How to Become a Trusted Leader

Did you know: team members that work for trusted leaders are far more innovative and achieve top-notch results?

That’s the value of being a trust leader. But to earn this reputation, you must build your credibility over time.

Right now, this can be difficult due to changes and the unexpected economic twists we’re experiencing. Yet, not trusting yourself and others will create the need to control others, micromanage, demand too many meetings, and play office politics. None of these behaviors or attitudes will earn the trust you need from others to be a successful trusted leader.

5 Key Factors to Build Trust

Trust Your Team. First, you must trust your team members. It doesn’t mean you overlook half-truths, missed deadlines, or poor quality. It means, if someone says they cannot get a task done by a certain time, listen and ask, “What do you need from me?” Teams that feel trusted will go above and beyond to get the intended results.

Learn from Mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes, including you! Yelling or expressing frustration at team members is not the way to build trust! Instead, together, conduct an objective review of “what worked/what didn’t work?” Acknowledge things they did well. Then, specifically focus on two things to improve. When you develop an ear to listen, your natural curiosity and good questions will get you to the heart of the error or failure. Then, you can create new solutions.

Embrace Tough Conversations. Most leaders would much rather avoid them. But if you do and don’t get to the underlying issues making progress on projects difficult. The team either doesn’t believe in the outcome or fear failure. Some will complain they don’t have all the resources needed. Don’t buy into the excuses. Instead, encourage their resourcefulness, brainstorm new ideas, and champion their ability to work the conflict or issues.

Be Known for Straight Talk. Say what you mean and mean what you say. This makes THE difference between your team trusting you to look out for them or feeling manipulated to get the job done. When a project has not met the customer’s needs, tell the truth about why. Avoid spinning the facts to make yourself look good and your team feel OK. Remember, they want to learn and grow.

Brag about Your Team! Sharing successes about each and every team member makes a positive difference. This requires being aware of each team member’s contribution…no matter how small. Also, it’s imperative when speaking with others that you brag about their successes and mean it!

©Jeannette Seibly 2020

Jeannette Seibly is The Leadership Results Coach. She has been an award-winning executive coach and keynote speaker for more than 27 years. Her expertise is guiding leaders to get unstuck and achieve unprecedented results. Contact Jeannette for a confidential conversation.

Don’t forget to listen to On the Air with Jeannette Seibly: It’s Your Time for Success on Anchor.FM or YouTube.com.

Do you know the secret to selling yourself to win the job, promotion, or pay increase? Learn how to do it in 5 easy stepshttp://CareerBragging.com

Want more customers? Learn how to prepare and Be a Fabulous Podcast Guest who gets invited back!  http://SeibCo.com/workbooks/

Healthy Conflict Supports Collaboration When Done Right

Many times, when there is conflict or disagreements, we view the other team members as enemies. Then, most team members will take sides, while others will want to remain neutral. Regardless, viewing others as a friend or foe impedes collaborative actions since the focus is no longer on win-win-win results.

The added challenge is, when there is conflict, many people get fearful. They do the “ostrich approach” and stick their heads in the sand. They hope for the best since they don’t have the confidence or skills to impact the conflict. They also fear the impact the conflict will have on future job opportunities.

Conflict and collaboration impact the results of any project. They also impact the effectiveness of the team. While avoiding conflict limits your effectiveness as a leader, failure to build collaboration limits your team’s results. It also hurts your future career opportunities.

7 Tips to Improve Collaboration

  1. Set the Right Example. It’s OK to disagree and have differing ideas, values, and experiences! This awareness is key so that you and your team members don’t overreact or stop listening. The key is to listen and be open to hearing others’ points of view. As the leader, it starts with you setting the right example and expecting your team members to do the same.
  2. Brainstorm. It isn’t hard when done right. When brainstorming ideas, list ALL ideas from each and every team member. If there are concerns, ask questions for clarification, not for debate.
  3. Ensure Everyone Speaks. Call on each person for his/her perspective and ideas. Allow them to “pass” if they don’t want to share at that time. Again, ask each team member until there are no new ideas offered. Go around the team at least 2 times after new ideas have stopped to ensure no one is hiding out.
  4. Respect Each Team Member. Remember, it’s OK to not agree with others. Conflicts arise, along with voices when people do not feel heard. Get the training necessary for you and your team to feel heard. As the leader, set the example of listening while valuing and respecting each and every team member’s perspective and ideas. Remember, off-the-wall or silly ideas can spark the right ones!
  5. Stop Multi-Tasking. Have everyone leave their electronic devices and other distractions at the door. If on a remote call, remind them to shut down other programs and minimize distractions. It’s important to remember when we truly listen new ideas get generated.
  6. Address the Fear as It Arises. Regardless of all the team training, some team members will get fearful during conflicts. Fear is contagious. As the leader, it’s up to you to learn how to recognize and manage it now. Work with your executive coach to develop a mindful resilience for yourself, which inspires team members to do the same.
  7. Align for Better Results. Many companies rely on 100% consensus as their way of resolving conflicts. However, it’s a poor strategy. The hoping and waiting costs time, money, and customers! It also breeds silos and distrust. Instead, align by agreeing on the best plan for right now. Understand how it will impact the company tomorrow. Then, put together a strategy to move forward.

©Jeannette Seibly 2020

Jeannette Seibly is an award-winning executive coach and keynote speaker. For more than 27 years, she has been an expert in guiding leaders to excel in business and beyond.  Need help developing you and your team to achieve better results?  Contact Jeannette for a confidential conversation. Don’t forget to listen toOn the Air with Jeannette Seibly: It’s Your Time for Success on Anchor.FM or YouTube.com.

There are a lot of posted jobs right now. Selling yourself will attract the recruiter’s attention. Learn how to do it in 5 easy steps: http://CareerBragging.com

Expanding your business doesn’t need to be difficult. Learn how to Be a Fabulous Podcast Guest (and get invited back!) http://SeibCo.com/workbooks/

 

3 Bad Habits You Need to Break to Be a Confident Leader

 

Leaders today are facing new challenges. Remember, it’s important to build true confidence in yourself and others during this time.

Building your confidence today and inspiring confidence in your team is critical! And, given what’s going on in the world, it’s even more important now.

What inevitably gets in the way of being a confident leader? Your bad habits.

Due to all of the uncertainty, as a leader, you are under more pressure than ever before. Now, is when your leadership habits…the good, not-so-good, and bad…can either support you and your team achieving great results or not.

It’s Critical You Breakthrough These 3 Bad Habits

  1. Poor Listening Skills. This #1 bad habit will sabotage your results!   

A leader had a bad habit of checking his emails and texts during meetings. He insisted he was only multitasking and could hear everything being said. He failed to understand the human brain is wired for one activity at a time. (Multi-tasking is a myth!) It wasn’t until he missed hearing critical information that he learned this lesson the hard way. Even after the team member repeated himself, he failed to understand or question the significance of it. As a result, the budget was exceeded and timeline was missed.

Always listen as though your results (and career) depend on it…because they do!

  • Lack of Awareness. One leader constantly found fault with how others did their work. He thought he could do it better and faster. The truth was, he didn’t have the skills to do their jobs. He lacked the awareness of the impact of his comments and did not understand these comments disengaged his team and hurt productivity.  

When someone fails to achieve the required results, it’s time to inspire confidence in your team members, not criticize their work habits. Remember, during this crisis, it’s NOT business as usual.

During ALL conversations stay present and aware:

  • State the intended goal or results in 10 words or less.
  • Listen to each team member’s input and concerns.
  • Work through any push-backs in a win-win manner (think, ethical considerations, workability, impact on others, etc.).
  • Align on the work and completion dates with your team to meet your client’s needs.
  • Provide necessary resources. Remember, working from home is not the same as working from the office.  

Your awareness determines the quality and timeliness of your team’s results.

  • Know-It-All Attitude. A new leader was a micromanager, a common trait of inexperienced leaders. She wanted everything done exactly as she thought it should be done. Whenever a mistake was made, instead of taking responsibility, she blamed her team (and others) for making her feel humiliated and for letting her down.

To break this bad habit, listen to your team members’ ideas. They are working on the front lines and can be resourceful when encouraged to do so. Also, listen from compassion since they are experiencing a lot of frustration, stress, and anxiety during these uncertain times. It’s up to you to inspire confidence in them!

Building true confidence in yourself and others starts inside you.

Remember, bad habits are amplified during a crisis. They will come out and be displayed in unexpected and unwanted ways. Work with an executive coach NOW to effectively navigate through these uncertain times. It’s the mark of a confident leader who inspires confident team members!

©Jeannette Seibly, 2012-2020

Jeannette Seibly is an award-winning dynamic results coach and keynote speaker. For the past 27 years, she has guided the creation of leaders to excel in achieving results. Contact Jeannette today for straight talk with dynamic results. Don’t forget to listen to her podcasts on Anchor.FM or YouTube.com.

I’ve got an invitation for you.

All leaders are bosses! If you want to be a better boss or hope to be a boss someday, I invite you to download “15 Ways to Be a Better Boss”  It’s free.

Mindful Resilience is Required to be a Successful Leader

Life.Should.2Note: This is a reprint, originally posted on June 23, 2020. Last week I conducted a Mindful Resilience webinar for the Denver Financial Professionals. Participants shared: “This is very helpful…I love it…Thank you.” Due to so many changes occurring right now in the workplace and in life, I would recommend reviewing the 6 Tips.

What can you do to handle your emotional triggers while eliciting the best from others?

We are all triggered by certain words, facial expressions, and gestures. As successful, resilient leaders, we don’t have the luxury of hanging onto our upsets.

Mindful resilience is when we develop a conscious awareness of our triggers and address our reactions in a positive manner. It’s starts with you, as the leader, taking responsibility for your triggers when they occur so they don’t get in the way. Remember, clarity of what triggered your reactions is required before you can create win-win-win outcomes.

6 Tips to Create Mindful Resilience

Breathe. Remember, everyone gets triggered. The moment you notice you are triggered, breathe in for 5 counts. Pause. Exhale for 10 counts. Repeat this practice 3 times. Why should you practice breathing? Breathing reduces the fight, flight, or freeze stress response triggered in your brain. Breathing allows you to take responsibility for your reactions (aka triggers) and is critical before attempting to resolve any issue.

Have Come-Down-to-Reality Conversations. Team members can hold onto upsets and use them to justify their poor job performance. That’s why you, as the leader, need to be aware of when these upsets are brewing and take responsibility for resolving them before they turn into a major issue. Remember to use straight talk with compassion during these tough conversations.

Get to the Heart or Core of the Problem. When you as a leader inadvertently dis someone or ignore a festering issue, upsets will be covertly expressed. It’s like a mole hill expanding into a mountain. Remember, you are human and you will make mistakes! So, will everyone else. Instead of allowing your ego to justify your actions, ask and clarify what happened with your team member or team, then, talk it out. If you don’t, the upset will become an irreversible issue that overshadows the core problem.

Be Responsible for Your Communication Style (most people aren’t)! When you use words or terminology that others don’t understand, apologize. Start over by asking questions and be curious about their responses. It’s very easy to lose people when you present the same information over and over (think, you’re probably bored). Also, when you’re presenting a new idea you’ve been thinking about for a while, remember, it’s the first time they’ve heard it. Keep in mind, people learn at different rates of speed. Be prepared to draw a graph or show them a specific example. Remember, as a leader, it’s your responsibility to slow down and get everyone on the same page.

Learn How to Forgive, Even When You Don’t Believe You Should. As a leader, you will have arrows aimed at you when team members feel frustrated or upset. But you don’t have the luxury of hanging onto these insults without them impacting your mindset and success as a leader. Forgive those that gossip, criticize, or blame you. While this is easier said than done, remember, forgiveness is for you. Remember, you don’t to say, “I forgive you” to the offender to forgive them. If you do, it may make it worse.

Hire the Right Coach. Mindful resilience requires you to expand your POV. When a sticky situation or political relationship is not going well, talk immediately with your executive coach. Listen and learn. You can make things worse and sideline your career if you attempt to do it on your own.

©Jeannette Seibly 2020

Jeannette Seibly is an award-winning executive coach and keynote speaker.  For more than 27 years, she has been an expert in guiding leaders to excel at working through difficult situations and political relationships. Contact Jeannette to improve your strategic hiring, coaching, training, and managing processes.  Don’t forget to listen to her podcasts on Anchor.FM or YouTube.com.

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How to Develop a Great Relationship with Your Boss

building-better-relationship-with-your-boss.4Every successful leader has times when his/her boss doesn’t like them! This happens for a variety of reasons. For example, you’ve made a series of bad decisions, your direct reports are complaining about you, or your ego hurts results.

Why doesn’t your boss like you? Because you’ve made more work for him or her!

The key to developing a great relationship with your boss is resolving issues as they arise. This requires 1:1 communication. Unfortunately,  you tell yourself to wait it out. You hope that you won’t need to talk it out. Yet, this strategy rarely works and hurts your relationship with your boss. You also miss out on new career opportunities.

6 Tips to Develop A Positive Working Relationship with Your Boss

Develop Trust. If you are someone that doesn’t listen to yourself when you make promises, it’s the reason your boss (and others) don’t trust you. Learn to be present and listen when you make promises. Also, listen to your boss, especially when you think you already know what the boss is going to say! Ask follow-up questions to clarify expectations for assignments.

Develop Confidence. While you may not have confidence in your boss’s ability to make the right decisions, set this aside. (If appropriate, recommend an executive coach!) It’s important you develop your boss’s confidence in your ability to manage your team or project. To develop this confidence, work with your own executive coach and focus on the inevitable ups and downs of managing others and projects. This makes less work for your boss! The added benefit is confidence breeds likability.

Develop Integrity. Bosses value honesty and candor. But, when telling the truth, be responsible to state it in a tactful and diplomatic way. There are 2 ways (hint: use the best one based on the boss’s type of personality):

  • -Warn the boss s/he won’t like your answer and then use straight talk; OR
  • -Use a sandwich approach: share 2 positive things before sharing 2 specific issues. Then, wrap up with 2 good things.

Develop Good Working Relationships with Others. If team members complain about your management or project style, this breeds discontent. Many bosses don’t like resolving people issues or getting in the middle of conflicts! To alleviate this from happening, learn to slow down when interacting with others. Build alignment by being present in all conversations and work through conflicts. Be a champion for team success not just your own success. Work with your executive coach and learn how to elicit better responses from others.

Develop Project Success. If you fail to meet your customers’ expectations, you will create distrust. And, eventually your boss will be forced to fire you! Instead, learn how to manage projects for success. Start with developing strong project management habits, brainstorming skills, people development skills, and meeting facilitation skills.

Learn How to Brag! Most bosses have no idea what you’ve been doing, and, when they do, they only hear about problems! Learn how to brag and bring your successes and your teams’ successes to your boss’s attention. Also, learn to appreciate your boss…it makes you more likable!

©Jeannette Seibly, 2020

Jeannette Seibly is an award-winning executive coach and keynote speaker.  For more than 27 years, she has been an expert in guiding leaders to excel in business and beyond. If you have a boss that doesn’t like you, get it resolved now before it’s too late! Contact Jeannette for a confidential conversation. Don’t forget to listen to On the Air with Jeannette Seibly: It’s Your Time for Success on Anchor.FM or YouTube.com.

Having trouble landing your next job? It’s time to learn why! Selling yourself is key to winning the job, promotion, and/or pay raise you want! Learn how in 5 easy stepshttp://CareerBragging.com

Want to attract more customers? Learn how to Be a Fabulous Podcast Guest (and get invited back!)  http://SeibCo.com/workbooks/

How to Put Others at Ease During Conversations

microaggression.bizsavvycoach.3As leaders, it’s important to learn how to put others at ease during conversations. Mastering this skill opens up a world of possibilities! With conversations, you will learn about potential project flaws, how to motivate team members, and how to improve your influence with bosses and clients. And, these are only a few of the benefits!

Are you someone who:

  • -Can comfortably talk with all types of people: team members, boards, executives, and influencers?
  • -Marvels at others’ ease when conversing with anyone, anywhere, and at any time?
  • -Enjoys talking with others and have a desire to listen and learn?

Developing excellent conversation skills will make you a better communicator. If you’re willing to do the work, you can learn how to interact, motivate, and influence others with ease as a leader.

9 Tips to Fine-Tune Your Conversation Skills

  1. Be Present. Set aside all distractions before starting any conversation. When talking or listening, keep your focus on the other person. Think of them as a VIP, regardless of their title or position in the company. Whenever possible, move from behind your desk and sit in a chair close-by. When working remotely, keep your eyes on the screen. Start to notice how present you are or are not during conversations.
  2. Unleash Your Natural Curiosity. This is important when interacting with others. Instead of taking a righteous position, keep your mind open to hearing what others have to say, and create new solutions together.
  3. Allow Others to Communicate in Their Own Way. Expecting others to communicate with you in a particular way can be off-putting. You will miss out on hearing important information. Instead, allow them to communicate in a way that works for them. (To quickly understand their communication style, use the PXT Select.) Develop a thicker skin if you are easily offended. Learn how to ask questions to elicit the best from others instead of debating their POV.
  4. Have Compassion for Others’ Challenges. Be open to listening, and, when asked, provide appropriate advice. Do this without blaming them (or others) for the situation. Stay objective while being understanding of the situation. This is not a time for jokes or other humor. Be responsible for ensuring any excuses shared don’t derail a project, client relationship, or team effectiveness.
  5. Keep Your Calendar and Office Decluttered. You might ask why this matters during a conversation? It matters because a clean office is more inviting. Others feel more comfortable and are more open in what they have to say. If working remotely, remove wall art that could be offensive. Always minimize distractions. Otherwise, these can be become deterrents to having conversations and learning what you need to know in any situation.
  6. Pronounce Their Names Correctly and Use Their Preferred Names. Avoid using shortened versions (e.g., Jenny for Jennifer, etc.) or labeling others (e.g., superwoman, strong man, etc.). If you don’t remember the person’s name or don’t know how to pronounce it, ASK! “I’m not clear how to pronounce your name.” OR “I’ve met so many people recently. Can you remind me of your name?” Then, repeat the person’s name to their satisfaction.
  7. Ask Questions Without Sounding Like a Reporter. A good conversation puts others at ease. Learn how to have a conversation without first deep-diving into the who, what, when, where, and why. That’s what a reporter does. If you uncover a problem, be responsible for setting up the conversation before deep diving into it. “I’m hearing a potential issue in this conversation and need to clarify what I’m hearing. Is that OK?”
  8. Share Your Own Experiences. Team members want to know they are not alone in their challenges. When you share your experiences, start with the point of your story and end with the point to re-emphasize it. Remember, keep it short (about 1 minute) and stay focused on the topic. Most importantly, honor confidentiality.
  9. Keep an Open Mind. Stay focused on the topic at hand by taking a positive and healthy interest in their POV. Listen and respond to questions using straight talk. This encourages team members to stay at ease during any conversation. It’s how you discover what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.

©Jeannette Seibly 2020

Jeannette Seibly is an award-winning executive coach and keynote speaker.  For more than 27 years, she has been an expert in guiding leaders to excel in business and beyond. Find out how effective you are as a communicator with all types of people. Contact Jeannette for a confidential conversation. Don’t forget to listen to On the Air with Jeannette Seibly: It’s Your Time for Success on Anchor.FM or YouTube.com.

If you are underemployed or unemployed, it’s time to learn how to sell yourself and get that job, promotion, and/or pay raise! http://CareerBragging.com

Do you want to increase your business? Learn how with Be a Fabulous Podcast Guest (and get invited back!)http://SeibCo.com/workbooks/

 

5 Ways to Boost Your Career as a Remote Leader

Sales.business.time.focus.get real

Typically, leaders have boosted their careers by having frequent 1:1 time with their bosses.

In this new world of work, 1:1 time is disappearing since you are now a remote leader. The new challenge is taking responsibly and committed actions to create 1:1 time with your boss or miss out on career opportunities and promotions. Remember, your actions will always speak louder than your words!

5 Tips for Boosting Your Career and Paycheck

Take Initiative. Pick up the phone, send an email or text. Say and ask, “Just checking in. What do you need from me today?” Communicate in a method your boss prefers and is most likely to check. Also, provide updates on special projects or notify him/her of any unusual challenges. If there is a project or situation that needs his/her attention, request a voice-to-voice or video conferencing meeting asap. Come to the meeting with the facts and more importantly, potential solutions.

Brag. Bosses and clients seldom know all that you’ve done to meet quality requirements and deadlines. So, use metrics to let them know in a biz-savvy manner of your accomplishments.

Follow-Up and Follow-Through. Working from home does not mean you are on vacation! Set up work hours that reflect the company’s and client’s needs. Be sure to set up your home workspace and environment to reduce distractions and interruptions.

Develop Good Relationships. Working with and through team members as a remote leader requires new skills. Develop your people and project management skills by working with an executive coach. This will avoid costly trial-and-errors.

Remember, it’s a new normal.

  • Plan on extra time to resolve the usual challenges.
  • Take responsibility for clearly communicating and guiding others through confusion.
  • Make a commitment and follow-through to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Be a Solution Provider. Today there are many new challenges. Don’t be afraid to recommend new ideas. First, listen to team members’ feedback. Then, share with your boss before implementing the new ideas. During video conferencing, listen and don’t multi-task. If you do, you’ll risk missing out on valuable information. When there are issues, research to uncover the true problem. Focus on the work, procedures, and systems, not on team members’ personalities.

© Jeannette Seibly 2020

Jeannette Seibly is an award-winning executive coach and keynote speaker.  For more than 27 years, she has been an expert in guiding leaders to excel in their careers. The new world of work is here. What are you doing to excel?  Contact Jeannette for a confidential conversation. Don’t forget to listen to On the Air with Jeannette Seibly: It’s Your Time for Success on Anchor.FM or YouTube.com.

How to Provide Practical Feedback for Success Today

Leader comm“Leadership success requires giving practical real-time feedback.”

Many employees, teams and companies fail due to lack of real-time, practical feedback. Bosses wait until annual performance review time, bringing up issues from months ago. Managers fear saying anything negative because it would reduce their likability. Most lack experience on how to turn feedback into a positive process and instead wait until it is unavoidable.

The good news is providing real-time, practical feedback is a skill that can be learned. Good leaders check on progress to provide timely feedback. They are proactive about resolving issues and not waiting until there is a crisis. Plus, they demonstrate by example how to offer and receive feedback in a constructive manner.

5 Feedback Tips for Success

  1. Do It Now. Have a conversation after a quick and thorough investigation into the complaint. Talk with all people directly involved. Listen for the core issue. Then, build an agreement with everyone involved on how to proceed forward.
  2. Build Good Working Relationships. Develop good relationships with all of your employees: full-time, part-time, contract or temporary. This builds trust and makes it easier to provide needed feedback in the future.  It also makes it easier to communicate tough decisions. Employees value well-delivered feedback from someone they know is committed to their success.
  3. Use Sandwich Approach. Here’s the formula: 2 positives to begin + 2 factual and specific concerns + 2 positives to end = positive feedback. This basic outline provides effective feedback in a manner that employees can hear. Don’t forget to listen to their POV. There will always be more than one side to any story or problem.
  4. Provide Training. Provide training on how to use persuasive listening skills to offer good feedback. Using scientifically validated job fit tools will uncover misconceptions employees have about one another … and provide invaluable laser-like coaching. This allows you to turn around tough issue easier, faster and more productively.
  5. Use 360-degree Feedback. Real-time, critical feedback can be difficult to get. Use scientifically validated 360-degree tools quarterly, not annually. Quarter reviews will provide far more powerful feedback than annual performance reviews! These tools keep individual responses confidential and encourage truthfulness. Work with your executive coach to review the results. Then, share key results with others and listen to their feedback on how to improve.

©Jeannette Seibly, 2018

Jeannette Seibly has been recognized as a catalyst and leadership expert for the past 25 years. As an executive coach, speaker and author, she provides straight talk with dynamic results. Feedback after the fact is useless. Feedback provided in real-time is invaluable. What do you need to be able to deliver and listen to feedback now? Contact Jeannette for a preliminary confidential conversation. Do it now.

Don’t Get Bit in the Financial Butt!

Perfection is a myth, yet, many companies engage in seeking the “perfect solution” to stay competitive and improve the bottom line. A few are doing a great job by focusing on “viable solutions.” Most, however, are realizing mixed results due to reliance upon the same old practices that have long surpassed their peak. Less savvy companies are simply hanging on to their soon-to-be outdated products and services. They are afraid to make changes, despite their customers’ requests, and dismal sales.

Why have many business owners stopped listening during this critical time? They fear the change process. They don’t understand how to create a blue print for success. They falsely believe that since riding it out it worked in the past, it will work now. Sticking your head in the sand (think, ostrich) will only get your financial butt bit – hard!

Navigate change now. Waiting won’t change anything! Management needs to seek the right guidance and alter their paradigm to include change. It doesn’t need to a big, evil, costly endeavor. It’s time to hear employee and customer ideas with an open attitude. A simple twist of the wheel may gain the competitive advantage. Proper alignment, direction, and training to manage ever-changing economic factors will keep your doors open for business!

Talk Straight. Give the members of your staff the opportunity to contribute, appropriately. Brainstorming isn’t about judging ideas as right or wrong, or good or bad.  It’s simply a process to gather ideas. Often, off-the-wall ideas are winners once they are narrowed down and fine-tuned. Determine the ROI and viability of the final cuts, and during implementation and execution, train everyone to ensure consistency and positive results. Focused action is the key.

Big Picture vs. Small Details. Some people tend to get caught up in the “bright shiny object” of the bigger picture; others get lost and don’t understand how to move from “here” to the vision of “there.” Create a strategy to put everyone on the same page. Break tasks down into “bite-sized pieces.” Keep listening to and communicating with your team. When you hit the inevitable walls that crop up due to poor planning or implementation, do not reduce your expectations of intended results! Readjust your strategy as necessary, but remember: the success or failure of any idea is in the details.

Hire a Business Mentor. If management is too narrowly focused on people considerations OR on bottom line financials, it could stymie the forward movement required to achieve the expected results. A business mentor helps you blast through the stumbling blocks that change causes. A business mentor helps you make the hard decisions that may be unpopular, at least initially. S/he can also help you create business savvy solutions that balance people and numbers. Someone from outside your organization can see landmines coming up more clearly than you can, since you are so close to the situation. S/he helps you recognize and navigate around them, and enables you to move forward with speed and confidence.

(c)Jeannette L. Seibly, 2010

Costly Promotions

Companies are very focused on being cost conscious, especially in the current economic climate. Many bosses have promoted their key employees too quickly, beyond their skill level — to their level of incompetence. Bosses falsely believe they are saving time and money, but this type of reactive decision-making ends up being costly and has a detrimental impact on the company. Sadly, the once successful employee feels forced to leave the company when her/his continued contribution is short-circuited, and will rarely go quietly.

Since the person was previously treated as an asset to the company, it is often unclear as to why this sudden experience of failure is happening. Instead of having a professional conversation with her/his boss to provide solutions to this dilemma, s/he blames extraneous factors and looks for a new job, outside the company. The real issues? The newly promoted person may not have taken the time, or taken advantage of the opportunities, to develop the interpersonal skills required for the new position. Perhaps s/he has not learned how to delegate or is unable to prioritize and manage multiple issues well. S/he may simply lack the interest and ability to quickly learn the skills required for performance success (e.g., technology, financial, mechanical, sales, etc.) in this new position.

Time to get real. Newly promoted people may be unable to acclimate appropriately when business needs change rapidly. Where did the old adage, “sink or swim” come from? It didn’t work then and doesn’t work now. Unfortunately, employees feel they can not say “no” to their bosses’ requests without hurting their career. If they may agree, their naiveté can create additional issues and stresses since they do not possess the required depth and breadth of experience. It’s time to create a win-win development plan that helps the employee succeed and meets the needs of the business.  Be realistic – it takes time. Employees won’t suddenly become great managers if they have poor people skills. Employees with no interest in financial monitoring will not handle their budgets well. Top sales people will not make the best bosses. Remember, accepting mediocrity loses customers internally and externally.

Provide an outside coach. An outside coach can provide insights that the corporate mindset and culture may overlook. The employee will feel more comfortable sharing her/his challenges and fears, confidentially. They know many bosses have long memories, and don’t want the risk. Ensure there is clarity of goals to be accomplished every three months. Write them down. Put together action plans for implementation. Monitor effectiveness. Keep it simple and smart!

Keep valued employees. Although egos play an important role in a person’s ability to stay and thrive after a failure, it requires the boss’s dedicated intention to keep a valued employee! Find a position within the company where s/he can be successful. Don’t be afraid to create a new position to keep the person, but use a scientifically validated assessment tool to ensure you’re not simply creating another new issue. The cost of hiring a replacement is much greater than realigning a job description to match up employee skills with business needs. Provide focused training and development so the employee can gain the skills s/he lacked that caused the demotion in the first place. This allows the employee to experience success once again, and provides her/him with the opportunity to be promoted in the future.

©Jeannette L. Seibly, 2010