Did you really hear what was said to you this week?

In the past two weeks I’ve spent four days conducting Frontline Leadership sessions. The material is great. It’s been validated by hundreds of people and the feedback is 95% positive. The other 5% varies from luke warm to “these suggestions apply to everyone else, not me.”

 Of course, just like you, I’m sensitive to the 5% and study to see what I might have done differently to get buy-in. In some cases the disconnect is obvious while in others it’s just a disconnect.

Feedback from a disconnect and a connect in my sessions must be taken for what they are … someone’s comment at that moment. I’ve watched other speakers and trainers get totally bend out of shape by one or two negative comments. Pay attention, yes, but don’t put too much credence on the comments.

If you’ve done your homework and prepared properly for the given client, you’ll recognize that the 95% is what you should pay the most attention to and adjust accordingly.

The next time you receive feedback, listen and listen for the surface truth and the hidden truth. Respond to both in the appropriate fashion, as if the comments were directed at someone else and emotions weren’t involved. Then you’ll probably truly hear what was said to you.

Do Your People Trust You As A Leader?

Recently I heard some interesting bits of information regarding trust in the workplace from Professor John Haliwell at the University of British Columbia. I think most of us realize that trust can be a huge issue and whether you feel trusted can mean the difference between loving your work and hating it.

In work environments that are union or non-union, trust is about the same … if it’s between colleagues. If it’s relating to management, the union workers have less trust; however, both sets of workers can still be as happy with their overall life.

Trust also has an impact on your economic level. If you place yourself on a scale of 1 – 10, as to how happy you are at work, you can move up 1/3 in income, if you move up one level in happiness. That, apparently, is what the research shows. So, how happy are you at work? Maybe to get that raise you just need to be happier!

Back to my title for this note. Do you people trust you as a leader? On that same scale of 1 – 10 where would you rate your “trust ability”? Now be very courageous, give your employees the opportunity to give you anonymous feedback on what the real picture looks like.

Professor Haliwell suggests that trust comes when you don’t look over someone’s shoulder. A high trust environment offers flexible work schedules while the same flexibility doesn’t work in a non-trust environment. Leaders who are low on the trust scale tend not to pay attention to the human aspect of the job.

Keep that last statement in mind when you’re hiring. It impacts employee retention more than we care to admit.

How was January?

The traditional month of resolutions has passed and by now most of those resolutions have disappeared. I’m not a big resolution maker so I don’t have to feel bad about not keeping resolutions. However, this year I have put a more solid plan in place to record what I start and how I progress.

In my seminars and keynotes I stress three items: plan, communicate and follow-up. It’s easy to tell everyone else take those three steps so this year I’ve been meticulous at recording my own adherence to  my three step process. While I like to think I’ve been consistent in the past, for the first month of 2008 I know I have. I have a chat each day with the guy I see in the mirror and those little pep talks are working.

The result is quite spectacular. My success may not be any better than it was in the past but this year I have solid data to back my “feelings” up. Two other positive results have shown up in January. I tackle my tasks in a much more organized manner and I feel less pressured to work extra hours. My stress level is down. Just as a good time manager records successes and short-comings, I’m recording what I’ve accomplished and what’s left to do.

A couple of years ago I was in an accountability group with two other individuals. Each day we e-mailed our list of tasks that we started and how far along we progressed. I was amazed at how much I could do each day and, more importantly, I was amazed at how much I accomplished that I really didn’t recognize. At the end of any day it’s easy to focus on the uncompleted tasks on your list or in your daytimer while ignoring what you truly accomplished.

So, right now I’m looking for colleagues who I can mastermind with and share my thoughts, challenges, progress, opportunities and, of course, who will help keep me on a postive track. How about you? Are you in a mastermind group? How’s it working? What tips do you have you could share with the rest of us?

Have a great February,

Garth Roberts