LEADERSHIP RESOURCES BLOG

Guidance on leadership development & strategic planning.

How to Show Your Progress and Not Just Talk About It

By Leadership Resources 02/19/2021
Person presenting charts of progress

Every great leap begins with an idea. Indeed, brainstorming sessions, after-hours conversations, and spirited debates are highly valuable to any enterprise. These discussions help shape and clarify a company’s vision as leaders seek opportunities for improvement and growth. However, there comes a point when words must translate into actions. Too much talk can actually get in the way of proper execution. Real progress can only be made by testing out your various ideas and going over what’s working and what’s not. 

How to Humbly Display Your Progress

Set Smaller Goals

While it’s important to always keep an eye on the bigger picture, the only way to get there is through incremental steps. Setting smaller goals is one of the key features of any effective performance management system. Unlike long-term, sweeping goals, smaller goals are easier to set (or reset), accomplish, and track along the way. For instance, you might have the larger goal of increasing your annual profits this year. In order to achieve this goal, however, it’s important to zoom in on actionable goals that your team can tackle each day, week, month, and so on. One of these short-term goals might be challenging your sales team to increase their client base by a specific number between now and the end of the quarter. While it might not be easy to accomplish this goal, setting a clear benchmark like this makes it easy to track your business’ progress with hard numbers.

Build More Buy-In

No matter the size of your business, progress is only possible if your people are working toward the same goals. In order to keep everyone on the same page and perpetuate a high-performance culture, you must do your best to create buy-in. Maintaining broad buy-in requires constant communication and calibration — there may be times when an individual (or more) strongly opposes the direction you or your leadership team wishes to go. When this occurs, you must determine whether an executive (“command”) decision must be made, whether additional input is needed (“consult”), or if consensus is imperative for progress (“consensus”).

Accentuate Accountability

Accountability is paramount for proper performance management — without it, you’ll struggle to identify the trail of mistakes and miscommunication that led to a serious problem or roadblock. Moreover, prioritizing accountability in all leaders, managers, and employees will help keep everyone working towards their specialized and collective goals. For instance, leaders should regularly check in with their team(s) for concrete updates on their progress. If little to no progress is being made, the reasons for this lack of progress must be brought to light so necessary adjustments can be made, whether this means altering goals, shifting roles, or letting go of someone. A high-accountability culture can be difficult to establish and maintain, but doing so will allow you to make real progress beyond mere words.

Invest in Business Coaching

Speaking of accountability, there is perhaps no better way to keep leaders and teams accountable than by hiring a coach to provide you with an experienced, objective point of view. The best coaches can easily identify potential areas of growth for leaders, set and track new goals, keep everyone focused on unified, and point out hurdles that are preventing you from progressing. At Leadership Resources, our purpose is to make the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.

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What Makes a Good Mentor?

By Leadership Resources 01/20/2021
Businesswoman mentoring another businesswoman

We’ve all seen the movies and TV shows — the ones that feature a promising young individual who struggles to overcome the external and self-imposed barriers surrounding them until an older and wiser guide enters the fold and aids in the protagonist’s growth. Sure, real life is never as cut and dry as the stories that inspire us, but the student-mentor relationship is anything but fictional. Mentor figures come in many forms and the best ones provide important guidance, feedback, and the occasional nudge that allows their pupils to flourish. But what exactly defines a good mentor? What are the components that allow one individual to instruct another in such a meaningful way?

What Are the Qualities of a Good Business Mentor?

Has Relevant Experience

If you’re not sure how to find a business coach or mentor, a great place to start is by seeking those who have worked in your field for a long time. Those with years of experience are able to naturally impart their wisdom to those with less experience and identify issues and opportunities that others might miss. This isn’t to say that mentors have nothing left to learn, of course — part of being experienced is knowing that the learning process never ends.

Able and Willing to Listen

As we’ve discussed many times before, being a good listener is one of the most important leadership skills one can acquire. Having experience matters, but a good mentor is careful not to hijack the student’s natural growth process. In many cases, an individual will learn more by mulling over a problem on their own and asking plenty of questions. By listening to their pupil’s questions and concerns, a mentor gains a better understanding of their student’s thought processes and can provide answers when needed without simply solving the problem for them.

Passionate about Teaching

Though pop culture gives us many examples of the reluctant instructor, a good mentor must want to fulfill this crucial role. We respond to each other’s energy levels, after all — if your teacher doesn’t seem interested in the subject matter or in helping you out, odds are you won’t feel too enthusiastic, either. The same principle applies in regards to mentoring in business. For the best results, the level of interest must be reciprocal between mentor and mentee.

Respectful

The mentor-mentee relationship is also built on mutual respect. Both parties must retain a level of humility, good faith, and kindness to get the most out of this symbiotic bond. Mentors and pupils can show respect for one another by showing up on time, paying attention to one another, avoiding judgment and hurtful language, and so on.

Eager to Push Their Students

While the best mentors are respectful and kind, this doesn’t mean that they are pushovers. Personal growth only occurs when one steps outside of their comfort zone. Mentors must not be afraid to nudge their students into new and uncomfortable territories every now and then — this might mean having them take on new roles, tackle a challenging project, etc. It’s possible to push a pupil too far, of course, which is why communication is so important — the better a mentor and mentee know one another, the more productive these exercises will be.

Objective and Direct

Lastly, a good mentor doesn’t hold back when delivering feedback. At the same time, this feedback must be free from personal judgments and delivered in a constructive, transparent way. Simply put, we don’t learn or grow without becoming aware of our shortcomings. We might try to ignore our own flaws or downplay our own strengths, which is why it’s so important for mentors to plainly reveal them. Having an external, objective point of view is paramount for personal progress and reducing leadership stress.

In business and in life, everyone should be so lucky to have a good mentor by their side. Fortunately, there are many resources available that help establish these key relationships.At Leadership Resources, our purpose is making the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.

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Why Communication Is Important in Leadership

By Leadership Resources 01/05/2021
Business meeting with good communication

Strong leadership and strong communication are inextricably linked — you simply cannot have one without the other. The best leaders maintain a clear line of communication with their peers, partners, employees, and customers. In doing so, these leaders develop a deeper understanding of relevant situations, issues, shortcomings, and opportunities while delivering clear feedback and instruction that steers the ship in a purposeful direction. Let’s dive deeper into why communication is so crucial in leadership.

What Are the Benefits of Good Communication?

Communication Keeps People on the Same Page

Team management is a challenge for businesses of all sizes. Whether a team consists of a few people or dozens of individuals, leaders with strong communication skills are the glue that holds said team together through thick and thin. It’s worth noting that proper communication isn’t a one-way street, either. Leaders must be equally adept at delivering instructions and receiving feedback from team members in order to manage their team optimally. This reciprocity allows leaders to earn the respect and engagement of their employees and make informed decisions that garner maximum buy-in.

Communication Is Key to Understanding Problems

The ability to listen is one of the most important qualities of a good leader, and, as previously mentioned, half of the communication equation. If you fail to hear or comprehend the concerns of those within your organization, the smallest issues can grow into a rot that’s more and more difficult to expel over time. The best leaders actively check in with their people to uncover any nascent problems so they can resolve them as quickly and effectively as possible. New issues are still bound to arise — the key is getting ahead of them with masterful communication rather than ignoring them or missing them entirely.

Communication Drives Positive Change

The whole point of understanding problems in your organization is to discover weak points that you can fix and then make various adjustments that push your company in a better direction. In this way, then, strong leadership communication skills are the driving force behind constructive change. Your organization will struggle to grow or improve if its leaders don’t properly respond to problems and opportunities when they arise.

Communication Helps Retain Top Talent

In recent posts, we’ve discussed the importance of employee retention, especially when it comes to keeping top talent in your organization. While these retention efforts are multi-faceted, leadership communication remains at the heart of them. Those with the most potential in your company may seek other opportunities if they don’t feel like their ideas are being heard and/or if they don’t feel properly compensated for their contributions. In order to keep these valuable people around, leaders must help them grow with the organization — this might mean promoting them into new positions, guiding their own leadership development, giving them appropriate raises, and so on. Whatever the case, these decisions must be based on the mutual needs of these individuals and your company, which can only be uncovered through powerful communication.

Leaders who display strong communication keep their people on the same page, understand and resolve issues before they fester, improve their operations and culture, and retain the very best people to keep this cycle going. At Leadership Resources, our purpose is making the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.

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How to Get the Most Out of the Leaders in Your Office

By Leadership Resources 12/17/2020
Businesswoman walking upstairs

Your leadership team is largely responsible for allowing your business to continually meet quotas, increase profits, and grow sustainably. As such, motivating your leaders to do their best work and maintain that momentum must be one of your top priorities. Of course, all leaders are human beings, and human beings have their limitations. Pushing your people too hard can create massive leadership stress and get in the way of progress. Conversely, loosening your grip too much can result in chaos and stifle productivity. In order to ensure ongoing success, then, you must strike a balance between putting on the pressure when the time is right and letting go when things get too tense.

How to Get the Most Out of the Leaders in Your Office

Support Their Personal and Professional Goals

Even if your leaders inherently love what they do, their job is ultimately just a portion of their lives. Most people are more motivated by the notion of building a better life for themselves and their families than growing the company for which they work. Fortunately, these goals go hand in hand. As your business flourishes, so do the personal lives of your leaders, as long as you maintain an awareness of what your people want out of life and their careers. If you want to get the most out of your leaders, then, take the time to understand what gets them out of bed in the morning and connect those aspirations to the business’ growth. You can further support your leaders by offering ongoing leadership training, providing career resources, and more.

Prioritize Performance Management

No matter how self-aware someone is, no one recognizes all of their shortcomings without some external input. Your leaders won’t be able to progress as quickly or efficiently if they’re not receiving honest feedback on a regular basis. Make it a priority to track your leaders’ performance and go over their strengths and weaknesses at key intervals or on an as-needed basis. Your constructive criticism should also include recognition of all of a leader’s accomplishments — this way, your leaders can continue doing what they do best and work on what they might have missed for the betterment of themselves and your business as a whole. 

Make sure you allow time for your leaders to ask questions and deliver their own feedback as well. Sending out employee surveys is another powerful way to see how your people feel about the workplace and culture.

Leave Room for New Opportunities

One of the primary reasons people part with a company is because they feel stuck, as if they’ve reached a peak and there’s nowhere to go from there. In order to draw out the very best from your leaders (and keep them around), you have to offer ongoing opportunities for growth. You might develop a transparent system for lateral movement, promotions, and raises for leaders to work towards, and/or create new roles for managers with specific leadership skills. It’s important to maintain strong communication with your leaders to see how happy or unhappy they are in their current position so you can come up with ways to best utilize their unique talents, skills, and experiences.

Provide Practical Paid Time Off (PTO)

Everyone needs a break, especially your hardest-working talent. Working around the clock for months on end will inevitably lead to burnout, which can take weeks to recover from and do plenty of damage in the meantime. While paid vacations and extended break periods might seem like a major liability, they’re necessary investments for managing leadership stress and getting the most out of your leaders in the long run. For a deep dive into this subject, read our article, “How Much Paid Time Off (PTO) is Good for Productivity?” At Leadership Resources, our purpose is making the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.

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Hiring new team members? 5 Important Decisions to Make Before Giving Raises

By Leadership Resources 12/11/2020
Roll of $100 bills and the word "hire"

Among all the challenges you face as a business owner, few things are more difficult to approach than employee compensation. Between establishing base wages and salaries, distributing bonuses, and giving out raises, you’re bound to get a headache or two managing it all. That said, these issues cannot be ignored. Your people might like working for you and your business, but they won’t stick around if they don’t feel fairly compensated, especially if they can find a better paying job elsewhere.

Employees expect their pay to be fair from the beginning and increase over time (beyond just keeping up with inflation). Indeed, without delivering this expectation to new hires, businesses would have a hard time getting anyone on board, and developing leadership talent would be impossible. The hard part for you is figuring out how to broach this subject, how to decide who gets a raise (and when and why), and how to keep your people from turning on each other in favor of the almighty dollar.

So, if you’re hiring new team members, here are five important decisions to make before giving raises.

What to Do Before Giving a Raise

1. Create a Compensation Structure

As your business grows and you hire more people, you need to establish a system of compensation that works best for you. Some companies keep things simple with a one-size-fits-all solution that delivers the same percentage pay increase to every employee on a regular basis (usually annually). While this approach is equitable and easy to manage, it can negatively impact productivity and employee morale, as there is no clear correlation between performance and pay.

Other businesses might decide that performance and compensation management go hand in hand. These companies conduct regular performance reviews for each employee and give out raises based on how well they’ve done. All employees might receive raises, but the best performers will get a higher pay bump. This method can help motivate individuals to work harder and remain engaged, but it can also create tension between employees, splintering unity.

Both approaches have their merits, and you may decide to create a system that falls somewhere in between. Just make sure that your compensation structure benefits your employees and business as a whole.

2. Match the Market

No business exists in a vacuum. You must pay attention to what your competitors are doing if you plan on thriving in your industry and retaining your top talent. Companies that offer the best compensation packages tend to have a competitive edge. You may need to work with a business coach to give you a broad perspective of your industry’s outlook on compensation so you can match or exceed those expectations. This will allow you to attract and retain the best people.

3. It’s All About Value

When budgets are tight, giving out raises might seem like a burden. Indeed, doing so might result in short-term losses. However, you have to think long term and focus on building your business’ value over time. Your people bring value to your company, after all, and without them, you wouldn’t be able to grow or thrive. By reciprocating and delivering value to your employees, you’re creating a feedback loop that will propel your enterprise forward. In this way, compensating your people accordingly is a major component in talent management and succession planning. If you want your organization to be its very best and last for years to come, you need to invest in your people.

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4. Exercise Care With Pay Compression

As you calculate wages for new hires and percentages for raises, be mindful of pay compression. This phenomenon occurs when newcomers make the same amount as those who have been with the company for a long time. Not only might this offend long-standing employees, it may actually devalue their position, as the newcomer’s wage accounts for inflation while theirs does not. In other words, a dollar is worth less today than it was a year ago, and even less so than 10 years ago, and so on. 

Pay compression can toxify your workplace culture in more ways than one. Therefore, it’s important to adjust all salaries for inflation and always factor in longevity so senior employees are rewarded for their commitment and experience.

5. Be Upfront About Pay When Hiring

When seeking employment, people appreciate transparency. Companies that clearly outline their compensation packages and potential for growth often entice the best people. So, if you’re looking for top talent, don’t shy away from discussions around pay. This includes mentioning how, why, and when raises are dished out. The more open you are about these matters, the better, as it establishes expectations and minimizes confusion.

There’s nothing easy about raises. But if you take your time and think in the long term, you can develop a compensation system that attracts top talent, keeps your best people from leaving, improves your culture, and ultimately adds value to your business.

At Leadership Resources, our purpose is making the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow.

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Effective Stress Management Techniques for Leaders

By Leadership Resources 12/05/2020
Woman doing breathing exercise at laptop

Taking on a leadership role is a major honor and responsibility. Much is expected of leaders, and many leaders have a habit of carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders to prove something to themselves, their colleagues, their team, or all of the above. However, being a strong leader isn’t about bearing all of your business’ burdens — rather, it’s about lifting up your organization through strategic decision-making, delegation, oversight, and flexibility. When things get too stressful (and this year has certainly been one for the books), your ability to effectively lead can get hampered, especially if you don’t have the resources and habits for handling this stress. In this way, strong leadership and stress management are two sides of the same coin.

With that in mind, let’s outline some effective stress management techniques for leaders of all stripes.

How to Reduce Stress

Prioritize Your Physical and Mental Well-Being

All of your decisions and behaviors stem from your physical and mental state. This means that being a productive leader begins with taking care of your body and mind. The following lifestyle adjustments help both prevent and relieve leadership stress:

  • Get enough sleep (7-9 hours)
  • Maintain a healthy diet (limit caffeine, alcohol, and sugar)
  • Stay hydrated
  • Exercise regularly (3-5 days a week)
  • Practice mindfulness (meditation, yoga)
  • Read for enjoyment and education
  • Enjoy hobbies and/or mindless activities

Anything that promotes your physical and mental well-being will make you more alert, improve your mood, boost your decision-making capacity, and minimize distractions when it counts.

Get Organized

We’re often told that a messy desk is a sign of genius. While there may be some truth to this statement, a chaotic work space is also a major source of stress. If you can’t easily find folders, documents, utensils, etc., you’ll end up wasting time, causing you to fall behind and undergo even more stress. One of the simplest methods for managing leadership stress, then, is organizing your stuff, which includes not only your physical space but also your schedule. Make lists, label and alphabetize folders and files, streamline your calendar, etc.

Don’t Be Afraid to Delegate

As leaders, we often feel like we have to do everything. Not only is this an arrogant frame of mind, though, it’s also detrimental to your mental state and your organization. Simply put, some tasks can and should be handled by other people so you can focus on other things. The key to proper delegation is finding the right people to take on certain tasks. By establishing a strong rapport with your team, you can determine their individual strengths, which will allow you to trust the person (or people) you charge with a given task. You can always assess their performance after the fact and determine whether changes need to be made. Delegating tasks to your team members also grants them the opportunity to learn new skills and grow into leaders themselves.

Remember: Perfection isn’t the Goal

One of main causes of leadership stress is the nagging pull of perfectionism. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to get things done right, but focusing too much on perfection can paralyze your decision-making, slow down your operations, and result in worse outcomes in the long run. You can reduce a lot of stress and work more efficiently by instead focusing on getting things done and smoothing out any rough edges afterward.

Wield the Power of “No”

To be a leader is to have a target on your back (for good or bad). People will constantly reach out to you, ask you questions, seek advice, cast blame on you when something goes wrong, and so on. While it’s important to maintain strong communication with everyone in your circle, it’s also okay to back away and take some time to yourself. You don’t need to attend every single meeting, hop on every phone call, handle every sudden task that crops up, work weekend, etc. Sometimes you just need to say “no” for your own good and, ultimately, the good of your organization. It’s better to deal with one task at a time than to stretch yourself way too thin.

Continue Developing Your Leadership Skills

No matter how long you’ve had your position or been with a company, leadership development never ends — at least, it shouldn’t. There are always new things to learn, new skills to acquire, and new techniques to try out. By continuing to hone your abilities, you’ll get better and better at de-stressing your life and the lives of your employees. Think of it as having more tools in your toolkit to tackle tough problems when they arise. At Leadership Resources, our purpose is making the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.

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How to Create an Action Plan to Ensure All Leaders Have the Same Company Vision

By Leadership Resources 11/23/2020
Team of leaders with hands in

Organizations are made up of individuals with unique perspectives, ideas, and life goals. But while each person inside a company sees things their own way, it’s important for an organization to establish a coherent vision that all leaders and team members can get behind and work toward. Achieving and maintaining this unity requires proper planning, ongoing execution, and flexibility. Here’s how to create an action plan to ensure all leaders share the same company vision.

How to Enstill Company Vision

Spell Out the Business’ Broader Mission

A company’s mission statement defines its overall purpose. In this way, a mission can be thought of as the foundation and motivation for your business efforts moving forward. The first step to ensuring that your leadership team unites around a collective vision is by creating and disseminating a clear and concise mission statement. Failing to do so is like trying to build a home on top of empty space — there’s nowhere to stand and everything falls apart.

Prioritize Short- and Long-Term Goals

Once your mission is firmly in place and well understood by all leaders in your company, the next step is to collectively come up with short-term and long-term goals. Some of these goals might be highly specific, such as meeting certain quotas by next quarter, and others might be more nebulous and far away, like “becoming the nation’s leader in a given industry.” One example of a great long-term goal is to implement consistent training with the help of a qualified EOS® Implementer. It’s important to categorize and prioritize these various goals so leaders and team members have a concrete sense of what to do in the coming days, weeks, months, etc., and why.

Delineate Different Types of Decisions

Uniting around a vision doesn’t happen overnight. Anyone who knows how to manage a team can attest that few decisions are immediately agreed upon by all parties. In a perfect world, all decisions would be unanimous, but in reality, attempting to find consensus for every choice can result in deadlock, frustration, and confusion. This is why it’s important for leaders to understand the differences between three main types of decisions: command, consult, and consensus. 

Command decisions are executive orders that do not require team input. Consult decisions, while also adjudicated by the leader, do take team input into consideration. And consensus decisions are made collectively, sometimes with various compromises or concessions. There is a time and place for decisions of each nature. While command and consult decisions might not please everyone within your organization, they should still derive from and work toward the collective vision on which all leaders have agreed. A well-trained leader can determine when to implement which type of decision and why, as well as offer guidance to those who are struggling to figure out where each person’s role may take the company and decision-making process.

Keep Tabs on Individual and Team Performance

In order to ensure that your leaders are actively working towards a unified vision, you must take regular account of their performance as individuals and as a team. Traction®, one of the Six Key Components™ of the EOS Model™, is all about accountability and execution, turning the company vision into something tangible. If goals or expectations aren’t being met, there may be a disconnect that requires amending. Perhaps some leaders aren’t completely clear about what they should be doing or why. It’s difficult to achieve goals if said goals are not entirely understood, after all. This is why EOS® Visions are always measurable, written-down, and disseminated to all employees. By keeping tabs on leadership performance, you can stay alert to instances of miscommunication and realign focus. 

Leave Enough Space to Adapt and Evolve

While a company vision should be clear as day, it shouldn’t be set in stone. Sometimes, priorities and goals shift due to internal and external circumstances. If and when there is a change in your organization’s outlook, leaders must jointly reconfigure their mindset and methods toward these new aims. These adjustments can vary in size and scope, but they’re important to make if your business is to continue thriving in an ever-changing environment. If leaders cannot shift focus as a unit, it will become difficult to move forward at all, which is why building a strong team culture is crucial for the outset — this requires going over Issues (another Key Component in EOS) on a regular basis in order to solve organizational problems to make room from change and growth.

Seeing Things Clearly and in Concert

Without free-thinking, diverse individuals, a business would lack dynamism and quickly run out of steam. Conversely, organizations that cannot come together around a shared vision tend to rip themselves apart. The key to ongoing success, then, is taking advantage of every leader’s unique qualities in order to come up with and execute upon a vision that serves the enterprise as a whole — this doesn’t mean everyone has to agree on everything all the time, but rather that everyone has a clear, connected sense of (and stake in) where the company is headed, and why. Adhering to the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS)® helps every type of business achieve these results. At Leadership Resources, our purpose is making the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.

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How to Retain Employees as They Grow Professionally

By Leadership Resources 11/11/2020
Woman looking at her shadow with a cape

Sourcing the best candidates for your business is challenging enough — keeping them around for the long haul can be even more difficult. In such a competitive global economy, employees that exhibit strong leadership skills are in high demand. As your people continue to develop, then, they may come closer to abandoning ship to explore other opportunities. While you can’t force anyone to stay, retaining your top talent is integral to the growth and legacy of your enterprise. So, how can you retain your employees as they grow professionally? Here are some thoughts.

Continue Focusing on Leadership Development

If you adopt a cynical mindset, you might think that developing leadership talent will only serve to pry your best employees away from your business — after all, the more skills they develop, the more leverage they have in the workplace. As it turns out, though, focusing on leadership development is actually one of the best ways to keep your employees around. By offering ongoing, rigorous training and education, your company provides value to your employees, which they will reciprocate in direct and indirect ways. For instance, the more adept your people become, the more productive and creative they will be — these outcomes benefit your bottom line and broaden your business’ prospects. In other words, investing in your employees will encourage them to invest back into the company, ideally for the long-run.

Open New Doors For Top Talent

As your people grow professionally, you want to make sure they don’t outgrow the scope of your business — otherwise, they’ll likely move on. No one likes feeling stuck where they are or overqualified for their position, after all. If you want them to stick with you, then, you’ll need to expand the number of opportunities you offer your employees. This might mean creating brand new roles to better suit a specific employee’s skill set, shifting around teams, tasking top talent with fresh challenges and responsibilities to keep them sharp and engaged, and so on. These efforts tie directly into your long term succession planning as well — by challenging your people and letting them explore new positions, you can better gauge who is fit to take over key roles within the company.

Commit to Strengthening Your Company Culture

Never underestimate the importance of your organization’s culture when it comes to retaining your employees. Simply put, most people would rather stay with a company that respects them, recognizes their achievements and efforts, provides ample growth opportunities, and promotes a healthy work-life balance as opposed to the alternative (even if said alternative offers a slightly higher salary). This isn’t to say, however, that merely putting on a happy face and patting your people on the back is enough to keep them around. The key to cultivating a company culture that encourages people to stay is maintaining transparency, being flexible, and compensating employees for the value they bring to the company.

Growing With Your People

Employee retention and succession planning go hand in hand. While it’s true that helping your employees grow into capable leaders runs the risk of losing them to other opportunities, you won’t be able to secure the legacy of your company if you can’t foster the growth of your people and incentivize them to stay. By focusing on continual leadership development, granting your people with new opportunities, and cultivating a strong company culture, your business will grow right alongside your top talent, and vice versa. At Leadership Resources, our purpose is making the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.

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How to Lead Hybrid Teams

By Leadership Resources 10/29/2020

Even pre-pandemic, leaders knew that each employee has different needs, strengths, and weaknesses. Now, leaders are tasked with how to manage employee schedules when the employee is working at home, or if that employee is working at home with children who are learning from home. Some employees are hoping to get back into the office, while others may resent the fact that they are being asked to go back during a pandemic. No matter what issues have risen since the pandemic, the leader must make a plan to offer fair, empathetic, and effective team management.

What Experts Say

When employees are scattered remotely, or some are remote and some are back in the office, a number of new issues arise. Some employees who are in the office may start taking charge of projects that weren’t assigned solely to them, or start becoming resentful that they had to come back in while others remained remote. This can create division, making employees pick sides of their peers. Though this may not be new to some offices, there are likely more issues exacerbating this. Linda Hill, professor at Harvard Business School says to ask yourself, “What is the experience my employees are having at work, and how can I empower them to do the best they can?” The best way to manage employees when you notice new or existing issues is to offer support.

How to Truly Support Your Employees

The role in management for employee development is often linked to the leader’s capability to support with empathy while managing a productive team. Right now, there will be several variables to work around. Like you, they are dealing with a global crisis and an unstable economy. Some are dealing with small children and out-of-work partners. The list goes on, but leaders must offer effective team management, empathy, and support, if they want business to run as usual. 

One idea experts, like Hill, recommend is offering regular one-on-one check-ins with everyone, whether they’re in the office or not. Ask them to be honest about their struggles and make sure they know what the priorities are and what can wait. Hill suggests leaders use this time to explain to the employee what is on the agenda and how the employee is going to achieve their goals. Some employees may need to change hours. Some may desire a strict schedule. The leader may need to manage employee schedules differently and make compromises for the time being. Either way, they must ensure the employee knows that during this time, it’s ok to ask for these concessions.

Remain Inclusive and Empathetic

One of the biggest mistakes a leader can make is to allow employees to start, whether intentionally or not, excluding remote workers. A quick suggestion of ensuring all team members get on a Zoom call, or something of the sort, to discuss how to manage a project together is a great way to handle this situation. Additionally, don’t allow the assumption to float around the workplace that those in the office are more productive than those who are remote. Offer a safe place to vent frustrations while remaining hopeful and productive, but don’t encourage unfair treatment or gossip between employees.

You must also show fairness among your employees. So, even if your star employee is making it known that their being in the office makes them a more productive person than an employee who annoys you, you must stop this toxic behavior of the star employee immediately while remaining empathetic to why they’d feel that way. This is a time unlike any other, so some employees may not know how to handle it, but offering an all-inclusive workplace is a positive step in the right direction toward excellent productivity.

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The last thing you want to do is create an environment where employees are burnt out, whether they’re at home or in the office. At Leadership Resources, our purpose is making the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.

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5 Phrases to Use for Effective Workplace Criticism

By Leadership Resources 10/19/2020
Leadership resources 5 phrases use effective workplace criticism

Delivering criticism to a team can be a significant cause of leadership stress for many leaders. It’s not always easy to find the proper balance between sugar-coated comment and pointless put-down. But when someone makes a mistake, requires correction, or falls short of their duties, ignoring or obfuscating the issue is more harmful to your workplace culture than addressing it head-on.

So, how can you deal criticism in a way that lets your team member know where they went wrong, and, just as importantly, how they can improve? Let’s examine 5 phrases that can serve as templates or starting points for more effective workplace criticism.

1. “I like where this is headed. Let’s see what we can improve…”

This is a powerful phrase to employ when your team or team member suggests an idea that has merit but plenty of flaws. Rather than starting with the problems, begin with a sincere recognition of the idea’s potential. This will energize the team while also focusing everyone’s efforts on trimming the fat and making necessary changes.

2. “The team could really benefit from more of your input.”

If you’re a team manager, you may experience an occasional imbalance in effort and input from your employees. Sometimes a minority of the team makes most of the calls. Or, perhaps a single team member rarely, or never, contributes to the creative process. When this happens, don’t just tell them to talk more during meetings. Instead, let them know that the team is lacking an important piece of the puzzle. This often motivates a less assertive team member to make their opinion known.

3. “This area seems to be a challenge for you.”

We all have our weaknesses. The key is identifying them so we know which areas we must work to improve. But it’s not always easy to make out our own faults. One of the most important leadership traits is being able to not only identify these problem areas in your team members, but also point them out without hesitation or ambiguity. Using the above phrase provides a solid entry point into this conversation, as it doesn’t personally attack the individual in question but still addresses the concern.

4. “You haven’t been meeting your performance goals/expectations.”

By letting a staff member know in simple terms that they haven’t been meeting their expectations, you accomplish a few important things. First, you reiterate what’s objectively expected of them, as laid out in previous conversations. Second, you open the door for a conversation on why these goals aren’t being met. And third, you can begin crafting a tangible performance management strategy for getting back on track. This is more effective than telling them they’re not doing a good job, or demanding results without a reminder of the company’s expectations.

5. “What do you think could have happened differently?”

Finally, effective leadership depends on reciprocity and communication. If you’re going to lead well, the conversation must go both ways. So, when someone messes up, make sure you ask what they thought of the situation, and how they might have handled it differently. To avoid coming off as patronizing, sincerely listen to what they have to say and give your thoughts as well.

No matter the circumstance, coming up with constructive criticism is a challenge for all leaders, but vital to maintaining an open and productive workplace. The above phrases are just a handful of examples that can help you address important issues without making it personal or sowing seeds of resentment.

At Leadership Resources, our purpose is making the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow.

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