30Nov 2016

As the employment picture continues to show signs of improvement many hopeful job seekers are looking for ways to stand out from the crowd. Some will use social media to promote themselves, while others will troll online job sites. Then there are those who will stick with the traditional method and mail resumes with cover letters. My advice is to try anything to see what works. However, there is one technique that too few people use to their advantage and that is the 30 second pitch or what is also frequently referred to as the elevator speech. The value and effectiveness of a good 30 second pitch should not be underestimated.

A 30 second commercial spot during the 2016 Super Bowl reportedly cost around $4.5 million. That is a sizable amount yet advertisers were willing to shell out that kind of money because they viewed it as an opportunity to deliver their message to the widest possible audience. Not that they expected that people were going to rush out to buy their product, but because they wanted the commercials to be memorable. They wanted people talking about their commercials with the expectation that when it comes time to make a buying decision their particular brand will be the one that comes to mind. Anyone who is looking for a job or an entrepreneur searching for investors or even a coach trying to attract paying clients should adopt a similar philosophy. They should want their 30 second pitch to be memorable. That said a 30 second pitch must accomplish the three i’s.

It should:
§ Introduce: Just telling the person you happen to meet at a networking event your name and your occupation is not enough. Your vocal delivery, facial expression and body language are just as important. In “Social Intelligence” noted psychologist Daniel Goleman wrote that even though a person may not be speaking they are constantly sending signals about how they feel. Therefore if you’re feeling nervous or stressed that may likely be apparent to the other person. That’s why it’s important that you project a feeling of confidence and a sense of self-assurance not only with your words but also in your appearance and demeanor. The most effective way to accomplish that is to practice your pitch continuously beforehand until it becomes as natural to repeat as your name and address. Remember that you only get one chance to make a good first impression.

§ Inform: Avoid the tendency of reciting your resume as that will probably be a turn-off for the other person. Instead tell them about a specific talent you have or about one of your more notable accomplishments, as that is more likely to hold their attention. As an example instead of saying you work in information technology you might say I have a talent for developing highly specialized software programs or I designed an innovative system that is now widely used in the healthcare industry. The point is that you want to highlight a unique quality that makes you stand out. There will always be an opportunity later to go into your background more in depth. This just isn’t the time to do that.

§ Inspire Curiosity: This is perhaps the most challenging aspect of the 30 second pitch. Coming up with a delivery that will get the other person to say “tell me more” or to ask a question is really the objective here. When they do they have given you permission to go deeper into your story. However, here again you must resist the temptation to dive into your resume. Instead keep the discussion conversational. You want this to be a two way dialogue. As Judith Glaser states in her book “Conversational Intelligence” the key to success in life is to become a master of conversation. Remember that the goal is to have that person walk away from your exchange with your name firmly imprinted in his or her memory. Not because you expect to receive a job offer, since the odds of that happening while not as unlikely as winning the lottery aren’t great in any event. It’s because you want that person to think of you first when they become aware of an opportunity that calls for someone with your particular skills and experience.

Developing an effective 30 second pitch doesn’t require a great deal of creative talent; however, it does require a good deal of thought to come up with a clear and concise message that captures the essence of what you wish to convey in a brief soundbite. Once you have defined and refined your pitch you must practice, practice and practice some more until the words just roll off of your tongue. You may not have to pay a lot of money to an advertiser to deliver your 30 second pitch but the results of a good one can be very rewarding.

15Sep 2016

In an April 5th article titled “33 Ways to Define Leadership” written by Brittney Helmrich for Business News Daily she surveyed 33 business leaders from a variety of companies and industries to find out how each of them defined leadership. Not surprising she got 33 different definitions. The interesting thing is that all of them were more or less correct on how they each described the qualities of effective leadership. The conclusion was that no matter how you define it the conduct of those in a leadership role can have a profound effect on how an organization performs and how dedicated its employees are to the achievement of its objectives.

In “Primal Leadership” authors Richard Boyzatis and Annie McKee posit that “if a leader resonates energy and enthusiasm, an organization thrives, if a leader spreads negativity and dissonance it flounders.” In his book “Boundaries For Leaders” Dr. Henry Cloud contends that leaders set the stage, tone and culture for a results driven organization. He adds that “leaders must own what they create or allow to exist.”

Following the revelation that over 5,000 Wells Fargo employees engaged in unethical and allegedly illegal conduct, in a public statement the bank’s CEO John Stumpf laid the blame for these actions entirely on the complicit employees. In attempting to defend the organization he stated that “there was no incentive to do bad things.” He went on to call the actions of those staff members as “not acceptable” and as if to drive home the point he added that the bank “doesn’t want one dime of income that’s not properly earned.”

Given the degree to which the banking industry is currently regulated, i. e. Dodd-Frank and the increased capital requirements being imposed by Basel III, banks are under enormous pressure to find more sources of revenue. As such many of their employees are increasingly under intense pressure to market and cross-sell products and services. Performance goals and annual bonuses are tied to the number of customer appointments they schedule and how much revenue they produce. In a high pressure culture such as that it is not difficult to see how something like what took place at Wells Fargo might occur.

Now I have no intention of defending the actions of those employees that engaged in that illicit behavior. The fact that they were terminated by the bank speaks to the severity of their actions from the organization’s perspective. However, I have to wonder why the CEO and by extension the leadership of the organization does not feel that they perhaps played a role in this. Was it not the leadership that created the culture where employees felt the constant pressure to generate revenue in order to meet established monthly or quarterly sales goals so as to secure their continued employment? Didn’t they effectively mandate the idea of cross-selling a variety of products and services to its customers in order to maximize revenues? In fairness the concept of cross-selling is not unique to Wells Fargo. Cross-selling has been a widely used strategy in banking for quite a number of years. But how it is emphasized by an organization and built into employee performance goals is certainly a company by company practice. Therefore in that regard shouldn’t the bank’s leadership team accept some accountability for what happened?

One of my leadership coaching principles is that leaders “Own the final results irrespective of the outcome. As the leader you celebrate the victories and suffer the defeats along with your team members.” A strong leader should assume accountability for the actions of the organization that they lead. The leadership of Toyota demonstrated that quite clearly when they publicly apologized for the engineering design flaws that led to mechanical problems in some of their vehicles that resulted in a number of fatalities and numerous injuries. The quality of the leadership greatly affects the environment and the culture of an organization. They have an enormous influence on how much their employees are engaged at work and how they conduct themselves in their jobs.

In a pithy book “O Great One!” David Novak, co-founder and former CEO of Yum! Brands, wrote of the positive impact that the recognition of the value and contributions of employees can have on the overall performance of an organization. There are numerous examples of businesses that have thrived despite a difficult economic environment as a result of leadership that promotes a culture that recognizes and values their employees. However, the flip side to that is that those organizations whose leaders avoid accountability and effectively throw their employees under the bus can create a culture of mistrust and disengagement that can have adverse consequences on organizational performance.

Given its asset size and huge capital base it is likely that Wells Fargo will be able to ride out the near term fallout from this incident. However, it remains to be seen how the message that its leadership has sent to its employees will affect how they feel about the organization and how they see their place in it.

15Mar 2016

At the 2004 Democratic Convention in Boston the nation was introduced to a youthful freshman senator from Illinois for the first time. Barack Obama delivered an impassioned speech in which he called for bringing the nation together proclaiming that “we are not a blue America or a red America but the United States of America.” His words inspired millions and clearly resonated with many in the Democratic Party leadership who after having lost two presidential elections in a row were eager to recapture the White House. With strong urging from supporters Obama announced his candidacy for president going against the presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton. His mantra of “hope and change” energized the African American community which came out in overwhelming numbers to support him. However, it wasn’t just blacks that were inspired by Obama, large numbers of white voters, particularly young college aged individuals not to mention a significant percentage of Hispanics and Asians. The energy and enthusiasm that he generated catapulted him not only to the nomination but to the presidency in 2008.

It was clearly evident that Obama struck an optimistic chord with a large segment of the electorate. After having endured the tragedy of 911 and the ensuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan the nation was poised for change and in Obama they felt real hope that he would be the kind of transformational leader that not only the nation longed for but that the world was also eager to see emerge. Now almost eight years later the country still finds itself greatly divided ideologically and politically. There is growing racial tension and anger in the black community towards police. Violence and crime are reaching epidemic proportions in certain municipalities with the murder rate seeming to increase each year. The world has become more violent and dangerous with the growth of ISIS and other terrorist groups, the emergence of Iran as a potential nuclear threat, growing strains in our relations with China and increased aggression by Russia in Eastern Europe. The economy has been slow to fully recover from the deep recession of 2008 and 2009 resulting in large numbers of people unemployed or under employed despite the reported drop in the unemployment rate. A growing national debt, controversial laws and measures strongly supported by the Obama Administration such as the Affordable Care Act and the legalization of gay marriage have further added to the rancor. The result has been a growing number of disaffected voters, particularly among the white working class.

Enter Donald Trump. The billionaire developer and television personality clearly identified what that segment of the electorate was feeling and developed a message that echoed their sentiment. His slogan of “make America great again” tapped into the anger and frustration that many of those Americans are feeling. His brash and what some consider offensive comments have sparked a movement that has only grown stronger after each primary contest. His supporters are diehard and intractable.

The so called Republican establishment has tried to rally support in an effort to deny him the party’s nomination but so far it has proven to be unsuccessful. His primary opponents have branded him as not being a true conservative or lacking the temperament to be president. Some even took to attacking him personally during the debates and on the campaign trail. Again those arguments and attacks have not been able to sway his minions. What the other candidates and the party leadership have failed to realize is that what Trump represents to his followers is hope. Hope for change from what many see as a decline of American exceptionalism and an abandonment of those ideals that made the United States both the envy of the world and the beacon of hope for many. This group feels that their way of life and their constitutional rights are under assault. They have witnessed good paying manufacturing and service jobs being exported to other countries and increasing regulations that adversely impact many businesses which in turn curtail hiring. Then there are the returning veterans of the Iraq and Afghan wars who have come home to find poor employment prospects and their frustrations further exacerbated by a poorly run Veterans Administration that has precluded many of them from getting timely care. A growing number of coal mines are shutting down due to strict EPA regulations leaving thousands unemployed and many towns going into decline. Add to that the incendiary issue of illegal immigration, the prospects of taking in thousands of Syrian migrants and to what many seems like an attack on religious freedom and what you have is a perfect storm for a populist candidate like Donald Trump.

For the record I am not claiming to be a Trump supporter. I do not subscribe to his brand of politics nor his rhetoric. However, I recognize that he embodies the type of personality that those who do follow him are clamoring for. He offers them the hope that somehow all that is wrong with the country will somehow be fixed under his leadership. The problem is that Trump is using their anger as the means to advance his platform. He stokes the flames of resentment and bigotry by casting certain groups as the villains and as the root cause of all that is wrong with our country. It doesn’t help when there is a Republican majority in both the Senate and the House who have so far been ineffective in curbing the liberal agenda of the current administration. Trump points to the continuous failures by the Republican majority to advance any of the initiatives that a number of them campaigned on and for which they were elected. It appears to Trump’s supporters as though the Party establishment has acquiesced and is no longer listening to them. Trump offers them the promise that this will all change if he is elected president.
However, the reality is that even if Trump is elected president he will still need to work with the legislature to enact many if not all of the programs that he has campaigned on, whether it’s the wall on the Mexican border or enacting new immigration laws. He will have to soften his tone and become more conciliatory if he is to have any chance to implement his agenda. This may be a tall order for someone who always seems to manage to get his way, unless of course he takes the strong man approach and tries to bypass the Congress by appealing to the will of the masses. This would not be an advisable approach as his actions could violate our constitution and it would not bode well for the Republic.

It would be wise for the Republican Party leaders to recognize that the Trump train has left the station and is well on its way to the nomination barring a major shift in the polls. They need to acknowledge that this election is not about anger, nor about conservative ideology. It’s really about hope. In his own way Bernie Sanders has also tapped into people’s hopes. Somehow the Republican leadership must find a way to offer that same hope to those disaffected voters, which could mean that they must resign themselves to the inevitable and reconcile with Trump in order to unify the party or they must come up with a more effective strategy to derail him, although I believe that it may be too late in the primary season for the latter. Perhaps they need to borrow a page from Trump and negotiate a really great deal. In any event it is in the best interest of the country for all sides to dampen the rhetoric, calm the emotions and inject civility into the political discourse regardless of which political party ends up on top come November.

07Jan 2016

As we enter this new year many of us will have made our annual resolutions to start exercising, eat healthier, lose weight, read more and the list goes on. All of these resolutions are intended to bring about change that we hope will improve our lives. Yet for many the one resolution that is usually not made is how to change the way they look at work. It’s no secret that a very significant majority of people are not fulfilled in their jobs. In fact Gallup has been running an annual survey for over twenty years that consistently shows that around seventy percent of employees are disengaged from their jobs. When you consider the number of people employed not just in the U. S. but around the world that is a whole lot of people. And if you think that only the rank and file are the ones who have checked out the survey also shows that a significant percentage of management level people are also disengaged. Why is that the case? Why are so many people finding little to no satisfaction in their jobs? Perhaps the answer is that they have the wrong expectations for what work is supposed to be.

Prior to the Industrial Revolution the vast majority of individuals derived their livelihoods from agriculture, mainly from farming. This was grueling and backbreaking work. It’s hard to imagine that anyone engaged in that type of labor could find fulfillment from doing that. With the dawn of the industrial age many left the farms and went to work in factories. Here again the work was hard, the hours long and quite often it was dangerous. Before the implementation of Federal safety standards It was not uncommon for workers to lose limbs and in many instances their very lives. I can’t imagine that those individuals were feeling a whole lot of job satisfaction doing what they did given those conditions. So why did these people endure those harsh conditions? Easy it was how they were able to earn a living and support their families, which is what work was intended to be. You were paid for the fruits of your labor.

Enter the age of the white collar worker and the idea of what work is supposed to be changed. We no longer have just a job we now have a career. The dictionary defines career as one’s progress through life or in a particular vocation; a profession or occupation which one trains for and pursues as a lifework. The keyword to hone in on is the word life. Many people graduate from college and enter the workforce expecting to pursue lifelong careers that they imagine will lead to advancement, success and fulfillment. For many they idealize that what they do will have meaning and make a difference to society. After a few years they become disenchanted because they find that their actual work did not live up to their expectations. Another factor could be that many wound up in jobs that were not related to what they had studied in college. Accenture had surveyed a thousand 2012 and 2013 college graduates and found at the time that 46% of them were currently employed in jobs unrelated to the degrees they received.

Now I will point out that there are a good number of people who do find fulfillment in the work that they do. Why is that? Here again it comes down to what their expectations are of what work is supposed to be. Perhaps the best example that comes to mind is my own wife. She spent 18 years working as an executive assistant with a number of large companies, the last 10 of which were for various CEOs. One day she came to the realization that she was not happy and she quit. After several years of being a stay at home mom she decided that she wanted to do something outside of the home; however, that did not include going back to a corporate environment. One day she approached the administrators at our younger daughter’s elementary school and volunteered her services. Impressed with her energy and dedication the school principal offered her a full-time position initially doing clerical work in the office and subsequently working alongside a lead teacher in the classroom. For the past 23 years she has been an assistant teacher at an elementary school. She occasionally comes home grousing about things that are happening at the school and after listening to her vent for some time I casually ask her why does she put up with the drama if it is so frustrating. She’ll just look at me and say because she loves what she does. Heaven knows that she’s not in it for the money, and while she readily admits that there are aspects of her job that she can sometimes do without she doesn’t hesitate to say that she derives an enormous amount of satisfaction from working with the children.

There have been many books and articles written advising people to quit their job and pursue their passion. I just read an article where the 59 year-old President of the Americas for Billabong International Ltd. abruptly quit his job telling the board that he is going to pursue his passion for surfing. Wow! That’s gutsy. Then again at this stage of his life it is very likely that he has the financial security to be able to do that. I recall that the president of a bank that I once worked for decided to retire when he was in his early fifties to pursue his love of art. If anyone is fortunate enough to be in a position to follow their heart either because they have the resources to do so or are able to make that a second career then by all means they should go for it. However, one’s passion very often does not match up too well with an ability to earn a living doing it and while it may sound enticing not everyone is cut out for it. Going out on your own can be a daunting experience and many people after having tried it unsuccessfully ultimately end-up going back to a job. Now I certainly don’t want to discourage anyone from following their dream, nevertheless, I do want to point out that there are risks that need to be carefully weighed.

The fact is that doing what you are passionate about does not have to be at odds with your job If you look at work for what it is. It is a way to earn a living, to provide for your family, to have health insurance and to afford a certain lifestyle. If looked at in that regard then you can decide to pursue your passion on your leisure time. If you enjoy art then paint on weekends or while on vacation. If it’s music then join a band, perform at a local pub or for a church group or simply play for the fun of it. There is no rule that says that you can’t find fulfillment in doing what you are passionate about because you have a job. If you look at your job as the means that enables you to enjoy those things that bring you pleasure then it’s quite possible that your whole attitude about work can possibly change for the better and your performance will likely reflect that. Considering the amount of time that people spend at work it’s certainly worthwhile to resolve to do that. There is no downside that I can see to taking that approach and who knows you may find that it brings you happiness and fulfillment and in the final analysis isn’t that what life is all about.

08Sep 2015

One of the most important responsibilities that a manager in any organization has is the hiring of new employees. This is true for some very important reasons. The most obvious one is the cost that is incurred when the wrong person is hired. A company makes a considerable investment in the new hire during his or her period of orientation. That is especially the case when the individual is brought in to fill a key position. There is a learning curve that this person must go through irrespective of past experience. Technical and industry knowledge aside the new employee must not only become familiar with the company’s products and services but also its internal policies and business practices. Not to mention its management philosophy, corporate culture and core values. If he or she is in a customer interfacing role then it is important that he or she understand the company’s protocol for handling customers not only on the front end when making the sale but also after the sale has been made. Another key reason not to be overlooked is the disruption that the wrong person can have on a department, division or even on the organization itself as a result of inefficiencies, reduced productivity and possibly lower employee morale. As such the decision to bring a new person on board should never be taken lightly.

Increasingly companies have come to realize the importance of making the right hiring decisions. Many are utilizing personality assessments such as DISC, Birkman, Berke and others as predictive screening tools to determine whether the prospective candidate is the right fit for the organization. Although it appears that a number of hiring managers are placing less reliance on resumes the value of a person’s C.V. should not be diminished. While previous work experience and accomplishments are not necessarily full proof indicators of future performance nonetheless they provide a good basis on which to ask insightful questions in order to get a better sense of the person’s capabilities. At the end of the day the hiring process involves people and the final decision on whether or not to make an offer still resides with the manager. That said I recommend that managers adhere to the following guidelines when considering a new hire:

Be clear on what is to be expected of the individual. This may seem obvious, but not surprising this is quite often the reason why new employees don’t work out. As an example when a manager brings a new person on board who meets the criteria for the position but fails to inform him or her that besides performing the daily tasks of the job he or she will be expected to mentor junior staff, or develop new strategic initiatives it can lead to conflict and tension down the road if the employee is not engaged in those activities. The manager should explicitly communicate what his or her expectations are during the interviewing process in order to avoid any misunderstandings that may result after the person has been hired.

Avoid hiring a clone. There is a tendency on the part of managers to project their own personal qualities and values on to the people they recruit. They must resist this tendency. What they should instead focus on depending on the immediate needs of the organization, is in finding someone that can shore up a weakness or that has particular expertise in a product, technology or market that the organization would like to develop. A manager should want someone who is capable of performing the job irrespective of their alma mater or favorite sports team.

Be sure that they themselves embrace the organization’s culture and support its values. It’s difficult to imagine that this would not be the case for someone in a management positon but if a manager is not fully in sync with either of these then they may have a blind spot when it comes to recruiting a new employee. When screening a candidate the manager should try and determine whether there is compatibility between the candidate and the organization when it comes to culture and values by asking thoughtful questions. Here are a few sample questions:

-What motivates you?
-How do you define success?
-What value do you place on team work?
-How do you think that you can benefit the organization?
-What gives you a sense of fulfillment as it relates to your work?
-What brings you happiness?
-What are the most important qualities that you look for in the organization that you work for?

Questions such as these are often included in an assessment, but typically an individual completes an assessment online and usually in private. By asking these type questions in person the manager will be able to observe the candidate’s body language in order to determine whether their facial expressions and mannerisms match up to what they are saying. The manager should also pay close attention to whether the individual is making eye contact when answering the questions. Sometimes the manner in which something is said can be more informative than the actual words spoken.

Seek the input of others. The manager should ask those from outside his or her department specifically managers of other functional areas with whom the prospective new employee will interface, to meet with the candidate and provide their feedback. What the hiring manager is looking for is consistency in their impressions of the individual. Preferably positive but even if its negative better to know that upfront before the person is hired.

Human resources professionals and recruiters will continue to look for ways to refine and sharpen the process of screening new hires. It is likely that more sophisticated assessments will be developed incorporating the latest research in neuroscience. However, the human factor will remain a vital component of the process. Unlike making a decision on whether to invest in a new machine or piece of equipment where the most significant issue is cost, selecting a new employee will still boil down to how the manager sizes up the candidate. By asking insightful questions that zero in on which are the most important qualities required for the position and matching that up to the needs and expectations of the organization the manager will improve the likelihood of bringing on board the right person.

01Jul 2015

I was recently a guest on a radio talk show in which the topic of discussion was coaching. This was my first such experience and I found it quite exhilarating. Many of my friends and family tuned in to listen and afterwards were quite generous with their comments regarding my performance. I was asked whether I had been reading from a script. They were surprised when I replied that everything I said during the broadcast was spontaneous. I told them that the reason I was able to do that was because I knew exactly what I wanted to say and how I would respond when asked a question by the host. However, that made me think of how often people attempt to communicate without having a clear idea of exactly what it is they want to say. Unfortunately this happens all too often and is particularly a common occurrence in the workplace.

“If you don’t know what you want to say how is someone going to know what you mean?” I don’t know whether or not anyone has ever coined that phrase but I think it is apropos in this case. A breakdown in communication is often the cause for much frustration and conflict. When managers don’t convey clear instructions to their employees or just assume that what they said was understood that can lead to some problems down the road. I’m sure that we can cite a number of examples where poorly communicated instructions led to in some cases to tragic results many of which could have been averted had someone taken the time to make sure that their message was clearly understood. Incorporating these three simple practices can improve the flow of communication.

1. Before delivering a message whether it’s a simple set of instructions or outlining a new policy, be sure that you are clear on exactly what it is you want to say and equally important how you want to say it.

2. Don’t assume that your message was so flawless that no one could misunderstand it. If necessary repeat yourself. Ask the listener or listeners whether or not further explanation is needed.

3. Make it a practice to check back to ensure that there are no lingering questions. This will avoid a lot of headaches later.

It’s really basic common sense, but it’s surprising at how often people find it hard to do.

06Jun 2015

In his book “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” author Patrick Lencioni identifies what he considers to be the five dysfunctions. They are: 1) Lack of trust; 2) Fear of conflict; 3) Lack of commitment; 4) Avoidance of accountability; and, 5) Inattention to results. He illustrates them in a pyramid diagram and reasons that each dysfunction feeds into the other in ascending order. Lencioni asserts that truly cohesive teams exhibit the opposite traits.

A common way to measure the effectiveness of a team is to gauge how they perform against organizational goals. I believe that teams that have the following qualities consistently perform at a higher level.

1. Intention: High performing teams know what their purpose is. They understand their mission and have fully embraced the organization’s vision.

2. Commitment: The team is fully engaged in accomplishing those objectives.

3. Focus: Their actions and decisions are concentrated on reaching the goals.

4. Harmony: The team works in unison to do what needs to be done. Individual egos are subordinate to what is best for the team.

5. Results: High performing teams achieve the desired outcome. To them that is the true measure of success.

To cultivate high performing teams organizations need to create an environment that encourages and rewards initiative. Their values should incorporate learning and creativity as key tenets and must also promote team work. Companies like Zappos and Southwest Airlines are good examples of organizations that subscribe to these ideals. Organizations should strive to attract talented individuals; however, they should orient them towards embracing the value of team work and in developing the understanding that personal achievement and organizational success are not mutually exclusive.

17May 2015

It is a widely held view by most experts in the field of leadership that in order for leaders of any organization to be successful they must have the trust of the people they lead. But how can they earn that trust? There are many different opinions regarding this question depending on who you ask, but there is no doubt that anyone in a leadership role must exhibit the following ten characteristics in order to engender trust in those they lead.

1. Hope
A leader must create a vision of a desirable future for the organization where everyone who contributes to the success in achieving its goals will share in the rewards. When people feel optimistic about the future they are more likely to strive towards achieving the organization’s objectives.

2. Authenticity
People will usually figure out when a person in a leadership role is inauthentic and as a result they will quickly be turned off. Leaders must be genuine and not try to portray themselves as something they are not. Employees appreciate and are more inclined to respond positively to a leader who is authentic.

3. Honesty
As the old saying goes honesty is the best policy. When people are intentionally misled they tend to feel exploited. A leader should always opt to be truthful even when being so means sharing bad news. People in almost all instances prefer to know the truth even if it’s unpleasant and will more likely respect a leader who is honest.

4. Empathy
Some leaders eschew being empathic because they see it as exhibiting weakness. However, the truth is that being empathetic with a person or a group in a corporate setting tends to strengthen the relationship between a leader or manager and his employees. When people are aware that their concerns are understood they feel a connection with that other person, in this case the leader and by extension the organization.

5. Caring
Leaders must demonstrate that they care about their employees. Aside from issues that may affect the employees personally this should also include having a sincere interest in their growth and development. When employees feel valued it can lead to greater engagement and also creates loyalty towards the leader and the organization.

6. Forgiveness
Fear of adverse consequences tends to stifle innovation and creativity, particularly if the latter involves taking some degree of risk. Leaders must be willing to accept the fact that mistakes will occur and must avoid being overly critical and castigating. Taking this approach creates an environment where employees are willing to explore new ideas some of which may lead to new opportunities for the organization.

7. Patience
It is a given that whenever a new strategy or initiative is rolled out that it will take time for the employees charged with its execution to become familiar with it and learn how best to implement it. Leaders who exhibit patience and allow the process to unfold in an orderly fashion will enhance the probability of its ultimate success.

8. Approachability
It used to be that the boss or CEO would be hidden away in an office on the executive floor rarely to be seen by employees, except occasionally at a holiday party. Nowadays it is far more common for the CEO to mingle with his employees. By being approachable a leader breaks down barriers that can limit communication. Being accessible to employees allows the leader to become aware of issues or problems sooner thus giving the management team the opportunity to react more quickly to avert any adverse outcomes. It can also result in a greater feeling of camaraderie.

9. Knowledgeable
Leaders must clearly demonstrate that they are knowledgeable and possess a clear understanding of what the important issues are that can impact the organization. Employees invariably look to the leader for guidance and direction. If they perceive that the leader lacks adequate knowledge they will be less willing to fully embrace his/her vision.

10. Humility
By the same token a leader is not expected to be omnipotent and all knowing. After all leaders are human and subject to the limitations of that reality. Leaders who are willing to admit when they have made a mistake, or that they don’t have all of the answers will more often than not engender the respect of their employees.