LEADERSHIP RESOURCES BLOG

Guidance on leadership development & strategic planning.

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.

How to Grow and Still Retain Employees

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
Two coworkers in masks

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.

How to Lead Your Team

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
Woman giving 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.

How to Properly Criticize a Workplace

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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Have You Established a Strong Company Culture?

By Leadership Resources 08/14/2020
Leadership Resources group with strong company culture

The term “company culture” has undoubtedly become a buzzword, but this doesn’t mean the concept lacks merit or importance. Indeed, the importance of company culture cannot be overstated. Unfortunately, it cannot be easily quantified either. Every company operates differently, after all, and there are no hard and fast rules for establishing, maintaining, or adjusting a company’s culture. That said, if your business is falling behind, losing employees, struggling to onboard solid people, etc., chances are your culture is the culprit, at least in part. 

Conversely, a strong company culture often yields growth, boosts morale, increases reputation, and spurs innovation. Why? Simply put, humans are social creatures that thrive in environments that offer and encourage both freedom and collaboration. If we don’t feel comfortable expressing our ideas in an open, receptive environment, a lot will go unsaid, and a company can grow stale as a result. Likewise, people perform their best when they enjoy their work and the atmosphere in which they work — this atmosphere directly stems from culture.

So, the question remains: have you established a strong company culture? If you’re not sure, here are some ways to assess your current culture in order to improve it.

How to Establish a Strong Company Culture

Remember: Performance Often Reflects Culture

As just mentioned above, employee and team performance is inextricably linked to culture. Other factors come into play, of course, such as competence, how well someone fits their role, and elements that are mostly out of anyone’s control. For the most part, though, one way to gauge your current culture is to track performance. If you notice a decline or consistent lack of progress, these issues may stem from cultural issues. Perhaps employees do not feel adequately incentivized to perform better. Maybe there is a general lack of enthusiasm or morale. Team members may not feel well-connected, either, which can impede communication.

Turn to Your Turnover Rates

Your business’ turnover rates can also cue you into cultural problems. Some level of turnover is to be expected in any enterprise — people move, change careers, find better opportunities, and so on. However, if your company experiences high levels of turnover for your industry, this speaks to a weak, potentially toxic company culture. Strong company cultures make everyone feel welcomed and valued day in and day out. And team members are more likely to stick with a company that recognizes their contributions and compensates them accordingly. So, if you want to hang on to your best people, you must cultivate such a culture.

Recognize The Role of Human Resources

If your goal is to create and maintain a great company culture, you must properly invest in your human resources (HR) department. One of the main goals of HR departments is to build and influence a company’s culture for the betterment of all employees, teams, and the organization as a whole. In order to do this, HR leaders take on a number of responsibilities, such as facilitating training, education and communication; identifying, clarifying, and reinforcing company values; empowering individuals and teams; mediating, mitigating, and solving issues; recognizing individuals, teams, and organizational efforts, and more. HR leaders also play a pivotal role in the hiring process, helping to identify candidates that will fit into and/or enhance the existing company culture.

Hear From Your People

One of the best ways to get a pulse on your organization’s culture is to receive feedback from those within the company. You might distribute a standardized, anonymized company culture survey to collect key data. Your survey might feature a list of questions, prompts, and/or parameters for individuals to answer directly and/or rate on a scale of 1-5, “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree,” etc., such as:

  • I feel like I have the opportunity to grow in this organization
  • I like what I do
  • I feel valued
  • I trust my team
  • I feel comfortable speaking my mind
  • I feel heard
  • etc.

This information can be used to make sweeping and granular changes within your business to improve and adjust the culture as needed.

Finding the Balance Between Stability and Flexibility

A strong company culture is not necessarily an unmovable company culture. Put another way, the best workplace cultures should be sturdy but flexible enough to adapt to new challenges and developments. While businesses should exercise caution when changing company culture, they should not fear doing so when it is truly called for. Finding this balance between stability and flexibility is not always easy, which is why it is so important to collaborate closely with your HR departments, employees, and teams to establish a set of shared values that will properly move the organization, and everyone in it, forward.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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Leadership Development: How to Spot Future Leaders at Your Organization

By Leadership Resources 07/23/2020

Quality of leadership largely determines whether an organization rises, falls, or remains stagnant. But leaders do not magically descend from some higher realm — they are cultivated over time through experience, training, and perseverance. Indeed, nearly every company contains its share of potential leaders, and it is the responsibility of current leaders to identify and foster future leadership or else risk leaving a major hole in the organization upon leaving. 

Of course, not every worker is destined to be (or interested in being) a leader. Investing in these individuals is not a waste of time, but the lion’s share of leadership development resources are better spent on those who display leadership potential. With that in mind, let’s go over how to spot future leaders at your organization.

How to Find a Future Leader

Ask Yourself: Who Goes the Extra Mile?

When seeking the future leaders of your company, a good place to start is by looking at results. Consider who in your organization consistently goes above and beyond expectations. Employees that are highly results-driven prove their enthusiasm and skill, and team members that come up with new, innovative ideas drive the company’s efforts into new territories. Pay close attention to these people in your company who keep the enterprise moving forward with passion, as they already exhibit strong leadership qualities.

Weigh Both Potential and Performance

Performance is undoubtedly a key indicator when spotting future leaders, but it is not the end-all-be-all. Indeed, you may have employees who work extremely hard but don’t exude much leadership potential. “Leadership potential” is a somewhat ambiguous metric, of course, and therefore more difficult to pick apart than hard data. Still, pay attention to those with specific leadership skills, such as strong communication, team-building aptitude, a desire to grow and learn, creativity, etc. Even if they’re not your top performers in terms of your bottom line, they might be perfect fits for various leadership roles in the future, helping those top performers reach new heights.

Shake Up the Structure

One helpful way to get a beat on future leaders is by stirring the pot a bit — namely, rotating job duties and/or assigning new roles to people every now and again. In doing so, some individuals will take full advantage of the opportunity, learning new skills and pushing themselves beyond their perceived limits. Others may wish to stay in their comfort zone and/or buckle under the pressure. Those in the former category just might be your future leaders. Job rotation is a powerful exercise for succession planning, as it can help you determine which candidates could adapt and take on new roles when necessary.

Ask Yourself: Who Is Asking Questions?

While not everyone who asks questions is bound to be a leader, all future leaders ask questions. This spirit of inquiry is directly related to strong communication and therefore strong leadership. So, keep an eye on those who take the time to clarify concepts, inquire about specifics, seek solutions to ongoing problems, and ask seemingly simple questions that others might be too timid to ask.

Train Your Eye for Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence, or “EQ,” is one of the most important qualities of a good leader. Those who can listen to the concerns and suggestions of others and act accordingly strengthen the company’s culture, encourage employee buy-in, promote teamwork, and improve the organization’s reputation and operations as a whole. When looking for EQ in future leaders, look for individuals who display empathy, self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, and strong social skills.

Ask Yourself: Who Is Invested in the Organization?

Lastly, even if you’ve found a handful of candidates who meet the above criteria, you have to consider whether or not they’re in it for the long-haul. Those who show strong leadership potential are in high-demand, after all, and many businesses spend significant resources training future managers only to have them exit the organization shortly after. While you can’t force any of your leaders to stay, though, investing in their growth is a crucial way to retain your top talent. And those who routinely express their interest in the company’s future and their role in it are top contenders for future leaders. In short, if a potential leader is invested in your organization, you must invest in their development.

Developing future leaders in your company starts with identifying the best candidates. And once you know what to look for, you may be pleasantly surprised at how many people in your organization could become leaders down the line.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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The Secret to Exiting Your Company While Keeping Your Legacy Intact

By Leadership Resources 07/01/2020
Leadership Resources' workers collaborating with company culture

As attached as you might be to your company right now, there will come a time when it is either necessary or practical to make your exit. Of course, this eventuality might be decades away — regardless of when it happens, though, those in leadership roles must consider how the company will change as a result of their absence.

For many, these thoughts provide an ample source of leadership stress. And yet, avoiding them can lead to personal and company-wide problems down the road. If you have no exit strategy in place, you run several risks when you leave: your company might not survive the transition; the organization might radically change its values, mission, goals, etc. (perhaps for the worse); and/or the many efforts you made over the years might be lost.

So, what’s the solution? While there may be no single “secret” to exiting your company while keeping your legacy intact, here are some important ways to leave strategically and graciously.

How to Leave a Company With Good Standing

Identify and Develop Up and Coming Leaders

Your company should spend adequate time and resources developing leadership as a key component of its succession strategy. These efforts will allow current leaders to pass on values, strategies, knowledge, and more to employees who show promise and ambition. And in doing so, these up and coming leaders will be able to fill roles that are left open when someone finally exits. Strategic leadership training can take many forms, but its main focus should be to prepare newer employees to not only take over necessary responsibilities, but to manage them in ways that are commensurate with the company’s underlying values.

Cultivate a Firm Yet Flexible Culture

Every company is different, and therefore so is every company culture. That said, every organizational culture should have these core aspects in common — they should be firm enough to withstand major changes (such as the absence of certain leaders and employees), yet flexible enough to change and improve over time. During your time with the company, then, you should focus on establishing such a culture that, when you leave, the company still represents the core values you helped to imbue while healthily evolving based on societal and internal developments.

Put Financial Incentives in Place (ESOPs)

If you want you and your people to maintain a vested interest in your company, (financially speaking) even after leaving, developing an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) is one way to do so. It is worth noting that these plans can be quite complex and lead to various issues as well, so it’s important to weigh all of the potential costs and benefits with a certified exit planning advisor (CEPA) before making a final decision. Still, ESOPs can become a key component in your succession planning strategy, encouraging employees to take a larger stake in the company’s outcomes.

Leaving Doesn’t Mean Abandoning Ship Entirely

Depending on when and how you exit the company, you may still be able to play a role in its future success, imparting your wisdom and insights from a distance. For instance, you may be able to work as a part-time contractor or consultant to continue helping with leadership development and guiding the direction of the enterprise without steering the vessel. Your experience can be invaluable in helping employees and leaders deal with difficult decisions, stress, burnout, interpersonal issues, and so much more.

Leaving an organization is never easy, but taking the right steps during and after your time there can help set up the company for future success — success that is partially hinged on the contributions you have made and perhaps continue to make.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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Virtual Leadership Coaching: How to Face the Challenges of Limited Interaction

By Leadership Resources 06/25/2020
Woman presenting at a Leadership Resources virtual leadership conference

Regardless of whether the world returns to normal or adopts a “new normal,” change remains constant. The transformation of the physical workplace to the virtual office has been in the making long before the current pandemic, and will only accelerate moving forward. This technological shift has created countless opportunities and innovations, but it comes with a number of costs, too — most notably the lack of physical interaction. Humans are social creatures, after all, and sharing a physical location undoubtedly facilitates communication, strengthens interpersonal bonds, aids in education, and more.

That said, there is still plenty to be gained in the virtual space for everyone, including leadership coaches and their students. Let’s discuss how limited interaction presents challenges in terms of leadership coaching, and how virtual leadership coaching can break through these obstacles and bring its own value to the table.

How to Overcome Virtual Work and Learning

Embrace Connective Technology

As isolating as these times may be, consider how fortunate many of us are to have access to multiple forms of virtual interaction. Not only can we text and call one another — now, we can conduct prolonged online meetings of various sizes via Zoom, Google Hangouts, Facebook Live, and other proprietary video conferencing software. These tools might not replace the feeling of a physical workplace, but they act as a close proxy, allowing coaches and teams to have real-time discussions, share documents, ask questions, and even socialize.

Of course, these tools are only valuable if everyone in a given organization has access to them. So, virtual coaches must ensure that they, as well as their teams, share the same technology and know how to properly use it. Otherwise, some members may get left out, and/or significant time and effort may get wasted troubleshooting. In short, social technology is a virtual coach’s best friend, and the foundation for a strong online leadership development program, so long as everyone is on the same page.

Adjust Frequency and Format of Meetings Accordingly

If you are moving all or most of your operations to the virtual space, your organization will naturally take on a new rhythm. People work at different paces, and this fact may get amplified if they are working remotely. That said, there are occasions that require all team members to unite their thoughts and efforts. But it’s one thing to wrangle several people who share an office into an in-person meeting — it’s another thing to conduct a virtual meeting where every member must join remotely. 

In other words, leadership coaches may need to change how they schedule and run meetings and leadership training seminars to account for this physical separation. Virtual meetings might have to occur more frequently to maintain accountability, they may need to be shorter or longer depending on remote workflow, and they might need to be structured differently to ensure all voices are heard.

Think “Physical” Distance, Social Cohesion

Communication and performance management go hand in hand. The term “social distancing” has taken hold in the global lexicon, but some have argued that “physical distancing” is both more accurate and more helpful in these times. Indeed, humans can socially interact without sharing a physical space, and in fact, this social interaction may be more important now than ever before. This sentiment applies to a company’s culture, too.

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Business leaders and coaches must redouble their efforts to reach their teams on a personal level, especially when physically separated. The culture doesn’t merely cease to exist when the office is empty, after all. People make up the organization and good leaders help keep it together and strengthen it. Do not let limited physical interaction prevent this social cohesion. Before, during, and after virtual meetings, make sure to discuss matters outside the scope of work; hold weekly virtual social/team-building events; have fun with filters and backgrounds during video chats; the list goes on. 

Leadership is Not Limited to a Location

Making the change from a physical to a virtual workplace (even if it’s temporary or partial) is bound to yield some growing pains. That said, the pursuit of your company’s goals and leadership development remains firm. And with the advent of today’s technology, you don’t have to slow down or skip a beat when it comes to growing your business and its leaders as long you are adaptable and forward-thinking.

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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Expert Virtual EOS Support: Avoid Losing Traction During Challenging Times

By Leadership Resources 06/22/2020
Man providing Leadership Resources providing virtual EOS support

The world is always changing, but the past few months have accelerated the rate of these changes significantly. While many companies have been incorporating remote work as a key part of their models for over a decade, recent events have made this trend a necessity. In many ways, this sudden shift is encouraging, revealing the many benefits of remote work, such as less time spent commuting, production-focused performance management, cost savings associated with less office use, and more. But just because it is possible and/or required to work from home these days doesn’t mean the downsides of remote work simply disappear. 

During these unprecedented times of physical separation, businesses may struggle to keep teams unified, focused, and on track. As it turns out, though, this change in the status quo presents an opportunity to invest in virtual support and training methods that will strengthen your teams and leaders wherever they are. More specifically, you might consider adopting the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS)® for your enterprise, taking advantage of its online components. Let’s go over how expert virtual EOS support can help you keep your teams on track during challenging times.

Understanding EOS®

The Entrepreneurial Operating System consists of various practical tools, resources, and concepts aimed at helping businesses and entrepreneurs achieve their goals, maintain a unified vision, promote healthy leadership development, and foster stronger team cohesion and communication. The beauty of this system is that it can be implemented via in-person and/or online meetings. In other words, businesses can reap the rewards of EOS even when social distancing is a priority.

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What Does Virtual EOS® Support Look Like?

Whether in-person or online, EOS support begins by partnering up with an EOS Implementer™. These experts act as guides for the entire process, educating you and your teams on the EOS Model™ and EOS Process®, then supervising various meetings for your organization. Unlike other online business coaching programs, EOS is designed to be highly adaptable, meaning the content of each meeting is directly informed by the business’ short- and long-term goals and issues. By compartmentalizing in this way, your business can stay focused on what needs to get done, when, and prioritize accordingly.

To keep your company on track, your virtual EOS Implementer will conduct The 90-Minute Meeting™ to get your leadership team on the same page, schedule The Focus Day™ and Vision Building™ Days to introduce foundational tools and explain their uses, guide you along quarterly and annual planning sessions, help you uncover and resolve short- and long-term issues within your organization, and remotely check in as needed to ensure your continued success. In short, virtual EOS support acts as an online leadership development regiment, team-building strategy, goal-setting apparatus, problem-solving system, and overall organizational health and growth thermometer.

Keep Your Organization on Track with Virtual EOS® Support

As we continue to face difficult and uncertain times, make sure your business maintains a solid foundation and company culture. The Entrepreneurial Operating System can help you navigate any and all obstacles in your way and prepare you for those yet to come. And even if you cannot meet with an EOS Implementer face-to-face right now, you can still benefit just as much with virtual EOS support.

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 we can help your business succeed and grow.

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