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 prevalent is the use of buzzwords in your organization

  • Extremely — it seems like everything we say is a buzzword: 25.69%
  • Very — buzzwords creep into normal conversations: 40.39%
  • Somewhat — the occasional buzzword gets thrown around: 27.06%
  • Not at all — we rarely use buzzwords: 6.86%

Words with no meaning. Sure, buzzwords sound great but they get in the way of communicating clearly. At worst, using buzzwords makes you sound silly or arrogant. If you want to get your point across, speak simply and directly. Leave no room for interpretation. There are some horrible phrases we tend to use and the worst of those buzzwords can make us sound ridiculous. Find better alternatives. Your team will appreciate it and you’ll make a much better impression upon those around you. (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 of the following poses the greatest risk to your business?

  • Lack of diversification: 14.29%
  • Rapidly changing markets: 22.53%
  • Access to the right talent: 31.68%
  • Aggressive competition: 19.6%
  • Shifts in technology: 11.9%

Many Threats. Threats abound. Market shifts, lack of talent, competition, and lack of diversification all threaten us every day. The question for leaders is are you proactively assessing these threats and steering your organization past them? If not, you’ll constantly be reacting to the changes and your business will always be a step behind. If you take some simple steps today (for example, taking these measures to diversify your business) you can avoid major headaches down the road.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS and author of “One Piece of Paper: The Simple Approach to Powerful, Personal Leadership.” (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 of these characteristics is the most dangerous leadership trait?

  • Excessively ambitious: 6.53%
  • Being short-tempered: 13.46%
  • Indecisiveness and over-cautiousness: 32.3%
  • Lack of vision: 22.02%
  • Selfishness: 25.69%

Dangerous Traits. From the looks of it, folks find short-sighted, indecisive, selfish leaders to be the worst of all. Each has its risks. You must remember your role as a leader is to put others before yourself, set direction for them, and make the difficult calls that others are afraid to make. If these things make you uncomfortable, either build your skills in this arena or seek a role with less responsibility. One key to your development is first understanding what kind of leader you are. Once you understand that, you’ll be better equipped to build the relevant skills. (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 well do you know your team members as individuals?

  • Very well — I know a great deal about them: 42.9%
  • Well — I know a few things about them: 47.58%
  • Not well — I don’t know very much about them: 8.01%
  • Not at all — I know pretty much nothing about them: 1.5%

The more you know. It’s a simple premise – the better you know your people, the better you’re able to lead them. While it’s great to know superficial things about them, knowing and understanding their motivations, feelings, aspirations, and histories can go a long way. At the heart of knowing them better is listening with both ears and letting go of your agenda. (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 much control over your work do you believe you have?

  • Total — I decide everything I do or don’t do: 6.61%
  • Significant — I control most of what I work on : 65.23%
  • Some — Most of my work is dictated to me: 22.99%
  • None — I have no control over the work I do: 5.17%

Control is a matter of perspective. While most respondents feel they control most of what they work on, there’s still a substantial number of you who feel your work is dictated to you. And for those who feel they control most of what you work on, that still means there’s work you feel you don’t control. But control is a matter of perspective. (read more…)