Eric Jacobson

Archive for May, 2017|Monthly archive page

How To Be Humble

In Eric Jacobson On Leadership, Humble Leader, Leadership, Leadership Books on May 28, 2017 at 3:31 pm

From John Blakey‘s book, The Trusted Executive, here are these four tips from Jim Collins for how to be a humble leader:

  1. Demonstrate a compelling modesty, shunning public adulation and never be boastful.
  2. Act with quiet, calm determination and motivate others through inspired standards, not inspiring charisma.
  3. Channel ambition into the company, not the self, and set up successors for even more greatness in the next generation.
  4. Look in the mirror, not out of the window, when apportioning responsibility for poor performance.

Four Words Your Customers Don’t Want To Hear

In Customer Engagement, Customer Retention, Customer Service, Eric Jacobson On Leadership on May 22, 2017 at 5:24 am

Author Harvey MacKay wrote the following spot-on advice in his column in the Kansas City Business Journal a few years ago. He wisely points out that all employees at every level should never use these four words in front of a client/customer for both obvious and perhaps not so obvious reasons:

  • Can’t — As in, “We can’t do that.”  “We can’t meet that deadline.”  Unless you honestly cannot produce and then be honest and help them find another vendor.
  • Busy — As in, “I’ll call you when I’m not so busy.”  “I’m really busy right now.” The word “busy” gives your customer the impression they are a low priority.
  • Safe — As in, “Let’s play it safe.”  Customers typically want to engage in calculated risks versus playing it safe.
  • Fear — As in, “I fear that we may be moving too fast.” That tells your customer you haven’t done your homework. MacKay writes, “Common sense, thorough research and sound advice should allay your fears to a reasonable level.”

Take a moment. Are you absolutely sure every employee in sales, production, operations, marketing, etc., is not using these words, even inadvertently, in front of your customers?

Thanks for the important reminder, Harvey MacKay!

12 Rules For How To Effectively Communicate

In Communication, Eric Jacobson On Leadership, Leadership on May 17, 2017 at 11:42 am

Here are the 12 golden rules of effective communication from Paul Falcone, as highlighted in his book, 2600 Phrases for Setting Effective Performance Goals.

Always remember to:

  1. Recognize achievements and accomplishments often.
  2. Celebrate success.
  3. Deliver bad news quickly, constructively, and in a spirit of professional development.
  4. Praise in public, censure in private.
  5. Assume responsibility for problems when things go wrong, and provide immediate praise and recognition to others when things go right.
  6. Create a work environment based on inclusiveness, welcoming others’ suggestions and points of view.
  7. Listen actively, making sure that your people feel heard and understood and have a voice in terms of offering positive suggestions in the office or on the shop floor.
  8. Share information openly (to the extent possible) so that staff members understand the Why behind your reasoning and can ask appropriate questions as they continue along in their own path of career development and learning.
  9. Remember that thankfulness and appreciation are the two most important values you can share with our employees and teach them to live by: make them the core foundation of your culture.
  10. Put others’ needs ahead of your own and expect them to respond in kind (a.k.a. “selfless leadership,” otherwise known as “servant leadership”).
  11. When dealing with others’ shortcomings, always err on the side of compassion.
  12. Solicit ongoing feedback and suggestions form your team in terms of how you could do things differently, thereby stimulating creativity and innovation.

The Seven Roles Of A Collaborative Leader

In Collaboration, Collaborative Leader, Eric Jacobson On Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Books on May 13, 2017 at 11:07 am

Edward M. Marshall’s book, Transforming The Way We Work — The Power Of The Collaborative Workplace, remains relevant today, more than a decade after Marshall wrote it.

Particularly useful is the book’s section that teaches readers how to be a collaborative leader.

Marshall says that there are seven different, important roles and responsibilities of collaborative leaders when leading teams, and those leaders should select the appropriate style to meet the team’s needs.

The seven roles are:

  1. The leader as sponsor — You provide strategic direction, boundaries and coaching for the team. You also monitor progress and ensure integrity in the team’s operating processes.
  2. The leader as facilitator — You ensure that meetings, team dynamics, and interpersonal relationships function effectively. You also ensure internal coordination of activities among team members.
  3. The leader as coach — You provide support and guidance and you serve as a sounding board.
  4. The leader as change agent/catalyst — You hold team members accountable, make the unpopular decisions, energize the group to action and enable breakthroughs where possible.
  5. The leader as healer — You play the role of the mediator and serve as the catalyst to bring people together.
  6. The leader as member — You serve as part of the team, taking full responsibility for the success of the team and actively participate in the team’s activities.
  7. The leader as manager/administrator — You serve in a traditional role of tackling the daily administrative responsibilities, processes, and systems essential to managing the boundaries within the larger organization or key stakeholders.

Within any collaborate workplace, leaders will find themselves fulfilling all seven of these roles at different times, and sometimes fulfilling a combination of the seven styles at the same time, while working with work groups and teams.

Four years after Marshall wrote, Transforming The Way We Work, he penned, Building Trust At the Speed Of Change. Marshall won an award for excellence in organization development from the American Society for Training and Development.

How To Apologize

In Apologizing, Leadership on May 6, 2017 at 4:47 am

The following great advice about how to apologize is from the book, The Courage Solution, by Mindy Mackenzie. I’ll be posting a full review of the book in a few days. In the meantime, Mackenzie recommends you include these three elements when you apologize:

  1. Actually say “I’m sorry” out loud, while making eye contact, if possible.
  2. Acknowledging your error by adding the phrase “I was wrong…but more importantly, you were right.”
  3. Asking humbly, “How can I fix this?” Keep in mind that an effective apology requires you to have actually begun working on a solution by the time you get to this step.

70 Ways To Be A Better Leader

In Eric Jacobson Leadership, Eric Jacobson On Leadership, Leadership on May 1, 2017 at 6:31 am

Back by popular demand…

The 70 tips below make for a good list for learning how to become a better leader when you don’t have a lot of time to read books about leadership.

And, if you’ve been a leader for a long time, how about taking a few minutes to run through the list and scoring yourself on how well you carry out each leadership skill?

1. Don’t micromanage

2. Don’t be a bottleneck

3. Focus on outcomes, not minutiae

4. Build trust with your colleagues before a crisis comes

5. Assess your company’s strengths and weaknesses at all times

6. Conduct annual risk reviews

7. Be courageous, quick and fair

8. Talk more about values more than rules

9. Reward how a performance is achieved and not only the performance

10. Constantly challenge your team to do better

11. Celebrate your employees’ successes, not your own

12. Err on the side of taking action

13. Communicate clearly and often

14. Be visible

15. Eliminate the cause of a mistake

16. View every problem as an opportunity to grow

17. Summarize group consensus after each decision point during a meeting

18. Praise when compliments are earned

19. Be decisive

20. Say “thank you” and sincerely mean it

21. Send written thank you notes

22. Listen carefully and don’t multi-task while listening

23. Teach something new to your team

24. Show respect for all team members

25. Follow through when you promise to do something

26. Allow prudent autonomy

27. Respond to questions quickly and fully

28. Return e-mails and phone calls promptly

29. Give credit where credit is due

30. Take an interest in your employees and their personal milestone events

31. Mix praise with constructive feedback for how to make improvement

32. Learn the names of your team members even if your team numbers in the hundreds

33. Foster mutual commitment

34. Admit your mistakes

35. Remove nonperformers

36. Give feedback in a timely manner and make it individualized and specific

37. Hire to complement, not to duplicate

38. Volunteer within your community and allow your employees to volunteer

39. Promote excellent customer service both internally and externally

40. Show trust

41. Encourage peer coaching

42. Encourage individualism and welcome input

43. Share third-party compliments about your employees with your employees

44. Be willing to change your decisions

45. Be a good role model

46. Be humble

47. Explain each person’s relevance

48. End every meeting with a follow-up To Do list

49. Explain the process and the reason for the decisions you make

50. Read leadership books to learn

51. Set clear goals and objectives

52. Reward the doers

53. Know yourself

54. Use job descriptions

55. Encourage personal growth and promote training, mentoring and external education

56. Share bad news, not only good news

57. Start meetings on time

58. Discipline in private

59. Seek guidance when you don’t have the answer

60. Tailor your motivation techniques

61. Support mentoring – both informal and formal mentoring

62. Don’t interrupt

63. Ask questions to clarify

64. Don’t delay tough conversations

65. Have an open door policy

66. Dig deep within your organization for ideas on how to improve processes, policies and procedures

67. Do annual written performance appraisals

68. Insist on realism

69. Explain how a change will impact employees’ feelings before, during and after the change is implemented

70. Have face-to-face interaction as often as possible

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