What are you doing to develop yourself as a leader? I am talking about leadership skills not domain expertise. How do you set personal goals for yourself? How do you use your experiences to measure progress and make modifications to your behavior?
You are trying to develop your team. You have been coaching them to improve their performance. You have been careful to stay focused on issues and not on their personal idiosyncratic differences. You even tried praise as a motivator. The problem is you usually see improvements in performance when you criticize problems. When you praise the good performance people seldom repeat it. Doesn’t it just make more sense to criticize, for the good of the team’s performance?
One of the challenges of coaching others is balance. How much do we direct and how much do we coach by way of question? When should we let our team members make mistakes and learn and when do we step in? How much is too much? This is not just a philosophical question. How we perform as coaches has a direct impact on organization performance. We never get it all right but we need to get it close enough to hit our targets.
I am often asked to explain Differentiating Strategies’ delivery model. After all, the graphic is posted on the website with definitions for each of the components. How do these work together to create value for a leader and the organization they lead?
What is a decision? We talk about decision making all the time. We tell people they should “just make a decision.” But just what is a decision and how do we go about making them. If you have had trouble defining what constitutes a decision and what does not, read on.
Do you have an open door policy? If so, what does that mean to you? What does it mean to your employees?
In a recent conversation, a senior executive confided that she was receiving criticism from employees. The team felt she was not honoring her open door policy. They stated that her door was often closed. As our conversation developed it became clear that the employees were emphasizing the word “door” in open door policy.
Does your organization have its own jargon? Maybe it has a set of acronyms. Perhaps there are euphemisms. I once worked in a company where “coaching and constructive feedback” was a euphemism for getting chewed out. In another organization being treated “with dignity and respect” meant you were going to get fired. It seems kind of bizarre that an employee had to get fired before being treated with dignity and respect.
How often do we use common words only to later learn that there was a misunderstanding? Failure to arrive at a shared understanding has many causes. Language is the means of conveyance for the substance of communication. Language includes many forms of conveyance including words, gestures (which finger were you holding up?), the tone of voice, the timing of delivery and the setting (your office versus mine?). Today I want to look at the role of words.
What is an executive perspective? How does it differ from the perspective of managers or individual contributors? Are you spending your time on the right things?
What does it mean to fight fair? Fighting fair is conflict management in a way that allows individuals to contribute their perspectives. Furthermore, fighting fair encourages participants to consider perspectives other than their own in the development of work products and decision making. But what does a team have to do or not do to fight fair?
What is the definition of communication? Is that definition shared throughout the organization? Is there a system of defined communication processes? How much waste is being created by miscommunication? What is the outcome of communication?
Communication is one process used to bring everyone into shared understanding. You’ve arrived at shared understanding when all parties can verify their understanding. Everyone receiving the message should have a similar understanding to other message recipients. The exact measure of understanding depends on the level of tolerated variance while maintaining target outcomes.
A lot of people talk about the need for accountability, but what does it mean? When people ask, “who are you accountable to?” What do they really want to know? It is tough to be accountable if we cannot define accountability. It can move from being tough to being confusing if there are multiple definitions for accountability.
I define accountability as keeping the agreements we make. If you and I make an agreement for me to mow your grass for $50 per cutting you should expect me to mow your grass when it needs it, and I should expect $50 for each time I fully mow your yard. I am accountable for mowing. You are accountable for paying. That seems simple, right?