Leadership B.L.I.S.S.™ (Bold Leadership Is Street Smart)

When we think of bliss, we think of joy and happiness. Bliss is a feeling, a positive state of mind; a pinnacle of emotion. Bliss may be invigorating and satisfying. In this article, we will use bliss, as an acronym. B.L.I.S.S. will evoke a sense of power and boldness when it is linked to leadership.

  1. Bold Leadership Is Street Smart.
  2. Bold Leadership Is Servant Strong.
  3. Bold Leadership Instills Survival Skills
  4. Bold Leadership Is Situation Specific

Street Smart

Bold Leadership is Street Smart. It cultivates workplace wisdom and marketplace moxie. Bold Leadership appreciates diversity, equity, and inclusion and treats people with dignity and respect. Respect is the currency that influences the cooperation and coordination necessary to avoid danger and anticipate business downturns.

The Oxford Language Dictionary defines street smarts as “the experience and knowledge necessary to deal with the potential difficulties of life in an urban environment.” The practical application of this is being savvy enough to make the tough decision. A person demonstrating street smarts knows how to operate calmly under tough circumstances. They know how to conduct themselves in a crisis. They may have the expertise and instincts to avoid a crisis. Street smart individuals can navigate a hostile environment.

A person who is street smart has developed a heightened sense of awareness of their environment. They know diverse people and their tendencies.  They recognize cues and clues and respond in the appropriate manner through their words, body language, and actions. They are confident, but not too confident and move as if they belong in the area. They do not display an air of timidity. Their strength is just enough, not to seem confrontational. They know what to say and what not to say, where to go and where not to go; they flow as if they belong.

Bold Leadership is Street Smart. Certain aspects of street smarts can be taught and presented in a framework to help people increase their awareness. Through the powers of observation and simulations, we instruct our customer-facing employees to be friendly, and professional and to understand their surroundings. They dressed appropriately and did not bring too much attention to themselves. They cultivated relationships.  People befriended them and had their backs. They would not take unnecessary risks and be constantly following Principle Number 3 from my book Unlock Your Leadership Greatness. Principle Number 3 is becoming A Student of the Game, which means continuously learning information about their field and related areas, which includes learning about diverse clients and various circumstances.

Bold Leadership is street smart when it hires and develops toughness, resilience, and street credibility. It knows how to relate to people and pays its due to learn and understand people, backgrounds, and motivations.

Servant Strong

Bold Leadership Is Servant Strong; for it realizes its purpose is to serve others. Bold Leaders see employees holistically. Each person is an individual. I feel that “The leader must know the coordinates of each subordinate, so they can meet them where they are.” They want employees to bring their entire selves to work, engaged and participating fully. Being servant strong means empathy is an important element for engagement.

Servant Leadership is a term popularized by Robert K Greenleaf in his essay, The Servant as Leader. This concept focuses on the individual. The leader concentrates on meeting the needs of their followers. The leader’s mindset is, that if we serve or take care of the people, the people will take care of the business. Traditional leadership models are leader-focused. They were hierarchical and everyone in the organization worked for the people on top. In servant leadership, the leader works for everyone. This causes a different mindset and a shift in behavior. The Bold Leader asks questions, such as What can I do for you? Is there anything else that you need? And What else is required for you to be successful?

Survival Skills

Bold Leadership Instills Survival Skills; for it is developmental by nature. There are sets of skills and abilities that must be mastered if someone is to be successful. There are minimum standards that must be learned and graduate-level on-the-job training experiences that ensure long-term success.

Bold Leadership Instills Survival Skills; by ensuring that people are fundamentally sound and by setting high standards. Feedback is provided routinely to chart their progress. By setting high expectations, people develop into confident, courageous, and competent performers.

The survival skills make them feel safe and place them in a protective frame of mind. Unlock the Secrets of Ozone Leadership® is a book utilizing the protective attribute of the ozone layer to strengthen survival skills. Bold Leadership ensures safety is a key component of their lives.

Situation Specific

Bold Leadership Is Situation Specific; refers to its ability to shift to a higher gear when more is expected. Regardless of the situation, bold leadership can adjust to a crisis and deliver what is required for their people to develop. Paul Hershey and Ken Blanchard developed and described the concept of Situational Leadership. The idea was to work smarter and not harder and to provide leadership based on the employee’s development level. Less development required more direction; more development required less direction. There was a constant delivery of support and direction based on the changing development level of the individual. Work smarter and not harder. I would add the phrase, “because you don’t want to be a martyr.

It is imperative to add B.L.I.S.S. to our leadership. This will enable us to become street smart, strong servants, instilled with survival skills, and leadership that is specific to the situation. Inherent in any leadership philosophy and methodology is a list of do’s and don’ts that we pass along to others for safety, protection, productivity, and growth. When we obtain Leadership B.L.I.S.S.™, we must train it and envelop and develop it as a competency. Leadership B.L.I.S.S.™ (Bold Leadership Is Street Smart) is a critical leadership state with many success factors to benefit our constituents.

Copyright © 2022 Orlando Ceaser

Be More Interesting – BMI

Improve relationships, recruiting, culture, retention, and productivity

Be More Interesting (BMI)

Acronyms are nifty little devices that help us memorize concepts. Acronyms are excellent to create a mantra for repetition.

People look detached and disengaged in the presence of someone whom they feel is bland and uninteresting. They may be in a relationship with someone who is dull and appeared to be sucking the life out of them. The spark is gone, and an infusion of excitement is necessary.

My college roommate told a story of asking a question of a professor who was not very dynamic. At the end of an exceptionally long, drawn-out, boring explanation, the instructor turned around to find my roommate sound asleep and snoring. The class found this to be hysterical. I found it historical, standing the test of time.

Picture this; the first date through a dating app, two people sitting at a table and staring away from each other. They are floundering in meaningless conversation, losing interest by the minute. The situation would be much better if the parties were interesting and increases the likelihood of being interested.

The workplace may need revision to increase engagement and participation. Additionally, Recruiters can recall interviews where candidates answered questions with a lackluster demeanor. They were not able to sell themselves in a persuasive manner. They may have been suitable for hire, but their personality blocked their chances.

We remember speakers and teachers who were not able to hold our attention, which caused our minds to wander. We could save ourselves the trouble, and create livelier discussions if we could make ourselves and others more interesting. Therefore, we need people to BMI. I am not speaking about “body mass index” or the Broadcast Music Corporation; I mean to Be More Interesting.

Relationships

Relationships would be more fun, interactive, exciting, and engaging if people were more interesting. Personal development can lead to a life that is more fulfilling and enjoyable. Time is well spent and used wisely when we interact with people who have great content in their conversations. Imagine having a conversation with someone who consistently provided content that is intriguing, and humorous with a substantial amount of depth and clarity. I’m not necessarily saying that they are more intellectual, but they have depth and breadth of knowledge. Interesting could be cultivated by the following methods:

  • Read more, extensively traveled and educational exposure and life experiences.
  • A well-developed “HIT List” – refers to Hobbies Interests & Talents
  • Emotional intelligence and conversation skills emanating from self-awareness and people skills
  • A sense of humor that is not condescending, but has a hint of self-deprecation
  • A curious thirst for knowledge, as they continuously learn new things
  • Optimistic in their worldview and a positive approach to life and people
  • Empathetic and humble, while taking an interest in others

Work

Work would be more enjoyable if it were more interesting. It would be a place we would look forward to going to each day. If the work and the people in it were more interesting, productivity and culture would be amazing, especially if the interesting people were allowed to fully express themselves. Gallup’s research has linked engagement to having a best friend work. They also said that people do not leave companies but need managers. Imagine a company where managers had the requisite skills of being more interesting and more interested in the people. We could revolutionize the workplace.

Personally, we should do a self-evaluation to determine how interesting are we to other people. We could ask that question of our nearest and dearest friends and associates. But we can also ask them what could we do to increase our BMI. Take notes and try to put their suggestions into practice. Also, we could ask employees about the interesting elements in the workplace, i.e., leadership, work content, workflow, and coworkers.

Interest should not necessarily be equated to popularity and an extroverted personality. We are speaking of depth and our ability to tie your exposures, experiences, and expertise in a manner that others may find compelling.

You could also add adjectives to describe interesting. They may be;

  • Authentic, transparent, empathetic, humorous, caring, trustworthy, safe, creative, adventurous, supportive, goal-oriented, with a zest for life
  • Willing to help others succeed, generous and well-rounded
  • Loyal and less likely to leave their jobs, thus enhancing retention

When we are more interesting, our relationships flourish and our connections at work can be more vital, and productive. Being more interesting would enable us to be more creative, with less stress, and retain more information. If we adopted the mindset of BMI, we could transform ourselves, the workplace, and the people we connect with daily.

Copyright © 2022 Orlando Ceaser

The “HIT” List For Personal Growth (Hobbies, Interest, and Talents)

It may be useful to develop a list of activities to target where you can focus your time and thinking. You can create a Hit List that you can use to channel your energy. I am using an acronym, where H stands for Hobbies, I is for Interests and T is for Talents.

Wikipedia defines a hobby as something you do on a regular activity that is done for enjoyment, typically during one’s leisure time. Interests are things that pique our curiosity, and we want to know more about them. For example, someone may have an interest in automobiles or the study of the galaxies. 

A talent is defined as a natural aptitude and inner quality that emerges effortlessly. Talents can be seen as gifts. Another word that we encounter is a skill, which can affect hobbies interests, and talents. A skill is an acquired ability, learned with effort.

Today in the music vernacular we would talk about a playlist. However, back in the day, a Hit List was a group of our favorite songs.

A good life plan should contain a Hit List. We should identify the areas, which could serve as a stimulus for motivation. They should also help us use our extra time wisely.

Ultimately, we may place interests on a resume to demonstrate expertise in areas related to employment. The Hit List allows us to show future employers the breadth of our accomplishments.

People have acquired jobs based on common interests with their interviewer. The Hit List helps to constructively, use time to build skill and capacity in a new occupation.

The Hit List may be a safety net in the long term. Your Hit List can provide you with peace of mind and skills that you can share with others. It is not coincidental that when people go into business for themselves, they often draw on skills from their Hit List.

The Hit List can help us make connections, network, and grow social skills. My family relocated several times. We insisted that the children develop their hobbies, interests, and talents. For example, each child played an instrument and was engaged in different sports. We knew that these areas would allow them to have conversations and connect with new students.

You may already know your hobbies, interests, and talents. But it is a good exercise to look around you for other areas that may become candidates for your Hit List.

Ask your friends, family members, and peers to describe your interests and talents. Additional hobbies, interests, and talents can be found online.

Here is a list of activities and skills that could be on one’s Hit List.

Copyright © 2021 Orlando Ceaser

Managerial Monsters in Haunted Workplaces

Pandemic reflections about scary supervisors and managerial monsters in haunted workplaces were a dreadful way to spend time. The Covid 19 pandemic has shone the spotlight on jobs, managers, and workplaces, as we reassess our values and careers. Many people decided not to return to their previous workplaces. This is evident by record resignations.

There are many reasons for the work shortage. The Gallup survey told us that people don’t leave companies, they leave managers. However, the workplaces may not be an enticing place to return to. Haunted workplaces and managerial monsters may both be a problem. However, we will concentrate on the managers in this article.

The traits of these individuals influence their leadership practices. They resort to fiendish tactics or insensitive methods to get results. Where there is a monster, there is fear. Where there is fear, there must be an antidote or a strategy to eventually relieve people from the threat of the monster and the power it has over them in the workplace.

There were six favorite monsters or categories that dominated the movies in my childhood; Wolfman, Dracula, the Mummy, Frankenstein, and the Bride of Frankenstein, and various reptiles or insects mutated by their exposure to radiation. For this segment we will concentrate on the top five; Wolfman, Dracula, Frankenstein, the Bride of Frankenstein, and The Mummy.

My favorite character was the Wolfman. He was a frustrated man who was bitten by a werewolf and had to spend the rest of his life howling at the full moon. He wanted to be different, but Lawrence Talbot was overpowered by the curse. The Wolfman manager is driven by the curse of ambition or trapped in the expectations of the culture. Have you seen the Wolfman Manager in your organization? They were nice but tormented by their role. They are subject to the curse of what represents success in the organization. They are mimicking a role for survival.

Secondly, there was Dracula, the vampire. He was charismatic, smooth-talking, and mesmerizing. He spoke with a distinctive accent. People liked his charm, appearance, and professional demeanor. But Dracula was still a bloodsucker planning to render his victims hopeless and under his control. Dracula lacked empathy and emotional intelligence. His intent was to drain others until they were no longer of use to him. You may have seen a vampire walking around your company with that same arrogant, cold, uncaring look. The look that says they are interested in you for what you can do for them. The Vampire Managers walk around feeling as if they would be there forever and no one would discover their secrets. You may wonder if somewhere, there is a coffin containing their native soil, buried in an undisclosed office.

Thirdly, Frankenstein was a collection of body parts, sewn together to create a living breathing inhuman being. Frankenstein’s monster in our story may be our own creation. We have given them unlimited power over us. We let them get away with behavior and practices that are against the company policy.

The Frankenstein Manager appears in organizations as the protégé of their mentor or sponsor. Eventually, the protégé will turn on its creator, causing destruction in its wake.

Fourthly, the Bride of Frankenstein was an interesting monster because she was a woman with top billing. Most marquee monsters were male. This female monster was known for her ability to be dangerously independent and competitive. Her aggressive personality proved she was just as frightening as the men. Additionally, you can find a female personality that applies to each of the monsters listed.

Lastly, the Mummy was cursed to guard the tomb or temple of his beloved. He was slow of foot but was relentless and powerful. This is a creature driven by an overpowering love and allegiance for the object of their affection, which is power. This person within your organization has an undying love for the status quo and the good old days. They would destroy anyone who tried to harm or change it. They will blindly institute unethical policies and cover them up, especially if an investigation is pending or inevitable. This individual will persistently pursue anyone who has anything negative to say about the company or anyone they personally admire within the organization. They will practice a technique known as delayed retaliation, a slow-moving process, to seek revenge against their enemies.

Each generation has its own monsters; whether they are zombies, Aliens, the Predator, Jason of Friday the 13th, or Freddy Krueger from Nightmare on Elm Street. These Monsters have tendencies that can describe leaders in organizations around the world.

Copyright © 2015 Orlando Ceaser

The Crowd Pleaser Syndrome™ – Attention for Acceptance

The Crowd Pleaser Syndrome™

As early as I can remember, I had a craving for attention; a sweet tooth for popularity. Even when I was silent, I would look at people and want them to know me and notice me. I wanted attention, acceptance, and approval. They were my straight A’s. I wanted to play to a crowd or a small group. This Crowd Pleaser Syndrome™ (CPS) was my affliction, which fed my ego and drove me to success and notoriety. However, it also exposed insecurities and vulnerabilities.

I discovered that I was not alone, there were others like me. We needed the mentors and people who understood what we were going through. We did not have support groups to help us understand and cope with this beautiful character trait. Additionally, there were public and private assaults against our reputations for a variety of reasons.

An early manifestation of the CPS was an instance in grammar school, where I misbehaved and angered my teacher. This was during the era when teachers and corporal punishment were synonymous. The teacher called me to the front of the room for a spanking. I had the attention of everyone in the classroom. She asked me to bend over and face the class. She gave me a swift smack on my backside and sent me back to my seat. She was satisfied knowing she had dispensed justice and I felt great, knowing I gained the recognition I needed.

The Crowd Pleaser Syndrome™ is present and prevalent. It shows up at work, as individuals please their peers and supervisors. There is a tendency to deliver good news to the boss in the form of withholding negative information or results. People do not fully disclose information to analysts and the public because of the negative stock implications. Employees may be too aggressive and take unnecessary risks to look good personally. The Crowd Pleaser Syndrome™ may infuse us with the desire to win at all costs.

Crowd pleasers realize at an early age, their ability to entertain others. They may have engaging personalities and athletic and the musical prowess. Here are more Crowd Pleaser Syndrome™ characteristics.

Crowd Pleaser Syndrome™

  • Confident risk takers
  • Highly active in social and professional gatherings (parties and meetings)
  • Work hard to stand out from the crowd
  • Seek acceptance on Maslow’s Hierarchy Needs (belonging)
  • Thrive on competitive activities
  • Develop attention-getting behaviors, strategies, and tactics

Unhealthy Challenges

  • Workaholism and lacking balance by focusing only on the area giving them stimulation
  • Unethical conduct may suppress the competition and put others at risk
  • Failure to share the limelight, especially in developing others, and giving credit on group assignments
  • People tried to sabotage their careers
  • They meet the needs of others and deny themselves
  • Put others first to their personal detriment

Popularity is a stimulant which can have positive and negative effects. The Crowd Pleaser Syndrome™, when managed properly, can have a profound effect on performance, relationships, group culture, and the development of individual strengths. CPS individuals can entertain, educate, enrich, and inspire us to achieve the greatness inherent in each of us to make this a better world.

Copyright © 2021 Orlando Ceaser

Website: OrlandoCeaser.com

Watchwellinc.com

The 20th Anniversary of September 11, 2001

Powerful examples of leadership in action was evident at a national sales meeting during a national tragedy. On the 20th Anniversary of the terrorist bombings of the World Trade Center we reflect on the lives lost and our country coming together in solidarity.

I was on stage in the general session when news of the World Trade Center bombings began to circulate. I could see the commotion, but I did not know why. The news rapidly moved through the crowd, as we began to piece together the entire horrific event.

We announced the bombings to the General Session. The National Sales Director broke the news to the audience. Individuals who were directly affected were released first, to contact their families. Regional Sales Directors were dispatched to different workshops to discuss the terrible news. You can imagine the shock, terror, and disbelief. Tears rolled down the cheeks of many people, as fear and panic took over.

The Leadership Team and higher-level managers and people from the various support groups were asked to meet in the Executive Boardroom to discuss the plans for the rest of the week.

People were wandering in the hallways. Many rushed to their rooms to follow the news coverage. Who did this and how would we respond? How many were in the two buildings and the pain and the grief that touched their families? Who were the terrorists?

The Executive Boardroom was the war room for the next few days. Here the highest-ranking officers of the Company determined how to guide our people through the tragic events of New York, Washington DC and outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The VP of Sales and Marketing took the stage. He requested a flip chart and markers to record information to develop our strategy. With marker in hand and flipcharts, he began with our objectives. No one has ever gone through anything like this. How can we take care of our people? How can we get them home, the ones who need to get home? Should we continue the meeting? What is known? How should we communicate this to our people?

He elicited the key areas we needed to address. Some of the categories were travel, agenda, communications, updates, security, accountability and miscellaneous. Each category became a team with a leader to explore all the key issues in that area.

We were fortunate enough to have two members of our Sales Team who had anti-terrorist experience. Additionally, our Chief of Corporate Security was present at the meeting. He had contacts within the FBI which would come in handy during the week.

Each team had a leader with individuals to provide input. The message to everyone, was “When you formulate your recommendations, remember cost is not a concern. Our people are our number one priority.” The VP demonstrated something that was in the DNA of our company. We were phenomenal in a crisis.

The accountability team ensured that we knew the location of every employee for the next 24 hours. We discussed the sales representatives staying in the hotel that evening until we knew more about the extent of the problem. Reps needed to contact their management team twice a day to state their locations and any changes. Managers needed to notify up the chain of command that everyone was present and accounted for. If anyone left the meeting to go home, we needed a record of their departure. We used the “buddy system” to keep track of everyone; which was easier said than done. We wanted to make sure everyone was present and accounted for.

The dynamic interchange during the presentation facilitated was a pleasure to behold. Senior Leadership eliciting and contributing comments and suggestions, motivated by how we could help our people was marvelous. We were fortunate to have strategically or luckily assembled the highest-ranking officials in our Field Sales force at the same meeting. We also were fortunate to have the talent from the military, security, and Travel at the same site. The diversity of talent and experience made it easier to manage our mission. We had over 1500 people at a the meeting. Many of the representatives were young in their careers. They had not faced any national emergencies in their lifetime; this was a significant challenge for all of us.

We developed a game plan to keep people comforted and focused for we wanted to show our employees that we valued them. The human side came out repeatedly. There were times we wanted to over protect but backed down because over protection can heighten fear. We discussed how to care for those directly impacted. We knew that the meeting was secondary to our people, but we also knew the meeting was necessary to keep people focused on something not related to the terror in the land. The National Sales meeting was scheduled to last until Friday, and this was only Tuesday. No airplanes were flying and rental cars were not available.  It became clear that air travel was not going to be an option for an indeterminate period.

The stories appeared. People worried about their loved ones and tried frantically to locate them. The hotel telephone system was overloaded. Cell phone transmission had difficulty for a while. Everyone reassembled at 1 PM meeting to see what the company proposed to do in this tragedy. Several instances surfaced of people renting cars and driving toward home without letting anyone know they left. One manager rented a van to drive their people back home. Alternate travel plans were cropping up all over the place. Some of this is to be expected when you have salespeople who are action oriented.

What follows is another example of leadership at its finest. The depth and professionalism of the presentation to the audience led many to wonder how we could put together such a professional presentation is such a brief period. Most commented that they worked for a great company. We decided to continue with the meeting for that was the best option to care for our people. We conducted an interfaith religious service, for those who were interested. We worshipped together across differences with various faiths represented

The travel team created an incredible plan to get everyone home safely. The travel team rented twenty luxury travel busses to send to twenty parts of the country to get our people home. Busses were stocked with food, DVD players, games, blankets, and all manner of creature comforts to make the trip comfortable. One bus left with only one person on it for he was the only one going to that region of the country. There was a story of the Company renting two limousines to get one sales rep home in time for the birth of their child. We were successful in completing the meeting and addressing the mental, physical, psychological and spiritual needs of our people during this horrific national tragedy.

Leadership lessons

– A structured well conceived plan provides comfort

– Take care of your people – take the necessary steps to meet your people’s needs

– Money is not an object and should not stand in the way of caring for your team

– Provide structure for your people until more information is available

– Note the location of everyone

– Provide frequent updates to share recent communications

– Delegate responsibilities to those most gifted to lead in their area of expertise

– Understand people’s emotions and relate with empathy

– Establish a timeframe to report progress

– Allow people time to release and relax

– Value people and show concern for their families

– Determine the key areas on which to focus your attention

–  Strong leadership created stories and pays dividends in loyalty and performance

Watching this tragedy unfolds and our reaction to it validated our history of being phenomenal in a crisis. Leadership came through when it was most important. At that moment, we truly made our people feel that they were our most important asset.

The total story, my step by step recollection can be found in an earlier blog: https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/myozonelayer.com/1314.

The Magic Words to Openness and Belonging

One of my favorite stories was Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves. What I remember most is the secret words that opened the side of the mountain and revealed a phenomenal treasure. The magic words were, “Open Sesame.” I often wish there were such a phrase we could use in our interactions with people. This iconic phrase would make them feel comfortable enough to share their inner treasures with us. When they are comfortable, accepted, and included, suspicion would disappear. Defense mechanisms would not be activated, and evasive tactics would not be employed.

In our current environment, we need to understand people who are different from us. We value diversity, equity, and inclusion. However, employees often wear invisible self-preservation armor for protection. How can we share our interests if we are not comfortable with each other? Silence, lack of participation, and minimal interaction are diversionary methods. They may seem like a good idea, but the lack of openness may be counterproductive. I support an environment which is an OASIS (Open And Share Information Safely). People in this climate will unleash their full potential and feel a sense of belonging at work.

A constant refrain I heard early in my career, was that people did not know me. People wanted me to tell them more about me, so that they could identify with me. They wanted information outside of work, about family, interests, beliefs, and hobbies. But I was reluctant. Initially, I felt full disclosure, would lead to overexposure. Eventually lowered my shield with certain people, after I developed trust in their intentions.

There are reasons for being guarded; reserving or withholding feelings. We may hear, see, or experience events that prevent us from revealing too much. I engaged in many conversations over lunch. During these discussions I learned the difference in perspective that existed among my peers. During one such conversation, we discussed discrimination. The opening premise by a well-intentioned manager, was that the only kind of discrimination that existed in the United States was economic. They went on to say that if you have the money you can live anywhere without any difficulty. This perspective differed from my personal history and my knowledge of many celebrities who encountered problems in certain neighborhoods. There were broken windows and graffiti and reckless damage to their property. It became clear to me, from this discussion and others, that our different experiences shaped our perspectives, which caused us to view the world differently.

People retract like a turtle or armadillo when they do not feel safe. They will not take a risk or step out on a limb with their perspectives and opinions. I knew someone who went as far as to not place family pictures on their desk. They wanted to separate work from home and keep the company out of their personal affairs. When we open ourselves, we will see the similarities that accentuate our differences and create a powerfully productive connection. I would call this a piece offering. By piece offering I do not mean peace, as in the absence of war, but piece, as in giving them a part of ourselves, to open to a greater dialogue and understanding of each other.

There was a manager who told every ethnic joke imaginable. He was humorous at the lunch table and people enjoyed his witty stories. One day, I pulled the manager aside and said, “I am probably depriving you of some of your best material, by being present here.” He paused, thought, smiled, and looked me in the eyes and said, “you’re probably right.” He did not receive points for sensitivity and not bringing up those stories in my presence. I could argue that he was careful, but the stories may have been told, but not in my presence. If the stories existed for others, they also existed for me and should not have been part of the workplace.

If we are to understand each other better, we must open to each other. If we are to open to each other, we must create a climate where people feel comfortable, accepted, included, and treated equally. There are not any magic words to convince people to be vulnerable. However, by giving of ourselves, even small amounts, and to create the right climate, we can set the stage for a marvelous relationship based on trust and reciprocity where people feel safe. Ultimately this results in a workplace with productivity and innovation that is beneficial for everyone.

Copyright © 2021 Orlando Ceaser

Check out my web-sites at OrlandoCeaser.com and Watchwellinc.com for more content and resources. Contact information is also available at the sites.

Cameo Leadership™- The Power of Positive Presence

Alfred Hitchcock, the noted film director, was known for making a cameo appearance in his movies. A game among many moviegoers, was to watch the films and locate the scenes where Mr. Hitchcock made his guest appearance. Celebrities use this technique, to gain publicity, boost interest in a movie and to increase sales. Stan Lee of Marvel Comics fame adapted this philosophy to playfully engage with his Marvel fandom.

The concept of cameo appearances can also be applied to leaders. The idea of brief appearances fit the style of many leaders. Cameo Leadership could be defined as a positive or negative leadership style, characterized by a leader influencing direct reports through a series of brief exposures. The style is condoned or condemned by subordinates, based on their value to employee development.

The Cameo Leader™ may fall into two categories, negative and positive. The Negative Cameo Leader is like an absentee landlord. They abdicate their responsibility, and you can’t find them when you need them. The Negative Cameo Leader shows up for a moment without warning. Their interactions lack positive values and developmental opportunities. They arrive on the scene, ready to take center stage, absorbing all the attention and accolades available. They poison the environment in a dictatorial and authoritarian manner. They relish being the boss, as they give orders before practicing their disappearing act.

The Negative Cameo, the NC Leader will give out an assignment without instructions or supervision. When recognition is dispensed upon their department, they will accept the praise and bask in the limelight and refuse to share the glory. Employees are frustrated because they are deprived of encouragement and developmental opportunities needed for their growth. Careers suffer because the Negative Cameo Leader is not familiar with their employees, their work ethic, or their work product. They cannot vouch for their direct reports performances for they do not have an intimate knowledge of their career aspirations.

The Negative Cameo Leader does not take an interest in the work of their employees or in their lives outside of work. Therefore, they do not deserve or receive loyalty from their people. The Negative Cameo Leader can become a micromanager when they pop up on the scene, drop a few demoralizing comments and quickly disappear. What they label as independence is a dereliction of duty.

The Positive Cameo, the PC Leader is admired because they are with their people in the beginning during the planning phase. They share the vision and provide the resources and support to do their jobs. They give them responsibility and hold them accountable for the completion of their assignments. They value and trust their employees’ skills, abilities, and judgment. They are encouraging and believe in their people and provide independence because they trust their ability to do the job and forgive them when they make mistakes. People know where they stand with the Positive Cameo Leader, for they have an open-door policy and dispense feedback generously.

The Positive Cameo Leader will visit periodically to see if their people need anything. The job and the responsibilities belong to the employee. The PC Leader creates a culture of collaboration and ownership. They ensure that people think and act like an owner, for they will be held accountable for results. They are not unnecessarily visible; however, they are accessible through a variety of methods.

The Positive Cameo Leader ensures that those who do the work, receive the credit, and the accolades. They look for ways to set their people up for success through encouragement. Positive Cameo Leadership when practiced, requires the leader to unselfishly accept their role in working for their people. They are willing to act and pay the price as they practice what they preach.

Cameo Leadership can have a negative or positive perception based on how employees respond to this leadership style. If it is negative, it is corrosive and is a barrier to career development. The Rosenthal effect created by Dr. Robert Rosenthal of Harvard University, is the phenomenon in which experimenters treat subjects differently based on their expectations which has a positive or negative influence on subject performance. The Rosenthal effect is evaluated in four categories. They are climate, input, output, and feedback.

Cameo leadership may be present at various stages of an organization, team, or individuals’ development. For example, Positive Cameo Leadership is ideal for an individual or team that is highly skilled and does not require much supervision. A negative cameo is not desirable in most situations.

Cameo Leadership impacts the workplace environment. The leader’s expectations of their people determines the climate. Favorable or unfavorable expectations will create a positive or negative interpersonal climate for each individual. Secondly, leadership input, in the form of information and opportunities, is based on positive and negative expectations. Leaders teach more to those whom they expect more and conversely. Thirdly, output is defined by the level of questions accepted or encouraged from their subordinates. We give them more opportunities to express their questions. This is also based on expectations. Lastly, the Cameo Leader gives feedback that builds or diminishes self-esteem and performance and will praise or criticize for mistakes, in accordance with their level of expectations.

Copyright ©2021 Orlando Ceaser

2021 – A SEA Change For Better Results

The calm waters may arrive after stormy seas. They may present an image different from the turbulence that must be navigated to reach your objective.

A Sea Change is a transformation, an improvement, an adjustment in perspective or performance. The definition is comprised of input from dictionary.com, en.wikipedia.org and idiom.thefreedictionary.com.

The change can be the result of evolution, growing skills or advancement derived from instruction, intense study, practice, consultation, and perseverance. The adjustment may be due to trauma, where someone is thrust into accelerated growth by necessity.

 A SEA Change can be as simplified with an acronym SEA (Sustainable, Explainable, and Attainable).

S – Sustainable

E – Explainable

A – Attainable

 A SEA Change should be Sustainable and therefore have a long – lasting effect. When it becomes a habit, this change in behavior creates a new modus operandi (method).

A SEA Change should be Explainable. An individual should be able to tell someone how it happened. The pathway to this transformation should be written, verbalized, or transcribed in such a way that they can coach and mentor others. It should not be a secret, nor should it be a mystery. We are obligated to share the mechanics and motivation for the SEA Change.

A SEA Change should be Attainable. It should be the byproduct of a SMART goal (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound). The observation should be realistic with relevant milestones to monitor progress through smooth and rough waters along the journey.

A SEA Change requires the right vision, resources, and people to assist in professional and personal development. An implementation of the 3 attributes should be undertaken to help people become seaworthy on the voyage, to achieve outstanding results.

Many of us are contemplating a SEA Change to help us deal with turbulent and unprecedented challenges. We recognize the need to bolster skills to cope with the current pandemic and the precipitating fallout.

2021 is a phenomenal opportunity for a SEA Change. The SEA Change is on the horizon and in transit. Commit to growing the necessary skills to ensure the change is Sustainable, Explainable and Attainable. Success will have a profound effect on survival skills and the growth of positive interactions and greater influence, while illustrating and illuminating the path to success.

Copyright © 2021 Orlando Ceaser

More content available, including books, CD’s and other resources at OrlandoCeaser.com and watchwellinc.com

Rudolph the Red – Nosed Reindeer – “Uniqueness is not a Weakness”

Gene Autry was a military hero, who became an actor and singer. He sang the Christmas classic, “Rudolph the red nosed reindeer.” It is a delightful song, enjoyed by young and old. However, this cheerful song delivers a powerful message about encountering and handling differences. Let us examine Rudolph the red nose reindeer and its meaningful conversations about diversity, inclusion and accepting others.

The song begins with a reference to the reindeer popularized in Clement Clarke Moore’s, “The night before Christmas”, also known as “A visit from St. Nicholas.” It begins with a roll call of Santa Claus’ reindeer that of course omits the name of Rudolph. As you recall, Rudolph was different from the other reindeer because of the luminescent quality of his nose. His nose was so shiny that it had either reflective qualities or it glowed like a light. This was enough to make him the object of ridicule and ultimately ostracism by the other reindeer.

This lack of acceptance is seen when children and adults are confronted with someone who is different from them. Our initial response is to make fun of the person and then to isolate them because of their characteristics, traits, heredity or idiosyncrasies. Many of us recall when we were young and begged for acceptance and approval. Even to this day, if there is something about us that makes us stand out from the crowd. We feel self-conscious and wish that our difference could go away. If possible, we will change our stories and appearance so others will like us. When we are new and different, we carry a tremendous unnecessary burden. We view our “uniqueness as a weakness.“

At work or is school, simply being the new person, the new kid on the block, the person who is an unknown, becomes a source for teasing or isolation. We often wondered,” if they would only get to know me, they would see that I’m just like them. I am a good person. “Rudolph was a reindeer, so he surely had a similar appearance, except for his nasal peculiarity. But suppose he was of a different color, from a different region of the country or had a different ability. We usually ask the different party to fit in, when the real focus should be on including and accepting them into the group.

Bullying is also a response shown toward those who are different. The song does not indicate that Rudolph was bullied, but we can only assume that preventing him from “playing in any reindeer games” was not accomplished in the most delicate manner.

The song does not tell us what Santa Claus was doing during the hazing or if he even knew about it. But, as a good leader, he engineered a very strategic response. He knew the talent and value of all of his reindeer. He evaluated the weather system for his next journey and realized he was going to encounter numerous blizzards. He knew the problem could be solved by the reindeer, but he needed to show his acceptance of Rudolph the talented reindeer. The leader has vision and can often see what others cannot.

Santa Claus knew the skills and abilities of each reindeer. He knew that the appropriate circumstance would allow for each skill to be revealed. He knew Rudolph had a special gift and could provide navigation assistance on those wintry nights when delivery of toys to boys and girls around the world, would be difficult. Snowstorms would provide opportunities where others, including the reindeer could benefit from the gift of Rudolph, the red nosed reindeer.

We can give Santa credit for waiting for the appropriate time to unveil his strategy. He could have given the reindeer the opportunity to work it out amongst themselves, as so many people do in similar situations. We would say such things as,” kids are just being kids, learning to navigate difficult situations will only make the recipient stronger and teach them valuable life skills. We say that which does not kill them will make them stronger, to paraphrase Friedrich Nietzsche the philosopher. Maybe the reindeer performed similar initiation rites to others in the group that had other distinctions from their peers. Maybe they saw their treatment of Rudolph as being harmless and natural.

The defining moment came,” one foggy Christmas Eve, Santa came to say: Rudolph with your nose so bright, won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?” Many managers, leaders and parents look for the opportune moment to use the skills of their people. The right moment to show the world and the individual their true value.

We can only assume that in the fictitious conversation, Santa’s encouraged Rudolph and told him about the value of his difference. He made him feel that he was something special and should never feel that he was not important and did not have a place. I’m sure he made him feel like an essential member of the team. He validated his worth by asking him to lead the team by moving up to the front of the line.

You remember the happy ending to the song. “Then all the reindeer loved him, as they shouted out with glee, Rudolph the red nosed reindeer, you’ll go down in history!” We know that in life, responses to differences may not always lead to a happy ending. Sometimes the individuals have lingering insecurity, damage to their self-esteem and underlying resentment from the initial exclusion. But, when the difference that is ridiculed or denied is used for the benefit of the group, the organization, institution, family, or community becomes stronger. Everyone learns a valuable lesson about diversity, inclusion and acceptance. We are hopeful that when the person is accepted they don’t become complicit and act in the same manner when they encounter other people who are different.

If we remember the Rudolph days of our lives and commit ourselves to prevent them from happening to others, we will maximize their future contributions to our teams, families, organizations and communities. We will perform a noble act when leading by example with the lessons learned from Rudolph the red-nose reindeer.

Unlock Your Leadership Greatness and other leadership resources can be found at www.OrlandoCeaser.com or www.amazon.com.

Copyright © 2013 Orlando Ceaser