Welcome to The Leadership Corner

May 11, 2016

The purpose of The Leadership Corner is to provide valuable tips, research and connection to business leaders and managers who want to build their knowledge, skills and abilities together.  We also list free webinars and teleclasses on our Free Training Page.  Read more in About Us

Let us know what you think!

Free Assessments

We are offering free assessment tools to help you optimize your own performance and become a better leader who brings out the best in others. Click the links below to obtain your free assessment tools:

Free Leadership Expectations Survey
Free Toleration Identification and Planning Tool

Categories: Accountability, Alignment, Attitude, Change management, Collaboration, Communication, Conflict, Culture, Customer satisfaction, Employee engagement, Employee satisfaction, High performance team, Leadership, Leadership development, Morale, Peformance management, Personal development, Strategic planning, Teamwork.

Five Leadership Rules

June 22, 2011

1.  Have confidence in yourself.   Always believe in your abilities to be a great manager and leader.  Tackle all situations and dilemmas that come your way with enthusiasm and gusto.  The fact that you are reading this shows you have the desire and talent that exists within you.  Show you have the confidence and believe in yourself, and others will believe in you as well.  In time you will develop a sort of “instinct” when something needs attention, and a “presence” that people will find ensuring.  You will come across like a leader without even having to say a word.

 2.  Act the way you want others to act, walk the walk you talk, lead  by example, practice what you preach, etc.  These are old clichés but some of the most important tips to build respect within your organization.  If your team sees you working hard, they will work hard.  If they think your slacking, they will start slacking off.  If you tell them what to do, but you do it differently, they will not see you as an honest leader.  If you want an optimistic and positive team, then you need to always be optimistic and positive.  When your employees see that you act in the same manner you expect from them, a true sense of respect will begin to build.  These are just a few of some obvious, but extremely important, leadership skills.

 3.  Honesty and integrity is key.  People do not necessarily expect managers to always have a quick fix to solve the issues, but do expect fundamental leadership principles of honesty and goodness.  In due time you will earn credibility, which is a major leadership trait.  With the high level of integrity they will see in you as a leader, comes the trust that you are not the cause of the issues.  They will automatically know that you, as a manager, will truly do all you can to solve the issues.

4.  Emulate a person who you truly respect as a leader.  There must be someone you know whose leadership skills you thought were admirable.  It could be, or could have been, a boss, a teacher, a friend, or a relative who you admired as a person with respectable leadership characteristics.  Someone who inspired you to want to work hard, to not only try to impress, but to show you cared about the mission at hand.  Study how they made the right and effective decisions using certain facts, opinions, and ideas.  Look for the leadership qualities you would like to incorporate into your leadership style.  By remembering what it was about them that inspired you, you can emulate that style when your leadership skills are called upon.

5.  Listen more than talk.  You will earn a great deal of respect and credibility by actively listening, rather than just blowing your own hot air.  Let them share their passion, and when the time is right, you can interject with passion of your own about the subject at hand.

Question:  What is one of your leadership rules?

Categories: Accountability, Alignment, Attitude, Communication, Culture, Employee engagement, Leadership, Leadership development, Morale, Peformance management, Personal development, Strategic planning, Teamwork.

Setting Clear Goals

March 9, 2011

It’s hard to get great results and hold people accountable if we don’t clearly define expectations.     

As discussed previously, one of the most important things that a manager can provide to an employee is clear expectations. The first step is a clear understanding of their job – the primary purpose, specific tasks and measures of success.  The job description is ‘the price of admission’, what an employee is expected to do.  

Once an employee understands the expectations of their day-to-day job, it’s time to set some measurable goals and objectives.   Excellent goals and objectives are the tools that help employees link their daily tasks to the bigger picture, improve processes, develop skills to contribute at a higher level and be prepared for future career opportunities.  

Some of us confuse goals with activities.  A well-stated goal clearly defines the expected outcome – the result.  A result defines what will be different once achieved and why it’s important.  Activities are a list of tasks that will be accomplished in order to achieve the goal – the how.  For example, an activity is “Take a finance class”; the expected result (goal) might be “Reduce expenses by 10%”.  

Clearly stated individual goals should:

  • Be limited to 3-5 goals
  • Link to a specific company goal
  • Give an employee clear line of sight as to how their job impacts the bigger picture (company and/or customer and/or the world at large)
  • Be discussed and agreed to by both the manager and employee
  • Address developmental needs and/or desires of the employee
  • Be SMART

-Specific and measurable – What does a good job look like?  What is expected result in  factual, quantitative or measurable terms?

– Motivating – Is this intrinsically motivating?

– Attainable / achievable – Does goal fall within employee’s reach yet demand significant effort?  Is it realistic, doable?

– Relevant – Is goal meaningful and linked to company goals?

– Trackable / timebound – Is there a way to measure progress on this goal?  Is there an agreed upon time-frame?

  • Be varied

 – Problem-solving, process improvement (innovative)

 – Developmental (new skill or behavior)

  • Focus on results to be achieved not activities to be performed (how) 

Following these simple guidelines to ensure clear, agreed upon individual goals and objectives will have a significant impact on employee confidence, development and contribution.  Next week, we’ll address the importance of regular follow-up and feedback.

Question:  Are you surprised when employees don’t achieve the expected results?  Are their goals and objectives clearly understood and agreed to?

Categories: Communication, Culture, Employee engagement, Employee satisfaction, Peformance management, Strategic planning, Uncategorized.

What Is My Job?

March 2, 2011

Believe it or not, most of us do not have a job description for our current position.  And, even if we do, it doesn’t clearly state the real duties and expectations of our daily role. 

As discussed last week, one of the most important things that a manager can provide to an employee is clear expectations.  Research shows that when employees have clear job expectations, they are more confident, don’t need as much direction and supervision and perform at a higher level.   Clear expectations also help employees see the importance and value of their work.    

The first step to providing clear expectations is a good job description.  In addition to the job title, here are the key components of a good job description. 

1.    Primary purpose – One sentence that describes the reason the job exists.  For example, the primary purpose of a Production Operator might be “Independently operate equipment to build quality parts per work order instructions and customer specifications.”  A manager’s primary purpose might be “Ensure the right people are in the right jobs working on the right stuff at the right time.” 

2.    Duties and responsibilities – A list of tasks which begin with action words such as perform, produce, assist, provide and create.  All job descriptions should also include the following: 

  • Demonstrate company values and behaviors every day
  • Follow all safety rules and report any potential safety issues to the Safety Representative or Management
  • Perform other duties, as required

3.    Measures of success – A list of expected results for the position. These measures help employees clearly understand the expectations pf the job and be able to assess their own performance against them.  All measures must have an associated process to easily show the results.  For example, measures for a Production Operator might include:

  • Zero rework / scrap
  • Completes all scheduled work on-time 

4.    Qualifications – A list of qualifications for the specific position.  These include minimum skills and experience a candidate must have in order to be considered for the position.  It also includes a list of desired skills and experience which will assist in comparing and selecting candidates. 

Other good reasons to have a current job description for every position are: 

  • to help employees who are interested in the position understand the duties and qualifications, to assess level of interest and
  • to develop the skills necessary when/if position becomes open, 
  • to use in  the hiring and selection process, and 
  • to assess current employee skills and assist in development.

Providing a clear job description will have a significant impact on employee confidence, and their ability to work independently and see the value of their day-day work.  Next week, we’ll cover how to set clear goals and objectives.  See you then!

Question:  What’s the primary purpose of your job? 

Categories: Communication, Culture, Employee engagement, Employee satisfaction, Peformance management, Strategic planning.

How Am I Doing?

February 23, 2011

Ever wonder if you’re doing a good job?  You’re not alone. 

 As a manager, one of the most important things you can provide to your employees is clear expectations.  Research shows that when employees have clear job expectations, they are more confident, don’t need as much direction and supervision and perform at a higher level.   Clear expectations also help employees see the importance and value of their work.    

 Here are a few ways that you can provide clarity around expectations for your employees. 

  1. Job description – Most managers think a job description is only used to post jobs in order to fill open positions.   Another important purpose for a job description is to provide an employee with a clear description of the duties and tasks associated with their job.  A good job description also includes the primary purpose of the position – why the job exists – and the measures of success – how we know when it’s done well.   
  2. Clear goals and objectives – Once an employee understands and meets the expectations of their day-to-day job, it’s time to set some measurable goals and objectives.  Every goal needs to help the employee link their work and objectives to the bigger picture.  The big picture could be the company goals, the impact on customers and /or the world at large.  All objectives need to be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant to goal and time bound). 
  3. Follow-up –Touching base with your employees regularly to assess progress, troubleshoot and remove obstacles to achieving the expected results is a key step in ensuring clear expectations.  This can be done through informal MBWA (management by wandering around), regularly scheduled one-on-ones or employee initiated discussions. 
  4. Regular feedback – Nearly all employees want and need to know how you think they are doing.  An important step in ensuring clear expectations is to provide regular feedback.  And, most of it needs to be positive – catching your employees doing something right.  This can be recognition of results that they have achieved, improvements they are making, desired behaviors that they are demonstrating.  If performance is off track, discuss with employee to assess why and correct.  Make sure that all feedback, positive and corrective, is timely, specific and consistent. 

Following these simple steps to ensure clear, consistent expectations will have a significant impact on employee confidence, value and effectiveness.  The next step in employee development is capturing and recording employee accomplishments, and understanding and planning their development goals.

Question: How well do you know the expectations or YOUR job?

Categories: Communication, Culture, Employee engagement, Employee satisfaction, Peformance management, Strategic planning.

Great Expectations Make Great Lives

January 11, 2011

by Phil Humbert and Beth Papiano – January 2011

There is a great old story that pretty much predicts the kind of year you’ll have in 2011.

 It’s about an older woman in a wheel chair who was moving into a retirement center. Her children had all moved away and her declining health made it impossible for her to live alone any longer. As she sat in the reception area waiting to be wheeled up to see her room for the first time, her daughter called and the nurse handed the woman the phone. As they chatted, the woman told her daughter the room was beautiful, and that she loved the new friends she was meeting.

When she hung up the phone, the nurse expressed surprise, saying she thought the woman had never seen the facility before. The woman replied, “Oh, I’ve never been in this building before, but I learned a long time ago that most things are about as pleasant and charming as I decide they are in my mind. So why should I wait for you to take me upstairs? I just decided I was going to love it here, and I bet I will.”

In life our expectations, combined with our actions, pretty much predict our results.

To make sure 2011 is a wonderful, prosperous and productive year, make sure you go into it with (1) great expectations, and (2) a great plan.

Imagine a year of health, wealth and growth. Affirm that you will achieve your goals and that you’ll meet just the right people to help you along the way. Know, in advance that problems will be solved and that you’ll have all the resources you may need along the way.

Sure, it may seem a little silly, and imagining a wonderful year may not “guarantee” it will happen, but it can’t hurt!   If you’re going to dream, why not dream the best?

If, for whatever reason, you prefer to make yourself anxious or worried, of course you know how to do that. Just focus on a few things that could go wrong, or think about getting sick or failing, and most people can create a “recipe” for worry. But why would anyone expect trouble, when for with the same time and energy they could affirm something wonderful?

Great expectations and great plans are a simple, two-step recipe that has tremendous power. Whether you use it to create a profitable business, a loving relationship or to reach some other personal goal, the key is to be clear about what you want and have the personal discipline to make it happen. In life, we usually get what we expect, especially if we use a great system to make it come true. Here’s to making 2011 a wonderful year!

Action Plan

  1. Create a recipe for beauty, health, joy and prosperity.  It takes no more effort, you’ll feel better, and for all we know, it might actually create some sort of “energy field” or “vibrations” that will actually create a better 2011. Give it a try!
  2. Create a great system.  Dreams, by themselves, are not enough. Get a calendar and plot your strategy. Sit down and explain your “great expectations” to a trusted friend or colleague. There’s something magical and extremely powerful about telling your dreams to another person, especially someone who really “gets” it and will cheer you on all year long.

Question:  What’s your great expectation for 2011?

Designed by Tim Sainburg from Brambling Design

Categories: Accountability, Alignment, Attitude, Communication, Leadership, Personal development, Strategic planning.

Tags: , ,

Time for Your Annual Tune-up

December 29, 2010

In a few days we’ll begin a brand new year and two key questions are whether and how you will make it a better, fulfilled and more successful year than this one?  I hope you’ll answer these questions for your business and personal life.  Today, we’ll focus on the business side. 

One important step to achieve a better, fulfilled and more successful business year is to have a solid plan.  Another is to engage your employees.  This week we’ll focus on the plan.  Next week, we’ll share some tips on best ways to engage your employees. 

The most essential pieces to both of these plans are involvement and alignment

6 Steps to a More Effective Annual Plan

If you’ve done annual planning and goal setting as a ‘check-the-box’ exercise in the past, you know that it can be unnecessarily complex and marginally useful.  Here are 6 steps to help you create a more effective plan that gets you the intended results.  

1.  Keep the plan simple and alive.  An effective annual plan provides clear direction for all employees.  It shows the goals as the target (the bulls-eye) and helps guide employee actions (the arrows) day to day.  As Scott McNealy of Sun Microsystems once said, a good plan puts “all the wood behind one arrow”.   

2.  Involve key stakeholders.  Ensure that the plan reflects the voice of the organization by including key stakeholders in the planning and goal setting process.  When you invite others to participate, they feel ownership of the plan and are more willing to focus their efforts on achieving the results.   

3.  Clearly outline responsibilities and accountability.  If everyone owns it, no one owns it.  Without goal “owners” who develop and drive the action plan, the goals become everybody’s job with no clear accountability. An owner will take the lead in identifying a team, implementing tactics, monitoring progress and rewarding and recognizing desired behaviors and results.  

4.  Review organizational performance frequently.  Ensure that measurement of actual performance against goals is agreed to at the time the goals are set.  Every measure should have a defined measurement interval (e.g. daily, monthly, quarterly) in order to correct and modify the plan along the way and ensure achievement.  If we only look at our performance at the end of the quarter, it is too late to take corrective action and hit the target.  

5.  Assess your organization’s capabilities and capacities before setting goals.  Do you have the right people in the right jobs with the right skills to set aggressive goals?  Are senior leaders aligned and engaged in the journey?  Do you have the right tools and systems in place?   These answers will determine how aggressive your goals can be.  Part of your plan may include building new capabilities within the organization.  

6.  Link company goals to all employees.  To ensure organizational alignment, every employee needs to have a clear line-of-sight as to how their job impacts the annual plan and the customer experience.   Use your formal and informal communication and performance management processes to ensure this insight and alignment.   

Action Plan

  1. Review your plan and identify potential obstacles to success (personal and business).
  2. Determine what you can and will do to overcome them if these obstacles appear. 

Question:  Which of your 2011 goals are the most important to you?

Categories: Alignment, Attitude, Change management, Communication, Culture, Leadership, Leadership development, Peformance management, Strategic planning.

Tags: , , , ,

//