“If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.”
~Daniel Goleman ~
Henry is in high level management of a dominant retail company. Because it spreads nationally with global products, Henry deals with leaders on all levels.
“We’ve learned that intelligence, determination, and vision alone, will not guarantee a successful leader,” Henry says. “When we can accelerate cognitive development, we have a better chance at creating successful managers and executives.”
Henry explains that they like promoting from within. The more they can understand and accelerate the abilities of their team to grow these leadership skills, the more successful their leaders become.
“Cognitive development is a way of thinking differently,” Henry says. “How do they interact, motivate, and regulate themselves? How do they think about themselves and to what degree are they concerned about others?”
Henry feels these five specific skills give them a higher probability of becoming successful leaders.
1. Realistic Self-Confidence. Good leaders understand who they are. They recognize their moods, emotions, and what drives them. They know that their moods affect those around them. Their excitement is contagious. Their displeasure can be motivating or discouraging depending on how they use it.
People with cognitive awareness of their strengths and weaknesses tend to not take themselves too seriously. They can laugh at themselves as they build up others.
2. Self Control. Powerful leaders learn not to react immediately to problems or situations. They have the ability to suspend judgment and to think before acting. This gives them time to consider alternatives and options, to step back and evaluate more thoroughly. They can be open to change.
Self control also helps leaders avoid leading with negative emotions. When they master themselves, it’s easier to act with integrity and to be trustworthy.
3. Motivation. Every leader must be a self-starter. Sometimes it seems leadership is swimming upstream. It takes that inner motivation to move forward and influence your organization to produce.
Leaders need a passion beyond money to motivate them to want to work. Even beyond status. “This is one of the traits we discover,” Henry says. “If the leader we are grooming doesn’t have this motivation, there’s not much we can do.”
You’ll see evidence of a manager’s motivation through his team’s commitment to succeed and his or her strong desire to achieve.
4. Understanding People. Leaders need to know what makes people tick. What emotions cause them to work hard? What concerns reduce efficiency? Good leaders are adept at seeing things from someone else’s point of view. Then, the master leader uses that knowledge to help each person be their best.
Leaders develop cognitive awareness of the people around them. This accelerates their leadership expertise as they build trust and retain talent. They exhibit more cross-cultural sensitivity and give better service to customers and clients because they have empathy.
5. Relationship Management. “We find our successful leaders understand how to build networks,” Henry said. “They listen. They respond. And the employees respond to them. It can’t be a manipulative kind of thing. It has to be genuine.”
Leaders use social skills to find common ground, build rapport, and persuade. This is essential in team building. The majority of our communications are non-verbal. A raised eye-brow. A nod. A pat on the back. Leaders with great social skills connect with their organization.
As Henry works with his succession plan, he tries to develop these cognitive leadership traits and increase their strength in each prospective leader. “When we do this, we find it accelerates or amplifies all their other virtues of intelligence, skill sets, and experience,” Henry says. “We are pleased with our results.”
Are you looking for a way to ramp up the effective cognitive development of your leadership? Contact Joel to help you expand on these traits.
Talkback: In your experience, how essential are these cognitive traits for successful leadership?
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“Figure out what you are meant to contribute to the world and make sure you contribute it. If this requires public speaking or networking or other activities that make you uncomfortable, do them anyway. But accept that they’re difficult, get the training you need to make them easier, and reward yourself when you’re done.”
~Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking~
Kevin works as a compliance officer for an insurance company. “I have always been an introvert,” Kevin said. “I really enjoy quiet, alone time.”
He looked for careers that would be suitable to his introverted personality. “They say that engineers, scientists, accounting are all great jobs for introverts. But I hated math,” he said.
Sophia Dembling, author of The Introvert’s Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World says, “What careers are good for introverts? Whatever interests them.”
Kevin realized he couldn’t be in tech fields, because they just didn’t interest him. Rather, he chose a field he loved and then figured out how to adjust to it.
Every job has a mix of skills that require both quiet time and time with others. Introverts can adjust and balance those times.
Use Your Strengths
Introverts are good listeners. They can be quiet and give others the opportunity to share. They can think and ponder.
“When I talk with others on compliance issues, I find they are much more amenable to doing things the necessary way after I’ve given them a chance to talk and explain their position,” Kevin said. “Sometimes they bring up valid points. But in any case, they feel like they’ve been heard and understood. It makes my job easier.”
Introverts can use quiet time efficiently.
“I have a program or a pattern I use that works for me,” Kevin says. “When I get to my office, and it’s quiet, I accomplish a lot.”
Structure Your Work to Suit You
There are times when things get very busy and Kevin needs to interact with people… sometimes with high emotional content. He organizes and balances his work time to regenerate.
1. Take a Break. There may be times introverts just need to step out and take a break. Lunch time may be taken in the car, at a quiet park or even in the library.
You may schedule breaks to take a rest from the din. You know your capacity. You know your work location. Find quiet spots to restore your equilibrium.
2. Turn it off. When Kevin comes back to the office after stressful meetings, he turns off the phone. He hangs a sign on the door that says, “Focusing. If you’re not dead or dying, please don’t disturb.”
He has trained his colleagues to respect his time for silence and thought.
“It’s not just introverts that need quiet to focus,” Kevin said. “In our office many others have taken to scheduling blocks of time for focused work. They tell me they are amazed at how much they accomplish.”
Kevin said he’s learned that as he understands and takes care of himself, he’s more successful. “Introverts can succeed at any job,” Kevin says. “Who’s to label these jobs introvert jobs and those extrovert jobs? Steve Martin, the actor, is an introvert. Warren Buffet’s an introvert. People in sales can be introverts and still be very successful.”
Kevin’s advice: Choose the job you love and you’ll figure out how to make it work for you.
Need help figuring out how to adjust your job to your introvert tendencies? Contact Joel for individualized assistance.
Talkback: How have you adjusted or arranged your job to support you as an introvert?
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“In the end, all business operations can be reduced to three words: people, product and profits. Unless you’ve got a good team, you can’t do much with the other two.”
Fidel was assigned to manage the succession planning in his company. Little had been done and he needed to identify key management positions and ideal replacement personnel within the ranks.
In the past he’d seen people promoted who didn’t succeed even though they had the proper training and skill sets. Fidel felt there was a key missing ingredient.
He turned to personality assessments. He looked at Myers-Briggs, the Color Code, Fascination, and other methods to understand the way personality influenced success.
Fidel understood that personality type was only part of the equation in management succession planning, but it was still important. “The company needs all of the personality types to function optimally,” Fidel said. “I realized part of my job was to create an atmosphere of respect for each personality type, so they felt free to bring their strengths to the table.”
- Detail oriented personalities. Some people naturally attend to the details. They make sure the reports are done on time, they meet deadlines, and assist others at being responsible and timely. “I looked at the jobs that required this kind of close attention to detail,” Fidel said. “Then I made sure the person we put in our succession planning program had those qualities.”
- Team building personalities. “There are some people that are natural team builders,” Fidel said. They are good at creating enthusiasm, gathering consensus, and helping the team get along. Fidel made sure these personality types were matched with the jobs that especially needed that group leadership. He recognized, however, that this personality type would not excel at the detailed follow-through that might be needed.
- Analyzing and processing personalities. Some people naturally follow critical thinking skills. They work well in positions that require analyzing information. They are gifted in sorting through massive information and understanding that it means and how to use it to their advantage.
- Think-outside-the box personalities. These intuitive thinkers are great for getting projects started. They are creative, inventive and vital for brainstorming. Fidel understood they should not be placed in management succession for a position calling for analyzing and processing. They would serve the company best in places where their creative thinking was welcomed and essential.
- The excellent personality. Some people just want the best—for themselves and their company. Excellent is barely good enough. They are effective at driving others to be the best. Fidel wanted this personality for succession planning for top talent that encourages the company forward.
- Nurturing personalities. When people know others care for them they respond better and perform better. They can be more effective sales people. They can see a need and fill it. In difficult situations, the nurturing personality can keep things running smoothly. Fidel assessed the key jobs that needed someone who could be supportive under pressure. Then he evaluated potential successors for these attributes.
“People looked at me a little strangely, when I first required them to take these personality assessments,” Fidel said. “I even got a little push back from HR when I incorporated personality types into the management succession planning. But it’s worked out beautifully.”
In the three instances where Fidel’s chosen successor moved into the new job, they have performed exceptionally well. “I feel vindicated,” Fidel said. “It’s doing everything I hoped it would.”
Do you have concerns about your company’s management succession planning? Contact Joel and he can help you with this and other options to insure you have key players in place when you need them.
Talkback: How does your company work its succession planning? What are key factors to consider?
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“If you pick the right people and give them the opportunity to spread their wings—and put compensation as a carrier behind it—you almost don’t have to manage them.”
~ Jack Welch~
Carlos oversees the human resources department for an expanding oil company. As part his goal to educate and improve abilities of HR and the staff to manage human capital, he decided to find and share great articles. “I wanted a resource that would be of value for our employees and managers,” Carlos said.
“I wanted our people to understand that they could have more control over their advancement,” Carlos said. “It’s not just HR that controls talent management, leaders and workers have a say, too.”
Carlos researched articles he could draw on for information to share. “Often I’ll ask the writer of a great article if I can repost it for my people,” Carlos said. “I know it’s unethical to just lift it from the web without permission.” Even without permission, however, it is acceptable to quote excerpts and provide a link back to the original article.
Great talent management articles can offer education and value nearly equivalent to semesters of coursework. Carlos looked for articles with depth and vision.
Ten Ways to Keep Your Star Employees is a great example of the best kind of article for his managers. “It fit right in with both empowering employees and managing talent, Carlos said. “Look at some of the points it covers!”
- Empowering employees use their own gifts.
- Discovering tasks your top talent loves to do.
- Focusing on what workers are doing right in feedback and less on what’s wrong.
- Communicating effectively so each person- management and staff- understand the task, the company policies, and what’s expected.
- Helping your employees work smarter, not harder.
- Offering quality of life enhancements—even when the tough economy doesn’t let you pay them more.
- Letting employees focus more on what they enjoy.
- Looking for advancement opportunities for your employees and helping them find those openings within the company for themselves.
- Coaching and mentoring as a way to increase skills, value to the company, and chances for advancement.
Carlos also found cost effective ways to improve employee morale with this article: How Managers Can Improve Their Workplaces for Employees. The article covered the value of:
- Keeping lines of communication open so employees feel their comments matter.
- Adjusting work schedules with flex-time and other ways to keep talent that might otherwise leave the workforce.
- Recognizing accomplishments—which have been show to add satisfaction to workers.
- Developing programs and plans for workers to increase their skill levels. This increases the talent pool and makes the job of human resources easier.
“As I looked at talent management articles, some were particularly appropriate from a human resources perspective,” Carlos said. “3 Reasons to Invest in Leadership Development added to my understanding of the value of outside coaching in ways I hadn’t considered.” It said:
- Coaching and training is cheaper than bringing on new recruits. The cost of training them and bringing them up to speed is much higher than training or coaching current employees.
- Outside coaching relieves a burden on managers and allows managers to focus on their company job. Plus, you have an expert trainer teaching your employees, instead of a manager whose skills lie in a different direction.
- Talent development benefits both the company and the employees. The company creates a succession plan of rising leaders and keeps proprietary information within the company. Staff knows they are valued and appropriately challenged.
“I found great value in reading talent management articles to help me with my company’s human resources,” Carlos said. “It also gave me insights into breaking news and new ways of using traditional strategies.” Carlos likes the fast learning that comes from articles and plans to continue mining top articles for more valuable information to help him retain his company’s top talent.
Talkback: Have you read a great article? Let us know so we can all enjoy it.
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“Employee loyalty begins with employer loyalty. Your employees should know that if they do the job they were hired to do with a reasonable amount of competence and efficiency, you will support them.”
Gregor runs a small franchise with employees that come and go. He works hard to keep his employees, and does better than most. Still, the nature of the business creates a paperwork chaos.
He knows his records are not in the order they need to be. As a matter of fact, they are in boxes in his garage.
A brush with litigation made Gregor realize it was time to get things straightened out. “I knew I had to manage my risk better. If this had gone to court, I might have been in a mess just because I couldn’t find the right documentation,” Gregor said.
1. How Long Must Records be Kept? Gregor needed to find out what the laws were on retaining employee records. He searched the internet and came across a myriad of information.
Hiring? One year, unless it’s an apprentice program. Then it’s two years. Equal opportunity infraction? Records must be kept from the date the charge is filed… no matter how long it takes to resolve. Most payroll records? Three years.
The rules were so convoluted. Gregor finally found a chart that helped.
2. How Can I Organize My Employee Records? Gregor had the boxes divided by years, so that was a start.
“Initially, I just hired my daughter to go through the boxes shredding everything that was outdated,” Gregor said. “That cleaned up a good part of the garage! But going forward I wanted a better system.”
Gregor decided to scan every application and file it electronically. The notes and promotions also went into the employee’s electronic file. They were marked again the date they departed and the record was flagged to be discarded after the appropriate time.
3. How Can I Retrieve the Records? Gregor’s garage retrieval method was a disaster. He had to spend hours going through the boxes, date-by-date to find the employee records he needed.
The electronic filing of records improved things, but tagging the records in meaningful ways was more cumbersome then he’d imagined.
They needed to be filed by name, by date of hire, date of departure, promotions, any issues or grievances they’d had. He had to document deficiencies and be able to retrieve them as needed.
“It was hard to find a system that worked well,” Gregor said. “I moved to some software systems. That helped a lot.”
4. How Can I Find and Eliminate Old Records? Because Gregor has such a high employee turnover—it’s the nature of his franchise—he needed an easy way to retain the employee’s records while they worked and discard them after the appropriate time elapsed.
“I’ve been without any cardboard boxes of files in my garage for a couple of years now,” Gregor said. “But even handling the files on the computer just became too much. It was a constant effort—weekly even—to pull up and toss the old files.”
Ultimately, Gregor outsourced the employee record keeping to simplify his life.
Improper employee records retention can be a ticking time-bomb to any business, large or small. Gregor was in good company.
A recent survey said that 38% of organizations had not assessed their recordkeeping to see if it was optimal. And another 14% didn’t even know if an assessment was planned or completed.
Step in front of the pack and master your employee record keeping now.
If you need help training your staff to comply with employee record rules, contact Joel.
Talkback: How have you dealt with the complexities of knowing what records to keep and which you can toss? Have you found software or other sources to simplify your work?
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