What Skills Matter Most?

Alexandra Levit, workforce futurist and author of Humanity Works: Merging Technologies and People for the Workplace of the Future, was quoted in a recent SHRM article as saying “While most people are hired for their technical abilities, their soft skills give them career durability.”

In the last post, I challenged what I’ve seen to the traditional thought process of expecting a tangible return on investment from technical training while having far less clarity on how the rubber should meet the road after any type of training on those perceived softer skills. To me, it just boils down to developing the discipline to know what to look for and clarifying how those powerful skills should be applied.

Let me be very clear here: BOTH types of skills matter in every industry. But answering the question What Skills Matter Most? really depends on the specific role we’re hoping to fill. 

Our son, Matt, has an outstanding work ethic and caught onto the technical...

Continue Reading...

Meet Their Needs, Exceed Their Expectations!

Now that we have a solid definition of servant leadership to work from, and we’ve looked at some servant leadership practices that will help us meet the needs of our team members based on their own behavioral style, let’s close the loop with some final thoughts on how we can move this from being just something we do to something each of the leaders on our team will work to do…

As we worked through some of these thoughts recently, I shared a quote with you from The Servant by James Hunter saying that “a leader is someone who recognizes and meets the legitimate needs of their people, and removes all the barriers so they can serve the customer.” If we really want to build servant leadership into the entire culture of our organizations, we certainly need to start with looking at how we can recognize and meet those legitimate needs of the folks we interact with directly but we also need to work to ensure they understand how important it is for them to do...

Continue Reading...

The Buck Stops Here!

I ended the last post by emphasizing how ineffective barking orders and cracking the whip is for a leader who needs to get long term engagement (and results) from their team, and I also referenced how that can often look like an easy approach to someone who hasn’t held leadership responsibility or someone who isn’t considering the impact it will have moving forward. As leaders, we need to consider the future as much as we need to take care of what’s in front of us right now. If we choose to bark orders, crack the whip, blame our team when things go poorly, and take all the credit when things are great, leader isn’t likely a word that will be used to describe us and we probably won’t have any of those strong alliances I’ve referenced previously.

One of my good friends owns a growing company locally and has a sign on his desk that reads “The Buck Stops Here!” In many cases, that could be interpreted as him saying he’s in charge and...

Continue Reading...

The Single Most Important Ingredient

I truly believe that one of the most essential qualities of leadership is serving the team we’re leading. Unfortunately, the idea of serving those team members is often mistaken for catering to those team members, which doesn’t serve anyone!

As we worked through that quality of service in the last post, I closed by sharing that some of the most effective servant leaders I’ve ever known weren’t willing to accept mediocre performance; they certainly certainly weren’t ones who catered to each passing whim any of the team members came up with. In fact, the leaders I’m picturing as I share this had some of the highest expectations for their team of anyone I’ve ever been around. And because they led by providing a consistent example, their teams delivered on those expectations!

Here’s where I need to stress a critical point… Those expectations weren’t met simply because the leader demanded that level of performance. Those...

Continue Reading...

The Power of Great Relationships

I know, the last post hit the idea of Why is Emotional Intelligence Important? with a stick - looking at Bradberry’s statement suggesting it accounts for 58% of performance in ALL types of jobs - but we didn't’ really dig into any specific scenarios of where it mattered. 

I realized I closed last time with a commitment to share a practical approach each of us can take to develop our own emotional intelligence but I’ve rarely seen anyone be willing to add yet another thing to their to-do list without having some solid justification for it. So with that in mind, let’s look at a few things you’ve almost certainly had to deal with at one level or another before I even start challenging you to take on one more thing.

Have you worked for someone who would sometimes blow a gasket and no one around really understood what led to it? Maybe it was something they were dealing with at home; maybe it was something they had just been told through an email or...

Continue Reading...

Communication Skills in the Workplace

We closed the loop on Why is Effective Communication Important? by looking at how quickly we can see the results show up with the team members around us. It’s rare for me and Cindy to have a conversation about the importance of effective communication with any of the business leaders we support and not reference the Salesforce.com study citing that “86% of the executives surveyed attributed lack of collaboration and ineffective communication as the primary reasons for workplace failure.” Couple that with the detail shared by the Harvard Business Review showing that an engaged employee contributes up to 57% additional discretionary effort yielding as much as 20% great individual performance and the reasons for building strong communication skills into an organization’s culture becomes far more than just a neat idea… Developing communication skills in the workplace rapidly turns into one of those things that can’t happen soon enough! 

Before I...

Continue Reading...

Return On Investment

Had last week not been quite as packed as it was, we would have wrapped up this final response to Why is Effective Communication Important? and now be starting digging into Communication Skills in the Workplace. I could run through the list of craziness that’s packed the last 10 days or so but that wouldn’t get us where we need to be - and I doubt you care… So let’s work through one last response to Why is Effective Communication Important? so we can turn the page!

We started by looking at how the message we send can be so much different from what we intend if we’re not incredibly intentional about crafting it to specifically match the communication style of the other person. Then we looked at why effective communication is absolutely critical for anyone with leadership responsibility; “Leadership is influence. Nothing More, Nothing Less!” Those two reasons alone should make a strong case for why effective communication is important! But...

Continue Reading...

Offering More Than The Competition!

I floated several different ideas for the title of this post by Cindy before landing on “Offering More Than The Competition”... She shot them all down! She said they were each accurate but would likely send the wrong message. As I was studying some material on The Model of Human Behavior yesterday, I read something from Dr. Robert Rohm stating “It takes a good C type personality to complete the loose ends of a D.” And thank God I have one…

Since I ended up going with a more appropriate title, rather than something that would have toed the line a bit, let’s jump straight to the main course. We looked at the importance of telling the right story in the last post, That matters! But we still need to make sure we can provide them with something more tangible to get them in the door!

Those of us who are blessed to live in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia may not always realize how great our job market has historically been. In addition to many great...

Continue Reading...

Another Way Employee Retention Impacts Recruiting

Once we’ve invested the time and energy into building a culture that our best team members are proud to be a part of and rarely choose to leave, the costs we incur in the recruiting process drops just because we’re not constantly chasing another warm body to fill a hole. But this is also when we start seeing something else that has a tremendous impact on the effort we have to put into our recruiting process!

When we’ve built a culture that team members buy into, we show them genuine appreciation for what they contribute, and we provide them with competitive wages for the service they deliver, they’re almost always excited to share that story with the best people they know. Think about it, how many times have you been with a friend you respect and heard them share some sort of frustration about the organization they’re working for? Isn’t it natural to want to help them out if we can, especially if we know they’re a good person with a strong...

Continue Reading...

It Won’t Just Magically Happen!

We started defining leadership development in the last post by looking at the importance of truly serving our team members rather than barking commands. While that’s quite the noble concept, it’s far from natural for almost anyone moving into their first position with leadership responsibility. I’ve rarely seen someone promoted because of how effective they’ve proven to be in serving the people around them. Unfortunately, that kind of servant leadership prior to being in a position of authority is often overlooked completely or taken for granted. Have you ever heard anyone say “nice guys finish last”?

In almost every scenario I’ve seen where someone earned a promotion to a position where they now had responsibility for leading a team of people, it was based primarily on a strong ethic and excellent technical skills - both of which are extremely valuable in any field! But having those two important traits doesn’t necessarily translate...

Continue Reading...
1 2 3 4
Close

50% Complete

Let's Talk!

Complete this form and we'll be in touch soon to set up a time to discuss how we can serve you.