Latest "Leadership" Posts
Listening … it is the most used communication skill but is the least taught. We often assume that we are good at listening. But, are we?
Have you ever been on a conference call and realized that everyone was waiting for your response to a question you didn’t hear? Have you tried to tell someone the key outcomes of a meeting that you attended, and realized you missed out on important information (maybe, while you were handling an emergency via e-mail)?
We actually cannot listen well unless we remove the barriers to listening:
1. Multi-tasking – Also referred to as “switch-tasking” because the brain was not designed to perform two tasks simultaneously, this barrier to listening is the easiest to address. If you need to focus on something other than the conversation, make an intentional decision — you may need to reschedule a meeting, or if it is an informal exchange, you may say, “Excuse me for one moment, so I can take care of this and then give you my full attention.”
Whether our office (and title) resides on the C level or not, influencing is an integral part of our daily lives and perhaps more importantly, our careers. It has been my experience, that no matter what your title or circumstance, you have the power to influence those around you in a negative or positive way. I have identified four traits that give you influence whether you have the job title or not – likability, strong relationships, expertise and inspiration.
Because we are all familiar with him, let’s take a look at one famous face who recently bestowed his influence on the people of the United States.
Pope Francis recently visited the U.S. for the first time and was welcomed with fanfare more often associated with a rock star than the leader of the Catholic Church.
At a conference last month, I sat next to a professionally dressed and extremely articulate young man who’d recently been hired as COO of a medical services company.
“What are your biggest challenges?” I asked him.
He went on to explain that his board of directors was unhappy because profits had plateaued. His R&D staff was not very innovative. The HR systems were not efficient. The IT department was slow to fix issues. And the sales staff was barely meeting quotas. By the time he finished talking, there were few departments in his organization left that hadn’t been targeted for blame.
“So, where does the responsibility for all of these problems lay?” I asked, genuinely curious to hear how he’d answer.
The man silently stared at me for about a minute.
A colleague’s daughter contacted me recently after being passed over twice for a choice promotion. She told me she really wanted to advance in the company, but didn’t seem to have what they were looking for.
“I’m responsible, easy to work with, and really good at my job,” she said to me.
“So what do you think is missing?” I asked … already knowing what she’d say.
She confirmed my suspicions: “I’m just not being perceived as a leader or someone who can effectively manage projects and teams.”
I believe that leadership presence is a combination of character traits and skills that can be learned. People must first identify — and embrace — their areas of strengths and opportunities for growth before embarking on a quest for leadership recognition.
Never before have American workplaces seen such generational diversity – there are Baby Boomers working alongside Generation X and Millennials (aka Generation Y), and even some working past typical retirement age. This wide mix of employee age groups often results in interpersonal conflict and communication issues – from the top management-level down.
The majority of complaints that we hear regarding workplace generational conflict relates to issues managers encounter when working with Millennials (Generation Y) – employees born between 1982-2000.
After a recent workshop at a pharma company on bridging the generational gap, John, a Human Resources Manager, approached our trainer. He told her that he has no issues hiring Millennials, including recent college graduates.
John said his biggest frustration was that he didn’t understand how to encourage Generation Yers to communicate better with their older teammates, and didn’t know how to motivate them to lead – and succeed – at more high-profile projects.