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A study out of UC Berkeley found that top performers all have one thing in common: an ability to persuade others.

UC Berkeley management professor Morten Hansen discovered through conducting this study that those leaders who rise to the top of an organization are all skilled at persuasion. The study – which looked at 5,000 successful employees and managers over a five-year time period – identified three ways top performers convince people of their ideas.

These tactics, highlighted in a post by keynote speaker, communication adviser and author Carmine Gallo, include:

  1. Make them upset and excited. One tactic to winning people over happens on an emotional level. Hansen found that those who are skilled at persuasion have people reflect on a shared frustration and then follow up by offering a solution to the problem.
  2. Show it (don't just tell it). Persuasive people use props, photos and/or demonstrations to get their point across – it is much more memorable and impactful.
  3. Make them feel purpose. Hansen found that those who can help others find and understand the overarching purpose to their roles and daily tasks stand apart from other leaders.

These tactics directly relate to our communication skills. Getting people to buy into our ideas is all about how well we communicate those ideas. Improving our communication will not only make us better leaders but can help elevate our organizations – through better customer service, employee satisfaction and more fluid collaboration.

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There is a big difference between leaders who are truly great and those who skate by or overly rely on their titles. Leaders who are great are easy to identify – they leave a lasting mark on their organizations and the people who work for them.

"[O]rganizations with the highest-quality leaders are 13 times more likely to outperform the competition in a variety of key metrics, including customer satisfaction, employee engagement, and overall financial performance," writes Leadership guru Peter Economy.

He says these high-quality leaders all share these five C's of leadership:

1. Charismatic. Really great leaders are outgoing and enthusiastic – naturally drawing people to them. It is clear that these kinds of leaders truly enjoy their jobs.

2. Convincing. Great leaders are persuasive and can get others onboard with their views.

3. Credible. "Great leaders are honest, and they refuse to compromise their integrity," Economy writes.

4. Capable. All great leaders are very good at what they do.

5. Creative. Part of being a great leader means problem solving and finding new opportunities.

Not only easy to remember but also easy to put into practice, these habits can get us all on our way to becoming great leaders and furthering the success of our organizations and teams.

Follow me on Twitter (@BDanBerger).

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You are who you spend time with. We've all heard this line – or something similar to it – and it's true. When we surround ourselves with positive, good people, we are much more likely to do good things.

Rhett Power, head coach of Power Coaching and Consulting, lists five ways to attract "amazing people" into our lives. His list includes:

1. Be that person. If you want amazing people in your life, then be amazing yourself.

2. Speak it. "Speak what you want," Power writes.

3. Make the connection. Be interested in others. Ask questions and listen to the answers.

4. Add value. Make sure the amazing people in your life know that they are appreciated.

5. Communicate your vision. We all like to be around people who are successful and know what they want.

Power writes that if you put these five practices into place people will want to be a part of the action. As a leader, these five practices will only enhance our skills and abilities as we learn from those who are likeminded and working towards the same goals.

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For an organization to be successful, you must have a good team in place. And for a team to function at its highest potential, it needs a leader that knows how to motivate and shine the spotlight on others.

Marcel Schwantes, principal and founder of Leadership From the Core, writes that this kind of culture only exists in a workplace where a leader intentionally creates an environment that drives engagement and innovation. He lists six things that leaders can give their employees to make this kind of work culture a reality. The list includes:

  1. They give employees their ear. Schwantes encourages the practice of "stay interviews," which can give a leader fresh insight on how they can improve the work environment.
  2. They give their employees empathy. "A leader displaying empathy will foster strong personal relationships and promote productive collaboration," he writes.
  3. They give their employees rewards and recognition. Doing this will also develop more personal relationships with your teams.
  4. They give their employees space to recharge. This can include encouraging your employees to break up their days with a walk or a fun, short activity.
  5. They give their employees plenty of information, communicating both the good and the bad.
  6. They give their employees fairness. Schwantes encourages more focus on your employees than yourself.

Remember, this kind of culture won't just happen on its own. "It takes visionary, servant leadership at the top creating the environment for intrinsically motivated employees to release discretionary effort," Schwantes writes. And speaking from experience, changing a culture takes lots and lots of communication, time and patience.

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Leaders and managers – both essential to an organization's success yet carry out vastly different roles. Or at least they should.

The Harvard Business Review describes the differences in the two roles: "Management consists of controlling a group or a set of entities to accomplish a goal. Leadership refers to an individual's ability to influence, motivate, and enable others to contribute toward organizational success. Influence and inspiration separate leaders from managers, not power and control."

Said a different way: "Leadership begins where management ends and smart organizations value both and great organizations work hard to make each a part of their team," writes Lolly Daskal. She goes on to explain some of the differences, including:

- Leaders lead people while managers manage people.

- Leaders set destinations while managers navigate the roads to get there.

- Leaders inspire while managers comfort.

- Leaders have vision while managers are about reaching goals.

- Leaders take ownership while managers take responsibility.

- Leaders break rules while managers make rules.

I encourage you to read her complete list here. A successful organization will be equipped with both solid leaders and managers.

Together the two roles complement each other and will serve their organizations and employees well.

Follow me on Twitter (@BDanBerger).  

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A Harvard Business Review survey of more than 400,000 people across the U.S. found that when employees believe promotions were managed appropriately, they are more than twice as likely to work harder and stay engaged in their current organization. The survey, conducted throughout the last year, proves that effectively promoting people throughout your company can greatly enhance your organization's success.

The survey also found that these people – who believe that promotions are handled effectively – are five times as likely to think leaders act with integrity.

With this in mind, before promoting an employee, the Harvard Business Review recommends:

  • clarifying team members' aspirations;
  • encouraging team members to apply for new positions within your organization (even if you have someone specific in mind; you might be surprised);
  • sharing the "why" behind your promotion decision; and
  • circling back with those who applied for the promotion but didn't get it.

This survey makes clear the importance of getting promotions right across our organizations; a bad manager can be toxic to our workplaces. On that note, Marcel Schwantes, principal and founder of Leadership From the Core, writes in a recent Inc.com post four "dumb things" managers – or those in a leadership role – should avoid doing. His list includes:

  1. bullying their employees;
  2. not giving positive reinforcement;
  3. taking credit for their employees' work; and
  4. having little to no concern for their employees' work-life balance.

While pay and work perks are valuable to employees – strong and effective leadership is a requirement. Our job is to make sure we are the best leaders for our teams possible and that we appoint managers that adhere to the same high standards. Follow me on Twitter (@BDanBerger).

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A new year provides a fresh start and a clean slate, and is often the time when resolutions and goals are established. If you are in the process of setting new goals – as I am – know that with an open mindset, achievement of all your goals is possible.

"Goals provide clarity," writes Mareo McCracken, revenue leader of Movemedical. He explains that goal setting is about "combining the fortitude to achieve with clear thinking, while making sense of your purpose and defining your ability to deliver value to others."

However, goal setting and achieving also requires faith – or believing and hoping in something you can't see yet or that doesn't quite exist. For many of us, the No. 1 reason we don't achieve our goals is because we lack belief in ourselves and our abilities. I encourage you to read an article by Inc.com contributor Benjamin Hardy that details the importance of having this kind of faith in yourself and delivers some tips on how to achieve your goals.

If your goals are set, McCracken provides three ways to apply your goals, including:

  1. Use goals to slow down. He explains that making the right choices requires us to slow down.
  2. Use goals to understand your emotions. "The key to transforming feelings into goals, and goals into action is learning how recognize your emotions," he writes.
  3. Use goals as motivation. Don't wait for motivation to kick in – use your goals to motivate you into action.

While uncertainties exist in any new year, your goals can help you rise above challenging situations and allow you to stay focused on what really matters. I look forward to this new year and meeting new goals; I hope you all find success in 2018.

Follow me on Twitter (@BDanBerger).

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It is quite common to reflect on accomplishments and challenges from the past year at this time. This kind of reflection can help us get our minds and hearts ready for the year ahead.

As we take this time to reflect and plan, Jessica Stillman, Inc.com contributor, offers several suggestions to help make this time as productive as possible. Some of her suggestions include:

- Give thanks, in writing. "Counting your blessings strengthens your positivity muscles, putting you on a more optimistic footing for the year ahead," she writes.

- Declutter your space, and your brain. Changes to your physical environment can help you get your head in the right place.

- Remind yourself how much you've learned. Make sure to act on all you've learned.

- Make peace with your failures. Take the lessons you learned and move on.

- Learn to expect the unexpected. Be ready for surprises.

I hope you all enjoy time with those you love and care about this holiday season. I look forward to the year ahead. Follow me on Twitter (@BDanBerger).

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First off, I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I hope you enjoy time with your loved ones during this season.

For many, this is an easy time of year to be thankful – we are often surrounded by those we love, things in the business world tend to slow down a bit and we look toward a new year with excitement.

However, if you need a little help cultivating a spirit of gratitude or want to go deeper, Leadership Freak's Dan Rockwell lists five ways to be thankful. Here's his list:

  1. Worry more about expressing gratitude than receiving it.
  2. Notice things. Stay aware of what's around you – even on a mundane walk through your office hallways.
  3. Take another's perspective. Truly imagine what it's like to walk in someone else's shoes.
  4. Remember why you hired your staff.
  5. Allow gratitude to stand on its own. Thankfulness should not be used as leverage.

Rockwell also lists seven principles of generosity, gratitude and influence; I encourage you to read those too.

Follow me on Twitter (@BDanBerger).

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Human relationships thrive on trust. And while it's important for leaders to trust their employees, a productive and successful organization is one in which the employees trust their leaders.

Marcel Schwantes, principal and founder of Leadership From the Core, writes in a recent Inc.com post that "the best company cultures, where collaboration is humming and the needle is moving on performance, demonstrate a high degree of trust."

How is this trust developed? Schwantes writes that it starts with those we've placed in leadership positions. He cites Fortune's annual study of "best companies," which found that 92 percent of employees at those companies believe that their managers are people they can trust.

"Trust," he writes, "is the human behavior you cannot afford not to have." Schwantes lists five leadership habits that lead to trust. They include:

  1. Be willing to trust and believe in your people first.
  2. Lead from humility, not hubris.
  3. Give the team the credit.
  4. Seek input.
  5. Share information.

There is not a one-size-fits-all mold when it comes to developing trust – it's a continuous learning experience. However, if you are not displaying any of the above-listed items on a daily basis, then trust is likely not existent in your workplace.

Follow me on Twitter (@BDanBerger).

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