Author Archives: David Grossman

Taking My Own Medicine

By Chris Coultas, Director of Science & Research; Senior Consultant

For most of us, it’s easy to notice the things that other people could be doing differently, but harder to objectively look at ourselves in the mirror. For the past several years, I’ve spearheaded development of the DRiV™ personality assessment tool here at LWF. Recently I “took my own medicine” by leveraging our new DRiV360 development report with my personal DRiV profile. The results made an immediate, positive impact on my work style and results. Here’s what happened:

BEFORE: My Work Style & Environment.

My own DRiV report shows I’m very low in Deliberation and Charisma, and high in Creativity and Autonomy. In other words, I like moving fast, coming up with new ideas all the time, and figuring out solutions alone. Being low in Charisma means it’s uncomfortable and draining for me to go through the process of convincing people, especially if I have to appeal to others’ emotions to help them see things from my perspective.

​Maybe in some situations this combination of drivers would not cause any problems, but in a culture that values collaboration and alignment, this can be tricky. I want to go fast, be creative, and do my own thing, but the culture needs me to collaborate, loop others in, solicit input, and so on. And of course, resources like people, time, and money are not unlimited, so I cannot chase every new idea that pops into my head. At any rate, while my Creativity is a strength, given my role as Director of Science & Research, it can also be a liability if not managed appropriately.

My DRiV360 Analysis.

We recently developed the DRiV360, a multi-rater feedback tool that complements the DRiV assessment. While my DRiV report highlights areas where I will probably overdo or overlook certain things, the DRiV360 helps test those hypotheses.

I wanted a taste of my own medicine, and I wanted to test those hypotheses (I am a scientist, after all). So I took the DRIV360 for myself, which involved soliciting feedback from multiple people in our organization: my leader, peers/colleagues, direct reports, and others. They were all asked whether I should do more of or less of various behaviors tied to my DRiV report. Considering my drivers, I expected that my DRiV360 feedback from others would be: slow down, stop being so creative, and focus on one thing while letting other stuff drop.

My DRiV360 Findings.

Surprisingly, I found that people appreciated my creativity. They did want me to slow down and collaborate more — no surprise there. The most helpful insight was that I could keep being creative (which drives me), as long as I could start leveraging a more effective collaborative process. I needed to communicate more often and more clearly, soliciting others’ input and assistance earlier.

I also should define goals better and take a more linear approach. These findings were in line with my DRiV report, but the DRiV360 gave me a completely different perspective on my own drivers. It offered me greater insight into what specifically I needed to do differently. Even better, I was encouraged to learn that some of my top drivers (e.g., Creativity) were valued and appreciated, with people wanting me to do even more of them.

AFTER: Applying New Knowledge.

The DRiV360 process provided clear, behavioral feedback I could literally apply the next day. I was managing a new project the same week I received the feedback, so I applied the DRiV360 insights to my preparations. In the past, I typically under-emphasized the importance of internal project kickoff meetings. I realized I had been under-preparing and was being too reactive. Because of my DRiV360 feedback, I took a more proactive approach to preparing for this meeting and considering the proper collaborative process.

This effort paid huge dividends. The leadership team was incredibly supportive of the project, we all had clear next steps, and the project was completed on-time and far exceeded expectations.

As a developer of the DRiV and DRiV360, it was gratifying and inspiring to experience the benefits firsthand. I’ll continue “taking my own medicine” and look forward to further insights.


How About You?

Interested in learning about how the DRiV and DRiV360 can positively impact you, your team and your organization? Are you a consultant who would like to add these powerful tools to your toolkit?
Please contact LWF for more information.

Building a Strong Bench: 6 Tips for Leadership Succession Planning

Building a Strong Bench | Leadership Worth Following

For sports teams, it’s understood that building a strong bench is a key factor for success. Through coaching and individualized training, reserve players are prepared to assume starting roles when needed. For organizations to enjoy long-term success, they must also build strong benches. Here are 6 leadership succession planning tips:

 

1 Understand Strategy & Structure.

As a first step, review current processes and practices. Conduct leadership and board interviews on organizational strategy and structure: current thoughts/feelings on succession; existing organizational situation, including internal and external challenges; desired talent profile; and importance of candidates’ competency ratings (using 12-factor Worthy Leadership Model). Armed with this information, identify your talent needs that fit both the structure and strategy.

2 Look to Future.

It’s said the only constant is change. To ensure long-term sustainability, envision what will be needed 5-10+ years out – in terms of talent, strategy, and structure – rather than only trying to replicate the current personnel and infrastructure. Blend a desire for continuity with the need for innovation and change.

3 Identify “Multiple Good” Options.

Keep your possibilities open by not narrowing selections too soon. For internal candidates, review recent job performance and recommendations from leadership. Evaluate possible internal successors ready now or those who could be ready after professional development. If finding or developing strong internal candidates is unlikely, formulate a plan for looking outside using description of talent needs outlined earlier.

4 Create a Process.

Beginning with initial assessments, understand you will need to revisit the leadership succession planning process many times, not just a single event or once-a-year examination. Key aspects of the process include: aligning, defining, assessing, developing, and measuring.

5 Consider the Team.

Looking at the whole organization, think about what skills/competencies will be needed across all team members to both complement and sharpen each other – now and into the future. When evaluating team members, utilize comprehensive assessment data through “multiple data sources – involving external assessments, past performance, and impact data like 360-degree feedback.

6 Develop for Success.

Minor-league athletes work hard in the hope of earning a call-up to the majors. In businesses and other organizations, employees’ commitment to their individual development plans demonstrates to management their level of dedication in preparing for their next opportunity. Going forward, quarterly reviews are a powerful benchmarking tool to track progress and to gauge commitment and readiness to rise to next opportunity.


It’s never too soon to start developing your talent bench. For more information about LWF’s services around leadership succession planning, please contact us.

Ten Commandments of Great Business Coaching

Ten Commandments for Great Business Coaching | Leadership Worth Following

They’re not carved on stone tablets, but we’ve refined these helpful principles during our 15 years of coaching executives and business leaders.

FEEDBACK & COACHING

1 Earn Permission to Coach

Building a foundation of trust creates a respectful relationship. Start by asking personal and career questions. Share your own story to find common ground; it’s a conversation, not interrogation. People shouldn’t feel under attack receiving coaching. They will only let their guard down if they trust and respect you.

2 Make Sure People Feel Understood

After earning initial permission, strive to keep and deepen it. This requires good listening, which is hard work. Ask open-ended questions; paraphrase and reflect on what you’ve heard; make summary statements. Practice vital nonverbal cues: smile, lean forward, make good eye contact, etc.

3 Be Immediate, Genuine, Concrete & Respectful

Timely and direct communication shows interest and sincerity. Authenticity helps cement bonds of trust. Clarifying questions ensure mutual understanding. Courtesy recognizes others’ worth and capabilities.


SET GOALS & OBJECTIVES

4 Set SMART Goals

Specific. Measurable. Achievable. Relevant. Timely. To whom are the goals relevant? A goal that is relevant to the organization but not the individual might result in compliance without commitment. Such goals are unsustainable.

5 Set Valid Goals

Before committing to a SMART goal, ask how valid it is. Such goals must meet conditions across three areas: Predictability, Methodology and Capability. For example, you need adequate capabilities (resources like money, skills, team members) to overcome barriers and sufficient motivation to persevere.


ACCELERATE DEVELOPMENT

6 Capitalize on 8x Development

Research on personal growth shows the most effective SMART, valid goals are also FAST: Frequently Discussed, Actionable, Specific, and Transparent. When you hold another accountable for these goals, the results are 8x greater than a plan without accountability.

7 Communicate in Whole Messages

Whole messages encompass four elements: Sharing facts, Giving opinions, Explaining feelings, and Soliciting solutions. When you give feedback that first expresses confidence in another’s ability to meet high expectations, the result is 40% more effective.


DRIVE SUSTAINABILITY

8 Stay Engaged and Get Creative

Driving sustainability in business coaching is all about establishing an environment that encourages people to take ownership of their own development. To stay engaged even during failure, seize “coachable moments” to create learning opportunities. You may need to connect coachee with others who are better suited to observe or advise.

9 Wildly Celebrate Growth

The power of praise is amazing, and each person uniquely responds to combinations of the 5 languages of appreciation in the workplace – words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, tangible gifts, and physical touch – outlined in the book by Gary Chapman and Paul White. To demonstrate care in the workplace, you can also give recognition, greater responsibility, increased freedom, or more interesting work.

10 Empower People to “Try Stuff”

A supportive, caring, and open environment will inspire curiosity, experimentation, and self-reflection that leads to personal and organizational growth. Frame your feedback around intention, behavior, and impact. Integrity is more than aligning words and behavior: it’s aligning intentions and impact.


Questions? These 10 commandments of great business coaching are only an overview. Please contact us to learn more about our coaching and leadership development programs and services.

What’s Your Delegation Style? 4 Common Drivers

Delegation Style | Leadership Worth Following

Each of us has unique personality traits that can make delegation easier or harder. Knowing yourself makes it easier to share your strengths while managing your downsides. Here are four common drivers that can affect your delegation approach, with a coaching tip for each. Where do you fit?

1 Authoritative Alex – Tells You What to Do

Your Delegation Strength: It’s easy for you to divvy up responsibilities and be direct with people about your expectations.
Your Delegation Downside: You may overstep your bounds sometimes, and may delegate without first earning buy-in.

Coaching Tip: Check your assumptions related to whom you’re delegating; explain the why and appeal to them; don’t just expect automatic obedience.


2 Autonomous Abby – Likes Doing Her Own Thing

Your Delegation Strength: Empowering others and giving them the freedom to do it their own way comes naturally. You won’t step in and micromanage.
Your Delegation Downside: You may not set people up for success when delegating.

Coaching Tip: Use active listening techniques and check for understanding. Ensure necessary resources exist for your “delegatees” and set regular check-in schedules.


3 Collaborative Chris – Builds a Team for Everything

Your Delegation Strength: It’s easy for you to share information, responsibilities, and power.
Your Delegation Downside: You may over-delegate/over-involve others, which could slow down execution.

Coaching Tip: Become familiar with your peoples’ skillsets. Whenever possible, delegate as much of one complete task/responsibility to one primary owner.


4 Excellent Ellie – Enforces High Standards

Your Delegation Strength: You clearly and explicitly communicate your expectations to others.
Your Delegation Downside: It can be a struggle for you to let go. Sometimes your expectations are unrealistic.

Coaching Tip: Define your “ideal,” “acceptable,” and “unacceptable” standards. Check whether those standards are realistic with peers or other leaders given the specific situations.


 

Whatever your own style, delegate tasks with purpose and in line with your people’s development plans. Don’t just assign responsibilities based on what you know people can do, but provide them with opportunities to develop skills outside their comfort zones.

We developed our DRiV personality assessment to help understand the unique drivers that make each of us “tick” in our workplaces – and our lives. Click here for more information about leveraging the power of the DRiV for yourself, your organization, or your clients.

The Commitment to Lead: Passion for Results

Commitment to Lead - Passion for Results | Leadership Worth Following

Individuals vary in what energizes and motivates them. As leaders, you can engage others and make them want to do well for you by learning to recognize and leverage what motivates members of your team. Communicate what you need from others and get them to commit by ensuring understanding of your directions and goals to facilitate goal attainment. Consider the following to get others to do more than they believe possible:

Focus on Continuous Development.

Help others grow and learn from their mistakes, so they can see how to raise the bar on their performance and delivery.


Review Your Goals and Objectives.

If they were achieved, could the results be sustainable? If sustainability is questionable, identify steps or processes you can implement to ensure targets can be repeatedly met.


Consider Past Messaging.

Reflect on meetings and conversations held with your team. Consider the messages and tone you set for sustainable, continuous improvement. When discussing goals, increase the focus on repeatable excellence: how team members can make an impact and benefit personally. Look for ways to improve your dialogue.


Document Primary Business Processes.

This step often allows you to more easily identify potential efficiencies or improvements. Also, document the process for meeting large goals. Share these success stories with your team and entire organization to help others learn.


Tie Efforts and Performance to Bigger Picture.

Show everyone how their work is influencing the broader organization. Highlight a higher organizational purpose.


Set Stretch Goals.

Strive to deliver more than requested or promised for every project or task. Continuously challenge yourself and others to do more than you think possible or have done before.


Recognize and Celebrate Achievements.

Acknowledge when members of your team exceed expectations. Use this positive reinforcement to help establish a norm of excellence.


Look in Mirror.

This process starts with you. Don’t just deliver upon expectations – think about how you can truly delight your customers, both internal and external. Make this your personal pledge.


Learn More. To learn what you and your team are passionate about, please consider our new DRiV™ personality assessment tool. By evaluating what drives and drains people in their careers, the DRiV can help predict optimal leadership styles, determine effective team composition, and implement more engaging work practices. Click to learn more.

Leadership Development Services. For information about LWF’s full range of services designed to strengthen your organization, teams, and individual employees, please visit our website.

Dale Thompson of LWF on Leadership Podcast

Dale Thompson LWF Podcast

Dale Thompson, Founder and CEO of LWF, was recently featured in the “Lead Without Losing It” podcast. In this 45-minute episode titled “Worthy Leadership”, Dale shares interesting real-life anecdotes with host Jonathan Hoover as they discuss a variety of leadership topics including:

  • The Origins of LWF’s Worthy Leadership model
  • The Importance of Character and Forgiveness for leaders
  • Thoughts on Screening for Character when hiring
  • The Three Phases of LWF’s Coaching Model: Align, Aspire, Transform
  • And advice to leaders for self-coaching

 

Investing In Positive Change: Trauma Healing In Central America

At LWF, we believe in modeling leadership worth following in all our activities, including our philanthropy. Each month, LWF invests a significant portion of our revenue to local, national, and global nonprofit organizations. Our team members also volunteer their time supporting these important causes.

Earlier this year, Marilyn Goerz Davis of LWF traveled to Central America to assist various organizations helping people traumatized by violence and crime, personal and family tragedies, and natural disasters. LWF funded travel and expenses for some facilitators and participants as part of our commitment to positively change the world. In this story, she describes training sessions given to community and church leaders in several different cities.


Mission Trip Report

by Marilyn Goerz Davis
January–February 2019

With all the opportunity to further the trauma healing work in Central America, I am very thankful for the financial support that enables me to contribute my efforts! The program I am promoting and delivering is “Healing the Wounds of Trauma,” from The Trauma Healing Alliance. This program based on sound mental-health principles and the Bible was designed so that people with any level of education could be equipped to help others in their communities heal from the disastrous effects of traumatic experiences.

In January, I went to Managua, Nicaragua to work with Leanne Geisterfer of World Renew where we led a training workshop hosted by Centro Nehemías, a non-profit community development organization. We trained 36 community and church leaders to lead healing groups. All seemed motivated to apply what they learned. World Renew has since brought in a full-time worker specifically to support, encourage and mentor these trainees for a year. This should really help the ministry take off! Another initial training workshop is planned for April, and an advanced workshop will be offered in July to all who have completed their practice requirement. Others who have Training Facilitator certification can lead the initial training but a Master Facilitator is required to oversee the advanced training so I will likely go back then.

With the political situation in Nicaragua, there is general agreement that most people are traumatized and a desire for resources to help. I had been hesitant to go there but was reassured by receiving an official government approval to “lead a spiritual retreat” and reassurance from World Renew missionaries of the attention given to safety. Although the government has shut down human rights efforts, they are still willing to allow religious events. They recognize that the people are traumatized but attribute it to the “terrorists.”

My next trip was to San Salvador where I was asked to lead an Advanced Training and mentor 2 Training Facilitators from Guatemala. We found those who had been through the Initial training lacked a clear understanding of the certification expectations. The Bible Society there had just hired a program manager for trauma healing whom I invited to the Initial training in Tegucigalpa so she would better understand the program. She attended and found it very helpful, which should enable her to support their program more effectively.

On February 16, I flew to Tegucigalpa where I first went back to Comayagua where we had done Initial Training in trauma healing in October 2017. Since not many of those trained had gone on to practice what they had learned, I met with 8 who expressed interest for a 1-day refresh workshop. Afterwards those who attended said they felt much more confident and prepared to put their learning into practice.

Next, I went back to Tegucigalpa to meet up with Marilyn Reeck, the SIL missionary I have worked with before, and Leanne Geisterfer of World Renew. We went on to a retreat center where we trained 36 people from various Honduran ministries. There was a waiting list of a dozen more for this training and we were encouraged by the strong interest. The Honduras Bible Society sent their Project Director who seemed quite impressed with the program and expressed a commitment to begin promoting it. This was a breakthrough, as previous efforts to get them involved had been unsuccessful. Receiving the training helped him understand that suffering trauma can create a barrier to God’s Word entering and transforming people’s hearts.

From Tegucigalpa, Marilyn Reeck and I flew to La Ceiba, where she lives and where we have done a good bit of trauma healing work in the last 2 years. There, we met with a group who had previously completed both Initial and Advanced Trauma Healing training, to encourage and continue mentoring them. We heard several stories of wonderful healing there due to the impact of the healing groups. Becky Fillpot, who with her husband leads a ministry to children and youth in one of the worst areas of town, plans to start community groups in 8 barrios beginning with trauma healing.


After final preparations, we flew to Puerto Lempira, a town in the La Mosquitia area only accessible by air or water. This is a beautiful but impoverished area, somewhat primitive, including terrible dirt roads, outhouses for many homes and at the church where we met, often no running water, and unreliable electricity except where people had their own generators.

For the past year, two indigenous pastors and their wives, who had received the trauma healing program training in La Ceiba, worked on developing a story line for the trauma healing lessons that would resonate with the Miskito people, and had translated the materials needed for a story-based version of the program. We piloted this with 33 pastors and leaders of home churches from the area. The two indigenous pastor facilitators led most of the stories and discussion in Miskito while Marilyn R and I advised and presented some of the logistic lessons with one of them translating. Most participants had walked for hours from small towns to attend the week-long training. The Moravian church loaned us their large church building for our meetings.

The pastors who promoted it said being able to bring this to their community was “a dream come true!” and the participants expressed immense gratitude for the healing experience and the training, as well as a commitment to begin healing groups in their churches and communities. It was beautiful to see God already at work healing the hearts of the attendees.

Pastor Ludy who lives there made arrangement for the participants to bunk in some open apartments and organized all the logistics.

The pastor’s board house, elevated to catch the breeze. In the space below the house, you can see one of the smaller groups from the workshop learning to tell the stories. His wife and other women cooked all the meals and served them at their home.

This model of the program is designed so that they can lead it completely orally, since many in the area do not read and write well, and even pastors have few if any books besides their Bibles. Participants were given booklets with all the stories and activities as well as micro-SD cards with recorded stories that they could put in their cell phones. I had not known this was possible. We bought a few cell phones for those who did not have them to share by church or small town. They don’t even need to have phones activitated to use the recordings, which is great because many of them only buy minutes at convenience stores as they are able.

THANK YOU for providing this blessing to the people of Central America!

Cara F. Wade, PhD, Promoted to Senior Vice President of Leadership Worth Following, LLC

Cara Wade | Leadership Worth Following

Dallas – April 3, 2019 – Cara F. Wade, PhD, has been promoted to senior vice president of Leadership Worth Following, LLC (LWF), a Dallas-based leadership consulting firm. In her new role, she will continue working with clients in leadership positions across a variety of industries, helping them address critical talent needs including assessment, succession planning, coaching, team alignment, and training.

“This promotion acknowledges Cara’s strong vision, intelligence, creativity, and spirit of innovation,” says A. Dale Thompson, PhD, LWF’s founder and CEO. “She is playing a vital role helping lead LWF and our clients to a brighter future.”

During more than 10 years at LWF, Dr. Wade has earned recognition from LWF clients. “Cara has a deep understanding of Kalsec’s organizational culture, evidenced by her work developing selection and development processes for key company leadership roles,” says George Todd, executive chairman of Kalsec, a food ingredients manufacturer based in Kalamazoo, Michigan. “Her inspired work is helping make our company’s vision possible: to be ‘private and sustainable’ for one hundred years. Cara has won our trust and admiration, and has made a huge impact on our capabilities!”

Throughout her career, Dr. Wade has shared her passion for studying workplace gender issues and work-life balance. In 2018 she participated in a panel discussion about gender roles and biases at the S.H.E. Summit in Dallas. She co-authored a chapter in The Oxford Handbook of Work and Family, addressing work-life balance from an organization’s perspective. Her other research topics have included assessments of C-Suite executives and high-potential employees. Before joining LWF, Dr. Wade managed core people processes at PepsiCo, including the performance management process, organization health survey, 360-survey, and people development systems.

Dr. Wade earned both her PhD in experimental psychology and master of science degree in industrial organization psychology from the University of Texas at Arlington. She earned her bachelor of arts degree in psychology from Baylor University. Dr. Wade is a member of the Society for Industrial Organizational Psychology.

About Leadership Worth Following, LLC (LWF)

Leadership Worth Following, LLC (LWF) is a Dallas-based consulting firm specializing in leadership development consulting, assessment, and talent strategies that deliver results. LWF serves leading and aspiring companies across virtually every industry and organization size, including Fortune 100 companies, privately held firms, family businesses, and nonprofits. Each year, LWF personnel and programs assist more than 2,000 people in elevating their effectiveness. In launching its proprietary assessment tool, the DRiV, LWF expands its capabilities by helping organizations discover what drives and drains their leaders, teams, and cultures.

Media Contact

Warren Djerf, Brookside Communications Group
(952) 920-3908 or warren@brookcomm.net

Feeling Lucky? What’s Your Attitude at Work?

Around St. Patrick’s Day, the Irish get credited with embodying and enjoying an extra measure of luck. Even if you’re not a wee bit Irish, your attitude about luck could influence your career. How can you best leverage it for success?

From more than 4,000 assessments conducted the past three years with our DRiV personality assessment tool, we explored combinations of four different scales associated with various ways people perceive and handle risk:

  • Caution: How scary is risk?
  • Competition: How big of risks do you take? How frustrating is failure?
  • Persistence: What do you do when things start to “go south”?
  • Deliberation: How careful are you in managing risk?

Who Are You? When considering these four scales in combination, we found they are embodied in four distinct personality types distributed almost evenly across the population. Which description fits you best?

Lucky Ones.

You are highly competitive, but paradoxically quite sensitive to failure. You set very high goals, but you also really don’t want to fail, so you pursue many different interest areas. This helps you diversify and manage risk. You don’t focus on one specific thing, because failing would be a huge blow to your self-esteem.

Success Tip: Take some time to inventory your skills, passions and the needs around you. Where these three overlap is your area of highest return on investment (ROI). Stop investing so much energy in lower-ROI activities. Find 1-2 things you need to “double down” on – then do them! Also find people who will hold you accountable to that strategy.


Dreamers.

You are fast-paced, competitive and a risk-taker with highly ambitious personal goals. You downplay the reality of risks and simply tell yourself that if you work hard enough you can achieve anything. This is the “overconfident” type of luck.

Success Tip: Check the reality of your goals, being willing to redefine or lower them. Calibrate goals with others less optimistic and confident, but whom you trust and respect. Your personal network can advise you when you’re over-investing into a failing strategy; sometimes you have to cut your losses.


Settlers.

You’re not all that competitive and you may feel skeptical at times of your ability to effect much change. As a result, you simply set lower, very achievable goals for yourself. You might find yourself giving up quickly when your goals start to seem unachievable, which could indicate a type of “learned helplessness”.

Success Tip: Harness the power of planning by gradually setting goals that stretch you just a tiny bit – then build (and execute) a clearly defined plan to help you reach those goals. Track these incremental goals and periodically review how far you’ve come.


Planners.

You’re slow and steady, not worried about failing, and you set realistic, achievable goals. You plan carefully and move methodically; you are diligent, careful, and hardworking. You likely don’t believe in luck because your goals are so realistic.

Success Tip: Find something you’re really passionate about to help inspire you to elevate your goals. Partner with more optimistic people who will challenge you to reach higher. Look for ways to shake things up like reworking your plan so you hit your goals faster, or making your goals bigger, or broadening your scope to target multiple goals simultaneously.

8 Leadership Lessons: Stay Strong!

Winter can be a long, trying season for many – but spring is just around the corner. For leaders, too, each “season of leadership” requires resilience, adaptability, and hope for the future. Advance your own leadership development by considering these eight leadership lessons:

1 Stretch Yourself.

If you tend to defer to others who are louder or more persistent than you, push yourself beyond your comfort level and practice advocating more for your position. The person who persists the longest often gets their idea adopted.

2 Follow Through.

Persisting at problem-solving through completion sends a strong leadership lesson that you want issues resolved quickly and effectively.

3 Share Power.

Resist taking responsibility for the decisions of your direct reports. In areas that are clearly their domain, lend your expertise, but stop short of making decisions for them. Coaching people to take responsibility builds their skills and independence.

4 Model Risk-taking.

When appropriate, talk through problems with your direct reports, and describe how you arrived at your decision. As a leadership lesson, discuss risks involved and issues you considered.

5 Trust, but Verify.

If you delegate an issue to someone else, be sure to follow up. Ask for updates and progress reports, being sure to let others know you are in close contact.

6 Just Say “No”.

When “no” is necessary, do not procrastinate or try to “soften the blow” by being tentative. When refusing a request is best for you, your team, or your organization, explain your rationale clearly and firmly.

7 Do Your Homework.

When facing a tough decision, such as trimming the budget or downsizing, carefully analyze various alternatives, get others’ input, and settle on the course of action. You will then have the necessary background and data to clearly communicate your decision.

8 Utilize Whole Messages.

When asserting your needs or position, deliver your points using “whole messages” that include clear statements about data, your thoughts and feelings, and a clear articulation of your goals. This will make your thinking more transparent to others, while being direct about your needs.