Blog (Recent)

As a manager, it’s your job to foster and encourage team identity. Research shows that even selfish individuals become cooperative — and possibly altruistic — when they feel that they’re part of a group. So how do you strengthen your team’s identity? Reward behavior that advances the goals of the group, rather than the individual. Offer your team bonuses, recognition, raises, flexibility, and opportunities based on the entire group’s performance. To avoid free-riding, individual rewards should be given to individuals who make important contributions to the team’s success. This rewards indispensable team members — the unsung heroes who work late, cover for colleagues, and enhance the success of the group. Combining individual and collective rewards ensures that individual members are encouraged and motivated to pursue the team’s goals and help the team succeed.

Posted by: Paul Robbins

Being promoted over your coworkers is a tricky situation. It’s important to get off on the right foot with your former peers and to make the transition as smooth as possible. Ideally, the team will learn about your promotion from someone else. But if you have to make the announcement yourself, be modest with the wording. This isn’t the time to toot your own horn. Don’t let people make assumptions about what your new relationship will be like — show them. Meet with each team member one-on-one. If you competed with a peer for the job, pull them aside to say you value their contributions. Take a specific action to back up your words, such as assigning them to an important task. And don’t introduce any sweeping changes right away. No matter how good your plan is, hold off until you’ve established your credibility as a manager.

Posted by: Paul Robbins

Posted by: Paul Robbins

Successful entrepreneurs rarely dismiss bad ideas outright: They rework them in the hope that there’s a gem yet to be discovered. After all, the best opportunities aren’t always self-evident. Instead of killing ideas and initiatives when they seem problematic, challenge yourself or your team to push further, reframe the problem and solution, or explore adjacencies. By bringing new thinking to seemingly bad ideas, you may end up with a breakthrough. Listen to all stakeholders regularly, and don’t stop, even once you’ve decided on a course of action. Pay special attention to new information and edge cases as you go — they often hold clues to move you toward better versions of your idea.

Posted by: Paul Robbins

I’ve found that while there are as many styles of management as there are managers, there is one quality that sets truly great managers apart from the rest: They discover what is unique about each person and then capitalize on it. Average managers play checkers, while great managers play chess. The difference? In checkers, all the pieces are uniform and move in the same way; they are interchangeable. You need to plan and coordinate their movements, certainly, but they all move at the same pace, on parallel paths. In chess, each type of piece moves in a different way, and you can’t play if you don’t know how each piece moves. More important, you won’t win if you don’t think carefully about how you move the pieces. Great managers know and value the unique abilities and even the eccentricities of their employees, and they learn how best to integrate them into a coordinated plan of attack.

Posted by: Heidi vonVulte

Many executives believe that exuding confidence brings credibility. This is why they’re often loath to appear uncertain – even when it’s impossible to predict exact outcomes. But research has shown that overconfident CEOs tend to make overly risky decisions, usually at the expense of their shareholders. So firms stand to benefit if leaders start to accept uncertainty and learn to communicate it to employees. Being open about what you’re unsure of helps you avoid bad decisions and allows others to trust you. Next time you’re facing a moment of uncertainty, instead of focusing on the best, worst, or even most likely possibility, provide a range of possible outcomes. Companies already do this when it comes to corporate earnings: they provide a range within which profits are likely to fall. Leaders should use this technique more often to avoid the trap of false certainty.

Posted by: Paul Robbins

Knowing the importance of practice, how do we build it into our training experiences? And how do we hold ourselves and others accountable for the hard work of practice?

  1. Acknowledge the Challenge
    Be honest about the difficulty of learning something new, especially when you’re in a leadership role. Expect mistakes. Celebrate effort and risk-taking rather than expertise and skill level. Create a culture where leaders are rewarded for trying new things and building new skills, even when their early attempts are less-than-perfect.
  2. Limit the Scope
    Training often includes information on many different behaviors, approaches, skills, and techniques.  It isn’t possible to practice and master all of them at one time. Encourage leaders to choose one or two things that have a high potential for enhancing their work, and focus their practice on just those things – at least to start.
  3. Commit Time
    Commit time every week – ideally every day – for practice. Block time on the calendar.  Minimize distractions, and work on skill development as seriously as you would on any other project. You might even create a project plan with deadlines and deliverables.
  4. Leverage Tools and Materials in the Program
    Most training programs include opportunities for practice – action learning projects, individual action planning guides, cases, role plays, etc. Use them as much as you can – individually or in study groups or with partners. These can be extremely helpful for practice, even outside of the program.
  5. Create Practice Partnerships
    Work with colleagues to hold each other accountable for practice. Practice partnerships are also a great way to get feedback on your development.
  6. Consider Coaching
    Sometimes leaders need more support than can be offered by practice partners. In these cases, a coach can be extremely useful. Coaching may be available through HR or L&D, or you may decide to invest in coaching on your own. A good coach will help you create a plan, offer feedback, and help you stay accountable to your own goals.

Making a commitment to practice is essential to maximize the impact of training. After all, practice is the only way to become proficient in a new skill or behavior. As leaders, we need to embrace the discomfort of being beginners in order to continue to grow and improve.

Posted by: Paul Robbins

Pages