Eric Jacobson

Archive for the ‘Leadership Skills’ Category

How To Move Your Company Forward

In Eric Jacobson On Leadership, Inc. Magazine, Leadership, Leadership Education, Leadership Skills on May 27, 2016 at 5:23 am

The April 2014 issue of Inc. magazine featured a fascinating list of 35 questions from business owners, entrepreneurs and management thinkers. Each offered the one question they would ask to move a company forward.

From the list, my favorites are:

  • Are we relevant?  Will we be relevant five years from now? Ten?
  • What prevents me from making the changes I know will make me a more effective leader?
  • Are we changing as fast as the world around us?
  • Who, on the executive team or the board, has spoken to a customer recently?

And, my most favorite is:

  • How can we become the company that would put us out of business?

What question do you ask to help move your company forward?

10 Tips For How To Be A Better Leader

In Eric Jacobson On Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Skills, Leadership Training on May 9, 2016 at 1:36 am

Here are 10 behaviors, techniques and tips you can use to be an effective leader:

  1. Respond to questions quickly and fully.
  2. Take an interest in your employees and their personal milestone events.
  3. Give feedback in a timely manner and make it individualized and specific.
  4. Be willing to change your decisions.
  5. End every meeting with a follow-up To Do list.
  6. Support mentoring — both informal and formal.
  7. Don’t delay tough decisions.
  8. Do annual written performance appraisals.
  9. Explain how a change will affect employee’s feelings before, during and after the change is implemented.
  10. Have face-to-face interaction as often as possible.

How To Maximize Your Team’s Results

In Eric Jacobson Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Skills, Leading, Team Building, Teams on May 1, 2016 at 5:18 am

High-functioning and effective teams can disagree and still produce excellent products and results. Team members can also disagree and still care about each other. And, they can challenge each other to think differently.

Best-selling leadership book authors Scott J. Allen and Mitchell Kusy recommend that leaders ask seven tough questions of their teams to help maximize their results.

Here are those questions to ask each team member:

  • What are some obstacles affecting this team?
  • What are opportunities we could take advantage of that we have been largely ignoring?
  • Where can you take greater ownership on this team?
  • Where have you let this team down?
  • Compared to other teams with which you are familiar, how are we doing?
  • When was the last time you complimented the team or one of its members?
  • How open are you to giving direct feedback to team members?

Five Important Leadership Traits

In Eric Jacobson On Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Books, Leadership Skills, Leadership Traits, Uncategorized on April 16, 2016 at 11:20 am

Awhile back, I was asked, “What five most important traits must a leader have to be effective?” I could reply fairly quickly, but I did take a moment to remember that when I asked a similar question in a LinkedIn group discussion, group members offered up nearly 100 different adjectives to describe an effective leader.

But, for me, I contend the five most important traits are:

  1. Good communicator. That means effectively communicating timely and consistent messages during good and bad times. And, knowing how and when to be a good listener. Communicating is critical. Employees must hear from their leaders. And, hearing from their leaders in person versus e-mail and written memos is even more effective.
  2. Being a servant leader. Put your employees and your company first. A top manager who makes decisions that are self-serving will lack followers and will bring the company down.
  3. Adaptable. Today, more than ever, a leader needs to adapt. That means adapting to competitive and industry situations. It also means being willing to change your decisions if new information or circumstances warrant the change.
  4. Decisive. Leaders who aren’t decisive and who can’t make a decision will spin their organization into a frozen state where employees are unmotivated, wasting time, and discouraged.
  5. Motivating. Smart, decisive, engaging, tough yet fair, personable and encouraging leaders are motivating. These leaders motivate employees to deliver their best for their leaders and for their company.

What is your list of five traits?

How To Build A Powerful Team

In Leadership, Leadership Books, Leadership Skills, Team Building, Teams on January 5, 2016 at 5:48 am

Take some quality time to read the book by C. Elliott HaverlackUnbunde It, because it explores the issues you face as a leader with a twist that is different from many other leadership books.  Throughout, the book offers suggestions on how to overcome the burden that complexity creates in our lives and businesses.

Most intriguing for me is Haverlack’s straight-forward, unbundled insights on teams.  “The healthiest teams trust each other,” explains the author. “When we trust, we tend to be more transparent and are more likely to share the hurdles we need to leap. And, once trust becomes a competency, accountability comes much more easily.” And, accountability is the key to delivering results.

Haverlack’s eight-point plan for a powerful team is:

  1. Engage a group that shares your core values.
  2. Set aspirational yet achievable goals for the company and every individual.
  3. Create an environment that encourages and rewards trust.
  4. Empower every individual to create and achieve greatness.
  5. Persuade them to stretch.
  6. Love them when they fail.
  7. Create an environment that encourages and reward self-discipline.
  8. Have the courage to exit those from the team who do not fit.

Other particularly useful sections in Unbundle It are the ones on:

  • Tips for excellence in the email world
  • Ground rules for meetings
  • Coaching

70 New Year’s Resolutions For Leaders

In Leadership Skills, New Year's Resolutions on December 30, 2015 at 8:05 am

It’s time to select your New Year’s Resolutions for 2016.

To get you started, how about selecting one or more of these 70 New Year’s resolutions for leaders?

  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

Break Out From Predictability

In Eric Jacobson On Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Skills on March 14, 2015 at 6:18 pm

Inspirational leadership wisdom came awhile back from Bahram Akradi, the CEO of Life Time Fitness.

From that health club’s monthly fitness magazine, Experience Life, Akradi says:

  • Once we get comfortable in our habitual patterns, we may fail to notice when they have outworn their useful purpose, or when new alternatives might serve us better.
  • Once you’ve encountered a second way of seeing things, you’re more likely to entertain the possibility of a third and fourth way, too.
  • Do something that makes you just a little bit uncomfortable–and that renders you a little more awake.

Thanks Akradi for encouraging us to break out from predictability.

Are You A Level 5 Leader?

In Eric Jacobson Leadership, Jim Collins, Leadership Books, Leadership Skills, Level 5 Leadership on December 14, 2014 at 11:31 am

Author and leadership expert Jim Collins defines Level 5 leaders as those who:

  • Pursue goals with the ferocity of lions while displaying the humility of lambs.

According to Collins, who has studied leadership for 25 years, this level of leader is a rare breed. This is a leader who:

  • bestows credit generously
  • shoulders blame responsibility
  • puts organization before self

Lessons For Leaders From TouchPoints

In Eric Jacobson On Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Books, Leadership Skills on October 12, 2014 at 9:16 am

Some of my favorite parts of Douglas Conant’s and Mette Norgaards’ 2011 book, TouchPoints, are these lessons for leaders:

  • You need to have dual vision. You need to be able to address the most pressing need and do it in a way that makes your employees more capable and ready to take on the next issue.
  • No leader can succeed by being only tough-minded or only tender-hearted. The perfect balance is to be both tough-minded on the issue and tender-hearted with people.
  • Leading with heart doesn’t mean you always decide in favor of the individual. It just means that when you need to make a tough-minded decision, you are acutely aware of how it will affect the people involved.
  • The people who are the most committed to mastering their craft are often the most humble. That is because, instead of comparing themselves to others, they are moved by an inner vision of what they might achieve.
  • Ask often, “How can I help?” Doing so at the start of an interaction opens up space for people to voice their ideas, concerns and viewpoints.

7 Open Leadership Skills Assessment Questions

In Eric Jacobson Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Skills on July 16, 2014 at 5:32 am

questions or decision making concept

Open Leadership book author Charlene Li reminds leaders to periodically ask themselves these “open leadership skills assessment” questions:

  1. Do I seek out and listen to different points of view?
  2. Do I make myself available to people at all levels of the organization?
  3. Do I actively manage how I am authentic?
  4. Do I encourage people to share information?
  5. Do I publicly admit when I am wrong?
  6. Do I update people regularly?
  7. Do I take the time to explain how decisions are being made?

Thanks for these great questions, Charlene!

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