by Michael Schwantes, Inc. Magazine, 3/24/18.
… Your success is only as good as the people whom you surround yourself with.
Pick your network wisely, it could make or break you. Billionaire Warren Buffett once told a 14-year-old kid at a Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting one of the keys to his success: “It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.”
He taught a life lesson for all of us about absorbing the very qualities and traits of successful people further down the path than us — people with skills and traits that will elevate and make us better as leaders, workers, and human beings.
From “6 Smart Habits That Will Lead to a Fulfilling Life” read more at … https://www.inc.com/marcel-schwantes/6-inspiring-lessons-about-success-most-people-will-learn-too-late-in-life.html
Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: I’ve been an out-group member of a leadership team as well as an in-group member, and I can confirm what we all know: the latter is preferable. But why does this happen? It has to do with experiences that are embedded in our brains. The experiences foster “LMX” for “leader-member exchange” which can be stronger with certain people than others. But it will be helpful at times and hurtful at other times. Read this Harvard Business Review article to beginning learning the difference.
by Bradley Kirkman, Hui Wang, Ning Li and Yang Sui, Harvard Business Review, 4/10/17.
…But whether leaders think it or not, one of the most consistent findings in our (and others’) research is that almost all leaders do treat members differently — mostly without knowing they’re doing it. This works a lot like subconscious biases that, when revealed to people, almost always result in feelings of surprise and embarrassment. Leaders can’t help having implicit ideas and preferences for what they want their team members to do and to be like. And those preconceived notions lead to what researchers have called “differentiation” in the level of relationship quality leaders have with members, with relationship quality often referred to as “leader-member exchange,” or LMX for short.
When a leader and a follower share a high level of LMX, that follower typically exhibits the types of positive outcomes all leaders want to see, such as high performance, job satisfaction, and organizational citizenship behavior, or going above and beyond one’s typical job responsibilities. Those with high LMX are also more committed to their companies, more satisfied with their leaders, and less likely to quit their jobs. So if high LMX generates all of these positive outcomes, why don’t leaders build high LMX levels with all of their followers? We have already mentioned the effects of implicit leader preferences — a lot of differential treatment occurs naturally and without a great deal of conscious thought. Beyond the subconscious explanation, however, is one that is more practical: leaders today simply don’t have the time necessary to build high-quality relationships with everyone in their team. This is even more complicated in lean organizations, in which many leaders have responsibility for large teams (and often several teams at once).
Fortunately, research suggests that playing favorites can be healthy for motivating high performance in teams and individual members alike. In fact, the effects of LMX differentiation — or the extent to which leaders form relationships of different quality with members in the same team — can be positive for both team and individual outcomes, depending on whether certain conditions are present. For example, our colleagues Berrin Erdogan and Talya Bauer at Portland State University found that LMX differentiation has no effects or positive effects on individual team members as long as those team members perceive that their leaders have created a team climate characterized by fairness. That is, there are no effects or positive effects when leaders provide resources to team members using fair and unbiased decision-making procedures. Specifically, Erdogan and Bauer found that more LMX differentiation was associated with increased helping behaviors among team members when members believed they were working in a fair team climate. Similarly, Bob Liden of the University of Illinois at Chicago and his colleagues found that LMX differentiation was associated with higher team performance but only when there was a high level of coordination, communication, and integration within the teams (known as team interdependence).
The 5 Communication Habits All Leaders Need to Motivate a Team” by Marcel Schwantes, Inc. Magazine, 1/18/17.
For this conversation, I’m going to simplify the practice of great leadership communication down to 5 principles.
1. Communicate in “we” rather than “I” or “you” language.
As a leader, you may not be consciously aware of the role language plays. It can build up or tear down your tribe. There are things you may choose to say that will either empower or disempower.
There are certain “I” or “you” statements you want to avoid, as it may come across as critical or bossy, as if employees are there to serve you and your needs, instead of the reverse. (If servant leadership is a new business concept for you, start here)…
2. Communicate with radical honesty…
Their HR team put together a Crucial Conversations®training that is rooted on radical honesty to step up and handle high-stakes issues to improve company-wide results.
Results were dramatic. Teams reported better synergy and team unity, and found new ways to help each other. Their sales team used the learned skills to drastically improve interactions with customers.
3. Communicate with the aim of developing trust first…
In his phenomenal book The Speed Of Trust, Stephen M.R. Covey says that a team with high trust will produce results faster and at lower cost. But should you first earn the trust of your people? Or does trust develop from having a belief in your people first — their strengths, abilities, and commitment?
In other words, which of these two statements would you agree with?
A. Trust is something that people must earn.
B. Trust is something that should be given as a gift.
If you chose A, you’re in the majority. Conventional thinking says that people have to earn trust first, and if they violate that trust, it becomes difficult to earn it back, right? But if you selected B, pat yourself on the back. It has been found that, in healthy organizations, leaders are willing to give trust to their followers first, and they give it as a gift even before it’s earned.
4. Communicate through regular praise and recognition.
Did you know that receiving recognition is the most important performance motivator? It’s also a powerful way to get employees motivated…
The companies in one large Gallup study that displayed the highest engagement levels use recognition and praise as powerful motivators to get employee commitment and loyalty.
Praise should be given once per week.
5. Communicate the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Companies with leaders who “sweep things under the rug” will eventually be exposed as not trustworthy. The flip side is transparent and truth-telling leaderswho will explain current realities and bring everyone into the conversation for unity. Such leaders will win hearts and minds of loyal employees.
by Lisa Quast, Forbes Magazine, 1/2/17.
… A Gallup study of 7,272 U.S. adults revealed that 50 percent had left their job to get away from their manager to improve their life at some point in their career.
Poor people management skills also negatively affect employee happiness and productivity, with managers accounting for up to 70% of variance in employee engagement scores.
Want to find out how good you are as a people manager? See how many of these five questions you can answer with “yes.”
Have you clearly defined and communicated the vision and strategy for your group, department or organization?
Have you worked with each employee to help him or her understand the role they play in contributing to the success of the organization?
According to a Robert Half Management Resources survey, 53 percent of workers are unable to make the connection between their day-to-day duties and how they impact the company’s financials.
Do you meet regularly with each employee for progress discussions?
… This doesn’t mean meeting once a year with employees to provide performance feedback – it means holding regularly scheduled two-way communication sessions, providing ongoing feedback year-round, giving credit where it is due, and being unafraid to have difficult conversations.
Do you empower your employees to succeed by delegating challenging and meaningful work?
People want to succeed and they want to continue learning. If you don’t provide opportunities for growth and help employees build on their strengths, then you won’t be viewed as a good people leader.
Do you recognize great work?
This doesn’t mean throwing out a “nice job” comment every now and then. Backhanded compliments – an insult disguised as a compliment – also don’t count. Recognizing great work means providing recognition and rewards that reinforce positive behavior, increases employees’ sense of progress and keep them motivated.
by Marissa Levin, Inc. Magazine, 8/30/16.
The right number.
The ideal number of team members is two.
“Pairs are the simplest and most stable bond in chemistry and in life. Humans form pairs in love and marriage and as friends. Adding a third person to a pair often complicates matters, and some trios can be explosive,” says Karlgaard. There are four main categories of team pairings:
- Occasion pairs come together for a specific project. They band and disband quickly. They don’t always like each other but they need each other.
- Similarity pairs are often ideally paired and work together in complete harmony. They can become too interdependent on each other.
- Difference pairs consist of partners that compliment each other’s strengths and weaknesses. They are opposites attracting.
- Inequality pairs include leader/follower or mentor/protege pairings. There is always an imbalance among the partners.
For medium-sized teams, five-nine members is the optimal number for building closeness. For larger groups, 11-18 team members is the maximum number of people someone can trust.
For much larger teams, 150 and 1,500 are magic numbers.
…researchers and entrepreneurs Rich Karlgaard and Michael S. Malone distill the process of creating the highest performing teams in their best-selling book, Team Genius: The New Science of High Performing Teams…
keywords: LEAD 600 teams teamwork
“Help Your Team Manage Stress, Anxiety, and Burnout” by Rich Fernandez, Harvard Business Review, 1/21/16.
… Model and encourage well-being practices.
Worker stress levels are rising, with over half of the global workforce (53%) reporting that they are closer to burnout than they were just five years ago, according to a Regus Group survey of over 22,000 business people across 100 countries. And while stress can be contagious, the converse is also true: when any member of a team experiences well-being, the effect seems to spread across the entire team. According to a recent Gallup research report that surveyed 105 teams over six three-month periods, individual team members who reported experiencing well-being were 20% more likely to have other team members who also reported thriving six months later. Takeaway: understand and prioritize activities that promote well-being for yourself and your team. They could include such things as offering personal development tools, like mindfulness and resilience training; explicitly encouraging people to take time for exercise or other renewal activities, such as walking meetings; or building buffer time into deliverables calendars so that people can work flexibly and at a manageable pace.
Allow time to disconnect outside of work.
According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, workers around the world spend 34 to 48 hours at work each week on average, and many engage in work or related activities after business hours. McKinsey Quarterlysuggests that “always-on, multitasking work environments are killing productivity, dampening creativity, and making us unhappy.” And one of the most significant findings in employee pulse surveys that I’ve seen in companies large and small is that employees have an exceptionally hard time disconnecting from work…