Change can be a difficult pill to swallow, especially in organizations accustomed to systematic routines and practices. However, as society advances, change is the only link to future success. Here are five insights into becoming a catalyst for change.
1. Don’t push harder – Adding more information or more good reasons to do something will not move people into action. Adding more pressure only creates more resistance.
2. Offer a choice – Give people two to three options. This makes them feel more in control of the decision and therefore, more open to change.
3. Point out the costs of the status quo – People tend to ignore small problems, but by shedding new light on these flaws and pointing out how they compound over time, you can make the inconvenience of change look more appealing than the cost of inaction.
4. Ask for less – Start by asking for a small, manageable change, and when that has been made, ask for another. Big shifts do not happen right away, but one step at a time.
5. Lower the barrier – Whether it’s a new product, service, idea, or #behavior, a new way of doing things means uncertainty. Offer a “trial run” to allow people to convince themselves of the value they’re being offered.
Coaching is just as essential in the workplace as it is on the field or court. A coach’s job is to encourage, support, and motivate – to bring out the best in their players. And the only way to do that is by providing frequent, in-the-moment performance feedback.
Effective coaching has to be a well-thought-out process and adapted to the skill level of the employee.
Novices are in the “telling” stage of learning. They need a lot of instruction and constructive correction. Be mindful of micro-managing.
Doers haven’t yet mastered the job. There’s still a lot of “tell” coaching going on. Encourage new #behaviors and praise Doers for good results.
Performers carry their full share of the load and they’re doing the task the way it should be done. Much less “tell” coaching. Feedback focused on recognizing good results and points for improvement.
Masters accomplish tasks to standards efficiently and effectively. They have a deep understanding of what should be done that they can train/coach others on the task.
Experts don’t need a lot of direction – they’re highly self-sufficient. They can provide direction to others.
No one wants to work in a toxic culture or with dysfunctional coworkers. But ask them why it happens, and very few can name the root cause. There are four overarching patterns of workplace culture.
1. Conflict-Avoidant Culture: Need approval. Underlying fear is rejection. Excessive need to be nice and to take care of everyone, even when they don’t perform. What’s missing is courage (integrity, confidence, and boldness).
2. Autocratic-Dominant Culture: Need power. Underlying fear is vulnerability. Excessive need to be forceful under the guise of protecting the vulnerable. What’s missing is humanity (trust, likability, and empathy).
3. Elite-Bureaucratic Culture: Need status above others. Underlying fear is inferiority. Excessive need for a hierarchy to overcome feelings of inadequacy. What’s missing is resilience (openness, creativity, and inspiration).
4. Chaotic-Narcissistic Culture: Need freedom and attention that arises from rebellion to authority figures. Underlying fear is being trapped in sadness/boredom that comes from previously feeling neglected. Excessive need for the freedom to pursue lofty ideas and delusions. What’s missing is wisdom (perspective, diligence, and focus).
Studies show that 85% of working adults feel inadequate or incompetent at work and 70% of people experience ‘imposter syndrome’ at some point in their career.
Imposter syndrome is the name given to a pattern of behavior where people doubt their success and accomplishments despite strong evidence to the contrary. Impostor syndrome often begins with an accomplishment, like a new job, completion of a degree or another competency or milestone.
One or more of these workplace indicators suggest that team members are prone to imposter syndrome:
1. Being a workaholic – working longer hours than everyone else, not taking time off, struggling to relax.
2. Being a perfectionist – never satisfied with anything less than perfection, struggling to delegate or micromanaging.
3. Being strong – never asking for help, being independent, not fully working with the team.
4. Being the expert – needing to know everything yet never knowing enough, constantly seeking more knowledge and facts.
There is a difference between trained leaders and leaders who are transformational. Here are five characteristics all transformational leaders possess:
1. They See Things Others Do Not See – While many leaders ask “Why?” they ask, “Why not?” because they’re always thinking about how they can create a better future.
2. They Say Things Others Do Not Say – Transformational leaders speak up. They leverage their influence by speaking bold words about a better future.
3. They Believe Things Others Do Not Believe – Adopting the belief that you can make a difference changes everything. When transformational leaders believe their cause can change things for the better, they bring conviction to their leadership
4. They Feel Things Others Do Not Feel – Passion is a leader’s energy. It creates momentum and tenacity for the challenges that all leaders face. Passion fires up leaders and the people they lead, and that fire carries them forward and helps them endure.
5. They Do Things Others Do Not Do – Transformational leaders know they exist for a reason, and they tap into that sense of purpose whenever fear arises.
What makes a great leader in the 21st Century? The answer lies within these questions:
1. Where are you looking to anticipate change in your business and your life? Who are you spending your time with? What are you reading? What topics? How are you distilling this to understand potential discontinuities, and then doing something right now so that you are prepared and ready?
2. What is the diversity measure of your personal and professional stakeholder network? What is your capacity to develop relationships with people that are very different than you? Do they connect with you and trust you enough to cooperate with you in achieving a shared goal?
3. Are you courageous enough to abandon a practice that has made you successful in the past? The “go along to get along” attitude doesn’t work here. Great leaders dare to be different!
What makes a great leader today are the men and women who are preparing themselves not for the comfortable predictabilities of yesterday, but also for the realities of today, and all of the unknown possibilities of tomorrow.
The distinction between leader and manager has been the subject of much debate and research. In an era of rapid change, new ways of working have emerged and are impacting every aspect of our lives. As a result, leadership and management have become complementary systems of action and necessary for success in today’s business environment. The key is to combine strong leadership and strong management and use each to balance the other.
Diversity is instrumental to a company’s growth. Studies show minority representation in leadership drives innovation, greater returns to shareholders, higher profitability, and an uptick in financial performance.
Gartner asserts 75% of companies with frontline decision-making teams that embrace diversity and inclusivity surpass their targeted business goals. Another study found a formal mentoring program boosts minority and female representation in management by 9 – 24%.
In developing or evaluating a mentorship program, consider these questions:
1. Does our program advisory board or planning committee include diverse representatives?
2. Is our program information accessible and widely available to all employees?
3. Are employees invited to self-nominate or apply for mentoring opportunities?
4. In training, do we provide opportunities for participants to discuss cultural differences and how they may impact mentoring relationships?
Leading through tension isn’t fun. It requires us to challenge our team’s way of thinking, their attitudes, and their emotional responses. There is a relational shift from pleasing people to challenging people, and we have to manage people through this process.
One way is by using the 25-50-25 Principle of Change. Whenever we cast vision and challenge people to become part of achieving an endeavor, they tend to fall into one of three groups. Typically, 25% of the people will be all in, 50% will be undecided, and 25% will resist change. Our job as a leader is to help the middle 50 percent join the first 25 percent.
Here are some tips for doing that:
1. Understand that the resistant bottom 25 percent is not going to change no matter what we do.
2. Don’t waste effort trying to make the resistant 25 percent happy.
3. Don’t give the bottom 25 percent a platform or credibility.
4. Create opportunities for the middle 50 percent to spend time with the top 25 percent.
5. Ask the 25 percent who are all in, to help positively influence the 50 percent who are undecided.
6. Give the supportive 25 percent credibility and a platform to speak.
Many of us plan our days around managing minutes and hours in an attempt to extract the most from each day. Focusing on time, however, is a flawed approach to productivity and won’t deliver the best results. To practice attention management, we need to understand our four brain states and how they impact our productivity.
The difference between influential leaders and dysfunctional leaders is rooted in their mindset. Our mindset consists of general attitudes that shape the way we think about things and how we make sense of the world. Here are some damaging mindsets to have as a leader.
1. They need to change. I am just fine (fixed mindset).
2. I am going to ignore this feedback because they just don’t understand me (closed mindset).
3. I am not going to change because that’s just the way I am (victim mindset).
4. I want and need everyone to like me (people pleaser mindset).
5. I am going to wait for an opportunity to come to me (fear-driven mindset).
Culture is made up of three layers, represented here by an iceberg:
Behaviors, systems, policies and processes surrounding the way things are done
Ideals, goals, values, and aspirations set by leadership
Underlying assumptions that guide behavior
A leader’s influence on an organization and its culture can be subdivided into three general #culture types:
1. Constructive – encourage the attainment of organizational goals through people development; promote teamwork and synergy; and enhance individual, group, and organizational adaptability and effectiveness.
2. Aggressive/Defensive – lead people to focus on their own needs at the expense of those of their group and organization and lead to stress, turnover, and inconsistent performance.
3. Passive/Defensive – lead people to subordinate themselves to the organization, stifle creativity and initiative, and allow the organization to stagnate.
Listening is difficult because it involves suppressing our #ego long enough to consider what is being said before we respond. When someone starts talking, our minds listen for:
1. Reasonably guess what they are going to say. (E.g., “I know what you are going to say.”)
2. Identify a pattern. (E.g., “I know where you are going with this.”)
3. Something we disagree with (E.g., That’s wrong.”)
When that happens, we stop #listening and our mind starts preparing for a response. At that moment, the conversation becomes about us. A conversation is not a race to make a point, but rather an exploration of someone’s mind. You don’t have to agree and you don’t have an obligation to understand. Just listen.