Guidance on leadership development & strategic planning.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Business Consulting Sessions

By Leadership Resources 05/09/2022
Two women having discussion in front of computer

Do you have business consulting sessions coming up? Congratulations! You’re on the way to honing your company’s strategy and pursuing maximum success.

This is the perfect chance to leverage the experience of your leadership coach and squeeze every bit of benefit from your newfound leadership development experience. Read on to learn how to get the most out of your relationship with a business strategy consultant.

Why Leadership Development Consulting Is Important

Independent research from a wide variety of expert organizations regularly reveals a consistent conclusion: leadership development is one of the biggest issues facing organizations today. Via a survey from Deloitte, 80% of organizations say leadership is a top priority, but just half say their leaders are actually meeting expectations. For organizations, investing in leadership development helps boost the bottom line and attract good people. The right training can achieve the following:

  • Help a leader strategize effectively and manage change.
  • Attract and retain top talent
  • Improve overall financial performance
  • Ensure organizational consistency with succession planning
  • Increase probability of strategy execution

Conversely, ineffective leadership is the wrecking ball that a business can encounter. Not only does it result in disengagement, but it also leads to the loss of top talent. Not only that, but bad leadership can also hurt a company’s revenue. For these reasons, leadership development is one of the most important investments for an organization.

Create a Short-Term and Long-Term Plan

When it comes to building a business strategy, the best results arise from careful planning. Look at the next 3 to 12 months, then look even further into the next 1 to 5 years. What are your biggest goals? Your biggest challenges?

Talk to your leadership coach to discuss how your business will adapt to a changing marketplace. Create a plan for dealing with things like an unexpected competitor that enters your area or a sudden loss of a key leader in the company.

Be Clear and Specific About Your Goals

Clarity counts when it comes to working with a business consultant. There’s very little benefit to receiving general advice or being vague about what you want to accomplish in your sessions.

Many business consultants provide wide-ranging, generalized advice that could apply to any business. When it’s time for your coaching sessions, it’s perfectly acceptable to press your coach for more specific insights that will help your particular company.

Stay open-minded and be willing to put work into the process. Be prepared to ask questions, but also be ready to receive questions in return from your leadership development consultant to look deeper into your policies and processes. This should be a give-and-take in the name of achieving greater success.

Examine and Revise Existing Business Strategies

Work with your leadership coach to take a look at your company’s existing business plan, and give extra attention to gaps in the plan where your goals aren’t being met. What could you be doing differently to make more progress?

Sometimes, it’s necessary to scrap the existing plan and develop a new plan from the ground up. This is particularly true in businesses with dangerously unhealthy cultures or those that are experiencing massive shifts in ownership, focus, or target market.

Explore New Ways to Support Your Emerging Leaders

How well does your company identify and nourish its developing leaders? Now is the ideal time to get better at supporting positive leadership behaviors with the help of your business coach.

Full leadership support goes far beyond sending an employee to a training program. It involves providing leadership development opportunities, connecting them with their peers, nourishing their spirit, and cheering them on as they make progress. 

Download the whitepaper Identify and Develop High Potential Leaders of your Organization

It’s also important to help your newest leaders see a clear picture of the future where they play a vital role in your organization. Create a succession plan that includes leaders at various levels and map out a more profitable and productive future for your company.

Finding the Right Leadership Development Program

To get the most out of every business strategy consultant relationship, provide your emerging leaders with the leadership skills and resources they need to grow. Your company needs a leadership coach with the experience and expertise to provide robust guidance and support.

For meaningful, lasting change, experts recommend leadership development programs as opposed to simple training programs. At Leadership Resources, we help companies turn promising achievers into high-performing leaders with effective leadership development plans. Whenever you need us, we’re here to help you succeed.

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6 Powerful ways to develop your employees as leaders

By Leadership Resources 05/02/2022
Woman leading a meeting

When you think about the future leaders of your company, which names come to mind? Who are your company’s next-generation leaders?

The truth is, many organizations struggle to determine who their future C-suite executives, board members, directors, and managers will be. It’s not that these organizations don’t have plenty of potential candidates. It’s that they don’t know who will rise to the top.

However, leadership doesn’t happen automatically. Developing leaders shouldn’t be a “wait and see” activity at your company. It takes proactive planning to develop leaders and help them achieve their full potential.

If you’re wondering how to develop leaders in your organization who can find success for decades to come, read on. Below are six effective ways of developing emerging leaders and helping them flourish.

1. build their emotional intelligence

High emotional intelligence (EQ) is a hallmark of great leaders. Contrary to popular belief, EQ isn’t an inborn trait but an acquired skill that can be built through leadership development education and ongoing practice.

Leaders with high EQ are good at adapting to change, resolving conflicts, and using feedback to find creative ways to succeed. These are all excellent qualities to have in a leader at your company, especially if you’re hoping to grow and expand the business.

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2. Help Them Develop Interpersonal Skills

Another powerful way to develop leaders is to help them hone the valuable interpersonal skills it takes to effectively manage teams of people. Some of the most important interpersonal skills for team-building include:

  • Active listening
  • Patience
  • Flexibility
  • Empathy
  • Problem-solving
  • Conflict resolution

When someone is skilled at managing interpersonal interactions, it’s much easier for them to build team rapport and camaraderie. Even when major challenges arise, they can use their interpersonal skills to handle things thoughtfully and continue supporting their teams along the path to success.

3. Support Positive Communication

While communication is critical in the workplace, not all communication is positive. It’s essential to root out negative messages to keep communication flowing productively in a way that encourages and motivates people.

Leaders are responsible for creating a culture of positive or negative communication. By developing leaders’ communications skills and helping them practice handling difficult situations, a company sets a standard of positive communication. 

4. Create Respect and Authority

Terms like “respect” and “authority” carry both negative and positive connotations. While both of them are crucial for organizational success, the business shouldn’t be a dictatorship.

How do you build leaders who garner respect and authority? Teach them how to balance a need for authoritative leadership with soft skills like showing emotional vulnerability, caring, and using words of appreciation with their employees. 

Encourage one-on-one discussions between employees and managers beyond the annual review process. Give them time and space to build personal connections that lead to deep feelings of respect and admiration.

5. Hold Them Accountable

The world’s most successful companies have a high level of personal accountability where each employee takes responsibility for successes and failures. Accountability involves staying open to feedback and using it constructively to move toward achieving personal and professional goals.

Accountability is not an excuse to criticize people; it’s about holding employees accountable positively and productively, which takes education and practice on the part of leaders. When everyone is in the habit of staying accountable, it brings them together in the spirit of achievement.

11 Ways To Create Accountability And Increase Productivity At Your Organization. Download this whitepaper.

6. Use Coaching and Development, Not Just Training

Finally, one of the most powerful ways to develop leaders is to provide them with the resources to grow and expand their skills. Too often, only lip service is paid to leadership development; no action is actually taken to develop emerging leaders. 

For meaningful, lasting change, experts recommend robust coaching and development programs as opposed to simple training programs. This is the best way to develop a new generation of leaders.

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How to Develop Leaders in Your Organization

At Leadership Resources, we help companies develop their most promising achievers into high-performing leaders. When your company needs to implement an effective leadership development plan, we’re here to provide expert guidance and support.

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Developing leaders within your organization: Steps you can take now to create future leaders

By Leadership Resources 04/25/2022

How is your organization ensuring its future success? The choices a company makes now in developing leaders will impact its achievements and growth for decades to come.

Continuous development of high-potential employees should be a top priority. Invest in your people now, and you’ll see the long-term dividends in your organization’s ongoing prosperity.

Below are some of the most important steps a company can take to create a strong group of effective leaders. Build these goals into your strategic plan now to ensure leadership development remains a key factor in your company’s future.

Developing Leaders Starts with Strong Employee Engagement

As companies adjust to incorporate hybrid and remote teams, employee engagement is more important now than ever before. A sharp rise in remote working has put everyone at risk of feeling less connected to their employers.

What is your company doing to continually engage with its employees? How are you ensuring your emerging leaders feel personally connected to your organization?

Developing company leaders goes hand-in-hand with maintaining positive connections with employees regardless of distance. Now’s the right time to reevaluate your company’s performance management and employee development program to ensure employee engagement is a top priority.

How to Develop Leaders Who Think Like Innovators

Evaluate how your organization is working to build effective leaders who stay at the cutting edge of innovation in your industry. Forward-thinking companies are good at welcoming diversity and constantly seeking out fresh points of view.

Leadership development programs encourage people to forge new interpersonal connections and expand their understanding of your company, the industry, your client base, and the world. When your emerging leaders know more about what’s possible, they can build a mental picture of what it’s like to lead a team toward future success.

Encourage your potential leaders to feel confident suggesting new ideas and trying new things. Get the most out of your employees by fostering a culture where innovation and even failure aren’t such scary prospects.

Unlock The Leadership Potential Within Your Organization. Download this whitepaper.

Retaining Your Top Talent Over the Long Term

Retaining talented employees has become extremely difficult, especially in highly-competitive fields like sales, information technology, finance, and healthcare. Hiring managers are seeing challenging behaviors like employees quitting after just a few days of accepting jobs, then using multiple outside offers to demand huge raises. 

Blunt the impact of these trends by developing a long-term employee retention plan. Show your employees why it’s worth their time to stay at your company and celebrate their achievements. Make sure they know they matter to you.

A strong succession planning strategy is a critical component of employee retention. Even as your organization constantly cultivates fresh talent, it should be mapping pathways for current employees to become future leaders. A solid succession plan secures your company’s long-term legacy while making each person feel individually valued as an important part of the plan. 

Building Leaders from Within

The Accelerate Leadership Program (ALP) supports growing companies by developing emerging leaders in the organization and getting the most out of leaders at all levels. Each participant in the program encounters a leadership program that feels personalized and individualized as they build their knowledge and confidence.

In ALP, each person experiences a proven leadership curriculum that involves building interpersonal skills, gaining an education on emotional intelligence, benefiting from leadership coaching, and using Accelerate software to pursue leadership success. This is the secret to developing leaders in your company and helping them flourish.

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Ready to see how much success your organization will achieve by developing future and existing leaders? Contact us for more information.

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Emotionally Intelligent Leadership: How to Develop Emotional Intelligence in Emerging Leaders

By Leadership Resources 04/18/2022
Woman leading a company meeting

Did you know having a low EQ could hurt your career? People with low emotional intelligence, which is commonly abbreviated as EQ or EI, often find themselves struggling to thrive in leadership roles.

Consider these facts from studies on emotional intelligence in the workplace:

In fact, one study found that throughout your career, having a higher EQ correlates to $29,000 more per year in income. People who are more emotionally intelligent tend to be hired into higher-paying jobs and make more productive choices to benefit their employers.

Here’s the best news of all: EQ is something you can control. Almost anyone can improve their level of emotional intelligence and any company can set the stage for emotionally intelligent leadership.

Why Is Emotional Intelligence Important in Leadership?

People who have high emotional intelligence tend to be good at navigating interpersonal relationships and resolving conflicts. They may or may not have formal leadership roles at work, but they often serve as de facto group leaders. Everyone feels magnetically drawn to them.

In everyday work settings, others look to high-EQ people for their opinions, advice, and feedback about how things are going at the company. These high-EQ leaders always seem to say and do the right things that help people feel motivated to work in cohesive units.

By contrast, when someone’s EQ is low, they’ll likely struggle to feel connected to their coworkers and lack the right ingredients for long-term career success. A study by The Center for Creative Leadership looked at “career derailments,” where people had tried and failed to make headway in acquiring leadership positions within their careers. 

The study found that 75% of careers derail due to EQ-related factors. Low-EQ individuals displayed behavior like failing to manage interpersonal conflicts, providing poor leadership in crucial moments of difficulty, not adapting to change, and lacking the ability to foster interpersonal trust with coworkers.

Today’s companies place a priority on emotionally intelligent leadership because it dovetails with so many other common company initiatives like diversity, inclusion, sustainability, and ethical behavior. Company executives want their leaders to have the capacity to use soft skills like active listening, effective communication, and showing positive interpersonal appreciation.

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Why Is Emotional Intelligence Important?

Emotional intelligence has become a highly-valued trait in modern society. It helps people stay connected in an increasingly digital world and allows them to nimbly navigate complex social interactions.

We’ve all experienced a moment of confusion over a text message or emoji that we couldn’t quite interpret. Someone with high emotional intelligence can usually guess what the sender might have meant, easing the flow of interpersonal communication. By contrast, someone with low EQ might struggle to understand what’s being said and begin to disturb the smooth flow of communication.

The recent COVID-19 pandemic has introduced a whole new cascade of additional challenges for interpersonal interactions. Conversations that used to take place in-person within moments now extend into the digital world on tech platforms, stretching across time zones. Proper communication is an enormous challenge when it’s always at a distance.

As Forbes Magazine puts it, “Navigating the pandemic’s psychological, physical and economic effects is complicated and evokes a range of different – and often conflicting – emotions. Add social injustice and political unrest, and emotional intelligence is needed more than ever before.”

Can Emotional Intelligence Be Taught?

A study by Johnson & Johnson found that in the average company, the highest performers were the ones with the highest emotional intelligence and the lowest performers had the lowest EQ. Among the highest-EQ performers, the J&J researchers found characteristics like self-confidence, initiative, achievement orientation, adaptability, self-awareness, and a desire for service-oriented leadership.

But the good news is that EQ isn’t a fixed or inborn trait. It’s a skill that can be learned and there are numerous proven methods for improving it. Through emotional intelligence education, almost anyone can discover how to build a talent for interpreting others’ thoughts, navigating interpersonal situations more skillfully, and resolving conflicts in a positive way that brings fresh opportunities for success.

Best Emotional Intelligence Training

Any company looking to improve the level of EQ among its employees and leaders can do so through emotional intelligence training. However, for companies looking to have meaningful, lasting guidance in support of developing high-EQ leaders, experts recommend true coaching and development programs as opposed to training programs.

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At Leadership Resources, we offer the best emotional intelligence training to help companies identify emerging leaders and nurture emotionally intelligent leadership. When your company needs to implement an effective leadership development plan, we’re here to provide expert guidance and support.

Raising EQ With the Accelerate Leadership Program

The Accelerate Leadership Program (ALP) helps participants expand their leadership talent, confidence, and knowledge. Each participant expands their level of emotional intelligence while learning the essential skills it takes to motivate and inspire people. ALP is a personalized program that allows each person to build productive new habits in their own way.

Experts say it’s most effective to implement a full program that involves leadership coaching and individualized support, not just training. ALP’s coaching program goes far beyond basic leadership training programs because it uses a robust approach that incorporates a proven guided process, customized coursework, interpersonal peer connections, leadership coaching, interactive software, and an enormous archive of helpful resources to help them stay engaged.

This is the best emotional intelligence training, consulting, and support you can offer your employees. Let’s work together to identify your emerging leaders and help them take their EQ to the next level.

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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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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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How Long-Term Leadership Development Helps You Keep Your Best Talent

By Leadership Resources 05/05/2020
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Your top talent is highly valuable, and therefore also in high demand by other organizations. In this competitive global economy, landing quality people can be challenging in and of itself — keeping them around can be even more difficult. And considering that your company’s potential is directly tied to the potential and performance of its people, you cannot afford to let your top talent slip away.

In our previous post, “How to Keep Top Talent from Leaving Your Company,” we discussed how recruitment, company culture, regular feedback, competitive benefits, and leadership development all contribute to employee retention. Here we’ll further explore how long-term leadership development in particular can help you keep your best talent.

How Leadership Development Keeps Your Best Employees

The Power of Recognition

Effective employee management and leadership development requires plenty of feedback, which should include a healthy mixture of positive recognition and constructive criticism. And while every member of your organization should receive this regular feedback, it is especially important to maintain consistent communication with your best talent. Recognizing your top talent for their input and achievements and pointing out areas of improvement will simultaneously help them further develop their leadership skills while conveying their value to the company. When your people feel valued, they are more likely to stick around.

New Opportunities Energize Employees

There are many ways to develop the leadership potential of your top talent. In-person and online seminars, group training activities, and one-on-one meetings are all part of this equation, but real-world experience is often the most potent form of leadership development. By empowering your top talent to take on new roles and responsibilities, you help them gain crucial insights that are applicable to your organization and at large. This experiential leadership development opens doors for your best talent and lets them know that even more opportunities await if they continue to grow with the company.

Finding the Right Fit for One’s Skills

Long term succession planning is a major focus of all forward-thinking businesses. And a solid plan for the future depends on the advancement of top talent within your organization. Put another way, you need capable leaders at the ready to fill new roles and to take over existing ones when the time is right. Implementing effective leadership development programs not only prepares your top talent for these new positions — it also helps your company find the right positions for the right people. Indeed, employees are more likely to stay with an organization if they feel properly suited for their role and valued for their unique abilities. In other words, as you develop your top talent into strong leaders, they become more integral to the company as a whole and shape its direction moving forward.

Unlock The Leadership Potential Within Your Organization. Download this whitepaper.

The Leadership Domino Effect

The best leadership training programs have a positive, exponential impact on your top talent and all of your employees. As your people grow, they tend to pass on their new skills and knowledge both actively and passively, which encourages others to develop, too. This domino effect strengthens teams and an organization’s culture overall, improving the performance of your current top talent and producing new potential leaders in the process. As a result, you won’t just keep your best talent around — you’ll have even more of it.

Long-Term Success Depends on Long-Term Leadership Development

If you want to retain your best people, you need to recognize their contributions, give them new opportunities, and find the right roles for their talents. Focusing on leadership development helps achieve all of these things and sets your business up for continual success. In this way, effective leadership development, talent management and succession planning are all inextricably linked.

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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Don’t Lose Ground While Working Remotely: Invest in Virtual Leadership Development

By Leadership Resources 04/28/2020
Woman working with headphones

Business analysts have long anticipated a major shift in the way many of us work — namely, the rise of remote work. Indeed, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 already saw approximately 7 million remote workers in the U.S. (3.4% of the population). Several industries have been making this transition for years, while others have been slower to adapt. However, COVID-19 has acted as a powerful catalyst in the realm of remote work; in a matter of days, millions of people either lost their jobs or had to suddenly shift gears and start working from home full-time.

Even for businesses that don’t necessarily require a physical office space, this rapid change can prove challenging. Virtual interactions have a different flavor than in-person communication. Still, those companies fortunate enough to continue operations during this pandemic must make the most out of an uncertain situation. In fact, now is the perfect time to reconfigure and strengthen your strategic efforts, including your leadership development protocols.

The Benefits of Virtual Leadership Development

Adapting to A New Kind of Workplace

Optimizing your leadership development program for remote work begins by properly implementing the right technologies for your organization. As of now, text-based communication software like Slack and video conferencing tools like Zoom, Skype, and Google Hangouts are becoming essential components for remote teams. Of course, it’s not enough to merely have these tools at your disposal — you must ensure that every member of your team has access to these tools and can use them in proper coordination with one another. 

Keeping team members on the same page when physically distant is a major role for your business’ leaders. As current leaders rise to the occasion, they inherently pass on their virtual leadership skills to developing leaders. A study performed by Gordon Schmidt in Industrial Organization Psychology points to three specific areas of emphasis for virtual leaders.

  • Virtual leaders must clearly deliver task-relevant information, as certain social cues may be lacking from remote interactions
  • Communication should occur more frequently and regularly when working remotely, as this allows teams to reconfigure actions and gain deeper understanding
  • Virtual leaders should do their best to maintain and strengthen personal relationships, as a lack of regular physical interaction can lead to decreased accountability, feelings of isolation, and misunderstandings

Actively Developing Leaders Outside the Office

Not all leadership development occurs through osmosis, of course. As businesses shift to remote work, they must continue to play an active role in developing their leaders. Organizations that have already enrolled team members in an online leadership development program are naturally at an advantage here. Workers can continue attending virtual meetings and classes, track their performance online, receive daily affirmation notifications, and more.

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However, some online leadership development training also includes in-person sessions. In the absence of these physical gatherings and one-on-one discussions, your organization must make an effort to conduct the same interactions virtually. This requires proper planning and communication, so team members understand when and how to continue their training over video, audio, and/or text chat. There should also be backup plans in place in the event that certain technologies experience difficulties or cannot be acquired by certain employees.

Synthesizing Virtual and In-Person Leadership Lessons

No one knows exactly when, or even if, we will return to business as usual. It’s possible that this sudden economic and social disruption will simply accelerate the already-surging global trend of remote work. If so, organizations must integrate developing leadership in the workplace with developing leadership outside of it. In other words, the methods and lessons learned from both in-person and virtual leadership development programs must transfer seamlessly between one another as the line between virtual leaders and tangible leaders continues to blur. As such, remote leadership training seminars shouldn’t look all that different from those held in a communal space.

With the right technology, strong communication ethic, and commitment to continual leadership development, you can keep your organization on track during this uncertain time. Better yet, you might end up ahead of the curve.

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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Have You Been Called “Salesy”? Here’s How to Start Selling More Naturally

By Leadership Resources 04/10/2020
Man working with headset

It might seem odd that the term “salesy” has become a pejorative. After all, the main objective of a sales team is to sell their company’s products and services. However, those on the other end of a sales call have their own priorities and challenges, and no one enjoys feeling pressured to agree to a contract or make a purchase. 

By now, most people can tell when the person selling something is doing it for the wrong reasons and not actually interested in the customer’s needs. As a result, salespeople who come off as too pushy and/or inauthentic end up losing more leads and sales than they gain. So, if your team has been accused of being “salesy,” your success rate and reputation will take a hit. It’s time to adopt a new approach to sales and sales team management. Here are some tips on how to start selling more naturally.

How to Have More Natural Sales Language

Remember: The Need is More Important than the Product

Improving your sales strategy begins by recognizing that, to the customer, what you’re selling is secondary to their needs. In other words, your sales team must shift its thinking from focusing on selling a product or service to addressing a prospect’s specific pain points. For instance, if you’re selling software solutions to a company, start the conversation by asking questions about their operations and common issues that your product can resolve. Taking this approach reminds the potential buyer of their needs and establishes a level of trust between both parties.

Do Not Push — Get Ahead of the Game

If selling is the main source of revenue for your business, easing up a bit is easier said than done. Still, considering that high-pressure sales pitches are less and less effective these days (and even detrimental), loosening your grip a bit is more beneficial in the long run. You can do this by “getting ahead of the game,” so to speak. What does this mean, exactly? Simply put, openly anticipate that your customer might decline your offer by laying out the possibilities from the outset. You and your prospect both know what’s going on, after all.

So, you can build trust by being transparent and leading a call or meeting with something like: “When we’re finished talking today you might decide that we can offer something valuable for your company or you might decide that now isn’t the right time. We’re here to make sure you make the best decision for your needs.” Acknowledging that “no” is an option reduces the pressure and makes everyone more comfortable.

Let the Other Party Talk (Ask Questions)

Speaking of transparency, another way to sell more naturally is to not hog the line: let the other party talk. If the prospect isn’t particularly chatty, ask meaningful, open-ended questions (avoid closed-off “yes or no” questions). Doing so may reveal important pain points and concerns that can help you improve your pitch and better understand the other party. Plus, allowing the prospect to speak creates a conversational balance that naturally reduces the “salesiness” of the interaction.

Sell by Not Selling (Inbound Marketing)

When we think of sales, we often think about outbound marketing strategies like cold calls, mailing lists, trade shows, etc. However, inbound marketing strategies are just as important, especially these days where social media and search algorithms dominate the information sphere. These strategies include content creation, social media marketing, search engine optimization, and other tactics that organically lead targeted audiences to your company and products. One major benefit of a strong inbound marketing approach is that it rarely comes off as “salesy” because people are coming to you, not vice versa. That said, you can still eliminate any potential “salesiness” by investing in great copywriting that’s easy to read, relatable, and highly relevant.

Focus on Developing Leaders in Your Sales Team

Your sales numbers depend on the performance of your sales team. If your people lack clear direction or don’t receive consistent, constructive feedback, they will continue to fall into the same ruts. In order to level up your sales strategy, then, you have to level up your sales staff. Investing in sales leadership training is crucial to staying ahead of the curve in this challenging, competitive industry. 

An effective sales leadership development program might include seminars on how to personalize sales pitches, encourage prospect’s to do the talking, create quality sales copy and marketing content, follow up properly with different types of leads, and much more. As members of your sales team continue developing leadership skills, they can pass on their knowledge to newer, less experienced employees.

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Being too “salesy” is a losing strategy. Shifting to a needs-focused, low-pressure, transparent, magnetic approach, combined with proper sales leadership development will help you win.

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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