OUT WITH THE OLD – IN WITH THE NEW

OUT WITH THE OLD – IN WITH THE NEW

Achievement Conflict Resolution Employee Engagement Leadership Uncategorized

In a few short days we will be saying farewell to 2016 and greeting 2017. The phrase, “Out with the old, in with the new,” is echoing everywhere, describing the transition that is marked by the change in the calendar. What does this mean for you and for your team? Are you ready for the change that is coming?

As a leader, your role is help your team navigate the transition from old to new in the best way possible. Successful transitions require careful reflection, not just wholesale change. Here are a few suggestions for ringing in the New Year in the best way possible.

  • Recognize that it is okay to let go

There are some attitudes, behaviors, and experiences that are best left in the past. Work with your team to clearly identify what will be left behind – and why. Long-standing traditions may have outlived their usefulness. Lingering conflicts need to be resolved. Disappointments or failures should become important as lessons rather than regrets.

Honor the value of what will be released. Appreciate the effort that was expended, even when the result was not what you had hoped. Make sure that team members who invested time, energy and emotion in something that is ending are recognized for their contributions. Help your team understand that letting go frees space for something better to come along.

  • Plan the transition with intention

Reflect carefully on what will be different in the future by making an honest assessment of what worked and what didn’t in the current year. Set new goals and expectations that are realistic, but require a bit of a stretch. No one gets excited about standing still or falling backward. Make a renewed commitment to the good things that you will be retaining for the future – they are the foundation upon which your new success will rest.

Make sure to look at the changes to be made from both the big picture and the small details. Engage visionary team members in forecasting the big picture for the future and charge detail people with looking at the components of each area to be adjusted. Work together as a team to craft a complete vision of the year to come.

  • Prepare for the in-between time

Making change is not like flipping a light switch – off one minute, on the next. It takes time for people to become accustomed to a new normal, even when it is a happily-anticipated change.

As a leader, you need to recognize that not everyone on your team makes adjustments at the same pace or with the same attitude. Work closely with team members who are reluctant to let go or hesitant about what is to come.

What might ease the transition for them? Do they need more information, support or time? Is the gap between old and new too wide for them; do they need an interim or adjustment period? Model the attitude and approach to change that you want to see in your team.

  • Embrace the new with energy, excitement and enthusiasm

Your team members look to you to help shape their attitude and acceptance of what is ahead. If you cling to the past or seem reluctant to let something go, you can be certain that others will follow suit.

If there are rough waters ahead it is particularly important for your team to feel your confidence that together, you all will find your way to smoother sailing. As a leader, when you acknowledge that change is not always easy, you give the team permission to feel the same way – and then you can cheer yourselves on as you make the change anyway!

At this time of year, when it is “out with the old, in with the new,” be a change leader for your team and Increase Your Impact!

Dr. Sherene McHenry, Leadership IQ expert, is a widely acclaimed speaker, author and coach that demystifies how to lead, motivate and resolve conflict for optimal results. Known for being witty, wise and highly practical, Sherene provides instantly implementable tips and strategies that get real world results.

Effective Leadership Qualities: Shine Your Light

Effective Leadership Qualities: Shine Your Light

Achievement Burnout Leadership Motivation

Effective leadership qualities are a lot like light. They enable you to see a clear vision of a shared and positive future, illumine the path forward and shed light into dark corners where trouble might be lurking.

Leadership is an important calling, and those who do it best possess a high degree of self-awareness and self-care. Here are five ways to ensure you shine even brighter as an effective leader:

  1. Keep your focus clear– Make sure that the vision and mission of your organization is clear to you, so that you can make it clear for others.
  1. Keep yourself nourished – Having adequate light is a function of having sufficient energy. Making sure that you are nourished – physically, emotionally and spiritually – ensures that you have energy to share with others.
  1. Keep moving forward –Your forward momentum propels others. You cannot shine a light on the path to the future if you are standing still in the present.
  1. Keep asking questions – As an effective leader, you have to be willing to look at things that other people cannot see and to anticipate the perils and pitfalls that escape the attention of others. When you ask questions – even tough questions – you empower others to see a broader picture.
  1. Keep sharing the light – The knowledge and wisdom you possess as a leader is worthless if you do not share it. When you bring others into your circle of light, you ensure that it continues beyond yourself.

Effective leaders carry the light in three ways – in the lantern that lights the way and illumines the path; in the flashlight that brightens dark corners; and in the candle that, tipped to the next in line, keeps the light shining in a continuous and ongoing circle.

May your light burn brightly as you increase your leadership effectiveness!

Dr. Sherene McHenry, Leadership Effectiveness expert, is a widely acclaimed speaker, author and coach that demystifies how to lead, motivate and resolve conflict for optimal results. Known for being witty, wise and highly practical, Sherene provides instantly implementable tips and strategies for developing effective leadership qualities that get results.

Repair Relational Fender Benders

Repair Relational Fender Benders

Achievement Conflict Resolution Employee Engagement Leadership

Mistakes are inevitable, but these three strategies can help restore damaged relationships.

Think back to when you bought your car. Did you relish its glossy, gleaming perfection? Protect and baby it? Avoid dings by parking it as far away from other cars as possible? And, despite your best efforts, has every car you’ve ever owned still accumulated scratches and dents, or been in a collision?

The only way a new car stays pristine is if it remains parked in a garage and is never driven; or it is well cared for and regularly received maintenance and body work.

Relationships are a lot like cars. They start off gleaming and shiny but over time, dirt, dings and accidents accumulate. Like vehicles, relationships need attention and restoration work if they are to stay beautiful and working properly.

I’m confident you strive to be respectful, kind and considerate, especially to your employees. Unfortunately, by virtue of being human, you will consistently dirty up, ding up and create fender benders. So will your employees.
Sometimes all that’s needed to repair a relationship is a simple, heartfelt apology. Regrettably, many people don’t know how to apologize, or worse yet they either lack empathy or have been taught that whoever apologizes loses. While that may be the case in destructive relationships, nothing could be further from the truth.

A key indicator of a healthy, productive relationship is that both parties care and desire to nurture and protect their association. Such relationships increase creativity, productivity and profitability.
Here are my hard-earned, practiced-far-more-often-than-I-would-prefer guidelines for delivering an apology:

• Speak sincerely and from the heart. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a forced, insincere apology, you know how something that sounds cold, contrived or flippant creates even more damage. On the flip side, a heartfelt “I’m sorry,” “I regret” or “I was wrong” goes a long way toward repairing relational dings and fender benders.

• Acknowledge responsibility. “I’m sorry I offended you” is very different and far more healing than “I’m sorry if you were offended.” One builds a bridge, the other widens the rift.

I’m not advocating you sell your soul by lying if you don’t feel you did anything wrong. That’s not good for any relationship. At the same time, if the person is offended, hurt or angered by what they perceive you did or didn’t do, you’ll never go wrong with, “I’m sorry I offended you. That wasn’t my intent.”

• Commit to doing better in the future. “I promise to do better,” or, “You can count on me in the future,” provide a much-needed safety net for future interactions.

Here’s the bottom line: While you can’t control if someone accepts your apology, you always have control over when and how you offer it. Sooner is always better than later.

The good news is when you offer an apology containing all three components — heartfelt words, an acknowledgment of responsibility and a promise to improve — your apology will almost always be accepted.

Unfortunately, if you’ve been involved in multiple fender benders or a head-on collisions, an apology alone probably won’t take care of the problem. You’re going to need a good mechanic/body worker such as a highly skilled consultant, coach or relationship professional to help you repair the damage and learn new skills to prevent the problem from reoccurring.

As you become skilled at the art of appropriately apologizing, I look forward to seeing you in a shiny, red, dent-free convertible.

Dr. Sherene McHenry, Leadership IQ Expert, empowers organizations and individuals boost their leadership IQ so they can maximize their potential, enhance relationships, and avoid and overcome burnout. The author of Pick: Choose to Create A Life You Love, Sherene is passionate about creating happier lives, healthier relationships and better bottom lines. www.sherenemchenry.com.

Originally published in Garden Center Magazine, March 2015, http://www.gardencentermag.com/article/garden0315-repair-damaged-relationships-tips/

Be A Better Boss

Be A Better Boss

Achievement Conflict Resolution Employee Engagement Leadership Motivation Stress

I’m sure you’ve already noticed that the world is full of two types of people: those who get things done early and those who put things off until the last minute. Those who get things done early prefer structure, deadlines and plenty of breathing room to finish assignments. Their mantra is, “Once it’s off my plate, I can relax.”

Those who procrastinate prefer freedom in how and when they approach tasks, time to passively noodle the assignment and gather as much information as possible, and the adrenaline that accompanies an approaching deadline. Their manta is, “Relax, the deadline isn’t here yet.”

Managing those who get things done early is a dream. You give them a job and it gets completed in a timely manner. Unfortunately, the strain is transferred to employees who can’t bear to have unfinished projects, and who run themselves ragged to finish jobs only to be assigned additional tasks.

“If you want something done, give it to a busy person,” is the adage of most business owners and managers. Wonderful for the business and the manager, but not so great for the dependable employee burdened with one more task. In addition to not being fun or fair, it’s demotivating to be repeatedly asked to pick up other people’s slack.

What your persistent, getter-done-or-die-trying employees desperately need is protection from you, other employees and even themselves. As a wise leader, knowing they will sacrifice and suffer rather than be late or fail to follow through, you’ll want to keep tabs on their workload and how they are holding up.

High performers who keep getting additional jobs are at huge risk for burnout. Once that happens, they either quit, find a different job, or take their heart out of the workplace. At a bare minimum they’ll start doing “an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay,” nothing more.

All it takes for your Rock Stars and Steady Eddies to soar under your leadership is for you to protect them. Do this by monitoring their workload, dividing up assignments so everyone is sharing the load, and giving them a bit of breathing space before dumping another task on them.

I can almost hear you panic at the thought of spreading out the workload, particularly to employees who procrastinate, turn things in late and always have a good excuse. While panic isn’t necessary, you will need to manage and train your Last Minute Lucys and Larrys to meet deadlines.

While they might not like it, procrastinators need you to set and hold appropriate deadlines and work boundaries. Without them, they will drop the ball and needlessly cause extreme frustration and stress.

It’s helpful to understand that procrastinators actually need the adrenaline that accompanies a deadline. Deadlines propel them to work smarter, faster and more effectively. Deadlines kick in their creative juices. Working on deadline is their preferred and most effective work mode.

Here are seven tips for bringing out the best in your procrastination-prone employees:

1. Set clear deadlines.

2. Ask for their commitment to meet the deadline.

3. Ask when they would like for you to check their progress.

4. With clearly outlined expectations, allow great freedom to determine how and when they approach the task.

5. Refrain from doing it yourself or reassigning a task before the deadline.

6. Hold them accountable for missing deadlines by letting them know the physical, financial and emotional cost of their actions. If this doesn’t bring about desired results, set consequences. No matter how brilliant or charming, if they can’t meet deadlines, they aren’t a good fit for your company.

7. Lastly, recognize the immeasurable gift they bring your company by being able to nimbly respond to anything that gets thrown at them. You need and want them on your team.

While boundaries and deadlines are your best friends as a manager, remember to refrain from rewarding your persistent rock stars with yet another job. Effectively manage both types of employees and you’ll set yourself and everyone else up for long-term success.

Originally published in Garden Center Magazine, February 2015, http://www.gardencentermag.com/article/garden0215-managing-procrastination-prone-employees/

Are Your Dreams For Your Life And Organization Big Enough?

Are Your Dreams For Your Life And Organization Big Enough?

Achievement Dare To Dream Dream Employee Engagement Leadership Motivation

For as long as I can remember, my father has given me the gift of encouraging me to dare to dream big dreams. When an opportunity to win a trip to Europe through our middle school magazine drive was presented, I knew that would win it. All I had to do was sell a copy of Reader’s Digest and submit a 25 word essay on what I would learn from the experience trip abroad. No problem. I eagerly rushed home and asked my mom to buy a copy. “No, dear. Grandpa gives us a yearly subscription.”

Undaunted, I canvased the neighborhood. Everyone turned me down. Mom suggested I try doctor offices and helped by driving me around town. Repeated rejections followed from doctors and staff. Unwilling to give up, I pressed on. Finally, I sold the coveted subscription to Dr. Brown.

After batting about ideas as a family, I sent my essay off praying, “Please, Lord, let me win.” Months came and went without word, but deep inside I knew I would win. I even turned down an invitation to a prestigious competition, saying, “I think I’ll be in Europe.”

Then came the announcement. “All students please report to the auditorium.” Upon entering, I immediately spotted the man from Reader’s Digest. Someone had won. Heart pounding, I anxiously awaited my fate.

After thanking everyone, he declared, “Out of 13,500 submissions, we selected 17 winners. One is from here.” He paused for dramatic effect … then, he called my name. Overjoyed, I took the stage. While it may not happen every time, don’t let anyone tell you that dreams don’t come true.

As an adult I read Barbara Sher’s “Wishcraft: How To Get What You Really Want.” Promising good things would result, she suggested identifying 100 things that I wanted to be, have or do. So I created my first Top 100 List in 1996 with dreams ranging from the dramatic, to the mundane, to the fanciful and the heartfelt.

About five years later, I found my list. Amazingly, 40 of my wishes had come true with little or no effort on my part. I don’t even remember writing down one of my favorites, “Overdose on the theatre in London.” Mom and I had a fantastic trip and even got upgraded to first class on the flight over.

Before you’re tempted to think I get everything I want, I don’t. Several of the deepest longings of my heart, haven’t and won’t come true. I, like everyone else who walks the planet, have mourned unfulfilled dreams. The good news is we humans are incredibly resilient, and our dreams can change over time.

What about you? Do you have lofty dreams for your business? For the people you lead and serve? For your life? For your community? For your family? Do you have a Top 100 List? Do you encourage your staff to dream? To set grand goals for their departments and individual performances?

Or, have you forgotten to dream? Did you learn along life’s way that dreams are for other people? That it’s safest not to dream or expect good things? That if you don’t dream, you don’t get hurt? Worse yet, do you squelch the dreams of those around you, particularly those who work for you?

I encourage you to compile your personal Top 100 List. If that’s too daunting, do a Top 25 List. Additionally, create a Top 25 List for your business and/or department. Then, ask your employees to create a Top 10 List for the business, their department and/or their job.

Depending on the size and structure of your organization, combine appropriate employee groupings and work together to determine your priorities for the business and/or department. You’ll be amazed at the creativity, energy and teamwork that result. You’ll also know where to focus your energy, time and other resources required to turn lofty and yet worthy dreams into reality.

Originally published in Garden Center Magazine, January 2015, http://www.gardencentermag.com/article/garden0115-top100-priorities-list/