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What makes a leader stand out from others? How can you be more memorable? How can you increase your influence?
Writer Michael Ellsberg tells a story about an encounter with Bill Clinton:
“I have a friend who has always despised Bill Clinton,” a person at a cocktail party told me during the time I was writing my book about eye contact. “Yet, somehow my friend found himself at a function that Bill Clinton was attending. And, within the swirl of the crowd, he was introduced to Clinton.”
“In that moment, face-to-face, all of my friend’s personal animosity towards Clinton disappeared, in one instant,” my new acquaintance at the party continued. “As they were shaking hands, Clinton made eye contact with my friend in a way so powerful and intimate, my friend felt as though the two of them were the only people in the room.”
You may be thinking – so what? Bill Clinton’s charisma is legendary – and I’m just not him. So what?
Hurias and Associates recently surveyed CEOs to find out what they are looking for in leaders. One of the key things that CEOs say they are looking for in leaders is a willingness to “Look people in the eye.”
Is it really that simple? Look people in the eye?
I think that eye contact makes a big difference – and so do these CEOs. So what should you do?
Be intentional about really listening to what others are saying – no looking at email or phone, and
One Final Thought:
The next time you’re in a meeting with your boss, make a point to be focused on what he or she is saying, and then look them in the eye as you speak. Afterward, email me and tell me how it went! tom@BrightHillGroup.com Cooper News:
We’ve been enjoying the cooler weather. This week the kids spent some time on a blustery fall day playing at the playground. I suspect that all too soon we will be breaking out the heavier jackets.
You’re Just Not Delivering At Work
“Tom, my boss thinks that you’re just not delivering for us. He can’t understand why you waste so much time on project X when there are more important things to do. He’s pretty unhappy with you.” It was October. Annual reviews were to take place in January, and this was the first I had heard that my boss and HIS boss were unhappy with my performance.
I went to my boss’ boss and said “Joe. I heard from my boss that you’re unhappy with my performance. I think I’m probably working hard on things that you don’t value. Can we sit down and talk about what you DO value so that I can start to deliver the results that you want?”
Unfortunately he never made the time for a follow up discussion and in January I received the worst performance evaluation of my entire career.
In a recent post, Joel Peterson, Chairman of JetBlue Airways talked about 10 tips for feedback to employees. Clearly my boss (and his boss had violated #4 “Don’t limit it to an annual event.” They also dropped the ball on #8 “Follow up” – the only follow up was my performance review. Needless to say, I found another boss to work for after that!
Here are two of the top ten that you can apply right now!
1. Don’t “wing it” – Make the time to plan what you are going to say to a direct report when giving them feedback
2. Be specific – Tell them exactly what you want – in detail, and when you want it
One Final Thought:
Come up with a specific, measurable action item you’d like to see a direct report begin to do for you. Then stop by their office and privately ask “May I offer you some feedback?” – if they say yes, tell them exactly what you want – then email me and tell me how it went: tom@BrightHillGroup.com
We squeezed in a quick day trip to western NC to check out the fall leaves in the Blue Ridge mountains. What a BEAUTIFUL place. It reminded me of my late father and how much he loved being in the mountains. A good day.
The guy isn’t here? Are you kidding?
Well, it was at least a little bit my fault – We traded emails yesterday and he proposed a 9AM, meeting and I accepted – but I never saw a confirmation email. I took it on faith that he would be there.
His admin sends him an email. 5 minutes pass. 10 minutes… She calls his cell – no answer. Meanwhile I had gotten up super early and fought traffic to make it all the way into the city for this meeting. To help him solve his problems.
No call? No show? Nothing?
That guy must be a real jerk. Does he have any idea how frustrating it is to show up and have him not be there?
A little while later he calls in. His admin says “He’s stuck in traffic and will be here in about 15 minutes. Can you talk to him on the phone and then hang around till he gets here?”
Wow. Uh. Ok. I guess.
Really inconsiderate. Who IS this guy?!?!?
All of a sudden, everything changes
He gets on the phone with me and says “Tom. I’m sorry – I’ve been out of the office since lunch yesterday. My son had an emergency yesterday and I’ve been up all night at the local hospital. There’s no cell service there and I’ve been completely out of the loop. I apologize for not being there to meet with you.”
WHOA. Talk about a “paradigm shift!”
Does this guy still seem like a rude, inconsiderate person?
I’m telling this story to say that sometimes people seem really upsetting – and some are. Other times they have so much going on in their lives that they don’t have space to be considerate.
At this point it looks like his son is going to be ok. We’re going to reschedule for sometime when my client has had less stress and some rest, and I’m going to continue to learn to be more compassionate. Does this sound like a good plan?
Who in your life needs a little more space to deal with their “stuff”? How can you help them?
In this CEO Essentials Podcast, We’ll hear from Ian Altman from Grow My Revenue.
We talk about:
* Why your customers need you to tell them about the problems you solve (not product features)
* How an “elevator rant” is MUCH better for sales than an “elevator pitch”
* A simple formula to help your customers know when it’s time to buy (now!)
Before Ian founded Grow My Revenue he served as CEO of technology and professional services companies for two decades before selling them.
He then served as Managing Director of a parent company that he grew from $100 million in revenue to two billion in just three years. Ian’s also the author of “Upside Down Selling,” an Amazon number one best seller. His book helps audiences discover how to flip the sales process upside down to become outrageously successful in targeting winning business.
Ian’s work is published regularly on Huffington Post and the Washington Business Journal and you can find his stuff at GrowMyRevenue.com.
About the Podcast
We host a podcast focused on the essentials of leadership. We interview experts and publish a new podcast every few weeks on topics like project management, sales, marketing, leadership development, and so much more.
Don’t miss out! Sign up here for future podcast episodes to be delivered to you as soon as they are released! (You can also find the podcast iniTunes)
In this CEO Essentials Podcast, I connect with Carl Pritchard of Carl Pritchard Associates
We talk about how RISK is not necessarily a 4 letter word – how you can be happy about it!
Would you like to see the future?
Do we have to fix every risk?
What *should* we worry about?
Carl Pritchard is the “Risk Guy.” He’s written two books on risk…the most recent is the Risk Management Memory Jogger with Karen Tate by QPC Press. He lectures, consults and trains around the world on the topic. He also has the unusual reputation of making risk management FUN! He is the principal and founder of Pritchard Management Associates and holds certifications in project management, risk management and earned value.
About the Podcast
We host a podcast focused on the essentials of leadership. We interview experts and publish a new podcast every few weeks on topics like project management, sales, marketing, leadership development, and so much more. Don’t miss out! Sign up here for future podcast episodes to be delivered to you as soon as they are released! (You can also find the podcast in iTunes)
Joey Coleman is the Chief Experience Composer at Design Symphony – a customer experience branding firm that specializes in creating unique, attention-grabbing customer experiences. His clients include individual entrepreneurs, start-ups, small businesses, non-profits, government entities, and Fortune 500 companies. For over a decade he’s worked with clients that include NASA, Network for Good, Hyatt Hotels, Zappos, the Save Darfur Coalition, and the World Bank – not to mention dozens of regional and local organizations around the world.
Joey is a recognized expert in customer experience design, an award-winning speaker at national and international conferences, and has taught business and creativity courses at both the college and graduate school level. Past appearances include presentations at the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management, Google, the Georgetown University School of Business, Stanford University, Zappos, YouTube, and numerous undergraduate, private corporation, and non-profit events.
Joey’s design palette and sense of adventure is augmented by travels to over 44 countries on six continents. He has jumped out of a perfectly functioning airplane, raced along the Great Wall of China, juggled in front of the Taj Mahal, sang love songs on the Ponte Vecchio, goose-stepped to mock the soldiers in Red Square, and ridden a mountain bike down a volcano – although it remains a debate as to whether he rode the bike or the volcano rode him!
I’m in the process of moving my family, and have been working out a zillion details. As many of you know, details are not my strong suit, and it takes concentration for me to get them right.
One of the things we’re working on is a lease for a temporary house in Charlotte. The agent sent the lease to us electronically and we needed to sign and fax to back to them. This has been an iterative process – the agreement and disclosures require at least a dozen signatures – each, and it seems that no matter how carefully I review the paperwork there’s one thing or another that I manage to overlook.
The first time that I faxed the lease to them, the agent responded with an email.
Subject line: “Lease issues”
Body: Page 4, missing initial, Page 5 missing date, page 7, your wife signed, you didn’t….
Never mind that we never had a conversation about what was needed, nor was a paper copy sent to me with flags where signatures were needed. Never mind that some had space for two signatures, and others only one – I was supposed to intuitively know what to do. (Okay, rant over.)
Here’s the thing – the focus has been entirely on the terms and conditions, and compliance with the letter of the law.
Please don’t misunderstand, I know that the details matter. What got lost in this process is the PEOPLE part.
We have legal agreements so that when the real relationships fail – when we can’t negotiate and agree on what matters to you and what matters to me – we can go get help from the courts to “fix” it.
If we place all of our energy on the details and overlook the real people involved, it makes for a bumpy ride. In fact, you might find yourself having to rely on the contract rather than on the people. That never turns out well.
Think about your contracts and connections.
Where are you overlooking the people because you’re thinking about the details?
What can you do to change that?
Getting back to the lease: Now that I’ve faxed the thing to them at least 5 times, I think it’s finally right. *Whew!*
This e-book includes a 15-mintute relaxation/visualization audio recording to help you overcome obstacles. Go get it now!
Laura obtained her law degree and public policy master’s from the University of Chicago and is also a certified hypnotherapist. While practicing labor and employment law for seven years, which includes a brief stint as a political appointee, she began to envision a future where conflict within and between organizations no longer limits a company’s potential, but instead serves as an opportunity to create a new, empowering perspective to achieve greater success.
This is the last in my series of blogs covering leadership lessons from Scout Camp. I had the opportunity to spend a few days with a fantastic group of young men who are growing up to learn how to be strong leaders and achievers. It’s a beautiful thing.
In Boy Scouts, the adult leaders establish safe boundaries and then let the boys run the activities. Our vision is to provide a place where boys can “fail safe” – that they can try out new skills, succeed, fail, learn, and try again – but not in a way that endangers them. The boys organize into smaller groups called patrols and the patrols work together to accomplish the goals for the entire troop.
As leaders, we provide a learning lab for them, and they run experiments in leadership, projects, collaboration, and skills development all while having a GREAT time. (Mostly.)
This mostly part leads me to the story of David. David is a young scout. He’s just getting started in learning about collaboration, compromise, and influence. He’s smart – perhaps too smart for his own good. He’s got a LOT to learn about how to influence others.
I can relate. As a boy I was a bit of an “old soul.” I got along better to adults than I did with my peers. My interests and vocabulary were different from boys my age. I was a very strong learner of facts. Unfortunately that knowledge didn’t come with wisdom. I wanted to let others know just how much I knew. I had a quick and sharp tongue. If that meant that you ended up looking less competent or more ignorant, well whose fault was that?
I see a lot of those same characteristics in David. He is capable, and does have a lot to offer. Unfortunately like many young men, he’s also pretty “me focused” and tends to overlook the impact his plans have on others. Which leads to great frustration and pain. Apparently it leads to “stupid” patrols, too!
In a moment of significant frustration with his peers, David came to the leaders and announced:
”My patrol is stupid.”
He was really upset with them. We looked into it and it turned out that David was insisting that everyone do it his way, or not at all. The other boys in the patrol were willing to work with him, but David refused every other idea. I think that what David was really saying was “I’m not getting what I want, and I don’t know what to do about it, so I’ll criticize the other guys.”
Let me ask you:
At work, do you deal with anyone who is “just…stupid”?
Is there someone on your team (or another team) who behaves in a way that makes no sense and makes your job harder?
Is there any way you can learn about their interests and needs?
Might there be a way you could compromise with them?
Getting back to David. He will get there. Sometimes the most valuable leadership lessons come from the toughest experiences. I’m confident he has a bright future, even if his current patrol is “stupid.” His leaders are on his side and will help him become the leader that we can see him become!
I didn’t know it ahead of time, but I was in a “leadership development laboratory last week.” I spent time at Scout Camp with my oldest son. We had a blast. What surprised me was the set of leadership growth experiences I was able to participate in, and to observe.
One of the activities this week involved the rifle range. Boy Scouts provides a safe place to help boys understand the danger of firearms and how to use them safely and responsibly. On the range, boys take turns firing a set of rounds at small paper targets 50 feet away. They can do it from a seated or a prone position. To help with accurate shooting, shooters can stabilize their weapons on wooden blocks or on sandbags.
Which brings us to today’s story. One of the young scouts selected a wooden block to stabilize his rifle. Unfortunately he didn’t notice that the sandbag had fallen off the platform and was in the direct line of fire of his rifle.
The small .22 caliber bullet easily passed through the burlap and sand to head toward the target, but in its wake it destroyed the sandbag and covered the rifle and shooter in a mist of sand. Sand or dirt in a firearm is a dangerous thing, and that meant this rifle would have to be disassembled and cleaned before it could be used again.
The man in charge of the range (the range master) was furious. I think he was embarrassed that
He allowed the boy to do something unsafe,
He allowed the boy to unwittingly endanger others,
That rifle now needed another thorough cleaning, and
Everyone at the range could see what had happened.
In his embarrassment and anger he did something that I probably have done before. (OK I’ve done this far more than I want to admit.) He allowed his anger to boil over as he shouted at the boy.
“You did what? How could you do that?”
“You. Are. The. Worst. Shot. I. Have. Ever. Seen!”
Dale Carnegie said
“Give a dog a bad name, and you might as well hang him.”
Carnegie’s point is that once you tell yourself that a dog is a bad dog, you start to tell others, and the dog himself how bad he is. Once the dog thinks of himself as a bad dog, there’s no way you can have him be good for anything.
That’s true for people, too. I’m sure that the scout was embarrassed that he made a mistake, that he made a mess, that he created work for the range master and his crew, and that he had accidentally done something dangerous.
Maya Angelou said:
“People never forget how you make them feel.”
I can’t help but wonder how that boy felt when the authoritative range master called him out and gave him a bad name in front of everyone at the range. Will that boy ever go to the range without thinking about that mistake? Will he even go back to the range at all? If he goes back, will he be able to work without thinking that maybe he really is the word shot in the world?
People never forget how you make them feel. I can totally relate to being frustrated, embarrassed and angry. I can even identify with letting my anger boil over and yelling at someone. That doesn’t make it right, but I can easily see how it happens.
What are you letting yourself do?
How do your team members feel about it?
What is that doing to your team’s effectiveness?
How can you overlook errors and praise progress in your team?
What’s one thing that you can do differently based on this story?
Spend some time with Tom and you quickly realize that he is not just talking a good game, Tom really believes in what he says and more importantly he lives what he teaches! Tom’s the real deal, he cares about the people he touches and he does what he says he’ll do! — Mark Strosnider Career Development Manager RE/MAX Town Center