Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What Leadership Does NOT Mean

Leadership does NOT equal Control
Control does NOT equal Leadership

Controlling your people is not what leadership is about - otherwise it would be 'controlship'.  Leaders guide their team along the path, provide opportunities for growth and stretching...not holding hands behind their back and pushing them along the path.

Be aware of the difference.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Congratulations - NOT!

It's a glass of wine  - for ONE!
This is the leader who takes ownership of success and does not congratulate the team...or even acknowledge the participation of the team.
What to do?  Open your own bottle of wine and celebrate - you know you did it and that the insecure and arrogant leader/boss you have is simply basking in his own glory.  Slip the success into conversations in the future giving credit to everyone involved - this will help the leader see that others are on the team and that without a team, he would not be a leader.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Use the Tools Against the Team

Looks like they are at it again.  Instead of spending time planning and developing the business, the boss is going through every single line of expense reports (and there are 30 of them), recalculating every penny spent on every item that was outlined as expense-able in the contract and company policy.  Being that the reports are done on an Excel program that the company mandates be used - developed by their own IT team - isn't this a waste of time?
Is this what a good leader should be doing?  Yes, I understand that expense control drives the bottom line up.  But does the six-figure help need to do this?  Or could they perhaps spend a few more minutes explaining expense management to the team?  Or could they have their assistant do it in a spot-check manner to ensure all expenses are valid?
This is a singular tool.  Look at the review time you spend and why are you spending that time?  What else could you be doing to work ON your business?  Who could you be spending time with to grow your business and review the tools with them so that they better understand and utilize the tools the company has in place?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Buck Acceptor

Is this You?

This is what the Buck Acceptor looks like.  They take everything on.  Bucks get passed or dumped on their desk.  They clean it up.  No matter what it is, where it really belongs or even if it is in their realm of knowledge or responsibility.  They take care of it.
And worse...they become known for this, so everyone just passes it all along here!

If this is your issue STOP IT! 

Go out to your nearest bookstore, or fire up your mouse and get "The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey" by Ken Blanchard.  I've actually made it even on the underlined title to review the details of the book and then buy it.  It is important - you are NOT a dumping station.  How on earth do you get your work done if you are busy doing everyone else's?  I am sure that you are not getting the credit you deserve for everyone else's work, right? 

Sure - easier said then done.  Well, look at it this way. If you don't get your work done, or if you do get your work done to your minimum standards by working 18 hours a day, something will give.
  • Will it be the minimum standard that you will be happy with forever?  - likely not. 
  • Will it be your family life or health?  You can only burn the candle so far before the wick goes out.
  • Will it be you?  You get fired because your engagement decreases to the point that you no longer care and stop doing anything.
What to do?  Think about it.  Take small measured steps to say no.  Instead of taking on everyone else's 'buck', hand it back with a few ideas or ask them why they are giving it to you to do.  You may need to spend a few minutes teaching them what to do to fix their issue, but then they won't come back to you again.  You will have empowered them to solve their own issues - and you will both feel better about that!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pass the Buck

Don't you just wish it was a smile that you had on your face when you boss passed the buck?

It happens. Projects get off the rails and instead of accepting responsibility for the results or lack thereof, the boss shifts the blame to you, or your team or some intangible aspect of 'ran out of time'.  Unfortunately, by not accepting responsibility, the boss is damaging his reputation as well as that of the team.  It comes to a point where everyone know what will happen and morale gets lower and lower until other actions take place - you leave, the boss gets moved or removed, others leave, customers complain and/or leave...leading to the worst result-closing. 
Now that may sound a little extreme, but in a time when customers vote with their feet or their mouse on how they spend their money, and employees can look for other options while on the job, the potential can be devastating to a company that is passing the buck.  After all, what is done by one person can lead to the erosion of reputation, brand and market share.

What to do?  Ownership is key.  Be an honest, truthful leader and give the buck back.  Do so tactfully and with respect including an explanation as to why the buck is going back...and ideas on potentially avoiding the same situation in the future.  Your reputation depends on it.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Talk Down

Have you ever felt like although you have been in your position for a few years, and in the business for more than that, your boss continues to talk to you like you don't know anything?  That's the TALK DOWN.  Feels awful, like you are stupid. 
Fortunately that is not the case - it's the boss - they do not understand their audience.  They speak as if everyone is a beginner.  This could be for many reasons - they are insecure about their position, they do not know their material (or what they are talking about) well enough, they do not trust their team (a whole other blog topic) or they are insensitive and plain, just don't get what it is to be a leader.

What to do?  Remind the boss that although you appreciate the reminders, you have been in position for a good while and hope that they will soon trust you and your judgement.  Explain how it makes you feel.  Sometimes they just need to be told.

You Are Fired

I read a story online (where else) about a company that sent out a memo by email telling over 400 people in the organization that they were being terminated or laid off.  Not the way a good leader would execute such an awful task.  No matter what, terminating someone's employment for whatever reason is not easy.  And certainly not a email subject.
Always terminate with dignity and respect, let them know why and what the next steps are going to be.  The difficult words "You're fired" or "You will be laid off"  should be out of you mouth in the first minute of the conversation.  Do not wait, or get onto personall topics - this is all about business.  Relate the dicussion to the facts - nothing else.