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How Micromanagers and Insecure Leaders Kill Creativity In Their Organizations

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Creativity is a key ingredient to a successful, thriving and growing organization. Unfortunately some Micromanagers, Control Freaks and Insecure Leaders Kill Their Organizations and the creative spirit without even realizing it.

Micromanagers take the dynamics of creativity off the table. Their negative and counterproductive process goes a little something like this: Team member tries something new, micromanager watches over their shoulder, questions them and doesn’t give the team members ideas any credibility. Team member gets frustrated and stops thinking outside the box, trying new things and stops leading in general – thus killing creativity.

“The most common mistake I see leaders make is to attempt to lead through control. As counterintuitive as it might seem, in order to gain influence you must surrender control.” ~Mike Myatt

It’s really a sad case when a leader wants a thriving, vibrant, creative organization and they don’t have the self-awareness to know that their insecure control freak nature is the bottleneck. The best position a leader can find themselves in is, “out in front and out of the way.” The only way a leader can remain out in front is to continuously get out of the way and let their team members lead.

In order to foster organizational success and a spirit of creativity, leaders must allow their team members to try new things, chart new courses and sail new waters. If a leader truly wants this to work, they must be willing to get out of the way and be okay with some failures and fumbles. Successes and failures should never be overlooked; however its important to applaud the thought and process of trying. Freedom, flexibility, solutions, ideas, risks, opinions, opportunity, experiment, failure… are all words that help foster creativity and effectually lead to success.

In order for creativity and a culture of winning to permeate through an organization, the insecurity of the micromanager must bid farewell.

8 Ways Leaders Destroy Their Teams

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Often times when it comes to “leadership” we hear the warm and fuzzies or the great success stories. There are so many great books and tools at the disposal of leaders that growth, competency and effective leadership should be inevitable. The challenge with that theory is it’s rendered “not always true” because of the simple fact that leadership deals with human beings and human beings are rather complex creatures. Anytime you are dealing with people things are never that simplistic.

Another reason being an effective leader is not that simple is that fact that book knowledge doesn’t always translate to street knowledge {{translation – just because you can read it and talk it, deosn’t mean that you can effectively apply it}}.

A key understanding to leadership how ineffective and incapable individuals find themselves in key leadership roles is this: people hire people, who hire people, who hire people. Somewhere within those three generations of hiring, there are people placed in roles of leadership that they are not capable of handling. In my tenure working as a Deputy Prison Warden, before being promoted to Warden, I worked for a leader that definitely should not have been in her role. She literally destroyed her staff and destroyed her team. Not only did she destroy them, she didn’t have the self-awareness to make the necessary adjustments. She was a “Leadership Destroyer.” In consulting over the last 14 years, I have seen and heard about these “Leadership Destroyers” more often than I’d like to admit.

Unfortunately the “Leadership Destroyers” are not isolated to my experiences, if you live long enough and work for enough people, there is a good chance that you will work for one of these destroyers. To help identify how these leaders managers destroy their teams, I have identified 5 ways.

8 Ways Leaders Destroy Their Teams

  • 1. My Way Or The Highway (MWOH): Everyone has an opinion and often times people have thoughts, ideas and suggestions that can be helpful to those that are in charge. MWOH is fueled by the insecurity of the Leadership Destroyer. MWOH can create an environment of control, but not an environment of healthy success. Listen to your team, involve your team, learn from your team and embrace the reality that the collective sum is much better than the Big-Headed MWOH Leader.
  • 2. All About The Numbers: The numbers do matter, the bottom line is important and if it doesn’t make dolla$ it doesn’t make sense.  In business, ministry or non-profit work, it’s important to measure things as it’s a great barometer for success. Where numbers become a problem is when the Leadership Destroyer focuses on the numbers, bottom line and measurables so much that they forget about their team of people who are making those numbers happen. They lose sight of the “how” because they are so focused on the “what.” Number matter, but people matter more. Focus on creating a healthy team and healthy numbers will be a natural bi-product.
  • 3. Talk But Don’t Listen: No one can get a word in or have an opinion because the Leadership Destroyer is always talking. Not only are they always talking, they never listen. If people are not heard, they will cease to say the things that matter. Shh (be quiet) Listen!
  • 4. Change Things For The Sake Of Changing Things: Change is good and sometimes necessary to create forward momentum. The Leadership Destroyer takes this to another level by changing things just to let you know that they’re the boss. They are unwilling to receive feedback or go back to what worked, even if their change isn’t working. I heard a great thought from OSU Football Coach Mike Gundy from his press conference during OSU’s great season several years back.  This particular season OSU was ranked #2 and they were rolling like a well-oiled machine. Mike Gundy said, (paraphrasing) “I try to change things up a bit, just to justify my existence. My team will come to me and say I think we need to stick to XYZ and this is why. Often times what they are saying makes perfect sense and I change it back.” It’s important to survey the impact, timing and necessity of change.
  • 5. They Just Don’t Care:  The quickest way to destroy a team is to not care about the players on the team. Team members know the difference between the fake stuff and the genuine care and concern for the individual players and the collective team. Leadership Destroyers care more about their title, role, corner office and the fact that they have arrived than they do their team. One of the things that the inmates used to say when I was a Warden in regards to leadership and life is this, “It’s All About Missouri!” In other words, Missouri is the Show-Me State.  I’ll close with the words of John Maxwell, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
  • 6. Focused On Pleasing The Boss – It’s okay to want to perform for your supervisor and help you organization be successful. Leadership Destroyers take it to a whole-nutha-level. The Leadership Destroyer will do anything and everything to look good, rather than doing any and everything right. The all-consuming thoughts of wondering what the boss thinks will lead these destroyers to destroy their team, chunk team members under the bus and not give proper credit where proper credit is due.
  • 7. Unwilling To Receive Candid Feedback – When an individual is unwilling to listen to feedback because “It may hurt” or “It isn’t what they want to hear,” they are in trouble. You can’t win with thin skin. Once team members realize the Leadership Destroyer is unwilling to receive feedback, they will stop giving feedback. Once team members stop giving feedback, the Leadership Destroyers find themselves on an island. Islands are great places to vacation, but horrible places to find yourself when you are trying to lead a team.
  • 8. Always Shift The Blame – The surest way a leader can destroy their team is always shifting the blame to someone else. The problem is never their leadership and the buck doesn’t stop with them if it’s relative to failure or shortcomings. They always look at others, never look back and the only reason they look in the mirror is to see who is standing behind them, in order for them to shift the blame to “those people.”

Your Title and Corner Office Doesn’t Make You A Genuine Leader

corner officeLeadership is all about value. If you are not adding value to your team and your organization, you are not leading. Effective leadership value is more than just raw data, numbers and hitting benchmarks. Effective leaders always bring hope, inspire people, move things forward, make people feel valued, make everyone and everything around them better and oh yes… They Produce Results!

Unfortunately in this day and age of everyone wanting to be and claiming to be a leader. Individuals are misleading themselves and others about their so called leadership prowess. They think they are a leader because they have the title and the corner office. Those things don’t make you a leader, they are simply symptoms of what could be leadership. The position without genuine acts of leadership means nothing. It’s just a little man or little woman sitting in a big chair.

“A large chair does not make a king.”  ~Sudanese proverb

Leadership Development – Understanding The Leaders Who Need The Most Development

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The Leaders Who Need The Most Development Are Sometimes The Leaders That Say That Others Need More Development.

Have you ever seen a situation where a leader has a team member who is either up for a promotion or in all actuality should be considered for a promotion; and the leaders says they are not ready yet… or they need more development.

I understand that sometimes people aren’t ready and they could benefit by a little more time in the leadership development cooker. More times than not, the person is ready, all they need is a little belief in them, encouragement and an opportunity to show what’s inside of them. How do you get the experience, if no one is willing to give you a chance to get the experience?

Over the years I have come to realize that the leaders who are quick to say that someone isn’t ready and need more development are the ones that need more development themselves.

It takes, time, energy and true leadership to develop someone — moving them from where they are to where they can be. Leaders must learn to focus on potential instead of limitations.

The next time you hear a leader say “so and so” isn’t ready, the deeper question to ask is this “is the leader making the statement ready?”

No one will ever be 100% “ready,” it’s up to the leaders to be a part of getting them there. That’s why it’s called leadership.

11 Key Attributes Of Great Leadership

There are many attributes that various leaders possess, many of them positive and unfortunately some not so positive. People are looking for particular attributes in leaders they want to work for. Leaders that possess these attributes generally have a positive, healthy work environment with minimal turnover.

Below are 11 Key Attributes People Are Looking For In a Leader. We will creatively title them:

11 Key Attributes Of Great Leadership

  • 1. Honesty – Tell the truth; even if lying is easier — tell the truth. || “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” ~Thomas Jefferson
  • 2. Integrity – Do what’s right; even if nobody is watching — do what’s right. || “There are seven things that will destroy us: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Religion without sacrifice; Politics without principle; Science without humanity; Business without ethics.” ~Mahatma Gandhi and I will add an 8th “Leadership without integrity.”
  • 3. Visionary – Have some vision for where you’re going; empower your team to get you there and if you don’t do anything else — have some vision for where you are going. || “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” ~Thomas Jefferson
  • 4. Self Awareness – Know who you are; the good, the bad and the ugly, know who you are. ||  “He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened.” ~Lao Tzu
  • 5. Risk Taker – Be willing to try new things, new strategies and embrace new ideas; even if the ideas aren’t yours — be willing to try new things, new strategies and embrace new ideas. || “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” ~Harold R. McAlindon
  • 6. Caring – Truly care about those you lead; people can care less about how much you know until they know how much you care — truly care about those you lead. || “Our love is like the misty rain that falls softly, but floods the river…” ~African Proverb
  • 7. Stand For Something – Lead by convictions; know why you do what you do and why you think what you think — lead by convictions. || “You must stick to your conviction, but be ready to abandon your assumptions.” ~Denis Waitley
  • 8. Spirit Of Development – Develop other leaders; without leadership development, the pipeline of leadership is halted — develop other leaders. || “My main job was developing talent. I was a gardener providing water and other nourishment to our top 750 people. Of course, I had to pull out some weeds, too.” ~Jack Welch
  • 9. Good Listener – Be willing to listen; if you’re always talking, there is a good chance you are not listening — be willing to listen. || “To listen well, is as powerful a means of influence as to talk well, and is as essential to all true conversation” ~Chinese Proverb
  • 10. Lifetime Leaner – Learn from anything and everything; no matter how many degrees or titles you have, you always have the capacity to learn — learn from anything and everything.  || “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” ~John F. Kennedy
  • 11. Humility –  Stay level-headed and don’t think that you’re better than others; no matter how much success, praise or fortune you receive, stay level-headed and don’t think that you’re better than others. || “Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance.” ~St. Augustine

What Used To Work… Is No Longer Working!

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For those of you that know me, you know that I travel a lot, like a whole lot. With traveling comes a lot of learning and people watching. One thing that I have noticed is that every time I’m in an airport there is a little booth where people are trying to get you to sign up for some credit card associated with frequent flyer miles of some sort. We’ve all seen them, as people walk by they start yelling, “Hey sir or ma’am get your card, earn some miles, get a free flight…”

The problem with their “talking & yelling” approach is that no one is listening, people continue to walk by and avoid the booth says would you like to sign up for the flu or something worse. Dave Ramsey is probably delighted to see everyone walk swiftly past the airline credit card people.

I personally think they need to STOP Talking… Nobody Is Listening. They need to try a new approach. What used to work, is no longer working.

That’s the story of life, leadership, relationships, parenting, marketing, ministry and a new year.  Sometimes we need to STOP Talking, Nobody is listening. Try a new approach: “What Used To Work… Is No Longer Working!”

Cheers To An Awesome New Year.

11 Great Leadership and Vision Quotes

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11 Great Leadership and Vision Quotes

  • 1. “A leader’s job is to look into the future and see the organization, not as it is, but as it should be.” ~Jack Welch
  • 2. “All who have accomplished great things have had a great aim, have fixed their gaze on a goal which was high, one which sometimes seemed impossible.” ~Orison Swett Marden
  • 3. “Big thinkers are specialists in creating positive, forward-looking, optimistic pictures in their own minds and in the minds of others.” ~David J. Schwartz
  • 4. “Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men.” – Goethe
  • “Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.” ~John Welch
  • 5. “If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulder of giants.” — Isaac Newton
  • 6. “Leaders need to be optimists.  Their vision is beyond the present.” ~Rudy Giuliani
  • 7. “Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.” ~Stephen R. Covey
  • 8. “The leader has to be practical and a realist, yet must talk the language of the visionary and the idealist.” ~Eric Hoffer
  • 9. “The most elusive and desired quality of leadership is vision. Vision is the perfume of the mind.” ~Harriet Rubin
  • 10. “The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.” ~Theodore M. Hesburgh
  • 11. “Transmit your vision emotionally by gaining credibility, demonstrating passion, establishing relationships and communicating a felt need. Transmit it logically by confronting reality, formulating strategy, accepting responsibility, celebrating victory and learning from defeat.“ ~John Maxwell

The Essence Of Leadership by Colin Powell

Simple yet brilliant thoughts from General Colin Powell on The Essence Of Leadership.

Stop Chasing Your Competition

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A major problem when it comes to the success or lack there of for an individual, organization or brand is the fact that they are always chasing their competition. They make moves based on what their competition is doing and what they think their competition is thinking. These types of moves are not limited to the corporate giants or major brands, it also  happens on a daily basis for individuals, ministry’s and non-profits; although they don’t claim to “see others as their competition.”

The problem with chasing your competition is it’s similar to a cat chasing its tail, you are just running around in circles going nowhere while everything around you is still moving. Chasing your competition inherently presents the inability to understand the true nature of the what, how and why they are running the race they are running. You can never truly understand their vision, their mission and ultimately the dreams that are driving their every decision.

Instead of chasing your competition; start chasing your dreams, your vision, your future and your success.

STOP Chasing Your Competition… START chasing your dreams.

The 5 Best And 5 Worst Types Of Leaders

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There are all types of leaders, Good, Bad and Ugly. The reality is some “so called” leaders are actually LINO’s, not to be con LIONS. LINO’s are Leaders In Name Only. Yes, they are only “leaders” because of their name, title or corner office only.

The Best and Worst Types of Leaders can be divided into a number of simple categorical descriptions. I’m going to share 5 of each, believe me there are definitely more.

The 5 Worst Types Of Leaders are:

  • The leaders who are only in a role because a close friend or family member placed them there. It’s obvious to everyone inside and outside of the organization that they don’t belong in any sort of leadership role of any kind. As long as their sugar daddy, sugar momma or whatever title you want to give to that friend or family member that placed them there is living and in the organization they will be there. Not to mention they will be there messing things up, pointing fingers and causing problems fro everyone around them.
  • The leaders who are oblivious to anything and everything. They can’t see, feel or smell anything that’s happening around them. Their lack of self-awareness and leadership peripheral vision is causing everyone in the organization to get blind-sided by their blind spots.
  • The Leaders who take all of the credit for the good and accept none of the responsibility for the bad. Not only are they not willing to look in the mirror, they don’t even own a mirror.
  • The Leaders who are from the Sadaam Hussain School Of Dictator Leadership. My Way Or The Highway and Because I Said So type of leader.
  • The Insecure, Chameleon that changes depending on who is in the room. This leader also puts on the facade of being tough and strong when the reality is everything they do, say and think is through their internal lens of insecurity.

The 5 Best Types Of Leaders are:

  • The leaders who understand “There is no ‘I’ in team” is more than a slogan or a cute leadership phrase. They embrace the team concept, they use “us and we” type of language. They truly understand that “Teamwork makes the dream work.”
  • The leaders who value leadership development. They talk it, they live it, they put resources towards it and they evaluate its outcomes. These leaders understand they their leadership and the success of their organization ceases if leaders are not truly developed. They hold themselves accountable not only to their personal growth and development, but the development of those individuals that are under their tutelage. They truly develop leaders. More times than not the leaders who have worked for them go on to do bigger, better and greater things.
  • The leaders who genuinely care about the people that they lead. They understand that the folks that they lead are more than a number, a cog in a wheel and a means to an end. They understand that they are real people, with real lives, real dreams, real families, real life challenges and are ultimately a part of an awesomely real team.
  • The leaders who lead by example. Some people get leading by example confused with doing all of the work and that’s not the case at all. Yes this leader works hard but leading by example is how you work, how you act and how you live. Leading with integrity, demonstrating a standard of excellence, treating people fair and doing the right thing even when no one is watching. This leader gives credit where credit is due, accepts responsibility and is an overall great example.
  • They are constant learners. They learn from people inside and outside of the organization and people up and down the organizational chart. They understand, “At the point you stop learning is the point in which you start dying.”
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