Important Tips on Loyalty and Leadership

July 22, 2017 by  

Leadership and loyalty are two elements that can certainly go together in any organization… other words, if you demonstrate good leadership, you will engender loyalty in your people because they will be happy following you and being a part of your organization.
Here are some tips to ensure that you are an effective leader who fosters loyalty because you have created an internal architecture that encourages, supports, and respects the members of your team so that they feel appreciated, challenged and happy. When that happens you will have higher performance, more efficiency, productivity, and creativity……all good for the bottom line!

Try to Overcome fear in order to perform at a higher level:

Don’t suffer from “small pie” disease, as this leads to fear and inaction among your team members. There is always enough to go around so don’t be afraid to share and you will be enriched by that approach many fold.
Continue to feed your mind good stuff. In other words, make a habit of reading uplifting and inspiring articles at the beginning of each day, instead of diving straight into business emails or social media. Starting with more positive thoughts will set you on the right track for positive outcomes.
Reduce the negativity in your day. You can accomplish this by writing down the sorts of media you are consuming and how long you spend on it. Once you have done that, then, you can reduce the time you spend exposed to negative and stressful media and increase the positive and inspiring options available.
Earn validation. Record positive memories of times you succeeded and keep them where you can read them easily and often. That way, you can revisit them to build and maintain your self-confidence and self-esteem.
Constructive Criticism can be beneficial. When criticism is delivered in a constructive, exploratory, and supportive manner, the information can give the individual the opportunity to learn from their mistake, fix the resultant issues and consider other options for future situations so that the mistake is not repeated.
Try to follow both your purpose and your passion. This can be done when you align your work activities with your core values, as well as with the sort of word that you love. When that is accomplished, you will have a greater impact on your outcomes and hence will be more successful and happy.

Foster growth at your company:

Be a big picture thinker. There are several types of business owners: dabblers, dreamers, and leaders in pursuit of excellence. The future belongs to the learner who believes that they should continually improve their ability to lead with effectiveness. Leadership, to a large degree, is an ongoing process and the best leaders invite input from their team to find out how they are doing so that they can improve in areas of weakness.
Marketing creates awareness. Attracting customers and sales happen when you have gained the trust and loyalty of prospects who have experienced your product or services and found them to be reliable, consistent and worthwhile. This takes time, effort and cooperation from all the team members who are in contact with your ideal market. The better your people are trained and supported, given a measure of autonomy and flexibility to under-promise and over-deliver, the more repeat business and even referrals you will receive.
Determine your ideal market. Instead of espousing a desperate, take-all-comers outlook, position your company to take only the best, most appropriate clients/customers who allow you and your team to deliver your best work. That, in the end, will actually lead to more great clients and enjoyable work. In addition, it will be a better use of your prospecting time, especially if you have done your homework well.
Hone your elevator speech. Who wants to listen to something that is not truly relevant to them? Instead, develop a great brand identity that is true to who you are, then talk about it, model it and have your people do the same when they are interacting with prospects.

The road to the successful leadership of your employees:

What makes them happy? Consider why employees stay with you. Do they take pride in their work, enjoy serving customers well or just like being part of a great team? If the answer is yes to all of those questions, then you are likely doing a great job. Happy employees are more productive, efficient, and creative. In addition, they are sick less often and less likely to leave a job that they enjoy. So if you have a lot of turnover, many sick days and a general apathy in your work environment, you need to examine your leadership style and the way your run the culture of your business and try to rebuild it so that your people are happy, challenged, appreciated, supported and encouraged. This could require you to be more of a mentor, offer more autonomy, opportunities for training and advancement, as well as explaining more clearly their exact roles and responsibilities so that they truly understand just how they fit into the “big picture”.
Respect the contributions of your employees. Consider going out on jobs to learn exactly what your workers do. With this deeper understanding, you can then show respect by setting appropriate policies and rewards that reflect that understanding. In addition, the acknowledgment of those contributions goes a long way to making individuals feel appreciated and valued in their positions.
Convert your goals into reality. You can accomplish this when you involve your people collaboratively to recast the company’s goals. When they feel they have a stake in the decision making and then the outcomes, they are more likely to buy into both the process and results because they helped design the process. It is much easier to get workers invested in a cause that they embrace. Therefore, there will obviously be a much better chance that those goals will become reality when “all hands are on deck” toward that end.

Explain the big picture. When you show workers how supporting the cause will grow sales, improve outcomes and reap rewards for everyone, it is likely that that will also create a better, more productive work environment with fewer problems and conflicts. The clearer everyone is about how they fit in and what their contribution means to the end results we are all aiming for, the more likely they are to rise to the occasion and perform to the best of their ability…..a win/win for everyone!

So, if you want to lead a successful organization then considering employing at least some of the tips offered in this blog. And remember, happy, challenged, supported, encouraged, and appreciated employees are more likely to perform better, be sick less often, and be innovative. In addition, when they feel satisfied they will be less likely to seek work elsewhere…..which is always very costly.

One last tip…..have fun!

Are You an Authentic Leader?

January 18, 2015 by  

As a leader one of the most important traits you can employ is honesty and authenticity. Why? Because if your team is to trust you, they need to know that you do what you say and are who you seem. In order for them to believe in you, you must earn their trust and respect.
To do that you need to follow a few simple rules:
1. Listen actively to your team. Focus on their concerns and address them. When you truly listen to them they will feel respected and you will gain trust and rapport. In addition, a good listener will learn more because people will be more likely to share ideas and concerns when they feel they will actually be listened to.
2. Provide your team with the autonomy necessary for them to do their jobs their way….certainly some parameters and time lines may be necessary, however micro-managing is never helpful and can actually impede productivity and efficiency as well as harming engagement. The last thing you want to encourage is apathy so empower your team to make decisions and be creative.
3. Offer your team the opportunity to improve the skills they have and expand their skill set. This shows support and encouragement as well as offering future opportunities for advancement or an increase in responsibilities which can challenge them and increase engagement and loyalty. Happy employees who feel appreciated will be less likely to leave the job and will experience less downtime. They also tend be more innovative and productive….a win/win for everyone!

So how will your team know you are authentic?
1. Authentic leaders are self-aware. They are not afraid to show their real selves to their followers. Their behavior is consistent no matter the situation or the location. Finally, they don’t cover up mistakes rather they are accountable.
2. Authentic leaders are mission driven and focus on results. The goals of the organization come before their own self-interest. Those goals have been collaboratively created so everyone is on the same page and buying into the achievement of them.
3. Authentic leaders lead with their heart and their mind. They are direct and honest, yet empathetic. They are not afraid to show vulnerabilities to connect with their followers. They are accepting of the fact that we are all human and therefore mistakes are made…but those are opportunities to learn.
4. Authentic leaders focus on the long-term because they are strategic planners and big picture thinkers. That does not mean they do not set short term goals, it just speaks to the fact that authentic leadership requires the ability to have a vision and be able to clearly articulate it to your team. This type of leader takes the time to nurture his/her followers, which generally pays huge dividends in the long haul as it develops inner purpose in the employees who feel acknowledged and supported as well as listened to when they make suggestions or voice concerns.

If you can relate to the tips shared here, you are doing a great job! If not, at least consider employing these strategies with your team and you will be able to reap the benefits of authentic leadership.

5 Tips for Preventing Unproductive Team Conflict

September 11, 2014 by  

Healthy competition within a team can be a motivating force, however it can also cause conflict that can tear groups apart. Finding just the right balance can move a team from mediocre to sensational. However, the competitive desire to succeed and win can drive some to cheat. We have all experienced having an idea shared casually in the staff lounge, later presented by someone else as theirs.

So how do successful teams spin competition into innovation?
1. Start with the right team:
Building complementary, collaborative teams of individuals is the best way to prevent conflict before it begins. Introduce assessments to develop a team with diversity in both personalities and skills.
2. Celebrate differences:
Diversity can bring strength and innovation to the team. It can actually boost individual confidence and encourage collaboration. When employees recognize and leverage the differences in the group, they will experience less friction in their collaborative efforts. Diverse perspectives create more problem solving opportunities and more unique outcomes. Encourage experienced team members to share their expertise with younger employees and younger employees to teach older generations about social media and new technologies.
3. Share common goals:
A high performance team needs more than just the right chemistry they also require the alignment of common goals. These goals need to be clearly defined to be certain everyone is on the same page. With all eyes on the final goal, team members will be less likely to get caught up in short term disputes.
4. Capitalize on individual strengths:
Effective teams know how to combine individual results into a successful group effort. Maintaining a healthy dose of competition keeps a project from stagnating. Inevitably, somebody will come up with a better idea or get the work done before others. Focus these individual achievements into a strong drive for higher accomplishments for everyone. Team members with the right skills will see how their individual strengths can enhance another team member’s idea….improving the final outcome for everyone.
5. Establish team checkpoints:
Measuring progress along the way provides value to that original goal. This approach helps the team continue to share the same goal but also allows for re-evaluation if necessary. Checkpoints give team members an opportunity to voice their concerns throughout the project. Keep in mind these are team checkpoints, are not individual progress reports. Successful teams appreciate that the desired outcome is dependent upon the collaborative sum total of everyone’s contribution.

Strong teams are composed of a diverse group of individuals with specific roles all working toward the same goals. Along the way they are able to solve problems, resolve conflict and accomplish those goals. They recognize that each member has a valuable purpose to perform and know that they could not accomplish their team project alone. Unlike rival companies, team members can channel competition into mutual gain. Using diversity to drive success takes competition from conflict to innovation.

Building a Culture for Success

March 18, 2014 by  

In order for any business to be successful it must first start with Effective Leadership and include a commitment to the development and maintenance of an internal architecture that fosters autonomy, mastery, and purpose.
I The leader sets the tone for an organization so they must be:
1. Effective Communicator: clear, open and honest and must practice active listening in order to establish strong, lasting relationships and understand the needs and concerns of your people…who are your most valuable asset.
2. Forward looking in their approach to business: in order to be open to new initiatives and opportunities and willing to take risks. Open to suggestions and innovations.
3. Competent: able to do their job well
4. Honest: the basis for respect, trust and rapport
5. Inspirational: elicit enough curiosity so that people would be willing to follow you just to see what you are going to do and where you are going
6. Intelligent: show decisiveness, pragmatism, and knowledge, people need to feel confident that the leader steer the ship well
7. A Mentor: leaders must be willing to share expertise and guide their teams to higher levels of performance by leveraging their gifts and offering opportunities for advancement and the acquisition of improved or greater skills.
8. A good Delegator: knowing to whom and what to delegate is essential, as the best leaders delegate the most.
9. Accountable and reliable: speaks to honesty, but people need to know that when one says they will carry out a promise, they do it! Once trust is lost, so is credibility and both are very difficult to rebuild.
10. Exemplify your aims and goals: the leader must walk the walk not just talk the talk because if he/she does not model their philosophy and approach why would the rest of the organization do so. We get the behaviour we tolerate, so if we commit to an environment of respect, support, encouragement and acknowledgement, we must practice it!
II Culture is established within the vision of the leader and he/she must strongly commit to its development and maintenance. It should employ the following principles:
1. Autonomy: assigning the job not the tasks. In other words, allowing the team member to do the job their way. When they are empowered to do that they feel more self-confident, a higher level of self-esteem and will likely rise to the occasion and fulfill their role with high achievement. Certain parameters may be outlined and a time line will likely be provided however, no micromanaging should be exercised.
2. Mastery: providing people with the opportunity to improve the skills they have, and/or offering them the chance to expand their knowledge into new areas, shows support, encouragement and respect. The employee will feel appreciated and valued and realize that new prospects may arise due this expansion of their talents.
3. Purpose: when autonomy and mastery are offered to employees they feel supported and encouraged. These emotions often engender loyalty and help to develop an inner purpose or drive which becomes motivation to achieve more for the company. They are usually happier and when that is evident productivity, efficiency and creativity increase…all are good for the bottom line!

Organizations which espouse this sort of respectful, supportive, acknowledging culture will have a higher happiness factor, less turnover, more innovation, and less down time. The end result will be a results oriented work environment that people like to contribute to, enjoy working in and will therefore perform at a higher level.

Remember: Leaders light the way, if they are not committed to building and maintaining this sort of corporate culture, it will not happen! However, if they are, the business will grow and flourish and enjoy a successful and long term existence.

What Are the Traits of a Great Manager?

April 16, 2013 by  

Most of us can recognize a great manager, so why is it so hard to find one?
Almost everyone in business remembers that one special manager from their past who exemplifies the norm, commanded our respect, and treated us respectfully, even in the most difficult situations.

Here is a list of the 10 functional traits of a great manager:
1. Leadership: the culture of the team is set by the leader, if he/she is supportive, encouraging, acknowledging, decisive and competent; the team will be productive, goal oriented and engaged.
2. Delegation: the best leaders delegate the most…they choose the right person for the right job, then allow them to run with the ball, no micro-managing, just appropriate direction, time lines and support as necessary.
3. Competence: good managers exhibit expertise in their field, make productive decisions, and are open to outside the box thinking.
4. Set clear achievable goals: unrealistic expectations do not work for anyone, they only create frustration. A good manager guides his/her team members toward achievable milestones and reviews accomplishments and possible improvements with constructive criticism, support and encouragement.
5. Recognition: great managers acknowledge accomplishments, gives credit where credit is due…in this way, self starters are recognized for their efforts.
6. Active Listener: in order to get to know their team well and be able to lead them effectively, the manager must practice active listening…the key to the development and maintenance of good relationships.
7. Empathic: having the ability to “walk in another person’s shoes”, and to have insight into the thoughts, and reactions of others when facing change is key in today’s fast moving world of new technology. Empathy requires the suspension of judgment of another’s actions or reactions, while understanding them, and treating them with sensitivity, respect, and support.
8. Honesty: never lie to your team, trust is a most important aspect of good relationships and once it is broken, it is most difficult to repair. So be able to walk the walk and admit mistakes…it shows you are human!
9. Sense of Humor: life is way too short not to be able to laugh at ourselves…having some fun at work is a good idea, happy employees are usually more engaged and creative.
10. Keep your Cool: A great manager is an effective communicator and a composed individual, with a proven tolerance for ambiguity. He/she never loses their cool, and is able to correct the team members without emotional body language or comments.

Whole books have been written on this subject. Great managers must have the necessary technical skills; however they also must have excellent people skills.

Now that you understand the traits required in a great manager, perhaps it will not be so hard to find one.

5 Strategies to Ensure a Successful Team

September 22, 2012 by  

Getting everyone on the same page is certainly key to effective team outcomes and that originates from honest, forward thinking, inspiring, competent leadership. In addition the following elements would do much to ensure that the aims and goals of the group are achieved with harmony and efficiency.

1.Establish the conditions for success…..determine the skills necessary to accomplish your goals and then choose the team members according to those needs, abilities and personalities.

2.Establish clear goals….if the team does not know what is expected, in other words what they are striving to do, it is most difficult to achieve those outcomes. Various perspectives can be integrated in a collaborative approach to the teamwork necessary to successfully complete the elements required to reach the desired goal.

3.Create a decision-making process……the role of the leader is to facilitate the process with focus, decisiveness, and motivation. Time lines need to be included in this strategy, as well as specific assignments of responsibility. Again, clear lines of communication and respect for each team member must be employed.

4.Establish expectations…..the leader, together with the team, must articulately outline the rules, procedures, and structure that will allow everyone to participate bringing their skills into play to benefit the entire team effort. Differing opinions, approaches etc. should not be discounted without proper exploration of their value so that everyone feels respected, supported and acknowledged.

5.Open communication….an environment that invites a collaborative approach to projects is essential for problem solving, conflict resolution, and the successful achievement of common goals. Again, the leader sets the tone, however each team member must buy into the respectful treatment of colleagues in order for happiness, creativity and productivity to occur.

Building and managing a team is hard work. A key factor for a team’s effectiveness is to make sure everyone in the organization understands the purpose of the team. Without support from everyone, especially the Leader, the team is likely to fail. Therefore, in order to ensure successful outcomes; assess each individual, set goals, create a decision making process, establish norms, and have open communication.