LEADERSHIP RESOURCES BLOG

Guidance on leadership development & strategic planning.

How to Maintain Respect and Authority While Still Showing Appreciation to Your Team

By Leadership Resources 12/26/2021

Employee recognition matters, both in terms of retention and productivity. According to a recent Glassdoor survey, approximately 53% of respondents claimed they’d be more likely to stick with a company for the long haul if they genuinely felt appreciated by their managers — 81% stated they were more motivated when their hard work was regularly recognized. If you want to establish a durable, driven company culture, then you need to let your people know that they’re doing a good job. Of course, delivering positive sentiment for its own sake won’t yield the result you’re looking for either. The recognition you deliver must be earned or else the weight of said recognition will diminish. Moreover, you risk losing the respect and trust of your team and colleagues if your praise rings hollow.

Here’s how to maintain respect and authority while still showing plenty of appreciation to your team.

Uphold Strong Communication Always

Some people still associate authority with a sort of reservedness, wherein the person in power is behind the scenes, rarely speaking to others outside of a close circle. However, making an effort to speak directly with team members is vital in building mutual respect and showing appreciation. Indeed, your team is bound to respect your authority much more if you’re regularly in the room with them, listening to their thoughts and concerns and playing a role in day-to-day decisions. By honing your leadership communication skills, you can remain well aware of what each team member is doing so you can highlight outstanding performance when you see it — and since your face will be well-known, your employees will believe your kind words when you convey them.

Set Clear Expectations

Good team management relies on coherent ground rules. Some of your employees will simply want to get their work done while others will actively try to go above and beyond. In either case, you need to set clear expectations so every team member knows what they should be doing, how they should behave, and whether or not their actions are worthy of distinct appreciation. When everyone is on the same page in this way, they can better direct their efforts and earn your recognition on a regular basis.

Manage Individual and Team Performance

In order for your praise to be consistently well-founded, you must keep close tabs on your team’s performance. As part of your expectation-setting, you should lay out key performance indicators (KPIs) that help you and your employees maintain a clear grasp on which metrics matter and why. Some common KPIs include sales targets and changes over time, customer retention rate, amount of time it takes to accomplish certain repeated tasks, etc. It’s crucial that these employee KPIs are measurable, realistic, specific, and understood. Performance management using KPIs and other methods will allow you to point to tangible data that reveals exceptional effort, distinct accomplishments, and other benchmarks worthy of applause.

Find Fresh Ways to Deliver Praise

If you’re still not sure of how to best manage your team and express your appreciation in a genuine way, do your best not to fall into stagnation — recognition is always more potent when it’s delivered in unexpected, novel ways. Employees who regularly go above and beyond deserve more than just another shout-out — it might be time to give them a meaningful reward (which in turn may encourage others to follow said employee’s example). Also, avoid concise, rote appreciation, instead taking the time to cater your praise in such a way that emphasizes an individual’s efforts. Timing and context can make a difference, too — will you recognize someone in the presence of their team or recognize their work one-on-one? There’s no single way to show your team appreciation, so mix up your delivery and wording to make the biggest impact each time.

Recognition with Respect

As a leader, you must strike a balance between expressing appreciation to your team and maintaining your authority so your people continue to feel motivated to do their best work. Pursuing ongoing leadership communication training is one of the best ways to achieve this balance. The better you are at communicating with your team, the stronger your culture will become — making sure your people feel sincerely appreciated is a major part of this equation.


At Leadership Resources, our purpose is to make the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease obstacles 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 Reasons Why Peer-to-Peer Communication Boosts Morale in the Workplace

By Leadership Resources 11/15/2021
Two colleagues communicating

In previous entries, we’ve discussed the importance of strong leadership communication in any organization. Of course, communication shouldn’t merely flow in one direction. Employees must also hone their abilities to properly communicate with managers and peers alike. Indeed, when team members learn to better communicate with one another, the entire company stands to benefit. Let’s explore why peer-to-peer communication boosts morale in the workplace.

Benefits of Peer-to-Peer Communication

1) Creates a Culture of Authenticity and Transparency

In hierarchical settings, people can feel left out of certain conversations as others might wish to withhold certain information from others. While there are legitimate reasons for gatekeeping sensitive details at different levels, a positive and productive company culture relies on authenticity. If an employee is keeping something to themselves for self-serving or unfounded reasons (i.e., fear, leverage, etc.), an unnecessary roadblock is formed. Over time, employees can silo themselves, cliques can form, and the culture can become one of secrecy and defensiveness. Conversely, encouraging peer-to-peer communication breaks down these walls and builds trust among employees. When all employees are on the same page, there’s less room for petty grievances, allowing for greater productivity and morale.

2) Encourages Mutual Recognition

The healthiest organizational cultures are those that actively recognize team members for outstanding work. However, building a positive team culture relies on more than receiving this positive feedback from supervisors alone — employees also benefit from being recognized by their peers. Strong teams are built upon mutual recognition. One employee’s success should be seen as a win for the whole team, not a slight against other employees. When peers give and receive appreciation to one another, the sense that, “we’re better together,” is solidified. 

3) Empowers Employees

When employees feel like they’re on their own, they may feel less inclined to speak out, ask questions, make suggestions, and take action. Leaders are partially responsible for helping their team members feel empowered on the whole, but one’s peers also contribute to this empowerment. After all, receiving encouragement from a peer is one of the best endorsements one can receive since this advice comes from more of a level playing field. When all employees provide this encouragement for one another, the entire team becomes bolder, strengthening the organization overall.

4) Promotes Productivity

Peer-to-peer communication also helps streamline various processes. In many cases, a simple check-in or question answered is all that’s needed to solve a problem. While leaders may sometimes get involved in resolving or clarifying these issues, peers can often take care of it themselves. The easier it is for peers to communicate with one another, the more productive teams become, freeing up time and resources for everyone and boosting morale in the process.

5) Cultivates Leaders in Your Organization

Finally, a strong peer-to-peer communication network helps budding leaders reach their full potential. Of all the ways to develop leadership communication skills, maintaining a strong connection with fellow employees is one of the most powerful. While there are some differences regarding communication between peers and communication between leaders and those in their purview, the core tenets of strong communication remain the same, such as clarity, consistency, timing, attention, use of language, and more. Leaders who have mastered how to manage communication in teams most likely began developing these skills via peer-to-peer communication.


At Leadership Resources, our purpose is to make the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease obstacles 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.

Emotionally Intelligent Leaders White paper - Download Read More

How an Established Leader Can Better Communicate

By Leadership Resources 05/26/2021
Leader communicating with his team

The role of “leader” consists of many parts. Not only must leaders excel in their field and manage multiple tasks at once, but they must also unify their teams around a shared vision in order to propel the enterprise forward. This coalescence can only occur with strong communication. That said, leadership communication skills don’t come easily to everyone, and even those who have a knack for it can always seek improvement. Whether you’re struggling to hold your people together or want to level up your emotional intelligence, here’s how an established leader such as yourself can become a better communicator.

How to Best Communicate With Your Team

Make a Routine of Checking in With Employees

For better or worse, humans are creatures of habit. We can use this feature to our advantage by creating positive routines and adjusting them when necessary. When it comes to bolstering your communication skills as a leader, hosting regular check-ins with individuals and teams is a useful habit to establish. These meetings can vary in frequency and length, so long as it becomes an expected event. Not only will these regular check-ups aid in employee management, but they’ll also make your people feel more comfortable opening up to you. The more you listen to your employees’ ideas and concerns, the easier it will be to discuss these matters honestly with each and every one of them.

Cater Your Message Accordingly

Competent leadership communication is flexible, adapting to the audience in question. By getting to know your people better (as mentioned above), you can figure out the right way to reach them. Put simply, you always want to meet your audience where they are. Otherwise, you risk alienating (or even offending) them. Crafting your communication style carefully is an exercise in empathy — plus, it’s much more effective.

Simplify Complex Ideas

Clarity is key in communication. After all, you can’t get a message across to anyone if they can’t make heads or tails of what you’re saying. In many ways, the biggest hurdle of leadership communication is taking complex ideas and reducing them in such a way that everyone can understand and care about them without sacrificing anything vital. As an expert, you might intrinsically know what a certain data set is saying or how a certain process works, but there’s no guarantee that your employees will share your comprehension. To become a more effective leader and communicator, focus on what’s relevant to your people and build from there; getting into the weeds can wait until you’ve gotten your team on the same page.

Mind Your Body Language

Communication is about more than the words coming from your mouth; it’s also about how you’re delivering the message. Humans are designed to read body language. Indeed, your body language can send a stronger message than your words in some cases. Open arms and smiles tend to be infectious and welcoming, while folded arms and frowns can dampen morale. Ultimately, you want your movements to match and/or elevate what you’re trying to convey (this comes naturally to some but not to everyone). If you’re having a hard time getting your physicality to fit your message, partaking in executive communication coaching courses focused on body language can be a major help.

Ask Your Teams for Feedback

No matter how hard you work on improving your communication skills, you won’t know how well you’re doing unless you receive honest feedback from your people. Asking your employees for their thoughts on your performance is a great way to build trust and cultivate a more transparent company culture. Moreover, taking this feedback to heart will help you grow as a leader and communicator, so long as you make adjustments based on responses you receive.

Establishing Stronger Communication

Even the most seasoned leaders have room to grow. Sharpening your communication skills will only improve your culture and allow your company to reach new heights.At Leadership Resources, our purpose is to make the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.

Emotionally Intelligent Leaders White paper - Download Read More

Why Communication Is Important in Leadership

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

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

What Are the Benefits of Good Communication?

Communication Keeps People on the Same Page

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

Communication Is Key to Understanding Problems

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

Communication Drives Positive Change

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

Communication Helps Retain Top Talent

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

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

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Preparing the Next Leadership Team for Succession

By Leadership Resources 04/13/2019
Leadership Resources Preparing The Next Leadership Team for Succession

In the business world, you’ll find many passionate leaders who seem unlikely to ever leave the company. But our time here is limited, and life has a way of throwing curveballs at us whether we like them or not. It’s simply a fact that if you own a business, one day you and your fellow leaders will have to leave it, whether due to age, health concerns, or personal reasons. Of course, just because you’ll eventually exit the company doesn’t mean the enterprise should shut down too. If you want your business’ legacy to thrive, you’ll have to focus your efforts on succession planning.

What You Need to Know About Succession Planning

What is Succession Planning?

Right now, you may be asking yourself, “what is succession planning?” Simply put, succession planning is how a company secures its future by hiring, promoting, and/or training individuals to take on leadership roles as current leaders leave the enterprise. You might think of it as a ceremonial passing of the torch. As one team leaves, a new team steps in to carry on the business’ mission. Without proper succession planning, a business will struggle to continue its operation, as there will be no one available or remotely prepared to take on these vital leadership roles.

How Do Companies Develop Succession Plans?

The importance of succession planning should be abundantly clear. However, successfully crafting and implementing a succession planning strategy is a different story altogether. Every company differs in size, scope, location, and potential leadership candidates, meaning each organization must create a plan that suits its individual needs. Still, there are certain general guidelines every business should follow when forming a strategy for succession planning.

Start Early

The sooner you consider your exit strategy, the better. You won’t be shipping off tomorrow, of course, but by being ahead of the curve you can outline a plan for how to go about finding optimal replacements. This head start also allows you to start focusing on the leadership development of your current staff members. It takes time to identify the right candidates, let alone train and evaluate them thoroughly enough for the new role. By starting early, you have more time to ensure the right people are on board.

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Clearly Identify Roles, Duties, and Vision

One of the major challenges in succession planning is knowing and clearly communicating what roles and duties need to be fulfilled and how they will help steer the company into the future. If you started the business, you and your partners might know these things inherently. But when it’s time to bring new blood into the fold, you need to flex your leadership communication skills to get everyone on the same page. You might start including potential candidates in more closed-door meetings to help them gain insight into the company’s operations, for instance.

Consider the Plan When Hiring

If you already have a solid team, you’ll have an easier time finding the right people to take over in your absence. However, you’ll likely have to hire some new faces every now and then. With a solid succession planning model, you can hire new recruits with this template in mind. In other words, you’ll be able to hone in on specific traits and leadership qualities present in high-quality employees. Your succession plan should inform every hiring decision you make so you don’t waste any time finding and training the best people for the role.

When your business is growing, the last thing you might think about is leaving. However, failing to consider an exit strategy is a mistake that may cost the legacy of your organization. With proper succession planning, you can develop leaders within the enterprise and ensure the continued development of your business.At Leadership Resources, our purpose is making the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow.

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Is Your Team Unclear on Your Message? Know the Signs of Disconnect

By Leadership Resources 03/13/2019
question

Communication is one of the most powerful aspects of an organization. Strong communication keeps staff members accountable and helps maintain clarity. Poor communication can muddy the waters on every level. Without good leadership communication skills, your team might not know what to do next, or why they should do it. And if they fail to give you honest feedback, you might not even know that your message is unclear. This is a negative feedback loop that stifles productivity.

To get ahead of this potential confusion, it’s important to know some of the warning signs that suggest a disconnect in understanding. Here we’ll take a look at some of these signs and outline a few ways to course correct.

How to Tell Your Team Isn’t Getting Your Message

Lack of Engagement

We’ve all been told that there’s no such thing as a stupid question. Still, most of us don’t like being the first or only one to ask for clarification on something. If a team member isn’t grasping a message or a concept, they might hold still and wait for someone else to do it instead. The problem here is that this sometimes results in no one asking common questions at all. The leader in charge of team management is then unaware of the confusion that several team members might be feeling.

If your team isn’t super responsive or seems hesitant to ask questions, take this as a sign that something is unclear. To remedy this disengagement, try asking specific team members what they think the goal or task is about. If they can’t do this, they’ll most likely ask for further instruction rather than pretend to know the answer.

Repeated Questions

On the opposite end of this spectrum, you may receive too many questions, some of which echo questions you’ve already answered. This is a big red flag for team culture, too, as it suggests that team members aren’t listening well to each other and that they’re having a hard time grasping your message.

Repeated questions may derive from a flaw in your communication, however. Perhaps similar questions keep popping up because your answers lack clarity. Take these repetitive questions as a sign that you need to step back and explain yourself more clearly.

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Overlapping Tasks

Once a project is in motion, there are a number of signs that indicate team members aren’t fully clear on the task at hand. The most glaring of these is when staff members assigned distinct tasks end up overlapping. For instance, one team member may be in charge of taking research notes while another is tasked with reaching out to contacts. If either person ends up doing something that’s in the others’ jurisdiction, there is probably need for better communication and performance management.

If you notice this happening, go back to the drawing board and reassign clearly distinguished tasks to your team members. Make sure everyone is clear on what they should be doing, how to report on it, etc.

Goals Aren’t Being Met and Productivity is Suffering

This final warning sign stems from the previous one. When team members fail to do their job or accidentally do someone else’s, productivity suffers. Failing to meet goals and deadlines can occur for a number of reasons, but it’s most commonly from miscommunication and lack of understanding. People struggle to achieve goals if they’re not sure what those goals are, or why they matter. One of the most important leadership qualities is knowing how to set and frame goals so that every team member can get on board.

Knowing how to manage communication in teams is easier said than done. For one thing, every team is different, and within each team are unique individuals with various strengths and weaknesses. It takes time to learn the subtle cues of each team member and recognize when your team is veering off course. Leadership Resources provides tools for leadership development that can help better equip you to handle these situations and get your team back on track. For instance, our team includes certified implementers of the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS)®, a system which promotes clarity and cohesion in organizations.

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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Investing in Personal Development: In a Workplace of Constant Change, Personal Leadership Growth Is a New Basic Skill

By Leadership Resources 09/26/2018

We live in a time of unprecedented technological advancement. Massive strides in automation, artificial intelligence, and communication have caused turbulence in almost every sphere of work. For businesses undergoing these changes, owners and managers must find ways to adapt their behaviors, hiring practices, and sales models.

Individuals must adapt as well. In a workplace that’s constantly changing, personal development should become the focus. Likewise, continued business development hinges on fostering this leadership growth.

Personal Leadership Growth is a Business Growth Strategy

A business is only as strong as its people. If sales are down, it may or may not be the fault of your staff. However, sales will only improve if you and your people actively work together to solve the problem. Staring at the sales growth formula simply isn’t enough. In other words, the better your people do, the better your business does – and vice versa.

To cultivate this business development, current leaders must encourage the personal development and leadership skills of other members. When a company is filled with self-motivated, team-oriented people, it will continue to thrive. Plus, this personal development branches out exponentially. As new leaders emerge, more resources are available to bring others up with them.

The more empowered your people are, the better they’ll be able to adapt to new challenges. If you lose sales, or a model is forced to change due to regulations or technology, you and your leaders will be equipped to find creative solutions moving forward.

Personal Development: Areas of Focus

Personal leadership development takes time, but there are some areas you can focus on to prepare your employees for whatever changes lie ahead.

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Communication

The most common cause of error is improper communication. Paradoxically, there are so many avenues of communication available today (text, email, phone, instant messaging, video chat, etc.) that some people lose focus regarding what’s on their plate and how to express it most efficiently. Other staff members might not feel empowered to speak their mind and end up keeping feedback, ideas, or questions to themselves.

By focusing on effective leadership communication skills, every team member can learn how to effectively relay information to other workers, clients, and partners, and ask crucial questions. An open door of communication will build an atmosphere of trust in the workplace. A major part of communication is listening. The best leaders don’t only express themselves well, they listen well, too.

Working Together

Personal development doesn’t mean others are excluded. A huge part of personal development involves working with others. Collaboration often yields better results than one mind working alone. Teamwork depends on proper communication, so this aspect of leadership growth hinges on the previous one. Good leaders don’t micromanage, they work with their team members to solve problems.

Willingness to Learn

No one has it all figured out, especially in a workplace that changes all the time. Great leaders know that they don’t know everything, but want to continue learning and growing. In other words, personal development never ends. Even if you’ve risen to become a major leader at your business, there’s always more to learn. Your openness to learning should also lead you to teach others as they embark on their personal development journey.

For a business to grow and change, it needs its people to grow and change as well. When individuals learn and grow, they develop into leaders who can take on tomorrow’s uncertainties. Leadership Resources understands how crucial personal development is to building the future. We provide individuals with the tools they need to continue their leadership growth process and develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. For more information and solutions, contact us here today!

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