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When Organizations Create Robots


One of the ultimate overlooked pitfalls of organizations is when they develop a culture of creating robots. Over my 20 years of organizational leadership I have been a part of and had various clients who have struggled with creating these robotic cultures. In order to further track with what I’m saying, lets start by defining robot:

ro·bot [roh-buht, – bot] noun

1. a machine that resembles a human and does mechanical, routine tasks on command.

2. a person who acts and responds in a mechanical, routine manner, usually subject to another’s will; automaton.

3. any machine or mechanical device that operates automatically with humanlike skill. adjective

4. operating automatically:

With these clear definitions, it’s easy to see how organizations can fall into the category of developing a culture where people act and respond in a mechanical, routine and expected manner. They become a robot that resembles a human. They are expected to do this and do this in this manner (period the end). Anything outside of “this and this manner” is taboo, frowned upon and ultimately not part of the robotic expectation.

I remember having a conversation with a professional athlete that over their career had the opportunity to play under a number of different organizations. According to him, each organization had a different culture, style and expectation. One particular culture was, “very robotic… you were expected to do this and do it this way… period the end.” Ultimately this didn’t allow the freedom to create and make things happen and therefore limited the success of many players. As players began to transition to other organizations over the years, players began to find their grooves in environments where they could create, play and lead. Some people prefer to punch the clock and simply be robots, others are stiffed by robotic cultures and need the freedom to create.

If an organization wants to have ultimate success they must focus on setting clear expectations rather than programming robots. When a culture removes the opportunity to think, challenge, process, push and get outside of the box, the culture is programming robots and not developing leaders. A leader is the antithesis of a robot, if you’re creating a culture of robots, you’re not creating a culture of leaders.

The Manipulating Leader

manipulatorOften times you find yourself under the tutelage of a Manipulating Leader. You ask yourself “How did this happen?”Initially, you were drawn in by their confidence, their persuasiveness, their interpersonal skills and their success. The traits that originally drew you to that leader are now being used to manipulate you and the rest of your organization.

Yes! Fast forward a few years, a few seasons, a few successes, a few failures and those appealing traits are now being used to manipulate and control you and every situation around you. The Manipulating Leader is cunning and the manipulation generally comes in the form of “If you don’t do it XYZ way, you are not doing in the right way; If you are not 1,00,000% bought into the organization and willing to sacrifice your family, you are not bought in; If you have a better opportunity for you, your family, your future and everything in between, if you even remotely consider it you are being disloyal; If you have a hobby outside of work it’s seen as interfering with work itself; You should take a significantly less salary than the market suggests in the name of commitment and organizational sacrifice; You should look in the mirror because you are always the problem, the leader and the problem are never the problem, you are the problem…” These are just some of subtle ways that The Manipulating Leader try’s to manipulate and control you and your organization.

One of the greatest attributes you can have as a leader is self-awareness. Leaders should recognize when their leadership has turned into me-me-me manipulation. On the flip side it’s important for individuals that are being manipulated to call out the manipulative and controlling behaviors of their leader. If the situation doesn’t change, you have a responsibility to change the situation.

The more you allow yourself to be manipulated, the more comfortable you will become with the manipulative behavior. Next thing you know, you will fall into the category of The Justifying Leader. (That’s another post for another day)

The Fundamental Flaw Of Leadership

The Art Of Leadership is not something that comes natural for everyone, although some individuals are uniquely gifted to be more successful than others. The one thing that is certain for all leaders is the fact that in order to be successful they will have to over-come leadership flaws. Leadership flaws come in many shapes, forms and fashions. Just think of the leaders that you have worked for and imagine their flaws that caused you and your co-workers headache and heartache. Imagine your own leadership flaws and the challenges that you might have caused others.

There are enough leadership flaws out there that we could fill up a book of flaws and fixes. In my opinion The Fundamental Flaw Of Leadership is not shooting straight with team members and not allowing them to know where they stand. Time and time again, leaders will talk about the ineptness of a team member or department, without talking to that team member or department head about those particular challenges. A more unfortunate fact is that when these employees are on the ropes and getting ready to be fired or moved to another department and don’t even see it coming.

Leaders have the responsibility of letting people know where they stand. If a person knows where they stand, they know what to fix. As a leader if you find yourself talking about the struggles a team member is having and they don’t know they are having those struggles… you need to look in the mirror, because you are not doing you’re not leading.

Again, if you are a leader and are not letting people know where they stand and not Keeping It Real, you are committing The Fundamental Flaw Of Leadership. Give your team member the one thing they need and that’s the right information. Information is not knowledge and knowledge is empowering. Have the right information, leads to the right knowledge, that leads to the right decisions and ultimately leads to success.

What do you think?  Share your thoughts and experiences with The Fundamental Flaw Of Leadership.

Why Leaders Should Write Down Their Thoughts Daily

What do you think? Share your thoughts and experience.

How Leadership Is Like Riding A Bike

bikeAlthough there are thousands of leadership books and leadership gurus, leadership isn’t something you can simply read about… you have to do it. It’s not rocket science, it’s a simple science.

Leadership is just like riding a bike — you can’t just read about riding a bike, you have to get on the bike, have someone help steady you, or maybe use training wheels, try to keep your balance and start pedaling. At first you will be a little wobbly and you may even crash a few times.

If you learn from your mistakes and stay after it, you will definitely get better. Although you may become a proficient bike rider, you must be mindful of the fact that there are plenty of new bike tricks to learn and different levels of bikes to ride.

Leadership is the exact same way, you have to get on the leadership bike, have someone help you get started, start pedaling, crash a few times, learn from your mistakes and continue to grow.

Leadership Is Like Riding a Bike and boils down to these Simple Things:

  • Believe In Yourself
  • Believe In Others
  • Point The Direction
  • Provide An Environment For Growth
  • Inspire and Motivate Others
  • Move People From Here To There
  • dream BIG. think BIGGER.

Often times people make leadership more difficult than it has to be. Leadership is about trust, influence and relationships. Leadership Is Like Riding A Bike, Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu says it this way, “When the effective leader is finished with his work, the people say it happened naturally.” Simply put, it was simple.

“It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” ~Ernest Hemingway

Is leadership like riding a bike? Is leadership really that simple? Share your thoughts and experiences with leadership being made more difficult than it had to be.

The Leader That Can’t Let Go


There is nothing more frustrating than a leader that can’t let go.

  • They can’t let go of the past mistakes that a team member made.
  • They can’t let go of their foolish pride.
  • They can’t let go of their “this is how we’ve always done it” mentality.
  • They can’t let go of yesterday’s successes.
  • They can’t let go of their “kissing-up” behavior.
  • They can’t let go of the details and micromanage their team to death.
  • They can’t let go of their team members – (as if they were theirs to hold onto in the first place).

“The more you hold onto, the less you can grab ahold of.”

If a leader wants to be truly successful, they must learn to let go. If you want to be a leader, you must learn to let go.

Inside The Eyes Of A Great Leader

vision1One quality that great leaders all seem to have in common is having great vision. Great vision not simply from the standpoint of casting great vision, but the uncanny ability to see the things that matter and see the things that contribute to success. Below are 10 things great leaders can see.

“If you want to be a great leader, you must develop great vision.”

  • Great Leaders are able to see what’s coming.
  • Great Leaders are able to see the best in others.
  • Great Leaders are able to see pitfalls.
  • Great Leaders are able to spot leadership potential in others.
  • Great Leaders are able to look in the mirror and be honest with themselves.
  • Great Leaders are able to see the writing on the wall.
  • Great Leaders are able to see successors for themselves and others.
  • Great Leaders are able to see the story behind the story.
  • Great Leaders are able to see The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
  • Great Leaders are able to see things a little sooner and a little more clearly than others.

“You must be able to see the invisible in order to receive the impossible.”

Share your thoughts on any of these 10… Please add additional things to the list.

3 Non-Fundamentals Of Leadership

non leadershipLeadership, Leadership, Leadership…  it seems to be the point of discussion no matter what the subject is. If you turn on SportsCenter you might hear about Nick Saban, Tom Brady or LeBron James’ Leadership. If you turn on any national news station you might hear about the leadership or lack there of from Congress and the White House. If you look in your social media streams you will see many people sharing a leadership quotes and recommending leadership books and blogs.

Everyone is always talking about leadership, many people are writing about leadership and everyone wants to be a better leader. Leadership expert and author John Maxwell has written countless leadership books and has sold over 19 million copies – a concrete example that people desire to become better leaders.

It doesn’t matter how many leadership books you read, how much leadership intellect you have or if you have obtained an awesome leadership role. There are 3 Non-Fundamentals Of Leadership, those non-fundamentals are this:

  • 1. If your actions don’t inspire those around you to be more, do more and believe in themselves more; there is a good chance that you are not leading.
  • 2. If you are more focused on how you’re perceived than you are developing others and helping those around you win; you’re not leading.
  • 3. If you are unwilling to change or lead from the “my way or the highway” standpoint; you’re not leading, that’s called dictating.

Delusive leadership gets delusive results. Keep it real, care about your people and help others win. The end result will be better team members, a better organization and an overall better product for the consumer.

Share your thoughts, opinions or experiences with these Non-Fundamentals Of Leadership?

Don’t Confuse Great Performance With Great Leadership

time leadershipLeadership can sometimes be tricky, by tricky I mean difficult to evaluate the true impact of one’s leadership. Some leaders push people really hard, create an environment where individuals can’t ask questions or challenge the king and results are more important than anything else.

These leaders and leadership environments may produce results for a season, but in the long-run, morale will be negatively affected. Those employees will do just enough to meet the performance expectations and they will begin to plan their exit from that environment when the 1st lateral or better opportunity comes available.

Don’t confuse great performance with great leadership. There are plenty or organizations, environments and teams that have great performance, while the implications of the leadership is devastating to the employees. These teams are generally over-worked, under-valued, under-appreciated, stressed out, carry their work problems home and are flat out unhealthy. Great leadership produces healthy teams.

The best way to evaluate the effectiveness of leadership is to get true and honest feedback from the team. If this feedback is filtered through an independent 3-party it’s even better.

Don’t measure success from performance alone, dig a little deeper and answer this question: “Are my team members happy, healthy, satisfied and excited to come to work everyday?”

Healthy teams are comprised of healthy people. Ultimately, it’s the responsibility of the leader to create an environment that fosters health.

Don’t Confuse Great Performance With Great Leadership.

11 Reasons You Should Be Doing The Work You Love

I Love My JobLists, Lists, Lists… I really don’t really care for list posts; however they are easy to follow, easy to digest and easy to remember. That’s why I keep writing them and you keep reading them all across the interwebs. The reality is maybe I really do like list posts – who knows?

There is one thing that I do like and that’s doing the work I love and you should to. I love spending time with family, sharing the Gospel, strategizing, connecting, thinking, dreaming, leading, challenging and helping others win.

11 Reasons You Should Be Doing The Work You Love

  • 1. It’s what you love… duh.
  • 2. Life is too short to be wasting time doing work that you don’t even like.
  • 3. If you are sharp enough to rise to a leadership role for an organization you are not particularly fond of, you’re definitely sharp enough to successfully do something you love.
  • 4. It’s easier to wake up in the morning, when you’re waking up to do what you love.
  • 5. You are consistently motivated by an inner desire to do what you love and the success of it all is simply a nice bonus.
  • 6. Your dreams can be centered around what you love instead of dreaming about how to get out of a situation that you don’t like.
  • 7. You only live once on this earth. ((repeat))
  • 8. If you find yourself in what you perceive as mediocre work situation – you don’t have much to loose, pursue the work you love.
  • 9. If you don’t feel that you can leave the financial security, ask yourself “Will the money be the most important piece of my life puzzle 5-10-15 years from now?” Better yet talk to someone in the “Car Business” that chased the dollar their entire life.
  • 10. There is a reason something you love is burning deep down inside of you – it’s because it’s what you were created to do.
  • 11. You are more productive when you are doing what you you love, you mile, you laugh, you cry and you love it.

There are some great lyrics and encouragement for those contemplating, desiring or thinking about pursuing the work they love found in hip hop artist Emimen’s song “Lose Yourself.”

“Lose Yourself”

If you had one shot, one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted in one moment
Would you capture it or just let it slip?

You can do anything you set your mind to. ~Eminem

Maybe it’s time that you “Lose Yourself” or better yet, it’s time that you find yourself, it’s time that you do what you love and love what you do.

Why are people so scared or unwilling to do the work they love? Share your thoughts and experiences on this subject and these 11 reasons.

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