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How to Deal with Difficult Personalities, November/December 2015

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How to Deal with Difficult Personalities In many work situations, some co-workers are easy to work with, while others may be tough. It is, however, everyone’s responsibility to ensure that customers’ needs and business goals are met. Mastering skills to get along with different personalities may be both a challenging task and a most rewarding accomplishment. Leadership Tips last issue stated that some problematic workplace behaviors may be habitual, caused by unrealistic expectations and low tolerance for employees’ learning curves or mistakes. Perhaps communication styles may clash. Sometimes, though, co-workers may have acted in an overly aggressive manner. 10-11 2015 LT Agreesive Behavior...

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Are Your Employees Being Bullied? July/August 2015

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Bullies are no longer confined to the school playground. In fact, the Workplace Bullying Institute has determined that 37% of adult Americans have faced bullies on the job. Difficult people and personalities have always challenged teams and their leaders. Bullying behavior, however, can create stress and anxiety, which can lead to costly personnel issues. The Level Playing Field Institute’s research found $16.2 M for employee turnover; over a million dollars in litigation settlements; and $8 M in lost productivity could be traced back to bullying behaviors. Read More Are Your Employees Being Bullied? July/August 2015 Tips July/August...

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Communication: A Key to Customer Satisfaction, May/June 2015

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Henry Ford, founder of the American automobile industry, said, “It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages.” Imagine your boss telling you, “You were late turning in your assignment, and when I read it, I realized you didn’t give me what I wanted.” What would your response be? You might take a deep breath and say, “I’m sorry for any inconvenience I caused you. I misunderstood your directions and the due date. I promise to deliver the corrected assignment to you right away.” Consider the four basic needs of most customers: To feel welcome and comfortable To be heard and understood To feel important and respected To have their needs met   Read More Communication: A Key to Customer Satisfaction, May/June 2015 May/June 2015...

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How to Communicate During Change, March 2015

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Thoughtful communication is essential at each stage of change. After employees move beyond denial and they have time to vent, their leaders can help them explore, accept, and commit to the change. Leaders who persuade employees to explore the opportunities and benefits of the change help them to accept it. ! Have you ever watched a movie where the newly-single lead character decides to try speed dating? This is where couples have five to ten minutes to meet, try to create chemistry, and persuade the other to accept a date. Similarly, in today’s busy workplace, leaders may only have five to ten minutes to persuade employees to accept a new direction. Read More How to Communicate during Change, March 2015   Mar 2015 Newsletter...

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Communicating about Change: Overcoming Denial and Resistance, January 2015

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Whether you communicate to customers, citizens, or other employees, your ability to provide useful information, listen, and respond to other’s ideas is critical to you and your organization’s success. This is even more important when things change. Consider this: when IT departments change computer systems or revise software programs, they don’t consider the hardware’s reaction to those changes. Any glitches in the roll-out will not be system rejection, slowdowns, or grievances. Read more: Communicating about Change: Overcoming Denial and...

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Emotional Intelligence: Path to Leadership, March 2014

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Practice to Enhance Your Ability  to Positively Affect Others   Sometimes people become focused on the task at hand and don’t consider how what they say and do affects those around them. They need to practice awareness of others and their environment. You can improve your sensitivity by a little “Monday morning quarterbacking,” that is, analyzing past situations for clues of how people have reacted to your words, communication style, or actions. Read more: Leadership tips March 2014...

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Emotional Intelligence: Path to Leadership, February 2014

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“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.” ~ Nelson Mandela 1918-2013 Emotional Intelligence? At 0irst glance, the words look like a contradiction in terms. We have been taught that emotions cloud judgment and block rational thinking. Anyone who has worked for a hotheaded boss or with a weepy coworker, or attempted to reform a sullen employee might think emotions are a problem in the workplace. This conclusion is limited. Feb 2014 Leadership Tips...

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Listening: The Secret to More Productive Meetings, Oct. 2013

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“We have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak.” ~ Epictetus, Greek philosopher (55-135 AD) The meeting that could have been a short review leading to a critical decision turns into a long painful discussion, with people talking past each other and pushing off the resolution to another day. Team members, wasting time and energy in discussion, are so busy making their own points, they miss that they already concur. Sound familiar? Needless conflict is one of many reasons that meetings fail.   NL-201310-Meeting_Listening Oct 2013...

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Listening Tips for Meetings, August 2013

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A Note from Marilyn — Over the years, The Consulting Team has received many positive comments about our newsletter, Leadership Tips. We have 4,000 subscribers who continue to find our information helpful and easy to apply. Our last issue of Leadership Tips focused on listening skills, an important, though sometimes neglected, communications’ component. The article in July’s newsletter, “Listening: The Secret to Better Relationships,” presented many tips to improve personal listening skills. They are applicable in most situations. This month our tips apply to a specific, yet common, work situation: meetings. It is difficult enough to listen one-on-one. It can be even more challenging when several people speak on an agenda item, especially one with high stakes. Everyone wants to have their opinion heard, and they don’t always want to hear the opinions of others. Use The Consulting Team’s time-tested skill-building practices to help you address these questions: How can I set up meetings to promote better listening? What can I do to become a better listener in meetings? To review July’s Leadership Tips, Listening: The Secret to Better Relationships, click here. Warm regards, Marilyn and the Team (650) 965-3663  Listening Tips for Meetings Listening is a skill that can be improved with attention and practice. Practice is defined as “repeated performance or systematic exercise for the purpose of acquiring skill or proficiency, i.e., ‘Practice makes perfect.'” ( Below are tips that can improve meeting effectiveness and teamwork. Use this CHECKLIST to prepare meetings for effective listening: Create a clear agenda that states: Purpose Outcomes imed agenda items A clear agenda helps to guide discussion and supports the leader’s and facilitator’s roles.  For meetings with complicated or contentious issues, assign: A neutral facilitator The facilitator’s role is to remain neutral on the issues discussed and ensure that all parties have been heard. He or she also monitors discussion content to mitigate remarks that may trigger emotional reactions that block listening. A timekeeper The timekeeper’s role is to ensure agenda item discussions meet the assigned time or are extended by agreement. A recorder The recorder’s role is to capture the main points and document decisions and actions. Set ground rules that support listening. Examples: No side-talk. Focus your remarks to allow time for questions. Only one person speaks at a time. Use easel sheets to record key points. Post sheets for all to see what has been recorded. Use one easel sheet for a “parking lot.” The parking lot captures good ideas, which are off the agenda, for later discussion.  Consider “round table” discussions when everybody needs to provide input. Allow each person to speak about the agenda’s subject uninterrupted. Consider allotting a specific time limit for each participant, depending on time constraints and subject importance. Allow time for a meeting evaluation. Ask: Did you feel heard when you spoke? What could improve our listening to each other? Did we accomplish what we set out to do? Use this CHECKLIST for participants:   Bring paper and pen to jot down thoughts. Sometimes people interrupt so they don’t forget an important point they thought of during the discussion. If they jot down notes, they can share their thoughts from their notes after the speaker finishes and it is their turn to speak. Show up and be present through the entire agenda. Listening improves...

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Selecting Future Leaders, March 2013

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  A Note from The Consulting Team — Many organizations now face a leadership double whammy. The first hit we all expected: Baby Boomer boss retirement. The second, an unforeseen consequence of the economic downturn, was retirement plan reductions. This circumstance has forced many leaders and managers into use-it-now or lose-a-lot positions. Organizations are replacing leadership personnel at a quick pace. The silver lining is that there are many opportunities for advancement for those who aspire to be promoted. The challenge in hiring managers is to replaceexperienced retirees with the talent needed to surmount future demands, and possibly to become tomorrow’s favorite boss. This issue of Leadership Tips provides guidance for the vital task of selecting your organization’s future leaders. Our warm regards, Marilyn Manning, Ph.D. (650) 965-3663 Selecting Future Leaders Look Here for full PDF Version This month released this year’s ratings of CEOs. According to Forbes Magazine, “The list is based on reviews voluntarily posted by employees from all over the world who answer the following question, ‘Do you approve of the way this person is handling the job of leading this company?’ The results are calculated similar to presidential approval ratings, and the 50 toprated chief executives are honored as The World’s Favorite Bosses.” Listed leaders are active CEOs who received 100+ reviews February 2012-2013 and 40+ reviews February 2011-2012. While the winners on this list will change from year-to-year, the reasons employees selected them will endure as a significant guide for successful leadership. Common traits that won respondents’ praise were clear compelling company visions, strong communication skills, motivating styles, and being seen as approachable and personable. The Consulting Team adds growth mindset to this list as a leadership trait necessary for all candidates. With such a mindset, leaders believe in their own and others’ ability to learn, grow, and adapt to future demands and challenges, a necessary foundation for managing in a rapidly changing world. “Our strategic plan has succession planning interwoven into it. We look for ways to teach and mentor candidates to fill new roles or vacancies.” ~ James Leal, Chief of Police, Newark PD Many of our clients are now seeking replacements for leaders who are retiring. There are several avenues of recruiting people for management and leadership roles: internal lateral transfers, promoting from within, and hiring outside talent. It is important in any selection to consider the necessary traits and how you can ascertain if your candidates possess them. Clear and Compelling Vision. In order to lead, be it a major corporation or work team, leaders are effective when they have a positive picture of their teams’ future results. The more they communicate the importance of their mission to the members and help them work together toward their goals, the more motivated the team will be and the greater chance of their success. When assessing leadership candidates, listen for their attitudes. Are they optimistic? Do they focus on what can be improved, or are they comfortable with the status quo? When they present new ideas, do you sense passion in their aspirations, and do their words persuade you to pay attention? Can they sell the benefits they offer to you? “Coaching improved my skills, my confidence in my strengths and value, and my focus on my goals. I applied these skills to advance in my career. I have worked with The Consulting Team for over 15 years and highly recommend...

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