Tag Archives: teambuilding

3 Red Flags to Avoid When Hiring

Hiring is tricky. There are as many hiring strategies as there are hiring managers. And while you're not a mind reader, there are red flags to let you know you might be making a disastrous decision.

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Equitable Leadership – Worth the Effort

My last LeaderSips blog took on what I consider to be - for the most part - a lazy and unfair leadership style: the "equal" approach. And judging from the response, I thought the topic warranted a deeper gulp rather than a morning sip.

While the opinion that "equal is unfair" seems counterintuitive, consider this scenario: you have enough money budgeted to send 2 colleagues to a week long training course. If you ascribe to the equal approach, you will put all the names of your department in a hat and let fate take its course. This will not take into account your employees who have the skills and the interest in the course. Nor will it recognize the employees who have worked hard at bringing their skill set to the point that additional training will be beneficial. It will send a message to your entire team that individual effort means nothing.

But you can rest easy because you treated everyone equally, right? Um, no.

For those who fall on the side of "equal" I make this argument: every employee is not equal. Their abilities, attitude, history, and contributions are all different. If, by chance, you have two employees who truly are equal - then by all means, treat them exactly the same. This will serve you particularly well if your team is made up of Stepford wives.

If, on the other hand, your team is comprised of humans, you might explore equitability. Taking this approach means more work. It means spending more time developing policies that are flexible, fair, and reasonable. It means knowing the needs, talents, and accomplishments of your employees. It means you know who has made significant contributions and you know who is skating by.

Often the fear of a disgruntled employee making accusations of favoritism keeps leaders from equitable decisions. The good news is, we're not in kindergarten. Support your decisions with facts, not opinions. This keeps you from going on the defensive - and gives you an opportunity to work with employees who feel they have been mistreated. "Why yes, David, Susan is going to the conference. You and I have talked about your attendance record, your inability to meet a deadline, and the customer complaints we've received. When you have shown demonstrable improvement in these areas, you certainly will be a candidate for a conference."

The decision then is in their hands. If they opt to put in the time and effort that is required, they can be afforded the same chances as their peers. Equal leadership gives everyone the same reward, regardless of effort. Equitable leadership ensures everyone knows where they are on the playing field - how close they are to the goal line, and what they must do to score. As a leader, it is requires a great deal of work. But if you are asking your team for extra effort, shouldn't you be doing the same for them?

3 Ways to Recruit Effectively

Putting together a cohesive team is one of the most important roles of a leader. A misstep in the hiring process can cost in time, money, and morale.

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3 Inexpensive Ways Leaders Can Recognize Colleagues




Talk about recognition and rewards and the word "budget" might be the first thing that comes to mind. Showing your appreciation doesn't have to break the bank.
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3 Favorite Pieces of Leadership Advice



Three sips of leadership insight

to start your day

1. There's a difference between hard decisions and uncomfortable decisions.

Most decisions are not hard - it's actually very easy to know which is the right decision - it's the execution that is uncomfortable. The result is often a big delay that compounds whatever issue is up for solving. Make your decision, execute, and move on.

2. You only get what you settle for.

Whether it's quality of the team you recruit, the compensation packages you negotiate, or the organizational culture you allow -- you are the one that is responsible for the result.

3. Cultivate relationships, not contacts.

It's not about having 700 contacts on LinkedIn. It's about making the time to build genuine relationships based on mutual respect and professional generosity.


Do You Have the 5 Intangibles of Leadership?

fiveSeveral years ago, Richard Davis published The Intangibles of Leadership: The 10 Qualities of Superior Executive Performance. It seeks to answer the question: what is the real difference between competent leader and extraordinary executive? Is it pedigree, experience, intelligence? The answer is yes...and much more. Based on this research and as part of his GLS 2015 opening talk, Bill Hybels gives us a condensed version with these five intangibles that bridge the gap from competent to extraordinary.

Do you have "grit"?

What is grit, you ask? It is a passion & perseverance over the long haul. It is an unremitting long term tenacity. Gritty people believe to the core of their being that they can complete the challenge before them. Think Lincoln. Think Ghandi. Think Mandela. Think MLK.

The archenemy of grit?  Ease. The development of grit demands a degree of difficulty - so all you helicopter parents out there that are trying to make sure your child has a happy and stressfree life... you are doing them no favors. In addition to mental and emotional grit, elite leaders have figured out overcoming physical challenges through rigorous sport contributes to grit. Richard Branson has attempted to navigate the Atlantic in a powerboat, cross the Pacific in a hot air balloon and leap into thin air on a skydiving expedition. The boat sank, the balloon caught on fire and, during his skydiving freefall, Branson pulled the wrong release tag, jettisoning his parachute.

When senior leaders develop grit, it makes the whole organization gritty

Are you self-aware?

When you read about a meltdown in an organization, it's usually based on a lack of awareness on behalf of the leader. It starts with blindspots. Raise your hand if you think your boss has some blindspots. Raise your hand if you think you do.

See, there's the problem. Most if not all of you raised your hand for the first question but not the second. Well, then, just who are these blind-spotted leaders, then, if not you? A blindspot is something you think you do well, but everyone else knows you don't. Average blindspot per leader? 3.4

The simplest way to combat blindspottedness is to ask those close to you. Trust me, they'll be prepared with an answer. I asked my husband. He's still working on the list. Another way is to do a deep dive self-examination to understand how your past is affecting the decisions you are making today. How are your decisions tethered to an unaware driver? Who are you trying to prove yourself to? What fears have you not faced?

Be prepared to face the brutal, honest truth in order to release yourself.

Are you resourceful?

Or asked another way, are you an agile learner?  Agile learners are quick learners - and quick learners grow fast. They stay with a problem until they figure it out. Think about the Wright Brothers. They experimented. They failed. They made adjustments. They failed. And then, they figured it out. The primary way that resourcefulness gets develop is to put yourself in situations that are confused and broken, and figure out a way to make it work.

If you want to see who in your organization is resourceful, identify real problems that need solving and assemble small task forces of young leaders to tackle the problems.

Are you self-sacrificing?

Here I continue my quest to make "love" an acceptable word in the workplace. Do you love the people you lead? Do you make it personal? Vision is not the core of leadership. Neither is problem-solving. Or strategy. Self-sacrificing love is. It melds and molds groups of people into a compassion-filled, service-focused organization. In a time when trust is low and cynicism is high, altruistic love, deep personal concern, must start with the senior leader. Demonstrating love to your colleagues humanizes your culture.

Are you infusing a sense of meaning in the life of your colleagues?

Remember Simon Sinek? His TED Talk, "How Great Leaders Inspire Action" has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership all starting with the question "Why?" Be a CMO - a Chief Meaning Officer - to help your team understand the why behind the "what" and the "how" of their daily work life. Understand what your "white-hot why" is... what moves you, what drives you, what fuels you to greater heights. Then go help your team find theirs.


Fill a Need, Serve Your Team

servant leadership

Servant leadership is a pretty intuitive concept; in fact you might be practicing it already unawares. "I think the simplest way to explain it would be to say that servant leaders focus on identifying and meeting the needs of others rather than trying to acquire power, wealth, and fame for themselves," says Kent Keith, CEO of the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership, a Westfield, Indiana-based non-profit that promotes education about and implementation of servant leadership. Robert Greenleaf spent dozens of years developing the concept of servant leadership by observing that “there were leaders who were in it for themselves, and leaders who were in it for others…and his conclusion was that those who focused on others were the most effective.”

A former Israeli Army soldier relates this experience in Inc. Magazine, “At one point as a grunt in the Israeli Army, I was assigned to work for a high-ranking sergeant major. This guy had years of experience. He was probably 20 years older than me and the other kids in the unit. You had the feeling that he slept under 300-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets each night while the rest of us rolled around in dusty sleeping bags on the ground. Anyway, on my first day of work for the sergeant major, I didn't know what to expect. I was sure it was going to be horrible, a suspicion that seemed to be confirmed when he took me to the officers' bathroom and told me I would be responsible for keeping it clean. And then he said something I didn't anticipate.

‘Here's how you clean a toilet,’ he said.

And he got down on his knees in front of the porcelain bowl -- in his pressed-starched-spotless dress uniform -- and scrubbed it with his bare hands until it shined.

To a 19-year-old assigned to clean toilets, the sight of this high-ranking, 38-year-old, manicured, pampered disciplinary officer cleaning a toilet was a shock. And it completely reset my attitude. If he can clean a toilet, I can clean a toilet, I thought. There's nothing wrong with cleaning toilets. My loyalty and inspiration from that moment on were unflagging. Now that's leadership.” That Israeli soldier went on to become a CEO for a software company in New York City. He understands it’s his job to get things out of the way so that “all the great people we’ve hired can get work done.”

He continues, “Not everybody gets it. Not long ago, we had a management trainee who sat around waiting for us to give him a formal title and promotion so he could "get stuff done." Problem was, he had never managed to win enough respect or influence from the development team to actually do things. He didn't work out so well; despite being smart and competent, he didn't earn the leadership position he thought he deserved. He would have been better off thinking about new features we should develop, writing specs to outline the benefits of these features, and winning the developers' trust through action instead of waiting for the title. Another management trainee didn't care what his title was: He came up with a new idea for a program and persuaded the team that it was a good idea. I think he'll go far.”

A few months ago I was conducting a training for supervisors and new managers. I heard one of the "veteran" managers tell a supervisor, "you can't wait for the title, just find a need and fill it. Serve your team."

That's servant leadership.

Building Connections

welcome back

It costs 7 - 10 times more to recruit a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. Some would argue that every guest should be treated the same. I disagree. A good and loyal customer should be treated differently. Not better, but differently.

When speaking about regular customers, legendary restauranteur Charlie Trotter said, “We know more about them; there should be an incentive to being a regular customer.” The more you know about your guest, the better, more customized service you can provide that guest. There are plenty of customer relationship management software tools out there, or if you do not have those, a simple database in Act, Excel, or Outlook will work as well.

It's not just hotels and restaurants that can benefit from this practice. Doctors, accountants, car washes, grocery stores... any service oriented business should be looking for ways to build vital connections. In hospitality, the reservation process and check-in experience is a two-way street. We are taking information from our guests, but we should also be gently probing to learn the reason for the visit, preferences, and possible needs during the stay or the meal. This gives us cues and clues as to their expectations and needs.

Sometimes there is a temptation to go overboard for a returning guest or VIP. If you've done your homework, you'll know who will be happy with “Hello it’s nice to see you again, we’re glad you’re here” and who wants a visit from the Chef.

Here's an example. Last summer I received a call from a friend who was traveling to one of our cities for a family funeral. Clearly shaken by events, he asked if I could make a reservation for him at our hotel. He's a regular customer at most of our properties but had never been to this one. Of course I was eager to help him. As I was discussing the reservation with the GM, the question of rate came up. The GM was getting ready to give him a super-discounted rate. But that is not what my friend was looking for. He wanted attention... he needed attention...  and he had earned attention by virtue of his many stays at our other hotels. He gladly paid top dollar. For him, it was about the connection. Once he and the GM met, I stepped out of the loop and a new loyal customer was born for this property.

In my opinion, time - not money - is the most precious commodity there is. You can earn more money. But once that particular Saturday night is gone, it's gone for the ages. Returning guests are not only spending their most precious commodity on you, they are not spending it on a competitor -- and if you treat them properly, they never will.