Thursday, June 27, 2013

I Get No Respect -- A Look at "Dangerfield" Leadership

Guest post from Bill McBean:

You can always tell when a subject is important by the volumes of books and articles published about it, and by the many speakers or "experts" who claim to know about it. Leadership is one of "those" important topics about which there is no shortage of information. But despite all that has been written or said concerning leadership, there are still some important areas that are all but ignored. They make up what I like to call the Rodney Dangerfield ("I get no respect") subcategories of the leadership topic.

Below are four of these Dangerfield topics that are important for leaders to understand and incorporate into their leadership styles.
  1. Leadership always comes before management.
After four decades as a business owner (and observing thousands of businesses) it's surprising how many owners and their key employees don't understand the importance of this basic leadership principle. The fact is, in order to be successful, leaders must create a vision for where they want their businesses to be tomorrow based on where those businesses are today.
In other words, leadership plots the success destination as well as the steps needed to get there. Without this kind of leadership, effective management won't exist; because managers don't have the knowledge of what is important, what the expectations are, or what the leader's definition of success is, to name just a few examples. Leaders have to create an environment for success and if they don't even the most skilled managers will underperform.
The leadership to management one–two punch is one of those realities that has to be understood (and not just in business, as it relates to sports, politics, medical procedures, and so on). If this one–two combination isn't understood, a business will underperform at best, and will more than likely fail.
  1. There are more of them than there are of you.
In most cases (but not all), leaders have a group of people over whom they preside and for whom they are responsible. The key word in this concept is "people." We all know employees come in all shapes and sizes, as well as with different temperaments, aptitudes, attitudes, and competencies. This means that if you want to make your organization operate smoothly and work as a team, democracy cannot be the order of the day.
Successful leadership is dictatorial in nature. This is because leaders have to state the way they want things done, what to expect, and how everyone should treat each other, the customers, etc. The 'rub' here is that once these expectations are stated, they then have to be enforced -- continually. Compromising on this type of enforced discipline shows weakness in leadership and results in the "tail wagging the dog" situation. This in turn means a loss of control, which leads to less-than-expected results and a poor job performance on the leader's part.
As Steven Covey says, leaders have to "educate, motivate, and entertain" in order to move a department and its employees from "here to there." However, in my opinion, Covey should have added being dictatorial and uncompromising because in order for a group of people to operate as a "well oiled" team everyone has to do what is expected of them -- and do it well -- consistently or the team concept breaks down and underperforms on expectations.
  1. Great leaders create other leaders.
Very few of us can achieve success on our own; we need others to help us in order to do so. The importance of this reality is often overlooked, but it's a fact of a leader's life. The more effectively you can teach others in your group to become leaders themselves, the faster the group will perform at the expected level and move past the expectations for its success.

The good news here is that leaders are not born, they are created. I learned this from my experience in business and from sports. Talk to or read about great leaders and you'll find great mentors in their past, or a situation that forced them into a leadership role, which eventually led to the realization that they couldn't have gotten to where they are without other leaders' help and support.

The disconnect for some leaders is that they fail to realize the power of creating additional leaders to help them get to where they want to be. This fact may seem obvious, but in reality most leaders don't take the time to think about creating other leaders, who they are, and the benefits they will derive.
  1. What if you're wrong?
Leaders make mistakes -- it's just life as a leader. This is because success is often achieved and created through some sort of failure. There are lots of books, articles, and speakers talking about the importance of learning from mistakes. To this there is no argument. However, far too many leaders make decisions and move forward into implementing them without thinking about the consequences that might occur if they're wrong. The reality is, a decision is never made in isolation, and there are consequences to any decision -- both good and bad.

Great leaders learn to take advantage of opportunities they create or develop in the marketplace, but they also take the time to understand the consequences of those decisions. Understanding the possible negative effects of a decision is not only the right and the smart thing to do, but is an offensive move as opposed to sounding timid or defensive after the fact. The reality is, understanding the possible negative consequences of a decision actually helps minimize the potential damage and can quickly stabilize the situation. That's because the leader is aware of what the signs of failure are and can act quickly and decisively to minimize the problem. He or she can also find ways to turn apparent failure into some type of success.
© 2013 Bill McBean, author of The Facts of Business Life: What Every Successful Business Owner Knows that You Don't

Author Bio:
Bill McBean
, author of The Facts of Business Life: What Every Successful Business Owner Knows that You Don't, spent many of his nearly forty years as a successful business owner in the automobile industry where, among many other achievements, he purchased several underperforming dealerships and turned them into a successful business enterprise with yearly sales of more than $160 million. Since selling the company to the world's largest automotive retailer, AutoNation, McBean has been involved in several new businesses, including McBean Partners, an investment and business mentoring company, and Net Claims Now, which provides administrative services and support to the restoration industry.

Monday, June 24, 2013

How to Overcome the 3 Organizational Barriers to Leadership Development

“The truth is that no one factor makes a company admirable; but if you were forced to pick the one that makes the most difference, you’d pick leadership.”
- Fortune’s Thomas Stewart

You would think that given the rock-solid evidence that organizations with great leadership consistently outperform those that don’t that EVERY organization would be heavily invested in the development of its current and future leaders.
However, most are not. And even if they say they are, when you look behind the curtain, it’s mostly lip service.

It’s also hard to keep a competitive advantage a secret these days, so again, it’s astounding to me that so many companies can’t figure out how to develop leaders by stealing the best practices from those that do or stumbling on proven, tried and true, research-backed leadership development models, tools, and practices.
How can this be? In today’s hyper-competitive business climate, why would companies ignore such a no-brainer opportunity to kick the competition’s #%$@?

I think may boil down to three reasons: 
1. They are uninformed or just don’t believe it.

Given that I’ve been doing this for most of my career and have made developing great leaders a personal mission, I have to constantly remind myself that not every CEO or executive spends as much of their time immersed in leadership development as I do. Go figure. They have hundreds of business priorities, and everyone thinks their pet cause is the most important thing they should be focusing on. Also, just because they don’t “get it”, sure as hell doesn’t mean they are idiots. Most of them are a lot smarter than you and I.

The challenge is to get them to understand, believe in it, and own it. When it comes to leadership development, the commitment of the CEO and top dogs is the #1 most important success factor.
Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as just sending a research report to the executive team or presenting the data to them in a 52 page slide deck. Executives are generally skeptical and have big egos, so they need to come to their own conclusions. There also needs to be some immediate or upcoming potential crisis to grab their attention.  Examples of crisis’s could be a lack of candidates to fill current or future critical positions, poor company performance, upcoming retirements, too many external hires that didn’t work out, or dissatisfaction from the Board or auditors.

I wish I had a silver bullet, I really do. I’ve tried everything with different executives I’ve worked for and consulted with, and some success and some frustration. I’ll tell you, cnce a CEO gets it, they are ALL OVER it, and everything else is relatively easy.

2. They don’t know how to do it.
So let’s say you’ve won over a CEO and the executive team. They charge you with coming back to them with the “how”. In other words, you’re tasked with coming up with a way to assess and develop current and future leaders.
For some reason, organizations seem to think they have to start with a clean sheet of paper and create everything from scratch, as is they were the first and only company that had to figure out how to develop their leaders.

When it comes to how to develop leaders, everybody has an opinion. Yes, stakeholder input is good, but do we form committees and ask for everyone's opinions when we design bridges, in order to get "buy-in"? In most cases, no, we turn to civil engineers. Otherwise we end up with a bridge that looks like this:

There is no need to reinvent the wheel, it’s a waste of time and shareholder money! Again, I think it’s the “not invented here” syndrome, as well as executive egos and weak HR leadership that perpetuates this problem.

Do your homework and get some help. Talk to the head of HR or training in companies that do it well, go to a conference, do some web-surfing, work with a trusted consultant, and/or buy a $7.99 book. Pretty soon you’ll start to see common patterns, models, systems, and practices. Then, draw from this body of work to create a plan that makes sense for your organization. The “how” is relatively straightforward – doing it well is the hard part.
Again, executive influence comes into play here. Just because you’ve done your homework and come up with a great proposal, you still have to convince key stakeholders that your plan is solid. Sometimes it helps to start small, try a pilot, and take it one step at a time. Measure your progress and adapt as you go.

Or, sometimes you need to hire a consultant to tell your executives what you've already learned. (-:

3. They just don’t want to.

In any organization, there’s always going to be about 10% early adopters, 80% that will eventually get on board if you can convince them and show them how, and 10% that are just going to dig their heels in and refuse to try anything new or different. For those, a “carrot and stick” approach is needed. Reward the 80% that need a nudge, and punish the 10% that just won’t budge. Of course, if it’s the CEO, then it’s time to move on and either take on a higher priority or update your resume.

I hope this “Why, How and Won’t” framework helps in figuring out how to get your organization started with the development of your leaders. Good luck!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Your Company Language- is it Driving the Results you Want?

Guest post by Great Leadership monthly contributor Beth Armknecht Miller:
I recently had the opportunity to hear David Marquet, author of Turn the Ship Around speak about the frameworks to creating leadership throughout an organization. And one of the questions he posed to the audience was "How do employees talk to each other?

This got me thinking about the dozens of companies I have worked and currently work with and how they communicated with each other.  Those that have a specific "cultural language" generally have a much stronger set of values and culture, and ultimately experienced greater success.

Talking to each other is actually a small portion of communications within an organization today. So much of communications is electronic. So, what percent of the time are you spending actually talking to others?

Increasing the amount of communications face to face is important to the understanding of the message being delivered and received. Yet the delivery method is just a part of communications.  It is more about the language being used that influences the culture and ultimate success of your company.

Words, acronyms, and stories are key components to your company language. But most companies are not purposeful with the use of their language. The following questions can help you uncover how purposeful your organization uses language, the protocols you have or don't have, and potential areas to improve.

1. How do you teach new employees about company acronyms, stories and lore? Company stories are important to your culture and will provide a means to sharing and demonstrating your values. New employees are often unaware of your stories and the values they are based on. Acronyms can be confusing and cause a roadblock for new employees' productivity.

2. Who is the keeper of company language? To be purposeful using language, there needs to be someone responsible for making sure language is managed. There will be terms used that need to be understood consistently across an organization. It may be a common word like "excellence". Does everyone understand what it means within the context of a specific situation? What is excellence in service or accounting for example?  The definitions will be different.

3. Who are key influencers of your company language? There are influencers in your organization who often impact the language of others. Understanding who these people are is important. They can help to manage and keep your language on the path you want. Language is less likely to become derailed when the language keepers and language influencers are working in tandem.

4. How does your language influence performance and decision making? There are both positive and negative words. The ratio of positive and negative words can influence the psyche and morale of employees.  By identifying words that need to be eliminated from the company's dictionary because they aren't productive and increasing the use of words that produce positive energy and forward velocity you will be strengthening your culture.

Once you understand the gaps in your company's language you can start building a plan for improvement by involving both the language keeper and influencers in the organization.
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 or or follow her on twitter at SrExecAdvisor.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

12 Ways to Become a more Courageous Leader

"Courage is being scared to death—but saddling up anyway."
— John Wayne

Does courage matter? According to most of the research on leadership effectiveness I’ve seen, courage ranks pretty high as an important leadership characteristic. These are tough times, and tough times require courageous leaders.

We all know this, right? We sure know it when we don’t see it. Who wants to work for a leader that:

 - Won’t take tough stands with others

- Doesn’t step up to the issues

- Is intimidated by others in power

- Avoids conflict

- Won’t look out for the best interests of the team

- Can’t make a tough decision

In other words, a wimp.

As a leader, I would hate to be called out as a wimp. Ouch. However, if it happens to you, there is hope. Like any valid leadership characteristic, there is no “courage gene”. Someone does not emerge from the womb courageous – it’s something that can be learned and developed.

How? Here are 12 tips for leaders that will help grow some leadership courage:

1. Get clear on what’s important.
Identify your core values, principles, or “
leadership rules”. Let these be your guiding light. Establish a vision of who you want to be as a leader, and then begin to live up to that vision. It’s easier to make tough decisions when you have a clear set of guiding principles.

2. Learn how to deal with conflict.
Read books or take courses in conflict management, negotiations, influence, assertiveness, giving feedback, and/or crucial conversations Then practice until it hurts.
3. Develop your leadership “presence”.
I’ve written posts on
how to do this. Presence is more than an inner confidence – it’s a commanding physical presence as well. Like it or not, as a leader, image matters. People will size you up in less than 30 seconds, so yes, that initial greeting and handshake (avoid the "dead fish") really do matter.

4. Ask yourself: “what’s the worst thing that could happen”?
The next time you feel the urge to challenge someone in power or take an unpopular stand, ask yourself this question: “What’s the worst thing that could happen”? Do you really think you’re going to get fired? Yelled at? Disgraced for life? Yes, there’s a slight chance that any of those things could happen, but in reality, it’s not very likely. We make up all kind of horror stories in our heads that prevent us from saying or doing what’s right. Next time,
take the advice from Tom Peters, and just say “what the hell”.

5. Trial by fire.
Volunteer for a high stakes, tough assignment that will require you to make tough calls and deal with conflict. There’s no better way to learn than by earning your scars through experience. Step up and be the person who has to cut the budget, close an office, handle the next layoff, or deliver the bad news.

6. Learn from role models.
Identify people in your company whose courage you admire. Talk to them and learn how they act on their convictions. Read a biography of a courageous leader (C, Lincoln, Ghandi).

7. Be a fixer, not a victim.
When you see a problem that you think “someone” should address, ask yourself if you could be doing something about it. It’s easy to complain or point fingers – it takes courage to be a part of the solution.

8. Avoid wimpy words and language.
Here’s an example of a meeting behavior that drives me nuts. Someone meekly half raises their hand and says “can I ask a question”? When you do that, you might as well hang a wimp sign around your neck. You were invited to the meeting for a reason – to contribute.

9. Remember that leadership is not a popularity contest.
Leaders don’t manage by polls or surveys and strive to make everyone happy. In fact, if you haven’t ticked anyone off in the last year, you might be giving in too much instead of sticking to your convictions (see #1).

10. Hold yourself and others accountable.
High performers want and expect to be held accountable by their leaders. High performing teams will even hold each other accountable. When you establish and commit to a standard or expectation, courageous
leaders hold themselves and others accountable to those expectations.
11. Look in the mirror/ask for feedback.
Ask for a 360 assessment. Go ahead, you can handle the truth.

12. Improve your ability to make a decision.

Try these 6 tips from Pete Hammett of the Center for Creative Leadership, or these 6 from Mike Myatt.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Key Leadership Skill?

Guest post by James Lawther :

On the 25th January 1990, Avianca flight 52 from Bogotá to New York crash-landed on the village of Cove Neck, Long Island, New York.

 Seconds before the crash all four of the plane’s engines stopped working.

·       There was nothing wrong with the plane

·       There was nothing wrong with the pilots

·       There was nothing wrong with airport

 The plane simply ran out of fuel.

73 people died.

How did they run out of fuel?
It was a miserable night, foggy and with terrible winds.  Planes were struggling to land all along the east coast.  The flight had been in three separate holding patterns circling New York for well over an hour when it was finally cleared for landing.

As the plane approached the airport the wind suddenly changed direction and it had to abort the landing and climb rapidly.  Air traffic control circled the plane back around, waiting for other planes to land before it could make a second approach.

6 minutes later the plane ran out of fuel and plunged into a hillside.

Why didn’t they land?
Plenty of other planes landed in the hour and twenty minutes between the Colombian plane arriving above New York and crashing into Long Island, and the plane was in constant contact with air traffic control so...

·       Why did they wait in the sky for over an hour?

·       Why weren’t they given priority landing?

·       Why didn’t they go to land at Philadelphia or Boston?

·       Why didn’t they spin back round immediately they had a failed landing?

How could such a disaster have happened? Didn’t the pilots know that the plane was running out of fuel?

Words from the past
The black box flight recorder caught every word on the plane.  The pilots knew full well they were going to run out of fuel, they were on the verge of panic.
The only surviving member of crew, one of the flight attendants, testified in the inquest after the crash afterwards that when she entered the cockpit to see how serious the situation was the co-pilot pointed at the fuel gauge and cut his throat with his finger.

The tragedy was simply a miscommunication.
The crew had been telling Air Traffic Control that they were running out of fuel.  But that is not new news for Air Traffic Control.  Every plane that lands after an intercontinental flight is running out of fuel.  It is more than unwise to try to land a plane that is weighed down with tanks full of flammable liquid.

The Colombians had simply been unable to explain exactly how dire their predicament was.

How could trained professionals miscommunicate so badly?
In the 1970’s the Dutch psychologist Geert Hofstede developed a way of looking at cultural differences.  He produced a set of dimensions to explain how cultures vary from one another.

One of his dimensions is the “power distance index”.  It measures how differential members of a society are to those in positions of power.

The US has a relatively low “power distance index” it is a culture of straight talkers.

The opposite, however, is true of Colombia.  Colombians are invariably polite and non confrontational to those they see as being in a position of power.  They keep their thoughts to themselves.

Whilst the message to Air Traffic Control from an American plane about to run out of fuel would have been short, sharp and very to the point a Colombian would put it very differently.

After the aborted landing the conversation between air traffic control and the plane was:

ATC:  I’m gonna bring you about 15 miles north east and turn you back onto the approach.  Is that OK with you and your fuel?

Plane:  I guess so.  Thank you very much.

They had 6 minutes of fuel left, yet they still said, “Thank you very much.”

The leadership lesson
Leadership may well be about vision and inspiration and charisma and motivation but at its heart leadership is about communication, and at least half of communication is about listening.

Particularly to the people who are keeping quiet.

About the author:
James Lawther knows little about leadership, but he is fascinated about the way organisations work, so he writes about employee engagement and process improvement instead at

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Importance of Clear Performance Expectations

Last week I wrote about a 2003 study conducting by the Learning and Development Roundtable that found that managers who are very effective at employee development can outperform their peers by up to 25%.
It may have surprising to many that the “manager-led development” activity that had the great return on investment (19.8%) was “Explaining performance evaluation standards”.
I’m reminded me of an old story that illustrates the importance of communicating clear performance expectations. However, I can’t remember where I heard it from. If anyone knows, please leave a comment.
Here’s an abbreviated version:

A CEO was getting very frustrated with one of his senior managers. He was so fed up, he was about to fire him. But before he did, he felt he should give him one last chance and hired an executive coach to work with the manager at a cost of $20,000.

So after explaining the situation to the coach, the coach asked him to write down a list of expectations that he had for this manager. Basically, the same exercise you just did. He thanked him, and said he would do his best, and left an invoice for 50% of the total bill.

The first thing the coach did when he met with the manager was to give him the list. The manager was amazed – he had never seen anything like that before. He was able to figure out what he was doing wrong and what he needed to do to please his boss and be successful. He thanked the coach and went on his way.

Three months later, the coach met with the CEO to review progress. The CEO was ecstatic with the manager’s performance – a complete turnaround. He asked the coach – “how did you do it?” The coach told the CEO he simply gave the manager the list of expectations and gave him an invoice for the rest of the bill.

The CEO, with a look of shock and anger, said: “You SOB – I’m not paying you - you cheated!”

OK, so maybe the story is a bit of an exaggeration. But maybe not.

I’m sure most managers already know about the importance of performance goals, standards, and expectations.

So why don’t more managers do it? Is it that, like a lot of management and HR practices, we make it sound more complicated than it needs to be? If you’ve ever sat through a lesson on how to write “SMART” goals, you might come to that conclusion too.

It really doesn't have to be. Here’s all you have to do:

1. Set aside 30 minutes of uninterrupted time. Turn off your phone, your email, and shut your door.

2. Take out a blank pad of paper and a pen, or open up a Word document.

3. Think about what you would look for in an ideal employee if you were hiring someone tomorrow. Jot those things down.

4. Think back to all of the performance improvement discussions you’ve had with employees over the last few years. Jot the opposite of those things down, but add the word “don’t” in front of each.

5. Think about all of the things that are important to you that you have not discussed with employees, but you have implied. Add to your list.

6. Think of your best employees – what has made them so good? What does their best work look like and how do they do it? You got it, more for your list.

7. Take a look at the generic performance criteria that’s provided by HR on the company performance appraisal form. For each item, describe in your own words what “good” looks like for your employees.

At the end of 30 minutes or sooner, you should have no problem filling up at least one sheet of paper.

Whatever you do, don’t go back and sanitize it. This is not an official HR job description that has to pass EEO and department of labor standards. It’s simply a list of stuff that anyone who has worked for you for 5 years has probably figured out. Maybe….. but have all of your employees? Perhaps to them it's been like figuring out the secrets of the Da Vinci Code.

I wonder what would happen if you shared that list of expectations at a team meeting or with employees individually? What harm could it do? You could also use the list as a way to onboard new employees - so that they have their very own new manager secret decoder ring.

Even better – what if you asked your employees for a list of what they expected from you in order for them to meet your expectations and be successful?
Now that might be an eye-opening discussion!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Company Culture Matters

Guest post from Jim Leighton:

I’ll never forget my first big job interview after college. I flew down to Houston for an onsite interview with a large Texas oil refinery.  I was still wet behind the years with a business and labor relations degree in hand and with soaring intentions to conquer any obstacle before me.  The refinery was in search of one lucky individual to navigate the troubled waters between management, the union, and the hourly associates.  This was a job that meant walking a tightrope of already tense relationships.
The air of superiority I sensed behind the secure walls of the refinery’s nice office wasn’t helping. The union and the hourly associates would surely frame me as their newfound enemy. To put it mildly, there wouldn’t be a welcome committee to greet me on my first day.

A job offer came on the heels of that visit which I ultimately declined, going with my gut reaction. I sensed the disintegrated teamwork at the oil company and knew my efforts would be futile in that perfect storm of animosity.
 It is discouraging to note how many people suffer from an unFIT dynamic at work that pollutes company culture with negativity, resentment, and backbiting. This was the first of many leadership lessons to come, proving that company culture is among the most important environments for a leader to evaluate and create.
A Fully Integrated Team leader engages others and elevates them to achieve success through their unique gifts and talents. This is only possible with the backing of an organization that cares for its people. It was a financial risk to reject my first big job offer and yet I found something much more fulfilling through the process. I found my Fully Integrated Team.
With increased emotional intelligence through 35 years of leadership experience, I’ve created a FIT foundation from which I operate and make decisions. It’s led me to memorable partnerships where my needs, skills, and passions are aligned to serve people in a nutrient-rich environment. I use one filter and primary principle to approach any leadership decision I face:

Always be willing to do the harder right thing before the easier wrong thing.

It’s simple, but powerful. In all my decision-making, this has never steered me wrong. I’ve left the money on the table before with companies that no longer shared my dynamic vision to serve others. I have yet to regret a decision I made using this approach.
I moved on, not without obstacles, but with the right people to create new opportunities for my future. The CEO at the current company I am privileged to help lead describes himself as a “head cheerleader” of the organization. Company culture matters to everyone and is felt from the CEO to the employee on the frontlines.
 Are you ready to Get FIT and create a culture of success in your work setting? Do you desire to lead a culture of positivity and growth? Join an organization that measures its value in people before dollars signs and leverage your positive leadership influence by Getting FIT. In all my years as a leader and teammate, helping others succeed at their passions and gifts is the greatest privilege of all.

Jim Leighton is an author, leader, and speaker with over 35 years of experience in the consumer packaged goods food and beverage industry. He is an enthusiastic supporter of organizations and the people who drive them. Jim’s practical team-building strategies are presented in his book Getting FIT: Unleash the Power of Fully Integrated Teams and are featured on his blog and website.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

New Prescription Drug Increases Employee Productivity by as Much as 25%!!

Sorry, but there is no new prescription drug. That was just a sensational, misleading headline to get your attention. However, there really is a clinically proven, safe, and effective way (with no harmful side effects) to increase employee productivity by as much as 25%.
It’s called “manager-led development”. And it’s not new at all.

In a 2003 study conducting by the Learning and Development Roundtable (now the CEB Learning and Development Council), it was found that managers who are very effective at employee development can outperform their peers by up to 25%.

Still not impressed?

Well then, maybe a fancy chart and numbers will get your attention:

Here are some additional compelling findings:

1. When managers effectively develop their employees, the improvements in employee attitudes and behaviors alone are substantial. The most effective managers can improve their employee’s attitudes and behaviors (e.g., their intent to stay with their organization) by as much as 40%!

2. Three out of every four managers recognize the value of employee development and spend up to an hour and a half each day in a wide range of activates meant to develop their employees.

3. However….of the activities that managers could perform to develop their employees, only a handful have a substantial impact on employee performance. The most powerful of these activities can boost employee performance by nearly 20%.

So – which manager-led employee development activities will give you the biggest bang for your buck? The following chart tells the story:

Here’s the good news: managers can successfully develop their employees without investing significantly more time in additional responsibilities. The development activities that matter most (e.g., explaining performance standards, assigning work) are things that really should be a part of every managers job.

Here’s another interesting fact: the developmental activities that managers probably think have the greatest impact (giving advice, teaching new skills) – and where they may spend the most time – are the ones that have the least impact on performance. “Telling” sure isn’t coaching, and it isn’t very effective either.

Again, sorry for the bait and switch, but hopefully the information provided here is almost as good as a magic employee performance improvement pill.

Monday, June 3, 2013

The June 3rd, 2013 Leadership Development Carnival

Welcome to the June 3rd, 2013 edition of the Leadership Development Carnival!

You've heard of "speed dating"? Well, here's your monthly dose of "speed leadership development". 30 leadership bloggers in 90 minutes. Try 'em all, it's the best investment of your time you'll make today!

Dana Theus from InPower Women presents Iron Man vs. Athena for CEO - Leadership Battle of the Sexes. “Looking at new research on what global citizens have to say about the qualities we want in our leaders, it's at 180 degrees in orientation from what our summer blockbuster movies tell us about what makes a good leader.”

Anna Farmery from The Engaging Brand presents What is strategy? “Strategy and tactics are so often confused, this post and graphic simplifies it...hopefully!”
Julie Winkle Giulioni from presents Want to Kill Young Workers' Motivation and Drive? Utter These 4 Words. “Four small words are all it takes to extinguish motivation, choke off possibilities, discourage, demoralize and drive young workers away. At all costs, avoid "You're too young to..."”

Meg Bear from Meg Bear’s Leadership Blog presents You don’t want balance, you want control. “Instead of looking for balance [that doesn’t exist], build a plan to get control of your life.”
Mary Jo Asmus from Mary Jo Asmus presents When are you ready for an executive coach? “There is an optimal time for you to hire an executive coach, and this post outlines how to tell when the time is right for you.”

S. Chris Edmonds from Driving Results Through Culture presents Great Bosses Ensure Accountability. “This post/podcast is the fourth in a five-part series outlining the best practices of GREAT bosses. This entry describes how great bosses hold themselves and all staff accountable for both performance and for values.”

Lolly Daskal from presents The Duality of Leadership.
Sharlyn Lauby from HR Bartender presents High Performing Organizations Manage Change Well.

Randy Conley from Leading With Trust presents Build Trust Today or Lose Talent Tomorrow – 3 Tips to Keep Your Top People. “Retaining key talent is of critical importance to organizational leaders. Regardless of the talent management and retention strategies you employ, this post shares three tips that will help you build a foundation of trust with your top performers.”
John Hunter from Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog presents Executive Leadership. “When the senior executives are not leading improvement of the management system they inevitably undermine the efforts of others because they don't understand the impact of their actions.”

Jesse Lyn Stoner from Jesse Lyn Stoner presents Go For the Gold! 8 Tips to Create the Future You Desire. “Over the years, studying vision and helping leaders in a variety of settings I learned that the real power comes when you focus on what you desire. Proactively focus on what you want, not reactively on your problems. While you might remove a specific problem, you are likely to discover another problem awaits, and you will move from one crisis to another. Instead of focusing on problems, picture the results you desire.”

Bruce Lewin from Four Groups' Blog presents 3 Barriers to Adaptability and Change.
“There are 3 core barriers to adaptability and change. 1. Prioritising Short Term Profits 2. Short Term Thinking 3. An Addiction to Core Revenue Streams. By applying these 3 barriers to Nokia, Blackberry, Blockbuster, Kodak and others, it's possible to see how each organisation struggled to meet oncoming changes and competitive threats to their businesses.”
Bernd Geropp from More Leadership presents Three dirty little secrets about being an entrepreneur and running a start-up business. “In this post I’ll share 3 misconceptions entrepreneurs and business leaders should be aware when starting a company but also when starting a bigger project. When I started my businesses I would have wanted to know these - but I didn’t!”

Robyn McLeod from The Thoughtful LeadersÔ Blog presents Happy merger, happy marriage, “where she shares how the keys to a great marriage can offer insight to leading successful organizational change.”
Karin Hurt from presents Orchestra Without a Conductor

How are your managerial manners? Jennifer V. Miller of The People Equation shares five ways to serve up respect to your team in Daily Ways to be a Mannerly Manager.

Mark Miller from Great Leaders Serve presents Take Back Your Life. “We all seem to be busier than ever before, but what happens when busy becomes hurry? This post suggests why hurry is dangerous, why it happens and what we can do to stop all the hurry.”
Jon Mertz from Thin Difference presents Millennial Leaders: Welcome to the Arena.
“Millennial leaders or Gen Y leaders have received a lot of attention, good and bad. The important lesson is to lead from within the arena and lead well.”

Miki Saxon from MAPping Company Success presents Entrepreneurs: Laughing at Yourself. “A rarely talked about component of success, whether at work or life in general, is the ability to laugh at oneself, seems to be dwindling.”

Joan Kofodimos from Anyone Can Lead presents What's Good About Having A Bad Boss? “Lots of people have suffered through a bad-boss experience. I suggest that this experience can serve as a crucible for your own growth and learning as a leader, and outline some specific strategies for getting the most out of the experience.”
Chris Young from Human Capital Strategy Blog presents Building an Effective Teams Using the Five Dysfunctions of a Team.

Neal Burgis, Ph.D. from Practical Solutions presents Characteristics of Maverick Leaders. “Mavericks are individualists and by their very nature "different". Mavericks are so different, so edgy and so independent that they are original in their ideas, their creative and innovative thoughts go beyond what most organizations want to pursue. These individuals are the successful stand outs that make them start their own business and reach their potential as leaders.”
Wally Bock from Three Star Leadership presents A Force for Good. “The work you do as a boss isn't just about business results. It's also about your effect on people's lives.”

Mary Ila Ward from The Point: Sound Advice for Career and Leadership Development presents Are your employees on the border of 'boredom and anxiety'? “This post outlines 5 questions that leaders need to ask themselves if they want to create ideal workplaces by establishing flow for employees.”

Bill Matthies from Business Wisdom presents Standing Still Is Not An Option. “The message is, change will happen but what that change will be can be partially up to you. Take action, plan for it.”

David M. Dye from Lead Change Group presents Why Your Employee Survey is a Waste of Time.

David Burkus from LDRLB presents In Praise of Middle Managers.