- February 24, 2016
- Posted by: STEP Consulting
- Category: Newsletter, Uncategorized
Letter from the Editor
Seasonal Effectiveness Disorder and How to Advance While Your Competitors are Hibernating
Perhaps you’ve heard of a type of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Often, this time of year, I see leaders suffer from something similar I call Seasonal Effectiveness Disorder.
Here are the contributing factors: The holidays are over—time to get back to work (sigh). The annual projections/goals/incentives are posted and, truth be told, they can appear daunting, overly optimistic, maybe even unachievable. Where do you start?
It can make you feel like the woodchuck that just wants to go back into its den until winter is over.
But there’s another way to look at it. It’s a recognition that Spring is just around the corner. That this “down time” affords a great opportunity to get your tools sharpened and in order. That by refusing to succumb to the dreariness and instead adopting a positive, upbeat and energetic profile, you can be an inspiration to your team. Truly, you can be the light that shows others the way.
If you spend your February busy leading while your competitors are moping, guess who has a huge head start come Springtime?
Getting Comfortable with Change
It’s easy…just cross your arms.
“The only thing that is constant is change.” – Heraclitus
How many times have you heard those words when a change is coming? Perhaps that saying is supposed to help us accept and be comfortable with change. It’s true that change is a part of life. Actually, in the business world, change is what keeps you ahead of the competition. But knowing that it is critical to embrace change doesn’t always make it something we are comfortable with.
Sometimes a physical representation can help us to understand — and accept — something new. Let’s look at a quick, easy, and powerful way to demonstrate getting comfortable with change.
- Cross your arms. (Note: One arm will naturally go over the other if you don’t think about what you are doing.)
- Now, recross your arms with the other arm on top.
- This feels a bit unnatural … awkward and weird. It’s not wrong, just different.
- Now, put your arms at your side and recross them the weird way. Put your arms at your side and recross them AGAIN the weird way. Do it again.
- It’s getting easier to recross them the weird way, isn’t it? And the weird way doesn’t feel as weird anymore.
- Change is like that; the change will become more natural the more you do it.
By taking part in this simple exercise, you can demonstrate that change doesn’t have to be uncomfortable for long. Just keep at it until it is natural; you’ll probably have a hard time remembering what came before the change!
Leadership Training that Sticks: 23 Lessons Learned Over 23 Years
Businesses invest billions in leadership development, often with disappointing results. Click here to learn how to make leadership training “stick.”
Dear Terry – I Field Your Questions
Patty from Orlando: With unemployment on the way down, we are seeing our turnover go up. What can we do to stem the flow of top talent away from our organization?
Terry: Leigh Branham, in an article The Seven Hidden Reasons Employees Leave (Executive Update, Feb 2005), wrote: “The keys to keeping and engaging employees are no big mystery, yet so many managers just don’t see it.” She draws from extensive exit interview research to highlight seven “hidden” reasons that employees leave a company. One of reasons she outlines is:
There is too little coaching and feedback. Lots of companies talk about making their managers better coaches, but more than 60 percent of employees — especially younger ones — say they don’t get enough feedback. Lack of feedback is the number-one reason for performance-problems. We know that many managers just give feedback once a year — at performance appraisal time, which is like a basketball coach telling his players at the beginning of the season, “You’re going to go out and play 30 games, and at the end of the season, I’ll evaluate your performance.”
I’m guessing that, if polled, most of the managers of those employees who left would say that they coached and provided regular feedback. Yet, a full 60% of the employees feel otherwise and would yell, “Damn lie!”
(As an aside, Branham suggests that we miss a huge opportunity in exit interviews when we confine our question to “Why did you leave the organization?” She suggests we add the question, “At what point did you begin considering leaving the organization?” This question, she believes, would give us telling data that would likely point to specific leadership/management behaviors that could be addressed.)
Marshall Goldsmith often claims that there is one thing that effective leaders do that others don’t do. Effective leaders build mechanisms for assessing how they are doing. Mechanisms could include the 360° survey or one-on-one discussions with employees that include the question, “What can I do to support you and help you be more effective in your role?” And for the truly brave, Marshall points to the leaders who declare what they are working on and invites employees to help them improve. Companies could save billions of dollars on leadership development, he believes, if their leaders simply asked for input (he calls it Feedforward) on their performance.
So, when a leader claims, “I must be leading well because nobody’s said anything to the contrary,” it’s a damn lie. Ensure that you build opportunities into your leadership development plan to get input and feedback on leader performance. And then teach your leaders how to overcome those built-in blind spots using Feedforward or similar technique.
Portions of this response are taken from a chapter Terry contributed to his colleague Larry Israelite’s book, More Lies About Learning, available here on Amazon.