Giving Feedback – 4 Tips to Start 2016 Effectively
Providing effective feedback to everyone we encounter at appropriate times can go a long way to helping everyone on our team and others that we work with advance towards meeting goals. In addition, providing regular and timely feedback to others will help us out when it comes to annual performance review time in our organization. When it comes to giving feedback, we want to avoid only giving feedback when something has gone wrong. Effective feedback is more than just corrective action when someone has made a mistake or disciplinary action when someone has behaved outside of established boundaries. Ideally we are providing feedback to others well before these negative situations arise. The time, place and method that we provide feedback often makes a big difference in how the feedback is received and implemented by the person we're giving it to. In this week's video, Jason talks about why we give feedback, who we should be giving feedback to and provides tips for giving feedback in both positive and negative situations.

Giving Feedback – 4 Tips to Start 2016 Effectively

Most of us agree that giving feedback is one of the key duties of leaders, but it is just as important to give feedback to our peers or as followers. Providing effective feedback to everyone we encounter at appropriate times can go a long way to helping everyone on our team and others that we work with advance towards meeting goals. In addition, providing regular and timely feedback to others will help us out when it comes to annual performance review time in our organization. When it comes to giving feedback, we want to avoid only giving feedback when something has gone wrong. Effective feedback is more than just corrective action when someone has made a mistake or disciplinary action when someone has behaved outside of established boundaries. Ideally we are providing feedback to others well before these negative situations arise. The time, place and method that we provide feedback often makes a big difference in how the feedback is received and implemented by the person we’re giving it to. In this week’s video, Jason talks about why we give feedback, who we should be giving feedback to and provides tips for giving feedback in both positive and negative situations.

4 Tips for Giving Feedback

Jason goes into more detail in the video about how to use each of these 4 tips to provide feedback to someone, especially if the feedback may be negative:

  • Give feedback in the context of previously set expectations
  • Show compassion and listen
  • Choose the right environment for giving feedback
  • Don’t make it personal

These tips can also be flipped around for giving feedback in positive situations where you want to praise an individual or team and highlight their accomplishments or hold them up as an example of great role models in the workplace. We always want to remember that our focus when we give feedback should be to encourage others when they do a great job and help them out when they could be doing a little better.

We took a little break from posting content over the holidays, but we're back now and our first video of 2016 is all about the importance of investing in ourselves. As we all start to set our improvement goals for the upcoming year it's important to assess if we are investing our energy and resources effectively to achieve them. Worthwhile goals don't just happen overnight or come about on their own. In order to really see the gains that we desire in our personal and professional lives, we need to apply our energy and resources in the right areas with sufficient intensity.

Investing in Ourselves

We took a little break from posting content over the holidays, but we’re back now and our first video of 2016 is all about the importance of investing in ourselves. As we all start to set our improvement goals for the upcoming year it’s important to assess if we are investing our energy and resources effectively to achieve them. Worthwhile goals don’t just happen overnight or come about on their own. In order to really see the gains that we desire in our personal and professional lives, we need to apply our energy and resources in the right areas with sufficient intensity.

4 Areas for Investing in Ourselves

  1. Time – The most important resource we have is our time and where we choose to spend our time says a lot about our priorities. Planning ahead to determine how much time we need to dedicate to achieving a goal can help us invest our time wisely and keep us from getting frustrated if our progress is slow. Investing in ourselves by prioritizing and budgeting our time to spend on the areas we most want to improve will provide us the greatest gains.
  2. Money – There are many free resources, both online and offline, that we can use to begin our quest to improve in a certain area, but at some point in order to achieve true mastery, we often need to spend some money. Asking ourselves if we can spend some of our hard-earned money in a smart way can help accelerate our development to get to the next level.
  3. Relationships – Developing a solid support structure made up of people who support us and provide honest and candid feedback is key for personal and professional development. Investing in ourselves by building strong relationships with people who believe in us and support our goals is essential to achieving those goals.
  4. Tools and Systems – Creating processes and procedures that help us follow through on our goals can help us make regular and continuous progress and keep us from having to rely on willpower to keep us moving forward.

Try taking a look at these 4 areas as you start turning your goals for 2016 into actionable steps and see if you’re investing appropriately in all 4 areas. If progress is slower than you’d like see if you can up your investment in one or more areas to accelerate your gains!

As leaders we all want to be perceived as inspiring and motivating individuals by our own team, our peers and the senior decision makers that we report to. One consistent quality among leaders who are perceived this way is that they are excellent public speakers who know how to give an outstanding performance that connects with people on an emotional level. Whether we're trying to influence one person, a small group or an entire auditorium, the performance methods demonstrated by Michael Port in Steal the Show can help us put our best selves out in front to speak in a way that is inspiring and motivating to those we lead . Join us on Blab January 8th, 2016 at 10 AM Pacific time to discuss how we can all use performance techniques to get our message across and inspire others to share our vision for a better future.

Inspiring and Motivating – Evil Genius Leadership Book Club January 8th, 2016

As we frequently talk about with our clients and in our posts, personal and professional development are key to growing into strong leaders ready for the challenges of tomorrow. Approaching development from the perspective of a student of leadership as an art and science is an effective way to absorb new ideas and incorporate them into your leadership philosophy and style.  This kind of development can be difficult to do on your own if you don’t have a group of other leaders to discuss and debate with. We want to help build a strong community of leaders who have a forum to discuss the ideas that are on their minds. This month we will discussing how to use classic performance techniques to be inspiring and motivating leaders.

Inspiring and Motivating Through Great Performances

As leaders we all want to be perceived as inspiring and motivating individuals by our own team, our peers and the senior decision makers that we report to. One consistent quality among leaders who are perceived this way is that they are excellent public speakers who know how to give an outstanding performance that connects with people on an emotional level. Whether we’re trying to influence one person, a small group or an entire auditorium,  the performance methods demonstrated by Michael Port in Steal the Show can help us put our best selves out in front to speak in a way that is inspiring and motivating to those we lead . Join us on Blab January 8th, 2016 at 10 AM Pacific time to discuss how we can all use performance techniques to get our message across and inspire others to share our vision for a better future.

In this video, we share our philosophy on mentoring and the rewards that come to individuals and organizations from applying mentorship effectively.

Mentoring

In this video, we share our philosophy on mentoring and the rewards that come to individuals and organizations from applying mentorship effectively. There are many misconceptions about what mentoring is and how to be a mentor. We point out several of these misconceptions and highlight ways to build a positive mindset in order to become a better mentor.

Tips for Effective Mentoring

If we want to be good mentors we need to remember that true mentoring comes from a mindset where we are genuinely interested in the success of another person and want to help them achieve their personal and professional goals. Building a strong rapport our protegé is key to the success of the mentoring relationship. Without this rapport it becomes difficult for the mentor and protegé to be open and honest with each other and share experiences and perspective. As mentors, we should seek to help our protegé by “telling our own story” and passing on the wisdom and lessons that the protegé can apply to their own situation. Seeking out protegés who come from different background and experiences than our own helps both of us expand our perspectives and come up with better solutions to the challenges we face.

We created this workshop for highly motivated Millennials who aspire to be the leaders of the future and are just starting on their journey. It is aimed at those who want to develop a strong leadership core based on a combination of proven leadership practices and more modern techniques appropriate to our mobile, digital age. There is a strong emphasis on communication, public speaking, networking and professional relationship building as the essential skills any leader needs to be successful. At the end of this intensive, 20-hour workshop you will come away with more confidence in your speaking ability, stronger networking skills and a greater ability to initiate and maintain solid professional relationships, and a greater insight into your own core values, leadership traits and leadership philosophy.

Essential Skills for Millennial Leaders, Jan 16-18 2016

We created this workshop for highly motivated Millennials who aspire to be the leaders of the future and are just starting on their journey. It is aimed at those who want to develop a strong leadership core based on a combination of proven leadership practices and more modern techniques appropriate to our mobile, digital age.  There is a strong emphasis on communication, public speaking, networking and professional relationship building as the essential skills any leader needs to be successful.  At the end of this intensive, 20-hour workshop you will come away with more confidence in your speaking ability, stronger networking skills, a greater ability to initiate and maintain solid professional relationships and a deeper insight into your own core values, leadership traits and leadership philosophy.

 

Join us in Historic Downtown Las Vegas for this unique opportunity
to practice your leadership and business skills with other up-and-coming leaders

Saturday, January 16th – Monday, January 18th, 2016
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Location: The Mill
1158 E. Carson Ave.
Las Vegas, NV
(map)

Instructors:
Jason LeDuc (bio)
Drew Masur (bio)

Workshop Cost: $699
(does not include food or lodging)

 

Let us help you maximize your career performance in 2016!

This workshop has been completed but if you’d like to get more information about the next workshop, please enter your email below:

 

The Future is Out There…Lead the Way!

One of the most important responsibilities we have as leaders is to develop other leaders who can someday take our place and grow to achieve their own successes. While it doesn't usually come with increased pay or benefits, developing leaders on our team can be one of the most personally rewarding endeavors we can undertake. To effectively develop our team members into strong leaders we need to be genuinely and authentically invested in their future career success as well as the short-term benefits that they can bring to our team.

Developing Leaders on Your Team

One of the most important responsibilities we have as leaders is to develop other leaders who can someday take our place and grow to achieve their own successes. While it doesn’t usually come with increased pay or benefits, developing leaders on our team can be one of the most personally rewarding endeavors we can undertake.  To effectively develop our team members into strong leaders we need to be genuinely and authentically invested in their future career success as well as the short-term benefits that they can bring to our team.

The Challenges of Developing Leaders

Helping people on our team grow into strong leaders for the future comes with it’s own set of challenges and hurdles. The first is that most companies and organizations don’t have a great deal of money dedicated for leadership development and training at all levels. Many companies focus on spending resources to improve leadership at the highest levels, but it often doesn’t make it’s way down to the front lines where it is needed most. Consistent leadership development activities can fall by the wayside when unexpected high-priority tasks pop up. It can also be difficult to demonstrate to the members of our team exactly why having solid leadership skills benefits them as individuals as well as advances the mission of our team. All three of these challenges can derail even the most dedicated leader from fully realizing their goal to turn their team into great leaders. It’s important that we commit ourselves through assigning the resources we do have and making the time necessary to help the individuals on our team grow into strong leaders that will carry our organization into the future.

Whether recruiting a new team, or developing the mix of skills of an already existing one, to get a team that is self-actualized, shows initiative and can take action for themselves without a great deal of supervision by you, you’ll want to focus on three main areas of skills to build your team.

Build Your Team for Maximum Performance

Building a team as a first-time leader can be an overwhelming challenge. Deciding who to choose to get the best results takes a lot of careful thought and consideration and there are no guarantees that you’ve made the right choice. It is also an exciting opportunity to guide and shape the individuals you’ve gathered to become the kind of team that produces amazing and meaningful outcomes. For others, we may be taking over a team that is currently engaged in a project, or an existing team is taking on a new project. In this case, while we may not get to choose who is on the team, we can still do a thorough assessment of the skills that the individuals on the team currently possess and compare them to the requirements of successfully completing the project. Working with an existing team to determine the gaps in the current skill set gives us an opportunity to determine which skills to develop on our team. We can look at the skills of each individual and determine what skills to develop to get the most impact for both the success of the team and the personal and professional growth of the individual. Whether recruiting a new team, or developing the mix of skills of an already existing one, to get a team that is self-actualized, shows initiative and can take action for themselves without a great deal of supervision by you, you’ll want to focus on three main areas of skills to build your team.

Build Your Team – Start with Technical Skills

These are arguably the most important skills to achieving the outcomes and mission of your team. Without these technical skills your team may not have the competencies to actually perform the work necessary. These are the nuts and bolts of what your team will be doing and should comprise most of their daily activity. Technical skills are things like web design, accounting, finance, and engineering that require specialized knowledge and experience. These are the skills that most people consider their “job” and you’ll need the right mix of them on your team to meet your goals. The absence of a critical technical skill on your team can set you up for failure. It is possible to have someone on the team learning a new required skill to the level that you need to achieve your task, but opportunities for development should be balanced with the risk that comes along from not having an expert in a key area on the team.

Soft Skills

These are the skills that help team member work with each other and outside groups. Unlike technical skills which will be highly dependent on the objective the team is trying to accomplish, soft skills are general professional and people skills that are applicable in almost every team situation

Communication skills include both being able to clearly and concisely get an idea across to the rest of the group, as well as good listening skills. Listening is perhaps one of the most underrated communication skills but one of the most important. We have all been at meetings where people continue to talk past each other to make sure their idea gets heard, but do very little listening to others. Developing these listening skills as well as the ability to share ideas clearly and concisely can go a long way towards building a high performance team.

The ability to read other people and understand their verbal and non-verbal cues is getting to be something of a lost art in the business world. Individuals with even a minimal degree of this skill are better able to connect with the other members of the team and respond to concerns that may not be explicitly stated out loud. A team member’s tone of voice or body language can indicate doubt or skepticism in a solution being presented, even if the words are supportive. Recognizing these subtle cues and encouraging that team member to speak up can unearth potential showstoppers to the plan and avoid a crisis later on.

Leadership Skills

These are the skills you will want your team members to have to keep moving forward with their work so that you can focus on the more strategic aspects of the project. There’s definitely some overlap with the soft skills because good leadership relies on being able to communicate, listen, present, and read other people.

Team members with a solid foundation in strategic planning can be a huge asset to any team. While as the team leader you’ll still want to be coming up with the overall vision and guiding the team to achieving it, having a number of people on your team with strong strategic planning skills can be a huge benefit. The ability to ask “what if?” and think through what the possible and likely branches of a plan and consequences of actions and decisions might be can be a huge help.

The ability to give candid, but respectful feedback to each other is one of the characteristics of a highly performing team. Bringing people on to your team who already have this ability can hold each other accountable for their performance while providing constructive criticism focused on making the team better and improving outcomes

One of our primary responsibilities as leaders is to develop the skills and leadership abilities of our team members. Keeping this responsibility in mind when we first take over leading a new team can help us perform an honest, thorough assessment of the skill set that the team will need to accomplish their mission and then develop the skills necessary for success.

What are the most important skills to develop on your team?

When we work with a group of exceptionally talented people, it can be a challenge to figure out which projects we want to assign individuals to. We would like to have everyone contributing all of their unique skills and abilities to every project, but it's just not a good use of resources and can actually hinder our results. In order to optimize talent on our team we need to have a solid understanding of the individual strengths and weaknesses of everyone in our work area. Using a Team Skills Matrix to Optimize Talent on Our Team A simple tool that we can use to keep track of everyone's abilities is a Team Skills Matrix. The matrix lists out all the individuals on our team and the special skills and talents that they have. Once we've done an honest assessment of each person's skills, this tool tells us at a glance who might be a valuable contributor to an upcoming project. It also tells us where our team might be lacking in a certain skill and where we might have to some professional development to fill that gap. When we are getting ready to start a new project, using the matrix to list all of the skills needed on the team and then matching team members based on how their abilities contribute to the team requirements can help us optimize talent on our new project team before starting the project.

Optimize Talent Using a Team Skills Matrix

When we work with a group of exceptionally talented people, it can be a challenge to figure out which projects we want to assign individuals to. We would like to have everyone contributing all of their unique skills and abilities to every project, but it’s just not a good use of resources and can actually hinder our results. In order to optimize talent on our team we need to have a solid understanding of the individual strengths and weaknesses of everyone in our work area.

Using a Team Skills Matrix to Optimize Talent on Our Team

A simple tool that we can use to keep track of everyone’s abilities is a Team Skills Matrix. The matrix lists out all the individuals on our team and the special skills and talents that they have. Once we’ve done an honest assessment of each person’s skills, this tool tells us at a glance who might be a valuable contributor to an upcoming project. It also tells us where our team might be lacking in a certain skill and where we might have to some professional development to fill that gap. When we are getting ready to start a new project, using the matrix to list all of the skills needed on the team and then matching team members based on how their abilities contribute to the team requirements can help us optimize talent on our new project team before starting the project.

We often talk about setting priorities as a way to achieve work-life balance. A healthy approach to setting priorities and following through on them can help us achieve this balance. If we neglect certain areas of our lives when we are setting our priorities we can find ourselves out of balance very quickly. It’s important that we take into account all the aspects of our lives that are important to us when we are setting priorities. Here are 6 suggestions for areas to include in your list of priorities. They’re in no particular order, and it’s up to you to decide for yourself if these areas fall into a certain priority order for you.

Setting Priorities – 6 Areas to Achieve a Healthy Balance

We often talk about setting priorities as a way to achieve work-life balance.  A healthy approach to setting priorities and following through on them can help us achieve this balance. If we neglect certain areas of our lives when we are setting our priorities we can find ourselves out of balance very quickly. It’s important that we take into account all the aspects of our lives that are important to us when we are setting priorities. Here are 6 suggestions for areas to include in your list of priorities. They’re in no particular order, and it’s up to you to decide for yourself if these areas fall into a certain priority order for you.

Setting Priorities for Career

When it comes to the big picture of what we want out of life, career is usually in the #1 or #2 slot on our list of priorities. This makes a lot of sense because most of us will have to work for a living to pay our bills and we are all looking for a degree of fulfillment from our occupation. Recognizing that career is a place where spend a good deal of our waking hours, it only makes sense to include it in our list of priorities. Where we often come into conflict is where to place our professional life in relation to our other priorities. Consciously deciding how career fits into the rest of our priorities can help us make decisions each day about how to arrange our priorities.

Family and Friends

For most people this is the other priority that takes either the #1 or #2 spot depending on where that person places career in their priorities. The people that we enjoy spending time with are what makes life truly worth living and neglecting them or our need for that nourishment of human interaction can throw us out of balance over time. Setting priorities that include the people who are most important to us can actually make it easier to achieve our other priorities with the support of others. One really easy way to tell if we are out of balance in this area is if we are spending almost all of our time by ourselves or solely with people from work, school or one of our hobbies to the detriment of our other relationships. Maintaining contact with a good mix of people from the different areas of our life helps us keep balance and perspective.

Education

Investing in ourselves is an important aspect of leadership development. If we want to advance and grow as leaders we can’t let our skills and abilities remain stagnant, we always need to be learning. Education doesn’t have to be formal. We don’t all need to enroll in an MBA program to become better leaders or entrepreneurs. Education can come from seminars, workshops or just spending time talking with people who are knowledgeable about the areas we feel we need to learn about. There are an incredible amount of free resources online that we can take advantage of to further our knowledge as long as we invest the time.

Health and Fitness

Our health and fitness is often neglected for other priorities, but taking care of ourselves provides the foundation for being able to achieve our other important life goals. Making sure that we are eating right, exercising, drinking enough water and getting enough sleep are all important to make ourselves strong and healthy enough to have the energy to devote to achieving our other priorities. One of the great things about making our health and fitness a priority is that we can do this by spending time with our family and friends. Preparing meals together is a great way to get a variety of health foods into our lives. Working out together, hiking, biking or playing sports as a group also helps to build strong bonds with the other important people in our lives as well as meeting our own personal fitness needs.

Spirituality

While many people make their beliefs about their place in the universe and their role in it central to their lives, some neglect this aspect of life as they deal with more day-to-day concerns. No matter what your beliefs about a higher power, it is important make time to connect with yourself and what you believe. Even if we don’t have all the answers in life, taking time to explore our purpose and the way we live our lives each day to achieve that purpose can help us to interact better with others in the world and show some compassion and empathy when we face a difficult situation

Recreation and Hobbies

All work and no play…you know the rest. It’s important for us to have a recreational outlet that we enjoy in order to keep from getting burned out. Much like our health and fitness, this an aspect that we often neglect when things get busy in the other areas of our life. Also like health and fitness, we can further our priorities for friends and family by taking part in recreational activities together. No matter what activities or hobbies we enjoy, we need remember them when we are setting priorities and make time for them in our calendar to maintain that healthy balance.

Keeping these six aspects of life in mind when we are setting priorities can go a long way towards keeping a healthy balance between the areas of our lives and help us reduce stress, tension and conflict. By consciously writing down how all of these priorities fit into our lives we have a much better chance of ensuring that we don’t neglect any of them. Openly sharing our priorities with the important people in our lives helps us all understand each other better and deal with conflicts among priorities in a mature and healthy way.

Tell us in the comments what other aspects of life you include in your priorities.

Photo Credit: By Earl McGehee (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

While the idea of work-life balance is often debated, it is possible to achieve fulfillment in our work and personal lives at the same time by setting clear priorities and following through on them.

Work-Life Balance Through Setting Priorities

 

Holiday season is when most of us start thinking about spending more time with our families and friends and emphasizing our personal lives. Many leaders have a hard time balancing goals in our personal and professional lives and achieving a work-life balance that meets all of our needs. While the idea of work-life balance is often debated, it is possible to achieve fulfillment in our work and personal lives at the same time by setting clear priorities and following through on them.

Ways to Achieve Work-Life Balance

Many of us have a hard time following through on our priorities because we don’t take time to clearly define them. Taking a few minutes to sit down and think through what is really important to us and what we want out of life can bring clarity to help us make decisions and take actions that are aligned with our priorities. Being open about those priorities with the important people in our professional and personal lives can help us all understand each other better and have healthy responses when we need to make choices among priorities.

Once our priorities are set, it’s important to apply tools and systems to help us follow through on them. Thinking through how the actions we plan to take each day will advance each of our priorities can give us a solid game plan for meeting our goals and achieving that balance. Tools like reminders lists and calendars can be customized with tags or color codes to help us get a snapshot of how today’s activities are moving the ball forward on our most important priorities in life.