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Leadership

4 Ways to Upgrade Your Virtual Leadership Approach

As the pandemic of 2020 struck, many leaders were compelled to dramatically pivot as their workplace became entirely virtually. With no live meetings or individual conversations, the computer screen and microphone became the primary vehicle for communication. While not always as valuable, virtual interactions can be highly effective if leaders are intentional about how they engage with their staff. Here…

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Change Management Leadership

4 Things Leaders Misjudge During Change

With the rapid pace of complex change in most organizations, leaders often get drawn into activities that take them away from the staff members they are leading. Frequent meetings outside of the work unit tend to be a major culprit. Absence from meaningful contact can cause leaders to misread what staff members are experiencing, some of which may be emotional…

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Communication Leadership Team Development

Indicators Your Leadership Approach is Hurting Your Team’s Development

Team leadership requires keen self-awareness of the impact of behavior on a team’s performance. Often leaders inadvertently stunt the growth of their teams by exhibiting meeting conduct that is ineffective and even harmful. Here are some signs that your approach might be suboptimal. Communication is funneled to you. Think about the way communication flows around the team table. Who talks…

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Communication Leadership

How to Develop a Strong Leadership Presence

When admired, respected leaders walk into a room where others are gathered, their presence sends a message about who they are and what they represent. Those around them form judgments in a matter of seconds and the impressions are lasting. The intangible traits they emanate begin to create or reinforce their leadership presence, a critical factor separating high-performing leaders from…

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Leadership Performance Management Team Development

How to Know If You Are a Micromanager

Micromanagement is excessive oversight of an employee’s work. When a manager hovers, it causes the employee to feel mistrusted to competently do the work assigned. It can tear down motivation since having autonomy is highly valued by most employees. Below are listed the telltale signs of micromanagement. Identify those that you frequently display to determine if you are slipping into…

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Leadership Managing Difficult Situations Performance Management Team Development

Three Performance Management Blind Spots Leaders Should Avoid

Managing staff member performance is challenging at best. Individuals come to work with a variety of skills, attitudes, and experiences that require leaders to be adept at adapting to varying needs by using customized approaches. One size does not fit all. Because performance management is complex and time consuming, it is easy for leaders to be blindsided by engaging in…

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Leadership Performance Management

3 Ways to Capture Coaching Opportunities to Boost Staff Performance

Most leaders say that coaching is an important part of their role in developing staff. Few, however, find the time to do it well. Yet, employees of all ages and performance levels say they want more coaching from leaders they respect. Through feedback and advice giving they hope to learn how to become better at their work and advance their…

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Leadership

How to Focus on the Present and Become More Mindful in 2015

While the New Year is a time to set goals and plan ahead, what about staying in the present, focused on the here and now? Mindfulness is a conscious effort to be completely present, setting aside worries, expectations, judgment, and other thoughts and emotions to be fully aware of the current moment. It’s the opposite of automatic functioning, going through…

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Leadership

5 Fatal Flaws that Cause New Leader Failure

It’s estimated that nearly half of new leaders fail within the first eighteen months on the job. The costs of recruitment, training, and orientation of the leader, as well as the negative impact on employee morale, makes this situation highly destructive. Organizations that are guilty of selection blunders often overlook behaviors known to contribute to a leader’s demise. Here are…

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Communication Leadership

3 Steps to Gaining More Influence in Your Organization

Influence is critical to the success of any leader. It means garnering enough power within your organization to gain support from others and achieve the results you are working toward. Effective leaders develop a strong base of influence. They know how to use high impact influence skills, causing others to want to follow their lead, rather than being coerced. Their…

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Communication Leadership

Warning Signs that Your Communication Style is Working Against You

Every leader has a preferred mode of communication that works well in many situations, while missing the mark in others. Both sending and receiving messages can be inhibited if the communicator is unaware of blind spots that create interference. Use the guidelines below to identify your communication style and be attuned to the warning signs when it’s working against you.…

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Communication Leadership Managing Difficult Situations Performance Management

How to Give Constructive Criticism with 5 Essential Steps

Sometimes leaders have to be critical in an attempt to improve a situation created by staff, colleagues, or upper level leaders. How the message is delivered can make the difference between a productive conversation and a damaged relationship. Use this template to guide your thinking as you craft what you want to say when constructive criticism is necessary. 1. Describe…

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Leadership Team Development

How to Tune-up Your Team: A Checklist for Essential Maintenance

Teams don’t work very well without periodic check-ups to make sure everything is working as it should. Use the following set of questions as a) a guide for your own reflective thinking about a team you lead, b) as a discussion tool for an upcoming team meeting, or c) as a survey for each team member to complete. What you…

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Leadership Performance Management

3 Outmoded Leadership Practices You Should Reconsider Now

It’s easy to cling to old, comfortable ways of leading that no longer make sense, once you pause to reflect. Ongoing research and current best practices teach us that it is time to discard the old and bring in the new. Consider these out-of-date practices and update your approach. 1. Using Old School Language Leaders give confusing, inconsistent messages when…

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Communication Leadership Managing Difficult Situations

5 Productive Ways to Deal with Conflict Every Leader Should Know How to Use

Conflict is inevitable when people work together in an organization. In fact, it’s a good thing because it most often means that those involved care enough about the situation to express their differences or discontent. If mismanaged, however, it can lead to undesirable outcomes. By using the right approach in the right situation, leaders can effectively deal with conflict, increasing…

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Leadership

12 Intriguing Quotes about Leadership

Quotes give us a new way to think about something. They promote awareness and insight. They inspire. Sometimes they trigger that “aha” moment. Here are some that will cause you to pause, reflecting on what leadership means to you. “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John…

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Leadership Performance Management Team Development

5 Things Guaranteed to Destroy Teamwork

Every organization emphasizes the need for teamwork. But few really achieve a high performing team environment. Setting the stage for collaboration requires that leaders play close attention to several common traps that, when present in the work environment, make true teamwork nearly impossible to achieve. Team Members Who Don’t Pull Their Weight When studies are done regarding what employees like…

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Leadership Performance Management Team Development

Motivating Staff to Top Performance: What They Really Want from Their Work

Much has been written about rewarding and recognizing staff members for a job well done. While money, trinkets, and prizes – extrinsic motivators – have temporary “feel good” effects, real motivation occurs in a much different way. More powerful is the satisfaction inherent in doing the work itself ¬¬ – intrinsic motivation. Here is how this translates into leadership strategies…

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Leadership

3 Surprising Research Findings Every Leader Should Consider

Research engines are quickly producing numerous studies that challenge some of the commonly held beliefs about organizations, leaders, and employees. Here are some current findings, along with suggestions for how to put the research into practice. Organizations fail to choose management candidates who have the right talent. Gallup’s study found that 82% of the time, staff members are promoted, not…

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Change Management Communication Leadership

How to Effectively Communicate about Change

Most organizations are in the throes of multiple changes, requiring leaders at all levels to be masterful in how they communicate. Staff resistance can be exasperated by faulty change messages that do a poor job of explaining why something different is needed. With so much change in the works, everyone is touchy about adding one more thing to their overflowing…

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Communication Leadership

The Top 5 Things to Know About Successful Negotiation

Negotiation comes in many varieties. A competitive approach is aimed at you getting more than the other side gets – a win-lose outcome. A compromise means lose-lose, with both sides giving up something to get an acceptable solution. An integrative process creates a win-win, whereby both parties get the majority of what they want. Successful negotiators, as a backdrop to…

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Leadership Performance Management Team Development

Development Planning: 3 Big Mistakes to Avoid and What to Do Instead

One main reason top talent leaves an organization is lack of training, coaching, or mentoring, all critical components of development planning. Ambitious employees want to work in an organization that invests in them, paving the way for advancement in both skills and position. A development plan should provide a road map to strengthen an employee’s ability to perform the current…

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Communication Leadership Managing Difficult Situations Performance Management

What to Do When a Top Performer Slips Up

Top performers, by definition, tend to consistently do work that exceeds established standards. Holding themselves to high standards, they are driven to get outstanding results in all dimensions of the work they do. When top performers face the rare misstep, they typically self-regulate by moving quickly to own and repair the problem. Common wisdom about performance problems dictates that giving…

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Communication Leadership Managing Difficult Situations

How to Deliver Bad News

Sometimes a leader has to carry out the dreaded task of conveying information no one wants to hear. Layoffs, budget cut backs, and undesirable change can produce the need to deliver bad news to both individuals and groups. By employing sensitivity and tact, however, leaders can cushion the blow and avoid unnecessary damage. Consider these communication guidelines. Don’t delay. Once…

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Leadership

How Good Are You at Office Politics?

It takes more than hard work to build a successful career. While the words office politics often conjure up negative images of ruthless people who will do anything to get ahead, effective leaders don’t shy away from engaging. They carefully analyze how power is accessed and utilized in their organizations. They cultivate influence so they are better able to achieve…

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Communication Leadership Team Development

How to Make Your Next Meeting the Best You’ve Ever Led

Meetings have a bad reputation. They are perceived as pointless, boring, uncontrolled, and a waste of time. When participants aren’t engaged, texting and emailing while “listening” becomes more attractive, making a troubled dynamic even worse. A good meeting leader knows how to facilitate interaction by skillfully drawing each attendee into a meaningful dialogue that accomplishes real work. By capturing the…

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Leadership

New Year’s Resolutions Every Leader Should Consider

The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to set new goals for yourself. Dedication to continual learning and improvement is the mark of a good leader who understands that remaining stagnant is not an option. Think about how best to maximize your strengths and overcome barriers to your effectiveness. Contemplate what your staff members and colleagues need…

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Leadership

5 Questions To Ask About Your Leadership Self-Awareness

The best leaders are highly self-aware. Capitalizing on their strengths, while remediating or supplementing their weaknesses, they have learned to work effectively with the whole package they bring to their roles. Style profiles (i.e. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, DISC Profile) are a great beginning, but they can be skewed by faulty self-perceptions. Here are some questions you can ask yourself, to discover even…

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Communication Leadership Team Development

5 Things Your Staff Might Not Tell You

I’ve conducted hundreds of staff interviews, ahead of team building or planning sessions, gathering perceptions about what’s going well and what’s not. When employees identify areas related to their managers, I ask if they have directly communicated their point of view. Sometimes they have. But, when it comes to five specific topics, the answer is often “no.” Why? Some staff…

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Leadership Team Development

How to Do Team Building the Right Way

Countless staff members have been exposed to team building sessions gone awry. Some describe outdoor challenges designed to build trust that only served to embarrass those on the team who were not physically agile. Others have recounted incidents of poorly designed critical feedback activities resulting in hurt feelings and damaged relationships. Many have concluded that the activities had nothing to…

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Communication Leadership

How Well Do You Know Your Boss?

A key to your success, as a manager, is developing a good working relationship with your own boss. No matter how effective you might be with your own staff, your image may be tainted if you have a less than desirable rapport with your boss. Becoming more aware of how your boss likes to work requires paying careful attention to…

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Leadership

Office Politics: Play Fair and Win

Beware: If you are a leader who hesitates to engage in politics at work, your base of influence may be at risk. In these challenging times, your job may even be in danger, as organizations are contemplating more layoffs. Politics is not always nasty business. Think of it as a way of building a network of relationships and an understanding…

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