Peculiar Personalities Challenge Meeting Managers

By Barbara Ann Cox, CMP

As a meeting manager, you orchestrate a variety of events — board meetings, educational seminars, regional caucuses, full blown conferences, to name a few. You are organized, efficient, effective and politically correct. You prepare. You plan. You pray.

Whatever the situation, the association meeting manager must depend on others to assist with the many arduous and tedious tasks that are accomplished on site.  As an association meeting manager, you largely depend upon your fellow co-workers as well as volunteer members to provide over-and-above — and deeply appreciated — assistance during the event. Their daily jobs may not be remotely related to event management; nevertheless, they rise to the occasion.

Most likely, this select group of individuals attends the event with a certain degree of commitment to its success and the desire that their association excels. However, some on-site workers have their own attitude and agenda that can be a bit disruptive to the otherwise smooth-sailing event. Here is a whimsical look at the various types of on-site staff that, you as a meeting manager, must manage while managing your meeting.

Wally Whiner

“This box is too heavy.” “When can I take a break?” “Seven AM? Why so early?” Wally Whiner whines about everything, all the time. It is too hot, too cold, too far, too much, too late. He is like nails on a chalkboard. You could just slap him.

Patty Panic

You fantasize about stuffing Patty Panic in the trunk of your car for the duration of the event. She goes ballistic at every turn. She turns ordinarily nice people into frazzled neurotics. Her knee-jerk reaction to every situation creates stressed nerves, needless anxiety and possibly hives. She thrives on the chaos she causes. A smooth-running conference really ticks her off.

Ned Negative

Ned Negative’s knee-jerk reaction to every situation is doom and gloom. He forecasts the future of the event, hour by hour, minute by minute, as one of disaster anticipating the next disaster. His mission in life is to finger the weakness of whatever successes prevail. He would look good with a plastic bag over his head, tied tightly around his neck.

Gloria Goodness

Gloria Goodness nurtures. She mothers. She’s probably a Pisces. Gloria Goodness has a sympathetic ear to even the most egregious story of lost registration, lost nametag, lost checkbook, lost identity. She consoles. She soothes. She disrupts the agenda you have under “Rules & Regulations.” She belongs in the First Aid Room.

Harry Hotshot

Harry Hotshot comes into headquarters with his shirt buttons bursting of bravado and good will. What can he do? How can he help? Where can he serve? One firm request for assistance has Harry Hotshot bolting for the door with a litany of excuses that trail the length of the convention center. You hope he keeps heading for the exits . . . all of them.

Nora Knowitall

Nora Knowitall probably runs the association’s birthday parties.  This gives her the infinite wisdom to be highly knowledgeable about every essential detail of the meeting. She has all the answers; knows all the questions in advance. She can give out the name, address, cell phone numbers and topic title of the last five keynote speakers. No matter that much of her information is incorrect (i.e. fabricated), she stands firm in her misguidance toward attendees. You wish she would get laryngitis or maybe stuck in the elevator.

Claude Competent

Claude Competent read every memo, attended every planning meeting, memorized every session and starched every shirt he wore to the conference. He studied the floor plan, knows all the meeting rooms’ square footage, electrical outlets, public phone numbers, fire exits, etc. He not only knows the names and organizations of the attendees, he also knows their hotel room numbers and eating habits. He never misses a chance to tell you how much he knows, ad nauseam. You know, however, he needs to get a life.

Edna Efficient

Edna Efficient mans headquarters, fills in at registration, helps out in the speaker ready room, assists with lunch seating, passes out handouts and tracks down attendees who have received urgent messages. She is everything to everybody and cannot stop in her quest to personally satisfy attendees, staff and VIPs. However, if she does not get the proper recognition and constant accolades she believes she deserves for her efforts, she pouts and grumbles about how much she sacrificed of herself. You want to suggest she Google “convents.”

I have no doubt that meeting managers could come up with a few choice personalities from their own experiences. I’m sure I could conjure a few more examples as well. However, limited space permits me these few samples of the interpersonal challenges that meeting managers must endure while orchestrating the myriad tasks necessary to produce a success event.

Meeting managers celebrate their professional expertise that makes any event successful . . . despite the peculiarities of the on-site personalities.

Barbara Ann Cox, CMP, has been enduring peculiar personalities for more than 30 years as a conference & meeting management professional. She recently rebranded Meeting Makers Inc., her company of 18 years, to Barbara Ann Solutions, offering multiple services for meeting consulting, site research, speaker resources, public relations, writing, editing, proofreading, event planning and more.  Share your peculiar personalities with Barbara Ann at Barbara@BarbaraAnnSolutions.com or call 850.656.0025.

If Events Could Talk: 10 Strategies for Fueling a Powerful Voice

by Aaron D. Wolowiec, MSA, CAE, CMP, CTA

Has your association conducted a communication audit within the last three years? More specifically, are your meetings and publications teams working together to ensure your association’s events are effectively marketed?

If your events suffer from stagnant or declining attendance, sponsors or exhibitors – or if you have difficulty securing quality speakers – the answer lies not in a silo, but rather in your team. Following are 10 strategies your association can immediately implement to boost the reputation of its signature events and, in turn, its bottom line. 

  1. Branding – A uniform event name, acronym or hashtag from one year to the next is just the beginning. To ensure your members easily recognize an event at first glance, consider how colors, logos, fonts and overall design elements are used consistently across communication platforms.
  2. Differentiation – Briefly scan the professional development landscape and you’ll find fierce competition all around you – colleges and universities, other associations and even your own members. Event messaging must clearly illustrate in both quantitative and qualitative terms how your event is different from the rest.

  3. Value proposition – Every event comprises some combination of learning and networking. One way to elevate yours above the others is to demonstrate the value attendees can expect to gain in both the short-term (e.g., contacts, ideas, goals, objectives) and the long-term (e.g., strategy, tactics, products, services, profit).
  4.  Voice – If your event could talk, what would it sound like? An elderly grandparent? A progressive hipster? Ensure written collateral closely resembles the tone and sophistication of your audience. As appropriate, add in elements of levity, informality, slang and pop culture to also make them fun and interesting to read.
  5.  Brevity – Promotional pieces are not the place to be long-winded. Prospective attendees are inundated with messaging each and every day, so make it easy for them to cut through the noise and connect with your publications. Don’t be surprised if fewer words result in improved open and click-through rates, too.
  6.  Channels – Determine how your association communicates. And don’t just think in terms of print communications – include all digital and social media platforms, as well. Optimal event marketing is multimedia in nature and should include messaging in most – if not all – of these communication channels.
  7. Testimonials – Never underestimate the power of an exceptional experience, particularly by Generation Yelp. Gather and share both written and video testimonials from attendees, sponsors, exhibitors and speakers. Ultimately, it means more coming from their peers than it does from you.
  8. Images – We know a picture is worth a thousand words, so ditch the clipart and invest in a professional photographer to take pictures during your signature events. Use these photographs throughout your marketing materials to tell your event’s story: who attends, how they engage and what they learn.
  9. Sample content – Sometimes prospective attendees and their supervisors are looking for added insurance your event will be worth their time and money. Sharing sample content in the form of slide decks, handouts, executive summaries and video clips may be just the ticket to secure their participation.
  10. Engage volunteers – Identify your repeat attendees and arm them with the tools needed to promote your events. Consider guest blog posts, social media chats and featured magazine columns. Likewise, remove as many barriers as possible to encourage easy sharing of member-generated materials.

While you may not have the resources to employ each of these tactics between now and your next annual meeting, take some time this month to identify and address the low-hanging fruit. Then develop a long-term strategic plan for implementing the remaining marketing and communication ideas, remembering to include representation from both the meetings and publications teams.

At the end of the day, you simply can’t afford to ignore what your events are saying about you, your department and your organization.

Aaron Wolowiec is founder and president of Event Garde, a Michigan-based professional development consulting firm. Event Garde works with association leaders who want to deliver dynamic, meaningful and compelling education and networking experiences. Email: aaron@eventgarde.com

Six Ways to Intersect Publications and Education Events

by Kim Howard, CAE

Delivering content to your members is one of the cornerstones of not only your publication program, but your education events. We all know that not all of our members attend our events. In a perfect world, they would. Because they do not, how do we share that information while not reinventing the wheel? How do we help sell the value of our education events? How can we showcase the content in the best possible way before, during and after our programs? Here are some ideas.

  1. Go beyond an ad. Cross-promote your events in the publications that you have. When you have a regularly published magazine, your content, if it’s mission-aligned, will likely fall in line with topics discussed at your education events. Is your editorial calendar in line with broad issues that are discussed at your conferences? Are you covering your content through the applicable lens for your members? Many associations have membership that runs the gamut from students to c-suite executives. While it is difficult to serve them all in one publication or conference, you can successfully integrate your content to cater to the cross-section of members. I use the term education events loosely because this could mean an in-person conference, webinar or podcast, lunch and learn or brown bag, etc. Have staff, freelancers or volunteers cover the event and write an article about the topics and subsequent discussion during the event. This is an excellent way not only to generate content for your publication, but to showcase the discussion. It’s also a great way to showcase your volunteers. Many members covet a byline on your association’s blog or in your publication. Covering select sessions at your events drives home the message to those members and the profession in general who did not attend that the event’s content is something to take note of and hear first hand. Think of it as your indirect sales guy.
  2. Give sidebars new meaning. Sidebars help break up your content and add an element of information that otherwise may be awkward to include in the main story. You are likely housing your speaker’s content somewhere on your website and the subject will also pertain to something you are covering in your publication. Remind your readers that the content is still there and provide access to it by showcasing it in a sidebar. You could have content available from a webinar, a whitepaper or a slide presentation from an annual conference session. Use it. You don’t have to showcase the entire resource—just use a link, headline and blurb. And don’t forget your association’s other resources such as white papers, reports, webinars, podcasts, blog posts and other gold nugget of information that shows your members that they have access to solid industry or profession information.
  3. Ask speakers to convert their presentation into an article or interview them. This approach works best if you have your editorial staff attend the selected sessions and figure out which ones will translate into content for your publication. It also helps to weed out the presenters who were less than stellar—you probably do not want to showcase their content in your publication. It’s unlikely their content would translate well in a new format. Add an editor’s note at the beginning or the end of the piece letting the readers know that this topic was first discussed at XYZ conference, webinar, etc. I have used this approach for years and our publications have received many excellent articles that we published.
  4. When you have a hot, timely topic of discussion, ask the speaker or panelists to write blog posts about the subject before the event. There is always some piece of relevant information that he or she wishes they could include, but can’t because of time constraints or it diverts from the subject a little too much for an event. Not only is this a good way to showcase the content, but it creates buzz about your event and may even increase the numbers from last-minute registrations or day-pass registrants.
  5. Cross-promote your education event through Twitter. If you know that certain members are into social media, especially Twitter, and they have fast fingers, ask them which sessions they would consider covering for you. This approach works best live, but after the event, consider picking out the top five or 10 tweets from the meeting and using that information as a sidebar to post-event coverage. The great thing about this approach is that you are covering yet another session that may not be covered any other traditional way. It’s yet another insight into the education content that your meetings and events offer.
  6. Additional ideas might include:
    1. Videos or other enhanced content in digital publications. Careful planning and scheduling can yield good video clips from members when they are onsite.
    2. Executive summaries of content, ideas or discussions to share with attendees/those who were unable to attend as resources rather than simply as informational articles (think of this as a note-taking service or perhaps even enhance these notes with new information to make them that much more useful).
    3. Leverage sample content/learning outcomes/ROI/testimonials in next year’s event marketing materials to make the promotion that much more compelling.
    4. Consider year-round opportunities to position your annual meeting vs. only the 2-3 months leading up to the conference; keep the conversations going.
    5. Consider repackaging content into an infographic or other visually interesting format to help members/attendees digest the information in a new way.

Even if you cannot implement all of these ideas, pick one that you know will work with your membership and any internal constraints you may have. Starting small will be the first step to yielding better results for your educational events and content that you are delivering to your members.

Kim Howard, CAE, is an award-winning publisher and president of Write Communications, LLC. Write Communications works with association leaders to create mission-aligned content for every channel for measureable results. She is the immediate past president of Association Media & Publishing. She can be contacted at kim@writecommunicationsllc.com.

 

Help Your Organization Leverage the Power of Twitter

by DJ MullerMuller Headshot

#worldcup2014.  #ipad . #followback.  #android.  These are just four of the topics trending on Wednesday, June 18, 2014 at 8:06pm.  The amazing thing is, these so-called trends are subject to change at any given moment.

Welcome to the world of Twitter, populated with 230 million active users who send more than 500 million tweets per day.  Although its dynamic nature can be somewhat intimidating, Twitter is a cost effective tool that gives organizations of all types and sizes a way to promote their brand, connect and engage their target audience and truly create a unique customer experience.   This is precisely why the social platform should be integrated into your marketing communications plan if you have not done so already.

Too often small organizations create Twitter accounts just to leave them sitting idle – failing to leverage its innate power to communicate and interact with their niche audiences.  The good news is, with a few simple steps, you can ensure that you are on the right track to implementing a Twitter strategy that drives results.

  1. Complete your profile and maximize your presence.

First and foremost, you must complete your profile with information that will help others easily find and identify your organization upon a search.  Make sure to choose a Twitter handle that is simple, easy to spell and does not include an abundance of special characters.  Ideally, your Twitter handle should be the name of your organization as that is the name that the public directly associates with you and will ensure that your account is easy to find.

In addition to choosing a Twitter handle, choose profile and header images that represent your organization and positively reflect the industry in which you serve.  Also, make sure your bio communicates your organization’s specific purpose, includes your location and has a direct URL to your website.

  1. Design and implement an insightful strategy that drives results.

With your profile complete, it’s time to design and implement a strategy that drives results. Although this may seem like a rather large task to tackle, if you break the process down into smaller steps it will be a much more manageable.

  • Define your purpose and set goals. Before you even begin to think about designing a strategy, you must know what you are trying to accomplish. Do you want to generate awareness for your organization?  Are you trying to generate leads for new membership sales? Do you want to increase member engagement?

No matter what your primary intention may be, make sure it is clearly established and set goals that will ensure that you are working to fulfill that purpose.  For example, if you are seeking to generate audience engagement, you should set goals for the number of mentions, retweets and favorites that you receive on a monthly basis.

  • Build your network.  Building a network is essential to setting up a successful strategy.  More is not always better. Although it seems as though the more people you follow, greater awareness will be raised, this is by no means the best way to attract the type of audience that you want and need to fulfill your purpose.

Start by following customers, clients, vendors, business partners, local businesses and other organizations in your industry. Additionally, take the time to identify and connect with industry thought leaders and experts. These types of connections will help create relevant content for your target audience, as well as provide engaging material to share with your followers.  To discover your industry influencers, check out Topsy, a popular social tool that allows Twitter users to analyze the social web based on specific search terms.

  • Know the platform. If you want your strategy to be successful, you have to do a little bit a research.  Twitter is not rocket science, but in order to attract and engage effectively, it is imperative that you know exactly how to interact.

In a nutshell, there are five different types of interactions on Twitter (see chart below). You should familiarize yourself with each and incorporate them into your strategy.

The Tweet.  A message that a Twitter use originates and may not exceed 140 characters in length.
The Retweet (RT).  A re-posting of another user’s tweet that appears on your Twitter timeline.
The @reply.  A public update that contains your response and the hyperlinked username of the person whom you are replying.
The Direct Message.  A private message you can send to your followers.
The Mention.  Any tweet containing a username within the tweet, including the @reply.

Beyond these interactions, you must master the art of the hashtag (#). By using a hashtag in front of a word, or phrase, you can potentially reach any Twitter user that is monitoring that specific hashtag. You can use your Twitter sidebar, or tools such as Google Alerts, Social Mention, Radian6, Trackur and Twitter’s search tool, to identify trending and relevant hashtags that will help you to connect with your defined target audience as well as industry influencers. As a general rule of thumb, never use more than two hashtags per tweet.

  • Develop quality content. Creating engaging content for your followers on Twitter can be a challenge as you only have 140 characters to attract and capture their attention. With this in mind, keep your tweets interesting by asking questions, leading with numbers and statistics, use images, videos and links, and promote your events. Most importantly, ,take the time to reply to those who mention you.   
  1. Add Twitter to your current marketing plan. Adding Twitter to your current marketing efforts will help  drive other users to your profile.  You should add a Twitter button to your website, or even embed a live feed., Promote your organization’s events, hosts contests and link to your other social accounts, such as Instagram.
  1. Measure your results and adjust accordingly.  As you employ your strategy, you need to make sure to measure your performance over time. This will ensure that you are reaching your goals and will give you insights into improving your strategy to better accomplish your purpose. Luckily, tools including Klout, Twitter Analytics, Demographics Pro, Sprout Social and Hootsuite, make managing your account easy and will help you to efficiently measure your reach and influence.  Explore the different features of each tool and choose one that best suits your needs.

As I mentioned above, Twitter is not rocket science. Therefore, have fun with it and don’t be afraid to adjust and experiment.  For example, try tweeting during different times of the day in order to determine when your audience is most active.

Following these simple steps will help you to leverage the immense power of Twitter.  Optimize your account, execute an insightful strategy, integrate your account with existing marketing, measure and monitor your results, be creative and, most importantly, and have fun!

For more Twitter tips and tricks, download WebLink’s free eBook 4 Simple Steps to Help Your Organization Tackle Twitter.

DJ Muller is president and founder of WebLink International, the creators of WebLink Connect™ the innovative, insightful and intuitive association management software with superior customer support. WebLink empowers hundreds of trade and professional associations and more than 500,000 small and medium businesses to help them acquire and retain more customers. Learn more at weblinkinternational.com.

A Good Termination

by Bruce Clarke, J.D.

Clarke, Bruce 2014The best job terminations resemble resignations.  The issues are clear and efforts were made to improve.  Dignity is preserved.

The truth is, most firings happen under difficult conditions.  A manager dropped the ball or the employee behaved badly.  How can a difficult firing be better?

The firing manager usually controls the “terms of the termination” and can make a difficult situation better. There is discretion on basic terms like time off payouts, future references, how an unemployment claim will be handled, and even a written release of legal claims.  There is discretion on what others are told and what the employee record reflects.  There is even discretion on the last day of work and whether the employee will stay to finish some projects.  The facts vary widely.

A much more complicated and misunderstood category of discretion is how the employee is fired.  Call it the “human treatment” option.  It is much more powerful than you might think.

The key to “human treatment” is whether the employee views the termination process itself as fair, not whether the decision was correct.  “Was my treatment on the way out the final insult in a long line of insults, or was it something quite different?  Did it recognize my humanity, my need for dignity, my need to tell others why I was fired, and my need to leave this group of work friends without a sudden and public divorce?”

The most important way a manager can make the process fair is to tell the truth.  “This is why we are firing you.  This is how the decision was made.  This is how we investigated the facts. Yes, we value the work you did for us on that, but the failures on this led to your discharge.”  This is not the time to say everything that is true, nor the time to debate, but it can often be a time to establish the basic fairness of the decision process itself.  It is also not the time to destroy the last shred of an employee’s dignity.

The most important way a fired employee can encourage “human treatment” is to be capable of handling his or her end of the bargain.  Can you as an employee de-personalize this firing?  Can you disagree or agree on a point without coming unglued?   Can you show you are ready to move on if the exit makes that possible?  Can you set out your ideas for internal communication and future references, or say goodbye to your team without making matters worse?  Can you be trusted?

Research by a Duke professor and his team found that employees who perceived the process as fair were much less likely to make claims against employers, even if they disagreed with the discharge.  Employees who saw the process itself as unfair became vindictive and made legal claims at a much higher rate.  Giving no reason for firing is not perceived as fair!  Fairness in the termination process itself may be a better predictor of future legal problems than whether the actual reasons for termination were valid or not.

You can make a difficult termination better or worse by how the exit is handled.  Your choice!

Bruce Clarke, J.D., is CEO of CAI, helping more than 1,000 NC employers maximize employee engagement and minimize employer liability. For more information, visit www.capital.org.

When An Employee Has A Serious Complaint

by Bruce Clarke, J.D.Clarke, Bruce 2014

It happens in every workplace.  The same serious and unlawful misbehavior we see in our communities sometimes find its way to the job.  People are the greatest asset of an employer but can be the “crabgrass in the lawn of business,” as my friend says.

What should happen when harassment, discrimination, abusive treatment and other serious misbehaviors rear their ugly heads?

Managers, please view a complaint as an opportunity to make a situation better AND the long-term relationship with the victim stronger.  Psychologists in workplace studies say that an emotional crisis is a key point where your response can make the employee’s attitude much better OR much worse.  Some even say that the best predictor of whether a problem will end in a lawsuit is how fairly you process the problem, not the problem itself.

Good managers do several things.  They embrace the complaint, rather than avoid it, and focus on finding the right solution.  Neither of you caused the problem, so let the chips fall where they may and avoid prejudgment.  You will create a much better investigation and solution if you remain neutral on the outcome.  If you cannot be objective, ask for help.

Follow through with good listening, appropriate pushback to the victim for the whole story, and appropriate speed and discretion.  Take any quick steps needed to prevent repeat behavior while you work.  Ideally, keep the victim informed of your progress.  Get help from HR or a mentor.  Follow your company’s complaint process, at a minimum.  Precedent can be important to consider, but avoid a foolish consistency as the saying goes.

Employees making complaints have an equally important role.  Follow the complaint policy if there is one, but skip to another manager you trust if needed.  Your manager wants to hear how you feel, but must have facts to investigate.  Focus on the facts.  Who can help support your story?  Bring the problem to a trusted manager sooner rather than later.

Be honest about any part you may have played in the problem or steps you have already taken, good and bad.  Have some discretion and give this time to work.  What is your manager going to hear when he or she investigates?  For example, be prepared to hear some things about your performance you may not like (but need to hear) if work quality is an issue.

An important question that employees and managers often fail to ask is:  “What is the ideal outcome here?”  I am often surprised at how reasonable employees can be even in serious situations.  They know employers cannot guarantee perfect behavior by all.  But they have the right to expect help when they seek it.

Solutions to early-stage problems handled properly by all can be simple and effective, preserving relationships and protecting careers.  Problems that are buried like a bone in the backyard will only get worse with age.

Bruce Clarke, J.D., is CEO of CAI, helping more than 1,000 NC employers maximize employee engagement and minimize employer liability. For more information, visit www.capital.org.

The Real Impact of Leadership

by Alesia Latson

William James, the famed American philosopher and psychologist, once said, “When two people meet there are really six people present. There is each person as they see themselves, each person as the other person sees them, and each person as they really are.” As a leader, how do you see yourself? And even more important… how do the people you lead see you?

Realize that every action you take and every interaction you have leaves a lasting impact on others. You can have the best of intentions, but if your impact isn’t aligned with the intention, then your leadership may not be as effective as it could be. Why? Because in the end, what matters is not who you think you are, but the experience that other people have with you.

Now before you say, “I don’t care what other people think of me,” realize that you don’t need to care what they think. You do, however, have to care about the impact you have on others, on your organization, and your industry. Your impact leaves a lasting mark. What mark do you want to leave in the world?

In order to make sure you have a positive impact and are viewed as a leader others actually want to follow, take the following steps.

  • Detail the kind of impact you want to have.

Most leaders have never detailed their personal creed. But doing so can be incredibly powerful. Therefore, get clear about who you think you are. Who are you and what do you stand for? What do you value? What is your personal creed or stance in the roles that are most important to you in your life? How do you want to be known in your company and industry?

Once you have those questions answered, ask the most important question of all: “How do the things I just detailed show up when I’m frustrated or when things aren’t going well? Who am I then?” It’s easy to be all of those lovely things when everything is going well. But what about when things aren’t going well? How do you want to show up during the hard times? How do you want to be known when things are tough? How do you want people to experience you in the midst of adversity? Most leaders lose credibility when things are bad because they haven’t thought about who they are in those situations and the kind of impact they’ll have.

  • Find out how others view your impact.

There are two ways to get information about your impact: You can ask for feedback either indirectly or directly. An indirect approach is doing an online and anonymous survey of some sort using a tool like Survey Monkey. While it’s simple to do, the results are not always specific.

A direct approach is to talk with someone you trust face-to-face and ask specific questions so you can get key insights. The secret to making direct questions work is to phrase them properly. If you ask someone, “Can you give me feedback on my leadership style?” you won’t get the information you need. That’s a difficult question for most people to answer because it’s not focused enough, and no one wants to hurt another person’s feelings. Additionally, if they’re not prepared for the question, they can feel like they’re being put on the spot. Therefore, ask a more focused question, like, “During today’s meeting, I think I may have sounded defensive when I told Chris that the idea would never work. How did it land for you? What was your experience of being in that meeting?”

Notice that you’re not asking for an evaluation. You’re pointing out a specific incident or behavior and asking the person about their personal experience during that moment—the impact you had. Of course, this doesn’t guarantee that the person is going to tell you the truth, but it does create a condition where they’re more likely to be open.

  • Change your impact, not you.

If the results of the feedback you receive don’t align with your personal perceptions about yourself, it’s time to make some changes—not to you, but to your impact. First, get curious about the mismatch, not furious about the information. A good question to ask yourself is, “Under what conditions might a person experience me this way?” This validates not that you agree with the feedback, but that it is a legitimate perception. Because here’s the truth: You might be a motivating, empowering, and uplifting  kind of leader, but under certain conditions, even the most esteemed person can come across as harsh, cold, and defensive. So you need to get mindful of the kinds of conditions that can hinder your success. In other words, know your blind spots so you can shed some light on them.

With this new knowledge, you can take steps to consciously alter the impact you have on others. If taking one approach isn’t getting you the results you want, what other approach can you try? No matter what approach you try, you’re still the same person, just doing certain things in a different way to have a more positive impact. As long as the new approach you try supports your values and what you deem important, then you’re acting in integrity and in alignment with your goals.

Get Real

There’s no avoiding it: All leaders leave a lasting impact. What’s yours? And is it the legacy you want? When you can align who you think you are with how others perceive you, you’ll be the kind of leader people naturally gravitate toward, and your enduring mark on the world will be a positive one.

Alesia Latson is a speaker, trainer, coach and founder of Latson Leadership Group, a consulting firm specializing in management and leadership development. With more than 20 years of experience, Latson helps organizations and leaders expand their capacity to produce results while enhancing employee engagement. For more information on Alesia’s speaking and consulting, please contact her at alesia@latsonleadershipgroup.com or visit www.latsonleadershipgroup.com.