5 Top Leadership Articles for the Week of January 30, 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.

How to Accept Imperfections Like a Leader by Dan Rockwell

If I could begin my leadership journey again, I’d accept imperfection. Leadership begins after you accept imperfection. If I could take back the time I wasted on searching for perfection – before I took action – I’d be young again. More important, I’d have wisdom from learning as I go, not before I go.

The right answer is the one that’s good enough to create imperfect progress. Get going.

My Comment: Rockwell’s words really hit home for me. How much time do we waste trying to get things perfect, rather than connect with people, take action, and be bold. If you’re like me, Rockwell, and other leaders who have struggled to take action for fear of making mistakes – you have an opportunity for yourself and the people you lead. He encourages us to “confront mistakes of negligence” but to celebrate “mistakes of initiative.”

I had one of the latter this week. I made a mistake because I was moving quickly and wanted to take action, rather than wait. It didn’t work out the way I would have liked – but I did learn from it and eventually allowed myself to celebrate the fact that I’d taken action. What ‘mistakes of initiative’ can you risk this week?

Stop This Terrible Habit You Don’t Even Know You Have by Karin Hurt at Lets Grow Leaders

How do I know you have it? Because I have it too. Most high-performers do.

It’s a sneaky little bugger, because on the surface it really feels like you’re doing the right thing. And on most levels you are. It’s a Winning Well core competency taken to extremes.

But if you go too far, the stress will crush your spirit and undermine your confidence. It’s one more way great managers lose their soul.

In an effort to know your vulnerabilities, to admit mistakes, to always look for ways to improve… it’s so easy to beat yourself up.

My Comment: This article by my Winning Well co-author was very popular this week and is a great follow-up to Rockwell’s invitation to be imperfect.

When you lead, you’re going to make mistakes. Beating yourself up doesn’t serve you. In fact, it keeps you from doing the very things that make you effective and, even worse, allows the people who don’t have a conscience to speed past you. Hurt invites you to “treat yourself with the same level of compassion as you would offer to your team, your boss, or the people you love.” Once again, that’s wisdom I regularly need to hear!

The Dying Employee Engagement Survey: New Ways to Measure Engagement by O.C. Tanner

Everybody’s worried about employee engagement, and for good reason. Employees can go to work every day, but if they aren’t truly engaged in the work, they’re simply wasting your company’s valuable assets. Today many organisations struggle with something called “presenteeism” meaning that employees are present at work, but not productive. According to Carnegie Management, “Current research shows this to be a $33 billion loss to Australian industry.” And a recent survey by Aon Hewitt showed only a 65% engagement rate among employees of the Asia Pacific region. So with so many employees present, but not productive, what is to be done?

My Comment: I’ve long maintained that most employee engagement surveys are a waste of time. They can do more harm than good if you’re not prepared to really listen and respond – no matter what the results might be. Tanner takes a look at this and other issues that plague these surveys before offering other ways to look at engagement.

(A quick aside here: engagement IS important. But engagement is a product of you leading well. When you look at it as an end in-and-of-itself, you risk gaming the score, not playing the real game.)

An Unparalleled Perspective of the Innovative Future of Work by Valerie Martinelli at Careers In Government

Businesses typically spend much of their time and efforts around the customer experience. After all, it is the consumers that drive our businesses and keep us going, right? However, it is our employees that drive our consumer experience and ensure that they are receiving the best experience possible. Coincidently, HR is now looking to the employee experience as the future of work. There is a direct correlation between employee engagement and success in consumer experience because companies with highly engaged workforces outperform their peers.

My Comment: Once again, the vital nature of an employee’s experience is highlighted. The bottom line here is that if you want more productive employees, take a look through their eyes. What helps them (not a manager’s version of them) actually release their talents, energy, and creativity toward their work. What gets in their way? How can you help with more of the first and less of the second? It’s not hard…but it is hard work. That’s leadership.

Management Tip: Building a Winning Workplace Culture by Magi Graziano

The number one driver of employee engagement and workplace performance is culture, so why do so many companies fail at establishing one that wins?

When your workplace culture is working, it is something that the senior leadership propagates and leverages as a competitive advantage. However, when your company culture is not functioning properly — or not working at all — it becomes a deterrent to productivity, innovation and employee morale.

Being that the culture you construct at work is one of the most pivotal cogs driving the success of your business, why, then, do so many companies fail at building one that wins? It’s because, frankly, many business owners, managers and CEOs are unaware as to how big of an impact culture really makes. So how do you build a culture that wins? It begins with you, as a leader — you must become the…

My Comment: I was asked this week what role leaders play in creating the culture in their teams and organizations. At first I thought the person asking was being funny – but they weren’t. They were seriously wondering if it were something they could impact as a leader, or if it ‘just was.’ My goodness – we have some work to do! Yes, absolutely – you have a tremendous impact on the culture within the team, department, or company you lead. And your group can impact the larger culture as well (though this is admittedly more challenging and often takes longer). Graziano shares six practical steps you can take to foster a positive culture that cultivates energized, engaged employees.

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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