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What does it take to be a leadercommunicator?

The Grossman Group CEO and communications expert David Grossman shares his insights on the importance of meaningful leadership communication in today’s business climate. With high level tips on engagement and connection, insights into employee motivations and behavior, and firsthand stories from the frontlines of America’s leading companies.

The leadercommunicator blog is instructive, entertaining, and a must-read for leaders, communicators, and leadercommunicators.

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Wait. Millennials and Gen Z Prefer to Meet with Their Boss Face-to-Face?

  
  
  
  
  
  

millennial

If you’re tired of feeling like you have to communicate via email and instant messenger to get the attention of your employees, the problem – and the solution – might just lie with you. 

Nearly two-thirds (62%) of Millennials prefer communicating with their manager face-to-face, according to a recent study by Millennial Branding and American Express. And separately, a new study by Millennial Branding and Randstad US found that more than half (53%) of Millennials’ younger siblings – those in Gen Z (ages 16-20) – also prefer in-person interactions over communication via technology. For both generations, less than 20 percent said they prefer email.

So while it might be true that Millennials and Gen Z are two of the most wired generations to date, traditional forms of communication are still the most common way they wish to connect. And since most managers (66%) of older generations prefer in-person meetings, we might have just identified some impactful common ground among some of the most diverse generations in the workplace.

I challenge managers of Millennial and Gen Z employees to fight their assumptions about how their employees want to interact. Instead:

  • Hold a brief daily or weekly huddle to discuss priorities and updates with your team, instead of covering off on email
  • Walk over to their desk from time to time to ask a question, instead of using instant messenger
  • For managers who have employees at other locations, pick up the phone when you can and pass on email  

Without a doubt, showing more face with your employees will help you both get to know one another and build a stronger, more impactful relationship.  

-          David Grossman  

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Weekly Round-Up: On 5 Ways to Save Your Middle Managers From Burnout, 10 Facts Every CEO Should Know About Communication & How to Be Smarter About Employee Engagement

  
  
  
  
  
  

Weekly Round-Up on leadership

Welcome to my weekly round-up of top leadership and communication blog posts. Each week I read and tweet several great articles and on Fridays I pull some of the best together here on my blog. So in case you’ve missed them, here is this week’s round-up of top posts.

They’ll provide you with tips, strategies and thought-starters from many of the smart folks in my network. So whether you’re a new leader or an industry veteran there’ll be something here for you.

 

What were some of the top leadership articles you read this week?

-          David Grossman 

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Starting Thought: Dimensions to Assess in Your Communications

  
  
  
  
  
  

communication, strategy

Leaders are hungry for data to make business decisions on everything from new products and services to whether or not to enter a new market. Yet when it comes to organizational health and employee engagement, many fail to measure what’s working and what’s not.

Employees can’t do their best work and achieve performance goals if they don’t understand the strategy… if they’re not getting the information they need… if they don’t feel like their input is valued.

Since communication is a system, to assess its health and effectiveness you need to understand multiple components, and how they work (or don’t work) together.  Evaluating components in isolation can only give you part of the picture; you need to understand how the components work together.  You might have the best v8 engine in your car, but if your front headlights aren’t working at night, you’re not going anywhere!

Here are many of the most common dimensions to measure as part of your overall communication system:

  • Do employees understand the strategy and how their job fits into the overall mission, goals?
  • How are the CEO and senior management communicating?
  • What is the effectiveness of communication from supervisors?
  • How is information flowing (or not)?
  • Which messages resonate?
  • Which vehicles are most useful?
  • Are employees advocating for the organization or not?

Whether measuring your own business unit/function or the overall health of communications inside the organization, leaders (with the help of their communications experts) can make precise decisions about what communications to start, stop or continue to get employees engaged in the strategy, reduce clutter and information overload and drive performance.

At the end of the day, communication is in the eye of the receiver.

Do you know how your employees rate the state of communication in your organization?

-          David Grossman

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New eBook: How To Think Like A CEO

  
  
  
  
  
  

How To Think Like A CEO cover

Understanding how others think is critical to influencing them and getting results.  It’s the key to persuading people and moving them to action.

My new eBook, How To Think Like A CEO, helps you look inside the brain of your CEO.  Doing so will help you take stock of your own professional strengths and weaknesses.

I’ve been privileged in my career to work with dozens of CEOs. I’ve seen inside their boardrooms, and been part of some of their most private conversations, when they often feel the most vulnerable. It’s through these defining moments that I’ve gained insights into how CEOs think and what they care about most.

In How To Think Like A CEO, I list the top 10 things that a CEO cares about and provide a self-reflection point for each.  These care-abouts include:

  1. Defining , then aligning people to a common vision or goal
  2. Growing leaders, especially future leaders
  3. Making everyone in the organization feel valued
  4. Defining the organization’s core competencies
  5. Balancing the focus on today and the future

And five more!

Getting this insight into the practical behaviors and skills that work for the most effective leaders can be a big help as you decide which strategies might work best for your organization.  You’ll see just how employees  build credibility as a strategic advisor if they start thinking more like a CEO.

Download—How To Think Like A CEO—and learn the top 10 things that CEOs care about to help elevate your performance.

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Weekly Round-Up: On How A Culture of Learning Makes Teams More Productive, 7 Ways To Show Employees You Care, & How To Manage Your Email

  
  
  
  
  
  

Weekly Round-Up Leadership Articles

Welcome to my weekly round-up of top leadership and communication blog posts. Each week I read and tweet several great articles and on Fridays I pull some of the best together here on my blog. So in case you’ve missed them, here is this week’s round-up of top posts.

They’ll provide you with tips, strategies and thought-starters from many of the smart folks in my network. So whether you’re a new leader or an industry veteran there’ll be something here for you.

  • How A Culture Of Learning Makes Teams More Productive
    By KC Ifeanyi, Fast Company
    Quora's mission is clear: "To share and grow the world's knowledge." It's a far-reaching goal, but even the loftiest ideas can succeed if there's a solid base to stand on--and…”
  • 7 Ways To Show Your Employees You Care About Them
    By Peter Economy, Inc.
    “It may be difficult to think of any part of well-established colossus Adobe as a startup, but that’s exactly how Ashley Still, senior director of product management at Adobe, sees…”
  • Neuroscience: Helping Employees Through Change
    By Hilary Scarlett, Melcrum
    Changing employee behavior is difficult.  In fact, changing our own behavior is hard enough: it’s not easy to establish new habits such as taking more exercise, getting more sleep and eating less…”
  • How You Can Stop Email From Taking Over Your Life
    By Eric Barker, Time
    Spam alone wastes 20 hours of your life every year.  We send and receive a lot of email.  ‘In 2007, 35 trillion messages shot back and forth between the world’s 1 billion PC’s; in the time it took you to read this point, some 300 million e-mails were sent and received…”
  • Leading With Small, Everyday Gestures
    By Mary Jo Asmus, SmartBlog on Leadership
    You have worked hard to get to where you are and can rattle off significant times in your career that gave you great satisfaction. Perhaps you experienced a big promotion, dinner with the CEO or heading up …”

 

What were some of the top leadership articles you read this week?

-          David Grossman 

___________

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The Power of Storytelling

  
  
  
  
  
  

power of storytelling

Stories are an integral part to communicating effectively with your employees. A great story goes a long way, because it’s memorable and helps create an emotional connection with the listener.  What we feel impacts what we do, so stories can be a great way to move employees to action.

So why not prepare some stories of your own.  When you do here are a few things to think about.

Stories are to:

An effective story should be:

  • Inspire, galvanize, & engage
  • Simple, easy to tell, and easy to remember
  • Illustrate rather than assert- stories get the connections and results that abstract  communication can’t
  • Short and to the point- the average person’s attention span is only about eight seconds
  • Create a sense of membership and unity through shared meaning
  • Purposeful and honest- position the problems on the foreground and then show how they were overcome
  • Reach as many people quickly and can be easily retold to broaden the audience even further
  • Repeated- keep telling your story until everyone is telling it

Remember, like any good communication, stories should have a purpose and tie directly to the end result you’re trying to achieve. 

What do you want employees to take away from your next story?

- David Grossman

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Get more tips for senior-level leaders by downloading our ebook for CEOs: "What You Need to Know To Make Your Strategy A Reality"

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Weekly Round-Up: On 7 Acts of Generosity That Help Leaders Grow Business, 4 Steps for Getting Honest Feedback & Leading With a Light Touch

  
  
  
  
  
  

Giving Feedback, Growing Leaders

Welcome to my weekly round-up of top leadership and communication blog posts. Each week I read and tweet several great articles and on Fridays I pull some of the best together here on my blog. So in case you’ve missed them, here is this week’s round-up of top posts.

They’ll provide you with tips, strategies and thought-starters from many of the smart folks in my network. So whether you’re a new leader or an industry veteran there’ll be something here for you.

  • Developing Leaders: Turning Life Into Learning
    By Julie Winkle Giulioni, SmartBlog On Leadership
    According to Bersin by Deloitte, U.S.-based companies invested more the $15 billion in 2013 to develop their leaders.  The dollars were spent on a variety of activities designed to build leadership competencies and skills. These activities included external…”
  • The Managers Guide To Leading With A Light Touch
    By KC Ifeanyi, Fast Company
    “It may be difficult to think of any part of well-established colossus Adobe as a startup, but that’s exactly how Ashley Still, senior director of product management at Adobe, sees…”
  • 7 Acts of Generosity That Help Leaders Grow Great Business
    By Rene Lacerte, Inc.  
    “Improve your team leadership by putting gratitude in all your actions.  Don’t be afraid to show your heart and help others.  Generosity comes from the heart.  It needs to be in all your actions…”
  • How To Succeed When Your Boss Doesn’t Have Time For You
    By Avery Augustine, Forbes
    For employees who are used to being micromanaged or butting heads with their boss, having a manager who keeps his or her distance may seem like a dream—or at least, a pretty good problem to have…”
  • 4 Steps For Asking (And Getting) Truly Honest Feedback
    By Jennifer Winter, The Muse
    It’s no secret: Feedback will make you better—personally, and definitely professionally.  But, it’s also a tricky thing.  It’s only natural to elicit feedback during a review process or after a…”

 

What were some of the top leadership articles you read this week?

-          David Grossman 

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ethoughtstarters, e thought starters, thought starters, communication newsletter, leadership newsletter, email newsletter communication

Corporate Recruiters Rank Communication as the Most Highly Valued Business Skill

  
  
  
  
  
  

gmac

We can talk all day about the importance of employees with stellar communication skills but it sure is nice when an outside group – and one not even connected to the communications field – takes up the case for us.

That happened this year when the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) released its Corporate Recruiters Survey report. The annual survey by this well-respected group gauges the demand for MBA graduates among Fortune 100 companies and offers insight into hiring practices and trends across industries and world regions.

For the first time this year, employers were asked to evaluate which skill sets were most important when considering job candidates to hire. The number 1 skill employers sought? Communication skills. (see chart below).

 Graph

Employers said they strongly valued recent graduates who were “highly proficient” in communication skills, specifically oral communication, followed by listening and writing skills. On average, employers ranked communication skills twice as important as managerial skills for new hires. With the exception of one industry – manufacturing – communication skills were top ranked across all world regions and employers, regardless of company size or industry.

Behind communication skills, the other skills employers ranked as most important for recent MBA graduates were teamwork, technical, leadership, and managerial skills.

Since 2001, the Corporate Recruiters Survey has been produced annually by the GMAC, a global nonprofit education group of leading graduate business schools and the administrator of the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). This is a powerful group with a critical message: communication skills aren’t just soft skills to be picked up along the way. They are vital to employees’ success in the workplace.

At the same time, many executives find new hires struggle with communication skills. A national management education survey of more than 800 business executives published in July identified leadership and effective communication as the two most important management competencies, but also the two most in need of improvement. The study was conducted by Canadian-based Leger Marketing in association with the Schulich School of Business at York University and other Canadian business schools.

In a Globe and Mail article about the Canadian study, Schulich marketing professor Alan Middleton put it this way: “I take out CEOs once a month and they all tell me the same thing. What ever happened to the ability of someone, in less than two minutes, to state what they want me to do, state the rationale and how to do it?”

What’s your plan for improving your own daily communication skills?

-David Grossman

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Weekly Round-Up: On 9 Powerful Habits for Getting Important Things Done, How to Stop Sabotaging Your Productivity & Email Etiquette Rules Everyone Should Know

  
  
  
  
  
  

weekly round-up

Welcome to my weekly round-up of top leadership and communication blog posts. Each week I read and tweet several great articles and on Fridays I pull some of the best together here on my blog. So in case you’ve missed them, here is this week’s round-up of top posts.

They’ll provide you with tips, strategies and thought-starters from many of the smart folks in my network. So whether you’re a new leader or an industry veteran there’ll be something here for you.

  • 8 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Productivity and How to Stop
    By Amanda Poetker, Fast Company
    “Workplace productivity is no laughing matter. So why are companies doing so many funny things when it comes to helping their teams be productive?  Whether it is out of habit…”
  • 9 Powerful Habits for Getting Important Things Done
    By Peter Economy, Inc.
    “We all know that sinking feeling. The deadline is drawing closer and you haven't even started yet. You start to panic and a dull nausea sets in. Face it: There is nothing…”
  • 11 Email Etiquette Rules Every Professional Should Know
    By Jacquelyn Smith & Vivian Giang, Business Insider  
    “Research has found that the average U.S. employee spends about a quarter of his or her time at work combing through the hundreds of emails each employee sends and receives each day…”
  • The Learning Myth: Why I’ll Never Tell My Son He’s Smart
    By Salaman Khan, Khan Academy Blog
    My 5-year-­old son has just started reading. Every night, we lie on his bed and he reads a short book to me. Inevitably, he’ll hit a word that he has trouble with: last night the word…”
  • 5 Steps for Having Tough Conversations
    By Mary Jo Asmus, SmartBlog on Leadership
    “You don’t have to look hard to see that there are tough conversations that need to be had all around you. You may tend to avoid them, which isn’t a good strategy if you’re…”

 What were some of the top leadership articles you read this week?

-          David Grossman 

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ethoughtstarters, e thought starters, thought starters, communication newsletter, leadership newsletter, email newsletter communication

Se7en Deadly Sins Blog Post Series: Materialism

  
  
  
  
  
  

sin 5

As a leader, are you output focused instead of outcome focused? Are you too focused on the trees to see the forest? Then you’re likely a victim of what I like to call “shiny object syndrome.” In terms of our Deadly Sins, this translates as Materialism, or finding more value in counting short-term deliverables than in achieving long-term goals.

Instead of thinking about end results and achieving goals, leaders often put too much emphasis on the importance of managing individual tasks and projects.  Although you may believe this is the most efficient way to do things as a leader, it’s actually unproductive and potentially harmful to your company. Focusing on these material, tangible details rather than the big picture leads to the kind of micromanagement that devalues members of your team and distracts from long-term goals and success. 

Want to avoid materialism and inspire your team? Consider using phrases like, “The outcome we seek on this project is…” or “What’s the problem we’re trying to solve?”  When leaders focus on the destination, rather than the minutiae of the road to getting there, they inspire their team while keeping them focused on the common goal.

Keeping your employees constantly involved in the plan for your company’s future will motivate them more to be a productive member of the team.  Leaders and team members won’t get lost in the weeds as long as their final destination is always in sight.

Are you more focused on outcomes or output?  Develop a statement to explain your big picture goal.

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