Archive for the 'Leadership' Category

How to Work with People You Dislike

How do you get individual people to work effectively as a team? While teamwork is a tricky topic for managers and team members alike, it is possible to create teamwork — even among workers who don’t like one another very much. First, we have to realize that humans are hardwired to be independent. As a result, we often have to deal with individuals’ “What’s in it for me” attitude.

Once you effectively break down this attitude, you can begin to build a team of people to work and collaborate together. In my video, Facts About barb - teamwork cropTeamwork, I discuss four tips that can turn around your team from working as independent workers to collaborating as members of a highly productive team. These tips will ensure that your team achieves — and maintains — high morale, thus staying productive, effective, and efficient — while working together and respecting one another.

Strategies that Turn It Around!

  1. Focus on results. To ensure positive results, your team should first create a mission statement that aligns with the company’s overall vision. By allowing your team to create its mission statement, members automatically create and perceive value in the process and final results of what they draft. This also helps to create accountability for tasks and goals, thus increasing morale and productivity.
  2. Team recognition. Recognizing your team’s efforts is crucial to sustaining team performance. And when you recognize and reward your entire team in social settings — a group dinner, picnic, night of bowling, etc. — team members will see one another in a different and more positive way. Invite your team to your house for a bar-b-que, or take them to the beach for a volleyball game, or even on a team-building game of paintball. If you have team members who hate each other, put them on the same team. When team members work together, they learn to watch out for each other. What a concept, huh?
  3. Individual recognition. It is also important to recognize individual members of your team, especially when their efforts align closely with the company’s mission and vision. Team members who are happy about individual accomplishments are more eager to work with others.
  4. Be nice to each other. It’s not essential that all team members agree about everything. It’s okay to disagree. However, it’s important that team members be nice and kind to one another. Everyone should treat one another with respect. So reinforce this concept throughout the year.

Remember: By nature, people are hard-wired to be individualistic. It is only through social conventions like a group dinner or a competitive game of volleyball that people can begin to see others in a different light — not as impediments to personal goals, but as other human beings who deserve kindness and respect.

What techniques have you tried in the past to help build teamwork? Please share your experiences in the Comments section below. I look forward to engaging with you and your comments.

Big Box Store Turns Ho, Ho, Ho into No, No, No

Black Friday is traditionally a shopper’s grand dream. However, it’s not surprising that, sometimes, the dream turns into a holiday nightmare — at least it did for the giant retailer Target. The trouble started with a price reduction misprint in a Target ad for a particular TV. The trouble then escalated because of the heavy volume of shopping that happens on Black Friday. The trouble then turned into a nightmare when Target employees lied about the mistake by telling customers the TV was sold out.Target ad crop

What could have been a great opportunity for Target to turn around a bad customer service experience simply escalated out of control — damaging Target’s reputation and customer loyalty.

View the full video posted by USA Today on 12/2/2013 by clicking the picture to the right.

What would you have done if YOUR store had printed an incorrect advertisement?

Strategies that Turn it Around:

How to turn a marketing typo into an opportunity:

1. Assess the monetary impact of the error.

a. Will the increase in sales volume make up for the pricing error? If so, honor the price as advertised.
b. Can you offer an equivalent product at the reduced price?
c. Can you give an extra bonus or two if customers pay the original price?

2. You MUST apologize immediately to each and every customer who asks to purchase the particular product that was not priced correctly. Dedicate a store employee to camp out near the item and sincerely apologize for the mistake – while offering other viable options.

3. Whatever you do, don’t lie! Tell the truth. You’d be amazed at how positively most of your customers will respond.

Remember: People (usually) understand that mistakes occur. The sooner you honestly communicate a problem and try your best to compensate for your error, the faster you can work toward maintaining your reputation and the easier you will continue building a loyal following. And that is something that your company can ho, ho, ho about all year long

What would YOU do (or have done) if YOUR company accidentally advertised incorrect low prices on a marketing piece? Please share your experiences and thoughts in the comments section below. I look forward to engaging with you and your comments.

When a good deed turns into a real turkey

Recently, in one of my training classes, a participant told me that her colleagues were mad at their employer because it gave out turkeys for Thanksgiving to all its employees. Everyone started complaining about how some of the turkeys were bigger than others. Here, the company’s management was trying to do a good deed, and all that they got in return was grief.

While it can be easy for us to judge this situation and simply think of these employees as ungrateful, we should really try to understand the two-turkeys-pluckedmechanics of how a good deed can turn into a real turkey of a situation. When employees are not accustomed to being rewarded or recognized, they may not know how to appropriately react when they are. They may even misinterpret a genuine and sincere deed because appreciation is not something that they are accustomed to receiving, and thus, a good deed is received with mistrust and apprehension. And when employees are recognized during holidays only, they may then come to develop a mentality of “Well, they have to be nice to us. It’s the holidays.”

The best way to express your Thank Yous, and to ensure your deeds of appreciation are well received, focus on the basics of giving thanks:

• Be genuine. Reward employee behavior that aligns with your company’s values. But first, make sure everyone knows what those values are.
• Be sincere. Reward employees because they deserve it, not because it makes you look good.
Be timely. Immediately reward an employee who deserves to be recognized.
• Be consistent. Show your appreciation throughout the year, not just during the holidays.
• Be nice – duh! Always treat your employees with respect.

And finally, don’t just say your Thank You’s — put them in writing. There’s nothing like receiving a written heartfelt THANK YOU! to make someone feel truly valued and important. Give it a try and let me know how these employee Thank You strategies work for you.

How do YOU say Thank you? I look forward to reading your comments below.

Happy Giving Thanks Day!

Five Reasons Managers DON’T Give Recognition

In last week’s post, we covered the essentials for effective recognition of others.

In this week’s post, we’ll discuss some of the most common objections for giving employee recognition. (This information was gleaned from the book The Carrot Principle by Arian Gostick and Chester Elton.)

Objection #1: “If I recognize some people, others will become jealous?” or “I don’t want to play favorites.”The%20Carrot%20Principle

Strategy to Turn it Around: You can avoid this negative attitude toward recognition by practicing it frequently and aligning it with your company’s core values. Of course, if you’ve never recognized anyone in the past, and you start doing it right out of the blue, your team members will be skeptical about your motives. However, over time — and if you remain consistent — your staff will come to appreciate, accept, and look forward to even the smallest act of recognition.

Objection #2: “Why do I have to recognize people when they’re just doing their jobs?”

Strategy to Turn it Around:: Always remember the universal human need to matter. The authors of The Carrot Principle state that “recognition gives employees the extra push to do their jobs just a little bit better.” So, when you recognize team members, specifically for behaving in an extraordinary way within their daily job, they become an example to other employees and are encouraged to continue with their great performance.

Objection #3:  “I don’t have time to recognize anyone.”

Strategy to Turn it Around:: You don’t have time NOT to recognize others. Recognition leads to a more engaged staff and higher productivity. According to research revealed in The Carrot Principle, effective managers spend between 1 and 2 hours per week on recognition-related tasks.

Objection #4: “If someone is a non-performer in one area, I don’t want to recognize him in another area.”

Strategy to Turn it Around: Why not? If someone is doing a great job, they must be recognized for it. Of course, the compliment must be kept separate from the negative feedback. Remember: behavior that is rewarded is repeated. So don’t use the reward of some as the punishment for others.

Objection #5: “If I recognize good behavior frequently, people will expect more recognition in the future.”

Strategy to Turn it Around: True. When employees are recognized, they are engaged. When they are engaged, they are more productive and deliver better service. Why wouldn’t we want to keep up with these benefits?

Remember: Everyone wants to matter. And Recognition is the best way to show people that they indeed do matter. Just make sure your recognition is frequent, specific, timely, and public. These variables enable people to feel valued, and they are more likely to be engaged and productive. Pretty good reasons, wouldn’t you agree?

What objections have you encountered when trying to recognize others, and how have you resolved them? Please share your stories in the comments section below. I look forward to engaging with you and your comments.

Do you picture yourself as a leader on a new horizon?

Being a leader is position of ongoing personal evolution and continuous hard work. And it takes a lot of extending ourselves into areas that are, at first, uncomfortable. But, we can turn that discomfort into opportunites to think in new ways and do things in a new manner.

In my video, Seeing the Big Picture as a Leader, I teach you how to develop big picture thinking by seeking out new opportunities and finding new horizons. I give you the keys to step out of your daily zone to embrace new ideas and learn to from others, even from bad experiences.

Strategies that Turn It Around!

  1. Embrace ambiguity. Not everything in business is exact. And not everything fits into a neat package. We know this, but regardless, we always seem to fight this simple truth. As leaders, we need to be open to new possibilities and, more importantly, to diverse ideas. It is through diversity that we grow. Who wants to be a lump on a log, right?
  2. Learn from the bad. We don’t always win. We sometimes lose a bid to a competitor, lose a client because of bad service, or lose revenues on bad deals. But it all doesn’t have to be bad. We can actually learn from these and other bad exeperiences. Just remember that every experience is a learning opportunity. And if you ask any successful person how they came to know what they know, they’ll tell you it comes from learning about what not to do — learning from bad experiences.
  3. Learn from others. Learning shouldn’t have to be about what we experience only. We can actually save lots of time, effort, and greif by learning from others. You’ll be surprised how many other leaders and colleagues are more than willing to share their knowledge. We can also learn a lot from employees, customers, and — yes — from competitors, too. Don’t be shy about asking; everyone loves a good listener — especially when we’re talking about ourselves!
  4. Think outside the norm. I know, I know — we’d all love it if things just stayed the same always. It’s uncomfortable for us having to change and to extend ourselves into areas of uncertainty. But, as leaders, we need to continue to push our boundaries, to forge new ground, to think outside what is normal to us. Remember when we were kids, and we’d have the most outrageous ideas? Well, maybe it’s time that we starting thinking like kids again? Give it a try; you may just come up with something revolutionary!

Remember: As leaders, we need to develop big picture thinking. This means having to seek out new opportunities, new horizons.

What has been your greatest failure and what were the important lessons learned? What is the best thing you’ve learned as a leader? Please share your experiences in the Comments section below. I look forward to engaging with you and your comments.

The Royal Treatment at the Dairy Queen

A recent human-interest story spread across the viral airwaves, in which a Dairy Queen manager forced a customer out of his store for stealing money from a blind person. Click on the link that follows for the full story: queen  manager crop

To me, the best part of this story is the ending, where the 19-year-old manager takes out a $20 bill from his wallet and gives it to the blind man. This is the difference between living life as an owner instead of a renter. The premise is that “owners” have a sense of ownership, and thus, take more pride in the everyday things that they do. “Renters” simply exist within a space. (Note: this is not an indictment of financial restrictions, but a testament to the spirit of being engaged within your environment.)

After watching the video, would you have reacted as quickly? Would YOU have offered money from your own wallet? Would YOU have expected absolutely nothing in return?

More importantly:  How can we get employees to develop this responsibility and kindness as everyday habits?

Strategies that Turn it Around:

  1. Hire people who air a sense of ownership. Screen for “owners” during the interview process by asking scenario-specific questions to determine how deep-seated responsibility and kindness are as habits.
  2. Foster an environment where employees are encouraged to take responsibility to go above and beyond (within limits, of course).
  3. Continue to instill good habits through repetition. This will help to develop good habits with employees who are not quite there yet.
  4. It’s okay to fire customers – especially when they steal money from blind people!

Remember:  Owners “own” their environment and what occurs within it. Simply put, they are engaged and invested. Renters simply “exist” within a given space, unmotivated and uninvolved. Engaged employees are more motivated and satisfied, which leads to exceptional treatment of others and customers. And when our customers are happy, we are all happy!

What do YOU do to get your employees to act like owners and not renters? Please share your experiences in the comments section below. I look forward to engaging with you and your comments.

Different Styles of Leadership That Help You Develop Skills and Confidence

Working with people may sometimes be a difficult proposition. You have to deal with a wide range of personalities and temperaments on a daily basis. And as a manger of people, this task of working with different types of team members can be daunting. The key is finding the leadership style that works for you, for your company and for your people.

In organizational communication, there are many theories and categories about leadership types. But most leadership styles fall within three types of categories—two extremes and a middle ground: autocratic, democratic and laissez-fair. An autocratic leader is one that leads with no input from the people that she leads. A democratic leader gets much input from her team members, while a laissez-fair behaves as a non-leader.

Into which category do you fit? Understanding which type of leader you are is the first step to managing people effectively and efficiently.barb - different styles of leadership - crop

In my video, Different Styles of Leadership That Help You Develop Skills & Confidence, I teach you how different styles of leadership will help you to develop skills and confidence. I give you examples of where to look to model your style of leadership after successful leaders in your company and elsewhere.

Strategies that Turn It Around!

  1. Education. Educate yourself about what works in your company. Interview other leaders in your company, or better yet, interview the person in the position before you. Ask about what worked for her what didn’t work so well. You can also look to other leaders in other companies to see what strategies are most effective for them.
  2. Communication. Communicate with your team members. You want to establish rapport, so everyone on your team knows they can approach you with questions or problems. Communicate what your expectations are of your team members.  After all, you’ve given them job descriptions and policies and procedures. However, do you know what they expect from you? Knowing this will help you to use a style of leadership that will work for them. This will also allow you to be flexible, since you know what your team expects from you.
  3. Listener. Be an excellent listener. And listen not only to the words said to you, but also the person’s body language. Body language can often tell you more than spoken words. For example, a team member may agree to take on a certain task, but her crossed arms and the scowl on her face say something totally different.

Remember: There’s no one right style of leadership. Pick one that works for you. And if it doesn’t work, change it.

Which styles of leadership have you used, and what were the results? To which styles of leadership do you respond to better and why? Please share your experiences in the Comments section below.

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