The Self-Awareness Guy

good leadership

Why Are Leaders So Stubborn?

Why Are Leaders So Stubborn?

Leaders sometimes think that being stubborn is the same as being right about something. They hang on to their position no matter what happens because they just don’t see any other option. There’s nothing terribly wrong with this behavior but it does affect the leader and team involved; usually in less than positive ways. Here’s a couple of things to think about if you know someone who is amazingly stubborn.

Being Stubborn is a Defense Mechanism

People who are stubborn hang on to their beliefs at all costs because they feel they are defending something very important.  Even if the issue doesn’t seem important to others, it is to them.  People in this situation frequently believe that if they give up their position, something terrible will happen.

Being Stubborn is a Dead End Street

Once someone decides to be stubborn they have painted themselves into a corner because they severely limit any options to fix anything. They hang onto their point of view no matter what and literally can’t explore other options because they don’t allow for any.

What is Right?

Stubborn people frequently think they are right but, if you think about it, what’s right and what’s wrong? We can usually measure what’s right by whether the results of a given behavior leads to positive outcomes. Yet most stubborn behavior just leads to entrenchment. I’m not certain most people would say that being stuck is the same as being right or happy.

So What Can We Do?

Stubbornness can be a daunting challenge. Some people are so stubborn that they will live a miserable life just to prove their point. The only real way to alleviate stubbornness is for someone to get help to interrupt the behavior patterns and beliefs that lead to the current situation. There’s not much other people can do except make themselves available to talk with the person and set limits and boundaries.

Being stubborn rarely leads to positive results and it isn’t very effective at creating inspiring workplaces. The good news is that the cycle can be interrupted by taking a good look at oneself and slightly shifting the behaviors that lead to being stubborn. The result?  Greater happiness and more successful leaders.

Cheers,
Guy



How to Stop Ignoring Diversity

How to Stop Ignoring Diversity

Many leaders try to ignore workplace diversity because they think it means losing power or giving up control to unfamiliar people. What often gets overlooked is that diversity means being able to use the various talents and abilities of your employees and celebrating their ideas and perspectives. Here are some ideas to help you stop ignoring diversity:

  • People may seem different but we all care about our children and want to build a satisfying career.
  • Practice self-awareness by understanding that other people may not have the motives you attribute to them.
  • Different ideas and perspectives add to the knowledge pool in your organization and give you more options.
  • Other people may know things you don't and help you become wiser.
  • One person can only handle so much. Challenges become less daunting when you have many people with many different brains and talents backing you up.
  • In general, people aren't out to get you or take your job, so its OK to see them as allies.
  • You seem different to others but they're willing to work with you.
  • Diversity isn't threatening unless you decide it is.
  • Listen to people and enjoy learning about them and how they would like to help your organization succeed.

It's easy to think that diversity is some annoyance that forces you to do things you don't want to do but it's a useful tool in any workplace. Every organization is made up of a huge variety of people and leadership decides whether it takes advantage of the available brainpower or keeps people in boxes. Proactive leaders understand that a wide range of perspectives and ideas can build a stronger, more nimble organization. What will you do to celebrate diversity in your workplace?

Cheers,

Guy



Leaders Create Change in the Present

Leaders Create Change in the Present

Many leaders spend so much time thinking about the things they could have done that they forget the power they have to change things in their workplaces at any time. It’s easy to get stuck in a mode where you replay past events or make up future possibilities but that has a limited effect on the present.

Spending more time consciously working on the present is a positive way to improve your workplace. If you start today by telling yourself that you will work on something occurring in the present you will suddenly have the power to change whatever you want.

Try identifying something that you hoped would happen in the past or that you hoped would occur in the future and then re-focus it in the present. Ask yourself what you can do right now to effect change in your workplace right now.  Taking action in the present helps you take your mind off the things you have no control of and focuses your energy on the things you can change. What will you start changing?

Cheers,
Guy



Creativity and Leadership

Creativity and Leadership

Creativity is one of the most effective ways for leaders to overcome challenges at work.  Moving in a different direction is often a matter of thinking creatively and doing something differently.  Here’s what some smart people say about creativity:

Barthold Georg Niebuhr:

It is better to create than to be learned, creating is the true essence of life.

Arthur Koestler:

Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.

George Prince:

Another word for creativity is courage.

Beatrix Potter:

Thank goodness I was never sent to school; it would have rubbed off some of the originality.

Albert Einstein:

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.

Charles Mingus:

Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.

The next time you have some workplace problem try using your creativity to come up with new and innovative ways to deal with it.  Make sure you try to do things differently from how you’ve always done them and have a good time trying new things.

Cheers,
Guy

20 Ways Leaders Guarantee High Employee Turnover

20 Ways Leaders Guarantee High Employee Turnover

I often hear leaders talk about their high turnover problems as if they exist completely removed from anything that is going on in the workplace.  I'll get a well-meaning but completely baffled leader tell me that she simply can't figure out why she can't hold on to her best employees or that people just keep leaving for some reason.  Here are twenty ways that leaders guarantee high employee turnover.

  1. Keep asking employees to do more and more work in the same amount of time.
  2. Don't praise employees.
  3. Don't give people adequate breaks.
  4. Nobody is available to listen to employees if they have an idea or an issue of some kind.
  5. Low pay.
  6. Poor benefits.
  7. Limited or non-existent opportunities for advancement.
  8. People aren't able to use the talents and abilities that are meaningful to them, they're just hired to fill seats.
  9. Everything in the workplace is geared toward productivity and money, not people.
  10. No training opportunities beyond those that make you do more work in less time.
  11. Employees are treated as if they're expendable.
  12. Continuously reminding people that at least they have a job and, if they don't like it, there's the door.
  13. Leadership is distant and not genuinely engaged with employees.
  14. People only hear about their performance when it's something negative.
  15. The organization doesn't seem to care about harassment, bullying or conflict.
  16. Leaders say one thing and do another as in proclaiming that they care about employees and then working them to exhaustion for little pay.
  17. Leaders create an environment where people are afraid to take a vacation because they think they'll lose their job.
  18. No two-way communication, leaders simply talk at employees and direct them to do things.
  19. Lack of kindness and compassion.
  20. Top leadership doesn't believe in treating employees well.

There are many reasons why employees leave their jobs but most of them have to do with not feeling valued, important or fulfilled.  When your job doesn't matter to you and your employer doesn't care about you it's much easier to leave the organization.

The perplexing thing is that many leaders practice these behaviors and design these types of workplaces even though they'd get better results if they made minor adjustments to build happier workplaces.  The starting point is for the leader to realize that he or she can create a workplace that values people.  What suggestions do you have to celebrate employees and reduce turnover?

Cheers,

Guy