How to Use Your Stress for Good

This week’s article is provided by Deb Lewis, founder of Mentally Tough Women (MTW). It is a companion to her interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled Mental Toughness: How to Embrace Stress for Greater Success that aired on Tuesday, July 6th.

 

Have you ever felt that SPECIAL SATISFACTION when you achieve what others thought impossible?

I graduated from West Point in the first class to EVER accept women.  174 years of them saying NO to all the women who wanted to attend and now our 62 women graduates from that first class have grown to over 5000 today.

It wasn’t easy. Important lessons rarely are. Those early days taught me a LOT.

Some years later, I was hand-picked to lead a $2.1 billion engineer construction program IN COMBAT!  Today, I’m very involved with non-profits, businesses, schools, and government offices to make it possible to work closely together to succeed under the toughest conditions. I lead a couple of non-profits, which include one with 4,200 members as Commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars for Hawaii, and as Hawaii’s ambassador for the Military Women’s Memorial, encouraging women to sign up and share HERstory.

What’s been my KEY TO SUCCESS… that’s helped 1000s of women and men do AMAZING things EVERY day against the odds?

Answer: STRESS

It can break you, making your life miserable…or…

With the right training, YOU face whatever the future holds and enjoy what’s truly possible.

What better time to learn how to use stress to your advantage than today?

Think about the huge challenges we face -from climate change (drought, floods, melting ice caps & sea rise), to aggressive nations or combative groups to COVID and deadly variants.

Consider what’s happening to our businesses.

  • A Harvard Study found that in a recent recession only 9-10% of companies use adversity to their advantage. (Gulati – HBS)
  • A Harvard Business Review report found that 70-90% of business mergers and acquisitions fail. (HBR, 2019)
  • Gallup studies for 2020 indicate a workforce struggling to live up to its potential. Only 1 or 2 employees in 5 are engaged at work (highly involved), 43% are stressed out daily, and 15-20% are actively DISENGAGED (actively discouraging others to perform).

What employees in the US face at home:

  • 70% of adults have experienced a traumatic event – that’s Pre-COVID. (thenationalcouncil.org)
  • 50% of marriages end in divorce, and up to 73% for subsequent marriages. (worldpopulationreview.com)
  • 66% of people are seeking a real relationship, a meaningful partnership that is built on commitment and love (eHarmony)

When important issues at work and at home are wrapped in toxic and divisive perspectives, we magnify problems and solutions become elusive.

It’s natural to mistakenly view stress as a threat. In fact, we’re hard-wired and conditioned/soft-wired to do so. Threats trigger most people into survival-mode thinking.

In survival mode, unmet expectations are judged harshly and quickly. In this mode, a large range of options dramatically narrow to three strategies:  Fight, Flight (run away), or Shut Down (disengage).

It’s a lot like walking into a pie shop that normally offers 50 mouth-watering options. In survival mode, you narrow your options to three ordinary-looking pies…which you don’t realize until later. And those limited choices all make you sick.

A lack of stress skills can be easy to spot. Have you ever sat in a restaurant when someone you’re with has an issue with an order? How do they treat the server? Shouting or getting upset may get movement and lots of unintended consequences. Outcomes that exceed my expectations – never happen when I’m in survival mode!

In one case, a client enthusiastically signed up for both of my Extreme Stress and Stress Basics courses. Two weeks later, I noted she had not started either one. Upon questioning, she stated, “I’m in such a dark place. I really don’t think I have the energy or desire to even start because I won’t finish.”

Rather than be disappointed, I became excited and challenged her to watch just one of my 5 minutes videos. I promised she’d have more energy and feel better right away. Two weeks later, I checked back. and she shared, “I watched the video and finished both courses by the next day.”

I knew the toxic environment she worked in and asked if she wanted to talk more. She said, “I’m great now… really!” We did talk later. Her situation was even worse than I imagined. Today, she’s in a dream job.

With a better perspective and a few stress tools, you can walk through fire. And won’t waste time in survival mode whenever your emotions are triggered. Without that training and discipline to handle stress, it’s easy to forget the wisdom that’s available to us.

Remember when Wonder Woman took on the world after her early years of intense training? My own mental toughness journey in and out of the military continues to give me the power to transform incredibly difficult situations into opportunities and to help others do the same. It hasn’t gotten easier. I’ve gotten better!

TV, newspapers, magazines, books, radio, social media, and daily conversations bombard our beliefs, conversations, and choices we make every day. Recognize that a growing number of people refuse to listen to or restrict the “News” they receive or have even sworn off social media entirely. It comes down to how well you handle life’s challenges, no matter how tough things get. Stress isn’t bad. It’s how you deal with stress that matters.

 Do YOU want to stand out as a better leader? If so, your real test won’t happen when things go as planned. It’s those moments when a turn of events tests you – disappoints, frustrates or potentially angers you and those around you. With survival-mode thinking, keep in mind that:

Once you go negative, you break the trust and shake the foundation of your relationships.

What you do matters. When you’re lucky enough to be placed in leadership roles, use them to make a difference. The more challenging the job, the bigger your potential impact.

Go to our website Mentallytoughwomen.com to find out more about MTW’s Powerful Stress Tools. You’ll enjoy being tested to your limits!

Use stress to fuel your success

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

About the Author

Colonel Deb Lewis is a West Point graduate from its first class with women. A retired Army Colonel and Harvard MBA, Deb commanded three US Army Corps of Engineer Districts, including a $2.1B reconstruction program in combat. She survived the 9/11 Pentagon attack while serving on the Joint Staff antiterrorism team. Colonel Deb’s experiences leading while under fire inspired her unique ‘Mentally Tough Women’ (MTW) program. MTW prepares women (and enlightened men) to handle more stress – not de-stress – in good times and times of crisis. Once you ‘Armor Up’ with mental toughness, your daily battles turn into sweet victories.

Photo by Diego González on Unsplash

Today’s Deep Tech Solutions are Tomorrow’s Household Names

This week’s article is provided by Eric Redmond, a twenty-year veteran technologist and author. It is a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled Deep Tech: Demystifying the Breakthrough Technologies that aired on Tuesday, June 29th. The following article has been adapted from the Deep Tech book.

 

If you’ve seen 2008’s Iron Man, a movie that reinvigorated the superhero genre, you can probably picture the high-tech laboratory of main character Tony Stark. Over a decade ago, much of the technology featured in his lab—augmented reality, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, autonomous robotics, Internet of Things—was largely confined to the realm of science fiction and academia.

A few years later, these emerging technologies are past the research and development phase, just on the cusp of scale, but not quite yet available for prime time. They’re deep tech: technology that is barely feasible today but will become pervasive and hugely impactful in day-to-day life tomorrow. Why does this matter to you as a business leader?

Deep tech offers the potential for enormous growth to businesses that adopt or invest in it at the right time. If you get in early—but not too early—you can leverage tech that will soon be so ubiquitous, they’re household names as recognizable as the iPhone.

When to Get Involved in Deep Tech?

Successful adoption of deep tech is all about timing. By its definition, deep tech practically begs to be undervalued in its early days, but those who seize on the opportunity at the right time almost always end up the winners. The trick is answering the question: when is the right time to get involved?

If you grab on too early, you may find yourself as Yahoo or Friendster. Jump on too late, and you’re Bing or App.net. But right on time?

You’re Google or Facebook.

The goal should be to not merely adopt emerging technologies but invest in and drive their adoption, forcing everyone else to catch up—that’s how you get ahead of the competition.

There are seven technologies poised to drive somewhere between 50 and 200 trillion dollars in new economic impact in the decade between 2020 and 2030: artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, blockchain, and cryptocurrencies, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3D printing, and quantum computing.

The right time to get involved in these technologies? Now.

Deep Tech Matters in Business

You might be thinking if the deep tech hasn’t hit the mainstream yet, does it matter to my business? The answer is yes. Whether you’re in finance, sales, design, logistics, or any number of fields and industries, we live in a world increasingly dominated by technology.

Over a hundred years ago, factories were the cutting edge, powered by the assembly line, and the world was dominated by those who used them. Then came electricity. Then business structures like the firm. Then supply chain optimization. Then the world belonged to those who cleverly leveraged financial instruments.

Today, we live in a fully digital age, and the major division is between those companies that respond to that change and those that are left behind. As corporate tech expert Patrick Fisher said in Reuters, “all companies are technology companies now.”

Leveraging emerging technology is an effective way to get ahead, and on the flip side, ignoring it can cost you significantly. Recent history is littered with corporations refusing to make the transition into leveraging technology appropriately, from the loss of a century of Sears dominance to the upstart of Amazon to Hertz bankruptcy due to a billion ride-share cuts.

The biggest danger in being ignorant of the current docket of deep tech’s coming of age is apathy, which in other words is a recipe for irrelevance. Whether you’re beginning a startup, or you’re a CEO or a thought leader, don’t allow yourself to flirt with the lines of Luddite groupthink and be drawn into ignoring what you don’t want to believe.

Deep Tech is a Pathway to New Lines of Business

If you want a concrete example of the benefits of understanding deep tech, consider the Winklevoss twins. You may be familiar with these brothers, Cameron and Tyler, as popular foils in the Facebook creation myth. But what’s more interesting is how the Winklevosses made their billions after Facebook: by keeping a keen eye on deep tech.

In 2013, they saw the Bitcoin revolution coming and chose to act on it. They bought in on Bitcoin (BTC) early, starting when the going rate was around $10 per BTC. Then they bought more and more, finally amassing a 1 percent stake of the total number of Bitcoin. To support the technology and community, they worked as ambassadors for the power of the decentralized digital currency. All the while, their investment grew. Once Bitcoin hit $10,000 per BTC in 2017, they both became the world’s first Bitcoin billionaires. What a difference a decade makes.

Like the Winklevosses, deep tech can be a pathway to new lines of business for you and your company. Whether you’re looking for new revenue streams, process effectiveness, or other cost savings, deep tech is the most important avenue to investigate. You’ll get the most value by adopting early and implementing the technology before your competitors.

Act Before Deep Tech Turns into Popular Tech

In 2008, Tony Stark’s lab tech was still science fiction, but today, we’re living with much of it, and the next level of advancement is right around the corner. Remember, deep tech refers to the stage the technology is in: impossible yesterday, barely feasible today, and soon to be so pervasive it’s hard to remember life without it.

The key to leveraging deep tech to your maximum advantage is timing your involvement right. Adopt and invest early, just before the technology is ready for mass market. Moves to adopt deep tech at the right moment are what turned Amazon, Google, and Facebook into the juggernauts they are today.

Technologies considered deep tech now—artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, blockchain and cryptocurrencies, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3D printing, and quantum computing—will be household fixtures tomorrow, so lean into the opportunity and get involved.

For more advice on emerging technologies, you can find Deep Tech on Amazon.

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

About the Author

Eric Redmond is the Forrest Gump of technology: a twenty-year veteran technologist who always happens to show up wherever deep tech history is being made, from the first iPhone apps to big data to Bitcoin. He has advised state and national governments, Fortune 100 companies, and groups as varied as the World Economic Forum and MIT Media Lab. He has also authored half a dozen technology books (including two tech books for babies) and spoken on every continent except Antarctica. Today, he’s a husband, a dad, and the leader of a global tech innovation team.

Photo by Alex Knight on Unsplash

Most Searched for Leader’s Quotes in the World

In the Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future interview this week, Maureen was joined by Sean Castrina, entrepreneur, podcast host, and author.   In his interview, which airs Tuesday, June 22nd and is titled Mindset Is Only One Piece of the Puzzle, he and Maureen discuss Sean’s story and how he overcame setbacks, leadership lessons, and making the big change.  This article is a guest post from Matthew Channell of TSE and is a companion to Sean’s interview as we look at the most quoted leaders in all the world, the UK and the USA.

 

TSW (Training Services Wales) has conducted a study to find out which leaders and inspirational people are the most influential for helping us find that extra motivation to achieve greatness, whether it be leading a brand-new team or finishing a difficult task, by analyzing Google search data.

The leadership development training provider analyzed over 100 of the most influential leaders in history to reveal the most sought-after leadership quotes of all time.

 

Top Names Featured Overall Score Amount of World Countries in Top 3 Points for the Number of Times Appeared in the Top 3 Global Google Search Volume Points for Global Search Volume
Albert Einstein 322 31 200 65000 122
Nelson Mandela 279 25 165 43000 114
Buddha 263.5 19 137.5 154000 126
Rumi 251.5 18 127.5 102000 124
Steve Jobs 218.5 15 112.5 34000 106
Abraham Lincoln 214 17 105 36000 109
Bob Marley 202.5 14 87.5 44000 115
Oscar Wilde 191.5 11 77.5 43000 114
William Shakespeare 188 17 100 17000 88
Martin Luther King 187 12 70 48000 117

 

#1 Universally recognized as the greatest physician of all time, Albert Einstein developed the theory of relatively. His ground-breaking discoveries and theories have not just widely influenced modern physics and cosmology, but the born leaders in us all.

Albert Einstein’s leadership quotes are the most searched for above all others in the world. Regardless of your background, culture, knowledge or values, Einstein’s influence has no limits. His leadership quote below is one in particular that we can take great inspiration from when faced with a complex challenge:

“The leader is one who, out of the clutter, brings simplicity… Out of discord, harmony… And out of difficult, opportunity.”

 

#2. In second place is former South African president Nelson Mandela.

He achieved many great things during his life, but his most well-known is successfully leading the resistance to South Africa’s policy of apartheid in the 20th century, during which he was infamously imprisoned at Robben Island. One quote that truly inspires us when talking about leading teams is:

“If you want the cooperation of humans around you, you must make them feel they are important – and you do that by being genuine and humble.”

 

#3. In third we find Guatama Buddha, revered as the founder of the religion Buddhism. As a philosopher, meditator and spiritual teacher who lived in ancient India, he still inspires millions of people around the globe, regardless of creed, culture, or religion.

Perhaps this quote is one in which we can find true value, harmony, mindfulness and peace – necessary factors in becoming a better leader:

“Every morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.”

 

The UK’s Most Searched for Leaders

# Inspirational Leader Total
1 Winston Churchill 15,030
2 William Shakespeare 11,260
3 Albert Einstein 9,210
4 Martin Luther King 8,410
5 Maya Angelou 7,110
6 Buddha 6,610
7 Nelson Mandela 5,790
8 Malcolm X 5,610
9 Joker 5,500
10 Yoda 5,405

In the UK, Brits use Winston Churchill’s quotes as the most inspiring when looking for good leadership and motivation.

The former Prime Minister who led us to victory in World War 2 is one of the most well-known and influential leaders in history, and it’s clear that us Brits still hold him in the highest regard. Just some of his best leadership traits included bravery, courageousness and perseverance.

His quote on courage can relate to us all:

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”

 

Matthew Channell, Director at TSW says: “During these difficult times, quotes can be especially helpful for finding inspiration or motivation to tackle a challenge head on and develop into a great leader. They are generally short, sharp and straight to the point, which helps keep us maintain focus in times of crisis or times of need. They are also one of the most shared items online, which proves how much we love them!”

“Quotes help us understand, inspire, motivate, clarify and show our approach to things around, this is why people and I love quotes.” — Takyou Allah Cheikh Malaynine

 

The USA’s Most Searched for Leaders

# Inspirational Leader Total
1 Maya Angelou 48,060
2 Albert Einstein 43,030
3 Malcolm X 37,000
4 Winston Churchill 31,150
5 Mark Twain 29,020
6 Ruth Bader Ginsburg 29,000
7 Donald Trump 28,300
8 Dr. Seuss 28,040
9 William Shakespeare 27,030
10 Yoda 27,010

Methodology

We started by sourcing a list of the most inspirational leaders from analyzing the number of monthly Google searches for “leadership quotes” firstly, and “quotes” second in each country in the world, using data from ahrefs keyword planner.

We then ranked the top 126 most searched “leaders + quotes” based on the number of searches and the number of times they appeared in 1st, 2nd and 3rd in each country, using a unique scoring index to give each a combined total score.

When looking at UK and US lists, we sourced the most inspirational leaders using ahrefs keyword planner and combined search volumes of {name/surname} + {“leadership quotes”/”quotes”}

 

*Some keywords/leaders were removed or not considered as they were deemed inappropriate or inaccurate to the intent of the research.

*Not all countries were included, due to null data.

You can view the full research here: https://www.tsw.co.uk/blog/leadership-and-management/most-searched-for-leader-quotes/

 

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

About the Author

Matthew Channell, Director at TSW Training and Non-Executive Director helping businesses to grow through their people.

 

Photo by Taton Moïse on Unsplash

Pick up the Radio and Call for Help!

This week’s article is provided by Jeff Wald, founder of Work Market. It is a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled The End of Jobs: The Rise of On-Demand Workers & Agile Companies that aired on Tuesday, June 15th.

 

Some people lead with their heart, some with their head.  Some leaders are “my way or the highway”, some are “we all move forward together”.  Every leader has their own style and as long as people follow, they are leaders.

I tend to use vulnerability as a core part of my leadership style.  I do that as it’s authentic, I have a lot of vulnerabilities.  I learned to embrace this vulnerability from an unlikely source; the New York City Police Department.

I spent the better part of ten years as a volunteer officer in the NYPD.  It was here I learned that asking for help was not a sign of weakness but rather a sign of shared strength. But first, some background on volunteer officers of the NYPD.

The volunteers, or Auxiliary Officers, get about 100 hours of training at the Police Academy.  Training includes basic self-defense, arrest procedures, radio usage, first aid, and many other lessons one needs to serve.  The Auxiliary Units are designed to provide an extra set of eyes and ears out on the streets.  They are not supposed to respond to an active situation unless specifically instructed by a regular NYPD Officer.  They are not trained or authorized to use a firearm.  They carry a baton, a small stick about eighteen inches long.  They are told time and time again that their radio is the most important item on their person.

I reflect on the lessons I learned during my time as an Auxiliary Officer and how they apply to my leadership and my life.  There is always one that stands out: Never hesitate to pick up the radio and call for help.

I remember my first serious encounter as an officer.  There was an assault in progress right near where my partner and I were standing.  We knew we were not supposed to approach an active crime unless specifically asked.  However, being the invulnerable young men, we believed ourselves to be, we walked over anyway.

As we turned the corner on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, I saw two men kicking and one man hitting with a baseball bat, a prone figure on the ground.  Real police officers were less than a minute away.  My partner took out his baton and yelled “Stop! Police!” and ran in.  I actually panicked for a second and froze, but the sight of my partner running in spurred me to action.  My action, aside from beginning to run after my partner, was to grab my radio.  The bad guys had started to run away when my partner yelled, so I called into central dispatch (and thus was heard by the approaching real officers), “three male suspects running south on First Avenue”.

They were caught and arrested, the person being attacked was injured but would be ok.

While we were not in any danger (although there were three of them and two of us, they had a baseball bat and we had batons, and I knew we didn’t have a gun but they might have!), I reached for my radio.  The radio’s primary purpose in this encounter was to inform the other officer, but its primary purpose to me was to inform the rest of the 19th Precinct that two very scared Auxiliary Officers were encountering suspects.  Implicitly the call was, “Send some real cops here now and HELP!”.

Ask any police officer anywhere in the world what is their most powerful weapon and you will get one consistent answer, the radio.  Every officer has one, and at the other end of that device is help; serious help.  When they make that call other officers will immediately be on the way.  There is no officer that would hesitate for a moment to call for help, to call for backup.  Think about that for a second.  These are some of the bravest people in the world.  They put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe.  Yet, at the slightest inkling of trouble, they ask for help.

If police officers do that, why don’t the rest of us?

As leaders, we may sometimes fall into the dangerous and self-defeating trap of thinking we need to have all the answers.  Maybe it’s driven by insecurity, maybe by imposter syndrome, maybe by the need to prove our intellect and strength.  For some leaders that may work just fine, but not for me.

I ask for help when I need it and my team responds.

I do need help, we all do.  I cannot do it alone.  No one is that strong, or smart, or well-connected that they don’t need the talents of their team.

Far from being a sign of weakness, asking for help is a powerful sign of strength.  It tells everyone that you are confident enough to ask for help when you need it.  Smart enough to know you don’t have all the answers.  Brave enough to rely on the intellect, creativity, and networks of others.  To me, this is what leadership looks like and it’s worked well.

So be brave like police officers all over the world and pick up your radio when you need help.  For leaders, it can be your most powerful weapon.

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

About the Author

Jeff Wald is the Founder of Work Market, an enterprise software platform that enables companies to manage freelancers. It was acquired by ADP. Jeff began his career in finance, serving as Managing Director at activist hedge fund Barington Capital Group, a Vice President at venture capital firm GlenRock and various roles at JP Morgan.

Jeff is an active angel investor and startup advisor, as well as serving on numerous public and private Boards of Directors. He also formerly served as an officer in the Auxiliary Unit of the New York Police Department. Jeff holds an MBA from Harvard University and an MS and BS from Cornell University.

Spotting Opportunities for Creativity and Innovation

This week’s article is provided by Jeff DeGraff, author of The Creative Mindset: Mastering the Six Skills that Power Innovation. This is an edited excerpt from his book and a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled The Creative Mindset: Mastering Skills that Empower Innovation that aired on Tuesday, June 1st.

 

Regrettably, swaggering catchphrases like “go big or go home” are commonly associated with creative thinking. Accordingly, most of these braggarts end up doing the latter. The next big thing most likely will be small. Instead of trying to develop the next breakthrough technology, you might find an unfilled niche that a current technology could fill if it were used differently. Maybe a solution could be creative simply by applying it in a new way.

For example, super glue was developed for industrial, and household uses, but is now commonly used to close wounds. Alternatively, an old problem may be solved with a new approach. Consider how the repair of highway embankments was greatly expedited by adding cement to industrial canvas. Drape the cement-infused fabric like a carpet and just add water. Voilà, instant infrastructure. The solution doesn’t have to be revolutionary for the effect to be. Better, cheaper, and faster might also work.

When you’re searching for an opportunity for creative thinking, here are three things to look for:

  • Find Unmet Needs and Fill Them 
    • Examine where clients and consumers are dissatisfied with a solution. For example, the poor patient satisfaction score of a medical practice might suggest an opportunity to connect physicians with a ridesharing service. Think of it as a return to house calls. Perhaps you notice that there are no decent restaurants in a number of rural areas near your house. There aren’t enough people in any one location to make a restaurant viable. You might repurpose an old delivery van as a gourmet food truck like the ones that line the streets of New York and Los Angeles. Each week you could bring a different cuisine. The key insight here is to uncover a shortcoming or void and to fill it.
  • Find Inefficiencies and Fix Them 
    • Observing when and where services are untimely is a great way to locate a high-potential opportunity. Parking in any big city is a prime example. Municipalities generate an enormous amount of their revenue by writing parking tickets. Even though the technology exists to digitally connect the driver with the parking space, few cities adopt the solution because it is expensive and cuts into their profits. But, in reality, one does not need substantial financial support from the cities to produce such a product. By examining the traffic pattern data available to the public, based on probabilities, a software developer can develop an app that would serve the same purpose at a fraction of the cost and directly market it to drivers. The challenge isn’t to improve the technology. Instead, it’s to make parking more efficient. This type of challenge can be met without a massive amount of money. It just takes looking at it with a creative mindset.
  • Find Complexity and Get Rid of It 
    • Identify systems that are unnecessarily complicated or that rely too heavily on bureaucratic procedures, and make them simpler. Suppose you are a college freshman at a large institution. You are directed to a website to select your first courses. There is a counselor you can see, but only for a few minutes, and you will have to wait almost until the deadline to register for courses. The complexity of the situation is anxiety-producing and counterproductive to get you set up for success at the start of your education.

Suppose that an enterprising librarian created a call-in service, something akin to what software companies do. The service representatives would have segmented different groups of students based on several variables such as interest, aptitude, and so on. They would have collaborated with the counselors beforehand and created several effective pathways for those student segments. They might be fluent in the registration system of a few universities. Students can use the call-in service to get help and advice on how to select courses based on their interests and walk through the process with the service representatives. The challenge of complexity might be better solved by working against technology trends.

This example is about not creating a new, more advanced technology but reverting to the old-fashion way of talking on the phone to someone who can answer all your questions and walk you through the technology to register for your classes. Sometimes, advanced technology doesn’t help as much as a simpler human solution.

Clarifying Your Challenge Pay Attention. 

Look up, down, and all around yourself. Look for the things that other people don’t see. Chances are that if you see an obvious occasion to innovate, other people see it, too. So look for subtle patterns, small holes, tiny inconsistencies, minor inefficiencies. The opportunity to innovate may be inside something you see every day, but you’ll never see it if you don’t look closely enough.

You want to enter any innovation challenge with your eyes wide open. Before you embark on any new project, especially one that will consume your time, effort, and other resources, you need to be sure that you are solving the right problem and that you really want to do it. Otherwise, you will start many projects but never finish them.

Do not forget to learn from others. Technical descriptions can take you only so far. Meaningful conversations are what will shed the most light on your goals and situation. Listen to stories. Ask open-ended questions. If someone takes one point of view or tone, gently explore the opposite one and see how the person reacts. Pay attention to that person’s body language and energy. Follow-up questions are the key to learning what you really need to know. Good creators are, first and foremost, good listeners.

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

About the Author

Jeff DeGraff is both an advisor to Fortune 500 companies and a professor at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. His simultaneously creative and pragmatic approach to making innovation happen has led clients and colleagues to dub him the “Dean of Innovation.” He has written several books, including Leading Innovation, Innovation You, and The Innovation Code. His most recent book The Creative Mindset brings 6 creativity skills to everyone.

 

Seven Questions You Can Use to Move from Manager to a Leader

This week’s article is provided by Jonathan Reitz as part of the World Business and Executive Coach Summit (WBECS) interview series.  It is a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled Management Vs Leadership: How Coaching Skills Make a Difference that aired on Tuesday, May 25th.

 

Many careers get built around the mysterious difference between a manager and a leader. Don’t believe me? Google how to become a leader some time. But what IS that difference?

Both get things done. Each produces on strategic initiatives and business outcomes. Execution is a priority no matter what your career trajectory, especially coming out of COVID-19. The entrepreneurial view requires the action-reflection cycle to move an organization forward. It’s not accidental that action leads to that combination.

Leaders follow a vision that they see and communicate to their followers. Understanding where you and the organization are going is the first step to having others follow. How a leader develops that vision and owns it is another article.

But mixing in another slight mindset shift sets leaders apart: Leaders intentionally look for opportunities to unlock/develop the people around them. When you follow or work for a true leader, full potential is within reach for both the individual and the organization.

Bringing that future to life challenges even an excellent leader. And taking people with you as you move toward a vision requires handling changing conditions and expectations.

How can an effective leader release the people around them to reach their potential? Here are seven structured, systematic questions that you can use to challenge the people around you in developmental conversations:

  1. What progress have you made?

Right out of the gate, a leader has to decide: will it be more helpful to track progress by measuring back from the starting point? Or is the distance to the goal more compelling? Looking back to where you started roots the progress conversation in tangible outcomes. Keeping your eyes on what’s in front builds ownership of the vision. Both have solid reasoning behind them.

  1. How on track are you?

This second question invites an assessment of the progress from the perspective of the client/team member. Leaders who develop people gain insight into how well their team evaluates their progress, a key growth area. You’ll not only measure progress but also understand and improve strategic skills. Sharpening this area equips individual contributors to level up to leadership.

  1. What’s working?

Now we move from the strategic to the tactical. This question focuses on the practical actions that have produced beneficial results in the recent past. For example, the conversation might focus on the results produced since the last you spoke. You can target these areas later in the conversation.

  1. What’s not working?

This practical corollary to the last question explores actions that produced unhelpful or useless results. These items can be shut down or cut back.

  1. What are you learning?

The client describes their discoveries out loud. The process of forming their learning into clear thoughts and then pushing the words out of their mouth reinforces the insight. The client hears their words and gauges their reaction to them, which further confirms the moment. This question drives discoveries more often than any of the others, so don’t miss the opportunity to ask it!

  1. What needs to change?

Adapting or developing a client’s thinking becomes the goal here. Learning that gets named but not acted on slows development. Be sure to connect the change with the realizations identified previously. Even a few moments of reflection may inspire new connections and actions.

  1. What now/next?

Splitting the last step into two questions helps team members focus and order their commitments.

– “What now?” points to the first thing the client will do after the conversation ends. This action grows out of the last two questions and should move the client toward the critical outcome.

– “What next?” carries a less clear priority. As long as what the client names in response to this question moves them toward their vision/goal, the timeline can be more open-ended. A good rule of thumb expects completion of this action before the following conversation or next team meeting.

These seven questions shift a manager from directing the actions and priorities toward being a leader that invites team members to make meaningful contributions daily. The mindset shift requires the leader to depend on team members and work to bring out the team’s abilities. Team member growth AND bottom-line outcomes indicate how well this is working.

Important note: This seven-question framework only works if there is an existing goal, vision, or destination. The leader and the team member focus together toward specific outcomes. Clarity wins. Ideally, the client names the target as the conversation begins. If that target isn’t clear in the client’s mind, the leader/coach becomes most effective by asking open-ended questions that become specific about what they want to accomplish.

Whether you or the team member identified the future target isn’t the point. Clarity about what you want is the multiplier. It’s potent if you can specify how you’ll know you’re getting what you want in the moment.

One unintended side effect is that this approach can make your team more prone to turnover. BUT it’s the kind of turnover that comes from team members being promoted or taking on more responsibility. The converse of this side effect is that you will become the leader in your organization that helps people advance their careers, and that is a decisive recruiting advantage!

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

About the Author:

Jonathan Reitz, MCC is CoachNet FLUXIFY’s Director for Training/CEO. Jonathan holds the Master Certified Coach (MCC) credential in the International Coaching Federation.   He’s also the co-founder of the Team Coaching Global Alliance, and has been featured multiple times on the World Business and Executive Coaches Summit (WBECS).

He wrote Coaching Hacks:  Simple Strategies to Make Every Conversation More Effective.  Jonathan is a member of the faculty in the Weatherhead School of Management Coaching Program at Case Western Reserve University.  Jonathan Reitz lives in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife Joy and daughter Julia.   Find him online at www.jonathanreitz.com

How to Improve Your Digital Body Language

This week’s article is provided by Erica Dhawan as part of the World Business and Executive Coach Summit (WBECS) interview series.  It is a companion to her interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled Digital Body Language: How to Build Trust and Connection that aired on Tuesday, May 18th.

 

No traditional expert in body language could have predicted that today our communication would be nearly entirely digital. Modern communication relies more than ever on how we say something rather than on what we say. That is our digital body language. When the internet came along, everyone was given a dais and a microphone, but no one was told how to use them. We all just picked things up as we went along. And the mistakes we’ve made along the way have had real consequences in business.

Misunderstandings are rampant in today’s workplaces. And while poor communication habits may feel inevitable with colleagues, it can often come at the cost of a team’s potential to succeed. Each of us has different expectations and instincts about whether we should send a text versus an email, when to call someone, how long to wait before we write someone back, and how to write a digital thank you or apology without seeming insincere. These seemingly small choices create impressions that can either enhance or wreck our closest relationships in the workplace (not to mention in our personal lives). Most of today’s boardrooms, workplaces, and classrooms minimize the conditions necessary to foster and augment clear communication, leading to widespread distrust, resentment, and frustration. There are more far-flung teams. There are fewer face-to-face interactions. There is virtually no body language to read (even today’s video meetings are scarce of eye contact or hand gestures).

But how can we stay connected when a screen divides us?

The answer lies in understanding the cues and signals that we are sending with our digital body language, and learning to tailor them to create clear, precise messages. Everything from our punctuation to our response times to our video backgrounds in a video call make up signals of trust, respect, and even confidence in our modern world.

By embedding a real understanding of digital body language into your workplace, communication processes can provide both the structure and the tools that support a silo-breaking, trust-filled environment. Here are some strategies from my new book Digital Body Language:

The Medium is the Message

All communication channels are not created equal. Knowing how and when to use each one depends on the context. Every channel brings with it a set of underlying meanings and subtexts, and knowing how to navigate this array of hidden meanings is a telltale mark of digital savviness and––ultimately––professionalism.  If you’re stuck, ask yourself: how important or urgent is your message? And to whom are you communicating? If so, what’s better––email, Slack, the phone, or a text?

Punctuation is the New Measure of Emotion

In our digital world, our screens filter out the non-verbal signals and cues that makeup 60 to 80 percent of face-to-face communication, forcing us to adapt the emotional logic of computers. We’re rendered cue-less.

By way of compensation, our communication style relies on punctuation for impact. In an effort to infuse our texts with tone and to clarify our feelings, we might use exclamation marks, capital letters, or ellipses, or else hit the “Like” or “Love” button on messages we receive. But instead of clarity, sometimes our reliance on punctuation and symbols can generate more confusion.

My advice when it comes to punctuation and symbols: use them judiciously.

Timing is the New Measure of Respect

Face-to-face interactions require that both parties be available at the same time. This is less possible today, with most of us scrambling to keep up with our various inboxes.

This often means that communication happens at a slower pace. And in a digitally-reliant world, the slightest pause between messages takes on an almost operatic meaning.

The thing is, most of the time a non-answer means nothing at all; the other person is simply tied up, doing something else, didn’t notice she’d gotten a text, had her volume turned off, or forgot where she put her phone.

If you’re worried about your digital tone, one way to clarify your feelings digitally is through the direct, easy-to-understand language of emojis. While emojis may be a learning curve for some, they can be critical to enhancing workplace efficiency and cultivating a corporate culture of optimal clarity.

A phone call is worth a thousand emails

With so many written platforms at our disposal, we can also get caught up in asking too many questions in email or group chat. Phone, video, or live meetings safeguard us from asking one tiny question after the next, instead requiring us to formulate the right questions. If you just received a vague or confusing text or email, don’t be afraid to ask to request a phone conversation or, if possible, a video or in-person meeting.

If it’s a sensitive dialogue, requesting a quick call shows you’re being thoughtful. Instead of making you look indecisive, waiting for a few beats before responding to questions shows the other person that you are listening and taking your work seriously.

With hardly any face-to-face interactions with colleagues or classmates these days, there is virtually no body language to read. Understanding digital body language is essential for those of us who are committed to making strong relationships and making a mark, even in the swell of conference calls, emails, texts, and Zoom engagements. Not only can it enhance your interpersonal interactions and liberate you from the fear and worry that digital communication inspires but it can give you a competitive advantage on your team grounded in transparency and empathy.

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

About the Author

Erica Dhawan is a leading expert on 21st-century teamwork and communication. She is an award-winning keynote speaker and the author of the new book Digital Body Language. Download her free guide to End Digital Burnout. Follow her on Linkedin.

Photo by Gabriel Benois on Unsplash

Conflict Strategies for Nice People

This week’s article is provided by Liane Davey as part of the World Business and Executive Coach Summit (WBECS) interview series.  It is a companion to her interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled The Good Fight: Using Productive Conflict that aired on Tuesday, May 11th.

 

We’re not having enough conflict. When we avoid issues that we need to address, we get into what I call “conflict debt.” What is conflict debt? Essentially, each time you avoid a discussion, debate, or disagreement that you should be having, you add that issue to the list of unresolved issues. If you should be introducing novel ideas to get your organization out of a rut but you think, “that’s gonna’ ruffle some feathers,” so you stay quiet, you’re incurring debt. If you should be telling a coworker that he’s not pulling his weight, but you just can’t be bothered starting a fight, that’s conflict debt.

Like with any debt, conflict debt accrues interest that costs us dearly. As organizations, we fail to prioritize, dilute resources, and accomplish little. As teams, we work around problem people and overwhelm the capable ones. As individuals, we stifle our concerns and become increasingly disgruntled, stressed, and disengaged.

Conflict debt is too costly. We need to surface and work through conflict, but the voices inside our heads give us so many reasons why we should avoid it. Perhaps the loudest voice is the one that tells us conflict isn’t nice. But is that true?

You might think conflict has to be loud, or aggressive, or rigid. It doesn’t. You can have conflict nicely by choosing words skillfully and keeping your tone level and your body language open. There are a few techniques you can use to have conflict nicely.

Validating versus invalidating

For the most part, grown adults in the workplace understand that they can’t always get what they want. What really frustrates people is when they don’t feel that they’ve been heard. Unfortunately, the moment you get into a conflict, your attention gets laser focused on pleading your case, rather than hearing theirs. When they say, “We need to drive more traffic into the stores, I’m dropping prices,” you immediately go to, “We need to protect our margins!”

The most powerful thing you can do to have conflict nicely is to leave your colleague with the impression that you understand their point. That means you need to start by really listening to and carefully reflecting their concerns before even mentioning your own. “You’re focused on driving traffic into the stores. Tell me what our numbers look like this week.” If the first thing out of your mouth is their perspective rather than your own, you’ve set a positive tone for the whole discussion.

Ally versus adversary

Conflict is particularly unpleasant when you make the other person feel like you are working in opposite directions. Antagonistic conflict pits the two of you against each other and leaves the other person feeling isolated. Imagine standing facing one another pulling in a tug-of-war. “We NEED to drop our prices, we’re not going to get anyone in our store at these prices!” “Yeah, well we NEED to make a profit and we’re going to lose our shirts at that discount!”

Having conflict nicely requires that you pivot so that you are facing the same direction and looking at the problem together, as allies. The secret is to appeal to a higher purpose that you have in common. For example, “Look, I know you think we need to drop our prices and I’m pushing hard to keep them level. We both want to make it through the holiday season profitably. How can we think about this differently?” As soon as you can start saying “we” and stop saying “you,” the conflict will feel much nicer.

Productive versus unproductive

A sure way to be the bad guy in a conflict is to back someone into a corner. Making assertive statements, pointing a finger, and shutting the conversation down with closed questions will leave your colleague with no way out. You know exactly how people behave when they are trapped, they either fight more aggressively or they back down. Neither is going to leave them with the impression that you’re a nice person. “Do you want to be the person who destroyed our Q4 margin?”

The alternative is to create a path forward with everything you say. Rather than trapping the person so that their only option is to contradict you or disagree with you, ask open-ended questions that allow them to explain their position. “How are you thinking about the impact on our margin if we discount prices that far?” Even when you’re proposing a solution to the problem, pose it as a question to test whether it works, “Ok, what if we were to take the sale to 30% and sweeten it with a free gift with $50 or more?”

If someone raised you to believe, “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all,” you might be avoiding conflict altogether. That’s not good for anybody. Instead, focus your efforts on having conflict nicely. Make your colleague feel heard and understood, make them feel like an ally, rather than an adversary, and constantly leave room for both of you to work together toward a solution. From now on, “if you can’t say anything nice, make sure you say it nicely.”

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the Author

Liane Davey is a New York Times Bestselling author of three books, including The Good Fight: Use Productive Conflict to Get Your Team and Your Organization Back on Track. Known as the Water Cooler Psychologist, she is a regular contributor to the Harvard Business Review and frequently called on by media outlets for her experience on leadership, team effectiveness, and productivity. As the co-founder of 3COze Inc., she advises on strategy and executive team effectiveness at companies such as Amazon, Walmart, TD Bank, Google, 3M, and SONY. Liane has a Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology.

Photo by jean wimmerlin on Unsplash

 

How Nonprofit CEOs And Board Chairs Can Cultivate Justice, Equity, Diversity And Inclusion

This week’s article is provided by Dr. Christopher Washington as part of the International Leadership Association’s interview series and was originally published on Forbes.com.  It is a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled JEDI SPACE Principles for CEOs and Board Chairs that aired on Tuesday, May 4th, 2021.

 

The pandemic lockdown of 2020 and 2021 presented (and continues to present) multiple sources of stress and associated symptoms in the U.S. population, leading the American Psychological Association to declare a national mental health crisis. Efforts to establish a new normal in the way we work have exposed anxieties, tensions and dividing lines in many organizations. Because nonprofits are often on the front lines in supporting the causes that matter and in adapting and responding to rapid social and technological changes, nonprofit staff are particularly vulnerable to stressful conditions.

An organization’s climate is how its members perceive “how things work around here.” However, an organization’s climate can change. This change can occur when the language, actions and intentions of board and staff members shift in response to what is stressing them. In these instances, leaders can focus on honing leadership traits like positive emotional energy, trust and stability. More enlightened CEOs and board chairs are deeply aware that their words and deeds can enable inclusive excellence, where human diversity, ingenuity and talent flourish.

Research by the Society of Human Resources Management suggests that companies that operate under these principles tap into a broader range of backgrounds and skill sets, are more likely to pursue fairness and morality, and may reduce the likelihood of staff attrition. Research conducted by McKinsey and Co. linked diversity and inclusion to organizational performance. For nonprofits, operating on principles such as justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (J.E.D.I.) should be viewed as essential for maintaining a healthy and sustainable organization.

Perhaps the analog astronaut and geoscientist Dr. Sian Proctor said it best: “J.E.D.I. space is the outer space I want to visit and the space I want to create and inhabit right here on Earth. It starts when we learn to cultivate our own individual J.E.D.I. voice as a force for positive change in order to create the collective J.E.D.I. space we envision for humanity’s future.”

Having served as the board chair for a number of nonprofit organizations over the years, I am quite familiar with the meaningful work of nonprofit organizations. With social and economic disruption likely to bedevil nonprofits for the foreseeable future, there is a need for CEOs and board chairs to develop a J.E.D.I. voice and to create a J.E.D.I. S.P.A.C.E. with just, equitable, diverse and inclusive environments, where community members engage in supportive, purposeful, accountable, collaborative and evaluative practices.

By working together, the CEO and chair can decide to dial up or dial down their shared authority to address toxic behavior and unhealthy conflicts, uplift the morale or facilitate the cohesion of individuals and groups, or foster more active engagement of board and staff members. Presented here are some suggested ways that the CEO and board chair can work together to create the S.P.A.C.E. principles that nonprofit board and staff members need in order to thrive during periods of prolonged disruption:

Supportive Practices

The CEO and board chair can support their teams by clarifying staff and director roles and emphasizing the importance of people and their contributions. For example, in clarifying roles, the board should know that it only has one employee, the CEO, and that everyone else in the organization reports to the CEO, as a way to prevent the confusion that can arise when multiple “managers” are leading staff. Additional ideas include hosting a new board member orientation, facilitating a review of a board policy manual, and periodically celebrating people and their role contributions.

Purposeful Practices

The CEO and chair can be a force for strategic clarity. To provide a sense of shared purpose, it is important for them to communicate the broader cause and J.E.D.I. principles. In addition, they can design an inclusive planning process that involves these J.E.D.I. S.P.A.C.E. principles and practices. Linking these ideas to how the organization creates value, the opportunities and threats faced by the organization, and the ways the organization will carry out its mission can lead to a deeper integration of these ideas into the culture of the organization.

Accountability Practices

Volatility and uncertainty have a way of bringing out both the best and worst in people. When incivility, dispiriting behavior and bullying emerge and are left unchecked it can create an unacceptable work climate. The CEO and chair can ensure that standards for acceptable behavior are spelled out and communicated and address behavior through feedback and other consequences. Having a code of conduct makes it easier for leaders to address inappropriate and unhealthy conduct. For some organizations, term limits for board members can prompt a board chair to pay close attention to board member performance. For extreme cases, procedures for board member removal can be spelled out in the organization’s bylaws.

Collaborative Practices

Leaders can structure interactions that connect people to the work and to each other. Cultivating a sense of connection can give the board and staff a sense of belonging and reinforce a shared purpose. Community building is especially healthy as more people are working remotely from one another. Collaborative activities can be used to share information, test understanding, foster compassion and engage in creative problem-solving. Collaborative activities can also aid in overcoming divisiveness and unhealthy cliques.

Evaluative Practices

The CEO and chair can lead efforts to assess and evaluate factors that contribute to the current climate. Both formal and informal assessment activities can enable transparency around purpose, J.E.D.I. values, S.P.A.C.E. practices and the perceived patterns of performance that exist. In formalizing this continuous improvement process, the CEO and chair can assure that the bylaws have an assessment process laid out and that a code of conduct serves as a criterion for evaluation and assessment.

Retaining and attracting the talented board and staff drawn to the work of nonprofits during more uncertain and stressful times will require more caring and compassionate leaders who are masters in developing supportive organizational climates. In working together, the CEO and chair can provide the J.E.D.I. S.P.A.C.E. principles the board and staff deserve in order to overcome the volatility and uncertainty that is likely to plague nonprofits for the foreseeable future.

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the Author

Christopher Washington is a learning ecosystem designer who serves as Executive Vice President and Provost of Franklin University

Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash

7 Tips on Effective Team Management

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This article is a guest post provided by Katrina Hatchett.  It is provided to supplement the interview with Laura Morgan Roberts and Courtney McCluney, as part of the International Leadership Association’s interview series.  Their interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled DEI: Needed Conversations and Understanding aired on Tuesday, April 27th, 2021.

 

Team management is more than just being a team; it’s also about making sure that everything runs smoothly in your team. However, simply managing your team can be harder than it looks.

Now, you may remember that before you became a manager, you had to start from the ground up, taking responsibility for working with team members, and even on your own. Isn’t that right?

So, now that you’re a manager, congratulations! Now, let’s put your skills to the test, as you take on a management role. That means it’s your turn to inspire, lead, and motivate your team to accomplish numerous goals for all kinds of projects.

Now, not everything will work out the way you’ve planned; and sometimes, team members might not cooperate with either your or with each other. That’s why, as a manager, you have to be ready to tackle anything that comes in your way and do so to where it’s effective and sets a good example for your team.

With that said, here are 7 tips to follow when managing a team effectively:

Check-In Daily

“It’s important to check in on everyone on your team every day,” says Candice Leyva, a project manager at Writemyx and Next Coursework. “That means keeping in touch with everyone – in-house and remote team members. Although phone conversations and email are effective means of communication, they may not be enough for every situation.”

The good news is, services like Zoom or Google’s Team Hangouts make it easier for people to have meetings and communicate effectively, no matter where each team member is. Services like these allow you to set the agenda and provide (and listen to) feedback and resources.

Maintain Positive Work Relations

As you better communicate with your team members, this allows you to establish great relationships with them. That means knowing your team members not only on a professional level but also on a more personal level. Whether you have virtual luncheons, in-person get-togethers, etc., it’s great to have positive relations with your colleagues. Find out what they like to do outside of work – hobbies, interests, favorite TV shows, etc. That allows you to build a better rapport among the team.

Be Tech-Friendly

Nowadays, people want to stay connected in any shape or form, especially in the workplace. Therefore, it’s your job as a manager to ensure that your team stays connected. While text messages and email are now considered short-term solutions, communication tools have evolved in today’s world, with tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, etc. Such innovations are far better suited for collaboration and communication, which are a plus for team management.

Be A Good Example

As a manager, it’s obvious that your staff will look to you for guidance, inspiration, and direction. Therefore, it’s essential that you look and act as so. By setting a good example among your team, you’ll not only gain their respect, but they’ll also exhibit the right behaviors in productivity, presentation, and there on after. That means if you expect team members to behave professionally and commit to their work, set the example and do the same.

Be Outcome-Based

That means, focus on outcomes, not activity.

Although it’s not possible to manage every aspect of the work done by your team, it’s still imperative to focus on the outcomes of what’s being worked on. In other words, expect results from each aspect of your team, even if you can’t physically be there for every single one of them. And again, you can use communication tools to keep in touch with team members, even when you’re away. This is how you measure your team accordingly, by looking for results, not the activity or hours worked.

Resolve Conflict

“Sometimes, there will be conflict within a team,” says Evie Wyatt, a psychologist at Brit student and Australia 2 write. “And while it’s important to have team members resolve their feuds as soon as possible, you, the manager, must find ways to resolve them in a quicker manner, rather than let them continue and interfere with work.”

In addition, it’s important to educate the team on the importance of teamwork and cooperation. Should problems arise, you at least have peace of mind, as you and your teamwork quickly resolve them.

Define Solid Expectations

Finally, make sure that you define your expectations in a way that they’re both realistic and straightforward for everyone on the team. This allows you to figure out what each team member (including yourself) should do to accomplish goals. And, this allows you to set yourself and your team up for success when you clearly state both the tasks and the reasons behind them.

So, make sure you define these expectations for each task/project:

  • Scope
  • Deadlines
  • Deliverables

Conclusion

Although managing a team can be hard at times, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be hard on your team if they don’t get something right, or if other things fall apart. As you follow these 7 tips, you and your team will be more productive, regardless of any situation.

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the Author

Katrina Hatchett writes and edits at Write my personal statement. She also edits for Case study help. Plus, she is a freelance writer for PhDKingdom.com. As a professional writer, she has been involved in many business writing projects.

Photo by Leon on Unsplash