Employee engagement doesn’t mean coddling or succumbing to every employee need or whim. Employers, you still and will always have more leverage in the relationship. Lately, I’ve watched as many of you have allowed your power dynamic to shift upside down. Given the purported dearth of talent and supply of qualified candidates, you are slowly […]
We need move towards not away from one another. I worry that lately we are a culture that has embraced a “divide and conquer” mindset. Instead of “win-win” we think “win-lose.” Instead of choosing to co-exist with people who think differently from ourselves, we further and further isolate ourselves from others who could potentially expand […]
Regrettably, I am in a profession where there are minimal barriers to entry and just about anyone (within reason) can claim to do what I do. Just about every week, I meet another person who is billing themselves as a business coach or executive coach and charging a considerable amount of money for something they have no business doing in the first place. More often than not, it is someone who has been downsized from an existing position or exiting a failed business endeavor, an individual who has hit a career brick wall themselves, an academic with free time on his/her hands, an independent consultant looking to supplement their income, or a psychotherapist who has figured out they can charge more money if they change the title of what they do. I shutter sometimes when I think about the bad advice which is regularly disseminated to executives and business owner by often well-intentioned, but under-skilled or poorly trained business coaches. Here are a few questions I recommend you ask before working with someone in this capacity:
As we approach another Labor Day it's actually depressing how many people dread going to work. I've ready many different statistics some saying as much as 90% of people are unhappy with their job. Since we spend a significant part of our adult life working, this means that most people will spend a good deal of time unhappy or uninspired in their career. I have a hard time getting my head wrapped around this issue. Why would either party to the relationship accept this reality? I guess that is why individuals change jobs so frequently these days. They are searching for something the data says they have little chance of ever finding.
I remember when cell phones were a bit of a novelty but then became a regular everyday tool. It was almost as if the world couldn’t have existed without them (but it did). Many technology tools have arrived since then and followed the same trajectory of becoming completely indispensable until something better came along. Now […]
As part of my work, I am in a lot of meetings and conference calls. It’s amazing and somewhat disheartening at times to see how the quality of these interactions can vary. There are moments where it feels like everyone is “dialed-in” and paying rapt attention, but these are few and far between. More often […]
In life we often come across overly charming people, who always seem to know what to say and how to say it. I am always a bit skeptical when it appears that an individual has too much polish. We all know the type, those candidates who interview extremely well but disappoint later. In my line of work […]
Over the years I've noticed that it is inexperienced or mediocre leaders who feel like they have to dominate all conversations. It's almost as if what anyone else has to say has limited or no value and it is only their opinion that counts. We've all been in meetings where there is that one person who simply will not be quiet and yield the floor to others. They are also often prone to interrupting their colleagues before they can finish their thoughts and using obvious body language when the center of attention isn't focused on them. This is bad enough when it is a peer but even worse when it is the actual leader of the group. Nobody likes a "know it all."
Leadership is not for the faint of heart. It certainly has its ups and downs and can test anyone’s emotional fortitude. However, this is the very reason so few people can do it well. If you take every small slight and failure personally, the job will eat you alive. Whenever you assume a position of responsibility, you automatically also assume a roster of critics and malcontents who aren’t always aligned with your leadership vision. Since you can’t realistically fire everyone who disagrees with you (nor is this advisable), then you need to figure out other ways to handle the pressures and scrutiny.
In our society that rewards constant action, it is often hard to step back and reflect about where you have been, what you have learned, and where you should be going. However, leadership requires thinking and reflection as much as it is supposed to stimulate action. Many people I know are busy at doing the wrong things. They are working hard but not smart. Every day is just one more attempt to push the boulder up the hill and hope that at some point positive sustained momentum will push them over the top. Unfortunately as the slope of their climb increases the weight of their responsibilities also increases and the path they are treading becomes less predictable and stable. You can't push forward into unchartered territory and not expect to learn some tough lessons along the way. If you are not careful, you may slip or fall and the boulder will roll right back over you.