Last month, I worked with a manager who was eager to develop her staff, but was overwhelmed by her senior management’s charge to accelerate top performance with highly ambitious goals.

In her company, performance standards directed employees’ efforts to be “excellent,” “exceptional” and “outstanding.” Sound familiar? These targets were intended to be aspirational and inspirational. Yet, for her employees who were continually striving to grow new skills and increase competencies, these targets failed to even be motivational.

On the path to growing new skills, establishing the standard of “good enough” gives employees a green light to move into action. Such a standard removes barriers that can stifle employees who feel the level of their contribution is not high enough or who are concerned about making mistakes. Having this testing ground to apply new skills is a crucial step toward true mastery and increases their understanding of what will be required to use those skills at the highest level. (read more…)

Looking to get to the top of your organization? You’d better work on your motivation skills. That finding comes from a survey by IIC Partners headquartered in London.

As the survey explained, “68 percent of top leaders say they preferred a senior executive who could motivate and inspire others” over the ability to perform well.

When employees see that their boss walks the talk, stands up for them, and has a clear vision, they are motivated to follow. And when they see a leader who believes that his/her job is to serve (rather than being served) they are all the more motivated.

John Baldoni is chair of leadership development at N2Growth, is an internationally recognized leadership educator and executive coach. In 2014, Trust Across America named him to its list of top 100 most trustworthy business experts. Also in 2014, Inc.com named Baldoni to its list of top 100 leadership experts, and Global Gurus ranked him No. (read more…)

I was in a talent review meeting recently, and we were discussing the strengths and development needs of a promising young leader. When I asked what the leader’s biggest development need was, the answer was “confidence.”

When faced with a development need, I can usually ad lib a pretty good development plan, but I drew on a blank on this one. Total brain cramp. So I asked the rest of the group, “So, how do you develop confidence?” The only answer they could come up with was “experience.” More specifically, to give the person time to build up a track record of wins.

But that can’t be the only way to develop leadership confidence, right? Sit back and wait? That wouldn’t explain why some young, early-career leaders are oozing with confidence, and other more experienced, successful leaders still project a lack of confidence.

After doing a little research, I came up with the following 12 ways to develop leadership confidence. (read more…)

Halvorson13874_300dpi-1On the television show “The Office,” Steve Carell played a hilariously bad boss, whose total incompetence did nothing to undermine his belief that in his employees’ eyes, he was “World’s Best Boss” mug-worthy. It’s funny when it happens on TV. It’s not funny when it happens to you.

I’m not actually suggesting that your team thinks you’re an idiot. I have no idea what they think of you, but I do know that you don’t know, either. One of the things we have learned from over 50 years of research on how human beings perceive one another is that most of the time, we assume other people see us the way we see ourselves. A second thing we’ve learned is that that is almost never true.

The reasons why can get a bit complicated, but to put it simply: You have access to lots of information about you (e.g., your thoughts, intentions, feelings, past history) that other people do not have. (read more…)

The Young Entrepreneur Council is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. Read previous SmartBlogs posts by YEC.

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Q. What is one management best practice you use specifically with remote workers and why?

yec_Juha Liikala1. Weekly Skype meetings

Experienced remote employees manage their time and weekly tasks well without much supervision. However, if there’s one BIG best practice for managing remotes, it’s this: Hold what-do-you-need-help-with Skype meetings once a week (I prefer Tuesdays). If your remote employee gets stuck or doesn’t know what to work on next, this is the meeting that will catch and address those problems. – Juha Liikala, Stripped Bare Media

yec_Brennan White2. Telepresence robots

With the Double Telepresence Robot, it’s unfathomable that we used to work remotely in any other way. (read more…)