Aspire-CS

When you want to know what others think

Aspire-CS

Photo credit: 123RF. You are a good leader. You feel like you’ve done your best to develop the relationships that will make your employees feel safe in speaking their truth.

Choosing kindness

Aspire-CS

Photo credit: 123RF. The words kindness and leadership may seem like strange partners in a world that often isn’t kind, and with leaders in the news who exemplify a lack of caring. Yet it’s exactly what our world, your organization, and your leadership need.

Stress 188

What if critical feedback could transform your leadership?

Aspire-CS

Photo credit 123RF. The feedback the leaders I work with is almost always well balanced between the positive and the critical. Yet its common for them to get most emotional over what they view as the negative comments.

Why you need to get personal at work

Aspire-CS

Photo credit: 123rf. Some leaders think that they shouldn’t develop “personal relationships” with their employees and other stakeholders at work. When asked why they feel that way, they say that it would be unethical, immoral, and make them vulnerable to criticism.

Morale 205

Lessons in leadership from a surprising source

Aspire-CS

A year ago, I bought a bucket list item: my first fully digital camera and all the gear to go with it. This was a considerable step up from the point and shoot and cell phone photography I’d been used to. So I took basic photography classes and some that were a bit more advanced.

Tribute to a great leader and good person

Aspire-CS

Good people die everyday. Yet not all of them affirm for us the goodness in humanity and leadership the way Ted did. He passed away last week and left a legacy of positive experiences for anyone who took the time to know him – which wasn’t a hard thing to do.

Ethics 204

Secret sauce ingredients that make a manager an awesome leader

Aspire-CS

Photo credit: 123rf. Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of meeting some pretty awesome managers who are also awesome leaders. They’re fully aware that they have job descriptions that detail bottom lines to meet, projects to complete, and problems to troubleshoot.

When great expectations equals great employees

Aspire-CS

Photo credit: 123RF. Sometimes I have the pleasure of working with someone that has employees who are deliriously happy. One of the reasons they feel this way is because their leader sets high expectations for them. These leaders make their leadership look effortless.

The power of positive future-focused questions

Aspire-CS

You’ve probably heard that leaders need to ask more questions. It takes courage and practice to find the kind of questions that will help others to help themselves, your organization and move everyone forward.

How you interact is a choice

Aspire-CS

Photo credit: 123RF. It’s all too easy to interact with others without thinking about the impact you have on them, and what that means for your success and that of your organization.

Eight unexpected ways to continue to develop yourself as a leader

Aspire-CS

Photo credit: 123rf. You’re a year or two into your dream leadership role and you know you are capable of more, but you don’t know where to start. After the first months of learning everything you need to learn about your job you settled in. Yet you have a nagging feeling that something is missing.

What an open dialog requires of you

Aspire-CS

Photo credit: 123RF. There are times when a you as a leader will need to have an open dialog with an individual, group or team. This might be so that you can get others’ input, thoughts or opinions. It isn’t about pushing your ideas on others, it’s about drawing theirs out.

When you listen more

Aspire-CS

Photo credit: Yarruta @123RF. It seems so much of our lives are wrapped up in what we see with our eyes that we forget that what we hear is just as important – maybe more so.

Tools 257

The benefits of listening more

Aspire-CS

Photo credit: 123RF. I was young and relatively new to the professional work world, with an abundance of motivation and drive. The executive I was reporting to inherited me and the work I was doing in a reorganization.

Bond 219

You can’t see a vision when you’re tangled in the weeds

Aspire-CS

If you are a “people leader”, every time you get more responsibility, you need to work toward seeing further, broader, and becoming more visionary. When you take on a higher level of work you need to be thinking about delegating and stepping out of the daily work to fly above it and see a vision.

Doing nothing often leads to the very best something

Aspire-CS

Photo credit: 123rf. We went to see the new movie Christopher Robin last weekend. We grew up with Winnie the Pooh books and we carried on that tradition with our own children so have a soft spot for the stories and characters.

Crisis 207

Why you should coach people

Aspire-CS

Photo credit: 123rf Southmind. Organizations are increasingly teaching leaders to coach their subordinates (and sometimes each other). I want to believe that this isn’t a passing fad, because there are lots of reasons for leaders to learn how to coach others in the workplace.

Examine the beliefs that no longer serve you

Aspire-CS

Photo credit: 123RF. Because of who you are and how you’ve lived in the world, you carry beliefs with you that may or may not serve you in your leadership (and your life). It’s good to be aware of those and realize when they need to be held tightly or set free.

Become a generative listener

Aspire-CS

There is a kind of non-listening that goes on in our society and organizations that is distracted and disjointed, and often marked by interruptions. This non-listening doesn’t focus on the person speaking. Rather, the listeners try their hardest to get their ideas into the conversation.

Give them the gift of your presence

Aspire-CS

Photo credit: 123rf. I once had a manager who inherited my function (and me) through a reorganization. My short time working for him in that role was one of the most personally frustrating and painful experiences in my work life. The reason? I was invisible to him.

How to break out of the box to become a better leader

Aspire-CS

Photo credit: 123RF. When we have our first meeting, leaders often express their personal perception about who they are and how they see themselves: “I’m the kind of leader who….(fill fill in the blank).” People will tell you that I’m like (fill in the blank)”.

How To 141

To be the best leader, you need to be the best human

Aspire-CS

Photo credit: 123RF. The relationships you have with those who support you at work are key to your success as a leader. Without those, nothing happens like it should. And good relationships are dependent on your ability to be the best human you can be.

Morale 180

What if questions were valued as much as knowledge?

Aspire-CS

Photo credit: 123RF. The people with the most smarts win! There are rewards to be reaped for the most knowledgeable people in our society and our organizations. Imagine what might happen if we also rewarded those who are smart AND ask great questions.

Why you need to tell them why

Aspire-CS

Photo credit: 123RF. Sometimes you need to make a decision without input from others. However, when you are asked about your reasons for your conclusion, a response like “It needs to be done this way” or “No, we can’t do that” can be seen as disrespectful and authoritarian.

Stress 188

Five things you do to be trustworthy

Aspire-CS

Trust seems to be a hard thing to come by. Our workplaces are filled with leaders who do things that erode the faith and loyalty employees need to have to create vibrant businesses. Yet there are many good leaders out there (like you perhaps?)

There is always something new under the sun

Aspire-CS

Photo credit: 123RF. Are you feeling a little stale or bored? Do you sense that years of leadership are wearing on you? Are you squelching new ideas or figuratively rolling your eyes when the younger generation of leaders in your company make suggestions to change something?

Three personal foundations to master for better leadership

Aspire-CS

When we look at a well-built building, most of us don’t notice the foundation. Instead, our eyes go right to what’s on top of it. If it is unusual, old, or beautiful, we might comment on those qualities. Have you ever heard someone say, “That’s a beautiful foundation”? Most likely you haven’t.

Coaching is more than asking questions

Aspire-CS

I’ve seen a lot written and said about how important it is for people managers to coach the people around them. Often, the enthusiasm about coaching is anchored in leaders asking more questions rather than telling others what to do.

Goal 251

The upsides to delegating

Aspire-CS

One of the most difficult personal challenges a leader can have throughout their career is to delegate some of the work they are doing to others. It’s unfortunate that all too often a crisis happens before a leader realizes they could have done a better job of delegating.

Let them choose

Aspire-CS

Photo credit: 123RF. You’ve hired good, smart people. So why not let them make some of the choices that you’ve been making for them? Those bright employees will relish that freedom while learning and developing. Simultaneously, you’ll keep them interested and engaged.

How to handle grieving in the workplace

Aspire-CS

Photo credit: 123RF. I’m not a psychiatrist or therapist, but I’m a pretty good observer who has learned a thing or two about how grief could be handled in the workplace by leaders. You may lose someone close to you.

How To 130

Ten daily practices that show respect to your team

Aspire-CS

Disrespect seems to be running rampant everywhere, including our workplaces. Yet when a leader shows they respect their team, the benefits become obvious: people are motivated, dedicated, loyal and the leader becomes a talent magnet – the best workers want to work for and stay with that leader.

Team 283

How to make feedback a developmental opportunity

Aspire-CS

Many employees cringe at the thought of getting feedback from their manager. Who wouldn’t blame them? It tends to be overly critical, given with haste and without care, and confusing. So often, the feedback given is often useless to the receiver.

How To 237

Get out of the weeds to lead people

Aspire-CS

Many employees are promoted into management positions because their knowledge and expertise have made them successful in the work they do. The problem is that a management position doesn’t always fit their passion. People managers have to lead people, and not everyone is motivated to do that.

The neuroscience of asking insightful questions

Aspire-CS

I teach coaching skills to leaders. When I get to the section on how to ask questions (an important part of learning to coach) I might ask a trick question to start off: “How many of you are good at solving problems?”. Without fail, almost all hands shoot enthusiastically into the air.

Are you making a difference?

Aspire-CS

Although leaders may get great personal satisfaction from leading a team that accomplishes greatness, it’s in giving to others that creates conditions for the work to be exceptional.

Becoming a great leader takes intention and mindfulness

Aspire-CS

Leading others can look easy. In reality, most leaders aren’t naturals at leading people; they have to learn by trial and error. Think of all the professions that people go into that require years of honing their craft: musician, doctor, lawyer, engineer, teacher, scientist….the the list goes on.

Do less and be more of a leader

Aspire-CS

Imagine that someone takes notice that you get things done and they see greater potential in you. They talk to you about becoming a people manager or having even greater people responsibilities if you are already a manager.

Ethics 277

Being vulnerable builds work relationships

Aspire-CS

I was vying for a position in “corporate” that would round out my experience for something bigger later on. The manager who was interviewing me gave the most grueling interview I’d ever had. His intensity in interviews was the stuff of legends, and I wasn’t given a break.

Travel 219

What if you were curious?

Aspire-CS

Photo credit: 123rf. Last week I listened to a client’s frustration over employees who had become complacent, moving slowly, dotting their “i’s” and “t’s”, following the corporate line. Unfortunately, this is a song and dance I’ve heard too often.

Tools 202

The most important thing that can make you a better leader

Aspire-CS

It can be easy for a leader to be fooled into believing that they are the smartest person in the room and that their answers, opinions, ideas and decisions are the only ones that need to be expressed. That thinking can lead down a path where no leader should be.

Advice 159

Executive presence is an inside job

Aspire-CS

It’s not unusual for an executive to be puzzled that they’ve been told they need to develop “executive presence” in order to move into executive levels in an organization. The question on their mind is “What is executive presence?”. Rightfully so.

Psychological safety, perspective and behavior

Aspire-CS

Photo credit/copyright: 123rf. Greg, a manager in a large company asked for his employees to be open with him. That didn’t go over well since he regularly dressed down those who came to him with bad news or mistakes they’d made.