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Four Tips for Establishing Leadership and Credibility

Posted By Laurie A. Pehar Borsh, Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Contributed by Karen Rodriguez - Exec|Comm

A common question that we hear from our clients is “how do I establish myself as a leader in a new company or role?” Establishing leadership and credibility takes dedication and time, but done correctly, it can result in a better work environment for you and your colleagues. Here are a few tips to get you started.

It is better to be fair, than to be liked.

If you’ve moved into a management position, you’ve probably built strong relationships during your tenure and you don't want to damage those relationships now. Yet it's more important to be fair than to be liked. We suggest you consider each person's competencies and supervise accordingly. You should be more involved when someone is learning a new skill, and begin to let go as they become more proficient. The more flexible your management style, the more you will connect with your former peers.

Find your voice and have more impact.

Finding the right tone when speaking to your colleagues and subordinates is crucial to build credibility and respect. If you speak in a monotone voice, others may tune you out or worse, see it as lack of passion and not respect you as a leader. Use your voice. Show your passion. And have more impact.

Provide useful feedback.

Feedback is an important part of both leadership and relationship building within a company. If someone is working on a project, you should offer feedback at the midpoint and end of the project. Praise the person's successes and efforts, and address areas of disappointment or concern. Keep your discussion of the issues specific and objective. For less experienced people offer more feedback to build their confidence.

Apologize when you’ve made a mistake.

You may find that at some point in your career, you’ll need to apologize for some sort of miscommunication. The ability to deliver a well-executed apology is essential to your career and life. It establishes your credibility and helps others trust you.

Establishing leadership and credibility doesn’t happen overnight, so take the time to perfect these four tips and be patient as you build your relationships. Do you have additional tips for establishing leadership and credibility? Let us know in the comments below.

About the Author

Karen Rodriguez is a passionate marketer, designer, and communicator. With over 15 years of experience, Karen manages Exec|Comm’s global brand including their online presence, web-based learning center, advertising, PR, classroom materials, and live special events. She manages the firm’s blog, The Chat, and lunch & learn series, The Learning Exchange as well as the delivery and expansion of Exec|Comm’s open-enrollment seminars in Chicago, Dallas, New York, San Francisco, and San Jose. Karen holds a BFA from Parsons, The New School for Design in New York City.  She lives in Aberdeen, NJ, with her husband and three sons.

Tags:  Exec-Comm  HR  HR Leadership  HR Management  Karen Rodriguez  NCHRA 

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What can we learn from learning professionals?

Posted By Laurie A. Pehar Borsh, Friday, April 29, 2016

By Karen Rodriguez - Exec|Comm


Live as if you were to die tomorrow.  Learn as if you were to live forever.

-- Mahatma Gandhi

Our recent discussion with a dynamic group of learning and development professionals, from various industries, focused on how to sustain adult learning in business. Some of the key areas of the conversation centered on practicing skills, modeling to change behavior, and getting buy-in from leadership. All of which are important aspects of sustaining learning.

We asked.
They answered!

What can you do to ingrain skills and encourage a culture of practice?

Time your training with implementation.
Business professionals are more successful when they have real-life application shortly after learning a new skill.  We recommend you learn, practice, reflect and implement within two weeks.

Create a regular time to practice.
Whether you offer it weekly or bi-weekly, set up a room where people can practice their skills and hear peer feedback. This is most beneficial for soft skills like presentation skills.

End training programs with goal-setting. 
Have the attendees set at least one S.M.A.R.T. goal and discuss it with their manager. Add the goal to their performance review to create accountability.

Create peer groups or buddies.
Everyone is more successful with an accountability buddy. Schedule social engagements for the groups to meet and build a true support system.

How can you use role models to change the behavior of others?

Create a mentoring program.
Have the c-suite and senior leaders mentor newer associates for at least a year.  The mentor will impart job knowledge, but they will also support professional growth. 

Interview top level executives.

The interviews should focus on why the training is important. The leaders can share best practices, case studies, and challenges. Show the interviews during leadership training to put the skills in real world business scenarios.

Train your leaders to be trainers. 
Have the business leaders in your organization participate in the training and deliver key sections. By modeling the behavior and tying the content back to the business they will increase participant engagement and create accountability.

How do you get leadership to buy in to and commit to learning and sustaining skills?


Clear the employee’s calendar.
When an employee is scheduled to attend training, encourage their manager to treat the training time with the same level of importance as any other business meeting. Create a policy if you can.

Run a session for managers.
Prior to the employee’s training, run a session with his or her manager to outline what the employee will learn and explain how the manager can be supportive. This will help create buy-in.

Tie training to competencies.
Offer training courses linked to areas for development.  As you approach yearly performance reviews, give managers a listing of courses tied to competencies. This will help them get involved in the employee’s professional development.

Link training to company goals.
Offer workshops that support the focus of the organization. This helps you gain support from leadership.

What advice do you have to sustain learning in adults?

 

About the Author

Karen Rodriguez is a passionate marketer, designer, and communicator. With over 15 years of experience, Karen manages Exec|Comm’s global brand including their online presence, web-based learning center, advertising, PR, classroom materials, and live special events. She manages the firm’s blog, The Chat, and lunch & learn series, The Learning Exchange as well as the delivery and expansion of Exec|Comm’s open-enrollment seminars in Chicago, Dallas, New York, San Francisco, and San Jose. Karen holds a BFA from Parsons, The New School for Design in New York City.  She lives in Aberdeen, NJ, with her husband and three sons.

 

Tags:  Employee Training  Exec-Comm  HR  HR Management  Human Resources  Karen Rodriguez  Learning Professionals 

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HR Feedback-- Pick the Right Time and Approach

Posted By Laurie A. Pehar Borsh, Wednesday, March 30, 2016

By Karen Rodriguez

The process of sharing feedback with employees or colleagues is essential in business! Clear, consistent feedback develops skills, builds confidence and motivates. But, too much or poorly timed feedback can destroy confidence and undermine trust. If you are planning on giving negative feedback, it’s crucial that you pick the right time and approach.

Consider these tips for a successful exchange.

Schedule a Feedback Meeting

There is nothing worse than hearing “do you have a minute to chat” while walking to the restroom. Planning ahead gives you time to gather facts and reflect on the feedback in a non-emotional way. And, the person receiving the feedback won’t be blindsided. They will come to the meeting more open and prepared to hear feedback.

Make Sure the Feedback is Significant and Supported

Before you deliver feedback, reflect on what you plan to discuss. The feedback should be substantial and directly relate to a professional development opportunity or impact on the organization. Be sure to gather concrete examples to support the feedback.

If the feedback doesn’t impact the business or isn’t helpful to the individual’s development, it’s best to hold your tongue. Feedback should never be “nitpicky,” trivial, or unsupported. This type of feedback can result in damaged relationships and resentment.

Ask Questions

Don’t go into a feedback meeting thinking that you are going to tell someone they need to change and it’s just going to happen. After you raise an issue, ask open-ended questions to gauge whether it’s an appropriate time to deliver feedback. You can say “What is your perspective?” or “Would it be OK if I gave you feedback about …?” You should also ask questions to uncover the cause of the issue. Maybe the feedback recipient has a problem you were unaware of. Finally, ask the recipient for solutions and collaborate.

Have you successfully delivered negative feedback? Have you fumbled? Tell your story in the comments below.


About the Author

Karen Rodriguez is a passionate marketer, designer, and communicator. With over 15 years of experience, Rodriguez directs Exec|Comm’s global brand, including the agency's online presence, web-based learning center, advertising, PR, classroom materials, and live special events. She also manages the firm’s blog, The Chat, and lunch & learn series, The Learning Exchange. as well as the delivery and expansion of Exec|Comm’s open-enrollment seminars in Chicago, Dallas, New York, San Francisco, and San Jose. Karen holds a BFA from Parsons, The New School for Design in New York City, and lives in Aberdeen, NJ, with her husband and three sons.


Tags:  employee communication  employee engagement  employee feedback  Exec-Comm  HR  HR communication  HR leadership  HR management  human resources management  Karen Rodriguez 

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Connect with Others at HR West!

Posted By Laurie A. Pehar Borsh, Thursday, February 25, 2016

By Karen Rodriguez

HR West is right around the corner! Many HR professionals will attend with the goal of connecting with peers and getting their message across. Whether networking with a group, conducting a small session or presenting a keynote address, your communication skills play a large part in how well you deliver your message and connect with others.

Eye contact is essential.

People have a hard time trusting someone who doesn’t look them straight in the eyes. While making eye contact can be difficult with one-on-one conversations, it’s even more difficult when networking with a group or presenting to an audience.

Anyone who has taken a public speaking class has likely been told to “scan the room.” The idea is to make eye contact with as many people as possible to get your message across. However, we’ve seen this method increase anxiety and make you appear less genuine.

When speaking to a group at dinner or during a training session, the best approach is to look at one person at a time for a complete thought, “One person: One thought.”

Each thought should last around five to seven seconds. That’s long enough to make a connection but not too long that it turns into a creepy stare. Following this approach will:

1.       Decrease your stress level. Looking at one person for a full thought simulates a one-on-one conversation. For that thought, everyone else will disappear and you will automatically calm down.

2.       Reduce “ums” and “uhs.” When you make eye contact, you are less likely to use filler words. As a result, you will sound more knowledgeable and credible.

3.       Help you avoid distractions. As you focus on one person, the audience member texting in the back of the room, the people walking in late, and the banter of a group across the room won’t distract you.

4.       Create connections. Not only does eye contact keep your audience’s attention, it demonstrates that nothing is more important to you than them in that moment. When you show your commitment to your audience, they will feel connected.

Focus on your audience and they will give you their attention. And, only speak when you make eye contact. The best communicators focus more on others and less on themselves.

For more communication skills tips, check out The Chat.  
There's still time to register for HR West 2016 - March 7-9, 2016 at the Oakland Convention Center in Oakland, California. 

About the Author

Karen Rodriguez is a passionate marketer, designer, and communicator. With over 15 years of experience, Karen Rodriguez currently manages Exec|Comm’s global brand including their online presence, web-based learning center, advertising, PR, classroom materials, and live special events. She recently launched the firm’s blog, The Chat, and lunch & learn series, The Learning Exchange. Additionally, she manages the delivery and expansion of Exec|Comm’s open-enrollment seminars in Chicago, Dallas, New York, San Francisco, and San Jose. Karen holds a BFA from Parsons, The New School for Design in New York City.  She lives in Aberdeen, NJ, with her husband and three sons.

Tags:  communi  communication  Exec-Comm  HR  HR conference  HR education  HR Leadership  HR West 2016  human resources management  interpersonal communication  Karen Rodriguez  NCHRA 

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The Top Four Ways to Communicate for a Happier Work Environment

Posted By Laurie A. Pehar Borsh, Monday, November 30, 2015
Updated: Tuesday, November 24, 2015

By Karen RodriguezExec|Comm Partner


Studies show that 25 percent of employees do not trust their superiors, and with more than 2 million Americans are voluntarily leaving their jobs every month, one of the top reasons cited is that they “just don’t like their boss.”

 

Getting along with your employees can be a complicated challenge. Everyone has his or her our own unique way of communicating. So an important first step to improving communication with your employees and co-workers is to first identify your own personal communication style. In doing so, you’ll be able to recognize how you and your employees, colleagues, or superiors are alike (or different) with regard to your various communication needs. The goal is to maximize attention and involvement!

 

Here are the four most common communicator types. Which one describes your style?

 

The Director
The Director has a short attention span, processes information quickly and is most interested in the bottom line. Because they are quick processors of information, it is best to come to them with a bulleted list of conclusions. This type of manager tends to guard their time, so you would prefer that people prepare thoroughly before they begin speaking with you and expect interruptions. Be sure to preface your meetings with the fact(s) that you plan to start precisely on time and that those in attendance know of or have an agenda in place.

 

The Free Spirit

The Free Spirit is typically a creative, "big picture" person who thrives on options, but is not always strong on follow through. This type of manager’s attitude towards time limitations or structure is relaxed and they have no problem making lots of changes in the direction in their meetings. Because they can be scattered those who hold meetings with this type of communicator usually likes to discuss lots of topics at once, and without necessarily finishing one thoroughly before going on to the next one. While they often tend to start and end meetings ...late, a Free Spirit also needs to have enough time to assimilate what is being said so that they can think about things thoroughly.

 

The Humanist
For the Humanist to be happy, everyone else has to be happy too. This type of manager is very concerned with the feelings of others and always wants to be sure that the needs of others are thoroughly met. Be prepared to have anything you present to them to be passed around the entire department for full consensus. Communicating with a Humanist requires patience and tact, as they like to spend more than the allotted amount time discussing issues during meetings. Humanist managers want people to be as open and honest with them. The more questions they are asked the better—it ensures them that people are being heard and their needs are being tended to.

The Historian
This type of manager thrives on detail and reacts best to structure and precision. They respect people who always provide them with thorough analyses and background information. They tend to process information in a very linear and methodical way and do not like to jump from subject to subject. It's important for the Historian to discuss things in an orderly and step-by-step fashion. The Historian likes everything and everyone to be on time, and stay on the agenda (or follow a timeline) to ensure that everything up for discussion will be covered. 

 

As you come to understand these types of communication styles, you will hopefully be able to have a better relationship with your employees and colleagues, which can ultimately provide a more enjoyable work environment!

 

So again, which “type” are you? How has our communication style shaped some of your success as it applies to communicating effectively in your workplace? Leave a comment below!



About the Author

As the manager of the Exec-Comm brand, marketing and design efforts, Karen Rodriguez oversees the firm’s identity, touching all aspects of the brand (online presence and web site, web-based learning center, advertising, PR, classroom materials, and live special events). Since joining Exec-Comm in 1999 and entering into partnership status in 2009, she introduced (and still manages) the firm’s blog, The Chat, launched the company's quarterly lunch and learn series: The Learning Exchange, and its open-enrollment seminars in New York and San Francisco. Karen holds a B.F.A. from Parsons The New School for Design in New York City, and lives in Aberdeen, NJ, with her husband and three sons.


 

 


Tags:  communication  employee  Exec-Comm  HR  Karen Rodriguez  meetings  style  success  workplace 

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