Thursday, 17 May 2012

When Colleagues Behave as Rivals

As a leader, how do you deal with colleagues who behave as rivals? 

Anyone who has faced rivals at work — colleagues who take all the credit, team members who undermine things — knows how difficult it is to ignore them. Instead, turn your adversaries into collaborators by following these three steps:
  • Redirect. Try to channel your rival's negative emotions away from you by bringing up something you have in common, or talking about the source of the tension in a favorable light.
  • Reciprocate. Give up something of value to your rival — help complete a project or divulge important information — so you are poised to ask for something in return.
  • Reason. Explain that not working together cooperatively could mean lost opportunities. Most people are highly motivated to avoid a loss.

Adapted from "Make Your Enemies Your Allies" by Brian Uzzi and Shannon Dunlap.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Get Yourself Ready for Meetings

As a leader, do you use the 3 key steps for preparation? 

With so many meetings, busy leaders don't always have time to think about the goals of those meetings. But showing up unprepared only makes a meeting longer and less effective. Try blocking out time on your calendar for prep work and to think about what you want to accomplish. If a meeting is an hour, you may need 30 minutes to prepare. For critical meetings you may need much more time. If you plan accordingly, you'll arrive ready to accomplish what you've set out to do, not catching up.

Three key steps for preparation...

  1. Establish a clear purpose for the meeting and be sure everyone knows it.
  2. Uses processes for engaging participants.  Avoid talking at them. 
  3. Be sure to include everyone who needs to know. 

Adapted from "Make Time for Time" by Anthony K. Tjan.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Receiving Online Feedback

As a leader, how do you handle online feedback to your school/organization? 

Whether you're a small or large school/organization, feedback matters from those you serve. But it can be tough to navigate online feedback.  Consider the following when dealing with the negative feedback:
  • Seek a solution. Post a response and offer a way to turn the situation around. Always extend an olive branch if you can.
  • Don't treat all comments equally. Anonymous comments should never receive the same attention as authored comments.  In fact, you may wish not to respond to anonymous comments. 
  • Invite comments. If you're open to hearing input, you're more likely to hear positive things. Create forums for discussions about the service you provide.  Allow people to 'have their say' by posting testimonials and keeping social media lines open for their comments.

Adapted from "What Angie's List Knows About Customer Reviews" by Angie Hicks.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Leadership Thought for a Monday Morning

A good objective of leadership is to help those who are doing poorly to do well and to help those who are doing well to do even better. 

Jim Rohn   

Friday, 11 May 2012

Starting a New Leadership Position

As a leader, how do you enter into a new leadership position? 

Taking on a new assignment is exciting. But it's not easy. Here are three common mistakes people make when moving to a new leadership role and how to avoid them:
  • Forgetting about the people. Most people start a new leadership role with a plan for success. But you can't forget the people. Know who you will need to rely on to get your work done and focus on building productive relationships with them.
  • Failing to listen. You may be eager to introduce yourself and your plan, but don't dominate conversations. Listen to others so their input can guide you.
  • Relying on old power dynamics. Every organization has a way of operating. Don't assume what worked in your last school/organization will work in the new one. Understand the new dynamics and how to establish your authority. 

Adapted from "Get Ready for Your Next Assignment" by Katie Smith Milway, Ann Goggins Gregory, Jenny Davis-Peccoud, and Kathleen Yazbak.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Preparing for a New Leadership Assignment

As a leader, how do you prepare for a new leadership assignment? 

Many leaders know when their next promotion is coming, but few take advantage of this time to prepare. Instead of waiting for an official announcement, start with "phase zero." Use your insider status to become familiar with your new unit's people and performance and to discern the opportunities and challenges of your upcoming assignment. In the weeks leading up to the transition, carve out at least 30 minutes a day for this endeavour. Look through company documents, such as performance reviews and reports on services and operations. Identify problems and develop hypotheses for solving them. Turn to colleagues who have supervised the role, interacted with it, or previously filled a similar one. Ask them questions that will help you understand what to expect for the transition.

Adapted from "Get Ready for Your Next Assignment" by Katie Smith Milway, Ann Goggins Gregory, Jenny Davis-Peccoud, and Kathleen Yazbak.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Leadership: Relationships...not Muscles

I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people. 

Mahatma Gandhi

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

When Someone in Your Workplace Doesn't Like You

As a leader, how do you deal with those who don't like you? 

Having enemies in the workplace is often destructive. Ideally you should try to work with your rival instead of against him. But if your collaborative efforts fail, try one of these strategies instead:
  • Find a common ally. Seek a third party whom your enemy trusts. A common ally may convince him of the benefits of working with you.
  • Wait for the right time. Sometimes people need time and space before they can see your side. Put off communication until the right opportunity presents itself.
  • When to go elsewhere. The effort of converting a rival is sometimes so great that you're better off focusing your energy on another relationship.
  • Have a direct conversation.  This is the toughest one of all.  Many of us avoid difficult conversations but when all else fails, you need to.  Check this blog for listings about 'challenging conversations' and 'difficult conversations' to develop some specific strategies for engaging your enemy. 

Adapted from "Make Your Enemies Your Allies" by Brian Uzzi and Shannon Dunlap.

Monday, 7 May 2012

When To Share Bad News

As a leader, how and when do you share bad news? 

When you're privy as a leader to information that your staff isn't, should you share the news or protect them? When deciding whether to divulge bad news, do these things first:
  • Know your tendency. We all have a preferred approach when it comes to privacy. Some keep things quiet, while others are more open. Understand your tendency and find a middle ground.
  • Question your motives. Whether you're eager to share news or resisting a conversation, question your motives. Are you feeling guilty about harboring information? Are you afraid of people getting angry?  What value will be gained by sharing the information? 
  • Tend toward transparency. Lean toward transparency if possible. As long as you're not violating school/organizational policy, give your team the bad news — especially if it's going to impact their work.

Adapted from "When to Share Sensitive Information with Your Team" by Amy Gallo.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Leading Decisive Meetings

As a leader, do you know how to lead a decisive meeting? 

Simply because someone is appointed to a leadership position, it doesn't mean that they automatically know how to lead effective meetings.  To keep momentum in your work, you need to run great meetings. Make your next meeting productive with these three guidelines:
  • Restate the meeting's purpose. Even if you think everyone knows it, it helps to remind them and sharpen the group's focus.
  • Include everyone. If one or two people dominate the conversation and others are shy about leaping in, draw out people through facilitating by saying, "Thanks for those ideas, Carl. What are your thoughts about this problem, Megan?"
  • End well. Close the meeting with specific actions to take and a clear time frame. State the decisions the group has made, who owns what, and when they need to report back to the team. 

Adapted from Guide to Project Management (HBR OnPoint Collection).

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Trust Your Gut When Challenging Authority

As a leader, how comfortable are you challenging line authority or the authority of tradition? 

Most of us are taught to defer to authority in our organizations.  This is true of line authority as well as the authority of 'how we've always done things here'.  As a result, we can often tend to disregard our internal compasses. But your instincts are often right. Here is how to counter your conditioning and question authority:
  • Listen to your inner voice. Take a moment to breathe and consider what is going on. Ask yourself, "Are there other ways to approach this work?"
  • Constructively question. Ask your boss, or important stakeholders: Why do we do it this way?  Can we - as a school/organization be open to different ways? Can we experiment?
  • Reflect. Whether you've followed along or pushed for an alternative, think about what happened. Remember what it felt like to go against authority - or popular will - and think about how you might handle it differently in the future.

Adapted from "Learn to Trust Your Gut" by Ron Ashkenas.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Do Your Staff Exceed the Quality of Your School/Organization?

'The quality of an education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers'   

(McKinsey  Report - How the World's Best Performing School Systems Come Out on Top).  

A variation on a theme.....

'The quality of an organization cannot exceed the quality of its staff'    

As leaders, if we can accept the above statements as true, what does this mean for us and our leadership?  If the quality of the school/organization cannot exceed the quality of the staff who work in our schools/organizations, it is incumbent upon us a leaders to engage continuously in the development of each and every staff member.  

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Is Your Stump Speech Ready?

As a leader, do you have a stump speech ready to go....just in case?

As leaders, we are often called upon to speak - without advance notice - about any of a number of issues related to our work.  For those who can speak readily 'off the cuff'.....congratulations!  However, for the rest of us, we may not do quite so well without something prepared.  

Think about what's important in your school/organization that you might at some point be called upon to speak about.  There will probably be two or three 'hot topics' or issues that come to mind.  Collect your thoughts on these issues along with your key messages.  Craft them into a few nuggets that could serve as your speaking points.  

Keep in mind that you, as the leader, are the face of your school/organization and people look to you for insight, direction, reassurance when things get difficult or tense.  Be ready with some collected thoughts.....just in case.....

Monday, 30 April 2012

Is it Leadership or Management?

Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.

Peter Drucker

Friday, 27 April 2012

Managing a Difficult Colleague

As a leader, how do you handle working with a difficult colleague? 

Working with a difficult person can be distracting and draining. Next time a colleague irritates you to no end, try these three things:
  • Manage your reaction. If someone annoys you, don't focus on the behavior. Focus on how you react, which is usually the only thing you can control.
  • Keep it to yourself. Emotions are contagious, so complaining about a co-worker can bring everyone down. And it can reflect negatively on you. If you must vent, do it outside the office.
  • Work together. It's counterintuitive, but by spending more time together you may develop empathy for your colleague. You might discover reasons for the behavior: stress at home, pressure from someone else, or some other cause.  

Adapted from "How to Work with Someone You Hate" by Amy Gallo.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Are People Born Leaders or Do They Learn Leadership?

As a leader, do you continue to 'practice' the art of leadership? 

Leadership is not an innate trait that you're born with. It can be learned. The key is to practice before you have the official title.  In fact, even leaders in the role need to continue to practice.  Start by focusing on the choices you make now, such as who to put on your team or who needs to participate in your projects. Recognize that you likely don't know everything. Making decisions based on incomplete information is a skill that every leader must master. Once you've acted, ask yourself: Was that the right decision? Could you have done something differently? This will get you comfortable with making decisions, acting upon them, and reflecting on their outcomes. Then, learn from your inevitable mistakes. You will build knowledge and skills as you work up to the larger decisions with broader consequences that all leaders have to make.

Adapted from "Wilderness Leadership—on the Job" by John Kanengieter and Aparna Rajagopal-Durbin.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Do You Stay True to Your Own Protocols?

As a leader, do you stay true to your own protocols?

As leaders, one of the things we are often asked to do is to establish protocols - routines for day-to-day work. We sometimes do this on our own and sometimes with contributions from individuals or teams from our workplaces.  But there is a caution..... It's sometimes tempting not to follow our own protocols.  It's easy to slip into situations where we feel pressed for time and feel that we need to respond quickly to an issue and we neglect the very protocols we established.  We need to be very cautious of such behaviour.  It undermines the contributions others have made to the protocols established.  Worse than that, it undermines trust in you as a leader.

Next time you are tempted to skip a protocol or routine because you feel pressed for time, think of the impact on your staff.  The cost to your credibility is simply too high.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Leadership & Learning

Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.


John F. Kennedy

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Focus in a World of Multi-tasking

As a leader, how do you keep your focus in an age of multi-tasking?

Multitasking may speed you through your to-do list, but it also makes you more likely to make mistakes and less likely to retain information. Here are three ways to focus:
  • Think good thoughts. Positive emotions improve the brain's executive function and encourage creative and strategic thinking. Improve your emotional balance by taking short breaks and thinking about things that make you happy.
  • Ban distractions. Be aware of what steals your attention. When disrupted, make a conscious choice to return to the task at hand.  This may mean shutting off your Blackberry/Smartphone.
  • Leave things behind. When you turn to a new task, part of your brain is still thinking about the last one. Before starting something new, go for a walk, climb stairs, or do some deep breathing to clear your head.

Adapted from "Train Your Brain to Focus" by Paul Hammerness, MD, and Margaret Moore.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Tuesday Morning Thought For Leaders

It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.

Nelson Mandela

Monday, 16 April 2012

Being Strategic - The Easy Way

As a leader, are your planning sessions strategic or haphazard? 

Planning fails when it has unclear objectives, too many people, a rushed schedule, and is not strategic. When your school/organization faces uncertainty and needs to develop a strategy fast, do it the right way:
  • Define the challenge. Your team can't settle on a path forward unless everyone agrees on the problem you're trying to solve. Once you are aligned, focus on core questions and avoid meandering discussions.
  • Identify the destination. Define the future state and how to get there. Don't try to please everyone; make the hard choices that lead to a clear strategy.
  • Develop options. Changes in the workplace or broader environment are inevitable. Come up with alternative approaches that will help you to respond to uncertain events.

Adapted from "Six Strategy Insights RIM's New CEO Can Use" by Steve Wunker.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Creating Attention-getting Messages

As a leader, how do ensure your important messages are noticed?

With so much information out there, getting your audience's attention is tough. But it is also essential. Consider these three things next time you craft an important message that needs to be heard:
  • Make a comparison. Whether you are promoting an idea or making a point, remember that people like to draw connections. Help your audience understand by comparing your message to something else.
  • Piggyback on the familiar. Take something most people know and make it your own. Spinoffs of the "Got Milk?" slogan have done this successfully.
  • Be specific. Use simple, specific details to solidify your point. These give your audience something to remember when you're no longer in front of them or they've put your memo off to the side.

Adapted from "Craft an Attention-Grabbing Message" by Kare Anderson.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Handling Harsh Criticism

As a leader, how do you handle harsh criticism of you or your work?

Whether it's a workplace rival or a well-intended colleague, someone will likely say something punitive or hurtful to you at some point in your career. When it happens, remember:
  • Don't respond right away. Resist the temptation to snap back. There is no use in getting angry or creating a nasty paper trail. Take time to cool off, consider your response, and then reply cordially.
  • Determine if you're overreacting. Ask yourself whether the comment was really that bad. Sometimes a thoughtful offer to help or a comment about something you've done can seem like an insult.
  • Forgive, but remember. Don't hold a grudge, but keep in mind that this person has done this to you.  Might they do it to others?  Forgive, but remember that this person has this potential to hurt and those you lead may not handle it as well as you do. 
Adapted from "How to Deal with Critics" by Dorie Clark.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Success Through Problems

As a leader, can you find success through problems and not your passion?

When it comes to our work, we're often told to follow our passions. But you might find greater satisfaction - and improved results - if you work on problems in your school/organization.  Choose a problem that you care about — personally — and let this dilemma be your compass. Get out of the office, meet people who are affected by the problem, and connect with those working in this area. Doing so shifts your attention from yourself and your own work to that of others. By becoming less focused on yourself and your own work, you may become more successful with the work of your school/organization.

Adapted from "To Find Happiness, Forget About Passion" by Oliver Segovia.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Listening - Your Default Behaviour

As a leader, is your default response listening......or.....???

It might be tempting as a leader to talk - initiating conversations, responding with directions or explanations, or verbally 'taking charge' of situations.  This is quite commonplace and people have often come to accept it as the behaviour of a boss.  However, it's not the behaviour of a leader.  Leaders listen.....and then listen more.  Leaders listen for a number of order to get the whole get a range of collect valuable insights or ideas.  Leaders also paraphrase - not 'parrot' - what they hear in order to be sure they understand and to send the message that they are listening and value the thoughts of others. 

If you're not already doing so, make listening your default behaviour.  You just might be surprised how much more effective you - and your school/organization - can be when you talk less!

Friday, 6 April 2012

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Why Great Leaders Are in Short Supply

Here is a link to a great article that discusses why great leaders are in short supply.

From: Harvard Business Review

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Getting What You Need.....Indirectly

As a leader, what strategies do you use when asking doesn't work?

Getting people to do what you want is difficult, especially if you lack sufficient authority......or the environment is very political.  When direct techniques like asking fail, try more subtle approaches:
  • Talk less, listen more. Colleagues are less likely to resist when you've taken the time to acknowledge their concerns. Listen to their worries and make sure your solutions recognize them.
  • Help them to like you. It's hard to say no to someone you like. We tend to like people who share our background and interests, or who show interest in us personally. Recognition of good work also works. If your colleague does a good job, tell him.
  • Do a favour. Doing something for someone gives you influence and helps colleagues see a different side of you. Everyone understands the need to repay what another person has given them.

Adapted from Guide to Managing Up and Across (HBR Press).

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Think....Before You Reorganize

As a leader, what thinking and processes do you use before reorganizing?

Many leaders love to reorganize, but few employees like being reorganized. Structural changes provoke anxiety and confusion. Before you decide to redraw the org chart of your school or organisation, consider these three things:
  • What problem are you trying to solve? Are you trying to focus more on those you serve? Do you want to reduce costs or make better use of resources? Has structure become overly complex? There might be good reasons, but before you leap into a reorganization, be clear on the goal.
  • Is reorganization the only solution? Reorganization might solve many problems but it's rarely the only solution. Consider alternatives first, especially ones that entail less risk on impact on those involved.
  • Seek input from those affected.  Actively - and systematically - seek input from everyone who might be affected or impacted by the reorganization.  Seeking input demonstrates your desire to lead an effective school/organization.  But more importantly, it solicits the best thinking available to you.

Adapted from "Reorganizing? Think Again" by Ron Ashkenas.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Getting Mentors to Support Your Learning from a Variety of Perspectives

As a leader, are you accessing mentors who can provide you with a variety of perspectives?

Many of the jobs that Baby Boomers will vacate over the next two decades will go to up-coming new leaders.  The right mentors can help you improve the quality of your learning along the way. Consider contacting the following types of people to serve as your mentors:
  • A senior executive with experience in an area where your school/organization is focusing. These people can help you develop a big-picture mind-set.
  • A high-performing peer. Gain a broader perspective within your field by asking a highly-effective peer to be a mentor for you.
  • A person whom you serve. . Get into your parents' / clients' shoes and see how the school/organization looks from the standpoint of those being served by it.

Adapted from Guide to Getting the Mentoring You Need (HBR OnPoint Collection).

Friday, 30 March 2012

Balancing Motivation and Follow Through for Yourself

As a leader, how do you balance the need to self-motivate vs. follow through?

When approaching a difficult task—getting to the gym, writing an important presentation, attending to an issue in your workplace — you may chide yourself for lacking motivation to get it done. However, it's often not a question of motivation, but follow through. You may want to do the task—you know it's important—but your brain talks you out of it. You tell yourself you can do it tomorrow or you have more urgent things to do. Don't let your mind sabotage your aspirations. Make a specific decision about what you want to do - by a fixed time - and then don't question it. Tell yourself: I will work out tomorrow at 6 AM or I will finish the presentation by Tuesday at 1 PM. If your mind starts to argue with you, ignore it.

Adapted from "Your Problem Isn't Motivation" by Peter Bregman.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Are you Mentoring? If not, why not?

As a leader, are you mentoring the next generation of leaders?

It's rewarding to become a mentor and it's a role that every leader should take on. But you can't take every young, aspiring leader under your wing. Ask yourself these three questions to choose the right protégé:
  • How motivated is the mentee? Assess the reasons for the junior person's drive to become a leader. Your mentee has to be motivated if you're going to have a successful relationship.  Do your values align? 
  • How far is there to go? Where is the mentee in terms of experience versus where she wants to be? You should take someone on with developmental gaps that you can help fill.
  • Do I have the relevant experience and time? You never want to shortchange a mentoring relationship. Be sure you can effectively support the mentee in terms of knowledge and effort.  Remember, you're 'serving' be ready to provide the time, energy, and skills needed to help.

Adapted from "Get the Mentoring Equation Right" by Whitney Johnson.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Planning Strategically for Meetings

As a leader, are you planning strategically for your meetings?

From the moment you send a meeting invite, as the meeting organizer you are responsible for setting the right tone and making the meeting a success. Here are three things you should do before people get in the room:
  • Clarify the objective. Make sure people know why they're invited. If it's to make a decision, give participants the time and materials they need to prepare.
  • Prep important people. Talk with key participants about agenda items ahead of time. You may hear insights that could change how you run the meeting.
  • Include everyone who needs to be there.  Think carefully about who needs to be there.  Who truly cares about the topics?  Who has valuable knowledge insights?  Who might bring valuable divergent thinking to the group?
  • Expect full participation. Ask attendees to do their homework, come with relevant materials, and show up ready to contribute.

Adapted from Guide to Project Management (HBR OnPoint Collection).

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Committing to Continuous Personal Growth

As a leader, how have you committed to continuous personal growth?

Early in your career, you may ask mentors to help you with specific skills. But as you face mid-career challenges, you need mentoring that's tailored to your individual strengths and learning goals. And, you need mentors who can increase your access to leader-learning opportunities. Work with advisers who can help you take the skills you've honed in your current role and apply them to broader challenges in order to increase your effectiveness. Attract these mentors by demonstrating your experience and articulating your eagerness and commitment to continuous personal growth.

Adapted from Guide to Getting the Mentoring You Need (Harvard Business Review Press).

Monday, 26 March 2012

Say Less and Convey More

As a leader, did you keep your communications concise and focused on your key messages?

When you're giving a presentation and nervousness kicks in, it's tough to be brief. But, your audience expects you to state your conclusion and stand behind it, not ramble on aimlessly. You can only do that if you zero in on the purpose. When you prepare for your talk, work backwards. Before you put anything down on paper, know the key messages you want your audience to remember. Ask yourself: If my presentation were 30 seconds instead of 30 minutes, what would I say? Force yourself to summarize your key points. Once you've done that, think through what other information you'll need to support that point and build your presentation from there.  Remember.....less is more.

Adapted from "In Presentations, Learn to Say Less" by Ron Ashkenas.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Providing Effective Feedback

As a leader, how effective are you are providing feedback?

Feedback is problematic. Leaders often dislike giving it and the members of your staff rarely get enough to help them learn and to change their behaviors. But feedback, both positive and negative, is an important tool for learning, effective work, and career growth. Next time you talk with someone about their performance, follow these four steps:
  • Be specific. Feedback needs to be actionable. Use concrete examples to back up your observations. Avoid generalizations. Instead, describe the behavior clearly and specifically.
  • State the impact. Tell the person how his behavior is affecting you, the team, or the school/organization.
  • Prescribe. Be specific about what needs to change. Often employees won't know what to change unless you tell them.  Be sure to check for understanding.  Does your staff member truly understand what you expect of them?
  • Do it often. Get in the habit of praising good performance and identifying troublesome behavior.

Adapted from Guide to Giving Effective Feedback (HBR OnPoint Collection).

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Using Clear, Precise Language

As a leader, are you using clear, precise language.....or filler?

Meaningless phrases, such as "To be honest" and "Like I said," or euphemisms often creep up in meetings and presentations. Using these expressions undermines your credibility. Try replacing this filler language with meaning by doing the following:
  • Switch from conditional to declarative. Couching statements with phrases like "I believe" or "We think" weakens your argument. Strengthen your points by cutting to the chase. If you must use the conditional, try the stronger "We're confident" or "We expect."
  • Be positive. Negative statements sound defensive and fail to provide information. Instead of saying "What we're not is…" tell your audience exactly what you are.
  • Lose the euphemisms.  Use clear, precise language that means something to participants.  Euphemisms suggest that you're unsure or you're hedging.   

Adapted from "Replace Meaningless Words with Meaningful Ones" by Jerry Weissman.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Working On What Really Matters to You

As a leader, how do you know if you are truly working on what matters most?

Do you truly understand how you spend your time? Most people assume they dedicate more hours to strategic work than they actually do. Look back on the past month in your calendar. Add up the time you spent on your strategic priorities. Was it enough? It's likely less than you thought. That's because most people tend to do the most urgent things instead of the most meaningful things. Identify your top five priorities for the coming year, and each month make sure you spend enough time on those priorities. If you don't, it's time to cancel some meetings and build in time for the things that matter.

Adapted from "Make Time for Time" by Anthony K. Tjan.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Building Capacity by Giving Away Responsibility

As a leader, do you build capacity by giving things away?

Entrusting the responsibility for a project to someone else can be tough. But if you don't rely on others, you'll always end up doing everything yourself...and you don't build capacity within your school/organization.  Essentially, you'll shortchange those who could learn by taking on new tasks. Once you delegate something, don't be tempted to micromanage the process. Agree on the expected outcomes and just let go. If you've asked a team member to take care of an important presentation, don't spend endless time on edits and corrections. Be clear on the parameters and remove yourself so she can do it her way, not yours. This is much more efficient than taking over, and the end product will likely be better.

Remember.....great leaders are always trying to do themselves out of a job.

Adapted from "Be More Productive by Making Better Daily Choices" by Ana Dutra.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Ensuring Better Attendance at Meetings

As a leader, how might you ensure better attendance at meetings?

No matter how well you've prepared your meeting, things will go wrong. One of the more common disruptions is attendees showing up late. If people belatedly walk in, try these three things:
  • Don't recap. Resist the temptation to catch up latecomers. Keep moving forward. You can update them afterward.
  • Assign a job. If you sense someone might be late, give her something to do during the meeting. If she has a job, she's more likely to show up on time.
  • Walk him there. Physically help a chronic latecomer get to the meeting. Stop by his desk at the appointed time and ask if you can walk together.  It's the courteous and respectful way to do it.

Adapted from Guide to Making Every Meeting Matter.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Reducing Fear of Public Speaking

As a leader, how effective are you when speaking in public?

All leaders need to speak to groups small and large.  Good preparation reduces performance anxiety. Next time you need to present to an audience, follow these four steps:
  • Be confident in your topic. Your audience already believes that you're the expert, so don't try to bluff. If the people you're presenting to feel you're unsure of your material, they'll lose trust in you.
  • Imagine questions people might ask. Construct answers before you give your presentation. Either incorporate the answers into your presentation or be ready to provide them during Q&A.
  • Memorize the first minute of your presentation. You experience your greatest anxiety at the beginning of a presentation. Knowing the opening of your presentation will give you a good start.
  • Once done, look back.  Once you're done, reflect on what you accomplished.  What went really well that you can do again another time?  What might you change next time you need to speak?

Adapted from Guide to Persuasive Presentations (HBR OnPoint Collection).

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Engaging with Social Media - Do It...but Wisely

As a leader, are you wisely engaged with social media? 

Social media is not just for socializing. When handled correctly, you can use it to enhance yourself personally, establish your expertise, engage in learning, or demonstrate your digital fluency. Commit to using social media for professional reasons but be proactive about managing your activity and image. Consider what potential employers or colleagues will see—you don't want them to discover only pictures of you and your dog, or worse. Make sure at a minimum you have a LinkedIn - or similar - account with a completed profile. Try tweeting or blogging about your area of expertise, thereby creating content that others can forward, retweet, or repost. This can help you establish yourself as an expert and a leader who is truly passionate about your work.  As well, be sure to access the knowledge of others who are also engaged!

Adapted from "Boost Your Career with Social Media: Tips for the Uninitiated" by Amy Gallo.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Leading Meetings When No One Wants to Talk

As a leader, how do you handle meetings when participants don't want to speak up?

Discussions during meetings can be feast or famine. Either you can't get a word in edgewise or no one speaks up. Next time your meeting falls silent, try these tactics:
  • Let it be. Wait a moment before breaking the silence and offering a suggestion. The group may need time to reflect on an idea.
  • Name it. Call out what's happening, and ask the group about it, "It seems we've gone quiet. Does anyone want to talk about what's going on?"
  • Take a break. Sometimes a short break gives people the chance to refocus.
  • Think facilitation.  Rethink the processes used in your meetings.  Do your meetings included facilitated discussions?  If not, this might be just what you need to balance the amount of conversation.

Adapted from Guide to Making Every Meeting Matter (HBR OnPoint Collection).