Energizing Remote Teams: 8 Tips On Kick-Starting Their Day

Energizing Remote Teams: 8 Tips On Kick-Starting Their Day

One crazy outcome of this current craziness is that it has already changed the way people work. Many businesses have moved to work remotely, and bosses and workers are finding it fun, convenient, and productive. And it may even prove a better way to work.

This idea of working remotely is also very new to many bosses and workers, who overnight were leading virtual teams. Both sides of the distance work need some help. Workers hope to stay employed, and bosses need to meet their goals. And this is a new social contract with productivity, a matter of trust at a distance.

Organizations don’t want to fall behind this learning curve when they can kick start their remote teams’ day.

Good Morning, Everyone!

Remote workers are not on an extended vacation. Work must get done, deadlines met, and targets hit. At the same time, they may be dealing with homebound children, pets confused by changed schedules, and partners who don’t know what to do with themselves.

To energize, motivate, and catalyze your employees when you are managing a remote team, you can try these tips to kick start their day:

1. Plan the meeting

This is a virtual morning or mid-morning huddle. Its purpose is to engage and energize your remote teams. It is not a strategy session or performance assessment. Time is valuable, so the manager must plan well.

2. Pick the apples

There is psychological science in “one bad apple spoils the bunch.” Remote team management has certain nuances to it. You will want to select, arrange, and maneuver the parties to the meetings to maximize their participation and cross-functioning. If there are jerks, downers, or crab apples in the team set, you need to correct their action, reassign them, or find them some other work.

3. Tighten the tech

Quality meetings depend on quality technology. If broadcasting and reception are not perfect, remote meetings implode. Not only does your job description include remote team management, but you must also use the best tech available and confirm all users know how to connect. It’s a disservice to all if time is wasted streaming live.

4. Break the ice

Employees are looking for leadership. They are quick to pick up on your mood and body language, so when managing virtual teams, start with something fun. There are enough meeting icebreakers online, but one leader I know starts with funny viral videos. You can avoid the cat videos and opt for those showing people dealing with quarantine, homeschooling, and under orders to stay in place.

5. Manage the time

Most communication on tasks and projects can use email, texts, or phone. When leading remote teams, you should keep huddles short and stick to an agenda posted earlier. Fully half the time should deal with personal touches. One manager selects a member to share something that’s working especially well for them.

6. Channel the flow

Teams and their leaders should collaborate on best times and reasonable expectations. Some individual and team tensions will rise and fall, but when you are leading a remote team, you must mentor, measure, and communicate the work’s progress.

7. Tell the story

Some time should focus on the organization’s progress against adversity, what they are missing, and how business performance affects the remote workers. There is no one-size-fits-all playbook on how to manage a remote team. Meeting members seek your comforting empathy and connectedness.

8. Stick the landing

One of the most important parts of leading virtual teams. These early morning huddles will tie people and pursuits together. You can still hold meatier meetings during the day or the week with individuals or teams. Virtual huddles should wrap up in 45 minutes with clear instructions on schedule and expectations for the next huddle.

When it comes to remote team management, the key is to have some fun!

Managers can deal with individual and team tasks and performance in one-on-one calls or other online meetings. But remote workers miss the water cooler and coffee conversation. Best practices see managers leading from afar with humor, consistency, and clarity. Technology has shortened the distance allowing you to kick start your remote teams with attention to their needs, respect for their achievement, and guidance on the evolving nature of work.

If you can kick start their day with an energy-charged virtual huddle, you can keep remote workers emotionally connected with the organization’s core.

How to Create a Positive Workplace Culture

How to Create a Positive Workplace Culture

Every business organization has a culture — the positive productive one you want or the one that just happens to develop. A workplace culture makes a difference — the effective and efficient one with a hefty return on your investment or the one consuming all your energy and resources. To optimize your business performance, you must build, monitor, and sustain a positive workplace culture. You start by asking, “What is workplace culture?”

A workplace culture definition starts with the spirit demonstrated by the business’s employees. It’s a feeling, a buzz felt when employees are committed and excited about their work and company. Culture arises from the beliefs and actions of managers and employees, and it shows up in the way people interact, complete work together, engage with customers, and show respect and gratitude for each other.

How you can build a positive workplace culture

Understanding the culture takes you deeper into employee attitudes and demonstrated commitment to the organization’s core values and objectives. Businesses can operate without a strong positive workplace culture, but only a strong cultural spirit adds value to operations and business futures.

Choose good leaders

Workplace Culture - Choose good leaders

The best way to retain the right talent is to provide talented management – including organization development, leadership development, and executive coaching. Leaders do not treat employees as functionaries, human capital to be processed and consumed as a necessary or sunk cost.

Leaders understand workers as individuals, each worth a relationship. They respect staff for their practice and potential, and they demonstrate that respect in various but consistent ways. As leading models, they develop and encourage others to value and manifest mutual respect.

Recruit style as well as talent

Workplace Culture - Recruit Style as Well as Talent

Leadership must acquire talent before skills. Recruiting and interviewing must move beyond skills identification. A resume lists skills, and pre-qualification will test them. But because a positive culture is built on behavior, the hiring process must drill down into their workplace behavior.

Every job description and posting should contain three to five behaviors you value. All interviews should delve into the behavioral patterns and profiles you want to institutionalize as your workplace character and personality.

Provide an open opportunity

Workplace Culture - Provide an Open Opportunity

You can create an environment ensuring a workplace culture that is open, collaborative, and results-driven. In small processes and large projects leaders encourage, enable, and facilitate exchange where there is no fault and no fear.

When workers feel free to make suggestions, correct processes, or provide advice without criticism or dismissal, trust and transparency become the currency of transactions between leaders and labor, between workers, and across functional silos.

Make things simple

Workplace Culture - Make Things Simple

Making work simple, preparing clear policies, and communicating with intention and clarity are the hallmarks of great cultural leadership. Simplifying means reducing complicated messages to its least common denominator. You should be able to explain the big picture as well as short term vision.

Only when you can put paint to canvas — showing various career paths and aligning behaviors to purpose — can you understand what your business is doing. If people want to know what role they play, leadership must have the answer.

Give workers ownership

Workplace Culture - Give Workers Ownership

Enthusiastic and engaged workers improve operations and processes quantitatively and qualitatively. They have a stake in the outcomes because the business has given them a role in customer relations. Worker ownership does not have to be financial because equity comes in many forms.

Attitudes, beliefs, ideologies, principles, and values contribute to culture. The best leadership practices work conscientiously to respect and integrate the contributions and rhythms of individuals. Leaders provide ownership through partnerships and show respect in small and large gestures.

How do you want customers to see you?

If you’re not clear on your workplace culture, social media may be your first clue. Employees won’t hesitate to rate your workplace on Facebook, GlassDoor, Indeed, and other rating sites. Your workplace rating is a good place from which you can work backward to root causes.

Entrepreneurs often assume their workforce shares their passionate multidimensional view of their future. But it’s a mistake to assume everyone’s on the same page. First stage businesses may energize their workforce with the excitement of doing something new, participating in innovation, or introducing a new product.

However, the early phase business struggles quickly test and burn up those energies. It remains a crucial opportunity for leaders to develop a sustainable workplace culture, a climate of mutual respect and positive psychology. Human Resources can drive corporate culture, but business leaders should not leave it to one function.

Design it or eat it!

What is workplace culture? It is a workplace’s footprint. It is evidence of its inspiration, commitment, and fellowship. A culture will develop quickly and naturally. However, unless the culture is designed, supported, and rewarded from the top down, it will not fulfill employee or owner expectations.

Many businesses do function amidst threats and risks reacting here and there to put out fires among their workforce. It’s a daily reactive behavior, but little is learned about fire control and risk management as the fires are repeatedly extinguished.

Other companies lose their bearings as hostile, negative, or disinterested cultures threaten their organizations with extinction. Faulty cultures demand attention and corrective action. But they also distract leadership from purposeful values.

Great companies promote, feed, and institutionalize positive cultures. They value culture as a strategic and operational asset. Culture is the means and method for a better future for all organizational stakeholders. And, high-performing leaders shape and invest in their workplace culture banking on its direct and indirect contributions to business success. It’s these leaders who make a difference, who bring dimension, energy, and value to workplace fortune and future, and who make a transformative difference with their personal, passionate, and positive vision.

7 Key Strengths of Task-Oriented Leadership

7 Key Strengths of Task-Oriented Leadership

The task-oriented leadership style is often a bit controversial when it comes to leadership styles. When compared to people-oriented or relationship-oriented leadership, it is quite often seen as narrow-minded and blunt. While that may be the case, it still has its place in the realm of leadership. 

The great NFL Coach Vince Lombardi demonstrated it best when he said

“Winning isn’t the only thing. It’s everything.”

Coach Lombardi proves to be a prime example in task-oriented leadership. His task? Winning. His method? Do whatever it takes to get the job done.

What is task-oriented leadership?

Task-oriented leadership is a directive style of leadership specifying tasks and goals. Task-oriented leaders provide steps and a plan to meet the goals of an organization. In task-oriented leadership, the leader can achieve a specific standard of performance in their direction. You can choose task-oriented leadership as a style to incorporate your management skills in the business.

Task-oriented leadership is highly goal focused and complete the objectives within specified deadlines. Task-oriented leaders define the roles of the whole team, supporting them. Task-oriented leaders provide specific work tools, resources, and other tools to get the job done. In this kind of leadership, everything is focused on achieving the task.

What are the Strengths and strategies of task-oriented leadership?

This directive kind of leadership strives to ensure the achievement of deadlines. This type of leadership is much different than relationship-oriented leadership, which focuses on developing strong bonds and being emotionally supportive for many reasons:

In specific circumstances and situations, employees require and thirst for direction.

Being direct provides step by step solutions to problems and tasks that need to complete on specific deadlines.

These types of leaders actively understand the employee requirements for completing the assignments and getting the job done. Leaders who are competent style are especially beneficial for industries that need to fulfill strict targets.

Task-oriented leaders know how to divide the work according to the team’s strengths, competencies, and roles within the time limit required. They understand their resource limitations and make defined plans to assign the work to highly effective and efficient employees to meet the closing date. In this way, the leader can achieve results more successfully than any other kind of leadership.

“In startups there can at times be a lot of shifting priorities, changing dynamics in the market and what can at times only be called chaos. In this case the CEO has to be what’s called a “wartime CEO.” She has to convey calm confidence and give clear direction. That is not consensus – “tell me what you think we should do.” That is not empathetic – “tell me how you feel.” It is directive – “let me tell you what I need you to do . ” This is essential during these kinds of times since things are moving so fast the CEO has to offer up a clear beacon for people to follow.”

Alisa Cohn – #1 Startup Coach in the World – Thinkers50 Marshall Goldsmith Leading Coaches Awards

Seven key strengths of task-oriented leadership are:

  1. Clarify objectives: Task-oriented leaders provide direct instruction. For example, if you are working with a team, you need to specify simple instructions, deadlines, and targets to employees to make it easy for them to achieve the potential you want.
  2. Framework tasks precisely. If you are working on a project, you need to outline the mission first. List the essential jobs and then accurately explain the processes. Design the methods and strategies with them to brainstorm the ideas in a well-mannered course of action.
  3. Issue exact deadlines. Setting deadlines is essential for the group to have a sense of achievement. Set reminders for your employees and ask them to work actively over the project, which has strict deadlines.
  4. Offer guidance. Provide clear advice and direction to avoid mistakes, roadblocks, and hassles. Give opportunities to ask questions. Provide information, resources, research, and other points of clarification. By offering guidance, you will address obstacles and move another step towards progress.
  5. Excellent representatives They know very well which team is suitable for which task; therefore, they are great at proper delegations. They drive productivity levels higher by identifying the strengths of their employees.
  6. Apply a reward system: After their teams have achieved key results and objectives, apply systems to continually reward and motivate. For example, set a reward, bonus, time off or other factors specific to individual’s diverse sets of motivation at the end of the month to increase productivity and make a disciplined work environment.
  7. Attain favorable outcomes: This leadership style achieves the best results by directing team strengths and setting strategies. They understand their responsibilities well and work effectively.

These skills and strategies which help you become more focused on results and outcomes. It will help if you are typically less concerned about catering constantly to emotional requirements rather than the tasks to be completed.

What are the weaknesses of task-oriented leadership?

The weakness of task-oriented leadership is that it ignores the welfare and happiness of the staff. Being focused on the task can result in the leader ignoring some critical issues that may come up within the team. Pushing the staff to complete the job without paying attention to their personal needs can result in a negative environment within the workplace, which can lead the workforce to be less productive.

Task-oriented leadership tends to stifle ground-breaking, creative, or spontaneous work. Instead, employees typically follow orders, have fixed deadlines for the projects, and have less or no flexibility in completing the tasks. The team that works under this kind of leadership can often lack interest, inspiration, and enthusiasm to go beyond the limits.

With few chances to explore new ideas, the staff gets limited in their ability to develop into more complex job roles. Development and training are formal in this environment, which limits staff development opportunities.

Famous examples of task-oriented leaders:

An excellent example of task-oriented leaders is the project managers who are in charge of big projects. Project managers are typically concerned with completing the project within the specified time limit and attaining the project goals.

Good examples of business leaders in this category are the low-level managers in the association who are accountable for the day-to-day operations of the enterprise. They are excellent at arranging processes and tasks necessary to implement projects dictated by middle-level managers.

This leadership type includes various small tasks and will deploy work appropriately to guarantee that everything completes in a productive and promising way. Process-oriented leadership will be appropriate in areas where management of processes is essential to meet the stated expectations. Process-oriented leaders understand that productivity is one of the paramount factors in meeting goals. Command and control of operations in small groups are essential and yield much success in the attainment of goals.

Tim Cook:

He is the CEO of one of the largest tech companies in the world, but also the eighth largest company in the world on Forbes’ Global 2000 list, Apple. Cook has helped navigate Apple through the evolution after Jobs’ death and opening Apple retail stores in China. About leadership, his views are:

“It’s about finding your values and committing to them. It’s about finding your North Star. It’s about making choices. Some are easy. Some are hard. And some will make you question everything.”

Sheryl Sandberg:

She has been the CEO of Facebook and has been an advocate for women in business. She is a great task-oriented leader and says:

Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.

Jack Ma:

Jack Ma was the first businessperson from mainland China to give an impression on the cover of Forbes magazine. He founded Alibaba Group, a group of internet companies. He is the richest man in China. Look what he says about the leadership:

Leadership is your instinct, and then it’s your training. Leaders are always positive; they never complain.

Bill Gates:

Who doesn’t know about Bill Gates? As the founder of Microsoft, he is listed as the second richest person in the world, with a current net worth of $108.8 billion, according to Forbes.

He says:

If you give people tools, [and they use] their natural ability and their curiosity, they will develop things in ways that will surprise you very much beyond what you might have expected.

What are other forms of leadership that are not task-oriented?

There is much research on task-oriented leadership and other styles of leadership. Therefore it is difficult to assess the effectiveness of any of them. Each of them has its pros and cons. Have a look at other forms of leadership.

Public oriented leadership:

People-oriented leadership is just the opposite of task-oriented leadership. In this type of leadership, the leader is more concerned about the well being of people and public perception. The leader is more concerned with the effect of his decisions over his people or employees. It requires the high involvement of the leader in any task. Democratic leadership is said to be the public-oriented leadership. It can take a longer time to make effective decisions. Thus it also requires the opinions of the team members.

Relationship oriented leadership:

Relationship-oriented leaders are concerned with motivating people through positive communication, moral support, and active listening. The relationship-oriented leader focuses on satisfaction and motivation.

Final words:

All organizations need task-oriented leadership – if it didn’t exist, very few tasks would ever get completed. You need to meet deadlines, explain the procedures to clients, and then enjoy the best outcomes.

Management is most associated with task-oriented leadership. It is essential to balance this type of leadership with relationship-oriented leadership to avoid dysfunctional working relationships.

Leaders should consider well being, stress management, and work-life balance so that the workforce will become more productive and highly engaged.

C-Level Executive Onboarding: 3 Steps to Preparing Yourself for Successful Leadership

C-Level Executive Onboarding: 3 Steps to Preparing Yourself for Successful Leadership

Working your way up to a C-level executive position can be an exciting achievement, but the mindset that many maintain when they accomplish this feat can set them up for failure down the road.

While you are the leader of the company and are expected to grow it and carry it forward, you will need to be receptive as well, listening to the needs and ideas of those who are working with you. For those who are just coming into a company, the initial onboarding process may seem like a time to find out who works there and to see the system behind how things are being run.

These are only two pieces of the puzzle, however, and in order to be a truly effective leader, you have to make sure that you are taking the time to learn more about those who work in the company as well as how you can make valuable changes within the company as well.

If you have just landed a C-level executive position and want to make sure that you start off on the right foot, here are three steps to preparing yourself for successful leadership that you will need to follow when you first enter a company.

1. Engage in Mindful Listening During Listening Tours.

CEOs or other C-level executives who take listening tours of their new companies forget that this is the prime time to evaluate the current state of their organization and to learn where their skills and guidance will be most needed. A tour is never just an introduction. It is an opportunity to learn!

As with every aspect of your new position, you are going to need to pay careful attention to every portion of each tour, ask questions, and engage with those who are showing you around the company that you will be running. Not only is mindful listening a skill that will make your job easier when you start taking on the work, but it will also help you develop better relationships with people on your team.

As I stated in my book, In Great Company, one study conducted in 2018 that assessed the interactions between public speakers with engaged groups and with distracted groups found that those who were speaking to engaged listeners felt significantly less anxious and were able to easily connect with these individuals while providing a more beneficial demonstration.

Put simply, active listening results in better communication, which is essential if you plan on doing your job to the best of your ability and build relationships with the people who will be helping you to ensure your company’s success. Find out what drives them, their passions, their purpose – and how you can help them get there. Give of yourself and what you can do for them, and good things will follow.

2. Carefully Observe Your Surroundings and the Processes Currently in Place.

All companies have areas that need improvement, regardless of the success that they have achieved to date. As the new leader of a company, it is your responsibility to take the time to examine a company’s processes and operations in order to identify those weaknesses and to implement better practices that will spur growth and generate positive results.

There is no better time than a company tour to begin evaluating where they have potential and where they may be failing. As you are brought through the different departments and taught how things work, ask yourself, what could we do better? Where can we improve, and how can I begin to make those improvements? What is working for us, and what needs to be adjusted or removed?

One excellent example of this from, In Great Company, is the rebound of then-suffering Best Buy. In 2012, Best Buy was buckling under the weight of its poor management, losing profits and customers rapidly as they failed to make necessary changes to their current structure. Fortunately, enough, Hubert Joly took the reins by utilizing their base of existing employee talent and enthusiasm and injecting his own vision to reinvigorate the company and bring it back to profitability and relevance.

Of course, his vision won’t be the same as your vision, but the important takeaway from the example above is that there are always existing positive qualities of a company that you can leverage while you support the areas that are failing. A good CEO pays close attention to how their company operates and makes the necessary changes to ensure its future success.

3. Develop a Report That Will Help You Cultivate a Better Future for the Company.

Behind every great execution stands a well-thought-out, organized plan. While remaining attentive and being inquisitive are two invaluable skills that will help you get the most out of the initial onboarding process with your new company, taking everything that you have learned and crafting a detailed plan of how you will move forward is the next logical step.

One great way to accomplish this is by organizing your thoughts and ideas into a PowerPoint. There you can figure out the strengths and weaknesses of your company, what aspects you want to nurture and grow, what things you need to change or replace, and what unique talents you can contribute to the company. This is also a great time to layout your core values and to figure out your approach to your new leadership position.

Continuing with the above example, Joly improved the company through actions such as:

● Aligning strategy with structure by lowering prices to meet customer demands while still providing the excellent service that their employees were known for. They also allowed for more flexibility so that they could quickly respond to change and allowed their employees to succeed at what they did best.
● Setting people up to succeed by providing the necessary training that helped the organization meet your clear-cut goals.
● Playing to win by continuously seeking growth, opportunity, and success.
● Fostering resilience by focusing on strengths and tackling issues where present.

With the right outline for success combined with your own infusion of talent, you can carry your company to victory!

Being a successful leader begins as soon as you accept a C-level position, but not everyone knows exactly how to start off on the right foot. If you believe that the guide above will help you successfully make the transition, make sure to read In Great Company: How to Spark Peak Performance By Creating an Emotionally Connected Workplace to gain more insight into what great leadership looks like!

CEO of Best Practice Institute, Louis Carter, Re-nominated as Number 7 Global Guru in Organizational Culture

CEO of Best Practice Institute, Louis Carter, Re-nominated as Number 7 Global Guru in Organizational Culture

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla., Dec. 3, 2019 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — Louis Carter, the current number 7 Global Guru in Organizational Culture, has been re-nominated as one of the key organizational culture experts by Global Gurus and Marshall Goldsmith. The award-winning CEO executive coach, business strategist and organizational development expert applies his own research, with the research of his peers and mentors to real life situations and creates measurable results.

Louis Carter, CEO and President of Best Practice Institute started applying his Social Organizational Psychology skills as far back as 2001 by combining it with his other life’s passion – drumming. A Social/Organizational Psychology Grad Student at Columbia University in NYC and musician on September 11, 2001, Carter used his skills to create a haven where people that had been through the horrors of that day can come together and grieve, while sharing their experiences. Not being one to conform with organizational practices which he considered orthodox and ineffective, Louis Carter brought a new and different approach at the time to corporate structures where he could change them to be dynamic and effective.

During the same year in 2001, Louis met Bishop William Swing of the Episcopal Church of California, who changed the way Carter would think about how to turn around dysfunctional, low performing and unmotivated groups and organizations. Bishop Swing founded the United Religions Initiative as a model to the United Nations with guidance and commitment from leaders of many of the world’s religions, including the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa, the Shankaracharya of Kanchipuram, Islam’s Grand Mufti of Egypt, and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

This relationship inspired Carter to create the same for corporations in the form of helping CEOs and teams co-create a shared ecumenical document for their company. This document allowed companies and its teams to execute on shared goals which, through Carter’s recent research for his book, In Great Company (McGraw-Hill, 2019), has proven to increase motivation, accountability and time to execute.

Carter founded Best Practice Institute(BPI), a management consultancy firm that specializes in helping budding and realized mid to large sized companies, and their senior executives, with plans and strategies to run, manage and lead their businesses. During the past 18 years, companies in every major vertical industry have gone through Carter’s programs, coaching, and consulting.
Global Gurus are voted for entirely by their industry peers, based specifically on the profound impact the experts have had on them, their teams and their organization. Global Gurus are selected due to their actions, unique concepts and the personal ability to apply and benefit from what the work have taught. To vote for Louis Carter to remain the top Guru in Organizational Culture for this year goto: https://globalgurus.org/organizational-culture/

Louis Carter, along with his firm, Best Practice Institute, continues finding new ways to get the best out of organizations, which makes clear why in 2018 he was named the number 7 global guru in organizational culture. Louis Carter is also proud to be handpicked by Marshall Goldsmith as a MG100 coach, where he provides one pro-bono project a year, to “pay-it-forward” and provide help and accountability to other thought leaders to become even more successful.

About Louis Carter
Louis Carter is CEO and founder of Best Practice Institute, a benchmark research consortium, association and management consulting firm specializing in helping organizations and C-suite senior executives achieve their market strategy through talent management, executive coaching, leadership development, organizational culture and change management. He is the author of nearly a dozen books on best practices and organizational leadership. Published by Jossey Bass/John Wiley and Sons and McGraw Hill, including Change Champions, Best Practices in Talent Management, Best Practices in Leadership Development and Organization Change and Leading the Global Workforce. In his speaking career, he has taught at the Tsinghua School of Business and People’s University in Beijing, Jackson State University, Seton Hall University and Universal Network Intelligence (UNI) in Asia, HR Magazine in Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, and Singapore, and the Dubai HR Lighthouse Initiative. Louis is widely sought after as an expert in the field where he helps successful leaders and teams achieve their business goals. He has been quoted and profiled by Fast Company, Investor’s Business Daily, Business Watch Magazine, Pando Daily, CNBC, Forbes and CIO Magazine; while his research and teaching has been translated across Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and North & South America. He has held numerous executive coaching, business strategy consulting, facilitation and business acceleration roles. His newest book is In Great Company: How to spark peak performance by creating an emotionally connected workplace (McGraw Hill).

Instead of Looking Back, Let’s Look Forward (6 Tips to Give Feed-Forward)

Instead of Looking Back, Let’s Look Forward (6 Tips to Give Feed-Forward)

Feedback is a part of every workplace and a common tool for individual improvement. Applying constructive methods to improve existing and develop new skills is crucial to any performing culture, or individual, seeking advantages. Yet through this tried, long standing interaction, we overlook how to enhance the ways we give feedback. The constant change among workplaces demands new, emerging, interpersonal strategies that challenge the status quo of feedback and how to develop the individual.

Enter Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, the Thinkers50 Hall of Fame #1 Executive Coach in the world, and my mentor and good friend of 20+ years. His work continues to accomplish leadership and workplace development through the newest coaching concept of “feed-forward”. Feed-forward is a constructive communication style that delivers individual growth by focusing on what’s ahead and collaboratively preparing the individual for future success.

Feedback, which many falls back on, is rooted in the negative by looking back on mistakes and attempting to develop from there. If mishandled, this can lead to lower individual motivation to change and, in group settings like meetings, innovation and dialogue can be suppressed. Feed-forward changes the conversation by looking ahead. It positively influences the dialogue and encourages individuals to grow. Here are 5 actionable ways you can begin applying it:

1. Start with the Question
Arguably any leader’s greatest strength is in the questions they ask. Powerful inquiry opens the doorway for reflection, conversation and development to begin. As a leader, applying the feed-forward approach, each question must be constructed with a focus on the future, and it should include ideas related to what the individual can do and how they can develop. What can I do better next time? What is the best way to achieve this in the future?

2. Forward Influenced Conversation
As leaders, if we engage with others to think about the future and what can be done to prepare for it, then our conversation must also reflect this philosophy as well. Put simply, the dialogue between leaders and others should consistently integrate future thinking. Rather than stating “Here’s what you did…”, the message can be phrased as “Next time, you can…” A simple tweak in how the message is communicated can make all difference between dwelling in the past or looking towards the future.

3. Dialogue and Co-Create Rather than Sell and Tell
There’s a fundamental difference in dictating and dialoguing in an interaction, and the difference is easy to recognize. Feeling patronized is experienced when we are being talked at; the conversation is a one-way trip with little room for questions. Dialoguing differs by framing the conversation as a two-way conversation; the other side can participate, ask questions and speak. By creating equality in the conversation with equal airtime, feed-forward further encourages the spark for the individual to change. Using this approach may phrase questions as “Help me understand…” Or “Would you mind…”

4. Active Listening
How we organize our messages and communicate them is just as powerful as how we listen. At the core, feed-forward is about weaving the developing individual’s mind, thoughts, and focus on what they can do. As dialogue is formed, active listening is critical here (pun intended). It presents an opportunity for the individual coaching to confirm that they are engaged with the other side. If needed, it also works as a method to clarify and adjust the conversation; ensuring all parties are on the same page. Where hearing occurs when one regurgitates verbatim what was said, active listening plays back what was said through the individual’s authentic style. Phrases that support these situations can be “What I’m hearing you say is…”, “Thank you sharing that, my understanding is that…” or “Would you clarify…”

5. Use “And” Rather Than “But”
And… after actively listening and mirroring back your understanding be sure to use the words “and” rather than “but.” Saying the word, “but” negates your last statement. Imagine you were just told you are a great physician, BUT you need to think about the bigger picture. Change that to “You are a really great physician AND I invite you to think about the future of your work.” Sounds different, right? Now you can be both a great physician AND consider other ways of thinking.

6. Reflect on your Feed-Forward Skills
Providing actionable, productive feed-forward communication is a skill and just like throwing a baseball or playing an instrument, it needs practice to become natural. The same goes here for applying feed-forward into your life and daily interactions. After a session or session has concluded, take a few minutes to debrief and think over how well it worked. Perhaps it’s better to write your thoughts in a journal, record a video or connect with another coach.

Feed-forward asks us to breakaway from what we know and what we’ve experienced through feedback. Feedback can crush motivation and sour relationships by focusing on what people did wrong. By integrating these steps and frequently applying them, the channels of positivity and motivation to change openly. The goal of any coach should be to add value in every conversation and the feed-forward approach weaves this idea together.

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