slidedown

Read Less and Listen More to Be a Better Leader

Posted on July 29, 2015 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Leadership

Blue and Silver MicrophoneSometimes you can learn more from listening than you can from reading. I know I’ve been asking you to do a lot of reading lately so today I’m changing it up and giving your eyeballs a rest. Instead I’m going to give your ears something to do with a bunch of interviews you can listen to in the spirit of becoming a better leader.

Lately Victor Prince and I have been fortunate enough to have been interviewed by some really smart people about our new book Lead Inside the Box: How Smart Leaders Guide Their Teams to Exceptional Results. In this post I’d like to share several of those interviews with you where we talk about things like leading the team you’ve got, how leadership is like value investing, and how to improve how you’re allocating your time and energy.

So sit back, relax, grab a glass of wine (unless you’re at work – no wine), and listen to some fun and interesting interviews.

The Investor’s Podcast

This podcast answers the following questions:
– How can you be more efficient in how you invest your time and energy?
– How do stock investors assess the performance of leadership?

Red Cape Revolution

Darcy Eikenberg and Mike Figliuolo explore how to assess the members of your team and improve their performance.

Read More…

Simple Leadership Techniques That Save You Time

Posted on July 27, 2015 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Leadership

Alarm ClockLeaders are tired of simply being told to “do better” and instead they hunger for practical and simple guidance on how to do that. Learn some simple techniques for being a better leader and saving time in the process.

Today’s post is part two of a longer interview conducted by Wally Bock. (You can read Part 1 here). Today he interviews Mike Figliuolo about his new book Lead Inside the Box: How Smart Leaders Guide Their Teams to Exceptional Results (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

Wally Bock: You talk about giving leaders some really simple strategies. Now, I ‘m a little new on your Lead Inside the Box method but I’ve heard in this particular song before. What’s an example of a really simple strategy?

Mike Figliuolo: One example of a simple strategy is we have one archetype called a Squeaky Wheel, which is where you’re investing a lot of leadership capital in them because they’re knocking on your door, asking you questions, and asking for decisions when these are all things they could do on their own. But they’re turning out high results.

Your goal there is to keep getting the same result but spend less time with them. We need to make him more self-sufficient. The strategy we recommend is what we call ‘weaning.’ You should wean them from the amount of support you give. We offer suggestions on how you wean them. Things like ‘Wally is my squeaky wheel and he comes to my office and asks me, ‘hey boss, what do you think?’

One of the simple techniques we advocate is ‘well what am I going to tell you to do Wally?’ Wally replies ‘You’re going to tell me to do this.’ You should then reply ‘Then go do that. You don’t need my guidance here.’

Simple techniques like that that help you understand not only do you need to wean that person from your support but also the simple techniques for doing that. The book is full of those types of simple approaches that are going to change behavior.

WB: I’m pretty sure that it is. I’ve seen the stuff that you write. I’d probably believe that part about ‘lots of practical parts.’

MF: Yeah, I’m a simple guy. I’m a very simple guy. If you can’t read it and go, ‘oh, I know how to go do this right now,’ then I’ve made it too complicated. I’m not into big massive theories. I prefer to make something practical.

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How comfortable are you asking questions you don’t know the answers to?

Posted on July 23, 2015 | No Comments
Categories: Innovation, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: How comfortable are you asking questions you don’t know the answers to?

– Very — I have no problem asking questions about any topic: 84.4%
– Somewhat — I don’t do it very often: 13.42%
– Not very — I tend to only ask questions I know the answer to: 1.34%
– Not at all — I avoid asking questions as much as possible: .84%

Questions lead to insight. Early in our careers, we’re trained to always have the answer. As we assume larger leadership roles, it is imperative that we lead the thinking rather than leading the work. Doing so effectively requires you to ask the questions you don’t know the answers to. In so doing, you can take the team beyond their current understanding of the world and lead them to explore new ideas, new opportunities, and new risks.

Do you agree with these poll results? Let us know in the comments below!

Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC

Did you enjoy this post?  If so, I highly encourage you to take about 30 seconds to become a regular subscriber to this blog.  It’s free, fun, practical, and only a few emails a week (I promise!).  SIGN UP HERE to get the thoughtLEADERS blog conveniently delivered right to your inbox!

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The Mistake Leaders Make When Trying to be Fair

Posted on July 22, 2015 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Leadership

Scales of JusticeEvery leader wants to be fair to their team members. Unfortunately many leaders make a very simple mistake when thinking about and acting on fairness.  Once they make a simple mental shift, they can truly be fair to all the members of their team.

Today’s post is taken from a longer interview conducted by Wally Bock. If you’ve never read Wally’s work, I highly encourage you to check it out. Today he interviews Mike Figliuolo about his new book Lead Inside the Box: How Smart Leaders Guide Their Teams to Exceptional Results (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

Wally: Your newest book is ‘Lead Inside The Box,’ which I think is an interesting title. So, how did you come to write it? Why did you write a second book? And what’s the title all about?

Mike: We constantly hear in our teaching and our coaching practice that leaders are saying they’re too busy, they’re too pressured, and they don’t have time. They’re also talking about the increased expectations that are being placed on them and their teams. The notion of the core framework of the book is all about how to be a more efficient and effective leader. It seemed to us like this book was going to solve a very pressing need in the market.

WB: Do you have any indication that it is actually doing that?

MF: I would say based on all the reviews we’re getting on Amazon and Goodreads it is. People are saying this is a great approach because it’s simple, it’s actionable, it’s practical, and it makes sense.

They also are saying what’s different about it is so many leadership books out there look at the individual team member and say, ‘Well there’s the problem! It’s that person.’ What we’re saying is ‘That’s not the problem. How about we look at the leader’s behavior as well and see how that can drive the problem?’

That’s one of the big insights that comes out of the book – saying you as the leader are contributing to the issues if things aren’t going well and there are things you can do to make things better.

WB: You went to West Point and served in the Army for a while. Does any of that connect to this?

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The World’s Newest Approach for Being a Great Leader

Posted on July 20, 2015 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Leadership

Lead Inside the BoxLooking for an edge? Or perhaps a way to get out from under that crushing pressure that pounds on you day after day? If you’re tired of complex tools and approaches to being a better leader, you’ll be thrilled with the world’s newest approach to leading your team more effectively.

IT’S FINALLY HERE! Our new book Lead Inside the Box: How Smart Leaders Guide Their Teams to Exceptional Results OFFICIALLY launches today!

Yes, I’m totally allowed to write in all caps and shout about it. Writing and launching a book is a ton of hard work and long hours. It’s both exciting and a huge relief when it finally hits the market (officially).  This post has a lot of great info on the book (and a special treat or two hidden within so read the whole thing).

If you’re new to the blog, check out posts over the last few months to learn what the book is about. If you’re a regular reader, I hope all the excerpts up until now have piqued your interest enough to buy a copy.  Heck, it’s only ten bucks. Seriously. $10. Isn’t your career and entire professional future worth $10?

I’d like to thank my co-author Victor Prince for inviting me to be part of this book. It was his original idea and I obviously thought it was a great one. We hope you will too.

Rather than making you read a bunch more about it, here’s a quick video explanation of what it’s about. Enjoy!

And here’s a familiar picture of the core framework – the Leadership Matrix – that sits behind the method. We’re sure you’ll recognize some of the people on this matrix:

Read More…

Do you consider your team to be high-performing?

Posted on July 16, 2015 | 1 Comment
Categories: Entrepreneur, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: Do you consider your team to be high-performing?

– Absolutely — we’re a very high-performing team: 41.84%
– Kind of — we have moments of high performance: 47.11%
– Not really — we rarely have high-performing moments: 6.05%
– Definitely not — this team needs a lot of improvement: 5%

Be deliberate about high performance. Sometimes you get lucky and find yourself with a high-performing set of superstars on your team. More often than not, that’s not the case. If you want to get your team to be high-performing, you need to take deliberate steps to get them to that level. Things like succession planning, setting a vision, allocating work, and creating development opportunities will go a long way to upping your team’s game but you have to perform these activities rigorously, regularly, and in an intentional manner.

Do you agree with these poll results? Let us know in the comments below!

Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC

Did you enjoy this post?  If so, I highly encourage you to take about 30 seconds to become a regular subscriber to this blog.  It’s free, fun, practical, and only a few emails a week (I promise!).  SIGN UP HERE to get the thoughtLEADERS blog conveniently delivered right to your inbox!

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Powerful Techniques for Oiling That Squeaky Wheel on Your Team

Posted on July 15, 2015 | 1 Comment
Categories: Books, Leadership

Antique Oil CanWe’ve all dealt with that “Squeaky Wheel” who constantly abuses our open door policy. Your task as a leader is to make them more self-sufficient so you can get more of your own work done.

Squeaky Wheels can be a huge time sink. You can either tolerate their interruptions or change their behaviors. In our new book Lead Inside the Box: How Smart Leaders Guide Their Teams to Exceptional Results (CLICK HERE to get your copy), we share the following techniques for how you can wean a Squeaky Wheel from needing so much of your time.  Here’s an excerpt from the book to illustrate the approach. First a story, then the techniques…

Regina the Squeaky Wheel

Stepping into an operating role was a big move for Regina. Prior to taking her new job at the bank, she’d been a consultant at a global firm. She had been a high performer there – she was analytical, driven, and got along well with clients.

Regina’s new role at the bank was both exciting and intimidating. She was responsible for four associates focused on business improvement analysis projects and had dotted line responsibility for a call center operations group of fifteen people who executed her team’s ideas.

Gail hired Regina because of her analytical skills. Regina always found insightful ways to crack problems others couldn’t solve. Her role’s operational and leadership aspects, however, intimidated Regina.

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How a Reorganization Became a Leadership Disaster

Posted on July 13, 2015 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Leadership

Organization ChartReorganizations are usually painful and ugly – but they don’t have to be. If you’re thoughtful about how you place talent during a transition, things can be great. Fail to do so, however, and you’re headed for disaster.

If you’re tasked with leading a team through a reorg, you need to tread carefully. It’s easy to get caught up in all the operational changes and miss the much larger – and costlier – people impacts.

In our new book Lead Inside the Box: How Smart Leaders Guide Their Teams to Exceptional Results (CLICK HERE to get your copy), we share the following perspectives on how you can successfully avoid a reorg leadership disaster.

Quite often, departments are combined, split, or a team’s purpose is redefined. Reorganizations are disquieting. Leaders in this role face several challenges the Leadership Matrix (pictured) can help them overcome. It’s a tool my co-author, Victor Prince, and I developed after a couple of combined decades of helping clients navigate exactly this kind of situation.

First, leaders have to evaluate the performance of team members with whom they haven’t worked before. This is done by answering a few simple questions based on knowledge of that individual’s performance. Second, as responsibilities change, a team member who was a high performer on one set of tasks might find themselves struggling with their new role. The Leadership Matrix makes it easier for leaders to assess these new team dynamics and apply their energy appropriately.

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How frequently do you use storytelling to lead people?

Posted on July 9, 2015 | No Comments
Categories: Communications, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: How frequently do you use storytelling to influence and lead people?

– All the time — I’m constantly telling stories: 45.03%
– Sometimes — I tell a story on occasion: 43.91%
– Rarely — I’m not known for telling stories: 9.29%
– Never — I don’t use stories at all to lead: 1.76%

Use the power of stories. Influencing and leading through stories is a tremendously powerful skill. While some may think storytelling is too much of an art or a soft skill, it’s actually a simple process and a skill you can readily build. Find examples of great stories and pay attention to how they’re crafted. The better you are at telling compelling stories, the more effective you’ll be as a leader.

Do you agree with these poll results? Let us know in the comments below!

Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC

Did you enjoy this post?  If so, I highly encourage you to take about 30 seconds to become a regular subscriber to this blog.  It’s free, fun, practical, and only a few emails a week (I promise!).  SIGN UP HERE to get the thoughtLEADERS blog conveniently delivered right to your inbox!

Read More…

The Real Problem With Your Team Might Be You

Posted on July 8, 2015 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Leadership

Are you tired of your team members not performing well and driving you crazy?  There’s a fix for that. It begins with realizing it’s probably all your fault…

All too often we blame performance issues on our team members.  After all, they’re the ones driving us crazy.

But that’s not fair. Leaders need to understand that they’re driving that poor performance in some way.

In our new book Lead Inside the Box: How Smart Leaders Guide Their Teams to Exceptional Results (CLICK HERE to get your copy), we share the following perspectives. Here’s an excerpt to help you tackle this awareness issue.

For some newly-minted leaders, making the shift from delivering the work to working through others to deliver results feels like they’ve gone from pulling all the strings to pushing a rope. If they can’t get their team members to do the job exactly the way they would do it, they may be tempted to micromanage or, even worse, do the work themselves.

But now that they have more that they’re responsible for, they can’t do it all. If they take that approach, they’ll burn themselves out and fail to deliver the results they desire and the organization expects. Your scarcest resource is the time and energy available for you to invest in leading your team – your leadership capital. To get the most out of your team without burning yourself out, invest your leadership capital wisely. To do so, figure out where to invest it in your team members to achieve the greatest results for your efforts.

Different types of team members require different amounts and types of leadership capital from you.

Read More…

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