In This Issue

The #1 Cause of Regretted Employee Turnover, and What You Can Do About It

Does Being the Boss Mean You Get to Tell People What To Do?



Build an executive leadership brand that inspires loyalty and drives employee performance

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May 19 - June 25: Singapore

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Brenda Bence - Achieving Greater Success for YOU and Your Company Through the Power of Branding
May 18, 2015



This week, the world is celebrating International Coaching Week, recognizing what is still a relatively young profession. Along with this recognition, it also honors the life-changing benefits - both professional and personal - that can come from working with a coach.


As a long-time executive coach myself, I am grateful for having worked with hundreds of outstanding executives over the years, helping them to build their brands as leaders. Along with speaking at conventions and conferences and authoring books, coaching leaders to greater success is one of the most fulfilling aspects of what I do.


Through coaching leaders over the years, I have observed many of what I call "Executive Leadership Personal Brand Busters®" - actions, reactions, the way someone looks, sounds, or thinks that can consciously or subconsciously prevent leaders from rising as high in their careers as they would like.


So, in honor of International Coaching Week, the articles in this newsletter will share some of the most common people-leadership behaviors I have witnessed that stop leaders from being the kinds of bosses others want to follow. (If you aren't sure why that's so important, the article below about the #1 cause of regretted employee turnover will hopefully bring that to light!)


The second article is actually an excerpt from my book on leading others, Would You Want to Work for YOU™? and asks the powerful question: Does being the boss mean you get to tell people what to do? I look forward to your thoughts and comments.


All the best -- here's to International Coaching Week, and to YOU™!




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Brenda Bence




The #1 Cause of Regretted Employee Turnover, and What You Can Do About It

 Not speaking up when you disagree

When Winston came into my office looking for coaching, he was grappling with a difficult issue--whether or not to leave his senior executive position within a large services company. Winston had been with the organization for about three years, overseeing a division of the firm that had 50,000 employees. As a first step, to get a better grip on the current situation, I asked Winston about both the pros and the cons of his current position.


"What do you like most about the company and your job?" I asked.


"To start off, I thoroughly enjoy the nature of the work," he told me.


"I love leading a large team of people. It's challenging and offers a lot of opportunity for both personal and professional growth."


He talked about his work with animated energy, leaning forward in his chair and gesturing with his hands. "I have great colleagues. I'm able to set goals for the organization and lead thousands of people to achieve them. I get to operate cross-functionally as well as across multiple geographies, traveling as much as I'd like. I'm in a decision-making role with plenty of responsibility. And quite honestly, I'm well paid, too."


"So far, it sounds like a dream job, Winston. So, tell me, what is it that you dislike so much about your job that you'd consider leaving it?"


He sat back in his chair and sighed. "Only one issue," he replied. "My boss."


As Winston said this, he "deflated," as if my question had stuck a pin in his enthusiasm balloon.


No matter how long the "assets" list was in Winston's analysis of his current position - and no matter how much he loved every other aspect of his job - that one single liability, his superior, was enough to tip the scales in favor of leaving. This senior leader was an extremely valuable asset to the company and brought in millions of dollars of revenue every year. But the behaviors of his boss were enough to cause the company to lose him. Sobering, isn't it?


If you think Winston's case is unusual, it isn't. The #1 reason for unwanted employee turnover in corporations across the globe is "a bad boss." Indeed, Gallup conducted a worldwide poll of more than 1,000,000 employees and 80,000 managers and determined that employees want one thing at work more than anything else - a good boss. They want someone who helps them develop, teaches them key skills, and gives them a chance to use those skills in meaningful ways. In fact, the study confirmed that retention and performance were most affected by how employees felt about their bosses.


So, what behavior changes are required to be a "good boss?" Click here to challenge yourself and do a critical leadership ratio exercise.



Excerpt from Would You Want to Work For YOU™?


Does Being the Boss Mean You Get to Tell People What To Do? 



It's 7:30 p.m. on a Thursday evening, and you're still at the office preparing for a presentation you'll make to top management early the next day. You have just hung up the phone after speaking with your spouse, and the annoyed voice on the other end of the line still rings in your ears. "Missing dinner again? The kids are starting to forget what you look like!"


Still, you face at least two more hours of work, and you're tired, hungry, and stressed. Just as you begin to dive back into preparing for Friday's presentation, Leiza, one of your direct reports, walks in and interrupts.


"Boss, I've been working through a challenge over and over in my head. I've narrowed the solution down to two options: Option A and Option B. Here are the pros and cons of each." (Leiza briefly explains them.) "Which do you recommend?"


You're busy; you don't have time for this. So, you answer quickly, "Go with Option B."


"Okay, thanks, Boss, that's great. I appreciate your help," Leiza says as she heads out of your office, ready to implement Option B.


You chalk up the exchange as yet another excellent leadership decision you've made. Her appreciation reminds you of the power you have to make decisions on the spot and the fact that people will follow your direction. In fact, it gives you an emotional boost at the end of a long day. Your direct report needed you, and you were able to deliver. Job well done, right?


Not so fast. Let's rewind this scene and play it out in the way a highly successful leader would approach the situation.


Just as you begin to dive back into preparing for Friday's presentation, Leiza, one of your direct reports, walks in and interrupts. "Boss, I've been working through a challenge over and over in my head. I've narrowed the solution down to two options: Option A and Option B. Here are the pros and cons of each." (Leiza briefly explains them.) "Which do you recommend?"


"Leiza, assume you choose Option A today. Fast forward in your mind to six months from now ... what would the outcome look like, and how would that affect everyone involved? Then, do the same for Option B. How would the outcomes differ?"


Leiza pauses, looking at you puzzled. You've never asked her a question like that before, and she isn't sure what to do. The silence grows, but you smile patiently, waiting for Leiza to gather her thoughts.


When she continues to look puzzled, you encourage her further. "I'd like to know your point of view on that. You may need some time to think about it. When could you get back to me with your assessment?"


Leiza raises her eyebrows, intrigued and excited by the challenge of visioning the future. She responds, "By Monday morning," and leaves your office with more energy than before, feeling empowered and pleased that her opinion is valued.


Time for Questions


I can almost hear you say, "But it's already late! I'm looking at two more hours in the office before I can get home. I don't have time to ask Leiza any questions. It's faster just to tell her what to do."


Estimate the length of time it took to give Leiza an answer compared to the time it took to ask her a few questions. You probably only added one or two minutes to the encounter, if that. If you don't have time in the moment to discuss the solutions with Leiza, set a time to do it after she has had an opportunity to mull over the various options.

 Are the questions you're being asked too simple?

The best way to develop your team is by asking powerful questions. Yes, it's true that this can take a little bit more time than immediately telling employees what to do. But, if you don't make the time to ask questions of your team members, you will end up being the one answering all of the questions and doing more work than necessary. This is a sign that your team has become dependent on you. And you'll never step out of this never-ending cycle unless you make the decision to change your behaviors and begin asking questions instead of telling others what to do.


Empowering Your Team Members


Asking instead of telling is a fundamental behavior that differentiates the most successful leaders from those that can't seem to advance beyond a certain level. The strongest leaders are those who don't respond to queries from their staff right off the bat-that is, they don't choose Option A or B and then send the employee away to implement the plan. Instead, they ask powerful questions that get team members to stop, reflect, grow, and challenge themselves.


Remember the old adage: "Give a man a fish, and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he eats for a lifetime." Giving your team members the "right" solutions by answering their questions is like giving them a fish for a day-it's a shortcut that only takes care of one matter at a time. Teaching them "how to fish" by asking powerful, thought-provoking questions may take slightly longer in the short-term, but will save you a significant amount of time in the future. Team members won't keep coming back to ask you as many questions later; they'll develop their own ability to think through challenges.


This is ultimately how you empower your team members to move away from "taking orders" to "taking charge."


Sound off! I'd love to hear your thoughts on what you think it takes to be a great leader in today's 24-7, non-stop world. Share your thoughts here.



Happy International Coaching Week - and here's to YOU™!

 Brenda Bence


Brenda Bence