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The Six Questions Leaders Should Ask Employees

In Employee Engagement, Employee Feedback, Employee Retention, Employee Satisfaction, Engaging Employees, Eric Jacobson Leadership, Eric Jacobson On Corporate Culture, Leadership on August 20, 2017 at 9:35 am

As explained in John Baldoni‘s, book, Lead With PurposeMarshall Goldsmith suggests all leaders make it a habit to regularly ask their employees these six questions:

  1. Where do you think we should be going?
  2. Where do you think you and your part of the business should be going?
  3. What do you think you’re doing well?
  4. If you were the leader, what ideas would you have for you?
  5. How can I help?
  6. What suggestions or ideas do you have for me?

How To Be A Manager With Class

In Eric Jacobson Leadership, Eric Jacobson On Corporate Culture, Eric Jacobson On Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Books on July 26, 2017 at 4:59 am

AMACOM’s (of the American Management Association) sixth edition of the best-selling book, The First-Time Manager — originally published in 1981 is a must-read for new managers and leaders in business.

One of my favorite sections of the book is the one about class in a manager:

  • Class is treating people with dignity.
  • Class does not have to be the center of attention.
  • Class does not lose its cool.
  • Class does not rationalize mistakes.
  • Class is good manners.
  • Class means loyalty to one’s staff.
  • Class recognizes the best way to build oneself is to first build others.
  • Class leads by example.
  • Class does not taken action when angry.
  • Class is authentic and works hard at making actions consistent with words.

Exit Interview Questions

In Eric Jacobson Leadership, Eric Jacobson On Corporate Culture, Eric Jacobson On Leadership, Exit Interviews on July 20, 2017 at 3:11 am

As a leader, it’s critical that you understand the real reasons employees leave your company. To do that, you need to ask specific questions that may not be ones you currently include in your exit interviews.

Fortunately, Richard Finnegan, shares in his book, Rethinking Retention in Good Times and Badfour key questions you should include in your exit interviews:

  1. Why did you decide to leave us?
  2. Of all the things you’ve told me, what is the top thing that caused you to resign?
  3. It’s great that you’ve found such a good opportunity, but why did you look?
  4. What one thing could we have done that would have caused you to stay?

Your goal is to learn the most important leave reason rather than learn which three or five things contributed to your employee’s decision to leave. The four questions above will help you learn the most important reason.

How To Run A Meeting

In Eric Jacobson Leadership, Eric Jacobson On Leadership, Leadership, Meetings on July 11, 2017 at 9:49 am

Here are some great tips from authors Michael Mankins and Eric Garton about how to run meetings that work:

  • Be sure a meeting is appropriate. Meetings are great for gathering input and coming to a group decision. They aren’t so good for drafting a strategy document, for example. Ensure a meeting is the best way to get the job done.
  • Set a clear — and selective — agenda. A clear agenda communicates priorities. It also tells people what they can safely postpone or ignore.
  • Insist on advance preparation.
  • Practice good meeting hygiene. Start on time. Clarify the purpose of every meeting. Spell out people’s roles in decisions. Create a decision log that captures every decision made in a meeting.
  • End early, particularly if the meeting is going nowhere.

Mankins and Garton are the authors of the book, Time, Talent, Energy.

How To Be A Perceptive Listener

In Eric Jacobson Leadership, Leadership Skills, Listening Skills on July 5, 2017 at 7:48 am

“Perceptive listening requires you to be totally focused, completely mindful, and perceptive of the conversation — about what is spoken and what remains unspoken,” explains John Jantsch, author of the book, Duct Tape Selling.

He adds, “Perceptive listening reveals things that a distracted or even mostly active conversation can’t reveal.”

To be a perceptive listener, ensure you hear and interpret the words as they’re said, and also consider what the person isn’t saying. What they might really be thinking, and how they are acting as they speak.

16 Ways To Build Trust

In Building Trust, Eric Jacobson Leadership, Eric Jacobson On Corporate Culture, Eric Jacobson On Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Books, Trust Building on July 2, 2017 at 10:40 am

You can’t lead if your employees, team or followers don’t trust you.

Building trust takes energy, effort and constant attention to how you act.

To help build trust, follow these 16 tips, recommended by author Susan H. Shearouse:

  1. Be honest
  2. Keep commitments and keep your word
  3. Avoid surprises
  4. Be consistent with your mood
  5. Be your best
  6. Demonstrate respect
  7. Listen
  8. Communicate
  9. Speak with a positive intent
  10. Admit mistakes
  11. Be willing to hear feedback
  12. Maintain confidences
  13. Get to know others
  14. Practice empathy
  15. Seek input from others
  16. Say “thank you”

How To Apologize

In Apologizing, Eric Jacobson Leadership, Leadership on June 15, 2017 at 5:27 pm

The following great advice about how to apologize is from the new 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

Follow Through On Your Promises

In Eric Jacobson Leadership, Eric Jacobson On Leadership, Leadership on April 22, 2017 at 1:25 pm

Set a good example for your employees and follow through on everything you say you are going to do.

If you promise to get an employee an answer, get it for him or her. If you say you’ll send a team member a report, do so. As the Nike campaign/slogan so aptly says, “Just Do It.”

Too many leaders don’t follow through. Perhaps they get busy. Perhaps they forget. However, following through is critical to keeping your team effective and efficient. And it’s necessary for gaining respect from your employees.

Following through also means doing so in a timely fashion. If you take too long to follow through, it’s as bad as not following through at all.

How To Connect With Individual Team Members

In Eric Jacobson Leadership, Eric Jacobson On Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Books, Teams on April 8, 2017 at 1:37 pm

Here, from the book, Be A Network Marketing Leader, are some tips on how, as a leader, you can connect with your individual team members:

  • Send cards on their birthdays and anniversary-of-joining dates.
  • Keep yourself updated with what’s happening in their personal lives.
  • Show your support during personal or family crises.
  • Schedule weekly one-on-one phone calls or meetings.
  • Pay attention. When you see an increase, decrease or change in results, get in touch.
  • Schedule monthly whole team meetings.
  • Applaud achievements and address concerns immediately.
  • Be consistent.
  • Make frequent thoughtful, spontaneous gestures.
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