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Carl Robinson, Ph.D. on Leadership February 20, 2012
 
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:

The No Complaining Rule

Teams that Work!


Book Report: Seven Steps to a Rewarding Transitional Career; Getting Work in a Tough Economy

It’s hard to imagine anyone who shouldn’t be reading this book this book right now. Effectively addressing the most crucial issues for those new to the transitional workforce, currently employed but looking to advance (or hold on), and those who have recently found themselves as casualties of the “layoff economy” Seven Steps to a Rewarding Transitional Career (HRD Press, 2009) provides far more than sage advice for professional service workers or those who are between jobs. The workbook format also demands action from the reader - rather than simply absorption of the information.
 
Author Dick Pinsker goes to great lengths to address personal branding, networking for career success, and how to position your previous accomplishments in ways that point to future successes. Pick up this book, and a pen – your career is waiting...

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The No Complaining Rule

The trend toward an organizational “no complaining” rule is gaining popularity, so in this issue we will look at how and why companies are enlisting this rule as the bedrock of cultural change in their organization. 

Why do people complain?  Usually for one of two reasons:   (1) because it has become a habit and (2) because they feel fearful and helpless.  Both of these reasons are important to organizations that recognize the value of a shift away from a common culture of complaint. 

While it’s true that shared experience is what brings people together, holding them together through emphasis on the negative experiences they share creates a cultural purgatory that will eventually lead to a negative affect on your bottom line.

Granted, in the economic roller coaster of the last 18 months, many people—even employees of yours—have complaints that are grounded in very real situations.  People are being asked to do more with less, stretch their budgets, work longer and often they don’t know what the future holds.  While all of this is true, it is also true that a pervasive culture of negativity bleeds the organization of its ability to bounce back and recover when it really needs to.  So how can you start to shift the tide?  Here is a step-by-step guide based on  The No Complaining Rule, by Jon Gordon:

1.       Get your group together and explain the cost of negativity and 
          complaining; in other words, raise awareness of your complaint culture. 
2.       Discuss the difference between mindless and mindful complaining; 
          mindless complaining focuses on problems, whereas justified complaining
          focuses on solutions. 
3.       Make sure that everyone understands how your organization will
          consider and address complaints and turn problems into solutions. 
4.       Listen to complaints and solutions and give all of them their air time.  Not
          all solutions will be used, but let your team know that they will be heard 
          and considered. 
5.       Celebrate successes of people who turned their complaints into solutions 
          and innovations that benefited the organization.  Don’t wait for the annual
          meeting!  Do this continually through email, web site postings,  
          conference calls and meetings.

Make creating a positive culture a priority amongst managers and leaders in your organization.  You will find that the energy previously being spent on complaining will now be freed up for creating solutions and (ultimately), increasing productivity!

Teams that Work!

The term “teamwork” is so overused that it has all but lost its meaning.
Here’s how to sift through all of the clichés and aphorisms to focus in on what will actually make our teams successful.
 
The Exceptional Team Member  
In order to be considered team-oriented, members must meet the following personal criteria. Does your team match up?
 
-Open, willing to stretch and ask the tough questions
-Supportive, putting the good of the team ahead of any personal agenda
-Active in the team, and in moving towards stated team goals
-Positive, offering a can-do attitude
 
Relationships Count!
It is said that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. For successful teams, having highly competent individual team members is simply not enough. Strong positive relationships are essential to the success of the team.
 
What does “positive” mean here? It means win-win relationships where team members feel that they are being heard and listened to. All team members must be willing to make adjustments that will build the relationship.The two-lane exchange of feedback is essential.Given and received constructively, feedback allows a team to modify its path before getting the process too far off track. That means checking your ego at the door and listening effectively.
 
Core Skills
Most teams are put in place to solve problems or achieve goals of one sort or another, and problem solving in a team environment requires some additional competencies and personal abilities. We know that problem solving is made up of critical thinking skills, data gathering, analyzing, and using your judgment to weigh alternatives and risks – however when we transition to a team environment we’ve got even more considerations. Here are a few more key skills for effective problem solving in a team environment:
 
-Maintain focus
-Relentless positivity
-Willingness to change processes that aren’t working
 
We Need Leaders!
Regardless of the quality of the individual members, the relationships among members, and the ability of the members to work as a team to solve problems, the group must have an effective leader who allows team members to do their job and encourages the positive behavior necessary for the team to accomplish its goals. Here are the qualities the leaders must embrace:
 
·Ability to focus on the goal. The team leader holds the vision and ensures that the team is focused correctly on the goal at hand.
 
·Supports the collaborative environment. The team leader makes sure that team members know the expectation that they will function as a collaborative unit. When they are ready to work toward the goal at hand, the leader supports the process for the good of the group as a whole and the organization.
 
·Instills confidence. The effective team leader is successful at instilling confidence among team members. Remembering to accentuate the positive, the effective team leader gets the most out of each team member.
 
·Is also an effective team member. The team leader should demonstrate the characteristics of a successful team member and should be knowledgeable of the content of the job.
 
·Leads. Simply stated, the effective team leader is able to set the priorities for the team and keep the team on task.
 
·Manages performance. Effective leaders must challenge members who are not contributing their fair share and be empowered to handle the behavior for the good of the team and the goal.


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