Does Your Team Mirror Need Changing?

We See What We Want To SeeRemember those mirrors at the funhouse? You’d stand in front of them and see yourself in all kinds of goofy configurations:elongated, really fat, small head bloated body-(OMG I must have one of those in my bathroom!) and as you moved you’d see your body image change. At hockey games these days they do the “bubble camera ” by taking a shot of a fan and distorting their image. Fun stuff.

Not So Fun In The Office Though

Your leadership team is the model that the organization emulates. Like it or not, how you act and react as a team, is interpreted through your employees’ filters…their eyes, their ears, their feelings.

You may say that the leadership team acts as one and supports each other. However, if there is back biting or finger pointing or self promotion then your message is negated. In fact, it erodes your position and credibility.

“How can we believe you and this team when we see how you actually behave?”

    • “You preach to us about team work and working together.
      Yet we observe your leadership team saying the right words in public but something different in one-on-one’s or staff meetings.”
      “You talk about respect and trust.
      Yet we don’t see this team demonstrating it when things go awry. “
      “You ask us to sacrifice our time and compensation for the good of the company.
      Yet we see your team spending company time and money on non essential perks.”
      (And you say, “Yes, but we have a lot of responsibility on our shoulders.”)
      “You talk about being optimistic and forward looking.
      Yet we don’t understand the direction we are going, how we are going to get there, and our own roles and responsibilities in helping us get there.”
  • Maybe It’s Time To Look In The Mirror

    Actually, it may be time to change the mirror. It may be distorting your view of reality. What you think your team is doing may be diametrically opposite to what others think. This difference is costing you dearly in financial results not to mention employee productivity and morale. (oops, I guess I did mention it)

    Research shows that employees’ behavior and culture reflects that of their leaders. It is not “do as I say” but “do as I do”. I remember years ago a GM took over a manufacturing division. He had a habit of using the “F” word as part of his normal every day language. I visited one of his directors about 3 months later. It was amazing how the management team, by osmosis, had let the “F” word infiltrate their language. In fact even the director’s administrative assistant would occasionally drop the “F” bomb unintentionally. (“Here’s your F***ing report”)

    While your situation most likely is not this bad, the negative business impact could be worse. Are you ignoring the effect your team’s behaviors are having on the whole organization?

    Better Now Than Later

    Do something now. Take an honest view of the behaviors of your team as a whole and as individual leaders. Are you acting true to your values? Have you as a team reviewed your organization’s culture and decided what you want it to be or have you just accepted “the way things are done around here”. If so, you are shirking your responsibility as a leader.
    You are letting your employees down. You are not achieving the results you could attain.

    Not to mention, you are leaving money on the table. (There I go again!)

    You might even want to think about having an off-site meeting to come to grips with your team culture and vision. In fact, you may even want to engage a professional facilitator to make sure all voices are heard and you can focus on getting the most out of the session.

    If as a leadership team, you are not all in agreement with how you want to be as a team and as an organization,then how will anyone else know?

    You reap what you sow.

    4 Things You Need To Tell Your Boss Monthly

    The business world is moving faster than ever. It is more ambiguous. Knowledge has an ever shortening shelf life. Information changes in a nanosecond.

    How often I would get caught up in my job…doing what needed to be done to exceed all expectations… putting out fires, motivating employees, creating loyal customers…bringing exceptional value to my company. So what if I didn’t keep telling my boss what I was doing or trying to suck up to him like some others? I had important things to do for the company. He knew I was working hard… doing great things. He didn’t need me to keep reminding him. Or did he?

    You need to know on a timely basis the health of critical plans and their impact on the financial results. Your boss and the board need to know. Without it they are left to creating their own opinions of how well things are going and what needs to be done… including how well you are doing your job. The health of the business depends on timely… relevant… information. Your leadership image and career depends on you providing relevant updates to your boss on a timely basis.

    The Challenge: Just the Right Amount Of The Right Information At The Right Time

    The challenge is to determine what information is important.
    Too much information is as bad as too little. Most leaders and boards don’t have time…and won’t take it… to read through pages of details or listen to drawn-out explanations. Like Sgt Friday on that old detective series Dragnet they want “Just the facts”.

    The 4 Things You Need to Tell Your Boss

    Put your self in the board’s seat. [Read more...]

    Stop Avoiding That Tough Conversation

    Most of us have had times when we know something is not right and we need to address the issue with another person head on. It could be your boss is going around you and working directly with your employees without keeping you informed or maybe behaving in ways that are undermining you. Maybe it’s a peer jockeying for your job or part of your role. It might be a subordinate who seems to be sabotaging you.

    There may be two different reactions:

    1. You notice it but shrug it off as unimportant. “That’s just the way it is.” “Hey we’re a team here.”
    2. It bothers you. You feel something is not right and it’s not good for you or your position.
      By the way, if you don’t notice anything, then take the blinkers off and pay attention to what is going on around you.

      Ignore It At Your Own Peril

      So let’s assume you do notice it and it does concern you or at a minimum peaks your interest. These kinds of issues are distracting. Without resolution they remain in the back of your mind, stealing valuable brain power. It can cause anxiety, lack of sleep, anger and even illness. Left too long it might cause you to act irrationally…blow up in a meeting, sabotage a project, complain to others behind their back, or even worse.
      Humans typically avoid unpleasant situations and if you are already loaded with work and you are doing a great job there is a tendency to put it on the “to do “ list and it never seems to make it to the top. Unfortunately it won’t go away and you may be the loser.
      The sooner you have that tough conversation with the apparently offending person, the faster you will resolve the issue and move forward…and feel better.

      Don’t Wait. Address It Head On.

      1. Step back and look at the situation from a company and business perspective. Ask what damage is this causing or how is it detracting from a smooth successful operation?
      2. Write down specifically what the issue is and very clearly the outcome you desire and what success looks like.
      3. Look at it from the other person’s perspective. Look for that person’s positive intention. What would cause a rational person to act in this manner. Many times people are driven by ignorance, fear or desire to protect themselves. (job, position, personal perception, prestige, reputation)
      4. List what possible things you may be doing to cause the issue. Are you excluding others,showing favoritism, not following up, micro-managing etc.
      5. Is the other person correct in their assessment? If so act accordingly. If not proceed.
      6. Make two columns, one for you and one for the other person.
      7. Identify the common objective that you both have. Answer the questions below as open minded as possible. This will lead you to having a fuller and clearer understanding of the situation and provide direction for a face to face meeting.
      8. Action Me Them
        The Issue How I see it How would they see it?
        Value to the business Doing it my way Doing it their way
        Personal value What does this do for me? What could it mean to them?
        Actions Observed What have I done
        to contribute to the issue?
        What actions have you observed?
        Purpose of Action Mine Theirs
        Common Objective What do we both want?
        Win Win Plan Value to me Value to them

        [Read more...]