Monday, May 10, 2010

7 Traits of Effective Leaders; Do You Share Any?

Are leaders born or made? Can you learn superior leadership skills? Experts have noticed seven specific actions that successful leaders carry out, regardless of the organization or cause they lead.

Effective Leaders. . .

. . .Make others feel important. If your goals and decisions are self-centered, followers will lose their enthusiasm quickly. Emphasize their strengths and contributions, not your own.

. . .Promote a Vision. Followers need a clear idea of where you're leading them and they need to undersand why that goal us valuable to them. Your job as a leader is to provide that vision.

. . .Follow the Golden Rule. Treat your followers the way you enjoy being treated. An abusive leader attracts few loyal followers.

. . .Admit mistakes. If people suspect that you're covering up your own errors, they'll hide their mistakes, too, and you'll lack valuable information for making decisions.

. . .Critcize others only in private. Public praise encourages others to excel, but public criticism only embarrasses and alienates everyone.

. . .Stay close to the action. You need to be visible to the members of your organization. Talk to people, visit other offices and work sites, ask questions, and observe how business is being handled. Often you will gain new insights into your work and find new opportunities for motivating your followers.

. . .Make a game of competition. The competition drive can be a valuable tool if you use it correctly. Set team goals, and reward members who meet or exceed them. Examine your failures, and celebrate your group's success.

- Adapted from The Toastmaster

CEO's Role has Been Transformed

The role of the CEO has been transformed over the years while the demands on the position remain the same. The CEO is now expected to be a highly productive team member that holds and develops a set of values and ideals that relate to both the employee and the customer, inspiring and recognizing the leadership skills exhibited by their staff, providing and distributing intelligence, maintaining and managing the structure of change, and of course, getting the desired results.

As Edward R. Shapior, MD points out in his article, “The Changing Role of the CEO” – the passions of leaders can be used to discover a focused and meaningful organizational engagement in the larger society.

As an executive coach for over ten years, I ask the following questions of almost every coaching candidate:

  • Are you making all of the progress you would like to make and are capable of making?
  • What is in it for you if you are successful in reaching your goals?
  • What is the value to you if you reach your goals?
  • What have you done to date to reach this goal?
  • What are you willing to do to reach that goal? Is it time, money or energy?
  • Who else is involved that can affect the result?
  • How do your actions affect others?
  • Is it a choice or circumstance?

On many occasions, my goal as a coach is to get someone to make choices that take them out of their comfort zone. Effective Leaders are honest, competent, forward looking, and inspirational. Since leadership skills are learned, and the role of the leader is changing daily, it might just be the right time for the Leadership Team of organizations today to rethink their position and commit the team to a Leadership Training and Coaching Process.

Remember, 3% make it happen, 77% watch it happen, and 90% wonder what the hell happened. Leadership is no longer a position, it is a competency that we all must present in the workplace today. Coaching is much like the role of a leader, designed to get results.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Use These Strategies to Make Exit Interviews More Meaningful

Why do workers leave? Here's how to ensure your exit interviews provide the answers:
  • Get Outside Help - Short-circuit emotions by using an objective third party to conduct exit interviews. Departing workers are more likely to believe confidentiality claims of vendors who have no stake in their comments. And interviewees will be less inhibited with interviewers who are compiling data rather than collecting gossip or defending the company.
  • Escape Immediate Surroundings - Treat exit interview with the same confidentiality shown in performance appraisals or disciplinary meetings. Don't allow departing workers to become intimidated by passing traffic or big ears in nearby cubicles. Hold interviews in a conference room, cafe, or park where people can speak freely.
  • Compile Useful Data - Create a written policy explaining that exit interviews will be used to compile data that will be reported in composite form only. Don't share plans to use exit data to investigate specific problems or individuals. Make sure data is reliable by using a uniform questionnaire.
  • Let time Work Its Magic - If you insist on conducting face-to-face interviews with departing workers on their final day of service, you'll probably get a high level of participation. But you probably won't get an accurate assessment of why these people are leaving. Departing workers may be bitter about personal conflicts or the company's failure to, say, make a counteroffer. Or they may be caught up in the emotions of their good bye parties. Wait long enough for them to gain perspective and feel confident that burning a bridge won't damage their careers, then mail your questionnaire. Increase the likelihood of a response by offering a cash bonus or gift certificate to those who return the survey. Even if your response rate declines, you'll know the responses you receive will be more likely to offer useful insight.
Adapted from "This way to the Exit Interview" by Ken Gaffey