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Team Leaders, How are you doing? Part 3

'Action is the foundational key to all success. ' - Pablo Picasso It is often said that we "lead by our example." Or as my pastor Fr. Doug would say, "Everything you do teaches." For me, this leadership principle says, Teaching is more than just words. Your actions speak just as loudly. If you want to "lead by your example," then watch what you do. In view of this principle, an effective leader is highly mindful of his or her own behavior, actions, and choices. Everything you do, everything you say, has the potential for leaving a lasting impression. This impact will influence what people do as a result: If a manager wants improved communication, he needs to communicate effectively.If a manager wants improved engagement, she needs to be engaged in her work.If a manager wants his people to take pride and ownership in what they do, he must model the way. Whatever you do (or don't do) speaks volumes . . . and teaches. So here are six things that l…

Team Leaders, How are you doing? Part 2

"Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality." - Warren Bennis Recently, in a workshop on team leadership, an operations manager said, "It starts with a vision. Then you guide your team along the path to reach the goal." So well said. It reminded me of one of my favorite definitions of leadership. The late great thought leader Warren Bennis once defined leadership as the ability to translate vision into reality. Twenty years ago, there was a lot of discussion on leadership vision. Someone coined the phrase "the vision thing" to sum up the importance of having and communicating a vision. This is nothing new. Thousands of years ago, Solomon understood this. In Proverbs 29:18, he said: Where there is no vision, the people perish. Whether you are a leader of others, or a leader of Self, vision is the start of any undertaking, any change, anything new. And it starts with the man or woman in the mirror. ~ Who are You? ~ What do you stand for? ~ …

Team Leaders, How are you doing? Part 1

I often facilitate training programs on leadership for my client companies. One* of the key points of exploration is that leading is all about relationships.  With this in mind, some years ago, I was inspired to create this acronym for leaders: RELATE for Leaders: Respect - Effective leaders have a deep respect for their followers. They show it by asking for input, by listening, by speaking the truth, by keeping promises, and by building trust. The best leaders honor their team members. Engage - Effective leaders practice lively engagement with their people, seeking their involvement in change initiatives, seeking their ideas and opinions on improvements, having frequent two-way conversations, and making them feel like they are part of the very heart of the business. Listen - Effective leaders are great listeners, opening up to everyone's perspectives, even making sure that dissenting voices are heard. By listening well, leaders learn. Acknowledge - Effective leaders notice and apprec…

A Career of Change

Throughout my career, I have often found myself in the midst of organizational change, such as...
reorganizationstakeoversmergerstechnology rolloutsdownsizings I've been involved in turnarounds, in culture change initiatives, and in new business idea development. As an Organization Development consultant, I helped facilitate needed change.

On top of these organizational changes, I have been personally touched by change, losing jobs on several occasions when my employers decided to make cuts in the workforce.

This "career of change" has molded me into a something of an expert on change. I even wrote a book on the topic some years ago, called Change for the Better.

Now, at this stage of my journey, as a career transition consultant, I bring my "experience of change" to help people who are going through the difficult passages of career upheaval.

I was once asked: "What are the top 3 qualities of a successful Organizational Change Agent?"

My answer: I'…

The Devil's Approach to Change Management

Have you ever read The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis? It's a little book about a junior level Devil who is being mentored by his uncle, a more senior Devil named Screwtape, on the ways to tempt and entrap a human soul. In the spirit of Lewis' classic, here are some fiendish tips from another Devil on some of the worst ways to lead people through organizational change. "Off with their heads" - In an M&A, make the first order of business a massive blood-shedding. Immediately eliminate all the old management that could threaten or block progress. "Ram it down their throats" - At the first Town Hall meeting, make it crystal clear that "it's a new day" whether you like it or not. And you had better get with the program. "You people suck" - Round up the "survivors" of the downsizing and herd them into an intense indoctrination session where the facilitators belittle and demean everyone in the room. "Leave the workfor…

Learning from Experience

With the rise of artificial intelligence, many are wondering what the fate of humanity will be. Will our jobs go away as we are replaced by robots and automated systems? The truth is that there will still be a genuine need for humans in the workplace of tomorrow. There will still be tasks that only humans can do. But the necessary skills are of a higher order, such as: ListeningNegotiatingCoachingCollaboratingCreativityInnovatingCritical thinkingLearning agility How will organizations develop such skills in their leaders and team members? The good news is that many organizations are already doing so. Have you ever heard the phrase "experiential learning?" It has been around, in my field (Training & Organization Development), a long time. It sums up, in two words, an entire school of thought on how best to train and develop people: Learning comes through structured experiences that challenge the learners. The concept can be traced back to John Dewey who said: “Give the pup…

The Effective Negotiator

“In business, you don’t get what you deserve. You get what you negotiate.”
Do you think of yourself as an effective negotiator? Many of us do not, although we have been negotiating all our lives.
Negotiation is not just for lawyers, politicians, diplomats, and heads of state. When we understand what it is, you will see that everyone does it, all the time.

Whenever a child asks her parents for ice cream. Whenever a spouse asks her partner to help out with the household chores. Whenever a customer asks for a better deal. Whenever a colleague asks another team member for support.
What do all of these have in common? Each person is seeking to meet their needs by reaching an agreement with another party.
“The point in negotiating is to meet your own needs, not necessarily to do better than the other. Most negotiations take place in the context of long-term relationships, as in a marriage. If you are always asking: “Who’s winning this marriage?” the marriage is in serious trouble.”(Roger Fisher…