What Leaders Don’t Know About the Rumor Mill by Carol Kinsey Goman


The executive assistant was listening to her CEO complain about how hard it was to get a strategic message to everybody. “Actually,” replied the assistant, “I could get a message to the entire company in no time at all by spreading a rumor through the grapevine.”

She knew something about communication that her boss didn’t.

Research suggests that up to 70% of all organization communication comes through the grapevine, yet many senior leaders are unaware that it exists or how it operates. One study, in fact, found that while 92% of lower-level managers realized the grapevine was active, only 70% of upper-level managers knew about it. In the same study, 88% of supervisors said they understood that the absence of formal communication increased activity through informal channels – but only 54% of executives understood this correlation.

The grapevine – Webster’s “informal person-to-person means of circulating information or gossip” – is the informal and unsanctioned communication network found in every organization. From my interviews with over 1100 employees in a wide variety of companies and industries, I learned a lot about the power of the grapevine.

I learned, for example, that if there were conflicting messages — one delivered during a speech from the company leader and another spread through the grapevine — more people (47%) would believe the grapevine, and only 42% would believe senior leadership. (The remaining 11% were undecided.)

Read the rest here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/carolkinseygoman/2013/11/30/what-leaders-dont-know-about-the-rumor-mill/

10 of the Best Leadership Practices by Jackie Capers Brown


1. Great managers carry a vivid image of what is possible, and this vision drives him or her.
2. The only way for a great manager to serve the company is to serve the employee first.
3. Great managers are able to influence their employees to believe that their success is his or her primary goal.
4. Great managers recognize people’s improvement – no matter how small.
5. Great managers confront employees whose performance doesn’t match their ability. They don’t allow employees to languish in mediocrity.
6. Great managers don’t cling to his or her chosen route when all evidence suggests it is a dead end.
7. Great managers are inspired, stirred up by the better they envision.
8. Great managers develop their instincts to coach others toward their success.
9. Great managers face the brutal facts of a situation while summoning the faith and optimism to rally people to see and act as if they can envision the better future.
10. Great managers believe they have what it takes to overcome the challenge they will face to forge ahead and manifest their desired reality. They assume they are the one to make the better future they envision possible.

From: http://www.jackiecapersbrownblog.com/2013/11/10-best-of-best-leadership-practices-of.html?m=1

10 Simple and Easy Ways to Give Thanks for Your Employees by Randy Conley


In the spirit of today’s Thanksgiving holiday in the United States, I thought I’d share ten simple and easy ways to tell your employees “thank you.” Telling an employee “thank you” is one of the simplest and most powerful ways to build trust, yet it doesn’t happen near enough in the workplace.

Whenever I conduct trust workshops with clients and discuss the role that rewards and recognition play in building trust, I will ask participants to raise their hands if they feel like they receive too much praise or recognition on the job. No one has ever raised a hand.

So on this day of giving thanks, take a few minutes to review this list and commit to using one of these methods to tell your employees “thank you.” I’ve used many of these strategies myself and can attest to their effectiveness.

1. Let them leave work early

This may not be feasible in all work environments, but if you’re able to do it, a surprise treat of allowing people to leave early does wonders for team morale and well-being. I use this technique occasionally with my team, usually when they’ve had the pedal to the metal for a long period of time, or if we have a holiday weekend coming up. Allowing folks to get a head start on the weekend or a few hours of unexpected free time shows you recognize and appreciate their hard work and that you understand there’s more to life than just work.

2. Leave a “thank you” voice mail message

Don’t tell my I.T. department, but I’ve got voice mails saved from over ten years ago that were sent to me by colleagues who took the time to leave me a special message of praise. The spoken word can have a tremendous impact on individuals, and receiving a heartfelt message from you could positively impact your employees in ways you can’t imagine.

Read the rest here: http://leaderchat.org/2013/11/28/10-simple-and-easy-ways-to-give-thanks-for-your-employees/

How Listening Will Make You the Strongest Person in the Room by Haim Pekel


There’s an old saying by a guy who founded the scout movement:

“If you make listening and observation your occupation, you will gain much more than you can by talking.” Robert Baden-Powell

Most of the time, most of us are fighting to be heard. Raising our tone doesn’t provide the desired effect; and physically demanding the attention of others is not an option now days. So how can you become the one person in the room that everyone listens to when a lot of voices are trying to be heard simultaneously?

The answer, ironically, is by listening to others…

Listening is the one life skill you can’t learn in school. Only people who understand intimately how communication works pay attention and, even then, only to a point. Past a certain point, everyone wants to be heard and acts accordingly. How does that saying go…in the jungle only the biggest gorillas are heard…

Well, we’re not living in the jungle anymore, are we? And size doesn’t matter when it comes to conversations between people, does it?

So what are the things that do matter?

Difference between hearing and listening

When we hear something, we’re only using one sense out of the five available to us. Listening, on the other hand, requires use of a broader set of senses; working in unison to interpret the meaning of an interaction we’re having.

Our ability to understand interactions by listening depends on:

1. Our alertness level.
2. Our ability to understand the transmitted message due to knowledge or experience.
3. The senses at work, i.e. if we only listen without actually seeing the person, we’re missing a fuller repertoire of non-verbal signals that will help us understand the transmitted message.

According to Wikipedia, the nonverbal senses we activate in interactions are – 83% sight, only 11% hearing, 3% smell, 2% touch and 1% taste.

When someone is telling you that you’ve heard, but you haven’t listened, he knows what he’s talking about! This means that we need to invest a lot to actually listen to someone. The best way to introduce a new behavior type into your communication portfolio is to create a habit out of it, it won’t come naturally.

How to create the habit of listening

Active listening skills can be easy to develop if you focus and make an effort. It’s not rocket science, but it does require a consistent and constant effort to overcome your natural instinct to be heard. Here are a few tips.

1 Not talking

Sounds pretty easy, right? However, this may be the toughest since many of us are busy talking or waiting for the moment to start talking. As I previously mentioned, listening requires focus and using your other senses, this means that you need to close your trap and focus on the person (or people) in front of you and let it all sink.

Read the rest here: http://www.dumblittleman.com/2013/11/how-listening-makes-you-strongest.html?m=1

How to Build Your ROI by Building Up Your Team’s As Well by Laura Stack


“Employees are the most valuable asset that any organization has. In the past managers said ‘jump” and the employees said, ‘How high?’ Now, the managers are jumping with employees.” — Jacob Morgan, American business writer

During the past generation or so, something unusual has happened in business: managers have evolved from the boss to a team player.

Figuratively, they are still in charge, of course, but leaders realized they got farther by being in partnership with their employees. They act more like a visionary facilitator, rather than a strategy imposter.

Improvement the Burns Way

Why? By necessity, given the new reality of rapid strategic execution — strategy has become more fluid and responsive to change — and wise leaders encourage team members to execute in whatever way works best at a particular moment.

In the wake of the Great Recession, managerial and rank-and-file jobs have begun converging toward a single continuum. No longer can leaders consider ourselves completely distinct from our non-managerial teammates, whether the unions like it or not.

Business has always been a collaborative endeavor, and must become even more so in order to facilitate efficient execution and greater productivity. More than ever, a dictum first expressed by former Shell Oil Company President H.S.M. Burns holds true: “A good manager is a man who isn’t worried about his own career but rather the careers of those who work for him.”

Geophysicist H.S. Mackenzie Burns led Shell Oil in the 1950s, ascending to the Board of Directors in 1957. His strategy of focusing on employee contentment and development was not only ahead of its time, it proved remarkably successful.

During his tenure, he helped Shell grow into the world’s second-largest revenue producer. An excellent communicator, he also pushed Shell to adopt computers in the early 1950s — the first company to do so.

Let’s look at a few ways you can tap into the potential of your team members as you improve their lot, strengthening the beam of your leverage machine on the way to more effective execution.

1. Sincerely view employees as your greatest asset

Everyone says they do this, but in our precarious economy, most leaders still see employees as replaceable.

In a sense they should be, so they can be promoted; but they’re not interchangeable machine parts. They’re people. If you take care of them, they’ll take care of you. In a knowledge-based business, your team members become especially valuable.

Treat them well so they’ll stay with you; good workers cost a lot to replace.

2. Communicate your leadership by word and deed

Read the rest here: http://www.tlnt.com/2013/11/26/how-to-build-your-roi-by-building-up-your-teams-as-well/

3 Signs You’re Failing as a Leader by Joe Scherrer


You probably don’t know anyone who wakes up in the morning, bright and chipper, and says, “I’m looking forward to failing today.”

But failure happens to all of us.

You make mistakes, you overlook the obvious, or you miss an important piece of information you need to make a key decision.

The good news is that if you can see the signs, you can avert failure. We discussed three of these signs previously: 1) you’re rapidly losing market share, 2) your old strategy isn’t working anymore, and 3) your customer service is terrible.

What follows are three more signs that will help you stay on the road to success.

Instead of driving over the cliff.

Sign #4: Cutting corners is a way of life

Of all the company scandals that have happened in the past decade, Enron is the poster child.

Maybe cutting corners started with Enron managers who did so to make their numbers.

They started small. A little fudging of the books wouldn’t hurt.

Just this one time.

But one time turned into thousands and eventually the whole house of cards collapsed.

Key takeaway: Just don’t do it—don’t cut corners.

And don’t accept anyone on your team doing it.

When cutting corners becomes standard practice, you’ll always look for the easy way, which may not be the right way. Over time, the hole you’ll dig will be a prison—perhaps literally—of your own making.

Bend your ethics and you’ve taken the on ramp to failure.

One thing you can do to avoid failure: Set the example and keep your professional and personal standards high. Accept only the best behavior and performance.

Back-up your personal example with clearly articulated corporate standards and policies for ethical conduct. Use audits, inspections, and legal reviews to give you a concrete idea of where you stand.

By doing so, you’ll go a long way toward preventing those cut corners.

Sign #5: You overhear people talking about how they hate coming to work

Read the rest and the first 3 signs here: