On Leadership, Transparency and Breaching Confidentiality

Confidentiality

What happens when a seasoned manager doesn’t know the difference between being transparent and breaching confidentiality?

In a nutshell, you get this: Distrust, demotivation, and an epic failure in leadership.

I am an Information Technology Manager at a Fortune 100 firm. We had made some significant changes in how our teams will get work done in 2015.  I was asked to objectively facilitate the many hours of work needed to get to a new organizational model.

I was thrilled at the opportunity to lead change and impact results!

Organization over Ego

When the work started on our new initiative, I was very impressed on the amount of sharing and openness our managers had toward making a major shift in software development.

Dialogue was open and people were engaged. The goal would to be less hierarchical and become more of a flat management structure.

With this new initiative, the change required moving people to co-located teams. This resulted in 30% of the employees having a new manager. And with this amount of change, you can expect that things didn’t always go smoothly.

Ego Takes Over

Unfortunately, when plans were on the drawing board and people were moved around on paper to new positions and reporting structures, the defensive walls started to build and lines of territory started to be drawn.

The professional maturity of each manager started to become clear. Some showed signs of professional maturity and dealt with things well, even if they felt inside that they had a big (and unfair) challenge ahead of them. While many others acted the opposite.

They were much less willing to work for a bigger picture and took a selfish stance.

 Organizational Nightmare

When the discussion moved to the skills and performance of the managers, senior staff sequestered for confidential discussions. The results from this was that we constructed the first hierarchy for the new organization.

And with the historic attitudes reigning, the new org-chart looked exactly like the current one.

  • We had one manager of managers
  • Several first line managers
  • And half a dozen senior individual contributors reporting to the director

What an OD nightmare!

Many members believed we could not get the change needed if we didn’t change the management structure so a flat, balanced organization model was recommended.

Maintaining the Status Quo

Believing that he was just being transparent, the manager with the majority of the organization under his control gave access of the confidential organizational structure options being considered to his first line managers.

This manager was too busy persuading people that his way was the right way that he failed to hear the recommendation was to flatten the organization; including his team.

He also shared with one of his direct reports a discussion that occurred during a closed meeting whether the manager was ready for the more complex role including the name of the staff member who raised the concern.

This was not being transparent. This was breaching confidentiality!

The Let Down

When it came down to the final staff meeting to finalize the new organization, the leader, in order to minimize thrash and too much change, kept the unbalanced organization model.

When the announcements started to roll out, managers who had seen the flat model and thought they would now be reporting directly to the leader of the organization were blindsided. The manager who was told of the confidential discussion confronted the senior staff member.

This not only destroyed the trust. but it also damaged the trust of the senior staff member with his peer. He believed he could raise a concern in a closed staff meeting and not have his confidence breached.

The Moral of the Story

Leaders are always more successful when they are transparent with the people they lead. When they provide the reason for change whether it be due to cost cutting, greater efficiency or because the industry has shifted and the organization needs to shift to remain successful.

However, breaching confidentiality to be transparent and not understanding the difference is a failure in leadership.

Sharing too much detail, including the details and hard discussions that have to happen for a decision to be made, is just poor judgement.

Leaders need to be aware of all of the conversations happening, not just focused on driving their own agenda. In this case, the miss and the failure resulted in several valuable people leaving the organization.

How important is transparency in your leadership practices and how do you groom your managers to clearly understand being transparent without breaching confidentiality?

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——————–
Cheryl Dilley

Cheryl Dilley is an Information Technology Manager at Intel Corporation
She is passionate about changing the game for women in the tech industry
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Charismatic Leadership: Give Unselfishly

Ways to Make the Season Brighter

Christmas Tree

Merry Christmas 2015

The Holiday Season engenders feelings of empathy, kindness and tenderness, especially for those a little down on their luck.

On Giving and Generosity

Giving and generosity are defined as the transfer of something without the expectation of receiving something in return.

When expecting nothing in return, the benefits of giving are exponentially higher than if giving and expecting payback.

Generous giving ensues, making the season even brighter, certainly for the receiver of the kindness but more strangely and predictably, for the giver as well. What might be perceived as a loss or a deficit by the giver is quickly overshadowed by feelings of well-being.

Benefits of Giving

When considering the benefits of giving, the giver often benefits economically via tax breaks. If the giving is public, the gift builds the status of the giver by signaling to the community wealth, thus giving the giver status.

The famous industrialist John D. Rockefeller, said, “God gave me my money.”

In a book entitled, The Rockefeller Billions, by Jules Abels, Rockefeller’s philosophy is explained: He believed that if he stopped giving his money away in the right way, God would take his money away from him.

The Oprah Challenge

In 2006, Oprah Winfrey, a billionaire and one of the greatest black philanthropists in American history, gave 300 people in her audience $1000.00 and one week to spend the money on a good cause.

  • Many paid for groceries
  • One woman bought mittens and hats for kids
  • Another helped a paralyzed girl
  • Yet another woman purchased movie tickets for the homeless to see the Pursuit of Happiness with Will Smith – the message being that their present situation can be temporary.

Oprah’s challenge gave participants true joy, not just happiness.

On Giving, Joy, and Endorphins

Giving provides an unexplained euphoria that instantaneously spreads through your body. This euphoria, this sense of joy is different from the happiness of receiving a gift, even if the gift is a diamond necklace.

This feeling is an elation and elevation of the soul.

You forget your own problems for a small moment in time and focus on the peace and love found in helping another human being.

To achieve the good feelings, you do not have to spend money. Offering your time to a colleague to help finish a project, lending something as simple as your stapler, or merely spending time with someone who seems alone can make you feel satisfied.

Angels That Give

I was inspired by an anonymous woman who kicked off a giving-spree throughout the United States.

She wanted to honor her husband who recently passed away so she visited a local K-mart store and paid off the lay-away accounts for numerous people. As the AP story states:

Christmas Shopping CartOMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The young father stood in line at the Kmart layaway counter, wearing dirty clothes and worn-out boots. With him were three small children.

He asked to pay something on his bill because he knew he wouldn’t be able to afford it all before Christmas. Then a mysterious woman stepped up to the counter.

“She told him, ‘No, I’m paying for it,'” recalled Edna Deppe, assistant manager at the store in Indianapolis. “He just stood there and looked at her and then looked at me and asked if it was a joke. I told him it wasn’t, and that she was going to pay for him. And he just busted out in tears.”

On Wings and a Prayer

I have also been impressed by a nonprofit, Luke’s Wings.

Luke’s Wings is an organization dedicated to the support of military service members who have been wounded in battle. Luke’s Wings provides families with the airline tickets to visit their loved one in the hospital and to be with their service member during recovery and rehabilitation.

This year they have been making Christmas much brighter for many honorable service men and women. To learn more, visit www.lukeswings.org.

No matter when you choose to give, there are infinite opportunities in your world every day.

Giving and the Organization

So, we know how giving benefits you personally and benefits the people you help, but how does giving relate to charismatic leadership?

In an article entitled, Why Giving Matters, Arthur CBrooks who is president of the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, makes the case that if you want to be seen as a leader and if you want to be happier, then give more.

Brooks’ research shows that:

“If people see you as a giver, as someone who cooperates and serves others, they see you as a leader and they will want to follow you.”

Giving also makes individuals more productive. Because giving puts you in a positive mood, you are able to concentrate on your work, make decisions, get ideas to solve problems – you are more productive. This diagram illustrates the process.

3 T’s of Stewardship: Time, Treasure, and Talents

People who give, share of their resources, volunteer their time, show empathy, and help others in the countless opportunities presented each day are happier people.

The process of giving permits them to operate in a positive feedback loop – they give, they are happier, they give more, they are happier, etc.

Don’t take my word that giving makes a difference in your leadership stature. Make a New Year’s resolution to give this process a try. Model for your employees a giving spirit and extend your hand to help when appropriate.

Your employees are always watching you.

They will imitate your good works and our organization will flourish.

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Karla (Kofoed) Brandau
Karla Brandau, CEO of Workplace Power Institute, is a leadership and productivity firm
She crafts keynotes, workshops, and onsite training programs customized for your needs
Email | LinkedIn | TwitterFacebook | Web | Blog  | 770-923-0883

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Articles of Faith: Leading With Peace

This series investigates leadership lessons from the Bible

Inner Peace

This post is part of our Sunday Series titled “Articles of Faith.”
We investigate leadership lessons from the Bible.
See the whole series
here. Published only on Sundays.

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Management Question:

Do you approach each new day with a set of logical convictions in your head that help you reach your goals? Are you focused intently on achievement, winning, and gain? If so, bravo! You have a great sense of objective management skills and behaviors. You are being important.

This is needed for results.

Leadership Question:

Are you also checking that “gyroscope” in your heart to see if you are being an actual caring, empathetic, and understanding human being while you achieve your results? Are you getting your results through healthy relationships? If so, then even better! You have a great sense of subjective leadership skills and behaviors. You are now being influential.

This is needed for excellence!

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By definition, leadership is interpersonal. However at its core, leadership is personal. It is personal to you and to the people who you lead.

So, if you accept that leadership is personal, then here is a bigger question for you. It has to do with your leadership stability and your long-term effectiveness in getting things done with the help of others.

The question is this: Do you lead with PEACE?

Do you lead with these elements:

  • Purpose
  • Excellence
  • Accountability
  • Certainty
  • Equipping Others?

Actually, more importantly than an acronym of P.E.A.C.E. is the real meaning of leading with peace. It means leading with calm waters on the inside while it is rocky waters on the outside. It means being able to keep your cool under feast or famine conditions. Peace is the fulcrum in leading with balance.

Would you rather follow someone who had internal peace and displayed it on the outside, or follow someone who didn’t have that calming effect on their leadership?

Challenge Question:

So how are you doing on finding the peace to lead your team most effectively? Do your followers feel the comfort of your internal peace as you lead them, or do they feel the turmoil, stress, and discomfort that you may have coursing through your veins?

Take a good loooooong look in the mirror and ask yourself this question:

“What do I do to recharge and get peace in my life and in my leadership?”

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About the Author :: Tom Schulte

As a Christian leader in business, I get my peace from living my faith in Jesus Christ. Specifically, I get it from Philippians 4:4-9. It works EVERY time for me. Check it out:

4-5Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!

6-7Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

8-9Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. (Philippians 4:4-9, The Message)

A Peaceful Death

When I learn to die to self and let my trust in Jesus take over me and focus on the good things in my life, I instantly calm down and experience a tranquility and peace that I cannot even describe. It is promised to me and I have never found it to fail me. Not once. When people say “count your blessings,” this is what they are talking about. And for me, this is not just a daily thing. My goal to die to self is a moment-by-moment undertaking. And yes, it is difficult.

If you don’t have a source for peace and are not sure about the way I go about it, here is a tip to help you find peace: Seek Truth. When you find it, you will find your peace.

Expressing your faith in a business environment can be difficult because it is so personal and many people are just uncomfortable with it. If you feel that you want to learn more about incorporating your faith in your business life, simply look to the many resources available to you. Simply google the subject and you can tune into many resources.

Wanna’ see where I recently experienced a great sense of peace and freedom? I had the pleasure of spending a weekend last February at a Souly Business conference for men in the North Georgia mountains. Above is a great video that expresses how I recharged my soul with other business men.

Imagine being able to display true inner peace to the ones you lead. Find that peace and watch your personal leadership effectiveness skyrocket!

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Tom Schulte is Executive Director of Linked 2 Leadership &
CEO of Recalibrate Professional Development in Atlanta, GA USA.
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Web

 

On Leadership, Suffering and The Sacrificial Leader

Essential Elements of Right and Effective Leadership

Helping Others

There is not one leader reading this that hasn’t struggled with the mystery of suffering or wrestled with the mastery of personal sacrifice.

These are universal and timeless concepts—regardless of background, education, economic status, etc. But what I’ve found over the past 30 years as a student of leadership is the selfless commitment to take pains with them is firmly embedded in the footings of every real leader’s platform.

Every real leader puts deliberate thought into how their commitment of the will in these areas is going to shape their behavior…their actions and the impact they have on others.”

The Case for Suffering & Leadership

Buried deep in the historicity of Leadership is this idea of suffering. Originally taking on the context of movement by appointment, the term ‘Leader’ began to take on additional association with words like passion and suffering as freedom-loving Gothic leaders stood against high taxes, Roman prejudice, and government corruption in the late 4th Century.

I love how Quint Studer covers this in Hardwiring Excellence:

At the heart of every success story is a person whose passion…has driven them to reach out in some extraordinary way to their fellow-man and make a true difference.”

Quint is really on to something here. This act of reaching out in some extraordinary way to our fellow-man in order to make a true difference requires sacrifice, and almost all sacrifice will cause suffering. There is no gain without pain in many areas of our experience, and real leadership is no exception.

Passion, Drive and Sacrifice

I see a lot of passion in today’s leaders (self-included), but not a lot that is driving us to make essential sacrifices or to suffer for and with others in order to get the right things done extremely well. And there’s good reason for this, according to Ronald White in A Short History of Progress:

In a progress trap, those in positions of authority are unwilling to make changes necessary for future survival. To do so they would need to sacrifice their current status and political power at the top of a hierarchy.”

Have we really become this enamored of status and power as leaders that we can’t make the changes—the sacrifices—necessary for our collective success? If we’re honest, an affirmative answer is not difficult. As I’ve written elsewhere, we can get so mired in past success (accumulated while climbing the corporate ladder) and trapped by a desire to maintain that position in the hierarchy that we don’t see the natural and negative consequences:

  • Empowerment to renew and improve dries up
  • Yesterday’s solutions become today’s problems
  • Low hanging fruit grows back
  • All upward and outward movement grinds to a halt

From Transactions to Transformation

In contrast, we could learn a lesson from A.J. Russell:

All sacrifice and suffering is redemptive. It is used to either teach the individual or to help others. Nothing is by chance.”

And herein lays a benefit that deserves repeating. Sacrifice and suffering are used either to teach (this is personal transformation) or to help others (this is organizational transformation).

There is really nothing in the world like the force multiplier created by sacrifice and suffering when it comes to breaking away from the daily leadership grind of transacting with others to produce short-term results. Approaching others and our work this way is a sure-fire way to stay trapped on the performance plateau.

By learning and helping others—by sacrifice and suffering–we begin transforming.

Are You Ready?

At the risk of stating the obvious, sacrifice is seldom easy. If it were, we’d see it happening far more frequently. As with other things in life, when it’s needed most it gets practiced least. But only those with a sincere wish to sacrifice—to put the needs of others before his/her own—can lead transformation, first for themselves and then for their organizations.

And there is no need to focus on the suffering, just commit to making essential sacrifices out of love for your fellow-man and you’ll find that suffering itself will take on a whole new meaning and have a completely different context that what you may otherwise be accustomed.

So, when was the last time you made sacrifices and suffered as a leader? What sacrifices can you make today that will kick-start transformation? Here’s an even tougher question: What sacrifices is your team, group, company willing to make today because of the authority of your example? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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——————–
Richard Dillard

Richard S. Dillard is Founder/ Managing Partner at Dillard Partners, LLC
Pursuing Success at the Speed of Leadership!
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Mastering the Most Exciting Leadership Skill: Situational Awareness

Leadership Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton

The Latest Coaching Article – “Mastering the Most Exciting Leadership Skill: Situational Awareness”

“Think or Die.” In our work, most of us would consider this statement to be pretty dramatic. But, coaching and training others on the skill of Situational Awareness (SA) is both rewarding and critical—and as close to the excitement of being a fighter pilot as I can get.

How can you coach yourself and others to be more situationally aware? See More

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Never miss an issue of Linked 2 Leadership, subscribe today here!
Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders
——————–
Lee Ellis

Lee Ellis is Founder & President of Leadership Freedom LLC & FreedomStar Media.
He is a leadership consultant and expert in teambuilding, executive development & assessments
Email | LinkedIn | Web | Blog | Book | Facebook | Twitter

His latest book is called Leading with Honor: Leadership Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton.