November 13, 2013 / Articles We Like

Infographic: Generational Differences in America 101

I’ve written a lot about the different generations, and find understanding the root of their differing behavior and corresponding attitudes to be both a fascinating topic and a valuable management tool. As with everything in management, increasing the understanding between team members helps build positive and productive relationships. Also, with this understanding, it is easier to identify and focus on complimentary strengths, and opportunities for growth.

The infographic below is specific to America. It identifies the life shaping events of each generation, how those events lead to specific characteristics, and how to speak to those characteristics as a manager. Learn the language of each generation to increase employee engagement, and help your employees grow and develop.  Read more.


About the author:

Anne Loehr is the President of Anne Loehr and Associates, co-founder of Safaris for the Soul, and an Executive Leadership Coach for Mariposa Leadership, Inc. For more good reads, visit Anne Loehr’s personal blog at:

September 17, 2013 / Ask Mariposa

Ask Mariposa: Empower and Develop Your Team

Mary-Lou asks: I was just promoted to a senior director position. In order to get to know my direct reports better, I want to schedule 1-1 meetings with each of them. Can you offer some suggestions of  questions  I should ask them?

Anne Loehr, Executive Leadership Coach responds:

Congrats on your promotion Mary-Lou!

Since your job is to empower and develop the individuals on your team, scheduling 1-1 meetings is a perfect start. During this time, you want to get to know each other personally and professionally so you can establish a great working foundation and understand what motivates them to do their best. Here are some example questions that will achieve both. Stay truly curious and open, and as you ask questions and listen you want to be picking up on what’s important to them in the way they describe themselves and their team. Some sample questions, in no particular order:

  1. Tell me about yourself – your strengths, your learning edge, how you like to work.
  2. How do you get to leverage your strengths in your role today? What do you like most about it?
  3. What is your definition of success in this job?
  4. What’s life like outside of work? Activities? Interests?
  5. Tell me about your team – what’s going well and any current challenges.
  6. How can I support you to be working at your best?

Of course, you can share similar information about yourself as well – you don’t want the conversation to feel like an interview, and they are probably quite curious about you. Depending on how this meeting flows and how much time you have, you may be able to dive in to talk about specific business items, or set that up for a following conversation.

Let us know how it goes!



July 3, 2013 / Ask Mariposa / Stress / Work-Life Integration

Ask Mariposa: One Powerful Way to Reduce Stress at Work

Stuart asks: I am feeling increasingly unhappy at my job. My stress level is so high that it is affecting me physically and mentally. How do I manage my stress without burning out?

Anne Loehr, Executive Leadership Coach responds:

“Bad stress” is an ever increasing problem at work and it is essential to find ways to reduce it. “Bad stress” causes us to worry, experience fear and feel anxious. Any form of stress that makes us perform below our potential is considered bad stress. Bad stress increases the cortisol levels in our blood, which can lead to many problems such as high blood pressure, early onset diabetes, heart problems and central obesity (bulging belly).

There are many ways to reduce bad stress at work. I’m going to discuss one way now, so I don’t stress you out with too much info! 🙂

More and more people are using email, text and instant messaging as their chief communication tools for daily work life. It’s instant, it’s easy, AND it creates lots of stress! Researchers have identified three major problems:

  1. This form of communication lacks cues like facial expression and tone of voice. That makes it difficult for recipients to decode the meaning. It is the poorest form of communication because it only uses words.
  2. The prospect of instantaneous communication creates an urgency that pressures online communicators to think and write quickly, which can lead to carelessness.
  3. Finally, the inability to develop personal rapport over online communications makes relationships fragile in the face of conflict. Online communication is great for confirming meetings, getting an address or sharing a short piece of data. Unfortunately it is used for a lot of other communications which should be done in person.

Here are some tips:

Never argue by email. Save discussions, especially on controversial topics, for when more direct forms of communication are possible. Pick up the phone and/or set a time to discuss issues.

Keep it short. We’re talking less than 50 words. We have about 15 seconds of attention span to offer any incoming email. If you can’t get the message across in that time, either attach a separate document with all the details, or pick up the phone for the discussion. Or use the email to set the time for the discussion.

If you want to lower your stress levels, limit your email communications and switch to phone and face to face conversations for better results. It is more meaningful, more effective, and can generate new relationships in an already tense world.

February 21, 2013 / Articles We Like / Coaching Skills / HR / Talent Management / Strategy

How to Create a Memorable Employee Recognition Program

employee-appreciation-day-263x400Good business practice involves appreciating and recognizing your employees. Although appreciation should be a natural activity for anyone, the truth is we all have different ways of giving and receiving gifts and appreciation. Some like verbal appreciation, while others like having an extra vacation day. Either way, employes want personal recognition, instead of a standard gift for all. So if you’re not careful, a thoughtless gift may actually backfire on you.

OC Tanner recently commissioned a study conducted by The Cicero Group entitled Optimizing Employee Recognition Programs. This study aimed to discover if awards are a viable form of employee recognition, and if so, whether cash works better than award items.

If your organization is looking to implement an effective employee reward system, I highly recommend reading this entire study as the six pages highlight some interesting findings. The statistics can come in handy when rationalizing employee reward programs to upper management.

The key takeaways for employee recognition programs are:

  • Award items are better than cash bonuses at contributing to the recognition experience.
  • Award items should be geared toward desire versus need. If cash is given, it will likely be spent on “need” items, such as bills. Therefore employees will likely forget about the recognition much faster than a more personalized award.
  • Though you may be rewarding employees with a tangible reward, verbal expressions of appreciation further augment and reinforce recognition and can “increase the degree of effectiveness by roughly 50 percent”.
  • Create a “tailored selection” of reward items that are unique and personal. This tells the employee that you took the time to offer something of value.

About the author:

Anne Loehr is the President of Anne Loehr and Associates, co-founder of Safaris for the Soul, and an Executive Leadership Coach for Mariposa Leadership, Inc. For more good reads, visit Anne Loehr’s personal blog at:

November 13, 2012 / Ask Mariposa / Coaching Skills / HR / Talent Management / Influencing Skills

Ask Mariposa: Advice on Entering a New Leadership Position

Zack asked:

What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time?

Anne Loehr, Senior Leadership Consultant responded:

I’d suggest using Jim Collins’ 80/20 rule, which says that the best leaders listen 80% of the time and speak 20% of the time. During that 20%, good leaders actually ask probing questions to dig deeper into the conversation.

Why is this an important skill for first-time leaders? Leaders initially were good at a technical skill. A good programmer will get promoted to lead an IT team; good sales people are asked to lead a sales team. Yet a leader’s job is very different than an individual contributor’s (IC) job. An IC’s job is to complete the task; a leader’s job is to empower their team to do their best thinking about the task, and find better ways to execute the task. To do this, leaders need to listen to their team and ask probing questions to help their employees think outside the box.

So this week, try listening more and talking less. You’ll learn a lot more about your team, and your team will be empowered to share ideas and find new solutions for the organization. That’s a win-win for all!

Share your thoughts on this response in the comments section below, and ask us anything here:

October 30, 2012 / Ask Mariposa / Design Thinking / Creativity / Innovation / HR / Talent Management / Influencing Skills

Ask Mariposa: Behaviors & Traits That Derail Leaders

Michelle asked:

What is the one behavior or trait that you have seen derail more leaders’ careers?

Anne Loehr, Senior Leadership Consultant responded:

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is the number one predictor of a successful leader. Leaders lacking EQ will stall in their careers while those with high EQ will shoot to the top.

EQ accounts for more than twice IQ and technical skills combined as a predictor of success. Coined by Daniel Goleman, EQ is comprised of self-awareness (“Who am I? What makes me tick?”) and social-awareness (“How do I use my self-awareness to help build my team”? and “How do I self-manage my negative behaviors that may derail a team?”).

In my 20′s, I was a driven, focused, numbers only-orientated business woman. I wanted to get the job done as quickly as possible, yet my team perceived me as an abrupt and rude manager; they didn’t want to work with me anymore. I was shocked. I learned by fire that my drive for success actually hindered team growth (self-awareness). If I wanted to reduce attrition and improve team dynamics, I had to change my behavior to be more collaborative (social awareness). Over time, working with a coach, I started to increase my EQ to be a more effective leader for me tea,. That’s EQ in action!

Share your thoughts on this response in the comments section below, and ask us anything here: