How To Lead in Times of Unprecedented Uncertainty and Challenge

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In times of crisis your people need steady leadership more than ever. But how do you lead when you yourself are unsure of exactly what the next month or week might bring?

In this week’s insight we share with you a simple way to understand your natural reaction to times of crisis, and how to make sure that you are giving very member of your team the leadership they need.

We will also show you the most common mistake leaders make when try to encourage their team in times of crisis.

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What is the best way to keep your team connected while they are working remotely?

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It’s much easier to manage and lead a team when you all are located in the same office. But what do you do when you suddenly are thrust into working as a remote team?

How do you ensure employees stay connected, productive and engaged?

In this week’s insight we share with you a simple way to learn exactly what every employee needs, and how to establish a baseline daily interaction that will ensure that your team stays on track.

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Why should you be empathetic and supportive of your team?

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Leaders often struggle with being supportive of their lower performing team members as they feel that if they are they will not be able to hold them accountable.

In this Weekly Insight we will show you why creative a supportive culture is critical to learning. We will also show you how to know if you have a natural predisposition toward being empathetic with your team.

All it takes is one simple test.

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How do you keep your team focused when a potential crisis looms?

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We are very concerned these days with the risk of the corona virus. It has exposed how interconnected our world really is. People travel at unprecedented levels and the world supply chain is more interconnected than ever.

How do you keep your team focused and on track when a crisis looms – but perhaps is not yet imminent?

There are two ways that leaders tend to approach challenges like these. In this week’s LeaderShift Insight we show you how both are flawed. Instead we offer a 4 step process to engage your team and keep them focused.

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Who Should You Ask For Advice From As A Leader?

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If you are growing and setting aggressive goals as a leader you will almost always have more questions than answers. In the videocast we look at the two most common responses that leaders have when they do not know the answer to a question.

We also give you a litmus test to know if the person you are asking for advice is going to be able to help you grow as a leader.

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What is the Most Important Leadership Lesson You Have Applied This Year?

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Every leader wants to be more successful and effective. In this week’s leadership insight we help you discover your approach to learning and how to ensure that you continue to not only get better results – but how to do it while engaging your team and challenging them to get better as well.

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What is the BEST way to address frustrations you have with your team?

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Have you ever been frustrated with your team, or a member of your team?

If you have been in leadership for any length of time at all – I already know the answer to this question. We hear about the frustrations facing leaders very day as we coach and conduct our leadership programs . Things are not getting any easier either as the pace of change continues to accelerate, and the labor market tightens.

The interesting part of this is that all of these frustrations have the same thing in common. This week we show you a simple method to help you move past those frustrations permanently.

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What is the Best Way to Set Goals to Maximize Team Commitment and Engagement?

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What is the best way to set goals for your team?LeaderShift One Day Intensive

It all starts with a goal. Either you are handed a goal by your manager, or you are asked to set one for your team. Set properly, the goal will establish a GAP between where you are and where you would like the team to be. In fact if there is no GAP there is no need for a leader. And that’s what you are – so how SHOULD leaders set goals?

It turns out that conventional wisdom flies in the face of recent brain science research.

What does the research say?

Modern brain research indicates that we evaluate a ‘status quo goal’ as more difficult to achieve than a ‘modest increase goal’. Yup. Thats right. Respondents were MORE negative about how hard it would be to keep things the same versus a modest increase. (Harvard Business Review  Nov 2018 – ‘Why You Should Stop Setting Easy Goals’)

But it gets even worse…

Not only did lower goals cause more negativity in respondents, when they were asked whether they would rather pursue the status quo goal – or the modest increase goal – they again chose the modest increase goal. And that finding held true across all different kinds of areas we set goals in.

So maybe we need to rethink HOW we set goals with our team. Lower goals are not actually more desirable or easier to get people to rally around. In fact, research has found that lower goals are less likely to be achieved. Now, before you fire off setting super stretch goals, know that those stretch goals rated the lowest of all three types of goals in terms of engagement and commitment. Maybe not verbal commitment – people may still commit verbally. They just don’t follow thru.

So what is the solution?

In order to maximize team commitment and engagement you need to set a modest increase goal while simultaneously decreasing the timeline allowed for the goals achievement. It is also critical that you make sure the team knows that this goal is a milestone on the way to a larger ideal – an ideal future that they have agree is important and desirable for the team to achieve.

So here is this week’s leadership insight: Set modest goals with shorter timelines.

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How to Make Subjective Feedback Objective

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Some years ago an executive coaching client ‘George’ (not his real name) related to me a particularly difficult challenge he was facing. George was struggling because Sam (also not his real name – but you knew that didn’t you?) was failing in his role as a senior leader. When I asked George what the results were like in Sam’s group, he replied that they were exceeding plan. When I asked how that was possible, he replied that the role was so critical that he had been doing Sam’s job for him for some time.

George was faced with a problem: How do you deal with an underperforming leader when their objective results are strong – even if you know that they are not the reason those results are strong. In other words, your feedback is Subjective rather than Objective, and could be viewed as your opinion.

Even Objective Feedback has a Subjective Component:LeaderShift One Day Intensive

In some cases you can show an employee that objective performance metrics are not where they need to be. That is not to say that they will always agree on their performance being the cause of the metric being less than desirable – but at least you have a solid starting point for the conversation. Note: For more information on handling these type of conversations see How to Avoid Defensiveness When Providing Feedback and Can You Really Get Someone to Change.

Even in the case of incontrovertible objective evidence, leaders are often unable, or unwilling, to see the connection between their operational results and their own leadership skills and/or behavior.

The Solution: You Have to Make Your Subjective Feedback Objective

Since so many of our coaching conversations revolve around subjective feedback, we created a process called Making the Subjective Objective™. Let’s use an example to show how it works:

One of your supervisors is having difficulty driving operational results. You can see that he is not engaging in effective coaching behaviors. Instead, he seems to take great pride in solving operational issues himself. This is lowering overall morale and engagement level in the team. Since he can only be in one place at a time, response times have extended and problems seem to pile up. This has caused him to complain about not being able to find skilled and hard working employees. You have tried to broach the subject of improving his coaching skills but he feels that he is already a pretty good coach.

Sound familiar?

In this case there is a mismatch between his perception of his skill level and what you believe his skill level to be. In other words – your feedback is subjective in nature.

Try Making the Subjective Objective

Ask the supervisor to rate their coaching skill from zero to ten. Note: We use zero because no one can confuse that with a good score.

If the supervisor gives himself rates anywhere from zero to eight, they are indicating that there is a possibility that they could improve. The challenge we fall into here is that we get hung up on the rating being correct – at least in our opinion. This desire for a correct score misses the point. What we want is for them to acknowledge there is a GAP between where they are and where they could be. So if they think they are a 7, and you think they are a 2; who cares? They have admitted that there is an opportunity for growth. So don’t get hung up

Once they have admitted there is a GAP and therefore there is an opportunity for growth – ask “What would a 10 look like?”

In some cases they may have some ideas of where they could improve. In other cases you may have to provide some ideas for them. In either case you have an opportunity to ask them to commit to those changes.

But what if they rate themselves a 9 or a 10?

This is the tougher scenario. Even a 9 is a 10 in disguise – they just did not want to seem arrogant. In this case, you have to have a candid conversation with them that you do not believe that their evaluation is correct. In some scenarios the person may never have worked for someone that has been willing to give them candid feedback, and while painful, your feedback could be a critical step in their career development. In other cases it may may a case of a lack of humility. And humility is one of the hardest traits to coach – and that will have to wait for another day!LeaderShift One Day Intensive

 

 

A Litmus Test for Leaders to Learn What They REALLY Expect From Their People

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Are you frustrated with some aspect of your team’s performance? Should you be?

Even if you are leading correctly, there will be times (through no one’s fault) where the team’s performance is less than desired. At this point we have a choice – accept the current performance level from the team or work on improving the individual performance of the team members. After some period of time – since we are all creatures of habit – a pattern will emerge within your team. Some individuals will take to your coaching and make significant improvements. Some individuals will improve for a time but slip back into old behavior patterns. And some individuals will make no significant effort to change at all. Sound familiar?

This is where your leadership skill will be tested. Leaders must always be more committed to the achievement of the change than their team is committed to not making the change. Unfortunately, there are always more of them – and the process of making even a small change can be daunting! And so, the leader is faced with the challenge of working tirelessly to shift the mindset, skill set and behavior of team members that either do not want to change or are struggling with the transition.

The Power of Expectation

This is where the power of expectation comes in. People will alway respond to what we truly EXPECT from them – not what we WANT from them. Unfortunately, leaders often EXPECT what they DO NOT WANT, and WANT what they DO NOT EXPECT. Let me explain.

Take a moment and consider what you really want from your team. Are they meeting that standard of performance – whether it be subjective or objective? Now, do you really expect that they will achieve those standards? Most leaders emphatically say “YES – Of course I do!”. And yet after coaching leaders for over 20 years I can tell you than most leaders DO NOT really expect these individuals to change. Now, before you tune out – I am going to offer you incontrovertible proof of what you REALLY EXPECT from your people.

A Litmus Test For What You Really Expect

Imagine that you have two team members Anna (a super high performer) and John (a historically low performer).

Now imagine that Anna, who ALWAYS hits her numbers every month, misses one month.

Are you upset about her performance – or concerned about Anna?

Of course  you are CONCERNED. Why would you be upset? That is not what you EXPECT from Anna. And so, you inquire what is happening, and work with Anna to correct the situation.

How about John? Suppose John, who always misses his numbers every month, misses his numbers that same month.

Are you upset about his performance – or concerned about John?

If you are totally honest – you are UPSET about John’s performance. But why? Both Anna and John missed their numbers. However, John’s history predicted his performance this past month. The reason you are upset is that you WANTED something you did NOT EXPECT.

How about you? Do you have any employees that frustrate you with their level of performance? Are you truly EXPECTING a change or do you just WANT a change?

While being honest about your level of expectation does not change the performance level of anyone, it is the first step in making sure that you align your expectation with your goals, rather than lowering your expectation to meet their current performance level.

If you would like to learn more about how to radically shift your team’s results, join us for the LeaderShift One Day Intensive Workshop click here.

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