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Why 44% of Today’s Leaders Are Unhappy With Their Employees’ Performance & their Own Communication Style

Forty-four percent of business leaders at various levels and a variety of industry categories reported disappointment in the performance results of their employees, in a survey recently conducted by Leadership & Workplace Communication Expert Skip Weisman.

In the survey, whose results were released this week, 70% of those struggling business leaders also believe they need a new approach to how they communicate so they can better motivate for better results.

Leaders responding to the survey indicated significant frustration in motivating their people due to a number of key factors, including:

• An inability to rally team members to focus on a common goal,

• Dealing with a lack of cohesion between employees, and

• Employees looking outside of themselves for reasons of sub-par performance

• Employees engaging in excuse-making and

• Employees engaging in distracting behaviors that take attention away from the job at hand.

Another big issue for these organizational leaders was a lack of time to invest in connecting with their team members, both as a group and also individually, in one-on-one discussions.

This is why these leaders reported they felt they needed a new approach to how they communicated with their employees to improve performance.

Despite reporting an investment of 37% of their time communicating one-on-one to motivate employees to meet the performance expectations for their role, the business leaders responding to this survey felt they needed to change their approach.

The reason for this desire to change their approach to their own leadership communication is that 37% of a leader’s total communication time communicating one-on-one is significant, and the return on their investment is not adequate.

There are three ways to address this issue:

  • increase the time allotted to one-one-one communication with employees (I would recommend raising it to 50%)
  • improve their style and message so that it leads to behavior and attitude changes that lead to performance improvements
  • evaluate the type of one-on-one conversations the leader is having with their team members, and adjust to attain better performance. There are three primary types of one-on-one discussions a leader might have:
    • issue/problem based
    • performance based
    • career based

In order to improve an individual team member’s performance more time must be invested in performance and career discussions and less on issues/problems.

Another vital determination leaders must make is whether the lack of performance results is due to an individual’s attitude and motivation or their skills, talents and ability.

Without determining if the problem is one of attitude or one of ability, there is a high-probability the wrong solution will be applied potentially causing more stress, frustration, a loss of resources, and continued disappointment in performance results.

The way to transform this situation is for the leader to improve their approach to The 3 Levels of High-Performance Leadership Communication. You can learn more about the results reported by leaders like yourself in our recent survey, download a free report titled, How to Increase Your Bottom Line Without Spending a Dime: 3 Simple Secrets to Employee Engagement & Real Performance Results! and participate in a FREE teleclass on the topic at www.LeadershipCommunicationExpert.com 


Organizational Change Is Good, Part 2: You Must Teach New Dogs, New Tricks to Maintain Employee Engagement of Younger Workers

The Wall St. Journal (The Young Are Happy at Work) this week offered an article about younger workers being happier in the today’s workplace, but much less loyal to that workplace.

This may seem like a contradiction but its not.

It makes perfect sense.

The younger generation has grown up with constant change.

Technology for them has been evolving every day since they were born.

I would also assume that many more have experienced more change in their personal lives growing up as well, with less stable family situations. Whether growing up in a broken home and a one parent family, to shuttling back and forth between divorced parents, to stable parents who have been forced to change jobs more than ever.

It’s no wonder they get bored with status quo much faster than previous generations and continually need new challenges to keep them stimulated and engaged.

This is a tremendous asset to business leaders that embrace it.

This is also a tremendous challenge to both business leaders that embrace it, and those that shy from it.

Why? Because it is going to take much more time, energy, forethought and communication to keep the younger generation engaged in their work.

They get bored much more quickly than previous generations.

Again, quite possibly, because of the world’s fast pace in the 21st Century, this change can be good.

Leaders must embrace this change and begin communicating in a way that connects with them to find out what’s most important to the younger generation in the workforce and find ways to give it to them in order to keep them around.

As I write in my latest white paper report, “3 Simple Secrets to Employee Engagement and Real Performance Results: Applying the 3 Levels of High-Performance Leadership Communication for Maximum Motivation” (download for free here) leaders should be investing much more of their time in 1:1 conversations with the people they lead and much less time trying to motivate the team as a unit.

The team meetings, rah-rah speeches, going over the numbers are going to bore the younger generation to death. Limit those meetings and use that time to invest in connecting 1:1 with your people.

It will pay dividends in the short and long-term and may even get that younger generation in your workforce (the one that is driving you crazy) to stay around longer than they originally intended and can add value to your organization that can make a difference.

If you want to learn more about The 3 Levels of High-Performance Leadership Communication join me for a Free TeleClass this Thursday, October 20th at 4pm Eastern time/1pm Pacific, register here .

Feel free to leave a comment on your experience hiring, motivating and working with the younger generation (and multi-generations) in the workplace!

’til next time, make it a great week!

skip weisman, transforming leadership and workplace communication to deliver champion level results


Organizational Change Is Good, Pt. 1: It’s Inevitable, So Why Not Embrace It and Even Be the Catalyst for It?

To mimic Gordon Gecko from the late 80s movie Wall Street, “Change is Good!

That is a belief those of us hoping thrive in the 21st Century must embrace.

It’s crazy not to.

Change is inevitable.

Change is constant.

From the day we are born, we are changing. We’re always getting older. Each day our bodies evolve. Cells in our body are constantly growing and dying.

Every day the world changes. Some days the sun is shining, other days the clouds cover the sky and rain falls. Sometimes both of those happen multiple times in the same day.

I began thinking about this upon returning from our 2 1/2 week European vacation in early September.

While in a foreign country with a culture foreign to my own I was forced to change my lifestyle for 2 ½ weeks.

When it was all said and done the trip was a catalyst for three specific, personal changes.

The changes I made were conscious choices, and all, thus far have been for the better.

These changes were made at the age of 51.

If I can do it, so can you.

These were not big changes or anything that are life transforming, but they’ve been good.

The first was that I decided to drink a beer for the first time in more than 20-years.

I had never been a big fan of beer. Like most people, in college I drank a lot of it. After college I rarely drank any, so maybe its been close to 30 years since I had actually had a glass of beer.

But, when you are in Germany, the birthplace of beer, I think (beer experts, if it’s not the birthplace, forgive me, but it’s pretty close), its tough to spend 2 1/2 weeks in the region without indulging.

I was quite proud of myself, as I literally held out for 16 days. Our final night in Munich I decided to take the plunge. I had watched, in disbelief, my wife and one of my best friends down 2-3 litres of beer per night. So, on our final night I decided to grab my own liter of HofBrau Haus beer. Then, I had a Bavarian soft pretzel that was almost bigger than my head and finished the night with my second liter of beer in 20 years.

So, I guess I’m no longer anti-beer, and I’ve even had a few since coming home.

There are two other related changes:

  1. The first is water with “gas.”
    Throughout central Europe the natives drink water with carbonation. After having a cup of it at a McDonalds in the Frankfurt hotel after we landed in Germany and drank about two sips, I repulsed all offers for “water with gas” for the first week. Then, one day during our second week decided go give it a try, once again.  It wasn’t so bad, this time and I continued ordering it for the remainder of our trip. I have continued the practice since returning home, drinking Pellegrino sparkling water 80% of the time.
  2. The second is regard to ice cubes and chilled drinks.
    I am here to report that there is not one ice cube in all of central Europe. Europeans like to their drinks barely chilled. They drink their hard and soft drinks only refrigerator cooled and don’t worry if they get warm before finishing. Very un-American.

But, I adapted. Since returning, I have cut my usage of ice by about 80%. I’m told, by my new European friends and a holistic doctor in my networking circle, that its better for our bodies not to drink freezing cold soft drinks.

Anyway, 3 big changes in my personal life that have now become a habit after just about 3 weeks.

These changes have been good for me.

Change can be good.

It’s just a matter of being open to the possibilities. Of just being open to what might be.

When it comes to change in the workplace realize that company leaders rarely make changes just to make changes. There should have been significant forethought prior to announcing the change.

And, with technology, change is happening every 90-days.

The train is rolling down the track. Stop digging your heals in causing your shoes and socks to burn up.

Instead grab the controls and find the way to embrace the changes and make ’em work for you and your teammates.

Doing so will make it easier (and happier) for everyone.

Ask yourself this question, “how can I embrace this change, enjoy it and contribute some ideas that will allow me and my teammates to integrate these changes even faster?

That is a much different question than most people ask when faced with change in the workplace.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

’til next time, have a great weekend!

skip weisman, transforming leadership and workplace communication to deliver champion level results

 


Happy Anniversary…To Me! You Should Celebrate Your Wins, Too!

Today, October 3, 2011 marks my 10th anniversary of being in business for myself, and the beginning of my second decade.

That is hard to believe.

But, true, it is.

That’s a total of 3,650 days since I last earned a paycheck from an employer other than myself. They say most new businesses fail within the first 3-5 years. So, I guess I’m a success?

Congratulations to me!

And, thank you for joining me on this wonderful journey. And, thank you to my wonderful wife, Anne, 10 years with my sometimes workaholic tendencies and mood swings solo entrepreneurs sometimes go through.

But, I am writing this blog post in this manner because I believe it is important for business professionals at all levels to be able to provide their own positive reinforcement.

Often, it is the only positive reinforcement for a job well done that we get. And, although we may lament that our superiors, co-workers and significant others do not give us the positive feedback and the credit we deserve for a job well done, we should be lamenting ourselves more.

Most of us fall into the category of being way too hard on ourselves, beating ourselves up for every mistake, failure, setback. We kick ourselves when we’re down, and we kick ourselves when we’re up because I should have done even better.  Maybe so, but why not enjoy the success at the level you achieved and learn from it and move on.

I often tell my clients they need to celebrate more. They need to create opportunities for their employees to celebrate their little successes along the way.

These celebrations don’t have to be elaborate or costly. Simple recognitions are fine.

I often use examples from athletics, such as:

  • In baseball, no matter what is happening in the game, winning or losing, when a batter hits a homerun and circles the bases, he always gets a congratulatory handshake from the coach as he rounds third base, a high-five when he crosses home plate from the next batter coming up and his teammates when returning to the dugout.
  • In football, after a touchdown is scored the player who brought the ball into the end zone and his teammates that helped him get it there have their little celebratory dance.

These are just two examples.

In your business, why not send a hand written note card to one of your teammates or subordinates after a job well done? Put together a Friday pizza lunch for your team after one of their teammates has a big success.

Little recognitions go a long way.

And, don’t forget to celebrate yourself like I’m doing today.

Now, I’m not taking any time off, or doing anything special because we just spent almost 3-weeks on a European vacation, which was the perfect way for me to celebrate and now its time to get back at it to help my clients even more    in the next decade.

One way I am going to celebrate this month and allow my subscribers to participate in that celebration is to offer two special opportunities. One is going to be the official launch of my newest product, The Confident Leaders’ Training Camp Home Study course, and special and very limited opportunities for a private, 1:1 Strategy Session with me.

Both of these will be launching this week. So, keep an eye out for those announcements.

’til then, make it a great week and Happy Anniversary to Me!

All the best!

skip weisman, transforming leadership and workplace communication to deliver champion level results

 


Are These The 3 Key Drivers of Employee Engagement and Employee Motivation?

Last week I was having a discussion with a client on how to communicate to his employees to begin creating a more motivated workforce.

I asked him what he felt was most important for him to communicate to achieve that outcome. He became frustrated with the question saying, “all they care about is money. I don’t think anything will motivate them unless I offer them all a raise.”

Although this may be the informal impression projected by employees it has been my experience that pay is just one of about a half-dozen key factors in employee motivation. And, its not at the top of the list, either.

In 29 years in business, including 20 years of leading small businesses in five different communities, I’ve learned there are other motivating factors in a work environment that too many leaders ignore. I encourage my client to invest more time in nurturing the non-monetary factors so they can leverage their salary and benefits package much more effectively and achieve greater bottom line results.

I’d like to propose that the top three things employees come to work for are what I call “The 3 Ps of Employee Performance and Motivation:”

  • Pride
  • Purpose
  • Paycheck

For time sake I’m not going to elablorate here on the first two and how and why I’ve found them to be important motivational factors, but I will in future blog posts next week. Additionally, I have to admit this is not based on any official workplace research, its just from my anecdotal experience of leading others for 20 years and coaching business leaders over the last 10 years to communicate to motivate.

All 3 P’s must be present in the work environment and in the right mix for each individual employee. Business leaders have more control over all three then they realize and sadly usually just focus on the most expensive, which leads to much of their frustration.

I was reading a blog post in Compensation Cafe yesterday by my friend and colleague Derek Irvine of Globoforce, a global strategic employee recognition firm, who confirmed my belief with some C-Suite research in which he proclaims that employees today are seeking “meaning over money.”

Although the research Derek points to comes from an ExecuNet survey of C Level executives, I believe the results would be similar for employees below the C-suite and would include even the most frontline workers. Obviously money does become more of a factor based on being able to fulfill a particular lifestyle desire and have basic needs met. But we all know people earning significant money who are unhappy in their careers, and those earning below average salaries who are happy and engaged because they are passionate about the work they do.

If you’d like to improve your leadership approach to be able to create a more inspiring and motivating work environment you are going to want to learn more about my “Confident Leaders Virtual Training Camp” that kicks off very soon.

Please feel free to leave a comment to add to the discussion I’d love to learn your experience regarding the “3 P’s of Employee Performance and Motivation.”

‘Til next time, have a great weekend!

skip weisman, helping leaders motivate employees to improve organizational performance

 


Top Ten Leadership Tips for Succeeding All Around

Today I offer a guest blog post to celebrate a good friend and colleague’s book launch. Roberta Matuson of www.YourHRExperts.com offers her Top 10 Leadership Tips for succeeding all around in 2011. If you followed my “Champion Leadership Tips in 2009-10, I’m sure you’ll notice some common themes, as well as a couple of other valuable ideas for the aspiring Champion Leader.

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Top Ten Leadership Tips for Succeeding All Around

If the past year didn’t work out exactly as planned, you’ll be happy to know that you can still make things right. Here are some tips to help you succeed all around.

  1. Move forward by looking backwards-Have you been successful because of your leadership or in spite of it? I’ve watched time and time again, companies and leaders succeed in spite of poor management skills. Now imagine the levels of success they could have achieved if those who were in charge had great leadership skills? Or even good leadership skills. Gather feedback about your management style and adjust accordingly.
  2. Lead by example-Behave, as you would want your employees to behave, but also understand that your role is different from that of your employees.
  3. Surround yourself with the right people-Hire for fit, train for skill and if the opportunity presents itself, hire people who are better than you. Be prepared for the arrival of new hires so they immediately feel connected to the organization.
  4. Stop the blame game-It’s always someone or something that is at fault. But in the end, the buck stops with you. Sure, you may not have inherited a stellar team, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for mediocrity. You have the power to inspire people to exceed expectations. You also have the power to release people who aren’t making the grade. What you don’t get to do is blame everyone else for your team’s failure to perform.
  5. Cut your losses early-Mismatches happen, no matter how good you are at interviewing. Take action quickly to avoid having the rest of the team distracted by a poor hire.
  6. Invest in yourself and your people-Can you name one organization that has cut their way to exceptional customer service? I can’t. It’s time to put your money where your mouth is. If your firm prides itself on customer service then invest in more people to reduce the wait times, especially during peak calling hours. And while you are at it, give your employees the tools and training they need to provide exceptional service.
  7. Build on Strengths-Everyone focuses on improving weaknesses. You can distinguish yourself by paying particular attention to areas of strength, as this is where you’ll receive the most return for your investment.
  8. It’s better to be respected than loved-As human beings, we have a natural tendency to want to be loved. But what happens when your desire to be loved interferes with your ability to lead? Effective leaders recognize it is more important to be respected by their people than adored. They make the tough decisions that are needed to secure the future of those around them, including their direct reports.
  9. Your success depends on the success of others-To succeed as a manager, you will need to shift your focus from “me” to “we.” Going forward, your success will no longer be measured by your individual contribution. Instead, you will be evaluated on your ability to create and maintain a highly engaged team that is willing to give it their all.
  10. Find a coach or a mentor-You are ultimately responsible for your own success. If you are lucky, you may get approval to attend a training session this year. It’s a start, however training isn’t going to ultimately get you where you want to go. Find a coach or a mentor who can swiftly guide you through the landmines that exist in every organization.

© 2011 Human Resource Solutions. All rights reserved.

Roberta Chinsky Matuson is the President of Human Resource Solutions (www.yourhrexperts.com) and author of the highly acclaimed book Suddenly in Charge: Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around, Sign up to receive a complimentary subscription to Roberta’s monthly newsletter, HR Matters.


Champion Leadership Tip #49: The Best Leaders Know Money Doesn’t Buy Success or Motivation

With the Major League Baseball World Series starting tonight with the Texas Rangers appearing for the first time in team  history I was reminded that they had the 4th lowest payroll of any major league team, “just” $55 million.

This is in significant contrast to the team they defeated in the American League Championship Series, the New York Yankees, whose payroll was $206 million.

Although this Major League example is a much different scenario than every day business, it provides a poignant, metaphorical example for ordinary business leaders that paying higher salaries and/or bonuses does not necessarily equate to higher performance.

Often times what happens in organizations is that providing an increase in salary or providing a year-end bonus that is not backed up with measurable performance results, usually creates only a higher paid, more wealthy dissatisfied employee.

Studies continue to show that a number of other factors come in front of money as a motivating factor for employees. Other key motivational factors include:

  • Interesting/challenging work
  • Co-workers and other team member relationships/attitudes
  • Relationship with their immediate supervisor
  • Recognition, reward and feedback

Usually money comes in #3 or below in surveys such as Gallup or the Wall St. Journal or Fortune Magazine’s “Best Places to Work” surveys.

As long as pay is deemed fair and provides a reasonable standard of living (it meets the fundamental requirements of Maslow’s heirarchy of needs), it is much less important than other environmental factors.

Yet, I find many business leaders who continually try and throw money at employees hoping to make them more motivated and engaged, only to find the enthusiasm and attitudes associated to that salary increase fade rather rapidly, like within 30-60 days.

It’s better for business leaders to focus on environmental factors and providing employees with greater control over their workplace, decision-making, interesting and challenging work, consistent recognition, appreciation and feedback will reap greater benefits than additional salary.

The money issue also becomes a dis-incentive often times when everyone on the staff is provided similar salary adjustments when there is an impression of significant difference in performance and contribution to the organization because of inconsistent and uncertain performance management processes.

If you would like to experience 7 powerful leadership lessons that can help you create a motivating work environment and engaged employees right away, check out “The Leadership Series,” which is on an anniversary special for just a couple of more days.

A few months ago I created “The Employee Motivation Equation” which provides a unique but accurate strategy to tap into the motivational needs of employees.

I encourage you to download “The Employee Motivation Equation” and take its accompanying assessment.

’til next time, make it a great week!


Treatise: The Critical Importance of Being Unreasonable

In continuing my recent strategy of providing resources from other experts, I found this blog post from a colleague, Dov Gordon, which is a nice follow up to the post last week on “leaders needing to be uncomfortable.” Enjoy, I did!

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Do you ever tell yourself “I need to…“, or “I don’t have a choice…“, or just feel frustrated that you’re not yet the person you really want to be?

Here’s what I learned: It’s critically important to be unreasonable.

Unreasonable defined:
When you want – and expect to get – something you can’t have.

Being unreasonable is an entrepreneurial necessity.

When you think “I need this sale” you’re being reasonable.
Stop it.  Try this thought on instead:

“I need a business where I’m not needy of anything.”

“I need this employee.” Cut it out.  Try this:

“I need a business where no one employee will make us or break us.”

“I don’t have time.  That’s why I need to work 12 hours a day.”  You’re lying again.

“I choose to work the hours that I do.  And if I had 36 hours, I’d tell myself the same lies.  What if I only had 6 hours to work?  How would I guard and use every one of them? How would I be different?  What would I do differently?”

Is it unreasonable to think you could get it all done if you only had 6 hours? Well, there we go again. It’s time to start being unreasonable.  Be the person you WANT to be, but “can’t” be for whatever reason.

As far as I can tell, when you are unreasonable:

– You focus your thoughts and energy on what you CAN control now.
– You focus on what you CAN do TODAY.
– You accept responsibility for your life, for your choices and behavior.
– You focus your thoughts and mind on images of the person you WANT to be instead of dwelling on your weaknesses and who you’re not.
– You start acting that way right now.
– You FIRST figure out where you want to go, and THEN you work to get there.
– You make time for what’s truly important to you FIRST and let everything else fall into place.
– You refuse to allow others to make irrational demands of you.
– You expect life to be DIFFICULT and so you don’t shrink in the face of possible failure or hardship.
– You refuse to accept “advice” and guidance from people who don’t have your best interest in mind.
– You don’t allow others to get you worked up or upset. You remember that they are just being who they are in the moment and you can’t change them. So you focus on what you can influence.
– You refuse to give into pressure to rush when you know that the natural order of things will insist that you either go with the flow, or drown in it. (For example: You can’t rush a sale because you need the money.)

Looking back, this whole idea about being unreasonable is sounding very reasonable!

What do you think? Where have you started being unreasonable? And how has that improved your entrepreneurial life? Talk back below.


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