4th Gear Blog

How to Motivate Others

Posted by Randy Hall

Jul 23, 2014 9:30:00 AM

In almost every workshop, consulting engagement, or coaching interaction, I get some form of the question “how do I motivate others?”  Leaders and managers want other people to change their behavior or do something different, but they simply get tired of making them change.  It’s exhausting to keep telling people things over and over and feel like you were ignored, dismissed, or not heard.  So, the question is a common one.  But it’s the wrong question to ask.  You cannot motivate others, only they can motivate themselves.  What you can do as a leader is set up all the necessary ingredients for motivation and then help others discover the path that leads to their own motivation.  So a better question would be “what drives motivation?”  Let’s look at some of the necessary components for helping others find their motivation to do something different.

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Topics: Business Goals, Leadership, Performance, Management, Employee Engagement

4 Tips for Increased Employee Engagement

Posted by Bethany Swartz

Jul 16, 2014 9:00:00 AM

Google the term ‘employee engagement’ and over 15 million results appear in under .3 seconds.  There are an abundance of reports, polls, blogs, articles, and research studies out there that all seek to understand this concept and its impact on businesses. With data consistently showing direct correlations between engagement and organizational outcomes, companies are spending countless amounts of time, money, and resources trying to figure out what employee engagement is, what does it cost to get it, and perhaps more importantly, what does it cost to not have it. For these reasons, I seek to join the millions of other writers out there who want to shed light on this topic and demystify the concept of employee engagement.

Maintaining a workplace of engaged employees is no easy task, but it is not quite as scientific and prescriptive as others often make it seem. Here are a few take away points to remember about building engagement throughout the business.

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Topics: Employee Engagement

How to Build Influence As A Leader

Posted by Bethany Swartz

Jul 9, 2014 9:54:05 AM

Authority versus influence is a topic much discussed in the world of leadership and management. We have written frequently about the importance and benefits of committed teams gained from using influence rather than authority.  Well, recently a friend asked me how you can tell which one you are using.  At first I looked at him confused thinking “Umm...you should know buddy!” but then I realized it is actually a very valid question.  As a leader, it is often difficult to judge our own actions and impossible to know how other people are judging our behaviors and intent.  It is easy to believe you are exercising influence when others would label your actions as authority or even micromanagement. Here are a few quick ways to test your own leader actions or those of leaders around you:

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Topics: Leadership, Commitment, influence

4 Reasons Not to Coach a Business Like a Sport

Posted by Randy Hall

Jul 2, 2014 9:37:00 AM

It’s a pretty common occurrence for leaders and managers to compare themselves to sports coaches.  I often hear people describe great leadership by referencing a famous football or basketball coach.  Now I’m a big sports fan and I talk about Coach John Wooden as a great example of helping people focus on reaching their full potential, it’s an important concept as we improve our business.  But in many cases we point to a particular sports coach and defend our leadership tactics by comparing our approach to the way we see these icons coach, especially if they have won a championship in something recently.  This is a mistake for several reasons, here are 4 of them:

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Topics: Coaching, Leadership, Performance, Management, Employee Engagement, Leader

3 Ways to Measure Leadership Success

Posted by Randy Hall

Jun 25, 2014 10:39:00 AM

I started 4th Gear Consulting back in 2009 because I thought we needed more leaders.  As I’ve worked with executives, business owners, teams and companies I continue to learn what is driving our collective lack of leaders.  As a rule, when it comes to leadership, we aren’t very good at defining it, setting expectations around it, coaching for it, measuring it, or being responsible for it. We often measure leaders by outputs that are not representative of leadership and we have not adapted to use some of the new tools and concepts available to us to more effectively define and measure leadership.  If we really want to encourage people to lead inside our business or organization we must use a few new metrics to help define and measure what success looks like for a leader.  This is not to say that we stop measuring results like revenue and profit, but those measurements alone can lead to abysmal leadership for the sake of the numbers.  And that’s just not sustainable.  Add these three measurements to your leadership assessments and focus on building phenomenal leaders who can drive the other numbers:

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Topics: Leadership, Performance, Management, Employee Engagement, Success, Leadership Capability, Responsibility, Leader

Breaking Bad Leadership Habits

Posted by Randy Hall

Jun 18, 2014 9:14:00 AM

A while back my wife mentioned that we needed a new kitchen faucet.  The one we had was about 15 years old, leaked on occasion and wasnt very easy to operate.  Three kids can wear a faucet out pretty effectively.  When we went to look at them she really liked the new touch faucets that cut off and on with just a touch of your hand.  I bought one, brought it home and installed it and then the kids proceeded to play with it for hours.  Somehow it survived that early test and we have grown used to simply touching our faucet to turn it on.  In fact, I've gotten so used to it that I find myself touching faucets at work, in restrooms, and other places where it makes no sense and certainly does not operate the intended faucet.  My brain certainly knows the difference between my faucet at home, and a non-touch faucet somewhere else, but, my first instinct is to touch it and sometimes when it doesn't turn on immediately I actually touch it again.

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Topics: Leadership, Management, Success, Choice, Leadership Capability, Leader

4 Reasons You Need a Coach

Posted by Bethany Swartz

Jun 4, 2014 9:56:00 AM

Whether you are a newly promoted manager or a seasoned leader, a good coach can take you from where you are today, to where you want to be tomorrow. Coaching should not be reserved for top-level executives or global leaders, it can help move anyone closer to their full potential.  Despite the many benefits of coaching, most managers and leaders do not have a good coach and therefore miss out on a critical component of development. Why? Well, coaching comes with a cost, both in fees for the coach and in time. Plus, a good coach can be hard to find. Many businesses today struggle to find a coach that matches the culture, needs, and vision of their business. And let’s face it, effective coaching can be uncomfortable at times, so many people avoid it altogether. Coaching, however, can be worth both the investment and the discomfort. Here’s why:

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Topics: Coaching, Leadership, Coach

The Top 5 Benefits of a Committed Team

Posted by Bethany Swartz

May 21, 2014 10:35:00 AM

Recently I wrote about two types of organizations- compliant and committed.  I explored the different attempts businesses make to get their company to reach new goals, achieve new limits, and exceed the targets.  I concluded that a committed team is best for the long term future and success of a business and that leaders within the organization are responsible for creating this level of commitment.  That sure sounds logical, but what’s in it for the leader?  After some consideration, here is my top 5 list for why committed teams are best.

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Topics: Teamwork, Leadership, Commitment, influence

Why Good Leadership Matters in Business

Posted by Randy Hall

May 14, 2014 11:08:00 AM

I was having a conversation recently with a business executive about why good management and leadership matters in business.  It sounds self explanatory, and no one disputes it in a general sense, but when you look at the specific impact of a great leader or manager on a team, it starts to become clear how much it impacts the bottom line.

Teams can usually be broken into three distinct groups.  Of course there are variations and degrees in each of these but typically we can separate people based on their perspectives, their actions, and their ability to learn and adapt. Looking at it through that lens, most teams can be divided into people that will be successful under any leadership, people who probably won’t make it no matter how good their manager or leader is, and those who can succeed with the support of a strong leader.  Let’s take a look at each one of these kinds of people as we look at the impact of leadership.

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Topics: Employees, Team Organization, Leadership, Management, Talent, Accountability, Leader

It's Time to Change the Way We Change...

Posted by Bethany Swartz

Apr 24, 2014 9:03:00 AM

This post was originally published on Collective Matters on March 19th, 2014.

There is a common theme that we see in organizations today. Change.  Change is hard.  Change is constant.  We change too much.  We change too fast.  We don't leave time for one change to stick before we change it again…..Sound familiar?

These days, so much of what employees are concerned with is what they perceive as the pace of change.  They feel like changes are always happening, they cannot keep up with the pace, and they eventually lose sight of the vision for change in the first place. More times than not, employees feel the change burn-out because we as leaders forget to be the change we want to see.  Instead, we often get caught up in creating new policies and procedures, implementing new and improved forms, or changing meeting times to magically make them more effective; all in an effort to increase compliance with the new task. Unfortunately, no amount of software upgrades, new processes, or additional meetings will ever compensate for what truly needs to be different; how your organization leads change.   

In order to effectively lead change, organizations need to understand why people resist change in the first place, and then ensure their leaders are equipped with the capability, and a plan, to lead individuals and teams through the change.  By understanding how human behavior shifts and using that knowledge to build and execute an effective plan for change, organizations can reduce resistance and build committed teams that have shared vision and a self-sustaining culture of growth, innovation, and accountability.

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Topics: Company Changes, Leadership, Change, Commitment, influence

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