On Leadership Styles, Philosophies and Where You Live

Infographic brought to you by Brighton School of Business and Management

Smart Leaders: How To Avoid the Bullying Trap

Bully Trap

Although we may not want to face it, our organizational cultures may be encouraging or rewarding abrasive and bullying behaviors in the name of achieving goals.

This makes it too easy to fall into the bullying trap.

Anything Goes?

If your strategy is to do whatever you need to do to meet your organization’s goals without investing time and resources to support your employees, your success will be short-lived.  

Recently, I asked my friend David Hain to join me on my podcast #HealthyLeadership to discuss the bullying trap that so many executives fall into. David is an organizational development expert and was recently appointed to the board of an organization called Bullies Out

During the interview, we covered the topic of the way in which too many managers treat their staff when critical deadlines require employees to stay late or work through the weekend. We talked about a company I worked for a few years back that enforced the “I don’t care” attitude. 

 I was told time and time again:

“This is what we are paying you for and you need to do whatever you have to do to get the job done.”

Not only is this approach counterproductive because it alienates employees, it can easily lead to abrasive and bullying behaviors from management and the staff.    

David Hain on goals and bullying

The Bullying Trap

Once we understand this bullying trap, it starts to make sense that over 50 million employees have reported that they have been bullied or otherwise abused.

Over 50 Million have been bullied at work!!!

This frightening statistic was shared with me by Dr. Annette Rotter, an expert on the topic of bullying, during an interview last year.  

Dr. Rotter explained that:

“A major part of the problem is many managers AND employees are not equipped or prepared to lead through the growing pressure and tension of the workplace and, as a result, lash out at their employees.”

I sincerely doubt that thousands of managers get out of bed in the morning thinking that they can’t wait to go bully and intimidate their employees and co-workers. However, the sad truth is that too many of us fall into the bullying trap.  

As David Hain explained, healthy organizations support those who may be being bullied and those who fall into the trap of bullying.  Easy to say, very hard to do…

Hain on Bullying Signed

It Takes One To Know One…

A few years back I asked my staff for feedback on my leadership and what I learned from them changed my whole perspective on leadership. While I thought that I was a good leader, the truth was that I was intimidating my employees and some of them were scared of me.  

While it was never my intent to bully them, there were times when they felt bullied.  

Since that point I started developing and incorporating organizational development principles into my organizations through formal and informal channels. I started telling my staff that my goal was that they never fear me again.

It didn’t take long before other teams started finding out about the work we were doing and asked us to share our materials and practices. I remember some of my colleagues asking me why I was doing all this work.

One rather abrasive executive actually told me:

“I don’t have time for this stuff.  This is a waste of time and money!”

Like so many abrasive executives, he chose to criticize and ridicule the need to improve his organizational culture instead of the facing the fact that his staff was confused, fearful, and suffering from an extreme lack of trust in management.  

I am fairly sure he had fallen into the bullying trap a number of times.

Resistance To Change

As I spoke to David during our podcast, I remembered this conversation and felt it was a perfect example of why it is so difficult to implement organizational change. Many of us don’t want to change, particularly when we may not be proud of the person we have become.  

look in the mirror signed

Are you a good leader?  How do you know?

Self-reflection can be painful, but as they say, no pain, no gain!

Thanks for sharing everyone!


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Al Gonzalez

Al Gonzalez is Founding Partner at GIVE Leadership
He helps clients develop trust and leverage the strengths of all team members
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How to Lead People and Influence Teams

A little over a decade ago I found my passion in the areas of leadership development, organizational health, and personal & professional growth when I went to work for Inc. Magazine’s current #1 Leadership and Management guru Dr. John C. Maxwell.

My role at the time was Director of Corporate sales in charge of business development for the newly minted corporate training offering. It was an exciting time because of all of the new things that I was learning and all of the great people I was privileged to be around.

I simply fell in love with the people. Many of those co-workers, clients, and associates are still friends today. And many have gone on to outstanding careers and have done amazing things.

It’s About People

What I learned from that time is the importance of understanding people in the deepest sense. I learned what drove people. I learned how to truly serve people. I learned that much of life boils downs to what people,on their individual, rock-bottom level, value in their lives.

I learned that values drive decisions; decisions drive behaviors; and behaviors drive results.

This understanding of people on an individual level has led me to be much more sensitive to people that I lead; the people that I serve. I have lost my myopic view of life and now see how things really work. I see that people are wondrously purposeful beings and often just need some vision, guidance, or help to achieve great things. And it is in the simple act of helping people get things done that defines my leadership.

Recently, I put this philosophy to the test with a recent change initiative announced to a large virtual group on LinkedIn that I lead.

L2L Reader Survey 2014

Change is a Comin’

I lead a large private group on LinkedIn for the last 6 years called Linked 2 Leadership. We grow at the rate of about 100 new members per week and we now have over 27,000+ members who are dedicated to help global professionals learn, grow, and develop other leaders.

In a LinkedIn group, one of the most valuable tools is the Discussion Area. Unfortunately, the Discussion Area can quickly turn into an unwelcome place when people use it for spammy self-promotion, for “READ MY AWESOME BLOG!” entries, or for forwarding the latest Fast Company article.

With this unfocused and un-monitored approach, any true discussions become few and far between. This happened to L2L. The playground was just too crowded with bullies and we needed to make some drastic changes.

To remedy this increasing trend, my group moderators and I discussed what we thought the Discussion Area should be. But better than that, we designed a questionnaire to find out the good, the bad, and the really bad. Then we distributed the survey to the group members to get their opinions.

Being Inclusive and Interested

Deciding to INCLUDE the group in our new direction by asking their opinions was on target: In just over a day, we received 700 responses from people who took, on average, 12-minutes to fill out the questionnaire.

Many of the responses where passionate and provided us a lot of information. Many members commented that they really appreciated having their voice be heard.

>>> Values Drive Decisions

With our survey results in hand, it was easy to see how to design new rules for the Discussion Area that keeps the playground clean, fresh, and safe for everyone to play. (See “Anatomy of a Proper L2L Discussion“)

Now that we know what our group values in terms of a properly run Discussion Area, we were able to decide what we are going to be as a group and tailor the experience by only allowing certain type of discussions to be approved.

>>> Decisions Drive Behaviors

With such a large group, the Discussion Area needs group moderators to filter through all of the submissions. So an open call went out to the group explaining the need for a few “L2L Deputy Sheriffs” to patrol the playground and make sure everybody was playing nicely.

We immediately had over 30 applicants from around the globe interested in devoting their free time to serving in our new mission. (See the application.)

Presently, we are in the process of reviewing the applications now and are designing plans to implement our new rules with fresh new eyes and energy dedicated to a better future.

>>> Behaviors Drive Results

In the coming weeks, our new Deputy Sheriffs will be trained on best-practices for evaluatingand approving discussions. They will comb through each submission and decide if it is what we want in our Discussion Area or not. We will delete many and move many others to our promotions or jobs area.

Effective leaders must inspect what they expect.

Dedication to Excellence

In leading this new team of Group Moderators, I must be mindful that they are motivated by a calling and dedication to excellence. They are not being paid for their new role, nor are they materially compensated in any way. They want to be part of something meaningful and want their efforts to matter.

My leadership over this process will be the key to success. If I get off-target, you can guess what will happen. However, if I execute the plan as designed, properly train my new team, and continue to monitor efforts and results, you can also guess where that might lead.

Leading people and influencing teams is not complex when you break things down to the essentials and simply stay on target.

So what are you doing to know and understand the heartbeat of your team or group? How are you executing new visions or initiatives? Are you honoring the mission inspecting what you are expecting? I would love to hear your thoughts!


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Tom Schulte
Tom Schulte is Executive Director of Linked 2 Leadership
He provides leadership training fit for the Blackberry-Attention-Span
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Web | Blog | L2L Group

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On Leadership, Complexity and Achieving Simplicty


Dealing with complexity is one of the key leadership challenges that any leader needs to successfully face.

And ignoring this fact is the quickest way to last place in the leadership lunch line.

Framing Complexity

In this post I want to elaborate on a common framework that leaders can use in order to clearly map the complexity they need to deal with and the implications that this mapping will have on their response to it.

The framework I would use for this discussion is called Cynefin (pronounced cenevin).

Keeping It Simple

The Cynefin framework is a ‘sense-making’ model, not a categorization one.

What this means is that while in categorization models the classification method is established first (for instance, organizations between 100-500 employees are classified as ‘medium’ and organizations with 501-1000 are classified as ‘large’) and then data is used and mapped against this classification model.

In a ‘sense-making’ model, no prior classification is made and the nature of the data (or the data patterns) emerge as part of an exploration process made within a social context.

The Cynefin Model

The Cynefin model recognizes the existence of five types of ‘situations’ or domains:

  • The ‘Simple‘ Domain – characterized by clear cause-and-effect relationships, with well-defined rules of engagement that call for the use of best practice approaches.
  • The ‘Complicated’ domain – where the relationships between cause-and-effect are not straight forward but are discernible, subject to some level of analysis or investigation with the application of expert knowledge.
  •  The ‘Complex‘ domain – where the relationship between cause-and-effect can only be perceived in retrospect
  • The ‘Chaos‘ domain – where uncertainty is abound and no discernible cause-and-effect relationships are known to exist.
  • Disorder‘ – when no clear realization exists regarding the state at which the situation is and where no clear action can be taken due to conflicting views and complete lack of leadership.

From a leader’s perspective, the situations referred to above, can relate to the Organization as a whole, to sub areas within the organization or the Environment within which the organization operates.

Tailoring Your Leadership Style

When tying the concept of Leadership with the Cynefin framework, one has to consider (or rather ‘sense’) in which domain the organization and/or the environment are and, based on that assessment, tailor the leadership style to account to that situation.

The situations most likely to be present at the outset of that process are as follows:

Cynefin Combinations

Click to Enlarge

On Perception and Reality

At the core of the Cynefin thinking framework lies the realization that circumstances and the perception of circumstances are not always what they seem to be.

A leader whose experience has evolved primarily in domains characterized by simplicity, where a known action resulted in the expected result, might approach their new environment with an expectation that similar cause-and-effect will similarly work here.

In the same vein, leaders whose experience has evolved primarily in domains characterized as being complicated, where the relationships between cause-and-effect require analysis or some other form of investigation (or the application of expert knowledge), might approach their new environment in a similar manner, not suspecting that the situation they are facing is complex and needs to be handled completely differently.

Avoiding Your Leadership Traps

For leaders, the point to be avoided here is falling into the entrained thinking trap.

It can be easy to fall back and rely on one’s practices, policies, techniques and rationale that was found to be successful in the past. But leaders must be on guard so this doesn’t happen.

They must be vigilant not to slip, slide, or just sit back into habits that may have worked in the past because this can be a recipe for dissater

Leaders must think in terms of context and act appropriately. The lazy leader doesn’t lead for long!

Leaders must understand that conditions and circumstances are not always the same, thus requiring a totally different approach.

Think about it!

When was the last time you got caught in leading in the wrong way because you simply tried the wrong approach? How did this impact your results? And when was the last time you took cognitive steps to migrate to another quadrant because conditions where different and needed a different approach? How did that work out for you? I would love to hear you stories!


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Shim Marom PMP, MSP, ICAgile ICP

Shim Marom is a Melbourne, Australia based Project Management Consultant
He blogs and engages in Public, Forums and Online Discussions
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On Leadership, Reaction and Rebounding From Chaos

You never know how strong your company is until it’s been battle-tested. It’s easy to lead when everything is running smoothly, but when faced with an unforeseen dilemma, many leaders buckle under the pressure.

And as a leader, you must understand that your business will face a crisis eventually.

Chaos or Crisis

Sometimes it means a product failure, a disruption in your supply chain, a loss of market share, or a PR catastrophe or something worse. However, these disasters can actually become learning opportunities that strengthen your organization in the long-term.

And fortunately, if you plan and prepare correctly, you can make it through almost any situation. Below is an emergency plan for successful crisis management.

5 Steps for Leaders to Rebound From a Crisis

Step 1: Embrace the Chaos

I always tell my clients not to waste a good crisis. I believe that these disruptive moments push us outside our comfort zones and force us to consider new ways of doing things.

In its simplest terms, it goes something like this: A crisis leads to chaos, chaos leads to transformation, transformation leads to innovation, innovation leads to efficiency, and efficiency leads to profit.

I believe that a crisis can break barriers, challenge entrenched habits, and shift attitudes, but it requires the right mindset to move your organization forward. Rather than ignoring or hiding from difficult situations, you should embrace them and maximize the opportunity to take a fresh look at how your business operates.

Step 2: Let the Truth Set Your Organization Free

To move past a crisis, you must first acknowledge and accept that the crisis has occurred. Next, I recommend taking an honest and objective view of the entire situation. Try asking the following questions:

  • What went wrong? What caused it?
  • Who was involved? Who will be affected?
  • Was it preventable?
  • Why was the issue not identified before it escalated to a crisis?

Finally, ask the million-dollar question: What can be done differently so it does not happen again?

Step 3: Keep Score

Once you have answered these questions, the next step is to set up a score sheet and a performance dashboard that will keep you current with your progress.

Benchmarks, or key performance indicators, are critical for clarifying your strengths and weaknesses and providing quantifiable data that will show when operational goals have been met, as well as whether or not you are moving in the right direction.

Choose metrics that actually affect your bottom line, and make them visual in a dashboard so you and your entire team can see your organization’s financial and operational health at a glance.

Step 4: Build Your Resurgence Team

To successfully manage a crisis, you should recruit a team of employees to put your recovery plan into action.

Recognize that some employees might feel overwhelmed or bitter when faced with a dire situation in your organization. Try to redirect the team’s focus toward the future.

Another effective approach is to include people from other parts of the company to infuse the group with fresh ideas. This also provides reinforcements for battle-weary employees who are working to address the issue.

Step 5: Create Positive Momentum

Creating positive momentum is one of the most difficult and important aspects of any recovery process. Without enough momentum, even the best plans will languish in their own inertia.

Here’s how to get things moving and keep them moving:

Listen and Learn

Talk with people in different areas of the organization to fully understand the situation. Use this information to either confirm or disprove different hypotheses about the cause of the problem.

Shoot Straight

Be open and honest. Tell team members exactly what happened, and discuss what needs to be accomplished.


Create an action plan that will not only drive the business recovery but also reconstruct employee morale.

Deliver Something

Review the list of action items, and determine whether any items can be addressed immediately. Sometimes, even small things mean a lot.


Highlight positive actions or specific accomplishments each week. Balance the scales with good news to offset any negative effects that might occur during the recovery.

Share the Success

Many people will undoubtedly make sacrifices during a crisis. When the status quo is restored, it’s important to show appreciation to everyone who helped make it possible.

A wheel in motion requires much less force to change course than a stationary one. Think about the tension you feel when turning the wheel of a parked car. Now, compare that with the relative ease of making a turn when the car is in motion.

The same holds true in a crisis.

When your team is working well together and moving forward, your organization is much more likely to rebound from a crisis than when you freeze up and deny that a crisis has occurred. You may not always know whether you’re moving in the right direction, but you won’t get anywhere if you don’t start working together as a team.

So how have you reacted in the past to either chaos, calamity, or crisis? Did you have a plan, or did you get hit unexpectedly without any preparation? What will you do when trouble comes in the future? How can you prepare now instead of having to react later? I would love to hear your thoughts!


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Ambrose Conroy

Ambrose Conroy is the founder of Seraph
He works with clients to Transform, Relocate, or Restructure Operations
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On Leadership, Employee Morale and The Joy of Ketchup

The Joy of Ketchup

My father has always been a picky eater. He doesn’t like bold flavors at all, so we did not have the joy of trying different foods as kids. He liked things to be overcooked and unfortunately for us, that meant the rest of us had to eat our dinners that way too.

He would cook steaks so well that they were tough to chew. I didn’t know how good a steak could be because ours were tough and burned.

The Joy of Ketchup

Ketchup is a wonderful invention. It was created to enhance the flavor quality of certain foods, but wasn’t ever intended to be used with every item on your plate. But in our house, it was a necessity!

The only way to make some of Dad’s overcooked food palatable was to cover it with ketchup.

We put it on overcooked steak, mashed potatoes, and even the plain white rice he would cook! What was intended to be an enhancement to the dinner experience became a necessity in order to hide the underlying fact that the food was terrible.

The Ketchup of the Workplace

There once was a company called Lomo Ralé Inc. The culture was very fragmented at there:

  • Departments worked in silos
  • Management dictated decisions rather than collaborating with employees
  • The people were both over-worked and under-equipped
  • The environment was a stressful place for employees

As a result of these conditions, employees only gave the effort that they were required to give. There was no reason to give any extra effort. For most of the frontline employees at Lomo Ralé, the company seemed to drain the life out of them.

Then the CEO had read an expert’s book about what incentive awards could do to morale in the office. She gathered her executive team together and came up with a program that would allow the employees to take short breaks in order to to play games and also provide them with plaques and other awards for strong performance.

She was convinced that this would fix the morale issue.

Short Shelf Life

The program was implemented quickly and there was an immediate boost to energy level in the office. Employees smiled more and seemed to actually enjoy themselves. That feeling slowly faded over time because the games and awards didn’t change the underlying work conditions.

Employees still did not feel like the managers had their best interests in mind. Decisions were still dictated downward. The “steak” of the company was still overcooked. The “ketchup” that management had thrown on top was only a mask for what was really underneath.

Cooking a Better Steak

The situation at Lomo Ralé is an all-to-common occurrence.  Managers throw a bunch of “ketchup” on top of a burnt “steak” and wonder why the best people in the organization leave.

For sustained performance, leaders have to cook a better steak – they have to provide a better environment for their people.

Turning Around a Culture

As John Maxwell said, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” It’s up to you to make the change for your people, no matter where you are in the organization.

Here are some tips for turning around the culture of your organization.

  1. Value your people. People don’t leave organizations, they leave companies because of people. Be the leader that they know you value them. Spend time with your people. Learn about their personal lives (within reason, of course). Stand up for them if they have a suggestion for an improved process. Be their champion and they will champion you. Nothing keeps a stressed group of people together better than people they know value them.
  2. Include your people in the change. Have discussionswith your people to find out what they would do to improve productivity and morale. Take the best of their ideas and do everything in your power to make them happen. Recognize them for their contributions. If they see that they can make a difference, they will want to continue making a difference.
  3. Develop your people. Not many people want to be stuck without hope of improving. Be a proponent of additional training, special projects, and other ways to help your people develop. Their improvement will only boost the team’s capabilities.

So how much ketchup have your employees been putting on what you have been serving up? Have you known that your cooking might be up to par? What can you do to change the recipe of your leadership so that people start loving what you serve? I would love to hear your thoughts!


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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

Rich Bishop

Rich Bishop is President of Bishop Coaching & Consulting Group
He takes a hands-on approach to your Development through Coaching & Training
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5 Sacrifices A Leader Must Make


You may believe that as a leader your job is relatively easy, where you simply watch over and manage the behaviour of your employees; this is not so. As a leader, you have a number of responsibilities including not only watching over your employees but ensuring that they manage their work effectively and that they are happy.

It’s also part of your job to make sacrifices for the company and for those that work below you.

Not all of these sacrifices have to be extravagant or draw attention to your person, but they have to be made for the right reasons.

L2L Reader Survey 2014

5 Sacrifices A Leader Must Make


sac·ri·fice [ sákrə f̄̀ss ]

  1. giving up of something valued: a giving up of something valuable or important for somebody or something else considered to be of more value or importance


1) Sacrificing Time and Energy

Giving both your time and energy in order to help others and the company that you work for is a sacrifice that all excellent leaders make. This is an important sacrifice because you cannot regain the time or energy that you have expended; once you’ve given them to somebody else they become lost to you. By giving your time and energy it also means that you are working hard towards not only your future, but that of your colleagues and employees too.

2) Ambition

Another sacrifice that is often made by a leader in times of need is that of their own ambition. By prioritising the needs of others including your employees, you leave less time for you to focus on yourself; any parent will understand this situation completely and the same applies to any leader.

To truly look after your workforce, you must focus on their every need to ensure their productivity. By helping those around you to succeed, you may have to sacrifice personal pursuits but these actions will always have a positive effect going forward.

3) Authority

As a leader there will come a time within your job when you are asked to sacrifice your absolute authority in order to let others progress and develop the skills that are needed to reach a higher position. Giving up authority can be difficult and threatening but it is important for your workforce to feel that they are progressing and learning new skills.

4) Benefits

As a leader it’s your duty to protect those around you and ensure their happiness; even in times of difficulty and instability. If your company is suffering from temporary financial instability (as many have during the recession), as a leader you should set the example by forgoing any bonuses and if necessary taking a pay cut. An excellent leader would never ask of anything from their employees that they aren’t willing to do themselves.

5) Relationships

As a decision-maker, you will understand that you may not always be liked or favoured for making the right decisions. For example, if you feel that an individual is not pulling their weight and fails to heed your warnings, you may find that your only solution is to remove this person from your team.

There will also be other times where you have to reject salary increases or defend requests for additional work hours to meet a deadline but by being the leader, you will sometimes have to play the villain.

Become Your Best Self

You may find that during your time as a leader, there are many other things that you must sacrifice in order to become the best leader that you can be. However, try to be fair at all times and don’t ever ask anything of your employee that you wouldn’t ask of yourself.

So, how do you feel about the idea that leaders must sacrifice in order to succeed? Do you think that if you reach a certain position or status that you no longer need to sacrifice? Or do you embrace the steps above and think that you will be more fulfilled if you learn these lessons and apply them? I would love to hear your thoughts!


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Georgina Stamp

Georgina Stewart works for Marble Hill Partners
She helps Organisations to Recruit for Executive Roles and Interim Management
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