L2L: How To Be The Best Boss

How To Be The Best Boss

How To Be The Best Boss [Infographic] by the team at Computers In Personnel Ltd.

How to Connect With Your Team When You Don’t Have Time

Connecting With People

“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.”  ~Carl Sandburg

Having The Time To Connect

A client and I spent about 50 minutes during a recent session talking about all the things he was concerned about—meetings, motivating, and accomplishing the goals and objectives for his team. He had developed a good plan and way ahead, but something was still troubling him.

Toward the end of our call, he said, “You know, I just do not have time to connect with my people.”

“Brad,” I said, “We have talked for about an hour about how you can be a better leader.  Most everything we’ve talked about can be delegated, especially the technical work.  The one thing that can’t, however, and the thing that is the most important thing in helping you become a great leader, is connecting with your people personally, on a regular basis. You just can’t delegate that.”

He said he had never considered that.

Connecting with People 

In his book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You, John Maxwell talks about the Law of Connection, and that successful leaders are always the initiator of connections.

In it he says, “They take the first step with others and then make the effort to continue building relationships.”

So how does a busy leader, who feels that they don’t even have time to take a lunch break, find the time to make that personal connection with their team? (I feel that this is the MOST important thing they do!)

Coach and author of the book There’s Not Enough Time….and other lies we tell ourselves, Jill Farmer, says it starts with getting intentional:

“There’s not going to be a magic windfall of more time falling from the sky. It’s a matter of refocusing attention and intention.”

Getting Personal

3 Things To Try to Make It Happen

1) Hone those delegation skills.

If you are a perfectionist (or a recovering one, like me), you know that no one can accomplish tasks quite like you can. After all, by the time you show someone else how to do something the way you want it done, you could have it already finished. This is a common complaint I hear all the time.

But consider this: If you don’t delegate, they don’t learn.

You only grow your team or organization when they learn to do things without you doing it for them.  Time spent up front, teaching and coaching them to accomplish tasks that they can not only learn to do, but will help their growth, is well worth the investment.

2)  Try bagging it.

Try hosting a brown bag lunch in your office, if you have the space, or in a conference room if you don’t. Invite one team at a time, or mix it up to help people connect with people from different teams. Tell them to bring their lunch—it’s informal.

This isn’t about work, so you don’t have to prepare anything, but you might invite them to ask you questions if they desire.

If you are an introvert, and don’t do well with chit-chat, ask them a couple of questions such as: “What would you do if you couldn’t have this career?” or “If money were no object, what’s the one thing you have always wanted to try?” You will be surprised at how little you have to say and how much you learn about people.

 3)  Block out the time

When you have an important meeting, you schedule it on your calendar.  Since these are important meetings, schedule them just as you would any other meeting.  Block out a few minutes every day, or even twice a week, to visit a different work team.  Even if you just to stop and say “Hello, how’s it going?”–that’s a connection.

By scheduling it in small time increments, you don’t have to worry about the day getting away from you and realizing a week has gone by without connecting with anyone on a personal level.  You might want to add a few minutes in to take a walk, or have some quiet time to yourself (really?).

Schedule at least one 30-minute meeting with your direct reports once a month, depending on how many you have.  One executive I know schedules all her team members for an hour with her once a quarter, because that is the time she can afford.

Time Is On Your Side

Nothing can replace the precious time you spend with your team–it affects morale, productivity and your business culture.  It can raise a team from one that is mediocre to one that excels in pushing your organization to the next level.

Earl Nightingale said:  “Don’t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use.”

What ideas and recommendations have you used to help you make some time to connect with your people? How have these benefited you, your team, and your results? i would love to hear your thoughts!

******

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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

———————–
Susan (Chandler) Foster

Susan C. Foster is an Master Certified Coach & Owner of Susan Foster Coaching
She coaches & facilitates in Leadership, Motivation & Building Great Teams
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Web | Blog

Image Sources: 4.bp.blogspot.com

The Navy SEAL Experience: Leadership Lessons From Extreme Training

Navy SEAL Extreme Experience

When you need to recharge after months of grueling work, where do you go on vacation? Do you take a trip to a tropical island, a golfing paradise, or somewhere with a little culture?

All of these options may relax and refresh you, but if you’re looking to return to work with the feeling that you can go beyond the preconceived notions of your own limits, you may want to rethink your destination.

Becoming a Fearless Leader

In December 2011, I decided to get as far outside my comfort zone as possible by signing up for Extreme SEAL Experience, a small company south of Norfolk, Virginia, that gives civilians the opportunity to train like U.S. Navy SEALS.

This idea was born out of a desire to see what it meant to train like the most talented, determined, and fearless people in the world.

I knew I would face fears of heights, injury, water, doing something I might not be good at, and failure — my greatest fear in the world. But it also meant that I could become a better version of myself, which would ultimately benefit my company and teammates.

3 Ways to Becoming a Better Leader

Here are three ways ESE made me a better leader:

 1. It Forced Me to Take Challenges Head-On

ESE includes a physically demanding 24-hour-period with no sleep called “Hell Day” as a test of mental strength. It was grueling, but I made it through.

Earlier this year, when I had the opportunity to integrate a new methodology into a strategic relationship with one of our largest clients, I had nine days to build a team and execute at the highest level possible.

I had recently graduated from the Design Thinking Boot Camp at Stanford University, and I learned that there was a chance to apply design thinking to differentiate my company. We had meetings at 5 a.m. for nine straight days. It was our own personal “Hell Week.”

Despite making tons of mistakes along the way, there wasn’t a moment I thought we’d be unsuccessful. It didn’t matter that we were new to the process. I built a strong team and executed. We differentiated ourselves with a Fortune 50 client by ignoring our fear of failure and executing our goals. Now the client is using design thinking in its organization.

 2. It Encouraged Me to Make Decisions and not Dwell on Every Detail

Navy SEALS live with elevated risk as they’re frequently in harm’s way. As a result, ESE training teaches you to become incredibly aggressive so you can handle putting yourself in harm’s way. The course trains you to take risks, accept consequences, and move on.When I returned from nine days of training, I literally couldn’t sit still. I needed to do something or go somewhere.

The hardest thing, however, was coming back to corporate life and sitting through a meeting where people couldn’t make decisions.

You see, in ESE training, you have to make multiple critical decisions within seconds, and you know that your decisions affect not only your own life but also the lives of others. After the course, life at the office was vastly different.

I would have people come to me with complex problems. After telling them to go for the best option, they would want to discuss all the alternatives again. My typical response was: “I don’t care; do it.” Now I have a slightly more balanced approach, but I’ll always keep that willingness to take risks with me.

 3It Taught Me to Put Myself Last

Before my experience, a friend and Navy SEAL coached me, “When you finish a mission, make sure you are dead last to the showers.” His advice was invaluable. You always take care of team members and equipment first. Then you can take care of your own needs.

The profound level of teamwork and unity that develops among people who are truly selfless generates amazing results. This is rarely found in a corporate environment, but it’s a staple of the environment in which the SEALs operate.

My philosophy of being a leader has always been that it’s my responsibility to set direction and remove any roadblocks that stand in the way of my team.

I try to work for them instead of them working for me. That’s personal leadership.

While you may not get evaluated on a yearly performance review, you know in your heart whether you’re a good example of personal leadership. I’m fortunate to have learned that from the best, and I try to apply this to at least one situation every day.

Facing My Fears

Fear often paralyzes people into complacency. It keeps leaders from realizing achievements they never thought possible, and — worst of all — it prevents great things from happening. SEAL training taught me to face my fears head-on and smile in the glory of knowing I conquered them. It taught me the power of critical decision-making and how to conquer my next challenges.

You have one life to live, so live it boldly no matter what your fears are. You need to apply yourself at all times. If there’s one thing I learned from ESE, it’s to never stop pushing yourself.

So, I’ll ask you again: Where are you going on your next vacation?

******

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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

———————–

George N. Hines

George Hines is the Chief Information Officer and Head of Innovation at GES
He has 20 years of experience in various B2B companies
Email | LinkedIn | Google+ | Web

Image Sources: adamtglass.com

Leadership and Conflict: Deal With It Now or Pay For It Later

No one likes conflict (no one normal, at least). The feeling your body gets when it knows you have to address the awkward situations, the humongous elephant in the living room, or the long dreaded “talk.”

Dealing with conflict can sap the energy out of you, increase your stress, decrease your performance and your productivity.

In some cases, experiencing conflict can make you feel down right ill.

Labels and Leadership

It’s funny how some people are labeled or referred to as conflict – when in reality no one (in their right mind) would say they are conflict chasers. So now that I’ve merely reinforced what you already knew about conflict (that it stinks); why in the world am I writing about the importance of dealing with it?

My answer is simple; dealing with conflict is a mandatory part of leadership.

The Danger of Not Dealing with Conflict

Conflict can be like a virus; it will continue to aggressively spread as long as it is unattended to or passively addressed. As leaders we cannot afford to take passive approaches to dealing with conflict, nor can we avoid conflict and escape it’s impact.

As a good friend said recently,  “Let’s face it, awkward conversations are awkward. There’s never a time when they will not be awkward.”

This is often the approach many take when it comes to dealing with conflict;  I call this the “wait for the right time approach.” With this type of thinking, we convince ourselves that we’re trying to do what’s best by being considerate of the situation. Look I’m not saying be inconsiderate and ignore opportunities to best handle situations.  What I am saying is handle the situation! And handle it as quickly and diligently as possible.

When conflict is left unattended or avoided, it usually spreads its influence,  increases its intensity,  and deepens its complexity. Much like forest fires, un-addressed conflict will continue to cause more damage while becoming more difficult to handle.

Seeing Conflict from a Leader’s Perspective

While there are serious dangers to un-addressed or avoided conflict; a leader must also see conflict in the way that few are able to see it; as a necessary part of progress and growth. Leaders must remember that although conflict should not go unattended or avoided, it should also not be prevented.

Let me clarify: Conflict for conflict sake should be prevented and avoided at all cost because there is nothing of value in that.

However,  conflict for the sake of going through the healthy friction necessary for developing clarity and cohesiveness is essential to any team or organization. I have seen leaders and groups suffer because they did not understand this concept. They would have conflict, not deal with it, experience the consequences of doing nothing, and as a result try to prevent future conflicts from happening (which usually created conflicts anyway).

As a leader you must be able to recognize healthy conflict and unhealthy conflict AND be committed to addressing them appropriately and in a timely manner.

Practical/ Unorthodox Ways of Dealing with Conflict

1. On the count of 3. 1…2…3…GO!

If you find yourself avoiding and constantly putting it off. Don’t give yourself time to thinking about it..do it! Schedule a text message to request a time to speak with the person or better yet, just hit send now! Or pick up the phone and just dial their number and don’t give yourself time think about it (you’ll have enough thinking to do when they pick up). While there could a right time, there’s rarely ever a perfect time.

2. Create a Healthy Culture for Awkward Conversations

Have team members learn and practice critically critiquing team ideals and approaches together. Recognize and encourage individuals who ask the tough questions and constructively test the status quo of thinking. Pass on the mantra, “An awkward conversation will always be awkard…get use to never getting use to it.”

3. Allow Passion a Voice in the Room

Often people who engage in conflict are aggressive and passionate about their thoughts and views. Recognize passionate people’s passion, tell them that you value what they have to say because you value that they care.

Often this can reduce tension in the room because overly passionate people often don’t think people hear them or care about the issue as much as they do. This will help them see that you’re not enemies, but teammates fighting for the same cause

4. Address Conflict In a Solution Oriented Manner

Too often people say they’ve addressed conflict among team members or people by mentioning the issue publicly in an announcement to the group. This is talking about conflict not addressing conflict.

The goal is not to say, “I said something about it” but to see the conflict resolved to the best of your abilities.

Usually this means first addressing individuals on an one on one basis where dialog can take place.  In the context there should be more questions than statements being made to the individual with the goal of getting as much context about the situation as possible. Keep details of conversations confidential which allow people to really talk.

Address and correct accordingly, but leave the room valuing the individual no less as a result of your talk. This approach shows your personal care and your professionalism, which will help individuals see the importance and the benefit of addressing issues well.

Remember, dealing with conflict is one of the non-negotiables of leadership. Deal with them now, so you don’t have to pay for them later. I only prefer to pay for things that I actually want; I can assure you that conflicts are not on my wish list.

So I choose to deal with them instead!

So how do you deal with conflict as a leader? Do you tend to avoid it at all cost? Or do you tend to deal with it quickly? What are some ways that you can learn to better deal with conflict in the workplace that will yield better performance by everyone? I would love to hear your thoughts!

******

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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

———————–
Dr. Tommy Shavers

Dr. Tommy Shavers is President of Tommy Speak LLC. and Unus Solutions Inc.
His lenses are Teamwork, Leadership, and Communication
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Web | Books

Image Sources: brainalchemist.com

Practical Leadership: Addressing the Ebola Scare with Your Workers

Killing over 4,500 Africans in West Africa, the Ebola epidemic continues to send shock waves and frenzy as it recently touched American soil.

Even though two nurses are in stable condition, and the virus seems pretty contained, many Americans are still very afraid.

Schools are sending children home, and employees are reluctant to report to work. While the fear is very palpable and understandable, a plan to diminish fears must be employed in order to help others move through this time. There are many ways to address the Ebola scare with your workers. Consider using these different tactics in order to help put their minds at ease.

Addressing the Ebola Scare with Your Workers

On-staff support and information

Many members of the general public are very misinformed when it comes to dealing with Ebola, including those at your company. It is important to make sure that the staff is well-informed. They need to know the facts about the virus including how to contract it and how it travels. In addition, if people are still very frightened, consider the facilitation of a staff support group with a counselor or psychotherapist.

There is strength in numbers. It helps puts others at ease when they know their fears are shared and totally natural. If in-staff support isn’t available (or, frankly, necessary) for your employees, addressing the facts with your workers at a group meeting would be a wise decision.

The big picture

President Obama reminded American citizens about how more people die from the flu on a yearly basis as opposed to those who’ve died from Ebola. There is one known American death due to the Ebola virus. There are thousands of Americans who’ve died from the flu.

The flu season comes every single year, and while many die from the flu, many people work through the symptoms and return to a clean bill of health. To help keep everything in the right perspective, remind workers of the statistics and how low the likelihood of contracting Ebola is.

Precautions

Obviously, healthcare professionals will have different procedures to follow from those in professions outside of the medical field. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to update the protocol for workers dealing with patients with Ebola. When treating Ebola patients, it is imperative for workers to cover their skin.

Workers must wear bio-hazard suits. It is no mystery that there were a few mistakes that went against CDC protocol when workers dealt with the Dallas patient with the Ebola virus. Mistakes are extremely dangerous, so it is critical for workers to take all the necessary precautions and follow protocol to the letter. This step is not only for the safety of all involved, but also brings peace of mind.

As a leader, it is your job to understand how fear and uncertainty affect your people and be the person who helps calm those fears. Having the right information at the right time and disseminating it carefully is not only a smart thing to do, it is also your responsibility.

**********

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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

———————
Robert Cordray

Robert Cordray is a freelance writer with over 20 years of business experience
He does the occasional business consult to help increase employee morale
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Web

Image Sources: lettera43.it

On Authentic Leadership – Three Foundational Elements for Knowing Yourself

Authentic leadership is a grand, worthy, and potentially overwhelming goal for any leader to attain. Based on more than 16 years as a leadership coach and consultant, I’m convinced that authentic leaders are the best leaders in any industry sector. For growing leaders, the goal of being an authentic leader is both energizing and inspiring. Yet all too often our human nature and the battle against our doubts and fears make it seem an almost impossible goal to attain.

Over the next set of articles, let’s explore the foundational elements of leadership authenticity. The first and most important element is to know yourself, and this idea encompasses three major points.

Clarify Your Priorities

You can pause right now and assess whether you’re living in alignment with your passion, purpose, and personality. At the time of my capture after my plane was shot down in Vietnam, I was just a typical single 24-year-old exuberant pilot who had largely ignored such weighty issues. Partly because of my solid spiritual upbringing, however, I believed deeply that my life was guided toward a divine purpose. I also was passionate about my work. Since the age of five, I had felt destined to fly and to be some type of warrior. My choice of a military career as a fighter pilot was also well aligned with several of my innate personality strengths: bold, take charge, adventurous, and challenge-driven.

After my capture, I definitely had doubts and fears about what the next hours and days might bring, but there were no second thoughts. I had known the risks, I had made my choices, and I was committed to my cause.

In short, I was authentically living “on purpose.” That clarity helped me to stand firm to my values of duty, honor, and country in the days, months, and years ahead.

Connect with Your Purpose and Passion

A sense of purpose fueled by passion is essential for true success. It’s fine to set your sights on any number of worthwhile goals, such as attaining a certain position of influence or making enough money for a comfortable retirement. But all of these achievements will be hollow if they don’t align with an overall purpose that holds up under life-and-death scrutiny.

Clarity of purpose sharpens focus, lifts confidence, and promotes fulfillment. Unfortunately, many people are not living on purpose.

Either they don’t know how to uncover their purpose, or they lack the motivation to search for it. No wonder they lack energy and zest!

Hugh Massie, one of my strategic business partners, didn’t stop searching until he discovered his purpose. Hugh was working for a world-renowned consulting company as a successful CPA in Singapore and Thailand when he felt drawn to educate people on finances. He moved back home to Sydney, Australia and started his own financial services business. It was successful, but within a few years he realized that he had a more specific calling: to teach people how their natural personality responses, such as fear and risk-taking, influence their financial decisions.

That quest led Hugh to the United States, where he became a partner in the work my previous company was doing in the field of human behavior. Shortly thereafter, he moved to Atlanta and launched DNA Behavior International, which is now recognized as a pioneer in the field of human behavior and more specifically behavioral finance. Although Hugh is intelligent and diligent, his success in great part is due to his relentless focus on gaining clarity about his purpose.

Capitalize on Your Personality Strengths

When I first began conducting leadership training in corporations, a young man came to me at the break and asked somewhat sheepishly, “What are the best personality traits for leadership?” Intuitively, I suspected what he really wanted to know was, “Do I have the right traits to be a leader?” That question comes up in some fashion almost everywhere I go, regardless of the age of the group or the size of the organization. Recently it emerged in a training session with executives and senior leaders of a Fortune 500 company.

To illustrate different styles of leadership, I had asked this large audience to physically group themselves in the four corners of the room according to their strongest personality trait. When one participant tried to join the “highly dominant” group, he was good naturedly rejected by the other members. Somewhat disappointed, this man then joined a different group that better matched his key trait. In our debriefing after the exercise, he commented, “It’s true that I don’t fit with that ‘dominant’ group, but I’ve always wanted to be like them.”

“Your honesty and vulnerability are admirable,” I told him, “and it’s not wrong for you to adapt your behaviors from time to time to be more effective in specific situations. But it is a mistake to deny your natural strengths and try to reinvent yourself to be like others. Great leaders come in a wide variety of styles and traits. The best traits for you are your innate traits, the ones you already have. You will be the best leader when you are authentic. So, be yourself. The more you try to imitate others and ‘pose’ as someone you are not, the more difficulties you will have.”

After that experience, I’m confident he became a more authentic and effective leader.

Critical moments can be catalysts for constructive change, but I urge you not to wait for a life-and-death situation or another type of crisis before you begin to think about who you are and where you’re going. Take the time now to ensure that your personal and career choices are aligned with your purpose, passion, and personality. Living authentically enables you to wholeheartedly pursue your goals. Please share your comments in this forum.

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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

——————–
Lee Ellis

Lee Ellis is Founder & President of Leadership Freedom LLC & FreedomStar Media.
He is a leadership consultant and expert in teambuilding, executive development & assessments
Email | LinkedIn | Web | Blog | Book | Facebook | Twitter

His latest book is called Leading with Honor: Leadership Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton.

Image Sources: jivesystems.com

L2L: How Major Companies Motivate Their Employees

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