Tip 24: Stop Hiring People "Just Like You!"

One of the costliest mistakes I see teams make is when they hire people who are just like they are. This, more often than not, happens on executive teams where the primary leader has a very dominant personality.

The problem is that it creates a culture where certain behaviors are rewarded and other much needed behaviors in the organization are criticized. It also breeds "group thinking."

So, how do you avoid this costly situation?

Tip 23: Own Your Feedback

One of the most frustrating experiences I have had when interacting with others is when I receive feedback from someone who decides to use "softeners" instead of being direct in his or her communication. These "softeners" come in the form of:

  • saying "we" when you really mean "I"
  • using words such as "kinda", "sortof", and "right"
  • being indirect in asking for something by saying "would you mind..."

These "softeners" often result in ambiguity and confusion about a person's intent. Effective communicators and influencers, on the other hand:

Tip 22: 3 Simple Steps to Providing Feedback

One of the critical communication breakdowns I see teams make is not providing others with feedback.

For some reason, this is one of the hardest things for people to do in the work place. I am not entirely sure why, except to say that people either don't know how to provide feedback to others, it can be very uncomfortable, or both.

Team members want feedback - both positive and constructive. But it has to be delivered in a timely manner and in a way that is specific enough so that people understand the behaviors that need to be changed.

Tip 21: Courage Not Conformity

I have spoken a lot in recent blog posts about courage and how it is such an important leadership characteristic. But courage is also an important team member characteristic.

Earl Nightengale once said that, "The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice...it's conformity."

Tip #20: The "Commander's Intent"

When army officers issue an operations order, they include a statement in the order called "Commanders Intent." The purpose of this statement is to provide people with guidance so that decisions can be made and action can be taken in the face of ambiguity.

The same can be applied in the work place. If you are a leader, make sure your people understand the overall purpose of the task at hand. If you are a team member, take responsibility for understanding how your task fits into the bigger picture.

Add clarity in the face of ambiguity. Understand your "manager's intent."

Tip #19: Engage in Conflict. You'll Save Time.

People often look to time management techniques when forced to do more with less. But, consider a different approach. Consider engaging in conflict to save time.

Tip #18: How do you make someone feel like they matter?

  • Develop awareness of how you treat others. Our perceptions and biases are often so ingrained that we don't recognize how they impact our behaviors. Spend some time considering how you treat people who are different from you. Go beyond gender and ethnicity and consider how you treat others who are older, younger, with varying shapes and sizes, etc.
  • Involve others in solving problems and making decisions. Don't try to solve a front line problem without asking asking/involving someone who works on the front line.

Tip #17: Professional Goals Should Be Collaborative

I work with clients every week to help improve engagement, collaboration, retention, and productivity. And I know that when the term "performance management" comes up everyone either starts laughing or running.

Tip #16: Retaining Winning Talent

How can you help retain winning talent?
• Help your leaders understand that retaining people is not an "HR" problem, but a leadership problem. In most cases, people leave their managers, not their organizations.

Tip #15: Doing More with Less

During tough economic times, we are often asked to do more with less. How can you help your team be more productive?
• Stay clear of turf wars and politics. Focus on team goals and not just your individual job responsibilities. Think beyond your job description. Break down the barriers and silos between teams and sub-teams.
• Clarify roles and responsibilities with your manager, and make sure that everything you are working on is aligned with departmental goals and strategic objectives of the organization.

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