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Dealing With a Steamroller Personality on Your Team

Posted on August 12, 2015 | 1 Comment
Categories: Books, Leadership

SteamrollerSteamroller personalities get results but they also cause major headaches. How can you eliminate the headaches without demoralizing the team member? That’s your key leadership challenge.

Today’s post is an excerpt from my new book Lead Inside the Box: How Smart Leaders Guide Their Teams to Exceptional Results (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

Heather joined your team a year ago. You hired her after interviewing many qualified candidates. Her résumé was far and away the best you saw. You ended the interview with a “let me convince you why you should take this job” pitch hoping you could get her to accept the role immediately.

The only warning flag you saw was feedback from Heather’s references. While they confirmed the glowing results she claimed on her résumé you sensed reticence on their part. You heard their answers trail off leaving an unsaid “but…” hanging at the end.

After Heather started work, you realized your assessment of her competence was right but maybe your inner voice had been correct about the doubts you had. Heather got off to a fast start and proved to be an amazing producer of results. However, Heather presented you with unexpected problems. Within a few months, all her peers mentioned she was challenging to work with. They agreed she “knows her stuff” and “gets things done” but they said she was making others unhappy in the process. Heather tended to barrel along and do her work without coordinating with others. There were several miscommunication situations where you had to intervene to smooth things over. Others found Heather unpleasant to work with. Maybe she didn’t realize she was causing conflict – or maybe she did but didn’t care. The angst she produced eroded your team’s morale.

The conflict Heather created generated a great deal of stress for you. You found yourself making excuses for her behavior. Some people thought you were playing favorites by letting her get away with her bad behavior.

Now you face a dilemma. You’d love to continue getting the great results Heather produces without all the trouble that follows in her wake. Calling Heather a “Steamroller” is a perfect way to describe her behavior and how others view her.

Approaches for Leading a Steamroller

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How to be a Better Leader in 10 Minutes or Less

Posted on August 10, 2015 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Communications, Entrepreneur, Guest Blogger, Leadership

StopwatchToday’s post is the fourth in a series by Paul Smith, thoughtLEADERS instructor and bestselling author of Lead With a Story.

You’re busy as a leader. You don’t always have time to invest in learning new leadership skills. I recognize that and I’m here to help. Below are 5 great lessons in easy-to-digest 10-minute podcasts you can listen to at your convenience.

These podcasts are based on interviews with 100 executives and leaders at dozens of companies around the world as they learned their most important leadership lessons – sometimes the hard way.  They feature stories from executives at Proctor & Gamble, Dollar General, Hewlett Packard, Kellogg’s, Dun & Bradstreet, Saatchi & Saatchi, Verizon, and many more. Each episode brings you an important leadership lesson through a single compelling story.

These next 5 episodes will help you be more decisive, deal with difficult people, become a better problem solver, master the use of metaphors, and learn some old wisdom on diversity that will serve you well today.

The $28.1 billion metaphor

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Which type of skill do you value more in your team members?

Posted on August 6, 2015 | No Comments
Categories: Career, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: Which type of skill do you value more in your team members?

– Technical — being an expert at their work is key: 18.03%
– Functional — skills like leadership and problem solving are critical: 81.97%

It’s the soft skills that matter. While it’s great to be a domain expert in your field, clearly leaders value functional or soft skills more. Those soft skills can be applied to a broad array of issues, opportunities, and challenges and people who possess those skills are easier to move around the organization to solve other problems. What gets even more interesting is thinking beyond functional skills to “role-based skills” like devil’s advocate, cheerleader, driver, etc. Leaders who can manage all three critical types of skills are much more likely to succeed than those who stay focused solely on the technical competencies.

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…

12 Services Every Leader Must Provide to Their Team

Posted on August 5, 2015 | 1 Comment
Categories: Books, Leadership

Man Pressing Service ButtonGreat leaders get the best out of their teams by providing 12 core leadership “services”. The best leaders provide these services in an efficient and effective way.

Every leader wants to give their team all the help they need. That help can come in many forms. How do leaders help their team members grow and become more autonomous? Are leaders serving their teams in the most efficient and effective way?

In our new book Lead Inside the Box: How Smart Leaders Guide Their Teams to Exceptional Results, Victor Prince and I describe the 12 “leadership services” that leaders must provide to their teams:

Directing

  • Planning: Leaders translate their vision for the organization into team goals and individual goals.
  • Prioritizing: Leaders prioritize the individual goals into team priorities.
  • Coordinating: Leaders use their higher seat on the org chart to provide their team members with broader organizational perspectives and make connections for them.

Doing

  • Deciding: Leaders make decisions that can’t be or shouldn’t be made by their team members.
  • Motivating: Leaders motivate people to do things, particularly when those tasks are difficult.
  • Clearing: Leaders help people overcome the roadblocks they face at work.

Delivering

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The 16th Century Word That Gives You a Strategic Advantage

Posted on August 3, 2015 | 1 Comment
Categories: Books, Guest Blogger, Leadership, Strategy

Hand Assembling Gears on White BackgroundBy changing the way you approach stakeholder interests, you can drive better performance. Instead of using a sequential and conflict-driven approach, you can take a different tack that promotes harmony and collaboration.

Today’s post is by Nancy Falls, author of Corporate Concinnity in the Boardroom: 10 Imperatives To Drive High Performing Companies (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

The year was 1531. It was the beginning of what is known as the Age of Discovery. Humans were busy mapping the world, constructing the first rudimentary watch, building empires in Persia, China and the new world. They build St. Peter’s in Rome, the first music conservatories and made discoveries in medicine, economics and astronomy. They brought potatoes from the new world to Europe. They started transatlantic slave trade, only to denounce it 50 years later. Machiavelli declared that the ends justify the means in The Prince. And just 13 years after that someone decided he was wrong and invented a word communicating the opposite thesis, that how things are done matters very much. That word was concinnity. The year was 1531.

If you are like most English speakers you probably don’t know this word. You should learn it.

Concinnity is the skillful and harmonious fitting together of the parts of something.

Many see the word and think consensus, which must be its grammatical first cousin.   I look at the word and see lots of curves and circles. It just looks like unity to me.

And the word offers a breakthrough way to look at organizational leadership and governance.

Read More…

Which method do you use when allocating work?

Posted on July 30, 2015 | No Comments
Categories: Business Toolkit, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: Which method do you use when allocating work?

– To the first person available: 0.75%
– Based on skill set only: 5.09%
– Based on skill, availability and interest: 84.88%
– I shift resources to the highest priority item: 9.28%
– Based on first-in, first-out: 0%

Work allocation is multi-dimensional. Clearly allocating work requires multiple factors be considered. If you’re one of the small minority of leaders using only skill set or shifting resources based on priority, consider viewing work allocation more broadly and evaluating all the critical aspects of doling out assignments. Your team will perform better, be happier, and you’ll get more work done than you will by constantly shifting things around.

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…

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!

Read More…

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?

Read More…

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