Leaders Consider the Source

When you survey people, formally or informally, beware this common trap: All responses are equally credible. Leaders can get distracted when looking at customer surveys, or employee engagement surveys, based on their own frame of mind at the time. Sometimes, we’re looking for the best, perhaps for reassurance, or to confirm our own biases. In … Read more

Own Your Tough Statements

There are certain words and phrases that can get us on the defensive before we even know what the topic is. One of the big ones is “No offense, but…” And related cushions followed by the word but. Remember that people on tight teams can handle tough talk. It’s okay for you to deliver tough … Read more

Leaders Say Please and Thank You

In my former profession as a high school band teacher, I attended a professional development session on classroom management. It was called “How to Have Pin-Drop Quiet Classrooms” or something like that. I believe in highly disciplined classroom environments, because that’s when you have the most fun. You can have discipline and positivity at the same … Read more

Leaders Encourage in These Three Ways…

Leaders know that encouragement is important, but it tends to be too rare and fall into just one or two categories: I believe you can do it. (Spurring someone on to meet their potential when they’re discouraged or not measuring up.) You are exceeding expectations. (Praising someone who has gone above and beyond, exceeded standards, … Read more

Leaders Know that True Kindness Beats Niceness

I live in Iowa, and a term that gets floated a lot is “Iowa Nice.” As time goes on, though, it gets used ironically as much as it gets used sincerely. I think that’s because “Nice” doesn’t always equal “Kind.” Some leaders need to be reminded that giving positive you’re-on-the-right-track feedback is important and motivating. … Read more

Leaders Value Human Interaction

One of my favorite management experts, Mark Horstman of Manager Tools, likes to say, “Email is for the convenience of the sender.” In The Advantage, Patrick Lencioni advocates “cascading communication.” The idea is simple. Members of the executive team agree on a common and consistent set of messages that they will in turn communicate to … Read more