Are You a Defensive Leader?

https://seibco.com/defensive-leader/

Many leaders and bosses today run away from unsolicited feedback, helpful criticism, and being told they failed or made a mistake. Instead of listening and learning, they become defensive by justifying or excusing their behaviors. This bad habit makes it challenging to have conversations for improvement and to create positive outcomes for situations or relationships.

When Collette received negative feedback from her male co-workers, she seethed underneath but pretended to handle it well. After all, she knew her profession better than they did. To feel better about herself, she shared her concerns with Pam, a female co-worker in a different department. The conversation went well until Pam asked for positive support from Collette about her issue. Collette due to her need to feel superior blamed Pam for the problem instead of offering sound advice.

Defensive leaders often feel the need to hurt others to feel superior, which limits their ability to address their own insecurities and challenges.

Do you become defensive when you have:

  • Waited too long to address issues?
  • Relied on facts that others dispute?
  • Taken comments personally, even when they are meant as compliments?
  • Refused to work with a coach or mentor, fearing they will only tell you what you are doing wrong?
  • Failed to set expectations, which includes policies and procedures?
  • Blamed others for wasting time offering new ideas or solutions you don’t understand?

While leaders and bosses can be level-headed, emotionally intelligent, and good listeners, when feedback is offered, these same people can become defensive by blaming others, creating a myriad of excuses, and overreacting (sometimes for hours and days).

Consider that your defensiveness as a leader/boss will derail your career, especially when your inability to hear what you don’t want to hear costs the company customers, top talent, and required results.

Tips to Overcome Being Defensive

First, Calm Down. Your effectiveness is limited when you are snarky or defending what you’ve done or not done. Breathe and become mindful of what triggered your reaction. Then, talk with a trusted confidant to learn how to move forward. (HINT: When listening, stay away from “Yeah, but!”)

Work with An Executive Coach. Many defensive leaders and bosses fail to hire a coach. Why? They believe their defensive reactions are reasonable and that a coach will tell them they can control and manage their emotional intelligence. The right coach will provide objective data to help address “why” and solutions to improve your working relationships. Also, consider hiring a therapist to work through the feelings that erupt when team members, bosses, or customers confront and upset you.

Use the What Worked? / What Didn’t Work? Exercise. Take time to complete this exercise to gain insights into the true issue. It clarifies what happened and diminishes your emotional reactions (and attachments) so you can address the facts. Now, have a conversation to resolve the mistake, failure, or conflict.

Ask for Actionable Feedback. It can be unpleasant when people offer feedback that is too general or based on others’ feelings. Ask for specific facts so you can learn what the actual issue is. This makes it easier to hear others’ concerns and to know what to do in the future.

Ask Open-Ended Questions. When feeling confronted, ask for their side of the issue or upset. Listen. Stick with the facts and not your or their emotional reactions, which can and does change with each telling of the story.

Don’t Respond to Emails/Texts. Sadly, too many people today lack the communication skills necessary to share their concerns in a helpful manner. Don’t interact in an email or text (emojis and AI cannot address the real issues). Instead, schedule a 1:1 conversation and ask questions. Listen and be open to their point of view. (Remember, you can agree to disagree.)

Don’t Threaten or Call Others Liars. STOP when you want to lash out at others to express your anger! Leave the situation and talk with your coach, boss, or human resources rep to address the problem.

What Do You Do to Move Forward? Apologize. Understand trust has been broken and it may take a long time to regain trust with your bosses, team members, or clients. If your defensiveness continues, it’s time to seek a different job. Being in the wrong job or working in a poorly run company is stressful. Act now to avoid YOU gaining a bad reputation.

©Jeannette Seibly 2024  All Rights Reserved

Jeannette Seibly is a Talent Advisor/Leadership Results Coach with over 31 years of practical experience guiding leaders and bosses to improve their hiring, coaching, and managing practices and produce amazing results! And yes, achieving business success always starts with having the right people in the right jobs! She has been an Authorized PXT Select® Partner for over 32 years. Contact Jeannette to learn more about these state-of-the-art job-fit assessment tools or how to coach and manage your people to achieve incredible results.

A note from Jeannette: Due to the many demands on leaders/bosses today, many are defensive when offered coaching or essential feedback. This reaction will limit career opportunities and the ability for others to work with you. It’s time to get objective input via the PXT Select Leadership Report! This invaluable assessment will provide critical insights for your growth and improvement! Let’s talk now — before it’s too late. Contact me!

Now is the time to get into focused action! Are there days you dread doing what is needed to manage your people, projects, and team’s financial performance? You’re not alone! Everyone has those days! But continuing to hide behind excuses only hurts you and your future promotability. I have extensive experience and wisdom guiding bosses and leaders to hire, coach, and manage their teams successfully – this includes getting you out of the way and working with and through people effectively to achieve the results required. Contact me to learn more about my in-depth, one-on-one, customized coaching programs.

Do You Focus on Workability?

“Workability in a project, situation, or relationship allows for opportunities to achieve intended results.” Jeannette Seibly

Today, our focus often gravitates towards the ‘ideal’ of our goals and dreams. However, we overlook the crucial element of workability and the practicality required to achieve them. Instead of waiting for the perfect moment, let’s focus on working smarter, not harder – step-by-step.

All leaders and bosses today are busy pursuing their goals and the goals of their business or company. However, when we become too fixated on the big picture, the crucial details often get overlooked. This can lead to avoidable problems that hinder our progress and even damage our reputation.

Tips to Create Workability

  1. It Requires a Team. Don’t try to do what you don’t do well. Hiring the right team is essential to achieving the desired results. It starts with following a strategic job fit system to ensure the right person is in the right position on the team!
  2. Honor Financial Obligations. Years ago, I met a self-proclaimed enlightened business owner who claimed he had a million-dollar business. But he kept his financials in a shoebox. Hiding important details will hurt you and have others question your credibility. Schedule time weekly to keep your A/R, A/P, and taxes up-to-date and paid. Remember, the IRS doesn’t care about your excuses.
  3. Trust Others to Get the Work Done. Complaining about how others do their work limits creativity and innovation; it does not make a difference in achieving results. #1—Stop micromanaging since you’ve not done the work and don’t know the details involved. #2—Hire for job fit to ensure they have the interest and willingness to do the work as it needs to be done.
  4. Honor Feedback. Instead of being defensive when unsolicited comments are made, lean in and learn more.
  5. Focus on Integrity. Cutting corners, overlooking quality concerns, not proofing documents, and ignoring safety precautions will get you in trouble and hinder workability. This is because your team has to work around you, often with less-than-stellar results. For example, reading the fine print is required, and having a good business attorney review documents before signing them is essential!
  6. Hire a Coach. I know, I say this often! “Every successful leader has a coach!” The right coach guides you through the details and offers alternatives, regardless of your feelings. The coach also helps you organize your goals, so you have time to live a healthy lifestyle simultaneously.
  7. Express Gratitude. Appreciate what you have and express it instead of focusing on what you don’t. This will make you a more accessible leader and person to work and live with! Your family and employees will appreciate this more than you imagine… along with your cat and dog!
  8. Stay Connected. Schedule 1:1 and group time with the people in your life. Put away electronics, and don’t allow other distractions to get in the way. Remember, there will always be high and low points in life. Your relationships will help you through both if you prioritize the time now.

©Jeannette Seibly 2022-2024 All Rights Reserved

Jeannette Seibly is a Talent Advisor/Leadership Results Coach with over 31 years of practical experience guiding leaders and bosses to improve their hiring, coaching, and managing practices and produce amazing results! And yes, achieving business success always starts with having the right people in the right jobs! She has been an Authorized PXT Select® Partner for over 32 years. Contact Jeannette to learn more about these state-of-the-art job-fit assessment tools or how to coach and manage your people to achieve incredible results.

A note from Jeannette: Due to the many demands on leaders and bosses today, it’s important to create a workplace culture (home and office) of workability. It supports achieving goals faster and more effectively. Are you having challenges getting everyone on the same page? Let’s talk now—before it’s too late. Contact me!

Now is the time to get into focused action! Are there days you dread doing what is needed to manage your people, projects, and team’s financial performance? You’re not alone! Everyone has those days! But continuing to hide behind excuses only hurts you and your future promotability. I have extensive experience and wisdom guiding bosses and leaders to hire, coach, and manage their teams successfully – this includes getting you out of the way and working with and through people effectively to achieve the results required. Contact me to learn more about my in-depth, one-on-one, customized coaching programs.

This book (“Hire Amazing Employees“) by Nancy Schick, NY Employment Attorney and Mediator, can help you improve your hiring process. I met Jeannette Seibly a few months ago In this Together Round Table, where I also learned about her book, Hire Amazing Employees. Since my clients frequently struggle with this task, I bought myself a copy and gave several as gifts. The book contains many helpful tips for avoiding the impact of hiring errors. Read the full testimonial here.

Can Mistakes Be Resolved?

“Saying, ‘I apologize’ is easy – but if you don’t take responsibility for what you say or do, the apology is meaningless.” Jeannette Seibly

While the answer is “yes,” too many bosses and leaders derail their careers when they make mistakes, experience failure, or find themselves in conflict. Then, to make matters worse, they attempt to rectify it too quickly, lie about it, or fail to take responsibility by blaming others or the situation.

Remember, the same mindset that created the problem should not be used to solve it—it will only make it worse.

Have you:

  • Used a disrespectful tone of voice or become upset with your boss when s/he is critical of your work? Or the work of your team?
  • Lost your patience with a customer or team member? As a result, do they now refuse to work with you?
  • Offered inappropriate or incorrect solutions and then denied doing so? As a result, your co-workers are upset and want you fired.
  • Used microaggressions (e.g., men are more intelligent than women) when talking with your team. Result? They are offended.
  • Been given feedback by your boss or team, and you were defensive and rude?

While these may sound extreme, too often, you have done a version of them. (We all have.) When these issues occur, you can derail your career or job promotion opportunities without knowing it!

How to Resolve Avoidable Mistakes

Pause and Breathe. Mindfulness is important. Say to yourself, “I will work through this and get the help I need to improve.” Now, take action to resolve your mistake, failure, or conflict.

Contact Your Executive Coach as soon as possible before you make the mistake, failure, or conflict worse. Complete the “What Worked? / What Didn’t Work?” exercise to provide objective insights.

Take Responsibility. After devising a plan with your coach, talk with your boss. Map out who, what, when, where, and why it needs to be done. Remember, “hoping the issue will go away” is a strategy for failure! This is a golden opportunity for you to be the boss and leader who can make a positive difference – failure to do so will result in irrevocable loss of trust.

Apologize. Offering apologies will be the next thing to do. Saying, “I apologize” is easy.  But your apology must be genuine so your boss, co-workers, team members, and customers can hear you! While these two words seem simple, you may resist saying them! Remember, pay now by taking responsibility or later when you’ve been fired.

Do It! Enough talking about it. Get into action. Be willing to dance (be flexible) in the conversation—remember, the actual discussion will be different than the conversation you mapped out in your head. Listening to their concerns can turn around their negative feelings towards you and get you on the right track. Yes, you must take the time and offer the patience to solve the mistake, failure, or conflict. Remember, keep talking to your executive coach throughout the process.

©Jeannette Seibly 2024 All Rights Reserved

Jeannette Seibly is a Talent Advisor/Leadership Results Coach with over 31 years of practical experience guiding leaders and bosses to improve their hiring, coaching, and managing practices and produce amazing results! And yes, achieving business success always starts with having the right people in the right jobs! She has been an Authorized PXT Select® Partner for over 32 years. Contact Jeannette to learn more about these state-of-the-art job-fit assessment tools or how to coach and manage your people to achieve incredible results.

A note from Jeannette: Mistakes, failures, and conflicts can be resolved if you’re willing to do the work and get into action. But if you act too quickly, depending on the problem, it will only make it worse. If this has happened to you recently, now is the time to talk it out using my 31+ years of leadership and management issues to resolve it — before it’s too late. Contact me now!

Now is the time to get into focused action! Are there days you dread doing what is needed to manage your people, projects, and team’s financial performance? You’re not alone! Everyone has those days! But continuing to hide behind excuses only hurts you and your future promotability. I have extensive experience and wisdom guiding bosses and leaders to hire, coach, and manage their teams successfully – this includes getting you out of the way and working with and through people effectively to achieve the results required. Contact me to learn more about my in-depth, one-on-one, customized coaching programs.

This book (“Hire Amazing Employees“) by Nancy Schick, NY Employment Attorney and Mediator, can help you improve your hiring process. I met Jeannette Seibly a few months ago In this Together Round Table, where I also learned about her book, Hire Amazing Employees. Since my clients frequently struggle with this task, I bought myself a copy and gave several as gifts. The book contains many helpful tips for avoiding the impact of hiring errors. Read the full testimonial here.

What Gets in the Way of Achieving Amazing Results? It’s Probably You!

“Getting in the way of results is human; blasting through these challenges requires leadership.” Jeannette Seibly

Achieving intended results can be fun and rewarding as a boss and leader. Yet, too often, we get in the way when things don’t look like we believe they should! (Yes, that “s” word gets in the way too often!)

But there are times (sometimes too often) when you get in the way! This hurts team productivity, client satisfaction, and the bottom line.

Remember, intended results don’t happen by accident. They happen because you pay attention to the process, are a resource, and most importantly, you trust and value your team members to do their work effectively. This empowerment is key to achieving amazing results while staying out of the way!

6 Keys to Ensure Amazing Results

Be Present and Hear What Is Said. It’s not just about being physically present, but about actively listening and understanding. Too often, you believe you’re listening. Instead, you’re multitasking (a myth), and it significantly reduces your effectiveness. The truth is that your brain can only handle one thing at a time. So, you lose effectiveness, miss out on essential cues (80% of communication is nonverbal), and make poor decisions. Your team members, stop being engaged and stop talking! (Not a good sign!)

Ask Open-Ended Questions. Then, repeat what you heard to their satisfaction before building on their ideas and comments. Use this approach when offering feedback, if the team is stuck, or if you need more clarity about actual progress. Value these types of discussions, and they’ll positively change the results!

Be Flexible without Sacrificing Results. Only delve into how the work is being done if it’s clear the person is off in the weeds or stuck. Clarity and communication of the milestones keep everyone (including you) on track. Be prepared to talk big picture, and be able to get into the details, when necessary, by bringing in an expert (e.g., if someone is tasked with setting up a dashboard and it’s not done – chances are good they lack the experience, shy about asking questions, and/or need someone to guide them through the process). Now, manage accordingly.

Make the Tough Decisions Quickly. This can be hard but necessary when someone hurts the team’s ability to work together due to unmanaged conflict, differing opinions, and false accusations. If you wait, the issue will get worse.

Jane requested a meeting with a team member, Mimi, to discuss the legality of a new idea. Mimi sent Jane the conference link to the meeting, but when Jane clicked on the link, it didn’t work.

Three minutes past the scheduled time, Mimi emailed Jane to inform her that she’d been waiting for 10 minutes and that it was rude to keep her waiting. When Jane emailed back that the link wasn’t working, Mimi accused her of lying, lacking integrity to tell the truth, and made other accusations.

When Jane shared this with Mitch, her boss, he immediately removed Mimi from the team. To Mitch’s surprise, the team applauded when he shared the change. They had also experienced challenges working with Mimi and her aggressive behaviors when she was frustrated or upset. 

Set Aside Your Ego, and Don’t Let the Project’s Success Be About You. This can be hard if your job, bonus, or next promotion depends on the intended results. But remember that you must be an effective project manager to build credibility and promotability; this includes managing the technical and people sides of the project. When you find yourself about to blame others or the situation, stop. Learn diplomacy, ask questions for clarity, and build resolutions. Remember, technology does have glitches, and it’s not always user error! Work with an executive coach as a sounding board to make a positive difference.

Celebrate Each Milestone and Success – individually and as a team. Appreciation, acknowledgment, and applause work wonders to keep team members engaged and working above the norm. Be sure it’s frequent and genuine.

©Jeannette Seibly 2024 All Rights Reserved

Jeannette Seibly is a Talent Advisor/Leadership Results Coach with over 31 years of practical experience guiding leaders and bosses to improve their hiring, coaching, and managing practices and produce amazing results! And yes, achieving business success always starts with having the right people in the right jobs! She has been an Authorized PXT Select® Partner for over 32 years. Contact Jeannette to learn more about these state-of-the-art job-fit assessment tools or how to coach and manage your people to achieve incredible results.

A note from Jeannette: Achieving results can be fun and rewarding as a boss and leader. Yet, too often, we get in the way when things don’t look like we believe they should! (Yes, that “s” word gets in the way too often!) You’re not alone if you’re frustrated about a project, team member, or working relationship! Let’s talk and use my 31+ years of resolving leadership and management issues before it’s too late. Contact me now!

Now is the time to get into focused action! Are there days you dread doing what is needed to manage your people, projects, and team’s financial performance? You’re not alone! Everyone has those days! But continuing to hide behind excuses only hurts you and your future promotability. I have extensive experience and wisdom guiding bosses and leaders to hire, coach, and manage their teams successfully – this includes getting you out of the way and working with and through people effectively to achieve the results required. Contact me to learn more about my in-depth, one-on-one, customized coaching programs.

This book (“Hire Amazing Employees“) by Nancy Schick, NY Employment Attorney and Mediator, can help you improve your hiring process. I met Jeannette Seibly a few months ago In this Together Round Table, where I also learned about her book, Hire Amazing Employees. Since my clients frequently struggle with this task, I bought myself a copy and gave several as gifts. The book contains many helpful tips for avoiding the impact of hiring errors. Read the full testimonial here.

How to Really Listen to Advice and Achieve Amazing Results

“We want to realize our dreams, yet we make it difficult to do so by not listening to others.” Jeannette Seibly

You have a choice in ‘how’ you listen to advice! Jeannette Seibly

We all love to give advice … solicited and unsolicited. But many of us don’t enjoy receiving it, and even when the advice is valid, we fail to use it to improve the issues, situations, or relationships we are grappling with.

The problems with giving and receiving advice:

  • We are overconfident about our own perspectives
  • We fail to define the actual problem, which creates circular reasoning
  • We fear hearing what we don’t want to hear
  • We learn we are not committed to doing the “real” work required

Charlie was excited when he accepted a job with Justin, a well-respected boss. However, when Charlie shared the successes of his first assignment, Justin gave unsolicited advice for future improvements. Charlie felt offended and unappreciated. He’d wanted to impress Justin by succeeding without help or advice.

When Charlie shared his upset with Jude, his coworker, she laughed. “Here’s the deal. You can listen to his advice and run with it. Or modify it. Or, give factual reasons it won’t work. But I would recommend listening to his advice with an open mind. At this company, we focus on delivering great results and are open to learning. FYI … You won’t last long at this or any other company if you’re uncoachable and often feel offended.” 

As results producers, your willingness to listen to advice is how you and your teams achieve results that matter.

How to Move Your Career, Projects, and Results Forward

Set Aside Your Ego. There’s a saying, “Dial up your humility and dial down your ego.” If you remember nothing else from this article, remember to set aside your ego. When you are open to advice, regardless of how it’s offered, you’ll succeed further and faster in your career. Stay humble, and don’t let your blind spots derail you.

Ask Open-Ended Questions. “Can you please clarify what you mean? I want to be sure I understand.” OR, “Can you show me an example?” Don’t be obtuse … listen and be open to learning. Then, thank them. Now, either take their advice, modify it, or discard it.

Be Coachable. Get a third-party opinion from your mentor or executive coach, especially if you need help understanding what changes must be made or are emotionally attached to doing it your way. Remember, the recommendation offered can be a catalyst for your success, or it could be naysayers expressing their opinions based on their own experiences or observations.

Set Aside Being Offended or Annoyed. Being offended is not for professional people, and being annoyed is something you can train yourself to stop doing. Why? There is usually a gold nugget when you truly listen. But, of course, if someone is deliberately offensive, move on.

Be Prepared When Asking for Help. You’ve seen people overwhelmed when asking for advice on social media. Instead, talk with one or two trusted advisers (your executive coach or a mentor). First, share the problem in 20 words, briefly outline what has been done, and then ask, “What’s missing?” Now, listen without being defensive. Remember to take notes and take focused action!

How to Give Valued Advice

First, Ask. “Are you open to hearing advice?” If the person says, “No,” move on. If you’re the boss, ask if you can provide insights into a challenging issue, situation, or relationship they are experiencing. They usually will say “yes” and are now more open to listening to you. If they say “no,” you may need to make an unpopular management decision if the challenge persists.

Offer Only One or Two Valid Points. If you offer more, you’ll lose their willingness to listen or their ability to comprehend the information. Either use the sandwich approach or the straight talk approach, depending on the person.

Talk Privately. Remember the old saying, “Praise publicly, offer constructive guidance privately.” Follow it.

Be Open to Taking Advice. When you are willing and open to receiving advice, your advice will likely be considered “valuable.”

©Jeannette Seibly 2022-2024 All Rights Reserved

Jeannette Seibly is a Talent Advisor/Leadership Results Coach with over 31 years of practical experience guiding leaders and bosses to improve their hiring, coaching, and managing practices and produce amazing results! And yes, achieving business success always starts with having the right people in the right jobs! She has been an Authorized PXT Select® Partner for over 32 years. Contact Jeannette to learn more about these state-of-the-art job-fit assessment tools or how to coach and manage your people to achieve incredible results.

A note from Jeannette: If you are easily offended or annoyed when someone offers you advice, it’s time to reconsider how you listen. Successful leaders are open to receiving solicited and unsolicited advice and move forward faster in their careers and projects, achieving intended results. Feeling uncertain how to handle advice? You’re not alone! Let’s chat now!

It’s time to talk it out! Are there days you dread managing people, projects, and your team’s financial performance? You’re not alone! Everyone has their blind spots! NOW is the time to get the guidance you need to make the right changes during 2024. I have extensive experience and wisdom guiding bosses and leaders to hire, coach, and manage their teams successfully. The bonus is that they achieve unprecedented results. Contact me to learn more about my in-depth, one-on-one, customized coaching programs.

This book (“Hire Amazing Employees”) can help you improve your hiring process by Nancy Schick, NY Employment Attorney and Mediator. I met Jeannette Seibly a few months ago In this Together Round Table, where I also learned about her book, Hire Amazing Employees. Since my clients frequently struggle with this task, I bought myself a copy and gave several as gifts. The book contains many helpful tips for avoiding the impact of hiring errors. Read the full testimonial here.

Are You Using Your Talents Effectively?

“Why does 30 to 40 years seem like a long time to work? Because you are not working in a job or career that supports your natural talents.” Jeanette Seibly

Many would say, “sort of.” Or, “I guess.” Or, “I don’t know.”

The challenge? Many people today are unaware of their talents, gifts, and natural abilities! This includes everyone at every level in a business, nonprofit, entrepreneurship, or other workplace.

Unfortunately, most people fail to recognize and develop the skills and strengths necessary to support their natural talents. Instead, too many people waste time wishing for, being frustrated by, and being jealous of others’ talents.

If they spent that time learning about their own talents, they wouldn’t have to spend money on coaching and training to support goals that don’t honor their talents (e.g., 1099 employee v. W2 employee). The result? They feel like failures instead of winners!

Talents are natural abilities that someone is born with, while skills are learned abilities that come from practice and experience. Upwork

A financial planner worked hard to become a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and accomplished her goal. She commented, “If someone studied that hard to become a CFP, they must be in the right job.”

Sadly, no. People can achieve degrees and certifications because they must keep their jobs or be eligible for promotions. Or it is due to parental or others’ expectations that they do so. Or because their friends or people on social media said it was the best career choice! (It may have been for that person – but not for you.)

The truth is if you want to grow in your career and life, focus on developing your unique talents, gifts, and strengths to pursue your goals. But first, ensure the goals you are pursuing honor you!

How to Honor Your Talents

It’s essential to identify your natural talents and strengths through:

Self-Reflection: Ask yourself what activities, tasks, projects, classes, and interactions give you joy and satisfaction. They usually feel engaging and fulfilling, and time passes very quickly. You want more of them.

Example: If you love crafting, gardening, or coding, ensure your job or hobbies include a creative outlet!

Feedback from Others: Talk to friends, family, co-workers, mentors, and bosses who know you well. They can provide insights into your strengths and talents that you might need to be made aware of. But don’t buy into everything they tell you since their advice may be more of a reflection of how they achieved their success.

Example: Years ago, a CFO asked if I would work for him in his department. I said, “Thank you, no.” While I have excellent math skills, crunching financials wouldn’t use my talents or support my interests. Just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean it’s the career path for you.

Job Fit Assessment:

  1. Take a job-fit assessment that provides objective data: occupational interests, thinking style, and core behaviors.
  2. Review your strengths with an executive coach.
  3. Beware of myths that often get in the way of recognizing your talents.

Examples of Myths:

  • Buying a franchise is easy and guarantees you success. The reality? Too many people buy a franchise and fail. Why? They are uncoachable and think they know how to run a well-established brand better! (Hint: Their thinking style, need to be creative, and/or do it their way got in the way.)
  • I’m good at math, so I should be an accountant, engineer, or financial planner. Too many people believe this, and what is often overlooked is that they don’t have the interest to do that type of work. (Hint: There are so many occupations that require logical thinking and the ability to use numbers and metrics; don’t narrow your options!)
  • I’d love my job if I had the right boss. That is categorically incorrect! (Hint: If you don’t enjoy your job responsibilities and fail to use your talents, it won’t matter who your boss is or how much you like them.)

Example of Honoring Your Talent: A woman worked hard to graduate as an engineer because her parents and teachers believed it was “the right career” for her. When she received her degree and got her job, she quit two months later. In a moment of insight, she realized she needed to follow her true passion and got a position in human resources where she could work with people daily.

Recognizing Moments of Being in the Zone: Reflect on times when you’ve been so involved in an activity that you lost track of time. These moments can indicate a natural talent, skill, and interest. Look specifically at what you enjoy about the task or project. What is the best way to incorporate this into your current or future job aspirations?

Example: Auto, bike, or computer repair. Working with your hands is a valued talent that pays very well.

Exploring Your Passions: Your passions can often lead you to your natural talents. Think about what excites you and how you can pursue those interests further. Talking with a career coach or executive coach can also be very helpful.

Example: You are great at attracting money for your favorite animal shelter. What would it take to do this full-time or in other nonprofits?

©Jeannette Seibly 2024 All Rights Reserved

Jeannette Seibly is a Talent Advisor/Leadership Results Coach with over 31 years of practical experience guiding leaders and bosses to improve their hiring, coaching, and managing practices and produce amazing results! And yes, achieving business success always starts with having the right people in the right jobs! She has been an Authorized PXT Select® Partner for over 32 years. Contact Jeannette to learn more about these state-of-the-art job-fit assessment tools or how to coach and manage your people to achieve incredible results.

A note from Jeannette: Are you using your natural talents, gifts, and strengths effectively? Finding work that honors your talents is important to enjoying your job! If you’re frustrated or confused about how to discover your talents, let’s talk. I have 31+ years of guiding people to uncover and pursue their talents, gifts, and strengths. Contact me now!

It’s time to talk it out! Are there days you dread managing people, projects, and your team’s financial performance? You’re not alone! Everyone has their blind spots! NOW is the time to get the guidance you need to make the right changes during 2024. I have extensive experience and wisdom guiding bosses and leaders to hire, coach, and manage their teams successfully. The bonus is that they achieve unprecedented results. Contact me to learn more about my in-depth, one-on-one, customized coaching programs.

This book (“Hire Amazing Employees”) can help you improve your hiring process, by Nancy Schick, NY Employment Attorney and Mediator. I met Jeannette Seibly a few months ago In this Together Round Table, where I also learned about her book, Hire Amazing Employees. Since my clients frequently struggle with this task, I bought myself a copy and gave several as gifts. The book contains many helpful tips for avoiding the impact of hiring errors. Read the full testimonial here.

Want to Improve Your Leadership? Ask Open-Ended Questions!

“A good boss or leader asks open-ended questions and listens to the responses!” Jeannette Seibly

Good leaders ask open-ended questions. Then, they listen to the responses and use the feedback proactively! This leadership skill is critical to unleashing your team’s power and generating the solutions needed to resolve problems.

In my recent article, How to Ask the Right Questions to Achieve Results, I outlined how to ask questions. In this article, we’re focusing on encouraging conversations and discussions by asking open-ended questions.

We’re not wired to ask open-ended questions, and this limits our results. When you use open-ended questions and have at least three questions ready to keep your team talking, it’s amazing what you can learn and the new ideas that are generated, especially when the team or conversation is stuck (e.g., circular logic, same-old excuses, stories, and ideas).

(Hint to get started: Create a “cheat sheet” by writing down the open-ended questions listed below. Keep this with you for every phone call, sales call, interview, etc. As you start conversations, pay attention to whether or not you’re using an open-ended question. If you’re not using open-ended questions, a lot of information, insights, and sales opportunities will be left undiscovered. Remember, like any new skill, this takes practice!)

If you’re not asking open-ended questions, you’re limiting solutions, new ideas, and resolving issues because when employees feel valued and heard, they work harder to get problems resolved and are willing to talk out ideas!

What are open-ended questions?

  • Cannot be answered with a yes or no
  • Cannot be answered with one-word responses
  • Do not have pre-defined answers
  • Allows team members to provide insights that have not been considered
  • Promotes in-depth discussions
  • Energizes conversations and meetings

Incorporating open-ended questions allows your team members and others to elaborate and share their ideas, thoughts, and feelings.

How to begin asking open-ended questions:

Start with: Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How type questions. Using these words at the beginning of a question will open up opportunities for others to respond.

Examples:  

  • Who should be involved and why?
  • What are the hidden costs of this idea?
  • When is a good time to start, and why?
  • Where are good places to host this event?
  • Why is this important?
  • How do you propose we move forward?

This method works well during brainstorming, offering feedback, job interviews, or generating new ideas when the team is stuck.

Other ways to start open-ended questions:

  • Tell me about …
  • Please describe …

Where you can use open-ended questions (remember to listen):

Hint: You can use them EVERYWHERE!

More specifically:

  • Job Interviews: Asking open-ended questions during job interviews can give you insights into candidates’ skills and personalities.
  • Meetings to Debrief or Provide Feedback: Participants feel more open to providing important information when open-ended questions are asked.
  • Social Get-Togethers: When meeting others, ask open-ended questions to begin a conversation. “Why do you enjoy this xxx?”
  • Networking Events: Asking open-ended questions encourages others to share their experiences, interests, and other tidbits of information. “What brought you to this event?” (Works exceptionally well if you are an introvert or talking with a shy person.)
  • Sales Calls: Going beyond the yes or no responses, you can uncover the hidden elements needed to help the client and close the deal.
  • Brainstorming or Idea Generating Sessions: Open-ended questions open opinions, thoughts, and other creative gems.
  • Resolving Team Conflicts: These can be tricky. It’s important to be non-accusatory and listen critically. First, ask: “Tell me about what you believe is the #1 issue.” Then, ask, “Why is this important?” (Note: Be responsible for using “why” to begin the conversation, and use it after they’ve shared their concerns.)

Remember, asking open-ended questions invites better conversations and provides more fulfilling interactions. So, go ahead and embrace the art of asking open-ended questions! What would you have to lose?

©Jeannette Seibly 2024 All Rights Reserved

Jeannette Seibly is a Talent Advisor/Leadership Results Coach with over 31 years of experience guiding leaders and bosses to improve their hiring, coaching, and managing practices and produce amazing results! And yes, achieving business success always starts with having the right people in the right jobs! She has been an Authorized PXT Select Partner for over 31 years. Contact Jeannette to learn more about this state-of-the-art job-fit assessment tool or how to coach and manage your people to achieve extraordinary results.

A note from Jeannette: Asking open-ended questions is a skill most bosses and leaders need to use. Why? It takes time. Yet, the truth is … it takes less time to find out now (aka pay now or pay later). Want to become an influential boss or leader? Get on the fast track by tapping into my 31++ years of experience in developing them! Contact me now with your questions!

What could you accomplish by unleashing your inner leader now? Are there days you dread managing people, projects, and your team’s financial performance? You’re not alone! Everyone has their blind spots! NOW is the time to get the guidance you need to make the right changes for 2024. I have extensive experience and wisdom guiding bosses and leaders to hire, coach, and manage their teams successfully. The bonus is that they achieve unprecedented results. Contact me to learn more about my in-depth, one-on-one, customized coaching programs.

 

14 Tips for Leaders to Positively Influence Their Future Leaders

“When you positively influence your employees, they want to become future leaders.” Jeannette Seibly

Today, 33 percent of employees don’t want to be bosses, while more than half are happy not climbing the leadership ladder. Many of these employees desire a work-life balance and flexibility over pay or the power of a job title. 2024 Randstad Workmonitor study

Why does this matter? This can hurt the company’s retention, growth, and profitability goals!

Take a moment:

  • Think about the worst boss you’ve ever had.
  • Now, think about the best boss.
  • What was the difference?

Many of you would say the difference was how the best boss applauded their efforts and ideas, while the bad boss was dismissive and negative.

Now, consider bosses are leaders in the company. Leaders influence employees by how they interact with them. Good leadership practices include listening to new ideas, guiding them through challenges, and encouraging them to meet (and exceed) customer demands.

If you are a good leader, employees want to take the initiative required to become leaders. If you are a bad boss or leader, they will only focus on doing their jobs and avoid becoming future bosses or leaders! This will hurt the company’s retention, growth, and profitability!

Create a Positive Influence with Your Employees

  1. Build Confidence. Point out progress. Focus on only one challenge at a time. Guide progress to overcome inevitable challenges.
  2. Brag on Them! Share with others about the team’s results and individual accomplishments.
  3. Be Courteous. Say “Please” and “Thank you.” Ask, “Do you have 5 minutes to talk?”
  4. Learn from Mistakes. When you help your employees learn from mistakes rather than berating them, their confidence will grow.
  5. Handle the Politics. Every company has internal politics (aka factionalism, unresolved team conflict, elephants). Protect your employees by stopping gossip, addressing complaints, and dealing with microaggressions. Remember to keep confidential issues confidential!
  6. Ask Questions. Instead of assuming you already know everything, be open to learning something new!
  7. Get Both Sides of the Story. When a problem arises, get both sides by asking questions without sounding like an interrogator. Only then will you learn the truth.
  8. Provide Real Goals. Provide stretch goals instead of just providing tasks camouflaged as goals.
  9. Be Fair. Don’t have favorites when handing out assignments. Build on team members’ strengths; this builds a stronger, more cohesive, and more agile team.
  10. Support Personal and Professional Goals. Be a resource and guide to help them achieve both.
  11. Be Ethical. Show a good work ethic and be the type of leader that is honest. Remember, your employees and current bosses and leaders will mimic you!
  12. Think Bigger! Be open to thinking beyond the norm and welcome each team member’s ideas. Encourage all team members to take part when brainstorming.
  13. Trust and Value Them. Allow your team to do their work without being micro-managed. If problems arise (and they will), keep your door open. Trust and encourage them to work with and through others to create viable solutions.
  14. Use Objective Data to Develop Their Strengths. Using qualified job fit assessments can provide leadership insights that clarify areas where they have natural abilities and how to improve their effectiveness.

©Jeannette Seibly 2021-2024 All Rights Reserved

Jeannette Seibly is a Talent Advisor/Leadership Results Coach with over 31 years of experience guiding leaders and bosses to improve their hiring, coaching, and managing practices and produce amazing results! And yes, achieving business success always starts with having the right people in the right jobs! She has been an Authorized PXT Select Partner for over 31 years. Contact Jeannette to learn more about this state-of-the-art job-fit assessment tool or how to coach and manage your people to achieve extraordinary results.

A note from Jeannette: With over 51 percent of employees not wanting to climb the leadership ladder today, a good boss or leader takes responsibility for changing this mindset. Future leadership that is ready to lead is critical for company retention, revenues, and results. Contact me for a confidential conversation if you want to talk about where to start.

It’s time to unleash your inner leader! Are there days you dread managing people, projects, and your team’s financial performance? You’re not alone! Everyone has their blind spots! NOW is the time to get the guidance you need to make the right changes for 2024. I have extensive experience and wisdom guiding bosses and leaders to hire, coach, and manage their teams successfully. The bonus is that they achieve unprecedented results. Contact me to learn more about my in-depth, one-on-one, customized coaching programs.

Unleash Your Inner Leader

“Stop waiting for the company to provide you opportunities to develop your leadership opportunities – unleash your inner leader now.” Jeannette Seibly

Unleashing your inner leader requires taking the initiative to prepare your skills for professional and leadership growth. It’s not about waiting until you have the job title—it’s about preparing yourself in advance for new job responsibilities and accountabilities so you are ready when they become available.

The problem? Most future leaders (and bosses) are waiting for their employers to offer these opportunities. However, today, companies are not providing training and opportunities for leaders to develop since their practices are often outdated. As a result, their future leaders (and bosses) are not ready for today’s challenges!

To be ready and not overlooked for the next job promotion or opportunity, it’s up to YOU to take the initiative NOW by discovering and unleashing your inner leader.

How can you lead without a leadership title and develop the essential traits now?

Tips to Prepare as a Future Leader

  1. Focus on Communication:
    • Communication skills are #1 and required for advancement.
    • Communication includes listening, speaking, and writing.
    • Take classes and workshops online and in person.
    • Remember, actual development happens on the job and working through miscommunication, microaggressions, and other communication snafus. (Note: You will make mistakes – how you handle them makes all the difference.)
    • Your word choice matters. Learn what company and industry jargon really means and use it appropriately.
    • Talk with people, not at This starts by using words or phrases they readily understand, not what your ego believes everyone should already know.
    • Learn how to speak up in a way that influences others and has them listen. It starts by building on others’ thoughts and ideas, not just yours.
  2. Master Your Competencies and Confidence:
    • Hire a Coach. You will make mistakes! Trying to hide them or pretend they don’t matter makes it more difficult for others to follow you. Using the do-it-yourself way of excusing the mistake or not getting to the core ensures it will happen again (and again!). Remember, your ability to be coachable and work through difficult situations and working relationships will make or break your career choices.
    • Select a Mentor. A company and an industry mentor can help you understand current issues and how to address them.
    • Become an Influencer. Many believe you are ready for the next job when you’ve learned the technical skills of their current one (e.g., financial, technology, operations). This belief is false. Often overlooked is that advancement to management and executive levels requires the ability to influence by using good interpersonal, decision-making, and emotional intelligence skills.
    • Actively Participate in Classes and Workshops. Then, use these skills appropriately each day by working with your coach, mentor, and boss.
    • Address Strengths and Weaknesses: Taking an assessment that reflects how you want others to see you provides little value regarding your true strengths and weaknesses. Use objective job-fit assessments to address your “true” thinking, behavioral, and occupational interests. Also, use a 360-degree feedback assessment to clarify your impact on others. Objectivity is key! Professionally developed tools provide the science (e.g., predictive validity), confidentiality, and insights to help you grow and unleash your inner leader.
    • Growth is a Process. You will feel uncomfortable developing your leadership and boss muscles. Learn to handle this by immersing yourself in an issue and overcoming your fears. For example, most bosses fear resolving team conflict for win-win-win results. Work with your coach, and talk with your boss and human resources. Now, you’re prepared to fix it.
  3. Broaden Your Awareness:
    • Get Involved in Work, Customer, and Corporate Teams. These experiences expand your awareness and improve your decisions. But working in any group will require understanding the difference between “group think” (going along to get along with others) versus “taking a stand” for win-win-win decisions. Use your coach and mentor to understand the differences in each
    • Actively Participate in Trade or Professional Associations. Putting yourself on a committee or board position can give you leadership experiences and connections you cannot get within your company. Remember, your reputation will precede you – so honor your word and make good decisions. They will matter.
  4. Review Progress Regularly:
    • Stay Consistent. When mistakes or failures happen (and they will), use a well-developed system to handle the grief, humiliation, or other feelings that naturally arise. Self-care, team care, and a professional approach with integrity and responsibility are essential traits for influential leaders.
    • Don’t Assume Your Promotion Equates to Being on the Right Track. While it’s essential to be agile and flexible, it’s important not to take on promotions that don’t fit or support you. For example, many people take on being a boss of people without any interest in working 24/7 with their employees. The problem? Your assumption that a promotion is developing your inner leader can be false. As a result, those that fail have their careers sidetracked. Ask for help if you find yourself in the wrong position. Then, seek different career options to continue developing your leadership skills.

©Jeannette Seibly 2024 All Rights Reserved

Jeannette Seibly is a Talent Advisor/Leadership Results Coach with over 31 years of experience guiding leaders and bosses to improve their hiring, coaching, and managing practices and produce amazing results! And yes, achieving business success always starts with having the right people in the right jobs! She has been an Authorized PXT Select Partner for over 31 years. Contact Jeannette to learn more about this state-of-the-art job-fit assessment tool or how to coach and manage your people to achieve extraordinary results.

A note from Jeannette: Are you ready to be a future leader in your company or organization? Too often, we wait for the company to provide the help and guidance required. Unfortunately, many companies today do a poor job of providing the skills and tools that make a positive difference in leadership development. Want to tap into my 31+ years of experience in developing influential leaders and bosses? Contact me now with your questions!

It’s time to unleash your inner leader! Are there days you dread managing people, projects, and your team’s financial performance? You’re not alone! Everyone has their blind spots! NOW is the time to get the guidance you need to make the right changes for 2024. I have extensive experience and wisdom guiding bosses and leaders to hire, coach, and manage their teams successfully. The bonus is that they achieve unprecedented results. Contact me to learn more about my in-depth, one-on-one, customized coaching programs.

How to Ask the Right Questions to Achieve Results

“Want to be a better leader? Ask the right questions to improve results.” Jeannette Seibly

Today, many leaders and bosses fear asking questions because they believe people are easily offended, view comments as microaggressions, or feel uncomfortable being put on the spot. But asking the right questions the right way and getting people thinking and talking is how you generate new ideas, resolve problems, and manage conflicts.

How to Ask the Right Questions to Improve Results

Understand Your Approach Matters. While many people fear direct questions or straight talk, they can elicit great responses. But in some cases, candid questions may be too difficult for people. Choose appropriately.

Examples:

  • Direct approach: “Good morning! What’s the progress on xxx?”
  • Softer approach. “Hi. Great to see you. I have a question to ask you. Is now a good time?”

Actively Listen to Learn. As many people know, we listen to respond and fail to hear what the other person has said. Actively listen. Then, ask questions to learn more before responding. But, remember, this is not an interrogation!

Use Silence! Ask your question. Then, become silent. Allow them time to answer and avoid jumping in to answer for them. Remember, you’ve been thinking about your idea. It’s probably the first time they’ve heard it!

Give Feedback by Asking Questions First. Get their side of the story or point of view on an issue before providing feedback. Sharing back and forth helps both of you listen. Then, ask, “What do you believe we should do to move forward?” This process will improve your decision-making and team results.

Use a Neutral Tone of Voice. Being overly excited or hyper as the norm makes it difficult for calmer team members to feel comfortable responding. Use a neutral tone to avoid escalating a conversation into a conflict because the more hyper you become, the calmer your team members will become – neither of you will feel heard. If you are unaware of your tone of voice or the impact you have, contact me.

Have The Other Person Go First. Ask a question to get the conversation started. Instead of asking, “How’s your day going?” (It will only elicit yawns or complaints.) Ask, “What did/do you love about this project? What do you see as the next step?”

Be Responsible When Asking ‘Leading Questions.’ “You got that task done, right?” It is a question that implies a right or wrong answer. Instead, “How’s the progress on resolving the customer issue?” Listen. Offer, “Let me know how I can assist in getting it resolved faster.” This is a critical skill to learn because it reduces potential conflict.

Encourage Discussion by Asking Open-Ended Questions. Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How are the start of asking open-ended questions. Why is this important? We’re not wired to ask open-ended questions, and not doing so limits results. Use open-ended questions and have at least three questions ready to get your team talking. This method works well during brainstorming or generating new ideas when the team is stuck.

©Jeannette Seibly 2024 All Rights Reserved

Jeannette Seibly is a Talent Advisor/Leadership Results Coach with over 31 years of experience guiding leaders and bosses to improve their hiring, coaching, and managing practices and produce amazing results! And yes, achieving business success always starts with having the right people in the right jobs! She has been an Authorized PXT Select Partner for over 31 years. Contact Jeannette to learn more about this state-of-the-art job-fit assessment tool or how to coach and manage your people to achieve extraordinary results.

A note from Jeannette: Asking questions seems mundane until you consider how you use this critical management skill. Asking the right questions in the right way can elicit better responses from team members, generate new ideas, and manage conflicts. Want to tap into my 31++ years of experience in developing influential leaders and bosses? Contact me now with your questions!

It’s time to unleash your inner leader! Are there days you dread managing people, projects, and your team’s financial performance? You’re not alone! Everyone has their blind spots! NOW is the time to get the guidance you need to make the right changes for 2024. I have extensive experience and wisdom guiding bosses and leaders to hire, coach, and manage their teams successfully. The bonus is that they achieve unprecedented results. Contact me to learn more about my in-depth, one-on-one, customized coaching programs.