Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Learn to Speak Finance and Accounting!

Managers need to be able to hold their own with the Bean Counters. See my latest post over at About.com Management and Leadership for a handy cheat sheet for some of the most commonly used finance and accounting lingo.

You could also tell a couple of accountant jokes, but that's only going to get you so far and may backfire:

Why did the accountant cross the road?
To bore the people on the other side.

How can you tell when an accountant is extroverted?
He looks at your shoes while he's talking to you instead of his own.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Do you Know the Difference Between a Performance Issue and a Pet Peeve?

How would you like it if your manager told you that you were putting the toilet paper on the wrong way?

Probably the same way your employees feel when you get on their case about your own personal pet peeves.

Read my latest post at About.com Management and Leadership to find out the difference between a legitimate performance issue and an annoying pet peeve.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Not Everyone Appreciates Your Type of Appreciation

Guest post By Dr. Paul White:

One of the lessons that aspiring leaders must learn is:  to be an effective leader, you have to be able to lead individuals who are different than you.  If you don’t, you will only gather and lead those who are similar to you. This, in turn, limits what you can accomplish.  You actually don’t want to lead a group of “Junior You’s”  (although the idea seems intriguing, at first.)  You may be talented but you can’t do everything, and to accomplish significant goals you need team members who are different (and even significantly different) than you.

The 5 Different Types of Appreciation People Value

Here is a simple but foundational truth: not everyone feels appreciated in the same ways.  Not everyone likes public recognition or social events.  One leader stated, “You can give me an award but you’ll have to drag me up front for me to get it in front of a crowd.”  And for many introverts, going to a “staff appreciation picnic” is more like torture than a reward for doing a good job.  They may prefer getting a gift card for a bookstore and staying at home and reading.  Find out what they value and communicate in that language.

Some people highly value words of affirmation—which can be a simple compliment.  (“Jill, thanks for getting the report completed and to me in time for the presentation.”) 
However, other individuals don’t value verbal praise because to them “words are cheap.”  One office manager reported that “John compliments everyone all the time and that’s fine.  But what I really would like is just 15 minutes of his time and undivided attention, where I can talk to him without distractions.” 
A third language of appreciation isacts of service.”  As one team member shared, “It’s not that encouraging to me to get a bunch of praise for all the work I’ve done while I continue to work long hours to finish a job.  A little practical help would be quite encouraging.” 
For some individuals, a small tangible gift can be quite meaningful.  This is not the same as bonuses or additional compensation.  Rather, it is a small gift that shows that you’re getting to know your team members and what is important to them in their life outside of work.  It can be something as small as one of their favorite cups of coffee, or a magazine about a hobby that they enjoy. 
Appropriate physical touch is the final language of appreciation that can be utilized in the workplace.  While it is critical that any physical touch is appropriate (not being sexualized or unwanted), physical touch is actually common in many workplaces and cultures. “High five’s” when a project is completed, a “fist bump” given when a problem is solved, or a congratulatory hand shake when an important sale is made are all examples of appropriate physical touch in work-based relationships. 

If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory (www.mbainventory.com) was developed to identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee.  You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another.

Remember, not everyone desires to be shown appreciation in the same way that you do.  If you are going to build (and keep) a team of diverse individuals, you need to learn how they want to have appreciation communicated.  If you don’t, your scope of influence will be severely limited.

Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace and Rising Above a Toxic Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.  Go to www.appreciationatwork.com for more information.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

You're Just Not Strategic Enough for Me

Have you gotten that feedback? Ouch! That's almost as bad as "let's just be friends".

But have no fear, you can learn to be more strategic!

Read my latest post over at About.com Management and Leadership to find out how.


Monday, September 8, 2014

You know You're a Micromanager When....

No manager likes to think of themselves as a "micromanager"..... yet, working for a micromanager boss is one of the most frequently reported reasons employees hate their jobs or hate their bosses.

Take my 20 questions quiz over at About.com Management and Leadership to find out if you're a micromanager!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

10 Rock Solid Truths About Management vs. Leadership

Stop me if you’ve heard this one….

Three guys walk into a bar – a boss, a manager, and a leader. The bartender says “whadda ya have?”

The boss abruptly orders a round of beers without asking the other two what they want. The manager asks how much the beers are going to cost. The leader inspires everyone to reach their full potential.

Bad jokes aside, there is a difference between management and leadership. While the two terms are often used interchangeable (as I often do), management and leadership are not the same.

Read my latest article over at About.com Management and Leadership to find out what they are.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The September 2014 Leadership Development Carnival

This month's Leadership Development Carnival is being hosted by Jon Mertz, over at Thin Difference.

Jon and his team have collected 25 recent posts that guide future and new leaders on how to approach an issue, collaborate with teams, develop a strategy, or enhance key skills. 

You can find it right here.


Sunday, August 31, 2014

10 Stupid Games that Managers Play

This post was recently published at Smartblog on Leadership:

Most managers are rationale, logical, practical problem solvers when they first get promoted. Then, through organizational conditioning, they learn to play silly games. They are like the frog in a pan of boiling water. The change is so gradual, these silly games eventually begin to feel like “real world management.”
How many of these silly management games do you play? More importantly, do you have the courage to speak up and stop the insanity?

We’ll start with some silly budgeting games:
1. “Use it or lose it budgeting.” This is when you are getting close to the end of the year and your budget is running under your forecast. In previous years, when you underspent, your next year’s budget was set based on that year’s actual. So, in order not to have your budget cut again, you go on a shopping spree — buying stuff you really don’t need or stocking up just in case you might need it.

2. “Lowballing your forecast.” This one is kind of the opposite of No. 1. In this game, the idea if to “sandbag,” or undercommit to what you think you can actually do. That way, then the powers above ask you to increase your goal, you know you can do it. Then, you look even better for exceeding your target.
3. “The shell game.” This is when orders are given to cut expenses in one category, i.e., travel, so you increase spending in another catalog, i.e., conferences, and bury the costs. Or, management says to reduce money spent on postage, so you spend more money on bike couriers. There is a net gain of zero, perhaps even an increase in spending.

Human resources’ silly games (a category with infinite possibilities!):
4. “Pass the trash.” This is when you “encourage” an underperforming employee to apply for other jobs within the company. When you are asked for a reference, you give glowing reviews, or use code word phrases like “Oh, Wally is a great guy! He just needs an opportunity to leverage his skills in a new environment more suited to his strengths.”

5. “A warm body is better than no body.” Hiring freezes bring out a lot of silly management gamesmanship. This one is when you have an underperforming employee, but you won’t take action because you’re afraid you won’t be able to replace the headcount. So the rest of your employees get to suffer the consequences.
6. “Gladiators.” This is when you ask two employees to work on the same problem. Let ‘em duke it out and let the best solution emerge!

Organizational silly games:
7. “Risk” (empire building). “Risk” is the game of conquest, where one army invades another country and captures the land in order to build up an empire. I’ve heard managers also call this game “a land grab.” The idea is to lobby to your boss and anyone that will listen that your department can do the other department’s job better than they can, so you should take it over.

8. “Shaking the bird cage.” Some employees call frequent, questionable reorganizations “shaking up the bird cage.” You get a lot of noisy chaos and ruffled feathers flying, and at the end of the day, the same bunch are sitting on different perches, albeit a little dizzy from all of the cage-rattling. Nothing else seems to change.
Strategy silly games:

9. “Trivial Pursuit.” This is when the company has no strategy, so the manager keeps everyone busy fighting day-today fires, jumping from one hot priority to the next.
10. “Clue.” This is when the company does have a strategy, but it’s such a secret or so high level and vague that the manager has to guess what it is or make up their own.

How about you? Any to add to the list?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Social Media and EQ in the Workplace

When employees are unable to manage their emotional intelligence there can be a negative impact on your organization. And when social media is added to the mix, the impact can go viral and be more significant. 

Read Beth Armknecht Miller's guest post over at About.com Management and Leadership to find out how to deal with this tricky issue.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

How to Connect with An Audience—It’s One of Your Most Important Leadership Skills

Guest post from Gary Genard:

Perhaps the biggest public speaking mistake emerging leaders make is to focus on delivering information. But a leader never gives a speech to convey content. Instead, the aim should be to influence—and often activate—listeners.

Your purpose, then, needs to inform all of your other choices when you speak.

In fact, things should be much easier for you if you think like that.  The dry delivery of information is seldom interesting. But the speaker who can put that information into context and reveal why it matters vitally to the audience—well, that speaker will likely be both more memorable and successful.

Connecting with Your Audience is Critical to Effective Communication Skills

To achieve such effective communication, you need to pay particular attention to the planning stage of your speech. Don’t be like the leader who says, “I know this stuff cold . . . I’ll just go out and talk about it.”

Your speech or presentation must have shape—in fact, you need to recognize that speaking is a strategic activity. Neglect to consider how your talk will be perceived in the minds of your listeners, and you’re almost certain to ramble. After all, to quote 19th-century novelist Sarah Orne Jewett, your job as a speaker is to “be brisk, be splendid, and be public.”

Let’s look at three ways you can do so in your preparation to speak as a leader, and one method of achieving that aim in performance.

How to Start a Speech with a Strong Introduction

The concept of primacy states that audiences will retain best what they experience first. That means you must think carefully about how to start your speech. How, in other words, will you get your audience on board immediately, and keep them there?

The way to do so is by using one of the rhetorical devices that presenters have been employing for centuries to grab their listeners’ attention. You know what many of these devices are, because you’ve heard them used often. They include a story, quotation, statistic, personal anecdote, case study or client testimonial, demonstration, visual, expert testimony, or even today’s headline or a musical cue. Remember, your audience and the speaking situation are the best guides to choosing an approach that will get you off to a strong start.

Ending with a Clincher Will Help Seal the Deal

And what about the other end of your speech? Actually, a similar communication component is taking place here—the concept of recency—that says that audiences strongly retain what they experience last.

In other words, you want what you say to continue to resonate in your listeners’ minds. If your speech is persuasive, you may want audience members to take some action. In either case, you need that effect to occur after you’ve finished speaking, sometimes long after. Will that happen if you have a perfunctory closing, or simply recap your message? Not a chance.

Here’s the good news about this part of your presentation: you can choose from the same rhetorical devices you consulted for your introduction. Not the same device; just the same list. If you opened with a quotation, consider ending with a story, etc. The idea is to conclude your remarks in a way that goes beyond mere content, to be vivid and memorable.

Leadership Qualities Must Include Rapport

Let’s say you’ve thought strategically about your speech and have come up with an effective grabber and a great clincher. You know that the actual body of your speech—the part between that opener and closer—is solid content and will take care of itself in keeping listeners interested.

Well, no, it probably won’t. If you want to actually lead audiences, you need to strongly establish rapport with them. That means keeping them interested throughout your talk, not just in the high-visibility Introduction and Conclusion.

To do so, you need to think consciously about that audience’s engagement. How will you take the information you’re ready to impart, and shape it in a way that will never let your listeners disengage? I once had a client who asked me to help her with a full-day training she was going to be conducting. It turns out she was planning to give three long PowerPoint presentations to make up the day. You can believe we started seriously exploring how she would build in engagement instead.

And Now for Performance: How’s Your Body Language?

If you proceed according to the above suggestions, you’ll be thinking in both strategic and tactical terms, and the chances are good you’ll have planned wonderfully. Once that’s done, you’re ready for the really fun part of your talk or presentation: the performance.

Here especially, the content will never be able to carry the full load of influence you’re aiming for with your audience. You need to tap into that vast reservoir of successful communication that depends upon nonverbal communication.

And that, in turn, means effective body language. Forget what you’ve heard about the “meaning” of specific gestures—for it’s the context of the body language an audience sees that matters. Think in terms of physical expression, i.e., using gestures that amplify, support, or strengthen what you’re saying. Consider your movement and position in your performance space as well, whether it’s the front of a boardroom or a large elevated stage, or something in between.

When you move, you are more visually interesting, you show that you can command a stage (as a leader must), and you actually improve your own thinking as you’re speaking. It’s one more way to connect with your audience and demonstrate your leadership skills.
About the author:
Gary Genard, PhD, is an actor, communications professor, and speech coach, as well as author of FEARLESS SPEAKING:  Beat Your Anxiety • Build Your Confidence • Change Your Life.  Creator of The Genard Method of performance-based public speaking training, he has spent the past fifteen years helping people from all walks of life cope with speech anxiety and stage fright.  Genard coaches executives and senior professionals in speaking for leadership, and has worked with Citigroup, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, the U.S. State Department and Congress, the United Nations, and many others. For more information visit www.genardmethod.com.