SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: How effective are you at driving innovation?

  • Very — I generate a ton of innovative ideas: 37.68%
  • Kind of — I’ll be inspired from time to time: 51.84%
  • Infrequently — Inspiration is hard to find: 7.65%
  • Rarely — I can’t remember my last great idea: 2.83%

Innovation takes Time. The day to day can consume us leaving us precious little time for innovation. And there’s a big difference between incrementalism and true innovation. To generate those truly big ideas, try carving out at least two focused hours per month for you and your team to ask some challenging innovation questions that will help you find those big ideas. Dedicated time and a rigorous approach to innovation will make all the difference between ideas and big ideas. (read more…)

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: If someone on your team hates their job, what do you do?

  • Nothing — it’s up to them to find happiness: 7.24%
  • Point out the good things about their role: 27.35%
  • Change their role to make them happy: 7.81%
  • Encourage them to find another role: 57.6%

If you don’t like the job, take action. We’ll frequently have team members who aren’t happy in their roles. Your job as their leader is to help them find their passion for their job. One way to do so is to help them see their work through a different lens and point out the good about their role. The second is to encourage them to find a role that’s better suited to them. (read more…)

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: How transparent are you in sharing information with your team?

  • Completely — they know everything I know: 14.47%
  • Very — they know most things, but I hold some things back: 74.47%
  • Somewhat — they know the things I think they need to know: 8.3%
  • Not very — I share on a need-to-know basis: 1.91%
  • Not at all — I rarely share information with them: .85%

Transparency rules. The more you share, the more they trust you. Even if you’re in the “very transparent” camp, you can probably share more information. Don’t just think about sharing “final” or confirmed information – giving people transparency into information in real time can quell rumors and strengthen bonds. While you may think you’re being transparent, by waiting to share information until it’s final, you’re actually promoting unhealthy dynamics on your team. (read more…)

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: How effectively does your team communicate using new electronic channels?

  •  Very well — they’re “digitally fluent:” 31.08%
  •  Well — they could use some improvement, though: 49.85%
  • Not well — they’ve been slow to learn new channels: 14.77%
  • Poorly — we may as well be using paper: 4.31%

It’s not just the channel – it’s the content. Digital channels of communication are not only changing the way we share information – they’re also sharing the actual content we share. Communication has gone from linear to asynchronus. People navigate their own information flows – which aren’t always the flows you want them to follow. For you to continue communicating effectively, you must absolutely stay on top of what it takes to communicate successfully in a digital age. (read more…)

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: 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 most 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. (read more…)