5 Top Leadership Articles for the Week of February 6, 2017

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Each week I read a number of leadership articles from various online resources and share them across social media. Here are the five leadership articles readers found most valuable last week. I have added my comment about each article and would like to hear what you think, too.

There is One Quality That Builds Trust and Loyalty by Renuka Rayasam

About two years ago, when Pink Jeep Tours decided to expand, it investigated exactly what set it apart from the competition and in which areas it could improve. The 57-year-old Arizona-based company, which offers sightseeing excursions around the Grand Canyon, Sedona and Las Vegas in bright pink jeeps, had set its sights on growth throughout the US and new markets abroad.

They are real charmers. So the company’s management measured its net promoter score, which gauges customer loyalty and happiness. Pink Jeep found that it wasn’t just its eponymous vehicle colour that helped it score 91 out of 100 on the customer loyalty scale. It was the company’s guides, who must complete 150 hours of training before giving a tour, that were the key in keeping customers happy and keen to return. Some of the guides are so warm and friendly that customers want to keep in touch with them after their excursions have ended

My Comment: If you pay attention to human relationships, it should come as no surprise that warmth is the differentiator between who we trust and are loyal to. Faked warmth grates on us and drives us away. In contrast, when someone demonstrates genuine concern and has your best interests at heart, it’s much more likely you’ll trust them. Do you lead that way? Can your people honestly say you care about them and want what’s best for them? If so, you’re on your way to being the leader you want your boss to be.

This Seven-Step Guide for Dishing Out Feedback is Totally Idiot-Proof by Karin Hurt and David Dye at Fast Company

Giving critical feedback isn’t easy, especially if you’re new at it. But it doesn’t need to be half as hard as many managers think. The main thing is to keep it short and specific. Every good feedback conversation has to accomplish three goals:

  1. Draw attention to the issue
  2. Create a two-way dialogue about it
  3. Inspire and confirm the commitment to new behavior

How do you do all that as efficiently as possible, without leading to hurt feelings? These seven steps can help you map out a script, no matter how sticky the situation or unfamiliar the experience.

My Comment: This article is adapted from our book, Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results Without Losing Your Soul. When I promote someone into a leadership role, after a foundation of character and competency, the first leadership skill I look for is the ability to have tough conversations. If you’re serious about leading, master the art of the tough conversation (and ditch the diaper drama – sandwich feedback).

Want to Increase Employee Engagement? Hold Managers Accountable by Natalie Hackbart

The best organizations know that engaged, high-performing employees drive business success. Engaged employees are more productive, more profitable, more customer-focused, and more likely to stay. And highly engaged workplaces grow faster, adapt quicker, and innovate more. It’s no wonder that Quantum Workplace’s State of Employee Feedback report found that almost 37 percent of organizations said increasing employee engagement was their top people priority this year.

But how can we make improvements on a metric that has been declining the past three years? Organizations working to increase employee engagement have a powerful key at their disposal: manager accountability.

My Comment:   The concept of manager accountability is valid, but generic. The meat here is in the specific suggestions Hackbart recommends managers be held accountable for doing. I think it’s important to remember that employee engagement is a product of effective leadership. If you put your focus on managing an employee engagement score, you’ll inevitably get people gaming the score, not playing the game.

The Top Three Factors Driving Employee Burnout by Joyce Maroney

Imagine a problem affecting 95 percent of all businesses. A universal problem, so pervasive, that nearly every organization is feeling the pinch. With so many diverse industries, it’s almost hard to fathom. But a crisis that’s been percolating in the American workforce for years has now reached epidemic proportion. You’ve probably heard of it, too: employee burnout.

According to the study in the Employee Engagement Series conducted by Kronos Incorporated and Future Workplace, 95 percent of human resource leaders say that employee burnout is sabotaging their workforce. It’s not just a few folks feeling overworked or run down either. The study – which included more than 600 Chief Human Resource Officers, VPs of HR, HR directors, and HR managers from organizations of all sizes – found that nearly half of HR leaders attribute up to half of their employee turnover to employee burnout.

My Comment: Burnout comes down to a couple of issues. First, disassociating the human beings from the work they do. People aren’t machines, nor are they numbers. With many management and decision-making processes, it is too easy to forget the people behind the decisions you make. Second, burnout often results when a person isn’t a good match for their role or is inadequately trained and equipped to succeed. The third reason I’ve seen is that some organizations use burnout as part of their “talent strategy. They intentionally overwork people until they move on, then replace them. It’s a User Manager approach that is inefficient. Maroney addresses these and other reasons people experience burnout and encourages you to take steps to prevent it.

Ten Unmistakable Signs of a Bad Place to Work by Liz Ryan

Dear Liz,

I’ve had three interviews with one company and they’ve just offered me the job. I’ve worked really hard to get to this point. After the first interview, they went silent.

They stopped communicating. To be honest, it was very impolite of them to interview me and then just forget about me. They didn’t return my phone calls or email messages.

A month later I heard from them. They wanted me to come back for a second interview…

My Comment: This is a fun list and one to which I’m sure we could all add a few items. The value for you as a leader: do any of these apply to you? If so, take a look at yourself, your processes, and your personnel.

Leadership Speaker David Dye

David works with leaders to get results without losing their soul (or mind) in the process. Have David keynote your next event or deliver corporate training: Email today or call 303.898.7018!

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