3 Delegation Best Practices for First Time Managers

Sometimes we avoid certain conversations not because we don't want or need to have them, but because we don't know how to. As a new manager, a conversation about development is one you need to be having with your direct reports. The people you lead are now looking at you to help them get to their next step. If you’re a first-time manager, it’s time to develop your delegation muscle. When carried out effectively, delegation allows leaders and their teams to expand professionally and develop a greater sense of accountability. It also allows you to free up some of your time and energy so that you can focus on the areas where you’re needed most. A common misunderstanding among leaders is that delegating is about giving away tasks you don't want to do and increasing everyone else’s workload. We often refer to this as “dele-dumping.” Instead, the delegation conversation is...
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Leaders, You Need Confrontation to Grow Your Business

You know that feeling when you know something needs to change, and yet you don't really want to have the conversation required to change it? You have valid reasons. Maybe it hasn't gone well in the past, maybe your schedule is slammed, or maybe you want this person to like you and fear they won't after the conversation. These are all real-life scen...
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4 ESSENTIAL STEPS FOR LEADERS WHEN ADDRESSING A TEAM PERFORMANCE ISSUE

As a leader, you’ve ideally built a relationship with each of your team members. You’ve likely swapped stories about your families, collaborated on successful work projects, and built the emotional capital necessary to have a successful team. However, being a leader means that sometimes you are confronted with the challenge of how to best handle delicate situations, such as addressing a performance issue among your team. Even great teams, for one reason or another, don’t perform to the expected standard. You may try to avoid the situation and hope it goes away on its own. The reality, though, is that the problem does exist, and the longer it goes on without being talked about, the worse it will get. On a company level, the performance of each individual team impacts the organization’s overall production and revenue goals. As a leader, you are accountable for your team’s performance, and it’s critical...
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Delegation Isn't Just for Managers, It's Integral to Individual Contributors’ Development

At the heart of personal and professional development are two key factors: empowerment and delegation. You could consider these two factors to be on-par, because to delegate is to empower your individual contributors to take on new responsibilities. On first thought, the concept of delegation may not strike you as a skill that employees in non-mana...
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How to Keep Stress from Sabotaging Workplace Culture and Productivity

On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate the overall level of stress people are feeling in your organization? Are you able to answer this question? If you're in a leadership role, it's important to stay vigilant about managing not only your own stress but maintaining an awareness of employee stress levels within your organization. On one hand, a smal...
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The Causes of Employee Negativity

This week’s Friday resource comes from The Balance and identifies the leading causes of employee negativity. Negativity is one of the leading causes of stress in the workplace . It decreases employee morale, productivity, job satisfaction, and work quality, which results in big costs to organizations. While negativity can stem from many various sources, research has identified five primary causes. Identifying the source of negativity can help employers both prevent negativity and address existing negativity in a constructive way through understanding, empathy, and action. Per Susan M. Heathfield, The Balance, here are some interesting insights into the causes of employee negativity: “A recent study answers the question about what causes employee negativity. The study, conducted by Towers Perrin and researchers Gang & Gang, surveyed a randomly selected group of 1,100 employees and 300 senior Human Resources executives working for mid-sized and large-sized companies in the United States and Canada. Participants...
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Leadership Tips: Get Organized

According to a Wall Street Journal Report, office workers waste an average of 40% of their workday.  Not because they aren’t intelligent, but because they were never taught organizing skills to cope with the increasing workloads and demands. How much time do you waste during your day? Stephanie Winston, author of The Organized Executive, estimates a manager loses 1 hour/day to disorder, costing the business up to $4,000/year if earning $35,000/year – or $8,125/year at $65,000. Those are very tangible costs to businesses. And those costs don’t take into account the emotional toll. I know many leaders and executives who feel emotionally exhausted from the overload. On top of that, over time, this causes extreme burnout. This week’s tip is to focus on your organization in one specific area. Where do you feel that you waste the most time? For me at one point in my career, I felt my...
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Leadership Tips: Celebrate Your All-Stars

It is common for organizations and teams to lean on their all-stars to take them to new levels. That is to be expected. However, we often see that in organizations, the all-stars burn out the quickest. They are also the ones most poached, and they leave for bigger opportunities. We understand that, because the all-stars are the employees you want to replicate. The all-stars are the ones that will always do the extra work . They take on that one extra project. They do one more client engagement. They go above and beyond. It is important to recognize the value all-stars bring to your team and organization. I once worked with a vendor at Microsoft who was famous for burning out his top talent. He would just keep piling on more projects, more engagements, more talks, while leaving other team members who needed more help and development room to have...
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5 Hacks for Growing Your Team's Capacity

In times of constant change, we, as leaders, are often challenged with doing more with less . It can often be a reality – less resources, less people, and more ambitious goals. You can look at this from a negative lens. Or you can see the opportunity. Below are five ways to generate learning opportunities, and in turn, build your team’s capacity. 1. Conduct quarterly growth conversations. It is interesting how so many companies focus on growth and development within the first sixty days of a person’s role, and then it quickly turns to quotas and KPIs. Where did the development go? Be intentional about growth and have conversations on a regular basis about it. 2. Create stretch assignments. Look at projects in new ways. While you may worry about someone getting “off task”, it is often the opposite when someone is doing something different that interests them. It often...
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3 Tips to Describe Reality as a Leader

As we say at Fierce, no plan survives its collision with reality. And to make it even more complex, reality is constantly changing. What may be YOUR reality may not be MY reality at all – they could actually be directly competing. We might not even remotely understand each other’s key responsibilities in the business. Last year, Deloitte published one of its most popular articles in the Global Human Capital Trends , which was the chapter on “the overwhelmed employee”. Deloitte, and many human capital firms, saw this as a sign that the complexity and feeling of overload was hitting organizations even faster and harder than expected. And hence, there is a massive need for leaders to be able to describe what they think, what they believe, and what they observe in a way that moves the business forward – in a richer and deeper way. Successful leaders are able...
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Smart Leadership: Delegate, Prioritize and Simplify

This week’s Friday Resource was originally published by Business News Daily and discusses why it pays to work smarter, not harder, by prioritizing and delegating tasks successfully.  In the article, Fallon deflates the myth that a leader’s success is measured by how late they stay in the office or how many emails they answer over the weekend. While it is important to work hard and lead by example, it is not healthy to create a culture of workaholics that feel late nights and early mornings in the office are the only way they will be recognized. “The job of a leader is exactly that: to lead. As a leader, your primary responsibility is to guide and supervise your employees as they get their work done, not to do everything yourself.” The truly effective leaders know how to work smarter, not harder. A huge part of this is having trust in...
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Get It Right – Don’t Worry About Always Being Right

Reading the news today, I’m sure you can identify many leaders that seem more worried about being right instead of getting it right – for their people, for their organizations, for their purpose. Last week, we launched our new fierce survey results , and I was not surprised that we found more than 71% of professionals surveyed believe neither their companies nor their government acts in their best interest. Acting in others’ best interests requires deeper understanding of needs and goals. And when you really step back for a moment as an employee and a voter, you should know that it is not possible for your leaders to know everything on their own. They can’t possibly make the best decisions without engaging and learning along the way. That’s why they must focus outward. They shouldn’t focus on “being right”, having the savviest answer, or the most logical argument. They need...
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2 Big Don’ts if You Want Accountability in Your Workplace

Do you feel that people in your workplace don’t do what they say they are going to do? Are you guilty of overcommitting…or under delivering? Or both? Accountability is a huge problem. The Workplace Accountability Study recently revealed that 82% of respondents have  no ability to hold others accountable , but 91% of people rank accountability as one of the top development needs they’d like to see at their organization. Two don’ts when you want to create more accountability in your workplace. Don’t give advice. Giving advice is one of the worst things you can do when people come to you with problems. Yes, you read that right.  When someone comes to you with an issue and you go straight to advice giving, you are training people to not do the problem solving and work themselves. This has huge consequences to a managers’ time. It can feel so good to...
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Spearheading Employee Recognition: Welcome to the Age of Being Seen

We live in a time where everyone is visible more than ever before -- now we can even see how far our reach extends with profile views, shares, tweets, and “likes.” In a world where every failure, frustration, and triumph is publicly recognized online, an unexpected yet poignant result is that conversely, many of us feel less “seen,” both in the workplace and at home. According to a 2011 Workforce Mood Tracker Survey, 69 percent of employees would work harder if they were recognized more often in the workplace. Recognition is inspiring and if we had more of it, we’d probably work harder with our families and friends as well. As more and more people compete for attention and appreciation in the workplace and beyond, there is a silent undercurrent brewing, an epidemic of people not feeling acknowledged or seen for their valuable contributions. This is where our friend and...
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There’s a Proven Link Between Effective Leadership and Getting Enough Sleep

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published on the Harvard Business Review and explores the link between sleep and leadership. Being an effective leader requires a lot of skills, including an ability to be present, communicate effectively, and a strong emotional intelligence. But before we can do all that, we first have to take care of ourselves. That means getting some much needed shut eye. And many of us aren’t getting enough of it. According to the article There’s a Proven Link Between Effective Leadership and Getting Enough Sleep , sleep deficiencies can undermine important forms of leadership behavior and eventually hurt financial performance. What is sleep loss costing you? “Sleep deprivation impairs the ability to focus attention selectively: Research shows that after roughly 17 to 19 hours of wakefulness (say, at 11 PM or 1 AM for someone who got up at 6 AM), individual performance on a range...
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Lessons of Leadership from Fast Company's Innovation Festival

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published on Fast Company and shares the insights of today’s top entrepreneurs and innovators. Good leaders are contagious. They enable us to forge our own paths, but are also there to coach us when we stumble. They inspire us to dream big and act on the possible. They also have a significant impact on an organization’s bottom line. A recent study by a Fortune 500 bank revealed that great leadership is proven to double an organization’s bottom line. But what separates the extraordinary leaders from the rest? “Look at the things that everyone else believes to be a bad idea. If you’re chasing something that everybody else believes to be a good idea, there are probably a hell of a lot of other people chasing that same thing.” Read the article

Leadership Tips: ‘Tis the Season to Delegate

It is common this time of year to have less employees (and focus) in the office. With holiday trips, family visits, and general festivities, people have their time and priorities stretched very thin. So now is the time to get creative about who and how projects get completed. Consider this: We are rounding out a new year, and when we interview leaders, people often want to take on new things at this time of year. That perfectly aligns with the opportunity to take on new tasks when people are away. This week’s tip is to use delegation as a way to get more things accomplished during the holiday season. Well in advance of your departure, identify team members or colleagues who either have experience with similar opportunities or who have shown aptitude in other areas and an interest in yours. Clearly outline the level of decisions they can make around...
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A Note to Retailers: 3 Tips to Make Black Friday Better for Your Employees and Customers

Black Friday is approaching us. For some, this day may create pure joy with visions of scoring the perfect holiday gift…for half the price. For others, the stress of angry, aggressive customers can overwhelm you. As a retailer, it is critical for you to take care of both your employees and customers on this significant shopping day. With the increased appeal to sit on couches (or at desks) and shop online, it is up to you to make the effort of driving or walking to your store worthwhile. Yes, more than ever you need to earn patronage. And for employees, make them proud to work for you and truly show up. There are many companies they can choose to work for. Here at Fierce, we work with many global retailers who intertwine the fierce principles and ideas to customer service and their store environment. Here are three tips to make...
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Leadership Tips: Stop Your Excuses

Where in your work life do you make the most excuses? What are the most common ones? Some typical excuses I’ve heard in offices: I don’t have anyone to delegate to.   I’m better than the person that was just promoted.   My workload is too big. The thing about excuses is that they are often grounded in some truth. It can be true that you do not have enough resources to complete something. Or you don’t have the right people on your team. However, excuses become a problem when you dwell on them and don’t do anything about it. So instead of dwelling, at Fierce we recommend you reflect and say: “given x , what am I going to do about it?” So… Given I don’t have anyone to delegate to, I’m going to…   Given I’m better than the person that was just promoted, I’m going to…  ...
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Leadership Tips: Take a Vacation

It is that time of year. Winter has melted away, and the sun is out. Start thinking about a break or a trip you want to take this year. Do you want to spend time in your own town? Sail in the Caribbean? Climb a mountain? Lay on a beach in Hawaii? The opportunities are endless. So I ask: Are you really going to take advantage of your paid time off? Many people don’t. A few months ago, I read a Forbes article that highlights that very fact. More than forty percent of American workers who received paid time off did not take all of their allotted time last year, despite the obvious personal benefits, according to “An Assessment of Paid Time Off in the U.S.” commissioned by the U.S. Travel Association, a trade group, and completed by Oxford Economics. Why do people not take the time? There is a...
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When to Delegate? Try the 70 Percent Rule

This week's Fierce resource was originally published on Inc.com and was written by Jim Schleckser. Do you find yourself wishing someone would take work off your plate? When to Delegate? Try the 70 Percent Rule   identifies a constant challenge in every single organization that exists. Picture this: a bag of 100 rocks in a backpack, each weighing 1 pound and oh yeah, you carry it everywhere you go. Imagine being able to take 30 percent of that away, immediately the load feels lighter and you too feel lighter. You now have mental and physical capacity to tackle a challenge or two that you've had to overlook several times. Doesn't that sound relieving? Think about what is currently on your plate that you can delegate. Who in your organization or on your team is interested in developing?  "Trust is one of the most important factors when it comes to delegation,...
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Leadership Tips: Delegate, Don’t Dele-Dump

What does “delegate that” mean in your organization? For most organizations, that statement means get rid of a task you currently own as fast as possible. Often times, this is more of what one of our clients fondly calls “dele-dumping”. This is when you say, “ Let me take all of these tasks that waste my time and throw them on your desk.” This may be accomplished without making eye contact as you run away as fast as you can. It is almost like a drive by. The thing is: Delegation is an often misused or under-utilized form of development – whether in the office or at home. When you look at delegation that way, it may get some juices flowing. What is currently on your plate that if someone else had that responsibility, you would be freed up to take on something else? In that circumstance, both people have...
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7 Daily Mantras to Boost Your Productivity

This week's Fierce resource was originally published on FastCompany.com and was written by Faisal Hoque. Fifteen days into the year and we are all thinking about the same thing. How we are going to achieve our goals and quotas for the year, right? 7 Daily Mantras to Boost Your Productivity shares ideas on how to do just that. Don't let your stretch goals overwhelm you, take it day by day and set yourself up for success. Many people don't believe they need a plan for reaching their goals, and my thought is, those people are pushing their luck. One day it won't be as easy. Think about: What you can focus on that will really support your goals. What is it? Create SMART goals to help you get there. "If we want to be productive with our time and manage it well, we need to spend our time working toward achieving smaller goals...
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Mitch Shepard - 5 Steps to a More Balanced Life

The other day, my twenty-something banker said something that made my day! “Mitch,” he said, “I‘ve told several people about your values board. I was so inspired by it. I’m definitely going to do that when I get married and have a family.” Last fall, while visiting our home to have us sign some paperwork, my banker had noticed the large 36-inch-by-48-inch corkboard filled with meaningful words and colorful pictures. In answer to his inquiring look, I told him it was our values board and explained how it came to be… About six years ago, I was sitting in the rocking chair holding my baby daughter (who’s now seven) when a friend called to tell me a story that would forever inspire me and shape my family life. My friend explained that at school that day her daughter, a senior in high school at the time, had been asked, “What’s...
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3 Ways to Work Meditation Into Your Busy Day

This week's Fierce Resource was first published on Inc.com  and was written by Jessica Stillman. 3 Ways to Work Meditation Into Your Busy Day  shares techniques on how to be mindful and incorporate more meditation into your days. Although it may seem impossible at times, there are small ways to help breakthrough the noise. "No doubt you’ve noticed that mindfulness and  meditation  have moved out of the monastery and into corporate America.  The topic is so hot that Wisdom 2.0, a conference, started in 2009, dedicated to exploring how to be more mindful about our technology use, now has a waiting list that runs into the hundreds. There are meditation apps galore, and organizations from Google to the Marine Corps have embraced the idea of promoting mindfulness. Some longtime meditators and Buddhists are even complaining that this new frenzy is corrupting the real  meaning of mindfulness ." To read the...
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3 Delegation Best Practices for First Time Managers

Sometimes we avoid certain conversations not because we don't want or need to have them, but because we don't know how to. As a new manager, a conversation about development is one you need to be having with your direct reports. The people you lead are now looking at you to help them get to their next step. If you’re a first-time manager, it’s time to develop your delegation muscle. When carried out effectively, delegation allows leaders and their teams to expand professionally and develop a greater sense of accountability. It also allows you to free up some of your time and energy so that you can focus on the areas where you’re needed most. A common misunderstanding among leaders is that delegating is about giving away tasks you don't want to do and increasing everyone else’s workload. We often refer to this as “dele-dumping.” Instead, the delegation conversation is...
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Decision Tree Model vs. Effective Delegation

This week's Fierce Resource was first published on the Tuesday Consulting website. Decision Tree Model vs. Effective Delegation shares how to use the Fierce Delegation model, a module from the Fierce Conversations training, effectively. "How do you delegate tasks? Are you completing leaf tasks for your employees and leaving them powerless and frustrated? Do your employees ask you every 5 minutes, “Can we do this?” If so, then you should share this model for “effective delegation” with them and relieve some headaches for you." To read the full blog, click here .

Expert Advice on Mastering the Art of Delegation

This week's Fierce Resource was first published on February 14th on the Intuit Small Business Blog . Written by Sheryl Nance-Nash, Expert Advice on Mastering the Art of Delegation features Fierce President & CEO, Halley Bock . Exploring the art of delegation, Halley recommends using the Fierce Delegation Decision Tree model to delegate clearly and foster accountability within your workplace. "Someone can be delegated a responsibility at four different levels of the decision tree (leaf, branch, trunk, or root). Each level has a clear, concise definition of what is expected for that project and sets guidelines on how to interact with the leader."     To read the full article, click here .

Help Employees Unplug — It Can Boost Productivity

This week’s Fierce Resource was published today on Talent Management Magazine online. Help Employees Unplug - It Can Boost Productivity written by Fierce Inc. President & CEO, Halley Bock, shares tips for employers to ensure that employees get the most out of their time off. "Effective vacation policies are essential for employees because it allows them to disconnect from the office and recharge their batteries. These days employees are working longer hours, bringing work home and severely limiting time for relaxation, inevitably increasing stress and impacting performance. Forward-thinking organizations are proactively exploring ways to make PTO work harder for their employees. " To read the full article, click here .

Effective Delegation is a Leader's Best Friend

“Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.” — General George S. Patton Jr. If you think about what makes a successful leader, the ability to effectively delegate can sometimes be overlooked. Yet delegation might be the toughest nut to crack. It requires constant conversation about where a team, or person, might be in their professional development. You want to grow your reports but aren’t quite sure where they are at in their growth pattern; will giving them that crucial aspect of a project bomb the whole thing? Or will the plan to lessen their input backfire leaving the employee feeling frustrated by his or her great ideas not being executed? Effective delegation is rooted in trust amongst you and the people who you work with and that trust is built through you, as a leader, staying in rhythm...
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Leadership Development: What we can Learn From Baseball

In an industry where winning is quite literally everything, the Washington Nationals are doing something a little different. Having signed Stephen Strasburg, the #1 MLB draft pick in 2009, the last-place Nationals have landed themselves a phenomenal pitcher. One that is breaking rookie records while striking out the toughest hitters in baseball. All of this adds up to dollars and wins for the Nationals. Every time they put Strasburg in they stand to gain another "W" in the win column along with significantly increased revenues – improved ticket sales, concessions, advertising revenue, and merchandise sales. Cha-ching, cha-ching, cha-ching. Not to mention the nice overall marketing "bump" in what has become a fascinating story to watch in major league baseball. As managers, our tendency would be to play this kid as often as possible. I mean, if you have a star player, don't you keep them on the court? Many other...
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