Archive for October 2016

Continually Challenge Employees

October 28, 2016

If you’ve ever embarked on an exercise program, you know after a while your body strengthens and exercises that were once difficult to perform are easy to do.  You then increase the intensity of the exercise by adding more weight or more reps until that becomes easy and then you add more again to challenge yourself.  Continually pushing our bodies is what creates the health improvements we seek.  If we stopped improving, eventually we would lose the gains we made.

The same is true with work endeavors.  We must continually improve our work or eventually fall behind.  The “A” player who stops pushing for improvement will eventually become a “B” player, and if still refuses to grow will become a “C” player and will ultimately be out of work.  Leaders should ensure their direct reports are continually challenged either through internal motivations or through their coaching.

Leaders who empower and push their direct reports to improve will continue to be successful.

Empowered Introverts Contribute More To Meetings

October 21, 2016

We all remember the quiet, shy person in high school who rarely spoke in class – the person who listened intently, took lots of notes, and worked hard at flying under the radar. When the teacher called on this introvert, we were all amazed at the insights offered and surprised the person didn’t speak up more often.

The best contributors to meetings are often the quietest. These reflective, contemplative thinkers have great ideas that are frequently lost on the team. Leaders can benefit by going out of their way to get the input of these team members. Some ideas to get their involvement:

  • distribute an agenda and/or discussion topics well before the meeting, specifying what decisions need to be made (the introverts will be well prepared and more likely to contribute to the discussion);
  • don’t let the domineering extroverts monopolize the conversation (the extroverts love being the focus of the meeting and the introverts are content letting them);
  • do not assume the introvert’s quietness means they agree (the introvert’s head nod means they heard the point not that they concur);
  • encourage the introverts to contribute by setting a rule that their silence means they disagree (this forces them to speak up);
  • ask the introverts to “think out loud” and never, never criticize these thoughts (introverts prefer to speak after their thoughts are complete and are uncomfortable expressing their incomplete thoughts).

Leaders who empower the introverts on their team to contribute to team meetings have more successful organizations.

How To Spot a Level 5 Leader

October 17, 2016

According to bestselling author Jim Collins, humility is a key ingredient of Level 5 leadership. His simple formula is Humility + Will = Level 5. “Level 5 leaders are a study in duality; modest and willful, shy and fearless,” says Collins. 

Collins is also a noted leadership speaker, collecting over $75,000 per speaking event. As you can imagine, those speaking events attract some very accomplished leaders. One question Collins asks in his sessions is for the leaders in the crowd to raise their hand if they think they are a Level 5 leader. Inevitably many leaders raise their hands. Collins then, much to the leaders’ chagrin, says, “a Level 5 leader would never raise their hand.

Collins’ point is Level 5 leaders with all their humility would never admit they are an accomplished leader; that they are always striving to be better and never satisfied with their performance.

Level 5 leaders look in the mirror during bad times and out the window during good times. Humble leaders are not afraid to seek outside counsel to make their organizations better knowing they don’t have all the answers.

Empowered leaders pursue Level 5 leadership and they, along with their teams, experience greater success.

Not All Resumes Are What They Appear To Be

October 7, 2016

Before he was famous, Leonardo da Vinci in 1482, at the age of 30, wrote out a letter listing his capabilities and sent it off to the Duke of Milan in hopes of getting a job.  He is credited with submitting the first resume.

In a recent Harris Poll on resumes conducted on behalf of CareerBuilder, 2,188 HR pros and hiring managers were asked to cite common exaggerations (i.e. lies) on resumes. Unlike da Vinci’s letter, most resumes today are reported to contain exaggerations or be flat out wrong.  Here are the common resume falsehoods and percentages reported:

  • Skills — 57%
  • Responsibilities — 55%
  • Employment dates — 42%
  • Job titles — 34%
  • Academic degrees — 33%
  • Past companies worked for — 26%
  • Accomplishments and awards — 18%

When conducting interviews and reference checks, hiring managers must be sure to validate resume facts. They should challenge candidates on the resume’s veracity and have little tolerance for inaccuracies or embellishments.

Empowered hiring managers dig deeply into a candidate’s resume and make more successful hires.