Zenger Folkman blog

August 18, 2014

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How To Uncover The 3 Hidden Talent Pools You Already Haveby Jack Zenger

forbes_logoExecutives in every company we work with express concerns about their ability to attract and retain managerial talent. The solutions for most organizations are to either recruit young workers directly from school and invest in their development, pirate leadership talent from competitors, or to find it internally. Of these alternatives, we strongly advocate organizations first take a close look inside.

How can companies identify individuals in their ranks who are capable of stepping into these leadership positions? We direct them to examine three groups of highly talented and underutilized individuals who would be strong candidates for these future leadership roles: Women, young supervisors, and individual contributors.. … Continued on Forbes.com.


July 30, 2014

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The Skills Leaders Need at Every Levelby Joe Folkman

hbrA few weeks ago, we were asked to analyze a competency model for leadership development that a client had created. Its was based on the idea that at different points in their development, potential leaders need to focus on excelling at different skills. For example, in their model they proposed that a lower level manager should focus on driving for results while top executives should focus on developing a strategic perspective.

Intuitively, this makes sense, based as it is on the assumption that once people develop a skill, they will continue to exercise it. But, interestingly, we don’t apply it in athletics; athletes continue to practice and develop the same skills throughout their careers. And as we thought about the excellent senior executives we have met, we observed that they are, in fact, all very focused on delivering results, and many of the best lower level managers are absolutely clear about strategy and vision. This got us to wondering: Are some skills less important for leaders at certain levels of the organization? Or is there a set of skills fundamental to every level?

To see, we compiled a dataset in which we asked 332,860 bosses, peers, and subordinates what skills have the greatest impact on a leader’s success in the position the respondents currently hold. Each respondent selected the top four competencies out of a list of 16 that we provided. We then compared the results for managers at different levels. …Continued on Harvard Business Review.


July 25, 2014

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Most Managers Think of Themselves as Coachesby Zenger Folkman

hbrAs a manager, do you think of yourself as a leader or as a coach? Do you, for instance, feel it’s important that your staff see you as an expert or do you prefer to create an egalitarian environment? Are you the person who solves problems or helps your staff come up with their own solutions? Are you more comfortable being directive or collaborative?

Results of a survey we’ve been conducting indicate a stronger desire to display coaching attributes than we were expecting.

Our assessment consists of 30 items we have tested and correlated to the most important attributes associated either with strong, top-down leadership or excellent coaches. …Continued on Harvard Business Review.


July 18, 2014

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Who Done It: The Danger Of Assigning Ownership To Anonymous Feedbackby Joe Folkman

forbes_logoWhen people receive anonymous 360 feedback there is a natural human tendency to look at the data and attempt to figure out “who done it”. It’s an interesting mystery and often people state with great confidence that they “KNOW.” We often advise our clients that about 50% of the time they are correct but that also means that 50% of the time they are wrong.

Recently, I was reviewing data with a client and came to the results for the competency “Develops Others.” Paul* (names have been changed), the leader receiving the feedback, was a new manager with a lot of potential and enthusiasm but not a great deal of experience. … Continued on Forbes.com.


June 26, 2014

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The 6 Competencies Global Leaders Need To Succeedby Jack Zenger

forbes_logoWhat competencies do global leaders need to acquire?  In a study of 108 senior executives my colleague Joe Folkman and I  identified those who were rated at the 90th percentile in their global perspective. These leaders were viewed as the best global leaders in their organization. We then looked at behaviors or competencies that separated them from other senior executives. Six factors emerged that differentiated them. … Continued on Forbes.com.


June 19, 2014

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The Urgent Need To Develop Global Leaders For Company Growthby Joe Folkman

forbes_logoNowhere is the dearth of leadership felt more strongly than in those organizations expanding their global reach. In a recent study, my colleague Jack Zenger and I found that one-third of global organizations have identified “global leadership” as a serious constraint. We’ll define global leadership as those individuals who work in more than one cultural or geographic arena. They are distinguished by their willingness to leave their country of origin and take on new assignments that may require using a new language or adapting to a new culture. Consequently, 70% of larger organizations have plans to increase their overseas assignments. Yet, ironically, less than a third of these organizations have any formal leadership development process in place.

As a result, many organizations have few candidates for overseas assignments, no information about those in the firm who aspire to such opportunities, no clear understanding of the competencies required for such assignments, and little interest being expressed by younger internal managers in becoming global leaders. … Continued on Forbes.com.


June 6, 2014

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Are You A Good Coach? Here’s How To Find Outby Joe Folkman

forbes_logoThere is a widespread phenomenon among people that causes them to believe they are above average in most areas. If you asked 100 people if they are great drivers 95% will tell you they are, but traffic accident reports beg to differ. It is simply impossible for the majority of people to be exceptionally good at a particular behavior. In my line of work, this attitude is particularly prevalent in workplace coaching.  If you ask 100 managers if they are good coaches the number may be slightly lower than 95%, but not by much.  Managers assume that if they are good managers, being a good coach will naturally follow.

How effective is your approach to coaching? In a recent Harvard Business Review blog my colleague Jack Zenger and I invited readers to take a coaching evaluation to see where they stand in comparison to outstanding business coaches. We invite you to take that evaluation as well, which is available here. … Continued on Forbes.com.


June 4, 2014

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Finding the Balance Between Coaching and Managingby Zenger Folkman

hbrAsk 100 people if they have good common sense, and more than 95% will tell you they do. Ask them if they are good coaches, and almost as many will say yes. Executives we talk to assume that if they’re good managers, then being a good coach is like your shadow on a sunny day. It just naturally follows.

This would be good news, if it were so, since more and more top executives are expecting managers to coach their subordinates. In fact one at Wells Fargo announced that he expects the bank’s managers to dedicate fully two-thirds of their time to coaching subordinates.

What’s more, employee surveys we’ve conducted over the past decade show that subordinates want coaching. Our own empirical evidence echoes myriad studies in finding that effective coaching raises employee commitment and engagement, productivity, retention rates, customer loyalty, and subordinates’ perception of the strength of upper-level leadership. …Continued on Harvard Business Review.


May 22, 2014

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Does Gen Y Really Want Honest Feedback?by Joe Folkman

forbes_logoThere is an abundance of articles about why Gen Y needs to be treated differently.  However, I was intrigued by the fact that none of these articles appear to have been written by a Gen Y author. So I decided to ask the Y Generation what kind of feedback they want.  I gathered data from 3,715 respondents, of which 1,026 were Gen Yers. I  asked them their preference for giving and receiving feedback after hearing observations that Gen Y only wants to be praised, recognized and given positive feedback. …Continued on Forbes.com.


April 2, 2014

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Mood And Engagement Are Contagiousby Joe Folkman

forbes_logoI used to think that my attitude and engagement affected me, but not other people. I could come to work in a bad mood or frustrated with work and if I did not tell anybody, no one would know. In my experience, most people suppose that employees are simply required to perform their job well and not make any big mistakes. Some might say, “It’s not my employer’s business whether I am enthused and happy or depressed and despondent, as long as I do my job.” In many ways I thought my emotions were locked up inside. However, the evidence is compelling that emotions are as contagious as a cold or the flu. They spread freely to others in an organization. …Continued on Forbes.com.


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