Posts by :
October 16th, 2012
In every organization, team members play different roles. With a new focus on the detrimental effect of bullying in the workplace, leaders are focusing on how interpersonal issues can affect team dynamics and performance. Team members may accept roles as either a bully or a bystander, and the leader must make decisions that protect victims as well as teaching bullies how to relate to others.
To say that leaders are watched carefully by their teams may be a gross understatement, particularly as it relates to dealing with bullies and bystanders. Leaders must make wise decisions in their personal and professional lives in order to have the leverage they need when confronting workplace issues. Although some leaders may complain that there should be a division between their personal choices and professional leadership, many a career has been destroyed by personal decisions that have sullied a professional image. Integrity and trust are important qualities in leadership and contribute directly to a leader’s effectiveness in dealing with bad workplace behavior.
Don’t Forget about Followership
Getting people to truly work together creates a new synergy that surpasses the roles of leader, bystander and bully. Followership, the art of developing a group of like-minded people who support a singular cause or idea, is one of the keys to managing social media and grassroots efforts.
The Bystander Effect
Leaders must move team members from bystanders to followers to eliminate workplace bullying. When a team member is being bullied, the “bystander effect” means that witnesses do nothing to help, whether the incident is deemed as someone having a bad day or teasing another person. Bystanders fear they will become the next target or get entangled in something that could hurt their careers.
Role of the Leader
In the workplace triangle of the leader, bystander and bully, the leader’s role is to make sure the workplace is an environment where each individual can grow and contribute. That isn’t possible if there is workplace bullying. Leaders must take quick, appropriate action to deal with bullies, otherwise the behavior will continue and the victim and bystanders will see that nothing
is being done to prevent the situation. Holding bullies accountable and making them responsible, along with providing additional training, will help them adjust their behavior and eliminate the triangulation that can occur. For victims, exemplary leaders accept responsibility for the fact that bullying happened on their watch and provide support to defuse the situation.
Handle with Care
Every employee should be handled carefully. Setting clear expectations as the leader of a team that there will be no bullying may not be enough to eliminate the leader, bystander and bully triangle. Look for signs of bullying—changes in behavior that include taking numerous sick days, the appearance of high stress, a decrease in morale and a loss of interest in work—and then meet with the individual and ask directly about their experience. If there are signs of bullying, it is critical for leaders to take action immediately. During the healing process, it may help to offer support as well as training in anger management, negotiation and communication.
Inevitably, there will be some personalities that don’t mesh well on organizational teams. The role of a leader is to make sure that triangulation behavior between themselves, bystanders and bullies is not tolerated. Excellent leaders do more than just announce that bullying won’t be tolerated; they get involved in the interpersonal interactions on their team and work toward converting bystanders into followers.
No Comments "
May 16th, 2012
nt/uploads/2012/05/86503625-300×200.jpg” alt=”Leadership: Art or Science?” width=”300″ height=”200″ />From the Beginning
Leadership dates back before the onslaught of books, articles and seminars that line bookstore shelves. In fact, leadership goes all the way back to tribal times, when one leader instructed a group of people to take or not take action. We have our own contemporary version of those same leaders: entrepreneurs, national leaders, physicians, law enforcement and CEOs. While leadership isn’t “rocket science,” there are some stark differences that can help business managers become more effective in their role.
Which Is It? Is Leadership Art or Science? Or Both?
The argument for leadership as both an art and a science is a strong one. Although there are certain quantifiable skills that make for a good leader – skills that can be measured and calculated – there are also qualities that are simply harder to define. In fact, it may be a combination of personality and skills that determine whether a leader rises to the forefront of an organization. Either way, arguments for leadership as a science and an art abound:
- A Science Lesson: The quantifiable part of leadership can be gauged by creating measurable goals that can be tracked on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis, giving real data as to whether strategies are working. These metrics create a firm base with which to measure progress.
- An Art Lesson: Many leaders are dedicated to directing their teams, but do they also know how to listen? Listening is the art of exceptional leadership. Leaders who listen to their team members open the door to true team vision, one developed by taking the best ideas that everyone can bring, rather than the attitude of “Here is the vision, now go execute it.”
Keep it Simple (Silly)
Whether leadership is an art or a science, it is not nearly as complicated as many people make it out to be. There are simple steps that leaders can focus on to develop their team into a prime organizational model. By encouraging each team member to leverage his or her talent, each team becomes a unique composite of what everyone does best. An analogy that best exemplifies the active leveraging of talent is in a choral environment where you must give your voice to the song while listening and complementing the other talents around you to produce the best arrangement. Creating meaning and purpose is another goal that top leaders achieve effectively. When team members see that their uniqueness is being taken into consideration and understand that their role is critical to success, they develop trust in the leader and a desire to work together. Skilled leaders work to keep their focus on keeping their team engaged and reading from the same song sheet.
Don’t be Daft
When leaders embrace complication instead of the basics, they tend to miss the point. Good leaders tend to share a few things in common:
- Good leaders work harder than their team. They work on their own personal and professional development on a daily basis and have a plan for their life – a plan that encourages others to act because of their positive example.
- Good leaders know their industry and have confidence in what they do and how they do it.
- Good leaders are ultimately accountable for what they do and have high integrity.
Just Do It!
So what’s the best way to start being a leader? Just do it and keep it simple. Build trust by giving team members information that is critical to their tasks. Excellent leaders are consistent and define clear roles for their teams, eliminating confusion and dealing with any questions as soon as they arise. Finally, leaders listen well to the merits of each idea without tarnishing the idea by worrying about who offered it in the first place.
No Comments "
March 28th, 2012
How Young Managers Can Work with Older Employees
We live in an interesting era when it comes to age dynamics. In fact, this is the first workforce in American history to contain four generations. Many from the baby boomer generation will be retiring within the next ten years, and some will continue to work lightly on a part-time basis. In contrast, generation Y and the millenials have emerged as the first groups to grow up with access to the internet. Management is never easy, and age differences can create tensions in the workplace. Here are some tips for the young manager who needs to manage older employees.
Find the Value in their Experience
In dealing with generational gaps, there are some very real challenges. While many people will choose to support a young manager, there is the fact that a twenty-four year old appears quite young to anyone who is forty or older. Some people may even feel slighted by a young manager's presence if they expected to be promoted themselves. Even more, there are generational gaps in daily habits. People who grew up with the internet tend to expect more rapid communication than those who did not. To offset these difficulties, it is wise for a young manager to find value in the experience of older employees. Rather than stepping up to the plate with a full set of new ideas and personal boundaries, take the time to appreciate the years of work others have achieved and show that you can utilize their knowledge. Also, be ready to adapt to different communication styles as long as productivity is not lessened as a result. By communicating clearly and demonstrating respect, you can ease some of that discomfort that naturally arises when an older person reports to a younger one.
Conflict Management Can Get Uncomfortable
Managing a conflict that arises with an employee or between two employees can be even more uncomfortable when a
manager is young. One key rule to keep in mind is this: conflicts are always going to arise. The baby boomers are go-getters. As part of a boom, they had to compete with each other, and they were the ones who built the business structures that now exist. One excellent tip for conflict resolution is to practice careful listening and repeat back part of what the other person said before you respond. This is one way that you can continue to value the older person's experience while also showing that you thoroughly understand and are capable of making a decision as a result. You may lean other simple tips like this from negotiation training courses.
Manage the Office Culture
A good manager needs to direct the office culture in ways that lessen the potential for conflict. For instance, some employees will compete with each other inappropriately. Or, some older employees may have long-established habits that harm productivity. When first beginning to manage a team, it is good to gather information. Very soon, though, you want to establish your managerial style and relate some clear, logical ground rules for your team. You may be able to refer to some of your employees' experience and how this valuable information helped you to form practical rules. In this way, you bring everyone together for the purpose of achieving quality work as a team. By expressing yourself clearly, you can begin to establish trust and earn the respect of others.
Generational gaps are truly challenging. They awaken feelings that can make the people on both sides uncomfortable. I used to work in a nonprofit agency as a manager of teachers. Often, the applicants for teaching positions were retired persons who wanted to do a little part-time work. Clearly, I knew I could learn from them in regards to teaching, but the program also had specific goals which I had to relate. Developing respectful relationships and taking the time to communicate carefully with older teachers helped so much in dealing with the age difference. You may opt for negotiation training or simply take it step by step. Whichever you choose, your older employees will be providing you with their years of experience in more ways than one.
1 Comment "
January 6th, 2012
This guest post was provided Jason Monaghan on behalf of the University of Notre Dame Executive Online Education. Notre Dame offers leadership skills training courses in addition to business administration and negotiation courses. To learn more about Notre Dame’s certificate programs visitwww.NotreDameOnline.com
Leadership skills come under pressure in trying times. Whether your company is going through growing pains, a shift in corporate culture, or just responding to the sustained challenges of the current economic climate, being an effective leader takes more than just mastering a leadership management skill set with a positive personality. When times are trying, employees look toward leaders to keep morale high and cohesive teams thriving. They’re looking around the room at you, but where are you looking for inspiration? Consider the following:
Engage Your Team with Communication that Matters
If you know your team well enough, you will know how to get serious, sometimes disheartening messages across with a direct tone and an action-oriented- moving- ahead sort of focus that allows them to recognize that pendulums swing, and with cohesive motivation the situation will shift. Just as in life nothing in business stays the same forever, the trick is breaking the habit of negativity and training your vision to see rare opportunity and seize it completely. These skills are part knowledge, part experience, and part knowing the art of inspirational communication.
Most people have heard of Knute Rockne, Notre Dame’s impressive head coach from 1918 to 1930. Many sports history buffs can even recite the “Win One For the Gipper” locker room pep talk from 1928 and are quick to point out Rockne’s highest win percentage of any football coach in history. While that is all certainly noteworthy, what is even more inspiring is the background against which he led not just the team, but the Notre Dame spirit at a time where people needed something larger to believe in; to be a part of; to belong to; to celebrate.
In 1919 many veterans could not find work; there were race riots in cities like Chicago; and women suffragists were struggling for the right to vote up to 1920. In 1928 there was a deadly bombing on Wall Street and the economy remained troubled leading to the crash in 1929. Yet, in his own small part of the world Rockne focused his energy on situations he could somewhat control, or at least influence more directly. He placed his complete energy into the team he led connecting the whole campus community and many people throughout the country to a vision, a shared experience, and something to celebrate at a time when graduates and their families were looking at troubling times all around.
Streamline Your Message and Deliver it with Gusto
Rockne believed in what he did, his vision for the team, and the team’s ability to achieve greatness. It was not just lip service when he gave his famous speech; he believed the team could turn the game around and his words conveyed that energy. Historians debate whether or not the events communicated in the speech were real or embellished. And you know what, Rockne wasn’t writing a memoir at the time, he was inspiring his team and so to dwell on precise historical detail means missing the point. The magic of that moment in team history wasn’t in the words of the story itself, but rather in the power of the story to be magically transformative. Leaders in today’s chaotic world economy can learn much from the focus, drive, belief in the larger collective, and the sheer ability of thoughtful words to inspire greatness that Rockne possessed.
Be Your Brand
Rockne was Rockne on the field and off. His leadership style was part of how he lived his life. He was aware of the power of collective action to make a positive influence and knew the power of the fans. In 1930, he coached an “all stars” game to raise money for the New York Mayor’s Relief Committee that raised money for the unemployed and needy of the city. Approximately 50,000 people came out to see his team play the Giants. The only way he could have inspired so many on and off the field was to believe wholeheartedly in his vision that collectively a skilled team, fan base, community can do extraordinary things was to be what he believed. His authenticity was the brand. If he did not genuinely believe in his message, in his “brand,” in his team, then the results he attained would not have been possible. In his short 43 years on Earth, Rockne not only led his team to 5 seasons of no losses, but also led an impressive fan base with unwavering inspiration.
In the years before the Internet with Facebook, YouTube, and other SoMe, Rockne had an international following building the brand and increasing the loyal “clientele.” He lived his passion and worked his dreams. No matter what your playing field is, in order to be a leader in tough times, it is important to recognize the importance of authenticity and historical significance of other great leaders across a variety of fields. An extraordinary coach knows all his or her team players as individuals first and is approachable, responsive, and exercises strong communication skills. When leading a team of your own, especially in troubling times, it is important to seek out ways to develop the softer side of communication, the “art” of connecting people with a vision and orchestrating greatness as a result.
Don’t Lead In a Vaccum
Great leaders do not lead in a vacuum. Seek the inspiration of other great leaders in difficult times and find your own brand of leadership charisma in the process. Many great coaches came before and came after Rockne, although many still consider him the gold standard, an argument with certain winning advantages. The point is that three quarters of a century have passed since Rockne first walked on the field and still his life and leadership techniques are relevant to today’s trying times.
His legacy still feeds the Notre Dame brand to this very day. When students invest in a Notre Dame education, they aren’t just buying credit hours; they are joining into an affiliation. When you look at your brand, your product or service, are your clients drawn to your brand like Rockne’s fans were, for benefits much larger than exchanging goods for services? When you face your team with a tough message you need to communicate, do you anticipate and feel the emotional side of the message and work that into your delivery? Is there a vision your team can see and experience; and lastly, do you give your team something to celebrate? In other words, who’s your “Gipper;” what the ideal, the vision, or the inspiration that moves you?
While great leaders are tested in trying times, the result of trying times can be fundamentally transformative for management professionals. Leaders willing to read the magic in the stories of those who came before, faced tough times, persevered and made a lasting impact can gain momentous insight into the art of leadership beyond any leadership management program of study. Professionals who are willing to maintain engagement in tough times can inspire teams with the drive, determination, and creativity needed to weather adversity and push forward to greatness all their own and that alone is cause for a team celebration.
No Comments "