How Successful Managers Boost Employee Performance

“The manager is either an engagement-creating coach or an engagement-destroying boss, but, both relationships affect employee behavior.”  ~ Ken Royal – Gallup Workplace

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The landscape of our livelihood is rapidly changing. For many of us, it feels more like white-water rafting and survival than the strategic plan, day-to-day operations and commerce we’ve worked so hard to build. Things behind the magic curtain are different. Everybody from the investors and business owner, multiple levels of leadership all the way through to the front-line employee, are experiencing some level of challenge and uncertainty. We seem to be building the model as we go.

The customer landscape is also changing. We are not as comfortable or patient as we once were:  Tempers run hot, outbursts are more frequent and fatigue is high. We can’t afford to miss an opportunity or have our team be anything but the best. So how do we shore them up and help our employees perform at their best? How can managers be successful leaders?

Now is the time to be mindful, disciplined and resilient ~ Emotional Intelligence is more than a “thing”. Managers and leaders with high EQ are skilled in how they lead, connect and adapt. We may be in unfamiliar territory, but there ARE things we can do to engage employees and motivate high-level performance. We can still create a positive customer experience. How? Leadership. Connection. Resilient Flexibility.

  1. Lead:  People who follow a leader, have been assured that they are valued. It takes more than a paycheck.  Every time you plan, communicate and act, include the 4 emotional needs of employees:
    • Trust: Be predictable, even in unpredictable times. Up to 50% of time wasted at work is due to lack of trust.  Paul Berg from Gallup wrote, “Leaders don’t need to predict the future, but they must be predictable now and in the future. It’s hard to trust an erratic leader.”  
    • Compassion: Say it loud, and back it up with policy. Employees are juggling new challenges and responsibilities – just like you. They need know that their manager understands and wants them to succeed.  
    • Stability: 2 elements = practical and psychological. Gallup’s Berg said, “. . . the core of stability is psychological security, particularly the need to know where a company is headed and that one’s job is secure. This is why you must clearly define and communicate your decision-making principles”.
    • Hope: an essential asset through turmoil. Hope fosters resilience, innovation and better decision-making. It speaks to realistic optimism.  “The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” William Arthur Ward
  2. Connect: Successful Managers strive to continually coach and offer balanced feedback. According to recent Gallup findings, “The only viable management style going forward will be ongoing coaching conversations that establish a rhythm of collaboration and create shared accountability for performance and development.”
    • High EQ leaders are great coaches. They stay engaged and connected with the players on their team. They frequently share feedback: the wins and the challenges.
    • Connection better equips managers to align day-to-day work and raise performance. Just having the conversation empowers workers to overcome obstacles, focus on strengths, take accountability and proactively improve their engagement.
  3. Shift:  Adjust and adapt. This is not the time to be rigid or stubborn. High EQ leaders include Appreciative Inquiry into their employee conversation. It opens dialogue and gives managers richer perspective into the employee experience. How to shift? Be Curious.  When you find yourself in frustration or obsessing on the problems:  pause – breath – and ask, “What more can I do to get the desired results?”  
    • Be mindful of the power of your words.
    • Make curiosity a habit.
    • Use your words in ways that add value: a) Ask Generative Questions and b) Foster a Positive Frame.

Focus on what YOU CAN DO to make a positive difference for yourself, team and clients.  

Lead. Connect. Shift.

Then get ready for breakthrough thinking, productivity and high engagement!

Gallup References:

Workplace Wellness 9/9 and 910/20

Coherent Connections 9/10/20


I am looking forward to the collaboration of leaders who share a passion for wellness at work. This Summit is sponsored by Community Strong SCC, Strong, a health initiative to improve the health and well-being of St. Charles County and an EDC Business & Community Partners.

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Speaker Lineup

Did “AND” get Banned?

This morning I read the heartfelt words of a mother. . . committed to her belief, bravely exploring the transitioning wilderness and leading her family into new life chapters. Seasons always change. Day and night. Summer and Winter. Fall and Spring. Full moon and half-moon. We favor the tidiness of the two extremes of this OR that.  However, the beauty is often discovered in the transitions. . .the not so finite in-between. Amidst the space of both day and night, we witness the glory of “AND”. A beautiful sunset / sunrise happens between high noon and midnight. The blossoms of spring and the rich fall colors of changing foliage speak to the ongoing cycle of depletion and renewal.

There is a reverence for transition. We stop and appreciate what is – along with what will be. Think about the birth of a child – and the passing life of someone we love. We slow down to be fully present. Emotionally, intellectually, and physically. Those memories last forever. Yet, somewhere along our adulthood evolution, in pursuit of “success” we dismissed curiosity. We became so educated, credentialed, informed and committed that we sterilized life. Amidst our laser-focus we developed a substantial blind spot.

A parent is always a parent. A child is always someone’s child. Even after they are “gone”.  How can we resist inclusion? There are numerous crossroads: Mask or no mask? Republican or Democrat? Scientific or Spiritual? Love or Hate? Pro or Anti? Work or Play? And so, it goes. . .

The release of our beloved children – at ANY age requires profound strength, courage and resilience. Loving is not easy. Enduring harsh critique is often crushing. The important moments we fail to offer curiosity in lieu of rigidity – we generate chaos. Rigidity generates the exact confusion and isolation that we seek to escape.

We share this world, this time and life experience. How can we continue to argue or condemn those who are different from ourselves? Our ability to love in such a way that others feel free, is a gift. And it is currently scarce if you follow news, social media, politics, etc.

Perhaps in this wild ride of 2020 bursting with unknowns and never-thought-of experiences, we could expand rather than contract. Is it possible for us to connect? Can we bring authenticity without apology or promotion? Are we willing to BE humane without moralizing or warring with others who are unlike us?  Have we become so educated that we can no longer learn? Have we been reduced to OR?

Awareness, empathy and resilience are emotional intelligence skills that can be learned – at ANY time. These qualities welcome curiosity and create a rich tapestry in our livelihood. The question is – who is willing to not “know” everything?


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Too Much Stress? Is It Time To Do Something About it?

timeSelf Awareness is the foundation to Emotional Intelligence. That includes stress. 

Everyone responds to stress differently. Use this checklist to assess the impact stress is having on your life and if it’s time to do something about it?


Are  you ignoring stress signals and reaching the end of your rope?


Is it time to do something about it? 


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When Work is Not What You Expect?

It’s still early in the week and people are already expressing frustration. August tends to be a hectic time of year. End of summer, finishing vacations and preparing for back to school. And . . . We are STILL contending with the disruption of a pandemic, various political and scientific sides of the “debate”, while we come together to engage in earning our livelihood. Work.  It’s an arena that brings us together and it can showcase or exaggerate our differences.

In his book, Awake at Work, Michael Carroll shares principles for discovering clarity and balance in the midst of work’s chaos.

solve.workSimply put, “work is never quite what we expect, and being successful at our jobs is never as simple as we hope.

Keep in mind – Carroll’s book as published in 2006 – BEFORE Covid-19, before all of the new complexity of disruptions and chaos we are now navigating. Yet, we continue the struggle to reconcile our desire for the ideal work experience through the wild-ride-of-daily-life experience. Is there a way we can successfully engage with each other AND our work  with the messy hand we are dealt?

  • Wouldn’t it be wonderful if work was more than a frustration or imposition in our plans?
  • What would it be like if we were able to show up with curiosity instead of armed with our opinions?
  • How can we move forward while successful and compassionately engaged at work?

Maybe this uncharted terrain is exactly what we need. It requires that we pause and examine our attitudes complete with preferred and well-trained habits. Is there room to consider that these “complications” are exactly what we’ve been looking for and what we need?

“If we examine work closely, we will notice that whatever gets messy with our jobs demands that we slow down and pay attention. The difficulties go to the front of the line … and stare us straight in the face. But all too often, rather than responding with the resourceful attention that the situation requires, we dig in and resist.

“Resisting work’s difficulties and hoping for smooth sailing is pointless.

“What is required is surprisingly ordinary: simply to be who we are where we are, to subtly shift from getting somewhere fast to being somewhere completely.

“. . . By genuinely being ourselves in the present moment, we naturally become alert, open an d unusually skillful?

“Work . . . unfolds on its terms not ours. . .

We can be awake as it unfolds or we can resist – a choice we can and will make moment by moment for the rest of  our lives.”*

There could be a window of opportunity to play with disruption and problems. The next time the unplanned shows up – experiment with it. Challenge yourself to engage, instead of resist. Work  is WORK. . . not a problem to solve. Each situation may require a shift in approach, additional or fewer tools, or a change in perspective.

Work is WORK and Life is LIFE . They are not problems to solve, they have moments with unplanned encounters.

Every moment we are handed the opportunity to choose joy or resentment.

How will you engage with your choices?

*Excerpts from Awake At Work, by Michael Carroll

Regenerative Emotions

Change is coming at lightning speed and we have all adjusted how we interact with the world around us. It can create depleting emotions or we can practice connecting with renewing emotions. How we think and feel need attention and energy, just like our electronics need recharging.

See how you feel after trying this:


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