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Carl Robinson, Ph.D. on Leadership Store Oct 17, 2011
 
We help maximize the effectiveness of individuals and organizations by helping them improve their ability to lead, work together, select and develop their people.  Some of our related business services include: executive coaching, executive team coaching and executive assessments for development and selection.


Carl Robinson, Ph.D., Managing Principal
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Seattle, Washington
206-545-1990
carl@leadershipconsulting.com

In This Issue:

Fad-Free Leadership Starts Here

Your Side: When to Raise It and When to Let Go

Situation Room: Materials Mishandling


Words of Wisdom

"Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion." ~ Jack Kerouac

Book Report
Who:The Who Matters

This breakout book, co-written by Geoff Smart and Randy Street (Ballantine Books), offers the reader an insightful method for hiring. We all know that each hiring decision gone wrong can mean thousands of dollars for the organization. In a time when extra weight is put on each decision and every budget dollar is savored, this book is very timely.
 
The authors introduce an approach they call the A Method for Hiring. It enables the corporation to clarify the mission and role and create a scorecard that lays out the specific outcomes expected by the new hire. Surprisingly, they advocate finding great candidates by networking outside of the industry. When it comes to choosing the correct candidate, they encourage the use of a chronological, structured interview to truly get to know the candidate, and then the use of the scorecard to ensure a good fit.
>Buy on Amazon.com

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Fad-Free Leadership Starts Here

If you are a leader, there is just one thing that you can count on.
 
–Everyone has an opinion on how you can do your job better than you currently are. Thousands of books are published every year aimed at telling you what you should know, why you should know it, and how very important it is that you change.–Like esteemed General Colin Powell said "Don't chase the latest management fads. The situation dictates which approach best accomplishes the team's mission."
 
That's not to say that high quality books aren't hitting the shelves all the time. Much of the information churned out by true experts is solid.
 
Here are some non-fad managerial skills you can work on right now:
 
Focus on Productivity
You walk through the office checking on your employees. Some seem extremely busy, some seem overly relaxed. Some seem to be bogged down and stuck under a dark cloud, and some seem perfectly content. Outwardly you are drawing conclusions on who is being productive and who isn't, and most times you're judging the happiest, most contented employees to be the most productive.
 
But don't be fooled by appearances. Satisfied employees don't necessarily equate to productive employees. Oftentimes managers are asked to "boost morale" in an effort to increase productivity – but that is putting the cart before the horse. Focus should be on increasing productivity which has a much better track record of showing itself to be a precursor of increasing morale. Take steps to ensure that your own efforts are focused on employee production, not employee satisfaction – done properly this will leave you with increases across both spectrums.
 
Build Rock Solid Trust
Your employees' trust doesn't simply "Come with the job". If you are to gain the buy-in that is the yard stick of your managerial abilities and successes, you need to hold the trust that they have for you with care. Abused just once, this trust can be impossible to get back. Research on gaining employee trust shows that the highest focus should be on:
  • Tell the Truth – Nothing crumbles the foundations of trust like lying. Be true to your word.
  • Equitable Treatment – Don't play favorites. Keep everyone in the same loop
  • Don't Keep Secrets – Many times trust is lost based on what employees aren't told
  • Show Emotion – Remind employees that you are human too, express feeling when appropriate
  • Be Predictable – Whether they like it or not they'll trust you when they know what to expect
  • Be Trustworthy – Always keep your employee's confidential information private.
Show Your Charm
Think of the managers and leaders who have made an impact on your life. The most successful managers are confident, visionary, and have something to offer beyond the day's work. Managers are change leaders and are most effective when they show a charismatic side of themselves that spurs people toward action. Research shows that with just a few simple and trainable adjustments anyone can significantly boost their "Charisma Quotient" quickly, simply, and powerfully.
  • Announce Their Importance – Disengaged employees need to hear that you need them.
  • Increase Your Animation – Practice a more engaging vocal tone and better body language.
  • Tap Their Emotions – Showing passion for your work is a great way to help them generate passion in theirs.
  • Brainstorm Often - Foster interest by discussing unconventional solutions to achieving goals.
  • Stay Positive – Boost your own optimism and watch confidence and productivity grow.
Remember, fads don’t last. Solid management and leadership practices do.

Your Side: When to Raise It and When to Let Go

Situations are complex, especially at work. There are countless circumstances to deal with every week. Which ones should you take on? Which ones should be let go?
 
Start by asking yourself; “Is the real conflict inside of you?” Sometimes what’s difficult about a situation is much more related to what is going on inside of you, versus what is going on between you and someone else. In this case, focusing on the conversation isn’t going to pay off. You may as well resolve the conflict within yourself.
 
Once you decide to address a situation, ask yourself, “Is there a better way to address this than actually talking about it?” Take time to sort out your contribution to the situation. Once you make more sense of your role, you may be able to come up with some solutions that include you changing your role and contribution.
 
Now that you have considered your role in the situation, ask yourself if your purpose makes sense. Sometimes we try having conversations when our purposes are simply off-base. When that happens, the outcome is not likely to be positive, regardless of how carefully you choose your words.
 
Here’s how to address any situation:
 
Focus on the long-term. Step into the space between your perception of the situation and what your ideal reaction is. You may feel relieved for a while after “finally letting them know what you think,” but that satisfaction may be short-lived. Instead, approach difficult situations from a stance of curiosity. Ask why they feel the way they do, and what you can do to provide more information about your stance.
 
Avoid the ‘hit and run’. If you are going to talk, talk. Really talk. Don’t throw out an off-hand comment at a frustrated moment. Just like location is everything in the restaurant world, timing is everything in the communication world.
 
Investigate and acknowledge the basis for your own feelings; consider whether alternative solutions may be better than a face off, consider your own purpose and whether it is on task or if it is loaded with conflict that is unrelated to the situation at hand. Finally, focus on long-term solutions (not just the satisfaction of telling your side), and choose an appropriate time and situation, versus the off-hand attack that leaves all sides defensive.

Situation Room: Materials Mishandling

As the department manager Sean wears several hats and has a difficult job. He manages vendor relationships and works with senior management, however a good amount of his day to day work is in coordinating the overall workflow of the office. He’s often called in to help with projects or to answer compliance questions – sensitive documents leaving the office need his signature.
 
Recently you have noticed unusual bottlenecking in this department, and you spoke with Sean about it to see if there was anything specific causing the problems. He mentioned that a few newer employees weren’t up to speed but that he was “working on it”. Several weeks passed and the situation worsened.
 
In passing you ask one of the newer employees how the training was going and to your surprise they tell you that they have yet to begin, and that Sean hasn’t scheduled anything to date. She then apologizes for an incident that happened the previous week where she had gotten a folder back from Sean and handed it to a client only to find later that day that it contained the confidential information of another client.
 
They were trying to get the folder back but the unintended recipient had yet to return it six days later. This is a potentially serious infraction, and required your direct attention and some documentation immediately. It was the first you had heard of it.
 
When you inquire as to why you were not informed immediately of the error Sean tells you that he didn’t want the employee to get reprimanded for what amounted to his mistake. In regards to getting the files back he also tells you in a way that reminds you of your previous conversation regarding training that he is “working on it”. Sean has never had an issue regarding his work before.
 
 
Send me your solution and I'll let you complete an online leadership personality assessment and receive a confidential developmental report - free, as a thank you.


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