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Kevin & Jackie Freiberg

Archive for August, 2018

7 Insights Toward an Apology that will Heal the Wound, Not Infect It

Written by Kevin and Jackie Freiberg, this article originally appeared in Forbes.com June 26, 2018.

In an age of transparency and authenticity, we don’t expect our leaders to be perfect, we expect them to be real. No CEO can know it all, be it all or do it all. And, no leader is immune from making mistakes. In fact, truly great leaders become more human and more approachable in the eyes of employees when they own their shortcomings. Admitting a mistake and apologizing for it is a sign of strength and courage. Unfortunately, some leaders see “owning it” as a weakness that undermines their executive gravitas.

Yet, when leaders admit their mistakes it sends a message to the rest of the organization: “It’s okay to take initiative, be decisive, take risks and fail. If we are going to be agile, adaptive and accelerate innovation, we’re going to make mistakes.”

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It’s a Learning Loop

Lead, listen, learn!

Ever want to say “ZIP IT”? Recently, I was talked at for 27 minutes straight…no breaths, no pause, no check, just talked at. Once it was over, I was exhausted, checked out, and completely put off. Fire hosing someone with your brilliance is clearly not the way to make a good first, second, or third impression – nor is it a way grow your likability, respect, and credibility. There are simple ways to make a good impression and grow likable: Make eye contact, smile, ask questions (be interested), and listen significantly more than you speak.

According to a meta-analysis of over 50 different studies on the relationship between self-reported interpersonal attraction and enacted behavior, there are five nonverbal signs that influence your ability to establish rapport:

  1. Smiling
  2. Engaging in eye contact (the eyes are a window to the soul)
  3. Laughing (when appropriate)
  4. Initiating new conversational topics, (strive to be BOTH interested AND interesting)
  5. Maintaining physical proximity to be sensitive to appropriate professional space and boundaries
  6. Mimicking (unconsciously) nonverbal expressions

Smiling, laughing, making eye contact, and extending the conversation beyond its opening stages by offering more than yep, yeah or right all make sense. But mimicking might seem a bit out there or even awkward. Mimicking is a learned behavior. You have to try, use it, and build the muscle so eventually it becomes unconscious and very powerful.

So if you want to make positively impactful impressions and grow your likability, do NOT underestimate the power of subtly imitating the nonverbal cues and behaviors of the person you are engaging with. And please trust us – a pause, a conversation check-in – ask “are you with me?” – all complimented by these six nonverbal signs are significantly more powerful than fire hosing someone with your own self-righteous brilliance. Practice the art of “Zip it.”

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Are you Brave Enough for the Mirror Challenge?

Don’t be sorry…CHANGE!

None of us has arrived. A true test of leadership is if you’re brave enough to take a good look in the mirror and assess yourself honestly. Pick the characteristic you are most guilty of and CHANGE. Hold yourself accountable by doing a self-evaluation every week for 7 weeks and Dare to Share your personal evaluation publicly with your team for a true accountability check. Watch your impact improve.

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Recruiting Strategies that Work!

Hiring for Attitude and Training for Skill

Check out this dancing Ramp Agent! 22 years ago, we wrote NUTS! – Southwest Airlines’ Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal SuccessIt’s GREAT to see Southwest  still hires people who embody joy and purpose!

How about you? Are your recruiting strategies building your desired culture and service brand or are they bruising or blocking your brand? For more on how to hire for attitude, check out our how-to Hire People Who Don’t Suck! the life, passion, and energy out of you!

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5 Lessons Nelson Mandela Taught The World About Change

Written by Kevin and Jackie Freiberg, this article originally appeared in Forbes.com July 19, 2018.

(Photo: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images)

Inspiring Change

Only July 18, Nelson Mandela, affectionately referred to by his clan or family name, Madiba, would have turned 100. The legacy of this iconic leader lives on in the hearts of a nation and a global community who find inspiration and hope from the way he lived his life and led his country. To celebrate his 100th birthday we reflect on just a few of the things he taught us about leadership and change.


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