Is success the opposite of failure?
Are you focussing your attention on being successful by not failing?
What is the impact when you do “fail”and how does your thinking shape your response?
Winston Churchill said:
“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”
How does that fit your view of the world?
Leadership is vital in order to look ahead to the future, set direction and encourage people to rally behind that vision, and commit to working towards it. It’s important to engage staff in challenging how things have always been done, and come up with new and creative thinking about how to reach stretching business goals. However, without management to ensure that people are conforming to the plans, standards and processes there would be chaos, and instability and nothing would be achieved. An effective balance of leadership and management is necessary for outstanding business performance.
In his blog All Things Workplace Steve Roesler outlines clearly and simply, 4 things that all employees need know, no matter what their industry.
1. What am I supposed to do?
The fastest way to confuse a workforce is to speak in grandiose, visionary language. People–including you and me-want to know, specifically, what has to be done as well as what “good” looks like.
2. Will you let me do it?
This question is the result of too many experiences with managers who got in the way by doing #1 just fine and then jumping in when not needed.
3. Will you help me when I need it?
Employees do want to know that it’s ok to ask for help when the situation requires it; and, that they’ll get it without judgment. Asking for help shows maturity and character; so does giving it.
4. Will you let me know how I’m doing?
We all want to know where we stand with our boss. It’s just plain uncomfortable not knowing–and not knowing can cause a well-intentioned employee to continue doing things the wrong way. After all, no one is indicating that anything should change!
So, my questions to you are:
If I asked you and your staff what you need them to do, how confident are you that the answers would match?
What is one peice of performance feedback you are currently avoiding giving?
When are you going to give that feedback?
Do any of these sound familiar?
- My colleague repeatedly misses deadlines which puts my work schedule under enormous pressure?
- My boss delegates and then constantly hovers over my shoulder and just cant seem to let go
- One of my direct reports continues to make the same fundamental errors even though I’ve shown them what to do many times?
- I have a peer who puts the damper on every idea single idea I have ever come up with?
- A particular person just has to walk into the room and my hackles start to rise?
Relationships are complex and problems can be entrenched, but there are simple steps you can try before calling in external support (coach, counsellor, firing squad!)
- Establish the impact of the problem
- Stop things that don’t work
- Try things that may work
1. Establish the impact/importance
How is this behaviour impacting me?
The other person?
Those around us?
The performance of our team and/or business?
Then establish how much time and energy you and others have spent discussing this person.
What has this achieved?
How has this affected my relationship with others?
How else could I have used this time?
Based on the above, decide to address it or ignore the problem.
2. What doesn’t work
Labelling people in terms such as “difficult” or “stupid” or “control freak”.
This can become a self fulfilling prophecy. We spend our time looking for evidence that supports our label.
Having unrealistic expectations.
Make sure you are not expecting everyone to be the same as you or that you have to like everyone. As the saying goes “if everyone thinks the same, no-one thinks very much”.
Believing the other person is making you feel this way.
Our emotions are largely the result of how we think and what we believe about an event or person. We can change our thinking and beliefs. We can’t change the other person. (Look out for the next newsletter on managing emotions.)
Trying to control the other person’s behaviour.
The most common reason for people feeling negatively towards others is not being able to change them and make them behave the way we think they should. Ensure you are not wasting valuable energy on this pointless exercise.
3. Top tips to try
Tell them. Give them direct feedback about the behaviour you are seeing and how it impacts you
Share your vision and goals and listen to theirs
Clarify and communicate what you want from the relationship and ask them in return
Identify everything positive about this person and how they can contribute to you. Remind yourself often.
Put yourself in their shoes. Is it possible that the other person is experiencing you just as negatively? What other actions can you take to improve your relationship?
Confront the possibility that you may be getting some pay off by making and maintaining this as a difficult relationship. How is it serving you?
Adapted from “The Learner Within” – IBM Corporation
To sum up, you need to:
Stop wasting energy on things and people outside your control and start focussing on what you can do to accept, avoid or change the relationship. You can only do that bychanging something in your own thinking or behaviour. This will take hard work, commitment and persistence but the pay-off is potentially huge. Just think of all the hard work and negative energy you’ve probably been putting in until now!
“Managers who want quality from their workforce need to hold themselves to the same high standards. To borrow an old saying, “What’s good for the goose, is good for the gander” – or it should be. You see, in the quest for total quality and continuous improvement, many managers forget about the role that they themselves play in bringing these things about. They ignore the baggage they bring to work every day, but expect their employees to be totally focused on their jobs. Or they announce a new corporate ethic, but continue to behave as they always have because they don’t really think the new standard applies to them. There is no doubt about it. The companies showing the others how it’s done are characterized by management that is more receptive to change and more receptive to new ideas. And the companies that will lead us into the future are the ones led by men and women who can do what is currently considered unusual, and do it comfortably. They are risk-takers in their personal as well as professional lives and they see themselves – intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, economically – as experiments in continuous improvement. In other words, they walk the talk. Change usually starts at the top, but it can also be stopped there unless management makes a sincere effort to take its own standards of excellence to heart
So, whether you are an executive, manager, employee or business owner here are my questions to you:
· How are you demonstrating your own commitment to continuous improvement?
· How are you modeling the behaviour you want to see?
· How much energy are you wasting focusing on how others “should” behave?
I recently worked with a CEO and her team. At the start of each of our sessions she would announce to me in front of the team, not to expect anything from her until 10am when she was more awake. Now I didn’t work with her for long and you can draw your own conclusions about that, but she did spring to mind when I saw the clip below on YouTube.
As a leader in your organisation you are setting the pace and tone for those around you 24/7, so my questions to you are:
When do you get the “Monday morning” feeling at work? How do you challenge it?
How can you generate the “Friday afternoon” feeling for yourself and your team more often?
How do you respond when a member of your team presents like the polar bear?
What do you do to channel the energy and enthusiasm of your penguin moments?
I would love to hear your comments and suggestions