Kevin Eikenberry

Most organizations do it, and it often causes challenges (but we keep doing it anyway) — assigning people to a project “part-time.” Here’s the situation: You’ve been asked to work 30% of your time on the project while you do the rest of your work. So you have the pull of a full time responsibility and the pull of a project team that wants to work on the project. The project work may be exciting and new (if the purpose of the project is clearly understood) and the existing work is comfortable and known. Without some help in prioritizing and some guidance about how to split time and attention, this is a recipe for frustration at the least and overwork and stress at the most.

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I’m often asked how we can delegate faster. While I understand the question, it is really the wrong question. Instead, how about we start with “how can we delegate more effectively?”

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I’m a big fan of the power of questions. I’ve written about that on this blog, and my blog on my website many times. But there are times when questions can be tricky, or even dangerous. I’ve asked the following question many times in different ways. Here’s the question, and my answer … “If I know the answer I want, can I use questions to lead my team to the same conclusion?”

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More and more teams are working remotely — from each other and their leaders. This can lead to many challenges, not the least of which is creating collaboration among this team when needed. This challenge becomes more prevalent as the nature of work changes and the world gets smaller. And while part of the answer is technology tools, it isn’t the full answer. As a leader, you need to provide/make available the tools the team needs. You want to find, with the help of your IT team or on the internet, tools that promote connection, document and idea sharing, real-time collaboration and more.

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Most leaders profess to want innovative teams. And, while I believe that is what they want, they don’t necessarily act as if that goal is important to them. Not only that, when they want innovation (and aren’t getting it) they look at their team and say (or think) things like: “They just aren’t very creative,” or “What can you expect from a bunch of X’s? (enter the profession of choice).”

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I’ve been asked versions of this question for years, and while the answer could cover a year’s worth of blog posts, I have two ideas today that can help you as a leader if you face this challenge. As it turns out, they don’t have much to do with “attitude” — even though that is how the question is usually framed.

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I was recently asked how to keep the enthusiasm for leading alive. This is an important question, because if you are “feeling” enthused, it is likely showing in your focus, performance, attitude and more. Since the question is important, the answer is valuable. The challenge is that, in part, the answer must come from within you.

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Everyone seems to be seeking work/life balance. And no one seems to desire this more than leaders, managers and supervisors. I doubt there is a person who reads these words that hasn’t or doesn’t struggle with this issue. I’ve been asked about this (a lot) over the years, made some mistakes, learned some things and thought about it (a lot) too. Here is what I have learned, and what I believe to be true …

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For leaders, storytelling is extremely important for successful communication. However, you shouldn’t ask, how do I get started in telling stories? We all tell stories — all day long … at the dinner table, around the coffee pot, on the phone. Instead, you should be asking, how can I get better at storytelling as a leader? Here are three ideas to get you started.

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There are hundreds of companies and consultants offering a wide range of approaches to help individuals and teams solve problems. These approaches range from the high level and pretty straight forward to the very advanced, detailed and data driven. Any of them will help, and if you use good judgment about how much detail your particular problem requires (you likely don’t need NASA-level problem solving for fixing late shipments to one Customer), they will all help you get better solutions. But in my experience they all leave a few things out, or at a minimum assume you already have these four factors under control …

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