June 30, 2015 / Book Reviews

Book Review | Millennials & Management: The Essential Guide to Making it Work at Work

millennials managementMillennials & Management: The Essential Guide to Making it Work at Work
By Lee Caraher

Head: (4 out of 5)
Heart: (4 out of 5)
Leadership Applicability: (5 out of 5)

Most companies today have a multigenerational workforce made up of Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials. This will be true for some years to come. Instead of retiring, many Baby Boomers need to work longer than previous generations due to the financial crisis of 2008-2009. Meanwhile, Millennials will continue to make up a substantial portion of the workforce – an estimated 46% of it by 2020 – thus, squeezing Generation X in the middle. Each of these generations has a unique perspective of work standards and career expectations, which has led to tension and frustration in the workplace, especially for managers of Millennials. The author believes it’s time to close the growing gap between these perspectives or your company may cease to exist.

This book, written by Lee Caraher, communications firm owner and an advisor to clients on how to work with, communicate with and market to Millennials, offers insights based on experience with her clients and associates as well as surveys with hundreds of people to help bridge the gap in understanding these different generations.  In an easy-to-read format peppered with quotes and short stories, she brings to life the perspectives each generation has of the other, dispels myths and offers techniques to create smoother-running and a more positive workplace for all.

Baby Boomer and Generation X leaders, as well as Millennials, will all want to read this book.

Buy it now.

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June 29, 2015 / Articles We Like / Leadership

On “The Top Complaints from Employees About Their Leaders”

Trust is a key ingredient for creating an engaged and productive workforce. Yet competing priorities, daily pressures and sometimes a lack of self-awareness can get in the way of effective communication and leadership. When we read the survey results in this article, the list of complaints employees have about their leaders seemed all too familiar to us as executive coaches. But by bringing awareness to the power of meaningful connection with employees, we know leaders can make a huge impact on productivity in the workplace.

We share the Harvard Business Review article, “The Top Complaints from Employees About Their Leaders“, by Lou Solomon, to help raise awareness of your communication and connection with employees. Try implementing the suggestions to build more trust!

Tell us: What communication practices do you find most effective for connecting with your employees?

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July 23, 2013 / Ask Mariposa

Ask Mariposa: Creating Positive and Collaborative Communication

Demitri asks: My colleague has an answer for everything and dominates all of our team meetings, screaming for attention.  She bulldozes ideas and ridicules anyone who disagrees. No one on our team wants to step up and call her out on this “annoying” behavior.  What can I/we do to create a more effective and positive experience in our meetings when we need to work with this type of person?  

Dina Silver, Executive Leadership Coach responds:

Tough situation!  As you are already experiencing, colleagues who dominate meetings create a range of challenges for other team members including: creating an atmosphere of annoyance, distaste, disaffection and disappointment for all present who are unable to participate fully and see no way to stop the bulldozer.  Meetings become solo acts for the benefit of the loudest voice instead of forums for team collaboration.

It is the responsibility of the team leader to intervene in order to create a safe, innovative and participatory forum for all employees.  Consider speaking to the team leader offline about this issue.  Frame it as a need for stronger team dialogue and a desire for your meetings to be a forum where all voices are essential.   Offer ideas for improving team communication.

Consider these suggestions:

  • Limit the number of minutes each member speaks at a time (3 minutes, for example).  You can use an egg timer, your watch or phone’s timer application.  This will force everyone to pare down his/her thinking and share the crucial core of his idea.
  • Every person who wishes to contribute to the conversation has  the uninterrupted opportunity to do so.
  • Phones and other devices are turned off during the meeting.  If you are present in the room, be present.  This ensures all participants are listening to each other and not simply waiting for their chance to talk.
  • Start and end meetings on time. Do not catch late people up by rehashing what others have heard.  This will be awkward at first, but people will adapt and appreciate this.
  • Agree on meeting communication norms:  no personal attacks, blaming, eye ball rolling or disdainful comments.  Stop the behavior the moment it occurs.

Finally, every person in the room, including you, has a responsibility to enforce positive and collaborative communication.  Do not let old habits creep back. Gently remind team members of the rules of engagement and help the conversation get back on track.

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July 2, 2013 / Book Reviews

Book Reviews: Employee Engagement 2.0: How to Motivate Your Team for High Performance and Employee Engagement for Everyone: 4 Keys to Happiness and Fulfillment at Work

book_cover_employee_engagement_20-187x30013Head: (4 out of 5)
Heart: (4 out of 5)
Leadership Applicability: (5 out of 5)

A disengaged workforce can wreak havoc on the best business strategies.  Low productivity, decreased customer service, high turnover, low sales and margins are a handful of symptoms a business might experience as a result. The good news is creating engaged teams doesn’t take a lot of time or money, according to author Kevin Kruse, a former Best Place to Work winner, serial entrepreneur and Top 100 Business Thought Leader. Combining research and real-world experience, he explains how to quickly create engaged teams.

Employee Engagement 2.0 is an easy-to-read and practical guide targeted at managers and leaders.  The author draws on simple yet timeless principles that form the crux of employee engagement: managers are the key influencers of engagement and communication, growth, recognition and trust are the key engagement drivers.  This book outlines the process he used to build and sell several, multimillion dollar technology companies, winning both Inc 500 and Best Place to Work awards along the way.

In this busy leader’s guide, you will learn:

  • The definition of true employee engagement (not just happy or satisfied)
  • How engagement directly drives business metrics like sales and profits
  • A recipe for making anyone feel engaged
  • How to quantify engagement
  • 7 questions to identify your engagement weakness
  • How to facilitate a team meeting on engagement
  • Communication that ensures a rapid, two-way flow of information
  • How to make your strategic vision “sticky”
  • How to implement a complete engagement plan in only 8 weeks

employeeengagement for everyoneWhile managers are key influencers of engagement, individual employees also assume responsibility for fostering a fully engaged environment.  Managers and employees need to work together to build a thriving culture. His new book, Employee Engagement for Everyone is a guide targeted for individual employees, to help them understand what employee engagement is, why it’s important and how a thriving company benefits them personally. The four key engagement drivers – communication, growth, recognition and trust – are reviewed from the perspective of the individual.  The book is rich with tips to increase individual employee knowledge and understanding of how to drive engagement on their own in these areas.

The content in these books is actionable, without theories or long-winded language, and includes additional resources for more information.   Leaders with business growth strategies will definitely want to read Employee Engagement 2.0, and perhaps give their employees a copy of Employee Engagement for Everyone.

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April 4, 2013 / Ask Mariposa / HR / Talent Management / Influencing Skills

Ask Mariposa: 3 Tips for Developing Leadership Influence

ask-mariposa1

Andrea asks: I am not in a formal position of power but lead several cross-functional projects and collaboration is critical to our goals.  How can I develop more leadership influence?

Susan Bethanis, CEO of Mariposa responded:

You are smart to be thinking about developing leadership influence skills, even as an informal leader.  Cross-functional initiatives, flatter management structures and virtual teams which sometimes include third parties have become the norm in business today.  Understanding how to influence others is a skill that when honed, serves company goals and your career.

Here are 3 tips:

  • Consult and Pre-Sell.   Meet with stakeholders to share your ideas on achieving a desired outcome.  Solicit their reactions and ideas as well.  By inviting input and balancing it with advocacy, resistance can be minimized while gaining buy-in.
  • Know Your Audience, Tailor the Message.   Develop clear and compelling messages rooted in short and long-term requirements.  Research your stakeholders’ needs and tailor the message based on their interests.
  • Establish Behavioral Rapport.  Match the pace and volume of your speech with that of your stakeholder.  Avoid matching negative emotional states.  Be conscious of your body language, including posture and facial expressions, as unintended non-verbal cues can undermine effective communication of your message.

Want more?

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