Leadership Drives Performance

To create sustainable profits, businesses have to relysuccess on the performance of diverse, high performing teams. One prerequisite for teams to perform are highly motivated and engaged team members. This is a challenge with a workforce where 70% of all employees are either disengaged or actively disengaged. [1]

Engagement, and therefore performance, is directly related to the “climate” leaders create for their teams. Leaders who inspire their team members and build on their strengths see engagement doubled and active disengagement eliminated. An increase in productivity and profitability of +22% to +30% and a reduction of quality defects (-41%), accidents (-50%), and health cost (-25%) can be directly attributed to inspiring leaders (1).

Leading, Not Managing

Do leaders truly impact a company’s performance beyond setting the course of the company/teams by defining stretch goals and demanding that they are met? The answers are yes and yes.

Today’s workforce, with its multi-generational make-up, demands an environment (see slide 1) where employees are valued, respected for their ideas, trusted, and challenged. This is a significant change from the days when traditionalists and baby boomers happily kept their ideas and ingenuity in their personal life, and performed, unquestioned and uninspired, the tasks assigned to them.

For generation X and Y employees, who will soon dominate the workforce, this is not an option. As many programs, such as lean office, manufacturing initiatives, and Continuous Improvement programs show,  businesses today relies on the ingenuity and ideas of every employee to stay competitive.

But what  does this have to do with leadership? The answer is: everything. Let’s take a closer look at a business (see slide 2). A leader works within a complex business environment. It includes influences from the outside, like regulatory environment, competition and taxes; and internal factors like the overall business culture, vision for the company, profits, products, capitalization, available funds, and so on.

When we dive in further and look at leaders themselves, we find two important components.

Firstly, understanding:

  • of the role they have to play
  • of their responsibilities
  • that they are a team member of their boss’s team, and not their own

Secondly, their personal qualifications like self-awareness, values, education, perceptions, habits, job related skills and pattern recognition capabilities.

Both form the basis for the leadership style they will exude. We understand under “leadership style” the capability to develop and express a vision, to listen, and to be mindful and compassionate. We know from research that the leaders’ behavior is responsible for 70% of the climate their teams will experience. Only 30% is determined by the external and internal factors and the overall culture of the business.

Whether the leaders are inspirational, aloof, autocratic, or they behave like demagogues, the team climate will reflect it clearly. It is easy to blame the overall company culture, the lack of a compelling vision, an overbearing autocratic boss, the perceived lack of time to delegate, or the disengaged employees, for the lack of performance.

The truth is that team members always will mimic their role model. So if leaders are truly practicing inspirational leadership and building on their team members’ strengths, their teams’ engagement and motivation levels will soar. We will find 50% more engaged team members, and the actively disengaged team members will vanish.

Businesses looking to increase their productivity and profits have to focus on employee engagement as the best way to increase performance of their team members. Extraordinary outcomes are created by average team members when we create and foster a climate where team members feel valued, trusted, and appreciated, and where they trust their team leader. “Inspiring leadership” is a set of skills that can be acquired if leaders are open to changing limiting perceptions and behaviors, and are committed to engaging with and connecting to their team members’ needs.

Good starting points for any change are unbiased assessments, like the ESCI, from the HayGroup, which we offer. It is critical in analyzing the current skill levels in employees and in finding potential blind-spots, which are probably holding back higher performance levels.



[1] Source: Gallup. (2013). “State of the American Workplace: Employee Engagement Insights for U.S. Business Leaders,” 2010-2012. Retrieved from http://www.gallup.com/strategicconsulting/163007/state-american-workplace.aspx

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4 Keys to Consider when Building a Team

When we measure the performance of teams objectively, we find that oGnly 10% are truly high performing and 38% are dysfunctional. This is stunning when one considers that most companies’ current bottom line, and even more importantly, the viability and profitability in upcoming years, depends on the results of their team initiatives.

When we analyze high performing teams we find four keys which are all or in part lacking in ok or low performing teams:

  • Diverse team make-up
  • Team member motivation and trust
  • Team leaders’ leadership style based on building trust and on understanding the stages in the teams’  development
  • Support and guidance the company leadership extends to the team

All four areas need to be above a certain threshold level before a team can fully develop and perform. Let’s look at the team diversity and make-up first. The first rule of thumb is that the more diverse the team members are the more diverse their ideas and contributions will be. If we capitalize on this input, then a team made up of ordinary employees can create truly unique and extraordinary approaches to solving problems and creating possibilities. Yes, it is much easier and faster to have all team members communicate and think alike. If this is the case, however, you do not need a team; each team member will come up with the same suggestions and we have seen in this international environment that we need diverse input to succeed. The second important step is to look where the potential team members’ strengths lie. So don’t just select members by looking at the organizational chart. We are looking for highly motivated individuals who will add to and complement each other. From analyzing teams we know that we need a balance between:

  • Innovators who can envision new solutions and thrive on innovation and the opportunity to create possibilities
  • Communicators who can create excitement for new ideas and can communicate it to others
  • Analytical team members who objectively and logically analyze the ideas with the goal to eliminate unnecessary risk and to ensure a sound approach
  • And lastly, team members who can execute; who pay attention to details and the bottom line while implementing the idea

Each function must be well represented. For example: if we have only innovators, we end up with unique ideas and no follow up; with a team of analytical people, nothing new is created and they will procrastinate on the decision to implement.  Using assessment tools like the DiSC® team dimension, will speed up the selection process and ensure the proper make-up.

After forming this well balanced team we need to speed up the team building process. The five stage team building process shows that teams must go through the stages of forming –team members are eager, have high expectations and anxiety and have not learned yet to trust each other to create meaningful outcomes;  storming – when reality sets in, frustration mounts, morale dips, but surprisingly, performance tends to improve; norming – purpose and goals become clear and cohesion and performance grows significantly;  performing – team members trust and respect each other, and truly enjoy working together, while meeting or exceeding high performance standards. The last step is mourning when a team is disbanded after achieving its goals. Most dysfunctional teams never make it past the forming or storming stage! As you might guess, the key here is to bring the team as quickly as possible into the performing stage. We recommend using off site meetings and outside facilitators to get Team members acquainted and to learn about each other as much as possible. We urge our clients to use the time with productive exercises like discussing each team member’s communication style based on behavioral assessments like DiSC® or Myers Briggs and sharing experiences. Team building exercises like golf, rope courses and the likes are excellent morale builders. However, good morale is not correlating to high motivation, high performance or building trust between team members; therefore it accomplishes little to form teams while taking up a lot of valuable team building time.

The team leader’s style is critical for a smooth and fast development. Recent research results show that 25% of a team’s performance results are due to the team leader’s skills. The goal of the team leader is to move the team as quickly as possible into the performing stage and then to get out of the way: his task is first to clarify goals and create and guide the activities that build relationship and trust between the team members. In later stages he becomes a facilitator and coach for the team members with a delegating style for all the tasks which need to be accomplished. We are looking for candidates with vision, compassion, integrity and mindfulness. Autocratic leadership will guarantee that the team will never reach its potential.

Lastly, let us look at the company leadership itself. If teams are constantly given changing directions, assignments without the proper authority to decide and implement, or if team results and recommendations are not acted upon, even high performing teams will quickly slide into mediocre performance. A large percentage of a team’s performance is due to the work climate within and outside the team.

Do you have questions on how you can increase the output of your teams? We can provide assessments to evaluate your teams and can coach them effectively to become high performers.

About the Author:

Dr. Joe Mayer is the Managing Partner of the Mayer Business Group, which helps small to medium size businesses grow their employees and their bottom line by focusing on vision, leadership, teamwork and strategy. Joe is a certified business and executive coach and has 25+ years of experience in leading divisions of publically traded and privately held companies. Joe can be reached at JMayer@MayerBusinessGroup.com.

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4 proven Strategies to evaluating your Teams’ Performance

Hands-togetherWhen you listen to and read business reviews, you know that every successful business credits its success to motivated and creative teams and to their valuable team members. One could come away with the impression that businesses just have to increase the number of teams and all performance indicators will improve drastically. If we analyze team performance, however, we find that fewer than 10% of teams can truly be considered high performance and a whopping 40% are dysfunctional, destroying motivation and engagement. The remaining 50% of teams are performing marginally, never producing more than incremental results.

For all the key programs like Lean Manufacturing or Lean Office, Six Sigma or Continuous Improvement, high performing teams are the key to get the benefits and sustain these change programs. Therefore it is crucial to understand the current level of team work in your company. How do we know and how can we measure this without relying on subjective statements like “we work well as a team”? The best way is to look at the areas high performing teams excel in. We consistently find that they set themselves apart in the following five areas:

  1. Team culture; feeling save to be vulnerable, to open up and to contribute and to build on others’ ideas and suggestions
  2. Pushing each other to create new possibilities and creative solutions that are pushing the envelope
  3. Holding each other accountable for outcomes and behaviors during and outside the teams’ meetings
  4. Aligning around decisions and
  5. Focusing on results

Most try to assess their teams by looking at lagging indicators, like reaching milestones on time and on due dates or financial measures attached to the overall goal for the team. The challenge with this approach is that, by the time these measures are available, teams have worked for a considerable time and it is too late to change the outcome of their work. Would it not be beneficial to diagnose a team’s potential and performance in real time? Here are 4 strategies which will give you unbiased and fast feedback:

1)    Interaction and feedback

Teams thrive when their members are courteous to each other, taking time to fully understand where team members are coming from and are expanding each others’ ideas to create new possibilities which were previously thought impossible. We can measure those interactions by recording how many positive/encouraging comments versus negative/degrading comments are made during meetings. Because negative emotions are much more powerful than positive ones, high performing teams consistently show ratios between 3:1 to 7:1 (positive to negative). Anything above 8:1 signals artificial harmony and avoidance of tackling tough issues, while ratios below 1:1 are signs of failing and dysfunctional teams.

 

2)    Conflict

For many, conflict is scary and needs to be avoided at all cost. This is true when we are talking about negative conflict or combat where team members are personally attacked and the main focus of some members is winning at all costs called “my way or the highway”. High performing teams take the time to thoroughly discuss critical challenges, to exchange their experiences and ideas openly in order to collaborate on finding the best possible solution. In most cases, this is a solution none of the team members could envision at the beginning of the meeting. Record how many team members are actively participating in the idea generation and selection process. High performance teams strive for equal participation by all team members, while dysfunctional teams will have one or two team members dominating the discussion.

 

3)    Decisions

Critical decisions should only be made after all team members have contributed to, aligned with and bought into the developed idea. All team members will be deeply knowledgeable about the important details and can defend the decision based on facts. Dysfunctional or “ok” teams agree to decisions made by the most vocal person on the team and will show no commitment to follow through with the steps outlined for implementation.

 

4)    Accountability

High performing teams excel at holding each other to the same behavioral and performance standards and enforcing these standards without the team leaders’ help. Two easy measurements are:

 

4.1)     Do team members show up on time and are they well prepared for the team meetings

4.2)     Are disruptions (side conversations, checking e-mails, playing with electronic gadgets, etc.) kept to a minimum

 

When team members don’t enforce standards and rely on the team-leader to enforce rules, their message is that they do not care enough for each other, don’t understand that it is their responsibility to speak up, get engaged and put in the necessary work.

After determining your teams’ performance level, the hard part starts: determining and fixing the underlying causes for challenges discovered. Depending on the area selected to start the improvement, team performance can be significantly increased with tweaking the team make-up and providing team specific coaching. Some cases, however, might only be influenced by casting a wider net, encompassing the entire company culture, leadership and communication styles and the cultures of accountability and feedback. Team performance is highly dependent on all these areas and, in most cases, we have to start with engineering and initiating a culture change in the leadership to have a profound impact on team performance and sustainability of team results.

Give us a call, we can support your efforts with impartial assessments, leadership and executive coaching, team training and team coaching programs.

About the Author:

Dr. Joe Mayer is the Managing Partner of the Mayer Business Group, which helps small to medium size businesses grow their employees and their bottom line by focusing on leadership, vision and strategy. Joe is a certified business coach and has 25+ years of experience in leading divisions of publically traded and privately held companies. Joe can be reached at JMayer@MayerBusinessGroup.com.

 

 

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Hiring for Success

With the imAS0000114FD07 Children, in park and adventure playgroundproving economy many businesses are planning to hire their first employees in years. Many do not realize how much has changed in the last couple of years for people serious about presenting themselves as excellent candidates in the interview process.

Most interview processes are ivided into three sections:

  • Looking at the job related hard skills a candidate possesses
  • Checking if they have done their homework and know key details about the company/job they are interviewing for
  • Evaluating if the candidate fits into the company culture and will play well with others in the “sandbox”

For most jobs the first two questions can easily be checked and the interviewer will get a pretty good feel for the candidate’s qualification and thoroughness in researching the company. The last question is the tricky one. Current labor statistics provided, for example, by “Leadership IQ” indicate that 50% of new hires fail within the first 18 month. 89% of those fail because of their attitude. Coincidentally a May 2013 Gallup poll showed that only 30% of the workforce are actively engaged and enthusiastic, 50% are going through the motions while 20% are actively disengaged and are harming the company’s profits and sabotaging their customer base.

With teamwork being one of the main focus points in today’s businesses, one disengaged employee can destroy a well-functioning team within a couple of months. So how can we eliminate or reduce the risk of hiring an unmotivated, emotionally unstable employee who lacks passion and communication skills. For starters, most interviewers use some of the most common 10 to 20 interview questions from “how do you handle major challenges”, “what was the worst/ best boss you worked for” to  “tell me about yourself” questions, which can all easily be found on many websites. Candidates can consequently “Google” the questions and will again find on multiple websites the reasons for a certain question and how to best respond. Serious candidates will not only expect the questions, but will have well-rehearsed and correct answers at the ready.

How do we overcome this obstacle to reduce the high cost people with a lack of motivation and negative, reactive outlooks cause? There is nothing wrong with using one of the common questions as a starter. Listening carefully to the answer we need to start digging into the answer with open ended follow-up questions like: “how did it feel confronting that person”, “how did you influence a person outside your realm of authority to deliver results in time”, “tell me more about how the person responded to your approach”. With each answer we need to dig deeper to see more of the candidate’s reaction. For most it is very doable to memorize the answers to the most common questions. It is, however, extremely difficult to keep details of a made up response straight as we delve deeper and deeper into a story and ask about feelings and attitudes. In all we need to listen for the candidate’s

  • Awareness of his emotions and how they affect his behavior
  • Effective handling of strong emotions and control of anger and anxiety
  • Description of nonverbal clues/reactions of others
  • Talk about themselves in relation to others (as opposed to about me, me & me)
  • Taking accountability for mistakes and thoughtfully reflecting on the lessons learned
  • Effective application to new situations of lessons learned

The key to guiding this kind of interview is to pay attention to the nonverbal clues given. Does the applicant maintain eye contact, an open body position, lean in and stay animated or is he tensing up and is coming across as annoyed or confused. Most people cannot be congruent in their body language and their verbals when lying or not telling the whole truth, a clear sign that the well-rehearsed answers do not represent the candidate’s true personality.

A common question I am asked over and over is, would you hire a person with good job related skills who shows an excellent cultural fit with a positive ‘can do’ attitude and communication skills over a person who shows outstanding hard skills, however, lacks in attitude and communication. My answer is to always hire the person with the positive attitude. It is very rare that, in today’s environment, we are looking for employees who are not heavily involved in team work and do not have to communicate with internal and external customers. It is much easier to build on good hard skills and to develop them further than to “on-board” a person or to influence his motivation and attitude. The above mentioned statistic shows that hard skill deficiencies only account for 11% of reasons for separation.

Bad hires are costly and, in most cases, do permanent damage to your business and your customers.  If you are not sure about the fit of a candidate, please contact us. We provide diverse on-line assessments to help you evaluate the candidates fit to your company culture as well as his fit within an established unit or team. Give us a call to evaluate your options.

About the Author:

Dr. Joe Mayer is the Managing Partner of the Mayer Business Group, which helps small to medium size businesses grow their employees and their bottom line by focusing on leadership, vision and strategy. Joe is a certified business coach and has 25+ years of experience in leading divisions of publically traded and private companies. Joe can be reached at JMayer@MayerBusinessGroup.com.

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The Impact of Emotions on Leadership

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All recent surveys show that the most valuable assets of any company – your team members- want to be trusted, respected as individuals and valued for their ideas. As we all know, trust is a very personal issue. Every person … Continue reading

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Conflict Management versus Conflict Avoidance

Our letter on what makes a ”Compassionate Leader” struck a chord with many of our readers. The idea of business conflicts and what to do about them seems to be a core concern.

Many people tell me about the great improvements they made; putting the right people on the bus. Everything rundenials smoothly now; no disagreements, no conflicts, and all agree to everything that is discussed or needs a decision. For me this is a clear sign that they are in trouble in their organization.  There is nothing better for a business or personal relationship than healthy disagreement – yes, conflict! Sounds scary? It should not. If there is always agreement, it tells me one of two things. Either:

1)    Your employees all act and think alike or

2)    They don’t care enough or are afraid to speak up

Both are failure-prone scenarios. If we all act and think alike, why should we waste time in meetings or define strategies in teams? We will think the same way we always thought, our actions will reflect past actions and the outcome will be predictably mediocre. Even though the world and our society around us are changing, we will respond with the same old, same old, medicine. On the other hand, opportunities are created by listening to, encouraging and requesting ideas from a diverse team of people. The more diverse the team is and the better the team members are in building on each other’s ideas, the better the ideas and the better the outcomes in such a scenario, conflict is inevitable – and it is healthy. Yes, meetings like these can be messy and take longer because different opinions are presented, passions evoked, and outcomes cannot be predicted. Positive, constructive conflict in its best form!

Why go through this if there are easier ways out – avoidance, accommodation or quick compromise? The answer? All three fail in moving a relationship or business forward. They create lose – lose (avoidance, compromise) or lose – win (accommodation) results. What we really need to strive for is win-win; collaboration to find a new, better solution than anybody could have come up with on their own.

Sounds great? So why do we accept meetings where nobody speaks up, mediocre performance which is not addressed, or tension which everybody is aware of? We are all afraid of the consequences when conflict turns destructive. Blame is easily found and assigned, aggressions are revealed, prejudices dominate and relationships get destroyed while everybody loses. The answer in most cases can be found in how we prepare for and conduct the discussion. All parties need to:

  • Attack the problem, not the person
  • Accept and respect others’ opinions
  • Focus on the issue; not one’s own position
  • Communicate assertively, listen actively and objectively as much as we speak
  • Ask objective questions and genuinely listen to the response without jumping to conclusions or making assumptions
  • Focus and build on areas of common interest and agreement
  •  Stay in the present; let past challenges stay in the past and build on what went right
  • Be interested in finding a better solution, one you may not have considered
  • Keep in mind, one only finds a “school solution” in school, not in business

And the most important point in the end:  If even one of the parties ends up with feelings of anger, fear or shame, conflict resolution has failed.  It is OK to be passionate in business – about your products, your organization and your ideas. But one must be passionate – and persuasive; not polarized.

Let’s get back now to the original statement that avoiding conflict is a lose – lose proposition. If we avoid compassionate discussions, for example, about issues such as employee performance and wait either until that person snaps in a seemingly inconsequential situation or is denied the opportunity to receive needed routine feedback to improve, we are not managing conflict effectively.  We see this often in cases where a completely unexpecting team member gets confronted with a devastating “annual” performance report. That’s a result of conflict avoidance – tough for both sides to collaborate and then to find new solutions.

When you leave a meeting where everybody was agreeing eagerly, sore topics had been avoided, no real discussion was taking place or you could feel the “elephant in the room” but nobody wanted to notice him, take a step back and examine your leadership skills, mix up the team and find members who care about the outcome and growth of the business enough to create healthy conflict. Then don’t avoid it: put conflict to use for positive growth.

If you or your team need help with managing conflict through positive communication and specific steps to get to win-win solutions, give us a call. We have assessments and tools to help you get back on track.

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Entrepreneurship; how to mitigate the risk of failure

Entrepreneurship brings with it significant risks. 25% fail in the first year of their existence and 80% have failed after 5 years. 33% of all small businesses will never make a profit and another 33% will never do better than break even. This leaves a puny 33% to emerge successfully. Roughly the same number of small businesses close up shop yearly as new ones are founded. When we look at restaurants, the picture is even bleaker. First year failure rates are a whopping 80%! In this highly customer service dependent industry miss-striskeps, which will merely lead to a slow and painful death of other start-ups, are magnified and put into the open for everybody to see. With the high level of competition and choices, consumers can easily shun a restaurant, too.

Also, from our own experience and from looking at those numbers we can only disagree with a recent statement that small business is succeeding due to government support and not a function of hard work, ingenuity and foresight of entrepreneurs and their employees.  If we analyze successful businesses, four key factors are always dominating:

  • Ego

Most entrepreneurs go into business because they are good at what they do. They believe that this is the cornerstone of their business. This is certainly true in some professions where employment can be exchanged for an independent technician’s job. Not so in a restaurant. A good chef needs to acknowledge that he cannot cook, buy food, take reservations and serve his customers all with the same intensity and customer focus. So, admitting to one’s strength and surrounding oneself with the qualified people in positions where they can use their strength, is key. Admitting to the limit of one’s strength and giving up control is, however, the biggest hurdle to overcome.

  • Management

After acknowledging that we need help comes the tricky part, choosing the right partner and attracting and retaining the right employees. Most spouses, friends, acquaintances and family members who are always conveniently available when one needs a “body”, should not be chosen to be on the bus. Starting with the company’s values and working the way down to design the best organizational form will give the framework to describe jobs and the skill set needed for success. Building a strong company starts with being creative and flexible to attract same minded-employees for whom customer satisfaction is the #1 goal.

  • Marketing

‘When we open the door they will happily come’. Most of the time this is only half true. If a business does not know who their target market is and what the expectations of potential customers in this target market are, not much will happen. The time to throw out a couple of ideas and wait to see what will stick, is over. No business can finance such a marketing approach and the wrong customers we might attract will be disappointed and tell others on social media and in person about their disappointing experience. For a restaurant the question might be: are we looking for ‘eaters’ who value fast service, consistent menu items, reliable quality and who want to be in and out quickly or ‘diners’ who savor a dining experience, are wowed by the atmosphere, ever changing food and beverage choices and highly attentive and personal, unrushed service? Knowing and focusing on a marketing niche and catering to their needs is the only way to establish and grow a successful business. If we fail to do so, we will not last beyond the novelty effect.

  • Finance

Granted, having fun and loving what we do is a great thing. Unfortunately, without raising capital, managing the cash, and creating profits, a business cannot survive. We see too many business owners who cannot read their income and profit and loss statements and are utterly surprised to find themselves over and over in the situation of payroll or bills that are due and an empty bank account. Further in restaurants, food quality depends in large on the quality of the ingredients. Together with cost for the restaurant’s location and ambiance we have to calculate the food and beverage prices we need to charge to be profitable. If the customers are not willing to pay these, even the greatest concepts fail.

As in a restaurant, it is not enough for a small business owner to follow his passion. Being successful comes from knowing one’s strength and surrounding oneself with capable people who complement one’s strength and passion and deserve one’s trust. We all have the chef’s choices: continue passionately cooking and leaving managing the business to others or learn the management skills needed and leave the cooking to someone else. Doing both leads to the high failure rates and dismal profit outlooks many small businesses face.

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Leadership and Compassion

During an initial interview with a new client he told me in a beaten down tone that he is truly discouraged. After doing “everything right” for several years, he had not seen any positive impact on his business.  The business had stagnated and profit margins were even further reduced. Despite handling all issues with compassion, the morale of his staff had deterioratcompassion1ed and service levels to internal and external customers was suffering.

When I asked him what he considers as being compassionate he talked for a long time about kindness, actively listening to and feeling with his associates when they talk about challenges they face and helping them to overcome them by providing positive guidance. He spoke with great kindness about the struggles they faced and his facial expression, gestures, tone and words perfectly matched his deep feelings and concerns. I asked him about the solution they found and he talked about the accommodations and the shift in responsibilities he made and his stepping in and taking on a greater and greater slice of the daily workload. A truly caring leader.

When we analyzed his workweek, which included far too often the entire Saturday, we quickly found out that he spends most of his time performing parts of one of his associates’ work, fighting fires and dealing with dissatisfied customers. Many authors and consultants call this working in the business rather than on the business. For a business to stay relevant, it has to change. Our society is clearly changing its behavioral preferences and buying habits and successful businesses adapt and innovate with those changes. A stagnant business is actually losing ground – as it happened with my client’s business.

As discussed in prior newsletters- the leaders or business owner’s #1 job is to drive and facilitate the needed change.  This takes thought and time for developing needed changes and goals. To be successful we need chunks of uninterrupted think time and associates who perform their assigned duties.

The famous author Steven Covey classified conflict and conflict resolutions with win – win, win – lose, lose- win or lose- lose expressions. Extending kindness without dealing with the real issue is leading always to a lose – win situation.  In this case the unconditioned kindness of my client led his associates to stretch him every day in reducing their workload at his expense, their getting out of difficult assignments, or even not showing up for work at all.

Don’t get me wrong; being compassionate is a must own skill for a motivating and coaching leader.  However,  being compassionate entails being kind and at the same time tough. A compassionate leader must deal with reality in an open and honest way, even if the message is difficult or painful. If we only use kindness to soothe or to address the same challenge over and over, we do not strive for the win – win resolution and avoid the challenging conversation.  Thus the losing position, by  reacting slowly, being always gentle and understanding and doing nothing when action is needed, doesn’t help the person who created the challenge. In addition, the other associates, who perform their job as assigned, become tired of picking up the slack for others and lose their motivation, too. It is like in any sports. If the referee only enforces the rules on some players while others are unchallenged, the game will fall into chaos.

Please, practice being compassionate in every discussion you have and always re member that leading with compassion always needs to lead to win – win solutions. In most cases this requires dealing with reality and balancing the needs of a business with the needs of clients and associates.

About Joe Mayer…

Joe is an author, national speaker and facilitator who ignites passion and energy through dynamic presentations and engaging workshops focusing on strategic business growth, leadership development, and targeted sales and marketing.  An adjunct Professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, he is an expert in Innovation, Emotional Intelligence and Team Building.

 

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