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When Executives Behave Badly

Woman at Computer 2 WEBWe’ve all seen children and how they can get hurt feelings over the most minor infractions, become territorial to the point of landing blows, and just being plain nasty. Of course, people who have attained high educational levels, worked their way through the ranks, and now manage executive positons would never behave in such a manner. At least, one would think.

Recently, I had a conversation with a Vice President. This individual not only is a VP but has a string of letters behind their name that represent both professional level achievements as well as certifications. It seems Pat, (not the VP’s real name), has serious issues with another individual, (Madison, again not a real name), who happens to be in a higher position in the organization. Pat has complained many times about being overwhelmed with work so much so that the organization is going to hire an assistant for Pat.

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Need Teamwork? Maybe Not

cat in teamDoes your team work together? No, I don’t mean do they cooperate, collaborate, and have a culture of kumbayah. Do they physically work together every day? This is an important question to ask as it can change the way you manage, save you time, and resources.

Recently, I had the opportunity to deliver a program to a group of mid-level executives, each in a different city and in charge of a different market sector for their organization. The manager, a VP in the organization was intent on teambuilding and that had been his management focus. However, during the program, one of the participants stated aloud that he found no benefit in their weekly teambuilding phone calls. Ouch!

The executive and I looked at his team and he realized that that they don’t work together or even depend on one another for resources or business. While that is true, I pointed out to the manager that the concentration should be on having his team focus on the strategic plan, ensure that each of his managers buys into the vision for the organization, and then drive that vision throughout their own teams. But don’t they still need to collaborate and cooperate? Glad you asked.

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Culture: A Hard or Soft Business Element?

Two Head Dragon WEBOn one hand, culture appears to be too full of fluff for some leaders. Phrases like, “I’m not here to make friends, I have a business to run!” come to mind. On the other hand, phrases like “Our culture drives productivity, great customer service, and that grows profits.” might waft through the corporate rafters. So which is it? Is culture a hard or soft business element? In a word, yes. Culture is a two headed monster that dares you to wrestle with it…and wrestle with it you must.

Neglecting culture is like failing to feed a caged monster. One day, it will break loose and eat you alive and have your business for dessert. Culture has come to be defined as “The way we do things around here.” There is another saying, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got.” However, in the face of necessary business change, not making the changes won’t get you what you’ve always got, business will change, but for the worse. In other words, current operational processes, policies, and principles need to change in order to meet current market needs.

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The Mystery of the Micromanager

Micro Mgr WEBLast week’s blog, “The Mysterious Case of Disappearing Respect,” discussed how to better manage teams and projects. As with everything, there is the dark side and extremes, like the manager who micromanages teams and projects. Managers who micromanage find non-productivity from their teams as a mystery. Others feel that it’s their job to be a “helicopter” manager. Micromanaging, unfortunately, has the opposite effect of almost everything a manager wants, and needs, to achieve when working through people. Here are a few of the unnecessary headaches micromanaging brings:

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The Mysterious Case of Disappearing Respect

Want me to workWEB

 

 

A colleague of mine, Kelly (Allen) Vandever, Leadership & Communications Speaker, Trainer and Coach. Host of the Leadership Podcast Permission to Speak recently posted an excellent article. Rather than regurgitating the article, you can read it in full here “Respect” In a nutshell, the article is about a manager lamenting the fact that her direct reports do not turn projects in on time or at all. She asked a colleague to step in and the colleague advised her that she has lost the respect of her direct reports. Well if they haven’t, they certainly will now by asking a colleague to step in and do her job. Did the respect mysteriously disappear or did she ever have it? The article is well-written and makes some important points about the mysteries of management.

  • Inform your reports about the “why” of a project. Check! This helps them to take the mystery out of the big picture and to see how important their position is to the larger goals of the organization.
  • Make it OK to Push Back. Check! Creating an environment that allows for back and forth commentary and analysis is healthy and productive. Nothing mysterious here.
  • Be Respectful of Your Employees. Duh! Err I mean Check! It’s no secret that basic, human respect is Management 101.

In the article, Kelly goes on to make some other important points.

What else could the manager do to ensure that she gets the job done through her people, and not “mysteriously” lose respect in the process?

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Spooky Team Members

Zombies WEBDo you have spooky team members who haunt you with their behaviors and communication styles? You know, those team members who frighten you because of their aggressive nature. Another spooky team member might be the one who is so flighty you expect to see them flying around the office and they don’t even need a broom! Or how about the strong, silent, team member? You know, the one with the face made of stone. No one can ever tell what they are thinking. Are they plotting, are they happy, or are they hiding some deep, dark and dangerous secret? Or how about the team member who is so literal, will not make a move unless there is a rule involved? Yes, the ones, who take so long to make a decision that you think if you walk by their office, you will see cobwebs growing around them. Here’s the really scary part, one of these is you!

No matter which one is you, you must know how to handle the other spooky types. So who should change, you or them? Well no one needs to change or morph into some other haunting entity or become a skeleton of yourself. Rather, the idea is to adapt. Let’s look at each of these characters and see what might work to help these spooky types interact with one another without creating a horror movie.

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Understanding Teams – Yours and Theirs

Understanding TeamsRecently, one of my executive coaching clients was pulling his hair out over people in one department who were always complaining about his team. His team complained about the other team – of course. His team is essentially sales and the other team is policies, procedures, and compliance. You might as well try to mix oil and water and try to make a soufflé. What is it that has these teams all in a twitter?

Sales people are typically, not always, but typically a little more loose with rules and procedures. They just want to go out and influence people to buy so they can get paid. And yes, typically they do make more money than the “policy and procedure (P & P) enforcers.” The green-eyed jealousy monster starts running amok through the P & P team. The P & P people feel they work harder, are under more stress, and are constantly correcting the mistake of the sales team. The sales team doesn’t like rules; they take too much time to comply with and they need to be out selling. They reason, that if it wasn’t for them the P & P team wouldn’t it HAVE a job!

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Showing Teammates the Love, Oops, Sorry HR, I Mean the Appreciation

Team SuccessWe all know that no one individual is totally responsible for the success of an organization or for any project. We also know tht we can’t do everything. It’s not just the time factor, but that we simply do not possess every talent or skill needed for projects to run today’s increasingly complex organizations. Rather a team of diverse people with diverse talents, skills, and attributes are required. Moreover, we are constantly reminded of how much we should appreciate our teammates and their particular brand of talents. Why are strengths so important?

Why Strengths Are Important

Unless you’ve been under a rock, you are no doubt aware of the work Gallup conducts in the importance of strengths. An article by Tim Clark succinctly explains the study’s findings:

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