Category Archives: Leadership

The 3 Most Important Traits of Growth-Minded Leaders

There are endless lists of important leadership traits, ranging from being a visionary to be able to forgive others who have wronged us. There are endless lists of the traits of the most toxic leaders as well. They are all correct!

There are 3 traits, however, that determine how effective a leader will be in growing their company and developing personally and professionally.

1: Being Coachable and Open to Help

The single most important action a leader can take to be a better leader is to ask for help. Often when we start out, we mistakenly believe that asking for help is a sign of weakness. The opposite is true. Asking for help is a sign that you are secure enough with yourself, and committed with such conviction to your growth that you are open to learning what you need to know in order to make good decisions.

Once you embrace the idea that learning from others and seeking help is a sign of strength, your potential for growth is unlimited.

2: Being Open to Accountability

One of the biggest frustrations my CEO clients share is lack of accountability in their organizations. Accountability always starts with the leader. Employees must see their own leadership teams embrace accountability.

I laugh when young business owners say that they started their businesses because they didn’t want to answer to anyone else. They quickly learn that successful entrepreneurs are accountable to everyone: their employees, customers, banks, investors, partners, vendors, advisors – anyone that touches your company.

CEOs that wake up every day with the mindset, “I have to deliver today because others are depending on me” will always meet or exceed the expectations others have of them, will be seen as someone who is dependable and trustworthy, and will be known as a leader who delivers on their promises. These leaders will attract the best talent and the best customers because they live in integrity, which is the foundation of every healthy relationship.

3: Being Comfortable with Discomfort

Leadership is an endless state of discomfort. You’re constantly stepping up your game, being entrusted to guide others through uncertainty, are constantly being watched, and often face difficult situations that are beyond your control.

Leaders know that complacency and comfort are the fastest paths to obsolescence.

The best leaders possess a wide range of traits, but the potential for personal and organizational growth is limitless for those that embrace help, accountability, and discomfort.

This article was originally written by MARISSA LEVIN, entrepreneur, speaker, & globally recognized growth strategist. CEO of Successful Culture, Marissa helps CEOs master the 3 most critical aspects of business growth.

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The Leadership Qualities to Look for When Hiring a Manager

Managers have the power to make or break their organizations. Great leaders or managers have the potential to encourage their employees to reach their full potential and achieve organizational goals. Others, however, are not as great with the role and may come out ineffective or incompetent.

According to a recent article by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP), nearly every industry across the country is suffering from a leadership crisis, and hiring managers are doing very little to improve the situation.

“People rarely get appointed to senior positions based on their talent for leadership. They reach their job level as a result of internal politics. But if the wrong people are in charge, it can be disastrous for the employees and the organization,” Robert Hogan, president of a personality test provider Hogan Assessment Systems, told SIOP.

Wall Street Journal, also mentioned that nearly half of employees who leave jobs do so because of their managers or the company’s management. Since you don’t want to lose your best employees, it’s critical that you do everything you can to ensure you fill managerial positions with the right people in the first place.

As you go about your search for a new manager, keep in mind that great ones usually possess these 10 leadership qualities.



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How to Be an Effective Mentor at the Workplace

Socrates, the founder of Western Philosophy mentored Plato. Plato mentored Aristotle; Aristotle mentored Alexander the Great, and in the ancient Greek era, Alexander the Great conquered a part of the world.

Mentoring is basically training others. Anyone can be a mentor as long as he or she is ready and willing to impart important knowledge to someone so long as their ready and willing to learn and grow. For someone who’s only starting out in their careers, there’s always uncharted territory ahead, and guidance from someone who’s been there can make the difference in their next steps.

On the other hand, mentoring can also be beneficial to you as the mentor. For starters, the most effective mentors also improve their own leadership skills. As you assist your mentee, you have the chance to reflect on and articulate your own expertise and experience–something you probably don’t take time to do otherwise.

So, what does it take to become an effective mentor? Here are a few we’ve listed down:

Develop and manage the mentoring relationship.

This involves assessing your own readiness and interest and selecting someone to mentor. It’s not ideal to train someone who’s not ready for what you are about to impart. So choose someone you think is ready, who you think is capable of thriving in his or her career with your guidance.

Over time, it means working to build trust, set goals and keep the mentoring relationship on track.

Guide and counsel.

You may serve as a confidant and personal advisor to your mentee, especially as the relationship grows deeper over time. You may help him understand conflict or explore ways to deal with problems, for example. You also can advise them about behavior that is a poor fit with the organizational culture.

Model.

Just while observing you mentees pick up many things: ethics, values and standards; style, beliefs, and attitudes; methods and procedures. They are likely to follow your lead, adapt your approach to their own style, and build confidence through their affiliation with you. As a mentor, you need to be keenly aware of your own behavior as well.

Motivate and inspire.

Mentors support, validate and encourage their mentees. When you help your mentees link their own goals, values, and emotions to the larger organizational agenda, they become more engaged in their work and in their own development.

Remember that each mentoring situation is different and that you will need to shift your focus depending on each person. If you’re mentoring an up-and-coming project manager, you will need to focus on the near-term challenges and prepare her for the next step.

Mentoring is a shared responsibility, and you and your mentee will need to work together for it to be successful. And at the end of it all, when your mentee is ready to spread its wings and go out into their next step, you will feel a sense of fulfillment knowing that you had something to do with their success. One day of mentoring can change one life forever. Be that mentor.


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5 Telltale Signs Someone Has True Leadership Ability

Sometimes, the only way you’ll truly know whether the skills a leader possesses is genuine is to measure a not so great manager against the one that had you thinking often, “This is too good to be true.”

If you think your boss is some freak-of-nature and you’re the luckiest person alive, I’ll break it to you gently: He or she is most likely the kind of leader talked about by research and thought-leaders who demonstrate best-in-class behaviors in the most profitable companies on the planet.

Source: huffpost.com

They are often referred to as servant leaders, conscious leaders, authentic leaders or transformational leaders. Whatever you decide to call them, one thing is for sure: Working for a company culture under their helm releases discretionary effort across an organization. That’s good for business.

What I have witnessed in the last ten years in my own practice developing servant leaders is that such leaders shine the spotlight on other people. They don’t want the attention, and they share their power and status to benefit the people under their care.

To get practical, lets dive in to the most prevalent leadership behaviors you will find in such leaders.

1. They spread joy and drive fear away

Let me ask you an honest question: Do you look forward to going to work when you get up on a Monday morning? Do you look forward to interacting with your colleagues? Do you feel appreciated by your boss because he/she takes care of you?

If you’re nodding your head yes to any of these, you probably experience joy. Congratulations! Joy is an emotion evoked by well-being and success that’s experienced by every employee in healthy cultures under such leaders.

It’s the feeling you get in a highly-collaborative environment where people respect one another, there’s real teamwork between colleagues that are encouraging to each other, coworkers share the same values and there’s constant synergy in the air. Next thing you know, you look up and it’s 5:30pm, and the place is still buzzing with energy and excitement, and people find it hard to pull away and go home. This is joy!

And leaders set the stage and create the environment for this to happen.

2. They provide employees with meaning, purpose and belonging

In Give and Take, Adam Grant says that when people find purpose in their work it will not only improve that person’s happiness, it will boost productivity.

Give the people what they want — purpose. One way to give them that purpose, according to Grant, is to give employees the chance to connect with and meet the people they are serving.

In one research cited by Grant, three groups of employees in a university fund-raising call center were tasked to call donors to ask for contributions. One of those groups read personal stories from scholarship recipients, and how those scholarships had changed their lives. Turns out that group increased their fund-raising by 143 percent versus the other groups who just made fundraising calls as part of their duties.

Grant takes it a step further: When these same fund-raisers were given the opportunity to meet a scholarship recipient, and ask them questions for as little as five minutes, their fund-raising went up by more than 400 percent!

Grant’s conclusion? Having employees meet the very people they are helping is the greatest motivator, even if limited to a few minutes.

Employers have a competitive edge when they can give their people access to customers so they can see firsthand the human impact their work makes.

This is about having work that brings with it meaning, every day. When employees feel and know that they are making a difference in the world through the work they do–whether they’re designing apps or laying down asphalt, it increases their motivation to perform.

3. They foster a “learning spirit” within the organization to develop their people

People development is not seen as a separate retention activity enforced by HR. It’s ingrained into the mindset of servant leaders strongly committed to their people’s development. Obviously, this is good business strategy as it will increase team performance

But beyond that, developing people is a goal of leadership in and of itself. It’s a way of being. And this is how they do it:

• They identify their employees’ gifts, talents, strengths and personality types for the best job fit so that they can reach their potential.

• They champion a “learning spirit” within the organization, sending a clear message that “growing our people is one of our highest priorities.”

• They provide ongoing training, coaching and mentoring opportunities that are aligned with job purpose, performance measures, and fulfilling the organizational mission.

4. They build trust that leads to business outcomes

Let’s face it, if you are considering developing leaders, trust is a pillar your company’s leadership should stand on.

In his book The Speed of Trust, Stephen M.R. Covey highlights leadership trusting behaviors that are culturally ingrained in the structures of some great companies known for high employee engagement, including Whole Foods, Campbell Soup, and Semco.

Among those trusted behaviors are:

• Practicing accountability

• Creating transparency

• Confronting reality

• Clarifying expectations

• Listening first

This is how their leadership teams and employees interact day-to-day. Imagine the possibilities of leveraging such behaviors to increase trust across the board. Employee performance ratings go up, and as a result, your customers will notice a difference.

5. They are open and transparent in how they communicate

A clear example of this practice is modeled by Melissa Reiff, the CEO of The Container Store, which is ranked No. 49 on Fortune‘s annual list of “100 Best Companies to Work For.”

Reiff personally crafted the organizational principle of “Communication IS Leadership,” which is defined as the “daily execution of practicing consistent, reliable, predictable, effective, thoughtful, compassionate, and yes, even courteous communication.”

In its purest form, the culture of The Container Store strives for every single employee to know absolutely everything. While this can be a daunting undertaking for any company, The Container Store firmly acknowledges the power behind this principle on its website, which states “nothing makes someone feel more a part of a team than knowing everything has been communicated to them. We know that some information we share could fall into competitors’ hands, but the advantages far outweigh the risks.


This article was originally written by Marcel Schwantes, a principal and founder of Leadership From the Core, a leading provider of servant-leadership training and coaching designed to create healthy, engaged, and profitable work cultures.

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9 Steps on How To Handle Underperforming Employees

Often times, managers and supervisors have a few responsibilities that are less than enjoyable—performance evaluations. In another world, we all hope that all of our employees’ evaluation results come out positive, that they were able to grow as an individual, and have made great contributions to the organization. However, it’s not always rainbows and butterflies, there will always be instances where one or two poorly performing employees exist. This is where you’re job as a manager or supervisor becomes a little challenging.

The challenge for managers is what to do with under performers. Again and again, some organizations don’t reach their peak efficiency because they retain people who clearly are not doing their jobs. It’s easiest to ignore them and in fact that’s what usually happens. But ignoring the problem is not bliss; it’s a formula to hinder your company’s success.

It’s not always easy, especially when you’re not really keen on confrontations. But don’t worry, it’ll get easy with practice, and following these nine steps we’ve listed on how you handle a low performer.

To sum it all up, you need to keep in mind these 3C’s:

Converse. 

Before you address the issue of under performance, you need to find out what’s going on in the employee’s life. If there are personal problems going on, and the employee has a history of good performance, find a way to work around the issue. They can still be saved.

Coach.

Often times, employees under perform because they lack the necessary tools and or training. And it’s your job to provide on-the-job coaching. Talk about the issues so that the employee understands where he’s falling short. Let him devise solutions for improvement. Talk about those solutions and agree on a timetable for improvement.

Can.

If in the case that there has been no improvement despite all your efforts, then you must come to the conclusion that they are not the right fit for the job. (Note: don’t pawn an under performer off on another department; that’ll simply kick the issue over to another boss.)

The first two parts are easy, but firing an individual is definitely not. So tread carefully and work with HR on the situation, making sure you don’t hit any grounds on employee labor codes. While it’s never easy confronting individuals about poor performance, tolerating it is a failure of leadership.



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5 Obvious Signs That You Are an Inspired Leader

Successful leaders of today are expected to provide their employees with a sense of meaning in their work as well as provide an engaging workplace. Yet, according to a recent Gallup poll, 70 percent of U.S. employees are “not engaged” at work. How is this possible?

People need to feel their work matters. In order for this message to be communicated with authenticity, the leader must come from a place of emotional resonance. You have to truly believe in your employees and genuinely appreciate the contributions they make every day.

With a mindful attitude and a set of clearly defined principals, you have the power to shape your destiny as a leader at any juncture. Are you the type of leader people want to follow? Do you understand what sets extraordinary leaders apart from all the others? Inspired leadership necessitates casting away personal and psychological barriers and recognizing, cultivating, and maintaining that connection. If you unveil and remove the barriers you have placed over your heart, your paradigm for the way you see, approach and work with others will shift.

Yes, I said heart.

We all have unique goals and ideals, and to access them, you need to slow down and take a look within — and listen to your heart. You’ll find that by doing so, you become more connected with who you are and with those around you. Put your heart into your interactions with coworkers and employees, rather than looking for outward recognition as a leader. The focus is to serve the people that you are leading, not the other way around. Once you begin to incorporate Heart-Centered leadership practices, the most powerful shifts can occur in your relationships, and business outcomes.

Here are five signs of a heart-centered leader. One who leads by inspiration and encouragement, not by fear and control.

1. You maintain people’s self-esteem

Leadership requires first connecting to, then inspiring, people. When you regularly express gratitude and treat employees with respect — you lead your people by example and set them up for alignment with others. This also engenders trust. The bonds of trust can only be forged when you consistently show your team that they are valued, listened to and involved.

2. You replace blame with responsibility

This means taking the perspective of those who are doing the day-to-day work. Letting go of blaming others can begin with asking yourself some questions, such as: “What part do I play in this situation? How do my actions contribute to these problems?” Taking this further ask, “Did I exercise poor judgment? Did I do or say anything that may have adversely affected someone?”

3. You don’t assume, or judge — you come to understand

It’s amazing what can be accomplished when you have the willingness to assume that people have positive intentions. Strive to be more open-minded. Ask better questions. Being consistent in making every attempt to understand the behavior of your colleagues, customers, friends, and family — rather than automatically assuming you know what happened or what they are thinking — will yield substantial, long-term rewards.

4. You know your impact

An inspired, heart-centered leader is always cognizant of how words and actions may be interpreted. When you have the integrity and foresight to understand that everything you do and say has an impact — you’ll begin to consciously direct your energy and intentions. If you can master this, the perilous outcomes brought about by short-range thinking and impulsiveness comes to a halt.

5. You practice self-care

The biggest challenge you may have as a leader is the pressure to perform at an accelerated pace, and at higher levels, for the business to be profitable. This means experiencing a great deal of stress to achieve goals and objectives. Longer working hours, 24/7 access and fewer resources can create a mountain of pressure and stress — and because the pressure is on you to perform, you may put yourself last. However, remember there is a reason that when flying you are asked to “place your oxygen mask on yourself before helping others.” If you are not strong, mentally and physically, then it is unlikely you will be able to take care of your business and your employees. When you are healthy, focused and calm, your positive behavior can’t help but enhance employee productivity and engagement.

This article was originally written, Susan Steinbrecher, the CEO of Steinbrecher and Associates, a leadership training and executive coaching firm. She is the co-author of Heart-Centered Leadership: Lead Well, Live Well and author of KENSHO: A Modern Awakening. @SteinbrecherInc

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5 Strategies to Help Millennial Employees Become Leaders

How would you train a millennial employee to be a leader? originally appeared on Quora – the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. Answer by Jae Alexis Lee, Teacher, Mentor and Corporate Manager:

I’ve been training millennials to be leaders for a long time and I’ll let you know a few secrets that are key to turning a millennial into an effective leader:

1. Understand what drives them.

Source: Youth Village

No, I don’t mean get hip to twitter or whatever’s trending at the moment, I mean really understand their motivations. I talk to lots of millennials about their car payments, their rent anxiety, their concerns about job security and their future marketability as employees and leaders. You can’t treat someone as a cliche just because they’re a member of a generation, you have to get down to what’s actually driving the person you want to mentor.

2. Work with them to build a vision.

Source: Sylvia Browder

This is important. Once you understand what’s driving them, it’s time to talk about how to get there and how the things they’re going to be doing for you will make that happen. I’m invested in them and their growth. Of course I’m going to benefit from that, but I want them to understand the long haul and the long haul is that they’re going to be more marketable after a few years with me than they were when they started.

3. Demonstrate trust.

Source: Business Insider

For new leaders, this is vital and it’s vital that you do it from day one. You trust them before you’ve seen proof that they’re capable. You trust them because if they can’t be trusted they shouldn’t have been hired. Whatever the project is, whatever the scope of their responsibility is, you need to demonstrate to them that you trust them with an appropriate level of autonomy. No micromanaging, no excessively invasive oversight, and no treating them like furniture that’s “shadowing” for extended periods of time. Get them engaged, give them decision making capability and let them make some decisions.

4. Build trust.

Source: amazonaws.com

New leaders make mistakes. Lots of them. That’s normal. New leaders should feel like they can approach their mentors with problems, and you have to create an environment where they bring you problems early rather than hiding them.

Help them clean up the mess if they make one but don’t clean it up for them. Hold them accountable absolutely but don’t cut their legs out from under them when they make mistakes because they will make mistakes.

5. Embody the kind of leadership you expect them to execute.

Source: Spring.St

This is one of the most important things for you to do as a mentor. Young leaders are seeking a mentor to model themselves on and their leadership will be a reflection of your leadership. If there’s a disconnect between what you expect of them and what you deliver as a leader, then you’re going to lose a great deal of your credibility as a mentor and instead be seen as yet another corporate cog spouting buzzwords without genuine belief in them.

Don’t get distracted by the stereotypes, drill down into the individuals you’re mentoring and learn what makes them tick as individuals and you’ll have the keys to making them successful leaders.


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How Great Leaders Get the Best out of Their Employees

JJ Ramberg, co-founder of GoodShop.com, shares a simple tip of how a former colleague tapped into her employee’s productivity. She describes that when you encourage employees to do their best work, you help create a culture where people genuinely care. You create room for growth and learning.


 

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What to Do If You Have a Horrible Boss

Apple and Google executive, Kim Scott, details the best ways a manager can get the most out of his or her team. We all know some managers can be a nightmare to work with. When this happens, Scott has three key pieces of advice to keep you from losing your cool.

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This Is How You Inspire Your Team to Bring Their A-Game Every Day

As a manager, it’s one of your responsibilities is to lead your team to greatness. This can get a little exhausting at times, especially when difficult circumstances arise. But remember that becoming a great leader doesn’t happen overnight; it’s a day-by-day process.

There will be moments which can wear down even your most audacious employees, times where they’ll feel unmotivated and unproductive. When these moments do come, here are helpful ways you, as the boss, can do to keep your team motivated to consistently perform like champions every day.

1. Start with the man (or woman) in the mirror

The energy of your team will, of course, start from you. If you’re not excited and inspired, your employees won’t be either. Your mindset is your most important asset, so you have to continually work on it as part of your self-care regimen. Focus on creating solutions, achieving goals, and share your enthusiasm with your employees.

2. Cheer, don’t just coach

Great leaders bring out greatness in their team because they see what is possible and transfer that belief to their people. Empower your employees by letting them know you believe in what they do. Often your belief in them will directly affect their confidence in themselves.

3. Practice empathy

An old-school management practice is to give negative reinforcement to drive results. This has been proven to be ineffective, and it also creates an unhealthy work environment for everyone. By leading your team with support and empathy, you will build a stronger relationship and increased rapport with your team. Your employees will step up to the plate and deliver at the next level.

4. Don’t micromanage

Leave employees alone. That might sound counterintuitive, but backing off is a great way of motivating your team. Top performers want space to be their best, all the while feeling a real sense of trust from above.

5. Keep your doors open

Demonstrate your eagerness to support your team by having a regular one-on-one time to discuss how they are. When impromptu requests come up, regardless of how the day has gone or the deadlines looming, view it as an opportunity to empower your team members through feedback and support. These conversations could be anything from work or personal life related. Just make sure you don’t disclose any personal things about your discussion. Keep it between you two.

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Do You Know What Makes A Good Leader? (VIDEO)

What makes a great leader? Is it their potential of leading? Is it their 5 year experience in management? We’ve gone through countless books and articles that help us become a great leader to our team, but management theorist Simon Sinek suggests being a great leader requires someone who makes their employees feel secure, who draws staffers into a circle of trust. But creating trust and safety — especially in an uneven economy — means taking on big responsibility.

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6 Bad Management Habits You Need to Stop Doing to Be Successful

This article was originally published on Inc. Southeast Asia. Read more here.

Every now and then, I’m reminded of timeless leadership lessons that countless books and research studies have told us over several decades about what good leaders do and don’t do.

Just when I think we’ve turned the corner, I observe yet another downfall from either a client in a management role or a leader in the public-eye being called to the carpet in the media. Usually, the mistakes are costly, and all of them could’ve been avoided.

But eventually, the buck needs to stop somewhere. Why not now? Here are 6 habits that you, the leader, can zap into oblivion once and for all.

1. Stop gossiping

Think this toxic behavior doesn’t damage the work environment? Some negative consequences of leaders who gossip include:

  • Gradual decline of trust and morale.
  • Work productivity goes down because people are emotionally caught up in the manager’s drama, thus wasting precious company time.
  • Anxiety and tension are high as rumors circulate and people walk on eggshells without knowing what is and isn’t fact.
  • Divisiveness as people take sides.
  • Unexpected turnover and loss of good talent who left due to the toxic work environment.

2. Stop judging others

Leaders that judge others like a sport shouldn’t expect their employees to come to them for advice or problem-solving. What a judgmental attitude will do is alienate people and create a toxic environment. If this is you, your best plan of action is to stop jumping to conclusions before hearing all the facts, and start listening intently to improve your communication skills. Do this and your workers will slowly gravitate toward you as you make it safe for them to do so.

3. Stop hiding behind a mask

People want their managers to be real with them. Display authenticity, be transparent, exercise good self-awareness (understanding yourself and others), and be open to input from others, even those below you. This is not eating humble pie. It’s showing up in all your courage and leadership strength by have emotional honesty running through your veins.

4. Stop with the “it’s all about me” attitude

The type of leaders that operate from hubris are only thinking about themselves and their own needs. They typically don’t care about the things that matter to their colleagues or subordinates, and will probably get defensive when being confronted. Don’t expect an apology when you’re wronged. If this narcissistic behavior persists, address it soon through the proper channels to see how he or she responds.

5. Stop ignoring your people (and start recognizing them)

If you think praising employees has no strategic value, you underestimate the power that comes from recognizing them, especially your high performers. In fact, The Gallup Organization has surveyed more than 4 million employees worldwide on this topic. They found that people who receive regular recognition and praise…

  • increase their individual productivity.
  • increase engagement among their colleagues.
  • are more likely to stay with their organization.
  • receive higher loyalty and satisfaction scores from customers.
  • have better safety records and fewer accidents on the job.

6. Stop leading from a position of power or ego

Hubris is the cause of much conflict. In fact, know-it-all managers who think they have the best ideas and information, and use it to wield power or control over people, typically destroy morale. The general feeling of employees in one survey I conducted points to managers who aren’t able to “own” being wrong or handle being wrong properly.

Your Turn

OK, these can be challenging hills to climb for some in management roles. The first step is to always acknowledge that this is a current reality. Perhaps initiating honest conversations with trusted peers who see the damage being done from the periphery should be your first move before a 360-degree feedback process or employee opinion survey takes place.

This may have been a tough article to swallow, but take the higher road: Ask yourself the obvious look-in-mirror question, “Which of these can I commit to stop doing, so my whole team benefits from some new habits?”

This article was originally written by Marcel Schwantes, principal and founder of Leadership From the Core, a leading provider of servant-leadership training and coaching designed to create healthy, engaged and profitable work cultures.

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7 Simple Ways Women Can Become Great Leaders

This article was originally published on Inc. Southeast Asia. Read more here.

I was recently asked to speak at a national women’s organization on the topic of leadership. While I was grateful for the opportunity, I found myself struggling with some old – and what I’d thought were conquered – feelings of being an imposter.

Having arrived at my own role through an unlikely mix of luck, hard work, and invaluable support and advice from those around me, I found myself wondering how I could talk to other women about leadership when only a decade ago, I couldn’t imagine myself spending my days the way I do now.

I never dreamed of being a scientist or engineer or doctor. While my major in college was special education, my real dream was being a mother – the kind who sewed elaborate costumes, baked homemade bread, volunteered at school, walked to the library and explored museums with our kids. And that is exactly how I spent my days for almost two decades – loving every moment of it.

But when an opportunity presented itself to do something unplanned that I saw as having the potential to change the lives of others, I made the leap and metamorphosed from that stay-at-home mom into a tech startup founder and CEO.

It would be an understatement to say that I immersed myself in the deepest, longest, most rewarding learning curve of my life.

The more I considered my message, I realized my own journey was all I could share – and, with it, the lessons I’d learned for myself as I grew into my role and embraced the journey of growing our company, raising venture capital, and scaling to serve more clients.

Here are seven things I’ve learned about leadership:

1. Be authentic

Whatever your style, whatever your personality, when you embrace who you and get comfortable in your own skin, others will also feel more comfortable in your presence.

2. Anger is not a substitute for strength

Even if you are facing misogyny, disrespect, or insubordination, if you allow anger to be your fuel, your response will likely be spiteful, cruel, and unkind. Anger can quite effectively prompt us to act, but it cannot be the fuel we use to make our decisions or drive our actions.

3. Don’t gossip

As simple as it sounds, it isn’t simple at all. If you talk to your team about other people, they will not tell you what is going wrong, because they will not believe you will keep it private. If you don’t have your team’s trust, you cannot lead. You can drive, but not lead. That takes trust.

4. Kindness is not a sign of weakness

It is sometimes easy to confuse being tough with being a good leader, and there are times that toughness is exactly what is needed. But kindness comes from strength, and it is a choice that makes difficult situations easier and good situations a real win.

5. Compassion fuels loyalty

There are times when we know someone is struggling and needs us to choose their wellbeing over that of the company – whether it is relief from an overwhelming responsibility, showing understanding in the face of a terrible mistake, or accommodating urgent needs for some unexpected life event. While it will be your responsibility to mitigate the impact for the rest of the team, when you can respond in compassion, you will gain loyalty from your team that will be returned far above and beyond what might be expected.

6. Pick your battles, and then stick with it until you win

Understand what your deal-breakers are – things that absolutely must also be the values of your team. Whether it is prioritizing customer complaints or never tolerating undermining between team members, make a short list of traits or company values that are non-negotiable. When you are annoyed with a team member’s behavior, decide if it is simply an annoyance or if it violates one of these values. If it is an annoyance, let it go. If it violates something on your list, address it head-on and don’t relent until you have resolved the issue completely. If you fight every slight offense, you will be resented. If you always give in, no one will follow.

7. Integrity is a better companion than success

Pick integrity every time. No matter how tempting it is to cut corners or do what is expedient rather than what is prudent, you will eventually have to pay the price for those decisions. Better to take the hit and keep your integrity intact than choose success that is built on dishonesty or poor ethics.

This article was written by Lisa Abeyta, founder and CEO of APPCityLife. It is a corporation based in Albuquerque and New York that makes it easy for cities to develop mobile apps for their communities. @LisaAbeyta

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Here Are 10 Things You Should Do When You’re A New Boss

This article was originally published on Inc Southeast Asia. Read more here.

You’re a manager now. Congratulations! Now what?

First-time managers often face a challenge in developing the unique skills needed to lead people. It’s a journey that can seem daunting at first and is filled with traps.

I’ve trained and worked with many managers during my career and have seen patterns in what tends to be successful and what isn’t.

Here are ten tips to help new managers master what business author Henry Mintzberg once called “a practice where art, science, and craft meet.”

1. Don’t micromanage

This is a classic mistake that many new managers make. Employees need to be provided with guidance and then allowed to own their successes and failures. Trust them. In a word: delegate.

2. Change your mindset

New managers are often promoted because they were exceptional individual contributors. However, when moving into management it’s important to spend time amplifying the abilities of others instead. Recognize the contributions of others, publicly and often. It’s no longer all about you!

3. Embrace others’ ideas

Given the opportunity, your team is likely to come up with far better ideas than yours. It’s important for new managers to work with employees closely and let their ideas flourish.

When employees feel their contributions are making a difference, their engagement will go up and the company will be better off.

4. Understand politics

If your team or department is getting more budget, exposure or headcount at the expense of other teams, you’ll have a long-term challenge ahead of you politically.

Always make sure to share gains and do so in a way that benefits all teams. Conflicts arise, but can be defused by sharing improvements.

5. Don’t play games

As a new manager, you can easily get drunk with power. You’ll see early on that you can manipulate almost anyone into doing things for you. Don’t fall for that temptation.

Go the extra mile in explaining to people, with facts, why something needs to be done. Doing so eliminates the negative feelings that people can have when they feel they’ve been pushed into doing something they didn’t believe in.

6. “Manage up” properly

One of the pressures that comes with being a new manager is the feeling you need to prove that the organization is receiving a solid return on investment, so be judicious when it comes to merchandising you and your team’s results to higher-ups.

You want to celebrate successes, not grandstand.

Properly managing up has another essential ingredient — tackling as best you can rather than just tossing them up the chain. As a manager, you’re expected to solve problems, not punt them.

7. Train your replacement

Your goal should be to make your team as good as they can possibly be. This means working with them to get better at what they do, determine who can replace you someday and groom your replacement.

That’s a good thing for the organization and for your own career.

8. Devote time to the team

You know those one-on-one meetings you have to cancel sometimes? Stop.

Occasionally, conflicts are unavoidable, but show your team that they are important to you. Canceling meetings with team members sends the wrong message.

On the flip side, if they push your meetings, push back. Your number one priority is to develop the careers of your team and they need to know that.

9. Define goals

When you meet with your team regularly (you do that, right?) you should be reviewing how they’re tracking toward their goals.

When staff hit objectives, set a new stretch goal. Don’t overdo it on pressuring your team, but if you aren’t pushing at least a little, your team might start to stagnate.

10. Learn as much as you can about the team

Sometimes, a new manager doesn’t actually know how to do what their team does. If this is you, spend the time to learn.

You don’t have to know how to debug each library of code written or be an expert at machining a part out of sheet metal, but it helps to understand what people do in order to empathize with them.

This article was written by Charles Edge. He is the director of professional services at Jamf, a company that has solely focused on bringing the Apple experience to organizations since 2002. He holds 20 years of experience as a developer, administrator, network architect, product manager and CTO. He is an author of 16 books and more than 5,000 blog posts on technology, and has served as an editor and author for many publications. @cedge318

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How You Can Be a Great Leader and Not Just A Boss

 This article first appeared on Globe myBusiness. Visit their page or Subscribe to their newsletter for more business and leadership resources.

The relationship between a manager and his direct subordinate is bound by two contracts. The first contract is what is common to all employees—the job description. The role of the employee is indicated in this written contract, and it also explains the expectations and ways for him to succeed. The second contract is what psychologist and pioneer in workplace culture, Harry Levinson calls the “Psychological Contract,” which is based on the mutual trust and respect between a manager and his subordinate.

The Psychological Contract

The Psychological Contract encompasses three ideas about the manager-subordinate relationship. First, it teaches that the relationship is a true partnership. Managers see their employees not as mere subordinates but instead as the unique individuals they are. They are willing to work with their employees while helping them develop their skills without minding the possibility that they might leave their position or company for a better opportunity.

Next, it says that the relationship is honest. The best managers are able to encourage their employees to remain honest at all times. Their employees are not afraid to voice out their thoughts even at times when they have to disagree with their managers.

Lastly, the Psychological Contract suggests that the relationship involves acknowledging that both parties are human beings. Managers do not just acknowledge the output; they give regards to the process that led to the results whether good or bad. They care about the people who contributed to the tasks.

Going above and beyond the contract

Managers’ schedules are almost always full, but this is not enough reason for them to not allot some time to pay attention to their employees and establish a good rapport with them. Get to know your team on a personal level. Go beyond the topic of work, and ask them about their weekend. Acknowledging your employee’s progress can also give them encouragement so they do better. When you notice something good that your employee has done, do say so. Aside from that, reminding them of the importance of their roles and the impact they have on other people and on the company makes them feel valued.

It is important for an employer to build a strong relationship with its employees so that together they grow as individuals and as a company. Remember that your employees are not merely order-takers but they have a stake in the success of your company

Learn more about being a good leader here.

Globe myBusiness is a community for leaders and entrepreneurs of micro, small to medium businesses. They provide customizable innovative solutions designed to fit a business’ needs and help them grow. Visit their page or Subscribe to their newsletter for more business and leadership resources.

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This Is How You Should Get Unmotivated Employees Back on Track

Over the course of their careers, employees experience a series of highs and lows when it comes to work performance. When they are new hires, they’re excited to please and achieve making work easy to assign and tasks are always accomplished. The veteran employees understand the bells and whistles completely and so it seems as though they glide through the motions.

However, for those who fall in the category between new hire and veteran, they often go through work slumps and become unmotivated to work. They come into work with tired eyes and at 4 o’clock they are just counting down the last sixty minutes. Perhaps the work is stressful or monotonous. Maybe they are dealing with financial or personal problems that are affecting their focus at the office. They want to get out of the rut as much as you want them out, why not help them along the way?

Find the source

find the source

Is your employee just lazy or unprofessional? Or is there something more deeply rooted to the problem? You want to understand where they are coming from and what is causing the lack of productivity because whatever the source is, the approach to addressing it will vary. This rapport creates trust in your work relationship ad if you understand what makes your employees tick, motivating them will be second nature.

Loosen up the work environment

work from home flexitime

With much of the workforce comprising of younger people, constraints don’t sit well with them. If you give employees some freedom when it comes to when and where they work, their fidgeting is appeased and are able to balance task with time much better. More and more companies are adopting a form of flexitime where it can be implemented within the structure. If permitting, the option to work from home once a week or twice a month would surely be appreciated by everyone.

Make the work meaningful

meaningful work

When someone feels like their work adds up to nothing and is just another string of processes, they will get burned out. This turns your employees into zombies. One way to churn out productive employees is to make them see the value of their work and it’s place in the bigger picture. Demonstrate that each process, added up, is what keeps the company going. If you can help them find meaning in the work, your employees become self-motivated.

Reward and recognize contributions

rewards-and-recognition-for-employees

Now, there’s no need to have a ceremony or certificate for each booked client or sale. But recognizing top performers or major account acquisitions are worth even just a small celebration. You can make a system or metric and have a recognition of certain contributions. This is called the Carrot Principle. When an employee feels appreciated for their work, they are driven to repeat the feeling by accomplishing their tasks.

Confront potential toxicity

toxic employee

Coming full circle now, if there is a potential cancer in the workplace, you want to catch it before it spreads. If you have a happy team going, there will always be someone who wants to bring the ship down because they are unsatisfied. As a manager, you want to help this sour apple find his/her way but at the same time, you need to muffle their effects so as not to spread to the rest. It’s best to catch and address it early.

Move as a single unit

work-as-unit

Even if the specific roles in a team are distinct, it’s important to act as a unified front. If one person achieves a goal, everyone cheers. If one person loses a deal, everyone wallows (for a second) then come together to find the next lead. The camaraderie helps gives employees a sense of responsibility to the whole team so they know that if they achieve or underperform, everyone is affected.

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4 Essential Tips on How to Be a Better Leader (VIDEO)

Many believe that some people were born to be great leaders. But a lot would say that being an effective leader requires great skills that you’ll learn and develop overtime.

Even if you don’t hold a managerial position (yet!), it is still equally important to demonstrate leadership characteristics and skills in the workplace. In that sense, you’ll be able to inspire your colleagues to channel the same mindset as well.

Here’s a video from Business Insider giving us four tips on how to become a better leader.


(Source: Business Insider via Youtube)

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This Is How The Biggest CEOs Hire The Right People

Being a recruitment professional isn’t simply about testing applicants, or filling in company vacations as fast as possible. It takes years of experience and a certain kind of intelligence to separate the wheat from the chaff. It also requires a clear vision of what kind of employee is best not only for the current vacancy, but for the entire company as well.

We’ve compiled a list of insights from the big CEOs of the world on how to recruit the right people for your company. While these big names probably don’t have time to focus on every little thing in the business, getting the right talent is still a priority for them.

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs

(Source: Wikipedia)

“I noticed that the dynamic range between what an average person could accomplish and what the best person could accomplish was 50 or 100 to 1. Given that, you’re well advised to go after the cream of the cream. That’s what we’ve done. You can then build a team that pursues the A+ players. A small team of A+ players can run circles around a giant team of B and C players. That’s what I’ve tried to do. “

 

When the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs said this in an interview with BusinessWeek in 1998, he was talking about the difference between the performance between the best and the average iterations of products.

“For example, if you were in New York and compared the best taxi to an average taxi, you might get there 20 percent faster. In terms of computers, the best PC is perhaps 30 percent better than the average PC, ” Jobs said. “There is not that much difference in magnitude. Rarely you find a difference of two-to-one. Pick anything. ”

But when it comes to recruiting the right talent for your company, it pays to recruit the best of the best. In the highlighted quote above, Jobs believes an “A+ player” can be twice as productive as regular or even good hires. But one single A+ player can’t do it alone, of course.

“Some people can do one thing magnificently, like Michelangelo, and others make things like semiconductors or build 747 airplanes — that type of work requires legions of people. In order to do things well, that can’t be done by one person, you must find extraordinary people. ”

Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg

(Source: Forbes/Associated Press)

“I will only hire someone to work directly for me if I would work for that person.”

 

This is Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg one most important rule in hiring people to work for his company. He shared this to the audience of the fourth installment of his Q&A With Mark held in Barcelona in early 2015.

“In an alternate universe, if things were different and I didn’t start the company, I would be happy to work for that person,” Zuckberg elaborated. “Or if Facebook just disappeared and I had to go find something else to go do, then I’d be happy to go work for that person.”

Zuckerberg’s rule highlights two things to look out for when choosing to hire a candidate.

First, consider the values and character of the candidate. Do you think the candidate will be committed to what your company does? Will he/she fit the culture your company has established? The candidate’s resume might be impressive, but the candidate as a person might not jive well with your working environment.

Second, hire someone who you will respect as a colleague, whether the applicant will be filling in a subordinate or an executive position in the company. Otherwise, you might end up dealing with a bigger problem than just underperformance or delinquency.

Jack Ma

Jack Ma

(Source: Lifehack)

“Don’t hire the most qualified, hire the craziest.”

 

Jack Ma, the founder and former CEO of the Alibaba Group, once said this bit of cavalier recruitment wisdom in conversation with fellow billionaire Richard Branson, the founder of the Virgin Group.

That sounds [like] a smart strategy to me,” Branson said of Ma’s statement. “You need people with different ideas to make a company tick, not just a bunch of yes men.”

While qualifications do count — Ma stresses the importance of hiring people who have superior skills — it takes crazy people, people who are willing to go against what’s been established, to push for innovation. Skills can give you the expertise your company needs, but not necessarily the minds to take it to the next level.

It’s not surprising then that the 51-year-old Ma, after years of building a company worth at least $21 billion, is willing to start transitioning towards a younger (and in the eyes of many older people, “crazier”) generation of Alibaba leaders.

“The internet is a world for young people,” Ma said in 2013. “We want to give leadership to ’70s- and ’80s-era colleagues, because we believe they are much better than we are at understanding the future.”

Bill Gates (Maybe)

Bill Gates

(Source: BGR)

“I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.”

 

While there isn’t any clear proof Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates himself said these words (according this source and this website) the quote is strangely often attributed to him. Still, there is some wisdom in this maxim that may seem, at first, to promote laziness.

Being “lazy” means finding the quickest (and perhaps most efficient) way to get things done, giving 100% of your focus for a project (because you procrastinated on it), and even simply being too lazy that you defeat your own laziness.

However, simply hiring the laziest person you can find will obviously lead to disastrous results. This is not the point of the quote.

The quote is emphasizing the importance of hiring someone who is naturally inclined to find the fastest and most efficient way of accomplishing a task, as opposed to hiring a hard worker who prioritizes doing as much work without necessarily thinking about the best methods of finishing them.

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