When I teach leadership skills workshops I have a favorite exercise that asks participants to think of their worst boss ever and write down two or three characteristics of that individual that drove them crazy. Invariably, one of the most common complaints I hear is micromanaging.
No one likes to be micromanaged, even if the individual is new in position. And, micromanaging is not an effective leadership style because it doesn’t respect the abilities and talent of team members. There are several types of micromanagement:
When team members come to you with a problem, is your first instinct to tell them what to do? Of course it is. Jumping into help is a normal thing. What is the benefit of helping the employee think through what to do vs. telling them what to do? Research shows that advising or telling is effective only 1/13 of the time. What is far more effective is to ask probing questions and encourage your team member to think for themselves.
Next time someone comes to you with a problem, you might set the stage with, “Hmm, you have a good challenge there. Would it be OK for me to ask you some thinking questions to help you plan your actions?”
Here are some thinking questions to use:
Many companies have jumped on the culture bandwagon, creating their own core values. Some of these organizations have even defined the meaning of these values; what they mean when they have “integrity” or “customer-focused” in this list of standards. Not many have taken the third step, which is defining the behaviors that both support and detract from the values.
I’ve worked with many organizations on creating their values. Often, these values are dictated from upper management for the entire organization. That’s OK because it’s difficult in large organizations to involve all the team members in values creation. It’s also OK because each business unit and department gets to take the values to the next level by defining the behaviors that go along with the value statement.
Explicitly define your understanding of the value word
Let’s start with the definition of the value. Rather than presenting only a word or phrase for each value, it’s best to define exactly what you mean by the value. For example, one of Brio Leadership’s core values is “Integrity.” For some, this word means simply following the rules. For us at Team Brio, it means “doing what we say we’ll do, being scrupulously honest, because everything matters.” Can you see how these two definitions are quite different?
Sleep deprivation is linked to infamous disasters such as the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion that killed seven crew members, the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, and multiple US Navy ship collisions that also resulted in deaths. Less dramatic in scope, but equally devasting, are the 6,000 or more car accidents per year caused by falling asleep while driving. Not getting enough sleep is definitively linked to slow reflexes, poor decision-making, emotional outbursts, sluggish thoughts and forgetfulness. As reported in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, lack of adequate sleep costs companies between $2,500 and $3,156 per employee, per year in lost productivity and poorer performance. Reported in this study, the cost of reduced productivity from inadequate sleep totaled $54 billion per year across the four surveyed companies.
Sleep deprivation impacts our personal lives and reduces the effectiveness of our companies, communities and countries. In my leadership coaching practice, I always ask my executive clients how much sleep they are routinely getting. It’s sadly common that they are averaging less than six hours per night.
How much sleep does a normal adult need? The research is unequivocal about this: between seven and eight hours of sleep nightly are required for optimal functioning. And, the result of less than six hours of sleep for four days running is akin to drinking too much, according to researcher Dr. Itzhak Fried of University of California at Los Angeles. Plus, the long-term health effects of too little sleep are also well-known; they range from increased risk of cardio-vascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes, among other health risks.
What can be done about this silent epidemic that is hurting all of us, both at work and at home? There are both individual and organizational remedies. Let’s look at two areas of recommendations:
We present a video of our CEO, Kristin Robertson, sharing her thoughts on Mindful Leadership. Mindfulness practices are gaining in popularity in the business sector. This is due to the growing body of research that documents the benefits of practicing mindfulness, including better health, greater happiness, reduced emotional reactivity, and stronger leadership/mental capacities. Listen to our Vlog to learn a quick mindfulness practice to reduce stress in the midst of your day.
In a survey of 75 members of the Stanford Graduate School of Business Advisory Board, respondents rated self-awareness as the most important capability for leaders to develop. Executives need to understand their own foibles and propensities – the characteristics that executives assume to be the norm but in fact are the exception – to be an effective leader.
One powerful way to build self-awareness is to practice self-reflection, and what better time to start than at the end of a year? It’s time to look back on the last twelve months to identify you and your organization’s successes and where you missed the mark, so you can prime yourself for the new year.
In this article, we offer a series of questions that you can use to do a self-evaluation – either of yourself or of your team. Light a candle to symbolize the importance of the moment and answer these questions by recording them in a journal. Note: these questions are equally valid when applied to your own personal accomplishments or those of your team.
It’s almost year-end and it’s time to set your company’s sights on the new year. Large companies have been working on next year’s budget since August but mid-size and smaller companies are usually focused on finishing the current year with a bang. Companies of all sizes need to make strategic plans for the new year. Now is the time to plan a leadership retreat or half-day planning session to envision a fantastic new year for your organization.
Brio Leadership has helped a multitude of companies and large departments make plans for their new year. We want to share five secrets with you about the process.
Gender diversity in the workplace is not just a feel-good issue for women; it’s a financial imperative for companies. Studies show that gender diversity, especially in the top ranks, positively affects financial outcomes of an organization. McKinsey & Company, the global consultancy, and Lean In, a non-profit dedicated to women’s parity in the workplace, recently published their latest research report on gender diversity called Women in the Workplace 2018. The results of this year’s research show women are vastly underrepresented at every level of the organization and that their percentages have not increased over the past four years. Indeed, progress towards gender diversity has stalled.
Furthermore, this study states that women are doing their part to “lean in”: they are getting college degrees at higher rates than men, they ask for raises and promotions, and they stay in the workforce at the same rate as men.
The Queen of Hearts in Louis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland commanded “Off with her head!” at the slightest offense. Although this fictional story was written over 100 years ago, there are lessons from this story that can be applied to 21 st century work culture. Many inexperienced or uninformed leaders in today’s dynamic workplace may inadvertently “kill” the whole team when only one person makes a mistake.
I was reminded of this ill-advised practice by a colleague of mine, a millennial who is still early in his career. He told me that his boss sent out an email to the whole team with a correction, a directive that asked for different behavior. The boss said that he’d heard complaints and wanted them all to pay better attention to their customers.
Trouble is, this colleague of mine was already doing just that.
The boss acted the best he knew how – he sent out an email to all eleven of his team members. But the result of his action was an unintended consequence of his inability to address the one or two team members who were not paying proper attention to customers.
In our increasingly secular world, religious participation is on the decline overall. However, at the same time in the United States, there are many religious institutions that are in fact thriving and growing. What do these organizations do to create a cohesive community of thousands and excite their congregations in these times of religious decay? I was pondering this at a recent conference on organizational culture, where I began listing some traditions churches and other religious communities use to draw people together and create positive organizational cultures. I thought of practices like community worship, commitment to high ideals, prayer, small group meetings, potluck dinners, receiving an offering and community service or mission work. While not all religious practices are best
applied to a diverse and inclusive workplace, there are many ideas that a company can re-purpose from religious organizations to create a better team culture. Let’s examine them separately:
From the desk of