Excel in Leadership

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This week on Leadership Development news Dr. Cathy Greenberg and I are sharing our expertise on leadership development. Together we have over 50 years of experience helping leaders and their teams become star performers. Our mission is to meet the demands for leaders who can coach others to perform in the top 10% with high emotional intelligence.  Their collaboration brings together cutting edge tools drawn from positive psychology, the science of happiness, emotional and social intelligence, executive coaching, neuroscience and years of work in the trenches with CEOs and top executives and their teams.

Today we will share leadership and coaching tools, some strategies that we find useful for the busy executive; people who want to find powerful tips to better lead their teams and to better lead themselves.

Most leaders will tend to underestimate just how much they influence others and as a result, they and their teams can underperform. But doing just a few things differently will make an impact.

Dr. Relly Nadler: One of the things we do know is that leaders have 50-70% influence over the climate of their team. So they are the ones that we call the emotional thermostat. If you are clear and calm  in the midst of a storm, the team looks at you and goes ah, ok, I guess everything is going to be ok. If you are frazzled, stressed out, or tense, the team gets the message that maybe it’s not ok. Then they end up picking up that anxiety because emotions are contagious. That’s why we really want to zero in on leaders because they have so much influence.

One of the things that we are focusing on, is how do you get someone on your team or yourself who may be solid “B” player, 85% or so let’s say, to be in the top 10%? That really is the tipping point, because when someone gets to be in the top 10%, a lot of the literature shows that they produce twice as much revenue to the organization as managers in the 11th and the 89th percentile. That is where a lot of times we spend time with our “C” players and we really focus on how to get your “B” players, and maybe that’s you, to do just a few things differently. Sometimes we call these micro-initiatives; how do you do a few things differently that can make the difference. One of the things that we will highlight  is training and coaching. Some of the research about this goes way back, but if you have training alone there is about a 22% bump in performance. We’ve all had training and I dealt with someone last week who said, “I really like what you are doing with the training, adding coaching.”  Most of the time you go to a training and it’s two days or so and it’s over. Well, if you can add coaching to the training the research is showing that instead of a 22% bump in performance, you can get as high as an 88% bump. You can tailor the message; you can really drop that into specific tools and techniques that the person can do. We also talk about doing these micro-initiatives that can create a macro-impact.

One of the things that I’m so excited about is how do we bring these skills to our leaders? Both Cathy and I know, and also many of our listeners are in the organizational development world, so when you have training, you learn all these good things and then it becomes very challenging to put into place. Because many of the leaders are also working and they have reports and strategic meetings that they are going to, and things that they are doing, they don’t always make the time. We all know the idea of work/life balance, and often, I think, what we are talking about is work/leadership balance. How do you balance the work and the leadership? What happens is that regarding leadership it’s very easy for that to get ignored, or say to yourself, I’ll do it later because it may not be as immediate, or the pressing problem. So what we are going to try to do is teach you how you get more balance – so yes, you are doing the work, but you are also doing these micro-initiatives that are very, very critical for the work/leadership balance. The good news for our listeners, work is going to take most of your day, these leadership things, if done daily, aren’t going to take a whole day. They are five minutes here, fifteen minutes there;  leadership is all about the relationship. Cathy and I are focusing on what the relationships is between your direct reports. Are they getting the time? About 88% of workers when surveyed, say they do not get enough time with their leader. Their leader is doing work but they are not balancing their work/leadership.

Cathy and I have seen that there are three different kinds of what we would call a “brain drain” in the workplace. One is the actual number of capable leaders, there are less capable leaders or fewer brains.. There is an emotional intelligence drain, and then there is an environmental drain.

The first one is fewer brains! What we do know now is that there is going to be a leadership drought. Forty percent of organizations today will be experiencing a significant gap in the number of skilled leaders. One of the reasons for the gap is the 78 million baby boomers who are going to be retiring, and only 46 million new Generation X leaders who are coming into the workplace; right there is a huge amount of fewer brains coming into the workplace.

Then the second drain, the EI drain, is really around Emotional Intelligence. The baby boomers have been known to have higher Emotional Intelligence. The reason is technology. Interfacing with the computer or phone verses a person lowers the amount of time people spend face to face. So hour for hour, the more time you have with your phone, less time dealing with conflict, less time looking at how I’m communicating, and my communicating depth, less time reading someone’s responses. Do they like what I said? Do they not like what I said? How do I alter that?

All these skills can be learned. That is one of the aspects about emotional engagement, and emotional intelligence; these can be skills. Cathy, I had a meeting yesterday with someone who had a 20 year old and a 22 year old. She was saying that one was in the front seat, one was in the back seat and they were texting to each other in the same car.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg:  Right, and that’s not atypical, in fact, for those of you that are listening who work in an office setting, often you’ll look in the cubicles as you walk by them and you’ll see young people who are sitting there texting and they are actually texting the other person in the cube across from them. You wonder why don’t they just turn to each other and have a conversation. Well, the reality is, number one, cubicles reduce privacy, and as a result, they can’t speak openly. So they use texting as an operating model for honesty and trust. The fact, Relly, that you saw this first hand with young people, you know, whether you use the analogy of being in a car or in a cubicle, the reality is the same. We have created an open environment for communication and people think that texting is a more trustful way of getting information to the other. Interesting, isn’t it?

Dr. Relly Nadler:  Yes, it’s very interesting, and on numerous levels. That’s why I think that EI Drain, which is the second of three,  is really important especially with the leaders that we will be dealing with, because they are going to be dealing with not only Generation X, but Generation Y the Millennials, who have grown up on this.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg:  Well, it’s fascinating to me that we are going to have a leadership drought very soon, if we don’t have one already, because in 2011 a major portion of our baby boomers as you so beautifully articulate, retired. We know in the work that I have been focused on for the past 5 or 6 years, the possibility for the environment in which an individual works to create negativity or toxic energy will impact their life satisfaction, their work satisfaction and their overall happiness on the job.

A lot of people would laugh at the idea that people have to be happy on the job. We know that when people are, in fact, satisfied with their role, satisfied with their level, the gifts and strengths that they are delivering in the workforce as we call it today, their sense of purpose, if they are satisfied and delivering on their sense of purpose and they feel a connection to the work and the people they work with, or the mission of the company, their performance improves by well over 90%.

My dear friend Jessica Pryce-Jones has a brand new book out called Happiness at Work, and in addition to my work on What Happy Companies Know and What Happy Working Mothers Know, we have a whole host of data and statistics on what it means when your environment is draining you. So the IQ Drain relative to this environmental condition is really important. Most leaders and organizations are in fact, experiencing a brain drain and they are operating in what Relly and I would call a dummied-down manner. We need to teach leaders tools to understand themselves, to influence others by understanding themselves as a result. We help to give leaders tools to counter-attack this “brain drain” and be much more effective in their decision making, in their ability to really develop others, genuinely and authentically develop others and live a well-being, focused lifestyle. For example, Relly, you and our listeners know that stress influences cognitive functioning, and let’s talk about that a little bit in a second. You know most executives and employees are operating with 10-15 less IQ points daily. That’s a big data point. We can’t afford to lose 10-15 IQ points in our operating environments, in the places where we work every day. And the visible factors affecting this organizational brain drain are the daily chaos that results from complexity or an urgency situation, things have to be done during a certain time constraint, or changes in the market, or even in individual strengths. Somebody might be asking us to do something we haven’t done before, or do it in a new market, or do it with a new team member; these create some stress.


Dr. Cathy Greenberg:  Well, this is, for me, a real hot spot. As you know Relly, one of my favorite subjects is, let’s have an abundance mentality, which means, let’s think about everybody. The role of existing leaders who have been through established profiling processes, who have been giving themselves up to this development, and strengths and weaknesses discussions to date, have been exhausted, frankly by being told what they need to work on better, what they need to do more of, and frankly no one ever gives them a pat on the back, for what you and I love which is broadening and building. Instead of focusing on what you need to do better, let’s focus on what you do really, really well. Let’s incorporate that into the Xcel Institute’s process and maximize who you are, not develop components of you that have never been a winning formula for you, probably never will be a winning formula for you, and let’s stop exhausting you with trying to do things that are just not your core talents and gifts.  So we want to make sure that leaders who are existing leaders who are trying to get through current thinking such as how to make better judgments, thinking on what is the leadership pipeline, and how do they fill it verses others. What can we help teach all of you out there about yourself to make you even better? We call that personal mastery. So for existing leaders we have a whole week of tools and techniques to help make you the best performer you’d like to be and help you increase your emotional engagement to really exact performance from yourself and others around you.

Now for emerging leaders, we know that you are on a fast track. Many of you have some industry knowledge, many of you have some experiences that are going to be appropriate for being a leader in the near future and many of you are in fact, in the process evolving. You are looking for ways to maximize your potential to get to that leadership role as fast as you can. This isn’t about the time or the race, it’s about the journey. And again, personal mastery for you is an important character trait to develop. The younger you develop, the more masterful you will become.

Dr. Relly Nadler: Every time I speak, I say, every leader that I have dealt with has underestimated their influence over others. There are a couple of key reasons, but I think most people agree, once you  talk about it, people are just doing their job. They are doing the work side of their job, and they don’t realize that the employees and the people they are trying to develop want the leadership side of their job. So they are almost like different checklists, and they are doing the work side, they are not doing the leadership development side. People don’t realize they are under the spotlight 24/7. That is one of the reasons that leaders underestimate their influence and we want to give them tools. You may already be a solid “B” performer, what are the few things that are going to get you into that top 10%?

Find out more about how to Excel as a Leader and become a top 10% performer. Listen to the complete recording above, without commercials.

Remember, emotions are contagious and leaders are under the spotlight 24/7.








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