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Leadership Matters Blog
LEAD. GROW. INSPIRE.
In October, I had the opportunity to attend and speak at the 2019 NHRMA conference. The conference was well attended with 850+ attendees discussing how HR and business will need to adapt to the future. A future that is changing at a rapid pace!
My presentation, titled "Lost in the Middle: How Middle Managers Lead to Organizational Success", focused on how organizations achieve sustainable success when they build strong leadership bench strength. This requires selecting and preparing the best possible leaders for the future. If this is true, why are so few organizations investing in their middle managers?
We assume that after sending first-time managers to 'supervisor school' they have all the tools they need when they take the next step into middle-management. And there they languish, and so does your organization, because the leadership pipeline is blocked due to the lack of attention.
What does your organization's leadership bench strength look like? How will your organization focus on developing middle managers into leaders in 2020? Read my authored Forbes article titled "Understanding the Middle Manager: Convert Their Plight to Power" for more information on this topic or let's schedule a 30-minute conversation to discuss your 2020 plans!
Lynda Silsbee | Owner & Founder
The Alliance for Leadership Acceleration
Imagine the impact your mid-level managers could have if they could be more effective at leading change, executing strategy and motivating their team to be more productive. The LEAP®-Leadership Acceleration program combines world-class leadership and management development practices with highly skilled facilitators and coaches to transform your mid-level managers into leaders.
Interested in developing stronger and better leaders in your organization? We're happy to help you create a leadership plan specifically for your organization. Let's schedule a 30 minute 1:1 conversation to discuss your plans.
Depending on your goals and the size of your business there are multiple options with our comprehensive and all-inclusive LEAP program you can consider:
It's very rewarding to see our clients on their journey to developing strong, confident leaders in their communities! Want to learn more? Register for a live informational webinar on December 11 or January 22 at 9am (PST) and find out how and why LEAP works and which track is right for you or your business. Questions? Let's book a 1:1 conversation.
Lynda Silsbee | Owner & Founder
The Alliance for Leadership Acceleration
Growing Demand For LEAP® | We're Looking For Top-Notch Consultants, Coaches & Facilitators to Become LEAP® Certified
We are experiencing a growing demand for LEAP® in multiple markets throughout the U.S., including Denver, New York, Portland, OR, Phoenix, and others. Independent consultants (and boutique firms) can add LEAP to their business offering, to grow their business, while growing the next generation of leaders in their area.
Did you know that Affiliate Partners add a minimum of $32,000 in revenue to their coaching/consulting practice when LEAP is added to their offerings? A LEAP license not only adds to your revenue, but your license gives you exclusive rights to your territory.
Start developing strong, confident leaders in your community! We are looking for top notch consultants like our most recent LEAP certified Affiliate Partner in the Dallas-Fort Worth market, who just graduated their first Cohort in September 2019. Click here to learn more about the LEAP Certified Affiliate Program.
If you, or someone you know, are interested in learning more, let's schedule a 30 minute 1:1 conversation. Questions? Contact Lynda Silsbee.
LEAP® Masters Forum is the next big step in your LEAP-Leadership Acceleration. LEAP Masters Forum was created as an opportunity for LEAP Graduates to continue to accelerate their leadership performance. This is what our graduates have been asking for!
The LEAP Masters Forum brings the best practices from the monthly LEAP-Leadership Acceleration Program experience, combined with the best from monthly C-level forum groups like CEO Masters Forum and Vistage to offer an opportunity for exponential professional growth. Peer forums like CEO Masters Forum and Vistage have proven to be an invaluable tool for business leaders for over 60 years. The consistent benefits of peer forum participation are substantial in terms of professional effectiveness, personal growth and financial outcomes.
LEAP Masters is available to graduates of the LEAP (and LEAP University) program. The LEAP Masters Cohort is forming now. Click here to learn more or register for an upcoming live informational webinar.
Questions? Contact Lynda Silsbee or Tim Riley. If you are ready to apply for the LEAP Masters Forum, submit your application today!
LEAP Masters Forum Webinars | Register
Click on the button below to register for a LEAP Masters Forum live informational webinar. This is an opportunity for graduates of the LEAP program to learn more about the LEAP Masters Forum and get your questions answered.
As a leader, how do you plan to lead, grow and inspire before the end of 2019? We have several opportunities this Fall to accelerate your leadership...
We look forward to meeting you at one of our Fall events!
Creator of LEAP | Founder of the Alliance for Leadership Acceleration
LEAP® is the Leadership Acceleration Program that develops mid-level managers into heroes of the workplace, helping them take ownership of their team, drive employee engagement and lead performance management initiatives. There are three LEAP pathways to transform managers into leaders. Which works for your business? Learn more here...
Register for a live informational webinar on September 12 or September 25 at 9am (PST) and find out how and why LEAP works and which track is right for you or your business. New LEAP groups are starting in September! If you're ready to reserve your spot in an upcoming cohort, apply here now.
'Everyday Leadership Acts of Courage' is a series of articles authored by Lynda Silsbee, Founder of the Alliance for Leadership Acceleration and member of the Forbes Coaches Council. The article series, as seen on Forbes.com, reflects on Lynda's gratitude to those, past and present, who have chosen to be courageous leaders in the work-world and the lessons everyone can learn from them. In the final article in the series, titled 'Leaving a Legacy', Lynda shares a few examples of her Nordstrom experiences and explains how these hold important lessons for today's leaders. Read the article here...
Also on Forbes.com is Lynda's authored article 'Masterful Messaging: Five Ways To Improve Your Organizational Communications'. If you've paid little attention to your approach to organizational communications, now is a great time to take a step back, assess and implement needed improvements. Read more here on the five ways Lynda suggests organizations can communicate their message more clearly.
"Masterful Messaging: Five Ways to Improve Your Organizational Communications" originally appeared on Forbes.com.
For any organization’s leadership, effectively communicating with employees is perhaps the most important “big picture” skill to master. After all, if the head can’t clearly tell the body what to do, the entity as a whole will wind up stumbling around and, sooner or later, falling to the ground.
Yet so many organizations pay little specific attention to their internal communications. Sometimes leaders simply assume that, if everyone speaks and reads the same language, there’s no reason to think miscommunications will occur. Other times, communication policies were laid down years ago and they’ve become outdated.
If you’ve paid little heed to your approach to organizational communications, now’s a good time to take a step back, assess and, where necessary, implement some improvements. Here are five ways to communicate more clearly.
1. Start at the top.
Senior leaders must set the tone by being visible, accessible and open with employees. They must serve as walking, talking, writing examples of clear, candid communication.
Unfortunately, this is often where many organizations’ communication breakdowns begin. If upper management isolates itself and reaches out only through cold, “corporate speak” memos and emails, important messages will likely get ignored or misunderstood. In such cases, middle management often must “translate” communications, which turns into a game of telephone that leaves employees confused or disgruntled.
Determining whether senior leadership isn’t getting the job done can be difficult. Someone in upper management usually needs to champion the cause of organizational communications and convince others to commit to an improvement plan. Such a plan might start with engaging a consultant to assess internal messaging and then provide training — both to upper and middle management.
2. Understand your audience.
Do you know who works for you? Well, of course you do — but do you really know them? Over time, the demographics of an organization can change and the preferred communication methods and styles of employees along with it.
For instance, volumes have been written at this point about millennials and how they communicate differently from the Gen Xers who preceded them and certainly the baby boomers before that. And, don’t look now, but Generation Z is entering the workforce as well. These are young people who grew up completely immersed in social media.
Use objective measurement techniques (surveys, focus groups, 360-degree feedback) to take an ongoing pulse of your workforce. Paint a full picture of your organization’s people and what makes them tick. Then align company messaging and communication channels with these preferences.
3. Tell the whole story, consistently.
Among the most common complaints from employees is that their employers try to spin communications by cherry-picking certain facts and leaving out much of the nuance. As a result, trust suffers while rumors and conspiracy theories may rear their ugly heads.
Another common complaint is that employees hear or read slightly differing stories and directives, maybe first from upper management and then from middle management. Or they notice that their employer’s message changes over the months or from quarter to quarter, leaving them to wonder where the organization’s priorities really lie.
Organizations can address both foibles through an effective, well-planned communications process. Discuss each company-wide announcement thoroughly and reach a consensus regarding a full range of pertinent facts and additional information. Choose the ideal medium (or media) to communicate the message, ensuring that — no matter how the information is conveyed — it’s consistent under all formats. Last, when issuing updates, double check that the communication remains consistent with previous messaging.
4. Differentiate between verbal and written communication.
Given how easy it is to transmit written information these days, some managers may rely too much on emails, texts and instant messaging. As most of us have experienced by now, words on a screen are easily misinterpreted and taken the wrong way.
Generally, supervisors should communicate important personal information to employees — especially corrections and criticism — verbally and, where possible, face-to-face. This goes for positive feedback, too. Compliments and news of awards or a promotion tend to have greater impact emotionally when expressed in person.
Of course, you must put formal disciplinary communications in writing for purposes of documentation. And memos and emails are still a necessary tool in delivering messages that affect departments or the entire organization. For these purposes, bear in mind that the written word carries more weight in a legal and historical sense than the spoken word.
When committing words to paper or a digital file, they’re made permanent (unless, of course, shredded or deleted, which is another subject unto itself). So, when generating written communications, take extra care to be completely accurate or to issue timely corrections when mistakes occur. What’s more, ensure communications are free of errors in punctuation, spelling and grammar.
5. Offer ample opportunities for dialogue.
Communication, as the cliché goes, is a two-way street. Or at least it should be. Some executives and managers may assume their door is always open, but their behavior or the organizational culture may discourage employees from walking through it and asking questions or giving feedback.
This is another problem that you can address through regular employee surveys — particularly anonymous ones. You may be communicating with staff well for the most part, but if they can’t talk back, there’s still a major shortcoming in your messaging.
One obvious place to encourage dialogue is in your performance evaluations. Be sure supervisors are setting aside time during these meetings to discuss the issue of organizational communications and solicit improvement ideas. You might also reevaluate whether and how department meetings are being conducted and how often supervisors are interacting with their staff members outside of performance evaluations.
Review and refine.
Many organizations, particularly businesses, spend a substantial amount of time and resources perfecting their external messaging. But don’t overlook the power and importance of clearly communicating with your own employees. It’s an organizational skill-set that may occasionally need review and refinement.
POST WRITTEN BY
Founder of the Alliance for Leadership Acceleration and Member of the Forbes Coaches Council
Lynda Silsbee is Founder and President of the Alliance for Leadership Acceleration. She has spent more than 30 years creating and leading high performance teams. Along with the other LEAP Certified Coaches, she reports that helping managers make the LEAP to leader is one of the most fulfilling aspects of her work.