In the summer of 2012, we were still limping out of the throes of an economic Armageddon. The mood around the country was dark and gloomy. I yearned to focus on leaders with vision, values, and integrity, as the global recession was prompted by the absence of these very characteristics in key leadership positions. I longed to reaffirm that all great institutions are built by leaders at all levels who demonstrate the bedrock values of integrity and trust. I felt there could be a great comparative story of the presence or absence of leadership and its effect on the success or failure of an organization.

Implementing a new strategy requires current and emerging leaders who can drive an organization, energize its operations and inspire its people. This kind of leadership challenge is for the select few who always step up, build a competitive edge and differentiate themselves in clear and compelling ways. (read more…)

Managing absenteeism has become a critical component of human resources strategy. With each passing business day, it’s becoming increasingly more complex to consistently and uniformly apply federal and state laws governing absenteeism, and to align those regulations with organization policies across multiple locations.

The impact of employee absences can be astonishing. According to a recent Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index the total annual costs related to lost productivity due to absenteeism in the U.S. totaled $84 billion. Although the annual costs associated with absenteeism vary by industry, the greatest loss occurred in professional occupations at $24.2 billion.

There are direct and indirect costs of absence that can cascade through payroll, benefits, and operations — in addition to productivity loss. And the reasons for an employee taking leave are many and varied, ranging from employee’s injury and illness, pregnancy-related issues, newborn care, adoption, foster care, or elder care, to name a few.

The recordkeeping for employee absences is particularly complex and challenging for part-time, variable-work-schedule, hourly, and non-exempt employees. (read more…)

As a coach and professional development provider, I often find myself having some variation of the following conversation with an organization’s chief executive, HR director or program coordinator.

“Please make sure,” they say, “to include lots of practical examples for everyone in the room when you speak.” They explain their request as follows. “Oftentimes when we bring someone in to present a workshop we get blowback, particularly from the old-timers. They’ve told us that other presenters’ content was too theoretical. They also say that the examples may have been useful to others in the room, but it did not address their specific needs.”

As a former teacher and principal, I know exactly what that person is talking about. So often, I would sit through a workshop and wonder about its applicability to me and my classroom. Many others around me would do similarly, and often find other more useful things to do, such as grade papers. (read more…)

When leaders blow up, lose their tempers or let their emotions get the better of them, they can quickly develop a reputation as volatile, moody, defensive or having a lack of leadership presence.

Unfortunately, all it takes is one public outburst. When coaching leaders who have received negative 360-degree feedback about composure, I’ll ask them when the last time they lost their cool was. In most cases, it’s on a rare occasion, maybe months ago. However, people remember, and it becomes a tough reputation to overcome.

Maintaining your composure can be hard! Emotions serve us well, especially in dangerous situations. Chemicals are triggered that enable us to run away from or fight an angry bear. Which serves us fine if we are in the woods confronted by an angry bear. Not so good when confronted by an angry co-worker in a meeting.

So what can you do to overcome the urge to throttle your co-worker that says something that sets you off? (read more…)

The Young Entrepreneur Council is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC launched BusinessCollective, 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 your favorite tool, question or review style to determine overall employee happiness and engagement at work?

yec_Joshua Dorkin1. Taking regular walks with staff

One of the easiest ways to get a pulse on your team is to talk to them one-on-one. I like to take time at regular intervals to go on a walk with my team members to see how things are going for them and to find out if there are any issues we can work on. Employee happiness is essential for a successful business, and regular conversations like these help you to nip any potential issues in the bud. (read more…)