Working World

May 2017

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12 May, 2017 l Working World l S ince 2000, according to numerous national surveys, less than one-third of workers in the United States are engaged in their work as measured by their involvement, enthusiasm, and commitment to their work. If you simply reflect on your most recent encounter as a consumer at your local retail store, restaurant or government agency, your own experience will more than likely validate the reality of these startling sta- tistics. Leaders account for as much as 70% of the variance of employee engagement. A Gallup study of 7,272 adults in the United States revealed that one in two had left their job at some point in their career to get away from a manager in order to improve overall quality of life. People don't leave jobs; people leave people! Effective leadership requires not only doing the right things, but also understanding what not to do. Here are five mistakes to aggressively avoid. CRITICAL MISTAKE #1: FAILING TO SCHEDULE TIME FOR LEARNING CONVERSATIONS You do what you schedule. When you listen, you learn. Leaders should only be doing what no one else can do and no one can listen to your team members like you. Schedule regular opportunities to ask clear, concise and clarifying questions to your team members and then discipline yourself to actively listen. This will provide you with vital intelligence to implement two of the main functions of a leader: 1. Remove obstacles 2. Provide resources How can you know the true obstacles that are impeding success and the actual resources needed by your team if you aren't consistently scheduling highly interactive learning conversations? CRITICAL MISTAKE #2: FAILING TO CONSISTENTLY AFFIRM As a leader, are you encouraging, or are you an encourager or neither? One of the most powerful, if not the most powerful tool to embolden, motivate and energize your team is the incredible power of affirmation. Affirming is simply catching people doing things right and TELLING them about it. Don't just think it; express it! The effective leader is always on the lookout for opportunities to answer the soul-felt questions in the mind of their team members, "Do I matter?" and "Does what I do around here matter?" Answer those questions by being specific about your team member's positive actions. Always tie the positive action you observed to the beneficial business outcome. Being encouraging is something that you do, but being an encourager is something you are. If you are an encourager, then affirmations will emanate from your lips regularly. CRITICAL MISTAKE #3: MISDIAGNOSING When you visit the doctor, the doctor always ask a succession of questions, and many times follows-up with a battery of tests before ever prescribing any action design to remedy an illness. Why? For the safety of the patient and for the critical business benefit of avoiding a malpractice lawsuit! The exception to this would be in an emergency situation where time is of the essence. If you are always making decisions in business as if you live in the Emergency Room, then the health of your business is going to be in a constant state of trauma. A proper diagnosis of the "ailments" of your business is required to make the decisions necessary to have a healthy and prosperous business. This necessitates gathering appropriate and accurate information, much of which can be ascertained by avoiding Mistake #1, before randomly moving ahead with activity, which might or might not produce the desired results. Many business owners or executives seek to bring in outside help to "treat" a problem that has been improperly, inadequately, or incorrectly diagnosed. Before assistance is formally acquired, they should answer the question: "What do you want to accomplish?" With this FEATURED ARTICLE by David Waits Five Critical Mistakes That Blunt Leadership Effectiveness

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