Make Gender Balance a Smart Strategic Goal


If you are working on launching or accelerating a push for more gender balance in your company, you need to focus on the opportunity – not the problem – to engage others. Approach the conversation by first laying out a set of future objectives, targets, and milestones. Then describe how gender balance is a key lever to help you reach those goals.

It helps to consider a two key questions:

1) Are you using language that accuses or language that invites people to build skills and enhance leadership impact?

2) Are you engaging with managers on things they understand are central to both their individual success and the company’s goals? Or are your efforts being perceived as politically correct, tick-the-box exercises?

Remember: the final goal isn’t just about balance. It’s having more engaged employees and more connected customers.

Adapted from “Tackle Bias in Your Company Without Making People Defensive,”
by Avivah Wittenberg-Cox

 

Curated by Trevor Lee

@trevorblee

http://www.ep-i.net

http://www.ceo-worldwide.com

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To Motivate Your Employees …


It’s not always easy to get the most from your employees.

If you’re struggling to inspire the people on your team, look to your past.

Think about your own experience and what motivated you when you were in the lower levels of a company.

Who was the best boss you ever had?

What did that person do to make you want to perform at your best?

Reflect on what made your boss’s motivational strategies so effective for you.

What specifically did they do to earn your trust and admiration?

Now think about how you can apply those lessons to your own team. Which motivational tools will work for them?

Be fearless in examining your own behavior and curious about how your employees respond to you. Re-purpose your favorite boss’s techniques and make them your own.

Adapted from “Motivating People Starts with Having the Right Attitude,” by Monique Valcour

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Curated by Trevor Lee

@trevorblee

http://www.ep-i.net

http://www.ceo-worldwide.com

The 5 Temptations of a CEO


In his book The five temptations of a CEO: A leadership fable, published in 1998, Patrick Lencioni describes some common traps that can ensnare hard driven executives.

Temptation 1: Choosing status over results

  • Leadership is about producing results, not looking good.

  • The best leaders live to win.

  • They don’t become hostages to their egos.

Temptation 2: Choosing popularity over accountability

  • Good leaders have skills that correct behaviour that does not produce the desired results.

  • Management should be objective rather than subjective.

  • Leaders should work for long-term respect, not affection.

Temptation 3: Choosing certainty over clarity

  • Leaders create clarity when they are decisive.

  • Employees need clarity.

  • Leaders cannot be right all the time.

  • The cost of not taking the risk of being wrong is paralysis.

Temptation 4: Choosing harmony over productive conflict

  • Poor leaders promote consensus when they should be mining and encouraging more conflict.

  • Leaders should encourage “passionate discourse around ideas”.

  • Once a decision is made, however, the team must all back it.

Temptation 5: Choosing invulnerability over trust

  • Leaders often mistakenly believe that they lose their credibility if their people feel too comfortable challenging their ideas.

  • Leaders must make themselves vulnerable, show weakness, admit mistakes, and celebrate other people’s strengths.

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Curated by Trevor Lee

https://www.linkedin.com/in/trevorblee

http://www.ep-i.net

http://www.ceo-worldwide.com

Balance Your E.I. Skills


Having emotional intelligence, often referred to as EI, is an important part of being a stronger, more effective leader.

But too many people assume that it’s all about being sweet and chipper. Sure, some EI competencies are related to sociability, sensitivity, and likeability, but others are connected to leadership skills like achievement, influence, and conflict management.

The key is to have a balance.

If you’re strong in some of the softer, emotional skills, then focus on honing skills like giving unpleasant feedback. For example, rather than using your EI to smooth over interactions with a co-worker who is overbearing and abrasive, work on bringing up the issue to your colleague directly, drawing on conflict management to give direct feedback and on emotional self-control to keep your reactivity at bay.

Adapted from “Emotional Intelligence Has 12 Elements. Which Do You Need to Work On?”
by Daniel Goleman and Richard E. Boyatzis

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Trevor Lee

tblee@ceo-worldwide.com

http://www.ceo-worldwide.com

@trevorblee

Nine Ways to Identify Natural Leaders


A thought piece for the digital age by Dr. Gary Hamel *

The need to empower natural leaders isn’t an HR pipedream, it’s a competitive imperative. But before you can empower them, you have to find them.

In most companies, the formal hierarchy is a matter of public record—it’s easy to discover who’s in charge of what. By contrast, natural leaders don’t appear on any organization chart. To hunt them down, you need to know . . .

Whose advice is sought most often on any particular topic?

Who responds most promptly to requests from peers?

Whose responses are judged most helpful?

Who is most likely to reach across organizational boundaries to aid a colleague?

Whose opinions are most valued, internally and externally?

Who gets the most kudos from customers?

Who’s the most densely connected to other employees?

Who’s generating the most buzz outside the company?

Who consistently demonstrates real thought leadership?

Who seems truly critical to key decisions?

A lot of the data you need to answer these questions is lurking in the weeds of your company’s email system, or can be found on the Web. Nevertheless, it will take some creative effort and software tweaks to ferret it out.

A few suggestions . . .

  1. Establish a directory of key words corresponding to critical skills and competencies within your company, and then see who generates or receives the most emails on any particular topic.

  2. Add a small box at the end of every incoming email that lets the recipient grade the sender’s response: was it timely, was it helpful?

  3. Analyze internal email flows to see which folks are most likely to respond positively to emails from colleagues in other divisions—who’s collaborating across unit boundaries?

  1. Create a system for ranking the frequency and value of each employee’s contributions to internal wikis or communities of practice.

  2. Encourage employees to write internal blogs, and to rank posts and comments.

  3. Using key words, analyze company emails to see who’s had the most to say about important corporate decisions, and to see how widely those views have been disseminated and discussed.

  4. Identify emails relating to key projects and then identify the individuals who were the most critical “nodes” in the project team—the folks who seemed to be in the middle of every email exchange.

  5. Review incoming emails from customers to determine who’s getting the most requests for help, who’s been most responsive and who’s receiving the most praise. Or, give customers the ability to immediately score the email responses they get from company personnel.

  6. Use news tracking to find out which employees are getting quoted most often online, and who’s showing up most often in the press.

There are other types of data that might also be useful—but you get the idea.

Sure, there are some practical challenges in collecting and analyzing this sorts of data. But ultimately, it should be possible for a company to create a multivariate leadership score for every employee.

Obviously, the old top-down hierarchy isn’t going to disappear any time soon. What would happen, though, if every employee had the chance to compete for leadership “points,” whether or not they had a management job? What would happen if everyone’s leadership score showed up in their online profile—so everyone knew how their colleagues ranked on expertise, helpfulness, collaboration and thought leadership? What would happen if anyone could attach a public comment to a colleague’s leadership score? What about including highly rated “natural” leaders in every important decision meeting? And finally, what would happen if leadership points were considered in compensation and promotion decisions? I’m not sure, but I bet it would do more good than harm.

One thing’s certain, though: we can’t invent Management 2.0 without inventing some new ways for people to accumulate and exercise authority. In the tempestuous seas of today’s creative economy, top-down leadership structures are fast becoming a liability. We need is a new currency of power—one based not on titles, but on every individual’s capacity to lead, every day. We need fewer zero-sum battles for plum positions, in which Machiavellian maneuvering wins the day, and more positive-sum competition to increase one’s personal leadership score—by delivering real value to colleagues and customers. We need a system that forces titled leaders to justify their positional power by competing in an open market for leadership esteem. And finally, we need organizations that aren’t built around a single, dominant hierarchy, but are comprised of many soft hierarchies, each corresponding to a critical skill or issue.

A few years back, two of my colleagues at the London Business School posed a cheeky question in the title of their leadership book: “Why,” they wondered, “should anyone be led by you?” If you reflect on this question every morning, your leadership score is bound to go up.

* Dr. Gary P. Hamel is an American management expert. He is a founder of Strategos, an international management consulting firm based in Chicago.

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Curated by Trevor Lee

https://www.linkedin.com/in/trevorblee

@trevorblee

http://www.ep-i.net

http://www.ceo-worldwide.com

Earn Trust by Showing Trust


Most people do their best work when they know their manager trusts them. If they worry that you think they’re lazy, incapable of directing their behavior, or lack integrity, they’re unlikely to take feedback or coaching from you.

So go out of your way to gain your employees’ trust by demonstrating positive assumptions about them.

Give challenging assignments, with the clear and confident belief that your expectations will be met.

And don’t hide information, or assume people will mishandle it. Instead, promote transparency.

Try adding a “through the grapevine” agenda item to meetings as a fun, informal way for people to share company information they’ve heard, so you can either confirm or debunk the rumor. When managers demonstrate positive assumptions, employees respond in kind.

Adapted from “If Employees Don’t Trust You, It’s Up to You to Fix It,”
by Sue Bingham

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Trevor Lee

tblee@ceo-worldwide.com

http://www.ceo-worldwide.com

@trevorblee

Reward Your Team for Learning


Many jobs require people to continually develop new skills. As a manager, you should be less worried with what people know and more concerned about whether they’re able to learn.

But it’s not enough to hire curious, adaptable people; you also have to reward them for learning. When your employees have increased their knowledge and their value to the company, provide them with new and challenging opportunities.

  • Promote people only when they’ve acquired sufficient expertise in other jobs in the organization, not just their own. Or you could give awards for individuals who organize events or activities to promote learnability in the company (running internal conferences, bringing external speakers, or circulating information that nurtures people’s curiosity).

  • Reward simpler habits, too, like writing a blog, sharing articles on social media, or recommending books and movies.

Adapted from “It’s the Company’s Job to Help Employees Learn,” by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic and Mara Swan

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Trevor Lee

tblee@ceo-worldwide.com

http://www.ceo-worldwide.com

@trevorblee