Leaders: nurture your naysayers (and avoid CEO Disease)

Leaders: nurture your naysayers (and avoid CEO Disease)

Do you live in a ‘happy bubble’ in which everything is wonderful and all your ideas are perfect?

If you said ‘yes’, you might be a typical leader. And I must warn you: you might have CEO Disease.

You see, many leaders find themselves isolated, sheltered, and unaware of problems. Usually, it’s because the people they’ve surrounded themselves with are classic ‘yes-men’ and ‘yes-women’. They aren’t given contrary information, they’re sheltered from problems, and rarely if ever does anyone say ‘no’ or disagree with the.

Sheltered from negative information, these leaders struggle to gain the perspective necessary to make informed decisions because employees keep them in the dark about negative or contrary information.

In this post, Halelly Azulay explains what CEO Disease is, how you might get it, and 5 tips for avoiding it by nurturing your naysayers. Read on!

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Haters gonna hate: why courageous leadership is not a popularity contest

Haters gonna hate: why courageous leadership is not a popularity contest

Have you ever received feedback from hundreds of people on your performance? You work very hard to design the product or presentation, you prepare, and you rehearse or practice.

You try your best to deliver on the pre-established expectations and meet the established standards. And you succeed – if measured objectively – because the vast majority of people feel satisfied with your delivery on promises and appreciate your contribution toward addressing their needs. But… There are always those few that are not feelin’ it. So, what should we do in the face of unfair, or personal, or harsh criticism? This blog post tells my story about a recent situation where 'haters' criticized me and lessons for what you can do if this happens to you, from other experienced leaders in my network as well as from my experience. Give it a read and chime in!

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Leaders: Don’t let your meetings suck!

Leaders: Don’t let your meetings suck!

Too many leaders let their meetings suck.

They have meetings that aren’t necessary, and don’t have agendas or specified roles. Their meetings are too long, and they don’t invite the right people. They don’t ensure that meetings achieve their objectives as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Please. Please don’t be one of those leaders who let their meetings suck!

Here are some suggestions for what you can do instead, to have less crappy meetings where things actually get done.

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The best question to boost your courage in the face of fear

The best question to boost your courage in the face of fear

In her book Lean In and the movement that it launched, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg challenges women to answer this question: “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”. I think this is a positive message that helps bring self-awareness to limiting beliefs and barriers to courage. And she does implore women to “then go do it.” And I want to build on it and extend it.

For one, I do not wish to only address women. I want to address men also. Because fear holds a lot of people back.

In my work as a leadership development strategist, speaker, and facilitator, I meet a lot of people. And unfortunately, way too many of them are playing too small, too safe. I see a lack of courage – not Courage with a capital C like the kind that makes you run into a burning building and saving babies and puppies. No. Small-c courage that lets you see your fears, face them square on, and take action toward your big, scary goals IN SPITE of that fear.

So I want to build on that question and make it more actionable. I want to "yes, and" it.

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Why you should stop distracted listening

Why you should stop distracted listening

Does listening involve just your ears? Halelly Azulay of TalentGrow says definitely not. In this short video blog (vlog), she describes the commonly experienced negative effects of distracted listening and why you should stop doing that to people you care about. This advice is crucial for leaders of all levels (but it will also help you in your personal relationships).

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Why email sucks (for really important conversations) [vlog]

Why email sucks (for really important conversations) [vlog]

Have you ever had someone react emotionally to an email you sent and catch you completely off-guard? Did you ever re-read and re-write the same email eleventy-million times before hitting 'send'? Do you want to communicate more effectively and not damage your relationships at work and otherwise? Watch this short video blog (vlog) to learn the common mistake many leaders and team members make when choosing email as their mode of communication when it comes to important conversations. Learn the science behind the negative reactions people often have to your carefully crafted emails and how to prevent these situations from happening. Improve your communication effectiveness and become a better leader.

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How to Be Indispensable as an Employee or a Leader [vlog]

How to Be Indispensable as an Employee or a Leader [vlog]

By making yourself indispensable (which means "absolutely necessary" according to the dictionary), you create a much higher chance for promotion, selection for prime assignments, and in general make yourself more employable. In this video blog (vlog), I share four highly actionable ideas for ways you could make yourself more indispensable at work.

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Intention + interest + practice = communication success

Intention + interest + practice = communication success

I was facilitating a workshop on the three keys to communication success. We were talking about the need to consider the style and preference of the audience in shaping our communication approach when a participant spoke up.

“I hate when people do this. When my manager comes to talk to me and starts beating around the bush and giving me positive comments, I always get real skeptical and feel like there must be something bad or something more coming. I just want to tell him, “just come out with it! Give it to me straight!”.”

Here's what I told him.

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Business and Leadership Lessons I learned from Speakers at the National Speakers Association #Influence15 Convention in DC

Business and Leadership Lessons I learned from Speakers at the National Speakers Association #Influence15 Convention in DC

In addition to helping my clients with leadership development strategy and workshops, I am an international professional speaker at conferences and meetings. Therefore, to keep my own skills sharp, I belong to the National Speakers Association (“the other NSA”). This week I’m attending their annual convention right here in DC (taking advantage of the fact that it’s still ‘local’ for me, even if for less than two more weeks!). Although I’m still not finished (that won’t be until later this evening), I thought I’d recap some of the many lessons I’ve learned this week that can apply to all leaders and team members no matter the business and not just relevant to speakers.

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The Top 10 Conversations Every Leader Should Have with Every Employee

The Top 10 Conversations Every Leader Should Have with Every Employee

Last week I visited sunny Ft. Lauderdale to speak at a financial services association’s conference about how to radically transform the way in which we do performance appraisals. The number one tip of the 5 best practices for a better performance management approach I shared with the audience is this: Make performance feedback an ongoing and informal practice. Ongoing, regular, and timely conversations with employees about performance, goals, career, and feedback contribute tremendously to their current and future level of performance and engagement at work. Here are my top 10 types of conversations that I think every leader should be having with every employee throughout each year:

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Is there such a thing as too much authenticity?

Is there such a thing as too much authenticity?

What does authenticity mean to you?

To me, it means being real, being the opposite of fake or pretentious.

It means being honest and open. It means being willing to be vulnerable and imperfect.

These are values that align with mine, which is why the construct of authenticity appeals to me. But a recent HBR article has brought new questions to mind that are shaking this idea up. Let's delve deeper and see what you think - is there maybe such a thing as too much authenticity?

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Harness the power of your emotional intelligence!

Harness the power of your emotional intelligence!

You've heard the term emotional intelligence (aka EQ) bandied around. Do you know what it means? If not, you might have fallen for the common myth that being emotionally intelligent means being more emotional. That's really not the case. What being emotionally intelligent actually means is becoming more aware of your own and others' emotions, increasing your capacity to manage your own emotions and take into account those of others, so that you can increase your ability to be more, not less, rational in your actions. Your communication and your relationships will improve when you harness your emotional intelligence!

Read this post to learn more about what EQ is and how to harness it for improved communication.

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5 Steps to Delegating Right and Reducing Your Stress

5 Steps to Delegating Right and Reducing Your Stress

Effective delegation is an essential supervisory skill. Any supervisor or manager must learn to delegate effectively in order to accomplish his or her goals. By definition, to supervise the work of others means that you have to take time away from the technical aspects of your job and tend to the people side of things. Therefore, because time resources are finite, you must remove some of the work you were previously able to accomplish on your own from your task-list in order to make time for performance management and leadership tasks. And because that work still must be completed, you will need to delegate it to your staff.

In this post I summarize the barriers and benefits of delegating, and offer a step-by-step process to help you delegate successfully.

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Don't Try This at Home: When Leading by Example Backfires

Don't Try This at Home: When Leading by Example Backfires

In this short "blog" (video blog) post, I describe the story of Charlie (made up name), a manager I coached and how he proudly led by example in a way that was going to backfire, big time. Learn about the unintended consequences he would have experienced and what I suggested that he try instead.

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7 Tips for Building Mentoring to Develop Employees and Raise Engagement

7 Tips for Building Mentoring to Develop Employees and Raise Engagement

When I decided I wanted to write a book, I was utterly terrified and baffled. Where do I start?

Thankfully, I’d learned years ago that I do not have to go it alone with new challenges: I called on a trusted mentor. Elaine Biech has written or edited more than 50 books. She knows about this thing! I’m grateful for the amazing insights Elaine shared with me to guide my book publishing process. I couldn't have done it as quickly or as well without her mentoring support.

Have you had a mentor or mentored someone? I actually devoted a whole chapter in Employee Development on a Shoestring to the idea that mentoring can be a wonderful tool to develop employees. It is also an amazing employee engagement booster. In this post, I’ll share some of the highlights with you about what mentoring is and why it’s helpful, who is the ideal candidate for this kind of relationship, and seven tips for creating a strong mentoring program and/or building a great mentoring relationships which will increase both learning and engagement in your organization, department, team, or even just yourself.

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