Ignore the Overhype — Leadership Qualities That Really Are Everything

Originally published July 28, 2017 By Lindsey Pollak

We all know the “it” words for leadership qualities today, those buzzwords that pop up over and over to describe the qualities leader aspire to. Frankly, I’m totally over words like “ninja” and “guru.” But there are several words that are common in today’s management vernacular that really do describe great leaders. If you’re a leader or aspiring to be one, I hope you’ll find these valuable.

Authenticity (my personal favorite…)

“Authenticity [is] the continuous process of building self-awareness of our whole person, as well as being transparent with others about our whole person, both strengths and limitations. As a result, more often than not, the authentic leader’s beliefs, values, principles, and behaviors tend to line up. Commonly referred to as ‘walking the talk,’ authenticity also means being your talk at a very deep level. The practice of authenticity is so much more than simply being true to ourselves, it also requires being true with others.” — Read more at Forbes.com.

Self-awareness

“[Self awareness] is made up of two types of knowledge. One is what people normally think of, which is that introspective awareness, seeing ourselves clearly, knowing what we value, what we aspire to do. But equally importantly and frequently neglected is the idea that we should also know how other people see us. What I found is there are quite a few people who possess one of those types of knowledge, but not the other. That’s really where it gets in their way. What we’ve learned through our research is that people who have both types of self-knowledge and balance them are the ones who are the most successful at work and in life.” — Read more at Knowledge@Wharton.

Emotional Intelligence

“Leaders need THE critical leadership skill: emotional intelligence (EI) [or] ‘regulating emotions.’ The benefits of regulating emotions include collaborating effectively, being more empathetic, communicating to produce desired results, interpersonal skills, amicable conflict resolution and so on. Studies have proven that organizations whose leaders have higher EI are more profitable. … EI is thus more valuable than technical competence.” — Read more at TrainingIndustry.com.

Purpose-Driven

“Employees’ understanding of and alignment with the company’s purpose should be regularly discussed and measured as a predictor of outcomes related to safety, retention, performance and profitability. Managers should help employees understand why their work matters and how it aligns with the company’s purpose. Discussions connecting individual and team successes to the larger organizational mission or purpose need to be frequent. Recognition programs — in addition to highlighting exceptional work — must connect performance to the purpose of the organization.” — Read more at Gallup.com.

Growth Mindset

“Great leaders are governed by growth mindsets. They understand that they can continue improving and help those around them do the same. … With a growth mindset, you can see the good in every situation. Even when you fail — and you’re human, so you’ll fail from time to time — you won’t be defeated. Instead of giving up and going home, you’ll begin to look at every situation as a learning experience. When you fail, you’ll figure out what went wrong and work on making sure it doesn’t happen next time.” — Read more at TinyPulse.com.

What’s a leadership quality “buzzword” that you actually like — or on you have heard more than enough of? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

 

The Importance of Saying ‘No’ at Work

Originally published by Lindsey Pollak 13 January 2017

Nope, this post isn’t about my “word of the year.” (If you haven’t read about the word I chose for 2017, get the scoop here!) Instead, it’s about another word I believe everyone should employ to be more productive – and quite likely more sane. That’s the word “no.”

You could barely turn on the radio this spring without hearing Meghan Trainor espouse the beauty of the word “no.” Her anthem might have been all about girl power, but this single word remains powerful for any situation, including your work life.

Of course there are times that “no” is not the judicious thing to say for career advancement: Part of the puzzle is knowing when to say “no” and when not to. The articles below have helpful tips for when and how to employ the power of no.

Make Sure it Aligns With Your Priorities

“Prioritization is critical in today’s 24/7 work environment. I keep a list of long-term and short-term priorities and if a task or project doesn’t fit in one of those buckets, 99% of the time I decline it. My best tip for saying no is to be straightforward and not dance around the subject. Explain that the task, project or activity doesn’t align with your current priorities and, if the situation changes, you will revisit the topic. Also, sometimes you can suggest an alternative solution.” — Read more at Forbes.

A “No” Now Is Better Than a “No” Later

“Instead of saying ‘yes’ now and disappointing the person later when you fail to fulfill the request, say ‘no’ now. Do not say ‘maybe or ‘probably.’ It comes across as unclear. Most people appreciate a solid ‘no’ more than a ‘maybe.’ It’s indecision that can drain energy from all parties involved.” — Read more at Entrepreneur.

Or, Soften The No, As Needed

“Release the guilt: ‘I really do appreciate the offer and I wish I could help.’ That opening does a lot to counter the ‘But….no’ that’s the answer at the end of the reply.” — Read more at Bizwomen.

Say No Confidently

“Don’t:

  • Use a harsh or hesitant tone, and don’t be overly polite either. Instead, strive for a steady and clear no.
  • Hold back the real reason you’re saying no. To limit frustration, give reasons with good weight up front.
  • Distort your message or act tentatively because you’re trying to keep your colleague happy. Be honest and make sure your no is understood.”

Read more at Harvard Business Review.

SOURCE: THE IMPORTANCE OF SAYING ‘NO’ AT WORK

Millennials Manage Differently, and That’s a Good Thing

Originally published by Lindsey Pollak 17 January 2017

I’ve shared before that I think it’s time to stop shaming millennials. One of the reasons: They’re no longer all young 20-somethings just starting their careers. More millennials are stepping into management and leadership roles every day. In fact, The Hartford’s 2015 Millennial Leadership Survey found that 80 percent of millennials currently define themselves as leaders.

And, in my opinion, their ascent is going to be highly beneficial to the workplace — today and in the future. They bring different experiences, skills and mindsets to the workplace that are well suited to current business challenges and opportunities. Here are four ways that millennials differ as leaders, and my take on how millennial leadership will shape workplace dynamics for the better.

More feedback

Buh-bye, annual review…and good riddance. Millennials are embracing the need to provide ongoing, constant feedback to employees of all generations. As leaders they provide more feedback because it’s what they’ve said they want as employees — one survey found that almost half of millennials crave weekly feedback.

Expect to see more on-the-spot coaching, especially in the form of apps that provide instant feedback. By moving the focus from backward-looking reviews to up-to-the-minute improvements, millennial managers will help their teams make micro-adjustments to enhance performance and results.

More movement

Much has been made of the Deloitte survey that revealed two-thirds of millennials expect to leave their current job by 2020, but it is has significant implications for millennials as leaders. Accustomed to change, they are likely to be more adaptable to shifting team members, and will find it easier to manage employees who work remotely or those who join the team to perform one specific strategic task on a contract basis and then move on.

Millennial leaders are likely to move too, contributing to the concept of a professional trajectory as a lattice rather than a ladder. As they move from one company or department to another, they will bring with them their best practices and fresh ideas, shaking up the status quo that can occasionally plague companies with long-tenured employees.

More work/life integration

In a 2015 EY study, 35 percent of millennial leaders said that managing work-life balance is more challenging in their current role. But that doesn’t mean that they’re shrugging their shoulders and giving in — they’re doing something about it, and that is contributing to the rise of better work/life blend for all.

Since technology infuses nearly everything millennials do, tech is a driving force in their hunt for better work/life integration. They book reservations online at work and answer work email from the comfort of their couch at night. I expect that millennial managers will increasingly jettison the concept of “face time” to focus exclusively on output. This will benefit all generations of workers.

More focus on mission

People and profits will continue as a critical theme in how millennials manage. A whopping 90 percent of millennials say they want to use their skills for good, and 77 percent say culture is as important as salary or benefits, according to a survey by Virgin Pulse.

Fortunately, a culture of purpose and one of profits are not mutually exclusive. A Deloitte survey found that 91 percent of respondents who said their company had a strong sense of purpose had a history of strong financial performance as well.

Millennials will be focused not only on doing good work, but doing good, period, and that will impact the company’s overall culture and goals, while still driving performance.

The best news about these shifts? In my opinion, millennials are taking action on outdated workplace issues that have begged to be addressed for decades. They are starting the ball rolling — and all generations will score.

How have you noticed millennials managing differently? We’d love to hear your experiences in the comments below!

SOURCE: Millennials Manage Differently, and That’s a Good Thing