July 20, 2018

5 Warning Signs that Your Arrogance is Tearing Your Team Apart

ArroganceArrogance is something that we often discuss in the world of leadership.  A little bit of arrogance can go a long way in the direction of success, but when overused, arrogance can tear your team apart.  The main reason?  As a leader, if arrogance is your leadership skill of choice, your team is more than likely feeling devalued, rejected and angry.  When I speak in private to team members about their arrogant leaders, they usually shrug and say “It is a waste of my oxygen to mention anything or bring new ideas to the table.  He always thinks he has the right and only answer”.

If you are an arrogant leader, these behaviors will be seen by others:

1. You think you have the only answer.

2. You always think you are right and that the rest of the world is wrong. And, your team hears this constantly.

3. You dismiss the ideas of others on your team.

4. You appear aloof and that you don’t really like other people.

5. You pull rank constantly and try to overpower other people.

6. You rarely share credit with others.

7. You don’t take feedback from others as an opportunity to learn or grow.  You think you are already masterful at everything.

Here are the signs that your arrogance is tearing your team apart:

1.  Team members don’t speak up during meetings or one on one discussions.  Why should they?  You know it all!

2.  Team members work in a robotic fashion.  They would never want to come up with an innovative idea, because you will more than likely squash any new ideas.

3.  When speaking with team members, they stumble through their words, get flushed and anxious, and they will always back down from their opinion.

4.  Team members quit, because they are living in fear.  They are afraid they will say the wrong thing, and you would rather be right than keep your top talent in place.

5.  Team members are talking about you behind your back.  You may not know it, but trust me…they are talking about you behind your back.  When a team is not aligned with their leader, and the team is talking about you behind your back, get ready for your productivity, teamwork and bottom line results to fall into a very dark hole.

If you are a leader who is living with arrogance, there are some steps you can take:

1.  Most people living with arrogance don’t know it, but you need to hear it if you are.  I highly recommend that you commit yourself to getting feedback from your team on an annual basis.  I suggest that you bring in a 3rd party who knows nothing about your company to ask about 10 questions of your team and the people who know you.  Then, it’s time to sit down and hear what your team has to say about you.

2.  Work on opening up your body.  This sounds odd, but most arrogant people have facial expressions that send the message they are not open to others.  They will look away, turn their back or pretend they are not listening.  Sit down with your team members, remove anything that is blocking you from your team, and really listen without all of the sighs and looks that you may usually send.

3.  Disclose your shortcomings to your team.  Most leaders believe that this will make them appear weak and incompetent to their team members.  The opposite is true.  When you open up to your team about your shortcomings, your world will change overnight.  You don’t have to drag every bone out of the closet, yet it is important to tell your team about some of the feedback you have received and your plan of action.  Then, you must act on your plan.  Your actions will speak so much more loudly than words.

4. Be a coach…not a know it all.  In today’s business world, true leaders are becoming great coaches.  With coaching, you will be collaborating with your team on a way to “win”.  (Dave Buck’s Coach to Win and Play to Win methods are really great for this purpose).  With coaching, you are not telling people what to do…you are pulling their strengths to the surface and then coaching them on how to leverage those strengths so that they become stronger and better at what they do.

5.  Drop the cocky attitude and listen.  People who are over the top on arrogance are cocky.  This intimidates others.  You can be confident and come across as approachable, but not if your goal is to be cocky.  There is a very fine line between being confident and being arrogant.  If you are arrogant, you are probably very smart and talented, and you don’t need to throw that all over people.  Just observe yourself for one week in listening and curiosity mode and do your best to bite your tongue.  Watch the responses as you open up, listen and become more curious.  Your team will shift if you practice listening and being curious.  It just works!

 

The 5 Things Leaders Hate to Do that Stop them From Being Great

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last decade, you probably have heard all about the book Good to Great by Jim Collins.  In the book, Collins discusses the universal distinguishing characteristics that cause a company to go from good to great, and much of this process has to do with the leadership skills of the people at the top.

I have had the honor of coaching over 1000 business leaders in the last ten years, and while I do agree with Collins on the points he makes about great leaders and great companies, I have learned through the years that there are five things that most leaders hate to do.  As a result, they push these five to the back burner, and allow the simmering process to burn the team and/or company down…a slow and painful death for everyone, including the leader.  I am writing this post today, because I don’t want you to become one of those leaders who becomes a “has been” in the next 1-3 years and has a California wrongful death case in the process.

So, here we go:  The 5 Things Leaders Hate to Do that Stop them From Being Great:

1.  Being open to coaching, hiring a coach and working with a coach.  I don’t care how great you are, if you are a human being, you need a coach.  I am not saying that you need me (yet that would be great if we are a good fit), but if you are a leader at the top of your game, a great coach can help you go even further, stretch even more, build a more effective team and hire the best talent in the world.  For some reason, leaders think hiring a coach means they must be problematic or broken.  It is truly just the opposite.  As a leader, if you are a big thinker, you will understand quickly that an objective opinion and support from someone outside of your company can offer you new perspectives, new insights into your role as a leader.  A coach can also help you leverage your strengths, identify your weaknesses and learn how to leverage both to create new opportunities for yourself and your team.

2.  Addressing conflict.  Many leaders believe if they just ignore a conflict, it will magically go away or die on the vine.  Conflict breeds contempt, and if you are a strong leader, you will find yourself addressing some type of conflict on a weekly basis.  The goal is to strike while the iron is hot and to learn how to address conflict effectively.  I highly recommend the book Crucial Confrontations for this purpose.  It is hard to speak to others about a conflict or to “confront” others.  Rather than using the word “confront”, I recommend using the term “Critical Conversation”.   By using this language, the conversation becomes “mission critical”, and you are compelled to address the problem right upfront.

3.  Taking personal responsibility for company problems.  The issues with Enron, 9/11, bad loans and Bernie Madoff marked the end of leaders being above the law and the beginning of personal responsibility.  At the end of the day, as a leader, your company and team is not about you.  It is about your employees and customers.  It is absolutely critical that you take personal responsibility for failures in your company and that you speak about them to the public.  While there may be others who fell short of their responsibilities, at the end of the day, as the top person in the company, there is something you did that helped contribute to the problem.  You have have:

  • Hired the wrong person
  • Withdrawn yourself from over the top communication
  • Micromanaged too much OR isolated yourself too much

Each time a problem happens in your company, it is important to sit quietly and figure out what role you played in the process.  If you dig deep enough, you will find it.  Once you find it, it is then time to speak to your employees and customers about the issue, where you went wrong and what you are going to do about it.

4.  Dedicating yourself to ongoing learning and development.  This goes a bit back to the first point about hiring a coach.  You may be the top dog, but everyone has something new to learn.  Leaders often send their employees to training and development events, but they never put learning and development on their own calendar.  If you want to be great, you will be dedicated to lifelong learning and always looking at new ways to expand your depth and breadth of knowledge.  Learning and development opportunities are always available in your own industry, but I would like to stretch you to think about learning opportunities outside of your own industry.  This could be in the area of technology, social networking or the arts.  Finding creative ways to use information outside of your own industry is a characteristic of someone who is willing to think way out there on the bleeding edge, and we need this in our leaders of today.

5.  Speaking less…leaving a few things unsaid.  Many leaders talk way too much.  They think they know all the answers, and leave very little opportunities for their teams to come up with answers and find their own way.  Deep listening is a critical skill all leaders need in their toolkit, and just as important is the ability to empower others to speak and act.  While you may have all of the answers, your team will step up and bring your answers to the table, but only if you empower them to do it.  While it may take a bit more time for your team to figure out the best solution to problems or to find their way through a maze, they will exercise their strategic thinking and problem solving skills, but only if you back off.

If you are a leader, congratulations and thank you for all that you do for your followers, companies, cities, schools and government.  If I can be of support in any way by offering you a bit of leadership coaching to help you move from being a good leader to a great one, contact me at 910.692.6118.

 

Should the President of the United States Be Held to Higher Standards than the General Population?

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on Februar...

Over the past few months, we have all been hearing stories of sexual harassment, adultery and lying by a few of the Republican Candidates for President of the United States.  This all brings up the question:  Should the President of the United Stated be held to higher standards than the general population?

My feeling is an absolute YES!  While the President is a human being, he or she has powers that the general population does not have.  Our President can send troops into battle, can make the call to push a button to send a nuclear bomb and can veto any bill that lands on his desk.

The latest allegations regarding Herman Cain reportedly having a 13 year affair with a woman has everyone asking this question.  Cain’s lawyer a experienced divorce attorney suggested that the personal life of a Presidential candidate should not have an impact on electability.  The situation is this:  If Herman Cain is guilty of the allegations of sexual harassment and having an extramarital affair are true, then he told a bold face lie to the public. 

If someone will lie during a campaign, he will lie as our President.   I am not saying that Cain lied or that the allegations are true, but I do know this:  More often than not, when there’s smoke, there’s fire, so something odd is going on here.  And, with the Drug Charges Defense Lawyer in Las Vegas, the truth will come out.

I have adult children who are of the age that they could be drafted into war if required, and as the President of the United States, this position also gives the person at the helm the title of Commander in Chief.  When elected, I want our President to be able to be trusted, and if my children are drafted, I want to know that this decision came from someone who is capable of being trusted…I want to feel secure in that decision.  While the public these days is very forgiving, we never forget, and if trust is an issue, it will be very difficult for a man or woman to lead our people…into war, out of a horrible economy and into diplomatic relationships with other countries.

For Herman Cain’s sake and the sake of his family, I do hope these allegations are false.  Having said that, I do feel that we are at a critical turning point in history, and the person we elect needs a record that is as close to squeaky clean as possible.  We need someone who is rock solid, has a strong business and economic background, who knows foreign policy and who can make tough calls when they need to.

Would love to hear you weigh in on this question:

Should the President of the United Stated be held to higher standards than the general population?

Enhanced by Zemanta

NEW VIDEOS: Is The Media Ignoring Ron Paul? Piers Morgan and Jon Stewart Weigh In

Ron Paul, member of the United States House of...

Image via Wikipedia

I have to admit that I am a bit biased on the subject of Congressman Ron Paul, as my daughter Ann is working on his Presidential campaign. I honestly did not know much about Paul until this past year, and the more I listen to him, the more sense he seems to make. He believes in getting back to what our founding fathers wanted in the first place…liberty and freedom.

But, I just have to put this out on my blog today, as it has been so blatantly apparent that the media is just totally ignoring Ron Paul in this campaign. He almost tied Michelle Bachmann in the Iowa Caucus, yet everyone is just ignoring this…as if Dr. Paul does not exist. There is all sorts of talk about Bachmann and Perry and a lot of coverage on Pawlenty pulling out of the race, yet very few people are saying much about Ron Paul. It makes me wonder (based on the below interview) if the media might be afraid to bring Paul into the spotlight, because gosh…he might just be the person who could help turn our situation around. Last night, Piers Morgan interviewed Paul and was quite direct in asking the long term Congressman why no one is talking about him? Watch this video of the interview:

And, here you have the outcome of the Iowa Caucus:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now…watch how Jon Stewart sums all up. Really right on point and very funny!~

Enhanced by Zemanta

5 Ways to Identify Your Next Generation Leaders and How to Train Them Up

Gen Y PictureAs many of you are aware, our world is at a critical point in history. Many studies are estimating that in the next 10-12 years, approximately 45-50% of the workforce in the United States alone will be gone, and most of the workers are from the Baby Boomer generation. They will be leaving in droves in leadership roles in business, education, government, the medical field and the world of non profits.

Many people argue that Generation X will fill these leadership roles and that all will be fine. Well…if you do the math, you will find our three main demographics in our world today include these numbers:

Baby Boomers: Approximately 70 million
Generation X: Approximately 45 million
Generation Y: Approximately 80 million

If you look at these figures, it is obvious that once the Baby  Boomer Generation is out of the workforce, we are most definitely going to have a shortage of leadership talent.

I speak with young men and women under the age of 30 every day, and many tell me that they have been thrust into early leadership positions without any training, coaching or shadowing. They show up for work and hear “Hey…Margaret…Bob’s last day is tomorrow, so you are stepping into his role.” While the names in this statement are fictional, the scenario is not. Because of their knowledge, talent and confidence, members of the Gen Y demographic are being pulled into leadership roles at ages 24-29, and they are saying they are not ready…that they need training, shadowing and coaching. So, my question is this “If you are not acting now to get your Gen Y careerists trained for top leadership positions today, then when are you going to do it?” My opinion is this: If you are planning on waiting and just letting the cards fall where they may, your company will either suffer or your doors will unfortunately close.

So, today, I want to share with you five characteristics that I believe will be critical for your next gen leaders to have ingrained in their DNA and five steps you can take, starting today, to get your young careerists ready for the highest level positions in your company. And, no, I am not foolish on this one topic…I am talking about getting your young workers ready for positions like CEO, COO, Senators, Hospital Administrators and Superintendents of Schools.

The 5 traits of your next generation leaders:

1.  An eagerness to both coach and be coached. Businesses are now moving into a coaching mode as opposed to an advice-giving or consulting mode.  If you notice a young careerist who is open to being coached and then willing to coach other co-workers, peers and even bosses in the direction of success, you have a potential leader in your midst.

2. An innovative spirit and creative experimenter who inspires others to act. I truly believe that the leaders and companies who can innovate like mad will using new media and the technology we have at our fingertips will be the ones who survive in the future.  If you spot a creative thinker who can also map out the strategy from start to finish of how to get a new product or service to the market, I recommend looking closely at this potential future leader.

3.  A global collaborator who engages creative talent to produce positive results for your company. Because of new media and of course the internet, we can now collaborate on a global level.  A true next generation leader will surround herself with talented people who can gather together for quick collaboration sessions.  (Note:  Be cautious of someone who wants to collaborate for hours and hours…red flag!)  The best collaborators are those who can guide collaboration, take command, make quick decisions while mitigating risk and who is agile and flexible enough to move and bend with the collaborative process without dragging it out.

4.  A young leader who has demonstrated shared leadership and self directed leadership. The old school hierarchical style of leadership is quickly fading away.  Our next generation leaders are turned off by climbing the ladder, being excluded from decision making and having to wait until a question slowly crawls up the ladder to the top so that it can be answered.  Generation Y is craving shared leadership, and they naturally lead with a self directed form of leadership. If you spot a young careerist who is willing to step aside and bring forward another leader who has a better grasp, ideas and input on a project, then you have yourself a great candidate for more training.  While the buck will ultimately stop with this leader, a form of shared, self directed leadership gives other young careerists a voice, respect, credibility and a host of other skills which will build confidence and a create a bigger pool of potential leaders.

5.  Strong networking and strategic alliance building skills. Companies of today and tomorrow cannot survive without alliances with other companies.  I have watched and watched this for the last ten years.  The companies who “hide” what they are doing, who don’t want to share with others and who see building alliances as a threat are either now closed or in jeopardy of falling off a cliff.  Your strong future leaders should be networking maniacs and constantly scanning the global environment for companies who can make your business stronger, more visible and more credible.

How to train your next generation leaders so that they can step up and step into high level leadership roles

1.  Study your under 30 employees closely for at least three months so that you can spot the above five characteristics. Remember…some people just have a bad day now and then, so look at the overall picture and don’t dwell on the few bad days…we all have them!

2.  Once you have spotted the employees you believe are potential candidates for leadership roles, perform a full 360 degree feedback review on your potential candidates. Make sure to include questions which address the above five traits.  You will want to gather feedback from co-workers, bosses, friends, former co-workers and family members to see how they view your potential candidates.

3.  Choose your potential leadership candidates and hire an experienced executive coach to work with your high potentials for at least six months. Ask your potential candidates if they will agree to a final debrief with the executive coach to determine coachability.

4. Assign a tough project to your potential candidate to observe how she handles leadership under pressure.  Once again, you are looking for the above traits as well as the obvious skills such as staying cool under pressure, time management, delegation and command.

5.  Design a structured shadowing program for your potential leadership candidates. You will want your candidates to shadow your strongest senior leaders and then flip the situation.  Ask your strongest older leaders to shadow the potential candidate for at least one month to get feedback about how they really act on the job.  If you have a strong future leader, she will be able to stay cool and calm when being followed around all day by a higher management leader on your team.

The 5 Reasons Why I Believe Scott McCreery Won American Idol

The front page of the Raleigh News and Observer for today reads in big, bold letters SCOTTY WINS!  The photo to the right was just below the announcement

It is no secret in my family and public network that I am an Americn Idol fanatic.  I have been glued to the action for the last three months just to watch and see what would unfold.  The show is a coach’s dream…to watch an average performer become a superstar over a 12 week period by learning from mistakes, being open to feedback and then practicing like mad to get better and better every week in hopes of making it to the finals and becoming the next American Idol.  As Randy Jackson said “Scotty’s in it to win it!”  And Randy was right.

I initially though that Casey Abrams would win, but when he was voted off, I began to watch Scotty much more closely.  Here was this 17 year old kid whose low bass or baritone voice sounded like a 35 year old and who had that old country charm we just don’t see in the music industry these days.  About three weeks ago, I knew that McCreery was going to win…the week he and Lady Gaga met.  Two polar opposites trying to work together, and Scotty was so open and funny, considering his strong religious background and Gaga’s edgy approach.  Just watch this video to see the contrast and how this young man handled all:

So…if you are a leader, and if you are struggling…pay attention to Scott McCreery and the characteristics which I saw come out onto the stage in front of millions over the last 12 weeks.

1.  Poise. This kid was unflappable.  You throw Lady Gaga, Elton John, the Beatles, you name it, and he could take the genre, make it his own and then lay it out in spades in front of thousands of people.

2. Authenticity. Scotty made it clear from the very beginning that he was just an “aw schucks” 17 year old kid from Garner, NC who loved the old country classics, was going to stick to his genre and was not shy about letting people know about his Christian background.    Not one time did he try to veer out of his old time country lane, and I found this so refreshing.  He knows who he is, and he stuck to his guns come hell or high water.  He is going to be so successful in Nashville.  I am looking forward to watching him soar to the top.

3. Coachability. Each week, Scotty received feedback.  The majority was great feedback, but when the bad times came, he just stood there with that grin of his, shaking his head, saying “Yes Sir” or “Yes Maam”.  One of the reasons I think Haley Reinhart left early had a LOT to do with her attitude.  Her defensiveness with the judges and her eye rolling when she was voted off proved that she is just not coachable.  You cannot make it in business, sports or in the music industry if you cannot take feedback when it’s dished out.

4. Connection. McCreery was a connector.  He made the audience and the viewers at home feel like we are all the same.  Again…let me remind you, he is 17, a country classics singer who went to school in Garner, NC and worked part time at Lowes Grocery Store.  He just kept his cool, connected with the audience and had a blast on stage.  His likability factor was HUGE, which is so important in leadership.  I will also say that Scotty’s commitment to the old country classics probably made him not so likable in the hard rock, metal, hip hop pockets of the world.  But, all you had to do was to look at him and listen to him to get that he was a good kid.

5. A Strong Sense of the Importance of Family and Community. If you noticed, last night, as Scotty was crowned the new American Idol, who did he go to first…his family and friends who got him there.  That was so much more important to him than standing on the stage as the glitter and confetti fell on him.  I don’t recall this ever happening.  If you are a leader, it is critical to understand that your employees have family, friends and communities they care about.  To bring that into the workforce is going to be a critical component of success for our future workers.  So, just bear this in mind the next time you ask your workers to give 60 hours a week.  You are taking them away from their families and communities, and these people need your top talent.

I am from North Carolina, so I am proud of Scott McCreery.  But his North Carolina roots had very little to do with why I think he won.  If you did not watch the show, I would encourage you to go back and watch a few of Scotty’s performances and study them from a position of leadership and the skills he has taught us all over the last 3 months.  Big congrats to Scotty McCreery!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Leadership Coaching Demonstration: How to Address Interruptions

I had the opportunity to coach Eric Cook (right)  today on the topic of Time Management. One belief I hold is that you really cannot manage time. You can only manage the behaviors which get in the way of ultimate productivity.  We address these behaviors during the coaching demo.

Listen to the coaching call here.

This demo was sponsored by Free Webinar Wednesdays.  Thank-you to Jeff Simpkins and Eric Cook for their great efforts with this venture!

Dressing for Leadership: A Video/Audio Interview with Dolores Hagen of Sixty and Sensational

I had the pleasure today of interviewing Dolores Hagen of Sixty and Sensational on the topic of dress, style, hair and make-up for women who are in leadership roles.  As you all know, your credibility can be either helped or harmed by the way you look on the outside.

I encourage all women of all ages to watch this video.  Dolores did a wonderful job pointing out what works and what often doesn’t by critiquing some of our world’s most famous women leaders.  Included in the video presentation are comments on First Lady Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, the new Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

For more information on Dolores Hagen, and her new Sensational You Program, visit http://SixtyAndSensational.com

Just click the play button and you will be taken to Fuze Meeting to watch and listen the interview.  Great stuff!

dress for leadership

9 Leadership Lessons To Learn From The Mission to Kill Osama Bin Laden

Osama Bin Laden is deadThere is not a day that goes by that for some reason I don’t think of September 11, 2001.  I don’t know why, but I will see something, read an article or just be driving down the road, and suddenly the visions come rushing back to my memory.  While these memories are only from watching the news and reading what the journalists had to say, I just cannot shake the vision of:

  • Two planes crashing into the world trade center
  • Smoke filling the New York City sky
  • Men and women, performing the the Sign of The Cross, holding hands and jumping from 80 floors to their death…not because they wanted to die, but they had to make a choice.  Do I die from being burned to death or the quicker, more painless way of the fall either killing me instantly or injuring me to the point that I may never walk again?
  • The screams and tears as people in New York City watched this in horrid and ran from the smoke and white ash that filled the streets as if a nuclear bomb had exploded.
  • The thousands of family members who stood in shock and grief, knowing they would never see their loved ones again

I also cannot help but wonder about the people who were killed who were passengers on the planes that crashed into the building or in an open grassy field and the people who were inside the World Trade Center, simply starting their day when they went their grave either by being crushed by an airplane or flying debris or having to burn to death in flames, described by many as one of the most painful ways to die.

This sounds so dramatic, because it was and still is.  This is the reality of September 11, and the man we have to blame for it was finally put to death yesterday.  I do believe that someone like this needs to be severely punished, and it was just a matter of time.  You can run from the CIA, but you just can’t hide (although he did it pretty well for ten years).

Today, people are celebrating, and the peacemakers are as usual being critical that Osama Bin Laden’s murder was a kill mission and that violence only leads to more violence.  While this is somewhat true, all I have to say is this:  If you are an American citizen and you are criticizing our president for making this decision to go after a brutal murderer, then it is time for you to move to another country.  While I cannot stand violence, we are not talking about a person who stole a piece of candy.   We are talking about a brutal murderer and a “leader…if you can even call him that” who has given the Islamic religion a very bad reputation and a place to live called fear. I want to make clear that the people who are Islamic are not all members of this  Al Qaeda regime whose only mission seems to be to kill innocent people so that they can fly on some type of power trip, because they have been told by a higher power that the innocent must die in order to teach a lesson (or some such nonsense).  But, now, because Bin Laden did the unthinkable “in the name of Islam” the people of Bin Laden’s land have to face criticism, racism and are shunned in airports and in the public.  In my opinion, if this man were captured, it would not have been enough.  We would have captured him and then would have to drag out a trial that would last for years.  This mission was carried out in a way that all leaders should be studying today.  Here are the leadership skills I immediately see were at play during this operation…the skills which helped the mission to be achieved, and as a leader, I strongly encourage you to study this mission and learn from the skills applied:

1.  A clear mission: To kill Bin Laden.  Yes…this was a kill mission.  While there may have been a discussion around capture, this mission was to rid the earth of one of our greatest threats to humanity.  The mission was clear…not fuzzy and long written and long winded.

2. Laser focus on the mission: As the report goes, this mission to get Bin Laden has been in the planning stages for two years, and the focus has been razor sharp.

3. Responsibility. President Bush made it clear that he wanted Bin Laden “dead or alive”, and he did not accomplish that.  Unfortunately, President Obama inherited this duty, and not once has he criticized the former leadership for not capturing or killing Bin Laden.  He made this “mission critical” and obviously said “If no one else is going to do it, we are going after him, and we are going to succeed.”

4. Strategic Agility: This mission is not something that was talked about in a bar over a week-end retreat and then implemented.  I can guarantee you that every step of the process was calculated out to the very minute, the very second.  The President and the CIA met numerous times to plan out what would be one of the most historical events in our history.

5. Discretion: This mission nor the strategy were leaked.  We’ve been through that before, and the secret nature of this mission was airtight.  In leadership, there are times when you are going to need to practice the deepest level of discretion, especially when the stakes are so very high.

6. Delegation: Obama did not go into Bin Laden’s mansion and kill him.  He gave the order to the CIA and the military to do the job, and he empowered them to get the job done well.

7. Top talent placement: The mission was accomplished by a team of Navy Seals.  As you probably well know, the Navy Seals are are the U.S. Navy‘s principal special operations force and is a part of the Naval Special Warfare Command (NSWC).  They are the best of the best, and while I am sure their knuckles were white, they have been trained for years for a mission such as this one.  They knew exactly what to do.

8.  Vigilance: This mission has been planned and coordinated over a two year period.  The focus, importance and desire did not wane or waver.  To wait two years for a mission to be accomplished will send many leaders into a state of frustration, and the mission then gets dropped.  Learn from this vigilance.  Well thought out missions take time, patience and commitment.

9.  Persistence: The mission to get Bin Laden did not stop until it was accomplished.  I am sure multiple road blocks were thrown into the path, but our leaders found ways around and over those obstacles to make this mission come to fruition.

I know that this day will not bring back the thousands of men and women who were lost in 9/11 and the thousands of men and women who have been murdered by this man.  But I hope in some way that the family members of the victims of the brutality of Bin Laden will find just a bit more peace and closure knowing a man who obviously found joy in killing innocent people is no longer roaming this earth just to do it again.

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Top 3 Most Common Employee Complaints

What would your employees write on the wall next to your suggestion box?

This cartoon always makes me laugh.  In looking at this cartoon, simply ask yourself this question “If uncensored, what would your employees write on a wall next to a suggestion box about you and your executive team?”

In the leadership coaching work I have provided executive level leaders and their teams over the last ten years, I have discovered that there are 3 main complaints employees seem to voice regarding upper management and the leadership team.  These complaints or concerns are not isolated.  They are common across all geographical boundaries, so take note of these and rather than take my word for it, go ask your employees how they feel about these concerns.

1.   Micromanagement: We all know what it feels like to be micromanaged.  Your boss, parent or authority figure is constantly checking up on you, breathing down your neck or looking over your shoulder to make sure the job you are doing is absolutely textbook perfect.   Micro-managers are usually obsessed with controlling the project and pushes everyone around them to succeed, beat the clock and “do it the way we have always done it”.  If you are a micro-manager, you are taking a big risk of disempowering your employees,  actually hurting their work performance and destroying their confidence.  In this case, it is not uncommon for a top employee to eventually become so frustrated they will leave and go to work your biggest competitor.

Solution: Prior to the start of a project, fully train your team on the plan, strategy, processes, expectations, where to go for resources and when to ask questions, and then…let your employees go and implement the job you have empowered them to do.  Give them the freedom to take on the project, and if you do observe an employee going way off track, invite them into your office, explain your observations and retrain on that one aspect of the project.   During a new project, you may also notice an employee taking on a task that may not be what you asked, but it is actually getting better results, so take note of that.   Ask someone you trust to observe you during the project and to call you on the carpet when you start back down the micromanagement track.

2.   Lack of Accessibility. It is not uncommon for the executive level leaders and senior managers to become isolated from the employees of the company.  Their offices are located in the executive tower at the top of the building and they literally stay on that one floor for the entire day.  This creates a feeling of a hierarchy at play, and as an employee, if you are  below the top of the totem pole,  you will feel so far removed from the decision makers that you may either:

  • Do a really lousy job, because you think no one is looking or cares
  • Start down a path that is illegal (stealing, harassment)
  • Begin wondering what secrets the company is trying to hide from you
  • Quit your job

In my opinion, there is no excuse for this.  This approach is the “good old boys network” approach, and is really outdated and no longer an advantage for success.

Solution: Lead and manage by walking around the company on an every other day basis.   Simply pop in and out of different departments to say hello and to find out what is going on.  Take a notepad or your digital device with you to jot down complaints and suggestions and notice if you see repeating patterns in concerns, worries or doubts.

Another approach to improving accessibility is to hold town hall meetings two times per month, and give your employees the opportunity to gain access to you and your team and to talk to you openly and candidly.  During the town hall meeting format, as a leader, your job is to listen and to thank your employees for their suggestions…not to justify or make excuses for why something may not be going so great.  It is perfectly fine to explain why a certain decision was made to clear up any confusion, but it is not okay to argue or make excuses during dialogue with your employees.  At the end of the day, your employees need a voice, and if there is a negative perception floating around your company,  it is your job to change the perception from negative to positive.

3.   Wrong Fit. In this scenario, an employee is hired to fill one job and the first day he shows up, he ends up in a completely different role.  In my mind, this is basically a form of lying to an employee.  If an employee is hired to do one job and placed in another, he will forever be miserable.

Solution: Perform a Strengths Finder Profile on each employee and place them in roles where they can thrive.  You can purchase the book Strengths Finder 2.0, and inside the book will be a code to go online and take the assessment.   If you discover at the last minute that the job  OR the job description is going to change, and it is not a good fit for your new employee based on her skill set and strengths, it is critical for you to communicate to her that the job role has changed and give her the option to stay or move on to find a better fit.