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Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category

Leadership Training: Skills for Today’s Workplace

Friday, March 17th, 2017

How do ordinary people use their skills and talents in everyday situations to become extraordinary, modern leaders? They do it through commitment and skill. Many people believe that leadership skills are inherent – you either naturally have them or you don’t – but research has shown that these skills can be very effectively taught with leadership training. Here are three important modern leadership skills that can be learned with leadership training.ordinarypeople

Lead by Example

While leadership is often described as accomplishing goals through other people, your personal action is what’s needed to motivate your team to accomplish those goals. Consider what actions you can take that would set a good example and would show the team your commitment and respect for the work they do. Never ask an employee to do something you’re not willing to do yourself. Lead by example with your words and actions.

Practice Success

No list of modern leadership skills would be complete without “analyzing and practicing success.” A leader must know how to teach their team to repeat successes. Employees and teams who dwell on failures, blame and analyzing “what went wrong” can get stuck in a cycle of negativity. When things go wrong, own the mistake, explain how you’ll fix it and what you’ll do differently next time, and move on. Instead, encourage your team to spend time talking about what went RIGHT: what’s working? WHY is it working?  What is our objective moving forward, and how can we repeat this success?

Be Able to Lead Change

Change is almost constant, so being able to lead a team through routine, daily change, or a larger change initiative, is key. Leadership training can instill the basic skills of leading change: establishing trust, listening and observing, and empowering others. Employees must trust you in order to follow you during change. In addition to keeping your word and demonstrating solid ethics, other ways you can establish trust are to demonstrate your competence, allow your staff some sort of additional autonomy or self-direction (such as setting their own work schedules), and to communicate straightforwardly (yet respectfully) at all times.

Rather than jumping in and giving directives during change, it’s instructive for leaders to listen to, and observe, their staff. Observe how the change might affect their daily work lives and listen to what they have to say. (This will also help instill trust in you as a leader.) Lastly, empower and encourage proactive staff involvement. The more your employees understand how the change benefits them, the team, the organization, and the customers, the more engaged and “bought in” they’ll be. Empower your employees to take actions in support of the change and then step back and watch them succeed.

For effective leadership training that uses engaging, real-world stories to teach leadership skills, watch Ordinary People, Extraordinary Results: True Stories of Great Leadership. Featuring Stephen Covey, this program offers four unique case studies which profile real leaders in business, healthcare, sports and education who were able to significantly impact organizational performance.

Learn How to Collaborate with Effective Leadership Training

Friday, February 24th, 2017

Of all the leadership skills necessary to be an effective, successful leader, knowing how to collaborate with people of all levels, inside and outside of the organization is key. After all, what is a leader’s job, other than to work with others to achieve the organization’s goals? Knowing how to be a good collaborator is a skill that can be taught with effective leadership training.leadership

Often, people in leadership roles assume that they must be independent, decisive, and even competitive to be successful. But by putting aside traditional ways of thinking about leadership skills and entering into trusting relationships with others, the concept of competition can be replaced with win-win mindsets and outcomes. Win-win is a collaborative process where people take the time to search for solutions that result in mutual benefit. It calls for a commitment to communicate until a satisfactory solution is discovered, an openness to questioning some of our assumptions, and entertaining new ways of thinking.

To succeed in our current, ever-changing, technology-driven global environment, the knowledge, experience, perspectives, and skills of a wide range of people need to be brought together. Companies and leaders need to pool their human capital in an effort to solve increasingly complex problems, make sound decisions, and deliver the best solutions to their customers. In addition, companies are forging new partnerships with their suppliers, vendors and even competitors in an effort to increase their market reach. All these trends require solid collaboration skills.

A leader’s traditional methods of problem-solving, decision-making and implementation are no longer fast or flexible enough. With this need to achieve complex goals quickly and efficiently, often with fewer resources, effective communication has become more critical than ever. Our need to work well with diverse groups of people has also become greater. Globalization has created more interdependencies and created new possibilities. The win-win paradigm is excellent for meeting these challenges. It starts with the question,“How can we work together to create an outcome that meets our different needs?”

Using a collaborative perspective in all of their relationships, leaders can truly transform and elevate their work. Remember, a key element of collaboration is to listen and value different viewpoints.These different perspectives contribute options that leaders may never have thought of on their own. Whether working in teams, partnerships, or working one-on-one, these differences can be assets.
Effective leadership training should include lessons on collaboration and win-win thinking. A Better Way is a leadership training video (part of Stephen Covey’s Lessons in Leadership Set) that teaches win-win problem solving through the real stories of three South African retailers who were forced to find a better way to do business.

Turn Managers Into Leaders with These Leadership Training Topics

Sunday, January 15th, 2017

Despite what many people believe, leadership can be taught. Often, supervisors or managers are promoted to those positions because they were stellar individual contributors, but they may not be equipped with proper leadership skills. Help turn your organization’s managers into exceptional leaders with these leadership training topics.leadershipstory

 

Planning & Strategy

While it might sound contradictory, the best planning allows the greatest flexibility. No plan survives contact with reality — be it time pressures, budgets, competitors, or changing conditions. Planning for all contingencies establishes the competitive edge. Communication and planning go hand in hand. A strategy is only as good as the leader’s ability to communicate it to the team, and to receive information from the team as to whether or not things are going according to plan.

 

Communication

Another important leadership training topic is communication. Good communication as a leader is about setting a tone of openness, trust, clarity, respect, and dignity. This tone – and the leader modeling the right behaviors – allows a subordinate to respond in kind. If those who are to be led are going to be influenced and expected to follow, leaders must also establish a comfort zone that encourages followers to offer appropriate and timely feedback. This two-way communication is necessary for successful leadership and organizational functioning.

 

Ethics

Ethics form the true basis of leadership. Every leader knows they must obtain results, but ethical leaders understand that how results are achieved is extremely important. Results achieved in the wrong way are generally not repeatable or sustainable.The right thing to do is usually the hardest. Good leaders must learn to internalize their organization’s values and live them so that others can trust what they say and do.

 

Problem-solving & Failure

When considering training topics for leadership education, learning to problem-solve – and fail – is critical. Leaders must employ the best methods of problem solving they can, but everyone fails sometimes, and so they also must master the art of learning from failure. Good leaders understand the value of mistakes, and use them as a learning tool. Teach leaders to manage failure not by running from it or avoiding it, but by chasing problems, and seeing how they can contribute to future success. Effective leaders will also empower their followers to make honest mistakes — and learn from them.

 

A thorough review of leadership training topics can be found in the leadership training video Leaders of Character: Leadership – the West Point Way. This program shows how West Point teaches cadets to lead with honor and character. It then visits West Point graduates at work in the public and private sectors, demonstrating the same leadership skills they learned at West Point.

Fun Ideas to Celebrate Employee Accomplishments

Friday, December 16th, 2016

An important leadership skill for all those who manage others is knowing how to recognize and reward employee accomplishments. Effective leadership training will teach new and even experienced leaders that one of the most important leadership skills they can demonstrate is encouraging their employees by showing appreciation for individual achievement, and also by celebrating victories together as a group.1business-training-8

Recognizing individuals’ contributions to the success of the organization let the employee know that they are valued, appreciated, and that their hard work matters. How a leader provides recognition should really depend on the individual being recognized: do they like the spotlight and get a kick out of being publicly recognized? Or, perhaps they would prefer a private “great job”? Tailor your recognition to your employees’ preferences.

Here are some fun ideas: do a public “shout out” of the employee’s success either at a team meeting or via email or internal social media, bring the employee flowers or a cupcake, let the employee leave a couple of hours early on a day of their choosing, give a $5 coffee gift certificate, or bring in the employee’s favorite mocha one morning. Another idea is to hold a team, department or company lunch (depending on the size of your organization), and let the honored employee choose the restaurant.

You can also demonstrate good leadership skills by celebrating together as a team to recognize group victories and build a sense of community. Some fun ideas for team celebrations include employee recognition days, team outings to a restaurant, ballgame, or park, or a week of daily themed activities such as employee Olympics or “secret Santa” gift exchanges. Team celebrations need not cost much – they can be done during team meetings and can simply include words of appreciation and recognition from the leader, along with some clapping and cheering. Similarly, everyone could be rewarded with an additional hour for their lunch break, or by getting to leave work early some Friday. Whatever your choice, celebrations inspire a spirit of community and build team camaraderie.

The better you know your employees, the easier it is to personalize your individual recognition to them. So get to know your employees and learn how they like to be motivated and recognized.

Effective leadership training can help you or your organization’s leaders build basic leadership skills like building trust, modeling the behavior they expect, delegating to and mentoring others, inspiring and motivating action, and recognizing and rewarding achievements. The Leadership Challenge, 3rd Edition is a bestselling leadership training video teaches that being a great leader comes down to doing 5 things well, and each competency is featured in a case study. One of those competencies is Encouraging the Heart, which was also made into a separate video training program about mastering one of the most valuable leadership skills of all: employee recognition and appreciation. Both videos feature best-selling authors leadership experts Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner.

What is “Groupthink” and How Can I Avoid It?

Friday, October 7th, 2016

Have you ever been part of a group – maybe a workgroup, a sports team, or a committee – where everyone was so eager to get along, not rock the boat or make a unanimous decision that it affected group members’ ability to challenge a decision, propose alternatives, or speak up at all?

If so, you’ve experienced, first-hand, the phenomenon called “groupthink.”  

When psychologist Irving Janis began theorizing about groupthink in the early 1970’s (while studying disastrous large-scale policy decisions like the Bay of Pigs Invasion), what struck him repeatedly was the inability of well-intentioned groups  to see beyond their own narrow focus, to rationally consider alternatives, and to foresee how their course of action would seriously threaten – and in some cases destroy – the groups’ very goals and principles. Also notable in each case was the extreme desire group members reported to “please one another,” to be perceived as team players, and to retain their membership in the group.groupthink_video

Groupthink can strike groups of any size, in any department, at any organization. Because the risk groupthink poses to organizations is nothing less than ineffective group decisions that can lead to negative (even catastrophic) outcomes —  employees and leaders must learn to avoid groupthink by spotting it when it occurs.

One effective way to educate teams about groupthink is the Groupthink video from CRM Learning. It features Dr. James K. Esser explaining the 8 symptoms of groupthink: the more of these symptoms that are found in any decision-making group, the more likely it is that the group will develop groupthink. The Groupthink video also shows a haunting re-enactment of the meetings and decisions leading up to the fateful launch of the space shuttle Challenger, which Dr. Esser and others have studied as an example of faulty group decision-making, likely due to groupthink.

The best way to avoid groupthink is to create an “open” climate during decision-making processes – especially during meetings.  Leaders need to encourage free discussion and non-judgmental attitudes when others are speaking. They must avoid isolating the group from outside influences – even bringing in “outsiders” to help challenge assumptions and think critically about the problem the group is facing, and how data or information is being analyzed. Outsiders who don’t have expertise that directly links to the matter at hand, or who are in a different specialty area altogether,  can be valuable for asking new questions and thinking about problems entirely differently.

Similarly,  leaders and group members alike should be empowered to take on the role of “critical evaluator” – someone who has the power to challenge the group’s rationalizations and assumptions.  Critical evaluators lead the way in thinking through the potential outcomes and consequences of various decision choices.

Provide your groups and teams with the tools they need to avoid workplace groupthink with the Groupthink video from CRM Learning. It uses the space shuttle Challenger disaster and other historic examples to explain this phenomenon and how groups can avoid it.

Build Employee Morale By Staying More Engaged

Saturday, August 27th, 2016

The leadership skills exhibited by an organization’s executives, managers, and supervisors set the tone for employee productivity and morale. questionsWhen leaders are disengaged, untrustworthy, and fail to ask for input or give any kind of feedback to their team, employee morale and performance suffer. But, when leaders are competent, accountable, inclusive, and are genuinely engaged in the day-to-day functioning of the organization and their employees’ lives, team members take notice and feel excited to come to work every day.

Providing comprehensive, effective leadership training to your formal and informal leaders is the best way to improve their leadership skills. Leaders must understand how vital their own behavior is to the success of their employees – they should lead by example by being present, trustworthy and generous.

Be Present and Engaged

Ask any lower-level employee, and they can describe immediately what a disengaged leader looks like: someone who spends meetings (and even one-on-ones) looking at their phone or tablet, and who is disinterested in status updates, employee ideas or participating in discussions or company functions. Instead, learn to be a leader who pays attention, is fully present in meetings and who asks thoughtful questions to draw out the input of your colleagues. Set the standard for your team’s work by showing employees that you are highly competent and are interested in what they have to say.

Be Trustworthy

Another leadership skill that is an employee morale-booster is trustworthiness. Leaders can build trust by being open and forthcoming with information, even bad news. They can also demonstrate trustworthiness by doing what they say they’re going to do – being someone who can be counted on and who keeps their word.

Be Generous

Lastly, leaders should be generous – with their time, their praise, and their credit. Leaders are busy people, but you should learn to recognize when a person or a situation warrants a bit more time – avoid acting rushed, and be giving of your time. Also, good leaders go out of their way to praise employees for their efforts and results; this builds morale because everyone likes to feel valued and recognized. Also, a leader can show their generosity by sharing credit with others when he or she is successful. A sure way to lose credibility with your team is by taking all the credit for a success, so never pass up an opportunity to “share the glory” with your team members.  

You don’t have to be a born leader – exemplary leadership skills can be learned. CRM Learning has been providing award-winning, effective leadership training videos for over 40 years. Leadership: What’s Trust Got To Do With It? tells the story of a team leader who, when met with budget cutbacks and his own lack of accountability to his team, regains their active participation by learning five essential trust-building behaviors.

9 Essential Supervisory Skills

Friday, June 24th, 2016

Every workplace needs strong supervisory skills, and CRM Learning offers the best supervisor training videos at low cost. Train your supervisors using the nine essential supervisory skills featured in our supervisor training video, “After All, You’re the Supervisor.”

After All, You're the Supervisor imageUsing the scenario of Alec, a recently-promoted Customer Service Representative now asked to lead his previous co-workers, the video teaches nine skills your supervisors need to manage subordinates effectively and efficiently.

1. Acknowledge Your New Role

Having been a superior customer service representative, when Alec is promoted to supervisor, he struggles a bit moving from friend and colleague to “boss.” Alec learns that new responsibilities are required in this role along with a new level of authority. The hard part for many new supervisors like Alec is acknowledging that in order to be effective, you must change the way you interact with your team members.

  1. Plan and Prioritize

In order to be successful, Alec will need to plan and prioritize his – and his team’s – responsibilities and tasks. This includes listing tasks and generating a plan for how to get things accomplished on time. Inevitably, this process will also include delegating tasks to others, which Alec also learns in a later skill point.

  1. Be Accessible

Every great supervisor makes themselves accessible to their employees. Alec learns that this can take the form of an open door, walking around the department, having regular meetings with team members, or learning to take advantage of spontaneous “coachable moments” when you see them.

  1. Encourage Teamwork

Alec quickly realizes that he is no longer an “individual contributor.” Creating a well-functioning team is part of his new job. Encouraging teamwork enables supervisors to go further in accomplishing departmental and company objectives.  It also helps create great team cohesion and high morale. High performance teamwork is achieved by ensuring that your team is comprised of diverse individuals with a range of complementary skills and then fully utilizing those skills. By fostering cooperation rather than competition within your team, and by modeling good teamwork behaviors yourself, you will see team results soar.

  1. Communicate Upward AND Downward

An efficient supervisor communicates effectively both “upwards” to his or her manager and “downwards” to his subordinates.  Downward communication is the process of communicating the direction, philosophy, goals, and values of the company to the team. It also applies to changes communicated to the team, and if done correctly, helps them buy-in to decisions that affect them. Alec employs upward communication when he shares his team’s concerns over a software update with his boss and keeps her informed of how the “front line workers” are using the software.

  1. Delegate

Supervisors need to delegate tasks to their team in order to effectively supervise. No supervisor can do all the work on their own, so Alec learns to consider his team member’s strengths as he evaluates who should be assigned which tasks. He also learns that following up on the tasks you delegate allows you to ensure their completion, support your team members, and uncover and resolve problems. 

  1. Discipline Effectively

For a brand-new supervisor like Alec, effective discipline is perhaps the most difficult thing to learn, especially when you are disciplining the person you were sitting next to last week. Alec must discipline a coworker, Libby, who repeatedly returns late from lunch. In doing so, he learns that effective discipline places the responsibility for the problem and the solution on the employee, rather than him, and that effective discipline provides for a positive outcome rather than a punitive one.

  1. Provide Feedback

As important as it is to discipline your people effectively and give constructive feedback, it is equally important to recognize when they are doing a good job, and praise or reward them for that performance. Alec gets practice giving constructive feedback to a coworker who slightly missed the mark on an assignment, and later gives genuine and specific praise to that team member when he does a better job.

  1. Model the Way

Perhaps the most effective way to modify team culture is by modeling the behaviors and attitudes you want to see in the team. No matter how much you tell your people how you want them to behave, unless you show it yourself, it won’t have much effect. Model behaviors such as respect, punctuality, attitude, conflict resolution, and in Alec’s case, good customer service and pitching in to help out a different team.

These nine essential supervisory skills are a well-rounded introduction into the basics of supervising. Let Alec and his team teach your new supervisors how to manage others effectively with After All, You’re the Supervisor.

CRM Learning offers the best supervisor training videos on the market. Visit our website and browse all of our supervisor training topics.

How The Groupthink Video Enables Groups To Make Better Decisions

Saturday, April 30th, 2016

challengerWorking effectively in a group comprised of different people and personalities can be one of the hardest challenges in the workplace.  Team decision making, in particular, is often undermined by unproductive group dynamics.  CRM Learning’s classic training video, Groupthink, exposes one of the most common ways groups end up making bad decisions.

Groupthink is a phenomenon that occurs when a group’s decision makers appear to be in agreement on a course of action– when, in reality, some team members have doubts. It happens a lot in groups where the desire to seek unanimity (either stemming from a strong sense of “esprit de corps” or out of a perceived pressure to conform) prevent the group from critically examining the proposed action…in particular, failing to fully consider opposing viewpoints.

Identifying groupthink, and knowing how to avoid it, helps ensure effective decision making at all levels of the organization. And, that is what CRM Learning’s groupthink video is designed to do. It uses a reenactment of the Challenger disaster, along with other historic examples, to powerfully illustrate how well-intentioned people can make bad decisions, entirely or partly due to groupthink.

The Groupthink video enables viewers to answer the questions below and apply the video’s lessons to their own group decision making:

Why do group decisions sometimes result in monumental error?

What drives groups to agree on a course of action despite the better judgment of some, or even all, participants?

What specifically can groups (and group leaders in particular) do to encourage critical thinking and give full consideration to opposing points of view?

CRM Learning offers a number of outstanding training videos on teamwork and group dynamics.  Each video has multiple options for purchase including DVD, USB Flash Drive or online streaming.  Classroom training materials are provided with DVD/USB Flash Drive purchases and may be purchased as add-ons to online streaming.

Identifying and Using Team Members’ Strengths “Everest – Creating Greatness”

Friday, April 22nd, 2016

everestexpanded_1Team cohesion and effective leadership are every business’ dream. How do you cover both topics effectively in one training session?

“Everest- Creating Greatness” is one of CRM Learning’s best team leadership training programs. Featuring the work of Dr. Stephen Covey, the video package contains multiple video components and wraparound learning materials that enable facilitators to teach leaders how to inspire and empower others so that the team as a whole may create and sustain great results.

Leadership is a choice, not a position. This mentality is highlighted in the program’s core video, “Everest”, which documents the true story of blind mountain climber Erik Weihenmayer and the courageous team that guided him to the top of Mt. Everest. The video depicts how team members shared leadership and didn’t let egos get in the way. Each member believed the others had the competence and skill to succeed. Team members trusted one another despite the many potential perils involved with their climb. The team committed to helping Erik summit Mt. Everest ultimately succeeded because of great leadership and each team member’s commitment to preparation, teamwork, tenacity and goal achievement.

Other components of the Everest-Creating Greatness program introduce a “whole person paradigm” approach to leadership where leaders strive to increase team member engagement on a variety of levels. Trainees see how to recognize employees in their entirety (body, heart, mind and spirit), so that they can give employees opportunities to use their strengths.  This focus on true understanding builds a strong bond of trust between the leader and the employee.

CRM Learning offers numerous team building and leadership training videos. You can purchase training videos in various formats such as DVD or online streaming. Check out the training topics we offer and learn how we can help transform your business.


 

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