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In recent years, you will have heard it a hundred times and read it in countless articles: millennials are dominating the workforce. Today, more than one third of US employeesare between the ages 18 and 34.By 2020, millennials will comprise half of the American workforce, and by 2030, they will make up 75% of the global workforce.

And, in fact, so substantial is their impact on the workplace (and on the world in general), that they are likely the most studied generation in history.

In nearly every corner of the world, managers, community and civic leaders, marketers and business executives are discussing millennials; their behaviors, their beliefs, and their attitudes.

We need to understand how this generation differs from their predecessors. By applying this knowledge, we create highly engaged employees and consumers. On the other hand, if we don’t figure millennials out, we can barely scratch the surface when trying to recruit and retain them, let alone get the most out of their potential.

And so, as business leaders, it’s time to face the truth: many of us may not be currently well-equipped to manage the mindset and motivations of millennials.

Where We’re Falling Behind

It’s been a while since the approach to management has been properly updated at large, and that is likely why this approach seems to be crumbling in the face of millennials.

To make matters worse, unfair assumptions are made about this entire demographic, with employers branding them as lazy, entitled, and non-committal. Millennials are also called out for being notorious job-hoppers.

Many leaders are struggling to inspire this generation. It appears as though the perks being offered to millennials by companies today are not valuable to them, while the perks that do matter to them are not offered as part of most company cultures.

It seems that the odds are stacked against millennials; many are quick to define them by their weaknesses. But millennials, like every generation before them, have their unique strengths – for instance, they are the most educated and culturally diverse generation so far.

It is up to leaders working at companies of all sizes to manage millennials successfully. And the best way to learn is from our mistakes. Here are 4 potentially costly mistakes you could be making as a leader when it comes to millennials.  

Mistake #1: Failing to Motivate Them

Or, this could also be noted as “trying to motivate them the wrong way”. All leaders strive to create a meaningful working environment, with good leaders playing a hands-on role in motivating their employees regularly. But millennials may not be receptive to your current motivational strategies.

So then, how does one motivate millennials? According to Gallup, a third of millennial employees believe feedback is the single most important factor for professional improvement. However, the study found that less than 20% of surveyed millennials received routine feedback.

The key also lies in how this feedback is delivered. Give your millennial employees more face time at work. Regular one-on-one interactions boost engagement and performance. Millennials prefer constant interaction to a boss who meets them only occasionally.

A mentor-mentee relationship could be highly beneficial as well. In an experiment conducted by Sun Microsystems, the company established a program in which senior leaders mentored millennial employees. The mentees were more likely to stay with the company compared to those who did not participate in the program.

Mistake #2: Misunderstanding their Motivations

This may seem similar to the previous point, but it is quite a different mistake that leaders are making at large today. Ask yourself, what drives an employee to go the extra mile?For some, it is money. For others, it is security. For millennials, it is something else completely.

Millennials are motivated by the mission of their company, or rather, by the purpose of their work in the larger sense. A study informs us that 84% of millennials would choose to make a difference in the world over professional recognition.

Millennials greatly value being appreciated, and they seek a positive, enjoyable working atmosphere over financial compensation. As a business leader, it is important to charge the work atmosphere with meaning. Help millennials see that they are working towards a purpose larger than themselves. This enhances employee engagement, leading to greater retention.

Mistake #3: Denying them Professional Freedom

Millennial employees are known to push for work-life balance and flexible working hours. What they’re really asking for is professional freedom, and this term has more to do with how the job gets done.

Millennials are intimidated and frustrated when a boss stands over their desk, micro-managing and telling them to do a job in a certain way. This generation craves creative freedom to complete a task the way they know they can – so long as they have a specified deadline and tools to get the job done.

If it’s a job that can be completed at home, let them do it from home. Once you give your millennial employees the space and freedom to work, you will be surprised to note the high level at which they will perform.

Mistake #4: Overlooking Employee Training

Millennials crave professional development, with 75% of employees showing a keen interest in career growth opportunities. In fact, nearly 87% of millennials rank professional development as a critical desirability factor for any job.  

It is equally critical for managers to find the time and funds to invest in the career development of millennial employees. This is not only the key to ensuring deeper engagement, it also helps develop employees who are better equipped to offer value to the company.

Millennials are smart, there’s no doubt about that. Their intuition and self-education helps these fast learners figure out the latest technology and delve into a vast range of interests and activities. In the same way, they are highly capable of learning and adapting new methodologies.

As a leader, you can consider setting a pace for professional development in the workplace. This could involve paying for your millennial employees to attend conferences or seminars, organizing routine training sessions, or inviting outside speakers in for a talk. In fact, sometimes all you have to do for this naturally curious generation is simply provide them the time to “self-teach” and they will learn new methodologies and develop their skills on their own. 

Learn how you can take your leadership teams through a growth model which will help them mature on a personal and professional level by following me on LinkedIn and subscribing to the Keijzer Community.

Paul Keijzer is the CEO and Founder of Engage Consulting and the co-Founder of The Talent Games, which aims to transform HR by digitising talent processes and creating more engaging and productive workplaces through gamification and mobile technology. As a global HR and Leadership Management expert, Paul knows how to combine business insights with people insights to transform organisations and put them on the path to growth.

The post 4 Mistakes Most Leaders Make When Managing Millennial Employees appeared first on Paul Keijzer.

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Thanks to my practice, over the years I’ve had the opportunity to meet several leaders from various backgrounds and industries. All of them had remarkable personalities, self-drive and big plans about what they wanted to achieve. They all have impeccable grasp over their chosen industry and have worked hard to achieve success. They all were also, unfortunately and unknowingly, committing deadly and common mistakes. In the heat of the corporate world when you’re faced with hard challenges and tough decisions it’s only natural that you overlook the obvious. It’s inevitable that these mistakes leaders make are negatively impacting their business and its success.

These mistakes aren’t necessarily the sort that impact everyday life, not in the short run at least. These are the ones that may slip by and not hinder your short-term achievements and objectives. But over a period of time, they’ll all add up and soon enough you’ll be picking up the pieces of the damage it has done to your personal and professional life and your business itself.

Here’s an offer to leaders in the form of advice and a resolution to make. It starts with believing that you want to be a better leader. Next you’ll need to pledge to yourself that you’ll make a conscious effort to avoid the most obvious mistakes leaders make. Along with that pledge is one that has you correct or alter your habits into ones that have a positive impact on you, your life and your business. Once you’ve accepted all these, then continue reading to find out what mistakes you should be avoiding.

1. Dreaming So Big You Forget About Today

It’s great to have big plans and visions. These are important to motivate people and help them strive for more, pushing the boundaries to be more creative and innovative. But dreaming big without having a path is wandering aimlessly. Sadly, that’s what happens when the vision is so big that leaders get lost in the clouds. As important as it is to have big plans for the company, it’s equally important to lay out milestones and smaller achievements that’ll help get you there. Measuring success in smaller units can be beneficial for the company as it’s more visible. The bigger plan will always be the overarching goal, but the smaller wins are what’ll help you know if you’re on track or not.

2. Holding Back and Not Trusting Enough

Often leaders feel that their vision may or may not be completely understood by their team. Sometimes they even feel that it’s not the time to inform people about the company’s vision as they want people to focus on select goals. Some leaders even fear that by disclosing the company’s big vision there’s a threat of it being leaked to their competitors. All plausible, but in all honesty, if you’ve built a strong team of talented individuals who you believe in to execute the vision, even if it’s just a small portion of it, then why not entrust them with your true vision? Why hold back and keep them in the dark? By explaining clearly your vision for the company you gain insight from your team who then are aligned to the vision. They’ll take the challenge head on and there’s a good chance they’ll even offload some of your burden to help you and the company achieve it.

3. You’re In It to Make Money

Aspiring entrepreneurs often dream of being their own bosses and having a relaxing time on white sandy beaches while their company’s profits keep soaring. It’s a great dream but we all know the effort that goes into reaching that point. If you were to define “making money” as your company’s goal and final frontier then you’ve set yourself up for failure. Sure not all organizations are not-for-profit and I’m not saying yours should be one. But that alone cannot be the foundation of what your company strives to be – profitable. The vision and goal has to be more substantial, more meaningful. Drawn from your passion, the company’s values ideally should aim to positively impact society, people and even the environment. And along the way, sure you could be profitable. But profitability should be tied to your company’s sustainability or even its ability to do more. It shouldn’t be its ultimate goal.

4. Not Being Personal Enough

There’s often a persona around CEO’s, Founders and business owners that people perceive them as these cold, unfriendly and authoritative figures who you want to avoid getting into a conversation with. Most employees perceive the company leader as this high and mighty figure who’s stiff and cut-throat. It’s one of the most common mistakes leaders make. The main culprit behind it is how you go about your day. A big challenge for leaders is managing their time and on a daily basis most of it is consumed meeting people to discuss operations, strategies and business opportunities. Leaders need to allocate a portion of their day (or maybe even an hour a week) to spending time with their employees. Show them who you really are as a person, beyond the position. And don’t be shy to talk about your personal life. It’ll only help you be more relatable to your employees.

5. Cutting Corners

I’ve often felt a sense of urgency in the mannerism and attitude of leaders. They’re not only hungry for solutions and decisions but they want it swiftly. It’s as if everything has to be achieved now, before it’s too late. That’s not necessarily and completely a bad thing, considering if you don’t make a move now your competitor just may. Or you could lose out if you take too much time deciding. It’s understandable when things are out of your control to be swift. But it’s one thing to be swift, it’s completely another to be hasty. And that’s the mistake leaders make at times. Hasty decisions, such as hiring someone too quickly without fully screening the candidate, can be taxing for companies. At times your hasty decision to put off one fire so you can turn your attention to the next can prevent you from developing a long term solution.

6. Being Stubborn

Leaders are so passionate about the vision they have for the company that at times they forget there are others who have also invested time and their skills to the same cause. That’s the trap when you feel you know what’s best for the company and no one else can remotely come close to that level of passion. It’s where the leader becomes too stubborn to listen, learn and accept change. If you’ve been successful at communicating your and the company’s vision to the people around you, those you trust, then it’s only logical that with that trust you believe in them. Believe that they too are thinking along the lines of what’s best for the company. There may be things that you’re passionate about, however that aren’t working well. Rather than obsessing over making it work at all costs, confiding in your team, listening to them and being open to ideas could help the company come out of that rut.

7. Emanate What You Believe

Think about the values that are important to you. Your personal and professional code. Are you confident that you’re successfully living by them? Think about the values you would like to see in people. Are the people in your company living by these values and codes? Would you like them to? Aligning people to the company’s vision and values is one part of the path to success. If you’re able to align them to values and codes that you believe in then you’ll be successful in leading them through any challenge. And it all starts with the simple saying are you “walking the talk”? You could have all the fancy and textbook ideologies in mind, but what good are they if you aren’t living by them yourself. How could you possibly expect the same from your employees if you aren’t emanating what you believe in? If it’s excellence you expect, it’s excellence you have to strive for and deliver yourself.

Being a leader isn’t always easy. You’re a role model to a lot of people. People aspire to be like you. It’s a pressuring job that requires you to always remain on your toes. And that alone can lead to mistakes being made. The question isn’t how many or what level of mistakes you’ll make, it’s how you bounce back from them, more determined and committed to succeed. And it’ll only be helpful if you can avoid the common mistakes leaders make so that the more obvious ones you’ve rid yourself off.

Learn how you can take your leadership teams through a growth model which will help them mature on a personal and professional level by following me on LinkedIn and subscribing to the Keijzer Community.

Paul Keijzer is the CEO and Founder of Engage Consulting and the co-Founder of The Talent Games, which aims to transform HR by digitising talent processes and creating more engaging and productive workplaces through gamification and mobile technology. As a global HR and Leadership Management expert, Paul knows how to combine business insights with people insights to transform organisations and put them on the path to growth.

The post 7 Mistakes Leaders Make That Impact Their Success appeared first on Paul Keijzer.

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Leaders are defined by the depth of their vision, the strength of the teams they built and the successes they achieve. They communicate well and openly, are committed to their profession and motivate people around them to become successful. Leaders are creative, bold and charismatic. These traits and more define what good leaders are and should be. But by having all these traits isn’t a leader a superhuman?

There’s much written about the characteristics of leaders and how they should behave. If you read enough you’ll realize that combined these traits are defining a superhuman. Is it really possible for a leader to be a superhuman? Are they really expected to be “flawless” role models who repeatedly achieve success? Is this the reality that every leader is aiming for?

Is It The End If You’re Not A Superhuman Leader?

Leaders, like everyone, are humans. Sure, there are high expectations from them and often the weight of the company rests on their shoulders. It’s not an easy position to be in. Nonetheless, they are humans. And like so many other humans, they too will make mistakes and they too will have some flaws. Does that mean they aren’t good leaders?

Having flaws is automatically perceived as a weakness. In the corporate world where talented people are aiming to be successful there’s not much the weak can achieve. Sooner than later they’ll get passed on for someone who’s more ‘competent’. Though it doesn’t have to be that way. Not if you’re quick to react and have planned contingencies. Just as the saying goes, “fail fast, fail often” so you can quickly move on to achieving success. A good leader knows that even though they may fail, how quickly they bounce back, learn and adapt to shift things in their favor is what makes them greater leaders.

What It Means To Be Human

If you truly believe that there’s no such thing as a ‘born leader’ and that leaders are ‘made’, then you’ll believe that leaders are created from the ranks of talented individuals. These talented individuals are all of us. And none of us are really superhumans. We’re all striving to tap into our true potential. We’re all dedicated and committed to achieve success. And while we all may possess some flaws, we’re working on figuring them out, learning from our mistakes and shortcomings and bettering ourselves to be equipped to handle future challenges. We’re all humans!

Leaders are just that as well. Like us, they’re trying to overcome their shortcomings, learning from mistakes and striving to achieve success. Like us, they leverage their talent, skills and experience to extract their full potential to lead a company and individuals to future growth. Like us, they have families and friends that are connected to them. They have ambitions and goals in life. Like us, they face challenges and roadblocks which they must overcome. They have dreams and visions too.

There’s a leader in all of us. To be a leader start by leading, motivating and grooming yourself. Be a role model to yourself. To be a leader, you don’t have to possess superhuman abilities and traits. You don’t have to be extraordinary and gifted. You simply have to be the best of yourself.

Learn how you can take your leadership teams through a growth model which will help them mature on a personal and professional level by following me on LinkedIn and subscribing to the Keijzer Community.

Paul Keijzer is the CEO and Founder of Engage Consulting and the co-Founder of The Talent Games, which aims to transform HR by digitising talent processes and creating more engaging and productive workplaces through gamification and mobile technology. As a global HR and Leadership Management expert, Paul knows how to combine business insights with people insights to transform organisations and put them on the path to growth.

The post Should A Leader Be Seen As A Superhuman? appeared first on Paul Keijzer.

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When things are going well it would be foolish to do anything to change it. Why take risks when everything is going smoothly, right? In truth, the mark of a successful leader isn’t made by the things that they leave constant. Instead, it’s by the risks they take and the successes they achieve from the learnings gained by the mistakes they make. To be a successful leader you have to bet on certain risks worth taking.

Being courageous and bold is an important ingredient of being a successful leader. You need to have the intention to go beyond the norm and be innovative. Start off with a baseline and define what’s sustainable. Next, calculate what risks you’re willing to take that possibly won’t disrupt your baseline. And then go ahead and execute it. As a starting point, try some of these risks which are worth betting on.

1. Hire Someone You Normally Wouldn’t

The safest thing to do would be to hire someone who’s right for the job, fits the description and has all the qualifications, skills and experience that match the requirements you’re looking for. It’s what you’d normally do simply because you know it works and will meet your expectations. But that’s just the problem. You’ll only get what you expected and nothing more. Hiring someone who’s short of these in terms of qualifications, skills or experience may be a bet that could work in your favor. You’ll find that to compensate for their shortcomings they’ll go the extra mile and prove to you how loyal, dedicated and focused they are. You’ll learn hiring “unusual” candidates are risks worth taking.

2. Take an Underperformer Under Your Wing

There’s a common saying given to almost every underperforming team member, “shape up, or ship out”. Most leaders given up on underperformers and replace them with someone else. Someone who they believe can and will deliver. The obvious justification to this is that you don’t have the time for mediocracy and have stiff challenges that require a skilled resource to work out. That’s easy enough. But taking on someone who isn’t up to the mark and shaping them into a performing star is not only challenging for a leader, it’s an opportunity to truly test your leadership abilities. Take the risk of giving them a second chance. Help them learn from their mistakes and guide them to be better. That’s where you as a leader will feel more accomplished.

3. Admit When You’re Wrong

Leaders are often placed high up on a podium by their teams. You’re a role model, a guide, a source of motivation and inspiration and are abundant with solutions. You’re almost at a place where you can do no wrong. But we all know that’s not true. Leaders can make mistakes. And that’s perfectly fine. What you do next is the pivotal point. Admitting that you made a mistake and that you were wrong takes courage. It’s a risk because it could shake up the confidence of those around you. But these can be risks worth taking if you open yourself up to suggestions and feedback. It’s not admitting defeat, however, it’s saying you miscalculated and now are welcoming ideas on how to manage its impact. You’ll surprisingly find your team more supporting and willing to work this through with you after your acceptance.

4. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

Being risk aversive has its benefits as going with a tried and tested formula is guaranteed to produce results. Also, it helps you avoid uncertainty and prevents you from accepting loses and making mistakes. Though if you were to step out of your comfort zone you’ll be able to try something new and explore your creative and innovative side. These can be risks worth taking as the knowledge you gain will be vital for growth, yours as well as your team’s and company’s. It allows you to experiment with things you haven’t done before that could create new opportunities as well. The key, of course, is to take a pragmatic and calculated risk and one which is backed by empirical data.

5. Trust Your Instincts

In a world that revolves around information and data, it’s hard to ignore numbers and the significant value they possess. Most decisions leaders make are based on facts, numbers, analysis and information that you collect over a period of time. Sometimes though, numbers aren’t enough. Sometimes you have to trust your instinct, your gut and feelings to make choices. After all, you’re a leader with substantial experience and skills. You’ve seen a lot and learned much. There are moments where your wisdom plays a larger role than the numbers you see. And that’s where you take a leap and do something risky not based on what’s known but what you believe in. There will be times you’ll be wrong which is fine. Learn quickly from your mistakes and move forward. However, when your instinct is right and you’re enjoying the outcome, that risk will be all worth taking.

Sure you won’t be successful in every risk you take. There’ll be failures and realizations of the mistakes you made. But the key is to fail early, learn and take another risk. There are risks worth taking and to propel your career or make a significant impact you need to take those risks. How else will you be able to achieve more.

Learn how you can take your leadership teams through a growth model which will help them mature on a personal and professional level by following me on LinkedIn and subscribing to the Keijzer Community.

Paul Keijzer is the CEO and Founder of Engage Consulting and the co-Founder of The Talent Games, which aims to transform HR by digitising talent processes and creating more engaging and productive workplaces through gamification and mobile technology. As a global HR and Leadership Management expert, Paul knows how to combine business insights with people insights to transform organisations and put them on the path to growth.

The post 5 Risks Worth Taking to be Headed Towards Success appeared first on Paul Keijzer.

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When you think of famous Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom names like Clement Attlee, Sir Winston Churchill, David Lloyd George, Margaret Thatcher, and more recently, David Cameron come to mind. Though for most of us who’ve studied or taken an interest in history, the name of Mr. Churchill is always the most familiar thanks to his part in the Second World War. That and his other statesmen accomplishments have earned him the admiration of being one of the most respected, successful and, some say, the greatest Prime Minister of UK. In contrast, however, Prime Minister Anthony Eden didn’t enjoy much approval. In fact you could say he was an unsuccessful successor.

Now there’s of course two sides of Mr. Eden’s story and what he accomplished (or didn’t) during his tenure. But nonetheless, he’s quite unpopular and highly regarded as failing to achieve much. The puzzling part is, however, that he served as Mr. Churchill’s deputy for 15 years prior to becoming the Prime Minister. Makes you wonder how a great leader could breed such an unsuccessful successor?

Challenges of the Current Leader

One of the most important role for a leader, aside from business growth, vision implementation and talent acquisition is to develop capacity within the company. Capacity in the form of strong leadership and succession pipeline. Leaders spend years and even decades developing this talent, grooming, mentoring, nurturing and shaping them into being the best versions of themselves. But sometimes all these efforts fail when it’s time for them to step up and grab the bull by the horns.

And it’s not uncommon for the existing CEO to hand over the reins to their long serving deputy. Just this morning I read about the CEO of Lego planning to appoint Bali Padda, the company’s COO for 14 years, as the next leader of the global toy company. Mr. Padda has worked very closely with the present CEO and isn’t new to the company or the industry. In fact, he was quite instrumental in boosting the company’s profitability in the past decade. So there’s much promise riding on Mr. Padda’s shoulders, though time will tell how well the company will do under his leadership.

Last week, Howard Schultz, CEO and Chairman of Starbucks also announced that he’s stepping down and passing on the mantle to COO, Kevin Johnson. It seems it’s only logical to appoint a successor who’s worked so closely with and has been groomed by the present leader.

What Makes an Unsuccessful Successor?

With all economical and sociopolitical factors remaining constant and not playing a negative role in the successor’s path to achieve glory, there’s little that can go wrong. Well at least in theory. But somehow, things don’t always manifest the way they should and companies and their employees bear the brunt of an unsuccessful successor.

The Loss of Company Vision

Vision often is the challenge that mars a new leader to be known as an unsuccessful successor. Founding and even long serving CEOs who’ve driven a company to newer, broader horizons implement strategies with such clear vision of what they want the company to achieve that it often becomes challenging and difficult for their successors to emulate.

Steve Ballmer replaced Bill Gates as the CEO of Microsoft and in his 14 years reign he tripled the company’s sales. Seems like a successful succession story right? But if you look deeper, Ballmer was a great salesman riding on the glories of existing products and services. In his tenure not much was invested towards future projects, products or services. So while he may have earned the company $78 billion, Microsoft lost out to its competitors in the areas of mobile, cloud and search services. Basically, Ballmer wasn’t able to carry forward the vision that drove Microsoft to greatness. Something Bill Gates was successful at.

Trying to be Undisruptive

New leaders sometimes try to jump onboard a sailing boat and try not to rock it too much. The ideology they employ is that if things are operating and running smoothly, there’s little or no need to disrupt things or change too much. So if you’ve got a tried and tested strategy, formula or even process, there’s no reason to bring about changes. Such leaders will ride the winds and let the company drift calmly. As the saying goes, ‘why try to fix something that’s not broken’.

But, of course, not everything can remain constant. In today’s fast-paced environment where consumer needs and market trends are constantly and rapidly changing, companies and their leaders need to be nimble and quick to manage and handle changes. Failing to do so, could result in your leadership being seen as unsuccessful.

Stepping Out of the Shadow

When taking on a senior leadership position there’s much expectations riding on the incumbent. It’s not easy filling the gap created by a successful leader. You’re in the spotlight by shareholders, employees and all other stakeholders who’re looking at you for guidance and direction. Expectations ride high when you’re in the hottest seat of the company.

That’s why some successors try their utmost to step away from the shadow of their predecessors. They’ll work endlessly to devise new strategies and give the company new purpose and vision. These can be great if the leader can steer the company towards new, greener horizons. However, it can be a nightmare if stepping out of the shadow disrupts the core of the company’s ideology. The new leader may face resistance and decisions could be fatal for the business. And sadly, all that leads to is the leader being branded as an unsuccessful successor.

The new leader, no doubt, has some big shoes to fill, and it’s never a walk in the park. A challenging role it sure is. A demanding situation it definitely is to succeed a respected and successful leader. But if the new leader plays his or her cards right, they may just be able to avoid the title of an unsuccessful successor.

Learn how you can take your leadership teams through a growth model which will help them mature on a personal and professional level by following me on LinkedIn and subscribing to the Keijzer Community.

Paul Keijzer is the CEO and Founder of Engage Consulting and the co-Founder of The Talent Games, which aims to transform HR by digitising talent processes and creating more engaging and productive workplaces through gamification and mobile technology. As a global HR and Leadership Management expert, Paul knows how to combine business insights with people insights to transform organisations and put them on the path to growth.

The post Why Great Leaders Can Have An Unsuccessful Successor appeared first on Paul Keijzer.

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It can happen to the best of leaders. In your drive to create a team of incredibly talented and dedicated individuals who are aligned to the business’s objectives and are focused on delivering quality results, you sometimes falter. How’s it even possible to falter when all your intensions are towards the best interests of the team and the company. Yet sometimes even with the best of intensions you end up doing things that may damage your team.

There are certain things you as leaders practice – some you’ve learnt about and some that are out of habit. Some of these practices may be counterproductive to your team’s development and ability to be successful. And while you may not be consciously trying to destroy your team, it’s probably a good idea to see if you do practice some of these habits which can have a negative effect on your teams.

1. Evading Empowerment

When I think of empowering the team I think of three things that leaders must do:

  1. leave egos outside
  2. trust their team
  3. listen to their team

There are other traits that can be added to these but I feel these three make up the core of how leaders can empower their teams. I’m sure you won’t doubt that empowerment is essential to maintain a cohesive, motivated and focused team. But it won’t be possible if you as the leader aren’t willing to let go of your ego, come down to the level of your team and say “we can do this together”. Spread the function’s goals across the team to each individual and then trust them to deliver. Delegate and move on, trusting them to deliver. Micromanagement leads to frustration and lack of confidence in your team. Trust them to do their best that’ll be in favor of the department and company. And let’s not forget to listen to their opinions and feedback. After all, once you’ve shed your ego, you’ve opened the possibility of “having a say”.

2. Communication Breakdown

I’ve often heard leaders complain that their team doesn’t exactly listen to them or does things that wasn’t aligned with the expectations they had. Honestly, if there’s any change that needs to be made it’s in the communication that occurs between a leader and their team. Sometimes the messages and expectations aren’t clearly communicated which leads to wasteful efforts and frustration. Other times the expectations are clear but aren’t necessarily remembered because communication occurs so infrequently. All things that can damage your team’s performance.

It’s easy to get lost in daily operations and not have the time to “talk”. But if you’re not communicating with your team, the people who are actually working to achieve goals, then all that effort could result to chaos that’s focused on no particular end result. Annual or semi-annual formal reviews and meetings with your team members simply aren’t enough. The communication needs to flow informally and formally. It needs to be sporadic and frequent. The notion that expectations aren’t clear should be unheard of. And that’s because you have talked about the values and the mission so many times that your team knows exactly what’s expected of them.

3. Being Indecisive

It’s understandable that as a leader your team turns to you for wisdom and guidance. It’s quite challenging being the source of solutions and decisions. Sometimes it’s even risky knowing you’re about to make a big, impactful decision. So you put it off for another day allowing yourself more time to think it over. Leave it hanging for longer and your indecisiveness will damage your team and drop their productivity as they themselves will become unable to commit to decisions. It also makes you lose credibility in the eyes of your team.

Instead of procrastinating, do your research and information gathering swiftly so you can make your decision. Consult your team to see what they suggest (you’ll be surprised at the creative solutions you’ll get from them). Your decision will help your team move ahead. You may not be 100% certain that it’s the best choice or direction, but at least you’ve made a decision and are brave enough to see how it unfolds.

Your team is an extension of you. Being a leader requires you to bring out your A-game (the best of yourself). It’s not easy always being on your toes and making sure that your practices and habits can positively impact your team. It requires a lot of self-disciplining. But being aware of things that may damage your team is a good start towards a positive and productive professional journey.

Learn how you can take your leadership teams through a growth model which will help them mature on a personal and professional level by following me on LinkedIn and subscribing to the Keijzer Community.

Paul Keijzer is the CEO and Founder of Engage Consulting and the co-Founder of The Talent Games, which aims to transform HR by digitising talent processes and creating more engaging and productive workplaces through gamification and mobile technology. As a global HR and Leadership Management expert, Paul knows how to combine business insights with people insights to transform organisations and put them on the path to growth.

The post How To Stop Doing Things That May Damage Your Team appeared first on Paul Keijzer.

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Exploiting the full potential of talent isn’t an easy or quick process. It requires patience, commitment, dedication, and a lot of counseling, among several other things. And for all this you need a coaches and mentors to help guide and steer individuals towards the exploitation of their greatness that’s yet to make its mark.

I’ve often heard people say that they act as coaches for their teams. Some confess to being mentors for individuals who are trying to channelize their talent. But how do you choose when it’s time to be a mentor and when to be a coach?

When Do You Need Coaches and Mentors?

A coach has a short-term agenda that focuses on enhancing performance. Say you’ve implemented a new system and now you require your team to know how to use it. They’ll need a coach to guide them and develop their particular skills to use this system. Another way to look at it is when you share those words of wisdom with your team members that makes them go “Oh wow, I didn’t know you could do it this way!” That’s right, using your expertise and to transfer knowledge and skills is when you as their leader are acting as a coach.

A mentor, on the other hand, as a long-term, planned agenda which focuses on specific developmental needs. In this role you don’t need to be a subject matter expert. You don’t need to know anything about the individual’s skill. As a mentor you’re trying to understand what makes people ambitious and drives them towards success. What motivates them, professionally and personally? As a mentor you’ll have a deeper relationship with your team and then work to extract the best out of them.

What Role Should You Choose To Be?

Ok so it’s clear what coaches and mentors do, but what’s going to work for you and your team? Depending on the situation, a little of both!

One of the key attributes a leader should possess is versatility. You have to be gentle and stern. Brave and cautious. Intuitive and calculated. Similarly, you have to be a coach and a mentor for your team and everyone else that you are professionally linked to.

When you want to develop a specific competency using performance management tools you want to be a coach. On the other hand, you’ll mentor them when you want to develop your talent pool or successors. And that’s because you’ll need to spend extensive time with your team and plan out every step of the way for their development. It’s not a specific skill or competency you’re enhance, you’re enhancing them holistically.

Does One Formula Work For All?

Remember I said that depending on the situation you’ll need to decide when to be a coach or a mentor? Well it’s not just situations that happen around the organization. It’s also situations that people are in. What I mean by that is the developmental level individuals are at will also be a factor that’ll help you decide your choice of role.

You see, mentoring is to develop individuals in the long-run. Basically, it’s addressing the needs of tomorrow for your company and team. Now if someone in your team has already reached their glass ceiling, would you be coaching them or mentoring them? Chances are you’ll be coaching them to enhance their skills so that they continue to do what they know, and do it better.

It’s not a bad idea to sometimes stop and think about what role you want to play before you offer advice. I know it isn’t easy switching hats so frequently or even so rapidly. But good coaches and mentors know that if their chosen role isn’t clear, instead of doing good, you’ll be harming the careers of your team members. And that’s definitely not what you want to be known for.

Learn how you can take your leadership teams through a growth model which will help them mature on a personal and professional level by following me on LinkedIn and subscribing to the Keijzer Community.

Paul Keijzer is the CEO and Founder of Engage Consulting and the co-Founder of The Talent Games, which aims to transform HR by digitising talent processes and creating more engaging and productive workplaces through gamification and mobile technology. As a global HR and Leadership Management expert, Paul knows how to combine business insights with people insights to transform organisations and put them on the path to growth.

The post Coaches and Mentors – When To Be One? appeared first on Paul Keijzer.

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Have you ever talked to a consultant in one of the larger global firms? I still find it fascinating how different people from all over the world come together to create a machine which solves the most complex problems for their clients. These people are so used to bringing talent together from all over the world aren’t phased at all from different time zones or never “meeting” the people they’re working with. They know that everyone has strengths to offer and focus on the goals that need to be achieved.

But even with the best of intentions, working with remote teams, especially with “less-mature” workforces such as many in frontier markets can cause projects to collapse flat with failure. Below are the strategies I’ve found that more or less eliminate the challenges of remote teams so that everyone can focus on simply working.

1. Communicate

There’s a reason why introverts have a hard time working remotely – they’re not a fan of communicating. And this is the key to success for managing remote teams. Remember the good old saying “Out of Sight, Out of Mind”? It’s true. Silos of individuals who are in the same office or location will start working strongly together and naturally forget about those who aren’t with them. Unless, everyone is communicating. Be it emails, phone calls, conference calls, whatsapp chats – anything that gets everyone to touch base.

2. Document

Once you communicate, you have to keep track of it all. And what I’ve learned is that there’s no wrong or right about how you document. You could be having weekly status reports or monthly planning calendars. Maybe simple to-do lists with deadlines work for you. If you’ve got more complicated projects then of course you should consider the benefits of project management softwares such as Asana or Slack.

3. Recognize Personalities

Okay so this is a tricky one because it’s challenging enough when you’re in the same office as someone and even more hard when you aren’t. Recognizing personalities and understanding what makes people tick and what sets them off the wrong path is critical for remote teams. Take for example someone who needs constant guidance to get tasks done. You’ll need to communicate with them even more than other team members. Then consider someone with a short fuse – if you end up having a head on collision with them at their night, it’ll be a while before you can smooth things over with them. Thus, you have to recognize personalities and be extra careful when they’re part of remote teams.

4. Establish Relationships

There’s a fine line about how personal to get with someone at work. On one hand, knowing what’s going on in your team member’s personal lives will give you a better idea of what helps them have a good day at work. On the other hand, you’ll have to make sure that well meaning questions aren’t taken as being too nosy – especially if you’re a remote team. But, I personally feel that knowing how your people are really doing helps you develop a professional bond that will see you through tough times that are guaranteed to arise.

It’s a fun world out there and remote teams are one way to buff up your team’s skills. Just have yourself armed with the knowledge to handle the challenges that will come your way. The way I see it, there will be challenges – whether your teams are in the same office or spread out. So why not take the latter route and get the best people possible from all around the world?

Learn how you can take your leadership teams through a growth model which will help them mature on a personal and professional level by following me on LinkedIn and subscribing to the Keijzer Community.

Paul Keijzer is the CEO and Founder of Engage Consulting and the co-Founder of The Talent Games, which aims to transform HR by digitising talent processes and creating more engaging and productive workplaces through gamification and mobile technology. As a global HR and Leadership Management expert, Paul knows how to combine business insights with people insights to transform organisations and put them on the path to growth.

The post How to Run Remote Teams: 4 Ultimate Strategies appeared first on Paul Keijzer.

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If you’ve ever mentored someone then you know how baffling some people find it when they seem to be doing everything right but simply aren’t able to find the success they’re looking for. Unfortunately for these people, they’re not able to step back and look at things from a third person’s perspective (hence why they’re working with a mentor in the first place). If they could, they’d see that one challenge they face is that they have an undercurrent of toxic behaviors that undermine their success as a leader.

By identifying these toxic behaviors and modifying them (it’s often very hard to eliminate core elements of how we lead), their chances of creating success increase exponentially. These are four of the most common toxic behaviors I have seen most often in potentially incredible leaders.

1. Being Overly Enthusiastic

Every leader must have the ability to create a vision. But what sometimes happens is these visions are so out there, so literally incomprehensible by the rest of the organization, that the rest of the team simply doesn’t believe that the end can be reached.

[Tweet “Instead of only talking about vision, talk about the aspirational goals that can lead you there.”]

Use the conversation about aspirational goals to slowly take your people up to the vision that you have. You’ll not only make sure that everyone keeps up, but you’ll have their constructive input on how to get there.

2. Bullying People Into Agreement

I’ve talked about how people can manage having a bully boss but sometimes you can be a bully without intending to be mean. It especially happens when you have a vision that you strongly believe in and simply can’t get the team on the same page as you.

[Tweet “Never force people to agree to a vision, convince them through open dialog.”]

You could always get people to agree with you by forcing them but all you’ll really get is the “yes sir” answer which is so prevalent in frontier markets. You won’t get buy in to have the team perform the actions to get you there. And hence you will fail.

3. Being Envious of Other People’s Success

The grass is always greener on the other side but that’s often because the story of greener pastures is highly exaggerated. Everyone has had to face past and manage current challenges to get to where they are. Nobody’s going to be inspired by a leader who wastes time and energy being envious of others.

[Tweet “Rather than wondering why someone else is successful, learn from how they got there.”]

Even if you try to hide your envy, it will inevitably show through your actions. Just don’t go there. You’ll create your own success if you put in the right energy and actions.

4. Taking Things Personally

Have you ever worked with a leader who is just too emotional? These are the people who randomly explode during meetings or discussions. Even though what they may be saying is correct, the way they present the information just undermines your desire to respect them.

[Tweet “Nothing is ever personal in business, even if the other person intends it to be.”]

Even if you say sorry after displaying an emotional explosion during a meeting, you might end up losing the respect that you need for people to really follow you through thick and thin. Drive and vision can be separated from emotions – and almost always should be.

It’s risky to be driven for success without being aware of the dangers on the path to getting there. These are just a few.

Learn how you can take your leadership teams through a growth model which will help them mature on a personal and professional level by following me on LinkedIn and subscribing to the Keijzer Community.

Paul Keijzer is the CEO and Founder of Engage Consulting and the co-Founder of The Talent Games, which aims to transform HR by digitising talent processes and creating more engaging and productive workplaces through gamification and mobile technology. As a global HR and Leadership Management expert, Paul knows how to combine business insights with people insights to transform organisations and put them on the path to growth.

The post 4 Toxic Behaviors That Leaders Need to be Wary Of appeared first on Paul Keijzer.

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Just because you’re at the head of the table doesn’t mean you’re a leader. There’s a clear difference between a leader and a manager. I agree with Travis Bradberry when he says “you’re not a leader just because you have people reporting to you. And you don’t suddenly become a leader once you reach a certain pay grade.” So it’s time you lose that feeling of entitlement and ask yourself “how do I score in the leadership litmus test?”

To find out, answer these questions.

Are You Aware of Your Behavior?

Being a leader requires you to be a role model. To be a role model, you must be aware of your actions and behaviors. And that means you’ll always have to be on your toes ensuring your mannerism reflects qualities that inspires people to emulate you (if not go beyond). Irrespective where you are, be it at home or office, people should always see you as a role model. So don’t be shy to ask yourself every now and then: “am I doing the right thing?” That’s a good way to ensure you’re ‘walking the walk’ before you expect the same of others.

Also, by being aware of your behavior you’re not just managing people to perform their duties. You’re actually inspiring them to alter their own behavior. The greater impact here is that you’re helping people alter their behavior to aim higher, widen their aspirations and restlessly push their limits to achieve more.

Are You Positive to Your Core?

I’ve often come across people who spend too much time pondering on ‘what could have been’. To them I say, “It’s over. Learn from it. Move on.” You can’t keep dwelling in the past. There are also those who love to keep highlighting problems but seldom do they have solutions. It’s easy to crib but after a while you’re seen as the company ‘cry-baby’.

A true sign of a leader is their ability to see the positive (in everything)! It may seem like that’s practically impossible, but leaders will hunt and find light during the darkest of times. If you’re able to learn from mistakes, find opportunities in gaps and losses and can drive people towards positivity, you will pass this leadership litmus test.

Are You Generous and Selfless?

Your first response to this would be sure I’m charitable. This leadership litmus test isn’t about how benevolent you are. It’s a test of your ability to share knowledge and vision. Knowing when to take a step back and let things evolve with little or no involvement from you. Being open to suggestions and ideas from people around you. This is the test that confirms you’re not gunning for self-glorification.

A selfless act you do as a leader wins you credibility and earns you respect. It’s truly being at the level of self-actualization where you’re more concerned about the bigger picture than your personal victories. Sure you’ll win too, when your team and your organization wins. But that’s not what drives you. And if all this sounds like you, it’s most likely because you passed this Leadership litmus test as well.

For some of you passing the Leadership Litmus Test will suggest you’re on track to become a great leader with the added attributes and traits that define a ‘good leader’. For others the result may be short of this. But believe me your dreams to be a leader aren’t over yet. All of these are learnable skills and once you’ve polished them I’m certain the result of the Leadership Litmus Test will be more favorable.

Learn how you can take your leadership teams through a growth model which will help them mature on a personal and professional level by following me on LinkedIn and subscribing to the Keijzer Community.

Paul Keijzer is the CEO and Founder of Engage Consulting and the co-Founder of The Talent Games, which aims to transform HR by digitising talent processes and creating more engaging and productive workplaces through gamification and mobile technology. As a global HR and Leadership Management expert, Paul knows how to combine business insights with people insights to transform organisations and put them on the path to growth.

The post The Leadership Litmus Test: Is There a Leader in You? appeared first on Paul Keijzer.

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