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Posts tagged with "team building help"

How to Keep Talented Employees on Board

Losing a star performer always hurts. Not only because it is a blow to our own egos, it can also have a substantive impact on the organization. Pragmatically speaking, identifying, hiring, and training a replacement can be cumbersome and expensive.

That’s why managers strive to increase employee retention, especially where A-listers are concerned. And yet, these can be the very employees you’re most likely to lose. Big talents who have little trouble finding good offers elsewhere, and who may be itching to take on more responsibilities and new challenges.

With that said, there are some ways in which you can show these employees you value them, and to illustrate they have long-term opportunities on your team. Here are a few strategies.

Keeping Your Best Employees in the Fold

Practice active listening. It may sound facile, but it’s really true: Listening makes a big difference! Your employees have ideas and opinions, and they want to be heard. As a manager, work on active listening skills, providing genuine engagement when they are expressing their ideas.

Don’t be punitive. Even your star employees will fall flat sometimes. In fact, they’re more likely to fail because they’re the ones who take risks and try new things. Encourage that attitude; don’t punish employees who show initiative by demonstrating innovation, but ultimately come up short. This is a great opportunity to guide them in a constructive manner. This also illustrates your commitment to their growth and development.

Be mission-minded. One thing that all employees want is to feel like their work matters. Communicate openly with your top performers to show them what the big picture is, and how their work is critical to the team as a whole. Make sure they know they make a difference, and are part of something bigger than themselves.

Foster education. Look for opportunities to educate and train your team—whether that means sending them to a conference or arranging in-house training opportunities. Let them know that you want to help them grow, flourish, and become the best they can be.

Give responsibility. Finally, remember that top performers like to be challenged and stretched. Do not allow them to be complacent, as they may grow restless and look elsewhere. Provide new opportunities for them to show leadership and take the lead on big projects.

You can’t make your top performers stay, but you can provide an inspiring culture that will encourage them, make them feel valued, and part of a shared mission. These steps can point you in the right direction.

If you’re having a hard time with retention, there may be some shifts required in your management approach. We’d love to offer some suggestions. Reach out to Loeb Leadership Development Group today and let’s talk!


An Executive’s Approach to Building an Effective Leadership Team

One of the hallmarks of a great leader is to identify the leadership potential in those around them, nurturing their people management skills and positioning them for continued success and development.  To effectively grow a firm or business, leadership is one of the most important driving forces, as it can inspire and motivate a workforce, and conversely, poor leadership can demoralize employees and encourage them to seek other opportunities.

Whether you’re hiring from the inside or casting a wider net, it is important to show care in your recruitment efforts. In this post, we have highlighted five skills you should be looking for as you build out your leadership team.

The Characteristics of Effective Leaders

Trust. The first trait you should look for in potential leaders is their ability to establish trust. Leaders do this by modeling the behavior they expect of others and holding themselves accountable to nurture a high trust culture.  Successful leaders establish trust by individually engaging members of their team, to build relationships both personally and professionally.

Vision. Seek out a candidate who can communicate the vision of your company—condensing it into a clear and succinct message, and getting other people excited about it. In order to achieve an effective message, communication needs to be authentic and sincere. It should also include input from the shareholders and stakeholders of the organization to solidify buy-in.

Commitment. There is a saying — Commitment is the glue that bonds you to your goals. Leaders who are driven by achieving goals tend to play a role in motivating and inspiring those around them.  Look for leaders who view their role as being part of something greater than themselves and demonstrate follow through.

Organization. Any department leader or division chair you hire is going to provide employees with a roadmap, showing both short-term and long-term goals and clarifying key processes. That’s going to require a high level of organization. Look for leaders who can take complex concepts, ideas, and methodologies and break them down into digestible and easily understood processes or actions.

Communication. This is arguably the most important skill a leader can have, so make sure you emphasize this for any leadership position. A good leader excels in both written and verbal communication and can deliver a message with key takeaways and no confusion. Additionally, leaders in a high trust culture encourage the sharing of constructive feedback – so it is important to identify a leader that has the capacity to foster that environment.

These are some of the touchstones to keep in mind as you look for employees with the potential to lead—and remember: Those who show potential may still need development. To learn more about nurturing new and effective leadership in your company, contact Loeb Leadership Development Group today.

Handling Coworkers Who Don’t Pull Their Weight

In a perfect workplace, every team member is equally committed to collaborating, achieving shared goals, and moving the company forward. But how many firms attain that level of excellence? Does the perfect workplace exist?

In many work environments, there are individuals who don’t pull their weight, lack knowledge of processes and/or procedures, or who are just not as industrious as the rest of the team. This can cause tension, especially among those who are dedicated and feel like they are going above and beyond. The question is, how can you positively engage with those coworkers who aren’t pulling their weight, and encourage them to be more productive?

What Not to Do

Before we get to our recommendations, let’s focus on the things you shouldn’t do.

First, don’t vent your frustrations to other coworkers. While it’s only natural to want to express how you feel to someone who understands your predicament, venting to colleagues is simply not productive. It may lead to further anger or frustration, may create a divide amongst your team, and may peg you as the office gossiper.

Second, don’t go directly to your boss without trying to work the matter out with your co-worker or team. Most bosses prefer that you are part of the solution, and try to work things out on your own whenever possible. Skipping this step, and jumping straight to “tattling,” can be counterproductive, as it may make you seem unable to work through a difficult matter.

Third, don’t feel like you always have to pick up the slack. Doing someone else’s job for them doesn’t help your co-worker, may foster further anger and resentment, and may alienate you from your colleagues. Assuming additional responsibilities may negatively impact your ability to do your job.

Positive Ways to Help Your Coworker

When a coworker isn’t pulling their weight, there may be a good reason. Addressing this head on, and in a positive manner, can be the most effective way to understand your coworkers perspective.

First, gently mention to your co-worker that they seem distracted. Being a “friend” can create a bond with your coworker, and can provide the opportunity for healthy conversation.

Second, ask if there is any assistance they need with processes or procedures. It could be that their training was not as robust, and that their unfamiliarity of the firm’s resources are holding them back.  Sometimes “jumpstarting” your coworker’s productivity can have a positive impact on performance and acknowledgement that they weren’t reaching their potential.

Third, be forthright with your coworker. Share you goals and ask what theirs are.  Perhaps the lack of productivity stems from gaps or blind spots that they need to be coached through.

When engaging your coworker, it’s best to keep track of all your interactions. Make a note of any offers to help them, but also how they reacted. If their lack of engagement or production persists, there may come a time when you do need to refer the matter to your manager, or to HR.  Maintaining thorough documentation can provide a baseline of fact as you seek a possible solution.

The truth is that it’s always frustrating to have a coworker who doesn’t put in their fair share—and yet it’s vital to address the matter without losing your cool. Hopefully, these simple, pragmatic steps can provide you a positive way to handle the issue.

To learn more about how to work well even with challenging colleagues, reach out to us at Loeb Leadership Development.


How New Managers Can Build Trust with Their Team

Imagine this: A room full of over 50 rocket scientists. Real rocket scientists. And, at the end of a presentation on building high-performing teams, a scientist sitting in the very back of the room raises his hand and asks: “One more time? How do you build trust?”

When preparing to lead this session, I was a little apprehensive. What could I possibly teach a group of 50 of the smartest individuals I had ever met?  The journals on the table in the reception room were in English but I honestly couldn’t understand them. These people were brilliant on so many levels—but I opened the workshop anyhow, and found more than a few who were interested in learning how to engage their team members, curious about how to build effective communication skills.

Eventually, the conversation moved towards “trust-building” and “trust-breaking” behaviors.  Establishing trust is at the foundation of all effective teamwork. Engaging in certain behaviors can help build this trust. And diligence and intention about these behaviors is a critical choice every leader (even rocket scientists) can choose to make every day.

The gentleman in the back of the room just wanted to confirm what he heard…and was intrigued by the idea that he could impact his effectiveness as a leader and intentionally build trust.

The difficult thing about trust, of course, is that it’s something leaders build over time. New leaders have no track record of goodwill to fall back on, it can be challenging to jumpstart that trust-based relationship.

Though it is challenging, it is by no means impossible. As you rise to a new leadership or management role, start cultivating trust from day one, facilitating honest and candid conversations that generate a real rapport. In this post, we’ll show some examples of what those conversations might entail.

Focus on Trust—Not Change

As a new leader, you may have an ambitious agenda you’d like to roll out, including some big changes you plan to implement. It’s fine to have those ambitions, but it’s typically best not to lead with them right out of the gate. That’s putting the cart before the horse; to get buy-in on your agenda, you first need to build trust—and that should be the focus of your first team meeting.

Put those grandiose ideas and sweeping changes on the back-burner, then, and instead work toward these short-term goals:

  • Prove to your team that you’re worthy of their trust.
  • Also show that you are curious, open to feedback, and willing to learn.
  • Show that your goal is to help and empower, not just to dictate.

These might seem like fairly modest goals—but keep in mind that you’re new in your position, and your team may be a little skeptical of you. Frankly, they have every right to be. It won’t be possible to get much done, or to move forward with any big changes, until you alleviate that skepticism.

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Relationships

One specific way you can cultivate trust is by spending some time actually getting to know the members of your team—something that may sound a little corny, but is actually critical for facilitating trust-based relationships.

In your early meetings as a leader, put the spotlight on your team. Ask them some questions that help you get to know each of them a little better—and take notes about what you find out! Use your gleanings to brainstorm some future activities you can do with your team, and also to piece together some different ways in which you can play to each employee’s strengths.

Also remember that relationship-building is a two-way street; be prepared to share some details about yourself. This doesn’t just mean listing some of your credentials, though that can sometimes be useful. Also talk about what motivates you to get up in the morning, and why you’re excited to be in the leadership role. Above all, be candid; a willingness to get “real” helps you build trust.

Come Ready to Learn

One more word of advice: As you approach a new leadership position, be willing to get vulnerable with your team members, letting them know that you’re very much in “learning mode.” Tell them that they’re the ones who really know how the team works, and that you hope to benefit from their experience and perspective. Show yourself to be open to insights and feedback, adaptable within your new position.

These tips can all help you generate trust amongst your team members, and ultimately to get off to a good start in your new managerial role. Yet, it’s just one component of being a successful leader; to learn more about thriving in any professional position, contact the executive coaches at Loeb Leadership Development.