quality, Empathy becomes crucial.

My Comment: There is all-too-human tendency to reduce people from full human beings deserving of dignity and respect to their function. They go from being “Susan”, who has two kids, an ailing mom, and loves Italian food, and “Chase”, who is engaged, flies drones on the weekends, and wants to make a difference in the world to being “the reps.”

When we reduce people from their humanity to their role, we lose the connection we need to be effective leaders. The antidote to this reduction is empathy. Connect, pay attention, reflect what you hear. It only takes a few moments to cultivate that connection and restore someone’s humanity.

Your Turn

What thoughts do these articles bring to mind? Do you see something differently than the author? Did you have a favorite leadership article this week? Leave us a comment and let’s hear from you.

How to Ensure Your Team Gets It

It had been a long night…and morning…and afternoon at the airport.

The kind where cancellations and delays compound into a complex verb of frustration that includes four letters. The kind where you start to notice the characters around you and make up their stories.

I had pegged the guy next to me for a Baptist preacher. Among other signs, it was HOW he earnestly offered to watch my stuff as I went to the bathroom, “Ma’am I’ve been watching ladies purses for decades. I watch my wife’s purse. I watch my girl’s purses. I watch my wife’s friend’s friends purses. So whatever you need. I’m your purse watching man.”

And I trusted him.

He was on the phone when I came back from the bathroom. He silently nodded and grinned toward my big red purse which also serves as a computer bag, dongle carrier, journal holder, with nooks and crannies for light snacks and kombucha.

Nope, definitely not Baptist preacher–bankruptcy lawyer. Now I’m intrigued and can’t help but overhear his conversation occurring in such a beautiful Southern drawl it would have been fun to hear, even if I couldn’t understand the words.

Now my wife says I hear okay, but I doooon’t listen tooooo gooood. Let me repeat back what I’m hearing you say you want to do.”  

Silence as the caller responds. Then…

“You see sir, my wife is right. That is just NOT one of the options. Let me be clear. You CAAAAN’T do THAAAT. How about this? Let me share with you your three options again.”

Gives three options. Then…

“You sleep on it.  Call your Momma or talk to your wife…and then we’ll talk again tomorrow.”

I’m beside myself. This is the most remarkable Winning Well check for understanding I’ve ever heard. Full-on confident humility.

“Sir, Thank so much for watching my bag, and indeed you are a remarkable purse watcher. AND I couldn’t help but to overhear…What you did there was brilliant.

You see I wrote this book… and my co-author (now fiance, but that’s another story) and I had this remarkable disagreement about whether the ‘check for understanding’ should be included. I thought it was too simple. He swore it was a vital concept. As we’ve been doing workshops, guess what’s one of the top 10 take-aways?

The funny part is, the higher the managers  are in the organization, the more they love it.

It’s so easy.  

‘Do a simple check to understand…are they picking up what you’re putting down?’

Instead of  ‘Any questions?’ or ‘Are you with me?’ You ask… ‘Okay, so I just want to check to ensure we’re all on the same page…’ and then get them to repeat back. ‘What are we going to do first? And then? By when?’ “

He shared, “Karin, I’ve been doing this for years. When people are going through bankruptcy they hear what they want to–not necessary what’s true. I give them a way to hear it again.”

Amen.

There’s real power in hearing what your team hears.

5 Surprising Reasons Your Ideas Aren't Being Heard

Have you ever felt this way? You’ve got great ideas. You care deeply. AND you’re frustrated. Why is no one picking up what you’re putting down? Don’t give up. Take a careful look at your idea in the context of your other behaviors and interaction with the team.

Five Surprising Reasons Your Ideas Aren’t Being Heard

1. You’re Under-Invested

If you want your idea to gain traction–start with talking about what you’re doing to help.

“Here’s what I’ve already done to get us started.”

“Here are five ways I can help.”

“Here are some additional resources I can contribute.”

2. You’ve got a Track Record of Great Ideas–For Everyone Else

You’re all ideas–no action. No one wants to listen to the guy creating a lot of extra work for THEM to implement. Build a strong reputation of contributing to other people’s ideas first.

3. You’re Apologizing For Your Idea

Sounds crazy, right? And yet it happens all the time. “This is probably a dumb idea…” “I’m sorry but…”

4. You’re Too Gung Ho

What? Did Karin Hurt the “gung ho” queen just say that? Why, yes I did. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by being overly emotional or so passionate people wonder what you put in your oatmeal that morning.

5. You’ve Under-Invested in Peer Relationships

Boy did I have to learn this one the hard way. In my early career, I had a few ideas that I know were just brilliant die on the vine. How do I know they were good? A few years later when I’d built strong trusting relationships sideways, I tried something almost identical again, and people were lining up to help. If you want folks to come along, work hard to get along. Invest in prioritizing your peers and the next time you look around there will be more people by your side ready to listen.

Of course, the side benefit here is that if the whole gang’s all in, your boss will be much more eager to listen.

Your ideas matter–positioning them takes practice, but it’s worth it.

Chip Bell

Confident Leaders Display Their Passion (Chip Bell)

Winning Well Connection

We’ve enjoyed getting to know Chip over the years and are so inspired by his passionate approach to creating a great customer experience. He truly understands the importance of Winning Well not just with employees but with customers as well.

Click on the image for more information about Chip’s book.

 

Larry Smith lost it! And of all places, he lost it in the big-deal quarterly leadership meeting. He absolutely went over the edge in his impassioned plea for some issue around a key customer. No, he didn’t cry; although he did wipe his eyes before his cheeks got streaked. No, he didn’t pound the table; although he did demonstrate a few gestures that would be the envy of any aspiring thespian.

But, what Larry did do in his “out of control” passion clearly crossed all normal bounds of rationality and routine boardroom decorum. And yet, he engaged the hearts … and commitment … of every single person in the leadership meeting. People were truly moved. And, it did make a difference. Stuff happened!

The “Larry loses his cool” incident led me to reflect on the true meaning of leadership. I thought about how much the land of being “confidently in charge” contained artifacts of control, rationality, logic and “keeping your cool.” I thought about how little these sensible artifacts had anything to do with inspiring spirit in any context of life.

People do not brag about their rational marriage, their reasonable hobby, or their sensible vacation. There is rarely “in control” behavior when Junior is rounding third base or Julie “sticks” her dismount. Exhortations of ecstasy are never restrained on the fishing bank when the cork suddenly disappears and with surprising force. But, somehow all that Larry-like spirit is an unwelcome distraction after the time clock is passed. And, the closer one gets to mahogany row, the less tolerance there seems to be for “sounds of the heart.”

I thought about how freeing it was for everyone in that room when “Larry lost his cool.” Were we uncomfortable? Yes! Did we wonder “Where the hell is this going?” Yes! But, we all felt momentarily in kinship with real life. Julia Roberts echoed the Larry theme in Steel Magnolias when, as a courageous diabetic expectant mother facing the life-threatening potential of giving birth, said: “I’d rather have thirty minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special.”

Great leaders are not rational beings … they are spirit carriers. They passionately “give birth” in the face of threatening circumstances. The biography of almost every great leader who ever faced the potential of bodily harm accompanying his or her cause communicates a consistent theme:  “Why we were there played so loud in my ear I never really heard what might happen because we were there.” Passion played and leaders put issues like “in control” on some emotional back burner. We know Larry. And, Larry is not an irrational, illogical person. Yet, somehow, that day we trusted his passion more than his reason.

“Whoa!” you say. We can’t have the chaos of unbridled emotion. What would the stockholders say? After all, is it not the role of a leader to bring forth a sense of “grace under pressure,” or “order when all around you is losing their head?” Should leaders not strive to be more anchor than sail? More rudder than oar?

“No!” We have missed the boat on what it means to be a confident leader. The organization, the marketplace, and the situation offer far more “predictable” than is predictably required. The truth is rationality oozes from the seams of every business encounter. Leaders do not have to bring order, sanity, rationality or logic. Every dimension of business life reeks with those qualities. Sane leaders foster insane passion.

Great leaders call up in each of us a visit to the raggedy edge of brilliance and the out-of-the-way corner of genius. When we feel inspired … incensed … ennobled …we have visited the magical realm of passion. We typically return from that realm renewed, revitalized … and slightly revolted. And, when a leader has had a hand in that visit, there is a sense of security married to an otherwise solitary search.

Passion takes the plain vanilla out of encounters. Philosopher Goethe called it “boldness” and said: “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin in boldness. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves, too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred.”

Today’s followers need passionate connections from leaders who come soaring from the heart to awaken boldness. It builds a relationship platform that raises everyone to a higher level. Imposing mountains are climbed, culture-changing movements are started, and breakthrough miracles are sparked by leaders who take the governors off rationalism and prudence, letting their confident spirit ascend from within.

Winning Well Reflection

We hear all the time from leaders around the world who wish their teams would “put their heart into it.” If you’ve ever wistfully wondered where your team’s passion is, Chip offers you a fantastic look at where that igniting force comes from. In order for your people’s heart to be in what they’re doing – they’ve got to see yours. Be real, be authentic, and let us know why it matters.

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Mary Kelly

When Confidence Turns to Arrogance (Mary Kelly)

Winning Well Connection

Why Leaders Fail

Click on the image for more information about Mary’s book.

Mary has been an amazing supporter of David’s from early in his professional speaking career and an amazing friend. As she said on David and my engagement, “I feel like I’m gaining a sister.” 

There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance. When leaders are confident, they have a deep belief in their ability to make a difference in the world. Confidence is an important competency in leadership, and it is critical to a leader’s success. Confidence is motivating and inspirational to others. Confidence empowers people to take risks, be innovative, and pushes the team and organization further ahead.

Arrogance crosses the line of confidence. Arrogant people believe they no longer have a need to learn, grow, or change. They wholeheartedly believe they are right and others are wrong.

Arrogance destroys the valuable, and absolutely essential relationships a leader has with other team members. Even more devastating is the feeling arrogant behavior creates in others. People have no desire or motivation to follow an arrogant leader. Sometimes the arrogance is so repugnant that people cheer when arrogant people fail, even if it means they suffer as well.

If other people agree with arrogant leaders, they are considered by those leaders to be smart and are often favored. If people question an arrogant leader’s decisions or recommendations, they are often labeled as unintelligent or punished. For an arrogant leader, disagreement equals ignorance and disloyalty. When this happens, subordinates and peers learn not to challenge the leader, even when he or she is clearly wrong. Not only do arrogant leaders belittle those who disagree with them, but they often do so in the most condescending and patronizing way possible.

It is difficult to work for an arrogant person, but it is also difficult having one work for you. When people believe they are the smartest, most competent person in the workplace, they frequently fail to follow directions, refuse guidance, and ignore feedback. This destroys both teamwork and productivity.

How can leaders be both confident and humble leaders? From our book, Why Leaders Fail and the 7 Prescriptions for Success, great leaders:

1. Admit and accept when they make mistakes, and they apologize to the team for letting them down.

2. Demonstrate accountability and take responsibility for the actions of their team. They know that “the buck” really does stop here. They give the team credit for the wins while they take responsibility for the failures.

3. Communicate and act in a respectful manner at all times. To everyone. Always. Great leaders are not rude, and they treat others with grace and dignity.

4. Be open-minded and willing to learn something new. Great leaders know they need other people’s wisdom and abilities, and they appreciate the knowledge around them.

5. Show gratitude. Great leaders give praise and recognition to the right people at the right time. Humble leaders habitually recognize great contributions that make a difference. At home, at work, and in their daily routines, great leaders find it easy to say “thank you” and recognize someone for how they make a difference.

6. Practice forgiveness. People make mistakes. If people are not making mistakes, they are not innovating. Great leaders know that they have to learn from mistakes and move on.

7. Ask for honest feedback, and act on it. Great leaders welcome 360 leadership assessments. They want to improve and they seek ways to become even better.

Leadership is not easy. Being a humble and confident leader takes heart as well as ability.

Mary Kelly and Peter Stark are the co-authors of Why Leaders Fail and the 7 Prescriptions for Success. They can be found at Mary@ProductiveLeaders.com and Peter@PeterStark.com.

Winning Well Reflection

Mary has provided such a fantastic list of ways to keep your confidence from bleeding over into arrogance. Most leaders who struggle with confidence worry that they’ll be perceived as arrogant. You won’t – more likely, you’ll be perceived as trustworthy. Thanks, Mary, for the great examples of how to combine confidence and humility to increase your influence and credibility.

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5 Ways to Overcome Impostor Syndrome

Throughout our new book, Winning Well (available now!), David and I talk consistently about the importance of confidence AND humility, results AND relationships. So many of the managers we work with tell us that the hardest part to master is confidence.

Even those highly successful managers who appear to be Winning Well and making a difference will often take us aside and admit that they sometimes feel like a fake.

They feel as if their success rests on a knife’s edge. One false move, one tiny mistake, and everyone would know they were nothing but a well-spoken fraud.

This is what’s known as “impostor syndrome.”

Imposter sydrome describes that feeling of strong self-doubt that you’re a fake, that your success is due more to luck or your ability to fool people than it is due to your work, and it often comes with your fear of being found out.

If you let it, imposter syndrome will tie you in knots, ruin your confidence, and undermine your ability to lead your people and achieve your goals–not to mention screw up your life in many other ways.

We know. We’ve been there too.

At earlier times in our lives, David and I have felt as if we didn’t belonging that boardroom, didn’t feel that others would take us seriously, that we weren’t as smart, as proficient, as musical, or as experienced as we needed to be compared to that group we were working with.

The brutal truth is that you can’t be the manager you need to be when you’re tied up in knots like that. You’ll try to overcompensate, or you’ll stay silent when you should speak. Either one will kill your credibility and end your influence.

There are several tools you can use to overcome this self-sabotage. Here are just a few.

5 Ways to Overcome Impostor Syndrome

1, Honor Your Past and Your Present

One of David’s mentors said, “It’s a good thing to remember where you came from, but it’s a foolish thing to think you’re still there. ”

His point is that your experiences in childhood and earlier life can serve you, help you make good decisions, give you an appreciation for people from all walks of life, and keep you from being judgmental. It would be foolish to leave that treasure behind. But it would be equally foolhardy to not acknowledge today’s circumstances. That’s intellectually dishonest and dishonors the people who have put their trust in you today.

2. Remember that You’re Always “Too Something” For Someone

These wise words came from 1999 world champion of public speaking and motivational speaker, Craig Valentine. “You’re always too something for someone” gets at the absurdity of it all, because once you start looking for inadequacy, you’ll always find a reason you don’t belong.

3. Laugh at Your Doubts

When David writes and self-doubt begins to wrap him in its constricting coils, telling him he can’t write anything unless it’s absolutely perfect, he can almost hug that little voice, laugh at it and say “Aren’t you cute?It’s hard to be critical when you’re adorable.”

4. Examine it Before You Swallow It

Sometimes your doubts might have something to tell you. Maybe there is a new skill you need to learn or a true mistake you can avoid.  How can you tell the difference between legitimate self-doubt and useless insecurity?

Picture someone tossing you an apple. You don’t catch the apple with your teeth, immediately chew it, and swallow it. You catch it in your hand; then you might inspect the apple and decide if you want to eat it. Treat doubts and criticisms like the apple. Don’t automatically swallow them. Ask yourself if there is something of value for you here. Create space for curiosity. See what happens. You get to chose whether you take a bite from the apple and internalize the concern or toss it away.

5. Leverage Your People

One of the most effective tools for dealing with impostor syndrome is simply to focus on the team you serve. They don’t really care where you came from, how you got here, whether you have a big house, a small car, good hair, bad hair, or anything else. What they do care about is you you can help them succeed today.

It’s nearly impossible to trip over your own insecurities she you’re serving others. This is the reason volunteering is such a powerful experience and why you hear volunteers say they received so much more than they give.

Winning Well Available NOW 
winning wellIt’s official. Winning Well hit the bookstores this weekend (several weeks earlier than expected), and Amazon has starting shipping. if you haven’t ordered your copy, I hope you will soon and write a review.

Looking forward to spreading the Winning Well Word.

The Worst Reason Women Don't Get Promoted

The room was filled with successful, competent, middle-aged women. We’d just finished a powerful workshop where each of them had identified ways they could make a bigger impact in the their organizations, in the world and in the women leaders coming up behind them. Then over lunch, Laura turned to me and confessed, “Karin, I’m still having trouble with your confident humility model. I think most women have way too much humility and that actually gets in the way of their success.”

Of course, the whole point of my model is that it’s the balance of confidence with humility, but my point was not the point. I needed to hear her story.

They just filled a really critical role in our organization, and everyone was shocked. “We thought it would be you!”  I know I’m way more qualified than the guy who got it, and I could have added a lot of value. But the truth is, I didn’t apply. No one asked me to. I guess, I figured if they wanted me they would have asked.

She continued,

I don’t think we should be teaching women about the power of humility. I think we need to get them to learn to believe in themselves and tell others why they should believe in them too.

And then several other women chimed in with similar experiences. One C-level exec shared her observations.

I think the problem is that many women look at the long list of requirements on a job description and think “Shoot, I’m missing one, better not apply.” Whereas a guy is more likely to say, “Ha, look at this, I’ve got all but one nailed, I’m a shoe-in.”

As I listened, I thought about the many roles I have taken on in my career that were really a stretch. On paper, I was completely under-qualified for these cross-functional assignments. What was the difference? Why did I exude that “masculine” audacious confidence that made me believe I could be successful without the experience?

And then it hit me. Much of that confidence came from the fact that one time, one senior leader convinced me I should move out of HR and take on a field role for which I had no experience. He told me he had “no doubts” that I would be successful. So I put my hat in the ring and was hired. He was right.

The next time, I didn’t need any external convincing.

Humility has nothing to do with selling yourself short. Humility is about knowing the mission is bigger than you. For goodness sake, if you’re the best person for the job, don’t stand back and let someone else take the helm.

And we all need to be on the lookout for women and men, who might need a little extra convincing.

5 Ways to Ensure Your Voice is Heard

In the Q&A after my keynote the other day, a woman (ironically after refusing to use my microphone) asked, “You know that part where you talk about Professor Lupin and facing your fears? What if your biggest fear is that you won’t be heard… how do you make that feel ridiculous?”

We chatted for a moment about really considering what “the worst thing that could happen” was in this scenario. And what would happen if she didn’t speak up at all, which would ensure her fear had come true.  And then she said, “But what if they use the same idea when someone else says it?”

I then I understood that her question was less about fear and more of a “How do I?” question (see also David Dye’s “Leaders Are You Answering the Wrong Question?”).

Eager eyes awaited my response. Apparently she wasn’t the only one facing that challenge.

5 Ways to Ensure Your Voice is Heard:  The VOICE approach

First, when someone offers you a mic, take it. If someone else has to repeat what you say, you’ve already lost some impact. Sometimes the mic is metaphorical (like pulling your chair up to the table if you’re sitting on the sidelines). Here are a few other additional tips.

VVisualize

Visualize what you are going to say and how you’re going to say it. Include it all–the eye contact, the sitting up tall with an open stance, strong projection and confident tone. Visualize their receptive response. It’s much easier to feel confident when you’ve practiced.

O- Organize 

Organize your thoughts in advance. Make an outline if needed. Consider the key points that will support your point of view. Know your opening sentence, so you won’t be tempted to start with a pre-apology (e.g. “This may be a bad idea, but…”)

I- Inquire

If possible do your homework in advance and be aware of other’s opinions on the topic. If you’re responding spontaneously, then ask for feedback. (e.g. “How do you think idea could impact our project?”)

C- Consider

Listen carefully to the opinions and ideas of others. Thank them and respond appropriately, building on and integrating their ideas if possible.

E- Energize

Stay energetic in your delivery. It’s hard to ignore someone is genuinely passionate about their point of view.

Most importantly, be sure you believe what you have to say. If you’re unsure, your audience will be equally skeptical.

Experts Share Advice on Inspiring Breakthrough Results: A Frontline Festival

Welcome back to the Let’s Grow Leaders Frontline Festival. Our March Festival is all about inspiring breakthrough results. Thanks to Joy and Tom Guthrie of Vizwerx Group for the great pic and to all our contributors! Next month’s Festival is all about “Spring Cleaning” for your leadership or team (e.g. renew, refresh, planting seeds). New contributors welcome.

The Internal Side of Breakthrough Results

The achievements of an organization are the result of the combined efforts of each individual. – Vince Lombardi

Wally Bock of Three-Star Leadership reminds us that breakthrough results and business success take more than smarts. Guts and discipline count, too. Follow Wally.

Michelle Cubas of Positive Potentials reminds us that breakthrough results are often like “overnight sensations.” We all know or heard of people who have come “out of nowhere” and were the next big thing. Stop there—Not true. See why . . .  Follow Michelle.

Chery Gegelman of Simply Understanding points out that breakthrough leaders are curious.  They enjoy turning rocks, are willing to get dirty and courageously face the squiggly things they discover.  And those discoveries inspire change and results.   Follow Chery.

Bruce Harpham of Project Management Hacks helps us learn how George Washington laid the foundation for breakthrough results in the American Revolution and beyond. He mastered these four career hacks before he turned 25. Follow Bruce. 

Barbara Kimmel of Trust Across America advises that breakthrough results can be achieved by companies that proactively build trust into their business strategy. If you don’t think a business case for trust exists, this article may change your mind. Follow Barbara.

Scott Mautz of the Make It Matter blog helps us discover a formula that expresses how an organization’s energy is derived, and provides the four questions leaders can ask themselves to avoid sapping precious energy from the quest for breakthrough results. Follow Scott.

From  Matt McWilliams of MattMcWilliams.comThese four words are what helped a shy assistant nearly set a company record for sales…in her first week. Less than two years later, she scored in the top 1% on the SHRM exam as she transitioned into HR management. It all started with these four words.  Follow Matt.

Jennifer Miller of the People Equation explores what happens when you’re just plain stuck. Try these four tips to help you break through the mental clutter.  Follow Jennifer.

Michelle Pallas of Michelle Pallas, Inc. asks and answers: “Want breakthrough results? Change you!” Follow Michelle.

Alli Polin of Break the Frame  shares that you can’t achieve breakthrough results until you have the confidence to show up and lead from your truth, not from behind an illusion of perfection.  Follow Alli.

LaRae Quy of Mental Toughness Center observes that when we stop striving to do our best, we become complacent. We settle into a comfort zone that produces mediocrity, and it takes mental toughness to break out of that rut.  Follow LaRae.

The External Side of  Breakthrough Results

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams

Beth Beutler of H.O.P.E. Unlimited gives pointers on setting goals with your team that will achieve breakthrough results. Follow Beth.

David Couper of Improving Police suggests that to inspire breakthrough results, a leader must: deeply listen to others (including dissent), oversee a quality training program, model an engaged style of leadership, create a system of improvement, be data-driven and sustain improvements. Follow David.

David Dye of Trailblaze, Inc. shares the most important five minutes you’ll spend to get clarity, accountability, and breakthrough results after your team stumbles upon a breakthrough idea. Follow David.

From John Hunter of Curious Cat Management Improvement blog: Breakthrough results don’t always require remarkable innovation or even radical change.  Often incredible results are the result of creating a system that is continually improving and over time hundreds of actions build and help achieve breakthrough results.  Building such a management system takes great care. Follow John.

Jon Mertz of Thin Difference shares that as leaders we can get caught up in the hard-core metrics when we’re measuring results, but what if we also focused on heart? Heart delivers a confidence to make the places we work and live better with each week, month and year. Follow Jon.

Skip Pritchard of Leadership Insights shares, “Have you ever seen the massive pumpkins that compete for the world’s largest title? Thousands of pounds, these champion growers credit the good seed, good soil, and good luck. What I learned about breakthrough results mirrors what I learned from these monster pumpkins!” Follow Skip.

Jesse Lyn Stoner of Seapoint Center points us toward research study into teams that create breakthrough results, identifying these six benchmarks of high performance teams. How does your team stack up? Follow Jesse Lyn.

Linda Fisher Thornton of Leading in Context shares how respect is incredibly important. In the quest to create workplaces where people can find meaning and do their best work, she believes that we need to aim much higher. Follow Linda.

frontlinefestival-300x300-300x300Call for Submissions. The April Frontline Festival is about Spring Cleaning for your leadership or team (e.g. renew, refresh, planting seeds). Please send your submissions no later than April 10th. New participants welcome. Click here to join in!

Leadership Pros Contribute Thoughts about Humility: A Frontline Festival

Welcome back to the Let’s Grow Leaders Frontline Festival. Our February Festival is all about humility. Thanks to Joy and Tom Guthrie of Vizwerx Group for the great pic and to all our contributors! Next month’s Festival is all about inspiring breakthrough results. New contributors welcome.

Humility: We’re all shaped by it

“Humility is the solid foundation of all virtues.” – Confucius

Chery Gegelman of Simply Understanding reminds us that great struggles humble us, and make us stronger, softer and wiser leaders.  Read cautiously, this post may inspire you to wish for a big struggle!   Follow Chery.

Matt McWilliams of MattMcWilliams.com helps us with How to Avoid the Three Most Common Downfalls of Leaders (hint: one is ego)  Follow Matt.

Jeff Miller of the Faithful Pacesetters asks, “How Does Humility Equal Confidence?” Follow Jeff. 

Yes it is true that Solomon was gifted with great wisdom. But his greatest leadership asset was his humility, according to Bernie Nagle of Altrupreneur. Follow Bernie.

Michelle Pallas of Michelle Pallas, Inc. offers, “When people in my network reached out to support me during an important meeting it was acts of caring. If not for a snow storm that forced a travel delay and time for reflection, I would have missed being grateful. It’s an emotion that keeps me humble and yet without deliberate thought it is easily squeezed out.” Follow Michelle.

Skip Pritchard of Leadership Insights gives us humble leadership  lessons with Pope Francis as a model. Follow Skip.

LaRae Quy of Mental Toughness Center shares about a time when she realized she would be moving from knowing everything about her job, to a new situation where she knew absolutely nothing. It was tempting to feel humiliated, yet she instead felt humbled. Follow LaRae.

Jesse Lyn Stoner of Seapoint Center shares how Alfred was deeply humbled by a wake up call and radically turned his life around. (Spoiler alert – this is a true story). Follow Jesse Lyn.

 

Humility: We all benefit from it

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself. It is thinking of yourself less.” – Rick Warren

Beth Beutler of H.O.P.E. Unlimited reminds us to forget what we give, remember what we receive. Gratefulness leads to humility.Follow Beth.

Wally Bock of Three-Star Leadership tells us that humility is a virtue everyone praises, but getting it right is hard. Many of us face the same challenge as Ben Franklin. Follow Wally.

Tom Eakin of Boom Life  points out that parent-leaders who want to help their children solve their own problems often give advice. But giving the answers, surprisingly, doesn’t help change the behavior that caused the problems. That’s where influencing with humility comes in. Follow Tom.

Bruce Harpham of Project Management Hacks shares three ways your humility improves your effectiveness at work. Follow Bruce. 

Barbara Kimmel of Trust Across America shares 20 simple ways to be trustworthy. Guess what one is? “Be Humble.” Follow Barbara.

Lisa Kohn of Thoughtful Leaders  shares how a great leader is someone who can admit when they are wrong, and be gracious and humble when they are right. Follow Lisa.

One thing we want in life is respect. We want to feel valued and listened to. Humility is one of four practices to earn and keep the respect of your peers. Thanks, Jon Mertz of Thin Difference. Follow Jon.

Don’t you just love a big slice of humble pie? Leadership Coach Julie Pierce of Empowered by Pierce shares her passion for pie and humble leadership. Follow Julie.

Alli Polin of Break the Frame  suggests that we learn to use our humility to solicit and be open to insights and ideas from across the organization. Together, not alone, we can create and do great things.  Follow Alli.

Linda Fisher Thornton of Leading in Context reminds us that leading now is not as much about leaders as it is about bringing out the best in those they lead and serve. Follow Linda.

Call for Submissions. The March Frontline Festival is about inspiring breakthrough results. Please send your submissions no later than March 13th. New participants welcome. Click here to join in!

If you haven’t seem my confident humility infographic, click here. to view and share.

 

The Turnaround Factor: Digging Deeper

One of the most important leadership lessons of my life happened five minutes after I stepped off that stage. I’d been giving out recognition awards on my massive “road trip,” a 27 states in 45 days kind of tour of motivational kick off meetings in Verizon Wireless’ outsourced call centers.

I was the “client”–read that “scary exec”–who was doing everything in my capacity to have my team viewed as developers, not auditors.

As I made my way to the back of the room from the makeshift stage, I felt a gentle tap on my shoulder. I turned around to find a small, gray-haired women with eyes gleeming with pride. It was Lisa, the service rep who had swept the recognition awards. Lisa was one of the heroines in this call center’s turnaround story, I was delighted to talk to her to understand the secret to her success.

“Lisa, congratulations! You’ve got to tell me, what’s the secret?”

What she said next was so utterly simple and yet totally profound.

“Last year I was almost fired.  My metrics were a disaster.

Everyone kept telling me that I needed to be more confident, to be the expert for our customers. But the problem was I just wasn’t FEELING confident. And I didn’t THINK of myself as an expert.

And then one day, my team leader gave me an opportunity to re-record my opening greeting. I decided this was my big chance to sound absolutely energetic, confident, and convey my expertise. I recorded it again and again until it sounded just right.

And then a miraculous thing happened. The customers heard that greeting. They began to greet me with comments like, “Wow, you sure sound cheerful for so early in the morning.” Or, “I am glad that I got the expert, I should be in good hands.” Well, after that I just had to stay cheerful, and began feeling more confident. And you know what, I had to be an expert. Turns out, I am one.

After thousands of calls, only once have I had a customer respond to this in a negative way. My customers are getting a great experience because I know I can deliver it.

And now, here I am.”

That’s what we SHOULD have been celebrating… her story… that’s what the others needed to hear. Why hadn’t I heard the back story BEFORE I’d taken the stage? Why had I wasted that recognition moment?

I vowed to no longer be the executive hand-shaker without getting the details. (See also:  why your recognition is backfiring).

Full of confident-humility, she was poised to teach me what mattered most.

You Can Too

Even if it seems impossible to go that deep, it’s worth it.

Take time to understand the turnarounds. Hear the whole story. Ensure others know it too. Know matter how many layers fall between, as a leader, it’s always your job to know the good stuff.

I promise. It’s worth it.

Leaders Share about Confidence: A Frontline Festival

Welcome back to the Let’s Grow Leaders Frontline Festival. Our January Festival is all about Confidence. Thanks to Joy and Tom Guthrie of Vizwerx Group for the great pic and to all our contributors! Next month’s Festival is all about Humility. New contributors welcome.

 

Confidence: Explaining It

“When you have confidence, you can have a lot of fun. And when you have fun, you can do amazing things.” – Joe Namath

Beth Beutler of H.O.P.E. Unlimited shares how a shooting lesson with Olympian and Top Shot star Gabby Franco revealed three important elements of excellence and confidence. Follow Beth.

Steve Broe of My Career Impact says there are a lot of reasons to be busy in your work. Show your team and your senior management why it is important, and your confidence in the significance of project management. Follow Steve.

John Hunter of Curious Cat Management Improvement  shares that without confidence people often take disagreements about the merits of an idea, proposal or action as an attack on them. With confidence people are much more able to separate their feeling of self worth from a discussion about what options are best. Follow John. 

According to Barbara Kimmel of Trust Across America, when a business that’s comfortable not having 100% market share confidently and happily recommends a competitor, they’re sending a signal about trust and confidence and most of all, about feeding the community first. Follow Barbara.

Michelle Pallas of Michelle Pallas, Inc. states that we act confidant when we deliver on our promises. It’s the only thing that gives us the right to hold others accountable. Follow Michelle.

Skip Pritchard of Leadership Insights says confidence is more important to your success than competence and provides three steps to building it. Follow Skip.

Confidence: Gaining It

“Confidence comes from discipline and training.” – Robert Kiyosaki

Paul LaRue of the UPwards Leader gives us steps for new leaders to overcome their fears and gain credibility in their new role. Follow Paul.

From Matt McWilliams of MattMcWilliams.com: You had great expectations, but you fell short. Now what? Here are five steps for letting go of expectations and getting your confidence backFollow Matt.

Julie Pierce of Empowered by Pierce asks, “Do you ever find your confidence waning when you’re cornered?” Here are 3 Confident Comebacks for When You’re Pressured, Pushed, or Put on the Spot. Follow Julie. 

Jim Ryan of Soft Skills for Hard Jobs shares that limiting beliefs are those restricting convictions we hold about our abilities. These kind of beliefs stop us from trying something hard or force us to give up too early. Follow Jim.

Confidence: Maintaining It

“To succeed in life, you need two things. Ignorance and confidence.” – Mark Twain

David Dye of Trailblaze Engage! shares several tools to overcome imposter syndrome and regain the confidence you need to lead well. Follow David.

LaRae Quy of Mental Toughness Center tells us five things confident women never do, and that confidence should never be confused with arrogance. Follow LaRae.

Chery Gegelman of Simply Understanding asks, “How do you maintain your confidence when you are pushed outside of your comfort zone or faced with historical pain?” Follow Chery.

Dan Rockwell of Leadership Freak says “Insecure people won’t try. Successful leaders help others find confidence, assuming they want to find it.” Follow Dan.

Tanveer Naseer of Tanveer Naseer Leadership provides  5 measures leaders can take to build and strengthen their confidence. Follow Tanveer.

Call for Submissions. February’s Frontline Festival is about humility. Please send your submissions no later than February 13th. New participants welcome. Click here to join in!

If you haven’t seem my confident humility infographic, click here. to view and share.

Confidence (A Frontline Festival)Thanks to Larry Coppenrath for a wonderful map of our Festival’s Ideas.