3 Surefire Signs Managers in Your Organization Need Leadership Training

Organizations often promote top performers, but without proper leadership skill development, they struggle to lead their teams and only manage to get by. No matter how long your people have been in their leadership positions, it’s always critical to develop and elevate their skills. 

Here are 3 signs your managers need leadership training. 

1. They Blame their Team for Mistakes.

When you have difficult conversations about lack of productivity or challenges with their team’s performance, do your leaders jump to point blame at their team or a specific individual? The best leaders know they are ultimately responsible for their team’s failures and will take ownership. 

2. They’ve Become Bottlenecks.

Even the people who are ego-driven and thrive on the feeling of power get exhausted over time in having to make every important decision. At the core of leadership is empowering other people. Decision making is one of the best ways to empower other people. If you notice people waiting for their leader to make all the decisions, their inability to empower others could be creating a seriously negative impact on your organization’s productivity.  

3. Top Performers are Leaving.

A recent Gallup study showed 75 percent of employees who voluntarily left their jobs did so because of their bosses. It is something I have seen happen over and over again at companies we work with at LearnLoft. Regardless of how the employee feels about their position itself, they just do not see a way around their bad boss. These talented, hard-working people are pushed to their wits’ end instead of being supported and developed.

If you’ve seen any of these three signs in your managers, consider implementing a leadership development program in your organization. Check out our Building the Best Workshop.

Need Help Developing Leadership Skills of Your Managers? Developing managers into leaders is difficult. A great step is providing a formal development opportunity such as the Building the Best Assessment and Workshop.  Learn more here.

Why You Should Lean Into Your Weaknesses

There’s a trend to only focus on your strengths. While I agree you should capitalize on you’re strengths, Leaders are doing everyone a disservice (including themselves) if they don’t work to improve in areas they are weakest.

If you’re only focusing on your strengths, that means you’re ignoring the other areas required to be an effective leader. Think differently. Change your mentality. Maybe you’re struggling with accountability, difficult conversations, setting standards, or having empathy. Identify your weaknesses, and then lean into them. Do the work.

What’s Your Leadership Style? Join over 40k leaders and discover how well you are leveraging love and discipline as a leader and find out your current leadership style for free.

Need Help Developing Leadership Skills of Your Managers? Developing managers into leaders is difficult. A great step is providing a formal development opportunity such as the Building the Best Assessment and Workshop.  Learn more here.

Why You Should Turn Down Judgement and Amp Up Empathy

Empathy is a trait many leaders believe they have, but in reality, their thoughts and actions aren’t that of an empathetic leader. Don’t believe me? Have you ever thought, “Why is that person doing it that way?” or “This should be easy, why aren’t they learning faster? ” or “Why is this person fighting me on my idea?”

Every day, we are faced with individuals who all bring their unique experiences with them. Some we can relate to, and others we may not even be aware of. Empathy is defined as the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and act differently because of it.

Sounds easy, but old habits die hard. We are so quick to make snap judgments or assume people think like us. Here’s one thing you can do to put it into practice today:

Instead of judging someone or something else, get curious. Ask them why they’re doing it that way or what the thought process is behind their decision. Often you’ll find you can empathize easier when you understand the full picture.

Having empathy for everyone on your team is important because understanding how others are feeling and why they’re doing things a certain way can truly aid you elevating everyone (not just the people who are like you).

What’s Your Leadership Style? Join over 40k leaders and discover how well you are leveraging love and discipline as a leader and find out your current leadership style for free.

Building the Best Leadership Workshop Do you lead a team and want to elevate the way you lead? Want to improve the performance of your team or business? Want to elevate the way you lead? Run the Building the Best Workshop in your organization.  Learn more here.

This Single Phrase Puts Everything Into Perspective

Quite often we are worried about ourselves. What will we do? How does this impact me? How is this conversation going to get them to like/respect/follow me? All the while, we’re not thinking about the true meaning of leadership: to inspire, empower and serve in order to elevate others over an extended period of time.

We are all guilty. But there’s a method you can put into place to ensure you always have “serve” front and center in any situation. It’s called the PTS Method and it stands for Prepare to Serve.

Here’s how you use it. Every time you change environments, say to yourself, “prepare to serve”. You enter a meeting with your team: prepare to serve
You are logging into a conference call with a client: prepare to serve
You are opening the door to your house in the evening: prepare to serve.

This is not just for those leading teams at work. This is for everyone. Making this a habit will absolutely change your life and the lives of those around you.

What’s Your Leadership Style? Join over 40k leaders and discover how well you are leveraging love and discipline as a leader and find out your current leadership style for free.

Interested in Running a Building the Best Workshop? This 1-day workshop teaches leaders how to build the best teams. With stories, best practices, and models, they’ll learn how to tackle some of today’s biggest leadership challenges like having difficult conversations, holding people accountable, setting clear standards, developing skills in others, overcoming turnover, and managing remote teams. Learn More.

Ultimate Leadership Academy Do you lead a team and want to elevate the way you lead? Apply to join the Ultimate Leadership Academy. A virtual leadership development program which includes the EO 360° Assessment and Report, 4 Live Instructor-Led Training Webinars and One-On-One Coaching. Learn more here.

One Thing You THINK You Do, But You Actually Don’t

Most people (spouses excluded) won’t call you out, but they’re definitely judging you based on how well you listen when they’re talking. Active Listening is a skill you have to constantly sharpen, but one that’s often forgotten because it’s considered “too basic”.

When I say “active listening” I’m not talking about nodding your head, or agreeing with the other person, or even making intense, venturing on creepy, eye contact. If you want to seem like you’re listening, go ahead and practice those things. But active listeners PROVE they’re listening by doing these three things:

  1. Anchor Yourself. Be present in the conversation. If you can’t commit to being present, be honest and ask if you can have the conversation another time.
  2. Survey What’s Being Said. Ask great questions to ensure you understand or get to a deeper level of understanding.
  3. Show You Listened. Use what you heard. Whether it was a request to do something differently or just information you needed, show you listened by recalling the information at a later date or by doing what they asked you to do.

What’s Your Leadership Style? Join over 40k leaders and discover how well you are leveraging love and discipline as a leader and find out your current leadership style for free.

Ultimate Leadership Academy Do you lead a team and want to elevate the way you lead? Apply to join the Ultimate Leadership Academy. A virtual leadership development program which includes the EO 360° Assessment and Report, 4 Live Instructor-Led Training Webinars and One-On-One Coaching. Learn more here.

The Most Powerful and Often Overlooked Element of Feedback

Two Female Friends are Having a Conversation While Having Coffee

One of the most cringe-worthy sentences of all-time has to be, “Can I give you some feedback?” I bet you just heard one of your horrible boss’s voice in your head. Apologies for the PTSD. Looking back now, the title of this article should be Feedback: the most overused business phrase.

I’m not here to bash feedback as a tool. Feedback is, in fact, a critical part of every leader’s role. Every great leader uses these crucial conversations when standards aren’t being met. The very best leaders also leverage accountability as a tool for praise and recognition when standards are met.

But most leaders spend so much time figuring out what they are going to say and how they are going to document the conversation that they forget about the person on the receiving end. They may worry about how the other person may react (in relation to themselves), but never about how the other person feels.

Being able to empathize with the person on the receiving end of feedback is critical to how they will receive the feedback, and more importantly, what they will do afterward.

The goal of giving good feedback is to inspire self-reflection, a change in behavior, and professional growth. If empathy isn’t part of the equation, the person on the receiving end will put up walls to protect their ego and block all those “good intentions” from catapulting over.

Have the courage to have difficult dialogues, but at the same time have the empathy to understand what the person on the other side of the conversation is going through. It will change the dynamic of the conversation.

Join the Next Ultimate Leadership Academy Want to become a better leader? Apply to participate in the next Ultimate Leadership Academy. A virtual training program that includes, the EO 360° Assessment, live webinars, and one-on-one coaching. Learn more here.

4 Avoidable Mistakes Leaders of Underperforming Teams Make

Businesswoman pointing to a mistake in a paper

“Why aren’t my people doing the RIGHT things?”
“My people just don’t listen.”
“My team is lazy.”

If your team isn’t achieving the desired result, take a look in the mirror and think about how you’re leading them. Here are the 4 huge and avoidable mistakes leaders of underperforming teams make:

1. Assuming they already know what’s expected of them. Let’s face it. Some jobs are tedious. The monotony of doing the same thing day in and day out can easily get in the way of achieving results. Ensure your team knows (and is constantly being reminded of) the goal they are working towards. We use this formula to create goals that become achieved:

Clear Goal + Completion Date + Carrot

The carrot is critical and keeps teams motivated for the duration. What is it that your team will get if they reach the goal? Is it an afternoon off? Will you do some crazy stunt like take a polar plunge?

2. Holding them accountable for the WRONG things or not holding them accountable at all. Accountability is a leader’s obligation. Before you can hold them accountable, they have to know what “great” looks like – that’s setting the standard. Then you can hold them accountable to those standards. The best thing you can do when introducing standards is to explain why they exist.

3. Not reinforcing positive, desired behaviors. Accountability isn’t always about showing your disapproval when a standard isn’t met; it’s also about reinforcing positive behaviors you want to continue. Praise people when they exceed the standards set. When you do, you’ll notice others follow suit.

4. Not being consistent. Consistency is king. You have to show up to lead your team with the same level of intensity day in and day out. Hold them accountable every day because the minute you lower your standards is the minute performance begins to erode. Goals are achieved with consistency over time. If you want to reach the goal, you have to do the work.

If you’ve seen any of these mistakes in your managers, consider implementing a leadership development program in your organization. Check out our Building the Best Workshop.

Need Help Developing Leadership Skills of Your Managers? Developing managers into leaders is difficult. A great step is providing a formal development opportunity such as the Building the Best Assessment and Workshop.  Learn more here.

The Obvious Yet Overlooked Fact Leaders Shouldn’t Ignore

Traveler spying through binoculars

Your personal brand includes everything you say and do — in public and private. Yes, in private too.

The truth is, nothing is private anymore. You are always being watched whether it’s in-person or online. Every post you make, comment you leave, or thing you share is open to scrutiny. The same goes for how what you do in public. Did you act out at the airport? Are you treating your waiter poorly at dinner? Do you drive like a maniac – honking your horn and flipping the bird as you pass an “idoit” driver? What if that other driver happens to be someone on your team? Those examples may seem extreme, but we’ve all seen people in these situations and there’s a good chance they lead other people.

Some leaders forget their people are always watching every little thing they do. From how they treat other employees to how they talk to the leader managing them. Here’s a clue: If you treat people differently based on their role, then you’re doing it wrong.

You should live every moment as if your team is watching you because they are. Set the best example of how you want them to live out your team’s values. If you’re holding them to a standard, be the first to overshoot the set expectation.

The next time you think no one is looking, think again. You are always being watched. Get used to it.

Building the Best Leadership Workshop Do you lead a team and want to go to elevate the way you lead? Don’t miss out on the opportunity to participate in the Building the Best Leadership Workshop on June 25th in Charlotte, NC. Learn more and sign up here.

Your Company Will Suffer Without This Mindset

Young frustrated businessman with smartphone working in a modern office.

Don’t you despise the response “let me ask my manager”? This type of behavior doesn’t happen if an organization has a culture of empowered employees and leaders who elevate others.

In this short video, I share a great example of my experience at Chick-fil-A where one of its employees was empowered to make a decision where the information was. Chick-fil-A is known to have an Elite Culture.

What LearnLoft has found from our research is distinct differences in the characteristics of some organizational cultures vs. others. There are 5 Levels of Company Culture (see image below):

Elite cultures are the best of the best. These are highly connected work environments from the C-Suite to the lowest level employees. In Elite cultures, words and phrases are powerful and are used all the time to the point where they become habits. 

Here is the best part, every organization or team has the ability and capacity to be an elite culture. Just know changing cultures takes a lot of time, energy and effort but in the end, it will be well worth it.

Free Company Culture Assessment Discover what culture level exists within your organization for free.

Join the Next Ultimate Leadership Academy Want to become a better leader? Apply to participate in the next Ultimate Leadership Academy. A virtual training program that includes, the EO 360° Assessment, live webinars, and one-on-one coaching. Learn more here.

5 Elements Required to Successfully Develop a Leader

Making real and lasting change is difficult. CEO’s, Learning and Development, and Human Resources invest time, money and energy to help managers make lasting change to the way they lead. More often than not, those efforts fall short and managers go back to old habits. The results are dismal including increased turnover, less than stellar performance, and low employee engagement.

We’ve learned a tremendous amount about what it takes to successfully develop a leader while implementing leadership development programs with organizations of all sizes and industries. Whether you work with us or not, these are the 5 critical elements that need to be a part of your leadership development program in order to successfully develop your leaders.

1. Self-Awareness. In order for anyone to make changes in their life, it starts with deciding themselves its time to change. A great way to get managers to open up to change is to create self-awareness of their leadership strengths and weaknesses. We create self-awareness with Elevating Others 360°  Reports that are completed by a manager and their direct reports. Regardless of whether you use LearnLoft’s assessment or someone else’s a few of the essential competencies you should measure are:

  • Vulnerability
  • Empathy
  • Trust
  • Accountability
  • Coaching

2. Proven, Implementable Content. You attend a class full of theory and the materials that look like they were from the 1970’s. If you were able to get past the hideous powerpoint (because of an engaging trainer), by the time you return to work, you’re scratching your head wondering how to actually implement what you just learned. Sound familiar?

The content you use to develop leaders has to be easy to recall and even easier to implement. LearnLoft has spent years researching and testing our content. It’s actionable, and it works! Our workshops not only use models, and very specific examples but also exercises that get people thinking about themselves and their teams. Whatever content you choose or build for your program make sure it works and it’s aligned to what’s happening in the workplace today.

3. Coaching. Coaching not only adds accountability it also drastically improves the success of leadership programs. The latest research shows leadership development programs that include coaching see as much as a 60% improvement over programs without coaching. Whether you use peer coaching, group coaching or one-on-one coaching, the point is to include it with your program. You will see a drastic shift in engagement and in results for your organization. Depending on your size, a great option is to certify a group of people within your organization to coach your content.  

4. Ongoing Education. Workshops or training events should be the beginning, not the only part of your program. We all know the statistics on information retention, so I won’t bore you. Whether you do online training or reinforcement webinars, you should be touching your learners with some type of reinforcement to keep their development top of mind. Let’s face it, they’re leading teams and attending learning events or logging into an online module is at the bottom of their priorities. Make reinforcement events worth their time by providing valuable content, and they will engage.

5. Elective Enrollment. Instead of forcing your leaders through training, offer them the opportunity to improve their leadership skills by enrolling in an incredible experience. Doesn’t that sound a lot more tempting? Registration into a leadership development program shouldn’t be something they have to do it should be viewed as an opportunity they’re given. If you include an application step or other requirements (ie: being nominated by peers or direct reports) to attend, you’ll see an increase application of your program and engagement.

If you include these 5 elements into your next leadership development program, it will have the best chance to be a success.

7 Best Practices to Develop Leaders In Your Organization Need some more ideas to help ensure the leadership program in your organization is up to par?  Download the the whitepaper here.

Don’t know where to start? We’d love to help! Talk to a leadership expert here.

Coming this Summer! Our book Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Success with publishing partner McGraw Hill.