One leader behavior gets 88% more “above and beyond” performance.
Want to know what it is?
Watch the video.
You have the power to take control of your job.
More than half the people in the U.S. don’t like their jobs. This, according to the Conference Board Research Group in their most recent annual survey. What’s more, our nation has been hovering at this spot for at least the last 16 years.
It’s not that surprising though is it? Most people’s day jobs have very little to do with their passions. Sure, on occasion, we get a spark of accomplishment from our jobs. We enjoy a good challenge or creative brainstorming session. But for the most part, we work because we must work. And most days we’d prefer to be somewhere else. But we show up. We’re always going to show up. And if we’re going to show up, why not make the most of it?
Earlier this week, Fast Company released an article all about learning how to put your team at ease. Gwen Moran, author of the piece, provides 8 simple ways to be more approachable and "fine-tune" your communication skills. Guess who kicked off the discussion? That's...
Relationships are a two way street.
This is what makes them so challenging. As a leader who wants to have great relationships with your team, it’s easy to think that knowing that about yourself is enough. But what about all the things you don’t know about yourself. The things people see in you that you don’t see in yourself.
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People are not just going to come up to you and say “Hey, I’m uncomfortable approaching you.”
That’s why it’s so important that we as leaders learn to recognize the signs associated with approachability. This is what our tool, the Recognizing Gaps Tool, is all about. It teaches you the three main areas to look at in order to discover just how comfortable your team members are with you. This is extremely important information to know as your level of approachability directly effects your knowledge of what is actually going on in your organization and amongst your team.
Turnover is expensive.
Turnover costs companies anywhere from 16% to over 300% of annual salary (for the highly skilled—the ones most likely to leave). Companies lose productivity, valuable organizational memory, relationships, and often intellectual property. Critical activities stall and die while searching for new talent.
What’s more, nearly 20% of employees will voluntarily quit their job this year. You read that right: 20%. Why? With mortgages to pay, kids to clothe and put through college, and stuff to buy, what makes a person so fed up that they quit?
The fact is that to a very large degree your relationship with your people is the difference between whether people stay or go. That’s what makes leadership such a tough gig. You are the glue.
What can we do to stop the turnover madness?
Active disengagement costs US companies between $450 and $550 billion annually. Does active disengagement at your company contribute to that shockingly high number? I've got bad news - it does. Every company does its share. Because we all have actively disengaged...
As leaders, criticism is inevitable.
Criticism is inevitable because mistakes are inevitable. We are going to overlook some things that we should have paid more attention to. We are going to make decisions that prove to be the wrong ones. We are going to say things that we shouldn’t have said. We will fall short at times. We’re human.
Accepting that reality is the first step to being able to respond to criticism with steady assurance, class, and understanding. The video above shows Steve Jobs doing just that.
Failure to successfully implement change projects is killing companies.
Change projects are inevitable because change is inevitable. You must spend time innovating and implementing new processes if you want to stay ahead of your competition. The problem is, even those companies that are great at innovation tend to break down when it comes to implementation. In fact, only 56 percent of strategic initiatives meet their original goals and business intent.
How can we change that?
The answer most leader experts, managers, and academics have been giving in recent years is for teams to focus more on soft skills throughout their change efforts. In truth, it seems like soft skills—qualities like self-awareness, relationship building, effective communication, and the ability to create trust and motivate others—have become the catch-all for your leader problems. And while we are big proponents of soft skills in leadership (after all, our main message is leader approachability), the fact is nothing is a catch-all. You have got to learn to strike the right balance in applying your soft skills while not forgetting to consider and look to hard factors as well.
Learning to be vulnerable at work decreases workplace accidents. I'll admit it, this story had me scratching my head. I've spent a lot of time working with companies in tough safety environments. When I think of safety programs I think of systematic, uncompromising,...
Trust is the most vital aspect of any relationship.
If you don’t trust someone it is extremely hard to get past that feeling and get any quality work done. Mistrust causes stress and distraction. It leads to politics and disengagement. And sometimes we find ourselves wanting to trust a leader or a coworker – but not feeling as though we can.
For some professions (the military, police and fire departments, heavy equipment operators, and healthcare professionals to name just a few) trust can be a matter of life or death. These leaders and teams must have trust for physical safety.
In most professions the stakes aren’t that high. But trust is still really important. For my team trust is essential for peace of mind. Without it we cannot perform our best.
Businesses need to innovate.
When you’re not innovating, you’re not growing. And in a world where the next new thing is always just around the corner, to innovate even more important. It seems dramatic, but it’s the reality of today’s market – just look at what almost happened to Unilever had they not bought out Dollar Shave Club (click here to read our article on it).
How do we create employees and departments that innovate?
George E. L. Barbee recently came out with a book entitled 63 Innovation Nuggets. In Barbee’s 45 year business career, he was responsible for innovation with multiple Fortune 100 companies: Gillette, General Electric, PepsiCo, IBM and PriceWaterhouseCoopers. He knows how to build teams that innovate and thrive.
This white paper lays out twelve of those nuggets. I’m not going to go into all of them here, but I do want to discuss the nuggets that stuck out most to me.
First off, Barbee starts by making the point that most of us are far more innovative than we think we are. This is because most of us associate innovation with invention. And while that is true, you don’t have to invent something to innovate. All you have to do is pay attention. Observe what’s around you. And then transfer what you observed to another category where it can be applied.
Everyone wants growth.
We want growth in our personal lives, as parents, and in our friendships. We want to grow in our professional lives, as business leaders, entrepreneurs, and front-line employees.
The desire for growth lies deep down in each of us. It just makes sense that it is a key goal for most businesses. But growth, in and of itself, is not without its challenges. Chris Zook, partner at Bain & Co. and co-author of The Founder’s Mentality put it this way:
“Growth creates complexity, and complexity is the silent killer of growth.”
New Gallup research proves the relationship between leader approachability and employee engagement.
If you want to improve engagement there is really only one place to look – your supervisors. Gallup’s most recent report, State of the American Manager: Analytics and Advice for Leaders, found that:
“Managers account for up to 70% of variance in engagement.”
And there’s the rub.