Leadership, positive emotions, and making a difference

Leadership, positive emotions, and making a difference

How often are you or someone around you negative about society, other people, or the world in general?  If only you had the power to change things.  If only you had money like Bill Gates, you could make a difference in life.  Well, the truth is that you can make a difference in this world…and it doesn’t have to cost a thing.

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Lopsided leadership - When leaders overplay strengths

Lopsided leadership - When leaders overplay strengths

When leaders overplay their strengths, they risk being typecast leading to compromised performance and bland careers. Most likely you are well-known for and acknowledged for your strengths. Acknowledgement and accolades can be seductive - and very limiting. Think about actors who have been typecast by overplaying their strengths. Typecasting severely limits actors from expressing their full-range of talent. 

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Lopsided leadership - Too much of a good thing

Lopsided leadership - Too much of a good thing

Who hasn’t worked for a star-performing leader who was exceptionally brilliant at operational details and has been micromanaged to death? Or for a supportive boss who asked for everyone’s input but delayed making timely decisions?

Leadership strengths when overemphasized are often overused. This is the downside of strengths-based leadership development. We need to take into account how the very strengths that leaders depend on can be detrimental to careers and to the people they manage. 

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Lopsided leadership - When leaders' strengths fail

Lopsided leadership - When leaders' strengths fail

In the last decade, leadership development experts have enthusiastically pushed to improve leadership strengths instead of addressing leaders’ weaknesses. This approach may have some success in growing individuals’ effectiveness, but it’s fundamentally flawed. When overemphasized, strengths become overused. This post is the first in the series on Lopsided Leadership.

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Boost Employee Commitment with Motivational Outlook Conversations

Boost Employee Commitment with Motivational Outlook Conversations

Motivational conversations are effective in boosting employee commitment, engagement, and alignment with your vision.  Ask your people to identify what motivates them to do their work and to go beyond mediocrity to peak performance. Your goal is to help them identify motivating factors that have maximum impact and create optimum energy for them.  Help them to do their best work.

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Motivate without Micromanaging

Motivate without Micromanaging

Over-management can manifest as micromanagement. When you tell employees what to do, how to do it, when to do it, and why your way is better, you undermine their ability to think for themselves. Instead of enjoying some control over the way they work, they begin to feel powerless and controlled. They many even start to doubt their competency. Their relationship with you deteriorates, as it is now based on compliance and conformity.

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5 Steps to Build Peak Performance – Step 1. The Right Fit

  • employee engagementLess than 950 words
  • Quoted Studies and Statistics
  •  Average Reading Time: Less than 5 minutes

I am fortunate to work with many talented and smart people: savvy women business owners; high-volume automotive dealer principals; dedicated surgeons and physicians; their hard-working executive teams – and their employees. The troubling trend is the unrelenting hard work and effort wasted following management gurus and fads du jour. As mentioned in a previous blog, I have seen many “quality”, “customer-experience”, and “employee-engagement” programs come and go in the past few decades. The programs are sound for building capacity and capability. However, implementation and sustainability is THE challenge. What’s the golden key?

While no management guru has found the golden key to unlocking the full panoply of human potential at work, several diverse areas of research shed new light on the possibilities.

golden key I recently retreated to listen to the audiobook, Shine: Using Brain Science to Get the Best from Your People (Harvard Business Press, 2011). The author, Dr. Edward M. Hallowell, synthesizes such new research into five sequential steps leaders and managers can apply to maximize employees’ peak performance.

A psychiatrist and ADD expert, he draws on brain science, performance research, and his own experience to present a proven process for getting the best from your people:

  1. Select: Put the right people in the right job and give them responsibilities that “light up” their brains.
  2. Connect: Strengthen interpersonal bonds among team members.
  3. Play: Help people unleash their imaginations at work.
  4. Grapple and Grow: When the pressure is on, enable employees to achieve mastery of their work.
  5. Shine: Use the right rewards to promote loyalty and stoke your people’s desire to excel.

“Neither the individual nor the job holds the magic,” Hallowell writes. “But the right person doing the right job creates the magical interaction that leads to peak performance.”

Hallowell refers to the five cited essential ingredients as “The Cycle of Excellence,” which works because it exploits the powerful interaction between an individual’s intrinsic capabilities and extrinsic environment. These ingredients will be explored in a series of blogs beginning here with “Step 1. The Right Fit”.

1. The Right Fit

A manager or leader’s first step for bringing out the best in people is ensuring a person is well matched to a job. Without that, disengagement is inevitable. People either have no interest in what they are doing or they aren't skilled at it. Subsequently, they give little effort, apply passive resistance, or they give up entirely.

To match the right person to the right job, examine how three key questions intersect:

  1. At what tasks or jobs does this person excel?
  2. What does he/she like to do?
  3. How does he/she add value to the organization?

These questions set the stage for your employees to do well with responsibilities they enjoy. You can then determine how they will add the greatest possible value to your organization.

Better Fit; Better Performance

brain lit up

In a 2013, GfK’s Globobus and Monster.ca conducted a survey based on 8,000 workers in seven countries. The results highlighted that Canadian workers are the most satisfied with their jobs. However, only 24 percent of Canadians expressed that they “love their job”. Young Canadian workers under the age of 25 are most unhappy, with 13 per cent confessing that they “dislike their jobs” and think they can do better.

According to a 2005 Harris Interactive poll, 33 percent of 7,718 U.S. employees surveyed believed they had reached a dead end in their jobs and 21 percent were eager to change careers. Only 20 percent felt passionate about their work.

In a previous blog “Positive Spin on Disengaged Employees”, I shared the results of two other studies that reveal how well we are doing at focusing on better fit for better performance.

  1. 2012 Towers Watson. A study of employee attitudes and concerns around the world. 33 percent of Canadian workers are “sustainably engaged”. 24 percent are “the unsupported” – willing to put in the effort, but held back by organizational barriers.
  2. 2013 Gallup "State of the American Workplace". A study approximately 100 million people in America who hold full-time jobs. 30 million (30%) are engaged and inspired at work. We can assume they have great leaders who focus on better fit for better performance. At the other end of the spectrum are roughly 20 million (20%) employees who are actively disengaged. These employees, who have bosses from hell or leaders that make them miserable, roam the halls spreading discontent. The other 50 million (50%) American workers are not engaged. They’re just kind of present, but not inspired by their work or the people who are charged with leading them.

When so many skilled and motivated people spend decades roaming the “job” market and not building peak performance in a “career”, something is wrong. They clearly have not landed in the right outlets for their talents and strengths. Their brains never “light up”.

The better the fit, the better the performance. People require clear roles that allow them to succeed, while also providing room to learn, grow, and be challenged.

What do you think about this?

  1. Are you devoting enough time to assessing the right fit?
  2. What can you do to improve the right fit for people?
  3. What resources do you need to assess the right fit?

  Here are a few resources to “light up” your interest and commitment to helping your employees reach peak performance.

Books and Audiobooks

Shine: Using Brain Science to Get the Best from Your People (Harvard Business Press, 2011) On iTunes

Assessments for ensuring the right fit

For information about qualified administration and briefing of the following assessments, contact Patricia at patricia@maestoquality.com or call 905-858-7566 Holland Occupational Themes (RIASEC) Myers-Briggs Type Indicator DISC Behaviour Assessment – Thomas International

Stay positive

Your Star Performers May Be Trapped

More and more business owners and executives acknowledge that on-going investment in developing Star Performers delivers significant returns to their top-line business growth and reflects (quietly) on their bottom-line profit. Do you have Star Performers ready to step out to centre-stage?

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