Jill Geisler

Jill helps news managers learn how to lead her favorite people in the world - journalists. Good journalists, she points out, question authority and resist "spin." It takes exceptional leaders to build trust, along with the systems and culture that grow great journalism. In addition to teaching leadership styles, conflict resolution, collaboration, coaching, decision making and problem solving, she also teaches in the area of ethics and broadcast journalism. Her background as a TV news director, reporter, anchor and producer inform her teaching on broadcast issues as well as her work with print and online leaders.


Future of News Audiences live blog: what we are hearing (2)

Moderator Al Tompkins, Poynter senior faculty broadcast and online, opens with information about digital viewing of video. Loading time for video is very important. Too slow, and people will abandon the effort.  “Load ‘em or Lose ‘em” — is key.

Tompkins says documentary viewership is on the increase. He shows a clip from Frontline’s “The Secret State of North Korea” and asks Raney Aronson-Rath, deputy executive producer, Frontline, about the viewership.

Aronson-Rath says was a complete surprise to Frontline — 50 percent above the average viewership for a broadcast.  Maybe it was the Dennis Rodman effect.  There was conversation about North Korea in the news and when a topic of a Frontline documentary is already in the news, the program does better.

The program had a 1.2 rating in the overnights, same as “League of Denial” — the program on the NFL that had lots of marketing support from PBS.… Read more

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Future of News Audiences live blog: what we are hearing

As news organizations struggle with increased competition and fragmented audiences, Poynter gathered about 30 top news executives and researchers on Jan. 26-27 to examine how consumers are changing and what those trends will mean for journalism. Here is some of what we are hearing. (Note: These are summaries of participants’ comments, not transcribed verbatim quotes. Follow along with Twitter hashtag  #newsaudiences.)

MONDAY
9:15 a.m. Audiences for News and Information that Serve Democracy  (Part One)

Poynter’s discussion on Audiences for News and Information that Serve Democracy (The Poynter Institute/Al Tompkins)

Vivian Schiller, Twitter head of news, leads the panel and asks: What are the biggest challenges you face in your organizations?

Marci McGinnis, senior vice president, newsgathering, Al Jazeera America Two challenges: 1. Branding.  The word ‘Al Jazeera’ comes with baggage and preconceptions.… Read more

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Business collection - Street quiz

How will you score on the ‘Great Bosses Quiz’?

I know there are many managers who aspire to be great bosses. So, I’ve developed a little quiz to see if you’re well on your way. Read the 10 questions, then select from the multiple choice answers. I hope the correct ones will be obvious to you and the others might bring a smile. You’ll find the correct answers at the end of the quiz.

The Great Bosses Quiz:

1. The most effective feedback from managers to employees is:

a. Serious and scary

b. Specific and sincere

c. Sweet and sour

2. Emotional Intelligence is:

a. Essential to effective leadership

b. A touchy-feely waste of time

c. An unreleased single by Hall & Oates

3. Micromanagers are:

a. Shorter than average managers

b. Rarely appreciated by staff and likely to impede employee growth

c.… Read more

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When managers fumble, they need to work at repairing their reputations. (Depositphotos)

When managers fumble: 5 tips for repairing your reputation

We customarily think of managers as the men and women who pass judgment on the performance of others.

But managers are evaluated, too. It may come in the form of annual reviews, employee surveys or union grievances. They may get feedback from conversations with colleagues and staff. 

And from those interactions, even good managers learn that they have performance gaps. That’s a nice way of saying the boss has some flaws.

Because the managers in our Poynter programs get 360-degree feedback from colleagues, I get to see a lot of compliments, along with solid, constructive critiques of bosses. Among the more common concerns:

  • Delegate more, micromanage less
  • Listen more, interrupt less
  • Keep people better informed
  • Cool that temper
  • Disconnect from digital devices during conversations and meetings
  • Distribute work equitably
  • Set clear priorities
  • Follow up on conversations and emails
  • Provide better feedback
  • Post work schedules on time
  • Don’t let underperformers cause extra work for others

The real test of a manager’s character is how he or she responds to such feedback.… Read more

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7 questions managers should ask before assuming someone is ‘lazy’

I wince when I hear managers describe an employee as “lazy.” They say it when discussing staffers who do the bare minimum (or less), require far more hand-holding than others, and rarely come up with new ideas.

That’s underperformance, to be sure, and managers need to address it. But declaring people “lazy” brands them with an innate character flaw rather than bad habits that can be turned around. Before I agree that someone has the selfish soul of a slacker, I need to know more.

I want to know what it is they do, or choose not to do. What do they do well? What are their best skills? I want to learn what’s expected of them — and of everyone else on the team — and how it’s been communicated.… Read more

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How managers can improve the quality of feedback they offer

I know the answer even before I ask a group this question:

“Does anyone here get too much feedback at work?”

The reply, amid snickers and eye rolls, is “No.”

No matter who is in my audience, from employees to supervisors, there’s a shared belief that feedback is in short supply.

Gallup’s recent “State of the American Workplace” report confirms that sentiment. In its surveys on workplace engagement, Gallup asked employees if they’ve received positive feedback for good work in the last seven days or had a conversation about their progress in the last six months. Again, the answer often comes up as “No.”

Gallup found that 70 percent of U.S. employees are disengaged. Many simply go through the motions, while others actively undermine the operation.… Read more

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Words - Ideas

Don’t be an ‘idea killer’: 10 tips for cultivating creativity

Some of our best ideas come when we’re taking a break from concentration. At least, that’s what recent research says. Since the concept for this column coalesced while I was sweating my way through a Zumba class, I’m prepared to believe it.

I’d been doing a lot of reading about the cultivation of ideas — especially the leader’s role in brainstorming, creativity and innovation. I collected insights and advice from all sorts of experts to use in my teaching. I wanted to craft a column, too, but kept debating with myself about the framing.

Not surprisingly, my breakthrough came when I stopped fretting and shifted my focus to enjoying some music and keeping pace with the class leader.

Then, mid-merengue, I flashed on a memory from my newsroom.… Read more

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WhatGreatBossesKnow

How veteran leaders can adopt a ‘new manager mindset’

As I led a workshop this week for a group of experienced editors, I began with a wish for them: “May you think like a new manager.”

The concept was fresh in my mind, having spent the previous week leading a seminar for newbies. Make no mistake, the new managers had plenty of the time-honored anxieties: how to manage the shift from co-worker/buddy to boss, how to lead employees of all ages, personalities, experience levels and talent, and how to build credibility, trust and authority.

But here’s something that didn’t show up on their list of worries: the past.

Unlike tenured supervisors who wistfully recall leading in fatter times with richer resources, new managers think about the teams and tools they have today. They’ve always known some kind of technological disruption that requires new learning.… Read more

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10 ways we limit our success & how to overcome those artificial barriers

I believe there’s a bounty of buried treasure in organizations: ideas, solutions and talent that lie untapped. Among the reasons: management fails to recognize the potential in employees or even discourages their aspirations.

But let’s not pick on bosses today. Instead, let’s look at how good employees can actually get in the way of their own success. Remember, I’m talking about already valuable contributors who could be offering more.

I was inspired to write about this challenge by a participant in a recent workshop. She’s not a manager, but she has impressed her supervisors with her talent and positive influence on her team. So they nominated her for additional leadership learning. They’re investing in the future.

At the end of our workshop, when participants talked about things they’d do in the future (in leadership areas like innovation, collaboration, coaching, conflict resolution and communication), she made a statement that grabbed my attention.… Read more

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Don’t wait to thank someone great

At this time in 2011, I was eagerly awaiting the New Year. My dream of publishing a book for managers would be realized in June. In that book, amid the advice and research, would be stories from my personal experience. Two of those stories involved bosses I worked for. They were two men who could not have been more different in their leadership styles, but both made an indelible impact on my life.

One of them, Andy Potos, knew he would be in the book. In fact, my editor insisted that I run the copy past him; she thought it might offend him that I revealed I almost quit rather than work for Andy when he became my boss. I described him in the book as a “brash and bottom-line fixated sales guy, and he saw me as a holier-than thou newsperson, bunkered in a silo with my team.” There was more:

He came from the Vince Lombardi school of leadership.

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