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Archive for March, 2010

5 Tips on Effective Leadership

March 21st, 2010 1 comment

Are you in, or aspire to be, in a management position with your company?  Does a group of individuals report to you on a regular basis?  If you are in that position, are you a manager or a leader?

There is a difference between leadership and managing.  Many people in a management position don’t have a clue there is a difference.  Leadership is an action word.  It means to be out front of a group of people doing what you want them to do, first.  Management, on the other hand, is the act, manner, or practice of managing; handling, supervision, or control.

When accepting a new position in management, a person will have to make the decision, “Am I going to be a leader, actively in the trenches with my people, or am I going to be handling, supervising, and controlling my subordinates?”

Once the decision has been made, there are dangers to watch out for.  The most common one is that many managers choose to use fear and intimidation to control their subordinates.  Perhaps, this was they way they were managed in the past.

I believe most managers are good people who, not only care about the production they are responsible for, but their people.  Fear is never a long term effective management tool. It only destroys the trust and respect of those they are leading or managing.  They may get results using fear, but it will be only short term and temporary.

When a manager or leader uses their time to “dress down” their employee or team member they have stepped on a very large landmine.  That relationship can be destroyed.  They may never be trusted or respected again. But, doesn’t a naughty employee deserve to be disciplined and made to feel small so they won’t do it again?

Here are a few effective tools I have used when leading a team.

1.  Keep criticisms private and praise public. Never, ever, reprimand someone in front of others.  That is an ineffective control technique.  Those times should be done in a private, without anger or blame.  It is better to position it as a “coaching session”. When they do something well, praise them, in front of others, with sincere words and recognition.

2.  Treat them with respect. There should never be a reason to dehumanize your team member.  Don’t make snide or cutting remarks about them.  Keep it professional.

3.  Believe in them. Always see them in the best light.  Give them the benefit of the doubt.  Use constructive words to promote change in their behavior.

4.  Be perfectly clear. Let them know exactly what change needs to be made.  Ask for their input on what they can do to make the change.  Help them set steps, time frames, or goals to implement the changes.

5.  Always end the coaching session with positive affirmation of their abilities and what they can accomplish. Paint them a picture on how great it is going to be.   Help them understand how important they are to the team.

Everyone wants respect.  If coaching sessions are done correctly, you will have built a stronger relationship with your team member in which they can continue to grow and develop.

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Can Fear and Intimidation be an Effective Management Tool?

March 20th, 2010 4 comments

Have you ever been in the situation where you are ruled by the time clock?  When you are late to work,  you are met with glares and threats from your management.  You better be on time or lose your job!  When production isn’t met, or you make a mistake,  you are threatened, once again, with dismissal or that dreaded disciplinary action “going into your file”.  Getting time off for a doctor’s appointment, or any other needed time away, is met with suspicion and guilt.  Management is seen as the enemy, always prepared to use fear, intimidation, and threats to keep us producing the way they think we should.

Why do perfectly decent human beings result to managing like this?  Do they treat their family and friends this way?  Of course not!  They wouldn’t keep them for long if they did.  I believe, they do this because they have had a manager in the past who treated them this way.  They believe this is how people are suppose to be managed.  Perhaps, their management above them treats them this way.  As a plumber would tell you, poo runs down hill!

Another reason might be that they really believe that genuine caring is considered a weakness and that they are being “too nice”.  They believe that you must be tough and uncaring to win people’s respect.

This is a crock of crap.  They may get the production done because of their intimidation tactics.  But, it will come with a stiff penalty.  They will never earn the respect of their people.  They will only get the work they force others to give, and no more.

I believe,  people want to be treated with caring and respect.  A leaders solution to this is to add the human factor to all aspects of their business.  It is possible to make firm and tough decisions and treat people good.  Decisions should be made for the benefit of the team and the people who are part of that team.  They will see this and respond positively.  People will give more to the leader who who sees them as a human being not just a nameless face or number.

It is a human desire to be part of something bigger than themselves.  They want to belong to a team or business that functions like a positive family environment.  As with families, it isn’t always perfect, but with time and respect all things can be worked out.

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What 3 Things to Look for in My Perfect Career?

March 9th, 2010 No comments

The year 2009 will be remembered for a long time for being the year of economic downturns.  Jobs, houses, savings have been lost.  Many people have felt the pinch.  People have begun to realize that their jobs are not as secure as they had once thought.  They may be forced to  re-evaluating their goals and  career path.  As with all adversities, there are seeds of opportunity.

What is it that most people would love to find in their “perfect” career path?  In my years of business coaching, I have found that most people would like 3 things.

1.  They would like the opportunity to be their own boss.  Call their own shots.  Even though they deep down want this, many are fearful of it.  Being their own boss means calling all the shots.  It means, when failure occurs, the blame falls to them.

2.  They want to control their own destiny.  We have all discovered that corporate jobs are not very secure.  Whether a person is the custodian, or the big cheese with the corner window office, lay offs happen.  The only way to build security is through a business they own and control.  Many have been so beaten down, from their corporate jobs or they have “tried” to start something on their own and failed, that their self esteem is at an all time low.  They have forgotten their basic dreams.

3.  They want to work at something they believe in.  Everyone wants their life to matter.  That’s what keeps the human race moving forward.  Whether they are striving to “save the whales” or “provide a hot lunch for every school child in America”, to believe in what you are doing, matters.

How do we move forward towards our “perfect” career?  As John Assaraf once said, “When we step into our passion our genius shows.” It is important to find our passion.  What moves our souls.

If you are a leader looking to employ or work with top quality people, it is wise to look beyond their credentials.  Many top notch, excellent people don’t have the degrees.  They may not look so pretty.  They may be disguised to look like every day “Joes” or “Josephines”.

Most people in business leadership don’t realize that a person’s success is not hinged on what they, themselves, do.  It is judged by the number of people they have helped become successful during their career.  If you want to be someone special yourself, help someone else become successful.

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Is the Life of Entreprenuer for me?

March 8th, 2010 1 comment

How do you know when being an entrepreneur is right for you?  The difference between Corporate America and being an entrepreneur is a completely different set of life skills.  Can they be learned?  Yes and no.

Many people find that a corporate job can be a great motivation to become an entrepreneur.  The corporate lifestyle tends to discourage the traits that are important to the entrepreneur.  In  the corporate world, or traditional “job”, a person gets paid for showing up.  For the entrepreneur, often times, isn’t paid until the work is completed.  They are work creators instead of work processors.

Things such as setting goals,  cash flow, buying your own benefits package, paying the upfront cost to get a great idea from drawing board to market place, among other things, can seem overwhelming to the new entrepreneur.  Here are a few traits to consider in becoming a success business owner.

1.  A desire to be somebody.  If you have a burning desire to be somebody or do something special in your life, the entrepreneur captains their own ship.  This can be a huge motivating force!  Without this desire it is much easier to cut and run when times get tough.  This desire can get the entrepreneur over the rough bumps.  As Anthony Robbins says, “There is a powerful driving force inside every human being that once unleashed can make any vision, dream or desire a reality.”

2.  The will to win.  That fits hand in hand with wanting to be somebody.  If they want to be somebody bad enough they will have the will to win.  Even if it’s hard, keep going.  Even when it gets discouraging, move forward.  Even when there doesn’t seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel, keep driving on.  Without the will to win, discouragements and distractions can become a monumental blockage.

3.  If you aren’t looking for a hand out, but a opportunity to get ahead in life.  An honest opportunity can disguise itself as “hard work”.    An entrepreneur has to be willing to work hard, smart, and except a certain amount of risk to bring their idea to fruition.  They need to be able to, dream, hope and make a commitment to their business.

4.  They are willing to take a chance one more time.  People can become jaded from too many times having their hopes dashed. This is especially true for someone that has attempted the self employed role before.  It, also, holds true for someone that has been in the corporate or “job” world.  It is possible to get beat down so far that “dreams” get locked away and put on the shelf. A quote from Bob Proctor says, “The road to success is lined with many tempting parking spaces.”

5.  An entrepreneur must be willing to accept some amount of risk, especially in the beginnings of a new endeavor. If you can’t tolerate any risk, then a traditional job might be best.  I know many people that this point discourages them from even trying something new.  This can be minimized by doing it part time while still holding down a traditional job.  Saving money that can be used as a pad until the new endeavor pays, or as development capital for the idea.  If money gets too tight, or great debt is incurred, it can steal the dream of being an successful entrepreneurial business owner.

There can be some fabulous rewards for the successful entrepreneur.  Flexible schedule, equity in their life, unlimited income, and participating in something bigger than themselves.  It is the road less traveled.  Only the individual themselves know whether it is the correct road for them.  As Henry David Thoreau said, “Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.”

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