The Most Common Leadership Model – And Why It’s Broken

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by Mike Myatt

When organizations’ hire, develop, and promote leaders using a competency-based model, they’re unwittingly incubating failure. Nothing fractures corporate culture faster, and eviscerates talent development efforts more rapidly, than rewarding the wrong people for the wrong reasons. Don’t reward technical competency – reward aggregate contribution.

Any organization that over weights the importance of technical competency fails to recognize the considerable, and often-untapped value contained in the whole of the person. It’s the cumulative power of a person’s soft skills, the sum of the parts if you will, that creates real value. It not what a person knows so much as it is how they’re able to use said knowledge to inspire and create brilliance in others that really matters.

We live in time that has moved well beyond competency driven models, yet organizations still primarily use competency-based interviews, competency-based development, competency-based performance reviews, and competency-based rewards as their framework for doing business. It remains the best practices mentality that rules the day, when we’re long overdue for a shift to next practices. It’s simply not possible to change current behaviors by refusing to embrace new paradigms.

Sure corporations know the right buzzwords – they pay lip service to things like character, trust, passion, purpose, EQ, collaboration, creativity, etc., but they really don’t value them in the same way they value competency. One of the problems is competency is predictable and easy to measure, and corporations like predictable and easy. However just because something is easy to measure doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to measure, and certainly not when measured in a vacuum.

Competency should represent nothing more than table stakes – it should be assumed. Having the requisite level of competency to do your job is not to be rewarded – it’s to be expected. The train is really off the tracks when being technically and/or functionally qualified to do a job makes you a high potential.

The value organizations should be cultivating and curating in people is their ability to align purpose, vision, values, character, and commitment with demonstrated competency. Competency isn’t the entirety of a person’s worth, and it certainly shouldn’t be the gold standard of their measurement. It’s a small part of the equation, but in many cases corporations treat it as if it’s the only thing that matters.

Here’s the thing – you can possess the greatest technical wizardry under the stars, but that doesn’t make you a leader. If you don’t care, aren’t collaborative, can’t communicate, fail to take input and feedback, and allow your hubris to overshadow your humility, you might be intelligent, but in my book you’re not very bright. The really sad part of this story is how often this type of person is rewarded in a competency-based system.

We must recognize competency-based leadership models simply don’t work. They are deeply rooted in the foundations of command and control structures, and they’ve outgrown the value they afforded organizations as nations moved beyond the industrial era. Competency based models simply create alignment gaps at every level – organizational gaps, talent gaps, leadership gaps, cultural gaps, diversity gaps, positional gaps, value gaps, operational gaps, execution gaps, and the list could go on. A leader’s job is to close gaps – not create them (the subject of my next book – Hacking Leadership due out this Fall).

If you want to create a true culture of leadership, it’s necessary to actually lead. Smart thinking and acting must start to take precedence over soaring rhetoric. It takes more than paying lip service to a few soft skills on a performance scorecard to get the job done. It will take a cultural shift in actually understanding, recognizing and rewarding what we say we value. The bottom line is this – the people who spend the most time complaining about the lack of talent are the ones who don’t recognize talent to begin with – don’t be that person.

Thoughts?

Follow me on Twitter @mikemyatt

http://www.forbes.com/sites/mikemyatt/2013/03/28/the-most-common-leadership-model-and-why-its-broken/

Are You a Leader or Just Bossy?

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by Aileron

The word “boss” conjures up an idea that with this title, every manager can now magically get employees to do whatever they need. The simple image is that when they tell someone to do something, they immediately go do it. This may work in the movies, but unfortunately in a small business, this is far from the truth. Employees these days are far too independent and a company’s workforce is typically too geographically dispersed for this to be effective.

In fact, being “bossy” as a small business owner only adds to the weight of managing people by trying to control them. It separates out a group of people trying to work together for a single goal and creates distance when collaboration is sorely needed. It ultimately sets up an external system based only on penalties and rewards. This very old management style is proving to be less valuable over time. Although every successful organization has formal hierarchies, they are more effective when they do not have to be rigidly enforced. If a manager has to tell an employee that they need to do a certain task and then constantly checks to see if it was done, the organization will never be successful. Furthermore, if the manager has to threaten the employee to complete a task, then that employee is not a valuable addition to the team.

Being a leader is about engaging employees and fostering their loyalty. Great leaders do not use threats and traditional control tactics, but take actions that yield commitment and loyalty. It is ineffective to try to keep track of what every employee is doing. In fact, this puts the burden of getting the job done on the boss rather than the employee. Great leaders are able to motivate their employees to work hard by getting them to believe in the mutual benefits of a common goal. They set an example as someone willing to work along side of an employee, rather than traditionally working from far above them.

Which are you: a boss or a leader?

http://www.forbes.com/sites/aileron/2013/03/28/are-you-a-leader-or-just-bossy/

17 Ways to Be Happier at Work

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by Geoffrey James

A reader recently pointed me to some “rules for a happier life” that various folks have posted in various forms. Here’s my take on those rules as they apply to the workplace:

1. Don’t compare yourself to others.

Everybody, and I mean everybody, starts out in a different place and is headed on their own journey. You have NO idea where someone else’s journey might lead them, so drawing comparisons is a complete waste of time.

2. Never obsess over things you cannot control.

While it’s often important to know about other things–like the economy, the markets that you sell to, the actions that others might take, your focus should remain on what you actually control, which is 1) your own thoughts and 2) your own actions.

3. Know and keep your personal limits and boundaries.

While your job might sometimes seem like the most important thing in your world, you’re killing a part of yourself if you let work situations push you into places that violate your privacy and your integrity.

4. Don’t over commit yourself or your team.

It’s great to be enthusiastic and willing to go the “extra mile,” but making promises that you (or your team) can’t reasonably keep is simply a way to create failure and disappointment.

5. Remember you get the same amount of time every day as everyone else.

You may feel you’re short on time and that you need more of it, but the simple truth is that when the day started, you got your fair share: 24 hours. Nobody got any more than you did, so stop complaining.

6. Don’t take yourself so seriously; nobody else does.

The ability to laugh at your foibles not only makes you happier as a person, it makes you more powerful, more influential and more attractive to others. If you can’t laugh at yourself, everyone else will be laughing behind your back.

7. Daydream more rather than less.

The idea that daydreaming and working are mutually exclusive belongs back in the 20th century. It’s when you let your thoughts wander that you’re more likely to have the insights that will make you both unique and more competitive.

8. Don’t bother with hate; it’s not worth the effort.

Hate is an emotional parasite that eats away at your energy and health. If something is wrong with the world and you can change it, take action. If you can’t take action, you’re better off to forgive and forget.

9. Make peace with your past lest it create your future.

Focusing on past mistakes or wrongs inflicted on you is exactly like driving a car while looking in the rear view mirror. You’ll keep heading in the same direction until you collide with something solid.

10. Don’t try to “win” every argument.

Some battles aren’t worth fighting, and many people are easier to handle when they think they’ve won the argument. What’s important isn’t “winning,” but what you, and the other people involved, plan to do next.

11. Remember that nobody is in charge of your happiness except you.

While some work environments are inherently difficult, if you’re consistently miserable it’s your fault. You owe it to yourself and your coworkers to either find a job that makes you happy or make the best of the job you’ve got.

12. Smile and laugh more frequently.

Contrary to popular belief, smiling and laughter are not the RESULT of being happy; they’re part of a cycle that both creates and reinforces happiness. Find reasons to smile. Never, ever suppress a laugh.

13. Don’t waste precious energy on malice and gossip.

Before you tell a story about anybody else, or listen to such a story, ask yourself four questions: 1) Is it true? 2) Is it kind? 3) Is it necessary? and 4) Would I want somebody telling a similar story about me?

14. Don’t worry what others think about you; it’s none of your business.

You can’t mind read and you don’t have everyone else wired into a lie detector. Truly, you really have NO IDEA what anyone is REALLY thinking about you. It’s a total waste of time and energy to try.

15. Remember that however bad (or good) a situation is, it will inevitably change.

The nature of the physical universe is change. Nothing remains the same; everything is, as the gurus say, transitory. Whether you’re celebrating or mourning or something in between, this, too, will pass.

16. Trash everything in your work area that isn’t useful or beautiful.

Think about it: you’re going to spend about a third of your waking adult life at work. Why would you want to fill your work environment–and that part of your life–with objects that are useless and ugly?

17. Believe that the best is yet to come, no matter what.

When my grandmother was widowed in her 70s, she went back to college, traveled across Europe in youth hostels, and learned Japanese painting, among many other activities. The last thing she told me was: “You know, Geoffers, life begins at 90.”

http://www.inc.com/geoffrey-james/17-ways-to-be-happier-at-work.html?fb_action_ids=10200614171664318

Speaking Potential to the Next Leader by Jim Johnson

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I’ve been fortunate, blessed to have influential people in my life who have encouraged my growth as a leader. Their influence has come in the form of mentoring and observing them living their lives. One of the things that has “stuck” with me, though, is the way they spoke potential into me.

Chuck Yoke successfully ran a large grocery change in the Spokane, Washington region. He was called home from the war to run his parents’ small grocery in Deer Park, Washington. Chuck quickly grew the business with his smarts and his keen understanding of people. He retired years ago having created a solid brand and customer experience in his stores.

I had the privelege of working for Chuck as a bookkeeper and then as an assistant manager in a new warehouse market in Spokane. One day, Chuck told me, “I’ve watched you work and learn new things. I’m convinced that there’s nothing you can’t do.” That comment has stayed with me for decades now. I remind myself of this when I’ve faced difficult situations. Someone somewhere back in time believed in me – I need to believe in me. Chuck spoke potential into me.

I had the wonderful opportunity to travel with the music organization The Continentals. I went on 10 tours in all over a 10 year period. My last 5 tours, I was the music director on one of many tours that would travel throughout the world. Cam Floria founded this incredible organization that has postively impacted leaders all over the world. As a fledgling music director, Cam would tell us that out on the road we would face some tough situations. He taught us to never give in to the idea “it can’t be done.” He taught us to be flexible. He taught us to make things happen even if everyone around us wants to give up. “There is always a way,” he would tell us time and time again. Cam saw my leadership potential before I did. I haven’t given up. Cam spoke potential into me.

When I was in the 6th grade, my Sunday School teacher was Al Schrock – everybody called him Shorty (he was). Shorty got me hooked on Dr. Pepper. He was a Bible scholar. He and his wife, Lizzy, were both brought up Amish. He helped me buy my first guitar by having me mow his lawn and help him with various building projects. He taught me the lesson that I can get what I want if I’m willing to work hard for it. He encouraged me to follow my passion of music (it has taken me around the world). He taught me the value of thinking and listening and asking questions. He loved his wife and he loved others. This man with only an 8th grade education taught me more than many of my college and master’s degree professors. Shorty spoke potential into me.

So here’s the million dollar question: who are you speaking potential into right now?

  • The new manager you just promoted?
  • A teen at your church?
  • Your children?

Don’t ignore the power of your life poured into someone else.

 

6 Ways to Reduce Business Streams

by Simon Reynolds

Any business person aiming high is going to be stressed at times.
But surprisingly few have learnt smart ways to reduce their stress.

Below are 6 highly effective ways to keep your stress under control, no matter what is happening in your business and personal life.

1. REMIND YOURSELF OF WHAT’S GOING RIGHT.
Usually people are stressed about just one or two areas of their life. If they only took a moment to look at the big picture, they would see that the vast majority of their life is going well. Grab a pen and some paper and write a list of all the stuff that’s going well in your life. (You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how long the list becomes.). Now stick that list next to your computer, so that you see it all day long. Watch how quickly your perspective changes and your mood lifts.

2. GET ULTRA CLEAR ON YOUR TO DO LIST.
Clarity enhances serenity. If you’re stressed by how much you have to do, get precise about exactly what tasks must be done (You’ll often realize it’s less than you thought). Once you’ve created your list put a circle around the truly crucial tasks. Most of the time stressed executives have exaggerated just how much they have to do. Getting it down on paper helps you see that mountain of work may be smaller than you thought.

3. TIDY YOUR ENVIRONMENT.
The renowned personal development guru, Wayne Dwyer, says you can tell the state of a person’s mind by the state of their car. I agree. if you’re feeling overwhelmed one of the most effective strategies is to create order in your immediate environment – car, office, home. As you take charge of your surroundings your feelings of control will increase. And as the esteemed behavioral psychologist Martin Seligman has shown, there’s a strong correlation between feelings of control and well being.

4. TRY THE 3 BREATH RELEASE.
I mentor executives and entrepreneurs from all over the world. Whenever they come to me complaining about stress I get them to do this simple exercise:

Take a deep breath. Then as you exhale imagine all your problems and stress leaving you. Do this just 3 times and I bet your feeling of stressed has dissipated significantly.

5. FOCUS ON HELPING OTHER PEOPLE.
One of the most effective techniques for reducing your stress is to take the focus off yourself. When you start devoting time to helping others around you inevitably spend less time thinking about your own problems. There are several studies from the University of Pennsylvania linking happiness with service to others. It may seem strange to connect the two, but the truth is many people who are stressed in the corporate world are so partly because they are incessantly thinking about their own issues and situation, rather than others. We need to balance the two.

6. TAKE MASSIVE ACTION.
There is a concept in psychology known as Learned Helplessness – failing to respond or act to improve our circumstances. Originally discovered in rats, learned helplessness is also evident in some humans who feel overwhelmed by their roles and responsibilities. They feel that things are so bad there is little that they can do to change things. We have all felt this at some point in our business lives and it is a depressing feeling to say the least.

The cure though is simple. Take action to fix things. By proactively acting to improve our circumstances we regain a feeling of control and possibility. If we continue acting we soon get a change in our situation. Soon our situation improves, which encourages us to act further. A virtuous cycle develops which usually quickly improves our predicament.

The key is to act greatly, taking multiple steps to change things, even if we’re not sure if they’ll work. If we act enough, we will usually see vast improvements in almost any area we focus on.

So next time you’re feeling stressed at work, try one or two of these techniques. You’ll find every one of them is highly effective in both reducing your stress and improving your performance.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/siimonreynolds/2013/03/25/6-ways-to-reduce-business-stress/

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Make Your Company Top-of-Mind and Your Employees Proud

by Kare Anderson

Even with the priceless brand-building glow enjoyed by a few celebrity CEOs like
Richard Branson and Tony Hsieh isn’t it strange that so few CEOs attempt the same success? Odder still, few companies tap the scalable, brand-building power of their employees. In fact, it may be their biggest missed opportunity in our increasingly connected yet complex era.

Four More Reasons Employees are Key to Reputation and Sales

1. 41% of us believe employees are the most credible source of information regarding their business. “Employees rank higher in public trust than a firm’s PR department, CEO, or Founder,” according to Edelman’s 2013 Trust Barometer.

2. “Customer engagement must start with employee engagement,” notes Steve Farnsworth. The more responsibility, recognition and training that companies provide employees for engaging smartly with stakeholders the more connected and adaptive the company becomes. And the flip side can cause much more brand damage in our digital world.

3. “Corporate learning and capability is now the #1 challenge in businesses around the world,” according to Josh Bersin. What better way to create relevant, efficient, collective and iterative learning than by establishing a customer-centric employees-as-brand ambassadors program?

4. We know that people increasingly compare and share product experiences, giving them game-changing power over your brand reputation. Turn this growing threat into a great opportunity by using your best asset: your employees. IBM, Ritz Carlton, Zappos, Harley Davidson, GORE-TEX, L’Oreal, LEGO, Virgin and a few other companies discovered years ago.

No Reputation is Neutral

Whatever your employees are telling friends, family and others who ask is as credible as what customers are saying. If even a few are bad-mouthing you or simply exhibit a meh attitude your brand is getting tarnished. We are three times more likely to share bad news than good, according to HR expert, John Sullivan.

Act now to get candid, company-wide feedback and make the changes that prove top management listens to workers. Paul Maxin, Global Resourcing Director of Unilever says, “Ensure brand authenticity: don’t promise externally what you can’t deliver internally.”

As Dell Director of Customer Loyalty Mary Arendes can attest, “satisfied employees become your brand champions.”

Then launch a program to support employees in becoming authentic, adept and articulate brand champions, online and face-to-face. As Marketo Programs Manager, Jason Miller observes, “Encouraging your employees to openly discuss your brand online can have a “humanizing” effect, ultimately increasing positive consumer perception.”

More Benefits of Supporting Employees as Brand Ambassadors

• Declare Great News About “My” Company to Deepen Belief in it

“Publically declaring your support and affiliation motivates you to back it up with real loyalty and engagement. It’s loosely like telling yourself, ‘I can really do this,’ before trying to shoot a free throw,” wrote InformationWeek editor David F. Carr: “Pepsi discovered that over 50% of its employees already wanted to share news about Pepsi with their networks.” That’s a priceless opportunity since emotions and behavior are contagious to the third degree, according to Connected co-authors James Fowler and Nicholas Christakis. That means your employees not only influence the views and behaviors of those with whom they interact but others as far as two more interactions away from them. That’s a huge multiplier of a negative or positive brand reputation.

• Improve Company Performance and Reputation

Find and resolve customer service and other problems.

• Speed Company Growth

Discover and seize opportunities faster and better: more uses for product uses, new markets, better way to sell or serve, profitable partnerships and more.

• Make Work More Engaging to Make Happier, Higher-Performing Workers

Provide another way for employees to cooperate and collaborate across functions, thus accelerating shared learning, coaching, and performance.

With this approach, employees can experience small wins more often together, thus gaining increased satisfaction and meaning out of work, rather than “killing meaning,” something Teresa Amabile advocates.

• Highlight the “Halo Effect” as a Motivator

As employees speaking credibly and vividly about “my company” they can only boost the company brand but their own. That’s a huge boost to self-esteem and thus intrinsic motivation as Ted Rubin knows, first-hand. Taking this “all hands on deck” approach where every employee can be a brand ambassador, demonstrates that your company leadership is willing to treat workers as grown-ups, knowing they will be more productive, as Tony Schwartz advocates.

• Become a More Connective Company

Build company-wide trust, camaraderie and esprit de corps, turning your firm into what Dan Pontefract dubs a Flat Army. Taking this approach your leaders can and must hone their ability to be “multipliers” who “access and channel the intelligence, talent, and creativity of the people around them” making “everyone smarter” according to Liz Wiseman, and Greg McKeown.

• Retain Top Talent

From big data analytics to deep knowledge of your market, some employees have sought-after assets, thus spurring a talent war. Enabling them to learn, connect and shine is an enticing reason for them to stay rather than get stolen away by your hottest competition.

Four Vital Skills for Becoming Valued, Visible Brand Ambassadors

1. First, step into their shoes and be helpful in ways they find helpful. Be a productive and successful giver, gleaning ideas from Give and Take. Recognize the value of building real relationships, not just “hooking up” as Whitney Johnson dubs the one-way entitlement some feel in asking for help.

Johnson cites Judith E. Glaser, author of Conversational Intelligence, “As we reciprocate, we build trust and relationships, flooding our brain with oxytocin that is essential not only to collaboration, but to innovation.” For employees and thus for the company, that approach can create a virtuous circle of well-being and high performance.

2. Be a deeply responsive listener who demonstrates you heard what they said, and does not immediately revert the conversation back to yourself. Instead seek to serve them their way, based on what they said, exhibiting The Golden Golden Rule, doing unto others as they would have done unto them. Offer a relevant, concrete scenario that explicitly shows how they will benefit by doing what you suggest. Craft what Peter Guber calls a purposeful narrative where they can see a role they want in the story you tell, reshaping it to make it their own to share with others.

3. Be so vivid that others tend to remember and repeat what you say, using the A.I.R. method and other communicate-to-connect cues. See more connective behavior tips from my talk (bottom of page) at BusinessNext.

4. Provide actionable ways that others can act to gain bragging when they take the action you advocate. For example, what visibility or value will a customer enjoy if she tells an employee about a way to improve the product or correct a service problem?

What success stories or mishaps have you seen with employees as brand ambassadors? What companies could reap the greatest rewards by starting such a program, why and how? Love to hear your ideas.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kareanderson/2013/03/24/make-your-company-top-of-mind-and-your-employees-proud/