The Daily Recruiter

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

Hidden Barrier

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“By Jennifer V. Miller of SmartBrief”

As a leader, you know that productive employees bring value to your team.

Recent findings from a white paper by consulting and training firm VitalSmarts highlight the magnitude of high performers’ productivity: they are 21 times less likely to experience tasks or responsibilities that “fall through the cracks.”

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7 Signs Your Growing

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“By Marlene Chism of SmartBrief”

Ray Kroc  who opened the first franchised McDonald’s and built the company into what it is today, is known for asking the question: “Are you green and growing or ripe and rotting?”

Most of us think we are growing, without really identifying the signs that indicate growth versus decay. Here are seven signs that you are still growing.

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Voice Among Many

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“By Steffan Surdek, of Forbes”

I talk and write a lot about co-creative leadership these days. When people ask me to name the key traits of a co-creative leader, I usually list the following five skills:

1. Being a voice among many in the conversation

2. Unleashing the leaders around them

3. Building capacity on their team

4. Dancing with the system around them

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Trick Yourself

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“By Susie Neilson of The Cut”

Your body is a fickle thing. Even when you somehow manage to resist the Instagram rabbit holes, Netflix binges, and nagging anxieties to get a full night’s sleep, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to spend the next day feeling chipper. While nearly two-thirds of American adults regularly get at least seven hours of sleep, only one in seven wakes up feeling refreshed every day of the week. What’s more, 45 percent of those getting seven to eight hours a night still feel fatigued as many as three days a week. On the other hand, there are those weird days where you’ve spent the night tossing and turning, get out of bed in the morning expecting to feel like a zombie, and … actually feel pretty okay. Normal, even.

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Speak The Truth

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“By Art Petty Of  ArtPetty”

I would be shocked if you cannot recall being in a meeting where someone in a position of authority was uttering something so fantastically full of crap that you thought you might choke. I would be even more shocked if the general response of the individuals present in the meeting didn’t look like aerobic head nodding. In general, people struggle speaking truth to power.

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Feedback Managers

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” By Lisa Aldisert of SmartBrief”

Effective feedback is part art, part science. Telling employees that they need to do X instead of Y is the science part. That’s easy. But feedback that addresses personality and character traits is hard feedback to give; that’s the art.

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Think Positively

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By John Baldoni of SmartBrief”

What’s the secret to a long-term relationship?

“Overlooking the negative and focusing on the positive,” says Helen Fisher, a best-selling author on relationships and a fellow at the Kinsey Institute.

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Speaking Abilities

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” By DRJIM of The Accidental Communicator”

As speakers we all start out the same: we get asked to give our first speech, we may be nervous but somehow we summon up the strength to get up there in front of everyone and actually give a speech! Now that that is over, we’d like to get better at this speech giving thing because we understand the importance of public speaking. What’s a speaker to do when we want to become a better speaker?

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Difficult Conversations

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If you lead people you will most likely find yourself in a situation where you’ve got to have a tough talk with an employee or team member. And by “tough,” I mean a conversation in which you have to confront this individual about poor performance, something ethical about their behavior at work (or outside of work), or perhaps habits that don’t serve them well in their role. There are a number of reasons why these conversations can be difficult. You may really like and respect this person and don’t want to risk offending them. These talks can also require great communication skills, which you may not have perfected as of yet. If something is potentially litigious, you may find yourself needing to plan ahead and carefully. As these conversations are inevitable, however, your best course of action is not to fear them but learn how to navigate them with as much grace and tact as possible.

Here are three tips to help you navigate these difficult conversations:

1. Focus On Fixing The Problem, Not The Person

Over the years, MAP consultants have frequently coached clients on this very point—it’s incredibly common for developing leaders to personalize discussion points until they learn techniques that help them avoid this tendency. What’s the issue? When you focus on the person and not the problem, it gets personal! People go into defense mode, and then it’s hard for them to receive feedback effectively. And if a change in behavior is necessary, they’ll be more resistant to it because of how the conversation went down. Be mindful of how you express facts in your communications and attack the problem, not the person.

2. Be Respectful

When having a difficult conversation, it helps to be respectful to the individual you are addressing. People will tend to be more open to the feedback if you use an effective style that doesn’t beat the person up. Remember the goal of the conversation is to help the individual get better.

3. Remain Open To The Person’s Point Of View

This means don’t talk all the time but give your team member a chance to express his or her side of a story, how he or she has seen or experienced events, and reasons why situations or scenarios might be happening. Being open reflects a confident leadership style that invites understanding. And understanding is vital for developing the right solutions and inspiring change. Given all this, in listening to the person’s point of view, also be aware that you need to keep the conversation on topic versus on a tangent that won’t serve either of you for the better. Finally, have a plan for when to wrap it up. Whether you set a time limit for the conversation in advance or have a list or plan for what to say and when, keep the end in mind. Otherwise, you could find yourself stuck in a conversation in which you’ve lost control.

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Best Times at Work

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” By Susan Fowler of SmartBrief”

What is the best working experience you have ever had? What words or phrases would you use to describe it?

  • I felt… (enthusiastic, valued, trusted).
  • I had… (expertise, support, sense of meaning).
  • I was… (effective, learning and growing, busy without being overwhelmed).

What is the worst working experience you have ever had? How would you describe it?

  • I felt… (frustrated, angry, abandoned).
  • I had… (complaints, obstacles, problems I couldn’t solve).
  • I was… (tired, enervated, isolated).

To understand the dynamics underlying the best and worst working experiences, identify a major goal or project you were working on in the best of times. Then, diagnose your development level on that goal. Which of these four levels of development best reflect your competence and commitment on the goal or project?

  • D1—Enthusiastic Beginner. Your competence is low (you have never demonstrated the skill or ability demanded by the goal or project before), but your commitment (motivation and confidence) is high.
  • D2—Disillusioned Learner. Your competence is still not where it needs to be (low to some), but because of reality shock (the difference between your expectations going into the goal and the reality of your experience), your commitment has fallen to low.
  • D3—Capable, but Cautious, Performer. Your competence is steadily improving (moderate to high), but your commitment fluctuates (variable).
  • D4—Self-Reliant Achiever. Your competence and commitment are both high.

Now think about the worst of times. How would you diagnose your development level on a major goal or project? D1, D2, D3, or D4?

Over the years, I have led thousands of people through this “best and worst of times” activity. First, people examine their emotions in the best and worst of times. Then, they diagnose their development level on significant goals. Their aha moment comes by answering these questions.

“For the best of times, raise your hand if you were at D1, D2, D3, D4. For the worst of times, raise your hand if you were at D1, D2, D3, D4.”

Regardless of the participants’ roles, language, culture, or age, the same pattern emerges. Hands go up for every development level for both the best and worst of times. Sometimes, in a small group, I might not see a hand go up for D2 in the best of times, but otherwise, a person’s development level is not what distinguishes the best of times from the worst of times.

I take another poll based on the Situational Leadership II model — the most popular leadership model in the world — which depicts a leadership style that matches the needs for each of the four development levels:

“For the best of times, raise your hand if you received a leadership style from your manager that matched your development level. In the worst of times, raise your hand if you received a matching leadership style.”

Again, a pattern emerges. In the best of times, people received a leadership style that matched their development level needs—they received the appropriate direction and support. In the worst of times, their manager either over-supervised or under-supervised them.

I remember one exception. A young man described how he was in the best of times at the D4 level of development with high competence and high commitment. But, he didn’t get a matching leadership style. Instead of giving him the low direction and support appropriate for a self-reliant achiever, his boss gave him high direction and support. Perplexed, I asked him, “How could you experience the best of times when your boss was micromanaging you?” The young man smiled, “I realized micromanaging me was his need, not mine, so I simply ignored him.”

I admire the young man’s ability to self-regulate, but hope you’ll consider three strategies that have proven more effective for creating the best of times.

  1. Assume good intent. Most managers don’t wake up every morning with the intent of making you miserable. Most managers want to be effective leaders. They, too, want to experience the best of times.
  2. Realize that managers are not mind readers. In our personal relationships, we are encouraged to communicate our needs. If the people who love you most in the world don’t know what you need unless you express it, why do you expect your manager to know? It’s not wise, nor is it fair to expect your manager to know what you’re thinking or what you need.
  3. Manage up. It’s in everyone’s best interest to ask for what you need to succeed. Learn how to diagnose your own development level and then use the most powerful phrase for getting direction and support: “I need.” Your well-intentioned manager will be happy to know what you need without having to read your mind.

Self-leadership is having the mindset and the skill set for getting what you need to succeed. That also means accepting responsibility for your own growth and progress. I hope you agree that if you can create the best of times by proactively getting the direction and support you need, it’s well worth the effort.

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