Posts Tagged ‘Leadership’

Team LeaderIn a zone post a few months ago, I shared a few tips from the book Monday Morning Leadership to help leaders improve.  This time I want to share a little on how to make sure the teams you lead are the best they can be.  Below are some paraphrased tips from that same author along with thoughts shared in our Leadership Excellence and Team-building workshops.  Three Things the Best Leaders Must Do For Their Teams

  1. Hire good employees. Do not just fill open positions quickly the easy way, instead hire tough.  If you hire tough, you can manage easy.  If you hire easy, you are forced to manage tough.  Good employees will do their best for you.  Words of wisdom quoted from the book: “The most important thing you can do as a leader is to hire the right people.” And “The most important asset in your company is having the RIGHT PEOPLE on your team.  If you have the right people on your team you have a great chance to succeed.” Check out PXT Select to see if it can help your improve this process.
  2. Coach every member of the team to become better. Everyone can improve, so give your team (as a group and individually) feedback on what they need to do.  Be open to ideas of training and mentoring inside and outside the team.  Continuous learning can eliminate holes when someone has to have time-off or be out-of-the-office for meetings, vacation, or illnesses. Check out The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team to see if it can help you improve the team-building, performance, and feedback processes.
  3. Dehire the people who aren’t carrying their share of the load. Your other team members see their bad performance and wonder why you are not taking action. Others could begin to feel like they should do less too.  So get with HR on what you should do to begin tracking performance issues to begin the dehiring or internal transfer/placement process.   Words of wisdom quoted from the book:  “Never lower your standards just to fill a position!  You will pay for it later.” And “The greatest liability in your company could be having the WRONG PEOPLE on your team.

To help with the first thing above, the author presented the interview tips below later in the book.

Three Rules of Three for Interviewing

  1. For each position, interview at least 3 qualified candidates. Hold out for the best fit, whether it is a new hire position or a transfer within the organization.  If you are in a hurry and just take the first one that looks good, you could end up with a bad fit for the team.
  2. Interview the most qualified candidates 3 times. Do this at different times of the day each time they come in.  Changing the time will help you and your team to evaluate how each candidate may be at different times during a work day.
  3. Have 3 different people evaluate the candidates for best job fit. Hiring manager and/or HR representative could be first two people.  One or two other people to finish the three should be from the team the position is for.  Team members know the work the best and the team dynamics, so they can help determine if the candidate fits the need.

Read Full Post »

I have shared the role of the Sales Coach before.  I want to go a little deeper this time and talk about how coaching directly affects your sales team’s effectiveness.  This is important because as you know, their effectiveness in- the-field and on-the-phone affects your company’s bottom line.

Coaching is about tactics and blocking.  It is the strategic part of the experience.  Coaching is about the ability to build rapport, trust, guide and influence.  It is about knowing the plays (sales process steps)  that will get you to the end (successful close).

In sales, it is also about setting conversational boundaries – what to say, what not to say.  There needs to be focus and a purpose to the words you and your team use.  They should sound like music to the customer’s ears when they hear them.   That is both the strategic plan for every encounter and the tactical skills to move the conversation forward.

Your role in the coaching process is to be sure all sales and customer service representative are armed with the skills, tools and confidence that keep conversations moving forward, while creating an ideal customer experience that will  keep both customers and employees for a lifetime. If they miss sales, you need to let them know if and what they might have done differently or better.  If there was not a better way, than congratulate them on a sale conversation well done.

You should always be coaching your team.  If you are at a loss for how to do so, start by asking these six simple questions of yourself?  Then try asking them individually with each member of your team by changing the “I” to “WE”.

  1. How do I create the ideal customer experience?
  2. Do I get the answers to the questions I might need to be viewed as a problem solver by the customer?
  3. Do I answer the customer’s questions to their satisfaction?
  4. What will it take to get everyone on same page?
  5. Am (Are) I doing what it takes to get mastery of the sales language?
  6. What are the gaps and what actions and behaviors can I personally influence?

So are you being a leader, manager, or coach?  If you do not utilize these coaching techniques, you may be viewed as a micro manager.  The worst thing that will happen if you do not coach your team – you will not have people who can get and keep the customers buying.  The next worst thing, you may lose some great talent on your team if they do not feel they are being helped to reach their full potential.


Read Full Post »

When I lead training workshops, I provide a recommended reading list.  Why? Because we know that readers are leaders at all levels of an organization.  There is even new research showing that one’s success can be equated to their reading level.

A must read, and often built into our Leadership Excellence and Management Workshops is a classic, Monday Morning Leadership by David Cottrell.  While the book is loaded with fundamental tips, for leaders and managers at all levels, the final chapter sets the stage for continued growth and professional development. In this book, Tony, the coach talks about the difference between the comfort zone and the learning zone.

I thought it would be an appropriate topic for beginning a new year. So let me ask, are you in a comfort zone or a learning zone? Are you moving forward or remaining stagnant? Is the way you have always done it, going to keep you and your organization in the front of the market? In the book the parts of the learning zone are presented as three rooms.

3 Rooms in the Learning Zone:

  1. Reading Room where “You learn more by reading more… the more you learn, the more you earn.”  Did you know that if you read from a business book for 10 minutes each day, you might read 12 books in a year?
  2. Listening Room where you gain knowledge by listening to employees and co-workers.  Attending conferences and seminars, or listening to audio books is another way to learn. Did you know the average person spend 500 hours a year in their car?
  3. Giving Room is where you share the knowledge you gain with others.  “The more you teach, the more accountable you become to what you’re teaching.”

As you looked through the rooms, where do you stand?

I am no one to judge, while an avid non-fiction reader, 2017 was my year to coast. I am being vulnerable here, as I bought many “must read” business books. But somewhere along the way, I got hold of a Vince Flynn novel, the Mitch Rapp series, I could not put them down. While waiting for the next last one to come off the press, I got hooked on Daniel Silva and went through the entire Gabriel Allon series! That was a lot of reading, great entertainment but did it move my goals forward, or, the authors? I have set some learning goals for 2018. I hope you will join me.

In the final chapter of Monday Morning Leadership , the coach also shares common reason people do not set goals.

4 Reasons People do not Set Goals

  1. They do not understand the importance of goal-setting.
  2. They do not know how to set good goals.
  3. They are afraid of failing to meet the goals.
  4. Achieving goals might require them to leave their comfort zone.

Remember, from this book one of the wisdom quotes is “For you to be the very best, you cannot allow yourself to become complacent in your comfort zone.  You need to be reaching for improvement.”  Complacency is the enemy of Success. Although the book is designed for leaders, the principles are applicable to all.


Read Full Post »

Teamwork DiSCIn the last post, we covered the first two team building tips on culture and communication.  Below are final three team management tips related to trust, accountability, and recognition.

Tip #3 – Build trust among team members. Success will always be limited if trust is lacking. The job of a good team leader is to cultivate a safe environment, where members feel comfortable being open and honest with the group about their weaknesses, fears and limitations.  Teambuilding activities can be incredibly effective.

The idea of activities has gotten somewhat of a bad rap, because most people hear “team-building exercise” and immediately assume they are going to be crammed in a room, thrown in an awkward and unrealistic scenario, and asked to share their deepest fear with a group of people they are forced to spend the afternoon with. However, when these exercises are done correctly and in a healthy environment, the positive results are astonishing. We have successfully been helping teams build vulnerability based trust using our program, The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team, based on Patrick Lencioni’s best-selling book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.

Tip #4 – Encourage accountability. In addition to frequently checking in with your team, give them permission to check-in among themselves and hold each other accountable. This can only work when concrete expectations and timelines are set. Not only will this reinforce communication and trust between team members, it will also help to avoid pitfalls, remove obstacles and assure constant progress. This seems to be one of the most difficult tasks and when issues and timelines are not addressed, it later becomes a personal issue.  There are a lot of activities that can help team members practice accountability, including have everyone go around the room and share what they believe is their strength and their weakness as it relates to the team. Then, let the peers share their candid feedback.

Tip #5 – Recognize achievements and give sincere praise. It is a widely known fact that when you positively reinforce a desired behavior, a person is far more likely to continue repeating that behavior. Leading your team from a posture of praise for good outcomes, achievements and behaviors is far more effective than teaching them to fear negative consequences. They will feel valued by you and strive to exceed expectations. A few tips to ensure your comments are perceived as sincere. Never make a statement of praise, thanks or appreciation unless you can tell them why. Try dropping hand-written notes to your co-workers and team members.

When we ask, in many of our training sessions, if anyone has received a hand-written note from a co-worker or a boss to raise their hand, we follow it up with the question, “where is that note now?” Only about 3 in 300 have ever said they do not know or they threw it away. The rest of them say they, treasure the notes and keep them in a safe or visible place. By taking just a few moments of your time to acknowledge a person on your team and show them how much you appreciate the job they do, you will not only make their day but also reinforce the desired behavior.

Read Full Post »

Teamwork DiSC“What we have here is a failure to communicate.”  This simple statement from the classic movie Cool Hand Luke is truer in our workplace than we want to admit.

We live in a culture where employee engagement and productivity are rapidly decreasing, while business competition, customer expectations, and new technology are on the rise. While there is no quick-fix or easy-button to transform your company, I have found that the simple solution is still the right one. A successful company or business team must have effective leadership. Now more than ever, being able to manage an effective team is vital to the success of an organization.

This post and the next will cover 5 simple tips to keep in mind when you are building and managing your team.  The first two tips contained here will be on culture and communication.  The final three tips will follow in the next post and they will be on trust, accountability, and recognition.

Tip #1 – Create a culture that celebrates individuality. Your job as a leader is to help identify each person’s unique skill set and how they can best utilize it to contribute to the success of the whole team.   The fastest way to demotivate your team is by trying to force them to fit in to an environment that does not allow them to operate in the manner most effective for them. Great leadership is not about bossing people around. It is about inspiring them and guiding them towards a common goal. You will pull leaders forward when you encourage them to believe in themselves and what they bring to the table.

Tip #2 – Communicate effectively. In order for your team to maintain a result oriented mindset, there must be an open dialogue for their ideas. People want to feel valued, heard and respected, not just prioritized.  As a leader you must be intentional with your words. If you want your team to be in alignment with your vision, you should adequately articulate information, priorities and long-term goals.  Do not shy away from the difficult conversations just because they are uncomfortable. Even when the content is unfavorable, people tend to be open and receptive when you create a safe space, speak with grace and ask for their input.

The golden rule, while well intended, does not apply to a cross cultural, cross gender, and cross generational workplace. Today it is about invoking the Platinum Rule:  Treat people and communicate with people the way they want to be communicated with.  We use Everything DiSC Workplace to change cultures. This generational tool helps bridge the gap between learning style, communication, and personality differences that can cause petty annoyances.

Please come back for tips three thru five next week.


Read Full Post »

youngworkersBy 2025, millennials will account for over 75% of the global workplace.  With this fact in mind, many organizations allocate a significant amount of time and resources to finding ways to accommodate this group’s learning preferences and skill sets.  Many of us fear for the future when we think about placing all we have worked for in seemingly incapable hands of a generation whose thoughts, ideas and processes are so foreign to us. They want different things, are motivated by different incentives, and have drastically different values.

While there are clear benefits to examining trends, tactics, and behaviors in order to chart the best course of action; I suggest focusing on the many ways in which they are not so different from the rest of the workforce. The skills needed to manage a successful team have not and will not change. You may need to modify your approach a little bit but ultimately great management is individual. You just have to be willing to know and understand the members of your team on a personal basis.

Here are five simple things to remember as you master the art of effectively managing a team, even if they are millennials.

  1. Provide Feedback. You cannot avoid crucial conversations because you are too busy to provide positive feedback or to uncomfortable providing negative. Both are extremely necessary for success. Your team wants to look up to you and learn from you. According recent studies, millennials look to their direct manager as their number one source of development. However, 54% report feeling like their managers did not provide the developmental support they were looking for. People crave and respond well to thoughtful feedback. Do not shy away from an opportunity to invest in their individual success and the success of your team.
  2. Coach More Than You Manage. Be a leader who is worthy of being followed. People need to know that they are valued and that you recognize the strengths they bring to your team. While leadership and structure are necessary, people respond better when they feel you respect their ideas. The heavy hand of authority and the mindset of “command and control” are both outdated and completely ineffective. If you want your employee engagement to rise above the shockingly low 30% average, do not expect them to just silently comply with whatever directive you hand down. Encourage and inspire them. Give them permission to voice new ideas, and the freedom to solve new problems and challenges their own way.
  3. Build Relationships. I will continue to say this, because it will continue to be of the utmost importance. Building relationships and nurturing a sense of community are essential components in maintaining a successful team. Encourage socialization and group projects. This new generation of professionals enjoy preforming their tasks in a more relaxed, communal atmosphere. They thrive in settings where they are able to access and have close relationships with their superiors. Consider offering a mentoring session every few weeks as part of an incentive program.
  4. Give Them Something to Believe In. We exist in a culture where obligation has given way to choice. People search for inspiration in all aspects of their lives. The “why” matters more than the “what.” Include your team in your vision. Let them know their mission is tied to a bigger purpose and explain why their role fits intricately into the “big picture.” Passion is a much more compelling motivator than simply making a list of demands.
  5. Capitalize on Their Abilities. Preforming multiple tasks at one time is a way of life for the millennial. Talking on the phone, while composing an email and answering several instant messages is the “norm” for them. In fact, without this level of chaos, they are likely to become bored and disengaged. Instead of stifling these behaviors, encourage them to help improve networking and multitasking abilities across your organization.

To find a book suggestion for millennials entering the workforce, visit post Three Leadership Tips for Millennials and Boomers.


Read Full Post »

PXT Select ReportsWhat are the ways companies try to predict success in their hiring?  From an applicant’s resume they may learn: career history, job experience, technical knowledge, and potential references.  From the interview process, they hope to understand the applicant’s: thinking style, extent of technical skills, true job knowledge, problem solving skills, and typical behavior traits.  Following this, they hope for a good selection process to match the right candidate to the correct job.

What is the company had a better way of doing interviews that could insure a better selection process?  In a previous post, you learned that PXT Select assessment could be required by each candidate for the job position.  Once multiple candidate assessments are complete, management and human resources gain access to a range of reports that can used for the selection process, as well as other purposes after the hiring is complete.  Below is a list of the PXT Select reports and what is contained in each.

PXT Select Position and Single Candidate Reports

Report Name Results Summary or Definition Performance Model Interview Questions or Ideal Candidate


Comprehensive Selection


Candidate’s Results from the assessment compared to the Performance Model Range of scores typical for success in the position, with scale and job fit interpretations Series of personalized Questions based on the candidate’s fit to the Performance Model


Performance Model (for position) Definition of each of the styles and traits Range of scores typical for success in the position Statement describing the Ideal Candidate for this position will appear for each style and trait


 PXT Select Single Employee Reports

Report Name Definitions Feedback or Results


Individual’s Feedback Each of the styles, traits, and interests that were measured by the assessment will be defined


Personalized Feedback based on results and how they should be interpreted
Individual’s Graph Each of the styles, traits, and interests that were measured by the assessment will be defined after Results Results will be summarized on scales for Thinking Style, continua for Behavioral Traits, and a ranked-order list for Interests

PXT Select – Multiple Placement Comparison Reports

Report Name Performance Models Candidate Fit Comparison or %Fit


Multiple Positions

(1 Candidate to Many)

Range of scores typical for success in each position Candidate’s results from the assessment compared to the Performance Models


The candidate’s Overall Fit for each of the positions
Multiple Candidates

(Many to 1 Position)

Range of scores on each scale typical for success in the position Each candidate’s results from the assessment compared to the Performance Models


Candidates  results for each scale are placed together for easy Comparison

PXT Select – Misc. Management Reports

Report Name Results Feedback Definitions, Reflection, or Action



(1 to 1)

Assessment results are compared to the Performance Model, which show the range of score typical for success in the position


Feedback personalized for the individual based on the results and how they should be interpreted Thinking Style and Behavioral Traits will be Defined following the results summary

(1 to 1)

Manager’s assessment results are compared to the employee’s on 9 different scales Personalized feedback based on how manager‘s results compare to employee’s


Reflection includes quick review, questions to answer, and an action plan
Team Each team member’s assessment results placed together on 9 behavioral scales Feedback for each scale based on personal and team’s responses


Team averages and personalized tips for Action planning


Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: