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Archive for August, 2011

Demoralising Your Team 6: Don’t Listen, Act Too Busy

Don’t your team realise how busy you are?
Perhaps they will notice by you rushing around and saying “I’ve only got 5 minutes” and “I must dash, I’m late for a meeting!” maybe they will be in awe, wondering “how do they cope?”

Maybe not!
Their experience is that you are never listening properly, that you are too caught up in your own world, manically rushing about and never calm, or grounded.

You are just not present or “with them”.
Congratulations you have thoroughly demoralised them.

There is another approach that brings many benefits: increased employee engagement, increased innovative ideas to save and make money, more team members who stay and give a lot of additional energy and commitment willingly.

Read my chapter on “Presence” in the book “Inspiring Leadership” to gain tips and techniques. Most improtantly you need to have the right attitude – show that you are genuinely interested in listening to them and being with those you are fortunate to lead.

Warm regards Jonathan

How to Demoralise Your Team 5: Steal their ideas and claim the credit

Brilliant ideas and intellectual property (IP) carry great weight in business. What happens when team members bring cutting edge and outstanding ideas to you?

Some leaders try extracting all the IP from their subordinates, promise they will attribute the idea to them and then claim all the glory when presenting it to their own boss.

You wouldn’t do that I trust? If you did, then what motivates you to be so selective with the credit? How could you forget to directly acknowledge where the finest ideas come from?

The team won’t get bitten too often and if they do, their idea stream will dwindle to a trickle. It is a great way to disempower them and kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.

So great leaders are not afraid to bring on team members, grow them and promote their ideas and their futures. That way people give such powerful extra discretionary energy to you and the firm.

Good luck in promoting your stars and their ideas.
Warm regards Jonathan

How to Demoralise your Team 4: Short-term Miopia & Cuts

Clients have reminded me there are numerous ways they and their teams have been demoralised by poor leaders. Here is another.

We are clearly moving into a double dip recession in many counties, yet this is a time for stronger leadership. Not the time for cutting leadership as a savings measure!

This is not the moment to panic and take knee jerk, short-term perspectives and their ensuing cuts. In the 2007-2008 recession I worked with firms where CEOs made petty cuts, micromanaged and alienated staff. They unwittingly sent the message, “I don’t trust you and so will check on everything and make you all suffer. Forget empowerment here comes Micro-manager”

For example one CEO insisted on personally signing-off ALL travel requests over £50 in a firm of 20,000 employees. It was impractical, sent a disastrous message and alienated everyone.

The consequence was people quit, but stayed. They became “organisational terrorists”. They are biding their time for a better job elsewhere when times improve and so give only 40% of their talent.

So choose carefully what and who you cut. Motivate and inspire your way to profit. Cutting your way to profit needs massive organisational cuts, but is generally not sustainable.

More leadership rather than more cuts are needed.

Warm regards
Jonathan

“Everything should be as simple as possible; but no simpler”

This quote is a version of “Occam’s razor”. The idea of simplicity appeals to me greatly. My friend Oliver Johnston has wonderfully refreshing views on “less” and fighting the tyranny of “more”. More is pushed by marketeers and retailers and the ensuing greed may be the basis for the recent riots across the UK.

The concept of the razor is to shave away assumptions. We often live with falsely believing “untrue limiting assumptions”. They are what stop us being happer and more successful. It is our minds that limit our natural potential and talents.

So my request is keep everything as simple as you can.
As Albert Einstein said:

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex.
It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.”

Warm regards for a simple bank holiday weekend
Jonathan

How to Demoralise Your Team 3 – Be a Self-Interested Leader

Go on, you know you want to………. Tell them all just how good you are, what you’ve achieved as a self-made man or woman. In a position like yours you can really look after number 1 and feather your nest. It will be a great opportunity to advance yourself further with your bosses and line yourself up for a pay rise or promotion. Why not use the work of others and indicate that it was yours?

Seem a strange attitude and far fetched? I hope so! Sadly it is far too common in business leaders I meet. It definitely is a certain way to ensure your team are thoroughly demoralised.

There is another – far healthier and honest way. Accepting that we do things with a clear intention to benefit ourselves, we can ensure that the team we lead benefits too. This is where Moral Intelligence and Integrity always pays in the short, medium and long term.

More importantly if we focus on doing good work for our clients and customers, then they come back to us for repeat business. Sometimes I have found this may be months later, but trust and trustworthiness is a powerful force.

If your team know that you genuinely care for them too, then they willingly give “extra discretionary energy”. That creates an incredible input to igenerate mproved performance and financial results. That is too big a benefit to ignore.

So go out and find what interests your team, what drives and motivates them and then tap into that power source. If done authentically, then the by product is that your needs and aspirations are also met.

Have a good week in the August sun.
Warm regards Jonathan

Medical problems for Leaders – foretelling the next crisis

A friend of mine is a doctor near where I live in the Square Mile in the City of London. He is seeing disturbing signs with his clients who are leaders from the top global companies based in that powerhouse of a business district. Without breaking medical confidences, there are some clear patterns:
1. The level of medical dysfunction is a replica of 2007-2008 as the global financial crisis was emerging.
2. Huge stress caused by impending redundancies. These leaders have to tell hundreds of people they are loosing their jobs.
3. Very heavy drinking – to obliteration every night to hide the fear and pain. Certainly over 25 units a week is risky.
4. Drug abuse amongst the most high paid and high pressured. The US owned companies have clauses that allow HR to march executives suspected of drug abuse into his surgery, have them tested and fired if they have taken drugs. UK owned companies don’t do that.
5. Tragic symptoms of leaders staring into the abyss of a second dip in global financial crisis. Family melt down, obesity, stress, outbursts and bullying.

What can we do as leaders you ask?
Manage your diet, fitness and health. Control what you can and be prepared to weather the incoming global storm.

Good luck
Jonathan Bowman-Perks

How to Demoralise Your Team 2 – Hoard Information

Imagine a trip into the future……The Doctor has referred you to an unusual Neuro-Surgeon who can show you where information is stored in your brain.

The screen in front of you shows areas of information by density – blue for small amounts and red for large hoards of information.

She taps the screen revealing a large density of information. Topic labels pop up when she double taps the screen.

“Oh no!” you think that is all the work information I have been keeping to myself that I should have shared with my team.

Your explanation to the surgeon seems plausible to you. However it is less acceptable to your team members who sit in the audience watching a magnified version of the same screen.

“If she had told me that it would have saved weeks of wasted work!” says one of your team. You defend yourself by saying’ “I didn’t think you needed to know that information, it was sensitive”.
Ah the “need to know” syndrome observes the Neuro-Surgeon.

As the team begin to gather courage they identify so many other pieces of information they can see that you never shared with them.
Your explanations follow: they were not senior enough to know, it might have upset them, it was sensitive, you liked to control the flow of information to enhance your position as team leader, it made you feel needed and powerful.

It all sounds rather lame, you have to admit. The result is you create a passive-reactive team, who dumbly await for the morsels you drop from your leadership table. Hardly inspiring leadership.

What hoard would the specialist find in your brain this week?
My request of you would be – To empower others, share more and communicate more clearly.

Warm regards Jonathan

How to Demoralise Your Team 1 – Micromanage

I thought I would include 4 short blogs on how to demoralise your team. Often it is helpful to point out the toxic things we do, in order to focus on what we should be doing instead.

So your Doctor asks “you Micromanage?”
He has that resigned look and questions, “how long have you been suffering from this obsession?”
Your explanation pours forth: you only do it because the team you have aren’t good enough; you are just trying to help them; that it is quicker than teaching them to do it independently and that you get the perfect outcomes exactly the way you want it.

Further probing brings out confessions; micromanaging gives you a kick; the control you have over others is addictive; other managers do and did it to you. You want the next generation to suffer like you did!

On reflection the Doctor prescribes a short course of; trusting others, giving clear instructions with outcomes; asking your team what they think and how would they solve problems and using a coach approach to leadership.

Now that feels better already and certainly you’re not toxically contagious any more.

Have a great week. Go out and catch someone doing something RIGHT.

Warm regards Jonathan

Good to Great to Poor

On my recent summer holiday I was relaxing and reading “Too Big to Fail” the account of the 2008 failure of the banking system. It reminded me of experiences I have had with organisations and teams that have grown to success from mediocrity, only to then slip down into failure.

What caused this trend I wondered? It became clear from my first hand experience that it was a total failure of leadership. Leaders “dark sides” – their overplayed strengths were allowed free reign and brought them and their organisation down.
Each case is slightly different, as I allude to in “Inspiring Leadership”. An absence of one of the 8 principles causes them, their team and firm to “expire”.

Leadership is too important to forget in this ongoing financial crisis – forget to develop and invest in leadership, integrity and trust at your peril.