Assertive and Aggressive behaviors are often confused depending on the person, situation, tone of voice, and culture of the organization.
Assertive: Based on Balance. Your wants and needs are met at the same time you consider others’ wants and needs. It’s creating a winning solution for everyone, if possible.
Passive: Based on others taking control while ignoring your needs and wants.
Aggressive: Based on winning. You focus on own best interest without regard for the rights, needs, feelings, or desires of other people.
Why Be Assertive?
You can become more confident and valuable to the team. Be perceived as a leader.
Make great managers and leaders. They get things done by treating people with fairness and respect. In return they are often treated the same way. This means that they are often well-liked and seen as leaders that people want to work with.
Negotiate successful “win-win” solutions. They are able to recognize the value of their opponent’s position and can quickly find common ground with them.
Are better problem solvers. They feel empowered to do whatever it takes to find the best solution to the problems that they encounter.
Are less anxious and stressed. They are self-assured and don’t feel threatened or victimized when things don’t go as planned or as expected.
HOW TO BE MORE ASSERTIVE
1. Understand yourself and believe in the value you bring. Recognize that you deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.
2. Voice Your Needs and Wants Confidently. Don’t wait for someone else to recognize what you need. You might wait forever!
3. Acknowledge That You Can’t Control Other People’s Behavior. Don’t accept responsibility for how people react to your assertiveness. You can only control yourself and your own behavior, so do your best to stay calm and measured if things get tense.
4. Express yourself in positive ways – drop words like: can’t, stupid, hate. Stand up for yourself and control your negative emotions (fear, disappointment.)
5. Learn to say “no.” Your value is not decreased when you say no to something that’s not right for you. People may actually respect you more!
Being assertive takes effort if you’re not used to it. Passive behavior removes responsibility. Aggressive allows quick action without considering others.
The power position is assertiveness!
Discover how to add this skill to your tools. Email me email@example.com.
5 DIFFERENT GENERATIONS IN THE WORKPLACE! How to cope.
by Ann Meacham
Today’s managers and leaders have an unprecedented challenge: up to five generations working side by side in their workforce. Each generation brings its own life stage, communication preferences, priorities, and more.
Problems can arise from differing mindsets and communication styles of workers born in different eras. Frictions may be aggravated by new technology and work patterns that mix workers of different ages.
The key is to be able to effectively address and take advantage of the differences in values and expectations of each generation. But experts say managers must be careful not to follow blanket stereotypes.
Here is a quick overview of the five generations by birth years:
Generation Z: born 1996 & after up to 20 years old
Generation Y: born 1977 – 1995 21 – 39 (aka Millennials)
Generation X: born 1965 – 1976 40 – 51
Baby Boomers: born 1946 – 1964 52 – 70
Traditionalists: born 1945/before 71 and older
1. Train your managers to recognize generational differences and adapt. Start with the leaders.
2. Drop the routines. Experts say Millennials and Gen Xers dislike the formality of regular meetings, especially when there’s nothing to discuss. Limit meetings to when there’s a real need.
3. Encourage cross-generational interaction. Try a mentoring program: Younger employees learn to seek the experience and wisdom offered by senior employees; older employees learn to be open to the fresh perspectives offered by younger employees.
4. Offer different working options like telecommuting and working offsite. Boomers nearing retirement might use telecommuting to stay involved, Xers might need flexibility to attend kid events or attend to aging parents, and Millennials enjoy the freedom of getting work done without being in an office.
5. Accommodate different learning styles. Boomers may favor more traditional methods while younger workers may gravitate towards more interactive, technology-based forms of learning.
6. Keep employees engaged. Provide regular educational and training opportunities and career advice to keep all workers interested in the company. Fuel the high expectations of Millennials with special assignments that are outside their jobs. Consider putting them on a task force to solve a problem.
This is a complex and very real issue. Are you dealing with it like a pro?
Check out my Leadership Coaching Program on this website.
Read other tips in Leaders’ Digest
ON the business planning and taking action to strategically improve it. Leaders need to step back from the tactical work and spend more time on strategic thinking, innovation, and coaching and developing others.
The most common reasons for not delegating are not trusting that the job will get done to our satisfaction, discomfort with assigning a boring task, or feeling guilty that the workload will be too great.
Many leaders believe the myth that no one else can do the job as well as they can. The result can be devastating. You end up overworked and frustrated. Projects are incomplete or sub-standard. Your people feel left out, or that they lack enough work.
Effective delegation increases morale, builds your talent pool, and strengthens trust within your organization, ultimately growing results and improving your bottom line!
Don’t be fooled. Leaders can get extraordinary things done within organizations, but it’s often a matter of being open to powerful knowledge and effective habits.
Find out how to reduce your stress and accomplish more. Check out my Leadership Coaching Program.
As of early August, several new tariffs have been imposed. These could change at any time, but the most significant and wide-reaching are a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and 10 percent on imported aluminum. These new fees have been unwelcome by many in the trade and manufacturing sectors.
How will smaller companies manage?
Tariffs throw a wrench into pricing calculations and eat into profit margins. Some companies worry that parts and materials distributors are using the tariff standoff as an opportunity to raise prices.
Actions a few companies are taking to lessen the impact:
- San Francisco start-up manufacturer is considering shifting to Mexico.
- Colorado aluminum products company is spending more time dealing with late deliveries, quality issues and other supply-chain problems as aluminum producers grapple with increased demand.
- Users of steel and aluminum concerned about the market, started filling orders with domestic producers in anticipation leading up to the tariffs. This has sucked up their capacity.
- Some are considering moving manufacturing offshore, which will cut costs by avoiding steel tariffs. . . and take away U.S. workers jobs. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
*Some larger companies have favored the tariffs because Asia has been exporting 200 million metric tons (50 million sold to US) and not importing enough from us.
What’s the fuss?
Small companies don’t have the same flexibility as bigger ones to course adjust. Small manufacturers and resellers have only so many channels they can go through. If those channels are hiking prices in response to tariffs, it will eventually hit them, and they have little choice in where to bid for steel.
The European Union and other countries are fighting back with tariffs of their own. These new tariffs may already be working, if the end goal is to punish the U.S. by slowing the purchases of products we create. EU members may make the choice to buy locally-made products instead of US-made.
The Future of Business under New Tariffs
Some economists aren’t worried, at all. With the surplus of steel, prices could eventually even out.
What About Small Businesses?
Possible delays: Hiring, new product launches, and ad campaigns to push steel-based product lines. These next few months – and years – have the potential to cause chaos, especially for those serving foreign markets. More tariffs are likely, both from home and abroad, giving many companies a reason to sleep a little less at night. (Adapted from Linsey Knerl, Nav.com – August 7, 2018)
Email me email@example.com to talk about possible strategies to lessen the impact.
Americans are quitting their jobs again. The economy is surging, and companies are hiring rapidly to keep up with demand. Workers feel increasingly emboldened to switch jobs.1 Roughly 3.4 million Americans quit their jobs in April – twice the number who were laid off, according to the Labor Department.
On average, job-switchers received 30% larger annual pay increases in May than those who remained in the same job over the past 12 months.2
- Not enough benefits of business growth are being shared with workers. And many businesses are growing.
- “Employers know if they raise wages now, it will be very hard to cut them if the economy goes south.”It’s a holdover from the Great Recession. Josh Barro, BusinessInsider.com
- They want to get away from their boss.
What You Can Do
- Endure the headaches caused by the lack of good workers in the market and the rise of job-swapping, or
- Pull the trigger on serious wage hikes to attract and retain the best talent. (Josh Barro)
- Develop managers to be great bosses. People won’t want to leave – even for more money. (I have seen this in more than one organization. (Ann Meacham, Leadership Dynamics)
Do you have managers in any of these categories?
Ghost Boss: Rarely communicates with their team and is seemingly never around.
Seagull Boss: Swoops and poops or swoops and scoops, meaning they “divebomb into a project” and leave a mess behind, “or they dive into it and take it away from the team.”
Simple Incompetent: “The Michael Scotts of the world.” (Played by Steve Carrell on “The Office”)
And, of course, most managers are a combination of different styles.3
The top factors causing people to leave are: poor communication, not acknowledging good work, not delegating, and being over critical. Wages and pay raises are certainly in the mix. However, when workers like their boss and feel valued, they are much more likely to stay.
What steps are you taking to ensure that your managers and leaders are great bosses?
Check out my Leadership Coaching Program to learn how you can develop great bosses.
1 The Week, July 2018, p.33, The Week Publications, New York, NY
2 Kate Gibson, CBSNew.com
3 Mary Abbajay, “Managing Up: How to Move up, Win at Work and Succeed with Any Type of Boss,” Wiley, 2018
It is all about conflict, a normal and natural part of our workplace and personal lives. Conflict can be helpful in making necessary changes within the home or work environment.
On the other hand, unresolved conflict has a tremendous negative impact in a company.
1. Decreased Productivity
More than 65 percent of performance problems at work stem from strained workplace relationships. Issues like low morale, stress and distrust arise when people suppress important feelings.
Unscheduled absences drive up employers’ costs through benefits outlays, the use of replacement workers, higher stress levels among employees and a decrease in overall employee performance.
3. Employee Turnover
When employees mistrust management or perceive the organization as acting unfairly, turnover may increase. This can lead to recruiting and training expenses for new hires and the costs attributable to a slippage of performance until new employees become fully proficient in their jobs.
4. Divided Teams
Conflict often has two, sometimes three, different sides. When it goes unresolved, the disputing parties continue to be opponents. A divided business team results in the inability to effectively come together on projects, communicate adequately, be jointly productive and stay positive.1
5. Poorly Reflected Management
A team that can’t come together because of unresolved conflict reflects poorly on management. Management is responsible for spotting and handling conflict, whether directly or through a human resource professional.
6. Unhealthy Confrontation
Handling conflict in a healthy way, and promptly, takes care of the problem immediately, helping to avoid the hurt and unresolved feelings that can arise. Putting off resolution results in passive aggression, arguing, further conflict, and sometimes, fighting and abuse.
Reductions in employee conflict can lead to increased employee productivity, greater motivation and loyalty, lower medical costs, fewer workers’ compensation claims, and reduced litigation costs.
This is something worth your focus!
Addressing and resolving conflicts requires enormous mental and emotional strength, which is why many of us try to avoid it. We tend to either move away (flight), move against (fight) or move toward (make nice, give in) a disagreement. Fact: Conflict in the workplace is unavoidable. Being able to bring swift and just resolution will serve you well as a leader. The inability to do so may well be your downfall.
1. Person who picks a fight. Karen, office manager in a small firm, is often angry. One day started yelling at
Jeff, a tech, and stopped talking to him or providing the information and support he needed. He backed off and his performance dropped substantially.
Outcome: Because Stuart, their boss, said nothing, the situation continued for several weeks. Karen finally decided not to be angry anymore (who knew why?) and things returned to normal. What a waste!
2. The Person Who Avoids a Fight. Roger, the CEO of a business that he started 5 years earlier with two friends was ready to build a company structure and culture that could sustain its rapid growth.
Justin, one of the founders, did not have the skills or aptitude to do the job that he was assigned. He was holding the company back. He had been Roger’s best friend since 3rd grade and he did not want to confront him even though his presence was negatively impacting the company.
Outcome: After several years, Roger sold the firm, paid off Justin and started another similar firm. It might have been a lot easier if he had confronted the issue right away.
3. The person who is unaware that a conflict exists. The absence of conflict in a team is one of Patrick Lencioni’s five team dysfunctions1. David’s leadership team met weekly to review progress of projects, business development and budgets. Team members didn’t challenge each other and no one was held accountable for under-performance. Week and after week the same issues would come up and little progress was made.
Outcome: After a few months working with them, they changed the way they interacted. The result was a much higher level of performance and innovation throughout the company.
4. Person who always has to win a fight was Steve Jobs. Even though he accomplished great things, he never listened and usually bullied both his employees and his Board.
Outcome: He was ousted in 1985 and didn’t return for nearly 10 years. True, that’s when he started Pixar, but that could have happened under the Apple brand… and it cause the company to lose profits.
5. Person Who Embraces Conflict to encourage innovation.
When team members see that they can emerge from conflict with relationships intact and a greater understanding of other viewpoints, the team is stronger and the company thrives. When healthy conflict is not encouraged, ideas stagnate and innovation screeches to a halt.
Example: David’s leadership team (#3 above) held two strategic retreats over three years. The first was a “ho-hummer”, not yielding many great ideas.
2 years later, it was a different story! They authentically shared their ideas, were prepared to defend them, and then come to agreement on the best ones. There was a high level of energy during the meeting with a few intense discussions, some hearty laughter, and great ideas.
Outcome: A set of dynamic initiatives that dramatically increased the company’s revenues was created.
Courage, resilience and agility in the face of change are the skills needed to lead your company to success. The ability to manage conflict is part and parcel of all three.
Are you managing conflict in a way that encourages collaboration and innovation?
Your leadership team might benefit from some training. I can show you how. Click Management Training to see some of the topics offered.
Connect with me and we can talk about what might work for you.
Businesses often look at production, sales, and profit to evaluate their success. It has been shown, however, that the “soft” numbers best predict direction and action planning. These numbers tend to be metrics related to Brand, Customer Loyalty Development, and Employee Engagement. There are strong linkages among organizational effectiveness, customer loyalty, brand loyalty and important business outcomes.1
What employees believe about their place in their own company.2
Right about the time the Boomers learned to work with Gen Xers, the Millennials started moving into management positions. Many managers and leaders sigh and shake their heads when they think about working with Millennials.
It might help to understand that the Core Values of each generation are created based on significant people and events that were prevalent in their youth. Consider these representative comparisons: 1
|Millennials (1981-1999)||Gen Xers (1965-1980)||Boomers (1946-1964)|
|Influential people of their impressionable years||Harry Potter, George W., Mark Zuckerberg, Diana, Princess of Wales, Michael Jackson||Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Dilbert, Madonna, Michael Jordan, OJ Simpson||JFK, MLK Jr., Nixon
Beatles, Rolling Stones, Gloria Steinem
|Events/Places||9/11, terrorist attacks, school shootings, Hurricane Katrina, 1990s Recession, cyberspace||Berlin Wall, Lockerbie Scotland, latch-key kids, Starbucks, divorces, Chernobyl||Watergate, sit-Ins, desegregation, Suburbs, Woodstock, Kent State
|Most Important Invention||Tablets, smart phones, laptops, social media, texting||Personal Computer
cell phone, video games, smart phone, tablets
|Television, Jet airplanes Space Exploration
|Rewards||Time for themselves, flexible hours, career path options, be an entrepreneur||Freedom, respect, acknowledgement, career flexibility
|Money, title, recognition, corner office, career security
|Outlook||Optimistic, innovative, technological, ecological,||Self-sufficient, skeptical, resourceful||Competitive, achievement, “me” generation,|
“Millennials may not understand the priorities of other generations… A wired, connected world is all that Millennials have ever known.“ US Chamber of Commerce
Effective ways to engage Millennials:
- Teach them the expectations of your organization in a way that makes sense to them. Hierarchical organization structures can cause them to disengage.
- Respect them for what they offer and give them opportunities to earn trust.
- Understand that they are willing to work hard and long, and they also want work with meaning and a work-life balance.
- Have a clearly articulated vision, strong purpose, shared values and clear career path options.
- Recognize the value they can bring to the business: technology skills, ability to innovate and a high level of comfort with change.
- “Show your willingness to try new approaches”2
The oldest Millennials are now 36. How are you making the most of their talent and drive?
1 Lancaster, Lynne and Stillman, David, “When Generations Collide”, HarperCollinsPublishers, 2005
2 Beverly Jones, Clearways Consulting, Washington, D.C.
- Low performing employees cost your company money. Leaders can increase the bottom line.
- Quality talent stays when they see a strong career path.
One way to stay competitive is retaining engaged employees.
Employees who don’t believe they can achieve their career goals with a current employer are:
12X more likely to consider leaving. With new employees, the number skyrockets to about
30X more likely to consider leaving.
Millennials Matter They are 18 -36 years old this year and many aspire to be or already are managers.
Millennials made up 53.5% of the workforce in 2015 (Pew Research)
They feel unprepared.
How to start a Leadership Development program:
- Make learning part of the organization’s strategic success.
- Use required training activities to prove the value of learning by making it worthwhile and interesting for learners.
- Use onboarding programs to encourage employees to take personal responsibility for learning and to show the organization’s commitment to development. The recruits can hit the ground running.
- Help them learn by putting them to work on real business problems.
- Incorporate incentives and opportunities into every learning and performance management process.
- Have the performance management processes give at least equal weight to coaching and development (given internally and frequently by managers and leaders.)
What is your plan for growing leaders in your company?
Email me, Ann Meacham, president of Leadership Dynamics firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up for a Free Leadership Strategy Session
Communication can make or break our world. Bad communication leads to broken relationships with the people who work for you, with you, your clients or customers, your family, your at-large community.
6 common Communication Mistakes that you might be making:
1. Not using “we” language.
Newsflash: Relationships are not a competition. Or at least they shouldn’t be. When you start to think in terms of “me” and “you”, it’s time re-frame the conversation and think of yourselves as a team. Work to solve a problem, not to be victorious.
2. Not giving eye contact.
When people are not looking at you when you talk, how does that make you feel? Not good. Right? Try living by the golden rule and give other people the same courtesy that you want to be given.
What does it say to someone when you interrupt them? It says, “What I have to say is more important than what you have to say.” This can be a result of excitement or a desire for power. Either way, it still says, “I’m more important than you.”
4. Making assumptions before you hear the whole message.
You have probably had the thought, “Oh I don’t even have to hear the rest of this – I already know what they’re going to say!” Well, maybe you do, and maybe you don’t. Don’t do that. We don’t like when people make assumptions about what we are saying, so don’t do that to other people either.
5. Not asking probing questions of other people.
Saying things like, “Tell me more about that” or “So how did that make you feel?” lets the other person know that you care about them enough to ask for more information. That’s called a probing question. Ask people to elaborate. It makes them feel good and shows that you’re interested.
6. Needing to “win” an argument.
I repeat… Relationships are not a competition. Admitting that you’re wrong is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of maturity. No one is right all of the time. Don’t think you have to “win.” Acknowledging your mistakes will not give away your power. It shows that you are the better person because you can be honest.
Being a good communicator is like being a good athlete – you have to practice if you want to be good.
Are you the communicator you need to be?
Email me to learn what a difference it can make. email@example.com
Check out my Leadership Coaching Program. It might be just right for you!
Adapted from article by Justin Bariso, in Inc.com, 4/27/16 See full article
As Bill Gates himself says: “Everybody needs a coach.” Professional athletes all have at least one coach even when they are one of the highest ranked.
Why do so many business leaders believe that they don’t need coaching or that they don’t need to coach their own managers and leaders? If you are leading a team, it is vital that you coach them in order to improve their skills.
How to begin a coaching session:
There are lots of questions that you can ask. Use the BIG 4 to get you started.
6 More Mistakes You Might be Making (2 of 2)
by Ann Meacham
These are behaviors we have all been guilty of at some time. If you missed part 1, read it in Leaders’ Digest
7. Having negative or apathetic body language.
You may be sending silent (non-verbal) messages with your body movements, facial expressions, voice tone and loudness. If these don’t match your words, you may be viewed as inauthentic/not trustworthy.
8. Not paraphrasing and restating what the other person says.
The only way they can know that you heard and understand them is to restate what they said or comment in some way.
9.Letting your emotions control what you say.
Words cannot be retracted. When you’re angry, pause for a few seconds (minutes, hours) until you can think logically and create the outcome you desire.
10. Attacking other people’s character instead of what they say or do.
Disagree with what someone says. Resist saying, you’re a jerk! Instead of tearing them down, build them up.
11. Expecting people read your mind.
Speak directly and give clear expectations. Remember, no one is a mind reader. You can prevent being disappointed by clearly stating what you want.
12. Giving up your power with your words.
STOP saying “I’m sorry.” If an apology is warranted (and often it is not) DO say, “I apologize” …. that I missed the meeting, forgot to bring report, etc. There are lots of ways to be polite without coming across as weak. People are more likely to take advantage of you if they believe you are weak.
Being a good communicator takes effort. It’s like being a good athlete – you have to practice if you want to be good at your craft!
Are you the communicator you need to be? Email me to learn what a difference it can make. firstname.lastname@example.org
Several years ago, some people who work at this company might have accused Frank* of being a micromanager. For years, he went home at night dead tired. He couldn’t do anything else. Finally, he asked himself “why”?
When he saw someone about to make a mistake he had made before, he would step in and correct their mistakes before they saw them or before they experienced them.
He forgot that people learn when they make their own decisions – especially when they make a mistake. He would find himself in a project with a senior person and would say, “No, we’re just going to do it this way.”
It stopped his people from growing. They only did what Frank instructed them to do. They were afraid of getting outside that box and doing things on their own. They were constantly coming to his office to get feedback and permission before moving ahead. He couldn’t concentrate on thinking about the direction and growth of the company. He felt overwhelmed and exhausted all the time.
He had created an atmosphere where people were scared of making a mistake.
Now it’s a different story: People are no longer paralyzed with the sheer fear of making a mistake. Frank learned that you don’t get the best results when the consequences of making a mistake are overwhelming or scary. If that’s the case, there’s very little that’s going to allow his people to be as creative and innovative as their clients need them to be – as they can be. They will simply do what they believe he wants.
At a staff meeting within the next several months, Frank told them, “It’s OK, make mistakes. Ask for help if you really don’t know the answer.”
Now they have great checklists for ensuring that when they begin a project, it includes who’s responsible for what, when it happens and what the expectation was from the client. They set themselves up to win.
When new people join the team, it takes a little while for them to understand that mistakes, while not encouraged, are allowed as long as you’re learn from them and as long as good comes from it.
How do you encourage your people to innovate?
*Real situation, fictitious name.
Many of the Top 100 Best companies to Work For listed in Fortune Magazine agree that it is not the perks, benefits, programs and practices that make people want to work for them. It is building high-quality relationship in the workplace. Their associates are motivated by the respect of their peers.
The success of your company starts with your people. It’s their experience there that keeps them committed and loyal. As a service provider you can build the kind of culture that attracts and holds onto the talented people you need to compete in today’s marketplace.
Many top managers say culture is the most important issue they face, more important than leadership, workforce capability, performance management, or anything else.
Once you make sure your workforce is skilled, you must know how to keep them committed.
Here are a few hints from the 100 Best for creating a great culture:
1. Know the purpose or contribution your company is making. When employees are all pursuing a mission they believe in, their commitment is stronger. Their relationships go deeper.
2. Hire the best, whenever you can. The best people want to work where the best people are. Good performers want to work where good performers work.
3. Provide skills training so they are confident in their ability to do the work.
4. Show that you trust your people. They will generally prove you right. Great training and solid mentoring must also be in place.
5. Show that you care about your people. The old way has been to keep personal lives and work separate. The 21st century workforce is different. Your people are whole, thinking, feeling beings. You gain incredible allegiance to the company when you show you care.
What kind of culture are creating?
Managers Left-Brain Focus
This is Why Leaders Get Better Results
“Efficiency is the best way to produce great results.” NOPE!
YES . . efficiency is important. I’ve seen efficient teams that still couldn’t meet their production goals. Left-Brain thinking alone can’t make it happen.
LEFT-BRAIN handles what is said. It focuses on planning, analysis, and reporting.
RIGHT-BRAIN focuses on how it is said – the facial expression, the tone of voice, the circumstances in which it was said. The body language and feelings around what is really going on. These help us know if they understand us and if we can believe them.
Do your employees seem lazy, moody or resistant to doing what the company needs them to do? Believe it or not, money is not a motivator for them. According to many studies conducted with thousands of people, money is about # 6 out of 10.
The 5 Secrets
1. They want you to notice them and appreciate the work they do.
Acknowledgement, appreciation and rewards are still the best way to motivate the people who work for you. There are simple, effective ways to acknowledge good work.
2. They need you to listen to what they have to say and consider their ideas – even be asked for their ideas.
Most people want to feel they’re making a contribution to their company. As they focus their efforts in their area of work, they think of suggestions for improvement as well as ideas for new processes.
3. They want to know what’s happening: Any changes? Something new? What do you need from them?
One director of a department I worked with found out about a big building project his organization was about to undertake by reading about it in the paper. He was deflated and even a little numb about it. He shrugged his shoulders and said, ‘Oh well, I guess they are not interested in how I could have helped them.’
4. They expect you to be honest with them.
Sincerity and authenticity are perceived or felt at an intuitive or ‘gut’ level. If there is a big change coming and you are not able to be open with them, communicate with them as much as you can to keep down rumors. If you leave an information vacuum, they will fill it with the worst possible things and create reasons why.
5. They want you to respect and support (stand by) them.
If you can do that, they will be loyal and committed to doing their very best.
It is amazing what people will tolerate in a workplace if they are respected, supported, and informed. Some of my clients’ people were paid less than the industry standard and yet they stayed. They have told me that they felt their job was important and the company needed them. Wow!
Being an effective leader is a complex undertaking. Find out how to make it less so. Under the Free Stuff tab to sign up for a complimentary Leadership Strategy Session or take the Leadership Assessment quiz.
Ann is an expert in developing leaders, business strength, and profits for companies.
Who doesn’t love pizza?*
That’s the question Dan Ariely implies in his upcoming book Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations. In the book, Ariely, a behavioral economist, recounts a week-long experiment in which employees working at a semiconductor factory were promised one of three things if they were able to assemble a certain number of chips per day:
A. A cash bonus of approximately $30
B. A voucher for a free pizza
C. A complimentary text message of “Well done!” from the boss
*A fourth group, serving as the control, received nothing.
Interestingly, pizza was the top motivator on day one–increasing productivity by 6.7 percent over the control group. This is somewhat surprising considering the cash only motivated a 4.9 percent increase…and actually resulted in a 6.5 percent drop in productivity for the week overall.
What was the biggest motivator of the week?
The compliment proved to be the very best motivator. Productivity in the Pizza group dropped by the end of the week (still better than the control group) whereas the Text from the Boss gained a little.
Why Praise Matters
Decades ago, Dale Carnegie expounded on the power of praise in his classic How to Win Friends and Influence People: There is one longing–almost as deep, almost as imperious, as the desire for food or sleep–which is seldom gratified. It’s a craving to be appreciated.
When you commend and praise members of your team, you satisfy a basic human craving and provide motivation as a byproduct–as was highlighted in Ariely’s experiment.
And just think: If the promise of a simple text message from the boss can increase productivity, can you imagine what real, sincere, authentic praise could do?
To be clear, it can’t be flattery or praise that you don’t really mean.
Everyone deserves praise for something; as a leader, it’s your job to figure out what. To look for the good, to see the potential and bring out the best in them.
Your employees will value that a heckuva lot more than pizza.
I guarantee it.
Talk to me about how to recognize and acknowledge good work. Check out my Leadership Coaching Program
*Adapted from Justin Bariso, Founder, Insight in Inc.com
**Please notice my new logo. The roots, trunk and leaves represent the organic growth of the leader. When the leader grows, their business grows!
? Is your team working as hard as than they could?
? Do your employees work well together without conflicts or tension?
? Are your customers loyal – returning time and again for your products and services?
If you answered yes to these four questions, STOP READING. You already have a top notch team running your business, producing quality goods/services, and creating great relationships with your customers.
If you answered “sometimes,” “not often,” or “never,” please read below.
4 WAYS TO BUILD A TEAM THAT HELPS BUILD YOUR COMPANY
1. Hire the best when you can.
2. Be about what you expect from each team member – model the way.
3. Identify roles: Have clarity around who does what. e.g. the person who will lead or manage the team
4. Greet customers/clients in a way that makes them feel valued and respected.
The leader of the team may not be you because your talent is focused on envisioning the direction of the business and closing the best deals. Decide who is the best person to keep spirits high and expect efficiency at the same time.
Remember, you set the tone for the entire company. When you show that you care about high quality, efficient services and positive relationships with customers, clients, and everyone in the company, they are much more likely to care too. In other words, they will mimic your behaviors.
30% of your workforce is ready to work and needs to be inspired or motivated.
50% is chugging along, not really caring and doing just enough to get by.
20% are “bottom feeders.” If you’re not managing them, you’re losing money. They are actively distracting and/or demotivating fellow workers, wasting time, and most likely driving away customers.
Note: Based on data from a large Gallup survey.
A former client of mine with 21 employees had lagging revenues, frustrated partners and complaining clients. Two contributing factors:
1. No one in the firm was held to a performance standard – even the partners.
2. The majority owner (and biggest producer) was condescending, sarcastic, and berated the staff in meetings. He called them lazy and not smart.
If you missed the 1st article click here
7. Open up the office. Millennials generally don’t work well under rigid management structure. They prefer open collaborations that allow employees to share information and for everybody to contribute to decision-making. Take advantage of the Millennials’ preference for teamwork and encourage more solidarity throughout the workplace.
8. Recognize good work. Recognition is most effective if the style and desires of the generation are acknowledged. What is inspiring to a Gen Xer might be boring to a Millennial. Everyone wants to be recognized for their good work. Figure out what works best for each group.
9. Accommodate personal employee needs when possible. Different generations will be in different stages of life and need some scheduling flexibility. Maintain parity so other employees don’t feel alienated. Boomers who are thinking of retirement, for example, may want to cut the number of hours they work in exchange for reduced pay. Gen Xers who need to leave work early to attend a parent/teacher function can agree to make up lost time at another date. Millennials may want to pursue another degree part time. Extend the same educational opportunities to other employees.
10. Give all employees a voice. Regardless of age and tenure, give all employees a forum in which to present ideas, concerns and complaints. Department heads can facilitate open communication throughout the office and set aside time to provide honest feedback.
11. Tailor communications to generational styles. Boomers may prefer to communicate by phone or in person. Millennials grew up being in constant communication with peers and coworkers so are accustomed to emailing, texting or sending instant messages.
12. Remember generational traits are not usually character issues like immaturity, laziness or intractability. Whereas Boomers may see a 60-hour work week as a prerequisite to achieving success, many hard-working Gen Xers and Millennials may prefer a more balanced life that includes reasonable working hours–with occasional bouts of overtime–and weekends off. They may voluntarily choose to make up the time in unstructured settings like working at home or in a coffee shop on weekends.
I’d love to share how I can help you drive more productivity in your team.
We live in a world where change is normal. Whatever type of change you are considering, people will feel uneasy or threatened. When change is well planned and systematically implemented, people are more likely to engage in and support it.
John Kotter, long-time Harvard Business School Professor and founder of Kotter International consultancy firm, outlined 8 steps in his book, “Leading Change.” (1996, Harvard Business Press) Below is a condensed version. See his book for expanded tips.
Step 1: Create a sense of urgency around the need for change.
The general consensus is that social media, especially Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, have created a culture of self-promotion. Given a vehicle to let people know how great they are without appearing to brag has led to the trend of humble bragging.
The term “humblebrag” was added to the Oxford English Dictionary last year as “an ostensibly modest or self-deprecating statement whose actual purpose is to draw attention to something of which one is proud.”
by Ann Meacham
Faster delivery and more rapid deployment of solutions. Promoting innovation and growth. This is wonderful news for using a creative energetic process that permits out of the box thinking while increasing customer satisfaction.
New (or enhanced) product or service implementation occurs much faster than ever before. A new mindset, new processes, new tools, and of course skilled resources are required.
As technocrats we develop a solution or enhancement, create a plan and set the wheels rolling for implementing the change. Too often we believe we can circumvent the “people” development side of the equation. We play down the importance of involving and engaging the teams in the decision making, planning and execution.
Our resources are the crux of the matter. We must continue to understand how people work, think, act and react, and we need to understand that the basic foundation of any team is trust. The faster you build it, the better it is for obtaining results!
How to be adaptive and agile
By Ann Meacham
Think about how you would handle a situation like this and select the assertive answer. Joanna is a director who oversees several project managers. One of her managers is habitually late in turning in vital time-sensitive reports. Not only are the reports late, but they are incomplete or inaccurate. Joanna’s normal response is to give a heavy sigh and scold the project manager for being late. The report is due the tomorrow.
If you were Joanna, what would you do?
a. Find a way to push back the deadline to give her more time.
b. Tell her that she’s doing a terrible job and this can’t go on and “write her up”
c. Show her what corrections need to be made and have her stay until the report is finished.
d. After scolding her take over and finish the report yourself so it will be turned in on time.
‘c’ is the assertive answer. In the past Joanna had consistently stayed late to fix the report so it would be on time and her department would look good. Her project manager was accustomed to this and had become lazy because she knew Joanna would make everything right. She learned how to hold her manager accountable for her actions. Her manager changed her attitude toward the monthly activity, learned how to effectively complete it, and showed more respect for Joanna in other situations as well.
The other choices:
‘a’ is passive, reinforces the manager’s lack of responsibility and solves nothing in the long term.
‘b’ is aggressive and both deflating for the manager and a demonstration of Joanna’s disappointment in herself for not ensuring that the report be completed on time.
‘d’ is passive, allowing upward delegation and leaving the manager feeling unsatisfied with her job as well.
The key to a positive outcome in situations like this is to set clear standards and expectations at the beginning – then make sure the person does what is expected of him/her (accountability).
Expect respect and accept only that!
Thank you to those who commented on my article, “Kindness in Leadership,” a few weeks ago. Now let’s take the conversation to the next level. One comment received:
“I believe that you can still lead and be a boss while putting the consideration of your employees in mind. To me, a manager is someone who tells someone to get something done and expects it in turn. A leader inspires or motivates someone positively to do it because it is the right thing to do.” Andrew Day
What does kindness in performance management look like?
First, keep in mind that the kindest action is to give feedback along the way in a frank and respectful way.
A basic format for managing performance:
· Plan – clearly communicate expectations and outcomes
· Support – provide resources, information, encouragement, and guidance (including milestone check-in and feedback)
· Review – evaluate end results
· Reward and recognize – yes, you made it!
By Ann Meacham
“Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change.” – Bob Kerrey, former Governor of Nebraska and US Senator.
Strong leadership and kindness are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they fit together effectively. The most successful leaders treat their team members with kindness. They realize that kindness is motivating.
The current CEO of Marriott International, Arne Sorenson, says, “Take care of the associates, the associates will take care of the guests, and the guests will come back again and again.”
How can you apply this statement to your business? Some managers and executives believe being kind to their people will cause them to be lazy and under perform. The reality is that motivated team members lead to a winning organizational culture, which leads to people having pride in their work, their team and their company, which leads to outstanding results and superior client/customer service.
People want their managers to be honest and make the time to help them learn and succeed. They realize this often means being forthright and leveling with them about areas of skill development. Yet, managers are often too busy to follow through on their responsibility to give constructive feedback to help their people learn and grow.
It is important to realize that giving constructive feedback, mentoring and coaching our team members and others are also acts of kindness. Everyone wants to do well and be successful.
We can give constructive feedback in a kind manner, letting our people know we genuinely care about them. Reach out to your people when good things happen, not just when something goes wrong. Note: This feedback must be genuine. No platitudes!
“We rise by lifting others.” – Robert Ingersoll
How can you use kindness with your people? Notice how it makes a difference.
One of the most important tasks for a leader is to coach and guide the managers and leaders in their firm. As one person said,
“You can see the strength of the leader by how strong her subordinates are and how they use their strengths to contribute in the best way possible.”
Success follows the leaders who have these top priorities:
1. Set the vision
2. Have the right people in place
3. Set clear expectations
4. Inspire them to achieve.
5. Hold them accountable.
The challenge is that even though managers agree that it is their responsibility to bring out their employee’s personal best, most don’t act on it. There are many reasons for this.
Rally your team around a common goal and purpose then let them execute to the best of their abilities.
The greatest satisfaction a leader gets is when the team receives the credit for achievements and people say, “It just happened naturally”
How do you inspire your people to be their best?
Managing scope creep in Project Management is achievable.
7 Tips for Preventing Scope Creep
1. Be sure you thoroughly understand the project vision. Meet with the client and deliver an overview of the project.
2. Understand your priorities and the priorities of the client. Consider budget, deadline, feature delivery, customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction.
3. Ensure that your person in charge of the project is clear on expectations – both from you and the client. Check in with this person periodically to provide clarification and support.
4. Outline your deliverables – keep them general.
5. Define the requirements – set the details and a manageable schedule.
6. Break the project down into major and minor milestones.
7. Expect that there will be scope creep. Implement change order forms early and educate the project drivers on your processes. Frequently communicate with the client.
Be thorough in setting expectations, budgets and timelines. That way, you are in a better position to control your project, instead of your project controlling you.
We can work on this together. Call me at 860-788-504. email@example.com