Good communication skills are one of the most sought-after soft skills employers are seeking these days. It is no wonder given the influence of technology on communication and seeing the level of discourse on social media. Those skills are so important that restaurants are replacing teens with senior workers because they connect better with the customer. Effective communication is essential to good leadership, effective negotiations, and is the foundation of successful relationships in the workplace and beyond. How can you improve this essential skill set?
One of the hallmarks of effective communication is (more…)
Recently, I was asked to give a talk on accountability and an associate’s initial reaction was, “why would anyone come to a talk about that?” His reaction, though not atypical, made me smile and think. Has accountability become a foreign concept? What does it mean to be accountable? How is this competency impacting your leadership or your performance efforts? It is an important topic given its impact on success.
Why do people tend to shy away from accountability? My thought is that it sounds a lot like blame. Let’s define accountability according to Merriam Webster: “an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions.” As a leader it also means to hold oneself and others accountable for high-quality results that are measurable, timely, and cost-effective.
It is not unusual to find avoidant type of behavior in leaders and teams particularly around accountability. It is almost as though accountability has become a four letter word. Many leaders see it as conflict or confrontation and would rather do anything else. Allowing others to hide or point fingers when responsibilities are not met will tear apart a team. It takes strong leadership to shift that experience to one of appropriate accountability.
Doing the Hard Work of Leadership: A few years ago high school football coach, Matt Labrum, (more…)
Leaders set the tone for their team and their organization. Leaders also teach their team members how to treat them and how to treat one another, what is acceptable and what is not. That requires a clear vision and assertiveness. The human dynamic can be messy and intimidating. Many leaders are not comfortable wading in when things go south, either because of low confidence or low competence. Many leaders fear they will make the situation worst, so they ignored drama and dysfunction in hopes that it will go away. What goes away are your good people since nobody is stepping up to take care of dysfunctional dynamics.
What does strong leadership look like?
I noticed a recent example of strong leadership and effective emotional intelligence while , (more…)
Some years ago when I started my career in medical sales, my mother gave me the most helpful piece of advice. She was one of the pioneer women who blazed the trail for women like me when she left nursing to sell surgical supplies. When I started my career, I was calling on many of her prior customers. She was incredibly successful, and her customers liked her very much. During my growing up years, she had also shared stories about me with those customers. They then had a preconceived idea of who I was and how I might show up in this profession. Thanks, Mom!
The advice my mother gave me seemed elementary. As I quickly learned, few of my competitors either knew this secret to success or were weak in its implementation. What was this golden nugget? She taught me that no matter what, (more…)
Our workplaces are full of interesting people. Some are enthusiastic, some are thoughtful, some are quirky and others are hard charging. We can also experience the petulant child, who at times can be any of those other types of people, but watch out if things do not go their way. Being petulant is defined as “having or showing the attitude of people who become angry and annoyed when they do not get what they want.” Does that ever happen on your team or in your organization?
We often see and expect this type of behavior in children when they do not get their way, seemingly most often in grocery stores near the candy display. That might be considered normal behavior for a five year old. What about those adults who pout or fly off the handle when they do not get their way or when someone disagrees with them? When they experience adversity, off they go …. (more…)
We hear a lot about trust these days, trust between Greece and the European Union, police and community members, Iran and the United States as well as organizations and employees. A while back, a national news story received a lot of attention. The title of the news story was “More Americans Becoming Trust Wary” written by Connie Cass . The basis of the story is that Americans are less likely to trust one another now than 40 years ago when the question was first asked in the General Social Survey. The results of this poll caused me to think more deeply about how trust impacts success.
The question this poll asked was, (more…)
We hear a lot about culture these days. It is a very broad topic. Some spend a lot of time talking about it without ever truly defining it. For the sake of this discussion, I will use the Merriam Webster dictionary definition of culture as, “a way of thinking, behaving, or working that exists in a place or organization.” This includes communities, teams of people and businesses. Some organizations do a very good job creating a culture. Others may have one they think has been implemented but it winds up merely being an idea that people talk about that is not supported by any substantive action.
Creating a culture is an intentional process. Some go about it more purposefully; some create a culture by default. Culture can form without a conscious effort and in many of those cases, it winds up being dysfunctional. Cultures can vary from one of cooperation, collaboration, intimidation, competition, performance, accountability, and the list goes on. Any guesses on what the culture is in FIFA, FIFA corruptioncharges ? Your organization has a culture, whether you are aware of it or not. Is it the culture you want? (more…)
People have all sorts of approaches to success. For some, it is work harder than anyone and I’ll get there. For others, it is work smarter than anyone and I’ll get there. Perhaps it could be the combination of both, work harder and smarter and I’ll get there. What is your viewpoint about success? The fact is your perspective may be having more of an impact on your performance than you realize.
In the last few weeks I became aware of the story of Brian Banks. Ten years ago, he was a senior in high school, a star athlete, who had just received a scholarship to attend college and play football for USC. He was 17 years old, and was also being accused of (more…)
A natural tendency of human behavior is that we tend to see things and people from our perspective. How often do we test that perspective and compare it to reality? When it comes to people, how often do we put them in a box?
What I mean by putting people in a box is slapping a label, stereotype, or judgment on people when they do not show up as we would. When someone behaves in ways that are different from how we would behave, we define them and their behavior, and generally in ways that have more to do with our perspective than reality. Once we label someone, it can be very difficult for us to see him or her as he or she actually is. (more…)
Most aspects of our lives require us to interface with people. Our ability to manage these interactions effectively and productively is critical to the results we get as individuals and organizations. This ability is reflective of our leadership and versatility. Versatility is defined as embracing a variety of skills and refers to our adaptability. Versatility leads to more (more…)