Leadership Tips for Turning Around a Slacker’s Performance

Posted on July 18, 2018 | 2 Comments
Categories: Books, Leadership, Training

Slacker with Feet on DeskDo you have a Slacker on your team who isn’t pulling their weight?  Your leadership challenge with them is unlocking their motivation.  They have the talent.  You have to get them to apply it!

The following is an excerpt from Lead Inside the Box: How Smart Leaders Guide Their Teams to Exceptional Results (you can get your copy here). This post focuses on how you can turn around the performance of a Slacker on your team.

Dave has a great résumé with the right education and expertise from brand name schools and employers. When he accepted your job offer, you felt like you made one of the best hires of your career.

Since Dave got the job, however, his talents haven’t translated into the results you expected. He’s a smart guy with great communications skills – at least his verbal communication skills. He’s outspoken in team meetings and has many ideas, most of which seem to have potential. Interestingly enough, however, those ideas relate to other peoples’ responsibilities. Dave’s willingness to comment on how others are doing or not doing their jobs is drawing complaints from your team. He has much less to say about his own area.

When it comes to written communications, Dave doesn’t have much to say. Getting him to produce reports is frustrating. He’s never met a deadline he didn’t renegotiate.

Dave is content knowing how to do the job instead of actually doing it. He seems to think he’s paid for being smart instead of for being productive. His failure to deliver is frustrating everyone. You hate the thought of losing someone as talented as Dave, but his lack of results is alarming. His teammates have picked up his slack. You’ve dedicated more of your leadership capital than you’d like harping on him to get his work done. There’s no doubt that Dave is a “Slacker.”

Approaches for Leading a Slacker

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Do You Make Changes the Hard Way?

Posted on July 16, 2018 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Guest Blogger, Leadership

Irritated Businesswoman at Printer

Leaders and managers are always changing something in their organizations, but they often make costly mistakes. Here’s how to make change the right way.

Today’s post is by Dr. Glenn Varney, co-author of Grasp the Situation (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

You would think that leaders of organizations would understand a problem before they try to fix it. After all, they are leaders, and they are expected to know how to manage and make their organizations efficient and productive. The bad news is that many leaders make costly mistakes each day because they do not fully grasp the situation before they attempt to solve a problem.

It is estimated that 70% of all organizational changes fail because leaders do not take the time to understand what needs to be changed. Instead, they leap in and do a quick fix when the problem deserves a rigorous diagnostic process.

To illustrate the point, here is a true story about a plant manager, Mike, of a 500-employee automotive parts facility who really screwed up his organization because he leaped before he looked.

Mike’s administrative manager came to him one day recommending they acquire a new high-performance copy machine which would “meet increased workload” and improve production control timing. He pointed out that the other two copiers were “overloaded” and could not keep up with demand. Mike gave the go ahead, and they installed the new machine.

Several weeks after the machine was installed, Mike was walking by the new copier and observed a long line of people standing waiting to use the machine. Mike thought that this was a waste of time and assumed that employees just wanted to use the new machine instead of the other machines. He decided to swing by the two other copiers and found the same thing—people standing in line.

Feeling upset and angry, Mike went back to his office and sent out a memo that stated that there was to be no more standing in line and using the copy station as a “social center.”

Several days after the notice was posted, his ad manager came rushing in announcing that “everything was getting all jammed up” and “you have to let people go to the copier when they need to.” Mike was furious, and in a loud voice told his ad manager to “get that new machine out of here and go back to just two machines.” As a result, the machine was removed, and things only got worse. Mike never understood the underlying problem.

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How well does your organization assess its own capabilities versus competitors?

Posted on July 12, 2018 | No Comments
Categories: Entrepreneur, Leadership, Poll, Strategy

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks:  How well does your organization assess its own capabilities versus competitors?

  • We drastically overestimate our capabilities.: 22.3%
  • We overestimate some of our capabilities.: 37.7%
  • We accurately assess our capabilities.: 28.6%
  • We underestimate our capabilities.: 8.6%
  • We drastically underestimate our capabilities.: 2.7%

A little overconfident. Overestimating your organization’s capabilities can be a huge strategic mistake. If you push your beliefs of greatness too far, you’ll create strategic blind spots that are easy for your competitors to exploit. Before you know it, the market will offer it’s less-than-flattering assessment of your capabilities. A rigorous approach to evaluating your capabilities is the key to staying humble and staying safe in a threatening market environment. Actively participate in these assessments on a regular basis. Question your beliefs about your capabilities. Challenge your assumptions. It’s best that you challenge yourself before your competitor challenges you.

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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Proactively Dealing with Regulatory Changes to Keep Your Business Safe

Posted on July 11, 2018 | No Comments
Categories: Business Toolkit, Entrepreneur, Leadership, Strategy

Lawmakers in a Hearing Room

Regulatory and political changes can have a tremendous impact on your business. If you’re not aware of possible regulatory changes, you’ll be caught off guard and have to react to those changes rather than having the opportunity to prepare for them. The more involved you are in the regulatory arena, the more effectively you’ll be able to influence regulations and keep your business running smoothly.

Legislative and regulatory changes can cause massive upheaval for your strategic plan. Elections happen all the time. New rules and regulations are proposed, implemented, or repealed on a daily basis. Court cases can change an entire industry landscape.

To stay on top of all these changes and to prevent being blindsided by new developments, follow electoral races, regulatory initiatives, and landmark court cases that can affect your business. Build contingency plans for possible political, legal, and regulatory outcomes. I’ve seen legislation and regulations impact businesses in huge ways.

Make Your Perspective Known

One client I worked with was dealing with some massive regulatory changes in terms of how regulators were going to interpret the way their industry worked. This client was proactive. They got involved with the regulatory comment period. They put their perspective forward through experts, and got regulators to pay attention. The outcome was they were able to shift some of the regulatory interpretations that were going to affect their business.

Shape the Regulations When Possible

Another company that I worked for had regulators come in and define a new rule. The problem was, the regulators didn’t say how they were going to interpret the rule. We were a little bit confused. We said, “You’re putting in place a rule, but you’re not telling us how you’re going to interpret it?” What that did was give us an opportunity to offer our perspective on how the regulators should interpret it. We were able to shape that perspective. This approach had two benefits. First, we shaped the perspective in a way that would benefit our business. Second, we were also able to shape it in a way that would hurt our competitors. It was kind of a win-win – for us, at least. But the only reason we were able to shift these perspectives was we were on the front end of the interpretation guidance being created.

Make Changes Proactively

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5 C’s of Servant Leadership

Posted on July 9, 2018 | 3 Comments
Categories: Books, Guest Blogger, Leadership

Mother Teresa Statue

Servant leaders put others ahead of themselves and are prepared to sacrifice for the greater good. Five characteristics stand out for servant leaders. Which of them do you possess?

Today’s post is by Vijay Eswaran, author of Two Minutes from the Abyss (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

Leadership is not about telling people what to do. A true leader is one who knows how to serve. Servant leadership means different things to different people. The philosophy closest to my heart, one that I learned at an early age from my father is of “service above self.” I watched him work tirelessly to develop other people and focus on what he could do to help selflessly.

Being a true servant leader is putting the needs of others ahead of your own in service to a larger purpose. I grew up heavily influenced by books on the life and philosophies of great servant leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa. These were ordinary people who became extraordinary leaders as they found their purpose in service of others—who dedicated their entire lives serving a purpose bigger than themselves.

So what sets servant leaders apart from other types of leaders? I find these five qualities stand out.


John Maxwell famously said “They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

I am a strong believer that an organization is not defined by its products or its glitzy marketing. The people who work for the organization are its true assets. A leader who takes care of his or her people will never have to worry about poor customer service. When you take care of your people, they will take care of your customers.

Servant leaders recognize that you are placed on this Earth alongside other wayfarers in this journey of life for a purpose. That none of them come into your circle of influence by coincidence and that, ultimately, you must extend your circle of care to include everyone you know and meet. Servant leaders care without restraint, without constraint, without condition.

Clarity of Vision

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What’s your preferred approach to deal with stress?

Posted on July 5, 2018 | 2 Comments
Categories: Balanced Lifestyle, Entrepreneur, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks:  What’s your preferred approach to deal with stress?

  • Exercise and physical movement: 50.2%
  • Meditation: 7.9%
  • Taking time off: 14.7%
  • Distracting yourself: 14.1%
  • Something else: 7.8%
  • I don’t know how to deal with stress.: 5.2%

Get up and move. Clearly physical activity is the most popular form of stress relief. Whether it’s a quick walk around the office to running a few miles, getting away from your desk and getting into your body is a powerful means of stress relief. The reason physical movement reduces stress is it satisfies your brain’s need to move. This is a pre-historic response generated by the amygdala — your brain’s “alarm.” When stress sets off that alarm, movement turns it off. For those of you simply distracting yourselves or not knowing how to deal with stress, try incorporating some physical movement and see how that helps. Track your stress levels over time. Hopefully you’ll see a meaningful improvement once you start moving more.

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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Generating Creative Ideas by Challenging Constraints

Posted on July 3, 2018 | No Comments
Categories: Business Toolkit, Innovation, Leadership

Open Cardboard Box

Creativity is your organization’s growth engine. The problem is we constantly run into constraints to generating creative, new ideas. Many times those constraints are self-imposed. Amazing things can happen when you relax those constraints.

Today’s post is by Paul Smith, thoughtLEADERS principal and bestselling author of Lead With a Story and  Sell With a Story.

Are you trying to make your team more creative? Have you ever searched desperately for new solutions but had trouble coming up with great ideas?

Stepping outside your existing or self-imposed frame of reference can help you identify new solutions. Better yet – sharing examples of situations like that can unleash your team’s creativity.

Here’s a quick video that covers an example of how to think outside self-imposed or existing boundaries. The examples will help you understand the techniques for being more creative and provide you examples of stories you can tell your team to help them apply these methods. Enjoy!

If you’re interested in becoming a better storyteller yourself, check out our Influencing through Storytelling course and our Storytelling for Salespeople course where we can come into your organization and help you build this powerful, critical skill.

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Enhancing the Employee Coaching Experience

Posted on July 2, 2018 | 2 Comments
Categories: Communications, Guest Blogger, Leadership, Training

Person Holding Smartphone

As companies look for ways to which they can both attract new employees and retain talented workers already on staff, job coaching strategies have taken on a renewed focus.

Today’s post is by Sean Gordon is the Chief Executive Officer at HireNami.

Employees want to feel like they’re given the opportunity to be properly assessed in their work by being trained to their full potential. Managers are responsible for overseeing the growth of the company by way of employee growth, but often are tasked to the brim or constantly shifting between company locations. Given these circumstances, how can a company ensure proper coaching for employees?

Online employment coaching steps in to fill the void. Through versatile software platforms and methods, coaching has never been easier or more efficient. Let’s look at what online coaching provides and some ways that a company can benefit from its use.

Making Use of Online Coaching

Online coaching platforms have completely transformed how managers interact with employees. They offer the ability to organize a coaching program aimed specifically at improving the perceived areas of underperformance for a given employee. Rather than leaving coaching up to meetings between manager and employee at set time intervals, the coaching experience becomes a training program that constantly evolves to the needs of the employee. Workers can submit practice projects in the web platform for review, and managers can give specific notes geared towards improvement.

Employees that feel as though they are underperforming can receive guidance on how to become more efficient in areas of weakness. Rather than getting a performance review that states where they need to improve with no clear direction on how to do so, online coaching can give managers the chance to set up lessons, instructional videos and advanced tests on these vulnerable areas to give an employee the chance to actually reach their potential.

Furthermore, the top performers in a company can battle complacency by engaging in programs devoted towards developing leadership skills and other competencies for continued development. This can help the reputation of a company’s brand, as it will be seen as a place that people pursue a career, not just a job.

How Video Content Pushes the Limits

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How well does your organization translate qualitative measures into quantitative metrics?

Posted on June 28, 2018 | No Comments
Categories: Entrepreneur, Innovation, Leadership, Poll, Project Management

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks:  How well does your organization translate qualitative measures into quantitative metrics?

  • Very — Every qualitative measure has hard metrics to support it.: 10.5%
  • Somewhat — Some qualitative measures have metrics; others don’t.: 49.4%
  • Not at all — We don’t translate qualitative measures to metrics.: 40.1%

You can’t manage what you don’t measure. Often there’s a temptation to say, “Well, it’s a qualitative measure, so we don’t need a metric for it.” With that mindset, you’ll be hard-pressed to figure out if you’re having the impact you desire or if you have surprising problems lurking out of sight. The vast majority of qualitative measures can have quantitative metrics associated with them. Determine which metrics are indicators of the qualitative measure, and track those. While the correlation won’t be perfect, you’ll at least have a gauge of progress and early warning of possible issues before they occur.

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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If You Want to Succeed, Use Your Team

Posted on June 25, 2018 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Communications, Entrepreneur, Guest Blogger, Innovation, Leadership, Strategy

Welder in Welding Mask

Business owners should take advantage of their team’s passion, talents, and knowledge to help the company becomes as profitable as possible.

Today’s post is by Robert Thomas Bethel, author of Strengthen Your Business (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

I have overseen the turnaround of 77 failing businesses in my 52-year career. For all the money and jobs that were saved, I take just 5% of the credit.

The other 95% belongs with the employees of the businesses I took over. Without their commitment to turning things around, none of those 77 companies would’ve made it.

Many of the owners who sold me their failing business did not take full advantage of the talents, knowledge, and passion of their employees. They kept them in the dark, fearing that if anyone knew how bad things had gotten, everyone would’ve been out looking for new jobs.

Nothing could have been further from the truth.

In my first day at a new company, I call every team member together and lay out the truth, warts and all. I’ve never had an employee quit after hearing how bad things have gotten. In fact, I’ve seen employees make personal sacrifices for the good of the company.

When I took over a large metalworking plant nestled among the hills and valleys of eastern Tennessee, an older machine operator approached me after our first meeting and sheepishly said, “I appreciate you telling us where we are. My kids are grown, and my wife has a good job. We’ve paid off our house and cars. If it helps, I can go without a paycheck for a month.”

That machine operator was willing to make a personal sacrifice because he was invested in the plant’s future success. He wanted to be part of the solution instead of running from a fight.

When people are invested in something, they’ll do whatever they can to help steer it away from failure and toward success. That’s what the previous owners never understood. They all selfishly thought that if the business failed, they’d be the ones most impacted.

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