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Feature Article appearing in the October 13, 2010 eNewsletter

The Changing Face of Leadership: 4 Keys to Managing Todays Workforce By Ken Blanchard The Ken Blanchard Companies asked 1,400 workers about some of the biggest mistakes leaders make when it comes to managing others. The responses cited most often were: 1. Failing to provide appropriate feedback (82%) 2. Failing to listen to or involve others in the process (81%) 3. Failing to use a leadership style that is appropriate to the person, task, and situation (76%) 4. Failing to set clear goals and objectives (76%) 5. Failing to train and develop their people (59%) With highly mobile, competent workers in demand, employers must find ways to attract and keep their best people. Today's best leaders provide an environment where people can stretch, learn, and share their talents. Here are four strategies that can help: Set a clear, inclusive vision. Without a compelling vision and clear goals, your leadership really doesnt matter. Leadership is about going somewhere. With time and resources at a premium, leaders need to focus their people on the critical tasks to be accomplished. Begin by identifying the goals and strategic imperatives of the organization. Next, clarify what each team and department needs to be doing to help the organization achieve its goals. Finally, break it down to individual goals and tasks to achieve the desired results. When people can see where the larger group is heading and why heading that way is important, they can begin to work in the same direction. Instead of wasting their time on low-impact projectsor investing time in work that doesnt support the companys visionthey can focus on high-impact areas that directly contribute to shared goals and subsequently improve the company's bottom line. Increase the quality and quantity of conversations occurring between managers and direct reports. This is one of the best ways to get everyone on the same page. A great way to start is by setting up a consistent schedule of weekly one-on-ones. Dont let time pressures get in the way of a weekly check-in with direct reports to see how they are doing. A short, weekly meeting where the agenda is driven by the direct report can work wonders in providing the appropriate combination of direction and support people need to be engaged and productive.

Feature Article appearing in the October 13, 2010 eNewsletter

Consider the whole person. Dont ask people to leave their nerve endings at the door. Employees want their managers to know them as peopleincluding the issues they might be dealing with both in and out of work. Employees want to feel cared for, understood, and supported in their efforts to make a difference at work. This leads back to the importance of increasing communication. Leaders need to continuously communicate so they can meet their employees needs. Acknowledge that people have concerns. Once youve communicated the vision for the organization, you also need to take the time to listen for concerns and anxieties that people might have. Create opportunities for dialogue. This doesnt mean coddling people, but it does mean taking the time to make sure that you are listening. Increase involvement. One of my favorite sayings is that, No one of us is as smart as all of us. One of the great advantages in working together with other people is that you can tackle a problem from a rich variety of viewpoints. But you have to encourage participation and really listen to what people have to say to make the most of that opportunity. Today, we need more involvement instead of less involvement, but this doesn't mean leaders need to immobilize themselves by making sure everyone agrees. Its much more important that everyone be heard. Leaders have to increase involvement and influence. They have to look for good ideas everywhere. They have to look for ideas from people who are informal leaders in the organization in addition to people who are formal leaders. They have to look to resisters as well as adopters of change. The more that we can get people talking to others who have different viewpoints, the more chance we have to be responsive, resilient, and adaptive in the face of change. The New Reality During todays constantly changing conditions, organizations need everyone to be involved to be able to provide the quick, nimble, and adaptive response that allows organizations to thrive. By sharing power and expanding influence, leaders can create an organization with a strong overall capacity to change and succeed. Today, you need to partner. Thats why it is so important for senior leaders to address concerns and include all employees in the process. When people are involved in these types of conversations, they bring their creativity and discretionary energy to the table.

Feature Article appearing in the October 13, 2010 eNewsletter

Globalization and the increasingly international nature of business is changing the requirements of leadership. One of the great advantages in having a diverse population is that you can tackle a problem from a wide range of viewpoints. But you have to encourage participation and really listen to what people have to say to make the most of that opportunity. Good pay is no longer the only answer. Todays workers want more. They seek opportunities where they feel that their contributions are valued and rewardedwhere they are involved and empowered, can develop skills, can see advancement opportunities, and believe they are making a difference. Editors Note: Ken Blanchard, cofounder of The Ken Blanchard Companies and coauthor of The One Minute Manager, believes that bringing people together from diverse backgrounds creates tremendous opportunities for organizations, but also some challenges. In two upcoming executive briefings in Calgary on October 19th and in Ottawa on October 22nd, Blanchard will be discussing how organizations can benefit from new perspectives if they are able to unite people behind a common set of values and goals.