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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———————–
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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———————–

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

L2L: Extraordinary Female Leaders in History

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Brighton School of Business and Management

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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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

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On Leadership, Inspiration and Leading With a Modern Flair

Creative Problem Solving

Great leaders are always looking for ways to inspire their team, engage others in conversations and generate an exchange of ideas in new and creative ways.

There is a big difference between what people do out of compliance and what they do out of motivation and personal investment.

The goal is to move beyond compliance and provide a fresh approach to inspiring professional growth.

Inspiring Employees

In an article entitled, “10 Ways Not to Motivate Employees”,  the author writes:

“Employees are feeling unmotivated, uninspired, unconnected and just burned out with work. Part of that is possibly because management is not connecting with their employees, encouraging them and finding out how to inspire them and help with whatever they might be struggling with.”  – Conselium and Compliance Risk, July 17, 2013.

As a new Assistant Principal in an elementary school, I was searching for a way to inspire teachers and invest in their professional growth. What I did not want to do was add another time consuming meeting to their already full plates. My goal was to provide inspiration, thought provokers, and conversation starters in a unique and simple way.

I wanted to “break down the walls” of our organization and facilitate a more global perspective on what is important in our line of work.

Leading With A Modern Flair

In this age of digital tools and social media, I turned my attention to creating a platform that is engaging and quick, yet provides relevant content and timely information that is shared in a creative, fun, and motivational way.

Harnessing the power of the web-based platform S’More, social media site Twitter, and the curation tool Paper.Li, I designed a weekly professional development vehicle just for our staff which delivers relevant content and the sharing of ideas and latest trends in our profession-contributed by others from around the world.

I also provide a space for comments, questions and feedback from staff, which proves to be a great tool for collaboration and the back-and-forth exchange of ideas.

The weekly “S’More From The AP” is delivered to staff via email each Friday. This allows for the staff to access it on their own timetable and allows for conversations to develop and build throughout the upcoming week.

What Goes Into The Creation?

Throughout the week, I collect tweets, articles, blogs, and videos which I think would be of interest to my staff or that are important to our own ongoing growth.

Somewhere around mid week, a “big idea” either starts to develop from the material I have been collecting, or it is something that is more personal and tailored to our personal organization needs.

I start looking through my collection and seeing what ties in with the “big idea” for the week, and soon the S’More begins to take shape.

Format

I tinkered around with a few ideas, but here is what I finally settled on:

  • Mini blog post (big idea)
  • Worth Reading (blogs/articles related to idea)
  • Worth Watching (videos that go along with the idea and articles)
  • Tech Corner (A quick shout out to a favorite app, website, or platform that teachers may like)
  • Tweet of the Week (An idea captured in a tweet I have saved. Usually motivational).
  • Scenes From Our Week (pictures of teachers I have taken throughout the week as they are teaching).
  • Link to Staff Weekly Magazine. This is a paper.li that I publish every Thursday, and I include the link in the S’More. It contains articles contributed by members of my Professional Learning Network on Twitter which may or may not be “big idea” related. This platform is very user friendly; you can create a magazine in minutes and set your own publishing schedule. The free service does most of the work for you! You simply select the items you want to include from the pre-published version the website initially creates for you. All content for the magazine is pulled directly from your own Twitter feed, and you choose the contributors.

Keeping Focus

I do not include anything like upcoming dates, events, announcements, or anything of that nature because my principal communicates that information.

This is more of just a professional learning investment, for those who want to partake!

The final touches I usually do on Thursday night and I send it out through email at the end of the day on Friday. I have received very positive feedback on this from our staff!

Final Product

Here is a link to this week’s S’More:  https://www.smore.com/93jab

You can also look through my other weekly S’Mores to see the shape it has taken each week. With a little bit of initial set up, you can create your own personal vehicle for bringing inspiration and new ideas to your own team. This is the type of modern flair that you can bring to your team!

This helps in opening up a global perspective and moving your team beyond compliance into satisfying and rewarding professional growth in which they are truly invested.

What creative ways have you found for sharing motivational ideas or delivering meaningful resources to your employees? I would love to hear your suggestions!

**********

Never miss an issue of Linked 2 Leadership, subscribe today
Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

———————–
Traci Logue

Traci Logue is an educator at Northwest ISD
She has twice been named Teacher of the Year
Email| LinkedIn | Twitter | Blog | Web

Image Sources: gordonmccallumresearch.com

On Leadership and People, Process and Production

People Process Production

Regular readers know that I try to help both newcomers and experienced project management practitioners and other leaders to achieve above average results using what they have at their disposal.

Because very few projects have the luxury of having the best of the best, the kingpins, or the people who make things happen on their teams, project managers need to be exceptional people managers and motivators. (Projects by nature are risky, so organizations usually keep the best people focused on the known, the proven and the established.)

The leadership method described here is not well documented – nor is it recognized as an “official” management or leadership strategy – but I can guarantee that it is a principle that will work in both management and leadership environments.

People, Process and Production

People

Most people have lives outside of work, ambitions, aspirations, hopes and dreams. If you follow one simple rule – EVERYBODY IS IMPORTANT – you will move mountains.

Acceptance, appreciation, interest and above all trust are the highest forms of recognition. If you expose your team members to these (genuine) affections, they will find ways to align themselves to your goals, they will search for ways to excel and I promise you that they will search for the plate to step up to.

If someone is wanted, regarded and trusted, they reward such positive treatment with the behavior that is suitable. If your team is made up of the “second-best” or even not that flattering groups, you will be able to show that their behavior, dedication and hard work is appreciated, recognized and NOTICED.

Superseding the once “best-of-the-best” has happened to many of the people who were on my teams. The moment they get used to the good behavior = good results programme, they are hard to stop…

What do you have to lose? Give it a go…

Process

In its narrowest form, a process describes how we move from one point (state) to another. If we think about the common understanding of a process, it can be likened to a roadmap.

What is hidden from view are:

  • Departure point – Known
  • People responsible for each action / task / node –Known
  • Information required to complete each action / task / node – Known
  • Input requirements for each action / task / node – Known
  • Output requirements for each action / task / node – Known
  • Success factors for each action / task / node – Known
  • Documentation for action / task / node – Known
  • Completion requirements for entire process – Known
  • Success factors for entire process – Known

If people know and understand what they are required to do, by when and to which standard, they will do whatever is required to achieve the result (successfully). If they understand who will take something forward, they humanize the situation, they treat others as clients, and your example (above) is sound, they will treat each other in the same way.

If you look inside you – you will be able to attribute each failure that you have had to the absence of clearly defined goals and objectives – internal or external.

Production

The sentence that people DO NOT want communicated inside an organization is this:

>>> IT IS ACCEPTABLE TO FAIL.

The reason organizations try and avoid this is because they have not learnt that the correct statement should be this:

>>> IT IS UNACCEPTABLE NOT TO TRY!!!

Bloopers, failures and whoopers can be repaired – with honesty and integrity.

If everybody is allowed to try their best, fail, learn, and move forward – progress in every sense will be staggering.

Fear is one of the most negative emotions that people can experience. If they are required to perform any function within a basis of fear you can predict the results.

Q: So if your team is motivated, know what they need to do, and they know that their best will be acceptable – what should the manager or leader do?

A: Stay out of their way!!

The only way that a leader or manager can enhance the performance would be through enablement – Make sure they have what they need, help where they need help, encourage when the day is dark and praise when the sun is shining.

THE ABSOLUTE PPP RULE:

Superior production (delivery of agreed results within time-frames, budget and materials consumption frameworks) is achieved by positively motivated people, doing what is expected of them, and working without fear.

GUARANTEE: If this does not work for you – Let me know!!! I will publicly renounce the statement!!!

Please feel free to comment, share and re-post this…

**********

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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

———————–

Anton van den Berg is a Project Professional at Aveng Limited
He serves Organisations to Advance to the Next Market Level
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Web | Blog

Image Sources: tycoonplaybook.com

On Leadership and Succession Planning – Avoiding Costly Mistakes

Succession Planning

Recently, my wife Mary and I discussed the need to review and update our will, which is now about fifteen years old. The next day over coffee a friend asked me if I had a will. Later that day in a random conversation, a stranger mentioned that he knew an estate attorney in my neighborhood. The next day I heard on the radio that August was national “get a will” month.

I got the message! After dragging our feet for several years, we have an appointment this week to begin the process.

Planning For Success

As you know, the topic of succession planning is more than keeping a personal will up to date. Did you ever notice how hard it is for leaders to plan for the time when you or one of your team members leaves the organization? The military does this well by consistently developing officers and enlisted to move up to the next level.

When having the right leader in place is a matter of life and death, the goal is succession at every level without missing a beat.

In the POW camps of Vietnam, having clarity about who assumed command was a huge plus for our success and morale. Not only did we have amazingly well prepared leaders, we had an automatic succession plan—the next senior person became the leader. If you had two people of the same rank, then the one with the earliest promotion date was the leader.

“Had the military not intentionally trained each officer, the outcome of our POW experience could have been very different—increased confusion, mixed messages, lack of unity, and greater loss of life.”

The Value of Succession Planning in the Workplace

If you believe in the mission of your work and want it to continue, you must proactively plan for turnover and succession at all levels –

  • Top Leaders. Succession planning at the highest level is about finding leaders that can protect the vision and move it forward. A bad hire is always costly, and costs at the executive level are tangible and intangible whether it’s a loss of revenue, momentum, or direction needed to stay competitive in a rapidly changing environment.
  • Mid-level Managers. Pro-active companies have a training pipeline for managers—especially those deemed to be high potentials.
  • Front Line Supervisors. Leadership always makes a difference, regardless of the level. These leaders are most involved in getting the job done (results) and taking care of people (relationships).

With good succession planning in place, you’re much better prepared to promote internally, which has many advantages. You’re hiring a known entity and already understand their talents, character, courage, and commitment. Remember—the best insight for hiring is the old saw “has done–will do.” Other advantages include –

  • Saving on outside recruiting costs. The average cost of finding and hiring someone from outside the company is 1.7 times more than an internal hire ($8,676 vs. $15,008) reports the Saratoga Institute.
  • Better morale and retention. It shows you value your people inside the organization.
  • Quicker on-boarding and ramp up. Internal hires know the culture and processes of the organization.
  • Great chances of long-term success. Statistically, experts say that 40-60 percent of external hires aren’t successful compared with only 25 percent for internal hires.

“Developing your own people also provides the opportunity to add knowledge and skills as well as reinforcing your organizational culture, values and policies.”

Looking Outside, and A Final Note

Even with the best internal succession plans and programs, sometimes it’s necessary to look outside. Typical situations that might favor hiring outside would include a –

  • Lack of qualified and experienced candidates.
  • Need for new energy and innovation in a new project/direction.
  • Need for a turnaround person in an area that’s stalled out or dysfunctional.

Regardless of your succession planning process, one thing is clear—it begins with the hiring process. Getting the right people on the bus and in the right seats will be critical to success (Jim Collins), and we should begin with the end in mind (Stephen Covey).

So what are you doing about succession planning? And by the way, when was the last time you updated your will? Both are too important to neglect. Think about it and share your thoughts and experiences.

**********

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 Resources: piercecfo.com

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