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Archive for January, 2019


Communicate for Results

Part 4 of 4 

Your ability to communicate your expectations, give effective feedback, and make successful delegations are fundamental to creating an accountable staff that ispositively productive.  Communication and accountability go together and both are necessary for good leadership. Today, many managers and employees rely so heavily on technology, using e-mail and texting, that communication has become impersonal and, to a certain degree, ineffective and unproductive. While e-mail and texting make communication faster, they can interfere with your ability to create accountability.

  • Take time to listen to your team. When you truly listen to someone, you pay attention to him or her without distractions or interruptions. This demonstrates your respect for the person, makes them feel heard and understood, and deepens your connection with them. (More information in my blog post Three Key Listening Skills.
  • Be open with people and create a safe environment.  Let your employees know that it is safe for them to express their ideas, give their opinions, and propose solutions to problems.
  • Avoid interrupting. You want to concentrate on what the person is saying, not formulate your response. Interrupting someone is rude behavior and shows a lack of respect for the other person.
  • Show your interest. Nod occasionally, smile, ask good questions that show you are listening, and keep your posture open and inviting.
  • Watch for body language. Body language says more than your words say. Use an open, inviting stance and maintain good eye contact with the person. Make sure your body language agrees with what you are saying. You can see how effectively you are communicating by reading the other person’s body language. If it looks as if they are resisting you by pulling away, avoiding eye contact, or appearing bored, ask a question to bring them into the conversation.
  • Walk the line. This is a valuable tool for creating connections with your staff. Get out of your office and walk around. Stop to chat with your staff. Show them that you are a leader who cares about them as people, not just employees.
  • Meet one-on-one with employees. In-person meetings are necessary for creating an accountable environment. Employees need to know that they have to show up and deliver results.

Using the SOAR Formula, (See Part 1 of this series for more information) making successful delegated assignments, and motivating employees all rely on effective communication. This four-part formula is your solution to developing an accountable staff that is positively productive in 2019 and the years to come.



Delegate for Results

Part 3 of 4

Delegation not only gives you more time, it can be used to develop a more accountable, more skilled staff. Even though I’ve written a lot about delegation, it still comes up in my workshops and training programs. It seems to be a topic people are always interested in and need help with.

Delegation is a powerful tool for leveraging your time; you use it to get more done with less effort. It also is a tool for developing employees and creating a more accountable team. When you delegate, you turn over the hands-on performance of an assignment or task to someone else. The keys to successful delegation are:

  • Identify what can be delegated. Focus on activities you currently do but don’t have to do yourself. By delegating these types of activities, you free up time to work on tasks that only you can perform and need to focus on.
  • Choose the right employee for the delegation. Match the employee’s skills with those needed for the project; however, you also want to help employees stretch and grow. Give them worthwhile tasks that allow them to enhance their skills and learn new ones. Remember, the more you develop you staff, the more you and your team will be positively productive.
  • Set the employee up for success. Be willing to invest time and effort in training the employee, so he or she can perform the new task successfully. This can be an investment of both time and money, but it is an investment that definitely pays dividends later when the employee can handle the assignment independently, and you have more time to work on other, more important work.
  • Make the employee accountable for delivering results.Check in with the employee regularly to assess progress, but avoid the temptation to micro-manage him or her. (See my blog post Don’t Be a Helicopter Manager.) When you want to foster accountability, you need to demonstrate that you trust your employees to do the job. Give regular feedback using the SOAR Formula (link to other post).

Effective delegation is a cornerstone of creating an accountable staff. You can read more about successful delegation in my blog post How to Delegate.

Come back next week for Part 4 of my Creating Accountability series and discover tools for using delegation to create accountability.



Motivate Employees for Results

Part 2 or 4

Continuing my series on Creating Accountability, today’s post is all about motivation. Let me start by stating that you cannot motivate someone to take action; you can only create an environment that supports motivation. How? Here are some quick tips to create a motivating workplace.

  1. Stop thinking that you can motivate with money. Sure, it perks people up for a while, but it’s a short-term solution.
  2. Find ways to tell your employees that they make a difference in the success of the team and the department. You can easily do this by acknowledging their efforts with personal notes or mentions at staff meeting.
  3. Give employees the opportunity to learn new skills through in-person training programs, e-learning programs, and conferences.
  4. Use the SOAR Formula for feedback that produces results. (See last week’s blog Help Your Employees SOAR in 2019!)
  5. Find out what motivates your staff by asking them! Use anonymous online surveys or have a candid conversation with your employees.
  6. Surprise employees with ad hoc rewards, such as gift cards, time off with pay, or another cost-effective way of encouraging positive performance.
  7. Take generational differences into account. Generally, older employees (Traditionals and Baby Boomers) prefer tangible rewards, public recognition, and promotions. Generation X prefers flexibility in scheduling, rewards that foster work-life balance, and high-tech tools. Generation Y wants everything to be fun, fast, and high tech. Reward the youngest generation with opportunities to work with older, more experienced team members on exciting projects. (For more information on generational differences, see my blog post Bridge the Generation Gap and my e-book Leading 4 Generations.

Start to create a motivating environment by giving regular, encouraging feedback and using a variety of tools to recognize your team. You will gain a more motivated, more accountable team that is positively productive.

Come back next week for Part 3 of my Creating Accountability series and discover tools for using delegation to create accountability.


Help Your Employees SOAR in 2019!

Part 1 of 4

With this post, I am kicking off a four-part series on Creating Accountability, which I believe is the cornerstone of all successful teams. Now is the time to create the systems and processes you need to help your employees and your organization succeed in the New Year. I want to start with using feedback to help your employees SOAR.

When employees clearly understand your expectations for quality, deliverables, deadlines, performance standards, and measures, you can help them:

  • Be more productive.
  • Meet organizational goals more easily.
  • Develop new strengths and enhance existing ones.
  • Increase their self-confidence and competence.
  • Demonstrate that you value them and their contributions.
  • Motivate them to strive for greater performance.
  • Correct behavior that is inappropriate or inconsistent with your expectations.

Here’s how SOAR works:

  1. S = State the specific behavior you are going to address. Be objective and factual, and avoid turning your interpretations into facts.
  2. O = Outline what you are feeling about the situation, the behavior, or its impactand help the employee understand the effect of the behavior.
  3. A = Address the new, replacement behavior you want and your expectations for change. Focus on the preferred action and be clear and specific about your expectations so there are no misunderstandings.
  4. R = Reaffirm understanding and end on a positive note. Make sure the employee understands what is expected by asking for affirmation. If there is any hesitation on the employee’s part, restate your expectations for the new behavior.

Start the year off by helping your employees SOAR. The SOAR Formula can help you give the right kind of feedback in the right way to produce the right result—the new behavior you are looking for.

Feedback is one of the most powerful tools for building a motivated, productive staff. When employees understand what you expect, when you send clear messages about how well they are performing, and when they see that you are invested in helping them improve, you gain their respect and trust. When you use this Formula for improvement, your team will SOAR in the New Year!

Check out our leadership course, Lead4Results, for more information!

Come back next week for Part 2 of my Creating Accountability series and discover tools to motivate employees!