5 Top Leadership Articles for the Week of November 28, 2016

How to Build a Culture of Thanks In Today’s Workplace by Valerie Bolden-Barrett

Nineteenth century psychologist William James is quoted as saying: “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.” If he was right, then that might explain the widespread use and popularity of social media and why social recognition matters….

A Harvard Business Review survey of 1,000 employees weighed in on the actions they liked least in managers. The number one action that 63% of the employees liked least was not recognizing employees’ achievements. Not giving clear directions (57%) and not taking time to meet with employees (52%) were the second and third highest offenses in HBR’s Interact/Harrison Poll.

My Comment: I believe gratitude comes from the deep realization that no one has to do anything for you. And yet…they do. Your parents did (imperfectly, but they did.) Your employees do (imperfectly, but they do.) That’s what I mean when I say that everyone is a volunteer – everyone has a choice about what they will do and the energy they will expend. When you fully embrace this reality, you can’t help but to feel gratitude – and that will transform your leadership.

How Any Leader Can Kickstart and Land a Powerful Conversation by Dan Rockwell

You look for an escape when blabbing leaders arrive. But a leader skilled at powerful conversations is a thing of beauty. 10 questions to kickstart powerful conversations:

My Comment: This is a great list of questions to use as you spend time with your team and talk about their development, how you can lead effectively, and what’s going to make a real difference for them and their productivity. Both the opening and closing questions are fantastic.

Why Understanding Others is a Key Leadership Skill by Steffan Surdek

there’s great value in recognizing different perspectives in conversations because these enable us to hear and react to things very differently. One of my close friends often says: “Change how a situation occurs to you, change how you will respond to the situation.”

My Comment: Surdek’s observations about the power of grasping different perspectives are spot on. You’ll be so much more influential when you understand the view other people have of a particular situation and how to bridge the gaps in understanding. I often think this is a defining characteristic of a leader: your ability to see what others cannot and to help them become aware of what they did not perceive before. That is an incredibly powerful skill – and one that takes work to cultivate.

3 Ways to Keep Loyal Employees From Becoming Disengaged by Inah Mallare

Almost every company claims to prioritize Employee Engagement, that is usually just a catchphrase. The truth is, employers know that not everyone will be engaged, and they are counting on their resignation.

The truth hurts, however, that is how most companies roll. According to Investopedia, many companies do not understand why it is very important to keep employees engaged and motivated. Surely many of you have encountered being told “You’re lucky you have a job, so just do what you’re told” or “Then quit, I’m sure many people are desperate to find a job like yours.”

My Comment: One of the saddest experiences I have is to watch highly productive, loyal employees become disengaged, even bitter, as their insecure or oblivious managers suck the life out of them (sometimes intentionally!) Mallare’s suggestions shouldn’t be too surprising, but the vital element in #3: show them they matter, always bears repeating.

Your Employees Don’t Get Your Strategy by David Grossman

You’ve probably heard the story about two bricklayers. You ask one bricklayer what he’s doing and he says, “I’m building a wall.” You ask another and he says, “I’m building a castle.”

To drive performance, leaders need more employees who understand not just that they’re building a wall, but that they’re building a castle.

Research shows that helping employees understand strategy matters, yet we’re far away from both the wall and the castle. The stats show the reasons are many and varied, including that leaders struggle with how to do it.

My Comment: In Winning Well we spend a lot of time discussing the importance of clear expectations. Remember that expectations aren’t just about what we’re going to do – they’re also about why we’re doing it. The majority of the thousands of leaders I’ve worked with struggle with this connection. Can everyone in your organization describe what success looks like for your organization? One of the most important things you’ll ever do for your people is to give them clarity about what they’re doing and why they’re doing it.


david-dye-7David works with leaders to get results without losing their soul (or mind) in the process. Have David keynote your next event or deliver corporate training: Email today or call 303.898.7018!

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David works with leaders to get results without losing their soul (or mind) in the process. Have David to speak at your next event or corporate training: Email today david@trailblazeinc.com or call 303.898.7018!

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David works with leaders to get results without losing their soul (or mind) in the process. Have David to speak at your next event or corporate training: Email today david@trailblazeinc.com or call 303.898.7018!

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