Creating Meaning at Work

A positive work climate with a sense of belonging enhances employee motivation, and an important component is a leader who helps people see meaning and purpose amid their daily work tasks. How many people do you know who do the minimum required and survive in the workplace, but don’t thrive and are not high performers. Contrast that with those who are fully engaged and always do more than expected. What is the difference?

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Douglass Teschner
The Importance of Regularly Scheduled Supervision Meetings

The most effective leaders have regularly scheduled individual meetings with all their direct reports. This is not the same as typical day-to-day contact that you may have with staff as needs arise. Rather these are biweekly or monthly sessions that include goal setting, collaborative problem solving, coaching/mentoring, feedback on performance issues, and assessing staff development needs.

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Douglass Teschner
Enable Others to Act

In their classic book The Leadership Challenge, James Kouzes and Barry Posner describe “enabling others to act” as of the five practices of exemplary leadership.  This important leadership competency includes building relationships and a climate of trust, enhancing collaboration, using influence to facilitate positive engagement, and empowering and mentoring others to grow and take initiative.

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Douglass Teschner
Creating a Positive Work Climate

How each of us influences others, whether positively or negatively, is critically important to both our personal and work lives.  Here are some simple actions every one of us can do to support a healthy work culture:

·       Act positive -- it’s contagious

·       Encourage others -- we all need a kind word sometimes

·       Embrace gratitude.

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Douglass Teschner
Delegating Without Pass Back

You have assigned someone a task and are confident they are capable and know what to do.  Then you get an office visit asking you to take back all or part of that same task. Of course, you want to help your staff and colleagues, and there are certainly circumstances why you might accept the request. At the same time, it is important to avoid the trap described in the classic Harvard Business Review article “Who’s Got the Monkey?”

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Douglass Teschner
Building Trust Creates Positive Results

Most people are quick to agree that trust is a basic building block of leadership effectiveness, but how many leaders actually do what is necessary to achieve it? How many of us are fully honest with ourselves regarding how our actions create (or undermine) positive relationships with colleagues?  Achieving trust requires ongoing self-reflection, including a deep understanding of how our actions and behavior impact others. 

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Douglass Teschner
Challenging the Process & Embracing Change

Effective leaders “challenge the process” -- encouraging innovation, accepting and embracing change, encouraging risk taking, and rewarding new ideas.  It is human nature to avoid/resist change, but change is necessary to become a better leader or, for that matter, a better person.  So how do we get there?   First, of course, is painting a picture of what you want the change to be . . .

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Douglass Teschner
Leading with Purpose

“It all starts with a commitment to purpose, worthwhile work and making a difference,” wrote Quint Suder in his book Hardwiring Excellence. Do the leaders on your team fully understand and embrace these key ideas in their day-to-day work? Are they so focused on short-term priorities that they don’t have time to inspire and motivate their employees to achieve a high level of performance? Read more in Dr. Teschner’s NH Business Review column: https://www.nhbr.com/January-18-2019/How-to-lead-with-purpose/.

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Douglass Teschner
Using Time Most Effectively

This challenge of finding enough time for important leadership tasks is all too common in busy workplaces, but Stephen Covey reminds us in his classic The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People that we need to “put first things first.” The urgent/important matrix is a useful way to understand this dilemma. Leaders find themselves often in Quadrant I (urgent/important) and Quadrant III (urgent/not important), reactively responding to the needs of the moment. Quadrant II (not urgent/important) may be underutilized, even though it includes very important leadership activities.

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Douglass Teschner