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Why Your Employees Aren’t Following You

There’s a familiar saying that if no one is following you, you’re just out taking a stroll. The question for leaders “out taking a stroll” is: Why isn’t anyone behind you?

Mark Sanborn

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If you’re a leader and your employees aren’t following you, consider these eight possible reasons:

1. They don’t like you.

Research shows we’d rather work with incompetent people who are nice than competent people who aren’t. If you treat people poorly and are generally unlikable, it is unlikely anyone will follow you unless they are scared to death to do otherwise.

The notable exceptions in business history have been those unlikable leaders who had such visionary products that others were willing to put up with their behaviour. The question remains, however: How much more successful could these high-fliers have been if they’d paid more attention to likability?

2. They don’t trust you.

I have a friend who is a blast to drink beer with. He’s always got funny stories and the latest dirt to share. He discloses lots of things about others. And while I like him, I don’t trust him. I know that when he’s drinking beer with someone else, I’m likely to be the topic of his talking out of school.

Trust is even more important than likability. While I may not like someone in a business situation, I can still do business with them without fear of being unjustly harmed or cheated.

3. They don’t want to go where you’re leading.

People are unwilling to go anywhere that doesn’t represent a positive change. They can even handle the challenges and sacrifices of a new undertaking if they believe there is a payoff on arrival.

A client of mine had a vision statement that was heavy on financial metrics but said nothing about the quality of life for employees or customers. I wasn’t surprised that nobody could remember what the vision was, nor care about achieving it.

Their vision statement became effective when it was rewritten to express the future for all stakeholders, including employees.

4. They don’t know why they should do what you ask.

Kim is a young leader who is very focused and task-oriented. She is well-known for issuing edicts and delegating tasks without explanation. She believes it makes her more time effective, and if anyone asks why, she calmly replies, “Because I said so.”

“Because I said so” is tough for kids to swallow and more difficult for adults. Knowing why a request is made is something any intelligent adult would desire. Harried leaders, however are often better at giving commands than explaining them or providing context.

5. They don’t think you have their best interests at heart.

There are times you may ask an employee to do something simply because it is a condition of their job. Don’t, however, think that subterfuge, spin or trickery is fair play. It will undermine your credibility. Be honest in the direct payoff – or lack thereof.

If you accomplish organisational goals at the expense of your team members, your legacy is that of tyrant. As overused as the phrase “win-win” may be, it is still a guiding principle of leaders who get followed.

6. They don’t feel supported and/or appreciated.

Just because you pay people to work with you doesn’t mean they don’t deserve appreciation. A sincere thank you goes a long way towards a motivated team. And support means you care enough to remove barriers and provide the resources your team needs to win.

7. They don’t have the training necessary to be good followers.

Phil is a beloved leader. When he picks someone to lead an important project, his initial conversation always includes this question: “Is there anything you’ll need to learn now to be successful?”

No amount of motivation will help an employee succeed if he or she doesn’t possess the necessary skills. If you are leading a technology initiative, for example, begin by identifying the skills it will take for employees to support you in the change.

8. They don’t respect you.

People respect you for who you are, your competence, abilities and relationships with others. Who a person chooses to follow and why says a lot about him or her. That’s why employees are reluctant to follow a leader who lacks integrity and people skills. By giving allegiance to someone you don’t respect, you lose a little self-respect in the process.

Nobody is perfect all the time, but those who get followed devote more time and effort to being the kind of leader who deserves to get followed.

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Three Ways To Coach – Not Criticise Employees. Find Out Here

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Mark Sanborn is an author, speaker and president of Sanborn & Associates Inc., a leadership development firm based in Lonetree, Colo. His clients have included Cisco, McDonalds, Toyota and FedEx. He is author of eight books including the latest: Fred 2.0: New Ideas On How to Keep Delivering Extraordinary Results (Tyndale, 2013).

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Strategy

4 Ways To Find Your Own Business Style

The only way to develop a business style is step-by-step over time.

Timothy Sykes

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Finding a style in finance will define how you react to changes and how you approach new situations. It’s as important in business as it is in stock trading. Developing a business style and developing a stock trading system are extremely similar pursuits.

But I’m not going to pretend that it’s easy to do. It will take time and you do have to be willing to work at it.

Here are my four ways of finding your own business style.

1. Get rid of your expectations

You can’t force anything to work. It’s necessary for you to be flexible when it comes to finding a business style. Begin by letting go of any expectations you have before trying a new style.

Prior to attempting a new style, you have to be willing to go into it with no expectations. You never know what you’re going to find.

Related: 8 Steps to Building Your Business According to the Lifestyle You Want

2. Track your movements

Some things are going to work and some things aren’t going to work. I always tell my students in the Tim Sykes Millionaire Challenge that they should keep records of the things they’re doing. Keep these records as detailed as possible because attempting trial and error can quickly lead you in circles.

Don’t fall into the trap (as I did in the beginning) of trying the same thing multiple times because you never tracked the results.

I keep large spreadsheets with notes of the various styles and systems I’ve tried in business. Business mistakes can be costly, so you need to do everything you can to avoid making them.

3. Look at what others are doing

business-options

I refuse to believe that someone is doing something truly unique. The moment someone makes a breakthrough in business there are a hundred people replicating the same things. And that can be a powerful tool. Consider what others are doing and see whether you can learn something.

It’s why I also advocate finding a mentor to help you out. They’ll be able to help you out and you’ll benefit from their enhanced experiences in business.

Again, track what you’re taking from other people so you know whether something is working.

Related: I Started Saying ‘No’ To These 6 Things. My Life And My Business Got A Lot Better

4. Refine what you do

Rarely will anything in business work the first time. However, your first attempts will give you a good benchmark as to what you need to do next.

You should never be satisfied with what you have, even if it’s working. Always work on improving your business style. I believe this is the most important thing because it also teaches you how to adapt to changing conditions over time.

Last Word – Constantly Growing

There’s no step-by-step guide for how to develop a business style. The only way to do it is to obey the fundamentals and then develop everything over time.

Even though the process is long, you’re guaranteed to learn a lot of lessons and gain from a huge number of experiences over time.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Strategy

6 Questions You Should Be Asking When Coaching

Top athletes have coaches because they’re winners. Business leaders should be the same.

Nadine Todd

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Dr Marshall Goldsmith

Whether you’re a CEO looking for a mentor, coaching your management team, or structuring a coaching programme for your managers to implement, there are six questions that can help anyone get better at anything.

The expert

Dr Marshall Goldsmith is a best-selling author and world-renowned business educator and coach. He has coached top CEOs, including Alan Mulally, former President and CEO of Ford Motor Company.

The key to a successful coaching programme is simple dialogue and establishing responsibility. The person being coached must understand and agree that success lies in their hands. They must take responsibility for their actions.

Related: How Business Coaching Can Help You Achieve Your Goals

The method

Once every few months, have a direct coaching session. Ask (or answer for yourself) these six questions:

  1. Where are we going?
  2. Where are you going?
  3. What are you doing well?
  4. Do you have suggestions for my improvement?
  5. How can I help you?
  6. So you have suggestions for me?

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Strategy

4 Ways To Develop The Leaders You’ll Need In The Future

One of the most challenging aspects of leadership development is consistently and effectively identifying the next wave of leaders.

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One of the most challenging aspects of leadership development is consistently and effectively identifying the next wave of leaders.

It can be easy for those at the top to forget that eventually someone will have to take their place at the helm. And ignoring that fact has lead to issues with succession planning, unwanted turnover and other challenges in leadership development in many organisations.

2016 High Impact Leadership research from Bersin by Deloitte asked 2,422 HR and business leaders from around the world how well they believed they could discover new leadership talent. Just 35 percent of respondents said they were above average when it came to successfully identifying and developing leaders.

To understand why this is, consider the typical leadership development paradox. Traditionally, the first step is to choose who has leadership potential, then develop their skillset. Logically, however, this makes little sense.

How is it possible to identify effective leaders if employees have yet to receive any type of leadership development?

Here are four ways to properly identify better qualified candidates for leadership positions:

1Stop choosing potential leaders based on unrelated skills

Gallup’s 2015 State of the American Manager Report, which studied 2.5 million manager-led teams in 195 countries, found that the top two reasons employees are promoted to management positions are because they were successful in a non-managerial role or because of their tenure with the company. Neither of those criteria have any proven correlation with leadership skills or relevant experience.

Create a better means of measuring for true leadership potential. Look at the culture of the organisation and envision what it would look like for someone to lead by those values.

Also consider how successful leaders evolved over time in the organisation. Then use that information to make a list of recognisable traits to look for as signs of leadership potential.

2Broaden leadership development to more employees

People learn and grow at their own unique pace. Requiring that an employee reach a certain position or be with the company for a certain number of years before they’re offered leadership opportunities holds back those who might be ready for more responsibility now. Or even worse, it might push those who aren’t yet ready into leadership roles.

Instead, let leadership development be a company-wide initiative. This gives more people the chance to take the next step in their career. It also creates a larger pool of possible great leaders to draw from across the organisation.

3Track progress and growth

Track progress and growth

There’s no way of knowing who is ready to step up and lead unless development is monitored. Remember that this is a process. Employees need feedback from their mentors and coaches to know for certain what skills they’ve mastered as well as where there can still be improvements made.

Develop a way to assess progress for different leadership positions, and be clear with employees and coaches about what success would look like in different situations. For instance, explain what is expected of a first time project leader.

Get everyone on the same page about the developing leader’s responsibilities and how that should guide their team.

Then collect thorough feedback from all those involved. Ask the leadership candidate what challenges they faced as well as where they think they thrived. Pose the same questions to those they supervised and organisational mentors.

Over time, this will reveal patterns that make it easier to identify who is best suited for leadership in the long-term.

4Focus on continual leadership development

There is no such thing as too much experience. There is always more that can be learned. After leadership candidates have been identified, continue to nurture them. This keeps employees from feeling that they have plateaued, which is unfortunately common.

The 2014 Insigniam Middle Management Survey: Middle Management’s Critical Role In Saving Company Innovation looked at responses from 200 middle managers from around the world. It found that only 15 percent of managers believe they will ever be promoted to the next level of leadership at their company.

Whether intentionally or not, employees who have proven their leadership abilities are being told that their leadership journey is over – and this hurts both them and the organisation. Encourage a steady stream of highly trained and skilled leaders working their way up by demonstrating that there is no end to development.

In order to clearly see who the next wave of leaders is going to be, employees need to be given the chance to hone and exercise their skills.

That means redefining how leadership potential is identified and providing each employee with the chance to develop personally and professionally.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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