Eric Jacobson

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Six Questions To Ask Your Employees Today

In Constructive Feedback, Effective Communications, Employee Engagement, Employee Feedback, Employee Retention, Employee Satisfaction, Eric Jacobson On Leadership, Leadership on September 23, 2017 at 8:41 am

question mark people

As explained in John Baldoni’s, book, Lead With Purpose, Marshall 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?

The Golden Rules Of Effective Communication

In Communication, Eric Jacobson On Leadership, Leadership, Management on September 20, 2017 at 9:11 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.

11 Ground Rules For Meeting Behaviors

In Eric Jacobson On Leadership, Meetings on September 17, 2017 at 5:05 am

While recently reading C. Elliott Haverlack’s new book, Unbundle It, I found his 11 ground rules for meeting behaviors to be particularly helpful:

  1. Arrive on time.
  2. Be respectful of other attendees.
  3. No phones or computers if at all possible.
  4. No leaving the meeting or getting up to walk around until scheduled breaks.
  5. No eating unless during working meal meetings (consuming beverages as appropriate is acceptable).
  6. No side conversations.
  7. Good posture.
  8. Listen intently (even if you don’t want to).
  9. Ask questions at the appropriate time.
  10. No filibustering.
  11. Take notes.

How To Communicate In Eight Seconds

In Communication, Eric Jacobson On Leadership, Leadership on August 30, 2017 at 2:42 pm

According to a 2015 Microsoft study, the average attention span for us ever-scattered humans is now shorter that a goldfish’s; eight seconds. So, how do you stand out? How do you communicate effectively? How do you not waste time?

Paul Hellman answers these questions and gives you 100 fast and actionable tactics to make your eights seconds meaningful. It’s all in his new book, You’ve Got 00:00:08 Seconds.

He teaches you three key ingredients:

  1. Focus: How to say less with more meaning.
  2. Variety: How to stand out as slightly different.
  3. Presence. How to be notable and boost your reputation.

Paul Hellman

His tactics will serve you well in all these types of situations:

  • Making presentations
  • Interviewing
  • Emailing
  • Networking
  • Storytelling
  • Leaving voice mail

Here are some of my favorite takeaways from Hellman’s book:

  • In one-to-one conversations, talk less than the other person. Ask at least one thought-provoking question per conversation.
  • In meetings, speak in 30-60 second bites. Provide the headline news first, with details later, and only give details if asked. You’ll be surprised by how much you can say in 30 seconds.
  • When presenting, slim down to 10 PowerPoint slides or less.

And, if you really want to Own the Room when presenting, Hellman recommends you:

  1. Avoid the podium.
  2. Move.
  3. When you get a question, step forward toward the audience.
  4. Keep your hands in front of your body.
  5. Gesture.
  6. Look at individuals.
  7. Speak louder (as though the room were twice as large and you wanted to be heard).
  8. Speak as though your message matters.

Ask For Help

In Eric Jacobson On Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Skills on August 15, 2017 at 5:09 am

If you are new to managing, or if you are struggling with a management dilemma, ask for help. There is no shame in asking for help.

Seek the guidance of a colleague at work. Reach out to a mentor at or away from work. Turn to an online resource. Consult a book on managing.

Whatever you do, don’t sit back and do nothing. Managing even one employee can be challenging. And many managers receive little or no formal training on how to be a manager. That means you have to be proactive about learning how to be a good manager.

Your team is depending on you, and to lead them effectively you need to know to how manage effectively. So, ask for help.

How To Stay Motivated

In Eric Jacobson On Leadership, Motivation on August 12, 2017 at 5:07 am

To learn how to stay motivated, read High-Profit Prospecting, by Mark Hunter. It’s a powerful read that includes counterintuitive advice and cutting-edge best practices for sales prospecting in today’s business world.

Today, I share one of my favorite sections of the book where Hunter describes his seven things motivated people do to stay motivated:

  1. Motivated people ignore voices in their lives. These might be people in the office and friends who have bad attitudes. They’re out there, and if you’re not careful, they’ll control you, too.
  2. Motivated people associate with highly motivated people. Just as there are negative people in the world, there are also positive people. Your job is to make sure you spend as much time with the positive people as possible.
  3. Motivated people simply look for the positive in things. Positive people count it an honor to live each day, learn from others, and impact positively those they meet. Positive people take great satisfaction in helping others achieve success.
  4. Motivated people don’t worry about what they can’t control, but are quick to accept control of their worlds. They don’t pass the buck to someone else, but are willing to be accountable in everything.
  5. Motivated people are continuously learning. The benefit of the learning they do each day is how they use it to improve themselves even more.
  6. Motivated people know there will be tough times, but they know tough times don’t last. They’re aware they need to stay focused on the solution, not the problem. Motivated people always view things in a longer time frame than negative people, who dwell on the negativity of the moment they’re in.
  7. Motivated people set goals and are focused on achieving them, and along the way they celebrate each positive step. The goals they set are designed to both motivate them and drive them to higher levels of success than others might achieve.

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.

Leadership Quotes From, Just Listen

In Eric Jacobson On Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Books, Leadership Quotes on July 17, 2017 at 6:19 am

Here are some terrific quotes from Mark Goulston‘s book, Just Listen:

  • Good management is the art of making problems so interesting and their solutions so constructive that everyone wants to get to work and deal with them. — Paul Hawken
  • Life is mostly a matter of perception and more often misperception. — Dave Logan
  • Everyone has an invisible sign hanging from their next saying, “Make me feel important.” — Mary Kay Ash
  • Do the unexpected. The expected is boring.  The expected is tuned out. — Steve Strauss
  • Humility is the surest sign of strength. — Thomas Merton
  • Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning. — Bill Gates
  • The secret of getting ahead is getting started. — Agatha Christie
  • Don’t find fault.  Find a remedy. — Henry Ford

Make Decisions

In Eric Jacobson On Leadership, Making Decisions on July 13, 2017 at 8:46 am

A manager who can’t make a decision or who can’t make a timely decision will frustrate his/her employees. Equally bad, a lack of decision will impede the progress of the manager’s team.

Some managers make endless requests for data as a way to postpone their having to make a decision. Employees end up spinning in circles, slicing and dicing the information far beyond what is truly needed for the manager to make a decision.

Some managers are simply afraid to make a decision in fear of making a “wrong” decision. These managers don’t necessarily request needless data, but simply just never decide.

Successful managers gather the data from their employees, make any truly necessary follow-up requests (probing beyond what their employee may have researched/gathered on their own), and then make their decision…knowing that in virtually all cases most decisions are not black and white “right or “wrong,” but are the best decisions made at that time for the current circumstances.

Good managers know that most decisions can be tweaked along the way as their teams carry out their tasks impacted by the decision.

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