Contribute first

At the start of a recent leadership development program with a group of emerging leaders here in Denver, Colorado, I asked the group how they would know if the 9-month program would be successful.

What would success look like for them individually?

Here are some of their responses:

"Success is making a positive impact in the lives of our staff, clients and all members of our organization… empowering people."

"I measure my personal success through the accomplishments of my team."

Smothering feedback with positives

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want you to be ruthless.

The challenge for most people is that they don’t want to hurt others’ feelings and in the process they provide feedback that is so fluffy that the true point is never stated.

This results in a lack of clarity of the message.

If you are going to sandwich your feedback with positives, make sure your constructive feedback is clear.

General Praise Creates Resentment

Here's a real life situation of a manager providing general praise to a team member.

Manager's email to team member:

"Good job Jordan. Keep up the good work!"

Team member's verbal response to the email:

"Shut up jack a$$. I'm not on your fifth grade soccer team. I'm a professional."

Would You Work for You? Part 2

There are two common and costly mistakes leaders make that can result in a loss of credibility and trust.

MISTAKE 1: Getting caught up in the Popeye Syndrome – “I am what I am.”

The implied message here is “I am the way I am and if you don’t like it, who cares?”

Would You Work for You?

Have you ever respected any leaders whose words did not match their actions? Have you ever had respect for a leader who preached personal values, yet behaved differently?

The fundamental component of People-First Leadership™ is to Lead by Example. This is the core  — the component that will either establish your credibility or kill it. Just remember: Lack of credibility will prevent you from earning commitment and trust from your team members. Without that, there is no leadership.

Team in Name Only? Or Real Team

Team in Name Only

  • Unclear purpose, unclear agenda
  • Individual egos, goals, and silos first
  • Fear of debate, how others will react
  • Meetings are a distraction from "real work"
  • Avoid your peers
  • Rely on leader to integrate, accountability

Real Team

5 Quick Communication Rules for All Leaders

Rule #1: Do not avoid the difficult conversations. Your people will know, and you'll lose credibility in their eyes.

Rule #2: Everything you communicate can be done in a way that maintains or enhances a team member's self-esteem.

Rule #3: Own your feedback. Stop saying "we" think and start saying "I" think.

Rule #4: Ask for input.

Rule #5: Communicate what you know and what you don't know.

What Will You Stop Doing? (Part 2)

In a recent blog post I stated that the number 1 reason why senior leadership teams aren't more strategically focused is....

"There isn't enough time."

And, you'll know your team isn't strategically focused if you spend the majority of your time doing what I call the "Round Robin" - where you go around the conference room table and everyone gives an update about their area that almost no one else cares about.

Just Ask...

Have you ever wondered what is motivating to your people?

It's important to know, because as leaders, we need to tailor everything we do based on our team members' preferences and priorities.

I was in a team building workshop last week, and one of my participants asked, "...but how do we know what motivates our team members?"

I simply replied, "Just ask."

Here are some questions you might ask your team members and co-workers to better understand their needs and aspirations.

1. What two or three aspects of your work do you enjoy most?

What Stifles Conflict in Your Organization?

Healthy conflict. Dialogue. Debate. Too often teams avoid it.

Why?

Here are three reasons.

Pages