Eric Jacobson

Posts Tagged ‘Leadership Skills’

How To Lead With Purpose

In Eric Jacobson On Leadership, John Baldoni, Leading With Purpose on August 5, 2016 at 11:12 am

“Purpose is the why behind everything within an organization,” says author John Baldoni, of the book, Lead With Purpose.

Baldoni also believes that it is up to leaders to make certain that organizational purpose is understood and acted upon. And, to harness the talents of their employees, leaders must recognize their responsibility to instill purpose in the workplace.

Other recommendations include:

  • Make purpose a central focus
  • Instill purpose in others
  • Make employees comfortable with ambiguity
  • Turn good intentions into great results
  • Make it safe to fail (as well as prevail)
  • Develop the next generation

According to Baldoni, purpose forms the backbone of what an organization exists to do; upon which you can build vision and mission.

To define an organization’s purpose, you must ask three questions:

1. What is our vision — that is, what do we want to become?

2. What is our mission — that is, what do we do now?

3. What are our values–that is, what are the behaviors we expect of ourselves?

Some of my other favorite observations from the book are these two:

  • We follow leaders not because they bring us down, but because they lift our spirits with their attitude, words, and examples.
  • No job is complete without a review. Look at what went right as well as what went wrong. Understand that failure is not grounds for dismissal.

Lead With Purpose draws on extensive research, field work and interviews with dozens of organizational leaders. It also includes the results of an exclusive 2010 leadership survey conducted for the American Management Association (AMA) by NFI Research.

Baldoni is a recognized leadership educator, coach and speaker, and the author of Lead by Example and Lead Your Boss.

Questions To Ask When You Are A Superboss

In Eric Jacobson Leadership, Eric Jacobson On Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Books on July 19, 2016 at 6:40 am

Here are ten questions (or bundles of questions) you should ask yourself to ensure you are thinking and acting like a superboss. These are from Sydney Finkelstein‘s new book, Superbosses.

  1. Do you have a specific vision for your work that energizes you, and that you use to energize and inspire your team?
  2. How often do people leave your team to accept a bigger offer elsewhere? What’s that like when it happens?
  3. Do you push your reports to meet only the formal goals set for the team, or are there other goals that employees sometimes also strive to achieve?
  4. How do you go about questioning your own assumptions about the business? How do you get your team to do the same about their own assumptions?
  5. How do you balance the need to delegate responsibilities to team members with the need to provide hands-on coaching to them? How much time do you usually spend coaching employees?
  6. When promoting employees, do you ever put them into challenging jobs where they potentially might fail? If so, how do you manage the potential risk? And what happens if they do fail?
  7. How much affection or connection do members of your team feel with one another? Do people tend to spend time out of the office socializing? What is the balance of competition and collaboration on the team?
  8. Do you continue to stay in touch with employees who have left to work elsewhere?
  9. Have any former employees of yours gone on to have particularly noteworthy careers, either within your organization or elsewhere? If so, how many?
  10. What is the culture like in your team with respect to how much energy you devote to nurturing or developing individuals versus getting the job done?

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?

What Managers Don’t Do

In Eric Jacobson Leadership, Leadership, Management on May 21, 2016 at 9:42 am

According to David Grossman, author of the popular book, You Can’t Not Communicate-2, here are eight things employees say managers don’t do:

  1. Don’t keep employees informed.
  2. Don’t explain the “why” behind decisions.
  3. Don’t communicate frequently enough and in a timely way.
  4. Don’t update employees on changes happening in the business.
  5. Don’t share regular business updates and how the team is performing.
  6. Don’t ask for feedback.
  7. Don’t ask for or listen to concerns.
  8. Don’t act on feedback (or at least close the loop as to why feedback wasn’t incorporated into a decision)

This is a great reminder for leaders of what not to do.

And, perhaps number 8 on the list is the one where most managers fall short — not explaining why they didn’t incorporate feedback into their final decision.

How To Assess Your Organization’s Risk

In Eric Jacobson On Leadership, Leadership on December 13, 2015 at 5:39 am


Within the first 100 days as a new leader in an organization, you’ll want to assess your organization’s risk.

Authors George Bradt, Jayme A. Clark and Jorge Pedraza, in their book, The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan (third edition), recommend you do your assessment using the 5Cs:

  1. Customers: First line, customer chain, end users, influencers
  2. Collaborators: Suppliers, allies, government/community leaders
  3. Capabilities: Human, operational, financial, technical, key assets
  4. Competitors: Direct, indirect, potential
  5. Conditions: Social/demographic, political/government/regulatory, economic, market

Use a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) as you examine each category if that helps.

How To Be A SPARK Leader

In Leadership on March 17, 2015 at 3:54 pm

You practice SPARK leadership if you:

  • Share Information
  • Play to Strengths
  • Ask for Input and Appreciate Different Ideas
  • Recognize and Respond to Individual Needs
  • Keep Your Commitments

A great reminder from the President and CEO of American Management Association, Edward T. Reilly.  You’ll find more good advice in his new book, AMA Business Boot Camp.

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!

Leadership Insights From Top Business Women

In Company Culture, Corporate Culture, Effective Communications, Employee Engagement, Employee Satisfaction, Engaging Employees, Leadership, Leadership Quotes, Leadership Skills, Leadership Training, Leading By Example, Listening Skills, Management, Mentoring, Team Building on September 6, 2012 at 5:22 pm

Every year, the Kansas City Business Journal honors 25 women business leaders in the Kansas City metro in its “Women Who Mean Business” awards competition.

The winners are identified as those women in the community who:

  • are outstanding in their business accomplishments
  • have growth plans for their companies
  • contribute to the community
  • improve the climate for women in business

Key insights from this year’s recently announced winners include these comments and observations:

  • “Listen to people who know the business.”
  • “I’ve learned when I’m angry to walk away, calm down.  Never, ever, ever react in anger to anybody.”
  • “Loyalty is not something you can spot right away; attitude is.  Attitude is something you can’t teach.”
  • “Mentoring is opening doors for younger people.”
  • “Work hard, but enjoy what you do”
  • “If you don’t give back to the community, how can you be a whole person?”
  • “Our job as business leaders is to bring out the best efforts from the most people.  Give them something purposeful and meaningful, and great things will happen.”
  • “I try to find people that I respect not only professionally, but personally.”
  • “You have to be a good listener and a good problem-solver.”
  • Pay attention and enjoy where you are instead of worrying about what’s 10 steps ahead of you.”
  • “I’m always focusing on what is this decision going to look like five years from now.”
  • “I will not pretend I have all the answers.  I will seek input from others so I can develop the right answers.”

Leadership Lessons From “Moral Of The Story”

In Company Culture, Corporate Culture, Effective Communications, Employee Engagement, General Leadership Skills, Guiding Business Principles, Leadership, Leadership Books, Leadership Education, Leadership Quotes, Leadership Skills, Leadership Training, Leading By Example, Management, Motivating Employees on September 6, 2012 at 5:19 pm

I’m a big fan of best-selling author Harvey Mackay.  He writes about business, sales and leadership and typically ends his articles with a moral of the story.

Culled from his writings of the past three and half years, here are some of my favorites of his moral of the story endings:

  • Change your thinking, change your life.
  • It’s not enough to know how to do things – you must know why you do them.
  • If you live in the past, you won’t have much of a future.
  • If you want to outsmart the competition, you have to outthink the competition.
  • Don’t be afraid to make a decision.  Be afraid not make a decision.
  • What you learn on your first job will last through your last job.
  • Minds are like parachutes – not much good unless they are open.
  • If you can’t be an expert, hire one.
  • People have a way of becoming what you encourage them to be.
  • It only takes a little spark to ignite a great fire.
  • Doing the right thing is never the wrong thing to do.

Mackay’s best-selling business books have sold more than 10 million copies worldwide. They have been translated into 37 languages and sold in 80 countries.

Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive was a groundbreaking New York Times #1 best seller for 54 weeks.

25 Ways To Be A Better Leader

In Company Culture, Effective Communications, General Leadership Skills, Leadership, Leadership Education, Leadership Skills, Leadership Training, Leading By Example, Listening Skills, Management, Nonprofit Leadership on March 20, 2012 at 5:30 am

If you don’t have time to read a book about how to improve your leadership skills, tackle a handful of these tips, complied from the works of many authors:

  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. Talk about values more than rules
  8. Reward how a performance is achieved and not only the performance
  9. Constantly challenge your team to do better
  10. Celebrate your employees’ successes, not your own
  11. Err on the side of taking action
  12. Communicate clearly and often
  13. Be visible
  14. Eliminate the cause of a mistake
  15. View every problem as an opportunity to grow
  16. Summarize group consensus after each decision point during a meeting
  17. Praise when compliments are earned
  18. Be decisive
  19. Say “thank you” and sincerely mean it
  20. Send written thank you notes
  21. Listen carefully and don’t multi-task while listening
  22. Teach something new to your team
  23. Show respect for all team members
  24. Follow through when you promise to do something
  25. Be courageous, quick and fair
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