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Overcoming Negative Overload
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Overcoming Negative Overload

Over the past few years many researchers have found a direct positive correlation between a positive organizational climate and a successful team or organization.  Seligman & Shulman showed that happy employees sold 37% more and were 31% more productive than their unhappy counterparts.  Another study, out of the University of Warwick, found that happy employees were 12% more productive than the average employee, while unhappy employees were 10% less productive.   I bring these statistics up because far too many coaches and leaders forget about the impact a positive environment has on the productivity and success of an organization.  Whether it’s a sports team that wants to improve their win-loss record, or a business that wants to increase sales and improve customer relationships, a positive leader can make all the difference.  This is how it works.  When a leader creates a positive work environment and builds strong relationships, a team chemistry is built that inspires employees to care more about their job and the quality of work they do.  In turn, these employees work harder, longer, and care more about their job, their products, and customer relations.  The result is more sales in business, more wins in sports, greater productivity, and stronger customer relationships. I recently had a chance to sit down with business executive Marc Abshire about the effects positivity and negativity have on the success of an organization.  Marc is the Executive Director of the Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce in the state of Washington.  He has held some pretty impressive leadership positions in..

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Positive Leaders Don’t Undermine Their Employees
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Positive Leaders Don’t Undermine Their Employees

Positive leaders are focused on building a strong and highly functional organization by having high standards for performance, and by encouraging and supporting their employees. These leaders have high expectations for the quality of their product (team), performance of their employees (players), and through creating great customer service. Positive leaders praise their people when they perform well, and they correct and instruct them when they don’t perform well. But one thing positive leaders don’t do is throw their employees under the bus to cover up when the leader makes a mistake. Instead, the positive leader acknowledges the mistake, takes responsibility, and moves on. People follow leaders who work hard, make good decisions, who are honest, and who care about their employees or players. This builds trust amongst the workforce. And a team or organization cannot be at their best if team members cannot trust their leader. Recently, the owner of a national software company threw the marketing director under the bus after the owner made a major public relations mistake and put blame on the marketing office. Most, if not all of the employees, knew that the owner was trying to save face and scapegoat the marketing director. This created a tension amongst the workforce, which in turn started to create a negative environment. Tempers became short and people didn’t trust one another. This created a bit of a dysfunction within the organization. In truth, if this type of leadership behavior continues, the organization will suffer from employee disengagement. This will hurt sales, productivity, and..

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Great Leaders Provide Hope
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Great Leaders Provide Hope

“We’re going to make America great again!” This is the battle cry of newly elected president, Donald Trump. It doesn’t matter if you’re a republican, democrat, or an independent, the learning lesson here is that as a leader you need to be able to reach your followers and provide them with hope for the future. Now as a coach or business leader, you know the importance of having goals that are specific and measurable. While the above statement isn’t specific and it isn’t measurable, it does provide many people with the hope that change is coming and it will make their lives better. As with coaching, time will tell if this slogan pans out to make people’s lives better or if it is just a marketing ploy to get elected. Great leaders will provide both hope for the future and an action plan that leads to a successful future. Certain coaching jobs are deemed better than other jobs for an incoming coach. This is typically based on resources and expectations. Programs that have more resources tend to have more success. And the programs that have great resources and are struggling to win provide the most upside potential. In this situation the followers are thirsty for a brighter future. They are hopeful for achieving the success the program had prior to their current fall on hard times. If the incoming coach can provide hope to the players, boosters, administrators, and recruits, they will receive more buy-in and support for transforming the future into the vision the..

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The Little Things Matter
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The Little Things Matter

By Howard Gauthier Whether you’re a coach, CEO, small business owner, or are in a position of leadership or management, you need to keep in mind that in order for your team or organization to have success, the little things matter. It matters that your team blocks out on a rebound. It matters that you arrive to work on time. It matters that you effectively communicate with your employees. And it matters that your organization provides quality customer service. With the world becoming more and more of an electronic society, that heavily uses and relies upon social media, the basic fundamental elements of most sports and business organizations are changing. How you recruit student-athletes is changing. How you hire employees is changing. How you market your products is changing. How you communicate with your employees is changing. How you engage with our customers is changing. In other words, some of the little things of yesterday are changing, but all of the little things still matter! The problem is that some businesses and business leaders just don’t get it. They aren’t changing with the times and they aren’t executing the little things that matter. Instead of changing and adapting to this new reality, some business leaders are straying from the values that helped them to succeed in the first place. For example, one of our colleagues was recently frustrated with their local community newspaper. In their weather-riddled community, the local newspaper company switched from using a paperboy to using a motor carrier. Instead of having someone..

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Inspiring Your People
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Inspiring Your People

By Dr. Howard Gauthier I recently received a question from one of my clients who asked – I really like your concept of inspiring your people instead of just trying to motivate them. He went on to explain that he understands that when someone is inspired they take ownership in their job and they work harder and longer to assure that that the goals of the organization are being met (a form of intrinsic motivation). Extrinsic motivation on the other hand is the manipulation of people through rewards and punishments. This is more fleeting in nature. So how do you inspire your people? In most situations inspiration and motivation are intertwined. The more someone is inspired to work hard and do quality work, the less they need to be motivated. Each employee is going to be somewhere along the continuum between needing to be externally motivated and being completely inspired to work hard and do quality work. The over-riding key to remember is that the goal is to create a strong and positive team. This is accomplished by focusing on all five positive strategies (positive structure, positive purpose, positive climate, positive relationships, and positive communication). Inspiring your employees actually falls under the strategy of pursuing a positive purpose. But without utilizing all five positive strategies it will be next to impossible to inspire your team members. So how can you as a leader inspire your players or workforce? Below are five strategies you can focus on to inspire your people so they work hard to..

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What We Learned From The National Championship Game
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What We Learned From The National Championship Game

By Howard Gauthier Wow, what a game! If you missed the Division I football national championship game, you missed one heck of a game. It will go down as one of the all-time best football games in the history of the sport. It’s one of those games where you walk away saying it’s too bad someone had to lose. In the end, Clemson scored the winning touchdown with one second remaining. The game was hard fought. The execution was sharp, and the hits were hard. But as a student and researcher of positive leadership, it’s what happened after the game that struck me as being pretty special. As the clock expired, the crowd, teams, and media rushed the field. It took Alabama head coach, Nick Saban, about two minutes of wading through a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd just to be able to personally congratulate his friend and competitor, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney. After a short conversation, ESPN reporter Sam Ponder tracked down Swinney where she asked him his thoughts on the game. In an emotional state, Swinney responded: “It’s indescribable, I mean, you can’t make it up, man. I mean, this is … only God can do this.” Swinney continued by sharing, “And to see my guys fight, just believe. I told them tonight, I told them that the difference in the game was going to be love. It’s been my word. My word all year’s been love.  And I said, ‘Tonight we’re going to win it because we love each other. We’re going to love each..

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Fear or Faith
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Fear or Faith

Building a successful team or organization takes a leader who can paint a clear vision for a better tomorrow. This vision will provide you, your employees, your players, boosters, and customers with the faith that the team or organization is headed in the right direction, and success is on the horizon. Faith builds trust and confidence in the direction you and your team are heading. Conversely, fear creates distrust and dysfunction among team members, supporters, and customers. Faith is based on having a positive perspective and belief for the future, whereas fear is based in the negative. If you want to build a successful team or organization, you need to provide a vision that instills faith and trust for a successful tomorrow. This is exactly what Jules Leotard’s father did. He helped his son to paint a positive vision for his future, while eliminating any fear of failure. That’s also what you need to do as a positive leader. You need build the faith in your people and eliminate their fear. This will inspire them to work harder, work longer, and be more creative; while being more committed to the team. But who is Jules Leotard? Jules Leotard was a great athlete and gymnast. He was born in 1842 in the city of Toulouse, France. His father was a gymnastics coach who also operated a swimming pool. Growing up as a kid, Jules was a little daredevil. He liked to climb things and jump off them. In particular he liked to climb trees and swing..

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Be Grateful, Not Bitter
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Be Grateful, Not Bitter

March Madness is a great time of year. Sixty-eight teams are selected to play in the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament and another 68 teams are selected to play in the Division I women’s basketball tournament. This is a time for spirited basketball, upsets, excitement and celebration. I was surprised the other day by the reaction from one of the coaches whose team received an automatic bid to the women’s NCAA tournament. They hadn’t won their conference’s regular season championship and were therefore an underdog to win their conference tournament. The winner of this low-major Division I conference tournament receives an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, while the other teams stay home. As is usual at this time of year, there are upsets in the conference tournament, and when the final horn sounded in the championship game, this underdog team won the championship and advanced to the NCAA tournament. What a great honor to advance to the NCAA tournament – right? Not in this coach’s eyes. This coach was upset that his team received a low seed in the tournament and he made his opinion public. Instead of being grateful for the opportunity to play on this big stage in front of thousands of people, the coach bashed the committee and the system, saying that his team was better than this low seed. I can only imagine how deflated his players must have felt as the coach continued to berate the selection committee and gripe about their unjust seeding. Just the opposite should..

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Positive Communication Leads to More Wins and Greater Success
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Positive Communication Leads to More Wins and Greater Success

In part, how you communicate with your employees or student-athletes helps determine how successful your team will be. Researchers have found that negative communications are three times more powerful than positive interactions, and therefore it takes three times more positive communication just to be in a neutral state. And who wants to be in a neutral state? Not your employees! Not your student-athletes! The Positive Coaching Alliance recognizes this research and encourages their coaches to communicate with a 5:1 ratio of positive to negative comments. Why More Isn’t Always Better But positive leadership isn’t all flowery and Pollyannaish. In fact, more isn’t always better. When you are too positive and gushy in your interactions, your employees can’t trust what you are saying because you are not being authentic with them. And people won’t follow someone they cannot trust. This overly positive ratio is believed to occur when positive-negative communication reaches a ratio of about 13:1 or 15:1. Why all of this fuss over being positive? Does positivity really make that much difference? The short answer is – yes it does. Positive leaders promote and encourage a positive work environment that leads to happy employees. And happy employees have been found to be 31% more productive than unhappy employees. They produce 37% more in sales and are three times more creative than their unhappy counterparts (Lyubomirsky). This higher level of productivity and creativity can be explained in part because when people are treated well, they tend to work harder, longer, and care more about the quality..

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Creating a Positive Team Culture
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Creating a Positive Team Culture

By now you have probably heard that people with positive dispositions tend to live healthier and happier lives. But did you know that teams and organizations with positive leaders also tend to be more successful? This is because people who are involved with positive teams are more likely to “buy into” the team concept, and this translates into a more committed employee who works harder and cares more for the quality of their performance. But creating this type of environment is harder than it sounds. The positive leader needs to be very intentional in their strategies and the execution of these strategies. Creating a strong and positive culture is the first strategy leaders must focus on in order to create a positive team. Organizational culture is a pattern of shared assumptions that help guide the behaviors in an organization (Schroeder, 2010). These assumptions can’t just change at the whim of the leader. Rather, a team or organization that is struggling must be committed to change. This is called unfreezing of the culture. This is quite often seen with the firing of a coach after an unsuccessful tenure. The goal, at this point, is to hire a quality coach who can change the culture of the sports program. The actual culture is changed through cognitive restructuring. This is where the new leader implements a vision and then paints a bright future for the organization, which includes implementing values that support this vision. The leader uses a variety of strategies and tactics to solidify this vision and..

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