How to Get Elected Boss

Get Elected Boss

 

The higher-ups have just promoted you to manage the team you once belonged to. Congratulations. Now you need to go out and get elected by your former peers. Our advice? Start campaigning.
The transition from peer to manager is one of the most delicate and complicated organizational situations you will ever experience. For months, or even years, you have been in the trenches with your co-workers as a friend, confidant, and (probably) fellow grouser. You’ve heard secrets and told a few.

You know about every little feud and grudge. You’ve sat around in airport waiting rooms and at weekend barbecues and ranked everyone else on the team. You’ve pontificated about who would go, who would stay, and generally what you would do if you ran the group. And now you do.

Surely, some of your former peers are cheering your promotion and are eager to fall in line. That will feel good, but don’t let their support lead you to do something disastrous—namely, gallop into town with guns blazing.

Why? Because just as surely as some are cheering, others are uncomfortable with your promotion. A couple may have thought they deserved the job themselves. So they’re feeling anything from hurt to bitter. Still others will simply have some level of anxiety about your going from “one of us” to “one of them.” Either way, these former peers are in a holding pattern now, checking you out.

Which is why you need to start the campaign to win them over by creating an atmosphere of stability and cohesion where sound judgments about the future can be made—by everyone. Look, the last thing you want in your new role is an exodus or even low-level disgruntlement. You want people to settle down and function. The reason is straightforward enough. When and if there are changes down the road, you want to make them on your terms. You want a team of engaged supporters who buy in to your vision, not the resistance and nattering of a confused or chaotic crew.

But here’s the rub: You have to campaign without compromising your new authority. That’s right. You have to run for office while holding office. It’s a critical component in moving from peer to manager, and all effective managers go through it, often several times in their careers.

Getting this transition right is all about timing. Your kinder, gentler election drive can’t last forever. Give it three months. Six at most. If you haven’t won over the skeptics by then, you never will. In fact, after a certain point, the softer you are, the less effective you will become. And you’ll be fighting battles that do nothing but wear you down. Save your energy for bigger things and begin the process of moving out steadfast resisters and bringing in people who accept the changes that you and your core of supporters deem necessary.

Fortunately, the transition period doesn’t last forever, and if you handle it right—with a campaign and not chaos—you’ll be in a position to do what’s best for the organization and yourself: lead from strength. – Jack and Suzy Welch

The Most Undervalued Leadership Traits Of Women

It’s impossible to respect, value and admire great leadership if you can’t identify what makes a leader great.  Because of this, the identity crisis I have written about that exists in today’s workplace is something that women leaders in particular have been facing  for much too long. While the tide is changing and more women are being elevated into leadership roles, there is still much work to do. As of July 2013, there were only 19 female elected presidents and prime ministers in power around the globe.  In the business world,women currently hold only 4.6 percent of Fortune 500 CEO positions and the same percentage of Fortune 1000 CEO positions.   As women continue their upward trajectory in the business world, they have yet to be fully appreciated for the unique qualities and abilities they bring to the workplace.

Like many who grow up with a Hispanic upbringing, I was surrounded by strong-willed, hardworking and purpose-driven women. It is through their leadership that the traditions, values and legacy of our family have been upheld.  My grandmother, mother, wife, and sister-in-law all possess natural leadership skills and they are masters of opportunity management – seamlessly keeping us all in check while running the family household and at the same time supporting our family businesses.  They have taught me that a woman’s instincts and emotional intelligence can be off the chart. They seamlessly manage crisis and change and are turnaround experts – sensing and neutralizing any signs of danger well before it invades our path. It is because of the women in our family that we are well-organized, full of love, spiritually aligned and well-balanced. We are by no means a perfect family, but we are a modern family who embraces traditions even as we adapt to changing times.

It can be difficult for a man to understand how women think, act and innovate unless  he has been closely influenced by  the women in his life.   I’ve learned that women may process things differently and  in their own terms. Fortunately for me, I’ve been influenced by great women who made me appreciate their approach towards leadership. I’ve grown to understand their decision-making processes, the dynamics and subtleties of their personality and style, and other special character qualities that women possess.

The best women leaders I know have circular vision that enables them to be well-rounded people.  For example, they have their finger on the pulse of the culture and can talk to you about the latest pop-culture news – but then easily switch gears to give you their perspective on what is taking place on Wall Street.  Women leaders seeking a chance to be significant see the world through a lens of opportunity; they are especially in search of those opportunities previously unseen (perhaps this is why the women I know enjoy a good treasure hunt).   My experiences have taught me that great women make it a point to teach men about women.

I’ve seen women run the show for years both at home and in the workplace, which has enabled me to recognize behavior patterns and see the value behind their way of doing things.  These women are master multi-taskers and highly collaborative (though not afraid to get territorial to protect their domain).  They enjoy their own space to test themselves and find their own rhythm.  These women leaders are like scientists: many of them want to make new discoveries or solve for problems where others have failed.   The women leaders I’ve been around don’t stop pursuing until the job gets done. This is why I believe they are good collaborative leaders – not afraid of trial and error as long as they continue to build the resource infrastructure around them that gets them closer towards accomplishing their goals.   As one of my women mentors told me, “Without enough of the right resources around me, I will not risk the outcome. I know the resources I need to get the job done right. I’d rather be patient than foolish.”

The women leaders I know invest in themselves and become knowledge seekers. They are not afraid to ask questions when given a safe platform to express themselves. For example, during my keynote and conference appearances – more often than not – it is the women who ask me the most questions and they are also more inspired to adopt new ideas and ideals.  Though extremely curious, it’s often balanced with a bit of skepticism    – after all, they don’t want to be fooled or taken advantage of.   My experiences have taught me that women leaders need to trust a person before they will endorse what they have to say.   Many just want to know that there is legitimacy behind the opportunity.

As I’ve learned from my women bosses and mentors, they want things to be authentic yet practical. These women leaders enjoy a good challenge – and seek to find meaning and purpose from each circumstance they face and opportunity they are given.  They like to see and understand the connectivity of thoughts and how they work or why they don’t.   They want all the facts and figures before making important decisions.

Competitiveness amongst themselves may really be about looking for validation — an identity that matters and a voice that is heard.  Successful women leaders don’t rely on favors; they earn respect   and truly believe they can influence their own advancement by serving others.  Consummate team players, they also seek to prove their value and self-worth by exceeding performance expectations..  Looking for respect more than recognition, the most successful women leaders don’t seek to become the star of the show — but they enable others to create a great show.  In other words,   being in the spotlight is not what drives them – but rather it’s the ability to influence positive outcomes with maximum impact.

One thing is certain: these women leaders understand survival, renewal and reinvention. They have grit and are not afraid to fight for what they believe in or an opportunity to achieve something of significance. They believe in what they stand for, but that doesn’t mean they won’t put their ideas and ideals to the test.  For them, doing more with less is simply a matter of knowing how to strategically activate those around them.

While women leaders have their productivity secrets, it’s not secret where they come from:  the leadership traits that women leaders naturally possess and – based on my personal and professional experiences  – are the most undervalued.

1.  Opportunity-driven

When confronted with a challenge, the women I know look for the opportunity within. They see the glass as half-full rather than half-empty.  They push the boundaries and, when faced with adverse circumstances, they learn all they can from it.  Optimism is their mindset because they see opportunity in everything.

Estée Lauder, the child of Hungarian immigrant parents, was quite the opportunist in the cosmetics industry. During the postwar consumer boom, women wanted to start sampling cosmetic products before buying them. Lauder noticed and responded to this shifting dynamic by pioneering two marketing techniques that are commonly used today: the free gift and the gift-with-purchase. It’s exactly this type of inventiveness that other women use to pursue the opportunities in front of them.

2.  Strategic

Women see what often times others don’t see.  As one of my women mentors told me, “A woman’s lens of skepticism oftentimes forces them to see well beyond the most obvious details before them.  They enjoy stretching their perspective to broaden their observations.  Many women are not hesitant to peel the onion in order to get to the root of the matter.”

At times they “play the part” to test the intentions of others and to assure that they are solidly grounded and reliable. Successful women leaders know how to play the game when they have to – and can anticipate the unexpected.    They know what cards to play and keenly calculate the timing of each move they make.

I wouldn’t be surprised to learn a woman leader made the word “organic” a business term.   I learned that women who enjoy the ebbs and flows of business activity also know that the best things are accomplished when they are done naturally – and unforced.  When things are happening organically, this means that they are functioning within a natural rhythm and speed – that is safer and risk adverse.

This is not to say that women are uncomfortable with risk – in fact,  they will often tackle risk head-on in order to get to the root cause of  a problem and to solve for it (they value time and money).  Women leaders who don’t allow their egos to stand in the way of good business are in the mindset of getting things done for the betterment of a healthier whole.

3.  Passionate

While women in general were historically viewed and stereotyped as emotional leaders by men, I believe they are just passionate explorers in pursuit of excellence.   When women leaders are not satisfied with the status quo, they will want to make things better.  These women leaders get things done and avoid procrastination. As another one of my women mentors said, “They enjoy order and stability and a genuine sense of control. Many women have learned not to depend upon others for their advancement and thus have a tendency to be too independent.  A woman’s independent nature is her way of finding her focus and dialing up her pursuits.”

When these women leaders are locked into what they are searching for – move out of the way.  Their passionate pursuits allow them to become potent pioneers of new possibilities.  No wonder minority women represent the largest growing segment of entrepreneurs. According to a report by the Center for Women’s Business Research, U.S. Hispanic and African American women entrepreneurs  grew at rates of 133.3% and 191.4% respectively from 1997 to 2007.

4.  Entrepreneurial

Entrepreneurship is just a way of life for many women.   They can be extremely resourceful, connect the dots of opportunity and become expert in developing the relationships they need to get the job done.   Many women leaders also see through an entrepreneurial lens to best enable the opportunities before them.    They know that to create and sustain momentum requires 100% focus on the objective   – and so they don’t enjoy being disrupted by unnecessary noise and distractions.

As one of my former women bosses told me, “Women can play into the politics of the workplace, and do so if it means adding value to the momentum they are attempting to create.”

Many women leaders find excitement and motivation by being extremely creative and resourceful when completing tasks and other duties and responsibilities –. They avoid falling too far behind on projects – knowing that if they do it will disrupt their focus and momentum.   That is why I learned never to disrupt a woman’s focus and concentration if I can avoid it.

My former female boss continued by saying, “This is why women like control.  Not necessarily to be in charge, but to not lose the rhythm or compromise the momentum they need to accomplish their goals.”

5.  Purposeful and Meaningful

I have found that many women leaders enjoy inspiring others to achieve. They know what it’s like to be the underdog and work hard not to disappoint themselves and others.  Women leaders in particular often have high standards and their attention to detail makes it difficult for others to cut corners or abuse any special privileges.

Women leaders with a nurturing nature are good listeners and excellent networkers/connecters. They enjoy creating ecosystems and support acollaborative leadership style that melds the thinking and ideas of others; this is what multiplies the size of an opportunity and/or its speed in execution in order to create a larger sphere of influence and overall impact.  Women who don’t have to be right all the time make good consensus builders and will more likely enjoy participating in a team environment.

6.  Traditions and Family

Whether at home or at work, women are often the glue that keeps things together and that is why they represent great leadership for America’s future.  When they sense growing tensions that can lead to potential problems or inefficiencies, the most successful women leaders enjoy taking charge before circumstances force their hand.   Women are usually the ones to secure the foundational roots of the family and to protect family and cultural traditions from wavering. They provide the leadership within the home and in the workplace to assure that legacies remain strong by being fed with the right nutrients and ingredients.

The most successful women leaders are big believers in team building and the enforcement of mission, goals and values to assure that everyone is on the same page with like intentions.  This secures a sense of continuity making it easier for everyone to have each other’s backs.  No wonder women are assuming more management and leadership roles in family owned businesses.

To the great women in my personal and professional life, thank you for the opportunity to be inspired and mentored by your leadership (you know who you are).  I’ve read many things about women in the workplace and their lack of advancement into senior executive roles and in the boardroom.  Rarely have I read something from a man who has been inspired and influenced by the wisdom of a woman’s leadership.  Hopefully this perspective helps awaken more of us to the opportunity of learning about leadership from the women in our lives, whether in the home or at work.

5 Attributes to Look for in High-Performing Employees

Attributes

 

With so much attention paid to innovations and disruptive business models in the venture capital and startup world, it can be easy to overlook the vital importance of great people.

I keep a quote from legendary venture capitalist Arthur Rock in mind when hiring: “What I’m interested in is investing in people.”

Of course, every company wants stellar employees who are impactful, high performers. Identifying those high performers, however, takes hard work in recruiting, screening resumes and interviewing.

Here are five key attributes that CircleUp looks for in candidates, in no order:

Horsepower: I’ll take intelligence over experience any day of the week. Job descriptions alone can intimidate a lot of people — particularly younger people, who often feel that they lack the experience that the job description suggests they will need. That’s unfortunate, because I’ve found that most of the time intelligence trumps experience. An intelligent candidate can quickly learn a job and frequently ends up doing it better than someone (less intelligent) who has been doing a similar job elsewhere. Experience is certainly valuable, but brains are the horsepower that drives the business.

Ownership and pride: “Run the mile you are in.” This is a distance-running mantra from Runner’s World Editor-in-Chief David Willey that I think applies to many aspects of our personal and professional lives. No matter your current job or where you are in your career, are you focused and engaged and do you take ownership? Do you have pride in what you are doing? Do you have pride in your colleagues and your company? “Run the mile you are in” applies not only to distance running; it applies to life, and it applies to how you will succeed — or not — as a teammate in business.

Work ethic: What we are doing — redefining the private equity investing model and bringing fresh capital to consumer goods startups — requires both smart and hard work. We achieved strong growth in 2013, our first full year in business, because our team works very hard. It’s more than that, really. It’s teamwork that is self initiated. The valued employee is not only the one willing to work hard; she is the employee who searches out ways to contribute most. She should have a work history of having demonstrated not only a willingness to contribute, but a desire to lead, come up with ideas on her own and to grasp fully the feeling of pride in his or her accomplishments.

Integrity: This is an attribute that is not always easy to flesh out. But it is too important to gloss over in the interview process. I try to gauge integrity by asking interviewees for examples of difficult decisions they have had to make or ethical dilemmas they’ve faced. I’m looking for candid responses as to how they handled these situations. What was their decision-making process?

Teamwork: This is my version of the ‘no jerks’ rule. So much of what we do involves collaboration that we must have team players across our business. It is good for business results and our corporate culture. I’ve met nice people who just weren’t effective teammates, but I haven’t met a lot of great team players who were jerks. This is what Reed Hastings, in his manifesto Netflix Culture: Freedom & Responsibility, calls selflessness. I want people who are ego-less and put the interests of the company above their own and are eager to share information and help their co-workers.

This year, we will hire a substantial number of new employees. We’ve had great success in our first two years recruiting fantastic talent. I see it in our productivity and growth, and in the endorsements we receive both from investors and startups. It is also evident in the engagement and enthusiasm I see among our team members — smart, hard-working people thrive alongside other smart, hard-working people. -Ryan Caldbeck

10 Leadership Resolutions to Make It a Very Good Year

 

2014 resolutions

 

New Year resolutions — who keeps them? Practically no one. But if you’re a leader, be it of three people or 3,000, it’s your flat-out responsibility to not just go into work every day and improvise around the latest crisis or email flurry or employee meltdown, but to go into work every day with a cohesive plan of action about how you’re going to lead. Otherwise, why would anyone follow you, except that they simply have to?

That’s no good.

So here’s to 2014, and 10 resolutions to make it a very good year — for you, and for the team you lead.

1) Get In Their Skin

From the day you become a leader, your biggest role is to build trust, respect and support from your team. A mutual respect. As long as they deliver, you will support them and stand up for them in every way — and they know it. It’s a never-ending job and you can never slip up.

2) Over-Communicate

It’s your job to communicate your message, your values, what’s right about what’s happening, and what’s wrong — over and over and over again. There can be no lack of transparency. Everybody has to be on the same page. Even when you’re ready to gag over the message, you have to keep communicating it.

3) Follow-Up Relentlessly

Just because you say something once, it doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. Too often, managers think, “Hey, I told my team what to do.” Then they come back a week later and nothing has happened. Yes, your job is to set the direction. But you also have to make it your mission to follow up — relentlessly — to see that things are moving in the right direction.

4) Create a Rallying Cry

I’ve always found that defining an enemy is very helpful. Define a competitor that’s coming after you. Rally the team around every win you have against them, every new product you introduce that’s better than theirs. Make that competitor come alive as your true enemy and you’ll see your team galvanize around beating them and winning in the marketplace.

5) Realize Personnel Actions Speak Louder Than Words

When you pick someone for a new job, you are defining what’s important. Managers love to give speeches about how their new initiative is the most important thing in the world. But then they put whatever warm body happens to be available in charge of it. Nothing could be worse. When you make an personnel appointment, you’re doing much more than any speech you could ever give. The people in the organization already know who the star performers are. And matching those stars with the projects you claim are important is absolutely critical for your credibility and the trust you want to build.

6) Embrace the Generosity Gene

I happen to believe that every good leader loves to give raises to people. They are thrilled to see their employees grow and be promoted. They are turned on by their success. Good leaders understand that they are only as good as the reflected glory of their people — and so they give until it hurts.

7) Fight Bureaucracy

Remember how much you hated bureaucracy from the bosses above you when they wanted this “i” dotted and this “t” crossed? Guess what? You’re now the leader. Don’t let bureaucracy creep into your place. Just because it’s yours doesn’t make it any prettier than when it was someone else’s. Get rid of clutter. Bureaucracy slows things down and speed is one of the best competitive advantages you can have.

8) Find a Better Way

Recognize that in business, somebody out there is always doing something better than you are. Your team can get insular and come to believe they’re already doing everything right. Your job is to ask, “How can we do it better? Where can we find someone doing it better?” Finding a better way of doing things every single day can become so much more than a slogan. It can become a way of life and make your group stand out above the rest.

9) Own Hiring Mistakes

Look, you’re not the only person in the history of the universe who has ever made a hiring mistake. Once you understand that hiring is hard work and you’ll surely have missteps along the way, realize that you’ve got to deal with mistakes fast and compassionately. Recognize that it was your fault that the fit didn’t work and get on with it. The team will respect you more. The hire you dealt with fairly will respect you more. And your superiors will reward you for your candor and willingness to own up to your error.

10) Dig into Crises

Without doubt, crises are going to erupt in your career. You’ll have someone do something wrong or have to face into a violation somewhere in your organization. To make matters worse, when you first hear about it, you’re not going to get the whole story — after all, you’re the boss. You’re only going to get the tip of the iceberg. Underneath the surface is a very big piece of ice. Your team will come to you and feed you, piece by piece, a slow-drip expose of the crisis. Your job is to dig deep, early and fast, to get it all to the surface. Be candid. Recognize there are no secrets anywhere. Get the right people involved immediately. And you will see a swifter resolution to problems that people all too often try to brush under the table. – Jack and Suzy Welch

Being a Good Manager: Overcoming 5 Common Myths

myth

 

Building healthy culture, promoting innovation and bringing people together are key indicators of a successful manager. While working as an organizational consultant with startups who aim to scale their business, I’ve noticed five recurring misconceptions related to managing people that produce opposite results: unhealthy workplaces, unmotivated employees and frustrated managers. Especially for individuals who have started a business and end up hiring employees and becoming managers, here are five simple myths of managing that will help you turn around the way that you supervise your employees.

Myth #1: “The paycheck is the reward. That should be enough.”
Try this instead: A paycheck will not motivate employees to move mountains. Their paycheck is expected when people show up for work. Most employees aren’t concerned with your business bottom line. They do however concern themselves with the people they work with. The relationship they have with their co-workers and management. Daniel, the CEO of a startup in Santa Monica I work with, often sends a delivery order of chicken soup to his sick employees. I’ve told him that this is the type of gesture that expresses louder than words that his care extends past the quality and/or quantity of their work. An employee vested in the relationship will be happier and as a result more productive, more innovative and stay loyal as the company grows and changes. Yes, people need pay check to eat, but an “A” performance generally requires more than just a paycheck.

Myth #2: “They work for me.” 
Try this instead: It is your job to make your employees successful. A good manager strives to eliminate obstacles that impede their employees from reaching their goals. Try spending a day figuring out what you can do to make your employee’s life easier. When consulting with a local software company, their programmers mentioned that they would be happier if they could have one “flexible work day” where they could choose to work from home. The manager decided to implement this and soon found that his employees would only take advantage of the day when they truly needed it, and were happier and less concerned with balancing their work and life commitments. What obstacles can you remove to help your team meet their goals and achieve their deliverables? Yes, they may contractually work for you, but a good manager is also a servant of his people.

Myth #3: “I’ve told them this multiple times, they should be doing it already.”
Try this instead: Many employees have a difficult time keeping track of verbal suggestions. Verbal feedback is much more effective if paired with written feedback. The research suggests that therapists were more likely to provide higher quality services to their patients when their supervisor gave feedback orally, then followed up with written confirmation of the feedback. Are you frustrated that your employee isn’t responding to in-person feedback? The key word is accountability — and people feel much more accountable when documentation exists to make them easily accountable.

2013-12-02-WrittenFeedback.pngTry adding a followup email to your verbal suggestions. A quick email can serve as a good reference point if the problem persists, can create a paper trail of known issues to use for more formal feedback, and also allows the employee to go back and see a history of their progress. If the instruction already exists in an employee handbook, job description or email and you still notice compliance issues, feel free to cite the document and date to jog their memory and increase their accountability. Yes, your employees may forget your suggestions, but accountability is essential to good management and it is your job to hold yourself and them accountable.

Myth #4: “My employee’s mistakes cost me money.”
Try this instead: Mistakes employees make are typically unintentional and are an opportunity to improve existing systems. While some large mistakes can be very costly. The small day-to-day mistakes you deal with as a manager are perfect opportunities to understand flaws in your system. This upfront cost of identifying a hole in your system will save you money long-term if instead of blaming your employee, you use it as a way to give them feedback and improve your systems.

While working in a small health care company, we worked on a project to transition the responsibility of scheduling patients from the clinician to an in-house scheduling department. Although there were some instances where short-term utilization of billable hours wasn’t optimal, instead of blaming the scheduler, clinician or unreliable patient, we used these instances as a golden opportunity to revisit the scheduling protocols and identify gaps in the system. Yes, there is an instant cost of an error, but there are also hidden savings if you take the time to learn from this expensive lesson by providing feedback about the error and improving your systems.

Myth #5: “It’s faster for me to do it myself, than to train someone else to do it.”
Try this instead: Training takes time, but the time saved after your employee knows the ropes can give you more time to focus on more complicated tasks. Joe, a physician who decided to open a wellness center quickly found that running a boutique clinic was even more complicated than treating medical conditions. He often found himself filing patient charts, scheduling appointments, booking guest lecturers and creating daily activity schedules. When scaling his business, he resisted spending time training his employees on more important or complicated tasks, fearing that it wouldn’t be done correctly. In Joe’s case, by holding onto more complicated tasks, like finding his ideal guest lecturers to come visit his clinic, instead of integrating those into an employee’s workflow began causing later roadblocks when he was faced with more complicated medical-related demands. Once he realized that training his administrative assistant to research leads and give him options allowed him to focus on improving his clinic’s patient experience and he was able to make sure he was always operating at maximum capacity.

When faced with challenges, a manager should identify how these challenges fit within the context of growing their business and creating a stronger organizational structure. By trying these strategies, each obstacle sheds light on a learning opportunity to hone your managing skills, tighten your company protocols and learn about yourself and your team. Adopting these alternative views of the five common myths of management is a great place to start your journey to becoming a great manager. – Sara Gershfeld

Management Lessons: Moving Beyond Our Mistakes

mistake

 

 

I departed the plane and as soon as I crossed the security threshold I remembered the book, still on the plane in the seat pocket. It had only been five minutes and the plane was only one hundred yards away but it was impossible to sprint back. I had no boarding pass to get back through security. After pleading with United customer service, I filed the report and was assured the book would be returned. I was so mad at myself I couldn’t see straight.

But there was a lost and found and, after all, my name and phone number were prominently displayed on the front page.

That was months ago. The prized notebook never showed up. I was so crazed to find the book that the day after I left it on the plane, I went back to the airport looking for the lost and found office. The closest thing to a lost and found was the lost luggage counter. A nice woman there informed me there was a room where such things were stored until they were claimed or sent to the rightful owner. I pleaded with a nice woman behind the desk that since I am here now, to please let me check the inventory. She relented, but informed me it was against policy. It might have been my tears that swayed her.

In the lost luggage “room” I was transformed. It was like a home for broken toys and abandoned dreams. The shelves were full of iPods, iPads, laptops, prized notebooks just like mine (but not mine), well-loved stuffed animals, jackets and other priceless items. I thought the items might come alive and develop into a Pixar movie. I gave up on finding the notebook at that point but not on being mad at myself for making such a stupid mistake.

We all get mad at ourselves for making mistakes and we all have stories to tell. I am no exception. There was the time:

  • I hit the “Reply All” button and the message went to all the wrong people. It was too late, the message was out there and I had to go into recovery mode. I was so mad at myself I vowed to never use “Reply All” again.
  • I made an off-hand comment that someone overheard. It was the one person I didn’t want to hear the comment. I kicked myself – I should know better.
  • I drove away with a latte on top of my car where it spilled all over the roof. I had a messed up car and no coffee. I was pissed.
  • Someone gave me the middle finger recently and I responded in a way that had my blood boiling – at myself.

Being the glass half-full guy, I wondered, “When we all get furious at ourselves for making mistakes, is there anything to learn from the anger?” The answer is yes; managers need to keep the self-loathing under control. What can we all learn from our mistakes and anger?

  • Plan – Almost all of my anger-induced events could be traced to sloppy planning.
  • Delegate – If I gave more work away I wouldn’t be so busy and sloppy with my planning.
  • Think – Being thoughtful in how I approach each project and activity would help keep the blood pressure down.
  • Manage Time Better – Being late or overbooked always creates problems.

I suspect that no matter how much we plan, delegate, think and manage time, there will always be those day-to-day events or mistakes we make, after all, nobody’s perfect. Maybe the more important lesson is that when we make mistakes, to recover quickly. And when we’re mad at ourselves, to make sure that we don’t take it out on others in the workplace. -Richard A. Moran

Five Bosses You Don’t Want (Or Want to Be)

Boss

 

 

What is lousy leadership? Here are a few of the most common ways leaders can get it wrong and too often do.

The first and perhaps most frustrating way that some people blow leadership is by being know-it-alls. They can tell you how the world works, what corporate is thinking, how it will backfire if you try this or that, and why you can’t change the product one iota. They even know what kind of car you should be driving. Sometimes these blowhards get their swagger from a few positive experiences. But usually they’re just victims of their own bad personalities. And you and your company are victims, too. Because know-it-alls aren’t just insufferable, they’re dangerous. They don’t listen, and that “deafness” makes it very hard for new ideas to get heard, debated, expanded, or improved. No single person, no matter how smart, can take a business to its apex. For that, you need every voice heard. And know-it-all leadership creates a deadly silence.

If know-it-alls are too in-your-face, a second kind of lousy leader is too remote. These emotionally distant bosses are more comfortable behind closed doors than mucking it out with the team. Sure, they attend meetings and other requisite functions, but they’d rather be staring at their computers. If possible, all the messy, sweaty people stuff would be delegated to HR managers on another floor. Like know-it-alls, this breed of leader is dangerous, but for a different reason. They don’t engage, which means they can’t inspire. That’s a big problem. Leaders, after all, need followers to get anything done. And followers need passion for their fuel.

A third category of lousy leadership is comprised of bosses who are just plain jerks—nasty, bullying, insensitive, or all three. As one reader wrote us recently: “My boss is abusive, by which I mean disrespectful, finger-pointing, and sometimes even paranoid.” Such leaders are usually protected from above because they deliver the numbers. But with their destructive personalities, they rarely win their people’s trust. That’s no way to run a business, which is why these types of leaders typically self-destruct. It’s never as quickly as you’d hope, but unless they own the place, it does happen eventually.

The fourth type of lousy leadership is at the other end of the spectrum: It’s too nice. These bosses have no edge, no capacity to make hard decisions. They say yes to the last person in their office, then spend hours trying to clean up the confusion they’ve created. Such bosses usually defend themselves by saying they’re trying to build consensus. What they really are is scared. Their real agenda is self-preservation—good old CYA.

Which leads us to a final version of lousy leadership which is not unrelated: bosses who do not have the guts to differentiate. The facts are, not all investment opportunities are created equal. But some leaders can’t face that reality, and so they sprinkle their resources like cheese on a pizza, a little bit everywhere. As a result, promising growth opportunities too often don’t get the outsized infusions of cash and people they need. If they did, someone might get offended during the resource allocation process. Someone, as in the manager of a weak business or the sponsor of a dubious investment proposal.

But leaders who don’t differentiate usually do the most damage when it comes to people. Unwilling to deliver candid, rigorous performance reviews, they give every employee the same kind of bland, mushy, “nice job” sign-off. And when rewards are doled out, they give star performers not much more than the laggards. Now, you can call this “egalitarian” approach kind or fair—and these lousy leaders usually do—but it’s really just weakness. And when it comes to building a thriving enterprise where people have an opportunity to grow and succeed, weakness just doesn’t cut it.

Surely we could go on, but we’ll end here with a caveat. We hardly expect lousy leaders to read this column and see themselves. Part of being a lousy leader, no matter what the category, is lack of self-awareness. But if you see your boss here, take heart. When it’s finally your turn to lead, you’ll know what not to do. – Jack and Suzy Welch

Don’t Lose Your Year-End Bonus! Maximize It By Becoming An Intrapreneur

MoneyHere is some little-known information, and an innovation tool, that will help you get rewarded for your actions.

An intrapreneur is an internal entrepreneur. As an intrapreneur, you must begin to think and act like an owner or senior executive, even though you were originally hired to perform within a more narrow job description, which you’re probably already doing well enough. The purpose of this article is to help you immediately do one thing outside of your current assignment that will add surprising value to the company, thus qualifying you for a maximum year end bonus, or pay raise, or maybe even a promotion (if you can make this a habit). Sound good? Let’s go.

Intrapreneurs are innovators. They bring positive change in areas critical to the success of the organization. As an intrapreneur, you create value by innovating in one of four ways. You can:

  • Increase Revenues
  • Decrease costs
  • Streamline processes
  • Solve problems

Innovation opportunities abound in every organization, and you can engage in one of them right now through a simple, four-step process.

Step 1. Identify an innovation option that would add value. Look around. Ask your peers, subordinates, and superiors. Go online and explore these topics. It should take you about ten minutes to identify something that could be improved. We have taken thousands of people through this process in training sessions, and we have never seen a group come up short on innovation ideas.

Step 2. Create a professional-looking innovation proposal. You can do this using a free online tool that will make you look like a financial genius. This tool will automatically calculate key financial measures such as Implementation Cost, Break Even Point, Return on Investment, Internal Rate of Return, Net Present Value, and Sales Equivalency. If the numbers don’t look good, don’t submit the proposal. If there is value in your idea, you will have provided all of the financial information necessary for management to accept it.

Step 3. Get your proposal approved. I suggest that, rather than taking your idea to your direct supervisor, you should aim higher in the ORG chart. Minimally, you should take it to you boss’s boss, but the higher the better. That’s because there tends to be greater appreciation for business improvements with upper management. Also, when senior leaders recognize you for your intrapreneurial contributions, it’s easier for your boss to support your increased compensation. An alternate strategy would be to work together with your boss on your idea so you can share the credit and build a more collaborative relationship that will serve you both well in the future.

Step 4. Help implement your innovation. Improvement ideas are worthless without execution; therefore, you should act with a sense of urgency to turn your innovation proposal into real change that starts to add value. In cases where the implementation is assigned to someone else, or the time required to make the change is longer than you would like, you should still benefit from your efforts come bonus time.

Bottom line: Leaders need intrapreneurs that can improve the bottom line. You can do this right now to help ensure your year-end bonus, and you should also consider becoming a life-long intrapreneur in order to boost your career in the long run. -Forbes Magazine

Five Ways To Be Amazing At Work

StarIn every company, there are a few employees who stand out. They’re the ones who always finish first, get recognized for their accomplishments and eventually make their way up the ranks. Invariably, they know how to play the political game. But there are other qualities that world-class performers have in common. Here’s how you can be one of them.

1. Be obsessed with productivity. The best employees tend to work in jobs and businesses they love. As a result, thoughts of how to be more successful and productive rarely leave their mind. In fact, the great ones have to force themselves into non-work activities just to give their mind a chance to rest and recover.

2. Solve problems. Problem solving is the cornerstone of commerce. Average employees tend to spend more time jockeying for position to gain favor from their superiors than they do solving problems. Great ones are not interested in management kudos; they are interested in results. World-class managers and employees solve problems quickly and move on to solving bigger, more complex problems, whether individually or as part of a team.

3. Take risks. The most common commodity in corporate America is the sales manager who craves the approval and friendship of his sales team. The second most common commodity is the sales manager who rules her team with an iron fist, refusing to consider feedback or input from the field.

World-class leaders are neither dictators nor micromanagers. Instead, they have two primary objectives: increase revenues and bring out the best in the people they lead. That might mean being unpopular and pushing people beyond their comfort zones, or being there for a team member who has hit rock bottom. These leaders can adapt to any situation. The great ones never play it safe when it comes to leading their teams through change, knowing their job is to serve as a guide and coach.

4. Have a strong work ethic. Amateurs work just hard enough to escape being fired. They expect to be compensated for every little thing they do – if they can be over-compensated, even better.

The pros have exactly the opposite mindset. They understand that the marketplace will richly reward a world-class work ethic with an endless stream of opportunities. This work ethic is the reason so many immigrants come to the free world and become millionaires. They’re so grateful for the opportunity to work hard that no one can convince them to slow down.

5. Find a coach. Corporate America and entrepreneurs are starting to catch on to something that athletes have always known: if you want to maximize your potential in anything, hire a coach. Coaching is to performance what leadership is to an organization. Since human beings are primarily emotional creatures, competent coaches are experts in stoking the fires that burn within. The more coachable and open-minded your employees, the better they’ll perform.

Trouble is, ego can get in the way. The best employees are the most open to world-class coaching. They don’t care about ego satisfaction when it comes to improving their results; all they’re looking for is an edge, no matter how slight. When two companies or opponents go head-to-head, many times the only thing that favors the winner is a slight edge in thinking, strategy and technique.

From: http://www.mentaltoughnesssecrets.com/

11 Attributes of Leadership

Napoleon HillI have had the great privilege and good fortune to work with and for leaders  who inspire with their words and most importantly, their actions. But  unfortunately, far too many people in leadership roles are ill-equipped to lead  with effectiveness.

What follows is excerpted from Think and Grow Rich, written by  Napoleon Hill and published in 1938. Read the book if you haven’t already. It’s  essential and inspirational, and should be read by all who partake in  business.

11 Major Attributes of Leadership

  1. Willingness to Assume Full Responsibility. The successful  leader must be willing to assume responsibility for the mistakes and the  shortcomings of her followers. If she tries to shift the responsibility, she  will not remain the leader. If one of her followers makes a mistake, and shows  herself incompetent, the leader must consider that it is she who failed.
  2. Definiteness of Decision. The person who wavers in her  decisions shows that she is not sure of herself. She cannot lead others  successfully.
  3. 11 Attributes of Leadership image leadership Lincoln 267x300Definiteness  of Plans. The successful leader must plan her work, and work her plan.  A leader who moves by guesswork, without practical, definite plans, is  comparable to a ship without a rudder. Sooner or later she will land on the  rocks.
  4. Unwavering Courage based upon knowledge of self, and of  one’s occupation. No follower wishes to be led by a leader who lacks  self-confidence and courage.
  5. A Keen Sense of Justice. Without a sense of fairness and  justice, no leader can command and retain the respect of her followers. Leadership-Ghadi-235x300
  6. Cooperation. The successful leader must understand and  apply the principle of cooperative effort and be able to induce her followers to  do the same. Leadership calls for POWER, and power calls for COOPERATION.
  7. Self Control. The person who cannot control herself can  never control others. Self-control sets a mighty example for one’s  followers.
  8. The Habit of Doing More Than Paid For. One of the penalties  of leadership is the necessity of willingness upon the part of the leader to do  more than she requires of her followers.
  9. A Pleasing Personality. No slovenly, careless, or  unpleasant person can become a successful leader. Leadership calls for  respect.
  10. Sympathy and Understanding. The successful leader must be  in sympathy with her followers. Moreover, she must understand them and their  problems.
  11. Mastery of Detail. Successful leadership calls for mastery  of details of the leader’s position.

Hill writes the following in an afterword to this list. Remember, this was  written 75 years ago: “The relation of employer and employee, or of  leader and follower, in the future, will be one of mutual cooperation, based  upon an equitable division of the profits of business. In the future, the  relationship of employer and employee will be more like a partnership then it  has been in the past.”

Wishful thinking, perhaps? Collectively, it would appear that we still have a  lot of work to do. -Matt Laddin