Can Proper Employee Coaching
Turn a Problem Employee into a “Superstar”

superstar grunge red stamp

“If somebody is gracious enough to give me a second chance, I won’t need a third.”

~ Pete Rose ~

Kimberly, a free-lance marketing consultant, landed an assignment to temporarily replace Jennifer, the VP of marketing at a large financial institution for six to twelve months. Jennifer was taking a leave due to complications from a high-risk pregnancy.

Because of her medical condition, she had very little time to brief Kimberly, but as she was leaving she informed Kimberly that she had just fired Jerry, a young IT guy—and the only IT guy in the department.

A couple of days later Jerry emailed Kimberly and asked if they could meet off-site for coffee. By this time, Kimberly had heard a little of the backstory on Jerry, the principle fact being that he was the son of the company’s CEO! Kimberly was a little intrigued by this political hot potato, so she agreed to meet him. Here are the facts as Jerry presented them to Kimberly:

  • Jerry’s former boss had indeed felt pressured to take him on because of his father’s status, although his father never asked for that favor.
  • Jerry’s boss did not respect his expertise in IT and did not accept any of his recommendations for moving key projects forward, even though Jerry felt he had come up with good solutions.
  • Other people in the department put him down in order to appear to agree with his boss, so he felt he had no peer support.

Jerry asked Kimberly to give him a second chance.

Kimberly admired Jerry’s initiative in telling her his story. She agreed to look at his proposal for completing the department’s major project, a revamp of the internal employee intranet. After reviewing his proposal, Kimberly felt he was on the right track so she went to her boss, Larry, and told him she wanted to rehire Jerry on a temporary basis to follow through on the intranet project. When Jerry completed that project, Kimberly and Larry would meet and reevaluate the situation. Larry agreed.

Kimberly brought Jerry back into the department with little fanfare and no explanation, other than that the team needed his help on this critical project, which was lagging way behind schedule. In the meantime, Kimberly expected Jerry to meet with her twice weekly —once for project updates, and once for employee coaching sessions to improving his communication skills and reframing his mindset that “everybody resents me because I’m the boss’s son.”

Kimberly started including Jerry in formal and informal department meetings as part of his employee coaching and having him report to the team on the progress of his project. She also paired him up with a couple of new-hires who needed some IT training. When the project was complete, they staged a big roll-out announcement, a department party to celebrate, and Kimberly made sure Jerry got a lot of kudos.

Based on Jerry’s initial success, Kimberly quickly found another project for him to work on and he continued to blossom. When the Jennifer returned from her maternity leave, she told Kimberly that she didn’t even recognize Jerry as the same person. And she decided to keep him on permanently.

Here’s the takeaway: problem employees can sometimes be saved with good coaching and a willingness to undergo an attitude adjustment.

Take a look at your team. What problem employees might have potential if you provided good guidance and employee coaching? Schedule some meetings with them this week.

Talkback: Have you given a problem employee a second chance? What were your results? Share your story here.

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Cognitive Development Skills
to Accelerate Leadership

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“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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Encouragement Is Key to Helping Employees Find New Jobs

Cutting up Paper Dolls
The driving force of a career must come from the individual. Remember: Jobs are owned by the company; you own your career!

~ Earl Nightingale ~

If you are being forced to lay off employees, you have probably already given some thought to applying downsizing motivation theory to keep your surviving employees motivated before, during, and after the layoffs.  However, you should also be concerned about motivating your exiting employees.  Employees who are laid off are much more likely to speak negatively about the company if they are given little or no support as they transition back into the job market.

When it comes to motivating those who are experiencing loss, encouragement is key.  As George Mattew Adams wrote, “Encouragement is like oxygen for the soul.”  It is during the most difficult times in a person’s life that encouragement is most needed and appreciated.  Losing a job is one of those times.  By offering encouragement to your exiting employees, you will help them keep a positive outlook, which is essential as they try to find new jobs.

Here are six ways you can encourage your exiting employees to keep their spirits up as they begin their job search:

  1. Encourage them to take action.
    Acknowledge their fears, but help them create a solid plan to find a new job and encourage them to take concrete steps to move forward in spite of their fears.
  2. Encourage them to focus on their strengths.
    Consider working with an outplacement coaching service to help your employees identify their strengths, accomplishments, and potential.
  3. Emphasize the positives.
    Many times, employees who are laid off will end up in positions that are better suited to their skills and personality.  Others may find that it gives them the courage they need to pursue their dreams.
  4. Help them see the possibilities.
    Opportunities are everywhere. Encourage your exiting employees to be alert to new opportunities, from pursuing a different career path to starting their own businesses.
  5. Provide resources to help them find a new job or career.
    Implement an outplacement program that incorporates job skill training, resume services, and other career transition services that will help them find new jobs.
  6. Listen without being judgmental.
    Displaced workers often need someone who will listen to their concerns and fears. Allow them to express their anxieties and try to encourage them as much as possible.

Encouragement is the single most important component when downsizing employees—even more important than teaching employees who haven’t had to look for work lately how to find a new job in today’s high-tech job market. Sometimes a single encouraging word is all it takes to motivate someone who is feeling defeated.

Do you want to offer something a little more solid to support your exiting employees as they try to find new jobs? Consider a career outplacement program to help them unleash the power of networking and land the jobs they’ve always dreamed of.

Are You Making Any of These 7 Leadership Mistakes?

Lead by Example
A leader leads by example, whether he intends to or not.

~ Author Unknown ~

Successful leaders implement strategies that motivate and empower their employees while avoiding common pitfalls. A business leadership and motivation training course teaches managers how to do both. Managers who have strong leadership skills are able to nurture their employees’ strengths and help them develop their skills to improve their performance.

7 Leadership Mistakes Ineffective Managers Make

There are seven main traits that the American Management Association has found that most ineffective managers share. Managers who want to improve their leadership skills should strive to avoid these undesirable traits:

  • Not being sensitive to employees’ needs.
  • Being arrogant or distant.
  • Sharing information that should be kept confidential.
  • Not controlling their ambition.
  • Not delegating work and failing to get employees to work together as a team.
  • Inability to choose the right staff when hiring.
  • Inability to make strategic plans to achieve goals.
Traits of a Successful Leader

Simply avoiding negative traits is not enough to make you a successful leader. Managers who stop there will be mediocre at best. To become strong leaders, they must learn techniques to help them inspire their employees. This is where motivation training and business leadership courses come in. By attending this type of training, managers will learn to lead by example and become better at motivating their employees to accomplish great things. Here are three traits that great leaders share:

  1. Ability to Compromise
    Successful leadership is not about getting your own way. It is about getting people to work together to accomplish something that couldn’t be done as well by a single person working alone. A good leader is skilled at offering compromises in order to get everyone on the team working toward the same goal.
  2. Willingness to Sacrifice
    A great leader is willing to make sacrifices to inspire and motivate team members. Alexander the Great did this when he refused to drink water even though he and his men were dying of thirst. There was not enough water for everyone, and he refused to drink until there was enough water for all of them.
  3. Believing in Others
    You’ll have a hard time getting your employees to perform at their best if you do not believe in their abilities. By giving team members projects that are a little bit more difficult than what they have done in the past, you help them stretch their abilities and encourage them to develop new skills. Make sure to let them know that you know the project is difficult, but you believe in their ability to get the job done. Don’t just leave them feeling overwhelmed; you must encourage them and help them believe in themselves.

By completing a business leadership and motivation training course, managers can learn how to avoid leadership mistakes, help employees improve their skills and productivity, and find ways to lead by example to provide motivation to employees. This will result in a more effective workforce and increase the company’s profit margin.

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3 Solid Strategies to Advance your Career

Advance your Career

A chief is a man who assumes responsibility. He says, “I was beaten;” he does not say, “My men were beaten.”

~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery ~

During my business leadership training seminars, I teach strategies that can help clients advance their careers. To learn all of these strategies, you’ll have to attend one of my seminars, but here are a few things you can start working on now.

  1. Develop Your Financial Vocabulary
    In business, nothing matters more than the bottom line. Learn as much as you can about costs, profit margins, and accounting so that you will be able to make a case for proposed projects based on projected profits and cost savings.
  2. Build Relationships with People
    Money might be the bottom line, but you won’t advance far in your career by trampling over everyone in your way—at least not for long. Work to develop good relationships at work. You never know when the receptionist you always took for granted might turn out to be the key to getting you an important meeting.
  3. Take on Extra Responsibilities
    Take the initiative to find ways to do more than what is required in your current position. It may not be the perfect job for you, but give it everything you’ve got and your boss will take your hard work into consideration when it comes time for a raise or promotion.

Look for opportunities to stand out from the crowd at work, and take advantage of any opportunities you have to improve your knowledge and skills. If you can, attend business leadership training to learn the skills you need to advance quickly in your career.

Do you want to learn more strategies to help you advance your career? Download a free sample chapter of Getting Ahead today!