Improving Management Team Performance

Team-1“Ultimately, leadership is not about glorious crowning acts. It’s about keeping your team focused on a goal and motivated to do their best to achieve it, especially when the stakes are high and the consequences really matter. It is about laying the groundwork for others’ success, and then standing back and letting them shine.” —Chris Hadfield

The key to improving management team performance is summarized quite nicely in the Chris Hadfield quote above. When your management team can lay the groundwork for their employees to succeed and then stand back and let them shine, the whole organization performs better. So, what should you be looking at to improve the performance of your management team?

What is their focus?

What are your managers focusing on? It can be easy for them to get caught up in focusing solely on the bottom line and forget about the employees who are contributing to that bottom line. Or, they can become so concerned with gaining recognition for themselves that they forget about the people who are really doing the work. The best management teams focus on the ‘what’ and the ‘who’. When management spends their energy on supporting their employees in determining the ‘how’ for themselves, performance improves at every level of the organization.

How are their relationships?

What kind of relationships are your managers developing? Relationships are built on mutual trust and respect; they cannot thrive in an us vs. them environment. Without strong relationships managers are ineffective. If you want to improve the performance of your management team, help them build strong, trusting, inclusive relationships.

How do they accomplish objectives?

How do your managers accomplish the objectives that you have set for them? Many managers defer to micromanagement as a means for accomplishing tasks and achieving goals. Micromanagement kills employee engagement and does more harm to productivity than good. When you put an end to micromanagement and empower employees to make decisions and take action on their own you greatly improve performance.

As Your Management Team Performs

As your management team performs, so will their employees. Make sure your managers are focusing on the right things. Help them build the relationships that lead to efficiency and top performance. Teach them to empower and support employees in accomplishing objectives rather than micromanaging them. When your management team provides the foundation employees need to succeed and can then stand back and lets employees shine, everyone’s performance improves.

What action will you take today to start improving the performance of your management team?

 

 

© 2017 Elizabeth Stincelli

 

Liz Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the Founder of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations change attitudes, change communication dynamics, improve collaboration and problem-solving, engage employees, and strengthen organizational culture. Liz holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Liz by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at stincelliadvisors@gmail.com.

 

Four Traits of Selfless Leaders-Guest Post by Doug Dickerson

dougIt’s difficult to find common ground with others when the only person you’re focused on is yourself. – John Maxwell

You may have heard the story of two friends who met for dinner in a restaurant. Each requested filet of sole. After a few minutes the waiter came back with their order. Two pieces of fish, one large and one small, were on the same platter. One of the men proceeded to serve his friend. Placing the small piece on a plate, he handed it across the table.

“Well, you certainly do have nerve!” exclaimed his friend. ”

“What’s troubling you?” asked the other. “Look what you’ve done,” he answered. “You’ve given me the little piece and kept the big one for yourself.” “How would you have done it?” the man asked. His friend replied, “If I were serving, I would have given you the big piece.” “Well,” replied the man, “I’ve got it, haven’t I?” At this, they both laughed.

One leader’s self-confidence is another leader’s arrogance in the world of perceptions. So let’s put the cards on the table up front- many leaders struggle with acts of selfishness. We want the big piece of fish. It’s not a truth to take pride in but one in which we have to acknowledge if we are going to grow and mature as a leader. In my own leadership journey the biggest mistakes I’ve made along the way can be traced back to selfish acts.

Growing to this new level in your leadership is about overcoming your fears, insecurities, and misconceptions about what it means to lead in a selfless manner. Here are four traits of selfless leaders and why they matter.

Selfless leaders empower their people

The emergence of a selfless leadership style begins by embracing this fundamental principle: until you empower your people they are only spectators. When they are empowered they can produce, achieve, and succeed. Unless you mature in this area as a leader you will never grow to your full potential.

Why does this matter? It matters because in any successful organization it’s empowered team members who run with the vision, fulfill its mission, and achieve its goals. Selfless leaders make it possible not by promoting themselves but by promoting others.

Selfless leaders share the credit

Billy Hornsby once observed, “It’s okay to let those you lead outshine you, for if they shine brightly enough, they will reflect positively on you.” The powerful wisdom of that statement must not be lost on the reality that selfish leaders struggle in this area.

A selfish leader wants to take all of the credit- often at the expense of work others did, and boast “look at what I did.”

Why does this matter? A selfless leader will concede being in the spotlight by putting someone else in it. It matters because each individual who had skin in the game and gave it their all deserve credit. A selfless leader will gladly say, “Look at what we did!”

Selfless leaders initiate the conversation

The mark of maturity in a leader begins to take shape when he or she invites open and honest conversation instead of dodging it. Selfish leaders seek to control the message, the agenda, and in the end stifle creativity and deprive themselves of much needed feedback. If a leader’s head is buried in the sand the view for everyone else is not that pleasant. Instead, a selfless leader engages in conversation with his or her people and makes it a priority.

Why does this matter? A selfless leader understands that open communication is the life-blood of the organization. Disconnected people create disconnected organizations. Selfless leaders build bridges and get people talking because your survival depends on it.

Selfless leaders create the culture

Leaders, whether selfish or selfless, set the tone and create the organizational atmosphere. Through your growth and maturity as a leader you’ve come to understand that people buy in to your actions and attitudes before they embrace your vision. Better to be rejected as a leader because people did not embrace your vision than because they did not embrace your selfish leadership style.

Why does this matter? Selfless leaders understand that value is created where value is given. Selfless leaders know that when they help others succeed they succeed. It matters because when this is the underlying foundation of your organizational structure it creates an atmosphere where everybody wins, not just a few.

What do you say?

© 2016 Doug Dickerson

Doug Dickerson is an internationally recognized leadership columnist, author, and speaker. Read more at Dougdickerson.wordpress.com

Top 3 Mistakes Most Managers Make

heather-guest Guest Post by: Heather R. Younger, J.D. CCXP

Rank does not confer privilege or give power. It imposes responsibility. Peter F. Drucker

In my role, I often meet with employee focus groups and leaders of organizations. While on one side I am privy to what employees think of their manager’s effectiveness, I also see first-hand some of the key mistakes that block managers’ ability to be their best. Below are the top five mistakes I see managers make in their role as manager.

I have to focus on getting work done.

I do live in the real world where organizations exist to make money and profits. To this extent, I understand that managers have to meet their own deadlines. They have to get work done.

Having said that, most managers focus too much of their effort on tasks and not on the people who help perform the tasks. These are the same people who can make or break the customer experience and the bottom line.

I challenge managers to schedule in a sliver of time every week to sit with each team member. Having meaningful conversations with team members will actually drive improved performance.

We believe in this so much that we created a Meaningful Conversations tip sheet for managers.Click Here if you need direction.

I see what you are doing, but don’t have time to recognize you.

This is a big one!

I don’t think I need to be academic about this concept, because we all crave more consistent recognition. It is such an important driver of employee engagement that Gallup research still lists it as one of the top reasons employees remain with or leave an organization.

If you are a manager, how often do you recognize your team members? Remember, know how your team member likes to receive recognition. Some just don’t like big parties and balloons. Many just prefer a “thank you.”

Be sure to use their name and be as specific as possible about the reason for the recognition. This way, they know what types of behaviors drive positive praise from you.

In order to have long-lasting effects, you want to recognize team members every seven days. I don’t mean you have to give them a party or even give them a ribbon. Keep it simple. If you go too long before praising them, they will forget that positive feeling and that affects performance.

How did you feel the last time your manager recognized you?

Give that same feeling to your team members often!

I need to tell you what you are doing wrong and don’t have time to care about how that sounds.

Ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you say, but how you say it?”

Managers are in a unique position to be able to use their authority for the betterment of others, or to use it to make others feel awful for their shortcomings or mistakes.

I would caution managers from jumping too quickly to find their team members’ mistakes. If you notice that any one team member’s performance, behavior or attitude is below your standards, sit with them to find out what might be going on to cause such a change.

Let them know that you are concerned about this decline. Offer to provide clear guidance to help them get back on track. They need to know that you are not always judging them. Choose your words carefully in order to avoid creating this perception.

They need to know that you are on their side and will fight for them if they put in the hard work.

The good news?

Managers can control whether or not they make these mistakes and how often they choose to do so. While the power and authority rests on the manager to drive their team forward, the more important thing to remember is to use that power for the good of the team. I know that these mistakes can create a lot of frustration. What other mistakes do you think many managers make? Ideas on how to stop them?

Senior Consultant and Trainer

Heather is a leadership strategist and employee engagement consultant, trainer, coach and speaker with proven expertise in building Voice of the Employee cultures and acting as catalyst for employee-driven cultural & process improvements. Heather is a frequent author on LinkedIn’s Pulse platform, a blog contributor for Huffington Post and a member and Certified Customer Experience Professional with the Customer Experience Professional’s Association.

Heather truly believes that the fastest way to create employee engagement and loyalty is to transform organizational culture into an environment focused on breaking down silos, aligning around a common purpose, empowering employees to do their best work and reinvigorating leaders to take ownership in their role in creating all of it.

Are You in the Habit of Management by Crisis or Crisis Management?

crisis

“We’ve got to be judged by how we do in times of crisis.” —Johnnie Cochran

Putting Out Fires

Johnnie Cochran’s quote suggests that it is during times of crisis that we really show what we are made of. I kind of disagree. While every one of us will be faced with crises, getting in the habit of putting out fires all day long says more about your management style than it does your character. This is what I would term as management by crisis. No time to think, no time to plan, just respond to fire after fire as they arise. On the other side of the coin is crisis management. Quite different from managing by crisis, crisis management involves looking two steps ahead, planning, communicating, evaluating and adapting.

Eye on the radar

When you manage by crisis, you are so overwhelmed with what is happening here and now that it is impossible to foresee what might be coming down the road. When you manage by crisis, you are operating in fight or flight mode. This makes it impossible to use higher-order thinking to plan and solve problems. With crisis management, you are always looking two steps ahead. This gives you the, while ever so small, amount of breathing room you need to keep fight or flight at bay so that you can think clearly.

Planning

When you manage by crisis, there is no time for planning. You are simply in survival mode, running here and jumping there in the attempt to keep the situation from spiraling into chaos. Crisis management stays ahead of the game by asking questions like, “How will we respond if……?” When we have a plan we can respond to situations as they arise rather than constantly reacting to them. Sure, we might plan for something that never happens; sure, we can’t plan for every possible future incident; but we can develop plans that are flexible enough to apply in a variety of situations. And, always better to be safe than sorry.

Communication

When you manage by crisis, there is never enough time to effectively communication what is happening and what needs to be done in response. Things often break down into the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing and not having the time to even care. When things really do go south, that is not the time to start trying to communicate a response to your employees. Crisis management includes communicating the position of the organization on a regular basis, sharing plans and implementing procedures for responding to crises, and outlining clear lines of communication so everyone is always on the same page.

Evaluate, evaluate, evaluate

Is your style managing by crisis? Or is it crisis management? You can’t assume that your answer today will be the same next week, next month, or next year. When it comes to how you deal with crisis, you must continually evaluate your methods and past results. What has worked? What hasn’t worked? Where do you need to focus your energy to become more effective? Evaluate, evaluate, evaluate, and then adapt.

Manage Crisis Before it Manages You

We’ve all heard it said that if you don’t plan the day, the day will plan you. It is the exact same for handling crisis; either you manage the crisis, or it will manage you. The choice is yours. Will you constantly react, or will you plan and respond? Keep your eye on the radar; give yourself just that little bit of extra time to prepare for impact. A little time is all you need to access your executive brain and avoid the fight or flight reaction. Ask the questions that allow you to create plans for future crises that may, or may not happen. Make these plans flexible so that they can be implemented in response to a variety of crisis events. Communicate early and often. Make sure everyone is on the same page so that you are working as a team to overcome the crisis. And then, evaluate and adapt. If it’s not working, stop doing it. Make sure your crisis management procedures work. Start to manage crisis before it manages you.

 

 

© 2016 Elizabeth Stincelli

 

Liz Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the Founder of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations change attitudes, change communication dynamics, improve collaboration and problem-solving, engage employees, and strengthen organizational culture. Liz holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Liz by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at stincelliadvisors@gmail.com.

 

Stop the Micromanagement Madness

lady-w-crazy-hair-2-day-sale-ad“Trust is a core currency of any relationship. Sometimes our need to control and micromanage everything erodes our confidence in ourselves and others. The truth: people are much more capable than we think. A hearty dose of trust is often what’s needed to unlock the magic. Go ahead, have faith.” —Kris Carr

 

Kris Carr hit the nail on the head in the above quote. As a manager or leader, trust is the key to effectively influencing others. Without the ability to influence you completely lose your ability to lead. But, trusting the abilities of others is often easier said than done. When you don’t trust others to perform their work tasks at your definition of a satisfactory level you get caught up in micromanagement madness.

We’ve all been on the receiving end of a micromanager. Do you remember how it made you feel? Did you dread walking into work every day? Did you cringe when you heard your manager’s voice down the hall? Micromanagement destroys employee morale and the culture of the whole organization. Here are three important aspects of micromanagement that you must understand.

Your issue not theirs

Your inability to let go of control is your problem, not your employees’ problem. Your micromanagement is bases solely on your need to control everything. Employees do not cause micromanagement, insecure leaders do. This creates an unhealthy environment for everyone to work in. Through the lens of a micromanager, they are forced to micromanage everyone because everyone else is incapable. This is an absolute lie. Capable employees are hired to do specific jobs and should be provided the necessary resources and then allowed to do their job without a babysitter.

Build confidence

Relinquishing the control of micromanagement requires you to build confidence, not only in your employees, but in yourself. You must give employees the training they need, and then let them do what they were hired to do. You must also be confident that you are able to give them the tools they need perform their work and problem-solve on their own. You must also be confident that you are capable of monitoring and managing performance from a distance. Through the lens a micromanager, they are overly confident in their own abilities and underestimate the abilities of others. This overconfidence is usually compensation for lack of true self-esteem. Develop your own healthy self-confidence and then work WITH others to develop confidence in their abilities.

Learn to trust

If you don’t have mutual trust with you employees, you have nothing. The relationships you need to be successful are built on a foundation of trust and respect. When you look at others through the lens of a micromanager, no one seems trustworthy; no one seems capable; except, of course, yourself. This is the perspective of someone who is insecure and is willing to kill all trust to hide it. Your employees are as capable of doing their job as you are of doing yours. If they aren’t, it’s you that has dropped the ball. Give them the training and resources they need and then trust them with their own responsibilities.

Let Go of the Madness

Good managers are NEVER micromanagers. If you are a good leader, you will never need to micromanage employees. You will give them training, tools, and guidance, but you will never micromanage. Organizations thrive when employees are engaged, making decisions, and designing their own work. Micromanagement is the madness that suffocates the life out of any team, department, or organization. Let go of the madness.

© 2016 Elizabeth Stincelli

Liz Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the Founder of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Liz holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Liz by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at stincelliadvisors@gmail.com.

Listen Like a Leader

“I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So, if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening.” —Larry King

By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM

Listening Like a Leader

One of the most important leadership skills, that outstanding leaders have mastered, is the ability to listen. Genuine listening is one of the key ways you can show your strength as a leader; it shows confidence and establishes trust. As Larry King said in the quote above, the only way you are going to learn anything is by listening. Sounds simple enough, but so few people listen like a leader. When you listen like a leader, you listen with the intent to gain true understanding, you show respect to others, you make real connections, and you build mutual trust.

Understanding

Leonardo da Vinci believed, “The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.” Outstanding leaders are insatiably curios; they ask open-ended questions that challenge the status quos and help others to reframe problems and ideas. In order to gain a true understanding you must leave your own agenda at the door and learn to recognize your biases so that you are open to really understanding what others have to say. You must encourage people to not only share their thoughts, but to dig deeper into what lies beneath those thoughts. Recognize that everyone has something valuable to contribute and take the opportunity to reach across the organization, listening like a leader with the intent to gain understanding.

Respect

Bryant H. McGill tells us, “One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” Outstanding leaders understand that it’s not all about them. Listening to others is the ultimate sign of respect and it shows you care. It demonstrates how much you value and respect the experience and knowledge of others when you ask for their input. People want to be consulted and know that they’ve been heard and their ideas are taken under serious consideration. Show that you respect their opinions and are confident enough to welcome others to challenge, question, and disagree with you. Admit when you are wrong or don’t have the answer. Ask the questions that will have a real impact and then listen like a leader to what others have to offer.

Connection

Rollo May said, “Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy, and mutual valuing.” An outstanding leader looks for connections and develops personal relationships by really listening to others. You let them know you care about what they think and about their ideas when you truly listen. You must create a safe place for people to open up and share knowledge, ideas, and opinions. Listening like a leader allows you to find the connections that transform relationships and teams.

Trust

Stephen Covey explained, “Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.” Outstanding leaders build trust by proving they are good listeners. Leadership is all about influence and if you want to have an influence, others have to know they have been heard. Listening shows that you value the thoughts of others, that you are worthy of their trust, and encourages them to continue to communicate. Listen like a leader and develop the trusting relationships that allow you to influence others.

How to Do It

So, how do you listen like a leader? You listen without having an answer or response already in mind; don’t just listen to confirm what you already think you know. Let others know that you hear them and that you care about what they have to share. You ask questions and follow up. You put yourself in their shoes so that you can empathize with their point of view. You limit distractions and give your undivided attention. You not only pay attention to what is being said and how they say it, but also to what is not being said. You talk less and listen more to gain understanding, show respect, uncover and develop connections, and build trust. Then, and only then, will you be listening like a leader.

© 2015 Elizabeth Stincelli

Elizabeth Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the CEO of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Elizabeth holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Elizabeth by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at stincelliadvisors@gmail.com.