Next Wednesday January 23 marks a very special day for me – exactly five years ago on this date, my very first column for The Globe & Mail published that morning. In How to be the boss when your co-workers are your friends, I laid out seven steps to ease this difficult transition. I’ll be honest, this was (and still is) a very exciting day for me! To be invited to contribute as a thought-leader for one of Canada’s most respected and widely-circulated national newspapers is a huge honour. Not to mention a validation of the leadership development work I have been doing for so many years.
Back then, I was a contributing columnist to The Globe’s Leadership Lab series, published primarily online, but also occasionally in their print edition. Today, five years later, I write a regular column in their Report on Business print edition, every four weeks on Mondays, under the loose banner of “Leadership Matters”.
Thank you The Globe & Mail, I am gratified to be amongst the ranks of your respected writers.
My most popular column ever was Four things millennials hate about you, garnering more than 50,000 views, over 4,000 “direct” shares, and comments and re-tweets numbering in the thousands in just three days. It was my first taste of “going viral” and while pretty exciting, was also a little scary! Continue reading
Last week, I advocated the need for a regular schedule for fun social celebrations in the workplace, and I offered up an approach that I have used very successfully over the years in my leadership roles where I had staff directly reporting to me. That blog post prompted a question from one reader – should attendance at these social celebration events be compulsory? The short answer is “no”; however it comes with a “but”. Let me explain.
Attendance at social events should never be compulsory, always voluntary. There are great employees who choose not to socialize at work, and that’s okay, and there should be no judgment applied if that is their choice. But … if the social event is being held during working hours (either wholly or partially), then the employee has the choice of attending the event OR working. That’s it, only two options – they can either join in on the social event, or stay at their desks and continue working. Continue reading
As frequent readers of this blog know, I am a huge advocate for leaders consciously and deliberately making it a point to celebrate accomplishments in the workplace. My reason, celebration of achievements is so fundamental to both employee morale as well as future success. Unfortunately though, the reality of today’s workplace is that we are busy – getting things done, fighting crises – that we move on to the next thing that is pressing, without stopping to take the time to celebrate what we did well. To our detriment.
One approach for the consistent celebration of accomplishments that I recommend to the leaders in the client organizations I work with is to establish a regular schedule for fun social events. The easiest way (that I have used myself): establish a rotating quarterly committee of fun, a group of department employees who are responsible for planning a fun social event for the quarter. Three thoughts about making this work. Continue reading
I admit it, I love watching television shows that have to do with cooking and food. Not because I’m very good at the former, but because I love the latter! Viewing these programs has given me an appreciation of the gargantuan behind-the-scenes effort taking place in the kitchen to produce the plate of food that eventually makes it to your table, not just looking fantastic and garnering praise, but also tasting delicious. Long before your meal arrives, there’s cleaning, chopping, mise en place, cooking, seasoning, testing, tasting, and plating that happens behind the kitchen door. It’s only after all these tasks have been completed that your server arrives and presents your meal with a flourish! But what if even one of these steps was missed or done incorrectly? Do you really want grit in your mushrooms because they weren’t properly washed? Or potatoes that are unevenly cooked because they weren’t cut uniformly? Or soup that is bland because someone forgot to add salt? Or meat that is overcooked because no one tested the temperature? I think you get where I’m going with this – if you don’t get the preceding tasks done right, then the final culinary creation likely isn’t going to be very good. Continue reading
In my leadership and communication programs, I often teach how to use “I” language to reduce defensiveness in others, particularly when trying to convey a message that may be perceived as negative. “I” language is a very powerful communication tool in certain situations, but I am often asked – Why not “we”? Good question! So let me answer this question of “I versus We” in today’s blog post.
“We” has an important place for leaders in a business environment, specifically at its most effective when being used to take credit. “We beat this quarter’s sales targets” or “We achieved 99% customer satisfaction ratings in April” are great situations in which to use “we”. It builds team spirit and morale, creates positive energy, and as an extra bonus – makes you come across as a graceful leader. This is true even if it was one person that contributed the most to the great result, because there is nothing stopping you from following up the initial statement with more detail about individual performance. In contrast, Continue reading
As leaders, we don’t celebrate enough! I’m talking of course about celebrating accomplishments – applauding ourselves and each other for a job well done. Now, it’s not because we don’t care (we do!); it’s because we’re busy and once we’ve gotten something done, we barely have time to check it off the to-do list, let alone find time to praise and commend for it. But if we want to create positive and productive workplaces, then celebrating accomplishments is important. And lord knows, I too am guilty of not doing it as much as we should! Let’s face it, the truth is that leaders today are busy – we have things to do, people to see, places to go – we don’t have time to pause in the present to celebrate accomplishments. But we should. Celebration of achievement is so important to both employee morale as well as future success. So here is one idea to institutionalize celebration, one way to make sure that we periodically pause to acknowledge our staff and ourselves.
Implement a regular “round table brag moment” into your usual team meetings. Continue reading
I often blog about the value of praising employees (one such post is Frequent and liberal employee recognition and praise creates positive workplaces). So when Dr. Karl Moore, associate professor at the Destautels Faculty of Management at McGill University (and my fellow columnist at The Globe & Mail) recently wrote a piece on this topic, it captured my attention. Why do people in their 40s and 50s receive less praise? published in the Leadership Lab a couple of weeks ago, and in it, Dr. Moore makes four key points. Continue reading
Today kicks off Administrative Professionals Week, a week when leaders in offices around the world thank and celebrate those who keep the engines of organizations running efficiently and effectively. Whether you do it as an individual or corporate activity, or at a social gathering, or at a community event, deliberately and thoughtfully make it a point to applaud your administrative professionals sometime (or several times) in the next five days. This is not to say that you shouldn’t be doing it all year (whenever the opportunity arises to offer positive feedback or praise), but this week is a reminder to do something that often, in the rush of day-to-day responsibilities, slips past many leaders. Ironically, it isn’t until the secretary, administrative assistant or receptionist is absent that most leaders realize exactly how important they are to the successful operation of an enterprise. So don’t wait, do it now.
And how exactly should you celebrate and thank your administrative professionals? Continue reading
Warning: celebration alert!
Last Thursday quietly marked an important anniversary in my world – exactly one year ago on that day, my inaugural Leadership Lab column launched in The Globe & Mail‘s Report on Business section. How to be the boss when your co-workers are your friends hit cyberspace that morning, and even though I had no idea at the time, January 23, 2014 kicked off what has turned out to be a hugely rewarding and productive relationship with Canada’s most respected and widely-circulated national newspaper, printed in six major cities from coast to coast across the country. Since that first Leadership Lab column aired last January, I’ve written seven more, including one earlier this month. And when The Report on Business ran a retrospective on the Top Ten Leadership Lab columns in 2014, two of my columns made #1 and #2 on the list!!! Continue reading
Today marks a pretty exciting day for the Turning Managers Into Leaders blog – it’s our fifth anniversary. Yup, exactly five years ago to the day, I started this leadership blog with a post that opened with Okay folks, I’ve entered the 21st century! Exactly 500 posts, 27 guest blogs, and several hundreds of conversations later, here we are!
So today’s blog post is a thank you and a celebration. Thank you to every single one of you for reading and participating in the discussions. Who knew that a little leadership blog project that I started back in 2009 would take off and soar? I certainly didn’t! My goal for the Turning Managers Into Leaders blog was simple – I wanted leaders such as you to get timely useful information that would be of value in your day-to-day leadership and workplace communication challenges.
But while I may be the spark that initiated the topics for discussion (which was often because of something one of you said anyway), the truth is that each of you is the fuel in the engine that kept the dialogues going. Continue reading