im_yfljbookcoverThis post is adapted from “Your First Leadership: How Catalyst Leaders Bring Out the Best in Others,” by Tacy M. Byham and Richard S. Wellins, Wiley, 2015. Byham and Wellins are CEO and SVP, respectively, of Development Dimensions International.

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We absolutely believe that as a leader you are a powerful, creative, and indispensable force for good in society. But you’re not a mind reader, nor are you a psychiatrist (most likely). You may discover that the employees you’ll be coaching have personal issues beyond your scope that make it necessary to enlist your HR contact for help. But by approaching the entire situation with empathy and planning — and considering the personal and practical needs of all involved — you’ll be better able to help your team consistently work well together. (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.

How well do reorganizations go in your organization?

  • They’re great — smooth with no issues: 5%
  • They’re OK — we get through them with one or two issues: 42%
  • They’re bad — we really struggle with them: 33%
  • They’re horrible — our reorgs are typically a disaster: 21%

Change is Painful. 55% of you say your reorgs go much worse than planned. People dislike change. That’s a given. One of the biggest reasons reorgs fail is because we don’t think about the human component of them. We move a box on an org chart, change some responsibilities, and keep on truckin’. Unfortunately if you don’t account for the personalities, aspirations, and skills of your people, you could be precipitating a mass exodus from the organization. (read more…)

“[Y]ou must know what you want to achieve, be certain of your aims, and have these goals constantly in mind… You must educate your (people) … And since the world never stops for a moment… you must constantly reassess chosen policies towards the achievement of your aims.” ~ David Ben-Gurion, first prime minister of Israel

Much has been written about how 21st century leaders differ from their 20th century counterparts. Today’s leaders must guide complex organizations that are more virtual and multinational in nature than ever before. They must nimbly navigate through a fast-paced marketplace that is in continuous flux and determine the proper course forward from a myriad of options. They also need to recruit and retain a millennial workforce that has different interests, needs, and working habits than their elders.

In such a demanding business environment, leaders would be wise to develop a strong learning environment at the workplace. (read more…)

This post is adapted from “All Hands on Deck: Navigating Your Team Through Crises, Getting Your Organization Unstuck and Emerging Victorious” (Career Press, 2015) by Peter Boni, managing principal, Kedgeway Inc., and former CEO of Safeguard Scientifics.

So here you are, brand new in a role or considering taking one to reposition an organization or department. It has run aground, faces critical issues, and isn’t performing up to its potential. The task is lonely, daunting, complete with skeptical eyes staring at you. Hopeful eyes are staring, too.

Can you be the catalyst to lead the organization, department, or team past its current issues? Can you get the ship off the bottom to sail safely once again? If so, where do you start? Before you can hatch a plan, you must ask questions and listen; then ask for help.

Ask Questions and Listen; Then Ask for Help

Success stories generally start with the practice of fundamentals. (read more…)

The show “Shark Tank,” like much of the media, perpetuates the myth that you have to be aggressive, assertive, even confrontational to advance your career and become a leader; that thoughtfulness, politeness, and the inability to summarize an important idea in less than a minute are crippling diseases; and that the business world is akin to a shark tank where you are likely to be devoured unless you adopt the characteristics of the sharks to survive. Amusing for sure, but as true reality? As Borat would say, “Not so much.”

Confrontation sounds exciting and climactic. Directly taking on your superiors over a perceived slight or a co-worker over credit stolen can be a strong temptation. The fantasy of doing so and pulling it off is powerful. Hollywood makes billions appealing to this urge, depicting hero after hero speaking big words and standing up to formidable powers. However, in the real world, the one that we work and live in, confrontation is usually a risky and dangerous thing. (read more…)