Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Box of Chocolates Eases the Pain

Here is a story that I heard a few years ago.
There was an organization that had been in the area for many years. They were purchased by an out-of-country company and so needed to develop new habits, assimilate to a new corporate culture and the people inside the organization actually had the opportunity to become better and different leaders than they had been in the past.

One guiding principle for the new organization was that each open job needed to be posted and interviews conducted with all qualified applicants. At the end of the interview process, all candidates would be personally told if they had been selected and provided with goals to work on in order to be successful with the next job posting.

Sounded pretty simple....until in this specific location, the leader decided that they would pre-select candidates to apply for the position based on relationship to the leader, the family of the leader, and even common interests (if they both liked baseball) - qualifications were never considered.  These candidates would be told to apply for the position and others would apply as well - qualified individuals who had been in position or had similar experience in other companies.  Needless to say, the leader would then hold 5 minute interviews or even no interviews at all and announce the new position-holder, without providing any follow up to the other candidates.

This activity and lack of fairness caused unrest in the organization.  The leader decided that to appease the disgruntled candidates, he would buy them each a box of chocolates.  Not only did this not appease anyone, it made the leader look like the unfair fool he was and pushed the employees to form groups that eventually led to a great deal of labor unrest. 

If the leader would have taken the extra 60 minutes to complete the interviews and follow up, and if he had actually been fair with the selection process, this could have saved the organization years of strife.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Dance Puppets, Dance!

Do you know this character?

This is the leader who thinks they know everything! Ever met one of those?
This is the leader who micro-manages.
This is the leader who does not allow people to do their job, changing priorities along the way.
This is the leader who needs to have access to your Outlook calendar to know what you are doing every minute of the day.
This is the leader who is insecure in their role.
This is the leader who believes they influence because of their title, not how they lead.
This is the leader who is not a leader but a manager (and not a good one at that!)

What to do?  Meet with them and ask what the concerns are about your work.  Explain that you are feeling micro-managed.  This may help the leader realize what they are doing.  Micro-managing is a trait of new leaders who are learning to juggle all the new responsibility they have - help them out by pointing it out.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Play Hide and Seek

When we were kids, we would play Hide and Seek.  You know, one person would close their eyes and count to 30 while the others went to hide.  Then the counter would have to go find the others where they were hiding.  Sound familiar?
Does this ever happen to you at work?
Do you have a leader who plays Hide and Seek with you?
This would be the leader who sits in their office all day, only coming out to see where everyone is at 6 pm - dooing a head count to see who stayed late.
Or if you are on the road - this would be the leader who drives from one location under your responsibility to the next looking for you, making sure they tell everyone at the location they are looking for you, but has yet to call you to find out where you actually are today.

What do you do?  In the office - work what you are scheduled or planned to work.  The leader has no bone to pick with you if your work is done - staying late does not necessarily mean you are being effective/
On the road - you have most likely already provided your schedule to the leader - stick to it.  When you are notified by one of your team members that the leader is looking for you, call the leader and remind them of your schedule for the day.  Remember to ask if they were seeking you out for something specific so that you can handle it right away and get back to your day.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Power vs. Responsibility

Spiderman said "With great power comes great responsibility". 

Many leaders believe that because they have a title they have great power and forget about the great responsibility.  These leaders do not realize that the power they have lies completely within their responsibility.
Leaders have a responsiblity to develop, teach, grow, build, decide, ask, listen, empower, move forward, look ahead, plan, prepare and even do.  By living their responsibility everyday, the great leader attracts power through the people around them.

Consider the leader you are today?  Do you carry your great responsibility proudly and earn the power your responsibility gives you everyday?