Managing change during a time of constant change

To grab someone's attention, move from making speeches and announcements to creating an experience in which people learn for themselves

Managing change during a time of constant changeIn San Francisco, on the corner of Powell and Market, I once watched street performers entertain tourists waiting for the cable car to arrive and depart. My favourite "act" was two fully-dressed men who spray-painted themselves gold and silver. Posing like statues, they would kneel on the sidewalk facing each other with their elbows resting…

Our brains condition our body language

A study of Olympic athletes offered insight into the body language of pride and shame.

Our brains condition our body languageFor insight into the body language of pride and shame, scientists studied the behaviours of judo matches at the 2004 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The competitors represented 30 countries, including Algeria, Taiwan, Ukraine and the United States. The research report in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences stated that body language of blind…

Do you know what your body just said?

We reveal a lot about our attitudes, emotions and motives by the way we hold our bodies

Do you know what your body just said?I often address leadership groups about the importance of nonverbal communication in business. Senior managers actively participate in the sessions, asking questions and volunteering for various demonstrations. Everyone seems genuinely interested in the topic. Everyone, that is, except this one time when one woman sat for the entire time with her shoulders rounded, chin tucked…

Building a better collaboration strategy

Create mini-cultures to make your group feel safe, valued, important and needed

Building a better collaboration strategyI once spoke on “The Power of Collaborative Leadership" to business audiences in The United Arab Emirates, Scotland, England, The Netherlands, Belgium, Canada and four states of the U.S. Audience members represented industries including engineering, manufacturing, retailing, construction, shipping, technology, energy, utilities, printing, pharmaceuticals and consulting – plus a range of government agencies. After my…

Why leaders should watch their body language

Leaders must understand how nonverbal skills can help them develop positive business relationships

Why leaders should watch their body languageMany executives in my audiences are initially skeptical about hearing a speaker on "body language" because they suspect that the topic might be interesting, but not very practical. By the end of my program, they know better. Here's what they learn ... 1) Science has validated the impact of body language Body language is the…

6 reasons we suck at spotting liars

The best way of countering liars is to follow the old adage “trust, but verify”

6 reasons we suck at spotting liarsRecognizing that we are being lied to is an important social and business skill. But surprisingly small factors about someone, – where we meet them, what they wear, what their voices sound like, whether their posture mimics ours, if they mention the names of people we know or admire – can enhance their credibility to…

The best leaders build and maintain trust

Five actions that will build trust in your organization. But only sustained behaviour will ensure that trust survives and thrives

The best leaders build and maintain trustTrust is the belief or confidence that one party has in the reliability, integrity and honesty of another party. It’s the expectation that the faith one places in someone else will be honoured. When I asked 537 managers how leaders build and destroy trust, here’s what I learned: It’s always a case of ‘follow the leader.’…

Listening with your eyes

When your business colleague stops looking at you, she is "saying" with her eyes that she has, in effect, stopped listening

Listening with your eyesYou're at a business event and the colleague you've been having an intense conversation with begins to shift her gaze from your face to look around the room. Ever wonder why that makes you feel as if she has stopped listening? You know it's not logical. A person doesn't have to look at you to…

When leaders talk with their hands

If a speaker's gestures are not in full agreement with the spoken words, the audience perceives duplicity

When leaders talk with their handsHave you ever noticed that when people are passionate about what they're saying, their gestures automatically become more animated? Their hands and arms move about, emphasizing points and conveying enthusiasm. You may not have been aware of this connection before, but you instinctively felt it. Research shows that audiences tend to view people who use…

10 simple and powerful body language tips

Small nonverbal changes can make a big difference in how people perceive and relate to you

10 simple and powerful body language tipsI’ve spoken to over 200 business, university, association, and government audiences and, in the process of preparing to address these very savvy professionals, I’ve discovered even more about the role of body language in business success. Here are my 10 simple and powerful body language tips I've culled over the years: 1) Before an important…

Customer-centric service takes collaboration

Six steps to achieving a positive customer sales experience from beginning to end

Customer-centric service takes collaborationA customer-centric culture is not just about offering good service. It’s a way of doing business that provides a positive customer experience before, during and after the sale in order to drive repeat business, customer loyalty and profits. Elements of customer centricity include: Employees understand what customers want. They capture customer insights and share this…

Relationship builders leading the charge for change

The high achievers of today are not so much a product of superior expertise as they are a product of superior networks

Relationship builders leading the charge for changeWhat really distinguishes high performers from the rest of the pack? Their ability to maintain and leverage large, diversified networks that are rich in experience and span all organizational boundaries. In other words, our greatest advantages aren't coming from what we know but rather from whom we know – and the high achievers of today are not…

Remember, all knowledge has a best before date

There is nothing more immobilizing than hanging on to knowledge whose time has expired

Remember, all knowledge has a best before dateI believe in ghosts. Not only do I believe in ghosts, I've seen how they haunt workers, teams, departments and entire organizations. And nowhere are these workplace ghosts more insidious than in the area of collaboration. What I'm calling "ghosts" are out-dated attitudes and behaviours about collaborative knowledge sharing that still haunt corporate halls and…

A change agent’s guide to the brain

The way to focus people on the organization's optimal future is to get them to pay attention to their own insights

A change agent’s guide to the brainDon't you just hate dealing with people who fight against every plan for organizational change? You know the type: They're disruptive, set in their ways, and highly resistant to change, even when it is obviously in the best interest of the business. Well guess what? Research suggests that those trouble-making, inflexible, change resistors are ...…

You’re ready for your video interview

What could possibly go wrong?

You’re ready for your video interviewDon’t like being interviewed on video? Prefer an in-person meeting? Well, you're out of luck – video interviewing is here to stay. That means learning to avoid the pitfalls of virtual interaction. Here are my answers to some questions you should be asking to prepare for your upcoming video interview. Question: Can you tell me how to…

The dos and don’ts of a winning video cover letter

A video cover letter, if done correctly, is personal and engaging – and could very well be the difference between being ignored or getting the interview

The dos and don’ts of a winning video cover letterWe are witnessing the death (or at least the ineffectiveness) of the traditional cover letter for job applicants. If you want to stand out in the crowd, hiring managers today prefer something a little more interesting and efficient. A video cover letter, if done correctly, is personal and engaging – and could very well be…

Smiles are your secret to success

Want to brighten your mood, make a lasting impression, encourage collaboration, and positively influence others? Then smile

Smiles are your secret to successSmiles have a powerful effect on all of us. The human brain prefers happy faces, recognizing them more quickly than those with negative expressions. Smiles are such an important part of communication that we spot a smile at 90 meters – the length of a football field. Smiles can also be your secret to success.…

How to make organizational values come alive

Six tips you should follow when creating your values strategy

How to make organizational values come aliveA sales manager read an article about his company’s refusal to deal with any country where “under the table” money was part of the negotiation process. He circled the article and wrote the words Right On! in the column, and mailed it to his CEO. The attached note said: “I’m proud to work in a…

How body language can kill your career

People believe what they see, not what they hear

How body language can kill your careerOf course I'm not talking about you. You may be a respected professional whose expertise speaks for itself. Your body language is a minor consideration. Or is it? Here's an email I recently received from an engineer: 'The Project Manager introduced a new consultant. The new guy smiled and shook hands with everybody, but it…

The Pygmalion factor: Ensuring your employees’ success

A leader's expectations of his employees is a key factor in how well people perform at work

The Pygmalion factor: Ensuring your employees’ successPygmalion in the Classroom, one of the most controversial publications in the history of educational research, shows how a teacher's expectations can motivate student achievement. This classic study gave prospective teachers a list of students who had been identified as "high achievers." The teachers were told to expect remarkable results from these students, and at…

Lying can be good for our careers

Everyone lies – it's part of human nature. And nothing can weaken a network or destroy a reputation faster than being exposed as a liar. So minimize your lies

Lying can be good for our careersWouldn’t it be convenient if the workforce were divided neatly into “us” versus “them?” We, of course, would be the good guys who were always upfront and truthful. They would be the rotten apples whose destructive lies betray the confidence placed in them and ruin everything for the rest of us. If that scenario were…

How to tell if you are working for a bully

And what to do about it

How to tell if you are working for a bullyI met Brenda when she managed a 2,000-person department for a Fortune 500 company. Brought in to help her with an upcoming change initiative, I was impressed by Brenda’s intelligence, creativity, political savvy, and dedication to her job. She had all the qualities of a senior executive – which was her career goal. But she…

Six crucial behaviours of collaborative leadership

The new leadership is a blend of personal and interpersonal skills that form the basis of your ability to impact, influence and inspire others

Six crucial behaviours of collaborative leadershipMost executives agree that collaboration is more important than ever in today's turbulent business environment. A company's very survival may depend on how well it can combine the potential of its people and the quality of the information they possess with their ability – and willingness – to share that knowledge throughout the organization. Deloitte’s Future of Work research…

When it comes to confidence, you can’t fake it

But you can genuinely project it through tapping into authentic emotions, expanding your posture, and dressing for success

When it comes to confidence, you can’t fake itThink about a time when you needed to project confidence but felt uncertain or insecure. How did you handle it? Did you try to hide these feelings and just "fake it 'til you make it?" If you did, it probably didn't work. The problem is that attempting to suppress genuine emotions requires so much conscious…

Three crucial skills for leading without authority

The goal of leadership without authority is to get others to willingly co-operate and engage, rather than following directives because you’re the boss

Three crucial skills for leading without authorityWith flatter management structures, increased outsourcing, and the moves toward collaborative cultures and cross-functional teams, the criterion for the job of leader is changing. More and more people are assigned to leadership roles in which they have no positional authority. The goal of leadership without authority is to get others to willingly co-operate and engage,…

Why you don’t believe me when I say “I’m listening”

If you have to choose between what I’m saying and how I look while saying it, you will intuitively discount my words and believe what you see

Why you don’t believe me when I say “I’m listening”If I am dropping eye contact or checking texts messages or rotating my shoulders while you are speaking, you don’t feel heard – even if I tell you I’m listening and can repeat every word you just said. Here’s why . . . Most explanations of human behaviour assume that people are strongly influenced by…

Use body language to project leadership on Zoom

Your audience is assessing your tone of voice, facial expressions, hand gestures and posture for clues about your credibility

Use body language to project leadership on ZoomAs more interactions move from in-person environments to online events, your ability to project virtual leadership presence is quickly becoming the key to your continued success. Whether you’re interviewing for a new job, presenting to the executive team or facilitating a team meeting, you’re most influential when you express your core values and show up…

How to fake charisma

Charisma is all about an individual's infectious positive attitude and personal energy, as projected through body language

How to fake charismaCharisma has been described as personal magnetism or charm. To me, charisma is all about an individual's infectious positive attitude and personal energy, as projected through his or her body language. People are the most charismatic when they are genuinely enthused, confident and upbeat about themselves and their topic. And as a leadership coach, I…

Why feet don’t lie in communications

Feet close together, you're timid or hesitant; feet wide apart, you look more solid and sure of yourself

Why feet don’t lie in communicationsTwo of your colleagues are talking in the hallway. You'd like to join the conversation, but you don't know if you'll be seen as a rude interruption or a welcome addition. Want to find out? Just watch their feet. When you approach the twosome, you will be acknowledged in one of two ways. If the…
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