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7 Ways Leaders Destroy Their Teams

fail2Often 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.

7 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 articular 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.
Leadership Destroyers destroy everything.
What Do You Think?  Share your thoughts and experiences with any of thes

Why Organizations and Individuals Settle For Mediocrity

mediocreIt seems like I’m in constant conversations with organizational leaders, groups and individuals about settling. By settling, I mean they see a better way, a better plan, a better relationship and a better situation; however they choose to settle for their existing state of mediocrity. If better is within your reach and you choose to settle for less, you are settling for mediocrity.

We all have found ourselves in that awkwardly comfortable position of settling at one time or another on this journey we call life. Mediocrity is self inflicted and so is excellence. If individuals and organizations are left with the ability to chose mediocrity or excellence, good or great; why do more often times than not people chose the former before the later.

Why do people settle for mediocrity? Plain and simple, it’s safe, it’s comfortable, it’s easy and it just feels good. The more you settle for mediocrity, the more mediocrity begins to look like genius and excellence.

Change the way you think, change the way you feel, raise the bar and don’t settle for mediocrity.

10 Great Leadership Lessons From Tim Duncan’s Career

tim2Well the NBA Finals wrapped up with the team with the best record in the NBA hoisting the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy. Yes, the San Antonio Spurs are the 2014 NBA champions after missing the opportunity to win their 5th title last year, they seized the moment this year. Even though the #Spurs had the best record and best coach in the NBA, this championship is unlikely because everyone including them Heat had pretty much crowned themselves as the 2014 NBA Champions, a 3-Peat and LeBron on NBA’s Mt. Rushmore before the season even started. Not so fast my friend, the Spurs are the new Sheriff in town. Well they are the old Sheriff thats back in town.

The Spurs were led by a cast of awesome players that know how to play team basketball. They are truly a team where night in and night out a different team member shows up. As a matter of fact most people had never heard of the man of the Spurs players including finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, especially before the last couple of games. To this day only a few people can even spell his name correctly. Uhh Kuh-why?

Not only did the Spurs have a great team but they were smarter, more disciplined and better coached than any other team in the NBA. The Spurs were lead by the veteran of all veterans, Tim Duncan. Duncan will go down as one of the greatest NBA Superstars ever. Duncan now has the most playoff games and double-doubles of any player in NBA history. Duncan is a SuperStar who shined bright like a diamond while staying outside of the spotlight. Speaking of diamonds and spotlights King James tried to shine but his teammates didn’t help him sparkle. As a result, can we please not talk about the #Heat #LeBron #Bulls and #Jordan in the same sentence for a long time. Like ever!

We can talk about Tim Duncan, not only can we talk about him, there is a lot to learn about life and leadership from him and his career.

10 Great Leadership Lessons From Tim Duncan’s Career.

  • 1. Substance Over Style – “The Big Fundamental” Looking good is great, performing great is better. Duncan doesn’t win the style contest, but he is a straight up winner.
  • 2. Greatness Is Appreciated More When It’s Gone – Tim Duncan’s Game, Career and Place in history won’t be appreciated until he’s retired and gone.
  • 3. Great Leaders Know When To Defer – Duncan has admittedly turned the team over to Tony Parker, which has extended his career and allowed him to continue his greatness. It looks like he may be turning it over to Mr. About His Business Kawhi Leonard real soon.
  • 4. You Can’t Care What People Think – Duncan doesn’t get the commercials, the shoes, the endorsements… He just gets the trophies. Duncan could care less what people think about his personality or lack there of, all he does is win.
  • 5. Classy over Sassy – Tim Duncan is one of the classiest players in the NBA. It’s hard not to like classy… when in doubt, keep it classy.
  • 6. Quietly Be The Best At What You Do – Tim Duncan will quietly go down as one of the best power forwards to ever play the game. Period, the end.
  • 7. Nice Guys Don’t Finish Last – Nice guys finish wherever they want to finish, Duncan is nice and he doesn’t finish last. 🙂
  • 8. Get Better With Age – Just like a fine wine, they say some things get better with age, great leaders get better, lead better, play better and make better decisions with age. Duncan seems to get better the older that he gets.
  • 9. Know How To Lead Up – Duncan plays for a tough coach and he’s one of the few players that knows how to lead up, talk to Popovich, how to handle him in the media and how to lead up. There is an art to leading up and Duncan figured it out.
  • 10. Make Those Around You Better – Duncan makes his teammates, his coach, his city, his community and the NBA better.

 

Learn To Appreciate The Journey

You can miss the opportunity to appreciate your success, the wins, the losses and the journey if you don’t take the time to pause, reflect and take a look back. Pause, look back, appreciate the past…

Learn To Appreciate The Journey.

Success is often found somewhere between appreciating the journey and looking towards the future.

Everything Doesn’t Require A Response

no response
I see people get themselves in trouble more times than not by responding to and addressing things that don’t require a response. Not only do most things not require a response, often times they don’t even deserve a response.

Okay, so your naysayers have something negative to say about you, sometimes your best response is simply no response. You may find yourself in a back and forth argument, you can actually choose not be be the forth in the back and forth conversation; therefore the argument ceases.

In the world of social media and the day and age of everyone constantly trying to prove themselves, you are probably wasting way to much time, energy and breath on things that don’t deserve either of the three.

There is a time to speak and at time to listen. The less you respond to things that don’t deserve a response, the more peaceful your life will be.

Everything Doesn’t Require A Response.

15 Things You Need To Stop Doing… Right Now!

stop66We live in a world of to-do lists, goals and New Years Resolutions. Everyone is looking forward to starting something, going to the gym, starting the conversation, starting the journey… Instead of focusing so much energy and attention on what you need to start, you should try a different approach. How about focusing on the things you need to stop and awesome life results will be the natural by-product.

Try This! (In no particular order)

15 Things You Need To Stop Doing… Right Now!

  • 1. Stop placing your job above your family.
  • 2. Stop doubting yourself.
  • 3. Stop believing the lies.
  • 4. Stop settling for second best.
  • 5. Stop procrastinating.
  • 6. Stop making excuses.
  • 7. Stop talking so much.
  • 8. Stop trying to please everyone.
  • 9. Stop comparing yourself to others.
  • 10. Stop standing paralyzed in awe of the success of others.
  • 11. Stop tippy-toeing on that line of sin.
  • 12. Stop being consumed with what other people think.
  • 13 Stop worrying about things that really don’t matter.
  • 14. Stop Going, Going, Going without Resting, Resting, Resting.
  • 15. Stop calling God a liar… He’s says “You Can” stop saying you can’t.

The Nontrepreneur

faith2There are so many entrepreneurs that never seem to get their entrepreneurial ship to set sail. They have the ideas, the vision, the story, the expertise, the ability… but they lack the faith to make it happen. Notice I didn’t say they lack the finances, the support or the opportunity. Entrepreneurs are individuals who take a series of faith steps to pursue what’s already inside of them.

Unfortunately, most people never realize their entrepreneurial dreams because they settle for being The Nontrepreneur. The Nontrepreneur has all the potential to be a successful entrepreneur but they settle for helping someone else achieve their goals  and dreams instead of pursuing their own.

To those that are stuck in chasm on Nontrepreneurism, allow that to be temporary and motivation for the entrepreneurial success that is to come. You have to chase after what is inside of you, otherwise what’s inside of you will slowly eat you up like the drippy faucet of regret. The late Steve Jobs says it this way:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” ~Steve Jobs

Remember, no successful entrepreneur ever jumped to the finish line of success, they all started their journey by planning, plotting and taking that single step of faith. Mr. and Mrs. Nontrepreneur it’s time that you get to stepping.

How Leaders and Organizations Can Avoid Leadership Blind Spots

blind spotEven the greatest of leaders have blind spots. Often times leaders and organizations make a habit of looking forward towards their goals and they periodically look in their rearview mirror to see whats coming. The entire organization will follow this same pattern unless the leaders truly encourage otherwise.

By encouraging otherwise, I mean encouraging the challenging of the organization’s direction, decisions, culture, things that just aren’t quite right and pointing out the blind spots. More often than not leaders become comfortable as it relates to what they can challenge, what they can say, what’s sacred and what would be considered obvious blind spots become “things we don’t do, things our boss won’t allow or thing that won’t change”

Leaders should encourage new hires to actively point out blind spots during their 1st 90 days of employment. Those fresh eyes and fresh perspectives are invaluable to an organization. Organizations should consider changing up the executive leadership team from time to time. This one is tricky, because there is tremendous value in having a consistent leadership team; however there is also tremendous value in someone new at the leadership table that is more willing to point out the blind spots and bring a fresh new outlook.

Another great way that an organization can begin to see their blind spots is by bringing in a reputable 3rd party consultant or strategist, whose only agenda is to be objective and help the organization reach their desired goals. Lastly, have a blind spot meeting – a meeting where you invite some of the brightest, most critical, outspoken, futuristic, company Kool-aid drinking and play it safe people all in the same room to do nothing more than point out blind spots. (This is fun)

When organizations make it a point to actively point out blind spots the organization will not only drive with the mindset of looking ahead, and periodically looking in the rearview mirror. The organization can tap into the use of the various side mirrors and overhead perspectives to help them see their blind spots.

Blind spots: Every organization has them, only few are willing to point them out.

How Great Leaders Inspire Action

A great (now classic) Ted Talk on leadership from Simon Sinek. What’s your why?

Learn To Listen and Listen To Learn

listenAs a consultant one of my key roles and responsibilities is the art of listening. Yes I have to provide great strategies, thoughts and coaching along the way; however I can’t be effective and any of those if I don’t learn to listen. The greatest compliments that clients give me is when they say that my team and I do a great job of listening and assessing. Bingo: Listen – Assess – Strategize – Coach.

As a consultant, leader, parent, spouse, coach, friend, co-worker… if you want to be effective, stop talking and Learn To Listen. Learn to listen and Listen to learn

You must learn to listen in order to get the heart, essence and meaning behind what others are saying and not just listening so that you can respond.

“Who speaks, sows; Who listens reaps.” ~Argentine Proverb

Contrary to popular belief, the more you talk, the less people listen.

 

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