How to handle an underperforming employee

As leaders, we´ve all been faced with employees that do not perform as expected. However, before confronting the issue, it´s very important for you to determine the real reason your team member is not performing well.

Generally, an employee does not perform as you would expect due to lack of ability, training and/or coaching, leadership or willingness. Three of these causes are actually within your control, as a leader. Ask yourself the following questions to identify the cause of the issue, and then determine the right solution for it.

Ability   
1. Is this the right fit for this associate? (Solution: Consider other position)
Train or coach                    
2. Have you observed the associate perform the job well in the past? (Solution: Train or coach)
3. Has the associate received training and on-the-job coaching to do the job successfully? (Solution: Train or coach)
4. Are my expectations crystal clear? (How do I know?) (Solution: Train or coach)
5. Does the associate understand why it´s important to do the job right? (Solution: Train or coach)
6. Does the associate have the tools to do the job successfully? (Solution: Provide tools/train)
Leadership
7. Does the associate know how they´re doing; have I followed up on progress (Solution: Communicate)
8. Do I regularly recognize positive performance for this associate when appropriate (Solution: Communicate)
9. Do I show this associate that I care, and that their opinions count? (Solution: Communicate)
10. Do I hold all associates accountable equally so that everyone is committed to qualify work? (Solution: Communicate)

If you answered NO to any of the questions, you have not set the employee up for succeed. Implement the suggested solution to develop the skill in the employee, then re-evaluate for willingness.

If you answered YES to all these questions, you have done everything you can to engage the associate and know you are likely dealing with a willingness issue. Shift the responsibility for the solution to the employee through counseling.

Successful Communication: How To Master the Art of Listening

Are you a good listener? Have you ever experienced that you might have missed crucial information simply because you were not paying attention to what was being said? How do you feel when you are talking to someone and you notice that they do not listen attentively?

Successful communication consists of a yin and yang of listening and speaking. Most individuals are really good at one of them, either listening or speaking. By improving your skills in both listening and speaking you will significantly increase your capability to successfully communicate, especially in conflict situations.

“Speaking is silver, silence is gold.” – Swedish proverb

As beings, a fundamental need and desire of ours is being understood. However, in order for others to understand you, you first need to learn how to listen and understand them. In fact, when building relationships with others, the way that you listen – how – is just as important as what you have to say.

Listen to understand. If you want other people to understand you, you first need to truly listen to what they are communicating.

How you listen is key. To encourage communication and build meaningful connections, listen from other people’s perspectives. And remember, sometimes good listening is done with your eyes as well as your ears.

Learn to manage distractions. Articulate when you need to regain your focus (just say it!), jot down thoughts so that you won’t be distracted trying to remember them later, and if you are too exhausted to muster the energy to truly engage, postpone and reschedule.

Improve your listening. Give yourself credit for your current listening skills and be honest about the areas where you can improve – then set up a plan to work on those areas.

Good listening is definitely a win-win. Not only does good listening make others feel heard and understood, but it also gives you a deeper connection with people.

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Improve your transparency skills with these easy tips

house-wall-113541_1280The skills of being transparent is the key to developing authentic relationships with your team – and with other people. Being transparent is about sincerity, honesty, grace and composure.

Transparent leaders are authentic and respected. They are true to themselves and know their team members well. They share of their knowledge and information, instilling trust and understanding amongst their associates.

Here are some easy tips on being transparent:

– Own up to mistakes.
The act of owning up to a mistake demonstrates humility and a genuine desire to do the right thing.

– Responsibility share true opinions and emotions.
Be responsible for the manner in which you share your opinions with others. For example, express your concern but without contempt.

– Ask for feedback on your own performance.
Ask those who you respect for feedback and accept it with an open mind.

– Communicate both good and bad news.
Do not sugarcoat bad news to make it sound better and don’t downplay good news. Simply tell the truth with a touch of compassion when necessary.

– Create meaningful connections with your team.
Don’t force an unnatural or uncomfortable bond with your employees. Instead, go out of your way to get to know each person on a real level.

How do you practice transparency in your organization and your life? Is there something you can do to improve even further and if so, in what way?

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10 Ways To Lead By Example

skydiving-658405_1280Good leaders must lead by example. Through their actions, which are aligned with what they say, they become a person others want to follow. When leaders say one thing but do another, they erode trust, a critical element of productive leadership.

Here are 10 of the dozens of ways to lead by example.

  1. Take responsibility. Blame costs you your credibility, keeps team members on the defensive and ultimately sabotages real growth.
  2. Be truthful. Inaccurate representation affects everyone. Show that honesty really IS the best policy.
  3. Be courageous. Walk through fire (a crisis) first. Take calculated risks that demonstrate commitment to a larger purpose.
  4. Acknowledge failure. It makes it OK for your team to do the same and defines failure as part of the process of becoming extraordinary.
  5. Be persistent. Try, try again. Go over, under or around any hurdles to show that obstacles don’t define your company or team.
  6. Create solutions. Don’t dwell on problems; instead be the first to offer solutions and then ask your team for more.
  7. Listen. Ask questions. Seek to understand. You’ll receive valuable insights and set a tone that encourages healthy dialogue.
  8. Delegate liberally. Encourage an atmosphere in which people can focus on their core strengths.
  9. Take care of yourself. Exercise, don’t overwork, take a break. A balanced team, mentally and physically, is a successful team. Model it, encourage it, support it!
  10. Roll up your sleeves. Like Alexander the Great leading his men into battle, you’ll inspire greatness in your company.

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Are you experiencing too much stress in your life?

mindfulnessThere’s help to get! Check out our team’s favorite mindfulness tools. Not only are they great for lowering your levels of stress, you also bring them with you wherever you go.

“Being mindful is a way of life.”

Mindfulness is basically training in being present in the now. Does it sound like something strange? It’s not really. Mindfulness is an eastern way of living that reduces worry and stress. It’s a way to live in harmony with yourself and others. Mindfulness is simply a way to improve your quality of life.

The purpose with mindfulness training is to practice being as aware as possible, moment to moment. Practicing mindfulness improves both mental and physical health. Research has showed that some of its effects are that it: – reduces stress, – makes you less prone to develop acute illnesses and infections; – aids your body’s ability to heal and – brings mental clarity,

Also, with mindfulness training we develop a healthier perspective towards our thoughts and feelings. You could say that we get a “filter” through which we learn to see, feel and choose how to react on our thoughts and feelings, rather than just act instantly. Mindfulness makes you freer to choose the life you want to live.

Our team’s favorite apps

There are many great mindfulness apps on the market. Here are some of our team’s favorite ones:

The Mindfulnessapp 
One of the first mindfulness apps on the market and it’s been downloaded over 900 000 times. Developed by the two Swedes Magnus Fridh and Martin Vikfalk, the Mindfulness app has recently been improved even further.

Headspace
This American app is like ”a gym for your mind”. It offers a free version with 10 mindful days, with different meditations. If you like the app, get a subscription and they’ll give an app for free to a person in need. We love that!

Meditationernas Spotify  
Omvana is one of the world’s most popular meditation apps. It’s like a Spotify for relaxation, stressreduction and meditation. As a member you get to create your own meditation and you’ve got so many choices that you’ll never run out of new options.

Simply Being
Meditations app developed primary for relaxation and stress reduction. Simply Being includes several different meditations with music or nature sounds. The meditations are 5, 10, 15 or 20 minutes long respectively so they are perfect to use “on the go”.

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How To Get Unrivalled Employee Engagement

wooden-791224_1280
Imagine a workplace where employees take full ownership for their team’s performance and where the culture fosters innovation and interaction. Where transparent, honest and uplifting conversations take place between employees and leaders. Picture a workplace where employees are fully supported and where the culture has gone beyond ‘empowerment’. And then imagine achieving this, so that the organization has unmatched commitment, attendance, performance and customer satisfaction.

The spirit of employeeship

Does it sound too good to be true? It’s not. This is the spirit and the reality of employeeship. This simple, yet fundamental approach to transforming attitudes at work has provided outstanding results in Scandinavia. And now the rest of the world is catching on fast too.

Leaders and employees who have been engaged in employeeship see their role as much more than just the carrying out of formal instructions passed on from the leader to team members. They see it as a way of helping individuals grow, professionally but even more so in a deeply personal way. And since employeeship is about aligning individuals’ innermost values to what they do every day – in relation to their work and to the people they work alongside – they experience increased well-being in life.

Organizations that have successfully implemented a culture of employeeship not only get better everyday conversations between managers and co-workers but they also gain deeper knowledge of employees’ skills and talents. Furthermore, they experience a much greater sense of engagement and responsibility amongst their employees.

It’s not a program or project – it’s a culture

It’s important to remember that employeeship is not a development program or a project. It’s a work culture. One that is not implemented by simply improving employee engagement with suggestion boxes, “employee of the month”-awards or different bonus programs. It goes much deeper than that. It’s like empowerment on steroids – without negative effects.

Leaders and employees act together as partners in the workplace. That means acknowledging and taking responsibility for your part as a team member as well as standing up for what you believe is right. It means going beyond what is required in your job description. Employeeship is doing what is in the best interest for the team, the organization and foremost, for the customers. In its essence it is about placing yourself in a position where you act as a co-builder of the organization you belong to. Where you are part of something larger than yourself and your work isn’t just a job but a meaningful experience. How can it possibly get better than that?

If you want to know more about employeeship or about how to implement this fundamental game-changer in your organization too, get in touch with us for a dialogue on how we best can be of help to you.

5 Things Successful Leaders Do

Leader
No one is born a leader. Leadership, just like life, is a constant “work” in progress – a never ending growth process. It’s not always easy but it’s always fun! There are a few basic things you can do though to be a better leader:

1. Do. Not. Ever. Loose. Your. Temper.
I can not stress it enough, a successful leader never loses her temper. Your employees might forgive many of your shortcomings but I can assure you, they will not respect you if you can not control your anger. Nor should they – it’s an abusive attribute.

2. Include your team in your decision making process
Some leaders have a tendency to make all decisions by themselves. There’s really no valid reason for that. Your employees are chosen to work in your organization for a reason and regardless of their initial skills, by including them in your decision making process they will not only grow individually and as a team, but their improved workplace engagement will grow your business as well. Also, your employees are more likely to react positive to something when they are trusted with the reason(s) behind your decision. Make “why” one of your new favorite words.

“Great leaders explains the ‘why’ behind their reasoning.”
– Ulrika @GustoLifeGroup

3. Encourage learning
Successful leaders creates an open minded, conscious and positive work environment. Initiatives from their team members are encouraged. “Good” ideas are publicly recognized and ”bad” ideas are never trashed. As a matter of fact, what you say and how you act when presented with a new idea by an employee is part of that which will make or break your success.

boat-606187_12804. Be a coach and a role model
Being a leader also means being a coach. Learn, encourage and if needed, correct your team members. Just like with children, your employees aren’t going to do what you say, they’ll do what you do. Don’t expect – or worse, demand – that your employees live up to a standard that you do not live up to yourself. Lead by being a good example – “walk the talk” in other words.

5. Define your expectations
Clarity is always good! Be clear with your expectations on each individual employee but also on what you expect from them as a team. Use the organizations different policies, work descriptions and the employee hand book as tools – it’s what they are made for.

Remember that your employees have as much invested in your organization as you have. No matter their individual desires and goals, they want to feel good about their work. They want to succeed. As a leader, you’ve got a huge responsibility in making it happen – you can change someone’s life for the better. Do it, by being the best leader you can be!

5 Values of Any Great Leader

leadershipWhat would your life look like if you lived from the perception that your thoughts could change your world? What would it feel like if you knew that every single day you were doing exactly what you were meant to be doing? How would it be to live life from a place where you are true to yourself and not despite of this but because of it, you are living in pure abundance?

That is what it’s like to be a really great leader. And it’s something that everyone can achieve – regardless if you’re a leader in your profession or in your personal life. Mums and dads are leaders too!

Here are 5 values that any great leader live and lead by:
1. Authenticity
Great leaders represent themselves in a genuine way. Be honest and clear with who Authenticyou are and what you stand for. Strength of character is a huge part of success!

2. People First
The numbers are important but they mean nothing without the people. Great leaders lead from the heart as they know that leadership is about connecting with people. Focus on the individuals – customers and employees – and people will listen to you.

3. Integrity
It’s simple – without integrity you’ve got nothing. Great leaders speak their truth – which is not the same as being rude – and never use words that aren’t in alignment with who they are. Integrity is also following through with what you say you are going to do – don’t make promises you can’t keep.

Excellent4. Excellence
Great leaders always push the envelope and raise their standards. However, be wise and don’t do this in an attempt to achieve a perceived level of perfection – no human is perfect. We are all a work in progress.

5. Discipline
No one becomes a great leader overnight or by chance. Great leadership is a result of disciplined creation. Get clear on what you really want, be committed to what you do and your efforts will be rewarded. That’s a universal law.

Implement and practise these values in your own life and leadership. Don’t postpone living a life where you are true to yourself and of service to others – you’ll get to live the life of your dreams!

 

Are you prepared for the leadership challenges of the future?

future leadersAdaping to the new demands on leaders

Today’s leaders will need to abandon much of their current thinking and behavior in order to succeed as leaders over the next two decades. If you want your business to not only survive but also thrive you’ll simply have to adapt to the new skills and competencies needed.

We can already see changes taking place within organizations, slowly adapting to the new work culture. There’s a clear moveChange towards greater individualization as current work processes are being modified, to better suit individuals rather than the organization. Independent work and time management is also being promoted, allowing employees time for their personal projects if they so wish. Old school hierarchical organizations are being flattened as employees are demanding accelerated leadership and continous feedback.

Employeeship – with responsibiliy, loyalty and initiative – is on the rise and conscious leaders are already learning to balance the roles of coach, boss and mediator. As a future leader, you’ll be expected to manage through influence rather than authority and be able work through collaborative approaches inside and outside your organization. But that’s not it, you’ll also need to have a deep sense of integrity, curiosity and transparency as trust will be a keyword in order to create loyalty amongst your employees.

Work CultureDoes it make you feel overwhelmed? Don’t be. It just takes a little bit extra courage to go against a culture of hierarchies, micro-managing and low employee appreciation. However there are great organizations to learn from, all over the world.

Organizations in the Scandinavian countries are decades long experts on employeeship – it’s even a legal requirement to involve employees in major decisions. Which in itself creates problems at times but that’s a subject for another post. Other great examples are also companies that successfully are practising servant leadership as parts of that “philosophy” are transparent influential leadership and active employee engagement.

What is your organization doing to attract and keep the new generations of employees? And how are you personally developing your leadership to meet the new standards?

Trusting what is – Patience

One of the  greatest thing I’ve had to work with, for myself, has been patience. I have always been a very impatient person – even when it did not serve me well.

Courageous individuals – leaders – trust. They trust that everything’s exactly as it is supposed to be – they let go. They do not try to control things, events or people. Nor do they force their own ways – swim upstream. They go with the flow – with trust – and find pleasure in it. Trust lies at the core of all our relationships – without, theres is no foundation for growth.

“It’s fine to want things to happen in a proper and timely way. But what if you need to hang in there for several months in your current job before you can move on to a better one.  Now what?

Patience means handling delay, difficulty, or discomfort without getting aggravated. Circumstances are what they are, but patience protects you from their impact like a shock absorber. In contrast, impatience interprets circumstances as you being hindered or mistreated, so you feel frustrated, let down, or annoyed. imagesO6B4MEWVThen insistence comes in: “This must change!” But by definition you can’t fulfill that commandment (otherwise, there’d be nothing to get impatient about). Impatience combines all three ingredients of toxic stress: unpleasant experiences, pressure or urgency, and lack of control.

Impatience with others contains implicit criticism and irritation – and people want to get away from both of these. Just recall how you feel when someone is impatient with you. Or consider how others react when you are impatient with them. Impatience is dissatisfaction; it is resistance to the way it is. Patience senses a fundamental alrightness, the doorway to contentment. Impatience is angry; patience is peaceful. Impatience narrows down onto what’s “wrong,” while patience keeps you wide open to the big picture.

Impatience can’t stand unpleasant feelings; patience helps you tolerate physical and emotional discomfort. Impatience wants rewards now; patience helps you tolerate delayed gratification, which fosters increased success and sense of worth. Patience may seem like a superficial virtue, but actually it embodies a deep insight into the nature of things: they’re intertwining, messy, imperfectible, and usually not about you. Patience also contains a wonderful teaching about desire: wish for something, sure, but be at peace when you can’t have it. Patience knows you can’t make the river flow any faster.

“When you are tempted to lose patience with someone, remember how patient God is with you – all the time.”