Archive | December, 2012

Your Words Can Be a Gift — Share Them Now

It's the last day of 2012 as I write this post.  I have wonderful memories of this past year.  Publishing a book put me in touch with old friends who celebrated with me and new ones who wanted to share ideas.  That's all good.  But every year brings unforeseen changes, not all of them of our choosing.  That's why my very last leadership column of 2012 for Poynter.org is bittersweet. It's a very personal reflection and a strong wish for you to reach out now, while you can, to those who matter in your life. I tell the story of two men, two leaders, two lives changed in 2012.  Please give it a look.  Just click on this link.  If you decide to act because of it, I'd love to hear your story.  Meanwhile, I wish you every personal and professional success in the New Year.
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If “WORK HAPPY: WHAT GREAT BOSSES KNOW” Was Your Holiday Gift

It's always nice to have a signed copy of a book, but it's not always easy if the author isn't in your neighborhood.  Because I work with managers far and wide, I decided to print up book plates I could mail to readers. So, if Santa (or anyone else) gave you the gift of "WORK HAPPY: WHAT GREAT BOSSES KNOW" this holiday season and you'd appreciate a custom book plate,  reach out to me via email: jgeisler@poynter.org We'll can quickly determine what the inscription should be and how to get it to you!  If you are out of the United States, it will necessitate you sending me a stamped and self-addressed envelope. Meanwhile, I wish you every personal and professional happiness in the New Year!
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Listen: KQED’s Michael Krasny and Jill Geisler on “WORK HAPPY: WHAT GREAT BOSSES KNOW”

On Christmas Eve, I noticed something interesting on Amazon.com.  Sales of "WORK HAPPY: WHAT GREAT BOSSES KNOW" had jumped up markedly.  (By the way, why was an author checking Amazon on a holiday?  Ask anyone who's written a book.  Checking the stats becomes a hobby!)  I presumed the rise in sales was simply a function of holiday shopping. But then a "Google Alert" provided another clue.  (Authors also set "Google Alerts" to let them know when their books are mentioned on the web.) The alert said that KQED radio was re-playing my August interview with Michael Krasny on his "Forum" show. Now that explains a lot.  Krasny is a well-respected interviewer with an almost encyclopedic knowledge of topics of all types.  Our conversation, though an hour in length, seemed to fly by.  And at the end of that August day, the book was in great demand on Amazon.  So I know the power of his voice! That interview was replayed on Christmas Eve Day.  One listener tweeted: "Heard rerun of @JillGeisler on @KQEDForum this morning... her book may be even better than the No Asshole Rule. Kept thinking 'yeah, that.' "   (He was referring to a popular book by Stanford Business School professor Bob Sutton -- a high standard, indeed!)   I sent the gentleman a thank you reply and he informed me he planned to use a holiday gift card to download "WORK HAPPY: WHAT GREAT BOSSES KNOW" on Christmas Day. That made my day! What is it about the interview and the book that inspires people to add it to their bookshelves and e-readers?  Listen for yourself:  Here's a link to the KQED Forum program on WORK HAPPY.    
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How Great Bosses Build Employee Engagement

Do you like the sign?  It's a real town in Wisconsin and I couldn't resist grabbing a shot of "Bosstown" as we drove through it this past summer.  It gave me pause, as I imagined  a community composed of nothing but managers.  What would the culture be like?  Who'd be in charge?  Would it be the most efficient place on the planet or the most egotistical? Some employees feel they come to work every day in "Bosstown" at its worst -- where only managers and their marching orders matter.  Where "you're lucky to have a job" is the approach to motivation.  Where staffers don't really know where they stand because feedback is in such short supply.  So they work in fear. They keep their heads down, offer little in the way of ideas for improvement, do their assigned work and go home.  They don't cheer for their organization's success or talk the place up to others.  It's a job -- until a better one might come along.  In short, they're not engaged. Recently,  the management website "Switch and Shift" published a collection of essays on employee engagement.  I was invited to be one of the guest writers.  I wrote about what I call "The Threshold Test" -- something each of us takes as we come to work.  Here's a version of that essay as it now appears on Poynter.org -- with lessons on how to make certain your employees don't think they live in "Bosstown" -- but rather, in a place that values them and what they bring to the workplace.  A place where they feel a connection -- an engagement. Just click here to read the advice.  
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From Jill Geisler: May Your Work Be Happy in the New Year!

It's been wonderful to hear from many readers of "WORK HAPPY: WHAT GREAT BOSSES KNOW" in the months since its release.  I've heard from managers in an amazing array of fields, from accounting to medicine to internet technology to clergy to government service and education.  Their messages have been deeply touching. Robyn C.  posted on the "WORK HAPPY: WHAT GREAT BOSSES KNOW" Facebook page:
Your book changed my work life.
There are other messages, as well.  Jennifer B. wrote:
Jill, I wish I could download everything you know about being a great boss and leader directly into my brain. Thankfully, I have your book, which is the next best thing. I'm learning - and hopefully applying - so much!
From Bonnie S.:
Jill your book is excellent. I have read numerous management and leadership books. There are many very good books on the topic. However, your book highlights many different aspects of management in a concise and thought provoking fashion. I recommend it for anyone currently in a management position and certainly for those who have aspirations to be a manager as well. Thanks so much for sharing your expertise!!
Jeffrey R. wrote:
Awesome ... got my book today.  The podcast help changed my management style, views and transformed me into a better manager
He's referring to the "What Great Bosses Know"podcasts that I've shared on iTunes U since 2010.  It was the success of those podcasts (over 8 million downloads as of this writing) that demonstrated a demand for a book. Ashley B. wrote:
I discovered your book through a random plug in a magazine. I am VERY much in agreement with this mindset as a "boss", and will encourage all the managers who report to me to read it! Thank you for more tips & tricks to help me build on what I already believe in.
A truly inspiring message came to me in an email this past fall, from Cindy, who works in Human Resources in California:
As the Thanksgiving holiday is upon us, I wanted to express my thanks to you for a witty, concise, insightful and, well, endearing leadership book booster shot.  The humor is real.  The points are clear.  The analytical concepts nudge the reader into a sense of “hmm…I can see that situation, that happened to me, no wonder why, now I understand….”  I eagerly recommended your book to our CFO who also enjoyed the read.  Your book has taken the substance of management and leadership training and presented the material in a solid, fresh and lively way.  Thank you for the booster shot to aspire to be a better boss.
Cindy's words lead me thank everyone, this holiday season, who has invested in the lessons of "WORK HAPPY: WHAT GREAT BOSSES KNOW" -- so they can become better leaders.  The editor of my Poynter.org columns, Julie Moos, told me as I wrote the book that we have the power to transform workplaces.  That's my aspiration, and I can tell that it is shared by many managers, too. Today, as we reflect on the joys and challenges in work and life, I wish you all peace and joy in the New Year.
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To Lead More Effectively in 2013 – Build These 10 Skills

It's the time of the year that we look back on what we've accomplished and look ahead to setting goals for the future.  With that in mind, I developed a column for Poynter.org to help you.  I've been asked by so many people to help them focus on which of many leadership skills they should focus on in these times of change and challenge.  And since change will now be a constant part of our lives, this list should be helpful (perhaps with some tweaks) a year from now, when it's once again time to take account of our achievements. Here's hoping you'll have a great year ahead -- and that these ten skills will play a role in your leadership success.  To read the column, just click on this link.
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