12 Exalting Phrases Good Leaders Share with Their Teams

Leaders have a tremendous impact on their organization, because the phrases they share with their teams can either produce distrust and apathy or ignite passion and commitment. And the reality is that everyone (including YOU) is a leader. What you say to the people that you work with will influence their work ethic and attitude. A good leader will recognize this, and take advantage of every opportunity to be an encouraging and inspiring flame that his people want to be near and benefit from. Yes, HOW you deliver the words are a very important part of your communication… but these exalting phrases ensure that they are fully invested and feel themselves to be a valued and contributing part of something larger and more significant than themselves:   You were right about… Great leaders are quick to praise productive decisions or ideas. It isn’t about who is right, leadership is about deciding what is right. Instead of having to be the fountain of knowledge and wisdom for their organization, strong leadership acknowledges the contributions that the people around them offer — and by doing so, encourage future innovation and give other the gift of recognition.   I’m glad you are here People don’t want to be appreciated… they NEED it. Money may be the reason they took a job, but they will leave that job when they see a chance to get more recognition and feel more valued by their superiors and peers. The simple but powerful (and FREE) action of telling your people that you are glad that they are on YOUR team can be a much more impactful phrase...

Toughness and Resilience are Skills Your Team Can Learn

There is a big difference between brick walls and speed bumps. And I shared this with my son, because I couldn’t teach him to be taller.  At 12 years old, he worked passionately on improving his dribbling and shooting for hours out in our driveway.  But each night he would pray to grow taller – so he could be a better basketball player. And I would tell him (on a few occasions), that height might help, but success is achieved by focusing on and doing the things that you can control. He was 5’2” – and he couldn’t control his height. But after coaching hundreds of athletes and facilitating workshop events for thousands of professionals and teammates in a variety of industries, I knew that he COULD learn to be tougher. Toughness and resilience are skills, just like dribbling or shooting in basketball. And the truth is that, unlike height, resilience can be taught! In my experience, whether it is in basketball or in business, a person’s resilience is based on two things: what you ask yourself and what you see. My son worked hard on improving his skill.  He spent hours alone in the driveway pushing himself through creative drills to get better. But skill without resilience and toughness is like a fighter with a glass jaw. When it is tested by adversity, a glass jaw will shatter. So if my son truly wanted to be a competitor, he needed to focus on more than just technical skills.  He needed to invest time and energy in improving his toughness. And like any other skill, I explained to him that improving...

Two Requirements for a Winning Culture… and Great Guest Experience

One of the most memorable and enjoyable breakfast experiences I’ve had while away on business was speaking with front line team members at the San Diego Marriott Grand Marquis.  I was in town for a speaking event and walked into the hotel restaurant for breakfast, and ended up learning a great deal about what creates a winning culture.  Phyllis was the first person I met, and during our conversation she shared that she had been an employee there for 12 years.  Phyllis had a warm smile and made sure I was settled into the table I wanted and was sincerely interested in making sure I was comfortable.  I asked what kept her at the Marriott for 12 years.  What did she like about working there? She said that “I love working in a beautiful place.” Then she added, “But mostly I love working with people that I adore!”  Phyllis asked for my drink order and then presented the menu to me, and suggested that the buffet was excellent.  I never looked down from her smile, and ordered the buffet. As I walked over toward the buffet I was greeted by an older man in a starched with uniform standing over an omelet bar.  He said “good morning, sir!” to me, and asked if I would like an omelet. Of course, I said yes.  He had a great smile, and his nametag said “Philip.” I asked Phillip how long he had been working here, and his answer surprised me. “26 years, sir!” So I asked him, in a world where most people work an average of 10 different jobs over...

15 Essential Leadership Books to Grow New Leaders

Summer is near.. and that means it is time to find a few leadership books for summer reading… The idea is a simple and accurate one: Readers become leaders. And its converse is an important lesson for those who find themselves in the position to influence and lead others on a team or within an organization: leaders should be readers! As a teamwork speaker and business team building facilitator, I often am asked after an event what I would suggest as the best books for new leaders to read. So below, in no particular order, is a list of books I have recommended – the ones I would argue are the 15 essential leadership books to grow new leaders. Some are well known classics, and others are more recent publications – but if you see one you aren’t familiar with, I’d encourage you to click on it and pick up a copy!   1. Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, by Joseph Grenny and Kerry Patterson This classic book gives you the tools to prepare for high-stakes situations, transform anger and hurt feelings into powerful dialogue, and be persuasive, not abrasive as a communicator.   2. QBQ! The Question Behind the Question, by John G. Miller This is a book that teaches you to change your questions and provides a method for putting personal accountability into daily action, which can bring astonishing results.   3. How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie Another classic written decades ago, the book covers timeless truths for engaging people and earning the right to be heard. Simple lessons in emotional intelligence....

Pre-Order The 10 Commandments of Winning Teammates Book!

  Having worked with all kinds of groups – including athletes, doctors, educators, salesmen, construction workers, and IT professionals – one clear truth is that every industry and organization needs winning teammates. Winning teammates are servant leaders.  They are the GLUE that holds teams together… and that keep them focused and performing well. And today I am excited to share with you that my next book, The 10 Commandments of Winning Teammates, will be finished this July! I think you will enjoy the story and the lessons it shares.   And… to launch the book, I am asking for your help. I’ll be promoting the book using Publishizer, a new crowd-publishing platform. Would you take a moment and pre-order your copy today?  For doing so, you’ll get one of many pre-order rewards from me, like having your name included inside the book as a supporter!   I would be honored to have you join the book launch and help to spread this entertaining story that carries with it an important and impactful message!   Take a look at the book’s promotional website and look over the rewards available for different levels of pre-order options… You and your team will enjoy the story and the impact it will have  – and I will be very grateful for your help! (you can click here to visit the pre-order campaign page)     Sean Glaze...

Measuring Consensus in Team Meetings and Discussions

One of the most important insights for leaders is that total consensus is not required to move your team forward as a cohesive group – What your people want is not consensus, but honest conversation. They want to have an opportunity to share their perspective and input. If you as a leader will invite their contribution of ideas as part of the conversation, and if they feel that the ideas were thoughtfully considered, then most every member of the team will go along with the idea that is ultimately chosen. People want to be heard. And the best leaders will learn to ask an incredibly powerful question of the people they work with: “What do YOU think?” This simple question will do more for the engagement and investment of your team than virtually any other you could imagine – because it values their knowledge and viewpoint. And for when you DO need to gauge your team’s position on an issue, one of the easiest ways to do so is an activity called “Fist to Five.” A show of hands is a poor way to measure consensus, and it offers less information than something that is an easy alternative.  Too often, team leaders may ask for a show of hands to check on agreement – but that doesn’t take into account the amount of reservations or enthusiasm they have. A simple “raise your hands” is not accurate in helping you get a feel for where each of your people truly stand… so “Fist to Five” is a tool you can use to get a more precise reading. Some team personality...

Tessellations and Accepting Team Roles

In my book, Rapid Teamwork, I share the five ingredients that all GREAT teams share.  One of those is setting clear expectations about team roles. Sometimes the toughest challenge for otherwise committed teammates is understanding and accepting their role.  And the best illustrations of teams fitting together and accepting roles are something called tessellations. A tessellation is a repeated pattern of a closed shape, arrayed one after the next, with no gaps or overlaps. M.C. Escher is famous for some of his drawings that use tessellations, but at their simplest, a grid of squares or a pattern of interlocking hexagon tiles on a bathroom floor are tessellations. But this mathematical concept is interestingly like what you want to occur when building successful teams. In constructing teams, you are likely aware of the need to adapt to different personalities and adapt your behaviors and skills to fill in any gaps the team may have.  In basketball, if your team doesn’t have any player over 6’2”, somebody will need to adapt their skills and play post – or the team will need to adapt itself to a new offensive system. For ANY team to successfully accomplish its goals, each member should be adaptable, ready to interact with other members at any time. The team is an evolving collection of puzzle pieces… and you must adapt to where your skills fit in best. The “team-building process” is one of learning to identify the shape of your colleagues and adapt yours to accommodate them (and vice versa). Many want to win, but are unwilling to adapt to team needs and pride keeps them from success!...

A Ten Cent Secret to Leading and Developing Team Performance

This is a parable that shares an important secret for leading and developing team performance. I hope you enjoy the story, and encourage you to share it with your team leaders…   *** Steve was struggling to find answers. As a manager, he was concerned that his people were not performing well. Steve had spent hours each week locked away in his office poring over data to try and decipher where the problem was – but even after all his reading and research, the ideas he tried had not had an impact on the company’s bottom line. Thinking it might be a morale issue, Steve requested more money from corporate to motivate them with rewards and incentives, but he still didn’t see improvement… turned out that compensation wasn’t the answer. Next, Steve even considered bringing in an expensive consulting firm to get help with improving the organization’s strategy.   But before he made THAT call, he decided to ask for some advice. Exasperated, Steve went to visit his uncle, who was living in a nursing home.   Uncle Louie had been a pretty successful businessman in his day, and Steve had no other ideas left. When Steve described his problem, Uncle Louie thought a few moments… Then he slowly nodded and reached into his pants pocket to pull out an old dime.  Louie explained that he had been successful in business because of that magical dime his boss had given him when he had been frustrated with low productivity – and it had made all the difference. Uncle Louie said that when he carried with him it always brought...

Four Powerful Image Quotes for a Successful 2016

As you and your team begin to move forward in your plans for a successful 2016, it will be helpful for you to reflect on and share the following powerful image quotes… Together, these four quotes will ensure that your focus and efforts provide the results you are seeking… Here are the four powerful image quotes:   1 – “If everything I’ve done is just the beginning, then what is next?”      This is a powerful question because it forces you to look forward and identify your next level of achievement.   Everything before today was only a preamble to your NEXT project or accomplishment.  Now that you’ve gotten to where you are, what do your past experiences and current resources make possible??     2 – “It is not only what we do, but what we do not do, for which we are accountable” – Moliere   Accountability, as I shared in my leadership parable Rapid Teamwork, begins with empathy and is a conscious decision to take personal ownership of your team’s results.  That means that it is not only what you do, but also what you choose not to do, that impacts the people around you. That is especially true with communication – what is said, and what is not said.  Silence is often interpreted as consent – so take note of the things you are allowing to occur without addressing or correcting them..      3 – “What needs to happen this year (month? week?) for my team to consider it a success?”   When you look back at the upcoming year (or month, or week)...

Team Leadership and Another Kind of Caterpillar Story

You are already familiar with the story of transformational adversity – caterpillars will turn, after hibernating in a cocoon and struggling to escape, into a beautiful butterfly… But there is another kind of caterpillar story that shares a lesson on team leadership and offers a warning to organizations and teams who become too comfortable or predictable.  There is a species of caterpillar called a processionary caterpillar. It has been so named because once the group leader establishes a direction, all the others will fall in very closely behind and move dutifully in the same established path.   As a matter of fact, the followers’ behaviors become so automatic that their eyes become half-closed as they shut out the world around them and simply allow the leader do all the thinking and decision making about which direction to pursue. Their behavior is rote and automatic and mindless. An experiment by French naturalist Jean-Henri Fabre demonstrated the surprising strictness of the processionary caterpillars’ behavior when, on one occasion, he enticed the leader to start circling the edge of a large flower pot. The other caterpillars followed suit, and quickly formed themselves into a closed circle of caterpillars, where the distinctions between leader and follower became totally blurred, and the path had no beginning and no ending. Instead of getting bored with or even acknowledging the nonproductive activity, the caterpillars kept up their activity, without any adjustments, for several days and nights until they dropped off the edge of the flowerpot from exhaustion and starvation. Relying totally on instinct, past experience, custom, and tradition, the caterpillars achieve nothing because they mistook activity for achievement. ...