The Lead Yourself First Blog

The Five Biggest Credibility Killers Leaders Can’t Ignore

Deborah is a senior marketing manager for a renowned home care services organization. I have known her and several members of her executive group for more than a decade. Over the past year she has witnessed growing discontent amongst the core leadership team, a dedicated group that pioneered significant initiatives to innovate and grow the business. During their last management meeting, frustrations reached a crescendo when the VP of HR reported on the findings of the previous month’s exit interviews. Continue reading “The Five Biggest Credibility Killers Leaders Can’t Ignore”

The Value Of Business Relationships: One Constant In A Changing World

“I’m not a people person.” I will never forget hearing those words during a leadership workshop I was facilitating, nor will I forget the newly appointed manager who uttered them. The shocking truth is that according to the extensive Gallup study of 2.5 million manager-led teams in 195 countries, organizations fail to select the right person for the role of manager over 80% of the time.

Imagine the consequences for your employees, customers, and overall business success when a leader lacks critical acumen regarding the value of human-to-human connection. Continue reading “The Value Of Business Relationships: One Constant In A Changing World”

@remaining humble: Remembering the Founder of Email

Last week the world lost a real pioneer; a man who transformed communication and revolutionized the way we do business. Ray Tomlinson, the inventor of email and the creator of the “@” symbol, was described as “humble, kind and generous with his time and talents”. Mr. Tomlinson spent almost 50 years with the same employer, the Raytheon Company (formerly known as BBN Technologies). He worked there until his death. Joyce Kuzman, a Raytheon spokesperson, said of Tomlinson “people just loved to work with him…He was just a really nice, down-to-earth good guy.” Paradoxically, unlike the millions who frequently use his invention today, Mr. Tomlinson was not addicted to email. Continue reading “@remaining humble: Remembering the Founder of Email”

Ladder reaching up into the sky

Leadership Lesson: Look for the Good!

“She’s always whining,”  “He’s retired on the job”,  “Not worth the trouble trying to motivate her”,  etc. etc.

When it comes to managing employees who have seemingly tuned out, shut down and stopped contributing, it is easy to understand why leaders and managers become frustrated, abandon hope of a turnaround, and give their attention to the more engaged team members. After all, dwelling on the negative employee is an energy drain, hinders our effectiveness and takes a toll on managing higher priorities.

As leaders, most of us agree that managing difficult people is challenging. The usual default position of leaders who give up on unproductive employees is based on the premise that they are simply too much work. However, can we be certain that our summation is entirely accurate? Continue reading “Leadership Lesson: Look for the Good!”

Are you a Positive Influencer or a Chronic Complainer? Choose wisely.

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of meeting and working with an association that invited me to speak at their annual conference on the subject of influence. Although their membership is extremely diverse, the common denominator for all their members is the fact that they are in a position to profoundly impact their leaders, clients and co-workers on a daily basis. They were keen to learn more about the art and science of influence, and what struck a chord with me was the fact that they were passionate about making a positive difference in their respective workplaces. Continue reading “Are you a Positive Influencer or a Chronic Complainer? Choose wisely.”

The art of asking questions – Your biggest communication asset

Mark always prided himself as an exceptional negotiator and communicator, yet during a recent performance review with an employee, he was accused of reneging on a promotion offered during a conversation several months prior. Mark recalled the initial discussion, however both parties had a different understanding regarding the timeline for the promotion to take effect. His employee requested that a union representative also attend the performance review and Mark was informed in advance that a grievance would be filed should the matter remain unresolved.
Continue reading “The art of asking questions – Your biggest communication asset”

Business people asleep at a meeting

Three ways to elevate your influence and energize your client relationships

After enduring almost an hour of suffering, the convener finally called the meeting to a close. Attention spans had been stretched to the limit, the opportunity to reach consensus had failed and the client’s frustration levels soared to new heights. If this scenario sounds familiar, you are not alone. 

Continue reading “Three ways to elevate your influence and energize your client relationships”

Three strategies to respond positively to negative feedback

“You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar”…Anon

If you have ever been at the receiving end of criticism, either from a co-worker or manager, it is likely you have found yourself struggling to respond positively…or worse, have defaulted to apologizing when you have done nothing wrong. Even if the criticism is warranted or offered inappropriately, you cannot control the other person’s intention, words or delivery. What you can do is respond in a positive fashion while maintaining respect…for yourself and the bearer of disparaging comments. Whether the feedback pertains to your work, your relationship or a specific situation that transpired between both parties, your goal is to rise above the negativity and respond, rather than react. Continue reading “Three strategies to respond positively to negative feedback”

How to tell people at work what you really think of them

ID-10054899Act One Scene One:  Learning a brand new way of implementing: “Don’t get mad, get even.”

During a recent training session regarding workplace relationships, I asked attendees to think of a time when a co-worker, client or manager’s words left them absolutely speechless.  Shock waves filled the room as participants willingly shared their stories. One example in particular threw everyone for a loop. As one of the attendees revealed the details of an encounter with a VP, the workshop discussion quickly heated up as people chimed in with their best comebacks. The collective “you have got to be kidding” sentiment made me think about the importance of knowing how to respond professionally to a disparaging remark in order to keep one’s credibility and composure, as well managing as the ramifications of unpleasant business interactions spiralling out of control.

What were the words that left everyone aghast? Continue reading “How to tell people at work what you really think of them”

Young Business People

Confidence, Composure, Credibility: How to maintain a collaborative spirit at work

It is often said that we spend more time with our work colleagues than our own families. With many of us working long hours, the pressure of juggling multiple tasks, doing more with less and managing mounting stress can often take a toll. In addition, we find ourselves spinning our wheels knowing that we need to be the best versions of ourselves at all times; maintaining a helpful and pleasant demeanor with our internal and external clients alike. However, the ability to work collaboratively while being mindful of our emotions sometimes eludes us for one simple reason: our humanness.

How do we preserve a spirit of cooperation when working with diverse personalities, differences of opinion, clashing values and varied interpretations of priorities?  How is it possible to rise above the small stuff and remain focused on the big picture? The answer lies in leading yourself first in all relationships, professional and personal, by honing these skills: Continue reading “Confidence, Composure, Credibility: How to maintain a collaborative spirit at work”