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…

3 Keys to Move from Boss to Leader

Posted on July 6, 2015 | 1 Comment
Categories: Books, Guest Blogger, Leadership

People Leadership by Gina FolkThere’s a big difference between being a boss and being a leader. Using three simple yet key approaches can make all the difference in helping you make that shift.

Today’s post is by Gina Folk, author of People Leadership: 30 Strategies to Ensure Your Team’s Success (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

During a recent business trip, I was sitting on a plane leafing through a left-behind copy of the Tampa Bay Times when this headline in the “Career Q&A” section spurred my curiosity: “Put bad boss behind you ASAP.” The person who had submitted the question was asking for advice about a “boss from hell” (referred to as “Cheryl”) who chewed out employees on a regular basis, blamed staff for her mistakes, and took credit for others’ accomplishments. This individual went on to explain that the entire executive staff of her organization modeled this same behavior.

The columnist’s advice was simple: “put the bad boss behind you ASAP.”

Perhaps not the worst idea, considering how pervasive this poisonous culture the inquirer was describing appeared to be in their workplace. However, I couldn’t help but ponder what might be possible if this same dialogue happened between “Cheryl” and the columnist. What if Cheryl realized her faults and wrote in asking for advice on how to put her inner bad boss behind her ASAP?

After thinking on this question for a while, I came up with some answers I would offer Cheryl if given the chance. Here are three actions she could embrace in order to go from “boss from hell” to “leader from heaven:”

Read More…

How well do you balance the workload across your team?

Posted on July 2, 2015 | No Comments
Categories: Business Toolkit, Entrepreneur, Leadership, Poll, Project Management

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: How well do you balance the workload among the members of your team?

– Very well — work is allocated fairly and effectively: 28.57%
– Well — work allocations are fair for the most part: 61.9%
– Not well — work allocations are often unfair and ineffective: 7.79%
– Poorly — I have a great deal of difficulty allocating work: 1.73%

5 Considerations for Work Allocation. Balancing workload across your team is tricky business. As you do so, you need to consider 5 major aspects of workload distribution before you dole out assignments: priority, skill, availability, professional development, and personal interest. In considering all five of those elements you’ll not only allocate work more efficiently and effectively but you’ll also be building the skills of the members of your team in the process.

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 Secret Key to Being a More Effective Leader

Posted on July 1, 2015 | 3 Comments
Categories: Books, Leadership

Hourglass Running Out of TimeOne of the biggest challenges leaders face is determining where to expend their limited time, focus, and energy. All too often, they spend a great deal of that “leadership capital” on people development efforts that yield limited results.

Since time is a limited resource, one key element of improving a leader’s results is to change where they spend their time and how they focus their energy.

My colleague Victor Prince and I have a solution to that problem – the “secret key” for being a more efficient and effective leader. It’s called the Leadership Matrix. It’s the basis for our new book Lead Inside the Box: How Smart Leaders Guide Their Teams to Exceptional Results (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

The Leadership Matrix provides leaders a method to get the best out of their teams by better focusing their leadership efforts and tailoring their approach to the unique needs of each individual team member. A simple framework in the form of a matrix that compares leadership inputs (time, energy, and effort) with employee outputs (business results) provides the structure for outlining four common types of employee behaviors that have widely different development needs. Each behavioral “type” comprises a “box” in the matrix.

20150410 Leadership Matrix


Exemplars are the stars of your team who produce the best and most results while requiring little direction or supervision from you. Your overarching leadership goal for this box is retention.

“The Rising Star” – The Rising Stars are fast rising talents. They have radically, and noticeably, improved how their jobs are done. Leadership Strategy – “Promote Internally” You acknowledge their reliable performance and reduce the amount of supervision you are providing them.

Read More…

9 Reasons Your LinkedIn Profile Views Dropped and Best Ways to Fix It

Posted on June 29, 2015 | No Comments
Categories: Career, Guest Blogger, Social Media

LinkedIn LogoAre you experiencing profile view dropped on your LinkedIn Profile?  These 9 reasons your profile views dropped will help provide the fixes you need.

Today’s post is by Lisa Rangel – an Executive Resume Writer and Official LinkedIn Moderator at

LinkedIn can be a truly powerful tool for creating meaningful business connections across the world and has helped thousands of people and companies find each other.  However, in order to be discovered on LinkedIn by companies in search of new talent, you need to make sure your profile is as visible as possible.

One problem experienced by many users is a drop in page views.  This means that there aren’t as many people or companies taking a look at your skills or talents which will then translate into fewer offers for interviews and it could even mean you are bypassed for a position that would have just been perfect for you.

Take a look at the following reasons for the possible cause and make the necessary changes to get your profile seen again by the right individuals.

You have not used all the skills allowed. LinkedIn allows you to include up to 50 different skills in your profile so you can truly show prospective employers what you are made of.  One of the biggest mistakes many people make when setting up their LinkedIn profile is not including as many different skills as possible.  If an employer searches for a specific skill and you have not listed it on your profile, you will not show up in the search results.

Read More…

7 Tips for Dealing With Irate Customers

Posted on June 29, 2015 | No Comments
Categories: Communications, Customer Service, Guest Blogger, Sales, Training

Salesman Yelling into PhoneDealing with angry customers can be one of the greatest challenges you face.  Here are 7 tips for dealing with those difficult situations gracefully and effectively.

Today’s post is by Mark Goulston, author of Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

One of the things that all irate customers have in common is that they have an attitude that says “I rate better service than this and now that I have you on the phone, you’re going to pay for it!” And one of the other things about them that gets to you is you feel unjustly accused of having done this to them and that can make it difficult to remain calm.

That is why the first three tips are about ways to remain or regain your calm and the final four about what to do next.

1. 3 Strikes and You’re Calm – 1. Think of the first thing you want to say or do in response to an irate customer (which is about defending or protecting yourself). Don’t do it, take a breath and exhale. 2. Then think of the second thing you want to say or do (which is about retaliating). Don’t do that, take a breath and exhale. 3. And finally think of the third thing you want to do (which is about finding a solution) and do that.

2. Assume innocence – Unless you are dealing with a truly evil person, assume that nothing is going right in the person’s life and they have chosen this interaction with you to displace all their frustration as a way of not taking it personally when it is meant for your company or product and not you.

Read More…

How well do you take to being a team member on your team?

Posted on June 25, 2015 | 1 Comment
Categories: Entrepreneur, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: How well do you take to being “just a team member” and working alongside your team?

-Very well — I easily transition into the role of team member: 58.76%
-Well — sometimes I transition easily but other times I’m challenged: 34.4%
-Not well — I have difficulty changing my mindset and being a team member: 5.77%
-Poorly — I actively resist situations where I have to work alongside my team: 1.07%

Welcome to the team. It’s easy to forget what it’s like to be a team member when you spend most of your days leading that team. If you have difficulty stepping into a team role and letting someone else lead, you’re missing out on a great opportunity. There are huge benefits to regularly assuming a team member role including better understanding the work your team does and building stronger relationships with the members of the team. So every once in a while, free yourself of the mantle of leadership, roll up your sleeves, and join the team.

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…

How to Use Your Power to Make Things Right

Posted on June 22, 2015 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Guest Blogger, Leadership, Strategy

Man Holding Lightning Bolt in FistYou have the ability to wield great power in your organization. A great purpose for doing so is promoting fairness and equality.

Today’s post is by Ron Carucci, author of Rising to Power (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

“It’s not fair” is probably one of the greatest laments of organizational life. People see advancement and compensation decisions, performance ratings, organizational configurations and resource allocations, and scratch their heads often unable to reconcile those choices with the principles and policies the organization claims to live by.

Here is the risk for you as an executive: when people participating in any communal activity (like an organization, a school, or a nation) believe that their contribution matters and they will be rewarded accordingly, they commit differentiated effort to the cause. However, when they have been conditioned to expect capricious leadership, and rewards distributed to a privileged group despite their lack of contribution, they withdraw trust and minimize their contribution – doing the least amount to get by safely without being singled out.   So it behooves executives to shape their leadership around justice and meritocracy to the fullest extent possible, even if that means unseating long standing mediocre performers and shifting resources to those leaders and businesses with the greatest promise of success.

Somewhere in the organization you lead are stories of injustice; poor performance that has been over-rewarded and great performance that has been under-valued.   See your positional power as a resource that, while unable to right all of the wrongs of the past, can resolve not to perpetuate them, and can shift your organization to one people can trust and participate in confidently.

Read More…

How good are you at motivating yourself through challenging times?

Posted on June 18, 2015 | No Comments
Categories: Balanced Lifestyle, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: How good are you at motivating yourself through challenging times?

– Extremely — challenging times simply aren’t challenging for me: 8.95%
– Very — I’m able to easily motivate myself through challenges: 53.04%
– Somewhat — I can get through tough times but it takes work: 33.11%
– Not very — I struggle through challenging times: 4.39%
– Not at all — I need a lot of help from others to overcome challenges: .51%

Leaders must lead themselves. We’ll all face adversity on a regular basis. As leaders, there aren’t many people there to pick us up and motivate us through those challenges so that task falls on our own shoulders. The fastest way to pick yourself up is to establish a touchstone phrase or memory that can quickly reorient your thinking from “woe is me” to “let’s get moving.” The faster you’re able to reorient yourself, the faster you can get your team moving in a productive direction as well.

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…

3 Secrets to Hiring Stars for Your High Performing Team

Posted on June 17, 2015 | 2 Comments
Categories: Career, Entrepreneur, Leadership, Training

Crane Picker Selecting a Candidate for RecruitingIf you recruit and hire well, the odds of your team performing well go up dramatically. There are three key considerations for making sure you’re hiring well.  If you follow these principles, you should end up with a highly-talented team much faster than you would building it from scratch.

One of the most exciting aspects of building a high performing team is recruiting people to be members of that team. There’s nothing better than finding that really talented person who wants to come work with you.

As you think about doing this recruiting and finding the right people, first you need to understand how to create role descriptions based on the team skill needs. Next, you need to think about hiring from non-traditional sources, based on skill sets rather than experience. Last, when you’re hiring somebody, don’t just think about the role you’re hiring them into, but think one role ahead so those people have headroom to grow when they join your team.

Experience-Based Versus Skill-Based Job Descriptions

Experience-based role descriptions might sound like “The individual must have five years of experience on a small business credit union underwriting team working at a small, mid-Atlantic community bank with multiple branches.” That’s a really specific description and there are very few people who probably meet those requirements. By writing a description that way, you’ve shrunk the recruiting base that you can find somebody in, and, by the way, those experiences might not be relevant to the skills the team needs.

Instead, write skill-based job descriptions. Read More…

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