HCI Blog

Archive from June 2014

Seven characteristics of a top tier leadership team

Leadership is a characteristic which is a must for executives and managers. But many times, the way I which they exercise their leadership may lack in quality and consistency.

But let’s imagine that we put all of these leaders into a same team, which is a common scenario for any board meeting, for example. These leaders will take decisions which will decide the direction and the future of the organization they manage.

Therefore, a team composed of such people must have these seven characteristics in order to be highly successful in their leadership skills:

1. Every decision is argued from the top

All decisions should be debated. If a problem or an issue arises, the focus of everyone should be on resolving it, using a 360 view, which is the sum of all the different points of view.

2. Putting the team before oneself

Achieving a team goal is more important than achieving individual goals which can help one rise quickly or obtain some personal advantage.

3. The highest priority in the company will be the highest priority of the team

This means that team members do not prioritize their functional team’s action items as more important than the leadership team’s action items.

4. They all have a unique goal and can give their point of view clearly

Each team member will have a different way of seeing things, rather than being redundant and repetitive. This will contribute strongly towards getting decisions done!

5. Each individual can conform to not having things their own way

This is central to having a good outcome in a highly efficient team. All must conform that their own way is not necessarily the best way.

6. Support and back up each other

Knowing that others are there for you is very reassuring. Back up your colleagues as they most likely will do the same for you.

7. Communicate openly and socialize well amongst themselves

Open and frank communication is very important, as well as socializing among colleagues in order to discuss ideas.

Based on: TLNT

How much damage can a bad manager cause to a company?

A bad manager can cause major damage to his team and the company as a whole. Poor management skills, inferior leadership capabilities and lack of commitment are factors which can affect all in a very negative form.

More specifically, the following occurs to each element within a company:

  • Employees – They may feel unsupported, undirected, bullied, confused, unmotivated, unappreciated, frustrated, and constantly questioning, “is it me?” So they are not engaged and they are not productive.
  • Executives – They will begin to lack confidence in the team which they depend on and have to make up for the poor work done by managers, as well as their own work.
  • Business – The pace at which the business functions is altered. It may become sluggish and inefficient, resulting in financial setbacks for example.


Research shows that the having a good manager can influence business positively more than many others factors:


  • Naming a superior manager can make all the difference to businesses.


  • Poor managers can cost billions of dollars per year to companies. Having too many of them can result in a company shutting down.


  • Businesses with the best managers will thrive and have a significant competitive advantage.


  • The best managers may seem rare to find at times. Here are some characteristics a good manager must have:


  • Motivate everyone around them to engage in the company’s vision.
  • They have the ability to overcome adversity.
  • They create a culture of clear accountability.
  • They build relationships that create trust, open dialogue, and full transparency.
  • They make decisions that are based on productivity, not politics.

Improve your managers

Since it may be difficult to find the perfect manager for your company, a solution is to improve the managers you already have inside. Usually, average managers may be lacking orientation and the correct set of tools to become even better at what they do.

The most important thing a manager can do is to build a highly capable team beneath them — a team that is able to do what the business needs now and in the future.

This is where coaching comes in!

Through a well-structured coaching program, managers can build themselves to become highly efficient in their positions. Therefore, he will also become a better leader, making his team respond more efficiently to the tasks they are delegated.

Based on: TLNT

Five key points to excellent coaching

Nowadays, coaching has become a fundamental centerpiece to the development of leaders within companies. Even so that many companies include in the job description of its new leaders “the ability to coach and develop others”. Unfortunately, many of today’s managers and leaders don’t live up to this.

The 2010 Executive Coaching Survey has shown that 63% of organizations use some form of internal coaching, and half of the rest plan to. But even still, coaching is a small fraction of the job requirement for most managers; half of the interviewed managers spend 10% of their time coaching others.

The central purpose of coaching is to assist individuals on how to retain focus and improve the activities they perform. The growth that coaching stimulates is done by provoking thought rather than giving directions and on holding a person accountable for his or her goals.

In other words, the purpose is to increase effectiveness, broaden thinking, identify strengths and development needs and set and achieve challenging goals.

Here are the five main skills that managers should be able to coach others on:

1)     Constructing a relationship

Simply put, your coach needs to be somebody you trust. Once there is a true link of trust established, learning and coaching will be a smoother process.


2)    Adequate assessment tools

Coaching is no good if you don’t have the right tools to measure the yielded results. This is part of the process of self-awareness that comes from the changes that occur due to coaching. This type of feedback should show all aspects of change (or lack of it).


3)    In depth questioning

This process can be summarized as “the art of thinking about thinking”. In other words, a coach should make the coachee ask himself the correct questions through the usage of open ended questions.


4)    Full support

A coach must always allow for employees and coachees to vent their emotions without judging them. Also, they should encourage them to reach their goal through the recognition of progress which has been made and recognize their success.


5)    Establishing goals

This step is central to coaching. The establishment of reachable and realistic goals is the central pillar of coaching. Reaching each of the set milestones will make the coachee and the coach truly visualize how far they have come since the beginning. Milestones should be set in order to keep tabs on how things progress through time.

You should seed your organization with coaching role models. The key is to create a pool of manager-coaches who can be role models, supporters and sustainers of a coaching mindset.

Always link the purpose and results of coaching to the business. Managers have to know the business case for coaching and developing others if they’re to value it and use it effectively. Where is the business headed? What leadership skills are needed to get us there? How should coaches work with direct reports to provide the feedback, information and experiences they need to build those needed skills? Set strategic coaching goals, tactics and measures for the organization as well as including coaching as an individual metric.

Finally, give it time. It’s not surprising that managers feel they don’t have enough time for coaching. Even if you make learning and coaching explicit priorities, time is tight for everyone. But as your coaching processes and goals become more consistent and more highly valued, in-house coaching will take root.

How to perform well in a job interview


Is it possible to completely plan your career?

A career plan is usually thought out to be in the form of any other type of plan which has a starting point, a goal and the steps to be taken in order to reach the goal. But it is not uncommon that this plan will not be followed exactly as it was drafted.

Many executives start out their careers not knowing where they might end up. As said by Robert Pozen: “There was no grand plan; I backed into my career one step at a time. In the years after I graduated from law school, I had no idea that I would ultimately become the president of a financial services giant. I held positions as a law professor, a senior official at the Securities and Exchange Commission, and a partner in a law firm.”

In other words, it is hardly possible to control the trajectory of your career, mainly because many factors exist which are beyond your control. Rather than focusing on the steps of your planning, try to ascertain the right mind set to develop a successful approach to your work habits.

Gain Transferable Knowledge

Transferable knowledge is simply knowledge which can be used in more than one area of work. This is the initial set of skills and abilities which you typically acquire in college and then work to develop and refine.

With time, you will begin to notice that you might favor or be better at a given area instead of another. For example, you focus on courses which involve a hefty load of math and then follow into studying physics and engineering. In years to come, you could then opt for computer programming, which has a large participation within engineering.  This will give you a wider array of choices in the future.

Also, working abroad will help you develop this type of knowledge. The cultural interactions and the different was cultures approach work will assist you in refining your transferable knowledge.

The same goes to working in different types of organizations during your career, such as a non-profit organization or governmental institutions.

Grow Your Network

Networking is perhaps one of the factors which will most strongly influence the outcome of your career path in the future. Despite all the knowledge you have acquired throughout time, you are not hired by a company, but by someone in it who chose you to work there. As the saying goes: “Organizations don’t hire people. People hire people”.

Make your best to become well known within the circles of your area of work. You might attend conferences and seminars, but the best choice is to have long time colleagues within the same line of work, in special those who you have known for a long time.

In summary: “To prepare for whatever surprises lie ahead, try to make choices today that will maximize your options in the future. Gain transferable expertise — in the classroom or at work — and form close bonds with your peers and colleagues.”

Based on: Harvard Business Review