How to Be a Great Manager if You’re Extroverted and you have an Introverted Team

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So, your extroverted. You love to be around your team and to talk out all our ideas and plans.

You get energized by having some alone time and you despise small talk.

And, your team? We’ll they despise small talk and need thinking time (alone!) to come up with their best ideas.

It can feel like a challenge when you want to hear their ideas on the spot.

This week we have Coach Judy Laws with us to share some thoughts on how to most successfully manage your introverted team, while staying true to you.

Take it away Judy!

 screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-3-29-38-pm“A great manager appreciates the difference between extroversion and introversion and finds ways to adapt and leverage these differences. To do this, they first need to understand the extroversion and introversion preferences.

Extroversion and introversion is about the direction in which we focus our attention and energy. Extroverts focus their energy and attention outwards; they are attracted to the outer world of people and events. Extroverts are more likely to: Speak-think-speak, speak out easily and often at meetings, favor an energetic atmosphere, find too little interaction stressful, and desire an action-oriented leader.

Introverts, on the other hand, focus their energy and attention inward; they are attracted to the inner world of thoughts and reflections. Introverts are more likely to: think-speak-think, be quiet in meetings and seem uninvolved, favor a calm atmosphere, find too much interaction stressful, and desire a contemplative leader.

As an extroverted manager, here are some things you can do if you have an introverted team.

Manage your Extroversion

  • In conversation or in a team meeting, pay attention to how much you are talking. Ask yourself, A.I.T. – Why am I talking? If the answer is I am doing most of the talking, stop and let the other person speak.
  • Moderate your approach at times, in order not to overwhelm introverts. Practice silence i.e. Stop, Look, Listen first.

Allow Introverts Time and Space to Think and Speak

  • Extroverts (including Introverts conditioned in an extroverted world) need to develop sensitivity to the impact of their behaviour on introverts, particularly with respect to leaving “silences” to encourage introverts to take their share of the air in discussions.
  • Allow introverts the space that they need to produce their best work, which will be on their own or with a couple of their team members, in a quiet space.

 When Working as a Team

  • Send out team meeting information ahead of time to allow introverts time to think about the topic, agenda items, etc.
  • Use Meeting Guidelines / Ground Rules, established by the team, to manage team dynamics.
  • Create opportunities for small group interaction.
  • Ensure that airtime is shared amongst the team. For example, “I noticed that we have heard from many of the same people and want to open the discussion to others who haven’t had a chance to share their thoughts.”
  • Devise methods for including everyone in a discussion, e.g. silent brainstorming, round robin allowing individuals to pass, surveying the team before the meeting, sharing the group’s input and then discussing it, etc.
  • Before proceeding with a decision or action, allow time for team members to think about it before proceeding.
  • Coach your introverted team members to let their peers (and you!) know when they are thinking and/or need time to think.

 Finally, it is important to treat each team member as an individual, recognizing that individuals show up differently on the extroversion-introversion scale. Observe and learn more about each team member so that you can leverage their strengths and adapt your management style accordingly.”

 Thank you, Judy!

Let us know how these tips work for you! And, if you’re an introverted Manager be sure to stop by next week for some tips for you!

Creativity at Work: Coloring Outside the Lines While Thinking Inside the Box

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Imagine this: you are sitting on your normal Monday morning conference call being grilled about hitting the weekly benchmarks—sales, profits, team expansions. You have implemented all of the suggested tactics, but the old solutions just. aren’t. working. anymore.

You have new strategies to try, but they fall on deaf ears. Sound familiar?

You aren’t going crazy. There is a barrier against creativity in the workplace – even if we don’t mean to have one! According to research from Cornell University, this creativity bias is a subconscious reaction to avoiding risk and minimizing uncertainty in the face of the unfamiliar. Even if your boss wants (and emphatically states a desire for) new, creative ideas, this creativity bias actually prevents novel suggestions from being recognized, encouraged, and accepted.

So, what can you do to convince your boss that your creative solutions are viable, while toeing the company line?

  • If your company is devoted to developing innovative ideas, try tying innovation to embracing a certain amount of uncertainty. After all, being new, different, or improved requires changing the status quo. Cite exciting, risk-taking thinkers. Think Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, or Sergey Brin.
  • What if your company has an aversion to all things new? Try reducing the uncertainty and risk for your boss and decision-makers. Are there studies that support your suggestions to improve efficiency, morale, or productivity? Present them as evidence that your suggestions are proven and effective.

Either way, you can color outside the lines while thinking about what’s inside the box.

How have you exercised creativity at work? Share your comments below.

Happy Labor Day!

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It is the Friday before Labor Day weekend… with a much deserved extra day off!

Check out your to-do list, rock out what is mission critical, and leave work on time today!

You have been working hard all year so take your 3 day weekend to rest, relax, and recover to come back next week with restored energy and drive!

You’ve got this!

Interviewing: Finding the “Right” Candidate

Interviewing: Finding the “Right” Candidate

You’ve got a new position added to your team – yes!

Now you’ve got the challenge of finding the just-right person to fill the role.

Historically, interview questions center around how the candidate has the best skills for the job or what they think sets them apart from all the other candidates.

But how can you be sure they have these skills?

Try interviewing FIRST for character, personality, and culture fit for your organization!

Ready to try it? Here are some behavior-based questions to get your juices flowing:

  • Tell me about a time you set a goal for yourself. How did you go about ensuring that you would meet your objective?
  • If you could choose to have any superpower – what would it be?
  • We are sometimes confronted with the dilemma of having to choose between what is right and what is best for the company. Can you please give me an example of a situation in which you faced this dilemma and how you handled it?
  • Walk me through a time you were able to be creative with your work.
  • Tell me about a situation in which you have had to adjust to changes over which you had no control. How did you handle it?
  • What does your best day ever look like?
  • Give me an example of a time you discovered an error that been overlooked by a colleague. What did you do? What was the outcome?
  • We’ve all done things that we regretted. Can you give me an example that falls into this category for you? How would you handle it differently today?

Try some of these out and let us know how they go!

We’d also love to hear some of your best interviewing questions!

 

Interviewing: Tips to nail it

Interviewing: Tips to nail it

To be honest – the past couple months at your job have been R.O.U.G.H.

You know that you want more out of your work- and where you are working just isn’t cutting it right now.

You started applying for some jobs that looked interesting, and much to your delight you’ve got an interview set up!

All those nerves are starting to come back about how you “make sure” to impress them and hopefully walk away with a job offer in the next few days.

This week, we’ve got out top tips on how to nail your next interview.

Stay authentic!

People can tell when you are being yourself and when you are just trying to say, “what they want to hear”. As hard as it is, try to prepare yourself to not give “the RIGHT answer”. Just be true to who you are!

Be prepared for the “trick” question

This can be “what do you see your biggest challenge with the job being” or “what is your biggest weakness”? Think about the intent of the question- why is it being asked in the first place?

Usually, people want to see how you are continuing to grow and change. Think about a way you can talk about your weaknesses or challenges while also highlighting how you are growing from them.

Here’s an example: “One thing I’ve learned about myself is that I tend to assume the best in people. I trust they will get the job done and I tend to struggle in following up on accomplished tasks. I’ve learned to become more consistent in follow-ups. I set calendar reminders for myself the day before something is due. This gives me the accountability structure to help me be the most successful”

Come with your OWN questions

 …And not the “why is this a great place to work” question!

Think about the aspects that are actually important to you in the job and/or company. A few questions to consider:

  • Are you passionate about working for a company with great culture?
  • Do you want a job where the role is extremely defined or one where you are getting a new project each week?
  • Do you feel that regular 1×1’s with your boss are key to your success in your role?

Center your questions around the things that are important to you. This shows that you really care and also give you some information you may need to make sure you are making the best decision for you!

The Art of Influencing: Executives

The Art of Influencing: Executives

This week, we have one of our Coaches, Terry Hildebrandt, PhD, with us to share some tips on how to influence executives (or those above your Boss!)

Take it away Terry:

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“One of the most common topics that comes up when I am coaching mid-level to senior leaders is giving presentations to executives. Having observed executive presentations for over 20 years, I have come to the conclusion that 90% of what you need to cover can be outlined in five questions. These include:

  1. What have you done lately?
  2. What should I be worried about?
  3. What are you going to do to address the risks/issues?
  4. What do you need from me?
  5. What other creative ideas do you have?

Let’s go a little bit deeper into each of these questions.

  1. What have you done lately?

This first question gives you the opportunity to update senior leaders on your accomplishments and your lessons learned. This should always include celebration of successes, even if there have been significant problems. Your lessons learned from the challenges or issues should also be included. Many organizational cultures value learning from failures as much as learning from successes.

  1. What should I be worried about?

The second question is about elaborating on risks and providing updates on problems. Risk management includes not only identifying potential problems but also analyzing harmfulness and likelihood of each risk occurring. You should also be prepared to discuss issues and roadblocks.

  1. What are you going to do to address the risks/issues?

This question should address your plans to mitigate risks and to address problems. This may include contingency planning and preventative actions to prevent certain risks from occurring. You should also address the likelihood of successfully addressing the concerns and what management can expect to see during the next review in terms of progress.

  1. What do you need from me?

This question allows you to ask for additional resources, changes in scope, or approval of modified timelines. Also consider asking for political or relationship capital support in driving changes within the organization, especially with departments where you may have no direct oversight to drive action.

  1. What other creative ideas do you have?

This last question is often overlooked; however, it has the potential for breakthroughs in innovation and creativity. Allowing time in your agenda to explore new approaches and brainstorm possible solutions enables executives to consider alternate strategies and enables you to exhibit your brilliance.

Before going into any executive update, make sure you fully consider the answers to each of these five core questions. I highly recommend you structure your slide deck and agenda to address these five questions any time you are providing updates to senior leaders.”

Thank you, Terry!!

The Art of Influencing: Your Boss

The Art of Influencing: Your Boss

You know that you’ve got the next big idea for what could really help your team.

You’ve played this scenario over and over in your mind and are only more convinced that this idea is the way to go.

Now the hard part – getting buy-in from your boss.

Learning how to influence your boss is an art!

As you are preparing, check out this article from The Muse.

Below are two of Jo’s suggestions that we really resonated with!

“1. Understand your leaders and their goals”

Really take the time to think about your boss.

We recommend to ask yourself: What have I seen my boss value or what are those key phrases or points I always hear them coming back to?

“2. Communicate in a style that they find persuasive”

Try out a couple of different communication techniques to learn what your boss REALLY hears. Maybe try:

  • Assertively asking for what you want using “I would like ___ so that ____”
  • Ask lots of questions
  • Prep your Boss with material before and then discuss

Leverage what you learn to communicate in the best way for them!

We’d also recommend to leverage your meetings strategically.

If you already have regular meetings with your boss, think about how you can use those as an opportunity to influence, where you come prepared and ready with ideas!