Tag Archive for 'Chester Elton'

4 Power Questions That Will Cultivate Your Leadership Tree

Most agree that there are many traits of a true leader, including: highly competent, professional, visionary, trustworthy, instill confidence, good communicator and, of course, courageous.

But great leaders have three other qualities that further set them apart.

  1. In the 21st century marketplace, the prime devotion of leaders is to their people because they know it’s through engaged, high-functioning teams that their “bottom line” goals are achieved. If you can deliver on this trait, you’ll be more likely to accomplish your professional and personal goals.
  2. The most successful and beloved leaders I’ve known had another trait that’s sometimes overlooked: They mentored their people to become leaders. Great NFL coaches like Vince Lombardi, Bill Walsh, Tom Landry and Bill Parcels became legendary through the subsequent performance of the coaches they mentored. It’s called the Coaching Tree. Whose names will be on your Leadership Tree.
  3. This quality has two parts that are as inextricable as the sides of a coin: 1) They’re devoted to asking questions; and 2) they listen.

Number 3 is so important that I want to offer four cardinal questions that will help you become a legendary leader and build your own Leadership Tree. The first two are from my friend and Brain Trust member, Chester Elton, co-author of “What Motivates Me.” The last two are mine.

How’re you doing?
Chester says this isn’t a drive-by question. It’s a look ’em in the eye, “I’ve got time to listen” question. The setting has to be where the leader can be “in the moment” with the other person. And answers are not pre-supposed – might be about their job, their aspirations, or their personal life. Great leaders care about all of that.

How can I help?

Chester says this question creates a safe environment. A mentor once told me, “If you’re in trouble in your job, don’t go down by yourself. Get me involved early and let me help you get out of trouble.”

What do you think?
I call this the Leader’s Power Question and it produces two kinds of fruit: 1) few things cultivate the illusive engagement factor more than when the boss asks the opinion of an employee; 2) valuable information almost always spouts.

What did we learn?
I call this the Leader’s Magic Question, and it may be the four most important words in management. Surely redemption is the most human behavior a leader can demonstrate. And the most powerful mentoring moment happens after a team member makes a mistake taking initiative and the leader says, “Okay, now we know what happened,” then redeems him with: “What did we learn?” Powerful!

Write this on a rock … Become a legendary leader with your own Leadership Tree.

In the Age of the Customer, employee engagement is paramount

As we enter what I am calling the “Age of the Customer,” employee engagement becomes more and more essential for small business success.  If you want customers to stay engaged with your business you have to have engaged employees for them to interact with. If you’re not meeting your business goals, there is an excellent chance that you have an employee engagement problem.  Chester Elton is one of the world’s leading experts on employee engagement and he says your people have to have a reason to value their work other than the pay.

Today Chester joined me on my radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, to discussed why employee engagement is needed now more than ever, and reported on some real examples of how two businesses increased their bottom lines by increasing employee engagement.

Besides being a valuable member of my Brain Trust, Chester Elton is a world-travelled speaker and recognition consultant and co-author of several books on employee recognition, including The Carrot Principle.  His day-job is as the “apostle of appreciation” at the O.C. Tanner Company. Take a few minutes to listen to our visit and leave your thoughts on what you’ve done to motivate your internal customers. Listen Live! Download, Too!

Small business and the value of employee recognition

A while back I heard someone accept an award by telling this story. He said, “I once saw a turtle on top of a fence post. The first thing that struck me was that the turtle surely had not gotten there by himself.”

The gentleman went on to accept the award on behalf of all those who had helped him get to the top of his “fence post”.

If you are the owner, employer, and/or manager of a team of people, next time you find yourself “on top of a fencepost”, make sure that you recognize the others who helped you to reach your lofty perch.

Not only is it the right thing to do, but remember, Newton’s law of gravity is especially active around fence posts. It’s handy to have people around who will want to break your fall in case you find yourself experiencing Mr. Newton’s law in an untimely descent from on high.

But don’t wait for your next Academy Award or Grammy moment to recognize your people. Do it now. Today. This week.

For decades, research conducted on exit interviews to determine why people leave a company has invariably shown that the number one reason employees leave a company on their own is because they felt that the company and/or their manager did not appreciate them. Not money - lack of recognition.

So here are two questions for you: How much would it cost your business if a key employee resigned? How much would a regular practice - or program - of employee recognition cost?

Knowing about this research, and the answer to these questions, is why I’ve made it a point over the years to interview top employee recognition experts to talk about this on my small business radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show. No one fits this profile better than my Brain Trust member, Chester Elton, co-author of The Carrot Principle (carrots.com).

Recently, Chester joined me to talk about the fact that employee recognition is not only a critical best practice; but, as I mentioned earlier, it’s also the right thing to do. Take a few minutes to listen to what this expert has to say. And don’t forget to leave your thoughts on this topic.

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