“Much of self-leadership is about cultivating good practices or habits. And if you could cultivate only one habit to practice every day of your life, I believe it should be this: giving more than you receive. I say that because having a giving mind-set has so many benefits:”
What New Team Leaders Should Do First http://zite.to/1nOkS72
As a leader, you need to be careful of the folks you keep close to you – the ones you spend time with in the office (and perhaps out of the office).
The Secret Police
These folks have promoted themselves to be the leader’s spy network, reporting all sorts of things about their coworkers, other departments, and even the CEO or other members of senior management. They get their power from others listening to them and sometimes acting upon the information they’ve shelled out. This group destroys trust in a company faster than any other group. It does not erode a corporate culture – it demolishes it.
Danger: employees know who the “secret police” are. They don’t trust them. And, as a result, they won’t trust the leader who engages with or encourages them.
Turn it around: simply do not allow employees to become this force around you or in your company. When they bring “information” to you, don’t give them a platform. Shut it down. Refuse to talk about other employees behind their backs – especially with those employees’ peers. Look the “spy” in the eye and tell them what they are doing is inappropriate. Tell them if they have this much time to do this, then they are not busy enough – working hard enough – and that you question the value they are bringing to the company.
Many times, these are your new employees. They are frightened in the early days with your team, but they are eager to learn, to grow, to perform, and to succeed. Even seasoned employees can be eager.
Danger: not paying attention to these folks. When the flame of curiosity and achievement is lit, don’t douse it.
Turn it up: Invite them to a project meeting so they get a new picture of what is happening in the company. Invite them to shadow you for a day. Give them extra assignments – not busy work – to test them and to learn their aptitude.
Be grateful you have these folks on your team. They have learned much and apply that knowledge daily. They are quick to help others, and your customers love them. They get results. They bring value every day. They get it.
Danger: if you ignore these stars and focus your attention and time with the “bad company”, you’ll lose these folks. Loyalty and dedication are not guaranteed. If you see them slowly pulling away, take notice. One day they could walk into your office and quit. And you’ll see years of experience, knowledge, and positive role modeling walk right out your door.
Turn it up: some of the competent are content in non-leadership roles. Know your team so well that you know this. Others would love to be pushed and encouraged into new roles and new responsibilities. Continue to find ways to move the competent towards their personal career goals that align with your company’s success.
The office is a sociological and psychological test tube. Relationships are always in the mix. As the primary “chemist”, your job is to manage these relationships in such a way that your team thrives and your company shines.
Be careful of the company you keep.
When you become a leader, your associations will change – and the dynamics of your associations will change. The higher up the leadership ladder, the more changes you can expect to see in your relationships with your coworkers.
If you’ve been promoted up the ranks or if you’ve been hired from outside of the company, you may see people take on certain relationship roles surrounding you and your position. Some help. Some are not so helpful.
This person will simply agree with everything you say or do. In some cases, they will get you to think you can walk on water. They laugh at your jokes – even when the jokes aren’t funny. They will always be upbeat around you and will rarely, if ever, challenge you or bring you bad news.
Danger: these folks cloud your reality. Life isn’t a party. Work is not a social event. Things can get ugly. Things can get messy. When they do, these folks tend to scatter. You cannot afford to become blind to a downward trend or a poor performance of key employees.
Turn it around: be sure to keep reality in your focus and in theirs. If they are your direct reports, continually focus on their results and the behaviors that they are either getting or not getting. Don’t let the frivolity of their interactions cloud accomplishment.
This person will focus on the worse possible scenarios. They are the “Negative Nellies and Neds”. They are skillful at bringing clouds to a perfectly beautiful day.
Danger: these folks drain your energy and the energy of your team and company. Some people are “tuned” this way. But if left alone, these folks can have a significant negative impact on you.
Turn it around: be sure to keep reality in your focus and in theirs. That’s right! Stay focused. Are bad things happening in your company or on your team? Perhaps. But ask this Eeyore, “what are your suggestions to turn this around?” Press them for positive action that will result in success. If they can verbally share something and then put those words into action, help them develop a more positive attitude by building them up. If they are frozen in their negativity, then have a courageous conversation with them and put an action plan in place that will develop them into a more valuable team member.
This person acts/talks a certain way around you, but they become a very different person when you’re not around. You think they’ve got their marching orders from you, but then they’re off doing their own thing – maybe even undermining your authority. And everyone else sees this happening.
Danger: these folks are toxic and do far more damage than good. They show you disrespect. They have their own agenda. They are not a team player. They play people against people – and you, as their leader, are typically one of these pawns. They are experts at deflecting attention off of their lack of performance and/or bad attitude/character, and they make sure you see the down side of everyone else.
Turn it around: don’t spend a lot of time with these people. I say this because this type of person will work hard to stay close to you. Proximity helps them create the reality THEY want you to see. When you are around them, continually ask them how they are performing. Ask them for the results they are producing. Have them demonstrate their results via reports, not mere stories. When they want to talk about others (and they will – they love to gossip), inform them, “Those other people are my responsibility. It’s not appropriate for us to discuss them or their performance. I’m all ears to discuss how you are helping move our company forward, but we’re not going to talk about others and your perceptions of their effectiveness. That’s my job, not yours.” Be a broken record on this point.
More on the company you keep in a later post….
Thanks for visiting and reading “Go Leader, Grow!” I truly appreciate it. I trust you are finding value in the articles I find, share, and sometimes write.
Are your actions leading you to success or failure? Try emulating the 5 characteristics of successful people to achieve long-lasting success.
Because I never trusted my talents, my looks or my luck, and had no connections, I studied what successful people did and tried to mimic it. Then I studied what unsuccessful people did and tried to avoid it.
While there are many things that seem to differentiate those who are successful from those who aren’t, I’ve noticed one simple difference that stands out the most—successful people are more willing. What exactly are they more willing to do than others? Here are five key activities they are more willing to do:
1. They Go to Work to Prosper, Not Just to Work
Those who are more successful go to work to get something accomplished. They work to make their dreams a reality, not just to get their eight hours in. They have a drive, even a greediness or self-centered push to get something done. There are millions of people who go to work every day, yet few put themselves in a position or mindset to prosper.
Unsuccessful people approach their work with a more limiting mindset. They often refer to work in a negative way. For example, they’ll say “the daily grind” or “my life as a drone.” They typically complain as opposed to looking at work as a means to an end, to create a life of abundance. Work—the passion for it, the creation of it, your contribution and what you learn from others—is what leads to goals being met and dreams becoming reality.
2. They Exercise Incredible Drive
The most successful people I know are driven, and they push and shove until the job is done and targets are hit, and then they go again. They’re able to stay focused on getting results. They keep doing the hard things long after others are only doing what’s comfortable.
Unsuccessful people appear to spend a lot of time in emotions and considerations that cause them to stop or settle and then rationalize how these feelings should be satisfied. What they don’t seem to understand is this mechanism of drive is a muscle that can be developed by practicing nonconformance with society’s definitions of success.
3. They Never Make Excuses
Remember, you are only as good as your last great decision.
The challenge lies not in the availability of answers, but rather in the deficits of candour, courage and ambition; the lack of willingness to ask the tough, insightful questions; the fear of doing the hard work necessary to make things better; the resistance to change, bred out of comfort with the status quo. Here are some ways to make changes:
Leaders need to get to where real people and customers live. Fly-by visits are not the answer. The leader of the future has to be willing to dig in and find creative ways to really interact with the people who have the insights they need to drive the changes they want.
Shake it up
Boredom is a habit that is acquired by those who expect others to do things for them. There is no shortage of work to be done, challenges to face, problems to solve and ideas to be explored. The great leaders we know of are restless by nature and dissatisfied by temperament. There is no time like the present for the senior leader to take on the role of the Chief Agitator, or the Chief Rabble Rouser or the Chief Chaos Creator.
Don’t be afraid of the truth
Leaders can hide for a short time, but they cannot hide forever. The truth is liberating, if you have confidence in your ability to stare it in the face. Too many leaders allow themselves to live with the knowledge there is a gap between what they hear and what they feel. The great leaders are never afraid of knowing where they stand, because they know that moving forward is inevitable, no matter how inconvenient.
Make a difference
The value of leaders comes not from what they manage, but how they lead. Every leader needs to be guided and fuelled by a deep inner passion about something. Vanilla leadership is not what today’s more challenging environment demands, so get out there and find something meaningful to do.
Doug Williamson (@bluntleader) is president and CEO of The Beacon Group and author of the book Straight Talk on Leadership. E-mail: email@example.com or visit his website: http://www.dougwilliamson.ca