Meet the New Boss – Same as the Old Boss?

Will definitely not be like the old boss.  That one you worked with for years, learned the ropes, had some success, some failure; built a bond, war stories to share, had a beer or two.  Over time you built trust and mutual respect.  You had a camaraderie, a cadence; you were in your comfort zone. Nice!

All gone.

A friend of mine just got a new boss.  As we know this is one of the more stressful times for an employee.  Who is this person? What are they like? Can I work with them?

So what do we do now?  We check out their Linked In page. Find out what makes them tick. See how many contacts we have in common.  Zero was not what you were looking for.  Called a couple of co-workers. “Hey, do you know anything about my new boss?”  The responses intrigue and worry you.  Mostly worry.

You start off hopeful, giving them the benefit of the doubt.  And then it happens.  They contact you for the first meeting.  You exchange pleasantries, start to feel each other out, kind of like the first round of a boxing match.  “Hey, that went OK I think.”

You are then invited to your first team meeting.  You are the new kid on the block, focused, on your best behavior, mostly listening because you do not yet know the rules of engagement. The learning has begun.  You repeat to yourself, “Hey, that went OK I think.”

After the meeting, the new boss calls you into the office and asks how did the meeting go?  You say that you learned a lot and that you felt like it went pretty well. Then your new boss says, “You need to change the look on your face because you are coming across hostile.” And you think, What the F are they talking about?  Is he/she crazy?  This is just not going to go well.

This type of situation happens everyday because the manager and the employee did nothing to gain each others trust. Without first establishing a level of initial trust, the relationship starts off negative and will not likely ever become what it could have been.

To get a new work relationship started the new boss and employee need to work together to establish an initial level of trust. This is easily accomplished by establishing a “dialogue of partnership”, learning about each others professional and personal experiences, sharing past successes and failures, identifying areas that you might have in common and gaining an understanding of your personality type and work behaviors (Myers-Briggs, DISC, Kolbe e.g.).

Learning about each other upfront in an open, honest and non-confrontational way will get the relationship off to the right start. What happens after that is up to you.

And now for a little Who – 

#leadership #communication

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Are you awake?

Focused on expanding my horizons the last couple of week by reading about some topics that I am not familiar with.  One I focused on was the concept of being awake, living in the moment. Being awake you say?  But I am awake 12+ hours a day you say!

Are you really awake or are you just going through the motions?  Do you live in the past, present and future all at the same time? When you are engaged in a discussion, are you thinking about something that has previously happened or other things that you need to do? Or are you truly focused in the moment with all attention on that one idea, thought, person or event?

Initial thoughts:

  • Focus solely on what you are doing – this will not be easy at first but keep trying
  • Look people directly in the eye and listen hard to what they are saying – As my friend Brendan says, God gave you two ears and only one mouth, so listen twice as much as you speak
  • Give the gift of attention – focus on the present/the moment

I will spend more on this topic moving forward.  If you want some further information now, please visit http://freedomfromtheknown.com/living-in-the-moment/

And for you music lovers, let’s go to a song that you can sing and remember as you embark on your new journey of focus.

Enjoy the day and your new found focus 🙂  Wake up!

Webman

Leadership Integrity and Trust

Happy holidays!  My best wishes for a terrific 2014!

I recently started to follow Joel Peterson, Chairman of JetBlue Airways on Linked In.  I follow a number of exemplary business leaders on LI, but was very impressed with Mr. Peterson’s perspective on Leadership Integrity and Trust.  As a practitioner of this management approach, I feel strongly about the value of these attributes to leadership and to the troops that go into battle together every day.   This is the way it should be. http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20131223065401-11846967-building-a-high-trust-culture-1-it-starts-with-integrity?goback=%2Enmp_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1&trk=object-title

All of the content below is sourced directly from Mr. Peterson’s post.  I could not say it any better.  I have modified the original content to shorten this blog post.

In firms where people trust their leaders and colleagues trust one another, there’s more innovation and better business outcomes. Mistrust and politics are expensive, time-consuming and dispiriting. Like most things, business works better when the energy spent on doubt, fear and suspicion are reduced.  When teams feel encouragement and support, rather than fear of retribution or embarrassment, they tend to take the kinds of risks that can lead to breakthroughs. In an organization where team members have earned the trust of their supervisors, they can have confidence that if they don’t nail something the first time, there will be a second. Empowered workers can sense they are trusted. For most people, the feeling of being trusted leads to an increased desire to be trustworthy. 

Trust Principle #1: It Starts with Integrity

The foundation of any high-trust organization is the integrity of its leaders. Having integrity means, among other things, that the gap between what you say you’re going to do, and what you actually do, is small. I call this a “say-do gap.” Leaders in high-trust organizations must serve as living examples of integrity and trustworthiness – and not just at the office and during business hours. Here are a few ways to think about personal integrity as a core building block of trust:

1) A business is only as trustworthy as its leaders. The people who run things must show – by their actions – the way they want business to be done, and the way they want people to be treated. Talking doesn’t cut it. Leaders must embody the spirit they want the team to adopt. People pick up on phoniness. They trust authenticity. Just as kids look to parents for an example, team members watch their leaders. So, miss an opportunity to be that example, and you miss a chance to raise the level of trust.

2) Personal integrity matters. No matter a leader’s competence, charisma, or authority, she’s either trustworthy or she’s not – in all parts of her life. Trustworthy people are trustworthy when it comes to family, friends or colleagues. Obligations to show respect, to consider the welfare of others, and to keep your word don’t end when you leave the office. Leaders who fall short with commitments to friends, family, or close associates are unlikely to establish enduring trust with colleagues, suppliers, or customers. You just can’t fake character.

3) Integrity is a habit. Leaders who strive to do the right thing under all circumstances know that being trustworthy takes effort, awareness and work. Trustworthy leaders have generally worked long and hard on their own character building. They’re often quite intentional about fixing things about themselves, about receiving feedback and about learning from it and making changes. In the same way a mechanic keeps a car in top running condition, high-trust individuals monitor and tune their behavior, always striving to do better by team members and customers alike.

Anyone wanting to build a high-trust organization must start by looking in the mirror. Personal character is the foundation for interpersonal trust. And organizations in which leaders have integrity stand a much better chance of building trust from the top down, and bottom up.

Enjoy your holiday season.

Webman

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Did your boss really say that?

I regularly cover topics about leadership.  Not too long ago we covered the topic of Boss vs Leader http://wp.me/p1WXuM-wl 

Came across the top 17 things your boss should never say.  Good stuff.

  1. “That client drives me nuts.”
  2. “I’m the boss.”
  3. “I’m too busy.”
  4. “What’s the latest gossip?”
  5. “What’s wrong with you?”
  6. “You are the only one having a problem.”
  7. “I don’t care about that.”
  8. “Do what I won’t.”
  9. “Don’t argue with me.”
  10. “We’ve always done it this way.”
  11. “Just let me do it.”
  12. “You’re doing okay.”
  13. “This is MY company.”
  14. “It’s your problem.”
  15. “I don’t care what you think.”
  16. “This is just a small client.”
  17. “We just need PR.”

Does your boss say these things?  If you are a boss, do you say these things?  Not what your employees want to hear.

Full article can be found at http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20131007134515-15077789-17-things-the-boss-should-never-say?trk=tod-home-art-list-large_0

Webman

Toxic Leadership

We have focused on leadership and the key attributes of great leaders so far this week.  Today we will look at the worst type of leader and raise your awareness to the behaviors of insecure leaders.

For many of us that have been in the workforce for a few years, we have experienced many different types of leaders.  There are those that are inspirational, motivating, thoughtful, mentors and unafraid to build great teams with people that are more skilled then them in many areas.  Then there are leaders that do not belong in a position of leadership – Insecure leaders.

Insecure leaders are dangers. Dictionary.com shows the reason why these leaders can be dangerous. Insecurity is defined as being, “subject to fear & doubt, anxious, a risk & danger, and not firmly or reliably placed.” When insecurity is present in a leaders life it becomes a cap to their influence and effectiveness. It hurts the people around them, and the organization.

Insecure leaders are highly threatened by the truth, by facts, by transparency and by honesty.  In order to protect their lofty, undeserved positions of power, they campaign against talented people that pose a threat to their positions.  They lie, they commit to tasks that they never deliver upon, they mislead co-workers, they fail to communicate, they miss deadlines, they undermine all positive things and worst of all, they are toxic to the companies they work for, creating environments of distrust and ineffectiveness.  They make excuses about every deadline they miss or every project they fail to do because they say “I was too  busy”, “I have too many other things to do”, “I did not understand the process”, or “I don’t care about the process, I just needed to get something done”.  Of course, all that means is that the people that know how to get it done right will now have to fix it, wasting much more time and creating both employee and client dissatisfaction.

Insecure leaders like to distract employees and business partners by focusing on tasks that are not important or do not create customer or employee benefit/value.  They want to find that one nugget of information that substantiates their beliefs so they can use it to their advantage and create a hostile environment.  This is how they maintain control.  This “rope a dope” technique of focusing people on unimportant, irrelevant topics is part of their modus operandi to distract their co-workers from focusing on their leadership and managerial inadequacies.  They are the masters of publicly agreeing to key strategies in meetings with their bosses, only to undermine these decisions in conversations with their subordinates.  You might hear a statement like, “Although this was the agreed to decision, it will never work”, or “This is what I committed to, but let’s do it this way.” Have you heard any of these before?

A leader who is insecure cannot successfully lead those around them. This is because their actions, attitude, and motives are controlled and driven by their personal insecurity. Below are some negative characteristics and unhealthy aspects of an insecure leader:

  • They control people, systems, polices, and are micro managers.
  • They avoid partnering or hiring smart, talented, and people better then themselves.
  • They create an insecure work environment.
  • They avoid moving outside of their comfort zone.
  • They resist personal, organizational, or team growth or change.
  • They avoid calculated risks because of the fear of failure.
  • They don’t encourage or empower their people.
  • They guard against building open and strong relationships.
  • They see others through their insecurity.

Great leaders and great companies identify this type of leader immediately and take action.  The behaviors are painfully obvious.  Great companies rid themselves of these insecure leaders and more importantly, stop hiring people with these traits.  Great leaders do not listen to these insecure leaders, they do not fall for their unhealthy charm or their “opinions” of other co-workers that are threatening to their existence.  Insecure leaders do not care about the company or their co-workers.  They only care about themselves, their careers and feeding their egos at the expense of others.

No person or leader, however good they might be, is exempt from potentially becoming or being insecure. This is why it’s essential to be able to identify and eliminate insecurity from our life. To do this I suggest:

Lead yourself – The most important person you can lead is yourself.  An important aspect to leading is to become self aware. This mean you are aware and comfortable with your strengths, weaknesses, personality, temperament, and emotions. You know you have been uniquely made and you accept it. A powerful way to avoid insecurity is to be aware and have control of your inwards thoughts and dialog.

Develop trusted relationships- The people in your inner circle will either lead you forward or hold you back. This is why it’s essential to build friendships with secure, positive, and confident people. When you have trusted relationships, those people can help you spot areas you need to change (Insecurity is one area) and be a support for you.

Do you know any leaders like this?  If you do, call your CEO now and tell them.

Webman

Leadership Made Simple

One of the greatest leaders of our time was Peter Drucker.  Peter Ferdinand Drucker (November 19, 1909 – November 11, 2005) was an Austrian-born American management consultant, educator, and author, whose writings contributed to the philosophical and practical foundations of the modern business corporation. He was also a leader in the development of management education, and he invented the concept known as management by objectives.

Drucker’s books and scholarly and popular articles explored how humans are organized across the business, government, and nonprofit sectors of societyHe is one of the best-known and most widely influential thinkers and writers on the subject of management theory and practice. His writings have predicted many of the major developments of the late twentieth century, including privatization and decentralization; the rise of Japan to economic world power; the decisive importance of marketing; and the emergence of the information society with its necessity of lifelong learningIn 1959, Drucker coined the term “knowledge worker” and later in his life considered knowledge worker productivity to be the next frontier of management.

Here is what Peter Drucker believed about leadership:

  • A leader is someone who has followers
  • Popularity is not leadership, results are
  • Leaders are highly visible, they set examples
  • Leadership is not rank, privilege, titles or money; it is responsibility

Leaders do not hide behind issues; they confront and resolve them.  Leaders do not avoid conflict; they embrace it and learn from it.  Leaders don’t sit in their offices all day; they interact and work closely with their co-workers.  Leaders don’t need control; they know how to get things done by understanding the business issues clearly and resolving them through collaboration.  Leaders listen.  Leaders change and embrace change.  Leaders lead change.

Do you work for a great leader?  Are you a great leader?  Do you have what it takes?

Don’t follow, lead.

A classic tune from the 80’s to begin your day today.

Thanks to Wikipedia www.wikipedia.org for the brief overview of Mr. Drucker.

Webman

Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way

With all of the talk, books, seminars, training and discussion about leadership, why is it so hard to find?  Do you work for a leader?  Someone that has passion, curiosity, compassion, daring, generosity, accountability and grit?  Or do you work for someone that is just looking out for numero uno, protecting his or her ass at all times?  No really, who do you work for?

Do you think about the person that you work for as a leader?  Do you come into work everyday and wonder what you will learn today?  Or think, I hope he/she spends some time with me today, because I want to learn something new?  I want to develop skills like them.  Well do you?

Who do you look up to in your company, in your life?  Who do you admire?  Where do you get your inspiration?  Is anyone out there that stirs your mind, your intellect, your curiosity, your passion?

A brief musical interlude………..

You might work for the greatest leader in the world, someone you respect and admire.  I hope you do.  Most of you do not.  You are subjected to bosses (Not leaders) that merely sit in the spot above you in the organization chart.  Someone that might have a bit more experience, someone who is resting on their accomplishments from years before, someone that has figured out how to work the system, someone that never does anything proactive for the business, you, your career or anyone other than themselves. Maybe you work for the dreaded “Insecure Manager”. (Blog on that next week)

Well if you are blessed with a great leader, what are you doing to learn the most you can?  If you are working for Sluggo, what are you doing to change it?  A recent Harvard Business Review article mentions the following attributes as true signs of a modern leader.  The leader that does not need authority to make a difference.  Do these describe you?

Seers — individuals who are living in the future, who possess a compelling vision of “what could be.” As human beings, we’re constantly looking forward, and we love to sign on with individuals who are already working on “the next big thing.”

Contrarians — free of the shackles of conventional wisdom and eager to help others stage a jailbreak. It’s exciting to be around these free-spirited thinkers who liberate us from the status quo and open our minds to new possibilities.

Architects — adept at building systems that elicit contribution and facilitate collaboration. They leverage social technologies in ways that amplify dissident voices, coalesce communities of passion and unleash the forces of change.

Mentors — rather than hoarding power, they give it away. They believe the primary job of a leader is to create more leaders. To this end, they coach, tutor, challenge and encourage.

Connectors — with a gift for spotting the “combinational chemistry” between ideas and individuals. They help others achieve their dreams by connecting them with sponsors, like-minded peers, and complementary resources.

Bushwhackers — they clear the trail for new ideas and initiatives by chopping away at the undergrowth of bureaucracy. They’re more committed to doing the right thing than to doing things right.

Guardians — vigilant defenders of core values and enemies of expediency. Their unflinching commitment to a higher purpose inspires others and encourages them to stand tall for their beliefs.

Citizens — true activists, their courage to challenge the status quo comes from their abiding commitment to doing as much good as possible for as many as possible. They are other-centered, not self-centered.

So who are you and what are you doing about leadership or lack there-of.

More details can be found at http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2013/05/how_to_lead_when_youre_not_in.html?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=pulsenews

Get moving.

Webman