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: What was your biggest leadership challenge this past year?

  • The business climate was tough and competitive: 26.72%
  • We had internal turmoil in the organization: 44.9%
  • I had big personal leadership challenges: 11.57%
  • My team members had challenges: 7.99%
  • Nothing — it was an amazing year: 8.82%

We have met the enemy and he is us. It seems like the biggest challenges we faced were from within. The good news is, we have more control over those types of challenges than we do external ones. The bad news is we’re causing ourselves more problems than we’re solving. If you’re in this large group facing internal challenges, identify them quickly and resolve to fix them or prevent them in the coming year. (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 does your organization treat clients or customers?

  • Extremely well — we take great care of them: 35.17%
  • Very well — we treat them better than most other companies: 34.88%
  • Well — we do a decent job but could improve a bit: 25%
  • Not well — we could treat them much better: 3.49%
  • Poorly — I’m surprised we even still have customers: 1.45%

Treat them well or someone else will. It doesn’t take much to lose a customer and we all know how hard it is to acquire them. If your organization isn’t in the top two categories in this poll, you’re creating a large risk to your business. As leaders, we’re responsible for identifying where we’re coming up short in our treatment of customers and quickly fixing those issues. (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: Have you ever had what you would consider a major ethical lapse?

  • Yes — I’ve made a big mistake at least once: 48.59%
  • No — I’ve never had an ethical lapse: 51.41%

To err is human. We all make mistakes. I’ve made plenty. Sometimes we find ourselves in that gray area. The most critical thing we can do at that moment is stop, call the foul, make amends, and seek to put in place safeguards to prevent the issue from recurring. Owning up to an error can be scary and painful. But pointing out when bad things happen or might happen can be a powerful relationship builder. The stronger the guardrails you put in place to keep bad things from happening, the stronger your relationships can end up being. (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: Would you rather have a larger leadership role on a smaller team or a smaller leadership role on a bigger team?

  • I want the larger leadership role on a smaller team: 79.09%
  • I prefer the smaller leadership role as part of a bigger team: 20.91%

The Head of the Dog. The preference is clear – people would rather be the head of the dog rather than the tail of the lion. Said differently, taking the larger leadership role is much more preferred even if it’s on a smaller team. This is a common dynamic that’s worth understanding in more depth. It’s only logical. As leaders, many of us seek to have as much impact as possible. (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 team members would you prefer to coach?

  • One who generates tons of results but upsets people in the process: 68.91%
  • One who is liked but gets few results because of lack of focus on the right things: 31.09%

Results Count. The preference is clear – people are more concerned with the results they get than they are with how those results are achieved. It’s a tough tradeoff. The more critical aspect of this choice is how you reduce the friction caused by those “steamrollers.” The better you can assess the tradeoff between results your people deliver and they way they achieve them, the better you’ll be able to lead them to deliver results with less friction or be liked and deliver the results you need. (read more…)