L2L: Extraordinary Female Leaders in History

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6 Daily Practices of Effective Managers

6 Steps for Leaders

It can be easy for employees to take managers for granted because most employees are trying to avoid the attention of their managers.

But a company cannot be successful without a dynamic and experienced team of managers.

Measuring Results

Each day, the management team of your company sets out to do everything it can to put employees in a position to succeed. In order to appreciate the pressure managers are under, we first need to understand and accurately measure the daily practices of the most effective managers.

6 Daily Practices of Effective Managers

1) Maintain Departmental Culture

In order for a sales department to be successful, the manager has to create a culture that fosters success. Sales enablement is the process of giving sales professionals the tools they need to succeed. A strong culture is maintained by a manager who gets involved in what the employees are doing and helps employees to solve daily problems.

A good manager is out there sustaining a culture of success and not locked in their office wondering what is going on.

2) Constantly Evaluating The Talent Of Team Members

If an employee has displayed a talent for doing something that is useful for the company, then a good manager would have taken note of that talent. Each and every day, good managers talk to their employees and monitor the work that is being done to determine the talent level of each employee.

When the company faces a crisis, a good manager knows which employees to call on to help solve the problem and move the company forward.

3) Constantly Looking For New Talent

A good manager has told the human resources department to line up interviews with any employee that could benefit the company. That is not to say that a good manager is always hiring new staff members.

But a good manager does want to know what talent is available should the need ever arise.

The company could decide to start a new department or a key employee could decide to leave the company. If that were to ever happen, an effective manager already has a pool of potential employment candidates to call on.

4) Meets With Employees

Each and every day, an effective manager sets up meetings with his employees to gauge the employee’s progress in their development and to identify any challenges that may have come up.

A good manager does not wait until the annual review to sit down and meet with employees.

While there should always be that open level of communication between employees and their manager, it is always a good idea for managers to schedule one-on-one meetings with all employees throughout the course of the day.

5) Head Off Conflict Before It Becomes Disruptive

There are few things that derail a successful company faster than internal conflict. A little friendly competition for jobs and promotions is a healthy thing for any company. But when a real conflict erupts, that can disrupt the entire company.

A good manager is constantly keeping an eye out for potential conflict and working to eliminate the issue before it explodes into a problem. An effective manager does not avoid conflict in the hopes that it will just go away.

An effective manager addresses conflict head-on and eliminates it immediately.

6) Remain Honest With Employees

Employees know when they are being lied to, and they do not like it. While the truth can sometimes hurt, it is still in the manager’s best interest to be honest with employees at all times.

Employees will have to understand that there are times when the manager cannot be forthright with delicate or sensitive information.

But when the information needs to be distributed, employees want to know that their managers are being honest with them each and every time.

Effective managers are interactive leaders who understand and remember what it is like to be an employee. But managers also have to keep one eye on the future growth of the company, and that is what makes a manager’s job difficult.

So how are you doing with the above six daily practices? Are there areas of improvement that you can start today or tomorrow? What sort of challenges do you face in becoming a better manager or leader? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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———————
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: ep.yimg.com

On Leadership and the Political Season: How All Leaders Can Discern Deceit and Restore Truth

Political Lies

Having a competitive spirit is usually a positive attribute in our culture. Whether in work, life, or play, we’re hard-wired to face competition with power, tenacity, and the goal of winning.

It’s the American way. And for many, winning has become the supreme, all-important goal!

On Leadership and Lies

As we approach mid-term elections in the United States in the height of this season’s political frenzy, many candidates and their parties are desperate to win at all costs, with millions of dollars spent to influence voters. For example, spending for TV ads in several state governors races this year are in the range of $15-30 million dollars.

Beyond the vast resources being spent though, the greater concern is the blatant deceit that has become a tolerated part of election season; if you consistently vilify and defame your opponent and play dirty politics, you have a good chance of winning regardless of your own past performance or political record.

Throughout the election season, we’ll be constantly bombarded with out-of-control half-truths (also called “spin”) and outright lies about opponents, as well as promises that will never be kept.

As voters we have to be more shrewd and discerning to find truth and honor in political candidates.

Deception in the Camps

As a Vietnam POW under communist rule for over five years, I heard lies and half-truths three times a day as the speaker box in my cell spewed forth their propaganda. Consequently, my greatest source of anger and concern since repatriation has come from my aversion to lies and duplicity, especially when someone is trying to get me to believe something that is clearly not true or so far out of context that it has no relevance.

Intentional misrepresentations of facts or reckless attacks on another person’s character are anathema to a free society, and they echo the communist tactics we experienced in the camps many years ago.

Why do we tolerate such dishonorable behavior? Regardless of one’s political ideology, what is the real benefit of defending and supporting spin artists whose actions and words consistently show them to be untrustworthy? Is our Republic on a slippery slope where it’s accepted that the end justifies the means?

Unifying the Culture Through Truth

Here’s a truth that we must never forget: Lies chip away at our freedom as individuals and as a nation, and truth is the cornerstone for liberty, justice and a free society. We should make electing honorable leaders our highest priority.

The mission, vision, and values of the 4th Allied POW wing in the Hanoi Hilton were eventually combined into three words, “Return with Honor.” Our actions were governed by the Military Code of Conduct, a list of six statements developed after the Korean War to guide prisoners of war. Even though we had ideological differences on some issues, this code clarified our commitments, held us accountable to each other, and inspired an amazing bond that held us together in unity. It was our highest priority as we fought to do our duty and serve honorably under the grimmest of circumstances.

You may have sensed that truth has been under attack in our society for a long time. With our current communication technologies, the truth is twisted and spun so fast and so cleverly that it would take a full-time team of researchers to sort out the real truth in a single political contest.

Seven Codes of Honor

Clearly we need a unified code of ethical behavior—a Code of Honor to guide and draw us together into truthful dialog and debate.

Here’s a step in that direction: seven principles to renew our commitment and unify us as honorable people and leaders -

  1. Tell the truth even when it’s difficult. Avoid duplicity and deceitful behavior.
  2. Treat others with dignity and respect. Take the lead, and operate by the Golden Rule.
  3. Keep your word and your commitments. Ask for relief sooner than later if necessary.
  4. Be ethical. Operate within the laws of the land, the guidelines of your profession, and the values that you proclaim.
  5. Act with responsibility, do your duty, and be accountable. Own your mistakes, and work to make things better in the future.
  6. Be courageous. Lean into the pain of your fears to do what you know is right even when it feels unnatural or uncomfortable.
  7. Stay attuned to your spiritual core, your conscience, and your deepest intuitions. Listen for wisdom about honor, ethics, and courage.

What do you think would happen to our society if we all did our best to follow these seven short principles of honor? Don’t underestimate the power of a few honorable people to make a significant difference in our culture. Make a commitment to do your part as leaders in affecting positive change, and expect results from your efforts. Would you join me in making that commitment?

Get a free copy of this Code of Honor.  

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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: pinimg.com

Empathic Leadership Is Not Doormat Leadership

Doormat

Does this describe your leadership?

  • Inherently, you’re always able to tell how others are feeling on any given day.
  • You don’t need to “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes” because you naturally imagine yourself in others’ lives or situations.
  • You are often referred to as intuitive and conscientious. In fact, you’re ability to understand where someone is coming from, sense their concerns, and give voice to their emotional concerns can make it feel as though you’re reading their mind.
  • You always weigh the feelings and perspectives of others before taking action, which people tend to notice. Even if someone on your team hasn’t voiced a question or concern, you are aware it is lingering in their mind.
  • Though everyone is capable of being empathetic, you have a natural talent for knowing the right things to say in the moment, and understand where people are sitting even without any personal connection.

That is because you are talented in the strength of Empathy.

Soft Does Not Empathy Make

Make no mistake, just because someone has the strength of Empathy does not mean they are weak, a push-over, emotional, or any other barrier label you can think of. If unsophisticated, it is very likely they could show up that way; however, a sophisticated Empathic leader will leverage their strength to build relationships and trust that allows their team to feel heard and important.

People want to follow a leader who recognizes they are people and is able to take their perspective into account. NOTE: that does not mean a leader with Empathy cares or will act on that information. This strength simply allows them to be aware and see the human element innately.

Leading With Empathy

If you are a leader with Empathy, it’s important for you to recognize where your boundaries are. While people’s personal lives and opinions are important, you cannot submit to, or accommodate all of their woes.

Being a good leader means taking into account what is relevant and important to their engagement at work, otherwise, you’ll be easily taken advantage of.

Remember, everyone has bad days and everyone has parts of their job they dislike; your people do not need to be over the moon 100% of the time! Utilize one or two of your other strengths (Analytical, Deliberative, Focus, etc.) to determine when to bend and when to acknowledge, draw the line, and move on.

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“So what’s MOST important to your Team?”

Signature ShowcaseFind out & Learn to Lead with Empathy with
Recalibrate Values Sorting Exercise!

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Building Effective Relationships

You are able to build relationships with emotional depth which will make you approachable and safe. That will help you when you have to deliver the tough messages – you’ll be able to deliver the information in a way that your people feel accounted for. If they feel they are invested in and you actually understand their situation, they will be more likely to invest the time and attention required to improve their performance.

You’ll also have the advantage of insight into those others might find “difficult” to work with.

All people seek to be understood, whether they are consciously seeking understanding or not. Your ability to connect in a real way will help people who have built up walls trust you and begin to open up.

While some people will never be “open books” or want to discuss every issue they have, you will still be able to establish a trust that will allow them to let you support them when they actually need it.

Overly Emotional vs. Emotional Awareness

Attributes related to emotion often get a bad rap in the business world because being emotional is seen as a weakness. While most people would agree constantly getting upset or frazzled by every little thing would impede performance, being aware of your emotions and those of others is actually an asset.

Depending on the other strengths are wrapped around an individual’s Empathy, it could be used in a very strategic way; if they are aware how their boss is feeling, or what makes them happy, or what time of the day they are most approachable, those with Empathy would know when to make requests on behalf of their team or themselves.

There is also a possibility, depending on their intentions and other strengths, that they could manipulate others to achieve their own ends. So, don’t discount someone with Empathy – that may end up being a big tactical error on your part!

If you’re a leader that has the talent theme of Empathy, how do you leverage it to lead? Have you ever been called emotional? How did you respond? Do you lead someone with Empathy? How do they display it? Are they unsophisticated? How would you coach them to become more sophisticated inside this strength?

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———————–
Alexsys "Lexy" Thompson HCS, SWP

Alexsys “Lexy” Thompson is Managing Partner at Fokal Fusion
She helps building Strong Leaders through Strong People Strategy
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Web

Image Sources: geekalerts.com

Giving Your Employees Freedom To Encourage Creativity

Creativity at Work

If your employees are like most of the respondents to an international survey conducted by Gallup, twice as many of them are unhappy than happy in their jobs. Not only does workplace satisfaction have a direct impact on expenses for recruiting, hiring and retention, unhappy employees can derail productivity, workplace culture and customer experience.

One way to thwart the likelihood that your employees loathe each day on the job? Give them the freedom to be creative in their roles.

Giving Employees Flexibility to Be Creative

Here are a few reasons why giving employees the flexibility to be creative can transform your workplace — and how to do it.

Set the stage.

Sitting at a desk doesn’t necessarily induce a feeling that “the sky’s the limit,” but you can give employees a mental refuge by taking a cue from Google, which has common areas sprinkled throughout its campus to provide employees with a place to change gears and their perspectives.

Whether they use the rooms to think, relax, brainstorm or chat, they’re physically free of the constraining environments of closed meetings rooms and conference tables. As a result, they can change their mood — and their thinking. Any business can provide a space that inspires creativity with something as basic as a room with futons, fluffy cushions, a comfy rug, interesting paint colors, games and gadgets.

Establish a time for mental recess.

Though your employees are presumably more equipped to practice mental discipline than children, who are given recess in order to burn off energy and refocus, adults also need an opportunity to think outside of their pressing “to-do” lists to start thinking about new ways of problem-solving in their jobs.

As science writer Jonah Lehrer explained in a 2012 NPR story on the science behind workplace creativity, the idea of a daily workplace recess has proven successful for 3M, which gives its engineers time out of each day to spend however they wish, as long as they later share with colleagues what they worked on for that hour. Not only does the break give employees a chance to refresh their mental batteries, it communicates a sense of trust between company and employee. As a result, they’re more likely to want to work with an employer as a partner, versus feeling like a “worker bee.”

Give employees at every level the opportunity to create.

Employees in “creative” fields like design, engineering and marketing usually have the opportunity to share their creative input, but as Lehrer also told NPR, those who aren’t in a creative role often have the most important input to share, given their exposure to the “front lines” of the business.

By establishing a norm that everyone in the organization is invited to share ideas free of judgment, you can increase the collective sense of accountability as well as the degree to which employees at all levels feel respected and appreciated by the organization.

Honor results more than face time.

It’s easy to spot the employees who have a “clock in, clock out” mentality, but if your organization places high importance on arriving and leaving the office at defined start and end times, these employees are behaving in the exact way your organization has implicitly stated, or indirectly implied, is required.

To inspire a culture of creativity, focus your organizational emphasis on results, not basic task completion.

Though you don’t have to go for a total “results-only work environment” (which allows employees to come and go whenever they want, as long as they’re producing results), the ideology is an important shift in growing a culture of employees who feel empowered, important and fulfilled in their work.

In addition to ensuring that managers behave in a way that reinforces the idea that true engagement is more important than simply being present, performance reviews should reflect a similar ideology.

Freedom to Create

Giving employees the freedom to create may represent a shift in your current operations, but given the payoff that it can provide in reduced human resources overhead and a competitive advantage in innovation and customer service, it’s likely a risk worth taking.

So how are you doing as a leader to give your employees the freedom and flexibility to be creative? What are some steps you can take now to insure a better bottom-line by have more people doing the things they love? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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——————–
Kristen Gramigna

Kristen Gramigna is Chief Marketing Officer for BluePay
She serves in the Bankcard Industry in Direct Sales, Sales Management and Marketing
Email | LinkedIn | Web |

Image Sources: onlinecareertips.com/

Leadership Lessons From the NFL’s Domestic Violence Controversy

Self Talk

With the horrific behaviors of some NFL players in the news (Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and many more) there is a renewed focus on the topic of abuse.

It is completely appropriate that these conversations are taking place because no advancement in human history has occurred until people started talking about. I’m not going to get into the specifics of each of these cases. But it’s important to talk a little bit about the leadership implications of abuse: in all of its forms.

Obvious Forms of Abuse and Leadership Responsibilities

  • Physical: Zero tolerance! End of story. If you are a leader in any organization and you see evidence of physical abuse among employees or their families, you are obligated to act, and act swiftly. Period.
  • Verbal and Emotional: There is a widely accepted term to describe this: Bullying. Bullying is not a topic that is relegated to middle school or high school locker rooms. It happens daily in the workplace. Just this month I was working with leaders in organizations talking about behaviors, actions, and words that amount to workplace bullying. The biggest challenge that leaders have in addressing workplace bullying is to stop making excuses. Yes, the bully may be really good at financial modeling, marketing, customer service, or some other function. But they leave a path of destruction across the entire organization. No matter how you cut it, that behavior negatively impacts the bottom line.

The Loudest Silent Killer

There’s another kind of abuse that takes place which often goes unnoticed. And there’s a good chance that you have engaged in this kind abuse recently. This is verbal abuse against yourself; even if it only happens in your head.

Imagine the scenario. You work all day putting together a presentation. It takes all day because you’re constantly being interrupted. With every other sentence you hear a voice over your shoulder pointing out every imperfection. The voice says things like:

  • “That’s such a stupid idea.”
  • “They are never going to accept that.”
  • Or, “Face it, you just aren’t good enough. You may as well start updating your resume.”

Harsh words. And there’s very little anyone else could do about it because that voice is yours.

Words Matter

Words matter. Leaders must appreciate the fact that the words they use will influence the words that their team uses. And the words that are used by anyone will influence behaviors and actions. Inclusive words can form a bond and bring people together. These are words like: we, team, together, support, empower.

At the same time, divisive words can separate, segregate, and build barriers between individuals and teams.

This also applies to words you use on yourself.

Be honest with yourself. You are probably your own worst and most frequent abuser.

Stop The Madness

Here are some steps to take to stop abusing yourself

  1. Would you say it to a friend? The next time you criticize yourself, write down what you say to yourself. Then take those exact words and go tell them to your coworker or your best friend. How would that advance your relationship? If it wouldn’t, then stop saying it to yourself.
  2. End the story. You are probably beating yourself up, because there’s a story about something that happened. History is what has happened in the past. There’s nothing you can do about it other than recognize it, acknowledge it, and learn from it. The story is the importance you put on it. You lived it, but you don’t have to re-live it. Though it happened yesterday, you don’t have to give that story a home today.
  3. Find your leadership presence. Leadership presence comes from the inside. People see it. If you don’t believe in yourself, then there is a good chance that others won’t either. If you think those words and that story is just something that’s rattling around inside your own head, you’re mistaken. It’s a lot more visible than you think. Start by taking a breath, and believe in yourself. Because if you do, there’s a good chance others will too.

 What actions will you commit to take to stop the cycle of abuse?

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——————–
David Hasenbalg

David Hasenbalg is President of Customized Solutions, LLC
He helps organizations develop collaborative cultures to make a mark in their industry
Email │ LinkedIn │Twitter │Web │Blog

Image Sources: blogs-images.forbes.com

On Leadership and Assessing Leadership Potential in Yourself and Others

Lee Ellis

Carla, a Senior Vice-President of a Fortune 200 company, has the challenge of evaluating the natural leadership potential of several team members. She had worked with all of them for some time, but she’s unsure about the best criteria to match the needed skills for the job with the potential candidates.

Not only does she want the person in the right role, but she needs someone that can produce results, increase productivity, and manage a cohesive team.

Knowing that 62% of executive decisions are made based solely on gut feelings, she wants to make a better hiring decision by obtaining more concrete data about each candidate.

Where Does She Start?

With over 30 years of research and experience in the fields of human behavior and performance, I believe that it’s unequivocally true that every person is unique and that all leaders (and the people they manage) have different talents. Here are some other confirmations:

  • The best leaders have a mix of natural and learned behaviors.
  • You can confirm that an individual belongs in a specific personality style, but the style categorization should not be used to put people in a “box”.
  • There are no good or bad personality styles to determine leadership ability—just different. Great leaders come from all styles.

So, it’s important to be objective and realize that anyone can become a successful leader.

Results vs. Relationships Evaluated

After evaluating that the base character and integrity of each candidate matches the values of the company, the next step is evaluating their results vs. relationships balance.

We’ve all been there and worked for the leader that got results but had no trusted relationships on their team. They were simply a machine that met the desired goals at any cost. On the flip side, there were the “fun leaders” that wasted hours every day talking and socializing with the team and then scrambled at the last minute to get a few things accomplished. They’re fun to be around, but results and progress ultimately fall short on a regular basis.

Statistically, 40% of leaders are more results (mission) oriented, and 40% are more relationships (people) oriented. The most effective leaders have balanced skills in both results and relationships.

For example, a successful leader must be tough or soft as the situation dictates.

Even though some leaders are naturally either tough or soft, that’s where our learned behaviors come into play to be truly successful.

Communication Style Analyzed

Another key area to evaluate is communication style when interacting with others. Think of the people on your own team or department and how different they are.

While the goal is treat everyone fairly, a successful leader understands the unique differences in people and communicates with them differently.

Some people will need more interaction with their manager than others in order to do a good job, while others are more self-managing. Some people work best when they can more on tasks, while others will work better when their work involves more frequent interaction with others.

The communication needs with these team members are different, too.

Successful leaders also need the courage do to the hard things such as confronting poor performance and bad behavior. It also takes courage for some leaders to do the soft things such as encouraging and supporting their people. Healthy accountability is critical to maintain standards and values, and that’s easier for some leaders to do than others.

All of these examples hinge on the leader’s natural and/or learned ability to communicate in different ways with different people.

The Next Step in Assessing Leaders

While other natural competencies such as problem-solving skills, decision-making skills, and support needed should also be considered, validating the key skills above is a wise endeavor.

To help with Carla’s hiring process, asking the right questions and using an assessment tool for each candidate will give her greater chances for success as she builds her team. With this new found data, she can choose a leader that has the character, courage, and the talent balance to propel the company forward and support a culture of great leadership.

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Never miss an issue of Linked 2 Leadership, subscribe today here!
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: Lee Ellis

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