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Posts Tagged ‘engagement’

superbossesThere are a few lucky people in the world today who have been managed and mentored by excellent bosses. These bosses motivate, coach, and inspire employees in consistent but unconventional ways. Sydney Finkelstein researched how these leaders operate and documented his finding in Superbosses, which outlines the differences between traditional managers and these unique leaders and highlights their best practices. The result is a playbook that others can use to enhance their own managerial and leadership skills.

Superbosses are a unique category of supervisor. They recruit, motivate, coach, and inspire employees in consistent but unconventional ways. Research conducted by Sydney Finkelstein highlights the following facts about superbosses:

  • Superbosses typically fall into one of three categories: Iconoclasts, Glorious Bastards, and Nurturers. Iconoclasts are fixated on their work, Glorious Bastards are focused on winning at all costs, and Nurturers guide their employees to reach their maximum potential.
  • Superbosses share five characteristics. They are highly confident, competitive, imaginative, authentic, and they possess high levels of integrity.
  • When hiring, superbosses follow their own rules. They look for people with unusual intelligence, creativity, and extreme flexibility. Superbosses tend to be opportunistic when it comes to hiring.
  • Superbosses become talent magnets. As star employees leave for other opportunities, there is a continual pipeline of new, promising talent waiting in the wings.
  • Superbosses expect world class performance from employees. They inspire performance and instill self-confidence in their protégés.
  • Superbosses are innovators and expect employees to be innovative also. They encourage risk taking and rule breaking, view failure as opportunities, and refuse to accept complacency.
  • Superbosses embrace the apprenticeship model. They offer mentoring to employees and take responsibility for their growth and development.
  • Superbosses are skilled delegators. They understand the details of their businesses. After delegating tasks, they leave employees alone if things are going well. If things go awry they step in and take action.

To learn more, please visit http://www.bizsum.com

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Yes, AndIn Yes, And, The Second City executives Kelly Leonard and Tom Yorton describe how the fundamentals of great improvisational comedy and can be applied to business. Tapping into their years of experience running the theater troupe responsible for some of today’s biggest comedy superstars, Leonard and Yorton provide leaders with a guide to using improv skills to increase their employees’ engagement and innovation output. In order to master successful improvisation, leaders must enable their employees to say, “Yes, and…” to new ideas and work as ensembles by eliminating their fear of failure.

According to Leonard and Yorton:

  • Leaders must embrace the fundamentals of great improvisation. By promoting the values of creativity, communication, and collaboration, organizations can improve their employee engagement, innovation output, and customer relations.
  • As organizations start to improvise more, they must affirm and build upon employees’ ideas. When organizations take the ideas their employees put forward under serious consideration, they embrace the two fundamental words of improvisation: “Yes, and…”
  • It is vital for organizations to promote their teams to work as ensembles. To work together as effective ensembles, employees must learn how to put their teams’ goals ahead of their own personal glory.
  • Co-creation is a powerful tool that takes improvisation to the next level. Just as improvisers take creative suggestions from other performers and audience members, organizations can improve their final products by involving their customers in the creative process.
  • Failure must be viewed as part of the creative process. By acknowledging that failure is not the opposite of success, organizations can produce more cutting-edge innovations.
  • Everyone in an organization must learn to listen deeply. Leaders can broaden their employees’ perspectives and increase their creative output by teaching them to listen for the sake of truly understanding others–not just responding.

To learn more, please visit http://www.bizsum.com

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It’s My Company Too!It’s My Company Too! is based on interviews and research into eight companies that have transformed their businesses through engaged employees. Kenneth R. Thompson, Ramon L. Benedetto, Thomas J. Walter, and Molly Meyer reveal how these companies learned that employees who take responsibility for their actions and share company values help them outperform the competition. The companies profiled did not create their cultures overnight, but invested a significant amount of time into this process and chose to trust employees to do the right thing.

According to the authors:

  • Leaders who get great results from their employees are able to find the balance between transactional and transformational leadership when they instill responsibility in their employees.
  • Ethical organizations have clear values and make the effort to operate in ways that support those values.
  • When employees are engaged in a visionary plan, they eliminate silo thinking and seek to grow the organization as a whole.
  • Processes that can help organizations grow work best when they are measurable. Leaders must consciously define the metrics that are vital to their companies’ growth.
  • Employees who feel valued through recognition and rewards will perform better in their roles.
  • When employee action is the expected norm, employees become entangled in the organization and are motivated to find solutions to problems even though it does not affect their roles directly.
  • Failure should be viewed as an opportunity to improve rather than something that merits punitive action.

To download three free summaries, please visit our site.

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A Team of LeadersIn today’s business world it is challenging for companies to both deal with problems and changes internally and at the same time be productive and competitive in the marketplace. In A Team of Leaders, Paul Gustavson and Stewart Liff show readers how to create an environment where everyone is a leader. The lives of team leaders or supervisors can be fraught with frustration, as pressure is exerted on them from both the top and the bottom, as well as from the public who use their companies’ products or services. Some companies seek to lessen this stress by adopting team environments, which can be helpful but still puts leaders at the top of these teams. Building teams of leaders, however, replaces the supervisor-employee relationship with teams that eventually manage themselves.

The authors provide the following advice to readers:

  • The amount of involvement and interest a work force generally projects is relevant to how leader-focused that group is designed to be. Companies need to evaluate where their teams are. Teams possess a greater sense of ownership when all members have input and are equally informed about what is going on.
  • Different designs create different teams. The way teams are designed will predict the way they look and behave. Companies’ structures and management systems should be closely aligned with their overall strategies to begin with, which makes it easier for teams to have common visions and purposes.
  • Within teams, the goal is for everyone to be leaders. Each employee should have an individual development plan and recognition for accomplishments, and in this way all employees will be able to foresee future actions and promotions within the teams.
  • Leaders want to be contributors. Leadership is encouraged when each member of the team knows exactly what his or her contribution is to the overall mission. Regular feedback about the progress the team is making and how it is contributing to the overall goals of the company is extremely helpful.
  • Knowledge management is important and multi-faceted. Teams need to have data and information, but also knowledge about procedures, policies and other organizational materials, in addition to working knowledge of the values and beliefs of their companies. Each member should master the skills needed to perform his or her own functions and have a general idea of what others do to contribute.

To download three free summaries, please visit our site.

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Flat ArmyStudies show that the majority of workers to be disengaged from their work and their organizations. To truly engage employees, Dan Pontefract believes companies need to adopt a “Flat Army Philosophy.” In his book Flat Army, Pontefract argues that leaders need to surrender command and control in favor of a more open and inclusive style of leadership. When they seek out authentic connections with their teams and come to understand work as an important but not existential endeavor, these leaders become truly connected and therefore profoundly effective. Such connected leaders make ample use of social media and other technologies to deepen connections across their organizations. The result is a self-generating, perpetually learning, dynamically balanced enterprise that is a pleasure both to lead and to work for.

According to Pontefract:

  • Employees are generally disengaged from the work they do and the organizations for which they do it. Work disengagement springs from the traditional hierarchical style of management that views workers as the “brawn” to managements “brains.”
  • The historical roots of employee disengagement stem from the British charter companies of the 16th century, the European armies of the 18th century, and the Scientific Management ideas that shaped American companies in the late 19th century.
  • “Connected leaders” break down traditional hierarchy in favor of a flat organizational structure. They treat employees as complete human beings and connections are encouraged across all levels and work areas.
  • The connected leader trusts their employees, involves and empowers them, empathizes with them, and helps them develop their careers. A key aspect of all of these traits is consistent and open communications with all team members.
  • The traits of the connected leader begin as behaviors that they must practice and exercise daily until they are habit. Eventually, the connected leader moves beyond merely practicing these attributes to truly living them.
  • Participative leadership requires continual, authentic, and reciprocal interactions with team members and the leader’s wider internal and external network. Education is a key component of the Participative Leader Framework and must be practiced consciously and formally.
  • The “Action Model” for the collaborative, or connected-participative, leader begins with connecting to all stakeholders and weighing their input. Next, the model calls for the leader to communicate a plan of action to all stakeholders, and then become immersed in executing that plan. The leader confirms with stakeholders that they are satisfied with the result and then congratulates all involved by focusing on the behaviors they brought to the project to make it successful.
  • To truly benefit from the Flat Army philosophy, one must embrace Web 2.0 technologies for conversation, education, and network presence.

To download three free summaries, please visit our site.

Related book summaries in the BBS library: The Employee Engagement Mindset, The Enemy of Engagement, The Connect Effect

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88408705The purpose of Stop Complainers and Energy Drainers is to teach people how to spot a complainer and fix the problem quickly. Complainers and energy drainers in the workplace can have strong negative effects on a company through lost work, loss of good employees due to an unhealthy work environment, and damage to a company’s reputation. Complainers inhibit innovation and growth in companies while negatively affecting daily productivity. Linda Swindling attempts to help readers identify the types of complainers they are dealing with, understand the reasons for their behavior, and learn strategies and solutions to deal with them. The options, strategies, and solutions provided can help turn chronic complainers into chronic contributors and let everyone get back to work.

Swindling offers the following advice to readers:

  • Every complainer has their own motivations for behaving the way they do. Understanding their reality versus their outward reactions is key to helping them change their own behavior.
  • Workplace productivity can suffer from energy drains. Energy drains come in many forms including: technology and software that is complicated or not understood by its users; bottlenecks; too much work for a given timeframe; misaligned values between the company and workers; and depressing work environments.
  • Not all complaining is counterproductive. Constructive complaining can be beneficial to a company’s growth.
  • Changing chronic complainers into chronic contributors can go far to improving a company’s morale, promoting effective communication, and increasing productivity.

To download three free summaries, please visit our site.

Related book summaries in the BBS library: Make Difficult People Disappear, Three Signs of a Miserable JobEngagement Is Not Enough

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Research has shown that when employees are focused and fully engaged, they are more productive at work. In Contented Cows Still Give Better Milk, Bill Catlette and Richard Hadden suggest that employees are more likely to happily work to the best of their abilities when their employers adopt leadership habits that make the organization a great place to work. They describe the practices that have helped top companies hire, cultivate, and retain satisfied employees that are dedicated to building wealth.

To download three free summaries, please visit our site.

Related book summaries in the BBS library: Happiness at Work, Make Work Great, Love ’em or Lose ’em

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