Leadership is the art of influencing people, which requires delegation to be effective. Delegation is the art or process of assigning specific duties and responsibilities to subordinates in an organization. Delegation comes in different forms and leaders must be familiar with these forms in order to make good delegation decisions.
One such form is what I call general delegation, which means leaders delegate responsibilities as a way of training the next generation of leaders in their organizations. This delegation is important because it helps preserve the mission and vision of the organization. Another form is crisis delegation, where the leaders delegate duties and responsibilities to subordinates when a crisis, such as when a leader is absent from the organization for a prolonged time (e.g hospitalized or attending to a sick relative). Therefore, leaders must delegate responsibilities and duties during times of crisis in order for the organization to continue operating. It is important to remember that, with the delegation of duties, the leader who delegates is still responsible and accountable for the delegated duties. Any mistakes or errors committed by subordinates when carrying out the delegated duties still rest with that leader.
When leaders delegate some of their responsibilities and duties, they benefit in some ways from the process. First, delegating tasks removes some of the duties from the leaders; subordinates perform these duties so leaders can concentrate in areas where the organization will benefit most, like the negotiation of contracts that benefit the whole organization. Second, by delegating tasks leaders can groom future leaders because subordinates will learn how the organization works at a higher level; when it is time for the subordinate to take over, they will have already learned the necessary skills for the positions. Third, delegation, when done properly, will raise the morale of subordinates in the organization because it will show them that the leadership believes that they can be trusted to do delegated work. Fourth, proper delegation also improves trust between subordinates and leadership which tends to lead to a cohesive organization. Fifth, when duties are delegated to subordinates, efficiency increases because duties are given to people whose skills match the delegated duties, thereby freeing time for the leader to concentrate on other important duties of the organization. For example, there is no reason for a leader to be keeping daily records of who is reporting to work when that work can be done by subordinates with expressed instructions to report the progress back to the leader.
Delegation is not always easy for some leaders; there are many reasons as to why they fear to do it. First, they are afraid of being outshined by the subordinates who performs the delegated work well. Because of this, leaders find it difficult to delegate. Second, some leaders fear that they will not be recognized for the work done by the subordinates and, thus, refuse to delegate. Recognition is important for moving up the leadership ladders in some organizations. Third, some leaders refuse to delegate because they fear that they will lose the trained subordinate to a rival organization that might use that subordinate to compete with the leader’s organization. Fourth, some leaders fear to delegate because they feel that something important has been removed from their responsibilities. As a result, they keep all their duties. Fifth, some leaders in organizations develop preconceived ideas about subordinates that prevents them from delegating duties and responsibilities to them. It is a sad situation, but it happens in some organizations and hinders the cohesiveness of the organization. In the long term, such thinking affects productivity. Sixth, the fear of being exposed as a leader who does not understand his/her job can cause a leader to limit the delegation of duties until he/she acquires the competence needed in the position. No leader wants to be exposed by subordinates for not understanding how the organization runs. Seventh, in some organizations, there is a shortage of staff shortage, so leaders keep all duties and responsibilities that pertain to their jobs. Eighth, some leaders fear that if they delegate responsibilities and duties to subordinates, they will lose control of them because they will know too much of what goes on in the organization, causing top leadership to ignores directives from the leader. What this kind of leader forgets is that those delegated duties eventually land on his/her desk for approval, which means such fear is unfounded. Ninth, in some organizations staff tend to be lazy, which makes leaders not want to delegate some of their responsibilities to them out of fear that they will not manage those duties well. Finally, inadequate training of staff also tends to make leaders fear delegating some responsibilities to subordinates because they think they will not do the delegated duties as per the instructions given.
To be effective in the delegation of duties and responsibilities leaders must do the following. First, they must give clear instructions on what should be done for the delegated duties and, when they are completed, to whom to report. Second, leaders must avoid over delegating their responsibilities because they might be perceived as over relying on the subordinates for the accomplishment of organizational duties. It might also affect the performance of subordinates. Third, leaders must always praise their subordinates when they successfully complete the delegated duties and tasks. Such praise tends to boost subordinates’ morale at the work place, thereby increasing productivity. Fourth, micro-managing the subordinates when duties and responsibilities have been delegated will increase mistrust because the subordinates will think that the leader does not have confidence in them to complete the assigned tasks. Therefore, leaders must at all times avoid micro-managing the subordinates to whom they delegate responsibilities and instead should monitor them from a far. Fifth, effective delegation requires leaders to provide adequate information on the duties and responsibilities of the delegated positions so that the subordinates will perform the duties efficiently. Sixth, when delegating duties, leaders must ensure that subordinates do not fear anything will happen to them if the delegated duties are not performed at an acceptable level. They must reassure subordinates that the failure to reach the acceptable level will be a teachable moment for them to improve as they repeat the same duties. Removing the fear will encourage subordinates to perform well without the fear of retribution. Seventh, for leaders to know how subordinates are doing in their delegated duties and responsibilities, they should always request feedback from them in order to monitor their progress. In requesting feedback, the leaders will know when corrections are needed or where more resources are required for better performance of the delegated duties and responsibilities. Finally, before duties are actually delegated, subordinates must be trained on them. Without proper training, subordinates will be hesitant to take up delegated responsibilities due to a fear of failure.
As a social function, delegation is based on the trust that leaders have in their subordinates that they will accomplish the delegated duties successfully. Yet it remains a calculated risk, as delegation does not guarantee success on the delegated duties. On the other hand, for leaders to be successful and effective in running organizations efficiently, delegation is necessary. Without delegation, leaders might be overwhelmed by duties that might be done well by subordinates’, thereby freeing time for them to concentrate on other duties that might benefit the organization.
*Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net
Leadership is the art of influencing people, which requires delegation to be effective. Delegation is the art or process of assigning specific duties and responsibilities to subordinates in an organization. Delegation comes in different forms and leaders must be familiar with these forms in order to make good delegation decisions. One such form is what I call gDr. Obed Nyaribo, DBA Articles
“Today, no leader can afford to be indifferent to the challenge of engaging employees in the work of creating the future. Engagement may have been optional in the past, but it's pretty much the whole game today.” ~Gary Hamel
According to a 2014 Gallup poll less than one-third (31.5%) of U.S. workers were engaged in their jobs in 2014. While that is up from the previous year and the highest since Gallup began tracking engagement, the flip side is that the majority of employees are not engaged and according to the poll 14.5% were “actively disengaged”.
The Gallup poll went on to say that the highest engagement was amongst managers and executive officers and had increased over 2013 from 34.7% to 38.4%. This means that 61.6% are either not engaged or actively disengaged. So what is the effect of this disengagement on front line employees?
A 2013 survey by recruitment agency Staffbay.com found that 87.2% of employees wanted to leave their current role within 12 months and a study by Harris Interactive indicated that 74% of people would consider leaving their job. While these studies were done in 2013 they are still relevant considering the economy and job market is considerably better now than it was then. It is important to also keep in mind that talented employees are always in demand and those are the ones who will leave first.
Where does manager engagement fit into this picture? If we look at the Staffbay survey, 52.6% of their respondents said they would leave because they did not trust their boss. A CareerBuilder survey said that 37% had poor opinions of their boss, and a recent Gallup study reported that about 50% of the more than 7K surveyed said they left a job “to get away from their manager.” Clearly there is a problem with today’s management, but what is the solution?
Identify & Select
“I think that if you ask what's made us successful, it's because we've been fortunate enough to identify, in a number of cases, great people early. Then we throw all the resources behind them and are aligned with them.” ~Dan Levitan
Poor or bad managers cost companies billions because they directly impact employee engagement and turnover. The first problem is that companies tend to select individuals to manage instead of lead. Anyone can be a manager, but being a leader takes a completely different skillset. Getting the work done and making the numbers are important but they are not the end all be all because those costs are easy to measure. What is harder to measure is the lost potential productivity by employees who are disengaged by their poor manager and the staggering cost of turnover. Instead of selecting managers based solely on their ability to get the work done or make the “numbers”, companies need to define what skills make for good leaders and select based on a mix.
Train & Develop
Once the individual with the right mix of leadership and management skill is identified and hired the work must continue with robust training and development. Too often, after hiring a manager the individual left to their own devices and then senior management wonders why they have so many problems or their great hire failed. It cannot be assumed just because someone knows how to land the sale they know how to lead other people. Leadership is learned and if a person has never had good leadership they can’t be expected to know what it looks like. New managers need to have a structured process to develop them into strong leaders.
“Accountability breeds response-ability.” ~Stephen Covey
It seems simple but it holding people accountable seems to be one of the biggest challenges for organizations because accountability really starts with setting clear expectations. Setting clear expectations involves more than just stating what you want the end result to be, it also involves clarifying the how, when, and what happens if the expectation is not met. Finally it involves actually following through and holding the individual accountable. This should be truer for leaders as they set the example for everyone else.
“Not everything that can be measured matters and not everything that matters can be measured.” ~Einstein
Metrics are important but only if value and action comes from them. Something must be done with the data that is collected. Their tends to be two extremes when it comes to metrics, either nothing is being measured and thus opportunities for improvement and re-alignment are being missed, or everything is being counted but nothing is being done with the data because there is either too much or it has just become an exercise in collection for collections sake.
When it comes to leadership metrics the first step is to define what counts and then separate them from other business metrics like financials etc. The second step is to define how they will be used. Here it is important not to fall in the trap of collecting data for collections sake but actually using it.
All of these things should yield results in the form of employee retention and satisfaction. Those things will in turn result in greater productivity and a better bottom line. It all starts with identifying the right leaders. Develop them so that they are actively engaged. Expect them to set the right example. Establish metrics that count and hold them accountable.
*Image courtesy of cooldesign/freedigitalphotos.net
Many managers believe that it is enough to show up and be seen, but then this is why I refer to them as managers and not leaders. Leadership require more than just showing up, it requires engagement; but if a manager doesn’t know what engagement looks like chances are they are missing opportunities to move from manager to leader.
In a recent GALLUP article by Randall Beck and Jim Harter, they state that only 30% of U.S. employees are engaged and cite managers for being the primary cause. While every manager may not be a great leader it would be remiss to assume they don’t want to be and it is more likely that they don’t know how to be a great leader.
So what is a manager to do? Here are 5 simple things they can start doing right away to be more engaged.
1. Say good morning. When is the last time you walked around and said good morning to all of your employees? It seems simple, and it is, yet many leaders come in and head straight for their office. If you can do it every day great, if not, try for once a week. If you say “Good morning, have a great day.” It will have an amazing effect on your employees.
2. Recognize and Compliment. Don’t assume your employees know they are doing a good job; tell them! Look for opportunities to recognize the contributions your employees make to the organization and not just the big ones, the small ones count too. Remember, no news is not always good news.
3. Meet one on one. If there is one thing you need to start doing if you’re not already is to meet with your employee’s one on one. Have them schedule 15-30 minutes with you weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. Make the time about them, not you by always asking questions like: What are you working on; what are your roadblocks, what can I do for you; what should I stop doing.
4. Walk around and ask questions. I don’t mean “what are you working on” or “what the status of X project is”, ask questions to make a personal connection. “How was your weekend ”,“How are your kids/spouse/significant other”. Leaders need to be seen and that lends itself to making personal connections with your employees. As with number one, you may not be able to do it every day but you should do it at least once a week. Put it on your calendar.
5. Listen more, talk less. You cannot speak and listen at the same time, listening takes effort and focus. Apply this to 1-4 and you will be well on your way to better engagement with your employees.
Remember that if you want to have engaged employees you have to be an engaged leader. The more engaged you are with them, the more engaged they will be and the less likely they are to leave you and the organization.
*Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Many managers believe that it is enough to show up and be seen, but then this is why I refer to them as managers and not leaders. Leadership require more than just showing up, it requires engagement; but if a manager doesn’t know what engagement looks like chances are they are missing opportunities to move from manager to leader. In a recentAnthony T. Eaton Articles Employee relations
Engagement. It’s the new business buzzword. It just sounds good coming off the tip of your tongue. What is it? Well, there are a lot of different interpretations of the definition of engagement, but there is one thing that most everyone agrees with: it’s a problem. While people may be struggling to figure out what the best definition of ‘engaged’ is, more people agree on what an actively disengaged employee is. According to Gallup Poll, an actively disengaged employee is, “unhappy and unproductive at work and liable to spread negativity to coworkers.” (Gallup) According to Gallup Poll results released for 2012, 24% of workers worldwide are actively disengaged. With statistics like that, it’s no wonder executives are scrambling to try and fix the engagement problem.
One common method to identify why employees are disengaged is to take a survey. Gallup Poll and other companies will happily take a company’s money to perform this service. However, I would propose to you that there are several potential flaws with this approach. First, by the time most executives get to the point of paying another company to perform a survey, they already know they have a problem. Second, performing a survey once may identify areas within the company that could be strengthened, but to see if a company is making any progress, the survey must be run over multiple years. Third, are the engagement plans. Once weak areas have been identified, management has to try and fix the problem. So they work with their employees to create engagement plans. This is where I have to take a pause. According to the National Business Research Institute, one of the most common employee complaints is being overworked (NBRII). If one of the causes of employee disengagement is overwork, then how is giving them more work in the form of engagement plans supposed to help fix things? This sure sounds like the catchphrase, “The beatings will continue until morale improves.” Next, there is a very tempting trap for managers to fall into, and that is improving scores instead of digging down into the true heart of the difficult issues that are the cause of poor engagement. Let’s face it, educating an employee on how to take the poll to increase their score is a whole lot easier of a way to show that you are making progress on engagement on paper.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that engagement polls are necessarily a bad thing. I will say that I think the expectations of many senior executive leadership are too high when it comes to these surveys. The Gallup Poll has been conducting engagement surveys for over 30 years. Many of the companies that are just now taking their survey for the first time have also been in business for that long or longer. How is the culture of a business, which is shaped and fostered by the executive leadership style over decades, supposed to change in just a couple years? Sure, executives are part of Gallup’s survey, but if they weren’t 100% engaged with their company’s business strategies, then they would have never made it to the positions they are in. The more senior the executive, the higher they tend to score. Scores begin to deteriorate the farther down the management chain you go, until finally you reach the employees, where it appears all of the engagement issues are occurring. The reality is the motivation of the executives giving the survey is not focused on the well-being of the employees. So if executives are engaged, and year after year we continue to see employees disengaged, maybe it’s time to change our focus.
Let’s start by looking at the executives who run the companies with the highest engagement scores. Stephen Cannon is the CEO for Mercedes Benz, who was ranked 94th in Forbes best 100 companies to work for this year. Stephen states, “We’ve been investing in programs to allow our leaders to create great places for our employees to work. Great organizations are all about people.” (Linkedin) In an interview with Paul Amos, CEO of Aflac, he discussed his basic employee principles in the Aflac Way handbook. “Everyone is important. No matter who walks through the door, whether it’s the man in overalls or a straw hat or the man in a $500 suit, everyone is treated equally.” (Faith&Leadership) Aflac is number 58 on Fortune’s top 100 companies to work for this year, and they have been on the list for the last 16 consecutive years. Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos and number 38 in this year’s Fortune list states the following: “It actually doesn’t matter what your core values are.” “What matters is that you have them and commit to them. And by committing to them, you’re willing to hire or fire based on them independent of actual job performance.” (Greatplacetowork) Last, Larry Page, CEO of Google and Fortune’s number one business to work for states the following; “My job as a leader is to make sure everybody in the company has great opportunities, and that they feel they’re having a meaningful impact and are contributing to the good of society.” (Fortune)
What’s the common theme from these executives of Fortune’s top 100 companies to work for, over and over again? People and core values. It’s no secret that business are in business to make money and increase shareholder value, but it’s how a business makes its money that effects employee engagement. If the employees of a company are treated as just a tool to increase stockholder value and like they are easily replaceable, then of course they will be disengaged. The bottom line is that it’s about trust; it’s about a culture that puts the employee and customer needs as the top business priority and it all starts from the top of a business, down. Employees need to have trust in their organizations to perform at their best, and CEO’s have to work on that trust from the top. If companies truly want to become great places to work, then they have to focus on their employees and their employee’s needs. Trust comes into play because a lot of what the employees need may seem counterproductive to increasing shareholder’s wealth. Better pay, more recognition, a balanced family-work life, flexible hours, are all things that can contribute to better engagement, but might hurt the bottom line of a company on paper.
By the time a company gets to the point of taking a survey, chances are they recognize that there is already a problem and that the current way of doing business just isn’t cutting it. This is when executive leadership engagement comes into play. I propose that the mission statement of a business is the place to start. This is nothing new or earth shattering, but it’s where I feel executives can get huge results from their company while maintaining a loyal workforce. Does the mission of the company have more of an employee and customer focus than money? If not, then maybe it’s time for a change. If it does, then maybe the business has strayed away from its core mission over the years and forgotten how important the employees are to that mission. How do CEO’s and executives learn what matters most to their employees? A survey might give them some clues, but are often expensive and time consuming. I propose that good old fashioned face-time is the best method. Take an interest in their well-being, and find out what would motivate them. It’s already been shown by many businesses who repeatedly made the top 100 places to work list that it can be done, and the results can be amazing. Take the leap of faith, together as executives and employees as one company and see what the results of true engagement can do.
*image courtesy of imagerymajestic/freedigitalphotos.net
Worldwide, 13% of Employees Are Engaged at Work. Retrieved from
10 Things employees dislike most about their employers. Retrieved from
Mercedes-Benz CEO: Customer Experience is the Brand!! Retrieved from
Paul S. Amos: This is not who we are. Retrieved from
How Zappos Creates Happy Customers and Employees. Retrieved from
Larry Page: Google should be like a family. Retrieved from
Engagement. It’s the new business buzzword. It just sounds good coming off the tip of your tongue. What is it? Well, there are a lot of different interpretations of the definition of engagement, but there is one thing that most everyone agrees with: it’s a problem. While people may be struggling to figure out what the best definition of ‘engaged’ is, more people agree on what an activelSteven Madison Articles
This is a short story about a small high tech company that in spite of some developing employee relations issues has been very successful. In order to protect the guilty, we will call this company Wacko Technology.
On the surface everything at Wacko appears to be rather calm. They are making money so little else seems that important. Oh, there are one or two tell-tale signs of trouble brewing beneath the service such as Wacko’s rising 18% turnover rate. Also Wacko’s break room is filled with “toxic gossip” as well as the not too small matter of constant employee gripes and complaints. To say the least, all was not well at Wacko.
While considering Wacko’s situation, I began to get those same uneasy feelings you get when watching a documentary on volcanoes. In the program’s opening scene you are speeding in a helicopter towards a tropical island paradise, surrounded by clear blue water and white sand beaches, covered in softly swaying palm trees and beautiful tropical flowers. But just before the first commercial break your dream of this island paradise becoming your next vacation destination is totally destroyed by the shattering forces of an exploding volcano. The shock is so great to your senses you grab the remote and quickly begin searching for an escape, but you end up settling on another disaster by watching the Red Sox blow a seven game lead in the AL East.
It has not been that good a day. After having spent your entire day fighting fires at work and now to see you vacation dream being consumed by smoke and ash followed by watching another year of the Curse of the Bambino play out on ESPN has about pushed you over the edge.
If you are experiencing pre-volcano anxiety concerning your organization, this may be a good time to intervene with an employee driven organization development program that is based on the principle that, "the person closest to the problem is the best expert on the problem". Don't worry, this solution is not going to replace you. In fact, it will contribute greatly to strengthening your position of leadership at all levels of the organization. The leadership principle at work here is simple. Give your employees a voice by “asking employees their opinion, listening to what they have to say and acting on it”.
You begin by first asking your employees in confidential one-on-one interviews; “What three things, if done extraordinarily well, will have the greatest impact on the quality of work and the quality of work life for you, your fellow employees, customers and your company?” These interviews are best conducted by your HR department or an outside consultant. Once you have completed interviews with each of your employees (or a representative percentage), organize their suggestions in order of importance and provide your employees access to your listing through feedback meetings or by email. This lets employees know you value their opinion. On the front end, if there are any suggestions you will not be implementing, it is very important to let your employees know what you will not be doing and explain why. Don't be afraid to say no as long as you explain why.
Next go to work on a “quick start plan” by announcing and implementing any suggestions that can be put in place quickly and that you feel are critical to addressing employee dissatisfaction. In order to address the remaining employee suggestions create an Organization Development Committee (7 to 9 member committee) made up of a cross section of employees, which should include two or three well respected front line managers. This committee will be responsible for developing, for management’s approval plans and programs that address employee concerns and suggestions taken from the employee OD interviews. The manager’s involvement in the committee is to act as the “boss interpreter” directing the group’s recommendations towards plans that will be accepted by management. Allow the committee to own the process and the chairperson of the OD committee to be responsible for communicating to employees all aspects of the committee’s activity including announcement of action plans and programs developed as a result of employee input. An OD Plan of this type has a six month shelf life so I strongly suggest someone in senior management take responsibility for championing the OD committee work.
By asking your employee’s for their opinion you begin a participative process that will change the culture of your organization. But what is so remarkable about an employee driven OD program is not only will your employees effectively address issues that threaten employee morale and productivity but the program will also empower employees companywide by giving them a voice. Your employees’ voice will be expressed by:
*Creating a belief that they can make a difference by seeing their ideas are valued and implemented.
*Taking greater initiative and action to make things better.
*Taking responsibility to do the right thing and not always waiting for management direction.
*Taking leadership by being willing to help others move in the right direction.
*Becoming self-correcting by making themselves accountable to the standards they set.
*Becoming more confident and proud of the work they do and the organization they work for.
*Working in a more collaborative way to help assure the best thinking and employee support made part by the critical plans as they are implemented.
*Taking responsibility for developing and maintaining a positive employee culture.
Strengthening relationships that are built on trust.
*Expanding of the social circle within the organization where employees feel like they belong to something bigger them themselves.
Creating peer pressure for the majority who are no longer willing to accept difficult, nonproductive employee behavior. These problem employees then become isolated and their counterproductive attitude and behavior will be minimized. These employees will either slowly change for the better or will become so uncomfortable they will leave the organization. This is how you create positive turnover.
Volcanologists tell us that the study of volcanoes is not a perfect science and that there is much more to learn before they are able predict a volcanic eruption. The same may be true for predicting the eruption of employee relations problems, but there is a way to prevent these nasty employee eruptions …. simply give your employees a voice.
About the authors:
Michael E. Hackett is a retired Human Resource executive and management consultant based in Brentwood Tennessee. www.hacketthrconsultant.comj Michael has distinguished himself in the field of Human Resources Management and Organizational Development, with more than 40 years of human resources consulting, management and executive level experience in business, industry, government and healthcare. Michael has served as an Adjunct University Professor for more than 25 years, where he has taught a variety of management, leadership, customer service and strategic planning courses. Hackett has authored a number of management articles; and as conference leader, he has conducted training programs for business, industry, government, hospitals, universities, and professional associations. Michael’s academic credits include a BS and MS degrees from The University of Memphis. You may reach Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org
P. Daniel Hackett is a Construction Project Engineer with J. E. Dunn Corporation in Brentwood Tennessee. Dan’s academic credits include a BS degree in Building Construction Science from Auburn University and a MS degree in Sustainable Practices from Lipscomb University in Nashville. Dan was also a intern assistant with Hackett and Assistant while attending Auburn University.
This material is copyright protected. No part of this document may be reproduced, in any form or by any means without permission from weLEAD Incorporated. Copyright waiver may be acquired from the weLEAD website.
This is a short story about a small high tech company that in spite of some developing employee relations issues has been very successful. In order to protect the guilty, we will call this company Wacko Technology. On the surface everything at Wacko appears to be rather calm. They are making money so little else seems that important. Oh, there are one or two teMichael and Daniel Hackett Articles
Let’s be honest, any kind of change, much less corporate change, is difficult, really difficult. Whether a start-up experiencing growing pains, a company faced with increased competition, a floundering company trying to stay afloat, or a successful business attempting to expand into global markets, the path toward change can often be unclear at best and the barriers can seem insurmountable at worst. Yet change your company must if it is going to become or remain a “player” in its market. The question isn’t whether your business must change; that is a given if you want it to survive and thrive. Rather, the question is: Will our company change?
If you answer in the affirmative, there are two more questions that you must ask. First, what will your company change? In the ever-morphing marketplace, there isn’t always clarity on what needs to be changed for a company to stay competitive. Second, how specifically will your company change? It’s one thing to have grand ideas about what changes your company needs to make. It’s an entirely different thing to take those “50,000 feet” ideas and bring them down to Earth.
Though change is always complex, like all complicated processes, it begins with a basic framework that orients and guides the course of transformation. A useful way of framing this process is by what The Trium Group calls “the Six I’s”: intention, inspiration, information, insight, integration, and implementation.
The foundation of any change is intention that change is needed. Intention provides the objective for an initial course of action that will lead to the desired change. For example, “We intend to modify our sales practices to make it more customer friendly” or “ Our intention is to increase our market share by 25% over the next 12 months.” This intention creates a sense of purpose that provides the preliminary impetus for the change.
As the saying goes, though, the road to you-know-where is paved with good intentions. Simply knowing what your company wants just isn’t enough for change to occur. Instead, there needs to be inspiration that puts the wind in the sails to propel the change forward. Because change is so difficult, the motivation to change must come from a deep place within the leadership of an organization and that strong desire for change must then emanate outward and be embraced through all levels of the organization. This inspiration can be grounded in many forms so that it is more readily accessible to everyone involved in making the change a reality, whether due to a sense of ownership, pride in being part of a productive team, personal ambition, or the determination to take the company to the next level. The key is to infect your organization with this inspiration from the corner office to the “boots on the ground.” Without this powerful emotion, any efforts at change are sure to be dead in the water.
One of scariest things about change when it’s first proposed is lack of clarity and its magnitude.
Everyone knows that a change needs to be made, but there are many questions that are left unanswered and the change can seem overwhelming It can feel like you are told to climb Mt. Everest, but without the necessary equipment, route, or guidance. This feeling of “How can I possibly do this?” is where the idea of change collides with the reality of change. And that collision can stop even the most powerful inspiration in its tracks.
The remedy for this feeling of being overwhelmed is information. When everyone in your organization has the relevant data needed to put the required change in perspective, the scope and process of change seem more manageable. You want to answer the what, why, who, where, when, and how of the change. So, my recommendation to you when it comes time to announce the changes through your organization is to follow it very soon after (if not concurrently) with the information that will allow everyone to gain perspective and understand that the change is not only possible, but doable.
Once everyone in your company understands the ins and outs of the proposed change, insight is necessary to take the intention, inspiration, and information and make the change personal. In other words, every team member must understand their role in the organization-wide change. This insight provides each person with a framework and process that will guide them in their particular responsibilities in making the change happen.
One of the most challenging aspects of company-wide change is that your team is expected to make the changes while also continuing to fulfill their normal roles and responsibilities. The stress-inducing question that everyone asks is: “How am I going to do this when I’m already maxed out in my ‘day job’?” This is where you must ensure effective integration of the change process into everyone’s already-busy schedules. The simple reality is that change will not occur if your people lack the time, energy, or resources to do their part in initiating the change. You must be explicit in identifying the when and how of the change for each member of your team, otherwise they are likely going to feel overwhelmed and demoralized, both of which will undermine the company-wide efforts at the needed change.
All of your company’s efforts to this point are in preparation for rolling out the intended change in your company. Everything to this point will go for naught if it isn’t able to take action in pursuit of the change objectives. The final phase of the change process, implementation, is where the rubber meets the road. If you have successfully fulfilled the mandates of the first five I’s, meaning everyone in your company knows the what, when, where, and how, implementation should be, well, not easy, but a natural extension of the earlier groundwork. These efforts will then, over time, produce the intended change and help your company to achieve its goals and find continued success.
About the author:
Jim Taylor a partner at the Trium Group, a boutique corporate consulting firm based in San Francisco that specializes in strategic, organizational, and human transformation and performance. You can contact Jim at
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Let’s be honest, any kind of change, much less corporate change, is difficult, really difficult. Whether a start-up experiencing growing pains, a company faced with increased competition, a floundering company trying to stay afloat, or a successful business attempting to expand into global markets, the path toward change can often be unclear at best and the barriers can seem insurmountable atJim Taylor, PhD Articles
Leaders not only challenge us but also inspire us to take action. Some leaders post quotes in their office as reminders to inspire themselves and others. Here are a few examples.
“Make It a WOW Experience!”—Sign in the office of Kate T. Labor, Vice President-Customer Support, Systems, and Software.
“I will change one life today!” —In the article, “Understanding the Importance of Rituals,” author Justin W. Carter said that this sign was in the front office of a small company. As employees entered the office, they tapped the sign with their hand. This ritual instantly reminded them of the importance of their mission.
“Bring Energy!” —Sign on the desk of Maxine Clark, Founder and Chief Executive Bear, Build-A-Bear Workshop.
“Prove Your Groove.”—Sign on the office wall of Peter H. Reynolds CEO/Owner, FableVision Enterprises.
“The Buck Starts Here!”—Sign on the desk of Donald Trump.
Leaders inspire us by what they say, how they say it, and what they do. You must believe in yourself, your employees, and your message.
What Leaders Say
Leaders speak the truth about what is—current reality and about what’s possible—their vision. They keep it real but also identify opportunities for a better future. Leaders use words that are positive, affirming, uplifting, and encouraging. They inspire us by making us feel good about ourselves.
We all want to feel respected, valued, useful, and part of something important and successful. Package your message in a way that connects to these universal feelings. In addition, you can inspire people by tapping into their core values. Emotions and values are the spark that get us excited and energized.
The words leaders say that inspire us include:
*Telling Stories. Stories that describe setbacks, great struggle, hard work, perseverance, and eventual success inspire us to press on and achieve demanding goals.
What’s your inspiring story?
*Affirming Statements. Leaders inspire us by telling us we have the ability and talent to be successful. Doug Conant former President and CEO of Campbell’s Soups said that in graduate school his grades started to slide. He was working two jobs and taking a full course load. His favorite professor pulled him into his office and said, “You can do better.” Those four words touched him, affirmed him, and inspired him.
Who have you affirmed in the last two days?
*Planting Seeds. Leaders inspire us by getting us to see ourselves performing a bigger role. They plant seeds with comments such as, “I can see you leading our international marketing campaign.”
*Encouraging People. One of my mentors always encouraged me to pursue bigger goals. Whether I was applying for a new job, considering graduate school, or starting my own business, her consistent response was: “Now’s your time. Believe in yourself and your goals. I’m confident you can do it.”
Who are you encouraging to pursue loftier goals?
*Empowering People. Ralph Stayer, former CEO of Johnsonville Foods, inspired his employees and built their confidence by empowering them. He gave people power and authority to get things done. When leaders empower us, they’re saying, “I have confidence in you.”
How Leaders Say It
Leaders deliver their message with passion and conviction. Check out some of the YouTube videos of Tom Peters, Pat Summit, Colin Powell, and Tony Blair. Observe how animated and passionate they are. If you don’t have enthusiasm for your ideas, who will? A passionate speaker gets the audience to sit up, open up, and fully consider the key points. You must have great conviction for what you’re advocating. Leaders have no doubts, no hesitation, and no questions about the correctness of their ideas and recommendations. If you’re not fully committed to what you’re doing, why should anyone else?
Do you deliver your message with passion and conviction?
What Leaders Do
They set the example. When change is taking place all eyes are on the leader. Setting an example is a powerful way of inspiring people. People can’t ignore what you do. Leaders are often the first to take action. Their actions are strong and decisive. You increase your influence exponentially by adding highly visible examples to your words. Author and Artist, Susan Conroy said that the best example of leadership she got was from Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Susan states, “I made my first trip to work with Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity in 1986. Mother Teresa inspired us by her example.” Every day she was a consistent role model of humble service.
What example are you setting for your people?
Problems Related to Inspiring People
1) Some leaders lack optimism. Others are too optimistic and are thought to be out of touch with reality.
2) Some leaders aren’t inspiring because they are flat in their delivery. They lack energy and conviction when presenting their message.
3) Some leaders don’t create a sense of urgency. There is no burning platform so people are reluctant to jump into the water.
4) Some leaders talk a good game, but don’t back it up with action.
What Can You Do?
First, inspire yourself. Discover what gets you excited. Second, think about your life stories. What challenges and obstacles have you faced and overcome? Craft your own personal stories that you can use to inspire others. Third, build your vocabulary. Ed Zimmer, Founder and President, Zimmer Foundation says that a large vocabulary helps you select the best words to sell your ideas and inspire people to change.
About the author:
Paul B. Thornton, MBA, M.Ed., is an author, trainer, and professor of business administration at Springfield Technical Community College in Springfield, Massachusetts. He has provided leadership training for over 10,000 supervisors and managers. This article is an excerpt from his new e-book, WHAT I TEACH ABOUT…LEADERSHIP. His e-mail address is PThornton@stcc.edu
This material is copyright protected. No part of this document may be reproduced, in any form or by any means without permission from weLEAD Incorporated. Copyright waiver may be acquired from the weLEAD website.
Leaders not only challenge us but also inspire us to take action. Some leaders post quotes in their office as reminders to inspire themselves and others. Here are a few examples. “Make It a WOW Experience!”—Sign in the office of Kate T. Labor, Vice President-Customer Support, Systems, and Software. “I willPaul B. Thornton Articles
The hiring retention success rate is disheartening with some studies reporting a rate lower than 50%. Through more than 50 years of combined experience 50+ in helping organizations improve their business performance, we (Tony Kubica and Sara LaForest) have uncovered three reasons why most companies and organizations fail to hire and retain top talent.
The First Reason Why Most Companies Hiring Retention Rate is Less Than 50%!
In the movie “Field of Dreams”, Ray Kinsella (played by Kevin Costner) hears a voice as he walks through his cornfield—"if you build it, he will come". Over the years it has since become part of our lexicon of misused quotes. It has even seeped into the talent integration and talent management world.
Many CEOs, executives, managers and HR directors believe if you hire them (or promote your employees) they will contribute. Well, to use another well-known phrase—"not exactly".
Why would you believe that hiring or promoting employees into a new job or position will result in immediate success?
The Second Reason Why Most Companies Retention Rate is Less Than 50%!
Many executives, managers and HR managers fail to plan out completely:
*The job requirements
*What needs to be done
*What skills, behaviors and attitudes are required for success now
*What role adaptation is anticipated for the future
If you fail to map out exactly what you are looking for as well as the position you are hiring for - you might as well spend your money on a trip to Las Vegas to roll the dice! The chance of winning is about the same - or maybe slightly better in Vegas (and likely you will have more fun).
The Third Reason Why Most Companies Retention Rate is Less Than 50%!
Most companies are still hiring and promoting candidates using the standard elements:
a) An application
b) A resume
c) An interview (or two, potentially including a panel)
d) Perhaps a background check,
e) And references.
However, these really only tell you only what the candidate wants you to know. Meaning, good creative writing and strong impression management skills do not necessarily equal the most suitable candidate for your organization. Just because candidates can report experience and expertise on a resume does not mean they have the personality and character attributes to do the job and it doesn’t mean that they are the right fit for your company.
For example, we saw one of our clients hire a department director who was charged with turning around an under-performing department. He appeared to be well-qualified, coming from a department that recently had undergone a very successful turnaround. He was the assistant director.
But, he floundered in the new job. One of the reasons is that he was too empathetic and had a very high-interpersonal sensitivity toward others. Simply, he could not make the tough people decisions. Nowhere on the resume, during the interview, nor with the hand-picked references did this come out.
To Integrate Your New or Promoted Talent Effectively, You Need to Start Considering the “Talent Integration Potential”
This means, you need to look specifically to how a candidate fits the prospective role and how suitable the candidate is to your organization. Just as you cannot fit a square peg in a round hole (without damage), you cannot make successful a person who does not have the basic ingredients for success in the job you need done.
This does not mean the person cannot be successful. It just means they cannot likely be as successful in a particular job or perhaps even in your organization.
So, how can you know?
4 Ways to Uncover If a Candidate is Perfect For the New Role & For Your Organization
1) Use behaviorally-based interview questions that probe their history of actions and outcomes respectively.
2) Include some culture-based questions to help you determine values and motivators as compared to company values and attributes.
3) Include/give them time for a scenario based problem to work and resolve and report back on.
4) Have top candidates complete personality-based and job performance indicators that measure a candidate's potential for success in different business environments and roles. (Though such an assessment should never be used as the sole criteria for selection. As part of a selection set, it can be an invaluable tool to avoid hiring the wrong candidate for the job.) It can also be used as a tool to support and coach the new employee in areas that need to be addressed to ensure a fast and effective integration into a new job and organization.
Now, are you ready to start increasing your top employee retention rate? Great! Then, change your thinking from “if you hire them or promote them – they will contribute” to “if I hire the right talent, they will contribute.” And, start following my advice by taking action on the items listed in this article.
About the authors:
Sara LaForest and Tony Kubica are management consultants with more than 50+ years of combined experience in helping organizations improve their business performance simply by improving the leadership effectiveness of top management. You can find out more about their work at http://www.kubicalaforestconsulting.com
This material is copyright protected. No part of this document may be reproduced, in any form or by any means without permission from weLEAD Incorporated. Copyright waiver may be acquired from the weLEAD website.
The hiring retention success rate is disheartening with some studies reporting a rate lower than 50%. Through more than 50 years of combined experience 50+ in helping organizations improve their business performance, we (Tony Kubica and Sara LaForest) have uncovered three reasons why most companies and organizations fail to hire and retain top talent. TSara LaForest & Tony Kubica Articles
Burnout. Too many priorities to tackle. Insufficient resources. Difficulty motivating volunteers or staff. These are the challenges facing executives and managers of non-profit organizations and agencies. Non-profits are having the same problems as for-profit corporations, such as concerns of recruiting and retaining excellent staff, with the added difficulty of fewer resources to execute tasks and to attract employees. In addition, those organizations receiving grantor funding must provide greater assurance that they will be able to deliver on the funded project goals. The work of non-profit organizations is vital to our society, but how do we inspire, motivate, and support the leaders of these important agencies? One of the most proven and cost-effective methods for enhancing loyalty, retention, and the accomplishment of goals is Coaching.
According to Daniel Goleman (2006), psychologist and award-winning author of Emotional Intelligence (EI) says, nonprofit leaders can incorporate different leadership styles in their relationships with employees. The leadership style used least by nonprofit leaders is the Coaching style. In a nutshell, Coaching leaders encourage employees to establish long-term development goals and help them conceptualize a plan for attaining them. The ongoing dialogue in a coaching relationship ensures that employees know what is expected of them, and how their work fits into a larger vision of where the organization is going. Coaching is a relatively new and promising tool for leadership development for non profit leaders who find themselves in an increasingly challenged and often isolated role, according to a national study of nonprofit executive leadership conducted by Compass Point (Wolfred, Belland Moyers, 2001). Statistical surveys and anecdotal evidence alike support Coaching as a great instrument for advancing nonprofit leadership and improving nonprofit organizational effectiveness. Leadership Coaching requires exceptional leadership and questioning skills to be effective. At no point is leadership more important than in assisting others in defining their performance issues and identifying the underlying causes. This Situational Leadership style provides the needed structure to guide leaders in working with their clients.
The underlying principle in Situational Leadership is that Executive Coaches should adjust their leadership styles to their client’s readiness level (ability and willingness) to perform a given task. Leadership is the amount of task behavior (direction) and relationship behavior (support) given by a leader. To be effective the Coach must adjust the way in which they lead their clients based on their level of readiness for each task that they are expected to perform. Leadership coaching is a unique application of the principles of Situational Leadership that guides leader coaches as they work with their clients.
The Situational Leadership method from Kenneth Blanchard and Paul Hersey holds that managers must use different leadership styles depending on the situation. The model allows you to analyze the needs of the situation you’re in, and then use the most appropriate leadership style. Depending on employees’ competences in their task areas and commitment to their tasks, your leadership style should vary from one person to another. You may even lead the same person one way sometimes, and another way at other times.
Blanchard and Hersey (1985) characterized leadership style in terms of the amount of direction and of support that the leader gives to his or her followers, and so created a simple matrix.
The lowest readiness level (D1) for an individual or group is described as not willing and not able to do a given task. The appropriate leadership style (SI) is that of providing high amounts of task behavior (direction) and low amounts of relationship behavior (support). The next readiness level (D2) is described as willing but not able. The appropriate leadership style (S2) is that of high amounts of both task and relationship behavior.
The next readiness level (D3) is described as able but unwilling in that the individual lacks confidence or commitment. The appropriate leadership style (S3) is that of high amounts of relationship behavior and low amounts of task behavior. The highest readiness level for a group or individual to do a given task is willing and able (D4). The appropriate leadership style is that of low amounts of both relationship and task behavior.
Within the learning organization there is a focus on developing new ways of thinking and working (Senge, 1999). A coaching culture is the framework of any learning organization. These organizations are characterized by relationships of trust, collaboration, insightful guidance, and a focus on assisting people to maximize their potential. Learning organizations differ from others in that they have shifted from a focus on performance to an emphasis on sustainable growth. People are given the opportunity to enhance and strengthen the concept of ongoing learning and development by creating a culture where coaching thrives.
Regardless of which enterprise the Coach is engaged in, he or she requires a solid knowledge of the organization. The coach has to be aware of its climate and culture, the current challenges it faces, its current learning and development programs and its people management programs and philosophy. Although the importance and usefulness of conducting a Coaching Needs Analysis alone is not sufficient for the Coach to embark upon working in an organization. In the same way, neither process knowledge or proven ability to work with personal mastery skills will equip the Coach to work effectively in an organization.
The Coach has to be familiar with various models of organizational change and the model or framework, either explicit or implicit, within which the particular organization operates. If a Coach chooses to work within an organizational environment, it is recommended that he or she adopt a systemic approach, that is, one that recognizes, acknowledges and can work with both internal and external factors that impact on the organization and its individuals. The Coach’s role may be to focus on human processes in the organization, on organizational design, developing and enhancing job competencies, or on coaching individuals through technology change programs.
The Coach as change agent is a person who is formally conducting a change effort. The change agent is involved in all steps of the process of change. Coaches are required to both change the level and standard of personal and professional skills sets, attitudes, thinking, beliefs, values, motivation of an individual or group, in order to help them (and their organization) perform even better and derive greater satisfaction from their everyday work life and their careers. Coaching is fundamentally about achieving behavioral change (what people do and say).
Coaching Leadership works well when employees want to advance and achieve their potential. This type of leadership doesn't work as well when employees are resistant to learning or changing their ways. In such situations, nonprofit leaders have to dig below the surface to understand what's causing the resistance. They will often discover that the resistance stems from a misunderstanding of the process: unlike many so-called "performance improvement plans," which are thinly disguised warnings to improve one's performance or face some undesirable consequence, the professional development plan with its clearly defined milestones and measures of success is designed to help employees succeed.
Coaching can occur one-on-one or in groups, on the telephone or in-person. When considering the cost of replacing and training key staff members, volunteers, and leaders, it is one of the most proven and cost-effective methods for enhancing loyalty and retention, the accomplishment of goals, and the power to transform organizations and their communities.In her article, “The Case for a Coach,” in Association Management, April 2001, Sheila
Maher outlines some of the advantages of coaching for non-profit leaders, managers, and volunteers. Maher’s experience coaching key staff officers at various associations has demonstrated that coaching provides:
• The ability to lead with vision rather than just manage day-to-day activities
• Reduction of over-commitment and stress
• Continued strategic thinking even when pulled in many directions
• Maximized staff effectiveness rather than micro-managing
• Using time more effectively
• Improved interpersonal skills in dealing with difficult people
Mary Beth Bos, CFRE, in her article “Leading on the Frontlines with a Coach on the Sidelines,” Customer Development Solutions, quotes a social services executive, a human services executive director, a foundation CEO, and an arts executive director on what they obtained from coaching. Their descriptions can be summarized as:
• Feeling “heard” and being self-expressed
• Establishing a vision, encouraging ownership, fostering partnership, and improving pacing
• Improved ability to be pro-active, accessible and open to staff
• Building cooperation and team-spirit, increased respect from others, and a stronger ability to handle issues before they reach a crisis stage
In addition, the non-profit leader--whether board member, volunteer, executive, or department manager--benefits personally with improved health and well-being, greater life balance, less stress, and greater productivity. The organization benefits from a more well-rounded, loyal, and dedicated leader with a clear vision, better strategies to reach goals, improved relationships with and outside the organization, improved morale, and a more successful plan of work. They are also more efficient and work in a manner consistent with the agency’s goals and plans. Even the volunteer leadership of a non-profit organization can benefit from coaching when it affects one’s individual career.
Blanchard, K.H. & Hersey, P. (1985). SLII: A situational approach to managing people. Escondido, CA: Blanchard Training and Development.
Goleman, D. (2006). Emotional intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ. Bantam Books.
Goldsmith, M. & Lyon, L. (2006).Coaching for leadership (2nd Ed). San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Peters, J. and Wolfred, T. (2001) CompassPoint Nonprofit Services, San Francisco. See also Teirney, T. (2006) The Nonprofit Sector’s Leadership Deficit. The Bridgespan Group; and Bell, J, Moyers, R. and T. Wolfred (2006) Daring to Lead 2006: A National study of Nonprofit Executive Leadership.CompassPoint/Meyer Foundation.
Senge (1999). The fifth discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization. Currency-Doubleday.
Burnout. Too many priorities to tackle. Insufficient resources. Difficulty motivating volunteers or staff. These are the challenges facing executives and managers of non-profit organizations and agencies. Non-profits are having the same problems as for-profit corporations, such as concerns of recruiting and retaining excellent staff, with the added difficultyMaxine Scott Articles
Because of thunder storms in Atlanta, the flight from Dallas to Atlanta had been delayed twice. On the third attempt, we were boarding and I felt hopeful of actually getting off the ground. My hopes faded fast when the tired-looking flight attendant came down the aisle quietly announcing that if we were not permitted to take off in the next 15 minutes, the crew would have exceeded their 16-hour work day and we would have to taxi back to the terminal and await another flight.
We were not given permission to take off, the crew's time expired and as we taxied back to the terminal I felt mixed emotions. I kept thinking, "But we were right there ready to take off. How could 1-1/2 more hours matter?"
Just as airlines are concerned about overworked pilots and flight attendants, employers should be concerned about overworked employees. Why? Errors, accidents, and low productivity for a start.
My mixed emotions as we taxied back to the terminal are similar to the signals our culture sends today about long work hours. In one breath we agree with employees having a pity party about how hard they work and with the other breath, we award employees a "red badge of courage" for having the guts to go the extra mile.
A study by the Families and Work Institute concludes that overworked employees should be taken seriously. Employees who are overworked are more likely to exhibit anxiety, make mistakes at work, harbor angry feelings about their employer for expecting them to be on the job for long hours and resent coworkers who don't pull their share of the load. The study documents that nearly half of employees who feel overworked report that their health is poor and 8 percent of employees who are not overworked experience symptoms of clinical depression compared with 21 percent of those who are highly overworked.
Helping Employees Feel Less Overwhelmed
What can the organization do to help employees feel less overworked while still finishing their tasks in a given day? Using time efficiently at work is an individual and an organizational issue. On the organizational side, managers can help employees reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed by:
- Training employees in time management principles
- Discouraging the practice of eating at the desk and working through lunch
- Insisting employees taking vacation time
- Permitting flexible work hours when appropriate
- Encouraging non-interrupt zones in the day when workers can focus on their tasks
- Assigning tasks well in advance of the drop dead date
- Helping Employees Be More Effective
A tried and true principle states that to be efficient, you must first be effective. For instance, the maker of buggy whips might be highly efficient in manufacturing techniques, but if no one buys the buggy whips, the process is not effective.
To encourage efficiency and effectiveness, managers can:
- Have clearly stated goals with built in deadlines
- Insist employees make a daily "to do" list
- Make certain equipment works properly
- Supply the necessary materials for job completion
- Train employees on software packages that enable more efficient work
Ensuring the above items are taken care of is essential to help employees leverage their time while in the office and be more productive.
Realizing a Productivity Culture Change
Managers should make a concerted effort to grease the wheels of productivity, and not be the stick that gets caught in the tire spokes, catapulting the rider from the trail. By attending to these issues, managers can help workers feel less overwhelmed and enable them do more in less time. You'll like the results.
About the author:
Karla Brandau is CEO of Workplace Power Institute. She offers keynotes, workshops, and retreats to move your organization forward in the chaotic environment of the 21st Century. You can contact Karla at email@example.com visit her blog at www.FromTheDeskofKarlaBrandau.com
Because of thunder storms in Atlanta, the flight from Dallas to Atlanta had been delayed twice. On the third attempt, we were boarding and I felt hopeful of actually getting off the ground. My hopes faded fast when the tired-looking flight attendant came down the aisle quietly announcing that if we were not permitted to take off in the next 15 minutes, the crew would have exceeded their 16-hourKarla Brandau Articles
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