posted by Kim Benedict on Monday, 23 February 2015
posted by Kim Benedict on Sunday, 15 February 2015


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Relevant Musings

Current thoughts on leadership.

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Employee Motivation can be a Beach!


In a recent article, SHRM shares ideas of how to keep employees motivated in the summer. This can be difficult to do for those employers in Minnesota, given we have a very short amount of time before we unpack the parkas again!  It can also be difficult for smaller businesses that may not have enough staff to allow for benefits such as condensed work weeks or half days on Fridays. However, in reading this article, I've found there are a variety of ways to motivate employees at any organization.


Take a look!


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What's your favorite leadership quote?

There are many leadership quotes out there?  Which one resonates with you and why?

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Lots of forgetfulness going on in the last 24 hours. I completely forgot about a scheduled meeting today, and last night my son forgot some of his baseball equipment at home.

“The only thing faster than the speed of thought is the speed of forgetfulness. Good thing we have other people to help us remember.” ~Vera Nazarian

It’s great to have others to help us remember, however, this is also a good reminder to take some time to slow down, breathe, organize and prepare for what is ahead of us each day.


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I wanted to share this article as I think it gives great insight on how hardship can yield valuable and lasting lessons to help us become better leaders.

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Taking Credit

As a leader, have you ever taken all the credit or all the blame for your staff? When, if ever, is it ok to do so?Here are some quotes to help you find that balance.   Can you name the people who can take credit for these quotes? 

“A good leader is a person who takes a little more than his share of the blame and a little less than his share of the credit.”

“If you blame others for your failures, do you credit them with your success?”

“The more credit you give away, the more will come back to you. The more you help others, the more they will want to help you.”

“No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself, or to get all the credit for doing it.”


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The Empathetic Leader

If a leader shows empathy, is it considered a weakness? How much empathy is too much in the workplace? Will showing empathy increase employee commitment and motivation, or make you look like a push-over?

Read more…

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Military Leadership Skills

In our last Leadership Breakfast Club, we discussed the attributes members of the military can bring to the workplace.  I thought it would be fitting to share this article as it gives great information on how to apply miltary leadership skills to your business.  Read more...

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The Parrot is Watching You

"People will emulate leaders’ behaviors, believing they have silent permission to parrot actions demonstrated at the top of the power hierarchy." -Phil Buckley


What are your thoughts on this quote?  Or the better question to ask yourself as a leader is -- am I emulating the right behaviors?  

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Have you ever thought about being a mentor?  You may genuinely want to help someone and see them grow personally and professionally, but make sure you are the right fit and can commit to the time needed to nurture the mentor/mentee relationship.  There are many other things to consider when taking on this role.  Here is a great article to help you determine if it's right for you:

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Investing in Employee Development

Do you want this for your employees and organization? 

  • Increased job satisfaction, morale and motivation
  • Increased efficiencies in processes
  • Improved technologies and methods
  • Increased innovation in strategies and products
  • Reduced employee turnover
  • Decreased risk

If so, then you need to make employee development a priority. Some leaders only tend to think about how much it will cost them to develop employees. Smart leaders think about costs, but tend to focus on the return on investment for both employees and their organization.

There will always be the typical training initiatives for all employees (i.e., new hire onboarding, harassment prevention, etc.)   Above and beyond that, it’s important to take the time to understand your employee’s strengths and skill gaps, and determine the best individual development plan for them. Make it a team effort to come up with a plan, ask them to come up with a attainable yet challenging development path. Doing so will not only empower the employee to help take charge of their success, but also  help them grow during the process.

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Leading During Crisis

There are many people would can lead. Most can do a decent job of leading people through the everyday stuff. What separates a good leader from a great leader are those who can lead effectively during a crisis.

You must respond in a timely manner, but depending on the situation, do your best to make sure you have as many facts as soon as possible to act swiftly and respond quickly, but not hurriedly.

You must be honest but not alarming. State the facts and scope of the situation, but demonstrate control and confidence that you will persevere.

Remember, a crisis is an impromptu audit of management competence. Those who can deal with crisis head on are those you want on your team and can help your organization survive.

9/11. Never forget.

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Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

Don’t sweat the small stuff. This is a term many of us try to live by, yet somehow that pesky, small stuff creeps into our lives and we continue to complain or worry about it. To be an effective leader, it’s important to think big picture and not get caught up in the minutia. I know, it’s not easy, but you can do some things to prevent feeling overwhelmed by the trivial things that we deal with on a daily basis.

Pick your battles. Ask yourself, “Is this really worth it?” If you choose to fight every battle, you won’t have enough time and energy to take on the bigger battles that are necessary for you, your department or company.

Don’t overreact every time someone cries wolf and declares an “emergency”. Step back, take a deep breath, decipher the facts and determine what will work itself out, and what needs to take priority.

Keep the salt shaker close. If you ask for 10 opinions, you may very well get 10 different answers…some helpful, not helpful, positive or negative. Take it all with a grain of salt. It’s great to get input from management and employees, but you need to be able to filter that information and use it effectively to explore and determine solutions that work for you or your organization.

Remember that you, and only you, have control over your own actions, how you perceive the actions of others and how you will react to it. If you keep this in mind, then hopefully the small stuff will fade away.

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To be a successful leader, there are many times when we need to take risk.  In doing so, fear may bubble up within us to the point that we choose the path of status quo, of not doing anything.  Why does this happen?  Some people may be afraid of failure, afraid of looking like a fool, or surprising as it sounds, fear of success.

Take some time to face your fear head on and ask yourself these questions:

1.  Why I'm I afraid?

2.  What is the worst case scenario?

3.  What will I gain or lose?  What will others gain or lose?

4.  Do I have others to ask for input to give me an honest, neutral view of my decision?

5.  Do I have the resources needed to make a decision?

6.  If I take the risk and fail, what can I learn?

Depending on the timeframe or scope of the risk being taken, you may or may not have the luxury of going through this exercise, or you may need to ask yourself more questions to get a better handle on your options.

To be a successful leader, risk-taking will always be a part of your role.  In order to develop your leadership skills, you need to move out of that comfort zone.  The better you are in understand your fears, the more comfortable you will become in taking risks.

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New Year's Goals

The New Year is a time that many leaders set goals. We have good intentions of reaching those goals, but many of us don’t persevere. Why does this happen? Is it because we don’t set specific goals we can actually measure? Are the goals so extreme that we can’t realistically reach them? Do we set too short or long of timeline?

Set sensible, attainable goals. Review the progress more than one time per year. Whether it’s time, money or other priorities, know your limits so you don’t set yourself up for failure. If you put some thought into your goals ahead of time and consistently review the goals, you will be able to track your progress and see more improvements in the long run.

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The Best Gift You can give Employees

I thought I would share this article.  Just a good reminder as we head into the New Year....


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We hear this word so often in the workplace.  It’s sound wonderful, yet how effective are most organizations at collaborating effectively?
Does you company do this too little, too much, too often or not enough?  No matter what project or initiative, big or small, you are collaborating on, it’s important to
follow these basic rules:
1.     Have a clear purpose.  From beginning to end, make sure everyone understands the specific goals the team is trying to accomplish.
2.     Have trust.  If you don’t, joining forces will be next to impossible.
3.     Allow for creativity.  Promote brain-storming. You may get some ideas that are a little out there, but allowing employees to openly share ideas can lead to innovative results for the company.
4.     Divide up the work effectively and efficiently.  Remember, many hands make light work.
5.     Know your employees strengths.  Let them know you know their strong suit. They are happy to collaborate on a project or initiatives when they are being recognized for their knowledge and expertise.
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Leadership quotes from the NFL

Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do
it. ~Lou Holtz
The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary. ~Vince
Leadership is a matter of having people look at you and gain confidence, seeing how you react. If you're in control, they're in control. ~Tom Landry

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Respect in the Workplace

As a leader, do you show respect to your employees?  Do your employees do so in return?  Here is an article on how to demonstrate respect in the workplace:

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Work/Life Fit

Here are some resources for leaders to give some thought to work/life fit and flexibility.

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