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

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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.

Secret to Team Collaboration: Individuality

May 7, 2012

by John Baldoni

“We expect everyone here to be team players.” Most of us have had a boss who preached teamwork. Some bosses even like to put up posters with slogans like there is no “I” in team. Teamwork is essential to organizational success but too much teamwork can be deadly. This is the point that Susan Cain, author of “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,” argues in an essay for the The New York Times. She points out the drawbacks of too much teaming. “Research strongly suggests that people are more creative when they enjoy privacy and freedom from interruption,” she writes. Further, Cain explains that creative types are by nature introverts but “extroverted enough to exchange and advance ideas (and) see themselves as independent and individualistic.” Cain also quotes from the memoir of Steve “Woz” Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computer and inventor of the very first Apple computer, who advises fellow engineers and inventors to “work alone, not on a committee. Not on a team.”

The challenge for leaders is to balance individual needs with team directives. To do so they must avoid collectivism and facilitate collaboration.

Read on…

Categories: Collaboration, Employee engagement, High performance team.

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Lessons from my Horse

May 11, 2011

It still amazes me that I learn so much about myself and how to deal with others from spending time with my horses.  It happened again this weekend!

Blue and I were out riding with a friend and her horse.  It was a gorgeous day . . . blue sky, warm sunshine and no wind!  It was clear that the horses were enjoying getting out, too.

After a long ride, we were beginning our journey back to the trailer and decided to turn around and stay out a bit longer.  Blue did not want to turn around and started behaving badly.  My initial reaction was to scream at him and force him to do it my way.  Since all horses are different (just like people) this may have been the right response to correct that behavior for some.  For Blue, this would have stirred him up more and made the situation worse for both of us.

The good news is that I know my horse and knew that he wasn’t scared of something ahead –  this was a temper tantrum to get his own way.  I knew that I needed to help him understand that his behavior was unacceptable in a way that he could hear.  And, I needed to give him an expectation that he could meet.  I controlled my reaction and calmly turned Blue so that we could do circles around the small pine trees nearby.  He understood the expectation – to listen and follow my direction – and soon he and I were both calmly heading down the trail again.

Moral of this story

  1. Manage your response – Know that your behavior and reaction to a situation can have a positive or negative impact on the results.  Be aware, take a deep breath and consider the results you are after before you take action.
  2. Know your ‘audience’ – Understand the style and needs of the person you are trying to correct.  Some individuals may need a stronger message than others.  Be sure your style is one that they can hear and understand.
  3. Listen – Assess the situation – together. The person may have a different perspective and that information may lead you to a different, better solution.
  4. Set clear expectations that can be met and move forward.

Question:  How do you correct performance – yours and others?

    Categories: Attitude, Collaboration, Communication, Conflict, Employee engagement, Leadership, Peformance management, Personal development.

    What’s In It for Me?

    March 23, 2011

    Setting clear goals and expectations is a two-way street.  Managers have expectations for employees that are job specific.  And, employees have development expectations of their managers and company, too.  It’s important for managers to understand their employees’ development and career goals.  

    Employee development planning is typically a part of the performance management process.  As part of the process, the manager and employee discuss plans for individual development that will take place during the coming year that support the employee’s development goals.  Development plans can include special projects, seminars or conventions, rotational assignments, self-study, specific skill acquisition, to name just a few. 

    The best development you can provide is to build on your employees’ strengths.  How can you unearth and nurture those strengths? Here are a few tips to help you achieve that goal.  

    • Identify ways to apply existing strengths in new ways.  How can you look at your employee in new, different ways? What qualities has your employee demonstrated, and how can these translate into transferable skills?
    • Ask employee what they like to do.  People who excel at a specific job are typically promoted to management level.  As a result, we’ve often taken the person out of the exact environment in which they succeed and which they like and sometimes reducing their success in the new position.  You cannot fully uncover a person’s strengths without their input.  Tap into what the employee discerns as his or her strengths by asking what they enjoy most, and why, and in what role they believe they are of most value to the organization.
    • Get co-workers thoughts.  As the business leader, you work with employees in different ways than they work with each other.  Asking peers to share kudos and thank-yous at staff meetings can provide insight into traits and behaviors that suit  and benefit the entire team and help you assess the strengths of each employee from their peers’ point-of-view. 
    • Look to history for clues.  If you’re having a difficult time identifying an employee’s strengths, spend time thinking about why you hired them, what their references told you and what your first impressions were. There were reasons you brought this person on board — revisit those reasons to refresh your thinking about strengths, contributions and potential.
    • Turn a weakness upside down.  Physicists know that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.  Applied to employees, consider, “What’s the opposite of this weakness?” to unearth possible strengths. For instance, if an employee inconsistently completes projects that he developed in the first place, perhaps his strength is in generating ideas, not executing them.
    • Allow the employee to test-drive a new role.  Maybe you’re seeing the employee in a specific role, yet more of their strengths would blossom in another role. Consider establishing a cross-training program, in which employees shadow co-workers for a day to learn more about the roles and responsibilities available. This test-drive might spark new ideas about increased value from the employee, and allow you (and them) to see where a role-shift may make sense for the company. Set clear goals and intentions for the exercise, including, “What we want to know at the end of this day.” 

    Creating development plans that build on strengths and provide opportunities for your employees to learn and grow are key to promoting a great company culture and building employee retention and loyalty.

    Question:  What are your development goals?

    Categories: Accountability, Alignment, Attitude, Collaboration, Culture, Employee engagement, Employee satisfaction, Leadership, Peformance management, Teamwork.

    Negative Feedback – Good, Bad or Gift?

    January 26, 2011

    Nothing makes for a bad day like negative feedback.  However, there is a role for positive negative feedback in your life, and according to Sam Chapman, CEO and author of The No Gossip Zone, negative feedback should be seen as a gift.

    “Without negative feedback, we would never improve ourselves and our lives,” said Sam Chapman. “And after enough practice at accepting negative feedback, you might even find yourself letting out an involuntary “hmm” noise as you realize the truth in a bit of negative feedback.”

    Step One: The Giver Is Not Your Enemy
    By accepting that everyone has something valuable they can teach us about who we are, we open up to a realm of creativity, growth and success that we never thought possible. This means accepting negative feedback with an open mind and discovering what it is that you need to improve about your performance.

    Step Two: Curb Your Natural Reaction to Be Defensive
    This will take some practice. It is our natural reaction to immediately leap to our own defense whenever someone puts us down. We immediately come up with several different rebuttals, all of which are aimed to prevent us from taking a single iota of responsibility for the situation at hand. However, if you can take a step back, a deep breath and remove yourself from the situation for a moment, you might realize that you are being told something worthwhile, something that can help you grow personally and professionally.

    Step Three: Allow Yourself to Feel Emotions, But Don’t Get Stuck
    You have the right to get upset whenever you hear negative feedback. It is perfectly natural to feel sad, angry or any variation thereof when you hear that your performance or behavior needs work. Allow yourself to feel those emotions, but don’t allow yourself to become them. Otherwise, you will be so busy “being” angry or sad that you won’t have the emotional energy or wherewithal to realize where you stand to improve.

    Step Four: Turn Your Complaint Into Requests
    At the end of this process, you are more than welcome to share your feedback with your giver; just make sure your feedback isn’t in the form of a complaint. The gift is much easier to receive when it’s in the form of a request rather than a complaint.

    Question:  How do you respond to negative feedback?

    Categories: Accountability, Alignment, Attitude, Change management, Collaboration, Communication, Conflict, Leadership, Morale, Personal development.

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    Leadership Development isn’t a spare time activity

    November 9, 2010

    Many of us think – I’ll do professional development when things slow down, when I find time, when I really need it.  But, what we need to consider is that development happens every day.

    We learn by listening to our employees.  We learn from discussions with peers.  We learn from our mistakes (hopefully).  We learn from what we read, groups we attend  . . .

    Learning happens whether it’s formal or informal.

    Answer these questions and determine where you are on the leadership development scale.

    • What did you learn today?
    • When was the last time you scheduled professional development for yourself (a class, a MasterMind group, a teleconference or webinar, a coach)?
    • Beyond the scheduled training sessions from the training department, when do you work on developing you?
    • When the opportunity to do the next job in your leadership career emerges, will you be ready?
    • Are you too busy to find time to develop yourself?
    • Will you be as effective tomorrow as you are today if you remain static in your development?
    • Do you only work on you when you have “free time”?

    Action Plan

    1. Take a few minutes at the end of each day to think about what you learned that day.
    2. Determine what you are going to do to make sure that you continue to develop yourself as a leader with formal and informal practices and make it happen.

    Question:  Who is your mentor (dead or alive)?

    Categories: Collaboration, Leadership, Leadership development, Personal development.

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