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According to Robert Bruce Shaw, in Leadership Blindspots: How Successful Leaders Identify and Overcome the Weaknesses That Matter, great leadership emanates from an ability to make great decisions which comes from making bad decisions and learning from them. The sooner in your career that those bad decisions are made, the better.
Of course, you make fewer mistakes as you progress in your career and as you experience the outcomes of the mistakes, but you never stop making them. In addition, mistakes are more costly as you move up the ladder in a company and can potentially derail your career.
In light of this issue, in Leadership Blindspots, Robert Bruce Shaw investigates the existence of leadership blindspot, an “unrecognized weakness or threat that has the potential to undermine a leader’s success” and that becomes evident in the way your team, organizations and markets are perceived.
How to characterize leadership blindspots?
First of all, leadership blindspots are often associated to leadership strengths. They appear whenever the leader is utilizing his or her strengths at work.
Second of all, blindspots don’t disappear, even if you are fully aware of them.
Thirdly, blindspots are situational, adaptive and can be helpful.
And finally, blindspots are able to impact other people and followers.
Advice for understanding and dealing with leadership blindspots?
Furthermore, blindspots come with a price and has to be recognized by the leader in order for him or her to find a balance.
To do so, leaders have to weigh two conflicting needs:
their need for acting with confidence, believing strongly in their vision, and having faith in themselves, their abilities.
their need for assessing their limitations in order to avoid overconfidence or excessive optimism.
The complex balance between self-confidence and self-doubt is unnatural, contradictory but necessary, depends on each individual and each situation.
If there are too many blindspots, the leader can be overly confident and arrogant. If there are too few blindspots, the leader is somewhat realistic about the obstacles to face, is aware of his or her strengths and weaknesses.
Are there different levels of blindness?
There are three levels of blindness that a leader could experience:
Lack of awareness level. This is the “most extreme form of a blindspot”. At this level, leaders are constantly surprised or blindsided by events.
Faulty assessment level. At this level, leaders are in denial: they refuse to acknowledge risks, to analyze known weaknesses, and to understand the causes and consequences of their blindspots.
Failure to act level. At this level, leaders know the risks, threats and weaknesses that lay ahead but fail to act on them for lack of skills and resolve. Those leaders are adept to the rule “when in doubt, do nothing” or rather remain in their comfort zones.
How to identify your leadership blindspots?
In order to identify your blindspots:
Review your past and present mistakes. Mistakes are indicative of blindspots, areas of lack of self-awareness, and areas of faulty patterns of thinking and behavior. It is advised to identify the most significant mistakes, their causes, patterns of behavior and thinking associated to these mistakes and the actions to be taken on the behalf of the leader to prevent those mistakes from reoccurring.
Consider honest and useful feedback from your trusted advisors.
Gain additional insight by taking the blindspot assessment survey.
Then, question the relative importance of your blindspots in your career and its impacts on yourself, the organization to distinguish which blindspot requires your immediate attention.
What are the different types of leadership blindspots?
Blindspots often go hand in hand with the leader’s strengths and reappear unexpectedly when the leader does what he or she does best.
There are few factors that lead to blindspots areas:
“Experience gaps“. The blindspot stems from a lack of experience or from a habit of using past experiences to extrapolate a present situation.
“Information overload” describes an inability to pay attention to everything that is happening when engaged in a complex and challenging task.
“Emotional bias” corresponds to an emotional involvement in a particular situation or outcome that clouds judgement.
“Cognitive dissonance” is a psychology term associated to a state in which leaders hold two conflicting views of their self-image. The “conflict is resolved through rationalizing one’s belief or actions in a manner that sustains one’s positive self-image” which reinforces the blindspot.
“Misaligned incentives” are compensation systems that are “designed to focus attention and effort within an organization, with the result being that people focus more on some areas than on others”.
“Hierarchical distortion”. The information transmitted to hierarchy becomes distorted, false, incomplete because:
high-ranking leaders are sometimes detached from the lower levels of the organization.
subordinates tend to sugarcoat information by deference or by fear of retaliation.
high-ranking leaders pay less attention to less powerful people.
“Overconfidence“. Leaders overestimates their own capabilities, skills and knowledge.
How to overcome blindspots?
According to Robert Bruce Shaw, it is not possible to completely suppress blindspots but it is important to recognize them and find ways to work with them?
To handle blindspot:
Make an assessment of the problem on your own, stay on contact with frontliners, customers, markets and high potential individuals.
Invest in metrics, processes and data that challenge the leader’s beliefs and basic assumptions.
Develop an ability to recognize, prioritize blindspot warning signs.
Consider feedback from trusted advisors.
“Leaders need to test their ideas and discuss emerging threats with a diverse team of individuals who respect each other’s experience and abilities but are also willing to push each other to reach the best outcomes on the truly critical issues”.
In conclusion, leaders are flawed individuals with strengths, weaknesses and blindspots that are to be acknowledged. Blindspots often show up when the leader is using his or her strengths or reverts to their comfort zone, and cannot be completely resolved.
It is up to the leader to stay on the lookout for blindspots, to strike up a balance between self-confidence and self-doubt.
In Leadership Blindspots: How Successful Leaders Identify and Overcome the Weaknesses That Matter, Robert Bruce Shaw analyses leadership behaviors when it comes to blindspots and weaknesses. He illustrates every single one of his thoughts on blindspots with great and renown leadership examples and concludes each example with an analysis and lessons to take away. Furthermore, not only this book contains realistic and applicable examples, each paragraph of this book can be read on standalone.
In addition, Robert Bruce Shaw provides us with a tool —the blindspot assessment survey— for us to identify whether or not we possess blindspots and to what degree we have incubated them. I recommend this book to employees who are failing to lead and to boost their careers.
It has come to my knowledge that because of my belief system, I am an adept of the rule “when in doubt, stand still” which has not bothered my career but has increased my serenity. After taking the blindspot assessment test, I have received a low probability of blindspots as I am self-aware of my strengths and of my weaknesses.
Finally, Leadership Blindspots was intriguing to me because there are so many books about leadership strengths and developing them.
I equally appreciated the fact that he mentioned the need for transparency (better visibility of mistakes thanks to the media) which put leaders are under a lot of pressure, all while trying to overcome their blindspots.
People who are smart and self-assured are often very skillful at justifying their thinking and behavior—to the point of being in denial about their weaknesses and the threats they face. Their intelligence can work against them when they convince themselves, and often others, that they are right even when they are wrong.
Successful individuals who sometimes stumble often do so because they have no one who can protect them from themselves.
The best leaders develop a range of compensating mechanisms that fit their personalities and the company cultures in which they work. In many cases these leaders don’t fundamentally change the way they think, but instead develop warning systems that surface important weaknesses and threats.
Building an ideal team is one of the most complex but also one of the most rewarding and advantageous responsibility of a leader.
The leader has to select the team to ultimately create the best results for the organization, in light of the company’s culture and of the personality, motivation, commitment, values, performance, integrity level of his or her potential team members, with respect to his or her leadership style.
When the team is built, the leader has to look out for red flags that can destroy the synergy of his or her team and easily create a lasting toxic climate.
Wondering how to detect these red flags, avoid toxicity on your team, how to extract the best results from your team members and to become the best team member you can?
A few years ago, I worked on a year-long project, under a boss who used demotions and other measures to punish some of his employees when mistakes occurred. For example, he would quickly and sadistically withdraw work responsibilities from someone he did not favor to give to someone else.
As a result, the team was a unsalvable shipwreck: every man for himself, searching for a flotation device, fighting to get on land. My former boss manipulative behavior created a toxic climate where people were continually in flight or fight mode, were mistrustful towards one another, would turn on each other, retain information and sabotage every other person efforts to succeed, were obliged to seek his “affections” and to continually prove their loyalty to him in order to feel safe in their position, were more focused on office politics than on their work, were always on the lookout of a scapegoat, were afraid of speaking up and being transparent.
The lack of trust, commitment, performance was noticeable on a daily basis. By trust, I mean the ability of the team members to admit their mistakes, acknowledge their strengths and weaknesses, stay open, transparent with one another without any repercussion on themselves or their career.
Explain major decisions from the organization to their team and include them in the flow of relevant information.
Maintain trust overtime and create unanimity.
Consistently tell the truth to their followers, be comfortable with it and practice integrity.
Value openness, empower those who tell the truth and must not reward those who do otherwise.
RED FLAG #2: Fear of conflict
In teams, conflicts do exist, are raw and real, are to be expected, and shouldn’t be avoided. In addition, they occur because we were born into different generations, backgrounds, with different personalities, values and morals.
Furthermore, conflict is always seen in a negative light or as a destructive process. However, conflicts can be healthy and productive too. And even though conflicts are uncomfortable and make you feel under attack, they are necessary for personal and organizational progress, are used to generate the best decisions for the organization and to make team meetings mire engaging. In order to establish a conflict culture, it is imperative that leaders:
Create a structure where it is safe for their team members to express themselves without feeling the need to attack.
Hold their team accountable to the conflict system established.
Focus the conflict on the issue at hand to avoid personal attacks.
Assess each team member conflict capabilities/profiles with MBTI to develop the appropriate approach.
Ask their team members directly how they deal with conflicts.
Define conflict resolution, ease anxious team members in the face of conflict and find courage to speak truth to power.
RED FLAG #3: Lack of Commitment
Commitment is the willingness to achieve common goals as a team, the ability of team members to align themselves with the organization purpose, values and strategies even in disagreement with the decision taken.
To enhance team commitment, leaders must:
Embrace conflicts, divergent opinions, ideas and perspectives.
Among conflicting ideas, make wise decisions and be unafraid to displease some team members.
Before making a decision, understand and consider all ideas.
Clarify their decisions with the team and write down them down to avoid ulterior assumptions and ambiguities.
RED FLAG #4: Lack of accountability
Team members must keep each other accountable for their behavior, their mistakes and lack of performance. If no one is held accountable, team members gradually lose respect for each other and moral decreases. Leaders must:
Lead by example, call out mishaps, low results and misconduct.
Make every team member aware of each other contributions and functions on the team.
Track everyone’s progress and accurately measure performance.
Measure team success using objective and liable means.
Measure progress with timelines.
Focus on areas of productivity.
Make sure that the collective interest in results exceeds the individual needs of the team.
How to be an effective team member?
Develop your communication skills.
Make sure that you are understood and are open to clarifying misunderstandings.
Monitor your non verbal communication. Keep your body language positive and opened.
Look at the person you’re exchanging with.
If a problem occurs between you and someone else, fix it before the problem festers by talking to that person as soon as possible. This shows that you are willing to work through issues, that you are a problem solver instead of being inappropriate and ineffective.
Give sincere and appropriate positive feedback to your team members.
Develop your listening skills.
To demonstrate your interest in learning new skills, to better understand the other person, you have to:
be willing to listen more that you speak and voice your opinion in due time.
Implement the conversation with probing question.
Request other people opinion before giving yours.
Avoid planning your responses during the conversation.
Encourage the conversation with nods, smiles and eye contact.
Manage your tasks and time.
Put your understanding of the team task into writing in order to clarify immediate issues and to have a reference for time and deadlines measurement.
Own up to your actions.
Failing to follow through on your team assignments is synonym to letting your team down. To stay accountable for your part:
Keep your promises.
Offer to help coworkers in time of need.
Avoid procrastination and do not hesitate yo ask for help.
Avoid blaming others for your mistakes take the blame if you have done something wrong.
Find solutions to issues instead if creating them.
Learn from each and very situations and move on group them.
Avoid repeating past mistakes.
Work on interrelationship skills.
Last Words Of Advice!
In the team, you have to cooperate with your coworkers and work well with your supervisor. To do so:
We all have a dream of outperforming ourselves at work and staying consistent and moving up in our career.
However, we have difficulties bringing our wishes and expectations to life.
Furthermore, in the fast and highly competitive corporate world, some of our attitudes, assumptions, values, flaws often render us completely ineffective, come in the way of us being the best version of ourselves, from learning new skills, from developing our talents.
The reality is that, despite our best intentions, we are often our worst enemies, are unable to improve our career, to achieve our definition of success, to satisfy our higher purpose.
We thereby harbor dissatisfaction, self-defeating thoughts and resort to self-sabotaging actions.
Wondering how to become a better performer, a better contributor, a better leader in the workplace and control the self-sabotaging tendencies?
Most of the time, self-sabotage takes roots from collaborators sometimes abusing substance, striving too hard for materialistic success.
Self-sabotage also stems from an inability to control extreme negative thoughts and emotions such as anger, guilt or resentment, and an inability to control other people. Indeed, in the workplace, low performing employees and leaders tend to either:
complain too much about circumstances,
not take action or initiative,
doubt their capabilities,
be addicted to praise,
struggle to live up to other people expectations. Not pursuing your true purpose and implementing somebody else dream cause you to subconsciously rebel against your current situation.
be unable to follow rules or respect authority figure,
be unable to handle the pressures of responsibility;
misinterpret the image they have of themselves
be busy or lack time management skills,
lack conflict resolution skills,
fear the unknown,
fear criticism, looking ridiculous or being embarrassed,
fear change or fear success,
feel rejected or reject their own being,
fear failure. Failures are usually blessings in disguise.
How to improve these bad habits and become an effective member of the workforce?
Becoming a better performer and contributor in the workplace doesn’t end at solely executing your duties and providing acceptable results, it also means working on your character and core values. To enable effective performance in the workplace, it is necessary to:
upgrade your moral compass and create new ethical standards,
accept our unique distinctions,
evaluate your role and contributions at work,
assist, be assisted by coworkers or team members with a complementing set of skills.
Understand your interests and abilities. This way you are able to develop your core capabilities, to choose the work that stimulates you the most, the workplace in which you best fit in and the team that complements you the best.
Keep learning, grow your knowledge and your emotional intelligence that you may increase satisfaction at work, to envision greater possibilities, to overcome obstacles and to be successful in every area of your life by:
doing something new, something different, challenging your thoughts and your routine,
nurturing your natural curiosity about the world, about what you don’t know,
breaking routine and mindless actions to stimulate your imagination,
tackling your fears and negative emotions head and listing the consequences of your actions.
Adjust your self-image to reality by writing down:
the qualities you have about yourself and the ones you want to acquire,
your trigger points. Don’t let identifying your trigger points to get discouraged and give up on yourself. Noticing your self-sabotaging habits is actually beneficial to you: you are probably not in the walk of life that you wish or supposed to be in.
Act responsibility, be proactive, take initiative. Take on more responsibility and assignments, perform them with enthusiasm and motivation in order to become confident in your abilities, autonomous, dependable, emotionally mature and trustworthy. Indeed, the more you take on responsibility, the more you learn about yourself, the more you understand the consequences of your actions, the faster you admit your mistakes as soon as you notice them, the better you remain accountable especially when things go wrong, the more you grow, the more you gain competencies, the more you are willing to take initiative and even risks.
Discipline yourself by inspecting and readjusting your thoughts, actions and behaviors to set standards, and dominating your immediate desires and impulses.
Stay true to yourself. Avoid comparing yourself to others and competing with others.
Allow yourself to think. In silence, without looking for distractions, confront yourself, make peace with yourself, strengthen your decision-making skills, observe bad habits, and therefore learn more about yourself, find your true purpose, learn to trust your intuition and inner feelings. Meditation, quiet contemplation, introspection are the key to staying alert, to increase your performance at work, to develop and recognize good ideas, to stay engaged and more conscious of your life.
Define clear goals and seek better methods to become more productive, more competent in the workplace.
Vary your experiences and get out your comfort zone.
Take care of your physical health. Exercise regularly.
Make a good impression, from day one, without overdoing it and running a political campaign, by dressing appropriately and being punctual.
Respect and treat people the way you would like to be respected and treated. Uplift people instead of bringing them down or being considered as a toxic coworker in the workplace. Develop relationships and properly manage people emotions, don’t impose your emotions on others, don’t create enemies where you can have a supportive friend. As a result, you can become a good contributor and a valuable team member.
Expect to make mistakes, to learn from them and keep it moving.
Avoid naysayers and haters like the plague. Change your circle of friends if they are the ones bringing you down.
Service others. Servicing others doesn’t mean to submit to everyone and to every order. It means doing your best to get along with one another.
Last words of advice!
If you happen to abuse substance or are in emotional distress in the workplace, don’t be ashamed, you are not alone. Please talk about it to your closest family and friends, or find the nearest Workplace Help Center.
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.
As a leader and as someone always searching for innovative ideas, I have to say that I have been struggling with staying focused on one topic at a time, controlling my train of thoughts and filtering negative emotions.
Although I come from a very disciplined home, my mind is sometimes undisciplined: tens of thousands of ideas flash through my mind in a second, which makes it difficult for my team to follow me.
By taking time out in the day solely for the thinking process, I have allowed myself to successfully manage my thoughts and become a self-disciplined leader.
Wondering how to acquire self-discipline or how self-discipline can successfully grow your career?
What is self-discipline?
Firstly, self-discipline is one of the most important component of leadership. Self-discipline develops in you set ways for your thoughts, actions and habits. Self-discipline means doing what needs to be done when you don’t feel like doing it.
In addition, it means that you accept your responsibilities and accomplish your goals because they are the best profitable option but not because you want to.
Self-discipline implies self-management or self-control, self-motivation, self-reliance, self-confidence and self-awareness and eventually, remains the basis for trust.
Secondly, self-discipline is an acquired skill, has several degrees to it and is not achieved overnight. It has to be practiced to become easier, to create routine and structure.
Lastly, early responsibilities in life, small tasks and assignments, given by parents or managers, allow people to gain discipline from a young age and shape their character.
Characteristics of self-disciplined leaders
Self-disciplined leaders are successful and ultimately become better at what they do. They are active, self-controlled, organized, are able to censor themselves and to build great relationships.
Leaders use self-discipline to sharpen their willpower and decisions making skills, to command respect from others and to lead by example, to achieve their goals regardless of their feelings, to gain profit and to look beyond hard work, to stick to their decisions, to evaluate themselves and place boundaries, to compartmentalize their emotions.
Furthermore, self-disciplined leaders have no fear of the future, are respected and dependable.
Self-disciplined leaders practice thoughts management, emotional intelligence, time management, character building, self-awareness and team building until they turn those soft skills into habits.
HABIT #1: MIND MANAGEMENT
Your thoughts, negative or positive, become your reality whether you want it or not. Self-disciplined leaders have peace of mind, no matter the situation.
For self-disciplined leaders, controlling your emotions is barely about becoming stoic, but about acknowledging your emotions, understanding them and keeping them in check before acting on them.
In order to control your thoughts:
Nurture your mind with the right stimuli, with empowering thoughts and success stories. Remove distractions from your workspace. Block social media sites during working hours.
Train your brain to handle different situations, and to prepare for both positive and negative outcomes.
Meditate or turn to religion. Meditation brings a sense of contentment and allows you to accept and deal with your thoughts. In religion, controlling your thoughts is more about admitting God’s control over us and relinquishing our problems and emotions to Him. Which is why you need to keep your eyes on God and your focus on your purpose.
Forgive yourself for past mistakes, let go of grudges and regrets, and keep moving forward.
HABIT #2: EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
Self disciplined leaders don’t allow their choices and decisions to be dictated by their impulses or feelings. Instead, they:
enhance their logical and emotional skills to be able to make sound decisions,
control their facial expressions,
resist and reject negative feelings,
handle stressful situations, conflicts and toxic individuals in a healthy manner,
adopt positive attitudes and behaviors.
To discipline your emotions:
Control your thoughts and don’t leave them on autopilot. Pay close attention to your habits, especially in negative situations. Identify which behaviors you consider undisciplined and those that reflect your values ans goals.
Change your self talk.
Meditate on a daily basis, a least 10 minutes a day, to quiet the mind, gain serenity and suppress regrets.
Cultivate gratitude. This will help you transform negative circumstances into positives.
Change your sources of data that you intake and abstain from vain entertainment.
Change or increase your social circle to individuals who possess the qualities and skills that you wish to acquire.
Manage your health by taking care of the essentials. Your mind and body are interconnected and the health of the one impacts the other.
Sleep healthy hours and develop a steady night routine. Set an alarm at the same time everyday, put your phone in an unreachable area, don’t hit the snooze button.
Acquire a healthy diet.
Exercise regularly instead of procrastinating and drown your negative thoughts with dopamine.
HABIT #3: SELF-AWARENESS
Self-discipline allows leader to monitor their behavior in various situations and to assess their strengths and weaknesses, to find their purpose.
Without being aware of your strengths, you are unable to lead effectively. Trying to emulate another leader’s style, strengths destroys your natural talent, your uniqueness, your personality and your therefore your chances for success.
Furthermore, most leaders are blind to their own strengths and weaknesses. Some lead thinking that they possess a particular set of strengths and others lead blind to their own weaknesses.
Get to know yourself at a deeper level, increase your confidence, become more self-aware and quiet your ego:
Renew your thought pattern, invest in your personal growth and don’t allow setbacks to mentally set you back.
Reverting back to the memories of your childhood and recalling what you did well and with pleasure.
Look for a common thread in the things that immediately and sustainably attract your attention throughout your life experiences.
Read books and gain knowledge.
Hire a professional to help identify your strengths and how to employ them.
Surround yourself with supporting people. Stay away from yes men, undermining people or groups.
Seek the truth about yourself and be unafraid of failure or the said truth.
HABIT #4: TIME MANAGEMENT
Successful individuals manage their time effectively to ensure that they accomplish their goals, allocate and maximize their time.
In the workplace, missing deadlines irritates and disrupts everyone on the team and makes you appear non accountable. So, to manage your time effectively:
Define an achievable specific goal and apply timelines to it to create overviews of the milestones you wish to achieve. If you don’t have deadlines, create some for yourself.
Make time to achieve your personal goals, follow-up on schedule and meet deadlines. Do not procrastinate, find excuses to postpone your work or allow anyone to distract you and squander your time. Instead, stay busy and focused, and put in the hours required to accomplish your goals.
Prioritize your personal goals and accomplish the most important ones before hand.
Implement a routine and stay focused on the prize.
Make time to be proactive. With an increase in leadership responsibilities, people start pulling the leader in different directions, and the leader ends up doing more of what people desire than what is necessary to be done. Carve out an hour in the day or choose a day in the week to isolate or insulate yourself and execute your tasks that matter.
Make time for yourself. Carve out another hour in your day to recharge your batteries to be more productive and efficient as a leader for your team. You may have to arrive earlier to work.
Respect other people time.
HABIT #5: CHARACTER BUILDING
Not all hardworking and talented beings are disciplined. Therefore, not all hardworking and talented beings are successful.
On one hand, self-discipline helps in creating routine and structure, holding yourself and others to a high standard ( integrity and respect), remaining accountable for your actions on your job, executing your job in detail and delivering on time. Self-discipline also increases maturity and builds stamina and resistance to walk down the leader’s path. That means that you can take a licking and keep on ticking.
On the other hand, self-discipline makes you resilient. You are empowered to stick to your decision, are able to get up when you are knocked down and to keep going when you hear “no”. Building character is a gradual process:
Be consistent with your values (integrity)
Tenacity is also key. Don’t be discouraged or perturbed by obstacles, by failures, by the illusion that your goals are unreachable. Instead, resist the urges of giving in or giving up.
Read, listen, watch motivational elements. For faithful people, turning to your belief system is a great way to stay on track.
Draw lessons from your mistakes.
Monitor what you say. If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything.
HABIT #6: RELATIONSHIP & TEAM BUILDING
Being disciplined allows leaders to command respect from others, to work well with their team members, to handle interactions with employees or customers judiciously.
In order to minimize supervisors intervention:
Define your responsibilities or tasks, avoid stepping on anybody’s toes, delegate tasks appropriately,
Play by the rules, treat your team members as adults and with respect,
Look out for the best interests of the company and your team members,
Coach your team, promote self-discipline amongst them, encourage innovative ideas without even if they fail,
Share your performance expectations with your employees and help them direct their focus towards achieving their goals
Address unacceptable behaviors immediately without punishing or humiliating the perpetrators,
Model yourself as the best leader, avoid taking your job for granting or taking credit for team success or outstanding performance, and stay humble and .
HABIT #7: EXECUTION, MOTIVATION & STRUCTURE
Self-discipline brings predictability, consistency and order to the leader. Self-discipline captures the meaning of the word expectancy and provides the leader with latitude for risk assessment and management. To create structure and improve task execution:
If you are somehow already disciplined in executing task, share your timeline and your attention to detail with others and help them pick up the slack without micro managing.
Clearly, your order brings a sense of control to the team. However, don’t impose your discipline to anyone else.
Focus on starting tasks rather than completing them.
Follow through on your ideas and finish what you have started. Also, track your progress: record the starting time and the end time of your tasks.
Execute your plan in silence, and respect yourself enough to put your money where your mouth is and to come through on your promises.
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.
We all have been exposed during a period of time to annoying, hateful, toxic coworkers that can drive us crazy.
Sometimes, bringing us to ask ourselves whether they’re the problem or we are.
Wondering how to spot these toxic coworkers from afar and how to handle them?
Every workplace has difficult employees and we all have been, to some extent, in different situations with hateful coworkers. I do believe that we all, partially or fully, demonstrate some level of toxicity towards a third party in the workplace.
Below, are the 15 worst toxic coworkers that I have already met and have had to deal with.
Case Study #1: The Delicate
The Delicate is a sensitive person with vain imagination that constantly and easily feels under attack, and that takes things deeply and personally. The Delicate thinks that people are looking, gossiping and criticizing him or her!
Keep the conversation on superficial topics and crack jokes about him or her.
Avoid using sarcasm, making dry remarks, directly confronting this person. Instead, try to sugarcoat things and to give indirect constructive criticism.
Case Study #2: The Slacker
The Slacker is mostly concerned about personal life and regulating it during working hours.
The Slacker does not take his or her work seriously, spends his or her working life over the internet, cannot make a deadline to save his or her life, is not punctual even absent, unapologetically displays a lack of motivation.
The Slacker is visibly unfulfilled in his or her current position but won’t do anything about it.
Impose a deadline or better yet let him or her publicly impose a deadline.
Pick up the slack with the rest of the team and keep quiet.
This individual will sink himself or herself. Otherwise, this individual will eventually have to get up and swim, explain their behavior, their performance and their results to upper management.
Case Study #3: The Rocket Scientist
The Rocket Scientist is the individual on the team that is full of knowledge but who is in search for recognition for his superior intellect and who demands an immense respect for his expertise.
The Rocket Scientist will feel insulted and will almost become passive aggressive if his or her ideas and point of view are being questioned.
Avoid comparing his expertise to anyone on the team.
Avoid diminishing his knowledge and ideas in front of the team or behind closed doors.
Avoid criticizing his work and intellect.
Instead, tap into his range of knowledge by placing him or her in the role of a counselor but not a decision maker.
Case Study #4: The Gossiper
The Gossiper is an individual that enjoys gossip, that emphasizes and embellishes a rumor.
The Gossiper is nosy and loves to keep the rumor mill spinning. This person is even capable of destroying someone’s reputation in the office.
Listen to the rumor without adding any input. The information may not be malicious but indicative of office politics or of a situation that you can take advantage of.
However, learn to separate useful information from the gossip.
If this person only brings negative void information, crafted gossip, signal your disinterest by not responding or responding with monosyllables or challenging the facts in the story line, discreetly remove yourself from the circle, avoid participating in the rumor mill.
Be careful not to offense this person, for they would drag your name in the mud. If this person is actually gossiping about you, avoid any interaction and adding fuel to fire by striking back with gossip before damaging your reputation.
Confront this person in a non threatening and diplomatic way, in a private setting by stating that you are aware of the gossip and everyone is saying that she is a liar and the bearer of the negative information but you know that is not true.
Case Study #5: The Bulldozer
The Bulldozer is an individual that believes wrongly in his intelligence. The Bulldozer doesn’t hesitate to make everybody’s life miserable if things don’t go his way.
The Bulldozer threatens, bullies, intimidates, steps on toes and remains on the verge of harassment in order to get things his way. “It’s my way or the high way!”.
The Bulldozer imposes his way of doing things even if it is not the best way of doing them.
They make the worst managers ever but are the most common managers found in corporate.
Cultivate your emotional intelligence in order not to respond to negativity with negativity.
listen to this person point of view from beginning to end without uttering a word, then summarize their position and calmly expose yours.
Case Study #6: The Work-To-Rule
The Work-To-Rule discards any part of responsibility in a situation, does not understand tram work and does exactly what is stated in their contracts and no more.
In fact, the Work-To-Rule insists on not taking on more responsibilities than his or her job description.
Stress the importance of team work and the value of this individual contribution at work.
Case Study #7: The Overly Friendly
The Overly Friendly is an individual that thinks that his coworkers are his extended family and that doesn’t mind sharing extra personal details of his or her life. These details will make you uncomfortable.
Explain that you don’t want to hear the gruesome details of his or her life.
If his or her behavior are too intimate, it can be considered as harassment and can be reported to human resources.
Case Study #8: The Naysayer
The Naysayer is an individual that irritatingly pinpoints everything negative in a situation and predicts problems before they happen, without proposing an alternative and constructive solution to the situation at hand.
Position that person in roles that require to see problems before they occur.
No need to argue and show the positive side of an idea.
To inhibit this behavior, request an explanation why the situation would not work and a thought-through plan for the solution
Case Study #9: The Blameshifter
The Blameshifter is an individual that points the finger at everyone else but themselves and that comes up with very creative excuses to completely remove the blame from themselves.
It is a form of narcissism: the Blameshifter is afraid of confronting themselves.
Come prepared with evidence.
If the blame is pointed at you and you know that it is not your fault, give proof of your innocence without accusing this individual.
If this individual comes to you with an object of complaint on someone else, in order to avoid being put in the middle, claim that this is none of your business and suggest that they have a conversation with the alleged culprit.
Case Study #10: The Neophobe
The Neophobe is an individual that doesn’t deal well with change. The Neophobe is capable of refusing it, sabotaging it or even halting it.
Demonstrate to him or her that change isn’t traumatic and can be positive.
Provide proof and facts that the change eminent is positive.
Help that person embrace change.
Case Study #11: The Chatterbox
The Chatterbox is an individual that drops by your workspace and starts chatting without solicitation about anything and everything.
This individual does not necessarily partake in gossip, but volunteers to share their point of view.
This individual tends to makes you unproductive and inefficient.
Avoid using words of exclamation or affirmation to not encourage this person to keep on talking.
Avoid making eye contact when this person is passing through.
Politely and respectfully explain that you are on schedule.
Case Study #12: The Martyr
The Martyr is a dedicated employee, willing to “die” for their company without being asked to do so, and that searches for recognition and validation.
For example, the Martyr does extra hours at work and manipulate the boss when someone else get a promotion.
Show appreciation for this employee and value their work within the company.
Case Study #13: The Stealer
The Stealer constantly steals coworkers ideas, takes credit for them and denies it when confronted.
Hold back on your ideas and opinions when having a conversation with this individual. Listen more than you speak.
Avoid confronting this fool but bite your tongue instead because he or she might not know how to implement your ideas.
Don’t report it to upper management before appearing to be salty.
Case Study #14: The Snake
The Snake is an overly ambitious — almost sociopathic — coworker that smiles to your face and that stabs you and everyone else in the back. The Snake will claim that your ideas are wonderful but will degrade them when you are not looking.
Keep your personal information, brilliant ideas to yourself.
Listen more than you speak.
Stay socially engaged and involved in office politics.
Case Study #15: The Ultra Competitive
The Ultra Competitive is an individual that is prepared to step over your dead body to succeed or to get recognition in the workplace.
Focus on your work or get involve in a project where the Ultra Competitive person is not involved in.
Stay socially engaged with your other coworkers and keep networking.
Consider the company culture, compare them to your values and figure out whether or not you fit in.
How do I deal with other difficult personalities?
Last Words Of Advice!
Most coworkers use extreme tactics to get advancements in the workplace and would do anything to trigger you, to demean you or sabotage your own progress.
Some take job positions where they do not belong and that they cannot handle.
Others are misusing their strengths and transforming them into flaws that are not accepted in the environment they choose to work in. Others are even responding to an already toxic workplace.
Lastly some coworkers are oblivious to their visible flaws and practice them outside of work.
In order to deal with other toxic coworkers:
cultivate emotional intelligence,
listen more than you speak,
look for the positive or the humour in negative circumstances.
No matter the reasons, you have to learn how to insulate yourself emotionally and spot a hateful coworker from a distance.
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.
Getting a promotion is a long and complex process that can trigger your innermost insecurities. Therefore, it requires a lot of internal and external work.
Furthermore, getting promoted involves being willing to take risks, changing your bad habits, increasing self-awareness, improving your behavior, being able to compete for a position, being committed to a goal and to an organization.
Wondering how to take control of your career, get a pay raise, get promoted, or move on to a new successful career?
To be promoted, you have to make yourself valuable and bring success to your organization. Promotion comes from a need to:
Take on new responsibilities.
Gain more influence, more authority, more respect and more credibility.
Get a pay raise.
Learn new skills.
Have greater impact on your organization.
Acquire a higher sense of achievement, of job satisfaction.
You must pursue a promotion for the right reasons.
Indeed, if you decide to go after a proportion for the money, for a feeling of superiority, for an ego boost, for revenge purposes, you will not last long in the position.
Be mindful of the impact of your promotion. Measure the changes that the promotion will brig and if you will be able to handle them, if your time and health will be jeopardized, if your priorities will be rearranged, your relationships repurposed, your commitments denied, if there will be more power plays and more politics. Establishing the pros and cons of the promotions will clarify the reasons why you are pursuing a promotion.
Identify your ideal position, ideal boss, career path and compare it to the promotion.
Do your homework on the promotion, identify the required standards of your promotion then demonstrate that you meet the requirements for the new position.
How to get promoted?
To get promoted, you must get noticed for the right reasons. It is necessary to build your brand from day one. As soon as you leave your house, you have to be mindful of your behavior, your appearance, your words and your brand.
To maximize your potential, to build your brand and to finally get that promotion:
Stay prepared for success.Stay focused and competent at your job, meet your goals and deadlines, remember that experience will build up your credibility.
Present yourself in the best light possible. Mind your image and your grooming. Your style says a lot about you and is your first representative.
Decide what yo want to be known for and guard your reputation with your life.Remain professional at all times when at work, stay away from drama, don’t gossip and mind what you say to others.
Understand that you must establish your identity and your self-worth outside of your career and your job description.
Lead by example and establish a code of conduct for yourself.
Learn to be patient and to slowly reap what you sow.
Find out what matters most to you, keep commitments to yourself and to others, create a vision board, repeat positive affirmations if you have to, set goals and review them daily.
Temper your desire to speak out, to speak first and to speak the loudest. Keep your message brief all the time. Avoid talking just to fill the silence and avoid small talk if you are incapable of handling it.
Speak clearly, control your voice tone, pitch, pace, diction and intonations. Also, be careful of the words that are coming out of your mouth. Stay positive in your delivery and never use the word “no”.
Listen not with the intent to reply but the desire to understand, with the desire to read between the lines, to take real interest in what people are saying and to be empathetic.
Pay attention to the unspoken language, gestures.Remember that talk is cheap, that actions speak louder than words. On your side, make sure that you keep eye contact during conversation.
Learn torely on your gut, on your instincts, on your common sense.
Be confident in your abilities, know your strengths and weaknesses, be open to learn. Confidence will help you develop your presence and command respect. Besides, don’t allow your strengths that have gotten you noticed so far be the reasons of your demise, of your career derailment.
Keep your integrity throughout the process.Don’t do things that you don’t want to do or you don’t think are right to do.
Be a problem solver, taking into account the company culture and requirements. To every problem you bring to the forefront, find a solution to it. Anticipate issues, gain perspective, be responsive, adapt to different circumstances and learn to solve them before they show up. This will make you more reliable, more empathetic, will leave you two steps ahead. This will also get higher-ups to trust and respect you.
Be flexible and organized.
Show initiative and keep your motivation.
Show that you can effectively manage conflicts and face challenge. Furthermore, learn to control your emotions to control your behavior, keep your composure in difficult times, stay optimistic and see pressure points as opportunities.
Keep the communication line open with your boss, inform him or her of your latest achievements and seek feedback. During performance reviews, mention your career goals, directly ask for a promotion or for more responsibilities for example.
Take risks and don’t be afraid of failure.If you fail, turn a negative into a positive, learn from your mistakes, avoid dwelling on your past, avoid beating yourself up or blowing events out of proportion.
Be accountable, correct past mistakes and avoid shifting blame.
Understand the company culture, learn to deal with office politics.
Be loyal to your employer, have the best interest of your organization at heart and demonstrate your intentions.
Take every opportunity to network and to build a list of contacts who can help you. To do so, master your people skills, discover how to sell yourself, treat every encounter like gold, do more favors than you ask for. Talk about your own achievements, your interests and motivations without overbearing your audience. However, don’t toot your own horn, don’t be desperate to make contact, don’t nag people, don’t focus too much on yourself or else you will damage your relationships.
Enter a mentorship program or find a mentor in your organization who can give you some advice and take your career to the next level.
Volunteer for additional and interesting work outside of your position, for a position that you wish you had inside your organization.
In How Women Rise: Break the 12 Habits Holding You Back from Your Next Raise, Promotion, or Job, Sally Helgesen & Marshall Goldsmith have noticed that in the workplace, high achievers — men and women — often demonstrate problematic habits that undermine their career, that have propelled them in the past and that won’t allow them to move further up.
Women, contrary to men, display different self-limiting behavior, face particular challenges, even if they want to advance their career and even if they have assets to contribute to the workplace.
Most often, women feel stuck in their jobs. Feeling stuck comes from feeling like you are unable to move forward, like some force is willfully holding you back, like you are not allowed to use your strengths or you are underappreciated. The feeling of being stuck will shape their behavior and will subsequently determine how others will respond to them.
There are also various external barriers that hold women back from success: most workplace structure has been designed by men for men. Stereotypes influence women ability to move up the ladder: they are their perceived as too aggressive, too passive, too talkative, too quite, too emotional, too mean, they smile too much or frown too much… Needless to say, women are not at all responsible for these barriers or being held back.
People tend to cling to habits that have made them successful but that are no longer serving them. These habits have been reinforced by external factors and by people who want to celebrate your success, by the fact that most people are blind to their own weaknesses.
Furthermore, organizations are quick to claim that they thrive on change, but make it hard for their employees to change within them because:
Organizations assign roles and tasks on past behaviors and keeping them there. This makes it difficult for employees to practice new behaviors.
Organizations celebrate and reward a successful action and ignore a warning or a successful lack of action. Someone would be celebrated for signing a good deal and avoid a bad one. The latter are viewed as naysayers.
Habits are not intrinsic to your character but are your comfort zone, your default setting created by your surroundings. Changing is hard, time-consuming and may require external help.
People will then hold one to old behaviors rather than changing them. That resistance is built naturally by rationalizing a behavior, by your brain after repeated behavior and familiar situations.
Because stopping a habit is more effective than starting one, Helgesen & Goldsmith have put together 12 habits to stop practicing in order to be successful as a woman. To open new doors, be purposeful and intentional about choices and change behavior, it is first detrimental for women to identify how them define success.
According to Helgesen and Goldsmith, while caring about rewards and status, most women value satisfaction, quality of life and the impact of their contribution over a high salary or a high position. Women don’t define success as winning or as keeping score, don’t enjoy competition and rather collaboration. Hence, women find it easier to transition to leadership positions because they can place emphasis on others instead of themselves.
Your old habits have previously served but are currently hindering you. It’s not too late to change and acquire better habits. To get rid of them:
Identify the habits you need to work on.
Recognize your behavior as a habit, try different behaviors and observe the responses.
Repeat behaviors until your brain is comfortable with the new behavior.
Don’t be too hard on yourself.
Recognize your strengths as well, avoid judging people.
Address habits one at a time.
HABIT #1: Reluctance to claim your achievements
Women work harder than men but avoid taking credit for their successes, avoid using the pronoun “I” because they believe that:
Their work will automatically speak for itself.
This behavior is obnoxious and disruptive.
The group to which they belong to expect them to be modest, unobtrusive and coy.
To get over the reluctance to claim your achievements:
Learn how to promote yourself.
Believe that you are detrimental to your own success.
Enlist the help of people to speak on your behalf and don’t contradict what people have to positively say about you.
HABIT #2:Expecting others to spontaneously notice and reward your contributions
When others don’t notice the work that they do, women start to feel unacknowledged or underappreciated for the hard work that they put in. They start to feel like the don’t belong and will look for another place to work.
To get over expecting others to spontaneously notice and reward your contributions:
Set goals for your career and share your vision at every opportunity.
Prepare an elevator speech and be ready to deliver it at any moment. This will demonstrate your ambition, clarify your future, get you noticed, show that you are confident and serious, will be an opportunity to highlight your skills, will help you identify the self-serving opportunities. Your elevator speech should be clear, concise, identical to a personal vision or mission statement.
HABIT #3: Overvaluing expertise
Becoming an expert in a field gets women noticed, is a defense mechanisms, a way of asserting their value.
However, mastering a role will only keep you in the same role. Becoming an expert is time-consuming, will make you knowledgeable but will not make you a leader.
To get over the habit of overvaluing expertise:
Build relationships, increase influence and do the job well enough.
Don’t be sloppy.
HABIT #4:Just building rather than building and leveraging relationships
To women, building relationships is emotionally and personally rewarding. Indeed, women have good relationships skills but don’t leverage them to get ahead in the workplace because they don’t want:
Their connections to feel used.
Their relationships to be based on self-interests.
To play the political game.
To get over the habit of just building rather than building and leveraging relationships:
Ask people to connect you to higher-ups.
Use a win-win or quid pro quo system.
Become more intentional about your relationships.
Remember that people can benefit from you and vice versa.
HABIT #5:Failing to enlist allies from day one
From the first day on the job, most women tend to try to keep their heads down, to understand every aspect of their job, to avoid asking questions, to value expertise, to be undergoing the impostor syndrome. As seem before, expertise is just your way of making yourself credible.
Instead find out with who you should connect with to get better visibility, more influence.
To get over failing to enlist allies from day one:
Reach out to others first and engage as many people as possible.
Find mentors and sponsors.
Keep in mind that allies are not friends.
Talk positively about your allies.
Identify the people who can propel you to the next level or that you would enjoy working with.
HABIT #6: Putting your job before your career
Most women trying to do their jobs perfectly because they are loyal, get stuck in the same job for years.
To get over putting your job before your career:
Let people know that you are ready for a challenge.
Analyze how your current position can serve your long-term interest.
Admit self-interest and identify what you value and how you can maximize your strengths.
Appreciate you current position.
HABIT #7: The perfection trap
Women tend to be perfect due to social expectations. Doing your job perfectly doesn’t guarantee success. Instead, it creates stress, keep you distracted and annoyed and sets you up for disappointment, it makes you hard on yourself, destroyed by failure, paralyzed by mistakes, sets too high standards for your team.
Women find themselves eager to please, to be nice, to make everybody happy, are afraid of disappointing and of being a burden. This behavior is time-consuming, kills careers, deters from taking a stance and from following a higher purpose.
To get over the disease to please:
Identify your priorities.
Learn to delegate.
Select your commitments with care.
Stand your ground.
Women tend to make themselves smaller, which is translated in the body language and the words they use. This behavior sends the message that they are diminished, subservient, non deserving, uncertain and underachieving.
To get over the habit of minimizing yourself:
Talk about your accomplishments, talk about individual and collective wins if that makes you feel fairer.
Choose your voice and words carefully.
Stay in the moment.
Avoid multitasking and spreading yourself too thin.
HABIT #10: Too much
In the workplace, women have to temper and constantly monitor their emotional response to situations. Being perceived as too intense, too emotional, too strong, too vulnerable, too much can be an obstacle to promotion.
Monitoring your behavior, your emotions is draining and makes you come out as inauthentic. To get over the display of too much emotions:
Women are more likely to ruminate, to cling on to the past. They turn their hurt inwards, relive their failure and blame themselves.
Ruminating is counterproductive, are depressing, won’t help you succeed or solve future problems.
To get over the habit of ruminating:
women need to find ways to distract themselves and interrupt their thought.
learn from the facts and move on.
HABIT #12:Letting your radar distract you
Women notice a lot of details and process them differently than men. They are aware of everybody’s reaction, are distracted by details and are unable to stay ion the moment.
To get over the habit of getting distracted by their radar, discipline your thoughts and refrain from negativity.
How Women Rise: Break the 12 Habits Holding You Back from Your Next Raise, Promotion, or Job by Sally Helgesen & Marshall Goldsmith is relatable, proactive and insightful. It is written for women with the best intention and with the desire to help women stop self-sacrificing and stop self-sabotaging. It is not necessarily targeted towards women of color even though it mentions the challenges that women of color face in the workplace.
Above all, it teaches us introspection and demonstrates how to control what we can, how to change bad habits, how to improve our quality of life and to reach our full potential.
In addition, How Women Rise: Break the 12 Habits Holding You Back from Your Next Raise, Promotion, or Job by Helgesen & Goldsmith pushes us to seek the positive in every interaction, in every feedback and to not take remarks personally even if they are based on stereotypes. It’s all about changing a behavior that stands in your way.
For the most part, I agree that women share habits that keep us from advancing in the workplace. There are several points that were accurate and that resonated with me: I have a nagging tendency to ruminate on negative experiences (Habit #11). Because I pay too much attention to detail (Habit #12), the rumination process is that much amplified.
However, I felt like Helgesen and Goldsmith insinuated that women, aware of the stereotypes placed on them in the workplace, have to take on the responsibility of changing themselves to fit in, have to listen to and apply the feedback they received from the people who perpetuate the stereotypes, that they have to become enablers and mirror men’s behavior.
It doesn’t seem like we are supposed to change to acquire greater values or to reach a higher purpose. But we’re changing to fit someone else’s standards or expectations of us: we move from one expectation to another.
Instead of viewing money and position as the sole or even chief markers of success, women also tend to place a high value on the quality of their lives at work and the impact of their contributions.
the trick to maximizing your talents and opportunities is not becoming a less thoughtful and giving person, but rather being purposeful and intentional about your choices while also addressing the behaviors that keep you stuck.
In Leaders Eat Last — Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t, Simon Sinek believes that every single employee is capable of becoming a leader, of being remarkable, of exercising courage and sacrifice, of investing into the company, and of finding fulfillment at work.
The General Role Of The Leader
In addition, Simon Sinek considers humans as hunters, organizations as tribes and leaders as those who put order within the tribe.
In modern days, leaders are perceived as dominant, are the ones that eat first, are the ones who make the most money, who get preferential treatment and most importantly are those who are supposed to protect. Indeed, they have more resources at their disposal and have to use it appropriately to ensure the survival of their tribe.
However, for long-lasting results, to gain the loyalty and respect of their employees, they must not consider their well-being above the well-being of the tribe.They must eat last.
It is the role of leaders of an organization to be courageous, to demonstrate empathy, to lay down the foundation for success, to show employees appreciation and to allow them to take appropriate risks.
The Circle Of Safety
The Circle Of Safety contains all the people of an organization. It is a safe space where employees feel fulfilled at work, don’t dread Monday morning, are willing to advance the company’s purpose.
It is an environment of increased commitment, fulfillment, gratitude and happiness, where employees are more relaxed, thrive, collaborate and work for each other.
In the Circle Of Safety, leaders and employees share the same values, pull their respective loads and are committed to the Circle.
Everyone feels valued by their peers, they know that their colleagues have their backs, they believe that they belong to something greater than themselves, that they can safely drive innovation, share ideas and express themselves freely.
By the same token, employees and leaders must independently weigh their decisions and ponder whether or not their decisions are beneficial to the group. It is wise to remember that working toward individualistic goals will hurt the group.
Leaders In The Circle Of Safety
Besides, leaders are the gatekeepers of the Circle. They set the standards, they decide who gets in and who stays at the door.
To create safety, leaders have to meet certain conditions and build a soothing company culture. Company culture in modern days is unnatural because they go against all natural needs, instincts, rights for safety and fulfillment.
If leaders want to create a Circle Of Safety, to establish an innovative, stable, robust, lasting, successful company, they must:
Understand that employees are not a means to an end and shouldn’t be exploited.
Increase employee cohesion and inclusion.They must no longer fear each other but must be willing to fight external challenges together. Moreover, there is power in numbers: when challenges arise, employees in the Circle Of Safety must put all their differences aside to reach a common goal.
Avoid placing money above people but place people above everything else.
Remember that they are the models for the organization. Therefore, they must define a clear set of values and beliefs for themselves and for their employees.
Inject empathy into the workplace culture and treat everyone fairly. This will make both employees and leaders more human, and make work more enjoyable.
Extend trust to earn trust. Trust also lies in the fact that leaders know when to follow the rules and when to break them in order to guarantee the safety of their employees.
Help people solve problems.They will in turn, help each other.
Listen to their employees.
Protect their employees internal conflicts and promote collaboration.
The Feasibility Of The Circle Of Safety
Making people feel safe, putting their well-being first is idealistic but impractical.
On one hand, people work out of necessity, are willing to stay in a job that they hate to provide for themselves and for their loved ones. They don’t want to selflessly commit to and invest themselves into the company. They are reluctant to put forth the time and effort because they are not in control and might not receive the proper rewards.
On the other hand, it is quasi difficult to find organizations that genuinely care for their employees safety and well-being. Most of them tend to care more about reaching numbers and are willing to sacrifice people to get there.
The truth is most companies and leaders display poor character and induce a stressful and fearful culture. Employee disengagement, high employee turnover and health problems ensue.
Abundance and Abstraction
Finally, when leaders have everything in abundance, which is often the case today, they lose the real value of things.
As a consequence, the more their companies grow, the more they are out of touch with their employees and their consumers, the less they empathize with them. To solve this abstraction, leaders should:
Get to know their employees personally. Investing time and energy in them will transpire as appreciation.
Observe the real impact and results of their time and effort, alongside their employees’. This will consequently increase everybody’s quality of work.
Give people the time needed to trust, to find their way and place with the Circle Of Safety.
The Influence Of The Company Culture
The culture severely impacts the survival of the company. When there are no values, no principles, no particular beliefs, when the culture is based on numbers, reports and performance, the company is doomed to fail.
Moreover, leaders with poor character fabricate a bad culture that in turn breeds bad leaders. This is why, leaders are required to:
Rely on integrity and trust, spend time with the people they serve and shift their focus to the latter.
Find someone to lean on and to help them through hardships.
Discover their life purpose.
Work hard for what they have in order to value it.
Hold on to their responsibilities.
Simon Sinek, in Leaders Eat Last — Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t, provides an innovative leadership strategy to build a successful organization, to increase employee engagement and fulfillment.
In this great book, Sinek places people at the forefront of the company and demonstrates that building a company from the ground up takes on a whole new sense. He believes that leaders have to take care of the well-being of their employees first and their employees will take care of the rest.
Besides, he doesn’t claim to be an idealist, to believe that all workers love their jobs and that all leaders treat their employees well. He understands that most people work out of necessity.
Lastly, he analyzes our biological needs and transposes them to the modern working world. Our natural needs are powerful forces that we cannot control.
In our modern world, advancing our careers and trying to find happiness and fulfillment are the definition of success. But the systems inside us that guide our behavior and decisions still function as they did tens of thousands of years ago. Our primitive minds still perceive the world around us in terms of threats to our well-being or opportunities to find safety.
Being a leader is like being a parent, and the company is like a new family to join. One that will care for us like we are their own . . . in sickness and in health. And if we are successful, our people will take on our company’s name as a sign of the family to which they are loyal.
This feeling of belonging, of shared values and a deep sense of empathy, dramatically enhances trust, cooperation and problem solving.
Quite often, what’s good for one is not necessarily good for the other. Working exclusively to advance ourselves may hurt the group, while working exclusively to advance the group may come at a cost to us as individuals.
Leadership is about integrity, honesty and accountability. All components of trust.
Leaders receive a multitude of information on a daily basis. They make hard decisions every day and expect that their employees will directly understand and precisely apply them.
Decisions become erroneous when leader fail to listen. The execution process falls short when leaders fail to communicate and clarify their vision. Subsequently, they also fail to solve problems and reach their goals.
Wondering how to hone your communication skills and create a better working environment?
What is communication?
Communication is a complex and dynamic process, used to collect information. It is also a form of human interaction that always involves at least 2 people, that depends on the character of the people involved and that relies on trust.
While communicating, we receive and/or emit information through silence, facial expressions, writing, reading, talking or listening. We use these skills practically everywhere at work, for every situations.
In addition, a noisy environment, stereotypes, cultural differences, lexical differences, company culture are barriers to communication. These barriers distort what is being said and what is being received. However, being aware if them is the first step to reprogramming communication.
Why is it important?
Communication skill is the ability to effectively interact with people to influence, to convince, to mobilize people towards one goal, to unify teams.
Developing communication skills will bring success at every level, help convey a better understanding of your standards and requirements, build positive healthy relationships, avoid or work through conflicts.
Great communication skills will improve your leadership credibility, your self-confidence, your relationships with others, your feelings of belonging and will decrease your stress level. They will also drive change and increase team motivation.
Furthermore, poor communication skills can prevent you from understanding your coworkers, getting hired or getting promoted, saving time or sharing request in meetings. communication failure leads to resentment.
How to improve your communication skills?
At work, some people struggle to share their thoughts, ideas. To improve your communication skills and get ahead at work:
Demonstrate empathy. Empathy will allow you to reach people, to perceive their feelings and perspectives, to build a team that you understand. For example, start by learning your employee’s name to show that you care.
Demonstrate that you can be trusted by keeping secrets, by following through on promises and commitments, by being consistent, and by not withholding useful information
Even though you don’t believe it, you are a brand and must treat yourself as such. You must learn to present, to market yourself, to quantify and value your assets.
Find a purpose for every interaction. Your purpose gives your communication direction.
Remember that everyone is different and won’t communicate the way you do.
Understand the corporate culture to adapt your communication style.Your communication style will influence the way others react to you. Numerous communication styles have been developed throughout the years and most often, have been equated to leadership style. Needless to say, everyone doesn’t communicate the same way.
Bear in mind that appearances are important, even detrimental to success. Maintain professional decorum at all times, dress appropriately, groom yourself, be hygienic, keep your composure according to the company’s culture.
Take care of your own body language by standing straight, by eliminating over the top behavior, standing still, staying focused on your interlocutor, maintaining eye contact and restraining your facial expression.
Actively listen and speak less. While listening, monitor body language, evaluate the emotional intensity of the conversation, stay open-minded, and choose your words carefully not to offend. This also means that you don’t need to emit judgement during the process, that you must avoid listening to reply or to seek ulterior motives in someone, and that you must allow people to talk without interruption, even if I disagree with them.
When writing and speaking, keep it succinct, specific, clear, coherent and compelling for others. Avoid using ambiguous words.
Treat people as you want to be treated. Stay polite and treat people with the respect that they deserve and with regards to their culture.
Have an open door policy and be approachable.
Analyze your audience. Take time and analyze the full situation and pay attention to non verbal communication.
When in conversation, observe what is being said and paraphrase to confirm that you have properly understood, ask probing questions to get all the information and avoid daydreaming, tuning out or jumping to conclusions. If nervous, introverted or shy, practice your conversations before.
Avoid using stereotypes to categorize someone or the info that they share.
Use humor to defuse negative situations to elevate any subject, to put your audience at ease. Using humor is risky but is worth-while.
Reward positive behavior and hold people accountable for negative behavior.
Last Words Of Advice!
To effectively improve communication, there are also a few unspoken rules to follow. One must avoid:
Discounting information on the account of discrediting the source.
Comparing the information you are getting with your own experience.
Calling attention to yourself or your situation.
Gossiping, openly criticizing or making fun of others and their interests. Find solutions and help resolve problem instead of creating them.
Noisy environment to have conversations.
Respect silence. Silence is golden in some cultures.
Finally, don’t take anything personal.
Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!
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