Become More Valuable

A few days ago, I shared how to create a great customer experience.  Today, I want to use those same steps to show you how you can become more valuable – to add value – to your team and others in your company.

LISTEN

When a team member or colleague brings you an issue, problem, concern, question…take time to truly listen to what it is they are saying.  Don’t jump to a conclusion or give them a fast answer.  Listen carefully.

ASK

Ask great questions to get to the core issue.  Avoid asking yes/no questions or “why” questions.  Asking great questions will get you to their core issue the fastest.  It also demonstrates that you are actively listening to them.

FEEL

If the person in front of you is frustrated, angry, tense, etc., take the time to empathize with them.  Don’t merely sympathize (“oh, I’m sorry”).  Don’t make light of their situation (“today sucks to be you!”).  Feel what they are feeling and identify with that.

THINK

Once you have the core issue clarified, think.  What resources do you have that can help resolve your team member’s issue?  What resources do you know about that can help?  Who else can you call on for assistance?  Think.

ACT

Once you’ve listened carefully, asked great questions, empathized with the person, and really thought about the best way to help, then (AND ONLY THEN) act.  Far too often people jump into action too quickly.  Act with intention and purpose.

FOLLOW-UP

Following up a couple of days later says that you care about how the resolution is working or not working for the person you helped.  This can be a great learning opportunity for you.  It will create stronger relationships at work as you demonstrate your willingness and ability to invest in someone else.

Make your work interactions better.  Follow this process to add value to your team and your company.

Remember, when you get better, your company gets better.

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10 Things Extraordinary Bosses Give Employees by Jeff Haden

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Check this out:
10 Things Extraordinary Bosses Give Employees

http://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/10-things-extraordinary-bosses-do-for-their-employees.html?cid=sf01002&goback=%2Egde_1834447_member_264378530

The Honest Truth About Teams by Lolly Daskal

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There’s a good reason we spend so much time thinking about teams.

Every organization in every industry pursues ambitious projects, works hard to get and serve clients and customers, and tackles new markets, new ideas, and new innovation.

Competition is fierce, and it takes a great team to deliver the kind of performance that keeps organizations successful.

There are no quick answers about how to build a great team. But after years of observing many team dynamics, I have come to recognize a few elements that make up a top-performing team:

A compelling vision and meaningful purpose: Top-performing teams have a defined vision and purpose that resonate with its members and draw them in.

Clarified roles and skills: Top-performing teams clearly identify the role and expectations of each member based on their talents and skills. Research shows that collaboration improves when the roles of individuals are clearly defined and understood.

Strategy and goals: Top-performing teams need a clearly defined strategy, plan, and goals. Strategy provides a map that shows where the team is going, and planning and goals tell how they’ll get there.

Commitment and accountability: Top-performing teams need for each member to hold a personal commitment and individual accountability for their role, while still supporting one another.

Mutual trust: Top-performing teams spend time cultivating trust, investing in relationships, and collaboratively developing and refining their mission, purpose, roles, and challenges.

Challengers and collaborators: Top-performing teams need diversity in personalities and talent. They need members who don’t just settle for pleasant conversation but who respectfully challenge and ask, and members who build relationships and bring people together.

Communication and dialogue: Top-performing teams need channels of communication that are open, authentic, challenging, courageous, and real. There is no room for passive aggression and backbiting. Team members are free to speak from the heart and embrace dialogue even in disagreement.

There will never be a perfect team, because teams are, after all, made up of imperfect people.

Every team his its own strengths and frustrations, But the best teams have a vision. They communicate well and they know their goals, skills, and talents.

When teams are given the tools to truly collaborate, they can create true excellence.

Lead From Within: We are not trying to mandate perfection but to build teams whose hearts are beating to the same rhythm.

For coaching, consulting, workshops and speaking. Please feel free to contact me.

About Lolly

Lolly is the founder of Lead from Within, a global consultancy that has counseled heads of state, consulted to CEOs of large multinationals, and coached budding entrepreneurs.

Over 460,972 people follow Lolly’s wisdom on Twitter and subscribe to her blog; her inspirational speeches are greeted by standing ovations worldwide.

http://m.lollydaskal.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.lollydaskal.com%2Fleadership%2Fthe-honest-truth-about-teams%2F&dm_redirected=true#2638

You Can’t Matter Unless You Know What Matters by Dan Rockwell

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Leaders define what matters. Organizations grow weak and lethargic until someone creates focus and direction by explaining what’s meaningfully important. Leaders describe what’s relevant.

Things that matter capture attention.

In the absence of something meaningful,
insignificance prevails
.

Distraction, frustration, and office politics dominate where people don’t know what’s important.

Focus:

Focus is magnetic, it establishes and clarifies direction. Everyone looks at and thinks about what matters. You ultimately go where you look. The most useful thing leaders do is point to what matters.

Don’t tell people where to focus.
Tell them what matters.

Diversion:

Everyone rows in different directions until someone explains what matters. Teams languish, meetings waste time, and effort grows meaningless without the guidance of something that matters.

Don’t tell people to pull together.
Give them a rallying point.

People:

Pursue what matters.
Reject what matters less for what matters more.
Feel energized when doing what matters.
Galvanize when they see what matters.
Strive for success when they contribute to what matters.
Fight for what matters.
Fit in when aligned with what matters.
Know what’s next when what matters now is clear.
Endure when they believe in what matters. Struggle matters when you know what matters.
Feel accomplishment when achieving what matters.

Connecting:

Most sink inward. But, leaders press outward by reminding everyone they don’t exist for themselves.

Every organization focused
on self-preservation is doomed.

It’s normal to focus on internal matters. But, leaders connect what matters inside organizations to what matters outside.

How can leaders explain what matters?

Check out the great list of leadership M’s on the Leadership Freak Facebook Page. While you’re there, add leadership N’s for tomorrow’s post.

http://leadershipfreak.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/you-cant-matter-until-you-know-what-matters/

5 Transitions Great Leaders Make That Average Leaders Don’t by Mike Myatt

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The secret to leadership is there aren’t any real secrets. The best leaders have simply gone to school on improving their tradecraft. While the capabilities possessed by the best leaders might seem otherworldly to many, they are merely the outcome of hard work, experience, perspective, and yes, a bit of luck. The best leaders have just learned to make certain transitions that less effective leaders curiously remain blind to.

Some leaders hit their stride early in their career, others find their path later in life, and regrettably, far too many leaders never seem to get their footing. Great leaders discover pivot points and transitions that create a certain rhythm and balance, while average leaders tend to be somewhat tone deaf and awkward. We all recognize great leadership when we see it, but many fail to see what it is that actually makes the leader great. Following are 5 key transitions great leaders make that average leaders do not.

Find Purpose– Purpose is the one thing all great leaders have in common. Great leaders have a clearly defined purpose, while average leaders just show up to work. Purpose fuels passion and work ethic. It is these characteristics that afford great leaders a competitive advantage over those who don’t understand the dynamics of this linkage.

The best leaders recognize a common purpose, shared values, and aligned vision are the hallmarks of any great organization. These three elements set the foundation for a sustainable culture. Leaders who fail to bring people together around these three constructs sentence their company first to the chaos of mediocrity, and ultimately to the pain of obsolescence. Great leaders create culture by design, while average leaders allow culture to evolve by default.

A lesson lost on many is profit doesn’t drive purpose, but purpose certainly drives profit – great leaders understand this; average leaders do not. Leaders who are driven by profit will find they may be successful for a season, but they’ll eventually come to realize a pure profit agenda is not sustainable over the long haul. Great leaders make the transition from profit to purpose and are handsomely rewarded for doing so. A unified purpose can endure all things.

People First– Leaders are nothing without people. Put another way, people will make or break you as a leader. You’ll either treat them well, earn their trust, respect and loyalty, or you won’t. You’ll either see people as capital to be leveraged or humans to be developed and fulfilled. You’ll either view yourself as superior to your employees, or as one whose job it is to serve them, learn from them, and leave them be better off for being led by you.

The best leaders don’t put people in a box – they free them from boxes. Ultimately, a leaders job isn’t to create followers, but to strive for ubiquitous leadership. Average leaders spend time scaling processes, systems, and models – great leaders focus on scaling leadership.

Develop Awareness– Great leaders are self aware, organizationally aware, culturally aware, contextually aware, and emotionally aware. They value listening, engaging, observing, and learning over pontificating. They value sensitivity over insensitivity and humility over hubris. Leaders who come across as if they know everything haven’t fooled anyone – except themselves.

Great leaders avoid the traps, gaps, and blind spots average leaders so easily step into. Leaders who choose to live in the bubble of their own thinking rather than understanding the benefits of seeking others input and counsel make things harder on everyone. The willingness to allow your positions and opinions to be challenged is a sign of strength not weakness. I’ve often said the most powerful and overlooked aspect of learning is unlearning. Leaders never willing to change their mind ensure only one outcome – a lack of growth and development.

Shun Complexity– Complexity is a leader’s enemy not their friend. Great leaders live to eliminate or simplify the complex, while average leaders allow themselves and those they lead to be consumed by it. Complexity stifles innovation, slows development, gates progress, and adversely impacts culture.Complexity is expensive, inefficient, and ineffective.

I’m not minimizing the fact we live in a complex world, and I’m not suggesting that profit cannot be found in complexity. But great leaders understand opportunity and profits are extracted from complexity through simplification, not by adding to the complexity. While many think it was Einstein who said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” the statement was actually borrowed from Leonardo de Vinci – both gentlemen were correct.

Get Personal– If I only had a nickel for every time I’ve heard someone say, “It’s not personal; it’s just business.” Great leaders understand nothing is more personal than leadership, and they engage accordingly. The best leaders understand a failure to engage is in fact a failure to lead. Average leaders remain aloof and distant – great leaders look to know and care for their people.

Average leaders are viewed as business executives, the best leaders are viewed as great human beings.The best leaders understand it’s not a weakness to get personal, to display empathy, kindness, and compassion – it’s the ultimate strength. Peak performance is never built on the backs of others, but by helping others become successful. Treat your people as if your life depends on it – it does.

The reality is anyone can lead, but very few lead well. Will you just show up for work and check the box, or will you lead well? Thoughts?

Follow me on Twitter @mikemyatt

http://www.forbes.com/sites/mikemyatt/2013/06/17/5-transitions-great-leaders-make-that-average-leaders-dont/

70% Disengagement’ – 3 Ways To Engage Those Who Aren’t by Margie Warrell

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The latest numbers from Gallup’s survey of 150,000 workers are in:

Fewer than 1 in 3 (30%) American workers are committed to the success of their organization and are engaged in their work. Over half (52%) are ‘disengaged’ – defined as ‘less emotionally connected’ and not willing to do any more than necessary to keep their job. Most alarming of all, nearly 1 in 5 works are ‘actively disengaged’ – actually against their organization, their boss, or both. If you only had five people working for you, this would make for a bleak support team!

However you interpret these numbers, they paint a disturbing picture and point to a dire gap between the leadership required in today’s flatter and more pressure-laden organizations and the leadership that people are getting. Given that engagement is indispensable to building competitive advantage and staying the course in an increasingly global marketplace, these numbers are a siren call to leaders at all levels to become more deeply engaged in closing the gap lest it grower wider.

While there are countless theories on fostering greater employee engagement and no one clear solution, my experience working with individuals and organisations across cultures, industries and hemispheres is that the most powerful paradigms are also the most practical. This, combined with my research while writing Stop Playing Safe, helped me develop the adjacent engagement framework, which incorporates three core domains for masterful leadership that deepens employee engagement and lifts organizational performance.

i) Connect – Build Trust: Relationships are the currency of the workplace, and so the stronger your connections, the more influence you wield. To better engage workers in the work, leaders must first better engage with their workers. This starts by building trust, respect and the lines of communication. People respond better to leaders they respect, even though they may not always like them. Being able to communicate effectively with employees to direct and guide their actions first requires making a genuine connection with them. This cannot occur if leaders remain in their polished offices, removed from the shop floors and front line where employees live each workday. It requires, as I wrote in a previous column Why Leaders Must ‘Get Real’ – 5 Ways To Unlock Authentic Leadership, a willingness to lay vulnerability on the line, to engage in open conversation, to share authentically, and to constantly acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of those around them (the topic of another recent column). Employees will be far more ready to go the extra mile for leaders they can relate to on a human level, rather than someone whom they perceive thinks of themselves as a ‘little bit better’ than everyone else.

ii) Inspire – Share The Bigger “Why”: In workplaces around the world today, millions of people show up thinking that what they do doesn’t matter beyond the pay-check they get for it. The cost to the human spirit of such widespread resignation and disillusionment far transcends even the vast cost to the bottom line. As human beings we long to feel a sense of purpose and meaning in our work, not just our lives outside it. We want to believe that what we are doing with our time and talents, skills and expertise is being used for a worthy purpose. Sadly, too few people do.

People who don’t view the tasks they do each day as holding any larger utility beyond the obvious will scarcely be willing to put forth any extra effort, more prone to cutting corners, and more likely to cover up mistakes. Which is why it is imperative for leaders to continually strive to ensure employees understand the bigger “Why” – enabling them to connect their actions to a vision – the company’s mission – and how that vision impacts the world around them in a meaningful way. There is little more demoralizing to workers than having a leader who can’t clearly articulate why employees should care about what they’re doing.

As I wrote in Stop Playing Safe, ‘While spirituality and business may seem an oxymoron, organizations that can connect employees to a bigger purpose – to a ‘why’ that transcends their pay check – are those that will tap their full potential and inspire employees to continue go the extra mile.’ Leaders must help people see that their role, while it may seem relatively insignificant in the big scheme, is both valued and valuable. More so, that the attitude and spirit they bring to fulfilling it is no less important. In short: it’s a leaders mission to inspire those they lead to do more, learn more, and become more than they otherwise would. As leadership expert Lance Secretan wrote in Inspire: What Great Leaders Do, ‘A leader who does not inspire is like a river without water.’

While I have no data to substantiate this, I suspect that the reason employee disengagement is highest among those under 25 is that they are the ones who still have the burning fire in the belly desire to change the world, yet suddenly find themselves in a ‘job’ doing the mundane tasks young workers tend to be given, and struggling to see any connection between what they’re doing and the bigger problems they see in the world around them (a feeling I can still recall myself at that age.) Helping bridge that gap and connect the role an organization is playing in creating a more equitable, prosperous, and sustainable world (all values important younger people) will help to not only deepen engagement but inspire workers to go the extra mile and challenge themselves in new ways, knowing that they are part of something bigger than themselves. When people know that there’s something bigger at stake as they go about their work, they will approach every challenge with greater determination, resourcefulness and initiative than they otherwise would.

iii) Embolden – Cultivate a Culture of Courage: Willingness to step beyond our comfort zone is crucial to both our success and that of any organization we’re part of. But in order to do that, we have to know that it’s safe to do so and that we won’t be punished if our efforts fall short of the mark. In Stop Playing Safe, I wrote extensively about the importance of leaders at all levels in cultivating a ‘Culture of Courage’ that encourages innovative thinking and makes it ‘safe’ for employees to take risks, make ‘smart mistakes,’ challenge status quo thinking, and provide candid upward feedback. When employees feel that their contribution is truly valued, and are challenged to push the boundaries of possibility, experiment, and express their opinions openly (though constructively), it triggers greater ownership of their own success as well as their commitment to the larger mission of their team and organization.

When leaders are committed and actively working to connect, inspire and embolden – they unleash untapped potential and raise the bar not just on productivity, but on the value their organisation contributes to all it’s stakeholders. Not only that – and of no less significance – they nurture and embolden an entire new generation of leaders to take on the yet seen challenges of tomorrow, clear in the knowledge that while what we do each day at work matters, it is the attitude we bring to what we do that matters far more.

Margie Warrell draws on her background in business, psychology, and executive coaching to help people live and lead with greater courage. She is the bestselling author of Stop Playing Safe (Wiley 2013), and Find Your Courage (McGraw-Hill 2009), and a sought after keynote speaker and media commentator.

You can also stay connect with Margie on Twitter, Linked In, or Facebook, For more ‘courage-building’ resources and information, please visit http://www.margiewarrell.com

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Employee Engagement: Connect, Inspire & Embolden (Copyright Margie Warrell from Stop Playing Safe – Wiley 2013)