All posts by lmsadmin

Management and Leadership

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Management and leadership are two terms that get tossed around as identical in the business world. Management and leadership are two different but crucial functions of businesses large and small. A manager is adept at keeping structure and maintaining a company's well-being. A leader is someone who guides a company's future. John Kotter covers the three common mistakes that people make and discusses the difference further at the Harvard Business Review.

Mistake #1: People use the terms “management” and “leadership” interchangeably. This shows that they don't see the crucial difference between the two and the vital functions that each role plays.

Mistake #2: People use the term “leadership” to refer to the people at the very top of hierarchies. They then call the people in the layers below them in the organization “management.” And then all the rest are workers, specialists, and individual contributors. This is also a mistake and very misleading.

Mistake #3: People often think of “leadership” in terms of personality characteristics, usually as something they call charisma. Since few people have great charisma, this leads logically to the conclusion that few people can provide leadership, which gets us into increasing trouble.

…More at Management Is (Still) Not Leadership – John Kotter – Harvard

Managers and leaders both help a company thrive but with different means. A manager can be a leader and a leader can be a manager but one does not imply the other and establishing the difference will help to avoid this common error. Management and leadership are terms commonly used synonymously but have very different meanings and we hope that you will avoid this mistake in the future. 

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Leading For Productivity

Energizer Bunny

Image by Jeremy Vandel via Flickr

A leader has to be a good motivator when leading for productivity. Productivity is all about producing results. Results are impossible to achieve without enough willpower and energy to accomplish the desired results. A leader needs to be the one to set a good example by arriving at work invigorated and ready to tackle the day's work. This can be accomplished so that one's personal life does not interfere with their work life. Teams admire and follow a leader who acts as an energizer for them. Marcia Zidle has more information on energizers and how they improve everyone around them.  

What is an Energizer?
They aren’t necessarily extroverted or charismatic. They’re people who always see opportunities even in challenging situations;  listen to others and value their ideas, show integrity in dealing with others and avoid maneuvering to get their way. They’re high performers and people want to work for and with them. Bottom line: Energizers have full tanks that propel them to success.

…More at Personal ProductivityLeaders at All Levels

As a leader and manager, are you overworking yourself and absorbing responsibilities that are not always yours? If so, then it is time that you took a serious look at your workload and eliminate the peripheral or non-essential work and delegate it out to your team. Your function as a leader is to energize your team and be a driver for productivity. An overworked and stressed-out leader is hardly a leader. Leaders need to set the example for their team by putting their best foot forward each day and coming to work ready to go. Leading for productivity requires you to motivate your team to achieve results and it all begins with you leaders out there.

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3 Elements of Effective Communication for True Leadership

[217/365] The Three Musketeers

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There are three crucial elements to effective communication for true leadership. Everyone, but especially leaders, need to have a firm understanding of effective communication techniques and these three crucial elements. An ability to establish credibility, to form an emotional connection and display expertise will give you a healthy respect from your team. Scott Edinger discusses the importance of these three elements in further depth.

What makes someone a good communicator? There's no mystery here, not since Aristotle identified the three critical elements — ethos, pathos, and logos. — thousands of years ago.

These three elements of communication reinforce one another. You may rely heavily on data and analysis (logos) to make a point and in so doing create a perception of expertise and authority on a topic (ethos). And while all three are necessary to excellent communication, improving your ability to do any one of them will help you become a better communicator and so a better leader. Combining them is the path to achieving the greatest success.

…More at Three Elements of Great Communication, According to Aristotle

Ethos, Pathos and Logos should be treated like Alexandre Dumas' Three Musketeers. All for one and one for all. That is to say, where you apply logos, you should also apply ethos and pathos. It will often make sense to improve one of the three crucial elements of communication and this will only help to enhance the others as well as you establish a firmer link between the three. A leader who can exhibit all three of these crucial elements will be a formidable communicator and one who is greatly admired and respected. True leadership will display all three elements of effective communication. 

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10 High Performance Team Traits

watery view (unedited)

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There are certain traits that high performance teams exhibit and leaders need to recognize and emphasize to improve the success of their teams. Leaders can encourage high performance out of their teams but it is important to know traits that are exhibited by teams to help nudge team members in the right direction. A high performance team is a unit that acts as one entity while performing tasks with ease and a seamless quality. A team that exhibits such behavior can be said to be in “flow” or in the “zone”. This is commonly witnessed in sports where a player can perform incredible feats that have never before been accomplished. Read the ten traits of high performance teams given by the folks at Talent Dynamics. 

1. Leadership. Instead of ‘I tell, you do’ the team members participate in the leadership of the team.  Each team member reflects the purpose and values of the team.  The team members use their skills and experience to solve problems.

2. Decision making. We make decisions in two ways, reason and intuition.  Both have strengths and weaknesses.  Reason is detailed and slow.  Intuition is sketchy and fast.  Different circumstances require different decision making processes.  High performance teams not only display a balance of both but they also know when each is needed.

3. Communication. Team communication needs to be open and transparent.  The goals of the team are regularly reflected upon, progress is fed back and problems addressed quickly.  High performance teams recognise that each member communicates differently and use the best communication channel for the information AND the team member.

4. Diversity. High performance teams embrace the diversity and difference in the team’s collective background and experience.  This leads to many viewpoints and a greater understanding of problems.  High performance teams use this diversity to make better decisions and create solutions faster.

…More at Traits of High Performance Teams | Talent Dynamics

Leaders can use this list to their advantage and start improving their success today. A high performance team is one that “clicks” and can be very difficult to attain. People are inherently different and diversity is a positive advantage when team members understand their role and responsibility but ego and a whole host of other emotions can impede the achievement of developing a “flow”. Leaders need to recognize when a spirit of competition rather than cooperation crops up and take action to alleviate this tension before it affects output. A team cannot achieve high performance without an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect. Leaders can recognize these ten high performance team traits and emphasize improvement in key areas to increase their own success. 

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Leadership and Employee Engagement in 2013

Happiness is excitement that has found a settling down place.  But there is always a little corner that keeps flapping around.  ~E.L. Konigsburg

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Employee engagement should be a top priority for every leader in 2013. Studies have shown that engaged employees perform better at work. If you and your leadership team have not thought about your employee engagement strategy today and made steps to implement it then you are hurting your own bottom line. Take a look at your team as they finish up their day to gauge their well-being and make note of it. Do this for a week and then examine what you are seeing and contrast it with each individual's workload. Is there a pattern of stressed out employees struggling to finish a major launch? If so, action on your part is required. You, as a leader, owe it to your team to make their well-being a priority. Tony Schwartz discusses the benefits of employee engagement more below and at HBR.

What would contribute most to your being both happier and more productive at work? How about feeling truly taken care of, appreciated, and trusted by your employer?

More than 100 studies have affirmed the connection between employee engagement and performance, but the Towers Watson 2012 Global Workforce Study — 32,000 employees across 30 countries — makes the most powerful, bottom line case yet for the connection between how we feel at work and how we perform.

What's required now is something called “sustainable engagement.” The key factor, the study finds, is a work environment that more fully energizes employees by promoting their physical, emotional and social well-being. I'd add to that mental and spiritual well being — or more specifically, the added energy derived from the capacity for absorbed focus and a strong sense of purpose.

…More at New Research: How Employee Engagement Hits the Bottom Line

Is your engagement strategy sustainable? Are you enriching your team's lives by providing a sense of purpose and promoting well-rounded employees who are physically, emotionally and socially well? Leaders act as the catalyst for change in an organization and must be fully engaged to inspire a sustainable engagement strategy. It is a demanding task but one that reaps many rewards such as better operating margins, lower attrition rates and healthier employees. All of these improvements will be a boon to your business. Leaders must show the way and actively work to provide sustainable employee engagement in 2013 and beyond.

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5 Quick Emotional Intelligence Improvements for Leaders

Sky symphony

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Leaders can use five quick improvements to develop their emotional intelligence. Everyone feels a huge spectrum of emotions on a daily basis and a well developed emotional intelligence can help to smooth out the highs and lows to keep an even keel. An ability of a leader to express themselves in all situations is the mark of a great leader. A leader must be able to lead through hectic high-paced environments as well as boost morale among their team when things get sluggish. They need to have the skill to effectively deliver difficult news and keep their emotions in check to keep from negatively affecting their team. Today we examine five ways to improve your emotional intelligence from Preston Ni at Psychology Today.

1. The ability to deal with one's own negative emotions

Perhaps no aspect of EQ is more important than our ability to effectively manage our own negative emotions, so they don't overwhelm us and affect our judgment. In order to change the way we feel about a situation, we must first change the way we think about it. Neuro-psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Amen developed an easy to practice exercise called “ANT Therapy- Killing our Automatic Negative Thoughts,” which helps us examine thenature of our negative experiences, and relate to it in such a way as to reduce our negative emotions. Click on this video link (www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SGDnL1j7lw) to see Dr. Amen explain ANT Therapy (from 01:04 to the end of the clip, and at the very beginning of the next sequence).

…More at 5 Ways to Quickly Improve Your Emotional Intelligence | Psychology

The emotional intelligence of a leader resonates outward and affects all in their vicinity. Teams thrive off of a leader who possesses and skillfully wields charisma and passion to drive purposeful work forward. This leader doles out praise effectively which allows them to deliver criticism that their team accepts with humility. Conversely, a leader who displays random emotional outbursts while threatening and cajoling employees will only marginalize their team. This type of leader will inspire no great actions and ultimately will push people away with their erratic behavior. An effective leader is one who has a firm grasp of their own emotional intelligence. If you need a lesson, or even just a quick refresher, check out the five quick improvements to further develop your emotional intelligence.

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6 Leadership Goal Achievement Tips

 

a celebration

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Leadership should be constantly pushing their team to achieve goals. Goal achievement and task completion should be top priorities for every person. The ability to perform a task from start to finish is a necessity that every employer looks for in an employee. A leader is in the position of authority to set and prioritize goals that they and their team achieve. Every manager and leader must therefore have the best forward focus and ideas on how to achieve these goals most efficiently to optimize for skills and time. These tips are various ways that leaders can achieve their goals. Here are six leadership tips for goal achievement from Kevin Eikenberry

DIY.  After the goal is set, you can decide to Do It Yourself.  After all, you set the goal, you know the most about it, and you are in the best position to take the necessary steps to reaching the goal.

Delegate/Assign.  After you set your goals you may realize you can’t do all of them alone, and in fact you have some people on your team better suited to do some of the effort.  So in this option you delegate or assign the goal to a person or group – supporting them as necessary and needed.

Engagement. Before assigning or delegating, another approach is to engage people in final goal targets themselves. This includes some involvement or discussion about the goals before they are finalized and before they are assigned for implementation.

Co-creation. Backing up further, another approach is to have the involved people help create the goals from the start.  Having people involved earlier creates more ownership, but in this case it isn’t a mirage – as co-creator ownership is undeniable.

Fast Action Teams.  Once goals are set, put a team together to make progress quickly. There are many ways to identify the team, but in this approach the focus is immediate and fast action and progress.

Plan First. Goals can be set, but if there isn’t a plan for  how you will achieve it, you are off to a bad start. When planning you will identify obstacles you might face and resources you need (among other things).  If you want a template to help you speed up your goal planning, you can get it here.

….More at A Buffet of Goal Achievement Approaches for Leaders

Many managers and leaders are type A personalities who love nothing more than to control all of the situations in their realm of influence. This can lead to overworking and not delegating enough of the work or using any of the other methods listed above. We challenge you to do a true self-examination and decide what you as a leader are best at doing and then relying on your team to accomplish the rest. This optimized workflow will enhance your productivity and gain the respect of your team as you show them that you trust them to take on greater responsibility. Try each method on this list and see how it works for you. Let us know in the comments what you struggled with and what you were successful at with implementing these leadership goal achievement tips.

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12 Facets of the Collaborative Leader

Symmetry in RedLeaders need to be multi-faceted to navigate through business these days and adding collaborative leadership techniques is one way to accomplish this. Leadership is a complex skill that requires constant analysis and refinement to perform with capability. Leaders must be adaptable to changes both within and outside their organization and respond to these changing conditions in a manner that benefits their team. Often this means adjusting or tweaking their leadership style. There are times when it makes sense to be a forceful leader who makes decisions and forges the way while at other times it is appropriate to adopt a more collaborative effort. With that in mind, we bring you twelve facets of a collaborative leader from Jesse Lyn Stoner.

Collaborative Leaders…

1.  Flatten things. They flatten the traditional hierarchical chain of command and create networks. They also flatten compensation structures so the difference in pay-scale between the top and bottom is not astronomical.

2.  Allow leadership to emerge. They let go of the need to be in control because they trust in the vision and the people. Roles and responsibilities shift as the nature of the work changes, and leadership emerges according to what is required.

3.  Know the business and the landscape. Always learning, they are interested in a wide variety of topics. Not only do they understand their business, they keep abreast of events and ideas outside their own area of expertise in order to see trends and possibilities.

4.  Live in the land of curiosity. Instead of seeking quick answers, they consider the larger picture and long-term implications. They ask good questions that open up possibilities and that help people find their own solutions. They seek information from multiple sources.

5.  Ask for directions when driving. Not only are they willing to ask for help, they are not afraid to be vulnerable and fully human. They know their limitations and what they don’t know, and they are willing to rely on others for support.

6.  Genuinely care about people. They respect people as fellow human beings and care about their health and well-being. They connect with people at a personal level, regardless of their role.

Read more at 12 Things Collaborative Leaders Do

Leaders need to have different styles of leadership that they can seamlessly work into their office persona to weather the changing environment. Being a multi-faceted leader does not mean that you are Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Rather, you are able to deftly switch modes and command your team's attention and also give them free reign to accomplish tasks. It is a difficult but worthwhile balance. A leader is someone their team looks up to and should be depended upon to offer both guidance and a helping hand. Embracing the twelve facets of collaborative leadership will enhance your leadership and gain you trust and respect from your team. 

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5 Ways Leaders Can Build Trust in Teams

Half Dome Cables, Yosemite National Park

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Every good leader understands the role of trust in relationships among co-workers but might not know what they can do to help build or even solidify that trust. Trust is essential to any relationship whether in or outside of the workplace. Trust must be gained to start laying a proper foundation of mutual respect and awareness. Leaders can help monitor the workplace environment and assess the level of trust among employees by having frank conversations with them or simply engaging their team in conversations and gauging the interactions that take place. Every leader can lend a helping hand to their team no matter what level of cooperation and trust your team may have. Here are five actions to do from Nan Russell to build trust.

1. Operate with respect. Respect is an essential trust building component. If you don't offer respect to others, why would someone give you their trust? The respect component operates as a transparent window giving others a glimpse of who you are. In the words of Malcolm S. Forbes, “You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who do nothing for him.” What are your actions communicating about you?

2. Eliminate the blame game. Finger pointing, assigning fault, or condemning others' mistakes diminishes trust. That ferret-out approach instills fear, not innovation; reduces engagement, not errors; and reinforces scapegoating, not accountability. But people who step up to accept their mishaps and acknowledge their mistakes build trust, enhance accountability, and enable future-focused solutions.

…More at Five Trust Building Dos | Psychology Today

Trust is greatly enhanced with active involvement among all parties and leadership should be providing the path to a respectful and trusting team. Leaders need to be aware of the relationships among their team and should monitor them to head off any problems before they occur. One way to do this is to routinely engage employees in trust building exercises that emphasize the five methods presented above. Leaders can take these five to-do items and put them in their toolbox for their next retreat or seminar as a way to build trust in their teams.

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Leaders Should Focus on Organizational Well-Being AND The Bottom Line

Kodak VS

Image by kevin dooley via Flickr

Achieving organizational well-being and adhering to the bottom line are not mutually exclusive. Organizational well-being is about providing a working environment that produces smarter, healthier and happier employees while at the same time enhancing the community around them. Common practice among many companies around the world have done the bare minimum to achieve the appearance of organizational well-being while really serving the bottom line exclusively. Strict adherence to the bottom line without regard to other factors will become less prevalent as workers will flock to companies that value their contributions and the old guard will be forced to adapt or lose significant market share. Leadership in various industries have already spearheaded this effort around the globe. Morten T. Hansen, Herminia Ibarra, and Urs Peyer examine this trend and identify several companies that are outperforming in both financial and social efforts. 

Many management thinkers argue that it is no longer enough to do well financially; companies also need to improve the well-being of (or at least not harm) the communities in which they operate, the environment, and their employees. (See, for example, “Creating Shared Value,” by Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer.) That's the good news. The bad news is that stellar performance on both dimensions is no common or easy feat.

...More at Can Companies Both Do Well and Do Good?

Leadership at these companies are making a conscientious effort to innovate and ensure that their practices are serving their financial and organizational goals. We see that more and more companies are striving to achieve organizational well-being through community engagement, employee enhancement, and generous benefits/perks packages. This push toward a well-rounded workforce can, and often will, lead toward enhanced productivity which helps boost the bottom line. Hansen et al. have shown that this is no guarantee and that there is a spectrum of achievement as each company works towards optimizing both their organizational well-being and their bottom line.

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