Avoid losing your top performers

A few years ago, I spoke with Liz Dennery Sanders of SheBrand, about the top leadership themes everyone should have on their radar.

One of the themes refuses to come down from the #1 spot: helping executives avoid losing their top performers.

I remain optimistic (cautious, yes) that things are getting better. I see subtle signs in the small businesses I frequent and I hear resounding trumpets from some of my clients—like the ecstatic sales director in a workshop this week, who talked wildly about his organization (and no, it wasn’t simply because it’s his job to be a raving fan).

In creating plans for executives to coach their stars 1:1 and in teams, there are some ideas I return to often and then some new ones that pop up.

A favorite in the last few years remains the book Greater Than Yourself by Steve Farber.

The title refers to the book’s theme: amazing leaders help others become better, greater, more powerful, more awesome than themselves.

Why don’t leaders do this already? Why don’t more people view relationships as ways to make others greater, greater than they themselves are? Why isn’t there more joy in creating success in someone else? Why isn’t it acceptable? Or mandated?

Should I ask someone to help me become greater? Should I make sure I am ready to be asked myself? Whom should I choose?

The relationships Steve discusses in the book develop through a common connection and honesty that is already established and most times has happened naturally. But they become much more powerful when both sides subtly see what they are doing for each other.

Many of my weekly conversations allow me to help executives to be so much greater than me. For the leaders I coach 1:1, it becomes part of our common language: “How will this help someone become greater than you?”

As this week ends, I would like you to think about what you can do so one of your star performers—someone you don’t want to and can’t afford to lose—becomes greater than you.  And post your thoughts and comments below.

Exercise to Increase Productivity and Job Satisfaction

Row of people working out on treadmillsI will do just about anything to avoid regular exercise besides walking and swimming. I don’t enjoy exercising, and similar to so many others, I find it really difficult to block off the time to do it consistently.

I understand the physical benefits. No confusion to me about how exercise will help my body.

Now, though, more research is turning up that indicates how physical exercise can help my brain, too.

Exercise will make me sharper and more creative? It will help increase my memory and my ability to learn? Sign me up!

Read about this research in an HBR blog post. 

The kicker to this information is that exercise during the workday can dramatically influence productivity and satisfaction. It can even lead to “smoother interactions” among colleagues.

For years I have been advocating to executive coaching clients how important the daily “walk around the block is.” It is good to know that exercise—perhaps starting with simply walk to clear your head, can have tangible benefits.

Perhaps I need to add another type of exercise to workshops and offsite: the physical kind.

What type of workout motivates you throughout the day?  I would love to hear your thoughts in he comments below.

Tough Conversation of the Month: Speaking to an Unhappy Employee

Worried Businessman With Cardboard HeadIn keeping with the theme of top performers, this month’s tough conversation speaks to the discussion you may need to have with a stellar employee who is unhappy.

One option is to call out the behavior and its effects, the end results.

When you have many examples and see a pattern, you need to speak to the employee and explain what you’ve noticed and how the behavior is negatively affecting team productivity, customer retention, or revenue generation.

It’s crucial you speak to the consequence of the employee’s conduct.

You can start the conversation like this, “Elizabeth, I’ve noticed in the last few months that your enthusiasm for your work, your drive to exceed goals isn’t as evident as it has been in the past.”

To learn more, watch my video on this subject.

And I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.  When was a time you had to have a tough conversation with an unhappy employee and how did it go?

Workshop Highlight: StrengthsFinder for Teams

StrengthsFinder-1Focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses.

Heard of the strengths revolution? It’s the idea that you, your team, and your company will get farther faster when you focus on what you do well vs. what you don’t.

Our workshops are about changing behaviors and helping organizations get from here to there.  This week we are highlighting one of our most successful workshops: StrengthsFinder for Teams.

In this half-day workshop, teams learn about individual and group strengths while having fun at the same time. This is an excellent and practical team building experience. And, for leaders, when you identify your team’s talents and build them into strengths, it is easier to become a high-performing team (and have fun).

Before the workshop, participants read the first 40 pages of the book StrengthsFinder® 2.0, based on Gallup’s millions of workplace interviews around employee engagement. They then complete a 20-minute online assessment and send their reports to the facilitator, who reviews them and customizes the material.

The individual assessment reports provide participants with detailed information on their top 5 strengths and how they can continue to build upon them. Also, new to the program is the opportunity for teams to discover, from 34 strengths, the rank order of all 34 strengths of participants. With that information, teams are able to identify and plan for “holes” in their game plans.

You have an opportunity to speak live or in person with the facilitator/coach and provide insight that helps her customize the experience for your team.

Each Bulling Towne workshop includes:

  1. Comprehensive materials—while we don’t offer off the shelf programs, our customization process is fast and affordable. We can tailor existing programs to meet your needs and budget.
  2. Group coaching—to ensure materials don’t remain on the shelf.
  3. 1:1 coaching for workshop sponsors—to make the new behaviors feel like comfortable routines.

Contact us now for more information or to schedule this workshop.

Download the course PDF.

See more workshops

If you have already completed this workshop, we’d love to hear your thoughts about it in the comments below.

Coaching Questions of the Month: Delegating Tasks

This month our Coaching Questions are all about Delegating Tasks.

When it comes to Making Decisions ask yourself these questions:

1. When you look at your work week, where are you spending most of your time and energy? What is the division between routine tasks and strategic thinking?

2. Looking at everything on your plate, which tasks are ones others can accomplish?

3. Which of your projects—if delegated—would allow a member of your team to develop a new skill?

4. How will you check in with those to whom you delegate?

5. Assuming you delegate effectively, what will you do with the additional time and energy you will receive? Where should you focus?

Have a question for Coach Leila or your own experience delegating tasks?

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