Tuesday, October 2, 2018

10 Common Leadership Mistakes

Common Leadership MistakesLeading is challenging enough without becoming your own worst enemy and  having to deal with the potential negative fallout associated with the 10 common leadership mistakes listed below. Take a moment and ask yourself if you might fall prey to one or more of these mistakes. If so, identify some action steps that will help you avoid these potential pitfalls in the future.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Time Killers at the Office

Time KillersLabor Day got me thinking about how the concept of work has changed over the years. I respect and applaud men and women who work with their hands in trades and services, especially because so much of the work being done today is in an office environment. That is where our focus is today, but even if you are a craftsman or laborer, you will find some benefit in these recommendations.

Do you want to improve your performance and get more done at work? If you’re an honest, hard-working employee, manager or executive your answer is probably “yes”.  In my consultations with executive coaching clients, working smarter, streamlining efficiency and increasing productivity are nearly always included in their primary goals.  So one tool we use regularly is a list of time killers at the office.  This list is comprised of activities that on the surface seem harmless or even important, but in reality can greatly undermine the quality and quantity of work we produce.

No one is immune from falling into these workplace booby traps, so let’s look at five of the most common time killers and see if you can eliminate any of them from your daily routine.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

9 Ways You May Be Holding Your Business Back

Holding Your Business BackI want to thank Brad Mishlove, CEO and founder of Catapult Groups, for providing our guest blog post for today. I’m confident you will find his insights to be very valuable in helping you move your business forward.

Live, Work, and Relate Well!

Dr. Todd

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If you own a business, it’s time to take your blinders off so you can identify any problems that may be holding you and your business back.

As a business owner, one of the costliest mistakes you can make is not knowing your blind spots. You worked hard to grow your business, and you have faith in your product.

Surveys have shown that 75% of small business owners have an optimistic outlook toward their company’s future, but the numbers don’t bear out this enthusiasm. The truth is, 70% of small businesses will fail by the tenth year, with a full 20% failing within the first year.

What’s holding your business back?

Despite feeling optimistic in the beginning, these business owners failed to see where they were coming up short. Are you setting up roadblocks along your own path to business success? If you are guilty of any of the following, you may be:

1. Not paying attention to reviews

Ignoring customer feedback is a mistake your business can’t afford to make. The internet has made it easy for people to base their purchasing decisions upon the reviews of others. Your reviews build credibility for your business by showing consumers their money will be well-spent when they put their trust in you. Your reviews are your chance to show off your excellent customer service skills.

2. Not having a great team

Your team can make or break your business, so hiring is one area where you won’t want to cut any corners. The best

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

How to Be a Person of Influence – Part II

InfluenceLast week I shared the first 5 tips for how to be a person of influence, so here are the 5 remaining tips. I encourage and challenge you to review all 10 tips frequently so that you will become a person of influence who makes a positive difference in the lives of those around you.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Earning the Trust of Your Employees

Trust We live in unsettling times in many ways. We are constantly reminded of the need to protect ourselves from identity thieves, credit card scammers, people laying in wait in parking lots to hi-jack vehicles and sociopaths tampering with packaging in the grocery store. We are bombarded with headlines that scream about lies from politicians, fraud by financiers and broken trust in celebrity marriages. Almost everywhere you turn, you are warned not to trust anyone. We are conditioned to withhold trust.

This conditioning impacts every area of life, and the workplace is no exception. In my work with organizations I often discover that there is a common problem for leaders – employees who don’t trust them. The challenge for leaders and managers today is breaking down the barriers of suspicion and self-protection and learn how to earn the trust of their employees.

I came across an article in Forbes Magazine by Glenn Llopis that listed seven characteristics that undermine the confidence employees have in their leaders. I found them thought-provoking and have added some of my thoughts.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Leadership vs. Management

LeadershipIf an organization of any kind is going to function successfully, it needs both leadership and management. While some people use those terms interchangeably, they are, in fact, distinctly different and valuable functions in order to create an environment of productivity and performance.

Leaders, in the simplest terms, are people that other people follow. Think about someone who inspires you to want to participate in a cause, goal or vision. Who do you know that makes you say, “I want to be part of what he or she is doing?” Leaders cast the vision and move things and people forward.

While great leaders may motivate you to be part of something by stirring your desire to participate, they don’t always possess the organizational skills or attention to detail required to make the vision happen. A successful organization needs someone who can provide structure and efficient processes in order to accomplish the goal. Even lofty ideals need to be upheld by someone supervising workers who operate equipment, pay bills, coordinate supplies, help clients or customers and generally make sure the work is accomplished. Managers build teams and processes to ensure things are done right.

Occasionally you may encounter someone with both leadership and management skills, but it is uncommon to excel at both. In my role as a coach I have worked with people in executive positions who were frustrated and uncomfortable with their jobs and some had received negative feedback from their staff and/or superiors. In time, it can become apparent that the talented manager has been placed in a leader role, or vice versa.

One of your strongest allies in helping you make critical career decisions is being aware of your own personality, interests, skills and natural abilities. Are you a “big picture” person with a desire to share

Thursday, April 6, 2017

How NOT to Manage an Employee

manageAs a psychologist and executive coach, I am always interested to observe the way people demonstrate either good or bad habits in the way they conduct business. I remember well a time I was shopping at a well known chain store when I witnessed first-hand how those in leadership should NOT manage their employees.

The customer service specialist who was assisting me ran into a snag while trying to complete my transaction. After having pushed almost every button, she exhausted her personal knowledge base of solutions and had to request assistance from her store manager. By this time, it was obvious that she was feeling embarrassed and moderately anxious.

When the manager arrived he had a scowl on his face and looked put out by the request for help.  Without acknowledging his employee, or me (the customer spending money in his store), he abruptly punched some numbers into the computer, made a poorly veiled critical comment to his employee and stomped away. It was quite evident that the employee was even more embarrassed by the poor performance displayed by her “superior”.

Monday, October 13, 2014

How Managers Can Improve Staff Morale – Part I

Most employees who quit their jobs are leaving because of their managers and low staff morale, not necessarily their companies.  Sure, we can think of exceptions, like an employee who moves away, or someone who works at a burger joint who decides to follow a vegan diet, or someone who feels a company product, practice or philosophy violates their own values.  But in cases where the employee just can’t stand to go in to work anymore, most of the time it’s personal – often directly related to the interaction they have, or don’t have, with their manager.  If the manager/employee interactions are negative or inadequate, low staff morale will often ensue.

Staff Morale

Many studies have revealed that there is a direct relationship between employee morale and productivity and performance, so making a conscious effort to improve morale is simply good business.  The Gallup Organization has estimated that there are 22 million actively disengaged employees costing the American economy up to $350 billion annually in lost productivity including absence, illness, and other problems that occur as a result of employee dissatisfaction.  Executives and managers who are able to keep employee morale high will undoubtedly improve productivity and performance for their company.

If you want to improve staff morale among your employees adopt the five strategies outlined below as part of your regular management practice.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The #1 Marketing Tool: Excellent Customer Service

I never cease to be amazed at the poor quality of service I sometimes receive at restaurants and stores.  There is absolutely no excuse for a company to hire and/or retain people who are unable or unwilling to provide excellent customer service.  I have found that the #1 marketing tool for businesses is excellent customer service!

The amount of revenue lost each year due to inferior customer service is staggering and it’s one of the major reasons why the vast majority of new businesses fold before reaching the five year mark.

Poor customer service can take the form of indifference, carelessness, ignorance, or a negative attitude. The cause typically stems from one (or more) of three factors: 1) inferior leadership or management practices; 2) deficient hiring and firing practices; and, 3) inadequate training and modeling.

Depending on the severity of a problem, studies show that an average customer will tell between 9 and 16 friends and acquaintances about a bad experience and approximately 13 percent will tell more than 20 people. With social media, the number of people hearing about someone’s bad experience with a business can multiply into the hundreds. That’s a lot of negative advertising! Furthermore, more than two out of three customers who received bad service will never patronize the business again.

We have a company in Tucson, Frost (www.FrostGelato.com) that makes delicious gelato, the Italian version of ice cream, only much better.  I not only enjoy the creamy smooth treats they serve, but I have yet to be disappointed by the service. The pleasant staff behind the counter consistently serves their customers with a smile.  Their training becomes evident as anywhere between 4 and 7 team members patiently offer samples and suggestions while customers try to decide which flavor to order, and they don’t

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Keys to Effective Office Communication

Building and maintaining strong relationships on the job can be a challenge. These tips are intended to help you make wise decisions when communicating with your co-workers.

1. Avoid written communication when your emotions are involved. Talk to the person face-to-face.

2. Use written communication (e.g., e-mail) for conveying factual information or for asking questions.

3. When you receive a communication that triggers an emotional response give yourself plenty of time before you respond to the person.

4. Writing down your immediate thoughts and feelings can help you diffuse your emotions and help you to respond in a more rational, caring and constructive fashion.

5. Fight the temptation to immediately involve others in situations that make you hurt, angry or upset. When you do have a need to talk with someone, go to your supervisor first. If he or she is unavailable, call a friend or family member outside of work for a listening ear.

6. Communicate important details in writing and avoid hallway communication.

7. When involved in meetings, state your purpose at the beginning and stay on track. Always follow your meetings up with minutes or at least a brief summary of what was discussed and/or agreed upon.

8. Avoid blurting – the tendency to share thoughts and ideas “off the top of your head” or during a time that was not previously scheduled.

9. Always clarify for others what you have heard them say.

10. When you sense someone is bothered or upset with you don’t ignore it, check-it-out.

Live, Work and Relate Well!

Dr. Todd