Want to be Great? Let your team members soar

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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. Continue reading “Want to be Great? Let your team members soar”

Facing off with your Passive-Aggressive Managers

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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”. Continue reading “Facing off with your Passive-Aggressive Managers”

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. Continue reading “Reverse-Engineering Your Worst Management Disasters”

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 “Emotions at work: A great servant but a TERRIBLE master”

Gratitude – Humility that makes you Great

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I received an unexpected blessing today when a young woman cashier at a bakery called me “mom” and said, “And you are mom because you paved the way for young (African-American) women like me. Thank you.” I was blown away and humbled by her lovely sentiment, the graciousness and self-awareness she displayed and the simple, yet profound gratitude she showed to a complete stranger.

I am reminded of another young man (ok , young to me) who told me he got where he is because of the elderly folks on the job who showed him “where the sand traps were”; how to network before he even had a title, who to befriend and when to suck it up.

Looking at political races and business mega-giants today you’d think true gratitude went out of style. Everyone claims to be “self-made”.  All I had to start with was the 10 million my daddy left me….

But I don’t believe you ever become truly great without it. Continue reading “Gratitude – Humility that makes you Great”

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

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 conveyor of power. As a former adjunct lecturer at a college where all instructors are called “professor” I became keenly aware of students’ desire to please me, even by agreeing with positions they thought I held, that they didn’t even believe in. It was understandable given the propensity of so many other authority figures in education to espouse their philosophies (Let’s get one thing straight, there is no God!) (Republicans are the party of progress). and penalize or humiliate students for disagreeing. Be mindful that just having a corner office, an assistant or a seat at the head of the conference table lets people know you wield power and influence without saying a word. Continue reading “Power: Gollum couldn’t handle it; can you?”

Preparing to LAUNCH; 10 Questions to answer before your next step up

How do you get from where you are at work to the upper management-level  position where you want to be?

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We should all be aspiring to take that next step up if we are on the career ascent or returning to work after a long pause or reinventing ourselves in a new field or after a life change. Here’s the rub: Moving up in management involves more than the broadening responsibilities entailed. It also includes a subtle lifestyle change, shift in alliances and mindset and it taxes our bodies and emotions in unexpected ways.

We need a plan, a holistic strategic plan for moving up in executive leadership as we plot to thrive our way from point A to Destination D. Continue reading “Preparing to LAUNCH; 10 Questions to answer before your next step up”

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.

Continue reading “Put your VOICE in the room”

But you are not a Jedi YET…

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When you’ve changed and grown but your boss still sees you as an apprentice.

In Star Wars lore, a Padawan is the apprentice of a Jedi Master (a master fighter, strategist, spiritual guru and MASTER of “The Force”). The Padawan apprentices under the Jedi master for a number of years, learns not only how to control a light saber, but how to control his mind, bringing negative emotions under control so that he can develop his telekinetic powers. Yoda and Luke Skywalker (above) had just such a relationship, and even as the apprentice was gaining prowess towards Jedi knighthood, Yoda famously says to him in one scene, “But you are not a Jedi yet!”

As we go through promotions from front line employee to supervisor, to manager and beyond, two sets of people tend to have a tough time adjusting to the transition: our colleagues who are now our subordinates, and our new colleagues who were once our bosses (or several rungs up the ladder from us). Even though they may have groomed us for greatness and been the ones to release us into greater and greater responsibility and autonomy, it is still hard for many to acknowledge the fruit of their own “success”; that the student has now become the master. Continue reading “But you are not a Jedi YET…”