How much time each week do you spend making decisions? Likely, many of the choices you make are almost automatic, requiring little thought: Attend that meeting or not? Stay late to finish the report tonight, or come in early tomorrow? And then, there are more challenging choices, such as whether or not to terminate an underperforming employee’s employment.

Your daily work life is made up of numerous tasks, all of which require decision-making. According to Sheena Iyengar, a Professor of Business at Columbia Business School and author of “The Art of Choosing,” the average CEO works on 139 tasks per week. In a TED talk called “How to Make Choosing Easier,” Iyengar reports that scientists who documented the many decisions related to those 139 tasks found that 50% of the choices related to task completion took nine minutes or less. Not all decisions were reached quickly, however; about 12% of CEO decisions required an hour or more of thought. (read more…)

Leadership just isn’t what it used to be. Thank goodness! We’ve all known of organizational cultures where the managers’ use of command and control is a source of power. Because we are now in an age of flattened organizational structures, global broad based knowledge, and speed-of-light decision making, real leadership power lies in work relationships that are formed and intentionally sustained.

In the next 20 years, we’ll see more change in how managers lead. Although here are still pockets of managers who grasp for power through force and strength, they’ll leave and be replaced with a new type of manager. This manager will be adept at real power. They’ll share influence by being a catalyst to bring out the best in their stakeholders and organizations.

They’ll focus on others as a significant investment as opposed to simply checking off items on a “to do” list. The managers who are adept at force and control will not survive, except perhaps in rare cases where safety and security may be necessary. (read more…)

My son is 21 and in his second year of a summer office internship. He’s working hard, getting good reviews and privately developing a chip on his shoulder because he believes all us old people think millennial workers (roughly ages 18 to 30) are lazy and too full of themselves.

I thought he was just being overly sensitive until I started to see the anti-millennial posts pop up on my feed recently. Really? We’re going to do this again? We’re going to complain about the younger generation the way our parents complained about us? They’re going to take over our jobs and run our world someday. Let’s get on with helping them be effective and — more importantly — allowing them to make us better leaders while they’re at it.

Millennials require us to be vision-driven

Millennials are driven to make an impact. Maybe it’s because so many of their parents told them they could; maybe it’s because they feel like the world after 9/11 and the financial crisis (all they know) is crumbling around them; maybe they’re just not afraid to want to make a difference the way so many of us are and were. (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.

As a CEO, how can I get honest feedback from my team?

yec_John Rampton1. Be open

I think it starts with you as CEO in the beginning. You have to be open and willing to listen to everything. Ask for feedback consistently so people know they can come to you with honest feedback. Always address the feedback positively. Take it in and make changes accordingly. Keep in mind, if they feel coming to you will impact their job negatively, they will never be honest.– John Rampton, Adogy

yec_Ashley Mady2. Ask in a different way

Try using “I like, I wish, I wonder.” Ask your team to answer these questions about the company or whatever topic you need help with. (read more…)

What separates the best leaders from the rest when it comes to employee engagement?

Our research shows the best leaders communicate an inspiring vision and live it, value people and give them a voice. Here are seven of the 100+ best practices that leaders can use to engage people.

1. Set “top five” high-level annual priorities. Many leaders today are overwhelming the people they lead by trying to do too much. Both individually and as a team, set no more than five high-level challenging but achievable annual priorities that are aligned with your vision and mission. If you go beyond five high-level annual priorities, it will diminish focus and effective execution by tending to overwhelm those responsible for implementation. One day each week, review your weekly plans to see that they are aligned with your top five.

2. Know their stories. Take time to get to know the people you work with, especially your direct reports. (read more…)