Businesses can acquire talented individuals from outside of the company, but there may be skilled individuals without proper training inside the existing workforce.
This is one of the most common questions that I get in my coaching consulting practice. How can I make sure my employees are really working from home? How do I know they aren’t messing with their children or doing laundry or cleaning out the refrigerator? My answer is usually something along the lines of ‘well, are they getting the necessary work done?’ While this is a good enough answer, the topic does merit more discussion.
At the root of this question is trust. Somehow, it seems that people we once trusted when they were down the hall, are now called into question when they’re at home. The same people! Some of this lack of trust is merited. During the scramble last Spring to somehow make work from home actually work, obligations were missed. When you combine this with general anxiety about the virus and the economy, technology difficulties, shifting office and home expectations, we can see why trust was eroded initially.
But why does it persist? Let’s dive deeper. In order to have trust in their colleagues, people need to believe two things.
First, they need to believe that others are competent, that they will deliver and that their delivery will be of high quality.
Second, they have to believe that their colleagues have good intentions, high integrity, and have the company’s best interests at heart.
For these beliefs to be present, people need to see what their colleagues are doing and why they are doing it. And they need to see that they will continue to do it. They need to see that they’re reliable. In a remote environment, there is less opportunity to see these things in action. This lack of evidence makes it difficult for trust to exist psychologically.
So, now that we know the issue, what do we do about it? Chances are working remotely is not going away anytime soon, so how do we learn to live with it?
I’m going to start with what not to do, and that is monitoring. There is a trend out there to try to increase monitoring, either through technology, or through continual check ins. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work. Any leader who thinks they can track all of their employee’s behaviors is deluding themselves. Not to mention the fact that people will naturally spend their time figuring out ways to beat the monitoring system. And on top of that, monitoring creates high stress and anxiety for the employees. A recent study showed that 49% of employees are experiencing more anxiety when monitoring technologies are put into place. This is certainly not something that is productive. It’s not something we want in our culture.
Now that we know monitoring doesn’t work, what does work? The good news is that psychology provides us some tools.
First, become trustworthy yourself. Research has consistently shown that the more that you trust somebody else, the more that they will trust you in return. So, turn this around and make it work for you as a leader. Develop your employees’ trust in you so that you will have the confidence that they will reciprocate.
The next thing to do is communicate often as leaders. We usually communicate when things are changing. We’re pretty good at that. Something new comes up, we let people know. But with the pace of change coming so fast, you also have to make sure that you communicate about things that aren’t changing. When you do this it reminds people there is stability. Having this knowledge of stability goes a long way toward building trust.
Finally, recognize that everyone is different when it comes to trust. Some people tend to trust right away. They’re naturally trustworthy. Others need evidence.
The bottom line is that remote work isn’t going away anytime soon. And being able to build trusting relationships with your people will be crucial in the coming years. Put in the effort and you will gain more and more comfort with remote environment.
A hot topic that comes up a lot in my coaching and consulting work and an area where I do a lot of work with organizations, is span of control. How many direct reports should I have?
What is Span of Control?
Span of Control refers to the number of direct reports that you have within an organization. The more subordinates, the larger span of control. Conversely, fewer direct reports means a smaller span of control.
Span of Control in Management and Leadership
In an era of flatter and flatter organizations, the full implications of span of control are often overlooked. Organizations often focus on putting as many people as they can underneath a manager. It’s a much more complex and important decision. Having a wrong span of control can really create deep and significant issues in an organization.
Having a span of control that is too small, will lead to higher costs and extra layers creating an organization that can be disjointed, slow and misaligned. On the other side of the coin, having too large of a span of control can lead to underperformance, lack of quality, lack of good quality leadership time, and turnover.
What is a Manageable Span of Control?
What is the magic number? The reality is, there is no magic number, it depends on circumstances. When determining how many direct reports a leader should have, there’s four key questions to consider.
- How much actual work does a leader have to do? By actual work I mean what kind of deliverables do they handle personally. Are they responsible for a lot of individual work? Or do they spend most of their time on managerial and leadership tasks? Large amounts of individual work would indicate a smaller span of control is needed.
- How standard is the work that their employees perform? Is a leader managing a department where everybody does virtually the same work like a manufacturing line or an accounts payable department? Or are the workers doing a variety of different things? Generally speaking, the more standardized the work, the larger the span of control can be.
- How independent are the people that the leader manages? Is a leader involved heavily in a day to day, minute to minute kind of stuff, or do they only get involved with exceptions? The rule of thumb here is, the more independent people are, larger the span of control can be for the leader.
- What is the learning curve for new people? How long does it take for them to become self-sufficient? And how much work does it take for the leader to help bring them up to speed? The longer the learning curve the smaller the span of control should be but with one caveat. Having a team with high tenure and low turnover will lessen the importance of this question.
The bottom line is that although it is tempting when designing your organization to pile on a lot of direct reports it’s important to take a rational, thoughtful approach to making these decisions.
Getting this right will make a huge difference in effectiveness of your organization, and the success of your business. Take the time to look at the spans of control of your organization today. You will no doubt learn a few things. And you may even find that the true cause behind some of these nagging people problems that just never seem to go away.
Today’s topic is innovation. Innovation can mean breakthroughs, disruptions, or it can be as simple as basic everyday process innovations. Whatever the type of innovation, one thing is for sure…. the ability of a business to continue moving forward advance its capabilities is a key component of success for that business.
Is your organization an innovation-friendly workplace? What does it even mean to have an innovation friendly workplace?
Well, the key to having an organization that is ready to innovate is to create an environment of psychological safety, a place where people feel safe to take risks and to be vulnerable in front of each other.
I know this might unfortunately run contrary to what many of us have been taught as we’ve gone through our careers. Too many of us have been exposed to bosses and leaders and organizations who lead by fear. Many have been exposed to entire cultures, based on a belief that fear and greed are the best ways to motivate.
This could not be further from the truth. Think about it. When people feel afraid are they going to give it their all? Will they be open to sharing their ideas or will they be playing it safe? Will they be avoiding risk for fear of losing their job, or being called out or being embarrassed and humiliated?
The thing is that in a fear based environment, people play a defensive game. They focus on survival. They don’t focus on winning. The good news is that leaders can create an environment of psychological safety. It starts with trust. People need to trust that their leaders and organizations have their best interests at heart. And this has to happen through visible actions, not through vision statements, core values, missions, or even through best intentions. It has to be through actions and behaviors.
The other really important thing here is that leaders need to consider how they handle failure. Too often, failure becomes a time for recriminations. It’s a time for hunting down someone to blame. It’s a time for covering your ass. Psychological safety and in turn innovation is created when leaders look at failure through the lens of learning instead. How could the failure have been avoided? And what are we going to change going forward so that we prevent failing in that same way again?
The bottom line is that creating this environment of psychological safety will enable an innovative culture and will help you and your organization ensure that you are agile enough to be competitive in an increasingly changing marketplace.
Today’s blog post is a special Valentine’s week edition. In honor of that, today I’m going to talk about love in the workplace. Now, wait! This is not what you’re thinking. There’s no need to go running to human resources just yet…..
What I’m really talking about is showing your employees love. We spend so much time in the workplace, would it not be better for everyone if they felt that they were cared for and loved—and returned that love? What a great way to bring employee engagement into your business.
Here are six ways that you can show the love.
- Get to know your employees. Empathize with your employees. Both in their day to day jobs and also in their lives outside of work.
- Recognize talent and performance. When people excel, recognize them. Show appreciation and gratitude and encourage them. Be intentional about this. Make it part of your daily tasks to make sure that you allocate the time to do this continually and consistently.
- Show up for your employees. Don’t hide behind your door. Take it a step beyond open door policies, be that person that they can go to when they need help both on the job and in their personal lives.
- Be present when they come to you. Put down the cell phone. Look away from the email. And most of all, listen to what they have to say.
- Help your employees grow. Provide them with developmental opportunities. This can be a traditional training class of course, but more importantly make sure you’re giving them exposure and experiences that will truly help them grow. This exposure is a very effective part of leadership development.
- Encourage their interests. Allow them the opportunity to pursue those things that they are passionate about, both on the job and off it. Ask them about these things and engage in a dialogue with them.
Doing these things and showing your employees the love will help create a workplace that you can be proud of. A workplace that you personally look forward to coming to every day.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Today’s topic is how to grow your high potentials. This is an area that I am excited about, because it has such an impact on a business, not only in the future, but also right now. Having been a high potential for much of my career, and having reached a top spot in my profession, I have personal knowledge, interest and passion around this topic. And, having been responsible for the development of hundreds of high potentials, I’ve got a little bit of experience as well. This is a topic that could really take a long time. There could be a whole course that I teach about this, and someday there might be, but today, I will give you some quick pointers.
- Identify your high potentials. Make sure that you know who your real high potentials are. High performance does not necessarily equal high potential. I’ve seen this mistake over and over and over again. The reality is that most high performers are high performers because they are in their wheelhouse. They’re really good at performing at that level and doing what they’re good at. When you’re trying to determine who is going to be a high potential, performance is only a part of it. You should also be looking for people that master things quickly and have an appetite for more. High potentials will also be the ones that have interpersonal relationship strengths, big picture perspectives, and a make it happen, results oriented mindset.
- Ask them what they want. Be open about it and ask that they be open with you. Development planning should be a dialogue. It should be between both people, open, transparent, talking about what is needed by the organization and what is desired by the high potential.
- Invest more in your high potentials. I’ve seen many times in my career where leaders will basically have this need or this desire to give everybody the same exact amount of developmental resources, money and time. They want to treat everybody equal because they think it’s a fair thing to do. That is absolutely not what you should do when it comes to developing your people and especially developing high potentials. Think of your developmental resources the same as you would any other corporate resource. Spend it where you will get the most return.
- Help high potentials identify their blind spots. This is a great spot for coaching whether it be by their leader, others in the organization, or outside coaches. High potentials, by definition, have a lot of strengths. But they also have blind spots. As a leader you can and should shine a light on these blind spots and help your high potentials identify them and keep their career on track.
- Get your senior executives involved. This is great for aligning the high potential with the direction of the company. Another benefit is that it provides visibility. It allows a high potential to interact with senior leaders to understand what they’re looking for, what it takes, and just what the whole situation is like. Also, it helps senior leaders and senior executives get to know the high potential. They’re going to be playing a big role in the advancement and development of that high potential. So, having that visibility is very important.
- Get your high potentials out of their box. Get them out of that job box area and expose them to bigger things—the department, the company, and even outside the organization and industry. Let them see what’s out there so they can then take those perspectives and apply it to their own situations.
- Let them take risks. Make sure you stretch them. You want high potentials willing to put themselves out there and take chances. Don’t set them up for catastrophic failure, but by all means challenge them, push them and allow them to fail and learn.
High potentials can be a real differentiator for your business. They can make a difference not only in the future, not only with succession plans, but they can make a real impact on your business right now. So put some investment in your high potentials and you will set yourself up for success both now and later.
I have spent more than 25 years working on leadership development (I know this comes as a shock since I look so young….but there you have it). I have learned that there are so many different ways to go about this and none of these ways is right or wrong. It all just depends upon the circumstances.
Today, I want to focus in on one area. I want to talk about an aspect of leadership development that is often overlooked… what I call ‘out of the box leadership development’.
What does ‘out of the box leadership development’ mean? Think of your current job as a box. You spend most of your time in that box, following a job description, working on your personal goals, etc.. While obviously this is what you are being paid to do, you can develop your leadership skills further by stretching and getting out of ‘the box’.
Start by looking at things not from only the box that is your job, but from a departmental standpoint. Walk in the shoes of others in your department. Spend time understanding what others on your team are doing. This will help you gain appreciation and trust for others in your group and will help you understand a slightly bigger picture.
Once you have spent time in your departmental box, I want to take you to take the next step and get out of that department box. Step into the whole organization box. When you do that, you’re going to learn what other people in the organization are experiencing. Your perspective will get even larger, you will start seeing things from the view of a top line executive.
Once you have stepped out of those boxes, there is an even bigger box to step out of. To truly grow as a high level leader, get outside of your organization. This can be within your industry, or even better, outside of your industry. There are many different ways to do this. Some examples include organizations such as chambers of commerce, industry organizations, or mastermind groups. Once you’re really able to step out of that organization box, you can really grow.
Think about what happens when you are growing within your organization. You are surrounded by people who do a lot of different things, but they’re all still working towards the same goal, they still face more or less the same types of issues. When you are able to step out of this box you’re going to be exposed to a broader array of problems and opportunities. It will create a great foundation for you to solve an even wider range of problems, by applying a diverse set of knowledge to your own issues. In other words, you will be expanding your toolkit!
My challenge to you this week is to think about leadership development in a different way. Think about how you can get outside of your box now and start truly growing.
For individuals looking to enhance their professional or personal lives, executive coaching is an excellent option to unlock opportunities that would otherwise be unrealized. Working closely with their clients, executive coaches offer services to help discover more potential within the workforce, innermost relationships, and personal development. Over the past decade, there’s been a surge in the demand for executive coaching, as the industry for health and wellness has grown. With remote work and online services increasing, executive coaching has an enhanced opportunity to provide convenient and efficient services to potential clients.
The term “executive coaching” can seem broad, so in this blog, we’re going to discuss what exactly executive coaching is and how it can improve your personal and professional life.
If you would like to reach out to Wade about executive coaching for yourself, or your staff, contact us.
What Is Executive Coaching?
Executive coaching refers to services offered by a qualified individual or an expert in a related field. An executive coach will help their clients unlock their greatest potential and drive personal growth through an in-depth training program or specific curriculum. The term “coach” is used strategically. Similarly to how a hockey coach would train their teammates to improve their skating skills, an executive coach teaches their clients to improve their business skills.
An executive coach is a Jack of all trades. An executive coach will act as a coach and an advisor, strategist, support system, and guide. The relationship built between an executive coach and their client is a special one built on trust and respect. Without a flourishing relationship built on honesty, the transaction won’t work as seamlessly.
Depending on the executive coaching services, you may meet weekly, biweekly, or monthly. Your first appointment will often include setting out clear executive coaching goals and objectives, so your coach can tailor a program specifically for you. You’ll see the most benefits of executive coaching if you’re honest with your coach about what areas of your life are lacking or need improvement.
How Executive Coaching Can Improve Your Life
Capitalize On Your Strengths
Your coach will help you recognize what you do well and how you can efficiently incorporate that into all areas of your life. By getting to know you better, and through a series of advanced questions, your coach will understand your strengths and help you apply them to your career, relationships, and hobbies.
So many people are wasting their talent simply by not maximizing their strengths. Your executive coach will know how to uncover your true potential and help you capitalize on it and benefit from it.
Eliminate Your Limiting Beliefs
We often perceive ourselves in a poor light and that sets limits on our own capabilities. This notion or belief puts us in a box and restricts true potential. An executive coach will help you achieve your dreams by expanding your mindset and helping you break free of the confines you’ve put on yourself.
Once you learn that nothing is out of reach, you’ll discover that you have unlimited potential. Your coach will work as a robust support system as you begin to remove the shackles that have been imposed on you for far too long. This is the first step to achieving your goals.
Set Clear and Focused Intentions
Do you know what’s really important to you in life? Have you set clear goals? It’s easy for us to lose sight of what we really want; An executive coach can help. This goes far beyond New Year’s resolutions and vision boards. Your executive coach will uncover your deepest desires and help them stay within reach.
With a coach, you’ll learn to discover your innermost goals and aspirations. Draw out a clear path to achieve what you truly want and identify your dream career. Outlining focused intentions is the first step in the right direction, and your coach can help you with that.
Build Satisfactory, Healthy Relationships
Through your sessions with your executive coach, you’ll learn to strengthen your communication skills with people. Healthy communication is one of the key contributors to thriving relationships. Furthermore, you’ll finally learn to see yourself in a positive, confident light. As you become more accepting of yourself and more communicative with others, you’ll find you’ll become a more accepting and vibrant person.
This newfound outlook will ricochet to other areas of your life and allow you to enjoy more intimate and honest relationships, which will improve your quality of life and overall life satisfaction.
Gain Leadership Skills
Have you ever seen yourself as a leader before? Working with an executive coach will help you build leadership skills that you didn’t even know was possible. You’ll learn to become a more efficient employee and work more efficiently in a team setting.
Leadership skills span far beyond the workplace. A good leader is needed in a household, a relationship, friendships, and events. A leader can help guide other people when things get complicated and often acts as the “glue” for a common group.
Executive Coaching Cost
Are you looking for an executive coach near you but curious about the cost? Executive coaches are often self-employed and charge due to the amount of experience and success they’ve had. If you’re looking to work with an executive coach, the main factor to consider is whether or not you want to enhance your success in business and in life.
Executive coaches work closely with you to see an overall improvement in your personal and professional life. Consider how much you’re willing to invest in your wellbeing when determining what you’ll pay for an executive coach.
An executive coach is one of the best investments that you can make, improving all facets of your life. Improve your personal and professional life and enhance your communication skills with the help of an executive coach.
This week’s topic is executive coaching versus mentoring. I get asked this question a lot. Do I need a mentor or do I need an executive coach? What’s the difference anyway? Aren’t they pretty much the same thing? Well, too often these terms are used interchangeably. The fact is, they are significantly different with what they accomplish, and why you would need them.
Let’s start with mentors. Mentors provide wisdom and guidance based on their own experience. In other words, the experience with a mentor is all about the mentor. They tell you what you should do, based on what they have done what they have succeeded at. Think of it as a traditional teacher-student relationship.
In a coaching relationship this is turned on its ear. With an executive coach, the focus is on YOU – the person being coached. Instead of offering guidance from their own experience, a professional coach will draw on a coaching skillset to help you find solutions that are best for you.
A mentor is great for providing guidance and support as somebody who has direct experience and can set you on the right track. An executive coach on the other hand is great for when you need a trained professional to partner with you. A coach helps you both solve problems and provides accountability to achieve your goals.
Here are a few examples where you might benefit from an executive coach.
- You have a unique challenge, a stretch goal or a great opportunity to do something new.
- You recognize that a gap exists in your mindset, skills or confidence.
- You have a desire to accelerate things to get improved results, faster.
- You need help with strategy or making difficult decisions. Here the coach comes in and acts as an outside sounding board that helps you think of solutions to your specific problems rather than giving you the answer.
- You feel like the world is out of control and work & life are out of balance.
- You need help thinking through your strengths and how you can best leverage them.
The bottom line is that executive coaching and mentoring are both great personal development vehicles. Make sure that you choose the right ones for the right situations.