Thoughts4Action

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Check In Before You Check On

Step One: Take responsibility for your own state of mind.

Check in before you check on.

Checking in means having a meaningful conversation.


Uncertainty tends to breed anxiety, and for most people, uncertainty is the only certainty there is at the moment.

We all thrive on a bit of uncertainty; it spices up our lives. But it needs to come as just that—a spicy addition to an otherwise solid foundation of certainty.

When there is more uncertainty than certainty, it’s easy to drift into victim mode—which is what we also call going below the line. If we do, it tends to spread as we suck others into our drama triangles.

If you have two or more people reporting to you, you’re a team leader. As a team leader, you need to think about what you can do to keep yourself mentally fit and above the line because the last thing you need now is for a victim atmosphere to spread to your surroundings.

The only thing more contagious than COVID-19 is a negative emotion. It spreads...

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Leaders Found Less Than Proficient at Leading Others—

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Would it be fair to say that an important part of leadership has got to be the ability to lead others?

Yet, in a survey published by Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), only 45% of leaders are rated proficient at this by their boss.

Wait a minute, are you saying that more than half of the European leaders out there aren't considered by their boss to be good at leading other people?

Yes. Exactly.

If that's not shocking, then it's at least seriously thought-provoking.

But the sad fact is that it correlates well with the Gallup surveys that say that more than 60% of our workforce are not particularly engaged in their job while 23% are actively disengaged. To a large extent, engagement is a function of leadership.

These are depressing stats. To me, it just confirms that there's a serious challenge out there to improve our leadership capacity.

CCL recommends three ways to improve that situation:

  • Challenging assignments that offer opportunities to...
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Employee Experiences and Why You Need to Focus on Consequences

In the last blog post, you looked at how progressive organizations are focusing on managing their employee experience as a way to ensure the best possible customer experience. From the Service Profit Chain‘s point of view, this makes perfect sense.

You can create super sophisticated employee career journey maps, but you could also only look at what a day looks like on your team from the point of view of an employee experience. What are the emotional highs and lows in a day? You looked at how managing positive ending has a huge influence on how the whole day is perceived.

In this blog post, have a look at why managing the end of the day is just as—or maybe even more—important than managing the start of the day from a motivational point of view.

A reasonably accepted definition of motivation is a reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way.

That reason—called the activator—for doing or not doing something can come from...

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A Team Leader's Key Instrument: Behavior

You're the role model.

It's all about being clear and consistent.


In the previous blog post, you looked at the first of three essential tools that are at your disposal as a first-time manager (FTM). You looked at how action or non-action ends up defining you as either powerful—in the positive constructive sense—or powerless.

Now, it’s time to look at the next key instrument—your behavior.

When I work with young managers who are in their first leadership position, I always give them a brief talk about being on stage.

It goes something like this:

The moment you become a leader of any kind, you're on stage 24/7. What I mean by that is that everything you say and do is registered, compared and interpreted by your followers.

The way you get out of your car on the car park in the morning, how you walk across the parking lot, what you say as you come in through the door, who you talk to first and who you don’t talk to—on and on it goes...

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How Your Relations Affect Your Results

In this blog post, I would like to focus on the importance of relations.

The last blog post briefly touched on this when you worked through the high-performance team model.

The second step in that process—the who part—is all about relations.

Daniel H. Kim, the systems thinker, has illustrated this in an elegant way.

You then have a fundamental choice here which can go one of two ways: You can generate an upward spiral where we are continuously developing our relations and, as a result, performing better, or you can take the downward spiral where it all just gets worse.

It's a choice—a choice that's going to determine whether the team's going to be successful or not.

Ultimately, it’s going to determine whether you're successful in your role as a team leader.

For the first-time manager (FTM), this sometimes comes as a surprise. You may think, "I have a gazillion other things to do. Do I also have to think about that? I just want to get...

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