The Self-Awareness Guy

enlightened 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


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

Great Leaders Are Open to Change

Great Leaders Are Open to Change

I train many leaders and many of them have a difficult time dealing with change. The standard way of dealing with change in most workplaces is to get really upset and run around in great distress. Many people dwell on how things used to be and clutch desperately onto the old ways of doing things. This dynamic usually occurs because leaders and their organizations don't have the procedures in place to welcome change or view it as an opportunity for growth.

Change can be scary and daunting but what I've noticed affects workplaces negatively is how they deal with the situation. Leaders don't consciously try to complicate things, it's just that they don't know what to do and very often their leaders aren't helping them through the challenging situations. The next time you're experiencing any kind of change in your organization think about doing the following things to make it more difficult.

1. Pretend it's not happening.
2. Stubbornly keep doing what you've always done.
3. Whatever you do, don't change your perspective.
4. Complain to as many people as you can.
5. Don't buy-in to new ways of doing things.
6. Actively resist doing anything differently.
7. Stay nervous at all times.
8. Run around aimlessly.
9. Feed into the hysteria as often as possible.
10. Don't offer any solutions.

If you do these ten things you'll reverse the passage of time and you will go back to how things used to be. Realistically, you will have little or no impact on the changes going on which really leaves it up to you to decide how you're going to deal with what's actually happening. You have the ability to take even the worst situation and focus it any way you want. One of the great things about leadership is that you get to choose whether the change is a tragedy or an opportunity. What will you do to welcome change and use it to grow and succeed?

Cheers,

Guy

5 Ways to Be a Better Leader Starting Today

5 Ways to Be a Better Leader Starting Today

You can be a better leader starting today by doing some straight-forward things. It doesn’t take a complete personality change or throwing everything you know out the window, we’ll simply look at ways you can strengthen your skills.

1.  Let Go

You don’t need to control everyone to show you’re in command. You really don’t need to even command anyone. Practice letting go of power and control issues and looking at your employees as human beings with unique talents and perspectives.

2.  Let Your Employees Have Independence

Encourage your employees to think and do things for themselves. Ask them to solve their own problems and tell them that you trust their judgment. Independent employees feel happier because they have more control over their destiny.

3.  Make Yourself Available

This doesn’t mean hovering over your employees all day long. Be there to answer questions and provide guidance when your employees ask for help. Practice a true open-door policy by welcoming employees to come in and bounce things off of you only when they feel it’s necessary.

4.  Don’t Hoard Information or Knowledge

Many leaders fall into the trap of thinking they are the only people with a certain body of knowledge. Give your employees training opportunities so they can acquire valuable knowledge and help make your job easier. Sharing information will make your organization run more smoothly because more people will know what they’re doing.

5.  Be Flexible

People have personal lives in addition to their work lives. Create a policy that allows flexibility in hours or the ability to complete tasks regardless of location. Make sure you don’t check on people every ten minutes to make sure they’re doing what they said they’d do. Dare to toss aside punitive policies in favor of ones that seek to build people up or reach an agreement.

Being a better leader is often about what we don’t do, the ways we show restraint. We’ve been conditioned to think that leaders are the courageous swashbucklers that swoop in and fix everything single-handedly. Try the ideas we’ve talked about here and you won’t need to save the day anymore because your workplace will already be functioning positively.

Your employees will like you more as well.

Cheers,
Guy

Leadership 101: Dealing with Emotions in the Workplace

Leadership 101: Dealing with Emotions in the Workplace

Emotions in the workplace can be a challenging subject because, as leaders, we haven’t been taught what to do with them.  The rise in our understanding of emotional intelligence now helps us deal more effectively with emotions in the workplace.  We can do this when we understand what emotions mean and how we can create a workplace that encourages people to use them in a positive way.

Where does our discomfort with emotions come from?  Many leaders I train tell me their stories about not being allowed to express emotions in their families or how there were only certain feelings that were allowed.  In some families people aren’t allowed to show fear, in others they can’t be joyful, still others don’t permit sadness.  Our parents and their parents before them going back generations didn’t realize that emotions aren’t something to suppress and avoid.  Emotions are a natural part of being human.  We were designed to feel joy, sadness, anger, fear, affection, loss, numbness and many variations on those themes.

Why did this happen?  People just didn’t realize that it’s OK to experience emotions.  They kept hanging on to assumptions like sadness is weak or joy should be tempered.  Oftentimes, it was due to having to survive and not appear weak.   There just weren’t that many alternatives available to our ancestors.

We now have studied humans enough to know that experiencing our emotions thoroughly and freely is actually beneficial to us and is a natural part of being human.  It’s when we try to deny that emotions exist that we start making ourselves and each other miserable and creating problems in our lives and workplaces.

The paradox is that it’s  normal to be sad, happy, angry, scared or any feeling you have.  If you think about it, they’re your feelings and you’re allowed to experience them.

When you get in touch with your emotions you become stronger and you get to experience life on a deeper level and connect with your colleagues and employees in a different way.  Emotions are here to help you.  They signal when you are doing great and when you’re not.  They aren’t scary or undesirable, they’re just there.  Think of all the leaders and employees in the world who work in pain because they deny their emotions.  Now think how different their lives and workplace might be if they would just let themselves experience them.

Cheers,
Guy