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Common Sense and Competency

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Today’s post is very short because it requires you to read two others.

First is Dan McCarthy’s wondering if common sense is a learnable skill and offering his own eight steps that might (or might not) help. The first step is a doozy.

Admit you have a problem.

As Dan points out it is probably the hardest step of all.

Reading that post reminded me of a post I did based on an article I read ten years ago about research on incompetence.

“Most incompetent people do not know that they are incompetent. … One reason that the ignorant also tend to be the blissfully self-assured, the researchers believe, is that the skills required for competence often are the same skills necessary to recognize competence.”

Admitting you may be incompetent is far worse than admitting a lack of common sense and so even less likely to happen.

feedbackWhich is why you need feedback from a variety of sources; the larger the variety the more accurate the picture.

Of course, then you need to listen to it.

Image credit: Karl Horton on flickr

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Ducks in a Row: a Lack of Trust

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

ducks_in_a_rowI really enjoy Dan McCarthy over at Great Leadership; we may not always agree, but he has never wasted my time and I always learn something.

Saturday was no exception and I want to share the survey Dan posted, because I think it’s of major importance whether you are a manager or a worker.

Engagement is high on management’s list of preferred employee attitude, but management seems to have a disconnect when it comes to how to engender it.

Too many managers choose to ignore that the most basic, necessary ingredient in engagement is trust and, for good reason, trust is in short supply these days.

04.14.2010 – A new Maritz® Poll conducted by Maritz Research, a leader in employee satisfaction research, paints a dire outlook of American workforce attitudes toward employers. Employees’ trust toward their workplace has taken a severe hit, with employees across all industry segments citing a lack of trust in not only senior leaders, but direct managers and co-workers as well.
According to the poll, few (11 percent) employees strongly agree their managers show consistency between their words and actions. In addition, only seven percent of employees strongly agree they trust senior leaders to look out for their best interest, and only seven percent strongly agree they trust their co-workers to do so. Approximately one-fifth of respondents disagree that their company’s leader is completely honest and ethical, and one-quarter of respondents disagree that they trust management to make the right decisions in times of uncertainty. While workplace trust has been dwindling since the Enron, WorldCom, and Tyco scandals of the earlier part of the decade, threats of layoffs and downsizing have only exacerbated the problem.
“In times like these, trust is an especially critical issue. Companies need their best people more than ever to be engaged and productive. But, often, this process starts at the top,” says Rick Garlick, Ph.D., senior director of consulting and strategic implementation, Hospitality Research Group, Maritz Research. “You’ve got to maintain credibility with your workforce as a means of getting them to totally buy in to the mission and vision of your company. Anything less fosters a disengaged workforce that puts self-interest at the top of its list of priorities.”
In cases where management trust was strong, the study found that employees were significantly more committed to working for their companies. More than half of respondents (58 percent) with strong trust in their management were completely satisfied with their job, while only four percent of respondents with weak trust in management cited they were completely satisfied with their job.
The study also revealed:
• Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of respondents with strong trust in management would be happy to spend the rest of their career with their present company. This compares to only seven percent of respondents who have weak trust in management.
• More than half of those surveyed (51 percent) with strong management trust would invest money in their company if they could versus only six percent of those surveyed with weak management trust.
• Only three percent of respondents with weak management trust look forward to coming to work everyday. For those with strong management trust, 50 percent responded they look forward to coming to work everyday.
Which Industry Fares Well? Hospitality Employees and Its Customers
While the survey suggests there is room for improvement across all sectors, the hospitality industry seems to have some advantages over others. For example, hospitality employees (14 percent) are more likely than other industry segments (9 percent) to rate their company as a “fun place to work.” Hospitality sector employees also tend to rate their companies better on customer service-related issues and the impact they make:
• More than one-third (34 percent) completely understand how their work impacts customers’ experiences, compared to only 23 percent in other industries.
• Twenty percent believe they have the authority they need to respond promptly to customer problems and requests, versus just 15 percent of respondents in other industries.
Approximately one-fifth (21 percent) of hospitality respondents believe their customers would rate the service they deliver as excellent, compared to only 14 percent of respondents in other segments.
However, there is room for improvement. Only 15 percent of employees agree that their company has the policies, systems and procedures in place to deliver outstanding customer service.
“With the hospitality industry taking one of the biggest hits due to poor economic conditions and negative perceptions, it is promising that employees feel positive about the connection of their daily work to customer service issues. But, it is still not a rosy picture when it comes to engagement. The results show that a lack of trust runs rampant in this sector as well, which impacts employees’ perceived long term career development opportunities, co-worker relationships, and productivity levels,” says Garlick.
Don’t slash that recognition program
The weak economy forced companies to cut costs across the organization. And, unfortunately, formal recognition programs were frequently sacrificed. More than one-third of respondents (33 percent) cited their company scaled back or eliminated their recognition program in the past year. There is some data, at least from the employees’ perspective, to suggest these cuts have had an impact on the quality of service they deliver to customers. Among employees whose companies kept recognition programs intact, 25 percent strongly agreed their customers would rate their service as excellent. Among those whose companies cut back on their recognition programs or never had one, only 14 percent strongly agreed customers would rate their service as excellent.
“Recognition programs are critical to demonstrating to employees that they are valued and appreciated for the work they perform. It’s an important engagement tool, as it helps to reinforce messages about how people are making an impact,” says Garlick. “This is a wake-up call for management teams that consider employee recognition programs as expendable. Not only do recognition programs positively impact employee engagement levels, they ultimately lead to positive customer service perceptions, which impact the bottom line.”
About Maritz® Poll
Maritz® Poll is a copyrighted poll conducted since 1988 by Maritz Research. Maritz Poll comprises regular surveys on topics related to the automotive, financial services, hospitality, retail, technology, and telecommunications sectors as well as workplace issues. This poll was conducted March 1-5, 2010. The 2,004 respondents were people who were employed full time and drawn from a national e-mail panel. Sampling error for the overall poll is +/-3 percent. Results of the poll may be used in print or broadcast media, provided credit is given to the Maritz Poll and/or Maritz Research.
About Maritz Research
As one of the world’s largest marketing research firms, Maritz Research, a unit of Maritz, helps many of today’s most successful companies improve performance through an actionable understanding of their customers, employees, and channel partners. Founded in 1973, Maritz Research offers a range of strategic and tactical solutions concentrating primarily in the automotive, financial services, hospitality, telecommunications and technology and retail industries. Maritz Research projects are carried out in compliance with the International Standard: ISO 20252:2006 Market, Opinion, and Social Research Standard. Maritz Research is a member of CASRO and official sponsor of the American Marketing Association.

If trust is lacking in your organization don’t go looking for a quick fix.

Trust is the opposite of weight; gaining weight is fast and easy, while losing it is slow and difficult. Trust can be lost in the blink of an eye, while regaining it may never happen.

In conjunction with this read Why Are Fewer and Fewer U.S. Employees Satisfied With Their Jobs? (don’t skip the comments), a current discussion from Dr. James Heskett, Harvard Business School.

Image credit: Svadilfari on flickr

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Leadership Development Carnival – Academy Awards Edition

Monday, March 8th, 2010

leadership-development-carnivalDan McCarthy, of Great Leadership fame, produced and directed a terrific Leadership Awards show for you. I didn’t win, but then I was up against stars like Wally Bock, so I’m not too disappointed.

Therefore, without more ado, Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreeeesssssss Dan!

Art Petty sings and dances with a glamorous showgirl on each arm with Leadership Caffeine-Learning to Lead in the Project-Focused World posted at Management Excellence.

Best Supporting Actress:
The nominations are:

Janna Rust in Self Leadership: Lead yourself to success posted at Purposeful Leadership.

Erin Schreyer in Do I Have Food Stuck In My Teeth? posted at Authentic Leadership.

Anna Farmery in Why you should hate a weekend! posted at The Engaging Brand.

Jane Perdue in Let Us Be the Water posted at Life, Love & Leadership.

Becky Robinson in How To Develop Others posted at Mountain State University LeaderTalk, saying, “In order to grow, people need exposure, opportunity, and challenge.”

And the winner is….. Mary Jo Asmus !

Best Supporting Actor:
The nominations are:

Tom Magness in Learning Leadership from “The Office” — Part I posted at Leader Business, saying, “If you are hooked on “The Office” as I am, you will appreciate this post. We learn leadership from good and bad role models. There are plenty of both with the show’s star and office manager, Michael Scott. If you are hooked on the show, or on leadership, you’ll enjoy these comments.”

Chris Young in Startups, Culture-Shaping, and the “Lifetime Employment Award” posted at Maximize Possibility Blog, saying, “Start-ups are exciting organizations to be a part of. However, leaders can often be blinded by their history with a team member who was “there from the start” and unwittingly give them a “lifetime employment award” at great expense to the organization’s culture and the morale of its other employees.”

William Matthies in Business Wisdom: Words to Manage By posted at Business Wisdom: Words to Manage By.

Mike Henry Sr. in Community’s Forth Dimension posted at Lead Change Group Blog.

Tanmay Vora in Quick Thought on Leadership and Subordination to a Cause posted at QAspire – Quality, Management, Leadership & Life!, saying, “When people subordinate a leader, they are not a leader’s subordinates. They are subordinates to a cause. In that context, even a leader is subordinate to a cause. This post tries to emphasize on this very important facet.”

And the winner is…..Tanmay Vora

Best Actress:
The nominations are:

Mary Jo Asmus in Listening, Part II: What REALLY Gets in the Way? posted at Mary Jo Asmus.

Sharlyn Lauby in 7 Types of Power in the Workplace posted at hr bartender, saying, “Everyone has power. It’s using your power effectively that makes a positive difference.”

Alice Snell in Influence and Learning posted at Taleo Blog – Talent Management Solutions.

LisaRosendahl in Eliminating the Static in Performance Management posted at Lisa Rosendahl, saying, “Performance management is one of the most important things a supervisor can do and it is essential that it be done respectfully and professionally from start to finish.

Jennifer V. Miller in 25 Free Leadership Resources posted at The People Equation.

And the winner is…… Jennifer Miller !

Best Actor:
The nominations are:

David Zinger in Employee Engagement: The Zinger 2020 Vision posted at Employee Engagement Zingers, saying, “The future of employee engagement during this decade.”

Jason Seiden in Your Job Sucks? Really? I’m Shocked. Oh, Wait: No I’m Not. posted at Next Generation Talent Development, saying, “Leadership success starts with the ability to work through adversity… even when adversity comes in the form of our own bad attitudes.”

Steve Roesler in All Things Workplace: What Do We Expect From “Real” Leaders? posted at All Things Workplace, saying, “Leadership authority Steve Roesler says, “One thing I am sure of: You can’t microwave leaders and expect a 5-Star Experience.”"

Scott Eblin in Next Level Blog posted at Next Level Blog, saying, “One of the biggest questions for managers moving into executive leadership roles is “How do I delegate bigger decisions to my team and still manage risk?” Scott Eblin has been talking with his clients about that question and has come up with some answers.”

Tom Glover presents Challenges To Being a Team posted at Reflection Leadership.

And the winner is….. Scott Eblin!

Best Director:
The nominations are:

Miki directs MAPping Company Success posted at MAPping Company Success, saying, “In any leadership position you are responsible for creating the culture or subculture (the culture of your group within the overall company culture). Here are 7 basic areas you need to think through and do in order to create and implement the kind of culture you want.”

Wally Bock directs 4 Reasons Why Being a Boss is Not an Olympic Event posted at Three Star Leadership Blog, saying, “Olympic athletes are fun and inspiring to watch. But they’re lousy role models for a boss.”

Adi Gaskell directs A siesta a day keeps the afternoon slump away posted at The Management Blog, saying, “An article showing the virtues of having a nap in the afternoon if you want to be at your best throughout the day.”

Amy Wilson directs Pay for Performance is Dead…almost posted at TalentedApps, saying, “This post covers several signals suggesting that the pay for performance model that we’ve touted in the past might need a serious makeover.”

Nissim Ziv directs Leading a Team Effectively posted at Job Interview Guide, saying, “Teams can be a very effective in producing innovative solutions in the workplace. In jobs throughout every industry, employers always emphasize the need for “good team players.” Teams can generate enthusiasm and increase communication between workers from different departments. “Teamwork” should be the mantra of every organization. Yet, we all know that creating a team can be a bit like creating a monster.”

And the winner is…. Wally Bock!

Best Special Effects:

Aaron Windeler presents Leadership: You don’t know it when you see it posted at Scientific Management.

Nick McCormick presents Social Media Policy Guidelines posted at Joe and Wanda – on Management.

Benjamin McCall in Thing about Leadership… One size does not fit all, posted at ReThinkHR.org.

Shawn M. Driscoll in Dealing with Disillusionment posted at Shawn Driscoll.

Anne Perschel in Fixing the Hole in the Corporate Soul posted at Germane Insights, saying, “Business guru Gary Hamel published “The Hole in the Corporate Soul,” (WSJ) the same day I was writing how to fix it.”

And the winner is….. Anne Perschel!

Here are the rest of our nominations:

Ericka Hines presents Leadership: The future that will exist posted at Ericka Hines, saying, “My blog is targeted towards those in the public sector(nonprofits/social enterprise/government) . I try to make the idea of leadership accessible to understand and to do. I hope that this works for the carnival.”

Jason Reid presents Multi-tasking – doing things badly in twice as much time posted at Sick With Success .com, saying, “A look at how using synergy accomplishes more than multitasking (with examples).”

Andy Klein presents Embrace failure as part of growth posted at The Fortune Group Blog, saying, “When people know they can try and fail and not be reprimanded for doing so, they soon get good at what they do. Growth means trying, so encourage people to try!”

Katy Tynan presents The Simple Path to Leadership Bench Strength posted at Survive Your Promotion!.

Divinelysmile presents The Gender Gap: 10 Surprising Stats on Women in the Workplace posted at JobProfiles.org – Job Descriptions and Online Schools to Start Your Career.

Angela Martin presents 50 Famously Successful People Who Failed At First posted at Online Colleges.org.

Heather Stagl presents Monitor Your Organization’s “Non-Verbal” Communication posted at Enclaria LLC, saying, “It is widely cited that 93% of meaning in a conversation is derived from non-verbal cues. Extrapolating this phenomenon to organizational communication means that most meaning comes from outside official sources.”

Kathy C presents Coaching as a Leadership Competency posted at The Thriving Small Business.

Russell Dygert presents Steak or Hamburger posted at Becoming Who I Should.

Gilda Bonanno presents Using Improv Comedy’s “Half-Life” Technique to Stay Within Your Time Limit While Presenting posted at Gilda Bonanno’s blog, saying, “Public Speaking is an essential success skill for leadership development yet many aspiring leaders still struggle with it. One of the most frequent mistakes they make is to go over the time limit when presenting. This blog post describes a technique from improvisational comedy that can help presenters learn to deliver the essential elements of their message while staying within the time limit.”

Image credit: Great Leadership

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January Leadership Development Carnival

Monday, January 4th, 2010

leadership-development-carnivalHere’s a great way to start a new year and a new decade. Dan McCarthy is hosting The January 3rd Leadership Development Carnival: Best of 2009 Edition, with 50 fabulous posts from a variety of savvy folks.

My two favorites are John Hunter’s The CEO is Only One Person and Mark Stelzner’s Common Sense is Not So Common, but there are a lot more that are worth your time.

Only one thing left to say—enjoy!

Let’s start off with Mary Jo Asmus with Encouraging Pure Possibility, from her Aspire blog.
Use these powerful coaching questions and you’ll turn a negative conversation into one about possibilities!

Next up is Art Petty presenting Leadership Caffeine-The Cure for Tired Leader Syndrome (TLS) posted at Management Excellence. In this important public service announcement, Art discovered a new ailment – Tired Leader Syndrome! Fortunately, Dr. Petty has the cure. While you’re at it, check out Art’s new Building Better Leaders offering – very cool.

Wally Bock presents Can leadership be taught? posted at Three Star Leadership Blog. Wally is spot on with his answer, and the comments he received are worth reading too.

Here’s more excellant leadership coaching advice from Steve Roesler, presenting Leadership: You’ll Know Them When They Know You posted at All Things Workplace. This one made me pause and reflect.

Becky Robinson paused to reflect on her birthday, and offers this inspiration for the new year, Happy Birthday to Me! – Mountain State University LeaderTalk posted at Mountain State University LeaderTalk.

Bret Simmons stirred the pot with Engagement Soup posted at Bret L. Simmons – Positive Organizational Behavior. Are you really measuring employee engagement? Find out.

“Encouraging talent mobility, which is a key way to build better leaders, takes more than using standard incentives such as money.” Amy Wilson presents When will we get serious about Talent Mobility? posted at TalentedApps, the hosts of next month’s Carnival.

And here’s the host of last month’s Carnival, Mark Stelzner, with Common Sense is Not So Common, posted at Inflexion Point. Good advice here from Mark – never, ever yank the pants off your VP. Read Mark’s hysterical post to find out more.

Tanmay Vora has been a regular Carnival contributor and a Twitter advocate for Great Leadership. Here’s his best from 2009, GIVING is GROWING – Generosity and Leadership, posted at QAspire. More great advice to start the year – on the importance of giving. Ok, I’m in!

Another blogger I got to know in 2009 is Jennifer V. Miller. Here’s Praising Mastery | The People Equation posted at The People Equation. After reading this, I’ll bet you’ll become a regular too.

Who else could get a Presidential audience at the Kennedy Center shouting, “Bruuuce!”? From the spring of 2009, Scott Eblin shares some thought on what leaders can learn from the Boss, Kennedy Center honoree, Bruce Springsteen. Scott Eblin presents What Leaders Can Learn from Springsteen posted at Next Level Blog.

Here’s the remarkable Kevin Eikenberry, from Leadership Learning (and host of the “Best of Leadership Blogs” contest), with Leadership Lessons Everyday.

Miki Saxon has been a regular contributor to the Carnival and just loves to disagree with me. (-:
Here’s another gem from Miki’s MAPping Company Success: What you do shows how everybody leads, manages and sells all the time.

Even leaders need a little refresh every now and then – Lisa Rosendahl presents Exit A Funk and Seize The Day posted at Lisa Rosendahl. Thanks, Lisa, we needed that!

“Corporate trust is at an all time low. Leaders need to work toward creating a work environment that will allow healing to begin.” Sharlyn Lauby, a future host of the Carnival, presents Trust posted at HR Bartender. Stop by for beverage and some conversation.

Mike Henry, from the Lead Change Group, gives us Unique Difference. A great post and comments.

“In this “Best of 2009″ submission, see what you can learn from how Army Rangers school prepares elite troopers for the most challenging tasks. And see what you might learn about preparing your leaders to be able to handle any mission! Rangers Lead the Way!” Tom Magness presents Rangers Lead The Way posted at Leader Business. Gotta love Tom’s passion. (-:

From John Ingham: “My best leadership post from 2009? Not a very typical blog post but I like it as a case study of an organisation developing clarity about where it’s going and then aligning action behind this: Visa Europe: What do you want to be when you grow up.”

Erik Samdahl presents The Leadership Competencies That Matter Most in Today’s Trying Economic Times posted at i4cp.

From Mike Myatt: “A message that definitely needs to be heard!” - The Power of Listening | N2Growth Blog posted at N2Growth Blog. Mike, thanks for all of the Twitter support for Great Leadership!

“Leaders see what’s coming. They anticipate how their opponents will attack them and they use that knowledge when developing their plans in the first place.” Jason Seiden presents Success Tip: Expect to Get Punched posted at Seiden Leadership.

Here’s Janna Rust with DISC Styles: Are You a Tortoise or a Hare, from Purposeful Leadership.

Eric Pennington gives us Don’t be charmed by security, posted at Epic Living.

You may have gotten to know Aaron Windeler as a regular commentor at Great Leadership. Here he presents Leadership training that increases the bottom line posted at Scientific Management.

“Dan suggested we look for our 2009 “greatest hit”, which is a good idea. However I don’t know what criteria I would use to decide what that would be so I’ve elected to pick the topic that means the most to me, which is, leadership that results in performance rather than excuses for lack of performance. Happy New Year to all and a great 2010!” Bill Matthies presents Failure: “I Can Explain” posted at Business Wisdom: Words to Manage By.

“The management system is far more important than one person.” John Hunter presents The CEO is Only One Person posted at Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog.

From the cranky Wayne Turmel: “Dan, I think this is the most important Cranky show we’ve done in a couple of years. The world of work has changed and senior Leadership is caught like a deer in the headlights when it comes to remote working, changing the workplace and what it all means. I know you usually do blog posts but you’ve posted Cranky shows in the past and this one is important…..” Your Senior

Mgmt Doesn’t Get Remote Working John Blackwell.

Nick McCormick presents Managers, Do Your Job! posted at Joe and Wanda on Management.

Michael Ray Hopkin gives us The Price of Leadership, from Lead on Purpose. Good stuff, as always!

“My most popular post of 2009, with some great tips from communications expert Diana Booher!” – Jennifer McClure presents 6 Tips For Developing “Executive Presence” – Cincy Recruiter’s World posted at Cincy Recruiter’s World. Jennifer, where have you been, I miss your posts!

“Almost everyone in the team would want to become a leader, but there are very few who would actually have the characteristics to be a team leader.” – Nissim Ziv presents What Makes a Good Team Leader? How to Be a Good Team Leader? posted at Job Interview & Career Guide.

Mike King presents The Problem with Leadership | Learn This posted at Learn This.

Matt Paese , from Talent Management Intelligence, presents A Startling Shock of Insight. While you’re at it, check out DDI’s Top 10 2010 Talent Resolutions.

“Elective courses in ethics, responsibility and moderation in MBA programs follow scandal-plagued eras. No surprise they are back now.” -John Agno presents Disenchantment with MBAs Today posted at Coaching Tip: The Leadership Blog.

GL Hoffman gives us Pushing on a Rope, from What Would Dad Say.

“I don’t write too much about leadership, but this post that was inspired by basketball coach and announcer Jeff Van Gundy seemed to resonate with my readers.” – Steve Boese presents The Wisdom of Jeff Van Gundy posted at Steve’s HR Technology. Steve, you should write about leadership more often.

“This article got more views and discussions than any other single blog post all year – so a likely candidate for a Best of 2009 Carnival! The premise is that leaders need to be able to inspire hope in their teams. It doesn’t mean they forego vision or results, but they will accomplish so much more by also being a Hopeful Leader!” – Erin Schreyer presents The Hopeful Leader posted at Authentic Leadership. I can see why it got so many views – nice job, Erin! And thanks for all of your Twitter support, I really appceciate it.

Dr. Charles H. Polk presents Gone to Complacency, Every One: The Emergent Leader Crisis – Apex Thinking: Words from Dr. Charles H. Polk posted at Apex Thinking: Words from Dr. Charles H. Polk.

Tom Glover, a promsing new blogger, gives us What is Reflection, posted at Reflection Leadership.

Jane Perdue, the HR Goddess, presents Positive Influence, Positive Power posted at Life, Love & Leadership.

“With the New Year, I’d like to share a tip regarding being the new leader on the scene. Most often you are replacing a leader who is off to other pursuits, the leader leaving the situation may offer you some advice on those who need a heavy hand. Truth be told. Your future experiences with the team will be different from the other’s leaders. Your problem staff will be different from the other leaders. So when faced with this advise from a fellow leader, what do you do?” Elyse Nielsen presents Learning to Lead – Own Your Judgements posted at Anticlue.

Barry Zweibel presents Out-Loud Leadership posted at GottaGettaBLOG!.

Kevin Kim presents What is flat leadership? posted at hour9.

“In this article I want to discuss a few ideas which may help you to set goals more consciously and also introduce a practical way to actually get them achieved.” – Manager skill presents Achieving your goals posted at Manager skill.

Bob Lieberman presents The Wisdom Of Fallow posted at Cultivating Creativity – Developing Leaders for the Creative Economy.

Dean L. Forbes presents How to Always Make Good Decisions posted at Dean L. Forbes – Powerful Principles of Personal Growth.

Rose King presents 100 Lectures Every Leader Should Listen To posted at Online Classes.org.

Mike King presents The Problem with Leadership | Learn This posted at Learn This.

“Being a leader means having to critique your employees. Learn how to give constructive criticism to various types of individuals.” – Ralph Jean-Paul presents The Ultimate Guide to Giving and Taking Constructive Criticism posted at Potential 2 Success.

And finally, here’s the last act of the Carnival, at #50, my own The Cowardly Manager’s Guide to Dealing with Poor Performers. I’m not sure if it was my “best”, but it sure got a lotta hits, thanks to my friends at SmartBrief.

Image credit: Great Leadership

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Leadership’s Future: the Past is Not the Future

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

seeing-the-futureDan McCarthy had a terrific post on why choosing leaders is a gamble—be sure to read the comments.

We see the idiocy of assuming that past performance is always a good predictor of the future all the time, but it seems especially true at senior levels.

First, there is the penchant for identifying ‘high potential’ starting in kindergarten and providing lots of extra training and coaching, while ignoring those who may be late bloomers or less obvious (read quieter).

Then there’s the Peter Principle, which is not only alive and well, but functioning even more efficiently today than it was when Laurence J. Peter first described it back in 1970.

We relish looking at the past to predict the future, thus choosing to ignore all extenuating circumstances and surrounding factors that played a role in the person’s performance.

We forget, or ignore, that

  • one manager’s star is another manager’s bomb;
  • the skills needed to take advantage of an economic expansion are very different from those needed in a downturn; and
  • turmoil or an ongoing crisis in a person’s personal life often impacts their performance at work.

Last, but not least, we need to get over our love affair with the idea of the hero-leader who, with a wave of the hand, can part the seas and eliminate obstacles.

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Image credit: Valerie Everett on flickr

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Enjoy The November Leadership Development Carnival

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

carnivalI have a yummy brain-treat to add to your Halloween swag, or make up for what you missed.

Dan McCarthy at Great Leadership put together a collection of some of the best posts on leadership, management, teams, personal growth and a lot more for you to gorge on.

So, without more ado, here is a great collection of wisdom from some very savvy people (including me).

We lead off with Wally Bock presenting Let’s hear it for the role models posted at Momentor.

Next up is Mary Jo Asmus presenting Choosing posted at Mary Jo Asmus.

Anne Perschel presents Never Waste A Good Recession posted at Germane Insights.

Steve Roesler presents Team Leaders: Do You Do This? posted at All Things Workplace.

Becky Robinson presents Leading in Relationships posted at Mountain State University LeaderTalk.

Ideas for leaders to ponder when using metaphors to inspire followers: Jennifer V. Miller presents In the Family Way posted at Jennifer V. Miller.

Mark Stelzner presents What Costume Are You Wearing? posted at Inflexion Point.

Chris Young presents Maximize Possibility Blog: Are You a Victim of “Satisfactory” Performance? posted at Maximize Possibility Blog.

Bret L. Simmons presents Leadership Integrity: Touchy-Feely Crap? » Bret L. Simmons – Positive Organizational Behavior posted at Bret L. Simmons – Positive Organizational Behavior.

Can you teach someone to be a great leader? Or does something else have to happen? Wally Bock presents Can leadership be taught? posted at Three Star Leadership Blog.

Mike Myatt presents CEO Success…It’s not Random posted at N2Growth Blog.

Everyday management lessons from a popular reality TV show: Sharlyn Lauby presents What I’ve Learned About Business From Mike Rowe posted at HR Bartender.

This post is a description of my most recent personal journey to do hard things: Michael Ray Hopkin presents Do hard things posted at Lead on Purpose.

Adi Gaskell presents How far are you spreading your talent web? posted at The Management Blog.

Alice Snell presents Home Grown Leaders Get Respect posted at Taleo Blog – Talent Management Solutions.

This is a list of the 7 books that were most influential in my develop as a leader: Tom Glover presents 7 Books That Made Me the Leader I Am Today posted at Reflection Leadership.

Some important takeaways from the recent “Talent Management Challenge” around Strengths focus and Self-assessments: Amy Wilson presents A Couple Things to Learn about Leadership posted at TalentedApps.

The most important actions that foster engagement aren’t rocket science; they just require a little consideration and common sense. Miki Saxon presents Ducks In A Row: The 7 Word Genius Of Engagement : Leadership Turn – Articles, tips, and resources about leadership. posted at Leadership Turn.

Lisa Rosendahl presents On NOT Making a Decision posted at Lisa Rosendahl.

Building the bench is not reserved for good economic times. It is just as critical when times are tough and is a critical leadership responsibility. Tom Magness presents Building the Bench posted at Leader Business.

Chris Young presents Maximize Possibility Blog: Are You a Victim of “Satisfactory” Performance? posted at Maximize Possibility Blog.

Bill Matthies presents Business Wisdom: Words to Manage By posted at Business Wisdom: Words to Manage By.

Janna Rust presents Leadership & Management: What’s the Difference? posted at Purposeful Leadership.

If you’re looking to develop leadership talent in your organization, start by getting the support of your top executives. According to the preliminary results of i4cp’s major new study on leadership competencies, conducted in partnership with the American Management Association, executive support is the number-one factor that contributes to proper leadership development. Erik Samdahl presents It Takes Good Leadership to Develop Good Leaders – i4cp posted at Productivity Blog.

As more and more followers yearn for their leaders to be real, this post explores what steps are needed to lead with authority. Eric Pennington presents So Many Masks, So Little Time posted at Epic Living – Leadership Development Career Management Training Executive Life Coaching Author.

Management must strive to transform their organizations into engaged and authentic communities during the next 10 years. David Zinger presents Henry Mintzberg on Creating a Community of Employee Engagement posted at David Zinger Associates.

Anna Farmery presents Who is at the centre of your world? posted at The Engaging Brand.

Wayne Turmel presents Why can’t IT speak our language? posted at TPN :: The Cranky Middle Manager Show.

Silence truly is golden, it allows your mind to soar, explore and be creative; it also encourages you to become friends with yourself. Miki Saxon presents MAPping Company Success posted at MAPping Company Success.

Nick McCormick presents Ready to Take ?The Leap?? posted at Joe and Wanda on Management.

There are many theories on every aspect of leadership. The reason for this amount of theories is that leadership is complex and variant. Given the importance of effective leaders in any organization, the companies try to ask many questions for evaluating leadership characteristics of a candidate. Nissim Ziv presents Leadership Interview Questions and Answers: Examples of Skills for Leaders posted at Job Interview & Career Guide.

Dan’s note: this one’s a little off the theme of leadership, but it’s a great list of writing resources: Barbara Williams presents The Ultimate Guide to Better Business Writing: 100 Tips, Tools, and Resources posted at Online Degree Programs.org.

Albie presents Your personality affects your global leadership style posted at iDevelopWorld.

Bill Bubenicek presents 10 Ways To Get A Seat On A Small Business Advisory Board posted at BoardMyBiz.com.

Here are a few tips to help you create powerful presence when you open any presentation: Angela DeFinis presents Create a Powerful Presence posted at DeFinis Communications.

Kara Wirt presents Good questioner = good person posted at Dr. G.

Linda Jones presents 101 Business Books Everyone Can Learn From posted at AccreditedOnlineColleges.org.

This post is about how managers can help survivors of layoffs and keep them productive and committed to the company: Aaron Windeler presents Helping survivors through layoffs: the importance of feeling in control posted at Scientific Management.

Trent Cotton presents 7 Ways to Increase Morale and Productivity posted at Helping Businesses Succeed.

Wise_Bread presents How to Get Laid Off by a Step by Step Guide posted at Wisebread.

Karthik Raj G presents What makes a good leader? posted at KARTHIK RAJ G.

I became more productive and focused throughout my day by waking up earlier. Learn the techniques I used to accomplish much more with my business. Ralph Jean-Paul presents How To Wake Up Early Without Hating It: My 3 A.M. Experiment posted at Potential 2 Success.

Leaders need to be sure they are taking care of themselves, so they can bring the most benefit to others. Erin Schreyer presents Be the Best You, To Be the Best Leader posted at Authentic Leadership.

When hiring new employees, jargon specific to the workplace should not be used or explained up front. Dallas Bragg presents Watch that Workplace Jargon! posted at Developing Daily.

Jane Perdue presents Losing Your Leadership Wings posted at Life, Love & Leadership.

Bob Lieberman presents The Identity Crisis posted at Cultivating Creativity – Developing Leaders for the Creative Economy.

Albie presents 10 Reasons why you should keep a journal posted at iDevelopWorld.

This blog posts discusses how to manage whining into a constructive activity: Elyse presents How to manage Whining with no Problem Solving posted at Anticlue.

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Advice For Followers—Or Everybody?

Monday, September 14th, 2009

Leadership, people either covet it, are tired of hearing about it, ignore it or some, like me, see it as an abdication of personal responsibility (let the leader decide).

By definition, if you are a leader you must have followers, and Dan McCarthy over at Great Leadership wrote a terrific post listing 10 actions required to be a great follower.

I hate to disagree with Dan, but he’s wrong saying they are for followers when, in fact, the 10 actions he listed are just as important for the designated leaders—or for any human interfacing with others.

But nobody would be interested in 10 Ways To Be a Great Employee/Boss/Teacher/Student/Parent/Kid/Etc./Etc.; plus it would be lousy SEO and it probably wouldn’t sink in.

Now, Dan is a terrific guy and I have enormous respect for him, but I also couldn’t resist having a little fun by using his post to illustrate my point, which is this.

Skill and action lists aren’t just for the group described as the target audience. Yes, they may need to be tweaked a bit to fit your own particular situation, but they can be applied to anyone.

Maybe they should all be titled along the lines of ‘<whatever> To Be A Great Mensch’, but that wouldn’t fly with Google.

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Saturday Odd Bits Roundup: The September Leadership Development Carnival

Saturday, September 12th, 2009

Leadership’s a funny thing, a lot is written and some has zing;

management and motivation, care for employees vs. depredation.

Many, many ply this trade, coaching, training, getting paid;

they also give their help away on blogs they write most every day.

Dan McCarthy is one of the best and the cream de la cream have joined him as guests,

so be sure to click the link for content that will make you think!

A marvelous time will be had by all at the Leadership Development Carnival.

(Innovation week has been extended through next week, please join us.)

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A Leadership Carnival for Labor Day

Monday, September 7th, 2009

Hopefully you’re not laboring today, at least not at work.

There’s no football, so other than eating what is likely the last BBQ of the season and indulging in too much beer you might be a bit short of entertainment.

Never fear, just click the link and settle in for some great viewpoints on leadership, management, employee interaction and other pertinent subjects at September incarnation of the Leadership Development Carnival.

You’ll not only find my favorites, Wally Bock, Steve Roesler and Jim Stroup, but a host of excellent writers and downright smart people.

It doesn’t matter if you agree with what they say (I often don’t), but agree or not you will learn and that’s the real value—oft times you will learn more from those on a different side of the subject than from those with whom you agree.

Click around the carnival and then come back and share what impressed you most or what set your teeth on edge.

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Leadership Carnival At Great Leadership By Dan

Sunday, July 5th, 2009

Dan McCarthy over at Great Leadership By Dan is once again hosting The July 5th Leadership Development Carnival (it will be hosted other places in the coming months) and, as Dan says, “It’ll help work the cramps out of your brain,” now that the holiday is over.

There’s a lot of excellent information available from the many outstanding participants.

Click around, read and enjoy, but with my normal caveat—leadership is for everyone, not just the person out front.

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