Leaders to Leader

Lessons from the Great American Leaders & How They Apply Now

Posts Tagged ‘self-confidence

When Motivating Employees, Expectations Are Everything

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During the 1930s researchers from Harvard University conducted productivity studies at Western Electric’s Hawthorne facility that demonstrated how management attention generates immediate productivity increases. However sustained, long-term productivity is facilitated when management communicates the consistent message that employees will perform to the expectations of established standards.

More than 300 additional studies support the fact that an employee’s achievement goes beyond their individual personal ability and mirrors their manager’s expectations. These findings indicate that employees perform in accordance with what is expected of them, even above their own beliefs in their abilities. This fact can play a significant role when it comes to individual performance.

It is important for managers to understand that if they openly demonstrate they believe an employee to be competent and worthwhile, then he or she is likely to be more effective and perceive their job to be more rewarding. Managers reinforce this concept when they encourage and are responsive to their employees, provide them more challenging assignments, and offer additional assistance and support whenever needed.

The phenomenon commonly referred to as the Pygmalion Effect stresses that achievement mirrors expectations more than individual ability. An individual’s performance is affected by his or her self-image. This concept sets the boundaries of individual accomplishment. Its main principle supports the belief that employees can work up to and beyond their own perceived abilities by rising to meet the expectations managers have of them.

Managers have the ability to alter overall performance through expanding their employees’ self-confidence and by building their self-esteem. These actions impact performance by expanding individual personal perceptions of what one can accomplish.

The nature of business means employees must deal with daily stress and inevitable missteps and failures that impact their self-esteem and confidence. Managers can positively support their employees by keeping the Pygmalion Effect in mind. They can build expectations that employees will readily overcome any setbacks and continue to work toward success.

A manager’s attitude toward their employees also directly affects their performance. They are often astonished to discover that when employees are given a chance to prove themselves, they display more talent and ability than the manager initially imagined.

The second aspect of increasing productivity is the level of attention provided by managers. Attitudes, expectations and attention establish what gets done and how. The Hawthorne studies show that the time and attention invested by management is directly proportional to results. In most organizations time is the scarcest of available resources. Employees understand that when a manager is visible to them, he or she is investing a valuable personal resource in their performance. Consequently, a visible manager is an effective one.

When most people think about leadership, they perceive it to be found only at the top levels of an organization. However, in reality, effective leadership takes place on a one-to-one basis. Managers work directly with each of their employees to enhance their capabilities and personal commitment to achieve positive results. The power of a single manager’s attitude, expectations and attention can impact productivity and positive results more radically than anything else.

Organizational changes actually occur on individual levels. Good managers understand that success occurs slowly but consistently, one small change at a time. While each single change may not appear meaningful unto itself, when measured across time and the entire workplace, the impact is enormous.

When managers positively impact their employees’ performance to increase their productivity step-by-step, they begin to contribute consistently and successfully toward the achievement of the organization’s goals. Each small success builds ongoing commitment. Overall change occurs because everyone has a chance to commit and contribute to it. Progress is the result of many things being done differently—not major management decisions.

Excerpt: Motivating Employees: Pinpoint Management Skill Development Training Series. (Majorium Business Press, Stevens Point, WI, 2011) $ 17.95 USD

Related:

Five Critical Steps to Maximize Performance

Execution: Six Action Steps

Performance Plans Create Results and Maximizes Performance

Objectives Allow Managers to Focus on Obtaining Results

Timothy F. Bednarz, Ph.D. | Author | Publisher | Majorium Business Press
Author of Great! What Makes Leaders Great: What They Did, How They Did It and What You Can Learn From It (Finalist – 2011 Foreword Reviews‘ Book of the Year)
Linkedin | Facebook | Twitter | Web| Blog | Catalog |800.654.4935 | 715.342.1018

Copyright © 2014 Timothy F. Bednarz, All Rights Reserved

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Leadership Removes Barriers to Performance

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An effective performance management platform has specific overall outcomes that leaders need to achieve if they are to be successful. In the traditional bureaucratic organization, these programs are often meaningless. However, within the empowered organization, an effective performance management program efficiently moves the organization forward.

As a performance management program is developed and implemented, the role of the leader becomes increasingly important as they grow in their personal abilities. This means that true leadership capabilities must emerge in crafting clear and understandable goals for employees as well as developing simple but effective plans for the organization to follow.

This is important for leaders to understand because true leadership that removes barriers to performance, demands proactive involvement and interaction. As leaders mature in their responsibilities, they take their roles more seriously, and develop the self-confidence to stretch both themselves and their employees to higher levels of productivity and success. By challenging the old political bureaucracies that hinder performance and overall success they become leaders in the truest sense of the word.

The essence of performance standard development within the empowered organization is to reach the point where employees direct and evaluate their own performance. The role of the leader is to help the employee reach mutually agreeable goals and standards to measure progress toward those goals. Once this is achieved the leader provides them the direction and information the employee needs to assess their individual performance against their goals.

Once this state is reached within the organization, several positive outcomes are created that assist both the organization and its leaders. These are:

Simplicity

Simplicity is the ally of the true leader and complexity the favorite tool of traditional bureaucratic organizations. Leaders must take the responsibility of simplifying their organizations. The more straightforward an organizational structure they can create, the more effective it will be.

As performance standards are established for individual employees, an understanding should be reached as to how their work and contributions fit into the organization. Employees should know they are not performing a mindless task, but one that adds value to the overall output and outcomes of the entire organization. When employees see that what they do counts and the clear connection between their job and organizational success, it removes much of the clutter and interference that hampers decision making. This simplifies the process the organization must undergo to enhance performance and productivity.

Self-Confidence

For the leader, the process allows them to create simple plans with clear targets and objectives. It allows them to communicate more easily with their employees because they understand the connection between their contributions and the organization’s success.

When levels of simplicity are achieved within the organization, many barriers are removed and cooperation between leaders and employees is enhanced. All understand the results that must be achieved and why they are important. Additionally, when the entire process is simplified, plans are easily implemented and are more effective. The barriers of complexity traditionally in place within a bureaucratic organization are removed. The more success attained by leaders, employees and the organization, the more self-confidence is established that allows all to reach for more ambitious goals and objectives.

As in a cohesive organizational unit, everyone is accountable to everyone else within the unit, the performance of all leaders and employees is clear to all parties. This minimizes excuses and wastes less time, financial and operational resources.

Speed

The impact of both simplicity and self-confidence has an overall impact on the speed in which the organization operates. Within the empowered organization, leaders and employees have an established and mutually agreeable clear purpose. All understand the ramifications of hesitancy in today’s competitive global markets.

The overarching goal of performance planning and implementation within the empowered organization is to increase the speed of all internal processes from production to marketing to overall management. When leaders are successful in establishing clear and understandable goals, simple plans and self-directing evaluation, the barriers to decision making and overall output are effectively removed. This allows the organization to react more quickly and nimbly to the forces of change as well as ongoing competitive pressures.

Excerpt: Strengthening Leadership Performance: Pinpoint Leadership Skill Development Training Series (Majorium Business Press, Stevens Point, WI 2011) $ 18.95 USD

Related:

Five Critical Steps to Maximize Performance

Execution: Six Action Steps

Performance Plans Create Results and Maximizes Performance

Objectives Allow Managers to Focus on Obtaining Results

For Additional Information the Author Recommends the Following Books:

Performance Management: The Pinpoint Management Skill Development Training Series

Planning to Maximize Performance: Pinpoint Leadership Skill Development Training Series

Maximizing Financial Performance: Pinpoint Leadership Skill Development Training Series

Improving Workplace Interaction: Pinpoint Leadership Skill Development Training Series

Timothy F. Bednarz, Ph.D. | Author | Publisher | Majorium Business Press
Author of Great! What Makes Leaders Great: What They Did, How They Did It and What You Can Learn From It (Finalist – 2011 Foreword Reviews‘ Book of the Year)
Linkedin | Facebook | Twitter | Web| Blog | Catalog |800.654.4935 | 715.342.1018

Copyright © 2013 Timothy F. Bednarz, All Rights Reserved

Six Critical Skills You Need to Be Really Comfortable With

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The complexion of business and the workplace are continually changing. The skills required of leaders in the past have become outdated and outmoded by the volatile business environment. Today’s leaders are required to change and adapt or lose their professional edge. There are a number of critical skills that need to be mastered in order for leaders to remain a relevant and viable resource for their company.

Most leaders would like to maintain the status quo. It is easy to be resistant to change. In fact, many are doing just that, hoping that conditions will revert to the way they were in the past. Unfortunately, this wishful and myopic thinking produces numerous adverse consequences.

The dynamic impact of change is a reality that each leader must fully comprehend and come to terms with. This demands that thinking and attitudes continually evolve with increasing ongoing transformations in the global marketplace. New skills are required for leaders to integrate these changes into their business environment and adapt to new ones not far behind.

A number of skills must be developed in order to enhance personal and professional development. None of these skills are independent of a leader’s job performance, but are in fact strongly linked to it. These include the ability to:

Related: Mistakes as a Source of Innovation

Think ‘Outside the Box’

Most leaders’ personal thinking is shaped by the events and circumstances they have previously experienced. Over time, thinking patterns tend to become solely focused on the activities of the company and upon issues and situations related to the effectiveness of their employees. Because of this, reasoning and perceptions often become clouded and stagnant. Many times they include a bias and perspective that does not reflect reality.

Change and its forces really do demand that leaders get outside of their normal way of viewing things to develop a fresh perspective of both their company and the reality of the existing business environment. This often results in a thinking paradigm shift that positively impacts future business practices and methods. It compels leaders to recognize the changing reality of their own business climate, its needs and concerns, and how emerging forces are producing a positive or negative impact on how the business functions. It also works to develop a fresh focus on what is needed to compete effectively, grow and gain market share.

Related: Formulating Questions as a Source of Continuous Improvement

Change the Culture

Linked with this thinking paradigm shift is a need for effecting a change in the corporate culture. This is necessitated by the various factors brought about by a continuously evolving marketplace. Leaders often have difficulty dealing with the concept of changing the culture around them. This stems mostly from fear of the personal consequences that accompanies corporate transformation and because most of the changes tend to challenge conventional wisdom.

Most leaders don’t understand exactly what is required to evolve as truly effective leaders or how to go about it. New methods and ideas conflict with their current managerial roles. They feel at risk because their comfort zones are threatened and new skills in leadership are often lacking. Many worry they will not be able to fill their newer role adequately enough to produce the results the culture change demands.

Related: Success Is the Sum of Details

Monitoring the Pulse of the Business

A leader’s professional development demands that they delegate more daily activities and responsibilities to selected employees. While this pushes decision making down to the front lines—where it has the most impact—it does not mean that leaders should not be continually aware of what is happening in regard to each delegated employee. Rather, they should use some form of metrics system to keep a daily pulse on what is occurring in the workplace. Though they need to delegate their micromanagement activities, there still is the essential need to maintain an active and open presence with their employees or work teams. This allows them to individually and proactively interact whenever required.

Related: Do You Have a Zeal to Execute?

Act Quickly

As leaders formulate their particular leadership style, they must incorporate the ability to act quickly and decisively. In a business environment of rapid change, hesitancy is a liability, especially in the current workplace environment where failure to act can easily create an opportunity for the competition to gain a foothold.

Keep it Simple

While many leaders are prone to the misconception that the more sophisticated and complicated the plan, the better it is, a good leader understands the need to keep things simple and to stress execution.

Though outwardly impressive, complicated plans and solutions demand complex and costly systems to support them, are prone to human error, and increase the risk of failure. Straightforward and simple plans and goals are less expensive, less subject to human error and far easier to execute.

Related: Do You Believe in Yourself?

Develop Self-Confidence

Leaders who desire to develop their professional skills must cultivate an innate sense of confidence in their decisions. Many stumble into the pitfall of always second-guessing themselves. This results in hesitancy and a loss of self-confidence in their professional abilities. It is a far more desirable leadership trait to act quickly and decisively, then modify the decision as additional data and results become available, than it is to wait until extenuating circumstances develop due to indecision. Inaction only gives rise to additional problems that will also need to be addressed and surmounted.

Excerpt: Becoming a Leader of Your Own Making: Pinpoint Management Skill Development Training Series (Majorium Business Press, Stevens Point, WI 2011) $ 16.95 USD

Timothy F. Bednarz, Ph.D. | Author | Publisher | Majorium Business Press
Author of Great! What Makes Leaders Great: What They Did, How They Did It and What You Can Learn From It (Finalist – 2011 Foreward Reviews‘ Book of the Year)
Linkedin | Facebook | Twitter | Web| Blog | Catalog |800.654.4935 | 715.342.1018

Copyright © 2012 Timothy F. Bednarz, All Rights Reserved

When Motivating Employees, Expectations Are Everything

with 9 comments

During the 1930s researchers from Harvard University conducted productivity studies at Western Electric’s Hawthorne facility that demonstrated how management attention generates immediate productivity increases. However sustained, long-term productivity is facilitated when management communicates the consistent message that employees will perform to the expectations of established standards.

More than 300 additional studies support the fact that an employee’s achievement goes beyond their individual personal ability and mirrors their manager’s expectations. These findings indicate that employees perform in accordance with what is expected of them, even above their own beliefs in their abilities. This fact can play a significant role when it comes to individual performance.

It is important for managers to understand that if they openly demonstrate they believe an employee to be competent and worthwhile, then he or she is likely to be more effective and perceive their job to be more rewarding. Managers reinforce this concept when they encourage and are responsive to their employees, provide them more challenging assignments, and offer additional assistance and support whenever needed.

The phenomenon commonly referred to as the Pygmalion Effect stresses that achievement mirrors expectations more than individual ability. An individual’s performance is affected by his or her self-image. This concept sets the boundaries of individual accomplishment. Its main principle supports the belief that employees can work up to and beyond their own perceived abilities by rising to meet the expectations managers have of them.

Managers have the ability to alter overall performance through expanding their employees’ self-confidence and by building their self-esteem. These actions impact performance by expanding individual personal perceptions of what one can accomplish.

The nature of business means employees must deal with daily stress and inevitable missteps and failures that impact their self-esteem and confidence. Managers can positively support their employees by keeping the Pygmalion Effect in mind. They can build expectations that employees will readily overcome any setbacks and continue to work toward success.

A manager’s attitude toward their employees also directly affects their performance. They are often astonished to discover that when employees are given a chance to prove themselves, they display more talent and ability than the manager initially imagined.

The second aspect of increasing productivity is the level of attention provided by managers. Attitudes, expectations and attention establish what gets done and how. The Hawthorne studies show that the time and attention invested by management is directly proportional to results. In most organizations time is the scarcest of available resources. Employees understand that when a manager is visible to them, he or she is investing a valuable personal resource in their performance. Consequently, a visible manager is an effective one.

When most people think about leadership, they perceive it to be found only at the top levels of an organization. However, in reality, effective leadership takes place on a one-to-one basis. Managers work directly with each of their employees to enhance their capabilities and personal commitment to achieve positive results. The power of a single manager’s attitude, expectations and attention can impact productivity and positive results more radically than anything else.

Organizational changes actually occur on individual levels. Good managers understand that success occurs slowly but consistently, one small change at a time. While each single change may not appear meaningful unto itself, when measured across time and the entire workplace, the impact is enormous.

When managers positively impact their employees’ performance to increase their productivity step-by-step, they begin to contribute consistently and successfully toward the achievement of the organization’s goals. Each small success builds ongoing commitment. Overall change occurs because everyone has a chance to commit and contribute to it. Progress is the result of many things being done differently—not major management decisions.

Excerpt: Motivating Employees: Pinpoint Management Skill Development Training Series. (Majorium Business Press, Stevens Point, WI, 2011) $ 17.95 USD

If you would like to learn more about problem solving techniques, refer to Motivating Employees: Pinpoint Management Skill Development Training Series. This training skill-pack features eight key interrelated concepts, each with their own discussion points and training activity. It is ideal as an informal training tool for coaching or personal development. It can also be used as a handbook and guide for group training discussions. Click here to learn more. If you are looking for innovative solutions to your training problems, view our training catalog of over 125 training titles.

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Timothy F. Bednarz, Ph.D. | Author | Publisher | Majorium Business Press
Author of Great! What Makes Leaders Great: What They Did, How They Did It and What You Can Learn From It (Finalist – 2011 Foreward Reviews‘ Book of the Year)
Linkedin | Facebook | Twitter | Web | Blog | Catalog |800.654.4935 | 715.342.1018

Copyright © 2012 Timothy F. Bednarz, All Rights Reserved

Written by Timothy F. Bednarz, Ph.D.

May 29, 2012 at 10:55 am

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