Roberta Chinsky Matuson
Creating Exceptional Workplaces and Extraordinary Results
Roberta Matuson's Blog

Why Leaders Need to Think Beyond Employee Engagement and Woo Employees Every Day

Employee Engagement is not a program. Employee Engagement is an Outcome.

Once a year, employee engagement is all the rage as companies gear up for the annual employee survey, which often happens right about now. February is also that time of year when red roses sell out and boxes of chocolates abound.

If nothing else, Valentine’s Day is a reminder that everyone needs to feel loved, including your employees. 

That makes this the perfect time of the year to think beyond employee engagement and start wooing workers who are the heart and soul of your business.

Gallup polls keep indicating that the majority of employees report they were “not engaged” at work.

Surely we can do a better job of engaging employees. Here’s how:

Deliver on Sweet Dreams

Sweet dreams can turn into nightmares for workers who feel the luster of their job quickly tarnishing. Ask each of your workers the following question.

“What were your hopes and dreams when you took this job?”

By doing so, you’ll gain insight as to how to best keep each employee engaged.

The mere idea that someone is truly concerned about your welfare is often enough to spark a renewed feeling of mutual admiration. Then be prepared to take action. 

If your employee feels their hopes and dreams are no longer a reality, go the extra step and ask why. Then do what you can to have them fall in love with their job again.

Celebrate your Workers on a Daily Basis

It takes a lot of work to keep a relationship fresh and healthy. What it doesn’t take is a lot of money.

Make it a point every day to re-recruit your employees. Stop by your employee’s desk and thank him or her for a job well done. In doing so, be sure to be specific about what work you’re applauding. This way they will be able to repeat this great feat time and time again.

Those of you with large departments should make it a point to buy a different employee each day a cup of coffee or a tea. If time permits, take a walk with them to your local coffee shop and spend some alone time to hear how they are doing. Be consistent so no one feels left out. It’s time well spent. 

Be Demonstrative with your Appreciation

Engaged workers are those who will go above and beyond the call of duty and expect nothing in return. That’s exactly why you should show some love the moment the feeling strikes. 

For example, suppose you have an employee who volunteered to work the weekend in order to meet a rapidly approaching deadline. You know this employee is a real movie buff.

Instead of simply saying, “Thanks for coming in this weekend,” and walking away, provide this employee with movie passes to the local cinema. If the timing is right, give them the rest of the day off so they can attend a matinee. 

Whatever you do, make it personal.

Giving an employee tickets for tonight’s basketball game may do little to impress them, especially if they aren’t a sports fan or they have a newborn at home that requires a babysitter. In this situation, you (and them) would be better served with a gift certificate to a local restaurant that happens to dish up great meals and delivers!

Listen More than You Speak

How good are your listening skills?

If you’ve ever been in a relationship where the other person does most of the talking, you know what it’s like to never feel heard.

This scenario seems to play out a lot in today’s workplace. The manageroften ends up doing all the talking and the employee does the listening. 

Today’s workers want a voice in how their work gets done. When an employee offers a suggestion, thank them for their idea and then take time to consider their recommendation. If you are unable to implement their idea, let them know why and encourage them to continue to suggest new ways of approaching work.

In meetings, let someone else take the lead. Make it a point to be the last person in the room to speak, so that others feel comfortable sharing their ideas freely. 

Make People Feel Special

In an effort to be fair, many companies treat people the same. While their intentions may be good, the results can quickly shift an engaged workforce to the dark side of employee engagement — a world of disgruntled disengagement. 

Equal isn’t always fair. Think about the superstars in your organization that are doing the lion’s share of the work. Is it fair when they receive the same raise as those who are barely contributing? Should your “A players” be required to work in the office every day, along with everyone else, because you don’t trust your “B” players to perform unless they are closely monitored?

Don’t be afraid to treat your best employees a little differently. Those who perform should be assigned plum projects and be given access to development opportunities. This will help increase employee commitment among those employees you wish to keep.

Wooing employees shouldn’t be an idea that is reserved for special holidays like Valentine’s Day or certain times of the year. By showing your love all year long, it won’t be long before you have engaged the hearts and minds of your people — as well as your customers.

©Matuson Consulting, 2020

Ready to talk talent? Schedule a call with me. Email me at Roberta@matusonconsulting.com to get started.

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A Leader’s Guide to Managing Up in the Top Down World of Business

Leader Managing Up
Leader Managing Up

In the past month, I’ve had a bunch of leaders reach out to me for help in managing their boss. Seems like managing up is a common challenge among leaders. Here’s some helpful tips to guide you, as you look to manage up in the top down world of business.

It may seem unnatural to manage those above you in the top-down world of business. But mastering this skill is exactly what must be done to excel in any organization.

There will always be “a boss,” even if someone is currently an entrepreneur. Someone above will always be influencing us. This person may be a spouse, partner, an outside investor, or may actually be the boss.

It’s critical that we learn how to manage these relationships effectively, so we can secure the resources necessary to be successful in any situation. Here are seven tips to help you manage up in the top down world of business.

  1. Decode your boss’s management style. I’ve yet to see a situation where a boss molds his style to that of his employees. You can be certain you will be the one doing the adjusting. Start by observing how your manager uses authority, the way he relates to others, and his communication style as a leader. Most bosses typically fall into one of the following categories: Dictatorial, Laissez-faire, Bureaucratic, or Consultative. Once you determine the type of manager you’ve been handed, you can then study ways to work most effectively with this type of leader.
  2. Prepare to play the game of politics. Politics is played in every organization; so the sooner you learn how to play this game, the better off you’ll be. Politics is the informal way that things get done in an organization. Pay close attention to how work really gets done in the organization. People who master this game follow unwritten rules that allow them to maneuver swiftly through the organization to obtain scarce resources, approval of prized projects and promotions. Can you see now why it’s important to master this game?
  3. Master the art of influencing. Influencing is communicating effectively with a goal in mind. Be specific in your request while highlighting why it’s in your boss’ best interest to comply with your request, and you will be on your way to mastering the art of influence.
  4. Toot your own horn. For years we’ve been taught that it’s not polite to brag. But if we don’t, how will others know about our contributions? When companies put together lay-off lists, they exclude those whose contributions are well known throughout the organization. You may be the best singer in the room, but no one will know this if you never open your mouth.
  5. Manage your own performance. Bosses are busy people and most would rather walk on hot coals than write a performance review. Prepare your own review, which should include ways you’ve added value to the organization as well as areas needing further development. Present this to your boss a week prior to your review, and don’t be surprised if what you get back closely resembles what you’ve submitted.
  6. Hire a mentor or a coach. Every star player uses a mentor or a coach to help them improve their game. Find someone who is willing to hold up the mirror for you so that you can clearly see what your boss is seeing. Then adjust your style accordingly.
  7. Attach your star carefully. You never want to be so closely associated with your boss that you find yourself on the outskirts the moment she is no longer in favor. Be your own person so others know you are more than someone’s sidekick.

© Matuson Consulting, 2020.

To learn more about managing up, download a copy of my book, Suddenly in Charge: Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around.

Send me a private message at Roberta@matusonconsulting.com to explore what a VIP day for you, looks like with me. I’ll be offering just seven of these sessions this year, and three are already gone.

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Research Says This is the Secret to Employee Retention

Employee Retention

Anyone else notice the uptick in new job announcements here on LinkedIn? And it’s only January 3rd! In years past, people would begin to look for new opportunities after year-end reviews were in and bonuses paid out.

This is no longer the case, which is why you should always be in retaining mode.

As a manager, you don’t have control over company policy or pay increases. However, you do have control over yourself and the way you manage people—or do you?

Research shows that one of the real secrets to employee happiness and well being, which is directly linked to employee turnover, is an acute sense of autonomy in daily operations.

The Research

Researchers from the University of Birmingham recently studied two years’ worth of data on 20,000 workers to determine the effects of autonomy on employee morale and well being. Generally, the higher levels of independence a worker experienced, the higher their sense of job satisfaction and well being.

Here’s what’s meant by autonomy

Decision-making-Employees can make decisions on their own without having to “run things up the ladder” or get approval from a committee. These decisions are not regularly overturned or tweaked to death by their boss. This makes workers feel more in control over their responsibilities and leaves them with a feeling of job satisfaction.

Trust-Micromanagement is about trust, or shall I say lack of trust. It’s a nasty habit that has a grave impact on both the employee and their manager. Micromanagement leaves people feeling small and inept. Autonomy sends the message that you trust your people to accomplish their goals.

Contributing ideas. When employees feel like their ideas and contributions matter, they’re willing to contribute more frequently, and with more effort. They leave work most days, feeling satisfied with their contribution.

Three steps to nip this nasty habit

Step One: Admit you’ve got a problem. The last person to know they’ve got a problem is usually the person with the problem. That’s why it can be helpful to have someone do a 360 review of your management style. You may not like everything you hear, but at least you’ll know what area to focus on that will yield the highest return.

Step Two: Vow to make a change. It takes courage to let others know that you recognize you’re less than perfect. Let team members know that you are working on breaking this habit and that you’ll be asking for their help. Give them permission to signal you the moment they feel micromanaged.

Step Three: Be patient. Habits are hard to break. It can take months to turn things around. Expect setbacks along the way and celebrate successes.

© Matuson Consulting, 2020. All Rights Reserved.

Questions about how to become a better leader and reduce unwanted attrition? Reach out to me at Roberta@matusonconsulting.com or leave a comment below.

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Your Year in Review: Out With the Old, In With the New?

As the year comes to an end, did you…

  • Achieve the feeling of satisfaction in your work?
  • Obtain the promotion you were gunning for?
  • Become the kind of leader you aspired to become?

Most people who follow my work have high aspirations. They start each new year off thinking; this year will be different. I’m going to do _________ (you fill in the blank).

Come February, they’ve reverted to their old patterns. Sound familiar?

If you want to make a change in your life, then you must do something different to achieve different results. Otherwise, you’re just spinning your wheels.

We have more in common than you might think. I have goals and dreams that I’m going to achieve in the New Year. However, here’s where we may differ.

For the past ten years, I’ve invested in a coach who tells me what I need to hear, which isn’t necessarily what I may want to hear. He pushes me to be a better version of myself.

Here’s an example. I was recently asked by my current publisher to create a book proposal for a new book they were looking to publish. My first thought was to say no, as the book that I had just written, Evergreen Talent, has not even been released yet.

I turned to my coach and asked him what I should do. He said, “Write the damn proposal.” So, I did. Believe me, when I tell you that my life would have been a lot less stressful had I just said no to my publisher. But then I would not be well-positioned to achieve one of the goals that I’ve set for myself for the year 2020.

Take a few moments and think about what you’d like to achieve over the next year. Feeling optimistic? Or are you feeling stuck? Can you do this by yourself? If the answer is yes, then get started today. If the answer is no or I’m not sure, then get help.

If you want your New Year to be different than this year, then do something different!

Here’s to a great 2020!

© Matuson Consulting, 2019. All Rights Reserved.

Special Holiday Offer: Book my coaching services by December 31, 2019, and I’ll gift you with an extra month of coaching. Interested? Email me at Roberta@matusonconsulting.com. This offer is also available for organizations looking for an executive coach for a valued employee.

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Why Leaders Need More Than One Executive Coach

Executive Coaching

Executive Coaches

Last week, I attended a conference where I met a very successful business owner. He owns five businesses and oversees two-non-profits. We joked about retirement and, he told me he wasn’t done yet in terms of building a portfolio of successful companies.

I asked him to tell me the reason why he was able to achieve such high levels of success. He indicated to me that he could not have done this alone.

He relies heavily on his coaches. He then went on to explain that he’s currently working with three executive coaches!

I have to say; I was taken back by this. I’ve never heard of a business person working simultaneously with more than one coach. When I gave this further thought, the idea of working with more than one coach makes complete sense to me. Here’s why.

Professional athletes have more than one coach. That’s because each coach has expertise in a particular area of the game.

In fact, the New England Patriots (my home team) have a dozen coaches on staff including, a defensive line coach, a quarterback coach, and a head coach. Not to mention, athletes like New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady have personal coaches to help keep them in tip-top shape.

The gentleman that I met last week said each coach helps him improve a particular area of his business. For example, he relies on one coach to help him bolster his sales skills, while another helps him think through operational issues.

Working with more than one coach at a time is a brilliant strategy that can help you grow exponentially, both professionally and personally.

Consider the following when engaging more than one coach.

  • When seeking a coach, let this person know that there’s another coach already on board. Not every coach will be comfortable with the idea that you’ll be receiving input from more than one outside resource during your engagement with them. It’s best to find this out early, so you’re freed up to find someone comfortable with this arrangement.
  • Look for a coach with expertise in an area that your current coach does not have. This will help to avoid the butting of heads when each coach tries to advance his or her agenda.
  • Examine the initiatives closely you’re trying to move forward this year. Invest the bulk of your resources in a team of experts who can help you strengthen the weaknesses you may have in these areas.

Leadership is a contact sport, which requires that you be brilliant in terms of strategy and execution. You don’t have to go it alone. Surround yourself with a team of coaches who are interested in one thing only–helping you soar!

© Matuson Consulting, 2019.

Interested in learning more about working with an executive coach? Reach out to me at Roberta@matusonconsulting.com.

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5 Ways to Transform Managers into Magnetic Leaders

Magnetic Leadership

Some people think magnetic leaders are born that way, but that’s not quite how I see it. I believe magnetic leadership is a state that evolves over time. In fact, most of the magnetic leaders I interviewed for my book, The Magnetic Leader were people who wanted to be great leaders and were willing to put in the work to reach that goal. All of these leaders did the following:

  • They observed other leaders. Some, they emulated; others, they promised themselves they would not be like.
  • They learned while doing and made course corrections along the way.
  • All of these leaders invested in their own development and continue to work on improving themselves every day.

These leaders understand the power of magnetism and how it can be a game changer when it comes to attracting employees, customers and profits.

Here are five ways organizations can help their managers transform into magnetic leaders.

1. Make coaching accessible to all.

The most magnetic leaders I know have either worked with a coach or are currently working with a coach to help them improve their performance. Here’s why.

It’s impossible to see yourself as others see you, which is why you need someone with an outside perspective to help you improve. I know firsthand the benefits of having a great coach, as one was awarded to me when I found myself suddenly in charge.

2. Provide leaders with mentors.

One of the best ways to learn is by working with someone who has been there and successfully done what you are about to do. Companies would be well served to encourage senior leaders to mentor those with less experience.

While you’re at it, consider reverse mentorship. Opportunities for younger people to share their expertise with those who are more senior go a long way toward developing magnetic leaders, as younger people have a lot of expertise worth tapping into.

3. Provide managers with access to leadership development opportunities.

Not every organization is large enough to have an entire department dedicated to leadership development. Luckily, there is more than one way to access the expertise needed to become a magnetic leader. Conferences, industry association meetings and local chambers of commerce all offer programs worth consideration. You can also bring in an outside expert to deliver a program in house.

4. Invite thought leaders into your organization.

Authors launching books are keen to get the word out. Seek authors who specialize in a topic you want your employees learn more about. Invite thought leaders to keynote your next company-wide management meeting, or ask them to facilitate a lunch-and-learn.

5. Rotate leaders throughout the organization.

Some of the most magnetic leaders I know became that way because of their experience working for organizations that encouraged them to rotate into different positions within the organization. This experience gave them the opportunity to learn from a number of leaders, who had different perspectives of company life, and gave them an appreciation for the work that others did in the organization.

Remember that becoming a magnetic leader doesn’t occur overnight. There’s a bit of trial and error that has to happen before a leader achieves the ultimate state of magnetic leadership.

© Matuson Consulting, 2019.

Interested in attracting employees, customers, and profits? Ready to achieve magnetic leadership status? Email me at Roberta@matusonconsulting.com and we’ll get a call on the calendar

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The Courage to Hire Talent

The Courage to Hire Talent

I was speaking the other day with a hiring manager about a very talented candidate he was considering for his team. I asked the manager how soon he could get this person on board. He said he wasn’t going to offer this person a job, and that he was going to keep looking.

I asked him why. Here’s what he said.

“This person could easily be my replacement.”

To which I responded, “That’s exactly why you should hire him!”

I get that hiring someone who could easily replace you can be a bit unnerving. I mean, what if your boss likes this person more than he loves you? Or what if you hire this person and he tries to con his way into your job?

It’s uncomfortable to swim against the tide. Like when’s the last time you heard of someone hiring a candidate who might be able to outperform the hiring manager? If you’re like most people, the answer is probably never.

Relax! The secret to your next promotion and career success may be right in front of you.

The people who get promoted are those who demonstrate they can put together solid teams. Don’t you want to be part of this club? If so, hire people who are as good as you, if not better.

Did you know that one of the most common reasons people are passed over for a promotion is because their boss believes no one can do this person’s job as good as them? This scenario happens often.

Let’s make sure this doesn’t happen to you.

Look at your current team. Who can replace you? No one? Then it’s time to up your hiring game.

Aim for the best and don’t settle for the rest.

It takes a lot of courage to hire someone as good as you are or even better. Give it a try. I’m betting you’ll like the results and will make this your new requirement when hiring.

© Matuson Consulting, 2019.

Last Opportunity to Register:

Join me this Friday, November 1st at 11:00 AM, EDT for a jammed packed one-hour teleconference on Selecting for Success, where I’ll teach you how to dramatically accelerate your ability to hire the right talent in a zero unemployment economy. A recording will be sent out after the session.

Register here.

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Humane Leadership, Courtesy of Brunello Cucinelli

Brunello Cucinelli

I love all things Italian. I mean, who doesn’t? And I now love Italian born Brunello Cucinelli, although we’ve never met! At least not yet. 

I watched with interest this week’s CBS Sunday Morning, which featured Brunello Cucinelli, who is both a world-class luxury clothing designer and a humanitarian. His story is impressive, and his approach to business enlightening.

Hope he inspires you as much as he has inspired me.

Growing up Cucinelli

Brunello Cucinelli was born into a peasant family in Castel Rigone, a 15th-century little hamlet nearby Perugia in 1953. To say he was poor would be an understatement.

Cucinelli recalls watching his father return from what was a very unwelcoming environment. In an interview conducted by Om Malik, he was quoted as saying,

“From the teary eyes of my father. When we were living in the countryside, the atmosphere, the ambiance — life was good. We were just farmers, nothing special. Then he went to work in a factory. He was being humiliated and offended, and he was doing a hard job. He would not complain about the hardship or the tiny wages he received, but what he did say was, “What have I done evil to God to be subject to such humiliation?”

This experience inspired Cucinelli to nurture his dream of a capitalism that enhances the human being.

Cucinelli went on to say, “Basically, what is human dignity made of? If we work together, say, and, even with one look, I make you understand that you are worth nothing and I look down on you, I have killed you. But if I give you regards and respect — out of esteem, responsibility is spawned. Then out of responsibility comes creativity, because every human being has an amount of genius in them. Man needs dignity even more than he needs bread.”

Building a Successful Business Without Breaking Your People

If you think you have to squeeze every ounce of dignity out of your people to experience significant growth, think again. Brunello Cucinelli S.p.A net revenues for 2018 rose by 8.1 percent at current exchange and 10.7 percent at constant exchange rates to reach 553 million euros (626 million dollars).

Here are seven beliefs that Cucinelli has applied to his organization that you can use to grow profits humanely.

1.   No one in the company is permitted to work past 5:30 PM. In this company, you cannot send emails after 5:30 PM, when the company closes for the evening. Cucinelli believes it’s essential to have time off to recharge your battery. He also believes employers should not intrude on their employee’s personal lives.

2.   Employees receive a 90-minute lunch break, and at the corporate office in Italy, most dine at the heavily subsidized company dining room. The food served there resembles that of a five-star dining experience, as opposed to a casual fast food restaurant.

3.   No emails can be sent to more than two addressees, just one or two. No group mailing. Cucinelli asks, “Why must a single email be read by 10 different people unless it’s the 10 people who are interested in that specific issue? In order to disperse responsibility?”

4.   Mobile phones are not permitted in meetings. Cucinelli wants people to look at one another in the eye when they speak to each other. He also wants people to come to meetings prepared. They shouldn’t need their phone to search for information they should have on hand.

5.   Everyone is a genius. Cucinelli believes in the human being, and that this is the creativity of a company — “Let’s say you have a company with 1,000 people. Maybe we were told that there are only two or three genius people in the 1,000. But I think that if you have 1,000 people, you have 1,000 geniuses. They’re just different kinds of genius and a different degree of intensity.”

6.   Employees and vendors are paid well. For the most part, Cucinelli pays his suppliers and staff 20 percent more than the average on the market. He does so because he believes it’s the right thing to do.

7.   Work-life balance matters…a lot. Cucinelli is interested in the quality of working hours, not the quantity. He’s quoted as saying, “Do you think that during the first five hours of the day you are the same as you are in the last five hours? No way. You’re tired, and if you’re tired, you stop listening, and the decisions you make are risky.

Tell me which ideas spoke to you and what you vow to do to create a more humane work experience for your employees. Reach out to me at Roberta@matusonconsulting.com to discuss this further.

© Matuson Consulting, 2019.

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The Easiest Way to Become the Person You Want to Be

Career Success

My mentor, Alan Weiss, says the easiest way to become the person you want to be is to be that person. I may be paraphrasing this, but you get my gist. Here’s what that means for you.

If you want to be seen as an expert in your field, then start acting that way. Instead, many people have self-limiting beliefs such as, “I have to get my certification before I will be seen as an expert.” Or, “When I finish my degree, I’ll go after that promotion that will tell the world, I’m tops in my field.” None of this matters when you start acting like you’ve already arrived.

A coaching client of mine came to me right after being passed over for a promotion. Naturally she was disappointed that her dream job went to someone else. However, she sure as heck didn’t want this to happen to her again.

We quickly assessed what was holding her back and then something interesting happened.

With my counsel, she began acting like a leader. She sought out problems and began to fix them. She volunteered to tackle the most difficult challenges in her department. She even began to dress differently. People started to come to her for advice and management began to notice.

One day, she arrived at work only to find out her boss had been fired. This time she didn’t wait to be overlooked. She went into her manager’s office and asked for her boss’s job. Two days later, she was promoted into his position.

Most likely, this promotion wouldn’t have happened had she wallowed in her disappointment and continued to operate as if she had, prior to her wake up call.

Nope! Instead, she made it clear that she was the only choice for this position.

As you look at your own situation, what kind of person do you want to be? If you’re fine with where you are at, that’s okay. If you’re not, then what do you need to do today to become this person?

We’ve got less than five months left in this calendar year. If not now, when?

© Matuson Consulting, 2019.

Call or email me (Roberta@matusonconsulting.com) to discuss “The Me Project.” This is an eight-week coaching offering that I’ve put together for those interested in rapidly moving forward one goal that’s of utmost importance to them. Together, we’ll identify this goal and with complete focus, you’ll take steps to achieve what’s important to you.

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Is Your Coach Helping You or Wasting Your Time?

Some coaches follow a model of coaching that says you should not provide the answers to your coachees. You should help them find their own answers by asking them the right questions. This is complete crap.

Coach or therapist?

Executives hire coaches because of their expertise. Imagine me asking a CEO, “Well, what do you think you should do?” I’d be tossed out of his or her office in a nanosecond. If this is how your coach operates, then I’m not sure why you are paying this person a cent. You can hire my mother for free and she’ll do the same for you.

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