Creating Law and Order: Leading with Discipline

Discipline

Are you leading with discipline? Does this type of leader describe you?

  • You actually enjoy routine. In fact, if there is no structure, you create one. After all, routines promote efficiency, high productivity, and accuracy, right?
  • Starting a day without a schedule or knowing exactly what to do could potentially leave one aimless. That’s what makes it so difficult for you to work with or for someone who doesn’t create structure, for themselves or others.
  • Sure, there’s time for fun and breaks, you enjoy those too, as long as they fit into the overall scheme of things.

This outlook on your job and life can be attributed to your Discipline strength.

Your Barrier Labels

Discipline is definitely a good thing, especially when it’s self-imposed. Your bosses love that you get things done without supervision, your employees always know what’s expected and when, and your peers know they can count on you. Unfortunately, before people get to know you or your Strengths, you need to be aware of some of the labels people may tag you is a less than flattering light.

In an unsophisticated manner, Discipline can appear overbearing, mechanized, or unable to handle change. In short, a leader no one wants to come to or lean on.

A Sophisticated Leader

If you’ve ever been described using the barrier labels above, the good news is you have Discipline! That means, you have the ability to discipline yourself to become sophisticated; practicing the art of balance takes self-imposed structure, which you have plenty of.

The even better news? Once you have mastered your Discipline, you’ll be known and recognized as a great planner, highly productive and efficient, and extremely accurate. Nothing wrong with that is there?

As a sophisticated leader, your strategy for success is going to be knowing when things are too rigid, and when they aren’t rigid enough. In general, people don’t enjoy being micromanaged. However, they do like to know how to be successful, and some may even need a hint on how to get there.

By leveraging one or more of your other strengths, i.e. Relator, you will be able to adjust your style with the human factor in mind. Because some of your other strengths allow you to connect to your people, or see the bigger picture, you’ll be able to pull back on the Discipline in your leadership style when necessary, and create boundaries when and where they’re needed.

Leading those with Discipline

If you’re a leader with more “free slowing” strengths, like Adaptability, Futuristic, or Harmony, you may find there is some friction between you and your employee with Discipline. If they are constantly seeking structure, and you are unable to provide any, they may become frustrated.

Though they can create their own routine, there will be others on your team that need a little more guidance. If you, as a leader, don’t provide it, Discipline is going to notice. Chances are, there will be someone on the team under delivering, or delivering late, which affects the whole team. Even if it’s an indirect effect, Discipline will feel it more than most and quickly become dissatisfied with you as a leader, and their job as a whole.

Now, that doesn’t mean you need to try and be just like them. It just means you need to be aware and as consistent as possible. Make sure that everyone has deadlines, and they have the guidance and resources they need to produce. You’re already an apt leader, so no major adjustments should be necessary!

If you’re a leader with Discipline, how do you balance your need for structure with the strengths of others? Do you lead someone with Discipline? Do you find them to be reliable? Do they often ask you for deadlines, schedules etc.? How do you handle that on days you might find it “overbearing?”

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———————–
Alexsys "Lexy" Thompson HCS, SWP

Alexsys “Lexy” Thompson is Managing Partner at Fokal Fusion
She helps building Strong Leaders through Strong People Strategy
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On Leadership Styles, Philosophies and Where You Live

Infographic brought to you by Brighton School of Business and Management

Leadership Congruence: Do You Walk the Talk?

walk the Talk

A foundational behavior in effective leadership requires demonstrating congruence between what one says and what one does.

Unfortunately, many times the behaviors of those in charge reflect a philosophy of “do as I say not as I do” rather than one of congruence.

Creating Distrust and Disagreement

Incongruence at both the personal and organizational level often results in distrust and disengagement by the people who have experienced or observed the incongruence. While the data on disengagement and its impact is alarming, the good news is that we are actually dealing with the behaviors that cause the issues.

And when dealing with behaviors, there is a better chance to create better outcomes.

  • We can often think of those managers who hold themselves to a different standard than they hold everyone else to.
  • These are the managers that consistently expected others to stay late but leave the office early themselves.
  • They are the managers who stress transparency. yet would not relay important information to their people. Maybe they are the managers who stressed integrity. yet are unethical in their own behaviors.

These actions often created environments of distrust and disengagement by those who see or who are the recipient of this behavior.

Talking, But Not Walking

As well, we can all recall the organizations that might have done this:

  • State their commitment to their employees or customers, yet don’t behave that way.
  • Claim that their people are their most important asset, yet they do not invest in their development.
  • Or, they are the organizations that conducts a survey on employee satisfaction, yet do nothing to address the issues that may have surfaced from the survey.

Again, these behaviors often create a sense of employee distrust toward the organization.

Creating Dissonance

In these examples, this incongruence often results in disconnection, disengagement and distrust toward the manger, the organization or both.

In the past, the social and financial impact of these negative behaviors was often overlooked.

However, today ample data exists which demonstrates the adverse impact that disengagement has on an organization as it relates to turnover, absenteeism, injuries and profitability to name a few. Much work has been done by organizations such as Gallup to expose the negative consequences of disengagement.

Changing Minds, Changing Behaviors

The good news about the high levels of disengagement the surveys have uncovered is that it can minimized, through behavior changes.

The first behavior involves acting in a congruent way.

As leaders, we must “walk the talk.” In order to create an engaged workforce, those in positions of authority and organizations themselves must become aware of the negative impact that incongruence has on people, the organization, and its customers.

This behavior involves taking inventory of your actions and asking, “Would I see my words and actions as being congruent if I observed them in someone else.”

Another suggestion would be to find someone who would be committed to providing honest feedback on your behaviors and their level of congruence.

This is the first step toward increasing engagement in those around you.

Take the challenge and regularly ask yourself: Is you approach to walk the talk or do you expect others to do as you say but not as you do? What behaviors might you be exhibiting that are incongruent? How might this behavior have caused disengagement in someone in your workplace? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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——————–
Patrick Veroneau, MS Organizational Leadership

Patrick Veroneau, MS is CEO of Emery Leadership Group
He inspires Others to Develop Effective Leadership Behaviors
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On Leadership, Customer Experience and Analytics

Bid Data

Leading any organization is difficult. For many, the operational components are easy and dealing with the “people part” is where their challenges emerge. But for others, the soft-skills people-part is easier and the nuts-and-bolts part of the business cause the pains.

When it comes to the operational nuts-and-bolts part of leading a business, there are some great ways to lead with better results.

And this is how you deal with using business information, big data, and analytics strategically to lead through better results.

In his book “Hooked on Customers: The Five Habits of Legendary Customer-Centric Companies,” author Bob Thompson spells out the strategic approach to help with the operational side of leading success.

Below are some of his thoughts and examples.

Using Analytics to Improve the Consumer Experience

"Hooked On Customers"Business leaders are turning to analytics to uncover insights in so-called big data. However, big data is like a vein of gold buried under your feet. Unless you can mine it effectively to improve business performance, all that data could be a worthless distraction.

Analytics is a terms applied broadly, perhaps too broadly. The most common form is descriptive analytics used to slice and dice data to understand what happened in the past. But increasingly attention is turning to forward-looking analytics, using specialized algorithms and software.

Prescriptive analytics take it a step further and attempt to actually influence the future. For example, analytics can be used to help a call center agent decide the best offer to present to a customer to increase the odds of making a sale, or to suggest actions to deal with a service issue.

Macy’s is a great example of a major retailer competing for the loyalty of “omnichannel” shoppers—those using multiple channels, such as retail stores, websites, mobile devices, and even social media. Several years ago, the company began a customer-centric shift, led by Julie Bernard, group VP of customer centricity.

Speaking at a 2012 conference, Bernard said her goal was to “put the customer at the center of all decisions.” Sounds good, but old habits die hard in a 150-year-old brand where data was organized around products. The retailer used POS data to analyze product sales but couldn’t figure out what individual consumers were doing. One simple example: Did a spike in sales of a new pair of jeans mean the product was a hit or that one person bought all twelve pairs in a store?

By also looking at data from loyalty programs, credit cards, and other sources, Macy’s was able create a more complete understanding of the products, pricing, and experiences that move “loyals”—those consumers already buying regularly.

Another Example

Let’s look at another example in the world of e-commerce. Let’s say you want to present shoppers with hotel options in a major metropolitan area like New York. According to then Expedia VP Joe Megibow, most users won’t do a complex search of hundreds of hotels, so it’s critical that Expedia put the “best” options at the top of the list. If your instincts told you to present the cheapest or more popular hotels first, Expedia would frustrate a lot of shoppers and lose bookings.

Analytics determined the factors most likely to meet customer demand, such as real-time availability, inventory by class, rate deals, reviews, and purchase frequency. Then, using technology from an analytics software vendor, Expedia built a predictive analytics model based on the handful of factors that really mattered, out of about two dozen possibilities. The model was operationalized using Expedia’s own proprietary technology.

Result: When consumers search NY hotels, they’re more likely to find the hotels that they really want, and Expedia will get the sale. A great example of technology enabling a win-win.

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———————
Bob Thompson

Bob Thompson is Founder/CEO of CustomerThink
He is also and Author of the book “Hooked on Customers”
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Dealing with Nasty People Who Undermine You

Have you ever come across colleagues, coworkers, or “frenemies” who undermine you?

Or worse, have you had this happen to you and not even know that it was happening?

And how might you know if someone is working under-the-radar to cause you harm?

Understanding Sabotage

My intuitive senses are quite developed, but even for me it takes a few instances to figure out that someone is undermining me. Why? Because it is done in a subtle or gradual way and it often comes from people who you wouldn’t suspect such a thing.

These people could be your close friends or co-workers with whom you often hang out.

Most of the time undermining is done in a subtle way, but in other times it could be obvious. When it is subtle, it can be slipped in as a disguised compliment. You are left confused whether you were being complimented or slighted. It is only after a few repetitions that one figures out that they are being undermined.

So What’s Going On?

I am not a psychologist, but as far as I can tell, the following could be some of the reasons why people undermine others:

  • They genuinely believe that they are better than you. By undermining you, they are validating their beliefs to themselves and it makes them feel better.
  • Life is a competition for some people. I tend to think there are two kinds of competitive people. Some are too busy achieving and then there are others who seem to think that success is limited. When they see someone else’s success, to them it means their failure and therefore they try to undermine others in order to feel superior. In my humble opinion, I believe that success is unlimited. Moreover, success means different things to different people. One person’s success doesn’t mean other person’s failure. Aren’t we all on our own life path?
  • Co-workers may try to undermine you in order to get ahead or if they perceive you as boss’ favorite.
  • Some people feel that they haven’t gotten their dues in life. When they see someone who has gotten success easily, they may undermine their success.

Causing Harm

I have stated some of the reasons above and I am sure there are other reasons for which people may justify undermining others. However, it is a very negative experience for the person who is being undermined.

There is really nothing tangible to be gained from such an experience except for frustration and a bad taste in the mouth.

The person being undermined is often left with a confused feeling about his friend or co-worker and might also start thinking “What did I do wrong?” The fact is that he didn’t; the fault lies with the person who is undermining. It has probably become a habit with them and they do it subconsciously.

Dealing With Undermining People

In order to deal with undermining people, the best strategy is to ignore their opinions and not let that affect you. After all, they are undermining you because they think they are being heard or have a say.

Perhaps you gave their opinion of you a little too much weight in your life. Once you take that power away from them, they will likely stop or find someone else to undermine. T

his might be easier said than done but it is a good solution to walk away from a negative situation. Clearly such coworkers or fr-enemies are not adding any value. Instead they are trying to erode your self-esteem and in the process self-serving their own false beliefs.

So have you ever been a victim of work place sabotage? what did you do about it?  Or have you been guilty of doing this yourself? Why did you do this? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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———————
Aditi Chopra
Aditi Chopra is an experienced leader in the software industry
She is a consultant, writer and a leader
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On Leadership, Change and Transition

Changes AheadChange is never easy. Change is a bumpy process. Change is uncomfortable. And it create problems.

But why is change so hard? 

Leaving the Familiar

Change is hard because it is an emotional experience for most. An emotional experience, particularly an experience one often has little choice in being part of, creates resistance. 

Resistance is a natural emotion, though an emotion that can make change even harder.

 “All resistance is mobilization of energy, not lack of energy. Those who “resist” are “bundles of energy” not passive, lifeless blobs” – Nevis (1998).

However, resistance must be managed to harness that energy for positive change. Managing resistance requires focusing on not just change, but also transition.

Understanding Transitions

Often in managing change individuals and organizations neglect to address “transition.” According to William Bridges, transition is the psychological movement through the change.

Change Bridges

Transition consists of three parts:

  • The Ending (of what was)
  • The Neutral Zone (muddling and creative period)
  • The New Beginning (of what is)
People go through the phases of transition at their own pace, not necessarily at the pace of others or the pace of an organization. It is important for people to be supportedthroughout each phase.

“To ease the difficulties of the change process a focus on transition must run in parallel to a focus on change.”

Change is the actual physical event (merger, new job, graduating from college, getting married, getting divorced, new baby, new grandbaby, new boss, and so on). There are three primary reasons people view change as difficult and thus resist change.

  • Loss of self, power, influence, or perceived value
  • Having to learn something new
  • Lack of understanding on “why” they need to change

Many times people view change as a statement that they are underperforming or not doing a good enough job.

Managing Transistions

People often see the impending change as a threat to their established reputation, quality of life, or future with the 

community. Most people that resist change fear having to learn new skills, concepts, or policies.

Whether it’s learning a new computer system, operational skills or even how to get something approved, organizational improvements and change efforts threaten their current status-quo.

“The way ‘ we have always done it’ works just fine.”

The thought of changing behavior scares people. The majority of people who resist change simply don’t understand why things need to be different.  “It’s the way we’ve always done it” is the typical response from this group. Not successfully addressing these issues increases resistance.

Wherever there is a change effort, there will be resistance” – Beckhard & Pritchard (1992).

Do you resist change? How do you deal with individual and organizational change and transition? Does the idea of a big change strike fear in you, or does it bring optimism and hope? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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Scott Span

Scott Span, MSOD is President of Tolero Solutions OD & Change Management Firm
He helps clients be responsive, focused, and effective to facilitate sustainable growth
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The VA Debacle, and Four Steps to Help All Leaders Focus on the Right Goals

I’m not convinced of the “law of attraction,” but I can say for sure that its cousin, “the law of focus” applies in leadership.

And it is this: You get more of what you focus on.

We only have to look at a few anecdotal examples to see the power of leadership focus.

The VA, Schools, and the Military

Although there are many aspects in play in the current VA debacle, one of the more obvious and blatant issues centers around “gaming” the system to meet the highly visible 14-day window for veterans being scheduled for appointments. The focus was on meeting the 14-day time frame more than taking care of the veterans**.

In another industry sector we’ve witnessed a large scandal in Atlanta in the last two years that involved teachers and administrators cheating on the students standardized tests (changing answers) in order to make sure they got better grades. The focus was on improving test scores instead of the primary mission, which was educating our youth.

In the short run this method helped the adults look like they were doing their jobs and therefore more eligible for retention and raises, but in the long run this tactic was doomed to failure and the sting of broken trust with parents and the community.

Lest you elevate your profession above these two, I can tell you from personal experience this kind of behavior can happen in any organization and with very good people.

 

Another Example

Back in the ‘70s when money and hardware in our military were short, it was impossible for some units to report C-1 (fully combat ready), yet there was so much pressure that gaming the system was not unusual. In the military culture we are taught in early training, “There are no excuses,” so many officers/leaders were afraid to stand up to their generals and say, “Sir, we’re not hacking it, and we can’t with what we have.”

These three cases illustrate situations where the focus on specific goals was counterproductive to the primary purpose of the organizations.

The problem was an extreme focus on hitting goals that were not in keeping with the stated mission, vision, and values of the organization.

Re-Focusing on the Right Goals

So how do you avoid gaming the system and still keep your credibility as a leader? Here are four steps to keep your goals pure and aligned with the mission.

1. Clarify Mission, Vision, and especially Values.

These three areas establish your purpose (why you exist), your methods (how you do your work), and your ethics (your standards and boundaries). As a leader, your number one responsibility is to clarify these areas and push that message to the lowest level of your organization. This process gives you a consistent culture that provides the same focus and built-in guardrails to keep behavior on track at all levels.

2. Communicate and Over-Communicate by Staying Engaged Up and Down.

Make sure that you develop an honest, ongoing dialogue with your people so that you know what’s really happening and they know that you’re really listening to their challenges. Remember, the higher you go in leadership, the less likely you are to get quality feedback on what’s really happening. You have to build enough trust with your followers that they can give you bad news.

3. Support Your People.

They are the ones doing the work, and it’s their responsibility to fulfill their role; it’s your responsibility is to support them. This could mean bringing in more resources, clearing out some of the red-tape and restrictions that are slowing down their efficiencies, or even redefining their goals to meet current conditions.

4. Confront Your Doubts and Fears.

This will be your biggest challenge in all three steps above. Do you have the courage to lead when it feels uncomfortable or even scary? Looking back at the three examples above, you can see that fear was the main motivator in each situation. They were focused on the wrong goals and afraid they would not meet them and therefore look bad. And when leadership caves in to fears, the outcomes are always disastrous for the organization.

So Where are You Right Now?

Keep in mind that the steps above will help you focus on the right things in your organization and allow the best goals and metrics to emerge. Here are some questions to consider:

  • Are you focused on the right goals?
  • Are your goals aligned with the mission, vision, and values of the organization, or are they undermining the organization’s purpose?
  • Are you setting goals that are temporarily unrealistic? If so, what will your people do? Tell you that everything is okay or share the truth you don’t want to hear?
  • Are you the leader who is afraid to tell your leader that you’re not making your goals? What will you do?

Maybe you’ve experienced one of these situations in the past as a leader or follower. We’d love to hear about it. Our readers could all benefit from your story, so please courageously share it with us.

**I addressed the VA issue on two recent radio interviews – (1) Federal News Radio and (2) “What’s Happening with Doug Wagner”

 

Related News Articles:

Exclusive: Texas VA Run Like a ‘Crime Syndicate,’ Whistleblower Says

Calls for Eric Shinseki’s resignation grow among Republicans, Democrats

Inspector general’s report confirms allegations at Phoenix VA hospital

VA Awarded $3M in Prizes in Appointment Scheduling App Contest in 2013

 

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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.

 

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