Monday Morning Coffee

Establishing Effective Communication

As with all skills, some leaders are more proficient than others.  How can leaders leverage the key fundamentals of leadership to increase their leadership capacity, and successfully impact their team?

Successful leaders are excellent communicators.  In fact, communication is one of the most important elements of leadership.  When crafting your message, consider all angles.  In other words, think about the “who,” “what” and “how” of your message.  Keep in mind, what is the issue at hand?  How can it be solved?   Who needs to take action?

Make sure your message is understood.  Anyone can deliver a message, but the message may not be understood.  Communication is not complete until your audience confirms that the message is understood. If necessary, repeat yourself to make a point, and always ask your team if they have questions are comments.  Also, wait five to ten minutes to give your team time to process.

Manage conflicts with consideration and purpose.  Always handle conflict immediately, or you may run the risk of being seen as incapable, as a leader.   Prevent conflict by learning your employees emotional triggers.  For example,  consider their working styles, some are methodical, and work slower in pace, others thrive and work well under pressure. Pairing these two personality types could result in  major conflict.

Give specific and appropriate praise to team efforts.  State what you appreciate in an authentic manner.  For example, “last week, during the team meeting, you provided valuable insight, which allowed us to improve our customer relations.”  This conveys the message of exactly what impressed you, and reinforces the desired behavior.

Keep your team informed of any important changes on the horizon.  Send out a group email, or call a team meeting.  The additional time may be well worth the effort.  This strategy will help team members develop trust and foster loyalty towards you as their leader.

Encourage feedback regarding team assignments.  Develop a policy that allows employees to approach you when needed.  For example, establish a particular time throughout the day when you are available to talk.  This will make employees feel you care about their concerns.

Demonstrating successful leadership is often filled with trial and error.  Successful leaders continue to hone their leadership skills throughout their careers…click here for more information on developing leaders in the workplace.

Happy Monday

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10 Elements of Successful Leaders

Leadership is a learned behavior that becomes unconscious and automatic over time.  For example, how do leaders make the best decisions under pressure?  Good decision making comes from an accumulation of an experiences, as well as a multitude of different circumstances, and personality types.  Successful leaders anticipate business patterns, while finding opportunities in pressure situations and  serving the people they lead while overcoming hardships.  Here are 10 elements of successful leaders:

  1. Make Others Feel Safe.  Many leaders intimidate others with their power however, successful leaders deflect attention away from themselves while encouraging others.
  1. Expert Decision Makers.  Successful leaders either facilitate the dialogue to empower others to make decision or do it themselves.
  1. Communicate Expectations. Successful leaders are great communicators, especially when it comes to performance expectations.
  1. Challenge People to Think.  Successful leaders understand the mindsets of their team, and areas in need of improvement.  They use this knowledge to stretch their team to grow.
  1. Accountable to Others.   Successful leaders allow themselves to be managed which ensures they are being proactive to the needs of their team.
  1. Lead By Example.  Successful leaders practice what they preach, being aware of their actions.
  1. Measure and Reward Performance.  Great leaders review the numbers and reward success, they are proactive in acknowledging hard work and efforts.
  1. Properly Allocate and Position Talent.  Successful know their Talent and know how to use it.  They are experts at knowing their team, and understanding their unique skill-sets.
  1. Provide Successful Feedback.   Successful leaders always provide and receive feedback. They understand the power of perspective.
  1. Ask Questions and Seek Counsel.  Successful leaders have a deep quest for knowledge and are always seeking to learn, making themselves better.

Sustaining these success elements over time  allows leaders to increase the value of their organizations brand.   Click here for more information on developing successful leaders in the workplace.

Happy Monday!

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Motivating Others

Many managers find it difficult to motivate their employees, since motivation can take on a different slant for each individual.  How can leaders create a climate in which people want to do their best?

Tip #1.  Build a team spirit which emphasizes treating people as individuals.

Tip #2.  Push tasks and decisions down.

Tip #3.  Empower others by raising the consciousness of your employees.

Tip #4.  Make each individual feel his/her work has value.

Tip #5.  Understand leadership is a privilege.  Too many leaders look upon employee problems as unwelcomed and an invasion of their time.

Tip #6.  Be authentic. Disingenuous praise can be viewed as manipulative.

Tip #7.  Work on yourself first.  You can’t teach others to do what you don’t do yourself.

Tip #8.  Encourage participation.  Encouraging others to participate creates a sense of personal involvement.

Tip #9.  Act as a role model and help employees identify what’s important to them.

Tip #10.  Clearly define the organizations vision, mission, and goals, as well as define the goals and objectives of each employee.

Employee motivation creates long-term success for companies…click here for more information on developing employees in the workplace.

Happy Monday!


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Goal-Setting Tips

One of the first rules of leadership, no matter what, or whom, you lead, is goal-setting.  The goals you establish will direct  your department or organization on where to spend the vast majority of energy, attention, and efforts. Below are a few tips on designing your list of goals:

  1. Bottom-up and top-down.   No one employee, including the leader has all the answers.  Leaders should not only identify their business goals but ask the employees reporting to them to identify their goals as well. This establishes essential data for goal setting, which is credible and achievable.
  2. Clean up your blind spots.  Every organization and every leader has blind spots. The following questions are designed to help you and your organization find blind spots that can lead your organization astray;
  • What have you tried to accomplish in the past, that you must accomplish in the future, and how will this reward you and your team?
  • When you consider your outcomes such as results, quality, or customer engagement, which targets are you missing?
  • What is it that you are not hearing or dealing with as a leader that needs to be addressed?
  1. Institute lessons learned.  Goal-setting is the perfect opportunity for a company  to evaluate its performance, and adjust course.  Ask questions such as:
  • What are the most relevant metrics for your company?
  • What does success or failure look like?
  • How has your (SWOT) strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats evolved over the past year?
  1. Make your goals relevant to the big picture.  Once you have established your goals, ask yourself how do they align with your people, and your organization’s long-term business plans.
  1. Communicate.  Decide how you will package your goals, and communicate them throughout your organization.  For example, how will you establish your messages, to ensure everyone is crystal clear on the goals you’ve designed?

Using these tips can help leaders hone in and choose the right 3-5 goals to create a competitive advantage, and move your company forward.

Happy Monday!


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Managing Millennials

With 70% of Millennials saying they would switch their jobs given the opportunity, how do you keep the front-runners from leaving your organization?   Before you can answer that question, here are a few myths.

  1. Millennials don’t want to work hard to get ahead.
    This is not true.  Millennials are focused on deliverables.  In order to get the best out of them, you must understand what drives them.
  2. Millennials don’t understand how to lead.
    According to Amy K. Hutchens, there are 7 critical skills leaders need to be successful: leading people, strategic planning, managing change, inspiring commitment, resourcefulness, doing whatever it takes (digitally), and being a quick learner(digitally). Baby Boomers and Generation X-ers tend to be strong in the first three areas, while Millennials are experts in the last three.
  3. Millennials lack respect for authority.
    Again, this isn’t the case.  In reality, Millennials like anyone else, respect has to be earned.  Once respect is earned, they reciprocate by believing in their leaders, and the organization and will do whatever it takes to succeed.

To attract, engage, and retain Millennials, leaders need to:

  • Provide constant feedback.
    Instead of waiting for semi-annual or annual reviews, hold regular meetings and communicate regularly, giving them the opportunity to voice their concerns.
  • Establish work life balance.
    Millennials tend to keep to office hours outside of the normal nine to five.  Managers and supervisors need to pay attention to this and  support them accordingly.
  • Keep them challenged.
    If they can handle it, allow millennials to work on multiple-projects.  Allowing them to get bored typically results in disengagement which results in increased turnover.

Millennials will continue to grow over the next few years.  Failing to adhere to simple practices such as these can cause long-term consequences. Click here for more information on managing Millennials in the workplace.

Happy Monday!

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Leadership Traits

Becoming a better leader is not simply a hot topic, but  starts with intention.  Aspiring to be a better leader means being a team player with the right character traits.  Here are a few tips on developing as a leader

  1. Choose  Your Challenge.   Leaders are faced with daily  challenges such as prioritization, decision-making, inspiring and developing employees, and leading teams. It is vital to define your key leadership challenges and choose to do something about them.  For example, what is one thing you need to face, but haven’t?  What’s going on within your organization that requires a new approach or more effort?   Identify your challenges and develop ideas and support.
  1. Stop Minimizing Innovation.   Innovation needs direct support however, leaders often send mixed messages sabotaging efforts with  their own behaviors.  Ask yourself, do I encourage others to be creative yet quickly suppress ideas.  Do I “push” innovative ideas down, rather than “pull” them up?  Do I act as through I always have all the answers?  It may be time to create the opportunity to learn more about fostering innovation.
  1. Managing Change. Organizations are either looking ahead to a major change, recovering from change, and/or handling varying levels of continuous change.  If you’ve applying the same mindset to your work, you may need a refresher on how to lead change. Guiding change requires managing your own change behaviors as well as, dealing with employees’ reactions, and managing the mechanics of change.
  1. Invest in First-Time Managers.  Making the switch from individual contributors to leading others can create a unique set of challenges, causing employees to derail — William Gentry, author of “Be the Boss Everyone Wants to Work For,” has shown first-time managers struggle the most with communication, influence, leading teams, and developing others. Managers should give their individual contributors the gift of leadership development, providing coaching and mentoring geared towards their employee’s specific needs.
  1. Take Care of Yourself.  Being relentless about doing more, and being more is not sustainable and creates stress symptoms, resulting in personal and organizational liabilities.  Like our body, if we don’t keep our brain in shape, it doesn’t work as well. Add activities into your life to learn actively, breathe better, and solve problems,

Click here for more information on developing a framework to develop leaders in the workplace.

Happy Monday!

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Training Versus Developing Leaders

According to The American Society of Training and Development, U.S. businesses spend more than $170 Billion dollars on leadership-based curriculum, with the majority of those dollars being spent on Leadership Training.   The problem is leaders are developed, not trained.  Training can be rote, and perceived as one size fits all.  On the other hand, development is collective, fluid  and above all actionable. Here are a few pointers on the benefits of developing leaders in the workplace:

  1. Development focuses on maximizing potential.
  1. Development focuses on the future, rather than simply looking at the present.
  1. Development is transformational not just transactional.
  1. Development focuses on growth.
  1. Development educates.
  1. Development highlights innovation.
  1. Development emphasizes performance not simply compliance.
  1. Development moves people beyond their comfort zone.
  1. Development expands an individual’s influence.
  1. Development explores the unknowns.

If your company is seeking innovative, critical thinkers—develop your leadership team.  Click here for more information on building a framework for a successful leadership team.

Happy Monday!

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Millennials in the Workplace

A recent study conducted by the Gallop Poll gathered responses from over 200, 000 individuals across organizations in a wide variety of industries, giving us a snapshot of today’s workforce.  Out of 100 million full-time workers that make up the American workforce, only one-third are engaged at work.  In other words, one-third of workers are emotionally or psychologically attached to their work and workforce.  Why is it that millennials are the driving force behind workplace change, clocking in with the lowest percentage of engaged employees?

As millennials get older they are able to navigate their career, finding work that better suits their needs, which in turn increases their levels of engagement.  On the other hand, since they are the major advocates for change, they may feel they’re “waiting” for their employers to catch up with them, thus affecting how much they are able to emotionally commit.  For more information on managing millennials, click here to receive a complimentary assessment and download your FREE COPY of “The Rule of Millennials” by Jacqueline Woods.

Happy Monday!

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Leadership Checklist

Effective leadership can be mastered, and at the core of that learning should be leadership principles that provide a clear roadmap for navigating though virtually any  leadership moment. Check out the 15 mission-critical leadership principles that top leaders have utilized in the United States and abroad.

  1. Articulate a clear vision.  Formulate a clear and credible vision and communicate it to all members of the enterprise.
  1. Think and act strategically.  Set forth a strategy for achieving that vision both short-and long-term, and make sure it’s widely understood. Anticipate reactions and resistance before they are manifest.
  1. Honor your employees.  Frequently express your support for those who work with you and for you.
  1. Take charge.  Embrace a bias for action, for taking responsibility even if it is not formally delegated, particularly if you are positioned to make a difference.
  1. Act decisively.  Make good and timely decisions, ensuring they are executed.
  1. Communicate influentially.  Communicate in ways people will not forget; always striving to communicate with simplicity and clarity.
  1.  Motivate the troops.  Appreciate the distinctive intentions that people bring, building on individual diverse motives.
  1. Embrace the front-lines. Delegate authority except for strategic decisions, and stay close to those most directly engaged with the company’s work.
  1. Build leadership in others: Develop leadership throughout the organization.
  1. Manage relationships. Build personal ties with those who look to you, and work to embrace the feelings and passions of the workplace.
  1. Identify employee’s personal goals: Help everybody appreciate the impact that the vision and strategy are likely to have on their own work and future with the firm.
  1. Maintain your character:  Ensure that others appreciate that you are a person of integrity through gestures, commentary and accounts.
  1. Minimize over-optimism: Counter the hubris of success by focusing your attention on latent threats and unresolved problems, and protect against the tendency to engage in unwarranted risk.
  1. Build a diverse  team: Recognize that leadership is a team sport  played collectively with those who are capable of resolving key challenges.
  1. Place common interest first. In setting strategy, communicating vision, and reaching decisions, common purpose comes first, personal self-interest last.

Utilizing key leadership principles helps organizations create powerful teams and successful workplaces.  Click here for more information on developing successful leaders in the workplace.

Happy Monday!


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Trends In Leadership Development

A recent study from Bersin & Associates titled High Impact Leadership in the 21st Century, identifies 7 critical trends that drive leadership development and shows organizations how to prepare to address these trends to remain competitive.   What are these 7 leadership development trends?

  1. Organizations must prioritize investments in leadership development.  The study shows lack of leadership development leaves companies open to risk factors.  To mitigate these risks, leadership development is essential to motivate, engage, and develop talent.
  1. Organizations must create and implement both a leadership strategy and a leadership development strategy.  Effective leadership requires the development of strategies, not just the implementation of programs.  Without strong leaders, the best of strategies will fail.  A good leadership strategy outlines the company’s leadership requirements, including the number of leaders, and identifies the levels leaders should operate, as well as define the skills, behaviors and capabilities required.
  1. Leadership Competencies must be renewed. Traditional leadership  competencies are important although they are evolving.  For example, in today’s business world, leadership requires innovative thinkers, agility and flexibility, global competitiveness, people management skills, and diversity.
  1. Leadership Globalization.  Since companies are expanding internationally, they must also move from hierarchical, top-down leadership models to inclusive, participatory global leadership styles.  In essence, global forces require a global perspective, which means embracing diversity and cultural differences.
  1. Being technologically-savvy.  Technology facilitates communication with leaders and employees regardless of the location.
  1. Leadership development targets all leadership audiences.  Research validates that leadership development best-practice should targets leaders at all levels.  Best practice companies are committing to developing their emerging leaders, front-line and midlevel leaders, as well as executive and senior leaders.
  1. Leadership development solutions should evolve as a process, not a one-time event.  The goal of leadership development involves action, not just knowledge.  Leaders must learn from ongoing learning opportunities from their work, rather than taking them away from their work to simply gain knowledge.  Leadership learning experiences must apply to real organizational issues, taking place within small collaborative units.

Happy Monday!


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