Redefining The Smart Business Team

When building or re-working a team, don’t assume that people with high IQs or extroverts automatically make the best team members.

Shared in a recent New York Times article, two corroborative studies by professors at Carnegie Mellon University, MIT, and Union College revealed some eyebrow-raising results on what constitutes a smart, well-functioning team.

The Big Three

  • Equal Contribution – The study showed that in smart teams, all members of the group contributed equally to discussions – rather than the group being dominated by only one or two people.

Did you know? With their quiet presence, introverts often make highly effective listeners, are open to suggestions, and come up with creative insights for improvement. These qualities can bring a grounding presence, particularly to more “vocal” teams, according to an HBR piece covering the many advantages of quiet leaders.

  • Emotional Intuitiveness – Members of smart teams scored higher on a test called Reading The Mind In The Eyes that measured the ability to “read complex emotional states from images of faces with only the eyes visible.” To use a more current phrase you may already be familiar with, team members had increased emotional intelligence.
  • A Higher Percentage of Women – Results showed that teams with more women performed better than those with more men. Study authors think this is partly because on average, women are better than men at “reading the mind” as explained above.

These three factors are key whether members are working face to face or come together from remote locations via web meeting tools. If team members can consistently “consider and keep track of what other people feel, know and believe,” the group will thrive, according to the study.

At Authentic Leadership International (www.boldermoves.com), we can help you not only create smarter teams – but increase their levels of success through effective leadership approaches.

A Secret Ingredient

On the site Ideas.Ted.com, a study by Professor Alex Pentland, director of the MIT Connection Science and Human Dynamics labs, showed that building social capital also created strong, intelligent teams.

Building social capital simply means investing in the connections among team members to create a climate where team members trust each other—even if they don’t necessarily like each other. The focus is on everyone performing to their optimum level for the good of the organization as a whole.

High levels of trust generate a climate of safety and honesty, making it easier for team members to share knowledge, support each other, and ask for help when needed. They’re also secure enough to present the “out of the box” suggestions or probing questions.

With these factors in play, your smart team will forge the way to success.

Looking for new and bolder ways to manage your teams, including how to select smarter team members? Sign up here to access my free Weekly Bold Move.

 

Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

About Colleen

Colleen Slaughter - International Leadership CoachColleen Slaughter, Your Big, BOLDER Life Mentor, is a speaker, coach, author and founder of Authentic Leadership International. She is passionate about providing ambitious International leaders with the courage, confidence and clarity they need to stop selling themselves short, to claim what they really want in business and in life and to go for it!

Clients say Colleen has helped them find their voice, listen to it, and act on it, and that, by doing so, they have gained a sense of freedom, joy and fulfillment beyond measure.

Colleen’s perspectives have been featured in ABC, NBC, CBS, Enterprising Women and the Woman’s Advantage® Shared Wisdom Calendar for 2012, 2015 and 2016.

If she could be granted a superpower, it would be to vanish people’s feelings of self-doubt and unworthiness and to replace them with the deep understanding of how much they, and what they envision for themselves are important.
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How To Recognize And Defeat Decision Fatigue

While the act of making a decision seems simple enough, too much of it for too long can lead to something known as decision fatigue. By definition, decision fatigue means that after long periods of decision making, it’s harder to make good decisions.

Yes, it’s a real condition and if not recognized and controlled, it can wreak havoc in both your business and personal life.

Recognizing Decision Fatigue

A recent article on CNBC.com described how a business owner or anyone in corporate leadership could recognize the onset of decision fatigue.

  • Becoming a “bottleneck” to the smooth operation of your business or department. This can happen if either purposefully or by default you’ve become “the answer person,” i.e. the one that everyone comes to with every possible question or concern.
  • Making even simple decisions, like granting an employee’s request for time off, takes longer than is really necessary.
  • Continually putting off a big decision that needs to be made. According to the article, “Whether it’s spending money on new equipment or new employees, you’re probably facing several decisions that could have profound effects on your business. If you’ve been vacillating over these decisions for weeks or even months, decision fatigue has taken hold.”
  • Noticing that your behavior is more impulsive than what’s normal for you. Examples could be spending money (or more money) on unnecessary items, binge eating, or extended time playing games on your phone.

We at Authentic Leadership International (www.boldermoves.com) have a plethora of effective tools and strategies to keep decision fatigue at bay.

Controlling Its Effects

An article on the Forbes website presents three steps preventing or overcoming decision fatigue:

  1. Determine whether or not the decision you need to make is consistent with your core values. If it isn’t consistent, rework your decision.
  2. Consider the worst-case scenario and its outcomes. If you believe you can live with those results should they happen, then choose that course.
  3. Figure out how the decision will impact you in terms of time, people, and money. If the benefits are worth the costs, go ahead with your decision.

We don’t like to think so, but our mental energy is a limited resource that’s easily depleted. Today’s myriad of choices can drain us before we even realize what’s happening, so it’s critical that we learn to recognize decision fatigue and repair it before it causes too much damage in any aspect of our lives.

BufferApp.com describes this new way of making decisions as “making decisions that free us from making more decisions.”  In other words, delegate. Empower employees to make decisions within their scope of control so that you no longer have to be “the answer person” for every issue.

 

Looking for a way to build bold leadership and to reduce decision fatigue? Sign up here to access my Weekly Bold Move.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

About Colleen

Colleen Slaughter - International Leadership CoachColleen Slaughter, Your Big, BOLDER Life Mentor, is a speaker, coach, author and founder of Authentic Leadership International. She is passionate about providing ambitious International leaders with the courage, confidence and clarity they need to stop selling themselves short, to claim what they really want in business and in life and to go for it!

Clients say Colleen has helped them find their voice, listen to it, and act on it, and that, by doing so, they have gained a sense of freedom, joy and fulfillment beyond measure.

Colleen’s perspectives have been featured in ABC, NBC, CBS, Enterprising Women and the Woman’s Advantage® Shared Wisdom Calendar for 2012, 2015 and 2016.

If she could be granted a superpower, it would be to vanish people’s feelings of self-doubt and unworthiness and to replace them with the deep understanding of how much they, and what they envision for themselves are important.
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Everyone Thrives Through Servant Leadership

As you build a cache of leadership strategies, servant leadership is one of the most effective approaches you can use to keep your team fully engaged and amazingly productive.

What Servant Leadership Means

Put simply, it’s putting the concerns of others, particularly those of your team members, before your own.

According to the site MindTools.com, servant leadership means acknowledging others’ viewpoints, giving them what they need to meet their professional and personal objectives, and prioritizing the construction of a sense of community within your team. All of these activities lead to greater trust which itself leads to stronger relationships, higher engagement, and greater productivity and creativity.

Adopting an approach of servant leadership also requires dedication, says David Lee on the site TLNT. Thinking of others first is no easy task, especially when we have tunnel vision about our own goals and endless to-do lists. While ‘What’s in it for me?’ might be a common question abounding in heads across corporations everywhere, this is also the type of thinking that contributes hugely to “the abysmal employee engagement levels that plague many teams around the globe.”

So how do you start making the shift? In addition to the tips below, we at Authentic Leadership International (www.boldermoves.com) can also provide you with tools to learn and practice a variety of effective servant leadership methods.

How To Practice Servant Leadership

Here’s are three suggestions (from David Lee) for putting Servant Leadership into action.

  1. Remember that what you put out is what comes back to you from others.
  2. When you see people performing well, compliment them so they know you saw it and appreciate it.
  3. Remember that your efforts will comes back to you again and again through a cohesive, highly productive team.

“Your role is to lift up your employees and help them to joyfully achieve their goals so they can thrive. When they succeed, you succeed, and the whole organization succeeds. It’s a thing of beauty,” says Marcel Schwantes, principal and founder of Leadership From the Core, defining his view of servant leadership in a recent Inc.com article.

Keep It In Perspective

Paying attention to other people’s needs, however, does not mean sparing their feelings. The Mindtools site suggests not avoiding making unpopular decisions or giving team members tips for improvement when this is needed. After all, even uncomfortable feelings can set the stage for our growth and, therefore, employee engagement and productivity.

Servant leadership is just one of many leadership tactics that can keep your team working at optimum levels while also keeping them happy and excited to do so.

 

Looking for new and bolder ways to manage your teams, such as practicing servant leadership? Sign up here to access my Weekly Bold Move. It’s free and with no strings attached.

Image courtesy of samuiblue at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

About Colleen

Colleen Slaughter - International Leadership CoachColleen Slaughter, Your Big, BOLDER Life Mentor, is a speaker, coach, author and founder of Authentic Leadership International. She is passionate about providing ambitious International leaders with the courage, confidence and clarity they need to stop selling themselves short, to claim what they really want in business and in life and to go for it!

Clients say Colleen has helped them find their voice, listen to it, and act on it, and that, by doing so, they have gained a sense of freedom, joy and fulfillment beyond measure.

Colleen’s perspectives have been featured in ABC, NBC, CBS, Enterprising Women and the Woman’s Advantage® Shared Wisdom Calendar for 2012, 2015 and 2016.

If she could be granted a superpower, it would be to vanish people’s feelings of self-doubt and unworthiness and to replace them with the deep understanding of how much they, and what they envision for themselves are important.
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How Losing Can Actually Help You Succeed

If we are given a choice between winning and losing in any aspect of life, most of us would want to be winners. It makes us feel good about ourselves, whether we’ve won through hard work or were lucky enough to have chosen the right lottery numbers.

Yet, there is valuable growth and learning that can come from losing—particularly in the business arena—if we can shift our view to see it. In a world where winning has become the way to measure success, this can be tricky.

A Learned Skill

A new mindset on losing is that it’s not simply about being a good loser, although that’s also important. According to business strategist, motivational speaker, and author Dan Waldschmidt, “You’ll never be the best at whatever you want to achieve until you learn how to lose with skill.”

You won’t necessarily enjoy losing, says Waldschmidt, but it’s part of what can make you great. “The lessons you learn from losing against a competitor who’s better than you are incomparably more valuable than the lessons you might learn from beating a competitor you’ve already beaten time and time again.”

Losing helps you “develop the talent, skills, and experience you need to win,” states Waldschmidt, and he advises people to both lose with skill and then find the people or resources that can make you stronger and bring you wins in the future.

In general, we at Authentic Leadership International (www.boldermoves.com) are all about helping you learn so you can experience more and more wins. Please contact us if we can help you in any way on your journey.

A Natural Outcome Of Competition

There’s a saying about gambling: You can’t win if you don’t play. By extension, you can’t lose either. You just sit on the sidelines as an observer, achieving nothing. If you’re going to compete, there’s the chance you will lose, but that’s part of living an ultimately fulfilling life of both successes and failures.

It’s all about your mindset, says a recent article on Success.org. The author states, “Competition is far better for the loser in my estimation than the winner, given the correct mindset. What is the correct mindset? Losing is temporary. Just like winning is and just like life is. In the context of time we can appreciate the ephemeral nature of any loss and find the lesson.

Losses have the ability to beat you down or fire you up, according to the article, and you get to decide which way it will affect you. It’s often the people who’ve experienced (and learned from) loss and humiliation that become more consistent winners.

A Stronger Connection With Others

Tim Leberecht, founder of Leberecht & Partners and author of the book The Business Romantic, writes on Ideas.Ted.com that, “We ought not to view the professional defeat or the personal loss as just a bump on the road, but embrace the fact that losing is the very basis of our shared humanity.”

Everyone loses, and being able to share both the pain and the growth of our losses makes us more approachable to others who are also struggling to learn from their losses.

So, the next time you lose, congratulate yourself on having the courage to compete and remember that losing is far from failure—it’s merely a different path to success.

 

Looking for a way to practice expanding your leadership capabilities, including shifting your mindset on losing, in small yet bold ways? Sign up here to access my Weekly Bold Move. It’s free and with no strings attached.

 

 

About Colleen

Colleen Slaughter - International Leadership CoachColleen Slaughter, Your Big, BOLDER Life Mentor, is a speaker, coach, author and founder of Authentic Leadership International. She is passionate about providing ambitious International leaders with the courage, confidence and clarity they need to stop selling themselves short, to claim what they really want in business and in life and to go for it!

Clients say Colleen has helped them find their voice, listen to it, and act on it, and that, by doing so, they have gained a sense of freedom, joy and fulfillment beyond measure.

Colleen’s perspectives have been featured in ABC, NBC, CBS, Enterprising Women and the Woman’s Advantage® Shared Wisdom Calendar for 2012, 2015 and 2016.

If she could be granted a superpower, it would be to vanish people’s feelings of self-doubt and unworthiness and to replace them with the deep understanding of how much they, and what they envision for themselves are important.
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To Lead Well, Continually Build Trust In Your Leadership

Strong leadership is defined by a variety of traits, but perhaps the most critical quality for a leader’s success is being trusted by the people you manage.

How a leader communicates can go a long way toward building trust—or destroying it. A recent article by business author Gwen Moran on FastCompany.com shares five ways that leaders may be damaging their credibility, on purpose or without realizing it, by how they connect with their teams.

Here’s an overview of what Moran presents as concrete communication methods to build and maintain the trust of your team.

  • Set Aside Your Agenda – Building trust is not about advancing your own agenda or downplaying difficult issues at the cost of truth. For example, your team probably has a good idea that there’s downsizing in the future, so tell them what you know and that you’ll share more as you learn more. Then be sure to do it.
  • Offer An Authentic Apology – If you’re in the wrong, offer a genuine apology for what you did. “In addition, in corporate context, the apology includes an agreement or a statement about what the organization or the individual is going to do to make sure that it doesn’t happen again or to address the wrong,” says Moran.
  • Accept Responsibility With No Finger-Pointing – Moran cites communication coach Kate Bennis who says that “publicly making someone else a scapegoat is just going to make people wonder about how much you can be trusted.”
  • Skip The “Non-Denial Denial” – Put more simply, tell the truth from the outset and “try to emphasize the positive or a solution,” says Michael Maslansky, CEO of Maslansky + Partners. “You may say that you’re exploring options and give a concrete timeline when employees can expect more answers.” Being ambiguous or offering half-truths will only come back to bite you (and your credibility) in the long run.
  • Answer Questions Directly – Leadership communication expert and author Terry Pearce states that when leaders “ignore context and dismiss their responsibility to be truthful, their credibility is at risk.” How cleverly you can answer a question without really answering it is not a criterion for effective leadership, and it certainly won’t make folks trust you. As an old adage goes, “Say what you mean, mean what you say, but don’t say it mean.”

 

We at Authentic Leadership International (www.boldermoves.com) are well versed in helping leaders develop these, and many other, effective communication skills that will increase your credibility as a leader.

As a leader, if you manage the high-level issues and honestly share relevant information with your team as needed, they will be confident that you’re looking after their interests and will likely perform better because of it.

 

Looking for a way to practice expanding your leadership capabilities, such as improving credibility with your team, in small yet bold ways? Sign up here to access my Weekly Bold Move. It’s free and with no strings attached.

 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

About Colleen

Colleen Slaughter - International Leadership CoachColleen Slaughter, Your Big, BOLDER Life Mentor, is a speaker, coach, author and founder of Authentic Leadership International. She is passionate about providing ambitious International leaders with the courage, confidence and clarity they need to stop selling themselves short, to claim what they really want in business and in life and to go for it!

Clients say Colleen has helped them find their voice, listen to it, and act on it, and that, by doing so, they have gained a sense of freedom, joy and fulfillment beyond measure.

Colleen’s perspectives have been featured in ABC, NBC, CBS, Enterprising Women and the Woman’s Advantage® Shared Wisdom Calendar for 2012, 2015 and 2016.

If she could be granted a superpower, it would be to vanish people’s feelings of self-doubt and unworthiness and to replace them with the deep understanding of how much they, and what they envision for themselves are important.
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