The Self-Awareness Guy

Self-Awareness and Leadership

The Worst Leadership Style in the World

The Worst Leadership Style in the World


There are a lot of bad leadership styles that wreak havoc in workplaces around the world, but the worst is:

The Tyrant

This awful leadership style is practiced by people who feel powerless inside, usually because of things they endured in their own families, and then feel they have to take it out on their employees. The Tyrant marches around giving orders, demanding complete obedience, and getting really angry when things don't go his or her way. They are not open to suggestions and only really care about bossing people around no matter how miserable it makes everyone. Their only concern is the bottom line, people don't matter and human emotions are a foreign concept. Tyrants don't listen and don't care what their employees have to say, they just care about looking "strong" and in command.

The Tyrant lacks empathy and has no idea what the consequences of his actions are. Strangely enough, even though we instinctively know that tyranny is not a positive thing, most workplaces are run by people like this or some variation thereof. We've somehow convinced ourselves that the best leadership model is where some "strong" person walks around barking orders and punishing people if they don't follow them. The common variation on this theme is the person that does these things but smiles once in a while.

We can do better than this, here's how:

  • Encourage leaders to become self-aware and emotionally intelligent, to understand why they feel, think, and act the way they do.
  • Have leaders work through their own personal issues before trying to lead others.
  • Provide training that builds empathy and compassion.
  • Teach leaders how to motivate people from within.
  • Promote workplaces where people come first instead of the bottom line.
  • Teach kind leadership, which means leaders who are able to motivate their employees through kindness instead of fear and control.
  • Commit to building workplaces where people are nice to one another.

None of these things is unachievable, it's just that we've designed our workplaces to revolve around some hurt person giving orders when there are a lot of much more positive things we can do instead. Contrary to popular belief, you can get a lot done without treating people poorly. What are your suggestions for getting rid of tyrants?

Cheers,

Guy


How to Be Stingy with Praise

How to Be Stingy with Praise


I work with many different leaders and organizations and I get a feel for how their workplaces run by observing how they interact in the training we do together.  I regularly notice that when the topic of praise (or praising employees) comes up or when we discuss praising people on the job one or more people will raise an objection.  It usually goes something like this:

  • You have to be careful about praising too much.
  • It's counter-productive to praise all the time.
  • It's phony to praise people a lot.
  • Praise makes people soft.
  • Praise makes people achieve less.
  • How do you praise everyone when only one person deserves praise?
  • Why would I praise bad behavior?
  • I don't believe you.
  • That doesn't work.

The remarkable thing about these types of statement or questions is how much they illustrate our discomfort about praising employees.  Perhaps it comes from our families; where we had to prove our worth or rarely (if ever) heard a supportive word.  It could arise from never having worked in an organization where praise was part of the culture or leadership praised often.  These thought patterns become entrenched in us to the point where we'll argue about whether praise is positive and behave accordingly.

What I've come to realize is that people are suspicious of praise primarily because they have not yet experienced it in action.  Praise builds workplaces where employees feel valued.  It is also one of the best tools to increase the likelihood that employees will repeat a desired behavior and find other ways to contribute.  People like it when someone appreciates the work they're doing or the ideas they bring to the table.

Leaders who are stingy with praise tend to create workplaces where people are starving for recognition, feel unappreciated and where productivity, procedures and rules take precedence over people.  Praise offers a great opportunity to create a workplace that celebrates instead of castigates.  Here are some guidelines for praising people:

  • Praise positive behaviors.
  • Be genuine and generous.
  • Praise specific things that people are doing well.
  • Distribute praise evenly, find something positive each person is doing.
  • Make the praise about the other person, keep it brief and focused on them.
  • Keep praising until it becomes the new culture.

The trap many leaders get caught in is thinking that praise is stroking people for bad work when it's actually about celebrating good work.  We've been conditioned into thinking that criticism and directives are the only ways to motivate people when a simple, "I appreciate the great job you did," does much more for building morale and motivation.  What are your tips on praising in the workplace?

Cheers,

Guy

Your Leadership and Creating a Positive Workplace

Your Leadership and Creating a Positive Workplace

Your perspective frequently makes the difference in the kind of work environment you create.  Leaders can create positive workplaces when they believe that they can improve on what's currently being done rather than enduring and perpetuating what's always been done.

It's up to you what kind of workplace you create.  You've probably met leaders who spend incredible amounts of time and effort on everything but designing a workplace that feels positive.  It's almost as if someone told them along the way that they had to settle for whatever the workplace looked like when they go there.  So they accept whatever comes their way, focusing on surviving rather than increasing their self-awareness and growing in some way.

A positive way to begin redirecting your work environment is to ask yourself, "If I could design my ideal workplace, what would it look like?"

Being a leader gives you the opportunity to explore many avenues.  You can limit your options or you can explore new and exciting ways to create a happier workplace.  It's up to you.  Think about your own workplace and what you could do if you applied your amazing gifts to making it a great place for yourself and your employees.  Then put some thought into what you can actually do to make your vision happen.  As you begin working from a more positive perspective you'll find that you begin feeling happier and more balanced because you are creating a workplace that feels that way.  Work will be more fun and you might actually enjoy the new atmosphere you're creating.

You can start creating a workplace you and your employees find fulfilling at any time.  Think about what you want to do and take some concrete action every day until you build what you want.  What will you do to start making it happen?

Cheers,
Guy

Why Even Consider Soft Skills Training at Your Company?

Why Even Consider Soft Skills Training at Your Company?

Many leaders would never dream of building a home without a foundation but they build their businesses in a haphazard manner.  There’s nothing inherently wrong with managing a business on the fly but you can get even better results in various areas by planning and providing training opportunities for your employees and for yourself.  Think of the following training ideas as you move forward with your enterprise.

Soft Skills Training Builds Key Skills

Imagine hiring people who fit the skills your company needs or training leaders who inspire employees.  Savvy business owners and executives realize the benefit of investing in their employees up front to get better returns in the long run.  You can look into any number of trainings that will help your employees build  self-awareness and function more effectively in areas like team building, effective communication, leadership, diversity, management, problem solving or conflict resolution.

Improve Morale and Commitment

When you invest in employees you show them that you care about their success.  As you build their skills they understand that they are part of a team and their efforts contribute to the organization.  When your employees enjoy positive morale they tend to have a higher level of commitment to the company and to their work.

Be Proactive Instead of Reactive

We’ve all met the leaders and managers who run around all day putting out fires.  Imagine what your business would look like if you had a plan in place that included training to help you and your staff manage proactively.  Preventive training can prevent crisis and put in place systems to help you deal with any situation.

Benefit from Your Employee’s Talents

Many employers overlook key talents and skills that their employees bring to the table because they don’t have a system in place to recognize these assets.  Training can help managers and leaders identify the skills of their employees and put them to good use.  It can also help new ideas come forth to help the company innovate and develop new products and processes.

Why Even Consider Soft Skills Training at Your Company?

Training isn’t about a one time shot that gets people excited or teaches them one skill.  It’s an ongoing process that helps you build the most prepared and flexible staff possible.  This kind of workforce can help you in times of crisis or success because they have the foundation necessary to succeed in any environment.  Your investment yields dividends that pay off for a long time.

What will you do to introduce soft skills training in your workplace?

Cheers,

Guy 

Leadership 101 – How to Delegate More Effectively

Leadership 101 – How to Delegate More Effectively

Do you know what your employees do best and do you let them do it? One of best ways that managers can make their lives easier is by delegating effectively. When you delegate well you encourage your employees to make decisions for themselves, let go of having to control everything, identify employee strengths, allow employees to make mistakes and make yourself available if needed. It helps you live a happier life because you don’t have to take on unrealistic amounts of work or always worry about what everyone is doing.

A practical definition of delegating is to let people do their jobs without getting in their way. This is a challenging concept for managers who are used to doing everything themselves or being involved in every aspect of their organization’s operations. It requires a move from constantly directing people to letting them generate results on their own. Many well-meaning and highly competent leaders don’t realize that they can get better results and relax more often by letting go of the reins a little bit.

Becoming an expert delegator begins with understanding your personal management style. Once you know what your style is you can add new skills to become an even better manager. On one end of the spectrum is the passive manager: They avoid conflict, don’t communicate out loud with people, don’t interact with employees very much, keep to themselves, let people do whatever they want and try to ignore difficult situations. They tend to be good listeners and think before they act. On the opposite end of the spectrum are controlling managers who have to be involved in everything. They always let you know where they stand, bark orders, watch your every move, micromanage your work and let you know who’s boss. They can be decisive leaders and communicate regularly.

There’s nothing wrong with either style but each has predictable results. The passive manager tends to create a workplace that lacks direction and guidance because there isn’t someone present to let people know what’s expected. The controlling manager promotes an environment of structure and order but may not give people the freedom to demonstrate their talents or do the work on their own. What savvy managers have found is that there is a happy medium where you can keep your organization running well and encourage employees growth; the actively delegating manager.

The actively delegating manager understands that it is her job to help her people grow. She invests the time to understand the skills that each of her employees brings to the organization and uses them to improve the functioning of the agency. She assigns work based on people’s interests and then lets them run with it. She doesn’t have an overwhelming need to control everything or do things herself. She knows when her employees need help and when they are fine because they aren’t afraid to talk with her. Managers of this type don’t avoid their employees or monitor their every move. They are fun to work for because employees feel valued and supported. They tend to be balanced and easy to get along with because they aren’t stressed out trying to avoid people or always be in their business.

You can delegate more effectively, reduce your workload and let your employees shine starting today. Begin by identifying your employees’ strengths and assigning work based on what they are interested in doing. Feel free to give them some of your work as long as it is well suited to their skills and abilities. People tend to be more motivated if they are working on assignments they enjoy doing. Once you assign the work, walk away. Your job is done and you can focus on things other than hovering. Make yourself available should someone have a question or need some help. Trust that people will do a good job just as you would.

As you practice your new delegating skills, remember how it feels to work for someone who recognizes and uses your talents, lets you do your job and is there if you need her. Delegating doesn’t mean giving up responsibility it is simply letting your people perform well so they make themselves and you look good. When you allow your employees to excel based on their talents you create a harmonious workplace where people feel valued and are far more likely to be productive.

Cheers,

Guy