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…)

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…)

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…)

Over 75 years ago, Chester Barnard published a landmark book called “The Functions of the Executive.” In it, he makes a key observation: “Successful cooperation in or by formal organizations is the abnormal, not the normal, condition.”

In other words, organizations don’t cooperate naturally. That’s why one of the fundamental roles of the CEO is to proactively build the basis of successful cooperation: organizational alignment.

In the business world, we talk about alignment all the time, but it’s important to recognize the three specific forms it takes, and then set up systems to help support all three. Fail at this task and you’ll be like a conductor at the front of an orchestra that’s trying to play seven different Beethoven symphonies at once. Not a pleasant experience for anyone.

1. Employee-role alignment

The first kind of alignment describes the fit between an employee and his or her role. If the individual is misaligned with the function to be performed, the mismatch will threaten the broader forms of alignment discussed later in this post. (read more…)

Trust is a key element in all human interactions. Nowhere is it more important than in a work environment. Yet, often leaders pay little attention to how actions affect trust.

If leaders aren’t mindful of these actions, they can soon lose the trust of their employees. When that happens, teamwork, communications and performance suffer. Employee dissatisfaction, lower productivity and higher turnovers increase company costs.

When leaders consciously strive to improve trust, they’ll see an increase in communication. People will reveal more to you and you’ll have greater insight into what’s really happening in your organization. This will help your employees succeed.

You’ll find an increase in teamwork and cooperation. When you establish trust, your employees know you’ll have their back and protect them. Thus, they support you and give more effort and production. You save the company money.

Is your trust factor where it should be? Use these five tips to evaluate your performance and increase employee trust in you and your organization. 

  1. Be aware and involved.
  2. (read more…)