Tuesday, December 27, 2011

10 BIG Development Goals for Leaders for 2012

The end of the year is typically a time spent scrambling to do all the things you need to get done but still haven't finished. However, it’s also a time to reflect on our accomplishments and think about what we want to achieve for the New Year. That includes individual development goals.

In a business context, individual development goals should be closely aligned with your short and long term job responsibilities. Each and every person’s situation is different, so there is no one-size-fits-all development plan.

However, in the realm of leadership development, there are a handful of things a leader could do that have the potential to be truly *transformational, life-altering, and help to create a whole new worldview.

I’m not talking about reading a book, taking a course, doing some networking, or fine-tuning some aspect of your current skillset.

No, these are the big, hairy, audacious, goals (BHAGs). The ones that are high risk, require a big investment of time, cause you to break out in a sweat, and have the potential to transform the way you lead.

No one should take on any more than 2-3 of these each year. In fact, you might only do one of each of these in a lifetime. So on one hand, don’t take any of these lightly – they require a big commitment. On the other hand, maybe it’s time to stop putting it off and take the leap?

Marshall Goldsmith says one of the biggest regrets old people have with their lives isn’t their failures – it’s that they didn’t at least try to pursue their goals.

1. A complete career change.
Career-wise, this is the granddaddy of development moves. We’re not talking about just changing companies but doing the same thing – this is about leaving what you’ve comfortable with – and good at – for something brand new.
A lot of people do this out of necessity or perhaps out of dissatisfaction with what they’re doing, and those are good reasons. In this case, it’s about changing for the sake of learning something completely new and growing.
Sure, no one likes to start all over again at the bottom – but perhaps there’s something out there that would allow you to use 40-60% of what you’ve already learned, and provide an opportunity to learn something new for the other 40-60%?

2. A job change.
While not as high risk or high developmental impact as a career change, switching to a new company, or even division within a big company, offers the opportunity to apply what you know in an entirely new context. It could involve new people, markets, customers, products, tools, and processes, all of which are opportunities to learn and develop.

3. A geographic move.
This one sometimes goes hand-in-hand with a job or career change. Learning to adapt in a strange new world can be scary, yet incredibly rewarding. I’m awestruck when I think of what it’s like to be an immigrant.
If you’re not ready for this, try a short-term expat assignment. Talk to others that have done it, you may find out it’s not as bad as you think it could be.
And sorry, no, a vacation doesn’t count. Although I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met that have never traveled more than 100 miles from where they were born, like Jim Carrey’s character in The Truman Show. In that case, it could be transformational.

4. Volunteer.
Join a non-profit board, committee, organization, or just spend a day helping those less fortunate. You’ll learn about courage, determination, inspiration, and hope, both from those you are helping and from the die-hard volunteers you’ll work with.

5. Take on a “Greater than Yourself” project. I learned about this from Steve Farber, who authored a book by the same name. The idea is to pick someone – sort of a mentee – but instead of just offering a little mentoring advice to bring them along to your level – make a long-term commitment to help that person become even better than you. If every leader did this for just one person, we’d never have to worry about doing succession planning.

*Note: “Transformational” is really in the eye of the beholder. If you move or change jobs every year, then after a while, the impact becomes less transformational. It can become just a superficial change and loses its developmental impact.

Less transformational, but still with the potential to be transformational:

6. Go back to school.
If you never got that high school, Associate, Bachelor, Master, or PhD degree, and have regrets, then how about making 2012 the year to get started? For adults, going back to school can be a HUGE mountain to climb. However, it’s often that first step that’s the hardest. Nowadays, there are more ways than ever to get a degree. If you’re interested, make an appointment with an admissions counselor, or attend an information session.
Full disclosure: I work at a university, but I’ve always been a proponent of continuing education for adults.

7. Find a mentor and/or hire a coach.
Find a leader that you admire and ask if he/she will be a mentor for you. People often assume that highly successful people probably always have a lot of mentees, or they’re too busy. That’s usually not the case, in fact, I can’t think of a single example of anyone who asked and was flat out told “no”. If anything, the mentor is usually flattered, and all too willing to help. Go ahead - pick the person who you think is “the best” at what you want to get good at – and just ask. The worst that could happen is you’ll prove me wrong – and you can then move on to your second choice. (-:

Hiring a professional coach is another alternative, or can complement a mentor. Yes, they can be expensive – but a good one can ask questions and challenge you in a way that unlocks insight and hidden potential. If you’re lucky your company might pay for it, but I’m also beginning to see some more affordable coaching models being marketing to non-executives. Buyers beware – ask for references, check credentials, and interview a few.

8. Take on a strrrrreeetch project.
Instead of a career or job change, identify a project where the stakes are high, has “home run” potential, it would be new to you, yet with a solid development plan and a lot of hard work, you can be successful. If you own a pizza shop, it could be adding a new menu of subs or opening a second shop. Think new products, new processes, new customers, fixing big problems, or taking on a long-standing relationship problems. No pain, no gain. Imagine what the line on your resume would read a year from now, then go make it happen.

9. Attend an intensive leadership development program.
By “intensive”, I mean a total immersion program. It should be at least 5 days, with at least one assessment, feedback (with at least one high quality assessment), coaching, an opportunity to apply what you’ve learned with a real-life, high risk, high reward project, and guided reflection (often called “Action Learning” programs). These programs, if well designed and run, can create a condensed, alternate reality, giving participants the chance to learn and take personal risks in a somewhat safe environment.

10. Get in shape.
I saved the most controversial for last. What does getting in shape have to do with becoming a better leader, or more successful, or more productive, or even smarter? Well, as it turns out, the research is overwhelming and compelling – exercise will do all of the above, as well as all of the obvious health benefits. If you don’t believe me, take a look at Harvard M.D. John Ratey’s website and book, Spark (I saw him speak recently). Amazing stuff. - I guarantee you’ll be motivated to finally drop that extra 10 pounds and start riding your bike to work. 

How about you? What do you think of the list? What have been your most transformational leadership development experiences?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Developing Future Leaders – It’s Imperative Not to Wait!

Guest post by Great Leadership regular contributor Beth Armknecht Miller:

Why is it important to develop future leaders within your company? Continuity of company culture, labor shortages, and an unexpected death of a senior manager are just a few important reasons.

In his book, Built to Last, Jim Collins describes the very successful succession planning process that GE’s CEO, Reginald Jones, took to find a new CEO. The process involved 96 candidates over seven years before Jones narrowed the candidates down to a single successor: Jack Welsh.

GE’s commitment to the succession process not only identified Jack Welsh, but all of his predecessors as well. These leaders were visionaries and change agents – an important, ongoing part of GE’s culture.

While you may not currently be in need of a successor, have you at least identified some potential candidates? Who within your organization has the potential to succeed you? And how long will it take before they are prepared to take your seat?

Challenges for Mid-Market Companies

Unlike GE, mid-market companies generally don’t have 96 candidates in the succession planning process queue, and a seven year process may be overkill. At the same time, many mid-market companies often wait until it is too late to successfully identify and develop their next CEO. Potential candidates may leave their current company to grow with another company before they are formally identified for succession opportunities. The very worst scenario involves a candidate leaving for a competitor who promises them increased responsibilities and leadership development opportunities that their current company failed to provide.

Another challenge for mid-market companies is their lack of a structured management training program for current and future leaders as found in many Fortune 500 companies.

Redefining Succession Planning for Mid-Market Companies

The succession planning process should start with you, your organization’s leader, and your talent management or human resources department. Work with this department to create a list of critical success factors and specific job requirements. Identify all must-have experience and skill sets as well as the nice-to-haves. If you don’t have people internally with these skills set, bring in a consultant to assist in the succession planning process.

Once the job profile is complete, compare it to your candidates. Identify the top candidates and determine what leadership development skills they will require. Some of your leadership development process can be addressed through internal resources, while some may require external resources.

When your leadership development plan is finished, you should not wait to execute your plan as waiting can greatly impact your company’s future! The story below tells why it is imperative that you not wait to begin developing your future leader.

Start Now

I have had the unfortunate experience of working with a company whose leader did not act with a sense of urgency when it came to leadership development and he died unexpectedly. The company was left to a family member who wasn’t prepared to take control and lead the company. As a result, this past year has been a very difficult time for the new leader as well as for the employees.

Grooming future leaders is one of the most critical tasks for an organization’s leader. Without well-prepared future leaders, there is no future for the company. A good leadership development process will take time and commitment from you, and must be a high priority. Therefore, don’t let the company that you have spent so many years building, stagnate or fall apart because you didn’t properly prepare new leadership to run it for many years into the future.

Beth Armknecht Miller, of Atlanta, Georgia, is Founder and President of Executive Velocity, a leadership development advisory firm accelerating the leadership success of CEOs and business leaders. She is also a Vistage Chair and Executive Coach. She is certified in Myers Briggs and Hogan leadership assessment tools and is a Certified Managerial Coach by Kennesaw State University. Visit http://www.executive-velocity.com/ or http://executivevelocityblog.com/ or follow her on twitter at SrExecAdvisor.

Monday, December 19, 2011

How to Achieve Better Gender Balance through Succession Planning and Development

According to research from the book Why Woman Mean Business, women now represent a majority of the talent pool, a majority of the market, and better gender balance in leadership yields better corporate performance. The data is compelling:

TALENT: Women represent 60% of university graduates in Europe and North America

MARKET: Women make 80% of consumer goods purchasing decisions in the US

- Companies with more women in leadership have a 35% higher return on equity
- Companies with more than three women on their corporate board have an 80% higher return on equity

However, according to 20-First’s 3rd Annual Global Gender Scorecard, 90% of Executive Committee positions are still filled by men, with only 10% by women.

In order to achieve better gender balance in the executive ranks, there are many ways to go about it, including:

1. Focus on representation;

2. Focus on leadership, i.e., change attitudes, values, beliefs, and behaviors of leaders

Both are equally important and go hand in hand.

Companies often will implement separate, often competing or conflicting strategies and goals. There’s a “Diversity” strategy driven from one office, and a succession planning and development strategy driven by another. From a manager’s view, it’s confusing.

One of the most effective ways to improve representation is through the integration of both.

It’s not that complicated to do, it just takes a boatload of commitment, most importantly, from the leader of an organization, along with the support of a strong HR leader.

At the risk of oversimplifying, here’s a 9 step process to improve gender balance through succession planning and development:

1. Train Leaders in the importance of gender balance.
This is an all-important first step; otherwise the rest could turn into a compliance exercise. Leaders need to understand the business case and practices that may be creating barriers, including their own biases and behaviors. Show them the research, engage them, and provide assessments, strategies and tools.

2. Establish metrics and goals.
There are two kinds of metrics – what I would call “end result”, or lagging metrics, i.e., percentage of female executives, managers, etc… and “activity”, or leading metrics. Many organizations just focus on the end game, often for compliance purposes, then wonder why there’s never any improvement. Instead, an organization could establish succession planning metrics, such as:

- Number of female candidates for key position succession plans

- Viability of candidates

It’s important to include “viability” (defined as approval by CEO and/or HR VP); otherwise, you could end up with lists of token candidates. Here’s an example of a 2X2 grid with both variables:

The vertical axis represents availability of successors (low to high), and the horizontal represents diversity of successors (low to high). A green score means an organization’s pool of successors for its key positions are 50% or greater female (and/or minority in this case), and more than 2/3 of them are viable.

3. Tie executive variable pay to both end result (representation) and activity (2X2 grid) metrics. 10% is a good percentage – enough to drive behavior, but not enough to overshadow other key business metrics.

4. Establish “Top 10 lists” for every major business unit.
It’s expected that as an organization begins this journey, managers will most likely be either “yellow” or “red” for the first few years. So, you need to look at the next level down for feeder pools. One way is to have each organization identify its 10 top females, minorities, non-U.S., or any other category you are trying to improve. “Top 10” is a relative metric, so there should be no incomplete lists. If top 10 lists are weak, then keep digging deeper, all the way to the entry level recruiting process if necessary.

5. Allocate development resources to female candidates.
An example of this would be to mandate that ___% of slots in an organizations executive development program is filled with female succession candidates or Top 10 lists (if appropriate). Yes, this may sound exactly like a quota – and it is – but’s it’s the only way you’ll ever begin to make any progress on improving overall representation. It also has the side benefit of slowly beginning to change the culture, as diverse participants begin to shape the thinking, attitudes, and behaviors of others that wouldn’t have normally had the opportunity to interact with those that are “different”. For example, diverse “action learning” teams often produce the most creative solutions.

6. Every successor should also have an individual development plan (IDP) and a senior level mentor.
Engage high potentials in career and development discussions. It’s important not to assume that every identified “high potential” wants to be an executive. Mentors can help paint a realistic picture of the role, advantages, disadvantages, and implications.

7. Ensure that at least one diverse candidate (internal or external) is interviewed for every executive opening.
Yes, it’s the “Rooney Rule” (established in the NFL in 2003) – and it’s had mixed results – but in general, has had a positive impact. The idea is to cast a wider net, and in the process, help identify barriers that may be getting in the way of attracting and hiring the best talent.

8. Regular use of public reward and recognition.
Tying succession goals into pay isn’t enough. In order to change behaviors, there needs to be visible examples of diversity champions being rewarded and recognized. An annual CEO’s award can be very motivational. Of course, public hangings are also effective, but I’d rather focus on more positive ways to change behaviors. Otherwise, your efforts can begin to feel like a witch hunt.

9. Support newly promoted or hired candidates.
Transition to the next level or a new organization is a difficult process. It’s especially challenging for females and minorities, who could be perceived as being undeserving, especially if their development was accelerated. All of these efforts could go up in smoke if these rising stars, full of potential and promise, fail. One way to provide support is by providing the services of an executive coach for the first 6-12 months, or through participation in an external executive development program specially designed to address these unique challenges.

If you buy into the business case for achieving greater gender balance in the executive ranks (and I do), then using succession planning and development can be a powerful way to achieve that goals.

Your thoughts?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Covering all the Bases

Guest post by Paul Eccher:

On October 31, 2011, baseball legend Tony La Russa announced his retirement as manager of the St. Louis Cardinals. Announced just three days after the Cardinals won the World Series, La Russa’s retirement follows an impressive, 16-year career with the Cardinals and 33-season career in Major League Baseball (MLB). He was also the third winningest manager in MLB history—behind only Connie Mack and John McGraw.

You don’t have to be a Cardinals fan (or even a baseball fan) to appreciate the success and longevity of La Russa’s career. He had what all leaders strive to and rarely attain—the perfect balance of “hard” and “soft” skills. Amid today’s fast-paced nature of business, it’s more common for leaders to focus on their “hard” skills—the level of education they’ve earned, the number of sales they’ve secured and the overall financial impact they’ve made on their company—than their “soft” skills, or people skills. It’s a trend that’s been emphasized repeatedly in media headlines: as businesses continue to do “more with less,” employees are experiencing less job satisfaction and engagement as their employers focus solely on company analytics instead of developing their people.

However the “soft” skills—relationship building, empathy and the ability to influence and inspire—are vital to building a highly engaged and successful environment, whether on a team or within the workplace. Although La Russa mastered the “hard” skills (he earned a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from Florida State University College of Law, studied extensively in preparation for games and executed intricate game plans), what made him truly successful were his “soft” skills. One renowned player, Albert Pujols, said La Russa “is not only my manager; he’s like a daddy to me.” Never lacking respect amongst his players, La Russa inspired his players to do what they didn’t think they were capable of, often transforming discouraged players into local heroes. In addition, he was constantly protective of his team and would not back down from the competition or detractors in the press, telling one reporter “I’m not saying I’m smarter than you, but I know our club a lot better than you do.”

How many of today’s bosses have their employees’ backs the way La Russa did? How many leaders inspire those around them to do what they didn’t think was possible? According to a recent Corporate Executive Board (CEB) study featured in the Wall Street Journal that aggregated data of more than 4,300 exit interviews, three-quarters of departing employees would not recommend their previous employer to others.

Amid today’s uncertain economic times, it’s important to have advanced degrees, certifications and technical skills to perform well on the job. However, leaders can make themselves and their companies stand apart by mastering the “soft” skills—the skills necessary to connect with people on a deeper level to relate, inspire and create a positive work environment that fosters employee enjoyment, growth and productivity.

That is how La Russa commanded the respect of his players and left his mark as the third winningest coach in professional baseball. No matter what the profession, having the ability to continually plan and prepare while motivating and inspiring those around you, as La Russa did, adds up to a winning formula—both inside and outside of the ballpark.

Dr. Paul H. Eccher is the co-founder and principal of The Vaya Group , a Talent Management consultancy that applies science and precision to the art of talent assessment and development. He is also the co-author of Optimizing Talent: What Every Leader and Manager Needs to Know to Sustain the Ultimate Workforce.

Related posts: "It’s the Soft Stuff That’s Really the Hard Stuff"

and "Why Do Businesses and Leaders Fail?"

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Perils of Hitting “Reply All”

By now you may have heard about the recruiter, Gary Chaplin, who lost his job for telling a job seeker off? Well, he didn’t just tell him off – he ripped him in an expletive-riddled email and accidentally copied 4000 fellow recruiters.

To make matters worse, Chaplin signed it using the name of another recruiter (Richard Vickers), and ripped another recruiter (Dan McCarthy, no relation) in the email. Yikes.

The job seeker, Manos Katsampoukas, sent his resume to 4000 recruiters politely asking for a position in finance or marketing. OK, granted, that’s not a very smart job-hunting strategy. But still, did he deserve the following response — in which Chaplin said he spoke for "all 4,000 people you have emailed" — "Please f*** off — you are too stupid to get a job, even in banking."

There are a lot of lessons to be learned by this unfortunate story, including:

1. Mass emailing your resume to thousands of recruiters doesn’t sound like a sound job hunting strategy. Better to cultivate relationships with a few in your specific industry well before you are looking for a job. In fact, doesn’t everyone hate mass emails (spam) in general? Although, there are companies that offer “resume distribution services”. Do people really use these and do they work?

2. Never forget what it’s like to be out of work and looking for a job. Many people only have to go through this once or twice in their lifetimes. They sometimes do naïve, stupid, or desperate things. Try to put yourselves in their shoes and show some compassion. Better yet, do what you can to help the person. You never know – what goes around, comes around. A friend of mine in the HR business took pride in how many of her friends she helped land jobs. When it came her turn to ask for help, people came out of the woodwork to help. She landed a new position within weeks.

3. Always assume anything you put in an a email could be shared with 4000 people. I’m sure we’ve ALL made one of these mistakes – I just did it last week. If you’ve got something sensitive to say, say it in person. Better yet, write it down, save it, read it the next day and realize how stupid it was, and delete it.

4. We all need to learn the difference between “reply” and “reply all”. Yes, they are right next to each, and sound similar, but come on – really? Having said that – mistakes happen – if someone does it, lighten up, you could be next.

Better yet, maybe the “reply all” key should be abolished? It’s just an accident waiting to happen.

5. Maybe it’s time the recruiting industry takes a good, hard look in the mirror? The industry in general doesn’t have the greatest reputation when it comes to integrity, ethics, and treating people with respect. Just read some of the comments in the story. I’m sure most in the profession are honorable professionals, but when a story like this surfaces such venom from so many people, you have to wonder.

6. Always assume anything you do in the digital world can be traced back to you. There’s no such thing as anonymity or privacy in cyberspace, even if you use a fake name.

7. When you make a lot of money and drive flashy sports cars, you get very little symphony. Although I have to hand it to Chaplin, he did admit it was a stupid mistake and apologized. Some would say he shouldn’t have even lost his job over it.

What do you think?

Thanks to my daughter, who works in pr/social media, for bringing this stuff to my attention. She helps keep me current. (-:

Monday, December 12, 2011

Ambiguity Breeds Mediocrity

Guest post from Dave Mastovich on the importance of clear expectations:

I have a friend who leads a Human Resources Consultancy. He often uses the phrase: “Why don’t employees do what they are supposed to do?” to market his services. I have often told him that he should add “Why don’t bosses explain what they really want?” to the mix.

When it comes to getting things done with people, ambiguity breeds mediocrity. Employees and managers alike become frustrated when expectations are not met. The problem often arises because of a breakdown in communication. The more ambiguous goals and expectations are, the greater the chance for an average or worse outcome.

However, effective communication is a two way street.

In some cases, employees do not clearly understand goals and expectations and don’t take the time to clarify the situation with their boss. In other instances, employees are consciously or subconsciously comfortable with the ambiguity. They avoid clarity and are content to do what they think is necessary because when ambiguity exits, accountability is reduced or eliminated.

On the other hand, supervisors are often guilty of thinking they are on the same page as their team, when in reality they have not provided the necessary specifics to ensure success. Or they do not empower employees to think and make decisions that could improve outcomes.

Leaders need to provide clear direction and ensure clarity of expectations. They should talk openly with team members about what the outcome of the project should be, when it will be completed, and what employees should do if help is needed or when they hit a road block.

Managers should involve the employees in setting deadlines as well. Often, employees will offer a tighter deadline than the manager expected. If they ask for a later deadline, you at least gain an understanding of why they think more time is necessary and you find out sooner rather than later.

Ultimately, leaders should use a combination of communication tactics, rather than just a meeting, email or telephone call. Combining face-to-face and written correspondence gives team members the benefit of both verbal and non verbal communication, the chance to interact, and specific details in writing.

If you are the person receiving the instructions, you, too, have a responsibility to clearly define the expectations. Repeat back to the leader what you think is expected and obtain agreement on goals, expectations and action steps to be completed. Ask what you should do when you encounter a ‘bump in the road’ because you inevitably will.

Move off the path to mediocrity. Communicate clearly, reduce ambiguity and make a commitment to excellence.

David M. Mastovich, MBA is President of MASSolutions, Inc. and author of "Get Where You Want to Go: How to Achieve Personal and Professional Growth Through Marketing, Selling and Story Telling." For more information, visit www.massolutions.biz.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

10 Ways to Act More Important Than You Really Are

I have a gut feeling that this post is going to rub a few people the wrong way. Why? Because many, if not all of the items on the upcoming list are grounded in some degree of reality. Readers may point to any one of them and say “Hey wait a minute, I do that, and here’s why…”.

Many of them are come right from well-meaning articles on how to be more confident, smart or assertive. A few I’ve just observed myself. To a degree, following this advice is OK – as long as you don’t overdo it. Attempts do “act” important (or smart, or powerful, or whatever) will backfire and make you look like you have small dog syndrome (sds), especially when you don’t have the substance to back up your annoying little yips.

Improving your self-confidence is a perfectly OK development goals – leaders need to have a high degree of confidence, command skills, and presence. However, as my friend Scott Eblin points out, too much confidence, like any strength overdone, can turn start to look like arrogance or hubris.

So, if you’re more concerned about looking important than actually being important, then here’s 10 tips for you:

1. Never show up to a meeting on time.
Seriously, I’m not making this up. In fact, I just heard about someone that actually makes sure she always shows up at least 20 minutes late to any meeting. That way, people will know you’re important.

I can’t help but imagine how this belief plays out in meetings involving lots of important people. What do they do, all hide around the corner waiting to see who gives in first?

2. Name drop.
I’ve also heard this technique referred to as “citing your sources”. It’s a way to back up your opinions, look smart, and if you’re wrong, you can blame it on your sources.

3. Have the biggest chair in the office.
Corporate pecking orders are established by chair size: there’s the secretary’s chair, manager’s chair, and the big old fat executive’s chair. Just test it to make sure your feet can touch the ground. Complete your important office décor with a huge desk with little guest chairs facing the window and sun behind you.

4. Pose like a peacock.
There’s actually research to back this one up. Practicing those power poses can actually make men and woman feel more powerful. You know the type - they strut around like peacocks fanning their tails or chimpanzees puffing their chests to assert their hierarchical rank.

5. Have a lot of LinkedIn connections.
Link up with everyone you meet, or better yet, just send out invitations to strangers you’ve never me just to reach that important “500+ connections” badge. Heck, anyone with that many connections must be uber-important. Or a recruiter or salesperson. (-:

I’m waiting for LinkedIn to come up with a “5000+” designation.

6. Keep a lot of very important books or periodicals on your desk.
Any serious executive or executive-wannbe just has to have a copy of the WSJ or HBR under their arms at all times, right? Just be sure to wrinkle a dog-ear a few pages.

7. Talk really loud and don’t worry about listening.
My wife and I were waiting at the bar for our table last weekend and we had a chance to experience this first hand. I could only assume this guy was really important, because we and everyone around us could hear everything he had to say and the poor couple he was talking at never got a word in edgewise. Given we live in New Hampshire, it could have been a presidential candidate. (-:

8. Pretend you enjoy the arts.
Pronounce your fake appreciation of the arts in response to co-workers or friends that bring up last night’s episode of “Dancing with the Stars” or “The Middle”. To sound really important, you need to say it in a way that makes everyone else look like idiots.

9. Never answer your own phone, emails, or schedule your own appointments.
Yes, I know, there are some positions – like CEO and Governors – that have to have minions to handle this stuff for them. But for the rest of us, come on, if we're all on a conference call together, do we really need to have an assistant contact everyone to schedule a follow-up call? In these days of tech-savvy employees, I just find this to be so old school, but it’s still rampant. It's not that they can't - it's that they won't.

10. Use a lot of letters after your name.
Listing your credentials may be appropriate for certain professions – higher ed, doctors, accountants, or insurance agents – but please, do we really need to tell people we have a B.S., MBA, or every little certification we earned by taking one course and passing a test?

How about you? What are some other annoying ways people try to make themselves look important but when overdone come across as hopelessly arrogant?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The 2011 Global Top 25 Companies for Leaders

Last month Aon Hewitt, The RBL Group and Fortune announced their Global Top Companies for Leaders list. It's been two years since the last list, not to be confused with the competing "Best Companies for Leaders" list sponsored by Businessweek and Hay Group.

I like to look below the hood of these rankings, to see if there's anything new to learn when it comes to leadership development. Sometimes I'll even call the person in charge of talent management. Is there some new silver bullet, some new magic formula that we can steal and replicate within our own companies?

Once again, the answer is no, not really. The companies that excel in leadership development do it better than the rest because they believe in it and take it seriously. They treat it as a strategic priority, spend a lot of time on it, provide meaningful developmental assignments to their high potentials, invest in it, and measure the heck out of their efforts to ensure its working.

I've always said if there was only ONE wish I could have when it came to leadership development it would be a CEO that was 100% committed to it. All the rest would then fall into place - even the most incompetent HR department couldn't screw it up if they tried. They couldn't, because they would be measured and held accountable.

One thing that's significant is that non-U.S. companies, like Hindustan Unilever are catching up. Only 13 out of 25 of the companies are U.S. based, compared to 17/25 two years ago. While it used to be emerging economies like China and India would turn to the U.S. and import their leadership development programs, now they are creating their own, in order to reflect their own cultural and market nuances.

Here's the full list:


2.General Mills, Inc.

3.The Procter & Gamble Company

4.Aditya Birla Management Corporation

5.Colgate-Palmolive Company

6.Hindustan Unilever

7.ICICI Bank Limited

8.McDonald's Corporation

9.Whirlpool Corporation

10.PepsiCo, Inc

11.General Electric Company

12.Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA)

13.Natura Cosmeticos S.A

14.Deere & Company

15.3M Company

16.Eli Lilly and Company

17.McKinsey and Company


19.Unilever plc

20.Siemens AG

21.Intel Corporation

22.China Vanke Co., Ltd.

23.Wipro Ltd.

24.Bharti Aritel

25.Novartis AG

Any surprises?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The December Leadership Development Carnival Begins Today!

The December Leadership Development Carnival is being hosted by my friends Becky Robinson and Kevin Eikenberry over at their Leadership and Learning blog. For this December edition, Kevin and Becky are breaking the Carnival up into multiple days - today through the rest of this week.

You can find the first installment here. Be sure to check back each day for the rest of the Carnival. I've had a sneak peek at a lot of the submissions, and I think you'll enjoy them.

Please met me know what you think of the new format too - if you like it, maybe we'll do it this way more often.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Ready, Set, Enable

Guest post by Mark Royal and Tom Agnew, from Hay Group, regular contributors to Great Leadership:

The term “doing more with less” is being used increasingly liberally by organizations today. However, there are often gaping holes between what is asked and what is executed. In many cases, organizations fail to understand or recognize the detrimental effect their “do more with less” approach has on employees’ productivity and rising frustration levels.

The concept needs to be revolutionized.

For decades, managers have been told to “do more with less,” which they interpret as raising the bar on employee goals and expectations while spending less money. Employees typically receive the message as involving working longer hours or accomplishing more tasks without the support of extra resources.

This approach quickly builds frustration. More significantly, it wears down your most motivated and loyal employees. These are employees who want to succeed at their jobs, but feel that roadblocks and constraints are continually put in their way.

So how can leaders ask employees to “do more with less” without causing frustration? Instead of making vague statements, setting unrealistic goals, and expecting employees to do more without providing additional resources, leaders need to unleash the full potential in their employees.

We all know about the importance of engaging employees through motivational tactics, but engagement only moves employees so far.

The real answer lies in employee enablement. Managers must help to create work environments where employees are supported by processes and information that help them do their jobs efficiently; in turn, decreasing frustration and allowing for improved productivity.

How can leaders create a more enabling environment to increase productivity?

1. Create a culture of dialogue: Instead of relying on annual review time to discuss performance, managers must create a culture of open communication with their teams and continuously engage in conversations about goals and priorities to help employees focus on the highest value tasks throughout the year. When frustration is allowed to silently simmer, everyone loses.

2. Grant appropriate authority: It’s important for managers to provide employees with explicit decision-making authority, encourage them to come forward with innovative suggestions for improving the organization, and reinforce employee creativity by appropriately translating ideas into action.

3. Identify support gaps. A lack of support creates significant productivity issues. In order to avoid employee burnout, managers must ensure employees have the necessary resources to carry out their roles successfully.

4. Develop employees. In order to turn high-potential employees into high-performing members of an organization, companies must place a high value on job-related training. By offering programs for learning and development, organizations will get more out of their people.

These are just a few tactics that will help companies unleash the hidden potential in their people. What other strategies have you used to “do more with less?”

Mark Royal and Tom Agnew are principals in Hay Group’s employee-research division and co-authors of The Enemy of Engagement: Put an End to Workplace Frustration—and Get the Most From Your Employees (Amacom, 2011). Royal is based in Chicago and Agnew is based in New York.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

10 Tips on How to Deliver a Great Concurrent Session

Conferences are a great way to learn some new best practices, expand your network, and hopefully come away energized with lots of new ideas to implement back on the job.

There are usually two types of sessions at a conference – general sessions and concurrent sessions. The general sessions are the ones where you don’t have a choice, so everyone attends. Concurrent sessions are placed before and after the general sessions, to give participants the opportunity to pick and choose the sessions that best suit their interests. Sometimes, conference organizers set up their concurrent sessions in themed tracks.

In the pecking order of speakers, general session speakers, often referred to as “keynotes”, are the alpha dogs of speakers. They are the ones on the front page of the conference website and brochure, get to sit at a special table, and often get paid for their presentation. While there’s been plenty written about how to deliver a speech just like Steve Jobs, most of us will never have an opportunity to do a keynote.

There are far more opportunities to deliver at conferences as a concurrent speaker. While lower conference status than keynotes, there are still a lot of benefits. You usually get a free conference registration, get a special name badge, you get to share your expertise with others, and it makes it easier to meet people and network (“hey, Dan, I loved your presentation on how to use a nine-box”).

I’ve never been able to find much on how to deliver a great concurrent session, but I’ve done a fair number of them and learned by trial and error. I’ve also sat through enough outstanding and horrible ones to get a good sense of what works and what doesn’t. 

So with that as a long-winded intro, here are 10 tips on how to deliver a great concurrent session:

1. Don’t oversell your expertise.
It’s assumed that if you’re asked, or if you submit a proposal to present, then you have deep expertise in some area that others can learn from. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. If you are asked to present on a topic that you would not feel comfortable in calling yourself an expert, than turn it down. If you don’t, participants will be disappointed; you’ll hurt your reputation, and be shunned at the networking receptions.

Tip: come up with a session title that has a little pizzaz, yet accurately describes your session.

2. Present – don’t “facilitate”.
When I hear a presenter open their session by saying something like “Well, I’m certainly no expert in this topic, but gee, I’ll bet we have a room full of expertise, and my job will be to create an environment for the next hour to share that knowledge” - I just want to set my hair on fire and run from the room. Don’t even grab a handout, just hustle down to your second choice and hope you can get a seat. I’ve seen professional trainers to this with good intentions. Yes, while participant involvement is a must in an all-day training program, in typical 60-90 minute concurrent session, participants have come to hear from YOU. If they were experts, they wouldn’t have come to your session. Please, no breaking the room up into groups to answer their own questions. I’m not saying a well-placed, quick 5 minute exercise isn’t a good idea; just don’t overdo it at the expense sharing your own expertise.

3. Know your audience.
Yes, “know your audience” is a presentation skills 101 cliché, but for some reasons, I’ve seen way too many concurrent session speakers not tailor their content to the needs of their audience. If I’m doing a session on succession planning for CPA firms, then I’m at least going to take the time to interview a few CPAs and look up some good accountant jokes. Not being paid is not an excuse for lazy preparation – your audience deserves nothing but your best.

4. it’s not a sales presentation.
I like to hear a little about the speaker’s background – it’s good for credibility and context. However, anything more than a few minutes begins to feel like an infomercial. I’m also OK with a quick mention of a book, website, or blog at the end, as long as it’s quick. I realize that at conferences, we are all selling something. Just let your tips and best practices do your selling for you, there will be plenty of time to hand out business cards and autograph books after the session.

5. Play nice with the conference planners.
Conference planners usually send speakers specific instructions, checklists, deadlines, and forms. Take the time to read them and comply with their requests. One of my pet peeves: speakers who don’t submit their presentation material in time to have it included in the conference notebook.

6. Show-up.
Please don’t tell me about your long flight or late night karaoke session at the bar – I don’t care. Suck it up, gulp down some coffee or an energy drink, and give me your best for 60-90 minutes. The presenter should never come across as more bored than the participants. Hey, I once drew the 7:00am track at a conference in Vegas – day three, no less! The handful of sleepy participants that showed up rated it as one of the conference’s highest rated sessions. Bring your A game, and nothing less.

Tip: Don’t stand behind the podium tethered to a microphone – request a lavalier, or lapel microphone, to give you the freedom to move around.

7. Save time for questions… at the end.
Plan – and rehearse your presentation to ensure there is time for 10-15 minutes for questions at the end. While a few questions are OK during the session, too many run the risk of satisfying a few at the expense of the many. If a participant asks a question that you know you’ll get to later in the presentation, don’t be afraid to say “Great question, and I plan to address that in about 10 minutes. If I don’t answer your question then, please let me know”.

Tip: The first few minutes are also critical - you need to convince participants why they shouldn't grab a handhout and bail on your session to head out to the pool to work on thier tans.

8. Arrive early and stay late.
Get to the room early to load your slides, check equipment, straighten out the room, and greet participants. Stick around after your presentation- these are often the particpants that have an individual question that they didn't want to bother the enitre group with. You should be honored that they are waiting around to ask you. If there is a line of participants waiting to talk to you, then you know your session hit the mark!

9. Get feedback.
Ask a few participants for feedback and make sure you get a copy of the evaluations from the conference planners. Even better if you can buddy up with another presenter to give each other feedback. If you're really brave, ask them to record it on your smart phone camera. Getting candid feedback is the only way I’ve learned not to repeat some bone-headed mistakes.

10. Enjoy yourself!
If you treat doing a presentation as if it’s a root canal, then your participants will feel your pain as well. Smile, laugh (at yourself), and enjoy your moment in the sun! If you’ve having fun and enjoying yourself, then chances are, participants will as well.

For a related post, see How to Rock as a Panelist.

How about you? Any dos and don’ts to share when it comes to doing a concurrent session?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

5 Keys to Effectively Communicating Appreciation in the Workplace

Guest post by Paul White:

As I travel around the country to consult for businesses and organizations, I hear the same message over and over—both from leaders and from their employees: “People are getting burned out. We have to do more work with less people, making do with the budget that we have,” or, “We need to do something to show our workers appreciation but funds are tight.” Burn-out is the common theme, as people in the workplace express that they are becoming more negative, cynical, and discouraged.

Research confirms that there are serious problems developing in the workplace today:

• 65% of workers say they have received no recognition or appreciation in the past 12 months.

• While 80% of large corporations have employee recognition programs, only 31% of their employees say they feel valued for doing good quality work.

• The #1 reason for recognition in most workplaces is longevity (how motivating is that?).

• Only 8% of employees feel their top management cares about them personally.

• 70% of employees are either disengaged or under engaged in their work.

• Yet only 21% of these workers are looking for work elsewhere, meaning approximately 50 % of the workforce are just passively enduring work they don’t enjoy.

The workplace environment needs to change for the better, and leaders can change the course. Unfortunately, many managers’ efforts to appreciate their staff are misguided and wind up being a waste of time and effort. Why? Because they are not built upon the core principles necessary for appreciation to be communicated effectively.

Make your praise specific and personal. The most common mistake organizations and supervisors make is communicating appreciation that is general and impersonal. Sending blast emails with the message, “Good job. Way to go, team!” has no specific significance for the individual who stayed late to get the project completed. Use your colleague’s name and state specifically what he or she does that makes your job easier.

Realize that action can be more impactful than words for some employees. Some people (seemingly, often men) do not value verbal praise, holding to the mentality that words are cheap. For these people, compliments are viewed with disbelief and skepticism, and sometimes verbal praise is understood as an act of manipulation. Actions are more effective to show appreciation for these individuals, such as spending time with them at the office or helping to get a task done.

Use the language of appreciation valued by the recipient. Not everyone likes public recognition or social events. One leader told me, “You can give me an award but you’ll have to shoot me first before I’ll go up and get it in front of a crowd.” And for many introverts, an invitation to attend a staff appreciation dinner 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 your co-workers or employees value and communicate in that language.

Separate affirmation from constructive criticism or instruction. If you want the positive message to be heard loud and clear, don’t follow your affirmation with a “Now, if you would only…” message. Don’t offer a compliment followed by a criticism of how the individual could do better. They will only remember the constructive criticism, and may not even hear the positive.

Be genuine. Don’t try to fake it or overstate your appreciation (“You are the best administrative assistant in the free world!”). People can sense when appreciation is obligatory or contrived.

In my business consulting practice, I have seen these simple principles of appreciation successfully improve workplace environments previously suffering from a bad case of burn-out. Appreciation has the ability to transform any team—whether in public schools, medical facilities, manufacturing firms, universities, restaurants or financial firms. Give it a go – it is worth it!

Author Bio:
Dr. Paul White is a business consultant and psychologist, and is the coauthor of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman. For more information, go to http://www.appreciationatwork.com/.

About the Book: The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace applies the “love language” concept of New York Times bestseller, The 5 Love Languages, to the workplace. This book helps supervisors and managers effectively communicate appreciation and encouragement to their employees, resulting in higher levels of job satisfaction, healthier relationships between managers and employees, and decreased cases of burnout. Ideal for both the profit and non-profit sectors, the principles presented in this book have a proven history of success in businesses, schools, medical offices, churches, and industry.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Leaders Should Be Competent – But Not Too Competent

Guest post from David C. Baker. Does a manager/leader need to be really good at what they manage? I would say for some professions, like sales, they do. What do you think? 

After interviewing more than 10,000 employees at 600+ companies, you start noticing patterns in effective leaders. Recognizing these patterns is a crucial step for first-time (and long-time) managers, as I’ve written about in Managing (Right) for the First Time.

One of the more surprising patterns is the level of competence that a leader should possess. Leaders only need a basic level of competence. Just enough to understand the issues and evaluate talent.

Leaders should not be the most technically competent of the group they are leading. If they are, it may be a sign that they have hired helpers instead of experts. It could also mean that they were promoted for the wrong reasons. They might have been a very good “doer,” but perhaps not the best “manager.”

There is one thing leaders should be competent at: leading. That is their job. Leaders should know just enough to be dangerous about the subject they are managing. How can you know if you’ve crossed the boundary into over-competence? Ask yourself:

• Is there anyone you are managing that you don’t trust to do something they have been hired to do? If so, why?

• When you are reviewing work, do you spend more time nitpicking or focusing on the big picture?

• When you are interviewing new talent, are you actively seeking out people that are smarter than you in a given area?

Let’s face it: all over the world you can find well-run companies whose leaders are managing others who are far more competent than they are. And that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. A well-run company is a well-run company.

Author Bio
David C. Baker lived in Guatemala until he was 18 and now lives in Nashville, TN. In addition to owning a thriving management consulting practice, ReCourses, David is a frequent speaker and author. His work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Inc. magazine, BusinessWeek, and dozens of other national publications. He enjoys travel, racquetball, photography, and flying airplanes and helicopters.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Learn to “Act” like a Leader

Like it or not, “presence” is an important competency for any leader. You know it when you see it – a leader with presence exudes self-confidence, is self-assured, can be passionate about their beliefs, commands attention, communicates well, and makes people around them feel better and more self-assured.

Regardless of where you stand on the presidential candidates, it’s clear that Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan had it, while Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter did not. Presidential presence or lack of is often exposed in the harsh glare of televised debates, and as Richard Nixon found out in the 1960 presidential elections, it can make or break a candidate.

One of the reasons Reagan had such a strong stage presence was that he was trained as an actor. Leading executive development programs have long been incorporating acting lessons into their programs and/or follow-up coaching.

Don’t get me wrong – leadership isn’t about being phony, or misrepresenting yourself. Authenticity is even more important, as people won’t follow someone they don’t believe. However, it’s a shame when a lack of stage presence gets in the way of a potential leader’s other strengths and ideas.

Given everyone may not want to take the time or spend the money to take acting lessons, here are five acting techniques you can begin to work on to improve your leadership presence:

1. Pay attention to your “entrance”. People form immediate and lasting impressions based on how you enter a room, your physical characteristics, and the first few words that come out of your mouth. Think about the impression you want to leave people with, and create a vision for your entrance. Will it leave the impression you want to create? Shaking hands (firmly) and introducing yourself to each person (with a smile) in the room is a great way to connect with people and create that instant, lasting impression.

2. Delivery of your “lines”. Pay attention to your verbals (volume, tone, speed, choice of words, articulation) as well as your non-verbals (gestures, posture, facial expressions, movements). Your delivery needs to support and align with your message, or people won’t hear what you have to say.

3. Know your lines. Smooth, articulate delivery won’t help if you don’t know your subject matter. You need to be confident, knowledgeable, and really know what you’re talking about, or you’ll lose credibility. Don't ever let this happen to you!

4. Engage your audience. Actors know how to connect and relate to their audience. You feel like inviting them into your living room to have a beer or a cup of coffee. Engaging your audience means inviting them to participate, asking questions, listening, and making them feel good about their involvement.

5. Exit, stage left. Knowing how to leave is almost as importance as your entrance. Remembering people’s names, their questions or concerns, summarizing follow-up commitments, re-emphasizing your key messages, and your physical posture are all important components of a strong exit. You want to be seen riding off into the sunset, not slipping out of the room like you just committed a crime.

Are there any actors out there? What other stage skills could aspiring leaders add to their repertoire?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Multi-Tasking: Is It Worth It?

Here's a guest post from one of my regulars, Beth Armknecht Miller. It's great advice - what a simple yet powerful way to improve your leadership effectiveness and relationships!

Multi-Tasking: Is It Worth It?

You see it at work. You drop by an employee’s workspace to discuss a current project and she continues to work on the computer while you are having the discussion. How do you feel as the person continues to “multi-task”?

Alternately, you are at home and your spouse is in the kitchen preparing dinner or loading the dishwasher. You start a conversation with him or her and they continue on with their task at hand while conversing with you. Did they really understand what you said? Did they really hear you?

So, you do see the behavior. Do you also find yourself part of this multi-tasking phenomenon? Multi-tasking, for many people in this ever changing and demanding world, has become a badge of pride. I can’t tell you how many executives I have worked with who actually believe that multi-tasking increases their productivity.

It Doesn’t Increase Productivity

Yet, research shows just the opposite. Back in 2001, in the article "Executive Control of Cognitive Processes in Task Switching," found in the Journal of Experimental Psychology - Human Perception and Performance, Vol 27. No.4, Joshua S. Rubinstein of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and David E. Meyer and Jeffrey E. Evans of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan conducted a study which “revealed that for all types of tasks, subjects lost time when they had to switch from one task to another. Because time costs increased with the complexity of the tasks, it took significantly longer to switch between more complex tasks. Time costs were also greater when subjects switched to tasks that were relatively unfamiliar.”

In a 2007 New York Times article, Jonathan B. Spira, an analyst at the business research firm Basex, estimated that extreme multitasking costs the U.S. economy $650 billion a year in lost productivity.

And a recent (September 2009) article from the Harvard Business School (HBS) references another study from Stanford University that supports the 2001 study. This article also suggests that while single-tasking is probably not totally practical in the 21st century, we should instead consider focusing on the value of each task, rather than focusing on the number of tasks to be completed.

Multi-Tasking Effects on Interpersonal Relationship

And even if you don’t believe this scientific evidence which shows that multi-tasking does not save you time, think about the other effects it has. What message are you sending to the people with whom you are multi-tasking? They probably wonder what is more important than the discussion they are trying to have with you. They may even think that you are just being rude.

I agree with the HBS conclusion that it is difficult to move to single-tasking, BUT only when the multi-tasking does not involve interpersonal communications with another individual.

So how can you change your multi-tasking behavior when you are confronted with someone wanting your attention?

Set aside time during each day when you will not multi-task. At this time focus on only one task or one person. When someone approaches you for a conversation and you are in a time crunch, let the individual know either, that you only have a specific amount of time to speak due to a work-related deadline, or offer them the opportunity to come back at the specific time you have set aside each day for single-tasking. This is the time when you can give them your undivided attention. However, if you do have time to speak with them when they first approach you, then turn away from your computer and put your PDA and cell phone on silent so you aren’t tempted to multi-task.

Giving your employees, team members, family, and friends your undivided attention during an important conversation will build stronger relationships by increasing understanding, decreasing stress, and increasing respect. Managing multi-tasking will also increase your productivity and will model appropriate behavior to other employees. With these benefits in mind, what’s keeping you from starting to manage your multi-tasking behavior?

Beth Armknecht Miller, of Atlanta, Georgia, is Founder and President of Executive Velocity, a leadership development advisory firm accelerating the leadership success of CEOs and business leaders. She is also a Vistage Chair and Executive Coach. She is certified in Myers Briggs and Hogan leadership assessment tools and is a Certified Managerial Coach by Kennesaw State University. Visit http://www.executive-velocity.com  or  http://executivevelocityblog.com or follow her on twitter at SrExecAdvisor.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The November 2011 Leadership Development Carnival

Welcome to the November 6, 2011 edition of leadership development carnival!

There's no theme this month, no cute nicknames, no commentary, just a straightforward list of 45 of the best posts submitted for your reading pleasure. Actually, it's supposed to be a beautiful Fall day here in New England, and the Carnival host is anxious to head over to the Maine seacoast for some seafood with Mrs. Great Leadership, so something had to give. The fried clams won.

I've had readers ask "Why so many? Could you pare it down for us?". I actually do, the ones that make the cut are all relevant, recent, and looked interesting to me at least - about 50% of the submitted posts on average. I always include the regulars, those that have been submitting posts for years and I know they will come for us. With each edition, there's always a handful of new contributors, and I like to give them some exposure.

Honestly, I don't expect most readers would ever try to read them all. It's meant to be more of a menu - organized in a way that you can pick and choose based on author, blog name, subject title, and a "teaser" line if the author provided one. Hmmm, do I go for the clam strips, the lobster roll, chowdah, or all three? When in doubt, try 'em all!

We'll kick off the Carnival with posts from last month's host, Lynn Dessert, presenting Leading with your Strengths posted at Elephants at Work;

and next month's host, Kevin Eikenberry, presenting Four Steps to Making a Complex Decision posted at Leadership and Learning with Kevin Eikenberry, saying, "As leaders, we need to be decisive and forward-moving. This post offers four steps you can try when making a complex decision."

Anne Perschel presents Bold Because You Can Lead. Humble Because You Did Not Create the Leader posted at Germane Insights, saying, "Can a leader be bold and humble at the same time? I think so. In fact, I think it's what's called for. Here's why and how."

Gwyn Teatro presents How to Make Performance Appraisals Unnecessary posted at You're Not the Boss of Me.

Tanveer Naseer presents Are Your Employees Mad As Hell and Not Going to Take It Anymore? |posted at TanveerNaseer.com.

Wally Bock presents The Joy of Helping posted at Three Star Leadership, saying "The best bosses revel in helping others succeed".

Mark Stelzner presents Two Easy (And Legal) Ways to Gather Competitive Intel posted at Inflexion Point.

Michael Lee Stallard presents Develop the Heart of a Champion posted at Michael Lee Stallard.

William Matthies presents Instead, How About . . . posted at Business Wisdom: Words to Manage By, saying, "Part of executive development is recognizing the development that has already occurred."

Guy Farmer presents Soft Skills Training and Foundation Building posted at Unconventional Training.

Jennifer Miller presents Tag-Team Workplace Coaching posted at The People Equation saying "This is a story that shows that sometimes the best workplace coaching comes from someone other than a person’s boss".

Janna Rust presents Procrastination and Productivity posted at Purposeful Leadership, saying, "What are you procrastinating with right now? Have you ever thought about how it affects you? Read on to learn how procrastination might be killing your productivity."

John R. Turner presents Lewin and Historical Traces to Change Management posted at JohnRTurner_HPT_resource.

Linda Fisher Thornton presents Leaders & Social Media: 5 Reasons to Engage posted at Leading in Context LLC.

Bob Lieberman presents The Can-Do Attitude posted at Cultivating Creativity – Developing Leaders for the Creative Economy.

Jesse Lyn Stoner presents Be the Boss You?d Like to Have posted at Jesse lyn Stoner Blog.

Jim Taggart presents The Rise of Tiger Business Women posted at ChangingWinds, saying, "At present rates, it will take about 150 years before women and men are equally likely to reach middle management. And a century and a half is an eyeblink compared with the eternity it would take to achieve this benchmark in senior management"

S. Chris Edmonds presents Three Steps to a Bully-Free Workplace posted at Driving Results Through Culture

Mike Henry Sr. submitted Leaders: Your emotions are contagious - Lead Change Group posted at Lead Change Group Blog, saying, "Author Christina Haxton makes a great case for how a leader's emotions affect the entire team. She also provides a practical 4-step process to make a change in your attitude."

Bret L. Simmons presents Inner Work Life posted at Bret L. Simmons.

Mary Jo Asmus presents Letting Go of Your Need to be Right posted at Mary Jo Asmus.

David Burkus presents Freedom to Fail posted at LeaderLab, saying, "this post explores how good leaders give their team freedom to fail."

Sharlyn Lauby presents Abdicating Your Leadership Role posted at hr bartender, saying, "There's a big difference between delegating and abdicating."

Jane Perdue presents Go ahead - try something new! posted at Get Your Leadership BIG On!

Ben Brabyn presents Leadership as storytelling - how narratives bond teams posted at Ben Brabyn, saying, "How leaders can use storytelling to bond high performing teams."

Art Petty presents Art’s Weekly Leadership Message: Step Up to Cure Effective Dialogue Deficit Disorder posted at Management Excellence

Guy Harris presents Three Power Phrases to Disarm a Verbal Aggressor posted at Guy Harris: The Recovering Engineer, saying, "How do you respond to coworkers or colleagues when they are verbally aggressive? Here are three phrases that might help."

Heather Stagl presents Six Roles of a Leader During Change posted at Enclaria LLC.

Michael Cardus presents Planning; Nothing Magical Just Your Work posted at Create-Learning Team Building & Leadership Blog, saying, "Within all parts of your work YOUR knowledge and thinking must be part of the plan. No technology or rote process can give you the “correct” plan – BUT a solid process for planning can guide you to the best plan for your team and you. A plan is a judgment about the best way to go about achieving an intended goal."

John Hunter presents Rethinking or Moving Beyond Deming Often Just Means Applying More of What Dr. Deming Actually Said posted at Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog, saying, "This post takes a look at how Dr. Deming's ideas apply to management issues today."

Eric Pennington presents The Role of the Corporate Rebel posted at Epic Living - Leadership Development Career Management Training Executive Life Coaching Author, saying, "In this post, Eric Pennington, articulates the importance of the corporate rebel and how they should be imbraced. The post also points to the brilliant work of Lois Kelly."

Miki Saxon presents Entrepreneurs: Responses to “What Do You Say?” posted at MAPping Company Success, saying, "Longer term focus or more expedient approach? Although participants were all startup founders the discussion and conclusions are applicable to any manager who hires."

David Zinger presents The 10 Things Managers Must Do to Increase Employee Engagement posted at Employee Engagement Zingers, saying, "Very popular post on 10 actions based on evidence that managers can take to increase employee engagement"

Nick McCormick presents Managers, Brainsteer Your Way to Breakthrough Ideas posted at Joe and Wanda - on Management, saying, "Managers are always on the look out for new ideas. Shawn Cyne, Author of Brainsteering, tells us to forget the brainstorming. It’s much more effective to direct our creative energy by Brainsteering. Listen in to the Management Tips podcast find out more."

Adi Gaskell presents Keeping in touch with ex companies posted at Adi Gaskell says..., saying, "An article on the importance for both ex-employees and their previous employer of keeping in touch through corporate alumni networks."

Erin Pavlina presents How To Handle Public Criticism posted at Erin Pavlina - Spiritual Wisdom for Conscious People.

Utpal Vaishnav presents Know how to walk first, running comes later. posted at Utpal Vaishnav, saying, "If the piece of music isn’t right, it doesn’t matter what else you do, you cannot perform in the live show. Practice matters. More important is: right kind of practice."

Dana Theus presents Business Leaders – What Don?t Your Employees Tell You? posted at Reclaiming Leadership, saying, "If you're not hearing the truth from your employees, who are you hearing it from? To get them to speak the truth, be willing to hear it."

Lahesha Williams presents 8 Tips on Improving Your Chances for a Promotion posted at Career Help For Christians, saying, "It's never too early to think about promotion. In today's job market you need to be ambitious and driven if you don't want to get pushed out by others who spot gaps that could have been filled by you."

Lakshman Rajagopalan presents What can you do about a culture of Mistrust… posted at Learning Curves.

Lyn Boyer presents Healing the Wounds of Change posted at LynBoyer.net, saying, "this blog deals with what leaders can do to recognize and deal with fear of and resistance to change."

Henry Mukuti presents 5 Qualities of leaders and motivators part 1 posted at standout tall and be counted.

Sean Glaze presents What Emergency Brake Does Your Team Need To Let Go Of? posted at Lead Your Team, saying, "Team leadership Involves helping your team to identify the baggage that they need to let go of in order to become more productive together..."

Lisa Kohn presents There is no try, only do. There is no do, only be. posted at The Thoughtful Leaders Blog, saying, "How many of us have heard, "There is no try, only do"? Lisa Kohn of Chatsworth Consulting Group adds one more element to that famous phrase and talks about the importance of "BE" instead of "DO"."

Rebecca Kearley presents This assault on workers rights will kill innovation | Professional Manager posted at Professional Manager.

Anadi Upadhyaya presents Is there a magic pill to fix behavioral issues at work? posted at TalentedApps, saying, "Just having a right prescription is not enough until you put it into action."

Nick Thacker presents Productivity 101: Every Time You Sit Down, Make Something Happen posted at Nick Thacker, saying, "A simple concept for getting more done in the day-to-day life of a business professional."

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of Leadership Development Carnival using the carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on the blog carnival index page.