Merge's Blog

How to develop and grow your people

Brand-new video series for 2019

Last year I did an entire video series of short focused tips on how to motivate employees, each one outlining a specific way that leaders could inspire, engage and energize their employees.  This series got such great feedback from so many of you that I knew that I needed to do something in a similar format once again.  So it got me thinking about what this year’s subject area should be.

If you have ever attended one of my live leadership training events, you know that I usually spell out the two basic philosophies of leadership.  Principles so fundamental that if you don’t live, breathe and truly believe these values, then you simply should not be in a leadership role.  If these leadership philosophies are not your core beliefs, then with great respect, you cannot be a great leader.  You will hate being in a leadership position, and quite frankly, your employees will dislike it too.  The first of these two fundamental philosophies of leadership is your belief that “You are a coach and developer of people”.  As a leader, you HAVE to be a coach and developer of people.  Else, you cannot be a good leader, let alone an exceptional one.

2019 – one full year of focused tips on how to develop and grow your people

So … with that in mind, this year’s topic for our video series is going to be … drum roll please …. “How to develop and grow your people”Continue reading

What bungee cords are preventing you from moving forward?

moving forwardLast April, here on the blog I asked the question: What’s stopping you from moving forward?  And to answer it, I used the metaphor of paddling a kayak.  Today, I have another metaphor to address the same question.

Imagine a bungee cord

Imagine a bungee cord.  One end is attached to a fixed object and the other is hooked to the back of your belt.  As long as you stay close to the stationary end, the cord remains loose and there is no tension.  But as you walk away, the slack in the cord will begin to tighten and you’ll feel a pull on your back.  Continue to step away and you’ll find that eventually it will be a struggle to keep going. In fact, not only will the bungee cord hold you back from moving forward, but you will also be at serious risk of either losing your pants or getting smacked by a broken bungee.

All of us have bungee cords attached to us, links to the past that hold us back from moving forward.  And the more we try to get ahead, the more the stress and tension grows forcing us to stay where we are.  And often the fear of losing our pants or getting smacked by the broken bungee keeps us from continuing to try. Continue reading

Five foolproof ways to destroy workplace trust

Are you trustworthy?  Do you find that your coworkers are reluctant to rely on you?  Are you left out of confidential meetings?  Does your supervisor double-check your work or micro-manage you?  Are you always the last person to find out what everyone else already seems to know?

Regular readers of the blog know that I often talk about the importance of building workplace trust.  In fact, in a previous blog post titled How can you build trust in the workplace?, I offered four ideas. Workplace trust is essential to establish not only your reputation, but also to build a strong network of people who will help you throughout your career.  So if you often find yourself in situations such as those above, it may be time to self-reflect; to consider whether your own actions are inadvertently causing others to view you as untrustworthy.

Five things you may be doing that send the wrong message

My latest column in The Globe and Mail published on December 31, and in it I spelled out five unintentional behaviours you may be exhibiting that cause others think that you are not to be trusted.

Unintentional behaviours may be sending co-workers signals you’re untrustworthy

workplace trustIf you get the print version of The Globe, you would have seen it on page B7.

Note: if you are a subscriber to The Globe and Mail, you can also read the column directly at their website at this link: https://tgam.ca/2VlSTDZ

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.  Do you work with people who are untrustworthy?  Are there any other signs that you think are dead giveaways of people who should not be trusted?  Please share your perspective and your experiences by adding your comments below.

We’ll be back on January 7!

celebration2As the holiday season approaches, here at the Turning Managers into Leaders blog, we’re taking a short hiatus to celebrate. But rest assured, we’ll be back, enthused and energized, ready to share and learn, on Monday January 7, 2019.  In 2019, the blog will turn ten years old, and I am so grateful that you all have been such an important part of its creation and its growth.  I look forward to another fantastic year of exchanging ideas and starting dialogues (and perhaps even some arguments), in the pursuit of becoming even better leaders than you already are!

Until January then, my best wishes to all of you and your loved ones for a festive, joyous, rejuvenating season with family and friends. I hope you’ll continue old traditions and find the time to create new ones!  See you in 2019!

A decision-making insight from eating peanuts!

peanutsIf you’re a leader, then you’re responsible for decision-making.  Which is why it we have a whole section on Problem Solving tools on the blog.  Today’s insight comes from peanuts in the shell – a concession staple at just about any baseball game!

So think about the last time you purchased a bag of these tasty treats.  As you shelled the peanuts, did you put the empty shells back in the same bag?  Chances are you didn’t, likely for a couple of reasons.  One, because it instinctively doesn’t make sense to put the waste in with the good peanuts, and two (and perhaps more importantly), every time you put the unwanted shells back in the bag, you reduce your chances of getting a good peanut the next time you reach in.

How does this apply to decision-making in the workplace?

There is a workplace equivalent to this scenario, having to do with decision-making.  As a leader, you are charged with making a variety of decisions, often requiring you to select the best choice from a number of possible options.  Using this metaphor, it makes sense to discard choices as you evaluate them as unsuitable.  Why put them back in the bag where they’ll just continue to muddle and reduce the efficacy of your decision-making?  But that’s exactly what we often do.  Continue reading

Build employee commitment by celebrating – our last tip in our 2018 series on motivating employees

All year, I’ve been giving you video tips on explicit actions leaders can take to motivate their people and build employee commitment for the long haul.  Last week, I went back to basics with “Provide a workplace that is free from bullying and harassment”.  Today, #33, happens to be our final strategy in this continuing series, so it seems only appropriate that it should be about a celebration.  Specifically, today’s motivating tip is to plan periodic office parties.  Let me explain further.

Plan periodic office parties

Your goal should be to maximize attendance for motivation value, so consider holding your office party during office hours, ideally over the lunch hour.  Plan to have them once a quarter, or even monthly.  Encourage employees to get involved in the planning; in fact, go as far as appointing each of your employees to one of the quarterly or monthly “planning committees” so that over the year each of your people are involved in one event.  Continue reading

Absolutely fundamental to gaining employee commitment: a workplace that is free of bullying and harassment

So far, in our ongoing series on specific actions leaders can take to gain employee commitment, I’ve shared a variety of ideas that range from basic to the unexpected.  Today’s strategy however falls under “absolutely fundamental”.  It is to provide a workplace that is free from bullying and harassment.  Not fancy or exotic, but unequivocally essential.  And when you do it right, the result is solid employee commitment!

Provide a workplace that is free from bullying and harassment

All employees have the right to be in a safe workplace that is free from violence, harassment and bullying.  Not only is it the right thing to do from an ethical perspective, but it is also required by law.  And it’s your job as a leader to make it so. Continue reading

Five strategies for employee retention

Employee retention is an issue that should be top of mind for leaders everywhere.  Sure, depending on your industry or market sector, employee turnover may be a fact of life, but have you ever noticed that when employees leave, it’s never the lousy ones that jump ship?  The unfortunate reality is that the ones who are most likely to leave are the ones that are in greatest demand elsewhere.  And of course, those are usually your best and your brightest, the ones that you really want to keep!

What are you doing?

So what are you doing for employee retention?  What actions are you taking to ensure that your top employees want to stay in your organization? What are you doing to engage them so that your company is their employer of choice?  If the answer is “nothing”, then you’re putting yourself at a serious competitive advantage.  Because you can bet that those who are departing are going right over to organizations who have taken concrete steps to entice and engage them.  In my latest column for The Globe and Mail, published this morning, I lay out five proven ideas to stop your finest from fleeing to what they see as greener pastures.

Five strategies to help ensure top performers don’t jump ship

If you get the print version of The Globe, you’ll find this article on page B13.

Note: if you are a subscriber to The Globe and Mail, you can also read the column directly at their website at this link: https://tgam.ca/2DYzp2F

So I’m well aware that this subject usually seems to get people riled up, primarily because of my assertion that the answer to employee retention and engagement is not “money”.  But, as always, even if you don’t agree with me, I’m interested in your perspective and your experiences.  So please share by adding your comments below.

Secure employee commitment by letting them annually attend a training event of their choice

In our last video episode in our ongoing series focusing on specific motivating actions leaders can take to secure employee commitment, I suggested that you let your employees telecommute, even occasionally.  Today’s idea: offer each of your employees the opportunity to annually attend at least one training program or learning conference of their choice.

Let your people attend at least one training event (of their choice) annually

When you invest financial resources into your employees, what you’re really telling them is that you value them and want to set them up for success.  No wonder then that this seemingly simple action invariably results in increased employee commitment.  And when you let your employees choose which training or conference to attend, the motivating value goes up significantly.

Concerned about abuse? It can be managed

Now I’ve heard the objections to this … what if the employee selects training that is not ideal for their job?  Or what if the employee chooses a conference that is at some exotic location that costs an arm and a leg in travel expenses?  Continue reading

Leadership training programs in Alberta – get your 2018 professional development points before you run out of time!

CPAFor the fourth year in a row, I am so pleased to be partnering with the Chartered Professional Accountants of Alberta (CPA Alberta) to deliver high-quality cost-effective leadership training in a series of ten “public” programs until March 2019.  The first two sessions happened in October, but I now have three more events coming up in December in Edmonton and Calgary.  If you belong to a professional association that requires you to complete a specified number of professional development credits annually, then these one-day programs will most definitely qualify (and may be one of your last chances to get your 2018 requirement met).

You don’t have to be a member of CPA Alberta to attend

Even if you aren’t a member of the CPA Alberta, these are “public” programs which means that they are open to ANYONE from ANY organization … you DO NOT have to be a member of CPA Alberta to register. These one-day sessions are very reasonably priced at a fraction of what it can cost through some commercial vendors, and if you register early, you can get even more savings.  Add in a continental breakfast and a light lunch, and the fact that we get to spend the day together … how could life get any better?

Here are the dates!

Edmonton:

Calgary:

Click on any program link above for further information or to register directly at the CPA Alberta site. You will need to create a secure account on their system in order to register; it’s a quick and easy process.

Let me know if you register for any of these events. That way I know to watch for you there!