eBusiness Blog

What Business Owners Need to Know When Hiring Millennials

For today’s eTip I spoke with the author of the book 25 Powerful Strategies to Hire and Successfully Retain Millennials, JoAnne E. Marlow!

 

What is the difference in hiring millennials?

JoAnne sees a big change in the work place environment and as times have changed expectations at work have changed.

Years ago after the release of the book Boom Bust & Echo JoAnne began to see a noticeable difference in the work ethic demonstrated by her existing peers and employees vs. the younger generations.

Not everyone is the same but we do place age groups into categories and look for consistencies within those categories.

The people in those categories vary greatly with some not being as active or tech savvy as others. It depends on the person but know that you need to be careful when hiring on your new employee.

Set expectations up front

Be clear in your job description when it comes to millennials. Make sure the culture and job expectations are defined beforehand so you don’t run into any surprises.

Millennials may be resistant to recognizing an implied hierarchy so make sure they know what you and your company are like before you bring them on as an employee.

Educated and skilled workers may be less inclined to take on tasks like data entry or sweeping floors so if that is part of the expectation for a job it should be stated as such in the ad description.

Convey the kind of personality you want in your ad. The clearer you are as an employer about what you need in the office the better.

State what kind of advancement opportunities exist and when the new employee can expect to move up the ladder.

Some people might expect a raise after 3 months, some after a year.

The typical time you can expect them to stay with your company is about 18 months. If you keep a millennial for more than 2 years you’re doing something right!

Be prepared and ask a lot of questions. Don’t dive in right away and hire them on the spot. Be careful and mindful so you hire the right employee.

If you find yourself losing control and are rude or vocal with them, some will likely leave right away and not come back. Everyone can have a bad day but some new employees may not be thick-skinned enough to tolerate some behaviour.

Be clear about expectations. And know that some may take advantage of an employer’s generosity.

Provide a guide

Draft a policy handbook in relation to dress code, vacation time, etc. so they know beforehand what rules they must adhere to.

JoAnne’s most recent book 25 Powerful Strategies to Hire and Successfully Retain Millennials details how to deal with this generation and how to demonstrate the emotional intelligence to entice them to work hard and help your business. JoAnne is an expert in bridging gaps between generations.

In her book she has explained 25 different ways to hire the right new people from the millennial generation so you find and keep the best people.

She advises that the young person you hire isn’t going to change so it’s also important to make sure existing employees are fully informed about your new hire and how you’ve prepared for them.

For those of you who want to get in touch with JoAnne directly she can be reached through her website at: www.SystemsForEngagingTeams.com

Also please feel free to share you own stories about your experience in hiring on those between the ages of 19 and 36 in the comments below and if you’re struggling with your new hires try reading JoAnne’s new book!

You can pick up JoAnne’s book online from either of these two links:

Canada – Amazon.ca: http://amzn.to/2gfzYL6

US – Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/2wzGe6S

Until next time,
Susan Friesen

Social Blast for Entrepreneurs

What If You Could Learn Social Media and Online Marketing Each Month With Ease?

If you are new to Social Media and online marketing or find it overwhelming and confusing, my monthly group coaching program, Social Blast: eMarketing for Entrepreneurs is a perfect way for you to incrementally learn the best strategies and tactics to help you grow your business online.

  • Uncover what it takes to execute a successful, revenue-driving social media strategy
  • Learn how to build relationships, trust, and brand awareness with your ideal customer
  • Discover actionable strategies to engage followers online
  • Master creating compelling content that’s always on target
  • Discern how to authentically differentiate your brand in a crowded marketplace
  • Find out the best times to post for higher readership
  • Stay abreast with the latest prospecting techniques to grow your list, groups and more…
  • Learn ways to engage through social media monitoring and listening

It’s a monthly group coaching program for those just starting out or wanting more advanced strategies to help with their online marketing and social media efforts.

› CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

Easy Project Management Tips for Entrepreneurs Who Want to Get It Done Right, Right Now

Easy Project Management Tips for Entrepreneurs Who Want to Get It Done Right, Right Now

Using these project management concepts will increase your chances of success

Entrepreneurs, by their very nature, are big thinkers with big plans who want to make a big impact in the world. As an entrepreneur / small business owner, I get it – I do too. I also understand how many distractions there can be vying for your time every day.

After a long career with large corporations and earning my Six Sigma Green Belt, I realized that many of the things that worked well for me work equally as well in small businesses. 

Investing the time upfront to prepare your project plan and get everyone onboard is time well-spent.Click To Tweet

Project management is one of those critical skills that I believe every business owner should learn to do well.  I know how many distractions come up that could easily derail your goals if you don’t focus on doing the important things first.

Let me explain how you can utilize this skill to grow your business.

  1. Decide on your next big project goal

    Write down the name of the project and create a charter. The charter describes briefly what results you expect to accomplish.
     
    One of the many advantages of preparing a charter is that it forces you to clearly articulate what you really want. Once you know what your goal is, plan the steps to get there rather than just “winging” it and hoping for the best.

    For instance, is your project designed to:

    • Save money?
    • Increase sales?
    • Increase the number of email addresses you have in your management software?
    • Get more speaking gigs?
    • Write a book?
    • Increase the number of high-paying clients?
    • Create a new group or online program?
  2. Identify the scope of this project

    Keep the project small, focused and manageable. If it’s too big, chances of success are lower because there are so many moving parts that might compete for your time or resources. When you write your scope, list what you will do — and what you will not do.
     
    For instance, if you are working on increasing your visibility to your target audience you might consider a project around Facebook or LinkedIn. I recommend that you pick just one of them and knock it out of the park. In this case, if you picked Facebook, then state that this project does not include LinkedIn.
     
    Then you can do a separate project to work on LinkedIn with its own timeline and deliverables when you are ready.

  3. Define your baseline and your goal

    This will help you know where you are today and where you plan to be upon completion of this project. For instance, say you want to increase the number of people whom you can send marketing emails to.  
    You need to know the number of contacts today as well as the number you want to have at the end of the project. If it’s annual sales, then it’s easy to look at the past 12 months to get your actual sales. Then just set your goal as a dollar or percentage above the baseline.

  4. List each major step of the project.

    Include the name of the person responsible for completing each major step, and when each step will be accomplished.
     
    Oftentimes, one person cannot complete their step until someone else finishes theirs, so it’s important to understand the interdependencies.

  5. Determine the start and completion dates.

    Once you will have the start and completion dates, you will be able to identify milestones along the way.
     
    This will help you stay on track and accomplish your goal without a lot of stress, wasted time or forgotten steps.

  6. Prepare a budget

    The budget will define how much you will spend to accomplish the goal and when the money needs to be available. Your project may be designed to save money, such as taking on the marketing of your program yourself or changing vendors.
     
    In this case you would list when the savings will start showing up and how much more you will have in your bank account at the end of the project.

  7. Make a list of resources

    These are the resources you will need to accomplish the project. Are you going to do everything yourself or will you have a virtual assistant?
     
    Will you hire someone to prepare marketing materials, or to create your website, Facebook posts or a LinkedIn profile?

  8. Communicate clearly to everyone involved in the project

    And by clear, I mean precise, with no room for guessing or individual interpretations about what others think you want. Draw pictures, share examples and learn to speak their language if you are talking to technical people.
     
    Once you know who’s on your team, make sure they have an opportunity to provide input. One of them could hold that one big idea that will take your project from good to great.
     
    Have a brainstorming meeting – it’s is a great way to get everyone’s ideas and come up with a plan better than you could ever do on your own. After all, that’s why you invited the best & brightest to join your team in the first place, right?
     
    This process also guarantees that you have buy-in on the project and that everyone knows the objectives and their role in accomplishing them.

  9. Set up regularly scheduled meetings on your calendar

    This schedule will help you review progress, clear up any confusion, remove any barriers and provide direction.
     
    There is nothing worse than getting close to your project completion deadline only to realize that what you are getting is not at all what you expected! Especially if it all could have been avoided if you had set up the time to check in on the progress. Inspect what you expect!

  10. Set up team ground rules

    The ground rules can include frequency/length of meetings, notifying you in advance if they are going to miss the meeting, how conflicts will be handled and agreement by all that they will show up to the meetings prepared with their deliverables or notifying you well in advance if they are at risk of missing any critical milestones.

  11. Sign your charter

    I know – this might sound cheesy. But it really isn’t. This is a commitment you are making to yourself and the simple act of dating it, signing it and putting it up on your wall where it is literally in front of you all the time will make it much more likely that you will follow through and reap the benefits.

  12. Celebrate your wins along the way

    This doesn’t have to be at a high cost – it can be a simple “Thank You” card to one of your resources who delivers on schedule or a group dinner or pizza or a Starbucks gift card.
     
    A little goes a long way in motivating yourself and those on your team when appreciation is shown.

Your chances of reaching and most likely hitting it out of the park increase dramatically. And remember, the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.

About the Author, Katherine Hartvickson

Kathryn Wilking

Katherine Hartvickson is the founder and president of Hartvickson & Associates, Inc. dba Quantum Ascendance. She is an experienced business consultant and success coach. Since leaving the corporate world in 2009, her clients include business owners and other seriously committed professionals and entrepreneurs who want to gain the confidence and skills to break through the barriers of success and achieve their ideal life.

What separates her service from others is her experience in leading large teams and developing top performers in corporate environments and because of this, clients achieve individual & financial rewards and the recognition they earned without sacrificing their personal life. If you are interested in knowing more, she can be reached at www.QuantumAscendance.com.


Team Building Tips to Help Grow Your Business

We’ve talked a lot about things this summer like video marketing and using Twitter to grow your business. Today I’m going to talk about the importance of using a team to build your business.

 

Build your business right by hiring the right people

Many years ago I was a one woman operation. I did it all.

The designing, the programming, the marketing; I was taking everything on myself.

At a certain moment I realized in order to build my company while providing my clients with what they needed, I would need to expand and start adding on some team members.

There are many different kinds of employees you can hire. Some may be temporary or freelance talent, some could be outsourced, or you can even hire on student interns from local schools to help. It doesn’t always have to be a full-time salaried employee.

The important thing is to focus on what you excel at and hire on people to help offset your weaknesses.

Hire an Expert

My biggest weakness was my understanding of how web technology had evolved. It had changed so quickly that my own skills had become a little dated even though they were only a few years old!

My first hire was a programming ace from a local university and he and I got to work. Once I saw his talents, I started delegating more and more of the tech work to him.

I let him work and I listened and learned. Together we really took eVision Media to the next level.

So hire yourself an expert even if it’s one in something you feel you’ve mastered. You might be surprised at how much else there is for you to learn.

Hire a Money Maker

You also want to hire someone who is profitable for you. Hire someone who makes you money!

Yes it’s nice to have help with your own tasks in the same way it’s nice to have a cleaning lady but look for people whose skills and background will make you money so you can pay their wages.

This is especially good advice if you’re struggling to stay ahead. Hire a sales rep, a product engineer, or some other type of employee where the financial return is immediate.

The more money-makers you have the better your business is going to be.

And make sure you are comfortable delegating the responsibilities too!

Lead by Example and Learn from the Feedback

Set standards for the employees to adhere to when delegating the work. You know how you prefer it done so write that out clearly and because the employees will bring their own knowledge to the project you may find, as I have, they often exceed those standards.

I myself have a team of designers, programmers, SEO experts, and more and I have to trust their expertise when assigning duties. Hiring experts is great and when you are comfortable they know what they’ve claimed to know you’ll be in a position to trust their expertise more, which takes pressure off of you.

Don’t Try to be an Expert in all Things

You can’t possibly hope to know everything about running a business – whether it the legal work, the bookkeeping, or any of the other many essential elements of running a business, and know everything about your internal roles and industry as well.

Take for example marketing. You can spend tens of thousands of dollars on marketing courses trying to being an expert in marketing yourself but while you’re doing that you aren’t focusing on all the other elements of your business.

Using the same money to pay someone to market your business while you focus on other aspects of it like cultivating leads or working with clients to make sure they’re happy makes much more sense and will help you grow your business instead of just your personal skill set.

It’s far too difficult to grow your business without building a team.Click To Tweet

I wouldn’t start self-funding multiple courses on contract law if I needed a lawyer, I would hire a TJ Smith lawyer, so why would you attempt to become a marketing expert when you need marketing?

This rings true for bookkeeping as well. My time is simply better spent running my business than trying to become an expert in all areas of the business. Hiring a bookkeeper makes more sense financially and professionally since I then have someone with experience in the role as well.

It’s far too difficult to grow your business without building a team. When you plan your business (and you should) and invest in your business include what you need experts for and budget for hiring professionals to help you grow.

If your business is really a supplemental income and you’re not full time then this may not be your approach but if you’re serious about growing your business into a solid company then you will need a team to help you.

Hire My Team

The take away is of course that you need to hire the right people to help you grow. If your business requires website development, branding, logo design, online marketing, social media management, or something else related to digital marketing and the online presence of your business then get in touch.

My team that I have cultivated myself are great so feel free to get in touch if you find yourself overwhelmed and need help with any of the services we provide. I don’t work with just anyone since experience has taught me to consider who I hire carefully. My team deliver and we do it with smiles on our faces that translate into smiles from our clients.

Check out our website at www.evisionmedia.ca for more and by all means if you have questions or comments post them to any of our social media channels or contact us directly via our website!

Until next time,
Susan Friesen

P.S. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your Twitter followers:

Team Building Tips to Help Grow Your BusinessClick To Tweet

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

Don’t Be a Jack (or Jill) of all Trades. Be an Industry Master

Don't be a Jack or Jill or All Trades

Why focusing on your core competency will get you greater returns and more referrals

Have you ever hired someone to do a job believing they were the expert you needed to fix the washer or repair your car?

When the washer leaks again or the car breaks down within 24 hours of having it fixed, it is incredibly frustrating.

You thought you had the right company to do the job but instead, you find you hired a ‘Jack of all Trades.’

Unfortunately, the world is full of companies who pass themselves off as experts, but they are really generalists in their trade.

Now, I’m not saying most businesses do a lousy job.

I’m just saying that if a company is a ‘Master’ of their industry and knows their business, it can help that business to stand out from the competition.

And who doesn’t want to stand out?

Becoming a ‘Master’ in your field also leads to making better business decisions when hiring the right people and identifying the necessary up-to-date training.

It also incites innovative thinking by setting the performance bar higher. We ask, “How can we do it better, faster or more efficiently?”

Masters of the business game want, and more often than not, success in turning customers into raving fans.

Here are a couple of additional benefits to discarding the ‘Jack (or Jill) of all Trades’ label:

  • It becomes easier to create a clear marketing message. Once a business has identified its special differentiator, the messages can focus in on what your company does best.
  • The customer may demand a higher quality of work from you, but you can charge higher rates.
  • You don’t always need to chase new markets. Referrals will come naturally as the standards of excellence are established and delivered. This may save marketing dollars.

So, is it time to do a business review?

Is your business a ‘Jack (or Jill) of all Trades’?

If so, perhaps it is time to shift the vision and examine how your organization can become a ‘Master’ or more of a Master of the business game. It’s worth the effort it will take to get you there.

The added bonus? More money in your bank!

About the Author, Pamela Chatry

Pamela Chatry

Do you work too hard? Is your business in chaos? If you are struggling with business issues, contact Pamela Chatry for a complimentary assessment. Pamela has been a trusted and highly respected Business Consultant, Mentor for Women in Business, Self-Employment Advocate, Trainer and Keynote Speaker for over 25 years.

Visit www.pamelachatry.com or call her at 778-856-8970 for help in getting your business to its fullest potential.


What A Business Award Nomination Can Do For Your Brand

If someone nominates you for a business award in your sphere of influence, the advantages to your brand are pronounced.

What many don’t know is: your brand can also reap some killer rewards when you’re the one doing the nominating.

Business Advisor and Mentor Pamela Chatry explains in this quick interview after we were both nominated for a Woman of Worth Award:

 

What’s the value of nominating someone for a business award?

The value lies in reciprocity.

Of course, the act of giving recognition is, in itself, rewarding. But you can also use that opportunity to benefit your own brand.

Here’s how that works:

Usually, when you nominate someone for any kind of business award, they reciprocate, which opens up avenues for some wickedly effective networking.

Additionally, you get recognition from other influencers whose words have more weight than your average reference.

So, even if there’s a nomination fee, that amount means precious little when you consider the untapped return on your investment.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more effective use of your advertising dollars.

If you have any questions about nominating a business for an award, feel free to leave a message in the comment section below and I’d be happy to answer. Also, if you’re looking to boost your digital marketing to the next level, sign up for my free newsletter.

Until next time,

P.S. New to Social Media and online marketing or find it overwhelming and confusing? Check out Social Blast: eMarketing for Entrepreneurs. It’s a monthly group coaching program for those just starting out or wanting more advanced strategies to help with their online marketing and social media efforts.
>> CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

P.P.S. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your Twitter followers:

What A Business Award Nomination Can Do For Your BrandClick To Tweet

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

6 Highly Effective Ways to Position Your Business Brand Like a Super Hero

6 Highly Effective Ways to Position Your Business Brand Like a Super Hero

How Christine Awram Successfully Created a Powerful Brand for Women

I recently attended The Tammy Moyer Woman of Worth Awards Gala event created by the Woman of Worth founder, Christine Awram.

I was honoured to have been nominated in the Business & Prosperity category by Dana Smithers of Empowered Women in Business. In addition, I was doubly honoured to find out I was one of the 5 finalists in that category!

Woman of Worth award finalists 2017

Even though my name wasn’t called as the winner, I still felt and feel like a winner.

And the reason for that?

The entire experience Christine creates during and in between events such as this.

Her mantra is “all women are leaders and every woman is a Woman of Worth [WOW]” andit’s the platform on which she’s built a very successful brand.

To quote Christine:

Christine Awram WOW awards 2017“Twelve years ago it was just an idea, and now we’re impacting the global empowerment of women. WOW takes us a step closer to a world where ALL women collaborate and are powerful, prosperous, peaceful and on purpose. I began this adventure with a burning desire to make a difference.

There were many times I wavered and despaired, and if there was a mistake to be made I made it, but I kept the vision and kept moving forward. I’m humbled by what we’ve created together as a community. WOW is incredible.

My invitation to every woman: Celebrate your magnificence, turn up the volume, step up your leadership game, and GET WOWED.”

Over the years, Christine has created several one-day events and workshops specifically for women, and WOW, these events are incredibly empowering! (Pun intended.)

How does she do it?

It’s all in how she has positioned her business brand.

Business brand positioning is how a business owner comes across to others and are perceived by their target market.  Christine has found the perfect brand formula that has positioned herself as a champion for women.

Brand positioning is how you come across to others & are perceived by your target marketClick To Tweet

Wonder how she did it? Here are six tips to replicate her crazy success:

  1. Be clear on who you are and what you’re about

    When it comes to building a strong business brand, it’s imperative you understand how your personality makes up that brand.

    Be clear on how you want to be positioned in front of your ideal target market. Then be consistent on how you come across to others in everything you do.

    Christine does this beautifully with every encounter someone has with her. Whether it’s a social media post or approaching her in the foyer at an event, she’s consistently clear with her branding message, even when she is sick with pneumonia as was the case this weekend!

  2. Be clear on who makes up your ideal target market

    Before you can build a successful business brand, you need to be crystal clear on who you want to serve.

    Without this insight, you are throwing spaghetti at a wall hoping something sticks enough to get a sale. Understanding what their needs and challenges are and how you can best serve them is fundamental in building a business brand.

    Christine is well aware her target market is dynamic women who wish to be a part of a community for personal and professional growth. She provides and facilitates opportunities for collaborating, showcasing, networking, building community and having fun, all of which her target audience is looking for.

  3. Be passionate about your business

    Have you ever attended a trade show where the person in his or her booth is just sitting behind a table, looking at their phone, completely disengaged from the passers-by?

    When someone is not passionate about what they’re doing, they really shouldn’t be doing it. If you are feeling lackluster in your business, either find ways to get your joy back or see if perhaps there’s something else that will help you feel more on purpose.

    Christine is extremely passionate about empowering women. Everything she does is with the intention of supporting women to help them achieve their goals and aspirations..

  4. Use social media to build a community

    Social media is a powerful way to build a community full of raving fans. This is one area that Christine has mastered. No matter how busy she is, she will take the time to respond to every single comment and post that she’s been tagged in.

    Every. Single. Time.

    THIS is the way to build a strong community on social media. Make people feel special with positive reinforcement, recognition, and support… your brand will reap the many rewards as a result.

  5. Get help

    It’s nearly impossible to create a successful business brand by yourself. It really does take a village! Much as I have a team of skilled people on my team who are experts in their own fields, Christine has also invited people into her circle.

    Sometimes getting help is not in the form of paying an employee; Christine invites volunteers to help her out in exchange for free admission to her events. She also incorporates sponsorship initiatives to offset costs. Plus her network of collaborators help her find excellent guest speakers she would otherwise never have known about.

  6. Have fun

    If you’re not having fun and enjoying yourself on a daily basis, then it’s time to re-evaluate what you’re doing.

    Christine infuses her deep love of wine and chocolate into all of her events and social media posts to showcase her fun-loving personality. Consequently, she’s building the brand perception that if you attend one of her events, you can be guaranteed there will be a lot of fun involved.

Everything you do as a business shapes your brand’s positioning. If you want to be branded a “thought-leader” in a specific area of expertise, use some of Christine’s successful tactics in your business marketing efforts.

Everything you do as a business shapes your brand's positioning.Click To Tweet

And if you need help with your brand positioning, that’s something we specialize in. Give us a call to see how we can better position your business brand for success.

To your success,

P.S. If you liked what you read here, you will want to sign up for my newsletter where you’ll get notified every Tuesday of that day’s blog post. Click here to also receive our free website guide: www.UltimateWebsiteGuide.ca

P.P.S. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your Twitter followers:

6 Highly Effective Ways to Position Your Business Brand Like a Super HeroClick To Tweet

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

Leadership Success Tips for Small Business Entrepreneurs

Leadership Success Tips for Small Business Entrepreneurs

How to Step Up and Be the Effective Leader Your Team Wants to Follow

Leadership is not a job title – it’s a set of closely-held beliefs and behaviors even when no one is looking.

So even though you own the business and put your heart & soul into it, you may not be as effective as you could be.

For every action, you take, there is a definite reaction. This may be an employee, a contractor, a VA or a vendor you deal with on a regular basis. Or it could be a family member, friend or neighbor.

Here are several key things you can do to stand out as a great leader:

Empower Those Who Support You

When good leaders are effectively empowering their support team, their lives are easier and their team is happier & more productive.

I use the term “Team” broadly so that it includes all of those who you need to support you and your business. When teams are empowered, leaders don’t need to spend a lot of time checking up on them, putting out fires, or lighting fires under people who are just not that into it.

Wouldn’t you rather focus your time working “on” your business and where you want to take it, rather than working “in” the business?

Use The ‘Speak Softly & They Will Listen Leadership’ Style

When we think of leadership, we tend to think of the commanding, visionary person who takes charge in a time of crisis and leads the company to victory. But there’s another form of leadership that I believe is much more effective at achieving high performance.

It’s the quiet leader that is heard the most! And you will never hear them declaring themselves to be the “Boss” when trying to convince someone to do something their way.

One of the primary traits of this leadership style is leading by example, and eliciting the behavior you want by demonstrating it, rather than just telling others to do it.

Daniel Goleman’s book, Primal Leadership, suggests that a coaching style of leadership may best describe the qualities of the quiet leader.  “The coaching style is the least-used tool in the leader’s toolkit,” says Goleman, “probably because it doesn’t look like leadership.”

Like a coach, a quiet leader can achieve breakthroughs by asking guided questions rather than giving orders or advice. And what better way to empower your team?

And quiet leadership isn’t just for those at the top, but applies across the spectrum, from the leader in all levels of management, to solo entrepreneurs, to leaders of the community fundraiser, the leader of the 12-year-old soccer team and the leader of the family.

So, what about you?  Are you stepping up to claim your rightful place as a leader? 

Incorporate Top Leadership Qualities

I think it’s important to note that contrary to what we’ve often been taught, great leaders are made, not born, so you can hone your leadership skills and become the leader you want to be.  Here are some of the top qualities that great leaders possess:

  • Fairness. They put their own feelings aside and look at what is best for their team.
  • Knowledge – They gather as many details about a situation as possible before deciding.
  • Decisive – They always proclaim their decision and then stand by it 100% until/unless more information comes to light that requires them to rethink their decision.
  • Communication skills. They keep their team apprised of all decisions that affect the team.
  • Honesty – They share as much information as they possibly can. And if it’s confidential, they tell them it’s confidential and they tell them when they will be able to give them more information.
  • Trustworthy – They can be counted on to always tell the truth and maintain confidences.

Motivate Others

Motivating your team is imperative to the well-being of its members and the accomplishment of the goals.

While it’s not always easy, there are tried and true ways you can help unleash the power and potential of your team.

Here are a few powerful leadership skills you can easily incorporate to bring out the best in others:

  1. Ask questions rather than give direct orders.
  2. To let others know that you noticed, give specific and sincere praise for accomplishments.
  3. Celebrate successes along the way – use every significant milestone as an opportunity for recognition and encouragement.
  4. Respect the professionalism and expertise of those you supervise. Ask for their input in planning, and give them autonomy and authority to complete projects.

Set Clear Expectations

Too often leaders assume each person knows what to do, but without clear goals and expectations, team members are left to their own imagination and must draw upon past experiences.

This can result in hesitation, indecision, lack of performance, miscommunication and the goals not being met.

Properly setting expectations for team members will set standards for excellence and results.

Here are a few tips on how to do that:

  1. Start with a vision of what you want the result to look like. Not just what you want done, but the results you want to achieve when the project is completed.
  2. Keep your focus on the desired outcomes and stay out of the weeds. Your goal is to guide and lead, not control every step. Letting individuals find their own route encourages them to use their strengths to their fullest potential. You hired them to do a job, so let them do it their way as much as possible.
  3. Tie the mission of the project to each team members’ tasks. People want to know that their role, whether large or small, makes a difference.
  4. Give feedback—and often! Feedback given along the way is received as coaching, not punishment.
  5. Give positive reinforcement and don’t mix it with the negative or “constructive” feedback. Mention the thing you like and you’ll get more of it. Be specific and prompt. If you do need to give constructive feedback, remember the “sandwich” method.Good first, then the negative, followed by another slice of good. And remember to focus on the behavior or issue at hand – don’t make it about their personality. For instance, telling an employee that what they did was wrong is a whole lot different than telling them they are stupid.

3 Secrets of Impactful Leadership

As you are leading and impacting others, to get the best results follow these three secrets.

So, what does it take to be an impactful leader? It comes down to three critical steps.

  1. Know where you are coming from – Know what you believe in and what your values are so that you can make decisions and lead your team in the direction that supports your vision.
  2. Adopt a leadership mindset that positively affects your behaviors, your outcomes and therefore your impact. When you have a leadership mindset, you take responsibility for your team and your results.
  3. Empower your team members to be their best. Identify the strengths and talents of your team and put them in the jobs that fit their strengths so they can help you achieve the goals.

After all, isn’t that what you’re after? Reaching a common goal while making a positive impact?

Your impact stems directly from your mindset as a leader, because your mindset affects your behaviors, which then affects your results. So, what is your mindset?

The term “mindset” means a mental attitude or inclination. Our attitude determines our behavior, and our behavior produces specific results. If you are getting effective results from those you are leading, you can rest assured that you are having a positive impact on them.

Are you getting the results and having the impact you want, or are you experiencing unwanted results and outcomes? By looking at the relationship between your mindset, your behavior, and your impact, you can integrate all three components to generate the results you really want.

We often engage in behaviors without considering that we have a choice in whether to engage in them. If your circumstances are not going the way you desire, you may feel and act like a victim. But you need to take accountability for your part and make different behavioral choices when necessary to assure a better result.

It is important that you understand that changing your behavior is only sustainable if you change your negative mindset to a leadership mindset.

A great example of this is what happens when people lose weight. If they just change their behavior – such as eat fewer calories – they lose weight. But if they don’t change their mindset around food, exercise and a healthy lifestyle, they rebound and gain their weight back.

This is because they haven’t changed the underlying problem – the mindset that drives them to overeat in the first place.

Changing your behavior without changing your mindset is not sustainable. Changing your mindset, however, creates sustainable behavioral change.

Observe your impact on others, observe your actions as you carry them out, and observe your mindset as it fills your thoughts and shapes your attitudes. When you notice negative and limiting thoughts, make a choice and reprogram your words and thoughts to assure positive, lasting changes.

Leadership:  It’s Mostly in Your Mind

Do you think of yourself as a leader? Do you enjoy leading? As you were growing up, did people tell you that you were a natural-born leader?

If you don’t see yourself as a leader, know that you are leading and probably not even recognizing it.  Why?  Because we are all leaders simply because of the influence we have on ourselves and others.  Whatever you believe, think, value, feel, or say influences how you act and the impact you have.

This attitude determines much of our behavior, and our behavior produces specific results.  If you are the leader of your life, in your work, and in your relationships, the results you get matter to you and those around you.

Are you getting the results or having the positive impact you want, or are you experiencing unwanted results and outcomes?  Your impact may be subtle or it may be profound; it may be small or it may be big; it may be obvious or not so obvious; it may be positive, neutral, or negative.

Observe your impact as it’s reflected back to you, observe your actions as you carry them out, and observe your mindset as it fills your thoughts and shapes your attitudes.  With this model, you have an ever-ready tool to use any time that you are not getting results you desire.

The Impact of Assumptions on Leadership

We all make assumptions. We naturally fill in gaps in what we think and perceive so that we can make sense out of our world and our experiences.

Sometimes the assumptions we make are accurate; sometimes they are inaccurate. Sometimes productive and sometimes counter-productive. Sometimes assumptions build community; sometimes they destroy. Sometimes they save us time; sometimes they waste time.

The assumptions you make can build bridges or destroy them. They can make peace or start a war.

Picture someone whom you know well. What is one assumption you make about that person? Where does your assumption come from? Why do you have that assumption? How does that assumption influence your behavior toward this person? Have you ever asked the person to confirm or refute your assumption? What would happen if you shared your assumption with this person?

As a leader, you have an obligation to notice you are making assumptions and then to check them out, particularly when you make an assumption that is negative in nature. Negative assumptions are particularly risky to hold on to. They create resistance and resentment. They fuel blame and anger. They get in the way of productivity and positivity.

The first step is to notice the presence of an assumption. Once you notice that you are making an assumption, consider communicating it. The purpose of communicating it is to have it confirmed or denied. This creates open communication, honesty, and an opportunity to clear the air or rectify a misunderstanding.

There are different ways to communicate an assumption. One way, perhaps the simplest, is to say it directly – tell the other person that you are carrying an assumption, and that you want to share it with him or her to determine if it is accurate or not. It may sound risky – and sometimes it is – but an unspoken negative assumption is much more dangerous than one that is spoken. When an assumption is brought out, an opportunity for healing, growth, productivity, and relationship-building is created.

If you are carrying a positive assumption, you have more latitude to decide if you want it to be unspoken, but even unspoken positive assumptions can sometimes get in the way.

Whenever you make assumptions, you have an impact on your experience and the experience of others. Generally, it is best to notice your assumptions and communicate them to others.

Effective Listening for Leaders

With organizations and individuals so fervently focused on the bottom line, it’s easy to ignore “softer” goals, such as listening well. All that touchy-feely stuff is a waste of my time, you might say or think.

On the contrary! A focus on listening can lead to more effective teamwork, higher productivity, fewer conflicts and errors, enhanced innovation and problem-solving, improved recruiting and retention, superior customer relations and more. As authors on leadership development have noted through the years, listening is not just a nice thing to do, it’s essential!

“Make the human element as important as the financial or the technical element,” wrote Stephen Covey in his seminal book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. “You save tremendous amounts of time, energy and money when you tap into the human resources of a business at every level. When you listen, you learn.”

As long ago as 1966, Peter Drucker, author of The Effective Executive and numerous other books, emphasized the importance of listening to both self and others as an essential step in bringing to light everyone’s role as contributors to the organization’s overall success.

Likewise, studies in Emotional Intelligence (EI) over the past couple of decades have found that leaders “infect” the Workplace (for better or for worse) with their attitudes and energy. To understand and influence these flows of emotions and motivational states, leaders need to be able to practice empathic listening skills.

Visionary leaders listen to values held by individuals within the group, enabling them to explain their own goals for the organization in a way that wins support.

Coaching leaders find opportunities to listen one-on-one to employees, establish rapport and trust, and help employees help themselves in matters of performance and information gathering.

Develop your curiosity. This helps with Covey’s suggestion: Seek first to understand. Genuine curiosity is felt by others and helps to open up their speech and your listening.

Pay attention to your listening. Replay conversations you’ve had and assess whether you listened well.

Seek feedback from people you trust to assess your listening skills.

Work with a coach. Coaches can help you discover ways to listen better not only to those you work with, but also to yourself.

Listening better will reward you with an entirely new level of communication and problem-solving skills, for empathic listening requires the ability to see multiple points of view in any given situation.

As an entrepreneur and small business owner myself I know the importance of creating an innovative, motivated – and motivating – support team. When I first opened my business, I did it all myself but it didn’t take me long to realize that my genius was in building the business, not behind the scenes dealing with all of the administrative tasks.

So step up, think big, go far beyond the box and let the leader in you shine!

About the Author, Katherine Hartvickson

Kathryn Wilking

Katherine Hartvickson is the founder and president of Hartvickson & Associates, Inc. dba Quantum Ascendance. She is an experienced business consultant and success coach. Since leaving the corporate world in 2009, her clients include business owners and other seriously committed professionals and entrepreneurs who want to gain the confidence and skills to break through the barriers of success and achieve their ideal life.

What separates her service from others is her experience in leading large teams and developing top performers in corporate environments and because of this, clients achieve individual & financial rewards and the recognition they earned without sacrificing their personal life. If you are interested in knowing more, she can be reached at www.QuantumAscendance.com.