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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.

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 Be A Collaborative Leader

In Collaboration, Collaborative Leader, Eric Jacobson Leadership, Eric Jacobson On Corporate Culture, Eric Jacobson On Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Books on January 2, 2017 at 7:37 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. He holds degrees from Claremont McKenna College, Syracuse University and the University of North Carolina.

How To Embrace Change

In Change Management, Embracing Change, Eric Jacobson On Corporate Culture, Eric Jacobson On Leadership, Leadership on October 10, 2016 at 7:39 am

Change is inevitable. Change is good.  Help your employees and team learn to embrace change.

Here are some solid insights from Dr. Rodger Dean Duncan‘s (Liberty, Missouri) book, Change-friendly Leadership — How to Transform Good Intentions into  Great Performance:

  • The kind of behavior change that results in lasting (sustainable) change must accommodate people’s feelings–feelings that involve trust, confidence, passion, and all those other intangible but very real things that make us human.
  • It’s often the stress that people resist, not the change itself.
  • Continuity gives us roots; change gives us branches, letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights (Pauline R. Kezer).
  • A transformational leader focuses primarily on initiating and “managing” change.  He/she influences people to improve, to stretch, and to redefine what’s possible.
  • It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change (Charles Darwin).
  • Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.

How To Create A Positive Work Experience

In Eric Jacobson Leadership, Eric Jacobson On Corporate Culture, Eric Jacobson On Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Books, Uncategorized on September 3, 2016 at 11:25 am

In the book, The Optimistic Workplace, author Shawn Murphy, explains that the following beliefs are essential to helping create a positive work experience:

  1. The team is more important than any individual. For optimism to be strong, a cohesive team is vital. People need to believe the team will be there for them when needed. A team is weakened when the first priority is the needs of each person, or when ego dictates a team’s actions or inaction. And, avoid relying on the usual suspects, the same few superstars, to handle high-profile projects.
  2. There’s value to experiencing joy at work. Joy can open brains to better see connections and various options to solve work problems. Joy is about playing. Play at work is useful when creativity and innovation are needed. The usefulness of creativity and innovation at the workplace is linked to increasing employees’ knowledge and skills.
  3. Doing good is good for business. It’s not just about philanthropy. Do good by not contributing to the stress levels of  your employees who struggle to find a healthy mix between their personal and work lives.
  4. Relationships between leaders and employees need to be richer. Relationships are central to cooperation, collaboration, and successful outcomes.
  5. Work should align with purpose and meaning. Purpose and meaning are too often downplayed while businesses emphasize financial motivation. A focus on financial motivators blinds leaders from helping employees do work that matters.
  6. Leaders need to actualize human potential. Actualizing human potential is built on the fundamental belief that people are inherently good, will do good, and can be trusted.

Shawn Murphy

Murphy is an independent consultant with 20 years’ experience working with a variety of organizations.

Leadership Quotes From John C. Maxwell

In Eric Jacobson Leadership, Eric Jacobson On Corporate Culture, Eric Jacobson On Leadership, John C. Maxwell, Leadership, Leadership Books, Leadership Quotes on March 25, 2016 at 6:54 pm

leadership - poster concept

The real gems in John C. Maxwell’s book, Everyone Communicates Few Connect, are the abundant leadership and communication quotes, such as these:

To add value to others, one must first value others.

People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.

All good communicators get to the point before their listeners start asking, “What’s the point?”

The first time you say something, it’s heard. The second time, it’s recognized, and the third time it’s learned.

In the end, people are persuaded not by what we say, but by what they understand.

People pay attention when something that is said connects with something they greatly desire.

Maxwell also says that:

Management is about persuading people to do things they do not want to do, while leadership is about inspiring people to do things they never thought they could.

The book covers five principles and five practices to help readers so they can connect one-on-one, in a group, or with an audience.

How To Explain Change To Employees

In Change Management, Eric Jacobson Leadership, Eric Jacobson On Corporate Culture on December 15, 2015 at 5:55 am

When you communicate change to your team, explain the logical and rational reasons for the change:

1. Explain how the change will make employees feel before, during and after the implementation.

2. Explain the tactical plan and goals.

3. Answer questions from your team.

The Moments That Shape Your Company’s Culture

In Corporate Culture, Eric Jacobson On Corporate Culture, Eric Jacobson On Leadership on February 20, 2015 at 10:22 am

responsible leader

In his new book, The Responsible Leader, Tim Richardson explains that to create a high-performance culture, you need to plan and prepare for the following moments to ensure the conversations surrounding them are both meaningful and intentional:

  • recruitment and induction of new team members
  • performance management discussions
  • promotion interviews and talent management discussions
  • coaching discussions
  • customer sales presentations
  • handling customer complaints and problems
  • briefings to the press, analysts and wider market
  • senior leaders’ contact with, and briefings to, teams across the organization
  • internal presentations with executive committees
  • team meetings and management meetings

Richardson’s advice to improve the quality of these conversations is to consider:

  • How clear is the principal message for the conversation?
  • How can you ensure that the content of the discussion is focused on the key message(s)?
  • How can you ensure the quality of the listening by all parties?
  • How can you set a pace that is both focused and allows for real thinking?
  • What can you do to make the conversation a generative one that moves things forward?
  • How can you be responsible for holding parties accountable for responses and actions?
  • How will you ensure that decisions taken are mindful of the wider system and longer term as well as short term?
  • How will the organization’s values be demonstrated openly and authentically in the conversation?

Richardson is a Director of Waverly Learning and Director of Its Original Ltd. Previously Head of Leadership Development and Talent Management at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, he has worked with corporate clients, such as HSBC, BBC, BOC, Zurich, Centrica, Llloyds TSB, Barclays and Uniliver amongst others.

Thanks to the book’s publisher for sending me an advance copy of the book.

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