Categories for Leadership

We’ve Been Fact Checked (and We Were Right!)

HBR reports research demonstrating appreciation improves productivity The Harvard Business Review recently published an intriguing article, “5 Things High-Performing Teams Do Differently” based on research findings by Dr. Ron Friedman.   “New research suggests that the highest-performing teams have found subtle ways of leveraging social connections during the pandemic to fuel their success. The findings offer important clues on ways any organization can foster greater connectedness — even within a remote or hybrid work setting — to engineer higher-performing teams.” And (surprise!) three of the five key characteristic actions they cited are core principles we teach in our Appreciation at... Continue reading...

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November 1, 2021 9:00 am
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The Relationship between Emotional Intelligence and Staff Turnover

You already know that emotional intelligence is important in leader/follower relations. What is the importance of emotional intelligence among team members? How does your level of emotional intelligence affect your colleague’s intent to quit? How does your colleagues’ competency in emotional intelligence impact your decision to stay where you are or look for a new team, possibly at a new company? Keep in mind that emotional intelligence is a skill that enables you to recognize, manage, and influence emotions in yourself and others. As you know, people are emotional creatures. People are also inherently communal. Mix ‘community’ with ‘emotions’ and... Continue reading...

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July 26, 2021 9:00 am
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Sync or Swim: A light read about working together during a crisis

Holidays are a great time to enjoy some light reading. But we are also in the midst of difficult circumstances – working from home, team members spread out, and financial challenges. Sync or Swim fits into both these categories. Through a fun, story format, you’ll read about various personality types and how they often respond to stress, and you’ll learn practical ways to “pull your team together.” (And it is a great way to introduce friends, family and colleagues to the 5 languages of appreciation.) Humans are hard-wired for a story and fables cut through complexity to reveal simple wisdom.... Continue reading...

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November 30, 2020 9:00 am
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Working From Home: How the Concerns of Employees and Managers Differ

Recently, we conducted a national survey with over 500 employees and organizational leaders. We wanted to find out the issues that remote and working from home (WFH) employees were currently most concerned about. Last week, we reported the results for the group as a whole (all of the respondents together). Two concerns were rated more highly than the rest (a total of 22 issues were offered): *The emotional and mental health of team members (75% of respondents rated this as an extreme or moderate concern) *Work / life boundaries (~70% of participants identified this as being at a moderate or... Continue reading...

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September 28, 2020 1:58 pm
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How to Help Your Employees Find Purpose at Work

“Does what I do matter?” Every person on the planet wants to know the answer to this question. This is especially true for employees that are feeling unstable and uncertain about their future. Employees that have a clear sense of their purpose are more engaged, more loyal, and more productive too. Amidst the pandemic, your team is looking for hope. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that nearly one-third of all Americans currently suffer from depression and anxiety. As quarantine orders took effect, self-help book sales shot up by 39%. Man has been searching for meaning from the beginning of time.... Continue reading...

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August 31, 2020 8:55 am
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Encouragement, Support, and Staying Connected During Quarantine

Last week we conducted a small survey to see how our readers were feeling supported and encouraged, how they were supporting and encouraging others and what has helped them stay positive. We were overwhelmed by the positive answers and examples you gave us. First, we asked you: How much have you felt supported and encouraged by someone with whom you work since the COVID-19 crisis has developed? The average of all responses was a “4” (1 = Not at all; 5 = Extremely)! We were glad to learn that many of you are feeling supported and encouraged during this difficult... Continue reading...

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May 4, 2020 9:00 am
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How Authentic Appreciation Can Make You Less Busy

Busyness, especially unnecessary and unproductive busyness, is like the unhealthy rapid growth that can happen in living organisms like plants. Busyness eats up resources (time, energy, money) for activity that may not be healthy for the organization or its members. As a psychologist, I’m supposed to know something about behavior change, and how to help people change patterns of behavior and habits. One of the factors that we know improves the likelihood of changing behavior is if the new behavior is closely related to an existing behavior. So, for example, if you want to start an exercise program, you are... Continue reading...

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March 9, 2020 9:00 am
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Sync or Swim: A Fable about Workplace Communication and Coming Together in a Crisis

Since earliest times, fables have been passed on from generation to generation. Humans are ‘hard-wired for a story’ and fables cut through complexity to reveal simple wisdom. In them we see our own predicaments and reactions, both wise and foolish. Our book, Sync or Swim, helps us solve the frustrating contradiction of morale-building programs that end up hurting morale and of recognition programs resulting in cynicism. The story is written to be a fun, quick read, illustrating ways to communicate appreciation that generate productivity and effective teamwork. Each character responds in different ways to the same situation – as each... Continue reading...

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December 9, 2019 9:00 am
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The Power of Using Stories to Lead

How Effective Leaders Grab the Hearts of their Team Members Most leaders tend to focus on data and factual information. And accurate data is important for making good management decisions. But throughout history, communicating through facts has not been the most utilized method for sharing and developing leadership qualities. Rather, stories have been used more than any other form of verbal expression. For evidence, look to Greek philosophers, wisdom literature from Asia, and the wide range of stories from multiple cultures across the centuries designed to teach guiding principles for life. Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, Confucius and Jesus all used stories grounded in daily... Continue reading...

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December 2, 2019 9:00 am
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Characteristics of Successful Teams

Although working with a team of very talented, capable and successful professionals can be fun and exciting, these teams can be challenging as well. But there are factors, when built into the team effort, that can make these “All-Star” teams incredibly impactful. Examples can be taken from many areas of life: music groups, sports teams, legal and political teams, strategic business partnerships. Unfortunately, many examples of “Super Teams” that failed also exist – which leads to the question: What are the necessary ingredients for success? Ingredients for Highly Successful Teams *Team members voluntarily submit to a selected leader (or leaders).... Continue reading...

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October 14, 2019 9:00 am
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How Millennials Lead: 4 Steps To Prepare Them For Leadership Today

How will the next generation lead?  The answer to this question will shape your business and your legacy. Three factors determine your leadership style: How you were parented. How you learn. And perhaps the most consequential, your generation. We are in the most significant generational power hand-off in history. Today 10,000 Baby Boomers will turn 65 years old. Baby Boomers are delaying retirement an average of five years. But the real problem is Generation X. Generation X (born 1965-1981) is about one-third the size of the Baby Boomer population (born 1946-1964). Translation: there are not enough Gen Xers to fill... Continue reading...

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October 7, 2019 9:00 am
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Steps to Meaningful Affirmation

To affirm someone is to say something positive about someone directly to him or her. It is about saying something positive to the person about who he or she is. Or, it could be thanking someone for something he or she has done for you. Think of someone who has done something special for you. Maybe you think the person knows you appreciate the favor, but maybe you’ve never actually told him or her. Consider affirming that person directly, and see what happens. Let’s explore how to do that. Remove insincere phrases. First, remove phrases in your affirmation like “I... Continue reading...

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September 16, 2019 9:00 am
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Four Questions (and Tips) That Will Transform Your Culture

People grow into the conversations you create around them. The best tool great leaders have to strengthen and empower others is powerful questions. Questions evoke curiosity. They force others to think. And, when answered well, allow others to take ownership of the process and responsibility for the outcomes. It has been said that powerful questions can steer any conversation away from problems and personalities and move them toward meaningful solutions. Powerful questions evoke insight, stir creativity, inspire collaboration and help craft a culture of accountability. So, to that end, let me offer four questions that, when asked often and answered... Continue reading...

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August 12, 2019 9:00 am
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Improve Your Culture, Buy a Chicken!

I was having lunch with a friend who told me about an interaction that he had with one of his team members. Apparently, he caught wind that a young lady who reported directly to him was at her desk, crying inconsolably. After inviting her into his office, he began to inquire about what had upset her so. Being a newlywed, she was experiencing difficulty adjusting to married life and a number of challenges had come their way, compounding the stress. But, the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back was that her favorite chicken had died suddenly from an unknown... Continue reading...

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May 20, 2019 8:51 am
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Leadership Blind Spot: Your Least Valued Language of Appreciation

By nature, we all tend to speak our own language of appreciation. If Acts of Service make me feel appreciated, then I will tend to pitch in and help my colleagues. If Quality Time makes me feel appreciated, then I may often go out of my way to stop by a teammate’s office and “check in” to see how they are doing. If Words of Affirmation make me feel appreciated, then you can expect that I will give use verbal praise to those with whom I work. If a high five energizes me and makes me feel appreciated, I will... Continue reading...

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May 6, 2019 9:00 am
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5 Misconceptions about Workplace Culture (And How You Can Make a Difference)

Workplace culture is both a “hot” and important topic in the world today.  Companies, organizations, and government agencies are all struggling with the reality that they have seriously unhealthy workplace cultures.  Yet many people (including leaders) have significant misconceptions about what creates “workplace culture” and whether or not (or how) it can be changed.  Frequent results of these misconceptions include: a) individuals within the organization giving up trying to improve the culture because they view the situation as hopeless; b) they want to do something to make a difference but don’t know where to start, or c) their attempts to... Continue reading...

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November 12, 2018 9:00 am
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Are You Too Busy To Learn How To Overcome Busyness?

A change in perspective can make a difference Are you tired – mentally, emotionally (& physically)? Do you have more to do than you have time & energy? Are you overwhelmed in trying to manage all of your emails, texts, & voicemails? I’d bet you also are behind in reading all of the blogs, articles, and books that you feel you should. You probably feel overwhelmed and discouraged. Or just worn out. Welcome to the Busyness Club. I feel that way too. Your team members do. And so do your clients. A Personal Story… I grew up in a conservative... Continue reading...

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October 1, 2018 9:47 am
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Do millennials want to be shown appreciation differently?

The workforce is changing rapidly, with the number of millennial employees expected to surpass baby boomers (individuals in their late 50s and older) by 2019 and they will comprise nearly half of the total working population by 2020. Organizational leaders and HR professionals affirm knowing and understanding your employees is critical in order to have (and keep) an effective workforce, thus, distinguishing and addressing the differences between employees of different age groups is important. Adjusting to the characteristics and desires of younger employees has been the source of much research.  The Gallup Group found that the majority of millennials (55%)... Continue reading...

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September 16, 2018 6:36 pm
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Leadership Is More Than a Job Description – It’s a Mindset

When people get promoted into leadership, it’s usually because they have demonstrated outstanding technical abilities. Unfortunately, technical proficiency is not a reliable indicator for effective leadership. In fact, some alarming large-scale studies on employee engagement and trust in the workplace in the past few years suggest we might need to rethink who we put in leadership and what we actually look for when promoting people into those roles. Should Leadership be a Profession? Think about it, lawyers need to pass a bar exam, hair stylists need to get a cosmetology license. Heck, you even need a license to go fishing!... Continue reading...

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June 25, 2018 9:00 am
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How Leaders Sometimes View Employee Recognition

Maybe you’ve seen what I have seen over 20+ years of trying to help many companies get their employee recognition right. Often I am dealing with managers in the middle – typically from Human Resources – who understand the importance of employee recognition and are trying desperately to rectify low recognition scores reported by their employees on the latest employee engagement survey. Even their director knows they need to improve this engagement line, which has been doing poorly for the past few years. The problem is with the most senior leader. It can be chief executive officer, president, or chief... Continue reading...

March 19, 2018 9:00 am
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Inspire Your Employees by Creating a Culture of Appreciation

Great leaders understand the value of showing appreciation to those whom they are leading. They realize, by building a culture where all team members feel valued and actively support one another, the goals of the organization will be reached more efficiently and not at the expense of wearing out all who are involved. Misguided leaders believe supporting and encouraging employees is a waste of time. As a result, they wind up spending a lot of time and energy replacing key team members and trying to resolve innumerable petty conflicts and complaints which siphon off resources needed to accomplish their goals.... Continue reading...

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January 30, 2018 9:32 am
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Building Your Best Team: Learn to Value and Appreciate Differences

To grow a successful and sustainable business, you need a team of employees who bring their unique abilities, strengths and perspectives to the challenges you will face. But to draw and keep talented individuals who are different than you, you have to learn a key skill: You have to learn how to lead people who are different than you. There are lots of great books on leadership that provide valuable insights into key skills and abilities needed to effectively lead others. But one concept that is not stressed enough is: to lead a successful team, you have to understand those who... Continue reading...

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January 22, 2018 9:00 am
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Sometimes Old is Better Than New: Lessons from 3 Impactful Leadership Books

In thinking about the New Year, making goals and New Year’s resolutions, I tend to go back to those books which have impacted me over the years.  I thought I would share some gleanings from these books. First Things First by Stephen Covey “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” “Humility truly is the mother of all virtues . . . It unleashes all other learning, all growth and process.” “We need to be constantly asking ourselves, ‘What is needed out there, and what is my unique strength, my gift?'” “We’re getting more done in... Continue reading...

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January 7, 2018 7:55 pm
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How the Grinch Stole Appreciation at Work (and how to get it back)

It’s a Christmas classic. Every year we enjoy the journey of the Grinch — from ninja-level curmudgeon, to repenting of his ways and then saving the day. The Grinch remains an interesting character. He’s so filled with anger and resentment that it clouds his vision and certainly his judgment. He embarks on a journey that he thinks will fill the hole in his small and fragile heart. Yet, as we know, the results of his mayhem left him cold and wondering why there was no joy or satisfaction. It was not until his ‘ah ha’ moment that things changed for... Continue reading...

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December 21, 2017 10:05 am
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How to Improve Employee Engagement in Time for the New Year

by Teri Giannetti     Are you struggling to get your employees to engage and adopt a new process or strategy? Have you heard the complaints from employees who are not happy with a new initiative or system? Is your team not performing well? If your answer is yes to any of these questions, your problem is likely the result of poor employee adoption. The good news is that there is still time this year to set up your team for success in the New Year, but you’ll need to act quickly and start the process now. In my book,... Continue reading...

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November 20, 2017 10:00 am
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Don’t Be a Turkey in How You Show Appreciation this Thanksgiving

Team leaders are often encouraged (“bombarded” is actually a better word) to communicate appreciation to colleagues during the Thanksgiving holiday season. Expressing thanks for a job well done is sure to be received well, right? Not necessarily. At times, clueless managers are at risk for saying “thanks” in ways that won’t be received well. They don’t really “get” appreciation and what the big deal is – but they try anyway, and often their actions seriously miss the mark and actually wind up being offensive. Here are some actions to avoid: The “I’m off. You’re not. Enjoy the weekend!” message. This... Continue reading...

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November 16, 2017 10:16 am
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3 Steps to Winning Leadership Support for Employee Recognition Programs

By Mike Byam What is one of the most effective ways to boost employee satisfaction and productivity within your organization? Provide recognition for employee contributions. Seems simple enough right? Unfortunately, it can be quite difficult to get  everyone on-board with the idea. I’ve given hundreds of talks about the importance of employee recognition and how to do it right over the course of the last fifteen plus years. The same question keeps coming up, without fail, every time we give a talk on this topic. How do I get my executive team to prioritize employee recognition, and how do I... Continue reading...

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October 16, 2017 3:13 pm
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7 Reasons Why Emotional Intelligence Will Continue to Be Highly Desired

According to the World Economic Forum Future of Jobs Report, emotional intelligence will be one of the top 10 job skills in 2020 The awareness that emotional intelligence has become an important job skill, even surpassing technical ability, has been growing over the last number of years. A Career Builder Survey of more than 2,600 hiring managers and human resource professionals found the following: 71 percent stated they valued emotional intelligence in an employee over IQ 75 percent said they were more likely to promote a high EI worker 59 percent claimed they would not hire someone with a high... Continue reading...

July 20, 2017 9:45 pm
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For College Graduates: The Challenges of Finding a Job

  Recently, I am working with more and more young adults who are finding it difficult to find jobs in their desired career path. And it doesn’t really matter what area they are in — business, education, computer science, marketing, graphic design. Some are recent college graduates, while others have been out of school for a while. Some of these individuals have taken short-term (e.g. one or two year) positions and now they want to “move on” in their career. And I am hearing reports back from numerous young people across the country that finding a job is harder than... Continue reading...

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May 17, 2017 8:00 am
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