3 Leadership Team Development Articles for the Week of Jan 16, 2015

Every week I read a number of leadership team development articles from several online resources. Here are my top three choices for this week. I have added my comment about each article and would like to hear what you think too.

1. How Do You Motivate Your Team After an Unexpected Setback? – by The Young Entrepreneurial Council – Motivation matters after your company stumbles, and 15 young entrepreneurs offer their advice on keeping morale up. One option: Counter bad news with more positive surprises, such as a group outing. “Not only will this lift their spirits, it will give you all a low-stress environment to regroup and respond to whatever the problem is,” says Brian Honigman.

My Comment: 15 entrepreneurs provided a different method to overcome team setbacks. I encourage you to share the article with your team and facilitate a discussion by asking the following questions:

  • Which methods have we applied that helped us overcome setbacks?
  • How should we use these methods to overcome future setbacks?

The response to these questions helps your team learn that setbacks are going to occur. More importantly, they now know there is a mechanism for learning from the setbacks to improve performance and profitability.

2. 7 Tips for Developing a Leadership Mindset – by Jane Perdue – Professor and author Michael D. Watkins offers seven topics for leaders to take into account as they assess their leadership practices. These methods require maintaining equilibrium between analytical thinking and conceptual mindsets—a fundamental necessity for leading as well as managing effectively. If your career growth and influence are stalled out, reflect on your answers to these seven questions.

My Comment: The #1 problem, new leaders face, is learning how to transition from performing the day-to-day tasks and stepping into the role of getting results through others. The article provides you with a roadmap for embracing new ways of thinking that includes influencing followers to achieve collective results.

3. 5 Ways to Make Meetings Work for You and Your Team – by David M. Dye – Good leaders make sure that every meeting is the most productive possible use of time for everyone who attends, writes David M. Dye. Start by having clarity on what is being decided and who will decide. “If people could be doing something else to advance the mission better, why on earth would you take them away from that and into a meeting?” Dye asks.

My Comment: At least once a month I am asked how do you ensure meetings are productive? I respond by asking the following: Approximately how many people attend the meeting and what is the average hourly rate for those in at the meeting? How long do the meetings normally last? You are probably thinking, why do you ask these questions? The answer, in most cases the people attending the meetings is unaware of how much money they are wasting in unproductive meetings. I also recommend posting in plain view the cost of the meeting, so everyone is more apt to focus on the key activities for a successfully meeting. With the right mindset, you can apply the five ways to make meetings work because those in attendance now understand the real cost of unproductive meetings.


John Bentley speaks, trains, and writes about leadership team development. He is a contributing author of the book ‘Speaking of Success’ along with Ken Blanchard, Jack Canfield and Stephen Covey. You may download John’s chapter ‘The 5 Enablers of Success’ at www.power2transform.com. To learn more or ask John a question email john@power2transform.com. Follow on Twitter: @power2transform 

Leadership Team Development – Healthy View of Others

As a leader, you make one of two assumptions about the people you are responsible for influencing to get results. One assumption is people are lazy and only think about what’s best for them and must be told what to do, or nothing will get done. With this view, you probably spend most of your leadership time by controlling and monitoring employee behavior trying to achieve organizational goals. Additionally, you probably do not see the value in team development.

The other assumption is you see people as wanting to learn and grow, assume more responsibility and make a difference for the team and organization. Furthermore, you invest time in the development of employees to improve team trust and increase productivity. You understand that people desire more responsibility and want to use their talents to the fullest.

I encourage you to read and follow Robert Conklin’s quote to maintain a healthy view of others. When you do, your employees willingly invest their talents to achieve the highest levels of performance for your organization!

Conklin Leadership Team Development

3 Ways to Avoid Sabotaging Your Leadership Influence

I remember my first leadership position like it was yesterday. Especially, the frustration of not being able to influence those I led positively. Luckily, a mentor shared a statement that changed the way I thought about the situation and ultimately leadership development. He said, “Have you ever considered that you are part of the problem, and part of the solution?”

solution to your problem

After reflecting on how I was the problem it became clear my leadership style was about being in control. Not only did I do my job, I tried to do everyone else’s too. If I couldn’t I told them how to do their work. When problems occurred, I blamed them for the mistakes. Over time, I reverted to my office behind closed doors wondering what to do.

That’s right, I was an ogre that led by command and control. Moreover, those I was responsible for serving simply showed up for work and left on time. And why shouldn’t they. After all, I was treating them like a thing vs. allowing them to use their talents to make a difference.

Armed with a new mindset, I was able to focus on how to change my leadership style to build trust with my followers. Here’s three ways to avoid sabotaging your ability to lead. I call these my leadership don’ts.

1. Don’t be the Lone Ranger! Your job is to get results through others, not to do everything yourself. Trying to take on every task yourself will lead to burnout and destroy trust among subordinates. The key to achieving greater things is through delegation. Delegation has many benefits. First, you will increase your trustworthiness as a leader and have extra time for more important tasks. Additionally, delegating tasks to team members develops their ability, improves their self-esteem and leads to better ideas to problems.

2. Don’t Jump to Solutions! When you jump to solutions and react on impulse, you waste time and frustrate others, especially when the solution is wrong. The next time a problem occurs unexpectedly, stop and think instead of pointing fingers or flying off the handle. Instead of trying to solve the problems on your own, propose solutions as a whole team. First, share how you define the problem and allow others to share their thoughts. Next, gather data to determine possible causes. With the possible causes identified, allow others to share their ideas to solve the issue. In most cases, they will provide ideas you have not thought of before. Additionally, the team will embrace the change because they were involved in the problem solving process.

3. Don’t Suffer in Silence! When things go wrong (and it will happen!), don’t become withdrawn and quiet. Even if it is your nature to deal with problems on your own, the silent route will only eat you alive. Problems kept internally can cause you to lose sleep and destroy relationships with your employees. Now is the perfect time to rally the troops and share the reality of the situation, rather than trying to deal with all of the issues on your own. Whether it is a personal issue or work-related problem, other people are willing and love to help, if only they know what you are going through. By talking openly, you give them the opportunity to make a difference.

The leadership don’ts can be very easy to fall into, especially when you fail to realize it is happening to you. Therefore, the biggest realization in all of this is learning to be accountable to oneself. Unfortunately, people rarely like to admit their faults; it is a natural inherent desire to be founded and grounded to your belief system. But those leaders who are the most successful grab hold of the concept, admit their mistakes and embrace the need for change.

There will always be relationship or communication issues in the workplace. The goal is to not sabotage your leadership by allowing erosion of trust and respect. So start by ditching the leadership don’ts and accept that you DO need others. Also, remember employees WANT to help. They are not at work just to receive a steady paycheck. Instead, they want to work in an environment in which they can contribute their full creative powers to make a difference in the lives of others.

Questions: In your experience how have you been the problem and how can you become the solution?