In the midst of our intense discussion, Dom, a vice president at a financial management firm, told me, “I don’t need great rapport, I just want Karl to show respect by doing what I ask.”

Dom wanted to prepare this smart professional for a more senior role and was very frustrated by repeated failed attempts to help Karl increase his business development abilities. He tried pointing out to Karl where his approach was lacking, giving guidance on better ways to create partnerships and support annual planning with clients. But over time, there was no real improvement. Dom attributed the lack of success to Karl having a real attitude problem. When I asked Dom whether Karl felt comfortable with him, he responded, “What difference does that make?”

The key to unlocking Dom’s challenge lies in unwinding the contention that great rapport with employees is not needed. Having employees comply with directives only takes them so far, and certainly lacks the engagement and developmental factors. (read more…)

The best executives with whom I have worked make a point of hitting the road.

Executives who get out of their offices and make treks to the front lines, as well as to customer locations, get firsthand impressions of what is happening, as well as what is not happening. And it’s not enough to show up.

You need to engage. Have real conversations about how the work is going, and especially listen to how people respond.

Ask questions. And, most important, listen to what you hear.

Hitting the road to discover what’s going on is time-consuming and wearying, but it is necessary for any executive who expects to lead with a clear head, and an even more clear vision of the future.

 

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. (read more…)

According to a recent study by the Korn-Ferry Institute, “knowing thyself” isn’t just a nice-to-to; self-awareness flows directly to a firm’s bottom line.

I’ve been sharing this information with my network and it’s generating a lot of interest. While we’ve all know that awareness of strengths and weaknesses and how we are perceived by others is essential to being an effective leader, it’s interesting to see a connection made to a firm’s financial results.

Here’s more from a June 15 press release:

An analysis by Korn Ferry (NYSE:KFY), the preeminent authority on leadership and talent, shows that public companies with a higher rate of return (ROR) also employ professionals who exhibit higher levels of self-awareness.

The Korn Ferry Institute analyzed a total of 6,977 self-assessments from professionals at 486 publicly traded companies to identify the “blind spots” in individuals’ leadership characteristics. A blind spot is defined as a skill that the professional counted among his or her strengths, when coworkers cited that same skill as one of the professional’s weaknesses. (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.

If you enjoy this article, join SmartBrief’s e-mail list for our newsletters on small business and entrepreneurialism.

Q. Should I let an underperforming employee go now, or wait until we find a replacement and why? They are not toxic, just time to move on.

yec_Manpreet Singh1. Give them the choice

Bad workers usually get warnings. Businesses are entitled to two weeks’ notice. And here, you have a decent worker who, while continuing to add value, has outlived his or her purpose there, to little fault of their own. So, the fair but not painless path is letting the employee choose between going or staying on to save money until either you replace them or they replace their income source. (read more…)

I remember once sitting around the table with my faculty advisory committee. The committee consisted of four teachers from different grade levels and disciplines within the school and was designed to offer me feedback on various programs and change initiatives as well as be my ears on the ground.

At one point the conversation moved to hand written thank you notes that I had penned for each staff member over the summer and left for them on the first day of teacher meetings. The text was largely the same for each note, with one unique line for every staff member that highlighted a personal quality. It read: “I really appreciate the way that you…” and would focus on something like a teacher’s passion, creativity, contribution to the team, etc. One committee member commented on how much the note that she received meant to her. She had posted it on the wall above her desk and looked at it often for inspiration. (read more…)