L2L: How To Be The Best Boss

How To Be The Best Boss

How To Be The Best Boss [Infographic] by the team at Computers In Personnel Ltd.

Leadership and Conflict: Deal With It Now or Pay For It Later

No one likes conflict (no one normal, at least). The feeling your body gets when it knows you have to address the awkward situations, the humongous elephant in the living room, or the long dreaded “talk.”

Dealing with conflict can sap the energy out of you, increase your stress, decrease your performance and your productivity.

In some cases, experiencing conflict can make you feel down right ill.

Labels and Leadership

It’s funny how some people are labeled or referred to as conflict – when in reality no one (in their right mind) would say they are conflict chasers. So now that I’ve merely reinforced what you already knew about conflict (that it stinks); why in the world am I writing about the importance of dealing with it?

My answer is simple; dealing with conflict is a mandatory part of leadership.

The Danger of Not Dealing with Conflict

Conflict can be like a virus; it will continue to aggressively spread as long as it is unattended to or passively addressed. As leaders we cannot afford to take passive approaches to dealing with conflict, nor can we avoid conflict and escape it’s impact.

As a good friend said recently,  “Let’s face it, awkward conversations are awkward. There’s never a time when they will not be awkward.”

This is often the approach many take when it comes to dealing with conflict;  I call this the “wait for the right time approach.” With this type of thinking, we convince ourselves that we’re trying to do what’s best by being considerate of the situation. Look I’m not saying be inconsiderate and ignore opportunities to best handle situations.  What I am saying is handle the situation! And handle it as quickly and diligently as possible.

When conflict is left unattended or avoided, it usually spreads its influence,  increases its intensity,  and deepens its complexity. Much like forest fires, un-addressed conflict will continue to cause more damage while becoming more difficult to handle.

Seeing Conflict from a Leader’s Perspective

While there are serious dangers to un-addressed or avoided conflict; a leader must also see conflict in the way that few are able to see it; as a necessary part of progress and growth. Leaders must remember that although conflict should not go unattended or avoided, it should also not be prevented.

Let me clarify: Conflict for conflict sake should be prevented and avoided at all cost because there is nothing of value in that.

However,  conflict for the sake of going through the healthy friction necessary for developing clarity and cohesiveness is essential to any team or organization. I have seen leaders and groups suffer because they did not understand this concept. They would have conflict, not deal with it, experience the consequences of doing nothing, and as a result try to prevent future conflicts from happening (which usually created conflicts anyway).

As a leader you must be able to recognize healthy conflict and unhealthy conflict AND be committed to addressing them appropriately and in a timely manner.

Practical/ Unorthodox Ways of Dealing with Conflict

1. On the count of 3. 1…2…3…GO!

If you find yourself avoiding and constantly putting it off. Don’t give yourself time to thinking about it..do it! Schedule a text message to request a time to speak with the person or better yet, just hit send now! Or pick up the phone and just dial their number and don’t give yourself time think about it (you’ll have enough thinking to do when they pick up). While there could a right time, there’s rarely ever a perfect time.

2. Create a Healthy Culture for Awkward Conversations

Have team members learn and practice critically critiquing team ideals and approaches together. Recognize and encourage individuals who ask the tough questions and constructively test the status quo of thinking. Pass on the mantra, “An awkward conversation will always be awkard…get use to never getting use to it.”

3. Allow Passion a Voice in the Room

Often people who engage in conflict are aggressive and passionate about their thoughts and views. Recognize passionate people’s passion, tell them that you value what they have to say because you value that they care.

Often this can reduce tension in the room because overly passionate people often don’t think people hear them or care about the issue as much as they do. This will help them see that you’re not enemies, but teammates fighting for the same cause

4. Address Conflict In a Solution Oriented Manner

Too often people say they’ve addressed conflict among team members or people by mentioning the issue publicly in an announcement to the group. This is talking about conflict not addressing conflict.

The goal is not to say, “I said something about it” but to see the conflict resolved to the best of your abilities.

Usually this means first addressing individuals on an one on one basis where dialog can take place.  In the context there should be more questions than statements being made to the individual with the goal of getting as much context about the situation as possible. Keep details of conversations confidential which allow people to really talk.

Address and correct accordingly, but leave the room valuing the individual no less as a result of your talk. This approach shows your personal care and your professionalism, which will help individuals see the importance and the benefit of addressing issues well.

Remember, dealing with conflict is one of the non-negotiables of leadership. Deal with them now, so you don’t have to pay for them later. I only prefer to pay for things that I actually want; I can assure you that conflicts are not on my wish list.

So I choose to deal with them instead!

So how do you deal with conflict as a leader? Do you tend to avoid it at all cost? Or do you tend to deal with it quickly? What are some ways that you can learn to better deal with conflict in the workplace that will yield better performance by everyone? I would love to hear your thoughts!

******

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———————–
Dr. Tommy Shavers

Dr. Tommy Shavers is President of Tommy Speak LLC. and Unus Solutions Inc.
His lenses are Teamwork, Leadership, and Communication
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Web | Books

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L2L: How Major Companies Motivate Their Employees

This infographic is brought to you by
NextGeneration Recruitment

Women in the Workforce: Who’s Dropping Out and Why

Max Schireson, CEO of Mongo DB caused quite a stir this summer. But not for the reasons one might expect of a Silicon Valley executive. He didn’t leave for another high-profile position to advance his career; nor did he leave for a struggling non-profit needing his skills; nor did he leave for reasons of health, trauma, or personal struggle.

He stepped down from his job and position to spend more time with his family.

Taking Another Look at Priorities

Schireson did something many working women do: drop out. An astonishing 37% of women withdraw from the workforce mid-career. And in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) professions, that number is higher at 52%.

The number of mid-career dropouts in STEM professions is only half the story, because fewer women enter those professions to begin with. Dropping out of science and math starts in elementary school, and continues right up through graduate school.

What’s Going On?

Why are so many young women dropping out???

There are many reasons, but a chief cause it the self-fulfilling prophecy:

  • The prevailing stereotypes that women don’t excel in STEM subjects actively discourage them from entering these jobs. Belief becomes reality: Studies show that professors at research institutions strongly favor male applicants over female applicants, even when qualifications are equivalent. Surprisingly, even female professors share the same bias.

But the impact of stereotypes doesn’t stop there. These attitudes also operate in the workplace:

  • It’s an open secret that the work atmosphere in technology is competitive, and aggressive—if not downright hostile to women. The “guys’ club” macho atmosphere often leaves women out of networks and diminishes their opportunities to advance.

Though half of all women in STEM professions drop out mid-career, few take note. When a man does, people notice.

Schireson nails this discrepancy on his blog:

Matt Lauer asked Mary Barra, the CEO of GM, whether she could balance the demands of being a mom and being a CEO. The Atlantic asked similar questions of PepsiCo’s female CEO Indra Nooyi. As a male CEO, I have been asked what kind of car I drive and what type of music I like, but never how I balance the demands of being both a dad and a CEO.

Why Drop Out?

Schireson’s post points to one of the reasons men dominate leadership roles more broadly: their lack of role conflict.

Role conflict is the stress of playing two or more competing roles.

Most of us have dealt with role conflict:

  • Do I go fishing, or take my son to buy new shoes for school, so my wife can sleep in?
  • Do I stay late at the office to go over my presentation, or attend the parent-teacher conference at school?

However, higher status—whether due to position, wealth, or gender—diminishes role conflict. Wealth and position allow us to outsource the tasks and duties of our roles to others.

Traditional gender roles work this way too. Simply put, men have fewer roles to navigate, and less role conflict. It’s easier to move ahead if you have more time to dedicate to one responsibility.

Reducing Role Conflict

For women, reducing role conflict may be a powerful lever for change. If we look at the issue through a global lens, the countries with the highest rates of women in management have one thing in common: means for reducing role conflict.

What are those countries? You may be surprised.

Where Are Women Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

While the global average is 24%, China leads the pack with 51% of senior management jobs held by women. Russia comes in second with 43%, followed by Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Georgia and Armenia—each with 35% or more. Southeast Asia also exceeds the average percentage of women in senior management with Indonesia (41%), the Philippines (40%) and Thailand (38%) at the top.

So who’s at the bottom?

The G7 economies, according to this report by accounting firm Grant Thornton, with only 21% of senior roles occupied by women.

Why are those countries are doing better? Many post-communist countries profit from decades of equal opportunity backed by workplace policies and benefits, such as long maternity leaves, day care, shorter working hours, and other programs that eased role conflict and enabled women—and men—to focus on their families. The enduring legacy of those policies results in larger numbers of women in management.

In East Asian countries, the relatively high proportion of women in senior management can be partially explained by extended family support systems. Most families live with or near grandparents and other relatives who can provide free childcare.

Of all our efforts to make the workplace equal for women and friendly to families in the United States, this support lags most. While nearly two-thirds (63%) of companies offer flexible working hours, only 6% offer onsite daycare, and only 16% offer child care vouchers or support.

 If global figures give us any indication of what moves the needle on this problem, reducing role conflict should top the list.

A Human Problem, Not a Women’s Problem

 Business suffers whenever anyone drops out mid-career. Not only is it a huge loss of talent and organizational knowledge, but role conflict robs companies daily in terms of absenteeism, lost productivity, and tardiness. In a report by the National Conference of State Legislatures, child-care issues were named by employers as one of the biggest cause of workplace absenteeism and tardiness.

(And it’s not only child care. Increasingly, caring for aging and infirm parents is putting pressure on employees and employers.)

Men also miss out on family life. In a survey of Wharton male undergraduates, more men plan to abstain from fatherhood than in previous generations.

They simply can’t see how children fit into the picture.

What Will It Take?

The change starts with defining this as a human problem, not a women’s problem. Neither is it a work-life balance issue.

It’s a business problem, a productivity problem, a talent drain, and waste of investment.

People on the margins are the canaries in the coal mine. They are the first to notice and sound the alarm to an issue that eventually (if not currently) affects us all. But it’s not their problem, no more than car pollution is a problem only for those who live nearest the freeway.

Women’s drop-out rate is a symptom of something that negatively affects men and companies as well. So let’s call it what it is, and recognize that we all pay the price for it.

Next, we need to push the conversation forward, and have a robust debate about parenting, household chores, and gender roles—at work, at home, and in public. We must ask for support from our workplaces, and negotiate for child support, daycare vouchers, after school care, flex time, and maternity and paternity leave as part of our compensation packages.

Being Flexible

We need businesses and organizations to support flexible career paths, to provide off-ramping and on-ramping programs so that taking time out to have a family is a phase of one’s career, not the end of it.

We must bring this up at home as well. We have to talk about housework, chores and responsibilities. Thankfully, gender and relationship roles have changed dramatically in the last twenty-five years. More partners actively share family duties and more dads stay at home.

Yet statistics on household work are still sobering. On average, men take on far less housework and parenting responsibility. Sharon Sassler, Cornell professor of policy analysis and management, who has studied gender roles and division of labor, says that the last frontier of gender equality might just be “who cleans up.”

Taking Responsibility

Here’s where women can take the lead. They’re not just asking men to take more responsibility; they have to change as well. For some women, it might mean giving up the sense of control. For others, it might mean valuing their career as much as they value their husband’s. And for some, it means asking other family members, even older children, to step up.

Schireson’s post shows that it’s not just the canaries in the coal mine, but the miners, too, who are starting to show the strain. Men and women are closer than ever to finding a middle ground in which we can find solutions that work. Look at those global numbers. Let’s take inspiration from those countries.

If they can do it, so can we.

**********

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———————
Julie Diamond

Julie Diamond is a Leadership Consultant, Coach, and Trainer
She specializes in Designing and Delivering Leadership Development Programs
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Google+ | Web | Blog | Skype: juliediamond8559

Image Sources: media01.bigblackbag.net

6 Daily Practices of Effective Managers

6 Steps for Leaders

It can be easy for employees to take managers for granted because most employees are trying to avoid the attention of their managers.

But a company cannot be successful without a dynamic and experienced team of managers.

Measuring Results

Each day, the management team of your company sets out to do everything it can to put employees in a position to succeed. In order to appreciate the pressure managers are under, we first need to understand and accurately measure the daily practices of the most effective managers.

6 Daily Practices of Effective Managers

1) Maintain Departmental Culture

In order for a sales department to be successful, the manager has to create a culture that fosters success. Sales enablement is the process of giving sales professionals the tools they need to succeed. A strong culture is maintained by a manager who gets involved in what the employees are doing and helps employees to solve daily problems.

A good manager is out there sustaining a culture of success and not locked in their office wondering what is going on.

2) Constantly Evaluating The Talent Of Team Members

If an employee has displayed a talent for doing something that is useful for the company, then a good manager would have taken note of that talent. Each and every day, good managers talk to their employees and monitor the work that is being done to determine the talent level of each employee.

When the company faces a crisis, a good manager knows which employees to call on to help solve the problem and move the company forward.

3) Constantly Looking For New Talent

A good manager has told the human resources department to line up interviews with any employee that could benefit the company. That is not to say that a good manager is always hiring new staff members.

But a good manager does want to know what talent is available should the need ever arise.

The company could decide to start a new department or a key employee could decide to leave the company. If that were to ever happen, an effective manager already has a pool of potential employment candidates to call on.

4) Meets With Employees

Each and every day, an effective manager sets up meetings with his employees to gauge the employee’s progress in their development and to identify any challenges that may have come up.

A good manager does not wait until the annual review to sit down and meet with employees.

While there should always be that open level of communication between employees and their manager, it is always a good idea for managers to schedule one-on-one meetings with all employees throughout the course of the day.

5) Head Off Conflict Before It Becomes Disruptive

There are few things that derail a successful company faster than internal conflict. A little friendly competition for jobs and promotions is a healthy thing for any company. But when a real conflict erupts, that can disrupt the entire company.

A good manager is constantly keeping an eye out for potential conflict and working to eliminate the issue before it explodes into a problem. An effective manager does not avoid conflict in the hopes that it will just go away.

An effective manager addresses conflict head-on and eliminates it immediately.

6) Remain Honest With Employees

Employees know when they are being lied to, and they do not like it. While the truth can sometimes hurt, it is still in the manager’s best interest to be honest with employees at all times.

Employees will have to understand that there are times when the manager cannot be forthright with delicate or sensitive information.

But when the information needs to be distributed, employees want to know that their managers are being honest with them each and every time.

Effective managers are interactive leaders who understand and remember what it is like to be an employee. But managers also have to keep one eye on the future growth of the company, and that is what makes a manager’s job difficult.

So how are you doing with the above six daily practices? Are there areas of improvement that you can start today or tomorrow? What sort of challenges do you face in becoming a better manager or leader? I would love to hear your thoughts!

**********

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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

———————
Robert Cordray

Robert Cordray is a freelance writer with over 20 years of business experience
He does the occasional business consult to help increase employee morale
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Web

Image Sources: ep.yimg.com

On Leadership, Inspiration and Leading With a Modern Flair

Creative Problem Solving

Great leaders are always looking for ways to inspire their team, engage others in conversations and generate an exchange of ideas in new and creative ways.

There is a big difference between what people do out of compliance and what they do out of motivation and personal investment.

The goal is to move beyond compliance and provide a fresh approach to inspiring professional growth.

Inspiring Employees

In an article entitled, “10 Ways Not to Motivate Employees”,  the author writes:

“Employees are feeling unmotivated, uninspired, unconnected and just burned out with work. Part of that is possibly because management is not connecting with their employees, encouraging them and finding out how to inspire them and help with whatever they might be struggling with.”  – Conselium and Compliance Risk, July 17, 2013.

As a new Assistant Principal in an elementary school, I was searching for a way to inspire teachers and invest in their professional growth. What I did not want to do was add another time consuming meeting to their already full plates. My goal was to provide inspiration, thought provokers, and conversation starters in a unique and simple way.

I wanted to “break down the walls” of our organization and facilitate a more global perspective on what is important in our line of work.

Leading With A Modern Flair

In this age of digital tools and social media, I turned my attention to creating a platform that is engaging and quick, yet provides relevant content and timely information that is shared in a creative, fun, and motivational way.

Harnessing the power of the web-based platform S’More, social media site Twitter, and the curation tool Paper.Li, I designed a weekly professional development vehicle just for our staff which delivers relevant content and the sharing of ideas and latest trends in our profession-contributed by others from around the world.

I also provide a space for comments, questions and feedback from staff, which proves to be a great tool for collaboration and the back-and-forth exchange of ideas.

The weekly “S’More From The AP” is delivered to staff via email each Friday. This allows for the staff to access it on their own timetable and allows for conversations to develop and build throughout the upcoming week.

What Goes Into The Creation?

Throughout the week, I collect tweets, articles, blogs, and videos which I think would be of interest to my staff or that are important to our own ongoing growth.

Somewhere around mid week, a “big idea” either starts to develop from the material I have been collecting, or it is something that is more personal and tailored to our personal organization needs.

I start looking through my collection and seeing what ties in with the “big idea” for the week, and soon the S’More begins to take shape.

Format

I tinkered around with a few ideas, but here is what I finally settled on:

  • Mini blog post (big idea)
  • Worth Reading (blogs/articles related to idea)
  • Worth Watching (videos that go along with the idea and articles)
  • Tech Corner (A quick shout out to a favorite app, website, or platform that teachers may like)
  • Tweet of the Week (An idea captured in a tweet I have saved. Usually motivational).
  • Scenes From Our Week (pictures of teachers I have taken throughout the week as they are teaching).
  • Link to Staff Weekly Magazine. This is a paper.li that I publish every Thursday, and I include the link in the S’More. It contains articles contributed by members of my Professional Learning Network on Twitter which may or may not be “big idea” related. This platform is very user friendly; you can create a magazine in minutes and set your own publishing schedule. The free service does most of the work for you! You simply select the items you want to include from the pre-published version the website initially creates for you. All content for the magazine is pulled directly from your own Twitter feed, and you choose the contributors.

Keeping Focus

I do not include anything like upcoming dates, events, announcements, or anything of that nature because my principal communicates that information.

This is more of just a professional learning investment, for those who want to partake!

The final touches I usually do on Thursday night and I send it out through email at the end of the day on Friday. I have received very positive feedback on this from our staff!

Final Product

Here is a link to this week’s S’More:  https://www.smore.com/93jab

You can also look through my other weekly S’Mores to see the shape it has taken each week. With a little bit of initial set up, you can create your own personal vehicle for bringing inspiration and new ideas to your own team. This is the type of modern flair that you can bring to your team!

This helps in opening up a global perspective and moving your team beyond compliance into satisfying and rewarding professional growth in which they are truly invested.

What creative ways have you found for sharing motivational ideas or delivering meaningful resources to your employees? I would love to hear your suggestions!

**********

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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

———————–
Traci Logue

Traci Logue is an educator at Northwest ISD
She has twice been named Teacher of the Year
Email| LinkedIn | Twitter | Blog | Web

Image Sources: gordonmccallumresearch.com

On Leadership and People, Process and Production

People Process Production

Regular readers know that I try to help both newcomers and experienced project management practitioners and other leaders to achieve above average results using what they have at their disposal.

Because very few projects have the luxury of having the best of the best, the kingpins, or the people who make things happen on their teams, project managers need to be exceptional people managers and motivators. (Projects by nature are risky, so organizations usually keep the best people focused on the known, the proven and the established.)

The leadership method described here is not well documented – nor is it recognized as an “official” management or leadership strategy – but I can guarantee that it is a principle that will work in both management and leadership environments.

People, Process and Production

People

Most people have lives outside of work, ambitions, aspirations, hopes and dreams. If you follow one simple rule – EVERYBODY IS IMPORTANT – you will move mountains.

Acceptance, appreciation, interest and above all trust are the highest forms of recognition. If you expose your team members to these (genuine) affections, they will find ways to align themselves to your goals, they will search for ways to excel and I promise you that they will search for the plate to step up to.

If someone is wanted, regarded and trusted, they reward such positive treatment with the behavior that is suitable. If your team is made up of the “second-best” or even not that flattering groups, you will be able to show that their behavior, dedication and hard work is appreciated, recognized and NOTICED.

Superseding the once “best-of-the-best” has happened to many of the people who were on my teams. The moment they get used to the good behavior = good results programme, they are hard to stop…

What do you have to lose? Give it a go…

Process

In its narrowest form, a process describes how we move from one point (state) to another. If we think about the common understanding of a process, it can be likened to a roadmap.

What is hidden from view are:

  • Departure point – Known
  • People responsible for each action / task / node –Known
  • Information required to complete each action / task / node – Known
  • Input requirements for each action / task / node – Known
  • Output requirements for each action / task / node – Known
  • Success factors for each action / task / node – Known
  • Documentation for action / task / node – Known
  • Completion requirements for entire process – Known
  • Success factors for entire process – Known

If people know and understand what they are required to do, by when and to which standard, they will do whatever is required to achieve the result (successfully). If they understand who will take something forward, they humanize the situation, they treat others as clients, and your example (above) is sound, they will treat each other in the same way.

If you look inside you – you will be able to attribute each failure that you have had to the absence of clearly defined goals and objectives – internal or external.

Production

The sentence that people DO NOT want communicated inside an organization is this:

>>> IT IS ACCEPTABLE TO FAIL.

The reason organizations try and avoid this is because they have not learnt that the correct statement should be this:

>>> IT IS UNACCEPTABLE NOT TO TRY!!!

Bloopers, failures and whoopers can be repaired – with honesty and integrity.

If everybody is allowed to try their best, fail, learn, and move forward – progress in every sense will be staggering.

Fear is one of the most negative emotions that people can experience. If they are required to perform any function within a basis of fear you can predict the results.

Q: So if your team is motivated, know what they need to do, and they know that their best will be acceptable – what should the manager or leader do?

A: Stay out of their way!!

The only way that a leader or manager can enhance the performance would be through enablement – Make sure they have what they need, help where they need help, encourage when the day is dark and praise when the sun is shining.

THE ABSOLUTE PPP RULE:

Superior production (delivery of agreed results within time-frames, budget and materials consumption frameworks) is achieved by positively motivated people, doing what is expected of them, and working without fear.

GUARANTEE: If this does not work for you – Let me know!!! I will publicly renounce the statement!!!

Please feel free to comment, share and re-post this…

**********

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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

———————–

Anton van den Berg is a Project Professional at Aveng Limited
He serves Organisations to Advance to the Next Market Level
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Web | Blog

Image Sources: tycoonplaybook.com

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