Thursday, April 30, 2020

7 Ways to Earn Respect as a New Leader

Guest post from Peter Economy:

Are you newly promoted? A recent leadership hire? Slowly advancing in your company or organization?

When youre the new leader on the block, earning respect from peers and employees who dont even know you can certainly be a struggle. A higher leadership status wont automatically give you the authority or trust with your people that you need to get things done. You’ll have to earn that authority and trust to become an effective and successful leader or boss.

New leaders are stepping up every day. If youre one of them, here are 7 ways that will bring you a level of respect that is meaningful and well-deserved.

1. Have an open door. Let your colleagues and employees know you are always available for them. The last thing you want is for the people you are leading to think you are unapproachable and unavailable, so let them know their wants, needs, and feedback are valued and a priority for you. If you are out of the office a lot, be sure to provide your people easy ways to contact you by phone, email, text messages, or other forms of communication.

2. Appreciate effort. It is surely demotivating for employees when their hard work doesn’t seem to be appreciated by the organizations that employ them, or the men and women who lead them. Let workers know that you have noticed their effort, and even make a point of rewarding it when appropriate.

3. Care about employee well-being. Respect is easily earned when you show how much you care about the well-being and success of your peers and employees, both collectively and individually. Listen to what your team is saying whenever they discuss work or personal matters.

4. Be personable. Not everyone has to be your best friend, but a respectable leader is often a personable one. A focus of yours as a new leader should be to strengthen your relationships with those around you. Be aware of your own behavior and the way you come across to others. Be helpful, welcoming, and pleasant. Keep your relationships positive and amicable and success will surely follow.

5. Provide a real sense of autonomy. If you’re a boss who micromanages, the people who work for you will invariably become frustrated because you’re sending a loud-and-clear message that you don’t trust their ability to do the work. Trust the people you’re leading to make the right moves and do their work well and empower them when possible.

6. Be consistent. Follow through with what you say you’re going to do. Be on time to meetings so your employees aren’t twiddling their thumbs, waiting for you do show. Stick to deadlines. Don’t tell others to do one thing and then you do another. People will respect you more if they know you don’t offer only empty promises!

7. Be patient. New leaders require a great amount of patience—both with their teams and with themselves. Learning effective management will not happen overnight; it takes time (and, sometimes, mistakes) for you to learn the ropes and for others to acclimate to a new leader. Don’t worry—stick with it and you’ll get there.

Peter Economy is the bestselling author of Managing for Dummies (more than 600,000 copies sold globally) and is The Leadership Guy at INC.COM who averages more than 500,000 page views a month for his more than 1,500 columns published to date. He routinely works with C-level executives, executive coaches, and business consultants worldwide. His new book is called Wait, I’m the Boss?!?

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Generation Why Not: A New Way to Lead and Get the Most Out of Our Inter-Generational Workforce

Guest post from Ruth Klein:

Much has been written about generational tension in the workplace. As is often the case, the tension stems from a fundamental misunderstanding.  And, like most misunderstandings, perception issues and a lack of communication are at the very heart of it. As leaders, we have to understand what’s true about those we lead. Believing a misconception will keep us from doing our best and that’s not acceptable.  

So, let’s take a look at just one misconception. Baby Boomers complain that Millennials are too high maintenance, they need a lot of attention, and they only want to do work that is part of their overall life mission and purpose. Perhaps all of that is true, but, as it turns out it’s not just true of Millennials, or Boomers or Gen X’ers. It’s true for every demographic. Who among us does this not describe?   

Actually, The Boomers, Gen X’ers and The Millennials have more in common than they think.

For example, The Baby Boomers today are changing careers, doing the things they’ve always wanted to do and starting second and third acts, and they have the health and the time to do them, unlike the generation of Traditionalists before them. Generation X’ers are also changing careers as often as necessary to find fulfillment and grow. Boomers see this as a lack of stability and commitment in Millennials. But, the fact is, Boomers are the ones that started this trend, way back in the Sixties. Maybe they’ve forgotten and that’s understandable. It’s been a while.   

There are other similarities and commonalities among all three—Baby Boomers, Gen X, and Millennials:

·         - They all are suspicious of authority.

·         - They are highly educated.

·         - They have high job expectations.

·         - The environment is very important to them…the Baby Boomers started the hippie movement with their green thumbprint and environmental advocacy.

·         - Baby Boomers started sharing a lot of enlightenment and spirituality in their youth…similar to what Millennials are doing now.

·         - Both want to have a big impact to make this a better community and world.

·         - They are extremely loyal to their children.

·        -  Personal gratification is important
It becomes apparent then that age and gender, the old demographic lenses we used to look through, are no longer clear or helpful measurements to be used by businesses and consumers, managers and staff, founders, innovators, and creatives. It is clear that something else is going on in business and personal development. If we “see” the workforce and ourselves through the lens of being a Millennials or a Boomer then that is likely what we’ll receive while they’re working with us.

It’s often said by Baby Boomers that Millennials need a lot of attention and the fact is, most people that want to do a good job (particularly perfectionists) do need a lot of attention. That’s not a demographic issue, that’s a human issue. High performers have lots of questions about everything and they want to know more. They want all the information on anything they undertake so as to give them the best chance to succeed.   

This New Demographic Shift helps businesses expand their creativity and fosters innovation and problem-solving on a large scale without consideration of age, gender, but rather, driven by a mindset and heart-centered model of seeing the person as they are…not as a Baby Boomer, Millennial, etc.

So, who is prospering in the middle of all of this inter-generational chaos and conflict? A new generation that I call Generation Why Not?® is figuring out that the roadblocks in their way are movable if only they will change their context and discard the conventional wisdom about what is possible and by whom it can be done. This new socio-statistical population entity believes that great things can be done by anyone, no matter their gender, age or socioeconomic background.

The Generation Why Not?® framework of people’s buying habits and interpersonal communications is based more on their internal traits or their Intentions, Thoughts, Beliefs, and Actions regarding what they want and what they’re doing. They are aware of making their words intentional as they know words matter---both to themselves and with others. Their old beliefs that no longer serve them have been tested, discarded and new, updated beliefs have been adopted; they commit and make decisions; they take inspired action; they take the momentum they create and sustain it; they have an awareness of their environments—from their emotional to their physical environment.

Generation Why Not?® embraces and engages with leaders and high performers by looking at how each older demographic model shares similarities. It is the similarities of these demographic generations that will create company harmony and, as a result, far less employee tension and management turnover, and higher productivity and profits. And, as an extension, the acknowledged similarities will create internal harmony within businesses, families, and communities. We have the opportunity to forge a new way to understand and communicate between these different age groups, focusing on similarities, as well as positive reinforcement and transparency, which are all key leadership core values and qualities.

As leaders, we need to help our inter-generational employees and teams figure out how to get past their biases and pre-conceived notions and begin to work together and understand each other. It’s doable, and it’s time.

 Ruth Klein, brand strategist and productivity coach for CEO’s, entrepreneurs and sales teams and the author of the upcoming book, Generation Why Not? 7 Principles to a Purposeful Business & Life, Driven by Attitude, Not Age.”  

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Getting Transparent: Make Every Deal a Fair Deal

Guest post by Marc Effron:

Many companies still refuse to be transparent with their employees about their potential to advance. Those companies often say they’re concerned that if some employees are told they have high potential to advance, it will disengage employees who learn they’re not in that category. That’s true only if being a high potential is seen as the only “fair deal” at your company. We believe that it’s beneficial to be transparent with every employee about their potential, and that these conversations will be far easier if every deal is seen as a fair deal.

By “fair deal,” we mean the investment that you make in an employee based on their performance and potential to advance. While being assessed as a high potential leader brings you one type of investment, everyone should get the deal that reflects their expected contribution to the company.

How Fair is the Deal?
Before we differentiate, let’s ensure that every employee has a great baseline experience that includes working for an organization they can be proud of, having a quality manager and the opportunity to develop. That baseline ensures that everyone is working in an environment that supports their performance and engagement.
Above that baseline, every employee should get a deal that’s based on their current and likely future contribution. It should include their compensation and, more importantly, their fair share of the other development resources the company offers. This may include critical experiences, exposure to key leaders, internal and external development courses, highly visible projects and high potential programs, among other investments.
The different deals should clearly differentiate your investment in leaders, with higher performing and higher potential leaders receiving disproportionately more investment.
How disproportionate depends on your Talent Philosophy.
We find a simple way to determine the deal is to use our Talent Investment Grid (TIG). The Talent Investment Grid is a performance and potential grid that details how you plan to invest in leaders in each box. It’s a simple tool but it requires that you have either an executive Talent Philosophy or a very clear understanding of how your senior leaders want to differentiate people investments.
With that Talent Philosophy guidance in hand, gather a small number of senior HR leaders for a 90 minute, highly focused exercise to fill in your TIG. The process is as simple as:
Step 1: List all of the major development and reward elements that an employee might receive in a differentiated way. That includes the items listed above and any other performance-related benefit. This excludes any reward based on tenure and any benefits available to everyone.
Step 2: Identify how you want to allocate each element. Classify each element as Yes, No, Consider (i.e. expatriate assignments may be Yes for Hi Po’s and Consider for those in the center box) or Preferred Access.
Step 3: Get input from the important stakeholders in your organization and revise the grid accordingly. Your goal is a practical tool that helps managers better align the company’s investment with an individual’s performance and potential. A finished grid should look something like Figure 1 on the next page.

Talent Investment Grid Example:

Using the TIG to Support Transparency
After you’ve developed the TIG, educate managers about the tool and how to use it. They should understand that the TIG provides guidelines, not rules, but that similarly placed people should have relatively similar investments. Your high potential leader should have a meaningfully different investment than your average performing, well-placed leader. Ask managers to use the grid as a guide when considering assignments, experiences, projects, bonuses, etc.
This next step is optional but, if you want to be transparent, strongly recommended. Communicate the TIG to your employees. Transparency about the fair deal means that they should understand their deal and the other possible deals as well. This will lead to a few uncomfortable conversations but many more productive ones. Employees will know their deal and will understand what to do in order to get a different deal (increase their performance, demonstrate more potential, or both).
We understand that it’s not easy to decide how transparent to be with your company’s employees. We believe there are a few good reasons to not communicate potential ratings (they’re not accurate, there’s no differentiated investment associated with them) but many more reasons to share them (reaffirm to your best talent that they’re your best, create a culture of transparency, help managers to make smarter and more consistent talent decisions).
Transparency isn’t easy but, if we shift our mindset away from high potential being the only fair deal, it makes if far easier to be honest with everyone about where they stand.

Marc Effron, top 100 Influencer in HR and founder and President of the Talent Strategy Group and Talent Quarterly magazine. Marc helps the world's largest and most successful companies improve the quality and depth of their talent. In his latest book8 STEPS TO HIGH PERFROMANCE: Focus on What You Can Change (Ignore the Rest), he separates the behaviors you can control from the traits you cannot so you can deliver your highest potential performance at maximum efficiency.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Why Leaders Need to Role Model and Live Your Company Values

Guest post from Debra Corey:

My 18 year-old daughter has entered the workforce, full of energy, full of passion and full of some very strong opinions. And her top opinion, her absolute top pet peeve is when a leader or manager says one thing and does another. In her words, she hates hypocrites! And yes, she may be young, and she may still be learning her way around the workplace, but she is actually right - our employees deserve leaders who walk the talk!

One area where this is absolutely critical is when it comes to company values, the subject of my new book, ‘Bringing Your Values Out to Play’. It’s so important that I devoted an entire chapter to it, talking about why it’s important that leaders role model their company values, showing their workforce what they mean and how they should be lived.

But why are values important? What purpose do they serve to your company? Here are three answers to this question:

1. Values define who you are.
Values define who you are as a business, what you stand for (and against), and what you are willing to fight for. This is important because it tells potential and existing employees and customers what you believe in and how you’ll behave, clearly defining this upfront in a meaningful way. And in this competitive world, the better we can do this through our values, the better chance we have of standing out from our competitors and attracting and retaining talent and customers.

2. Values guide decisions and actions.
Values act as guidelines, guiding principles, or guideposts to your employees, helping them make everyday operational and strategic decisions, even when leaders are not around. When used properly, employees use them to ask questions such as, “what do my values say about this?” and “how can my values help me choose a path and make a decision?” This is important at all times, but especially in bad or challenging ones, where values provide the focus and guidance we need to persevere.

3. Values fuel your workforce.
Values give your employees the energy and passion to not only make decisions, but to get things done. This passion, this energy, is so critical in the business world, and when being led by values, it ensures that it’s being done in the right way and in the right direction.

Company values can and should be one of the most strategic tools a company has, helping your employees and your company achieve its mission and purpose. Which is why it’s worrying that according to data from Reward Gateway only 32 percent of employees say they feel informed about their values, and according to data from Gallup only 23 percent of employees use them as they go about their work.

To change these numbers we need our leaders to start leading from the top, for when it comes to company values - it all starts and stops from the top, with our leaders!

Start by making sure that your leaders fully understand your company values, don’t assume that they do. Ensure they know what they mean, how they impact their decisions and actions, and how they should and need to be lived. Take the time to help them understand them, making them more than words on a wall, but something they use over and over again as a filter for their decisions and actions.

Next, hold your leaders and managers accountable for role modelling and living your values - never ever let them off the hook for something this important. Remember, they are setting the tone and direction for others to follow, signalling what should and shouldn’t be done. If they’re not doing this, they’re taking their team down the wrong path!

And last, but certainly not least, is to be brave and let go of any of your leaders and managers who after all you’ve done to support and develop them are not role modelling your values. It’s the right thing to do for your business, and the right thing to do for your workforce. It may be difficult, but your values will never do what you need them to do if your entire workforce is not bringing them out to play.

Remember, we don’t want hypocrites leading our business, we want and need leaders who truly walk the walk, using values to help and guide them at every step.

Debra Corey is a much-admired, charismatic and highly respected figure in the Human Resources world, recently being named one of the top 101 global employee engagement influencers. She’s had a varied and exciting career over the last 20+ years, working for global companies such as Gap Inc., Honeywell, Merlin Entertainments and Reward Gateway to name a few, where she’s developed and delivered HR strategies in a rebellious way, pushing the boundaries and challenging the status quo to truly drive employee engagement.

She’s a three-time author, with her latest book on company values titled ‘Bringing Your Values Out to Play’, and her previous books being ‘Build it: The Rebel Playbook for Employee Engagement’ and ‘Effective HR Communication: A framework for communicating programmes with IMPACT’.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Hire People with Common Sense and Good Critical Judgement

Guest post by Stan Silverman:

During a recent event to launch my book, Be Different! The Key to Business and Career Success, I spoke about the importance of hiring people with common sense and good critical judgment because at some point, you want them to violate policy when it is in the company’s best interest to do so.

I described an experience early in my career while serving as national sales manager for one of my company’s operating divisions. I was informed that production of a batch of product was found to have trace contaminants and needed to be recalled. Every day that passed, the cost of the recall would rise as the contaminated product flowed deeper into the distribution network. If the product was used in the production of a customer’s product, the cost of the recall would rise exponentially and damage the company’s reputation.

My boss, who had the authority to order the recall and the CEO of the company were traveling and were unreachable. This was before the days of smart phones, email and text messages. I didn’t have the authority to order the recall, and was told by my direct reports that I would either be celebrated or terminated for the recall decision. I ordered the recall.

When my boss and the CEO returned from their trip, I told them what I had done. They both celebrated my decision. That’s when I learned that you must hire people with common sense and good critical judgment, because someday they will need to make a decision in the best interests of the company that violates policy or is beyond their authority level.

A few days after I shared this experience, I received an email from one of the attendees, a senior leader at a bank, who wrote:

Your presentation last Thursday evening was very impactful. You said some powerful things that any company or leader would be smart to adopt. I think the one that was most surprising to hear was that companies should hire people who are willing to break the rules for the good of the company. It is so true, but no one ever states that openly for fear people will totally ignore the controls that have been put in place for all the right reasons. 

I remember the week when I was filling in for my boss who was out of the country and I made a decision to close all the bank branches in Eastern Pennsylvania on 9/11, about 15 minutes after the second attack. I had no authority to do it, was told by many I better not do it because I did not have the authority, but I knew I’d be wrong in my heart to not close … [risking a possible] run on the bank if I did not do it.  I also believed I would not have a job the next day for doing it.
The bank made a decision about an hour later to close everywhere in the footprint.  I still had my job … and we were the first to open the next day while most [banks] continued to be closed for another day.  It was real important that America knew the banks were open for business.

A company’s reputation can also be damaged when an employee makes a decision that is not consistent with common sense and good critical judgment. In April 2018, a barista at a Starbucks in the Rittenhouse Square section of Philadelphia exercised poor critical judgment and called the police on two African American men who had not yet ordered anything, but were just waiting for a friend to arrive. The two men were arrested.

Starbucks promotes its cafés as a comfortable and inviting place to meet friends, hang out, enjoy coffee, food, conversation and use its Wi-Fi network. This is the business model that has made Starbucks successful. It is not unusual for people to arrive and not make a purchase as they wait for their friends. This Starbucks barista violated a core value of the Starbucks business model.

To say that the arrest of these two individuals caused an uproar, accusations of bias and discrimination against black customers and loss of brand reputation is an understatement. There was a call to boycott Starbucks. The company apologized for the incident. A month later, Starbucks closed all of its 8,000 U.S.- based cafés for racial bias training.

What is the lesson? Hire people with common sense and good critical judgment, especially if they interface with your customers. Their decisions will help protect your reputation.

Stan Silverman is founder and CEO of Silverman Leadership and author of “Be Different! The Key to Business and Career Success.” He is also a speaker, advisor and widely read nationally syndicated columnist on leadership, entrepreneurship and corporate governance. For more information please visit