Merge's Blog

Monthly Archives: December 2017

We’ll be back on January 8!

CelebrationAs we do every year at this time, we’re taking a short hiatus at the Turning Managers into Leaders blog to celebrate the holiday season. But we’ll be back, excited and energized, ready to talk and learn, on Monday January 8, 2018.  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!

In the meantime, my best wishes to all of you and your loved ones for a festive, joyous, rejuvenating time with family and friends. I hope you’ll continue old traditions and find the time to create new ones!  See you in 2018!

Don’t just seek advice, pay attention to what you hear

Last year, I wrote a short series of posts on specific techniques you can use as a leader to improve the quality of your decision-making.  This story about a Swedish warship from the early 1600’s emphasizes not only the importance of approaching your team and experts to seek advice, but to also pay heed to the advice once you’ve heard it.

The tale of the Vasa: one king’s folly

seek adviceIn 1626, King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden ordered the building of the Vasa, a new warship that was intended to become, for that era, the most powerful marine vessel in the Baltic Sea.  As was common in warships then, the Vasa was to have a rank of cannons on each side of the boat so that soldiers could easily fire at their attackers, no matter what direction the assault came from.

King Adolphus considered himself something of an expert boat designer so he took an immense interest in the actual design of the ship.  About mid-way during the ship’s two year construction, he learned that Poland, his greatest archenemy (and rival to take control of the Baltic Sea), had stepped up their naval firepower by building warships with ranks of cannons on two levels.  Well, Adolphus wasn’t going to be outdone!  Continue reading

One year of video tips on employee motivation … coming up in 2018

I am thrilled to announce that we have big plans for 2018 – a whole year of video tips specifically focusing on employee motivation!!

This past year, upon urging from many of you, I made the decision to post more video blogs.  You all told me that you appreciated hearing quick, specific, and actionable tips that you could implement immediately.  So back in February, as an experiment, I started with a short video series on making the switch from a non-supervisory to a management role – seven individual discrete tips to help you seamlessly move into the new role of a supervisor.  The response was so positive that I was persuaded to try again.  So in April, I started another eight tip video series – this time on leading virtual teams.  In it, I offered up, again, specific practical ideas, on how to make long-distance leadership work.  When that turned out to be a success, I went all in, launching a 15-part video series in June on leading organizational change.  Well, you’ve continued to tell me that you like these – that they’re quick and easy to internalize and implement, and that you’d like some more.

2018 … one whole year of video tips on how to motivate employees

So I can’t stop now, and I’ve got big plans for next year.  2018 is going to be the year to focus on and highlight ideas on employee motivation.  Actually, more specifically, zero and low-cost ways to inspire, encourage and excite your people – to greater positivity and productivity, to higher performance and greater commitment. Continue reading

Self-discipline and restraint are admirable leadership qualities

self-disciplineA bowl of dried beans offers two possibilities.  One, you can cook them up for a satisfying protein-rich meal.  Or two, you can plant them, and watch the successful seeds produce many, many more.  Your choice will determine whether you have food now, or food later.  This situation is reminiscent of the Stanford marshmallow experiment.  The Stanford marshmallow experiment was a series of studies on delayed gratification and self-discipline in the late 1960s and early 1970s, led by psychologist Walter Mischel, then a professor at Stanford University.  If you are interested in learning more about the marshmallow experiment, I wrote about it (in 2007) in a Mega Minute titled Marshmallows, self-discipline, and success.

Beans … now or later

Let’s go back to the beans however.  If you’re the kind of person who guards your bowl of beans so that you can consume them all yourself, then you’ll certainly have a satisfying meal.  But your triumph will likely end there.  On the other hand, if you’re the leader who is willing to exercise self-discipline and self-restraint, at least in the short-term, and one who plants those seeds far and wide, you’ll create much greater potential.  Not only will you ensure a longer-term food supply for yourself, but you’ll also nourish others and build incredible goodwill with your staff, your colleagues, and your clients.

So, are you the leader who is willing to apply self-discipline and share your resources with others – information, your expertise, and your time – in order to build long-term success?  Or are you more interested in hoarding your sources and means because you are focused on victory today?  I hope you are the former, but I’d love to hear your perspectives.  Please share your thoughts below.