Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Leaders have vision.  Leaders have a strong sense of direction and a clear point of view.

Leaders have to be able to see the big picture, but have the ability to break it down for the team to execute towards.

Leaders have to take the time to dream, forward think, plan and let the creative juices flow.   If a Leader forgets to take this time, they will stay stuck in today and not see what is possible for the future.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

11 ways to build trust within your team

By Lead Change Group

Definition of "Fair"

Perspective defines the meaning of "fair" in any situation. Before making a change of any sort, discuss the reasons with everyone involved and intentionally address the notion of "fair." Let people know what you're trying to accomplish and why it's important. Listen for ways to accomplish the goal that may have escaped you and include them if they meet the criteria. Then, remember this:
It still won't "seem" fair to 100% of those involved because of their beliefs about "how things should be." In fact, some people will  be impacted negatively. However, most will ultimately respect you for "being just" in how you dealt with the situation.
Lesson: There is some percentage of people who believe that they are always victims. You won't ever change that. You move on; they won't.
Lesson: Life isn't fair. You don't have the power to make it that way even if you want to. 
Lesson: "Fair" is a somewhat juvenile notion. As an adult and a leader, you want to begin thinking about what is "Just." How can you ensure that all people are shown respect and dealt with even-handedly in the most difficult situations?

Powerful Ally

A Senior Technology Executive said, “The higher you go in an organization the more people want you to fail. Best antidote: Become known as a powerful ally as well as a high performer,”

Monday, July 25, 2011

The 5 Traits of an Admired Leader

By Steve Ameson

Bosses You Can Learn From

Take something from each and every boss you have the fortune or misfortune to work for, even the bad bosses.  Take the small things as well as the large, the flashy as well as the subtle but above all take away something!!!

Learn from the good to great bosses, the things you want to emulate:
·         Be respectful
·         Be humble
·         Be honest
·         Be ethical
·         Be willing to admit to mistakes
·         Be caring
·         Focus
·         Be clear with your focus, and when communicating your focus
·         Determination
·         Don’t micromanage
·         Communicate, communicate, communicate
·         Healthy team competition

Learn from the bad to horrible bosses, the things you want to do differently:
·         Don’t assume anything
·         Always check your facts
·         Always back up your team
·         Never call a team member out in front of the team
·         Find the thing for each person that makes them tick
·         Do the right thing, no matter how hard it may be
·         Staying late everyday does not make you a good boss
·         Never use the word “Should’ve” Coach in the present not in the past
·         Never push blame off on your team, take the blame when it is yours to own

No matter how bad your experiences may become, remember to learn and never leave any job or situation without a take away…….even if it is “I will never act or react that way “.

Four Surprising Strategies that get You Promoted

By Dan Rockwell

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Horrible Bosses - The New Movie Out

So with the new movie that has just come out about Bad Bosses, I am reading all kinds of interesting posts all over the internet like disgruntle employees complaining and calling their current and past bosses "bad bosses".  Are they really bad bosses or are they just labeled this by bad employees and / or poor performers? 
Don't get me wrong, I know there are some really bad bosses out there in the working world.  I have worked for my share of bad bosses.  Bur I also think sometimes Managers get this label by the "bad employee", and this like any other perception or opinion that can spread like a cancer.
I haven’t seen personally where corporate America knows quite how to handle this when this does happen.  And although companies are to protect their Managers just as they do their employees, it is apparent that companies are falling behind on this responsibility.  How do you know when this is the case?  What actions should be taken to ensure both parties are equally protected?  When this type of cancer hits, how should it be handled?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Great Post From a Fellow Blogger

Different Business Management Styles

Can you identify which style you are?  Which style works best for you within your industry in your area of responsibility?

Great Article - Total Cost of Inaction

My favorite quote from this article: 

“We trained hard… but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams, we would be reorganized. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralization.”

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

"Career Change" or "Career Transition"

In William Bridges’ book “Transitions,” the individual and corporate change consultant and author states, it’s important to distinguish between “career change” and “career transition.” For Bridges, these are two profoundly different phenomena.
  • Change: is any external variation in your life – a new job, company reorganization or merger, a new home, or, a new relationship.
  • Transition: is an internal shift within you. You have reached a “tipping point” where it is time to let go of old assumptions, self-images or dreams. A transition could be precipitated by an external change (job layoff) and is usually a period of self-reflection when a person questions their passions, work-life balance and the rewards they would like to obtain from their work. This phase could result in redefining who you are and what you do for work. It could ultimately result in a “career transition” to an entirely new field and a new role.
Transitions are a “process” and entail three specific phases: (1) an ending, (2) the neutral zone, and (3) a new beginning. Although the ending and beginning are important phases, the pivotal phase is the neutral zone, which most people try to rush through or ignore. In order to build anew, you need to dismantle and provide space within yourself for the creative act of reinvention. This can be a terrifying stage; most individuals have already gone through the ending zone, but clearly still have no idea where they are heading. They are confused, lack direction and are gripped by fear.
To learn more about the fascinating journey of reinvention and transitions, check out William Bridges’ book.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Profit Plan - Has Anything Really Changed?

For several years I have had to compose an annual profit plan for my department, and maybe it was naive of me but I thought the idea was to strive to stay under or at the profit plan numbers turned in.  Now I hear others talk about this like this some new novel idea, and I find myself scratching my head. 

From what I can gather, other department heads did not view the profit plan the same as I did.  And to them staying under or at the numbers handed in appears to be something new.  If they did not anticipate staying on track with the plan submitted, then why waist so much time preparing the documents in the first place?  I only ask this last question as if I were of their way of thinking, which I am not.  I do understand the importance of these plans and striving to meet them, I also understand what part this plays on stock values.  It would appear to me that those who never bothered to strive to meet plan, can not possibly understand the larger picture.

Hearing these things are now causing me to question many things, and I would love to hear others thoughts on the subject.

Am I alone?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Walk of Shame

Have you ever had to walk into work in front of all of your employees (or co-workers), knowing they think you did something wrong?  Even if it was untrue, this had become their perception of you or of the situation.

Sometimes perception over rules actual facts and that can be a hard road to travel. 

I was raised to do the right thing, tell the truth, stand up for those who depend on you and good things will come to you.  I still agree and believe in this, but things are never as simple as they may seem.

Someone’s misperception of you or the situation can spread like a cancer, and when this happens it really doesn't seem to matter what the actual facts or details of the situation may be.  If this happens, you should try to correct the perception as quickly as possible.  Correcting a misperception can be difficult as well as very painful depending on how personal the misperception may be.  This is where your true character and inner strength will be tested, and when you have to decide if you are going to fight or flight.

Remember, I am a redhead so I very rarely choose flight.  You have to make your mind up that this is not going to beat you, and remember that the truth will surface.  Unfortunately the truth does not always surface quickly or right away, sometimes it takes a while and all you can do is ride it out.  Remain open and honest, answer any questions your employees may have for you (these can be painful) and stay away from bitter hateful thoughts.  Everyone knows or has known someone that is bitter about everything all the time; you don't want to become that person.  Keep reminding yourself that bitterness does not help you or your situation in any way. 

Find those within your team that will open up to you, and listen to them.  Listen to their suggestions of how to correct or change things, listen to their thoughts and feelings, and find out what actions you may have taken to feed the fire without even knowing it.  We have all probably done things, with good intentions, and because the people around you may not know all of the details they see your actions in a negative way.  I have a great example of this:  We were trying to fill an open position and were conducting interviews, I had asked the hiring Manager to begin the interviews and then come get me towards the end and I would finish up the interview.  We had also requested that our team send us referrals, which they had done.  My Manager started one of the interviews (with a referred candidate) and ran over on time, when s/he came to get me I had gotten on a pre-scheduled conference call.  So the interview ended, and I went with the Manager's recommendation and opinion on this candidate.  This later was brought up as a negative, and the perception became that if the Manager was not interested in the candidate I would not even take the time to interview them.  This of course was not the case, but this was the perception of the team member that had referred this particular person......which spread quickly among the rest of the team.  In this example there are a couple of things I could have done differently to escape this misperception:  I could have arranged for the interviews to be held in another part of our building or on another floor, instead of parading the candidates by the whole team.  I could have gone into the interview while I still had time, and shared the remainder of the interview with the Manager.  There are probably other things as well that I could have done differently, the point is I did not do anything out of intent but the perception of those team members changed because I didn't plan or think of how this could appear to the team.  I was trying to get someone hired quickly, get as many interviews in during a short time and didn't keep in mind how this looked from the outside looking in for my team.  The team began to believe that I was conducting unfair hiring practices, and only hiring candidates referred by certain team members.  Once this was brought to my attention, I went straight to the source and explained what had actually happened.  This team member was unaware of the things happening outside of his/her view, so the perception began to change again.  But had I taken more time and thought about how this would look to the team, taken more time in between interviews and meetings, and made sure that everyone was aware of the interviewing process we were using, this misperception would have never began.

Learn from your mistakes, stay true to yourself, and choose to fight when the time calls for it.  Your character and your integrity is what you have been working on since you were a child, and I knew I was not going to let mine be stained without a fight.  The walk down the hall to my office the morning after I found out how the team felt was the hardest walk I have ever had in my career thus the title "walk of shame".  But that walk was the first step to getting things back on track, so take that first step, hold your head high and go for it!  What's worth a price is always worth a fight, in the words of Nickleback's song lyrics.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Mentors - A Manager Must Have

Mentors are by far under rated, especially early in one's career.  I wish I would have understood this much earlier in my career. 

Many tried to relay the importance of having someone to look up to, to ask for advice, to emulate and most importantly be brutally honest with me.  I was young and as most young adults thought I already knew everything, and did not listen until much later.  It is so easy to get caught up in the day to day and stress of it all, but when the storms hit during your career (and they will) this is when you will wish you would have listened earlier.

But if you didn't listen earlier, like yours is never too late.  Great mentors don't care if you are at a good time or bad time in your career, they only want to help you succeed.  They want to be honest with you, but in a caring way.  They don't come across as condescending or as if they have been the exact same situation every time, they do listen a lot, explain what they see (honestly), and give you some usually much needed advice.

I did not search out a true mentor until late in my career, I had people and Managers in the past that I looked up to or would ask advice from at times.  Then I was faced with a really serious situation, and that is when I found I needed someone.  I needed someone strong, with lots of company knowledge as well as management knowledge.  I needed someone that could believe in me and my knowledge, experience and accomplishments.  I chose (or she chose me, that is another story in it's self) the only female residing within the C suites of our company, she was highly regarded, very approachable and very open to mentoring.  This is who and what I needed, and I needed it ASAP.

When you hit those hard times or they hit you, that is when you realize who will be there for you.  All good Managers hit those hard times, but you always have options of how to deal with them.  When the issue is too close it can be very difficult to see those options, or know which option to choose.  Your mentor or mentors should be able to help you see the positives and negatives of the options available, help make those options clear but not decide for you.  Part of learning from your mistakes or circumstance is making the decision that is right for you, no one else can make that decision for you but they can sure point out things that you may not be able to see.

Don't be afraid to reach out to people, people you may have only met once.  Most people in upper management enjoy helping others succeed, and will be glad you did reach out.

Ask for advice, for suggestions, for proven team building projects, how to deal with a difficult employee, how to deal with an unusual employee, how to build a more cohesive team.  Their suggestions or ideas may even spark another idea and you can add your own flare, make it your own.  Be picky when choosing a mentor, and definitely show your appreciation for their insight. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Great Leader's Words of Wisdom

As a great Leader within the organization recently told me “No one person, regardless where they are today in their career, has a perfect record or is without setbacks.  What differentiates them from everyone else is what they did after those setbacks, and that is why they are where they are today.”
Remember that no matter what level of management you are, there will be setbacks.  Setbacks happen to all people who are brave enough to make a decision on anything, who are strong enough to stand up for their team, who are smart enough to delegate,  and who have true passion about their work.  But what we learn from those setbacks can be just the thing that can cause us to stand out in a crowd, and keep us learning and constantly improving ourselves and our teams.