Merge's Blog

Yearly Archives: 2012

We’ll be back on January 10!

It’s that time of the year again – holiday parties and visits with friends and family – continuing old traditions and starting new ones! In the spirit of the season, we’re taking a hiatus at the Turning Managers into Leaders blog, but I’ll be back, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, on Monday January 10, 2013.

My best wishes to all of you and your loved ones for a festive, joyous, rejuvenating holiday season, and I can’t wait to see you all again in the new year! I look forward to another fantastic year of sharing tips and exchanging ideas, starting conversations and perhaps even some arguments, all in the pursuit of becoming even better leaders than you already are!

Do you tell or do you ask?

In my last blog post, I asked why so many of us have the tendency to “solve” our employees’ issues rather than coaching our employees to resolve the problems themselves. It prompted this related question: when your employee comes to you with a problem, do you tell or do you ask? Let me explain further.

Let’s say one of your employees is having trouble reconciling a client’s account. Do you tell him how to fix it, or do you ask him what he has already tried? Continue reading

Why do managers have a tendency to do rather than coach?

When an employee comes to you with a problem, what is your most likely reaction? Are you a doer – someone who jumps in and solve the problem – or are you a facilitator – someone who helps the employee get to the bottom of it on his/her own? Most managers and supervisors I talk to readily admit that they even though they know the better answer is the latter (i.e. being a coach and facilitator), they still tend to step in and take over quite quickly. So why is that? Why the tendency to take over and run the show? I think that it’s always one or more of three possible reasons: Continue reading

And our survey contest winners are …

Last month we asked for your help in determining the topics and content for our Leadership Skills Series Live learning events for 2013, and your feedback was FANTASTIC! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for participating! Your input helps us give you learning programs that you want and need. We also promised that we would draw for four chances to win one of my Leadership Skills Series Live audio programs, either in downloadable mp3 or CD format, a $197 value. Our lucky winners are … drumroll please … Continue reading

You can’t read the label from inside the bottle – to solve problems, change your perspective

Have you ever found yourself so close to an issue or problem that you lost sight of your overall goal or perspective? I suspect your answer is “yes” because almost everyone has, at one time or another, allowed the details or minutiae of a situation to cloud good judgment and thus jeopardize the ultimate outcome. No matter what your profession is or what industry you work in, you’ve probably found yourself in one or more of these situations –

  • Getting so caught up in editing a document or speech that you stop thinking about your core message
  • Allowing a co-worker’s irritating habit to get under your skin , so much so that you can no longer focus on the crucial job you need to do together
  • Thinking repeatedly about all the reasons a course of action will fail and so you overlook the significant likelihood that you will be successful
  • Dealing with the day-to-day crises takes up so much of your time that you have no energy to think purposefully for the long-term.
  • Rolling up your sleeves to solve a problem (because you know you can) instead of delegating the task to another member of your team, because you fail to remember that your skills are better utilized at a more strategic level

If any of these situations strike a chord, then here’s something to consider: you can’t read the label from inside the bottle. Need I say more?

What are you doing to force yourself to step outside the bottle so that you CAN read the label? What gets in the way? Share your perspectives by adding a Comment below.

And the results are in …

Many thanks to all those that participated in our latest survey! Your insights have been incredibly invaluable as we plan for our Leadership Skills Series Live learning events for 2013. We’ll continue to take a closer look at the results in the next few weeks and will soon be announcing our first Live learning event for next year. In the meantime though, here are your top three picks in our survey in terms of overall rating.

  • How to retain your best and brightest employees
  • How to avoid the most common first-time leader mistakes
  • Dealing with bullies in the workplace

You, our clients, have helped make our Leadership Skills Series Live events hugely popular over the last five years, and we promised you prizes in return for your help in filling out our survey.  We’ll be randomly drawing for our lucky winners from all the completed surveys and we’ll announce the results right here later next week. We’ll notify winners individually as well. Each will get his or her choice of a Leadership Skills Series Live audio CD or mp3. Nineteen to choose from, and you can see them here.

Three more days to complete our survey for a chance to win!

We want your help in planning our 2013 Leadership Skills Series Live learning events, AND we’re giving away PRIZES in return for your help! It will take less than 5 minutes of your time.

Click here to complete the survey

You’ll get four chances to win your choice of one of my Leadership Skills Series Live audio programs, either in downloadable mp3 or CD format, a $197 value. Nineteen to choose from, each one offers specific, practical and hands-on skills to become a better leader. Whether it’s delegating the right way, overcoming negativity in the workplace, having difficult conversations with employees, or just learning to communicate more persuasively, each one gets right to the heart of the issue and gives you what you need to know! If you want to see what you’ll be making your prize selection from, click here.

We’ll take your responses until 11:45 PM MST Wednesday December 5, and then we’ll randomly draw for four winners. We’ll announce the winners here on my blog, and also in December’s issue of Merge’s Monthly Mega Minute.

Do it now – click here – and thanks for your help!

Invite your critics to be part of your project team

Diverse points of view are the source of disagreement, but they are also the foundation of better decision-making.  The next time you are working on a new initiative or project, think about who your biggest opponents might be.  These are the people who often are a thorn in your side – they think whatever you’re doing is a waste of time and other resources, or they believe you should have gone in a different direction.  Engage them in a conversation anyway, as it will lead to your eventual success.  Set up meetings with each one, and without getting defensive, let this person tell you exactly what they think.  It won’t be a comfortable dialogue, but wouldn’t you much rather know this information than not?  Then, and this may be a bitter pill to swallow for some of you, ask this person if they’ll join your project team.  Now before you write me off completely, let me explain.  Continue reading

Measuring the value of training

If your training expenses are significant, it’s not unusual to have senior leaders in your organization question whether the money spent is worth it.  And it’s not a bad question.  After all, just like every other cost you incur, you should be able to show that the dollars you spend on training your people has a positive return on investment.  But that’s the challenge … it can often be a struggle to evaluate the effectiveness of training.  After all, not every learned skill can be measured quantitatively.  Things such as customer satisfaction ratings or the average time to complete a client’s file can be calculated, but it’s much harder to compute improvement in communication or leadership!  In the latest issue of CGA Magazine, I take you back to a model (that was first developed over 50  years ago) that you can use to demonstrate that training your staff is effective and has impact.

Training Justified

Take a look and then come one back to the blog and tell us how you’ve been able to demonstrate the value of your training initiatives to the senior folks in your organization. Let’s share what works (and doesn’t work)!

Help us decide and win a prize!

We need your help! We’re developing the topics and content for our 2013 Leadership Skills Series Live learning events and in return for 5 minutes of your time, we’ll give you four chances to win!

Just complete this quick ‘n’ easy survey

In return for your time, we’ll enter your name in a draw for four chances to win one of my Leadership Skills Series Live audio programs, either in downloadable mp3 or CD format, a $197 value. There are nineteen you can choose from, and you can preview them all here.

The deadline to enter is 11:45 PM MST Wednesday December 5, and we’ll announce the winner here as well as in December’s issue of Merge’s Monthly Mega Minute. Do it now – in won’t take more than 5 minutes, we promise!

Click here to go to the survey.