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Each week I read a number of leadership articles from various online resources and share them across social media. Here are the five articles readers found most valuable last week. I have added my comment about each article and would like to hear what you think, too.
Questions That Actually Lead to Good Answers by James daSilva at SmartBrief
Leading others, in whatever form it takes, is rarely about anything particularly exciting. It’s often about being clear about the task and expectations, about listening, and about feedback that acknowledges what must improve going forward.
That’s not everything, but that portion of it is not insurmountable for most leaders. Unfortunately, the natural tendency for many of us is to assume everyone has the same mental picture of the work and the goal, to delight in the sound of our own voice, and to be uncomfortable or really bad at giving feedback.
So what’s the good news about this good news/bad news scenario? Well, it’s most of us have good intentions. We want to be good leaders, good coaches, good listeners. But we’re struggling to do so.
My Comment: My experience echoes daSilva’s – many business leaders know they need to coach their team members. The problem is that the act of coaching is a specific skill that isn’t often taught. When I share coaching questions to help people develop their problem solving and critical thinking skills, it’s often one of the most popular parts of the program. In this post daSilva breaks down the coaching process to help focus on how to ask questions, not just give answers, in a way that supports and helps your employees grow.
What Employees Are Saying When They Say They Don’t Trust Leaders by Thuy Sindell and Milo Sindell
Leaders have a big problem in the workplace — employees don’t trust them. A 2015 survey of North American workers, conducted by Achievers, showed that just 45 percent of employees trust the leadership at their company. Leaders, are you listening? I know this might be a hard pill to swallow.
Why don’t employees trust leaders? Well, that’s a tricky question to answer. Trust is a combination of six well-established factors. But how trust is built or eroded is subjective based upon the individual, experiences and relationships.
Here’s a look at what employees mean when they say they don’t trust leaders and what leaders can do to establish more trusting relationships…
My Comment: When your people don’t trust you, you’re finished. This is a great article because Sindell & Sindell focus not only on six uncomfortably common reasons people don’t trust business leaders, but it also gives you the ‘how to’ fix these issues. If you want to have influence and build your credibility, don’t miss this one.
Are Millennials So Different? This research suggests they aren’t by Julie Winkle Giulioni
For some time, leaders have struggled to understand the differences among generations in the workplace. It’s been daunting for many to figure out how to respond differently to four generations all working side-by-side. And, as a result of this seemingly impossible management conundrum, many have thrown their hands up and done nothing.
It’s unfortunate that in an attempt to simplify the landscape, the different age groups have been reduced to caricatures with incomplete generalizations. Because the reality of this situation and the path forward for leaders who want to meet the needs of each generation is actually much simpler than we’ve realized.
My Comment: I applaud every time I come across an article that tries to build on our common needs, rather than divide us according to statistical variations. Recently I wrote about how you might want to listen to your ‘pesky millennials’ and last week I came across another piece of research that supports Giulioni’s position. It suggested that 58% of Millennials want a job that helps them grow. The interesting thing about that research… 41% of Boomers said the same thing.
Human beings generally want the same things – but we do want them in varying proportions, different flavors, and more or less frequently: purpose, growth, encouragement, and influence. Provide these basic ingredients and you’ll find yourself with motivated people – regardless of their generation.
How to Become a Brain-Friendly Leader by Michelle Smith
When we’re in supportive, nurturing environments we grow and adapt to change more easily and much more effectively. Brain science suggests the most effective actions leaders can take is to engage employees and increase their professional development is to reduce their perceived threats and to help them come to insights and conclusions on their own.
This is especially challenging for leaders who have the near impossible task of being both coach and judge…
My Comment: Leaders are often frustrated by their team members’ behaviors. One of the best ways to overcome that frustration and have a more productive team is to understand why it happens. More important still: to understand why the behaviors you desire and need will happen. When you understand why people do what they do, it becomes much easier to work with them to cultivate a productive environment. Smith offers great suggestions to help you get started being a brain-friendly leader (and, I would add…a less frustrated, more productive leader!)
Truth-Telling In the Trenches of Leadership by Scott Cochrane
“We have just hit our goal and we’re still going strong!”
That is leadership truth-telling at its easiest.
“It appears we will miss the mark, and my own miscalculation is partially responsible.”
That’s leadership truth-telling at its toughest, and at its most important. Because it’s when things are not going well that leaders find themselves in the trenches of leadership. And it is the ability to tell the truth from that place that sets the great leaders apart…
My Comment: This is a challenging (and truthful) article from Cochrane. Taking responsibility, communicating bad news, and sharing truths that don’t put you in the best light are some of the most challenging leadership tasks. But – when you do it well, your credibility soars. You also come across as someone strong enough to handle the truth. People know they can trust you.
David 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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