30 Questions Every Leader Should Ask Themselves

Being a great leader depends on how well they know themselves. Leaders must make sure that they are self-aware, clearly communicate their goals and expectations, reach their goals, set high standards, expect quality work and meet deadlines, demonstrate that all their team members matter, show gratitude, don’t settle and spend time with their team.

Needless to say, a little introspection is required from time to time.

Wondering how do you become the best version of yourself? 

30 Questions Every Leader Should Ask Themselves

Sometimes, we end up in or go after leadership positions but don’t understand why or how we got there.

It is always important to assess our goals, values and purpose every step of the way.

1) What does leadership mean to you?

Leadership encapsulates different concepts and key competencies.

For most, leadership is the ability to wheel power, to influence people positively in order to be successful, to bring like-minded individuals together towards a common goal or vision and to translate that vision into reality.

In order to be effective you must figure out what leadership means to you.

2) Why do you want to be a leader? What is your purpose in life?

Most people want to lead because they see themselves in power, in control, with status and doing whatever they want.

However, leaders are always held accountable for their actions, have to serve as models and have to exhibit exemplary behavior.

Without an ethical purpose in mind, they will not be able to sustain their role very long.

If you weren’t a leader, what would you do? What career would you pursue?

3) What are your strengths and weaknesses? 

Do you have sufficient resources to achieve your goals and yourself?

Leaders must find at least one field in which they excel. This will develop their credibility, their confidence and will help you be of assistance to people in need.

4) What are your core values? 

If your leadership roles don’t correspond to your values, it is time to rethink your career.

5) How do you center yourself? 

Learning to center yourself, to choose peace of mind requires that you acquire new healthy habits and that you question your thoughts that most often are an illusion or distorted memories.

Figure out how to preserve your time and energy, how to ensure your growth, how to continually improve as a person, and how to boost your leadership self-esteem?

6) Can you grow within your role and responsibilities?

Some people get into positions to please their families, impress their friends or flatter their own egos.

A job or a role in which you feel boxed in is frustrating, leaves little space for you to develop your skills or maximize your strengths.

7) How do you wish to impact the world and the people around you?

As a leader, you must project yourself in the future and visualize the legacy that you want to leave.

8) Do you walk the talk? 

Integrity is currently a rare character trait and most sought after leadership attribute that can help you succeed in the workplace as much as in life.

It actually goes a long way and projects more authority and credibility than a title or a position would.

Furthermore, the team you lead, the environment that you work in is a direct reflection of you. If you want a trusting workplace, be trustworthy.

9) Are you open to learn?

Being open to learn and to explore is detrimental to success.

To start the learning process, you can read books, take trainings and classes, and talk to people who are in positions that you aspire to.

Furthermore, you must understand that if you seek knowledge, you will never fully be an expert.

10) Are you developing a healthy work life balance?

Creating work-life balance is not giving equal attention to both work and life.

But, it means that you are satisfied with your contributions to your life and work, that you are able to create a sustainable synergy between both so that you are fueled by them on a daily basis.

To do so, you must focus on the vital few and not let your career affect your personal life and vice versa.

11) Are you self-interested or committed to the collective good?

We choose a certain career because our ever-changing needs and desires align with that particular career but not necessarily with the collective good.

In the leadership position, there is a huge discrepancy between hiring the right person with the right competencies for the job, between hiring someone with lesser competencies to feel unthreatened, between hiring someone to serve you and caress your ego.

There is also a difference between wanting the organization to succeed, wanting the team and the project to shine, and taking all the credit for someone else’s work.

12) What is your favorite leadership style

Leadership style refers to the way that the leader interacts with his or her employees, influences their behavior, motivates them, make decisions for them and for the organization.

A specific leadership style can deeply influence the quality of work, the levels of commitment, the work satisfaction of both leader and employees.

13) Are you emotionally intelligent?

We cannot control everything in our life.

However, we can control how we react to different situations, how we see ourselves and who we aspire to be.

14) Are you able to solve conflicts effectively?

Leaders must be able to anticipate problems and implement solutions for the future. What strategies do you apply? How do you handle bad news? How do you set boundaries? Do you encourage dissension?

15) Do you have interpersonal skills?

There are several components to leadership. One of them is building and maintaining healthy relationships.

Leaders are responsible for the people they hire and the people that they lead. How do you build your team?

16) Are you culturally sensitive? 

Cultural sensitivity is being aware that everyone is different.

It means being able to learn from different people, to understand their backgrounds, to collaborate and cooperate with them, without being judgmental.

17) When have you failed, how have you recovered yourself and what have you learned about yourself then? 

Failures don’t directly lead to success but it can show you the way. It is best when your mistakes come to light rather than going unnoticed.

18) What are your greatest achievements as a leader and as a follower?

It is important to recall the time you have succeeded and demonstrated great leadership.

The memory of past success will serve you right when you face challenges. If you did it once, then you can do it again.

19) Are you able to direct someone else towards success? 

Mentorship is usually the realization of leadership.

It is similar to tutorship, to parenthood, to partnership, or to an alliance.

20) Are you able to delegate?

Delegating increases employee empowerment and talent engagement, leads to higher levels of commitment, innovationmotivation, and better relationships..

21) Are you able to perform under pressure?

As a leader, your behavior in pressure moments impacts those around you and can predict their performance.

22) How do you solve problems and make sound decisions?

The ability to anticipate, to solve problems, to make quick and sound decisions will determine the success of a leader.

23) How do you motivate others? Can you communicate your visions successfully?

Effective communication skills will improve your leadership credibility, your self-confidence, your relationships with others, your feelings of belonging and will decrease your stress level.

Your communication skills will also drive change and increase team motivation.

Using those skills, leaders should be pushing a vision for their life, for their family or their organization and it shouldn’t matter whether they have the right relationships, enough money, enough favors, or have hired people with the desired skill set.

24) Are you organized and can you meet deadlines?

Leaders don’t have the luxury to procrastinate because it is similar to self-sabotage. However, they are all subject to it to some extent.

Being organized, methodical, pragmatic will help you gain a sense of satisfaction and will increase your chances of success.

25) Who do you look up to?

It is critical to have a role model who will help you improve, achieve your goals and will show you your life purpose.

Your role model is authentic, relatable and can be a family member, a friend in your entourage or someone you barely know.

26) Can you handle change?

Change is a part of life, is a constant and is inevitable. Change shakes things up, disrupts old habits, breathes new life into the workplace and into any project.

Leaders must visibly act out the change, must be ready to do things differently and to think otherwise.

27) What do you hate the most and will not stand for?

You can’t always find out what you like but life has a funny way of putting you in front of the things that you hate the most.

28) Can you accept criticism from others?

Accepting criticism implies that you are able to listen, accept people point of view and give feedback as well.

29) Are you becoming too complacent?

30) What do you want to improve on?

 

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.

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Bridging The Generational Gap: From Boomers to Millennials

In today’s workplace, leaders of organizations must hire millennials and boomers to keep business running. For the sake of their organization, leaders must have them collaborating, handling constructive conflicts and effectively dealing with change.

However, conflicts in the workplace, involving different generations, are old as time, are common, are inevitable and ought to be handled quickly before they get out of hand.

Conflicts usually arise when one generation is leading or managing another. These days, boomers are passed over for promotions, millennials are put in leadership roles and tend to manage boomers because they have a researched set of skills that are beneficial to the company.

Bridging the generational gap helps in making better decisions, reducing employee turnover, strengthening team cohesion and in building innovative products.

Wondering how to bridge the generation gap and build a more collaborative workplace?

Bridging The Generational Gap: From Boomers to Millennials

A generation is a period of time when people perceived the world differently. In one generation, people are shaped by social trends, are programmed with thoughts, values, moral ethics, models, examples of success and the guidelines to succeed.

Three generations rub shoulders in corporate: the baby-boomers (1946-1964), the generation X (1965-1980) and the millennials (1980-2000). Needless to say, each generation has their own set of strengths, weaknesses and of requirements in order to give their best at work.

The Baby-Boomers Generation

Boomers are the most famous generation and have a different set of values. They trust the system, understand hierarchy, follow rules and obey orders.

They believe in seniority and meritocracy. Indeed, they stay at a job for the longest time and wait for an opportunity for advancement.

Strengths

Employees from the baby-boomer generation:

  • Define their identity through their jobs.
  • Have a strong work ethic. They are hardworking even workaholics.
  • Are concerned about the quality of their contributions at work.
  • Are loyal to their organization and expect loyalty in return.
  • Have good people skills and build healthy relationships.
  • Are capable of team work.

Weaknesses

Employees from the baby-boomer generation:

  • Respect hierarchy and don’t challenge the status quo.
  • Depend on seniority for career advancement.
  • Unable to welcome change. They don’t understand that the world is changing and are unable to quickly evolve with it.
  • Have a poor work life balance. They are not flexible with their time, burn out easily and are willing to sacrifice their work life balance.

Requirements

To perform to the best of their abilities, employees from the baby-boomer generation require:

  • Appreciation, respect, fairness and equity of treatment.
  • Involvement on the job.
  • Job satisfaction.
  • Health care and retirement package.

The Generation X

This generation no longer trust the system and believe that corporations don’t have their best interest at heart.

Strengths

Employees from the generation X:

  • Are innovative and creative.
  • Are authentic. They feel the need to know and be themselves in every situation.
  • Are autonomous, independent, loyal to self and self-reliant.
  • Are flexible, task oriented and multi-taskers.
  • Take initiative and have an entrepreneurial spirit.

Weaknesses

Employees from the generation X:

  • Lack clear purpose.
  • Are insubordinate. They no longer comply to authority and are defiant.
  • Are easily bored. They need to be kept on challenging or high-profile projects.
  • Are individualistic. They put themselves and the well-being of their family first.
  • Lack commitment to an organization.

Requirements

To perform to the best of their abilities, employees from the generation X require:

  • Automatic respect.
  • That their leaders apply a laissez-faire or a democratic leadership style.
  • Short termed challenging projects.
  • To understand the reasons of a task before undertaking said task.
  • A healthy work life balance: they put family first, no matter what.
  • Unique, fun and informal organization with flexible hours.
  • Career advancement or a constant interest in their assignment. If they don’t get what they want or need, they jump ship.
  • High salaries and rewards proportional to their contributions at work.

The Millennials

Millennials are idealist and have a more democratic way of viewing the world. They intend to make work fun and purposeful, to innovate and to invest themselves.

They have high expectations for their jobs, are now able to blow the whistle easily, seek fairness and integrity in their leaders.

Strengths

Millennial employees:

  • Have an ability to connect with the world and to quickly share information.
  • Use online communication effectively.
  • Are positive and are culturally sensitive.
  • Are ambitious, innovative and drive change.
  • Seek learning opportunities and desire accomplishments.
  • Have a strong entrepreneurial spirit.
  • Are capable of team work.

Weaknesses

Millennial employees:

  • Lack interpersonal skills.
  • Have poor decision-making and problem-solving skills.
  • Need constant guidance and feedback.

Requirements

To perform to the best of their abilities, millennial employees require:

Bridging the generational gap

The collaboration of generations is essential to develop any organization. To bridge the generational gap and to retain more employees:

  1. Get to know your employees personally.
  2. Assess the strengths and weaknesses of your employees.
  3. Customize your leadership style to your employees.
  4. Keep a respectful tone, stay professional and use formal language, especially with boomers.
  5. Give people a reason to work for your organization.
  6. Transfer knowledge between generations.
  7. Put people in the right positions.
  8. Remind all parties involved that they have more commonalities than differences.
  9. Disintegrate stereotypes about people from different generations. For example, boomers can learn how to handle technology and millennials are not lazy.
  10. Promote the benefits of diversity and cultural sensitivity.
  11. Adapt your employees working hours to the organization and exemplify a healthy work life balance.
  12. Help people gain new skills by putting them on different projects.
  13. Upgrade your employees interpersonal skills.
  14. Provide technological trainings.
  15. Suggest mentoring program.
  16. Recognize and reward your employees for their contributions.
  17. Give positive feedback, especially to millennials.
  18. Have an open door policy to hear employee complaints and ideas.
  19. Set high expectations for your employees and expect the best from them.
  20. Welcome initiative, innovation and creativity.

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.

The Importance Of Trust In Leadership

The consequences of distrust are significant. It increases employees turnover and employees don’t volunteer ideas like they should, question every single move  of the leader, undermine his or her decisions.

Nobody wants to go to work where they constantly have to look behind their shoulder, where they cannot share knowledge freely, where they cannot speak up in meetings, where they have to watch their every single word.

We end up losing confidence in yourself, not wanting to contribute at work, preserving ourselves, acting against our core values, lacking energy, refusing to invest in people, felling alone and always on the look out.

Wondering how to build or repair trust in leadership and in the workplace?

Trust In Leadership

What is trust?

Trust is an emotional bond, a connection between two people who is developed through repeated interactions and that provides comfort and stability. It is the foundation of all relationships and according to Patrick Lencioni, in The Five Dysfunctions of a Team it is  the most important factor in team cohesion.

Furthermore, trust is reciprocal, subjective, takes time to build but can be destroyed in a matter of seconds. It is not granted by a title nor by a position but is necessary to work and to share knowledge. Trust is empowering, improves overall employees motivation, productivity, wellbeing in the workplace and corporate culture.

Trust is detrimental to leadership because leaders have the power to make decisions that can impact their team and their livelihood.

Detecting and understanding untrustworthy leaders

Trustworthy leaders drive success, put employees at ease, have their employees best interest at heart. Trustworthy leaders care about their own contributions, about the impact of their decision, about their people and regularly show appreciation. They are fair and respectful, are credible and communicate openly.

Nevertheless, some leaders exhibit negative behaviors that make them seem untrustworthy. Because, trust is subjective and because followers model these behavior, it is compulsory that leaders identify what they are doing wrong and immediately correct themselves.

Below are different scenarios where leaders are perceived to be untrustworthy and the respective explanation to their behavior.

Scenario #1

Some leaders are naturally reserved and secretive. Unfortunately, they come off as being snobs, defensive, or as having a personal agenda. People generally think the worst when they don’t know what their leader is thinking.

Scenario #2

Some leaders are introverts and minimize social interactions. To their team, they are perceived to either be standoffish, weirdos. This can open the door to a lot of misunderstandings and conflicts.

Scenario #3

Some leaders speak very little because they either believe that the topic doesn’t deserve much conversation, don’t enjoy speaking, don’t feel the need to explain themselves or they are unable to put their thoughts into words.

Scenario #4

Some leaders adapt their response to their audience and come off as being disingenuous. For example, they would talk frankly in front of their team and sugarcoat things in front of the hierarchy.

Scenario #5

Some leaders are self-serving and don’t care about their employees. They don’t demonstrate respect for their team and can easily step over them.

Scenario #6

Some leaders are arrogant. They feel superior to others all while being insecure, they lack humility and self-awareness, they are unwilling to learn and to grow.

Scenario #7

Some leaders blatantly lie. In some toxic companies, lying is seen as a strength. But this strength is short-termed and create distrust amongst employees.

Scenario #8

Some leaders gossip about their own employees and their own organization. Because most employees are attempting to preserve their jobs, employees tend to fake their true feelings. However, leaders have difficulties noticing the impact of their negative behavior.

Scenario #9

Some leaders are able to shift blame too easily and don’t take responsibility for their action. This leader is afraid of confronting themselves. This makes employees unwilling to take risks and to involve themselves in their job.

Scenario #10

Some leaders play favorites, treat their employees unfairly, take credit for their work, disrespect them, isolate and scapegoat some employees and sabotage others.

Scenario #11

Some leaders underperform or don’t come through on promises. People tend to dismiss those who overpromise and underperform, even if they are talented or competent.

Scenario #12

Some leaders overreact to challenges and under high pressured situations, they give in too easily to their emotions.

How to build trust and maintain it in the workplace?

Placing trust in someone makes us vulnerable to that person who can use this vulnerability to their advantage. However, to create a healthy workplace, it is necessary for leaders to build trust within their team. To do so, you will have to:

  1. Trust yourself in order to make yourself feel confident, competent, to help yourself grow your relationships, to take risks and to face challenges.
  2. Develop your character and learnt to do what is right.
  3. Learn new skills and teach them to others.
  4. Create a safe workplace. Help others express themselves, their ideas, and vent their frustrations. Help employees achieve their goals. Give your employees room to grow their skills and self-esteem by offering them training and coaching.
  5. Appreciate people‘s capabilities and employ them for their strengths.
  6. Give trust to receive trust. However, beware of people who will take advantage of your eagerness to trust. Learn how to detect these toxic individuals and protect yourself from them.
  7. Actively listen to your team without speaking or emitting judgements.
  8. Be open and honest with important company information. Don’t shy away from the truth.
  9. Positively present your thoughts and ideas to your team.
  10. Involve your team in the decision-making process.
  11. Don’t allow communication to break down and don’t withhold any information from your team. misunderstandings are easily created and can decrease trust.
  12. Clarify your employees assignments, roles and measure their progress. For example, give your employees the necessary authority to accomplish their assignments and trust their decisions.
  13. Avoid gossiping like the plague. It may seem fun and you might enjoy the camaraderie but it is unprofessional and unethical. Respect what people have told you in confidence.
  14. Adopt consistent behaviors and expectations on a daily basis. Employees tend to trust leaders who are predictable, who represent the company’s values and missions.
  15. Admit mistakes, acknowledge negative situations and sincerely apologize if necessary. Take responsibility for your actions.
  16. Be reliable. Carry out promises and meet deadlines. Be careful of what you promise to others before you compromise your relationships.
  17. Give and accept constructive criticism to build long-lasting relationships.
  18. Forgive instead of seeking revenge and perpetuating distrustful behavior.

 

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.

Confidence Plan — How To Build A Stronger You, Mastering The Practical Skills Of Winning by Tim Ursiny

In Confidence Plan — How To Build A Stronger You, Mastering The Practical Skills Of WinningTim Ursiny believes that building self-confidence does not only rely on positive self-talk, on words of affirmation, on changing our thought patterns or other mental strategies.

To build long-term confidence, Ursiny believes that we also have to develop emotional, behavioral, relational and spiritual strategies.

For Ursiny, confidence is an important factor to fulfilling our dreams, for achieving real success at work and at home, for building and maintaining healthy relationships, for understanding and communicating with others.

Confidence Plan

Recognizing the importance of confidence

Struggling with confidence either means that you suffer from low self-esteem or that you are living, working, breathing in the wrong place. If you have never suffered from lack of confidence, then you have never left your comfort zone.

Needless to say, confidence is the opposite of humility. It is the belief in our abilities to perform, to get results from our performance, in our worth and in our opinion of ourselves.

In addition, we all internal regulator that measures our level of confidence, depending on our successes and failures, that forces us to take action and that can be explained by different factors. We have a level to which we will not allow ourselves to fall or to rise. It is important to identify those levels in order to rewire our expectations and reset our internal regulator.

To recognize the importance of confidence:

  • Learn from adversity. Through resilience, “quality that allows us to pick ourselves back up after experiencing hardship or trauma”, you grow your confidence despite failure.
  • Embrace your past, enjoy your success, get over past failures and learn from your mistakes. People who hide or don’t observe their past tend to repeat the same mistakes and miss out on opportunities.
  • Assess your current abilities, behaviors, habits, blind spots, strengths and weaknesses. Welcome feedback from trusted people around you and make the needed changes.
  • Stay focused on your vision and be optimistic that you are going to get there.
  • Work on your attitude. Attitudes are composed of what we think, how we feel and what we do. And, when all these aspects are aligned, we are more peaceful and more confident. Therefore, to constantly adjust your attitude:
    • Watch your self talk, reward positive thinking and remind yourself of your own competencies.
    • Take time off for yourself, enjoy the company of your friends and family.
    • Practise future behaviors in fictional situations.
  • Identify the motivations for reaching your goals and take the steps to grow.

Challenging personal comfort zones

The way we perceive ourselves or a situation can seriously impact our confidence. To challenge your personal comfort zones:

  • Use different techniques to control your thoughts and to remain present. Some turn to meditation, some to God and others to religion to instill peace of mind.
  • Avoid making snap judgements that create insecurities and that easily lead us into error.
  • Avoid self-fulfilling prophecies and remain optimistic. Sometimes, when we believe that we can achieve something, our subconscious will arrange our actions and behaviors to match that expectation. Believing that good things will come to you will help you live a happier life.
  • Don’t be your own self-critic. Use words of affirmations to motivate you and to reach higher grounds of success.
  • Identify the embarrassing thoughts and seek new ones.
  • Stop negative thoughts from taking root in your mind. For example, use the highly effective rubber band technique:
    • Put a rubber band around your wrist.
    • When negative thoughts come in, snap the rubber band.
    • Tell yourself to stop the thought pattern.
    • Replace the negative thought with a positive one.

Building confidence in failure

Most often, our behavior and emotional response are illogical. To gauge your emotional level of confidence and to gain sight into your emotional core:

  • Evaluate your behavior in stressful situations and your relationship with compliments.
  •  Start journaling.
  • Take responsibility for your feelings about yourself and about how others make you feel, for your successes and failures.
  • Avoid  negative opinions and hypothesis about people and yourself. You will end up attributing negative connotations to every single one of their behaviors and only confirming what you already belive.
  • Don’t allow past hurts to define your future.
  • Use visualization techniques and your 5 senses to deepen your confidence, your emotional core, to increase self-control and resilience.

Understanding the limits of self-confidence

Fears have a knack for decreasing our confidence. To understand the limits of self-confidence:

  • Act more confidently so you can become more confident.
  • Identify what drains you and what fills you up with energy. We usually feel stressed when there are elements out of our control because we feel less powerful than we think we are. To feel better, shift your focus on things that you can control.
  • Identify the goal to grow your already existing confidence. Then, stop and measure your progress.
  • Identify your fears then face your fears by gradually desensitizing and exposing yourself to them. “Confidence is not the absence of fear” but means that “fear has no control over you”.
  • Avoid procrastination. Procrastination tends to intensify our fears.
  • Expose yourself to embarrassment more often.

Building confidence through the 5 approaches

The culture and the people we surround ourselves with have a huge impact on our self-confidence. To grow your confidence through mental, emotional, behavioral, relational and spiritual strategies:

  • Identify people who drain your confidence, that judge your abilities and capabilities. Assess their actions, learn to deal with them effectively or learn to repair the relationships.
  • Find out whether or not you are draining someone else.
  • Create and increase your support system that defines your social identity. In this support system, we feel more comfortable being ourselves.
  • Consider how conflicts impact your confidence. Conflicts are born from prejudices, stereotypes and differences in opinion. Firstly, center yourself around your own opinion in order not to be threatened by someone else’s or to become defensive. Secondly, build relationships that promotes trust and loyalty.
  • Forgive and give back to your community to help you grow.
  • Invite feedback from people you trust and respect.

Transcending self-confidence

To find our higher levels of confidence, we must believe that there is something bigger that us and we must tap into our spiritual being. To transcend your self-confidence:

  • Identify your purpose and higher calling. This way, you won’t accept environments and position that don’t satisfy you or that don’t play to your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Examine how you can bring significance to your work, what you want to be remembered for, that mark you want to leave on earth.
  • Practise what you preach.
  • Develop a deeper relationship with God.
  • Build a personal mission statement.

Review

Confidence Plan — How To Build A Stronger You, Mastering The Practical Skills Of Winning, by Tim Ursiny, is written for those who want a better life for themselves, a more positive vision of life, or to assess their level of confidence. It is also written for those with low self-esteem and for those who struggle with self-confidence.

Confidence Plan — How To Build A Stronger You, Mastering The Practical Skills Of Winning is transformational and can be used in our professional life as much as our personal life. Through his book, through immediate practical exercises, Tim Ursiny seeks to impact people long-term.

Tim Ursiny provides us with timely, implementable exercises that you can work on, on a daily basis. You can work on the exercises in six weeks or you can work at our own pace. It is therefore necessary for you to select the techniques and sections of the book that speak the most to you.

Favorite quote(s)

In any situation where two people are competing with relatively similar skills, the more confident person will always succeed at a greater level.

The way we view a situation can have serious ramifications. Our perceptions will often dictate what we do, how we feel, and how we interact with others.

Our minds are capable of processing a huge amount of information. This is both a plus and a minus concerning whether this information aids us or hurts us.What goes on in our minds has a powerful impact on our confidence and our behavior. Having the wrong stuff in our heads is dangerous to our success.

We cannot control what others say to us, but we definitely can impact and change what we say to ourselves.

One form of conflict is a result of prejudice and stereotypes

No matter how confident we are, no matter how successful we become, no matter how powerful we feel, there is something bigger than us.

Ratings 3/5

Author

Tim Ursiny

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The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni

Overcoming The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni defines the five dysfunctions of a team to avoid in order to be successful. He teaches us how to build a team as a leader and how to effectively be part of one.

What is a team?

For Lencioni, a team is a “relatively small number of people (anywhere from three to twelve) that shares common goals as well as the rewards and responsibilities for achieving them. Team members readily set aside their individual or personal needs for the greater good of the group.”

Why build a team?

Patrick Lencioni believes in team work and that it is the ultimate competitive advantage in a company. Effective team work being easy to attain but hard to measure, he judges effective team work by measuring its performance, its results, by its capacity to overcome obstacles and the five dysfunctions model (seen below).

Five dysfunctions of a team Patrick Lencioni.

Overcoming Dysfunction #1

Trust is an uncommon trait in life, is the most important factor in team survivals, is rare and is generally hard to instill. Being a trustful and trustworthy designates a person unafraid to be open, candid, transparent, willing to expose their weaknesses, and admit their failures.

Because of human preservation instincts, because people wear masks to protect themselves and their true feelings, being vulnerable is uncommon and unnatural. People don’t find rewarding to take such risks, to put themselves in harm’s way for other people, for an organization.

Furthermore, lack of trust is a destroyer of team work, multiplies hypocrisy, causes the team to watch their every move, monitor their every word. To overcome this dysfunction, Lencioni suggests that:

  • Building trust takes time but is not impossible.
  • Team members take various personality assessment tests, like the Myers Briggs test, before sharing their story.
  • Team members open up so that everyone can judge them fairer, understand the person that they are today, not expecting that they reveal their darkest secrets or that they get emotional.
  • Leaders create a safe space for their team to speak. Team members generally look to their leaders to show them how to build trust. Leaders have to first put themselves out there without knowing that their behavior will be reciprocated, respected or rewarded.
  • Maintain the bounding experience and pursue the relationships built.

Overcoming Dysfunction #2

In addition to overcoming trust issues, teams must learn to handle conflicts. Conflicts don’t necessarily have to be feuds, quarrels or arguments. Conflicts can also be healthy debates that lead the team to a solution, discussions where people are listening and seriously considering other people points of view. Needless to say, without trust, the debate will easily become a contest.

Conflict is inevitable but must not be avoided. It is either constructive or destructive, and anywhere along that spectrum. It has the benefit to push people out of their emotional comfort zone.

To overcome dysfunction #2, Lencioni proposes to:

  • Assess each and everyone conflict profile before hand. Indeed, everybody handles conflict differently. Therefore, it is essential that everybody knows the way they react and interact during conflict, in order to adjust their behavior in the future.
  • Establish a conflict norm for the team. Conflict norming requires laying down rules of engagement, depicting how to team members should engage with one another, and which behaviors are acceptable.
  • The leader that sets the tone by applying the rules, adapting them to the team members and holding them accountable to the rules.
  • The leader has to moderate conflict, especially in meetings, push the quiet ones out of their comfort zone and temper the aggressive ones. Lack of conflict leads to boring meetings, bad decisions, lack of clarity.

Overcoming Dysfunction #3

A lack of commitment is the third dysfunction to be overcome by teams. Commitment lies in fact that the team buys in a decision whether or not they agree with it. To create clarity and alignment, to avoid assumptions:

  • Leaders must extract every unapologetic ideas from their team. Knowing that all aspects of a situation have been studied, that all opinions have been expressed and considered, team members are more likely to commit to the leader’s decision.
  • Leaders must share their principles, missions, values, goals, purpose and their behavioral expectations, generate consistent business policies.

Overcoming Dysfunction #4

All members of the team, including the team leader, must remain accountable for their actions. They must remind each other of their respectful responsibility, of their behaviors, standards, results and performance. Otherwise, they gradually lose respect for each other, lose morale.

Leaders have to be able to receive critical feedback around their behavior and performance in order to give feedback. To encourage a culture of peer-to-peer accountability, Lencioni suggests that teams must openly:

  • identify the most important behavioral characteristics that contributes to the strength of the team and the ones that weakens it of everyone.
  • know everyone’s area of expertise.
  • in meetings, everyone should verbalize their list of priorities and measure their progress.

Overcoming Dysfunction #5

Self-orientated distractions, individualization are also destroyers of teams. To address this last dysfunction, there is no need to have completely overcome the four previous dysfunctions.

Focusing on collective results implies that team members are not self-interested and not only looking out for number one.

Results are what measure team success and keeps people focused on the priorities. Teams must commit early and openly to their expected results, keep a scoreboard and measure the progress at all times.

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In Overcoming The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni shows leaders how to build and optimize their team through practical examples, gradual exercises and valid  assessments such as the Myers Briggs assessment tests.

Overcoming The Five Dysfunctions of a Team is very insightful and dedicated to toxic environments, to self-disciplined, thoughtful leaders. In order for them to be successful, Lencioni recommends that team members become:

  • More vulnerable with each other, without being touchy-feely or emotional, in order to be successful and to understand each other. It is always difficult to share information about yourself in the workplace because there is always room for manipulation and personal attacks. However, if the exercise succeeds the team is fit to understand the decisions made and actions taken.
  • Masterful at conflicts. This requires that team members assess their strengths and weaknesses, be disciplined enough to control their emotions, be active listeners and seek understanding of others.
  • Committed to the task and to the organization. Creating employee alignment and engagement depends on the leader’s vision and mission statement.
  • Accountable for their actions and behaviors.
  • Focused on results.

Each characteristic can be worked on simultaneously. Of course, the leader has to be the facilitator as well and all expected behaviors have to be modeled on the leader.

After analyzing the 5 different dysfunctions that destroys teams, Lencioni answers additional questions that he received from clients, consultants and executives, replies to the objections of some participants, demonstrates the obstacles to avoid, the ways to convince skeptical leaders, engage uncomfortable people.

At last, Lencioni provides us with tools, questionnaires, team building exercises, road maps, steps to take in order to start and maintain the team building process.

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Patrick Lencioni

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Patrick Lencioni

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Patrick Lencioni is a speaker, consultant, founder and president of The Table Group. Patrick Lencioni is also the author of Overcoming The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.

The Importance Of Effectively Managing Conflicts As A Leader

Conflicts happen in all workplaces, are inevitable, generally dramatic, are stereotypically painful, are often the road to failure if you don’t know how to manage them. However, contrary to common belief, they are most of the times milestones to success.

Wondering how to constructively manage or disengage workplace conflicts and how to remain disciplined and self-aware during conflicts as a leader?

The Importance Of Effectively Managing Conflicts As A Leader.png

Conflicts are incompatibilities and interference between two different parties ideas, desires, goals, interests, values and principles, events and activities.

Conflict management or conflict competence is a learnable skill that should be developed by all leaders throughout their career. Conflicts are consequential, frequent and inevitable but are necessary. They occur whether an employee is expressing a dissenting view, resisting change, or whether the leader is correcting an existing problem, fighting complacency and group-thinking.

Leaders that poorly manage conflict are faced with unfortunate lawsuits, grievances, violence, employee absenteeism, employee defection, poor performance, ineffective decisions, deteriorated working relationships, distrust and other negative behaviors, attacks on reputation and careers, a toxic company culture.

As a result, poorly managed conflicts are costly for organizations that have to sometimes hire new employees, take time to train new members, bring in paid third-party to mediate disagreements.

However, the benefits of appropriate conflict management are endless. In order to approach conflict in a productive manner, it is necessary to understand that:

  • differences in points of views generate innovative solutions and breakthroughs,
  • dissenting thinking allow to make higher quality decisions,
  • creativity is stimulated among the team,
  • social relationships are subsequently  improved,
  • transparency and open communication are promoted,
  • the work environment becomes more collaborative, and the company culture healthier,
  • more opportunities surface,
  • and most importantly, people within the organization might need help or mediation during conflict.

Addressing conflicts effectively

In the workplace, conflicts generally stems from differences of control, power and influence between the leader and his or her employees. Conflicts also come from discrepancies in culture, background, monetary.

There are several steps, that you can take to understand and manage conflicts constructively, you must:

  1. First understand yourself. What are your strengths, weaknesses, blindspots? How do you interact with different people with different backgrounds? How do you cause conflicts?
  2. Identify your conflict style. There are five different conflict styles, explaining the manner in which people attempt to meet their needs while showing interest in meeting other people needs during a conflict:
    • The competitive conflict style is aggressive, seeks to win, gain control, disregards other people needs and generally heightens conflicts.
    • The cooperative conflict style is defined by a need to reach a common goal using and consensus, to collaborate and to offer innovate ideas to resolve an issue. This style is representative of a healthy work culture.
    • The compromising conflict style is defined by a unsatisfying willingness to meet the other party half way.
    • The accommodating conflict style is obliging, facilitating, diplomatic, describes a desire to put others need and interests before a sole individualistic need in other to preserve relationships. This style is the complete opposite of the competitive style.
    • The avoidant conflict style is composed of penned up feelings and of a need to sweep negative interactions and situations under the rug. Therefore, needs go unexpressed and the conflict festers.
  1. Identify your trigger. To appropriately assess your trigger, attend conflict management classes, get a mentor or a coach, take the Myers-Briggs Assessment Test or the Conflict Dynamics Profile.
  2. Develop an emergency plan to cool down and desensitize your triggers. Desensitizing your trigger doesn’t mean that a person’s behavior is right or pleasant, it just means understanding the demonstrated behavior and changing your reaction towards it. For example, take a break before responding or jumping to conclusion.
  3. Learn to control your emotional reaction to conflict. Understand, stay conscious of the strong emotions that come with conflicts then cultivate positive emotions to counteract the negative ones.
  4. Discipline your thoughts, perceptions and assumptions of other people. The interpretation of someone’s attitude does not necessarily match reality.
  5. Observe the time frame, the number of times you have to see someone at the office. The less time you spend with coworkers, the less time you will notice their flaws and the less you will harbor negative emotions.
  6. Learn to discern any conflict driven behavior on the scale of conflict intensity. The intensity level measures the level of discomfort during a dispute:
    • At the first level, there is a difference in opinions but there are no discomfort.
    • At the second level, misunderstandings sprout: what is understood by someone is different from what is really meant.
    • At the third level, disagreements occur: each party understands but disagrees with each other’s opinions, feels discomfort which can lead to damage in the relationship.
    • At the fourth level, discord transpires: each party respond to a difference in opinion and there are continual attacks on the relationship.
    • At the last and fifth level, each party is polarized, suffers from the conflict, resort to sabotage, criticism, manipulation, etc…

Furthermore, detecting a conflict early will allow to resolve them faster.

How to resolve conflict and create positive outcomes

There are generally two known responses to conflict: “fight or flight” and “retaliatory cycle”.

On on hand, the fight or flight response is a natural response to threats where one either flee from danger or fight it. The choice between fight or flight depends on how someone has been conditioned.

On the other hand, the retaliatory cycle leads to escalation, leads to destructive behaviors that fuel and trigger negative behaviors in each party. In the retaliatory cycle, someone is first triggered by a behavior, then generates in that person an emotional response to this behavior. This emotional response is perceived by others as a threat to their ideas, opinions that in return generate an emotional response. And so on and so forth, the retaliatory cycle is created.

Leaders have to acquire a model behavior during conflicts in the workplace. Leaders encourage positive outcomes by:

  1. Facing conflicts head on, standing their ground and assuming that conflicts are inevitable, frequent and are just a passing phase.
  2. Staying calm and composed under pressure.
  3. Avoiding jumping to conclusions, shifting blame or pointing fingers and relying only on facts.
  4. Separating the person from the real issue.
  5. Instilling core values and fair treatment among their followers.
  6. Encouraging open communication and allowing the other party to speak their truth.
  7. Demonstrating that they have understood every side of the issue, being empathetic to the conflict partner.
  8. Suggesting solutions to existing problems thanks to external opinions, historical and innovative ideas.
  9. Sincerely apologizing to the other person and being able to admit when they were wrong.

How to recover from conflict?

Conflict competence requires that the leader:

  • value differences,
  • almost immediately detect a conflict before it arises in a tone or in a facial micro-gesture,
  • identify positive and negative models of leadership within the organization,
  • learn from setbacks and hardships that build character,
  • solve other people conflicts and implement a conflict resolution culture.

Dealing with conflict can leave you feeling like you are in a hostile territory but practice makes perfect, and managing conflicts effectively becomes easy with experience.

Also, create a zen space and learn to leave your conflicts at work.

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

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