The Daily Recruiter

The Ezine for Executive Managers … brought to you by The SearchLogix Group.

The 4 Questions All Leaders Must Ask

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Article Written by:  Bruce Court,

It’s a well-known fact that effective leaders do more seeking than telling. Some behavior analysts, like consultant and academic Neil Rackham, look for a ratio of approximately two “seeks” for every ”tell” (Rackham has written primarily about the behavior of salespeople, but his rule of thumb is a good one for leaders, too). Author Daniel Goleman popularized the concept of Emotional Intelligence, and DDI’s own research concluded that EQ trumps IQ in four areas: Cultivating Networks, Driving Execution, Leading Teams and Compelling Communication.

Over the last six months I’ve provided assessment feedback to leaders on three continents, at multiple levels, in various industries. These leaders had varying levels of experience, skills, and personal attributes—yet among them, a common theme emerged. These leaders were either not asking enough questions or they neglected to ask the right questions. It didn’t matter what level in the organization the person was from, nor what competency they were having assessed.

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Most Leaders Know Their Strengths — but Are Oblivious to Their Weaknesses

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Article Written by:  Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman,

“Oh, I pretty much know my strengths and my weaknesses.”

If we had a dollar for every time we’d heard this from an executive we were coaching, we could have retired a long time ago. When probed, they often proclaim that while they might not recognize all their strengths, they are confident about knowing their serious weaknesses.

And yet what we see when we administer 360-degree feedback surveys on behalf of these leaders is that the executives with really low scores in one or more areas are often completely unaware of their fatal flaws. They are shocked to find themselves scoring so low — even though approximately 30% of all the leaders we’ve studied have at least one fatal flaw.

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Do You Encourage People to Ask for Help?

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Article Written by:  Susan Fowler,

After a grueling 90-minute uphill hike, two major obstacles were preventing me from the ultimate goal: the famous Potato Chip Rock photo op.

I needed to mount a huge bolder and then somehow cross what appeared to be an endless ravine leading to the ledge. I studied the techniques the other (much younger) climbers used, but with a recent knee replacement, I simply couldn’t climb up the big bolder or jump across the ravine.

So, I yelled from the base of the huge bolder, “Is there a strong young man up there who could help me lift me up?” A man crouched, steadied himself, and held out his hand. I couldn’t reach it. Suddenly I felt someone pushing me from behind, I grabbed the man’s hand and found myself flying up the rock. But the ravine was another matter. The only approach seemed to be jumping across.

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The Paradoxical Power of Narrative

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Article Written by:  John Hegel III,

I love paradox. Paradox is fertile ground for generating new insight and progress. As we think about what we as human beings want in our brief journey through this world, there’s a core paradox that can be a challenge for all of us.

The paradox

We all want to belong. None of us want to feel excluded, none of us want to feel like we’re “outsiders.” That need to belong is ever expanding. Sure, we may feel like we belong in our family, but if we feel excluded or isolated from our local community, we’re likely to feel frustrated and alone. And, it doesn’t stop with our community; we all want to feel a part of our broader communities. There’s nothing more frustrating than feeling that our community is excluded or isolated from the countries we live in. Taking it yet one more step, no one wants to feel that their country stands alone from the rest of the world – we all want to be part of something bigger, something much bigger.

Of course, if we do feel excluded or isolated, we seek comfort in the belief that the problem is with “them,” not with “us.” We’re the victims and we need to mobilize to resist the bad folks who are excluding us. We become prey to an “us vs. them” view of the world. That view may help us to cope with our perceived reality, but it doesn’t reduce our unmet need to belong to something bigger.

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Ask These 4 Empathetic Questions When You’re Struggling To Listen

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Article Written by:  Faisal Hoque,

Losing your patience and beginning to tune out (or line up a snide rebuttal)? Try this instead.

Ask These 4 Empathetic Questions When You’re Struggling To Listen

You don’t need to be convinced that empathy is a good thing–not just for ethical reasons but for practical ones, too. While we’re still often cautioned to “leave emotions out of it,” being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes is a hallmark of emotionally intelligent leadership, not to mention just being a good coworker. It can open up new lines of communication, create understanding, and help everyone achieve common goals.

Of course, none of that means it’s easy. There are always going to be times when empathy is uniquely difficult to summon and sustain. When the going gets tough, your patience wears thin, and you can feel your frustration rising, it’s enormously difficult to take a deep breath and continue to listen with an open mind. Still, these four empathetic questions I’ve learned to ask in difficult situations have helped me keep my cool and get to the bottom of whatever the trouble might be.

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Eight Unexpected Ways to Continue to Develop Yourself as a Leader

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Article Written by:  Mary Jo Asmus,

You’re a year or two into your dream leadership role and you know you are capable of more, but you don’t know where to start. After the first months of learning everything you need to learn about your job you settled in. Yet you have a nagging feeling that something is missing.

You sense that you are capable of even greater success, but you don’t know where to start. You feel like you’ve done everything possible to get to where you are now and you want to achieve your next level of leadership.

As you climb the corporate ladder, the spaces available for you become fewer. You are successful, but what else can you do that just might provide you with that edge you need to climb the next rung?

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Fix These Communication Mistakes to Stay on Target

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Article Written by:  Marlene Chism,

One of the most valuable tools leaders have for driving results and improving performance is conversation. Your conversation can either grow your business or slow your business.

This post offers three examples of ineffective communication skills and what you can do to improve your communication so that your conversations drive performance.

1. Stream of consciousness

If you’ve ever struggled to stay focused on a conversation, it’s likely because the conversation was boring, irrelevant or going in circles. For this reason, it’s important that leaders steer clear from unfocused stream of consciousness conversations. What is a stream-of-consciousness conversation? The conversation jumps around from subject to subject with little focus and no structure.

Why it’s Ineffective: The more you make employees work to understand your direction, the less likely they are going to give you good results.

How to improve: Before conversing with employees do some prep work and clearly define your end result — out loud and to yourself. For example: By the end of this conversation, I want the team to complete the paperwork for the project and offer three possible solutions with price points for redesigning the client’s front lobby.

If your conversation includes a meeting, start with a clear agenda and stick to it. Whether your conversation is a one-on-one or a group meeting, start your conversation by stating your end result. End your conversation by reiterating your end result and putting dates on the calendar for follow-up.

2. Stuck on process

Confusion often occurs when you start the conversation talking about the process before defining the vision. I call this habit “getting stuck on the rock called HOW.”

For example, I was doing a facilitation for a client and realized that the room needed to be set up differently. Before defining my desired end result, I started talking about how to move the tables. Fortunately, an assertive colleague said, “Tell me your end result, then we can figure out how.”

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Responsiveness And Timeliness, Keys To Effective Leadership

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Article Written by:  John Keyser,

I wrote a short article about timeliness this past October and received grateful feedback, e.g.,

“I wish all of our other senior executives would read your article, take it to heart, and improve their responsiveness and helpfulness.”

This is a significant problem. Almost everyone in business is very busy. As a result, some managers are slow to respond to requests from team members and other colleagues, which is frustrating and not fair to those people.

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Fear, Self-Confidence, and Challenging Conversations

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Article Written by:  Art Petty,

The most expensive, costly conversations in any workplace are the ones never spoken. These are the conversations about the significant issues blocking progress or, the behavioral issues detracting from high performance. The words left unsaid are genuinely the seeds of failure for individuals and organizations. Sadly, these conversations are missed, mostly because of a surplus of fear and a deficit of self-confidence. It’s time to solve this conundrum.

The two—fear and self-confidence—are inextricably linked when it comes to challenging conversations.

Complex, controversial, and potentially emotionally charged situations trigger a natural fear reaction because they create openings for conflict to enter the picture. Few of us willingly invite conflict into our lives and days, preferring to sidestep issues and individuals and keep the peace. A tenuous peace is preferable to open conflict in our minds.

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Stop Making New Goals—Create Habits Instead

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Written by:  Marcia Reynolds, Psy.D;

Finally become the person you want to be.

The scenario: You declare a change you want to make to achieve the results you desire. You eagerly set a goal and plan the steps. You tell yourself this time, you will commit to your goal.

Then you go back to days full of urgent emails and texts; projects falling behind; messes to clean up; fires to put out; agendas, lists and people who need to be heard out.

You think about your goal between frantic interruptions, but the days feel so overwhelming and out-of-control, you cling to what you have done in the past. You say, “Next week I’ll change when I have more time.” Lapses of distraction and masterful rationalizations crush your best-laid plans.

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