Leadership development helps you grow.

Leadership Development is a Priority for Great Leaders

The most stressful time for a leader is when things go wrong. And it is inevitable that something will go wrong. 

That’s why the great leader knows that he needs to become more to add more value. And he knows that all his other leaders need to become more as well. 

Sometimes those, the decision to develop the leader in us and the leaders around us comes too late. 

Here are the first five signs that you urgently need to invest in leadership development.

Your HR Office is a Revolving Door

Life rhythm

How do you know that you have a retention problem? The generally accepted benchmark is a turnover rate of 10%. Even if you give a variable of about 5% based on industry, it’s safe to say that if you have a turnover rate of 25% you have a problem

If you have a turnover rate above that, you have a revolving door. It is costing you tons of money in direct costs and productivity.

To say that high turnover is just a consequence of your industry or part of the cost of doing business is not only wrong, it’s bad business.

Why People Leave

You have probably heard the cliche that people don’t quit jobs, they quit bosses. You know why something becomes cliche? Because it has a strong factual basis. 

It is probably more accurate to say that effective leadership has a very high influence on employee retention. It’s not the only factor by far. So really making the statement that people quit bosses is a gross generalization. 

However, it’s not a generalization to say that leadership not only directly influences retention but also indirectly influences it. If you clicked the link above you discovered that other factors impacting employee retention include

  • alignment
  • learning and development
  • feedback and recognition
  • enablement
  • teamwork

Every single one of those factors, including the ones I didn’t list, are leadership influenced.

So if we draw the lines, when there is high turnover it is almost always due to one of those factors. All of them are primarily influenced by leadership. So if you have a revolving door in HR, you have a leadership problem.

Customer Satisfaction is Suffering

Let me throw a couple of numbers at you.

First, consider 70%. That’s the percentage of customers lost due to a perception of poor service. Not price, not location. Quality of service.

Who provides that service to your customers? Most likely it’s your employees. Their attitude and behavior directly impact the customer. It’s kind of like the old country saying, “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!

Employee engagement directly drives customer satisfaction. In fact, a Gallup Survey showed that companies with high employee engagement experienced 10% higher customer satisfaction.

Customer satisfaction directly drives financial performance. For example, research reveals that 80% of U.S. consumers will actually pay more for a superior customer experience.

So we see a link between employee engagement and customer satisfaction and financial performance. What impacts employee engagement? 

The leaders.

Employees Just Don’t Seem to Get It

girl bangs her head against the blackboard. Just doesnt get it.

As a leader you have a vision of how you want to see your organization move forward. How things work. Maybe even things working without you having to be there every minute. Without your fingers in every pie. 

You hired what you thought were good people, yet they just aren’t getting the work done. And when they are, it usually is not the way you would have liked it to be done. What’s wrong with them? Do they not get it? Are they lazy? Or do they just not care?

The latter seems to be the opinion of many managers who have experienced this. They may blame it on culture or generation. “It’s these Millenials! So self-focused!

Yet based on census results and research from the Pew Research Centerit’s just not so. There are myriad of reasons why employees may not be getting the job done. Almost all of them start with the leader.

Departments or Team Members Aren’t Communicating

Have you heard anyone in your organization complain that the right hand doesn’t seem to know what the left hand is doing?

Breakdown’s in communication happen most frequently in the midst of conflict.

Fear triggers guarding of information. Unmet expectations never expressed. Poor listening skills. Confusion. Insecurity either for the future of the organization or for their own job. 

It’s up to the leader to spur the change. Communication begins from the top.

And before you say, “but I’m a great communicator!” you need to know that we all have something more to learn about it. This is my calling and I still have a lot to learn.

A General Air of Discontent

You can feel it. It’s a very palpable climate in the office. A heaviness. People are silent. Something is very wrong. 

Productivity is down. But sarcasm, cynicism, and complaining are up. Perhaps even open hostility.

These are strong signs of low morale. It requires quick, decisive action from a knowledgeable and experienced leader. The wrong choices here may simply accelerate the downward spiral into total office dysfunction.

Without knowing how to identify the issues and address them, it may continue until it is no longer fixable. Everyone loses. The organization, the employee, and YOU the leader.


As I said at the beginning, if you see any of these signs you are overdue to act. But that doesn’t mean that all is lost. 

Next week we will look at five more signs that you need to invest in leadership development. We’ll also talk about some next steps.

Can’t wait? Are you ready to take action NOW to move your organization to the next level? Schedule a free Discovery Strategy Session with me today! You will come away knowing the actions you need to take to go forward.
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Trust is the Key Element

Young man in formal clothing and eyeglasses swearing in being trustworthy while looking at camera.

Have you ever been in a situation with other people where something just seems to be missing? There is an uneasiness in conversations. This really stands out among teams. Discussions about work and assignments just seem to have this “air” about them. Something just doesn’t feel quite right.

Then it hits you. There is a lack of trust. Either you don’t trust them or you get the eerie feeling that they don’t trust you. It may even be both. As a result, things are not flowing. Work is not nearly as productive as it could be. You may even be missing deadlines. Communication suffers. The team just does not mesh together. And until that is resolved, it will only get worse.

Trust is Character

Some years back UCLA did a survey of 1300 executives around the country and they asked for five traits that were keys to advancement for employees. All 1300 of them included INTEGRITY somewhere in the list.

Here’s the real kicker.
71% of executives rated INTEGRITY AS NUMBER ONE TRAIT!
Integrity comes from trust. You can’t have integrity with others unless they trust you. So, obviously, being trustworthy is a critical character trait if you want to move up the corporate ladder, keep your employees, or build your customer base.

 

  • Bob Burgwill tell you that “all things being equal people will do business with people they know, like, and TRUST”.
  • The first law of the Boy Scout Law   , which defines how a Boy Scout is supposed to live their life, is A Scout is Trustworthy.  Here’s the explanation: “A Scout always tells the truth. He is honest and keeps his promises.  People can depend on him.”

The Key to Any Relationship

Trust is critical to any relationship or team

Our trustworthiness is also quite obviously a key to our relationships with others.  

  • If your spouse or significant other can’t trust you, the relationship is destroyed.  
  • Once your friends learn not to trust you and count on you, then they will simply no longer expect anything from you and eventually will simply stop being around you or having your around.
  • When your co-workers can’t trust you, then you will not be able to function as a team.  
  • If your employees can’t trust you, they will become disengaged and productivity suffers; not to mention the bottom line.

We know this, yet somehow the focus on trust seems to be lost somewhere in the desire to “close the deal” or secure what we want.

When we focus on trust, however, we find that acquiring those things and closing that deal becomes easier because of who we are and what we stand for.
When we are trustworthy, we are the goto person that everyone counts on to make it happen.  That has value in so many ways, including financially.

The Kiss of Trust

Trust brings opportunity. Many years ago I was part of a training development company that had just made the INC 500 list.

Our development team was small – I was the third member. Despite being the junior member of the team, I was given a prime opportunity to be trustworthy.
The company focused primarily on software training. For a particular course, we would typically produce a disk and a manual to accompany it.

Opportunity to Build Trust

A new software, something called

Windows

, was coming out. The president, a man of great vision, saw that it would become big. We needed to produce a premier training product for this. At the same time, he wanted a total redesign of the product. He came to me. “I’m putting you in charge of this,” he said. “I’ve seen your work and I think you are the man to give us something totally new. Raise the bar! No limits!”

“Oh, you have one week to give me a prototype!”
One week! To give something totally new and evolutionary. I didn’t know how I could possibly deliver something like that. Yet I knew that I was being counted on to deliver. Mess this up and we are behind.
I delivered. On time. I turned it in to him for review and thought nothing more of it. Just doing my job.
The next day this company president sternly walked into our office space. “Paul, come here a minute,” he ordered as he placed a chair in the middle of the room. I was confused. Had I failed? Was he going to publicly embarrass me for my failure?
He ordered me to stand on the chair. Now I was really bewildered. Was I going to change a lightbulb? “What in the world is going on,” I thought!
“I’m doing this because my back can’t take my getting on the ground,” he explained. 

Then he leaned over and KISSED MY SHOE! 

“I absolutely LOVE the new product! I knew you would come through and you did! I felt I needed to make sure you knew it!”
He had placed his trust in me for this new product. As a result, I was determined not to let him down and I put in the long hours to get in done. I did my best to go above and beyond to exceed his expectations. I did not want his trust to go unfounded.
And because he made himself vulnerable I learned I could trust him. Because he showed me respect I knew I could count on him. I trusted him. And from that moment on until the end of my time at that company I was prepared to do whatever he asked me to do. We are still friends today and I still greatly admire and respect him.
Being trustworthy is the deal-maker…or the deal breaker.

Trust is a Two-Way Street

It’s not enough that we are trustworthy as leaders, it is also critical that we can trust those whom we serve. In fact, the first move is always ours. If you don’t trust them, they will never trust you. You can have a proven track record yet if you make it clear that you don’t have trust in your team they will never fully trust you. They will always think you are holding something back. You may even have their grudging respect but will never have their trust until you first learn to trust them. 

Here are some ways you can build trust on a daily basis:

  1. turning up the dial on trustLEARN TO TRUST – start small by delegating out small tasks you would normally do to individual team members. Give them a deadline. Offer support. And let them have at it. I believe you will be surprised at the results.
  2. PRODUCE RESULTS – when you have a proven track record of accomplishing things people will trust you to do the things you say you are going to do.  Meet the deadline or accomplish the task no matter how challenging it is.
  3. GIVE YOUR WORD ONLY WHEN YOU MEAN IT – Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
  4. KEEP YOUR WORD AT ALL COSTS –  This is critical.  When people know that no matter what you are going to do what you say you are going to do, then your trustworthiness grows and builds over time.
  5. BE CONSISTENT – Consistency is a key to both trustworthiness and integrity.  People need to know what they can count on.
  6. RESPECT YOURSELF AND OTHERS – When you show respect for other people and respect yourself, then people will believe and trust that you are who you say you are and you will do what you say you are going to do.
Is that team dynamic not quite there? Don’t let it get away from you! Let’s fix it together! Schedule your free Discovery Strategy Session    and let’s see how I can help you and your team MOVE TO THE NEXT LEVEL!
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Why Employee Happiness May Not Really Be Your Goal

Happy and Unhappy faces. Does emplyee happiness equal engagement?

Are you focusing on the wrong thing with employee engagement? It seems that in many cases we are. Do a Google search    on employee engagement and see how many other words pop up with it. When I do one of the words that comes up most frequently is happiness. The suggestion is that employee happiness and employee engagement are one and the same.

In fact, overall too much time is spent on employee engagement thinking about employee happiness. On the surface there seems to be good reasons for it.

For example, studies have shown again and again that happy employees are more productive. According to a Warwick Study   , happy employees are typically 12 percent more productive than unhappy employees. Many other studies make similar claims that happiness is securely bound to productivity. 

happy employees at work. A Wharton Study    suggests that employee satisfaction results in two to three percent higher returns for shareholders. Another study suggests five times better stock performance over organizations with lower employee satisfaction. This was primarily based on a study of the 100 Best Places to Work compared to organizations that didn’t make the list.

Still    more research    indicates that organizations experience 30 percent higher customer referrals when employees are happy.   

And of course, there is the matter of employee retention. Tons of articles all touting significant increases in retention when job satisfaction is high.

Here is Where It All Goes Wrong

The issue I have with all of these studies (and many others) is that they try to create correlations that aren’t there. Mostly they try to use other words or concepts to mean the same as engagement.

The Warwick study is the exception. There is absolutely no doubt that happy employees are more productive than unhappy employees. Beyond just that one study, the evidence is overwhelming and indisputable. Higher productivity is affected by employee happiness. What you can do about it is another matter, but we’ll get to that in a minute or two.

Employee satisfaction is not the same as happiness. A person can be satisfied with their work conditions and job responsibilities and yet not be happy. Tying happiness to employee satisfaction greatly limits the scope of happiness.

Many other studies, such as the one reporting 30 percent higher customer referrals, mix engagement and happiness. As evidence of that, what the researchers did was administer an employee engagement survey to their subjects. I have written before about what a waste of timemost employee engagement surveys are. Aside from that, when the researchers wrote their conclusions they didn’t talk about engagement. They talked about happiness. Again, making the assumption that engagement and happiness are the same. They’re not. Not even close.

The result of all this is a muddying of the waters. Instead of focusing on things that really make a difference with our team or organization, we focus on making people happy. We fail dismally as a leader when we try to make everyone happy. It just can’t be done. So stop trying.

Six Secrets About Happiness

Happiness is not engagement

It actually is possible for an employee to be engaged at work and not really be happy. There is no research I could find that legitimately ties happiness to engagement. 

Let’s understand exactly what employee engagement is to understand why happiness is not the same thing. Engagement is when an employee at work is functioning with the best interests of the organization in mind. Their attitudes and actions reflect the values and goals of their team or organization. 

Woman working happily in garden. Happiness is affected outside the workplace as well as in.Just the specific scope of being happy at work concerns much more than just whether or not a person is engaged. Do they affect each other? Without a doubt. Happy employees are more likely to be engaged. Being engaged makes it easier to be happy. Yet happiness expands beyond the scope of just engagement. Or the workplace for that matter.

Happiness is Not Job Satisfaction

Again, a person can have job satisfaction and not be happy. Job Satisfaction has to do with whether you like what you do. It is affected by the particular tasks and responsibilities you have. Whether or not you are being challenged and utilizing your best skills. Co-workers, environment, managers all factor in there. You can be satisfied with your job and not necessarily be happy.

You Can’t Control Happiness

Even if all of the above was not true it wouldn’t matter. Employee engagement and happiness and job satisfaction are all one and the same. Employee engagement surveys are excellent indicators of employee happiness. So what?

What you can’t get away from is that no matter how much you know about the level of happiness in our employees you simply cannot control it. YOU CANNOT MAKE SOMEONE ELSE HAPPY, despite what all the love poems and sonnets tell you. And that’s not just in the workplace, that’s everywhere. You can no more make someone happy than you can change the past or predict the future. 

And the fact that happiness is beyond the workplace is another reason we can’t control it. Whether or not someone is happy is not just determined by work but also by their lives outside of work. Relationships, involvement, circumstances. All things that affect happiness that carries over into the workplace.

Ultimately, we cannot control the happiness of others. And here’s why.

It’s a Personal Decision

Happiness is not determined by outside factors. Happiness is a choice each individual makes.

I have known people who seemed to have everything and yet never quite seemed to be happy. By contrast, I know others who have very little and are always happy it seems. What makes them happy or not is that simply they choose to be happy. It’s cliche but that doesn’t make it any less true.

The Apostle Paul said it best when he said,

“I have learned to be content in whatever circumstance I find myself….I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.”

What Paul is saying is that he made a conscious choice to be happy no matter what was happening to him or around him. 

Your happiness is entirely up to you. And so is theirs.

It is Not Measureable

Even IF we could control happiness, exactly how would we determine the level of happiness each person feels. Other than asking them I know of no other measurement. Apparently, no one else does either as evidenced by all the research we cited before where happiness is measured by engagement or job satisfaction or productivity. If that is all wrong (and it is) then we have no real measurement of happiness and nor do we want to.

Culture Rules

While we can’t control happiness we can create an environment more conducive to happiness. It’s not so much making them happy as it is removing reasons to be unhappy. It has to do with the culture we create in the workplace.

When you place a high priority on caring and showing employees you care. When a high value is placed on people and that is reflected in the way they are treated. When core values are clear to everyone and reinforced in your own behavior and in the behavior you expect from others.

If you put people in circumstances where their best skills are being used and challenging them to grow. When we value their input and their output. Make it so each person feels like a valuable part of the team, the organization, and it’s goals. 

Control what you can control. Create circumstances where employees are able to have higher job satisfaction and become more engaged. Give them reasons to choose to be happy.

Are you ready to be the boss everyone wants to work for? Do you want to re-engage your employees? Reduce conflict? Contact me TODAY for a free Discovery Strategy Session    and let me show you how to get started right away!
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05Managers or Leaders

comparing management and leadership shows the differencesIf you listen to how many people talk about leadership, one thing becomes clear. They don’t really know what leadership is. You may hear them talk about someone being promoted or hired into a position of leadership.

That also tells us that many people put management and leadership in the same bundle.  When people say that the leader should be finding new opportunities for the team and focus more on improving process, they are really saying that these are behaviors they would like to see in their managers that obviously they aren’t seeing. But it’s not leadership.

Remember the simple formula:

managers are about process, leaders are about people.

So seeking new opportunities and improving process, making life easier for employees; those are the job of the manager.  Equipping, empowering, encouraging, motivating, and growing are the roles of the leader.

That said, to be a truly effective manager you must also be an effective leader.  In fact, perhaps what employees are really telling us is that they would like to see their managers both be more proactive in their management roles but also would like to see them be better leaders than they are.

Leaders are Grown

I mentioned earlier that leaders have a responsibility to grow their followers. It’s an enormous responsibility. But for a leader to grow others, they must first grow themselves.  You cannot give what you don’t have to give.  I think leaders are recognizing this more and more.  A Pew Research survey asked people what they think they need the most in order to be better equipped for the jobs.   What were the top answers?

Interpersonal skills. Communication skills. In other words,

Leadership SKILLS

The challenge is that we can’t just throw a band aid on it. Offering one training course won’t do it. Sending someone to  a conference isn’t enough. Giving them a book to read will not make them any more of an effective leader than sitting in a boat makes you a good sailor.

Leaders Sail the Waters Daily

leadership is about growing dailyWhile sitting in the boat you are surrounded by the tools you need to sail, but you must first gain knowledge about sailing.  You must spend time developing and applying the skills to sail. Knowing how to gauge the wind. Navigating the water. Determining course. Bringing all elements in line with moving in the desired direction on the water.  You must know how to trim the sails and handle the helm. How to coordinate the crew and change direction as the sea and wind changes to keep the ship on course.  You must be mentored by a more experienced sailor.  You also must learn from your mistakes on the water.  And you must do all of this day in and day out to become the sailor you need to be. The sailor you are meant to be.

If you are not engaged DAILY in developing your leadership skills, the growth necessary to become an excellent leader will simply not occur. At best it will be haphazard and slow.  

For optimal leadership growth, it needs to be

  • Daily –  you must do something every day to develop your skills
  • Intentional – you must have a plan for the skills you need to develop and how you will develop them
  • Scheduled – you must set aside time on your calendar for it; otherwise any excuse will help you avoid it
  • Guided – Someone needs to help you see and navigate the process; like a coach or mentor
  • Progressive – build on a skill one by one; don’t attempt to master anything in a day

Spend as much (if not more) time on developing yourself and your people as you do your business.  When you do, you will be surprised to find how many of the other process-oriented problems will take care of themselves.

Not sure how to start on your intentional leadership journey? Call me Today for a FREE discovery Strategy session at 321-355-2442 or email me.

Here’s some ways to get started

  1. Identify three skills you need to develop further.  Remember to work from a position of strength and not weakness; in other words, identify your three strongest skills and seek to make them better. I can help you with this.
  2. Pick the one you want to start on.  Locate resources to help you develop that skill and secure them.
  3. Set aside time on your calendar DAILY to work on it.  It should be the same time every day.  Guard it ruthlessly; let nothing short of a client need or spurting blood interrupt it.
  4. Keep me posted on how you’re doing.  I want to hear your success stories and your challenges.
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The Critical Mass of Loyalty

Loyalty is a valued trait. The loyalty of leaders makes this happen.We all desire to be surrounded by loyalty. Knowing that the people with whom we share time and share lives have our backs. We value the quality in family, employees, and customers. Yet we spend so little time considering the catalyst that encourages this – the loyalty of leaders. Without it, encouraging loyalty in others is not sustainable. Admiral Grace Hopper once said,

Loyalty is a two-way street – loyalty out leads to loyalty in.

Loyalty Interwoven

Some form of loyalty factors into every level of our lives:

  • business or career success
  • leadership
  • personal relationships
  • spiritual growth

Often loyalty is the missing factor that helps lead us to success in many endeavors.  Without loyalty

  • We cannot gather and lead effective teams and success eludes us.
  • Leading or being lead becomes problematic. Loyalty is what creates the dependent bonds that allow us to follow or care enough to lead.
  • All personal relationships fail because they drop to the level of simple transactional relationships instead of the caring and devoted connections that become permanent.
  • We cannot devote ourselves to enlightenment and growth because we will never to open to having our heart touched or our soul fulfilled.

So critical is loyalty as a factor that the author of Think and Grow Rich and many other self-improvement tomes Napoleon Hill once said,

“Lack of loyalty is one of the major causes of failure in every walk of life.”

The Loyalty of Leaders is the Critical Key

The best way to garner loyalty is to give loyalty freely.  By freely I mean that you build relationships and award loyalty without reservation once trust has entered in.  And often that’s the missing factor.

Loyalty was Once a One-Way Street

Go back a few generations and one-way loyalty was the expectation. A company demanded loyalty of you but there was little loyalty in return. In fact, often your loyalty was taken advantage of.

For many years in the Japanese business culture that same level of loyalty was the standard. People would gladly sacrifice themselves for the good of the organization. Lower level executives would take the hit for the mistakes made by upper level executives.

The New Landscape of Loyalty

Over time, as younger generations watched their elders being tossed away again and again, a little cynicism developed. People were not longer willing to give unfettered loyalty and get nothing in return. You can call it selfishness if you want. Yet I believe it has more to do with our innate desire for loyalty from the people around us. Therefore, what we were once willing to set aside we cannot ignore any longer.

You want loyalty. What makes you think no one else does?

The Qualities That Demonstrate the Loyalty of Leaders

What are some qualities that demonstrate loyalty?  Use the word LOYALTY to remember to practice these qualities in your life.

Love others before they deserve it or earn it.  Care enough to want to add value to them.

 

Open your mind to the positive attributes of others.  Too often, we look for reasons to not enter a relationship instead of the reasons to enter.  If you are looking for a reason to be unhappy or dissatisfied, you will always find it.  EVERYONE has positive qualities, the question is how do you bring them out.This Loyalty acronym helps you develop the characteristics for the loyalty of leaders

 

Yield to the needs of the other over your own.  It’s hard to be loyal to others when you are too busy putting yourself first.  A loyal person always puts others first.

 

Accept others as they are, warts and all.  Realize that YOU can’t change them.  Be prepared to take them as they are or not at all; and in most cases not at all is a choice that causes you miss out on anything positive that could come from the relationship.

 

Live to serve others.  Seek to add value in every encounter, with no expectation of receiving value in return.  Relationships, whether business or otherwise, are not always transactional; it’s not always a trade.  Be prepared to accept value when it is offered to you, but don’t expect it.

 

Trust others.  This is critical.  You cannot give loyalty unless you trust and you cannot receive loyalty unless you are trusted.  In an interesting twist, people who don’t trust are generally not trusted.  Think about it, how many people do you trust who quite clearly do not trust anyone else?

 

Yearn to spend time with others.  In a busy world, we too often have a tendency especially with business relationships to want to go in, conduct our business, and go out.  Big mistake.  Take the time to build.  Get personal.  Ask questions beyond the sale.  Build friendships, not just business partners.

Applying the Traits

When you apply these traits, you will develop loyalty to others and earn loyalty from them.

The loyalty of leaders builds mutually beneficial, symbiotic relationships that touch the heart.

With the loyalty of leaders you can add value and receive value.

You will build a team. 

It starts with caring. Unsure of ways to show you care? Download my FREE e-book 15 Innovative Ways to Show Employees You Care (without breaking the bank).

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