5 Sacrifices A Leader Must Make

Sacrifice

You may believe that as a leader your job is relatively easy, where you simply watch over and manage the behaviour of your employees; this is not so. As a leader, you have a number of responsibilities including not only watching over your employees but ensuring that they manage their work effectively and that they are happy.

It’s also part of your job to make sacrifices for the company and for those that work below you.

Not all of these sacrifices have to be extravagant or draw attention to your person, but they have to be made for the right reasons.

5 Sacrifices A Leader Must Make

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sac·ri·fice [ sákrə f̄̀ss ]

  1. giving up of something valued: a giving up of something valuable or important for somebody or something else considered to be of more value or importance

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1) Sacrificing Time and Energy

Giving both your time and energy in order to help others and the company that you work for is a sacrifice that all excellent leaders make. This is an important sacrifice because you cannot regain the time or energy that you have expended; once you’ve given them to somebody else they become lost to you. By giving your time and energy it also means that you are working hard towards not only your future, but that of your colleagues and employees too.

2) Ambition

Another sacrifice that is often made by a leader in times of need is that of their own ambition. By prioritising the needs of others including your employees, you leave less time for you to focus on yourself; any parent will understand this situation completely and the same applies to any leader.

To truly look after your workforce, you must focus on their every need to ensure their productivity. By helping those around you to succeed, you may have to sacrifice personal pursuits but these actions will always have a positive effect going forward.

3) Authority

As a leader there will come a time within your job when you are asked to sacrifice your absolute authority in order to let others progress and develop the skills that are needed to reach a higher position. Giving up authority can be difficult and threatening but it is important for your workforce to feel that they are progressing and learning new skills.

4) Benefits

As a leader it’s your duty to protect those around you and ensure their happiness; even in times of difficulty and instability. If your company is suffering from temporary financial instability (as many have during the recession), as a leader you should set the example by forgoing any bonuses and if necessary taking a pay cut. An excellent leader would never ask of anything from their employees that they aren’t willing to do themselves.

5) Relationships

As a decision-maker, you will understand that you may not always be liked or favoured for making the right decisions. For example, if you feel that an individual is not pulling their weight and fails to heed your warnings, you may find that your only solution is to remove this person from your team.

There will also be other times where you have to reject salary increases or defend requests for additional work hours to meet a deadline but by being the leader, you will sometimes have to play the villain.

Become Your Best Self

You may find that during your time as a leader, there are many other things that you must sacrifice in order to become the best leader that you can be. However, try to be fair at all times and don’t ever ask anything of your employee that you wouldn’t ask of yourself.

So, how do you feel about the idea that leaders must sacrifice in order to succeed? Do you think that if you reach a certain position or status that you no longer need to sacrifice? Or do you embrace the steps above and think that you will be more fulfilled if you learn these lessons and apply them? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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——————–
Georgina Stamp

Georgina Stewart works for Marble Hill Partners
She helps Organisations to Recruit for Executive Roles and Interim Management
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On Leadership, Communication and Your Email Address

Communication

If you make a list of your pet peeves about work, I bet high on the list are, being kept in the dark, being patronised, and being misinformed.

Contrary to this type of workplace environment, healthy and successful organisations communicate as transparently as they can and keep secrets only as long as is absolutely necessary.

Great delivery also depends upon great communication, which should start at the top.” ~ Sir Richard Branson

Misunderstanding Communication

Talk to many leaders about communication and they think about, “how can I get my message out to the staff?” This is a symptom of how they perceive their relationship with their followers. They are in charge, they’re paid the big bucks to create the vision and strategy and they make all the important decisions.

Consequently they see communication as top-down delivery of their important information which should be understood and acted on in proscribed ways. This “information” is generally perceived by the recipient as poorly cloaked instruction and coercion intended to drive the company’s agenda.

In doing this leaders miss the purpose and full power of authentically open integrated communication entirely.

A Two-Way Street

Communication is at its simplest a two-way interaction but more often than not (and often unintentionally) is multi-directional.

On the one hand, your response to a message from your boss might be restricted to your own thoughts. On the other, you discuss the matter with a colleague who in turn talks to another and so on, with the inevitable distortion created by the rumour mill.

As is the case with the physical conservation of energy, human communications can never be destroyed, they are simply converted into other forms of communication often with unforeseen, unwanted and uncontrollable consequences.

Transparent Communication

Victor S. Sohmen (Drexel University) clearly explains the fundamental role of transparent communication in his paper “Leadership and Teamwork: Two Sides of the Same Coin” in the Journal of IT and Economic Development.

Ask yourself this:

  • If all communications are multidimensional, are never truly secret and you can never learn less from them, why not take full advantage of its power for good?
  • Why not give out your e-mail address to everyone and invite them to use it?

Create equally powerful multiple well-integrated lines of communication bottom to top as well as top to bottom in your organisation. The rest is about building flexible yet robust systems to manage information flow and integration.

Open Authentic Communication

In an excellent article “Relationship between Organizational Culture, Leadership Behavior and Job Satisfaction”, Yafang Tsai clearly describes the fundamental foundation of open authentic communication to building high performing organisational cultures.

Imagine a scenario where the brother of someone who cleans the toilets knows someone who is the father of a genius kid who has recently invented a new widget which could revolutionise your business. If you always excluded that cleaner from contributing their ideas they’ll cease to bother and you will lose out. If that sort of communication disconnect is a cultural norm in your organisation, then you are in trouble.

“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.” ~ Peter Drucker

Best-Centered Communication

I am convinced most leaders are well-meaning and attempt to improve communication, but their efforts are generally self-centered and inevitably come across as patronising and back fire disappointingly. A good rule of thumb is to “ask” twice as many times as you “tell”.

As Vincent van Gogh said, “It is the little emotions that are the great captains of our lives.”

If we know that day-to-day we’re really heard, truthfully informed and treated as adults we feel valued, are more internally motivated and are much more likely to identify with our place of work and go that extra mile for the team.

Too many organisations feel that incentives will drive staff to behave like the 300 Spartans who laid down their lives at the battle of Thermopylae in an attempt to drive back invading Persians; THEY WON’T! But if they feel they can influence the future of their organisations THEY JUST MIGHT!

Closing Thoughts

Ask yourself these questions today:

  • Do you feel communicating with staff is a chore or a key element of business?
  • Did you communicate to your staff today? If your answer is “no”, why didn’t you?
  • What information did you send out today, to what extent might it be viewed by the recipient as patronising, opaque or misleading?
  • What open questions did you ask your staff?
  • Who has your e-mail and phone number; why them?

Make a brief cost/benefit analysis if you opened up your lines of communication.

A really good place to find your voice is “Leading Out Loud: A Guide for Engaging Others in Creating the Future by Terry Pearce.

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——————–
 Gary Coulton

Dr Gary R Coulton is CEO of Adaptive Intelligence Consulting Limited
He empowers leaders to release their Adaptive Intelligence
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Hey Entrepreneur – Are You Building Your Start-up For Success?

As an entrepreneur  – you know what it takes to make your start-up a success – right?

Building a successful startup isn’t easy!

More Than a Plan

To have a successful business, to gain investors, create a reputable brand, and generate revenue – it takes more than a sound strategic plan – it takes talented, committed, and dedicated people who are willing to give 100%.

Your strategic plan may be sound, and your first round of funding may be secured, but long-term growth and success won’t be achieved without a focus on people and culture. These things – often not addressed in a start-up environment – could derail your entire operation.

Sure – you have the strategy.

However, do your people…

  • Know what it is, and do they know how they fit into making the mission and vision a reality?
  • Understand how the day-to-day work they perform contributes to continued growth?
  • Understand the plan for the future?
  • Know what is expected of them and what they can expect in return for a job a well done?

Wearing Many Hats

These are just a few of the people-focused areas your strategy should address. After all, if you can’t maximize people –> performance –> profit, then you’re not likely to grow from start-up to successful business.

In a lean start-up environment people must wear many hats, and they must be inspired to do so, and inspired to perform above and beyond a single job description.

“No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.” ~Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn co-founder

Creating a Culture of Success

All too often, start-ups usually get stuck at a certain point. This is where a focus on more than just strategy and funding becomes imperative to success.  You need to create a high performing culture – one that focuses on people.

So here are some things you can focus on to help your growing business SUCCEED:

Processes

To develop an organization with a successful high performing culture flexible and adaptable process must be in place. Processes should support in developing the ability of the organization to change as it grows (flexibility, speed and ability to learn).

Processes should support a culture of innovation and continuous improvement.

Processes should be continuously improved, simplified and coordinated, to support the organization strategy. Often start-ups over complicate as they grow instead of focusing on how to streamline.

The more that processes help relevant and correct information be reported and delivered, the faster decisions can be made, and the faster products and services can be continuously developed, updated and improved.

Communication

To achieve a high performing culture and sustainable business, frequent, transparent, and authentic communication among leadership, employees, stakeholders and customers is a necessity. Often in a start-up environment leadership trends to under communicate, not share details regarding strategy, funding, governance and growth.

To keep employees engaged in your products and services and committed to the organizations strategy, mission, and vision, they need to know what is going on and why, the good and the bad, (within in reason).

Leadership

Leadership is a driving force behind creating and maintaining a high performing culture and turning a start-up into a thriving business. Leaders serve as role models through their actions and behaviors. High performing organizations have committed leaders who can rally people around a deeper sense of purpose. In most cases these leaders are also expert communicators.

Through their management, leaders of organizations with a high performing culture have the ability to translate ideals into action. These leaders not only know their organization; they know the type of people in their organization and how those people’s contributions help to achieve the strategic goals. Leaders who help achieve a high performing culture are ethical, approachable, relatable, and involved.

So follow these 3-key components to make your start-up into a successful sustainable business – or build to the point of selling for a boatload of cash. To see the full list of tips to make your start-up a high performing business, click here to see our checklist.

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——————
Scott Span

Scott Span, MSOD is President of Tolero Solutions OD & Change Management firm
He helps clients be responsive, focused, and effective to facilitate sustainable growth
Email | Website | LinkedIn | Twitter | Blog | Facebook

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The Scourge of the Zombie Employee

`Zombies at Work

Zombies exist – and they just might be working for your company.

In the day and age of belt-tightening across industries, reduced budgets, and a focus on maximized productivity, employees are being asked to take on more and more responsibility, including increased workloads without an increase in pay.

Because many jobs are hard to come by these days, employees have no choice but to acquiesce to increased demand.

Creating the Dead

Unfortunately, the burden of an increased workload can lead to:

  • Employee health problems
  • Increased mistakes
  • Reduced effectiveness of communication
  • Decreased customer satisfaction

As employees push themselves harder, with no relief in sight, they tend to wear down over time, becoming less engaged in their work, and frankly, more apathetic about their role in the company.

Most of them just go through the motions.

So, in the age of cost cutting, what can an organization do about this potentially devastating problem?

4 Ways to Keep Zombies Away

Here are four ways to make sure your people stay engaged and don’t turn into zombies.

1. Focus on Customers

As ridiculous as it might sound, plenty of organizations are guilty of not putting their customers first. In an attempt to reduce overhead or fine tune internal processes, decisions are made that are not in the best interest of customers – like overworking employees or shortening business hours.

Companies should center every decision they make on what’s best for the customer, because a focus on providing the best products and the best service will keep customers coming back – and ultimately keep the doors open.

2. Consider “Line of Sight”

Line of sight” is the correlation between an employee’s actions and the impact they have on gaining and retaining customers.

Zombie Employees

There should be a direct link between the tasks your employees are completing and a benefit to your customers and prospects.

When employees understand this connection (and the importance is has to the organization), they are more likely to be engaged in their activities, and thinking about them in a larger context.

On the employer’s side, this means keeping employee assignments relevant, and if need be, explaining how a particular task is beneficial to the customer (and the company) in the long run.

Certain parts of every job are mundane, but if the employees understand the overall importance, they are less likely to be dejected about the less-than-interesting tasks.

Also, don’t assign “busy-work.” Everything your employees do should be important in some way.

3. Don’t Implement Layoffs at The Expense of Service

Budgets are hard to meet. Overhead is hard to keep down. Revenue isn’t always as high as you need it to be.

These are simple realities of running a businesses – but the answer to meeting these problems is NOT to simply reduce your workforce. In some scenarios, layoffs are inevitable (in emergencies or massive changes in service or scope), but it should never be a go-to method for saving money.

In fact, layoffs may even be more problematic than you realize.

Diminishing a workforce may save you some money each month, but at what cost? Trying to maintain the same level of service with fewer people will only bog down your employees.

And here’s what’s worse – when you start laying people off, it affects the people who keep their jobs as well. Suddenly, those people are feeling tense about their job security, feeling less emotionally and psychologically attached to the company, and maybe even a little resentful that some of their colleagues are no longer there. This means reduced productivity across the board.

4. Transparency

One of the key components of employee engagement is transparency, plain and simple. When an entry-level worker can see where they fit in the context of the whole company, they are more likely to embrace that role and put personal stock into the work they do.

Throughout an organization, the context of a particular task or role is important. Much like “line of sight” with customers, transparency between departments, or from management down through the ranks, helps everyone understand the important role they play in the overall success of the organization.

Stepping Up Your Game

When costs seem oppressive or sales are down, the solution is not to slash budgets or pare down services. In fact, the best solution is just the opposite – if the company is struggling, it’s time to step your game up and build the organization your customers are proud to do business with.

In doing so, you’ll create an organization that your employees are equally proud to work for.

Zombie employees are the byproduct of lack of engagement. Without anything to strive for, or a clue about why they’re performing a certain task, would you expect anything less?

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———————
Anil Saxena
Anil Saxena is a Senior Consultant and Business Partner with Coffman Organization
He helps organizations create environments that generate repeatable superior results
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Web | Blog | (888) 999-0940 x-730

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Leaders – Don’t Give In

New Hire Orientation

New employee orientation (NEO), or onboarding, is one of the most critical aspects of a new hire’s beginning.  But to so many leaders, from HR to department directors and managers, it’s becoming just a check on a quick list of to-do’s.

“Just get through the paperwork, tell them their schedule and who to report to.”  I’ve been seeing this more and more lately, and I just don’t understand it.

Creating Successful Organizations

In successful organizations, leaders focus on creating a culture that provides a feeling of ownership, belonging, and purpose.

And how best to expose new hires to this culture, that so many have worked so hard to develop, than new employee orientation?

The idea of NEO is not to just throw people some benefit information and tell them who to report to, but to immerse new people in the culture.

This includes:

  • How the organization began
  • What it went through to get to where it is today
  • The people who have made a difference
  • How these new go-getters can understand how they can make a difference

If asked about the organization, everyone should have a similar description of it.

Creating a Magic Kingdom

Probably my favorite quote of all time came from Michael Eisner, former President and CEO of The Walt Disney Company.

He said, “We don’t put people in Disney, we put Disney in people.”

Every new cast member goes through a 3½ day Traditions course (NEO), where the Disney culture is communicated through powerful storytelling.

In The Disney Way, authors Bill Capodagli and Lynn Jackson describe how Traditions was once reduced by one day . . . one day.

 “Complaints from supervisors throughout the parks began to pour in.  ‘The quality of guest service is not the quality we had last season.’”

That extra day was soon added back in and the complaints diminished.

Given Time to Succeed

NEO is the first opportunity for new people to learn about your company.  If they’re rushed through the benefits speech and the safety presentation and not given any information about how great the company is, that’s exactly the kind of employee you’re going to get.

  • You will get employees that rush their job and who don’t  feel any ownership for what they do.
  • You’ll have employees that are there just for a “job,” not a successful “career.”
  • Your company will never see the potential success it could if it properly set the tone in the beginning.

I’ve heard some managers say, “Well, they’ll learn the culture from working in it”.  They sure will.  But the culture they’ll learn is the “underground” culture – not the one that you should be immersing them in from the start.  There’s usually a culture all its own that says, “this is the way that it’s supposed to be, but this is the way that I do it”.

Right From the Start

You must teach the new people, from the start, the importance of your mission and vision and how they should act in order to fit into it and make it successful – whether its following local SOP’s, federal regulations, or putting themselves in the customers shoes to give extraordinary service.

Don’t let them learn things the hard way. Or the wrong way.

Okay, think of it this way.  Ask yourself this:

Why would I just throw a new employee into the fire to figure things out for himself? But if I bought a new piece of machinery, I’d follow the manufacturer’s instructions to set it up and get it working properly?

Getting a new employee going properly and getting a new piece of machinery going properly is the same thing.  You have to “install” a new employee in the culture, just like you would install a new piece of machinery in order to get it to run properly.

Leading By Example

Take a look at the Zappos culture.  This legendary company is one of the most successful customer-service-based companies ever. Everyone, regardless of department, hired into their headquarters goes through the same four week training that their call center staff goes through.

This includes:

  • Company history
  • The importance of customer service
  • Their long-term vision
  • Philosophy about the company culture

Everyone is on the same page because everyone gets the same information and they get it up front.  They know exactly what the company is about and how they fit into it.

Not convinced yet?  Lets turn the tables.  Yes it’s true that employee orientation centers around helping the new employee, but it just could be the company that ultimately gains the benefits.

Think about these company benefits:

  • Reduces costs associated with learning on the job
  • Saves coworkers and supervisors time training the new employee, thereby increasing production
  • Increases morale and reduces turnover by showing the employee he/she is valued

Hmmm, I never thought of it that way.

However you look at it, a strong new employee orientation program is a requirement for success – both for the employee and your company.  It’s been proven time and time again that happy knowledgeable  employees are productive employees . . . and productive employees create successful organizations.

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——————–
Andy Uskavitch
Andy Uskavitch is Leadership Development at Florida Blood Services
He develops and facilitates Leadership, Motivation & Teambuilding Seminars
Email | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Blog |  (727) 568-5433

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Three “I”s for Team Leadership

Three

You need more than your own two eyes to be great.In fact, there are three very important “I”s that are required for successful Team Leadership.

Think of them as three dots that need connecting.

Connecting the Dots

If, as a leader, you can connect these three dots, then your team will have a much greater chance of achieving their goal – and enjoying the experiences along the way!

If you are a team leader, ask yourself this:

On a scale of 1-10, where would I rate myself on the following three traits?

Ready?  Here we go…

The Three “I’s for Team Leadership

The first “I” is Integrity

Great leadership exhibits high character.  Instead of only expecting it from those around you, a great team leader will be an example of integrity – and will make the difficult choice and do the right thing EVEN when it is inconvenient… because that is what will inspire your people to do the same when they are in a similar situation.

The second “I” is Involvement

Great team leaders are involved with the lives of their people.  They know the staff’s families and their desires and their strengths and their challenges.  Team motivation is only possible when you become aware of the needs and desires of the people a leader is working with. 

The more leaders and teammates know, the more able they are to help others achieve the goals they have for themselves.  And that is what real leadership is about – serving others and helping them to succeed.

The final “I” required for successful team leadership is Instruction

If you have the right people with the right values on your bus, and you care about them, you will find opportunities for them to add skills and talents and increase their value. 

Most every team will disintegrate after the season is over, or when the project is complete… and when that time comes, it is your job as a leader to send your people away with more skills – interpersonal and technical – than they had when they arrived.

Adding It Up

If you can truly say that you have scored a nine or ten in each of these areas with all of your people, then your team will soon be a powerful force.  Not only that, but they will enjoy being around and supporting each other along the way.

If you rated yourself lower than a seven and are having trouble with any of these areas, consider a day of corporate, athletic or teacher team building activities.

Sooner or later, most managers become aware of the fact that it is always the soft stuff that if really the hard stuff - and the interpersonal relationships and investment in becoming more involved in their lives and inspiring them to do the same for each other is always a challenge.

As a team building speaker and event facilitator, I am confident that you will benefit from an investment of time and resources to make sure that the three “I”s mentioned is given proper attention.

So, what sort of teambuilding has your team done? Did it truly help, or was it just a band-aid for deeper issues? How can you incorporate the three “I”s into your team to help build better results? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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———————–
Sean Glaze
Sean Glaze
is Speaker, Author, Coach, and Facilitator at Great Results Teambuilding
He delivers Engaging Events that Transform Laughter into Lessons
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Google+ | Web | YouTubeBook | Blog

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Leadership Lesson: Do You Hear Me?

Hearing vs. Listening

Do you hear me?  Are you listening?

Many people use these two questions interchangeably, but they’re two significantly different questions.  You can “hear” people are talking, but then you can “listen” to what they’re saying.  Let me give you an example.

Hearing vs. Listening

When I was in the Navy, on board USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), I shared an office space with our Chief Petty Officer.  Basically the only thing separating our areas was a small file cabinet with a 13” TV on top.  In the evenings, I always had the TV on, but the volume low.

Harold asked me one time, with a puzzling tone, “How can you concentrate with the TV on?”

My reply was that I’m not “listening” to it.  I just “hear” the sound.  I really had no idea what show was on.

Straight Talk

The Merriam-Webster dictionary says, in part, that

To “hear” means:

1: to perceive or apprehend by the ear.

To “listen” means:

1: to pay attention to sound.

Big difference.  When you “hear”, it’s just sound going in.  But when you “listen”, you are actually understanding the information.  In other words, you can hear something without wanting to, but you can only listen to something intentionally.  Listening is a skill.

Anyone who’s been a leader for any length of time should realize that you have to learn how to phrase questions properly in order to get the most honest and useful information and understanding in return.

The answer is always going to be “Yes” to the question, “Do you hear me?”, but “No” (at least in their mind) to the question, “Are you listening to me?”

Never ask, “Do you hear me?”

Leadership Lesson: Focus on Listening

Now, with that background, let’s change direction and talk about our listening skills.  Leaders need to focus in order to keep listening, or else we’re just . . . hearing.  Too many leaders have so many things on their minds that if they don’t just stop and focus on listening, it’s not long before they’re thinking about other things and slipping into the hearing mode.

Listening requires you to stop what you’re doing and to have patience with the conversation.

In his book, Creating Magic, Lee Cockerell says, “it’s vital to hang in there, because you never know when a glimmer of an idea might shine through.  The sentence you tuned out on might hold a crucial fact, or reveal an important problem you need to know about.”

A Listening Attitude

If you want to actually listen to someone, and not just go through the actions of hearing, you need to use the proper means.  A lot of my work has been in customer service.  That’s a great subject to take a look at.

How many of you have suggestion boxes, or comment cards?  All you get there are statements that you’re most likely going to quickly glance over and then move along.  Do you send written responses back to the customers?  You tell them that “we hear what you are saying.”  You HEAR what they’re saying.  That doesn’t necessarily mean you are LISTENING to them.

Most people tend to be “hard of listening” rather than “hard of hearing.”

Active Listening

Guest Relations at Walt Disney World used to send apology letters to Guests who complained.  But those letters, like most organizations, are just a form that specific information is inserted into.  So they started phoning the Guests instead, creating a two-way conversation where they could actually LISTEN to the concerns and work them out.

So what can I do right now to start listening better?  Good question.  I’m glad you asked.

  1. Go to the door and greet the person – personally welcome them into your office.  Help put them at ease.
  2. Get out from behind your desk and sit with the person.  Chairs should be the same height so you don’t give off a domineering vibe.
  3. Stop what you’re doing and turn to face the person.
  4. Take notes.  Tell the person that you’d like to jot down some notes while you converse in order to help you understand better.
  5. Unless you’re a doctor on-call, don’t answer the phone.
  6. Use open, positive body language.
  7. Watch the person’s body language to help you “listen” to what’s NOT being said.

Keep in mind what Beverly Kaye and Julie Winkle Giulioni said in their book, Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go“It’s the quality of the conversation that matters most to employees.”

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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

——————–
Andy Uskavitch
Andy Uskavitch is Leadership Development at Florida Blood Services
He develops and facilitates Leadership, Motivation & Teambuilding Seminars
Email | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Blog |  (727) 568-5433

Image Sources: creative.newlifechurch.tv

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