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The Lies We Tell Ourselves

November 30, 2009 Leave a comment

Lead Star | News and Insights | On Our Minds | The Lies We Tell Ourselves.

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Pressure is on for engineers to communicate face-to-face

October 30, 2009 Leave a comment

MIT created this undergraduate program focused on “people skills” in response to industry pressures to produce engineers who are as skilled at communicating face-to-face as they are at writing complicated computer codes on their own.

A great industry example of why the courses in myLearning are VERY applicable to your job!

Read the report here.

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Why Doctors and Companies Get Sued

September 3, 2009 Leave a comment

From our very own, Mr. Anderson: Why Doctors and Companies Get Sued

Excerpt: “For many of us, our workplace responsibilities have increased because of layoffs and re-orgs.  Those who are left behind have become the working wounded.  How do we help the wounded heal?  As a leader in the company you can make a huge difference by also practicing being a human being.”

Handling a promotion | IT Leadership | TechRepublic.com

August 6, 2009 Leave a comment

Recently promoted and ready to make some changes

I was recently promoted and now oversee the team that I’ve been a part of for 3 years. I’m glad to have the opportunity and want to make some changes of responsibility to increase our overall results. Additionally I know this isn’t going to sit well with a couple of individuals who will feel that they’ve lost some of their power (which is true). I want these changes to be as well received as possible and don’t want to create a bunch of negativity which might have the opposite effect. Suggestions?

– Cheryl in Sarasota, CA

This kind of problem is my favorite, because it’s all about human beings, and it can be resolved quickly, unlike a profit shortfall or major technical failure, both of which would usually require a lot of money, time, and committee meetings.

There are many books on the topic of leadership, but they go in and out of fashion with the frequency of teen girls’ clothing trends. I rarely come across one with real “nuts and bolts” tips to help someone move smoothly into a new job, but I think Kenneth Blanchard’s Leadership and the One Minute Manager holds up well even 10 years after it was written. It may provide you with some inspiration.

In most management situations, a lot of the hassles can be avoided if the boss would just take some time to treat team members with a little dignity and empathy. Unfortunately, most bosses are not that mentally honest. They avoid having the “tough discussions” hoping that people will get over it. But, that just makes things worse.

I suggest that you deal with this potential issue head-on: That means laying the groundwork and doing some pro-active damage control before making the general announcement. Schedule a time to talk one-on-one with those who are going to lose some of their scope. Let them understand that it’s non negotiable, but that you still value them and want their suggestions about how they could make the best contributions going forward. You might be surprised with their suggestions; some may even be really good.

Importantly, by talking to them beforehand, you show that you’ve got leadership skills and aren’t afraid to face challenging issues. Others will hear about what you did, and it will reinforce your new role. You’ll feel good about how you dealt with it, which will make you stronger. It’s a circle-of-success thing.

Congratulations on the promotion Cheryl. And now, as you’ve realized, it’s time to show why you deserve this new leadership role.

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If you have a leadership question or need some advice on a leadership topic, email John at enews6@techrepublic.com with “Leadership Coach” as your subject line.

John M. McKee is the founder and CEO of BusinessSuccessCoach.net, an international consulting and coaching practice with subscribers in 43 countries. One of the founding senior executives of DIRECTV, his hands-on experience includes leading billion dollar organizations and launching start-ups in both the U.S. and Canada. The author of two published books, he is frequently seen providing advice on TV, in magazines, and newspapers.

Thanks for catching that error, Joe! We couldn’t do this without you!

Acknowledgement_of_AwesomenessWondering how you can motivate and engage your team, despite a lack of time and a dwindling budget? Showing appreciation is the #1 way to improve morale and drive results — and it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg.

In the United States, The Gallup Organization has found disengaged employees cost the economy $300 billion a year whereas companies with higher employee engagement yield higher sales, higher productivity and higher retention than companies with low employee engagement (Baudville Day-to-Day Recognition White Paper).High Employee Engagement

Work days now are more jam-packed and go by faster than ever before; employees have more work, more pressure and less time.  So unfortunately, recognition often falls by the wayside.  Infrequent recognition won’t reinforce the behaviors you see occurring on a daily basis, and it’s hard to maintain momentum when your boss hasn’t told you that you’re on the right track, doing a great job, or provided you a needed boost.

Day-to-day recognition is defined as the genuine everyday expressions of appreciation given to reinforce and reward positive behaviors.

TheDimensionsOfRecognition

Today, recognition is more than just a pat on the back. It’s a means of giving feedback to employees about the job they’re doing.   In a recent Watson Wyatt survey, 66% of respondents said appreciation was a “very significant” motivator in the workplace.  All it takes is a small hand written note or a token of appreciation.

Recognition_Is_Motivation

Here’s some “on the cheap” ways to tell your employees you’ve noticed how awesome they are:

  • A hand-written note of “thanks”
  • Post that thank you note on the employee’s door
  • Create a Hall of Fame wall with photos of all your employees
  • Make a photo collage about a successful project that shows the people that worked on it, its stage of development and its completion and presentation
  • Plan a surprise picnic
  • Sponsor a “Super Hero” party (everyone wears a superhero costume) at the end of an assignment, for a job well done
  • Answer your assistant’s telephone for a day
  • Hold informal retreats to foster communication and set goals
  • Encourage and recognize staff who pursue continuing education
  • Swap a task with an employee for a day – his/her choice
  • Establish a “Behind the Scenes” award specifically for those whose actions are not usually in the limelight
  • Design a “Stress Support Kit” that included aspirin, a comedy cassette, wind up toys and a stress ball – or design your own
  • Present “State of the Department” reports periodically to your employees acknowledging the work and contributions of individuals and teams
  • If your team is under pressure, bring a bag of marbles to work and take a break to have a contest – a sure stress reliever
  • Serve ice cream sundaes to all of your employees at the end of a project
  • Have staff vote for top manager, supervisor, employee and rookie of the year
  • Give a shiny new penny for every helpful thought that is shared with the team
  • Send a letter to all team members at the conclusion of a project, thanking them for their participation
  • Give employees tokens of thanks from various recognition vendors, such as Baudville, Gifts for Professionals, Motivators, and Despair, Inc.

And many, many more!!  Give me a buzz if you want help creating a recognition program for your team, or if you just need some good ideas for getting your folks re-energized!

~Kristin

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Do You Think We Are a Rock Band?

Companies use all kinds of metaphors to describe their business. “Like a ship”, “like a family”, “a military unit”, etc.  I think the coolest workplace metaphor is “Like a Rock Band” and here’s why:

  • We allow ourselves to be different.
  • We do work that we and our clients think is really cool.
  • We inspire people with what we do and who we are.
  • We have a great time and give our audience a great time.

Do you think our workplace is like a rock band? Do you get to feel like a rock star on the job? Does what you do create admiring fans?  Comment below.

~KristinKristinMeezHeadshot66x66

John Wooden on True Success