Is Chaotic Leadership really “a thing”?

The headlines are full of judgments against our current Commander-in-Chief as running a chaotic administration, leading by instinct, and other unflattering terms to describe his management style. Mr. Trump’s response is that, aside from everything being “fine”, he likes being unpredictable, thinks conflict is good, and that he “gets a lot of things done”.

But the White House is not the only workplace where chaos reigns supreme. Leaders from every sector of the economy, from corporations to small churches, fall prey to this management style that, no matter who you are, has similar results.

Creative, innovative, bold, and fast-paced are all adjectives that can be applied to the best leaders around. But if these qualities are not tempered by a clear vision, long-term strategy, alignment within the organization and strong, cohesive leadership teams, there’s a pretty good chance that the resulting style can be best described as chaotic.

Here are eight qualities and outcomes of chaotic leadership: 

Chaotic leaders tend to have poor insight and judgment about their communication and management styles and the impact it has on their staff. No one plans to lead by chaos or even wants to. But these leaders see themselves completely differently than how other see them. They tend to be blind to the impact of how they manage and solve problems. What they may think of as a creative and exhilarating work environment may be experienced by staff as unsettling and disconcerting. At its worst, it can be complete pandemonium. Continue reading

Be Specific! How to see REAL Performance Improvement

Misunderstanding Quotes

Up your game, Tone it down, Chill out, Be more supportive, Adjust your attitude, Come to work on time, Stop abusing time and leave, Be more creative, Be a team player…

These are all common, legitimate feedback given to staff who need to improve their performance in  managerial and interactive skills. The feedback is also equally vague and generic and by themselves do nothing to give managers the results they actually need.

The more specific you can be, the clearer a picture you can paint that your employee will understand, the greater the chances of the “aha!” moment that creates the turnaround you’ve been looking for.

Even if it means consulting a thesaurus, there must be specific verbs that can attach to the desired results.

Here are some example of do’s and don’ts for common behavioral challenges. Continue reading

Want to be Great? Let your team members soar

releasing dove

Sid Daniels is an assistant Vice President for a company that employs 7,000 people nationwide. He has two veteran deputies below him who have proved their competence over a decade of service, providing IT solutions to local businesses as well as internally. Yet Sid, while using his deputies to cover for him in explaining technical information at board meetings, fails to promote either of them, whether by raise or by public affirmation.

Levita Benoit runs a growing business consulting firm on Chicago’s South Side. She started the company in her home, going from doing everything from securing clients to making her own brochures, to hiring a staff of five.  As the business grew, instead of having a bookkeeper she hired a certified CPA as her financial manager. The part-time virtual assistant job is now filled by a bona-fide Administrative Assistant. The staff of five has grown to 30, yet to their great frustration, the new managers’ scope of authority has not grown past that of the original, tightly managed crew. Continue reading

Power: Gollum couldn’t handle it; can you?

One of my most popular posts; good enough to share with you again!

Linda Johnson . Leadership

Lessons from the Lord of the Rings (LOTR) Trilogypower4 The enduring popularity of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fable trilogy, the Lord of the Rings (LOTR) is owed to brilliant writing combined with themes everyone can relate to, from camaraderie to courage to romance to the abuse of power. The basic plot was the attempt by an alliance for Frodo the Hobbit to forever destroy an all-powerful ring that would allow its wearer to dominate the world; a ring the evil “ringwraiths” sought after.

One helpful definition of power is influence plus enforcement

Power is the greatest benefit as well as the greatest danger for the executive on the ascent. There are many lessons from LOTR that can help give it perspective.

The ring was both a symbol of power and a source of power Having a title that starts with “chief”, or “executive” or “commissioner, etc., is itself both a symbol and a…

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Facing off with your Passive-Aggressive Managers

Behind-a-mask-L

You might be a C-Suite level boss with many managers below you. Many in your management pool may carry over their personal dysfunctions into their work life. Truly, “Who you are is how you lead”.

Not sure if the employee is passive aggressive or just passive? Passive Aggression is an indirect way to express hostility. You could compare it to a stab in the back vs. a slap on the face. It can be confusing, at first, to identify what’s going on because it can be so subtle. Some common identifiers of passive aggression:

  1. Not showing up at meetings, being habitually late, or leaving early when others are pressing in
  2. Calling in sick at key times
  3. Making lots of excuses and blame-casting for poor behavior
  4. Withholding information from other team members
  5. Making inappropriate remarks and then passing it off as a joke
  6. Sarcasm
  7. Dragging out simple processes from approving forms or dispensing reimbursements to approving transfers and promotions
  8. Feigning ignorance about the impact of their behavior on their colleagues and subordinates

These employees and managers can be your in-house saboteurs. This behavior sets a negative tone at work, builds walls between departments and politicizes the environment. It also amplifies other employees’ negative feelings, thus becoming a  contagion of discontent. We become complicit when we allow such behavior to go unaddressed. Continue reading