Reverse-Engineering Your Worst Management Disasters

reverseReverse engineering is taking apart an object to see how it works in order to duplicate or enhance the object.  – WhatIs.com

Reverse engineering our disasters means really examining them, rather than sweeping them under the rug in embarrassment.We may be leaders. We may be managers, even at a high level. But being human, we will blow it sometimes. Sometimes BIG TIME. Part of recovering from our failures is to determine to grow from them.

We grow when we learn to be honest, really reflect on our disasters and their repercussions and learn to ask ourselves good, hard questions. I recommend having your management coach, immediate supervisor or trusted colleague help by asking you good questions, too. Notice that none of them are “why” questions. They’re not off-limits but it is too tempting to do the parental “why did you break the lamp?” accusation for which there is no real answer.

For each question there are implied follow-up questions that for space’s sake I did not note here. For example: “Has this happened before?” should be followed up by “Give examples. Then what happened? How did you respond then? To what consequence, if any?”

Your answers lie in the follow-up questions. All of this takes courage and accountability to do well. Continue reading

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Emotions at work: A great servant but a TERRIBLE master

Don't let your emotions rule youScenario: You wind up in the COO’s office for the umpteenth time for “the talk”. You are once again upbraided for your reactiveness at a recent team meeting. You know they’re right, but begin your defense with, “I know I shouldn’t have said that, but he just made me sooo (fill in the blank here)! Worse yet (the deign of every professional) we may even cry.

Emotions – our gut reactions to internal or external stimuli – keep the world, and life interesting. Unemotional bosses usually have unhappy staff who have checked out, having given up on getting a rise of any kind out of their fearless leader. Passionless leaders cease to be leading at all after a while. For many of us, however, our passions regularly, spontaneously spill out in ways that may make our colleagues and employees feel discomfort, confusion and even contempt.

Change your mindset, change your world

Alfred Adler, a neo-Freudian psychotherapist, stated, “I am convinced that a person’s behavior springs from his ideas.” Stoic philosopher Epictetus said, “Men [People] are disturbed not by things, but the view which they take of them”. Continue reading

Put your VOICE in the room

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We’ve all been at the meetings when the participants take their stereotypical roles: the constant text-messager or gadget-meister; the one who invariably takes the topic off-course; the one who always tries to steer the meeting back on course; the long-winded one who states an opinion every time someone else takes a breath (!!) and… the woman or man who never speaks up.

In large organizations, large meetings or when the person in question is a front line worker – let’s be honest, no one’s missing that silent voice. It’s unfair, sad, but true.

In meetings of any size, when you are a person in any kind of position of authority, by actual title, functional title, or especially aspiring to be in a higher role of leadership, you cannot afford to play that hidden role. More is at stake than you think.

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Imposter Syndrome – Are You Afraid You’re a Fraud?

This post is adapted from my upcoming book Pitfalls of Fear-Driven Leaders and How to Overcome 

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Let me begin this chapter by saying that if you are a fraud, a high school dropout masquerading as a doctor or the CEO of a company that stole someone else’s patented idea, stop reading now. You really are a fraud and need to quit.

As for most of you honest, super competent readers who simply do not believe in your self-worth, here are some insights.

There is actually something called “Impostor Syndrome”.  It manifests when despite  positive feedback and accomplishments documenting your competence and even excellence, you cannot enjoy your own success because deep down inside you think it’s all a mistake. If people really knew your background, your inadequacies, your lack of experience, your intellectual shortfalls, they would reject you as their leader.

According to Kirsten Weir writing for the American Psychological Association this syndrome occurs among “high achievers who are unable to internalize and accept their success. They often attribute their accomplishments to luck rather than to ability, and fear that others will eventually unmask them as a fraud.” These are not the mediocre failing students with sub par performance evaluations. These are actually the super star performers who think they’re “just OK”.

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Failure Coaching for Leaders

This post is adapted from my upcoming book: Pitfalls of Fear Driven Leaders and how to Overcome

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The “It’s OK to Fail” club has more and more members. Its adherents are industry leaders, sports figures, executive and life coaches, therapists and people with success stories because, truth be told, they almost all had to fail before their first quantifiable success. Beyond that, business and organizational development specialists know the vital importance of freedom from fear of failing in innovation and the formation of authentic, productive work environments.

The wonderfully titled John Maxwell book, Failing Forward has as its subtitle: How to make the most of your mistakes. Vlogger Chantelle Adams, in her video series “The Courage Revolution”,  has an episode entitled, “How to Fail Like a Pro”.

So failure is finally coming out of the closet and getting the honor it’s due!

To coach yourself or others in how to make the most of failure, here are some tips

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