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

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

Managing your personal power supply

The Spin class was about to begin. Gayle, the instructor, stated, “I lost power yesterday.” She said she was in her home when suddenly, a loud noise was heard and her electricity went off. We stretched, continued a light conversation and launched into a rigorous routine. I wondered during the class, “How many times, as individuals, have we lost power in our lives? Did we give it away or was it taken from us? Are there certain situations or individuals who cause us to lose power? Who are they and why does this happen? What are the early warning signs before there is a loss of power?

The loss of power is readily detectable. You have that feeling of loss of confidence, which is demonstrated by your body language, vocabulary and actions. Many times the loss of power at home or at work may come as a surprise. However, just as in nature there is a flash of lightning or thunderclaps before a storm, you can rely on certain indicators as precursors to a storm. You can anticipate someone’s presence, behaviors, as a good sign that a storm and potential power loss is on the way.

We should be aware of the signs of losing power and fortify your defenses. This will require us to increase our competence, confidence and network of individuals who will cooperate with us in our efforts to enhance our power position. There are times when we lose power and look around us and everyone seems to have theirs. What can we do to maintain or regain our power during a power outage? Power outages may be due to:

  1. Burnout
  2. Lack of confidence
  3. Power drainers
  4. Power mongers

Burnout

We can lose power by expending too much energy. We may fail to prioritize and try to do too many things at once. Processing too many projects at one time will lead to an increase in stress. Lack of sleep and irritability may negatively affect your disposition. You may become moody and easy to anger. Our lives are running at many revolutions per minute (rpm’s). We create to do lists (TDL’s) to keep track of our obligations. To do lists are getting longer and serve as a repository of unlimited tasks of varying priorities. We may fail to rank the items or every item seems to be important, which will lead to none of them being important. If we don’t put a filter on the funnel, we will be overwhelmed. This state of overload will lead to burnout, a breakdown and a loss of power. You must realize that some items on your list may not be covered or should be delegated or deleted.

Lack of confidence

Sometimes lack of confidence can lead to a loss of power. You may be faced with the possibility that you are not as good as you think you are and are afraid that others will discover your shortcomings. A way to address this fear is to conduct a self assessment of your skills and abilities. Be honest with yourself. You should relentlessly study your craft until we are an expert in your field. This may require study and validation which will give you the necessary credentials to ward off any challenges. If you lack confidence or courage you may doubt your abilities and lose the power of conviction needed to be successful.

Power drainers

Some people exist as leaches in the workplace, at home and wherever you engage in relationships. They will drain your power through constant complaining. Negative thoughts and the complaints will drain your energy supply. Their negative disposition and complaint oriented disposition puts everyone in a bad mood. They are not satisfied with anything and they never bring a solution to the myriad of problems they detect. When they enter the room, you can feel the life being sucked out of the place. Engagement levels seem to go down and the level of interaction and cooperation is reduced. The focus is on the speed of ending the meeting and getting back to work away from this malcontent.

The power drainers are time wasters. They do not respect time. They will barge into your office or workspace and tell you the latest gossip and shortcomings of the organization. Many power drainers have a running conflict with their peers and want you to come in as a peacemaker, which is time consuming and emotionally exhausting.

Power mongers

Power mongers are perpetrators who like to hoard power and use it over people based on their level of influence or authority. They will take the power away from you in a meeting. If you have the floor in a meeting they will ask the questions to shift the emphasis to them. I attended a meeting where one participant had more handouts on my subject than I did and spent the meeting time explaining their handouts which took away my power and control of the meeting. The better preparation and communication skills may address some of the issues of the power mongers.

The manager who asks you to do something because they said it does everything to shut down questions from the meeting attendees. Power mongers also work by using intimidation to get results. They will level threats at people who do not complete assignment correctly. A power monger will embarrass people in front of their peers. They may do this deliberately to show who’s the boss? A new manager at a paper recycling plant announced to his employees that he wanted them to fear him. He went on to exercise this management style as an egocentric power monger.

A power monger believes that information is power and takes this concept to the extreme. They delegate information sparingly. A manager had access to updates from the home office that would have been useful to one of his subordinates making a presentation. Rather than call him off to the side before the meeting and provide the updates, he strategically interrupted during the meeting with the latest news from headquarters. You may need help in dealing with a power monger, who negatively uses power. This can be done by working with mentors, advocates and power brokers. These individuals have the wisdom, insight and influence to assist you in relating to the power mongers.

Power brokers

Powerbrokers are individuals who use power effectively to get results. These individuals should be utilized and studied in order to gain their assistance. You want to use their techniques to minimize personal power outages. These individuals can be identified and cultivated at work, networking groups, referrals from their contacts and through personal introductions.

Work with powerbrokers to increase your confidence; improve your influence skills and knowledge of your area of interest and expertise. Conduct a personal assessment; improve your communication skills and your knowledge of your subject. Your objective is to isolate the individuals and circumstances that drain your power and counteract their affect on you. This will enable you to be stronger and effective in harnessing your power supply and minimizing instances where you lose power.

Copyright © 2016 Orlando Ceaser

5 Self Restraining Tendencies (SRT’s) That Can Hurt You

We are human and therefore, have idiosyncrasies, nuances and eccentricities that come with our personalities. Many of these unique characteristics position us for survival and success. But some of these peculiarities are counterproductive and are detrimental to our growth. I will call them self restraining tendencies or SRT’s. They are not necessarily life-threatening, but they may serve as impediments to development.

SRT’s are indigenous to human beings. They may be formed by life experiences and thoughts and subsequently create insecurities. They may be pseudo-defense mechanisms to allegedly protect us. SRT’s may be categorized as bad habits that may hold us back, restrict growth or work against us. How do we know we have them? Self assessments and times of reflection can increase self awareness and reveal SRT’s, as we examine our lives and impact on others. Additionally, we may receive the gift of honesty from a friend through candid comments. Constant feedback from co-workers, parents and peers can also be useful by adding to our enlightenment. But, we must be objective, receptive and appreciative of their candor.

5 Self Restraining Tendencies (SRT’s)

  1. Procrastination
  2. Poor communication skills
  3. Negativity mindset
  4. Toxic people skills
  5. Lack of Integrity

1. Procrastination

It is interesting to learn that many people are struggling with procrastination. The act of postponing things until later is not intellectually difficult for people to understand. They know that something should be done immediately and to postpone will have consequences. But, nevertheless, they still will delay until later, that which should be done today.

We recognize that we may not feel like doing something right now or we have awarded a greater priority to something else. If we continue to kick the can down the road or delay the inevitable, we will continue to waste time and effort and increase the amount of stress in our lives.

Lisa was interviewing for a job as a pharmaceutical sales representative. She felt very comfortable with the interview. The interviewer asked her about her number one shortcoming. She responded, “I am a procrastinator. I get things done, but sometimes it takes me a while to get started.” Procrastination was her Self Restraining Tendency, but the interview may not be the right place to disclose this particular self restraining tendency.

2.  Poor communication skills

Communicating is something we do every day. It is the currency by which we interact with people in order to state our ideas, convey instructions and build relationships. Those among us, who communicate effectively, actually have an advantage at school, in our careers and in relationships. If we are hampered by poor communication skills, our effectiveness is restricted. This self restraining tendency, like the others featured in this article, must be identified and corrected.

Poor communication skills could be non verbal or verbal to include written, body language and group presentations. Ask yourself, “Am I plagued by poor communication skills? Are there aspects of my communication ability that are hindering my progress?” Conduct a self-assessment. Diagnose your communication ability to see if there is a deficiency. You may seek to solicit feedback from respected sources and trusted friends and colleagues to see if they can identify areas that require improvement. When the SRT is disclosed, a change management process should be initiated. However, rather than go through multiple steps to change we should go directly from denial to acceptance and put a plan in place to correct the SRT.

3. Negativity Mindset

People who have a negativity mindset are not necessarily the individuals who look at the pros and cons of every situation. I am speaking of the people who like to rain on the parade. When the entire group has decided to move in a positive direction, they are the naysayers who constantly focus on what is or could go wrong. They provide excuses rather than explanations. They seldom do anything but complain without the slightest contribution to positive constructive participation to change anything. 

4. Toxic people skills

The toxic people SRT is different from the poor communication skills mentioned earlier. Individuals prone to this tendency will use power to humiliate and intimidate in order to gain the upper hand or to create an environment of fear.

My son worked for an organization where the new boss actually said, “When I walk into a room I want people to fear me.” He wanted people to be intimidated by his presence. This attitude is supported by language and interactions that cause stress, a lack of trust, poor engagement and ultimately subpar performance. Individuals with toxic people skills may speak about people behind their backs, pit coworkers against each other and generate an atmosphere of tension.

People with toxic people skills may be cursed with the propensity to enter every interaction with a transaction mindset. They are constantly thinking what is in it for them, how can they beat the other person by any means necessary and how it can only help them succeed. This is prevalent in relationships where they only socialize or interact with people who can help them advance their position, today. 

5. Lack of Integrity

People with a lack of integrity are flawed in their relational and work performance. They utilize a winning at all cost or any cost approach to work and relationships. People with this tendency view the rules as an inconvenience, something for weak minded people, to be broken and circumvented whenever possible. Breaking rules is seen as a badge of honor, a necessary evil to give themselves the ultimate advantage toward victory.

Invariably, this SRT will cause the downfall of their career and reputation. Oftentimes, the integrity flaw does not manifest itself until well into a person’s career. Please find below a chart illustrating a natural career growth curve and the various points of indiscretion where a lack of integrity can doom a person’s career.

careergrowth

If a lack of integrity shows itself at the end of someone’s career, a lot of their positive contributions can be discounted and shrouded in suspicion, nullifying their reputation. If a lack of integrity revealed itself early in someone’s career, they may never have the opportunity to make significant positive contributions or to realize the potential present in their talents and abilities.

Ideally, we should establish self restraining orders or SROs for those character traits which are limiting our joy and effectiveness. The five self restraining tendencies listed or others should be addressed if they are a problem for you. They have the capacity to limit your effectiveness and keep you away from realizing your full potential in every segment of your life.

Copyright © 2016 Orlando Ceaser

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer – Lessons in Handling Differences

Reindeer

We are often started with the commercialization of Christmas. We are reminded to not lose sight of the reason for the season. This is valuable advice for Christians and others during this reverent time of year.

We grew up with Gene Autry Christmas classic of Rudolph the red nosed reindeer. It is a delightful song, but also delivers a powerful message about encountering and handling differences. This song could start meaningful conversations about 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 approval. Even to this day, there is something about us that makes us stand out from the crowd and the crowd lets us know it.

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. “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.  He would have manifested a difference that would have caused him difficulty until he was accepted. We usually ask the different party to fit in, when the real focus should be on them being accepted by the group.

Bullying is also a response shown toward those who are different. The song the does not indicate that Rudolph was bullied, but we can only assume that preventing him from “playing in any reindeer games” was not always 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 that the solution to his problem existed among the ranks of his reindeer. He knew he had one reindeer that could help navigate the wintry delivery of toys to boys and girls around the world. This opportunity would be well received it if every reindeer benefited from his gift.

We can give Santa credit for waiting for the appropriate time to unveil strategy. He could have given the reindeer the opportunity to work it out amongst themselves, as so many people do in similar situations. They 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 and 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 solve 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, that they recognize their true value and wish to share this value with every member on the team. 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 important member of the team. He validated his value 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 real 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, so often when the difference that is ridiculed or denied is used for the benefit of the group, the organization, institution, group or community becomes stronger. The people learn a valuable lesson about inclusion. 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.

Please look forward to reading more about differences in my new book due by June 2016, Unlock Your Diversity Greatness. It is based on the premise that your uniqueness is not a weakness and contains strategies to utilize your talents, skills and abilities. More books in the Unlock Your Leadership Greatness series can be found at www.OrlandoCeaser.com or www.amazon.com.

Copyright © 2013 Orlando Ceaser

What do Ambitious People Want?

Monitored_Life

Conversations with ambitious people who want to embark upon an ad venture leading to success, revealed at least six attributes that describe their appetite for achievement.

The attributes are access, acknowledgment, acceptance, appreciation, advocates and awards.

Access

Ambitious people want unfettered, unrestricted access to key people, resources, and information that can help their careers. The resources could be information, data, budgets and expertise. They know that relationships and networking are important to job acquisition and promotions. Salespeople think,” If I can see them, I can sell them.” Ambitious people want the keys to unlock the doors to opportunity.

People want access to key developmental opportunities, assignments and high visibility projects that will hone their skills and prepare them to assume additional responsibilities. Ambitious people want access to meaningful work and connections to mentors, coaches and the senior leaders who can ultimately influence their careers.

Acknowledgment

Ambitious people want to be acknowledged, once they are around and gain access. They want to be recognized and feel like a part of the team. Recognition as an attribute means simply to notice them, sense their presence and smile or nod in their direction. They want common courtesies through greetings and eye contact. People want to feel as if they are a part of something very special. It is not always necessary to remember their names, but that would be a nice touch. A smile in their direction while walking in the hallways signals to people that you know that they are there. No one likes to feel invisible, so when leaders find a way to acknowledge and identify someone it is very well received.

Acceptance

Everyone wants to be accepted and included. If a leader in the organization taps into a person’s need to be accepted they will feel valued, relevant and necessary. They will feel a part of something bigger than themselves and this will enrich their time at work. They can feel accepted when invited to functions after work and involved in social activities. When they feel welcome, they feel as if they belong. It is one thing for an organization to talk about inclusion, but the proof is in the daily practices of its members to involve everyone in activities beneficial to the organization.

When people are accepted, they feel as if they are wanted and this can contribute to higher statistics on engagement, productivity and job satisfaction.

Appreciation

People like to feel their work has value; is noticed and essential to the enterprise. When leaders or the organization finds ways to say “thank you”, people remember. A senior leader wrote a poem to his sales organization and received numerous positive responses from the team. In addition to the other awards they receive at year end, one person said,” My manager took to time to write something special to show his appreciation.”

Employees enjoy when managers demonstrate actions, not just words to prove that their people are their most important resource in the company. Programs are put in place that minimize workload and attempt to ease the tension between work and their personal life. It is often very difficult to achieve work/life balance. Some organizations refer to it as work life effectiveness or a blending between work and home. Feedback is given consistently, not just at the end of the year, to ensure that employees know where they stand relative to their performance expectations. They are told the truth in a fair and candid manner, which builds trust. Not only are people appreciate, but they are respected and their opinions are solicited.

Think of ways to say or show your appreciation. It can involve little things like thank you cards, hand written notes, bonuses, time off or special celebrations. There are numerous ways to show gratitude and these will go a long way to making people see that managers care about them as individuals.

Advocates

Ambitious people love to rise within the organization. They want to be known and supported by individuals who can advance their careers. They want mentors who will speak up on their behalf in personnel meetings. They want people to put in a good word for them when assignments are being discussed. They want supporters, cheerleaders, mentors, coaches and sponsors. When they are doing a good job, they want the managers to sing their praises from the rooftop. They want people to run interference for them on their way to other assignments. In meetings when people are quoting misinformation about their performance, they want someone present who will set the record straight.

Ambitious people love advocates. These individuals can have a positive impact on their financial status and their ability to be successful on the job. When individuals within the company and outside the organization learn about positions, advocates are invaluable to deliver positive comments about your personality, work ethic and capabilities.

Awards

Everyone likes to be rewarded and recognized when their performance meets and exceeds expectations. These awards can be in the form of pay increases, additional responsibility and kind words delivered in the presence of your peers. People want to feel acknowledged, accepted and appreciated. These three attribute can be considered awards for showing up at work and delivering results at a very high level. When access is provided and advocates communicate and celebrate your performance, awards in the form of certificates, pay increases, promotional opportunities and developmental assignments is a great way to show that the organization understands the importance of cultivating a motivated workforce.

The six attributes stated in this article answers the question, “What do ambitious people want?” An argument can be made that not only are the six attributes what ambitious people want, but everyone in the company want the same things. Everybody wants to be respected, rewarded and recognized, as well as to be supported and mentored. Ambitious people and those not interested in climbing the company ladder want to enjoy work and feel they are making a difference, as a part of something significant, where they are playing an important role.

Copyright © 2015 Orlando Ceaser

Motivation from the Heart – Propel Yourself into Action

heart

We can gain valuable information about motivation by studying the heart and how it functions to keep us alive. During my training as a pharmaceutical sales representative, I received cardiovascular instruction to prepare me to sell a drug for treating heart disease. There were two components of my cardiovascular education I use to this day. They are the characteristics of the heart and the equation for blood pressure. To truly experience motivation from the heart we must demonstrate these qualities.

The heart has 4 main characteristics. They are as follows:

  1. Automatism – the heart can generate its own impulse to initiate the heart beat
  2. Contractility – the heart has the ability to contract, which is to do work
  3. Conductivity – the heart conducts and therefore, sustain electrical impulses
  4. Compensatory mechanism – the heart can create additional arteries to help supply oxygen to areas where existing arteries are blocked

Automatism

Just as the heart has the ability to generate a signal to get started, we should have automatism built into the fabric of our personality and value system. We need to be self starters. Our biological clock must have an alarm to awaken our desire to achieve. Additionally, we should align ourselves with people who also demonstrate this trait.

People with automatism instinctively start, regardless of the changes in their environment. The heart has an SA node, the sino-atrial node which is the network of nerves that are responsible for the impulse that triggers the heart beat. Each person is hotwired with his or her own hot button. What is your SA node? Do you know the triggers, switches and hot button to turn on your ignition to drive toward greatness?

The best workers are those who are doing what they love. They are using their talents and skills in a career or area suited to their interests and passions. Individuals in the right job utilize their values, beliefs and purpose to propel them to higher levels of performance. They have the spark that provides their own ignition.

Contractility

Contractility is the second trait, which is expressed as the ability to do work. The heart when faced with increased demand or workload will beat faster. We must work smarter and harder when the challenges are higher and more difficult. We need to spend the time and effort, exhibit the stamina and energy to reach our potential and expected outcomes. We don’t need people to carry around a motivational defibrillator to frequently jump start our attitude. Some employees are great workers when things are calm, but when the tension rises they fall apart and become less productive. We will not become those individuals, because we have lofty career goals.

Individuals may require help during an intermittent crisis in morale, but the matter should be temporary and should not be needed often. A motivational pacemaker, would be a drain on time and resources.  These pacemakers and defibrillators can become habit forming and lead to entitlement and an always need to be rescued mentality. The resulting motivation is effective only if the stimulant is always present. If the external stimulant is a manager or threat of disciplinary action, the long term motivational impact is doubtful.

Conductivity

Conductivity is the third trait. It is important because we must sustain the desire and commitment needed to do the work. The heart is like a battery. It can distribute power that is stored inside. The drive must be rejuvenated over time with the stamina and repetition to achieve results. The need for continuous external stimulation is not desirable. Conductive people are enthusiastic and easily identified by their ability to transmit this energy and enthusiasm to others.

Conductive workers are usually positive role models. They are the ambassadors of the purpose, mission and goals of the group. They lead by example and can be counted on to support the goals of the organization. We must be people who cause a positive chain reaction and a current of courage and collaboration to achieve results.

Compensatory

The heart’s compensatory ability is the fourth characteristic. It is shown by its ability to create new arteries to go around the blocked areas to deliver oxygen to the region of the heart that is not getting enough blood flow. When motivation is in short supply in the workplace, this compensatory mechanism has protective properties to keep people fired up and dedicated to reach the goal.

We are expected to compensate, adjust and adapt to forces within our environment. When barriers confront us while completing responsibilities, we need to think of creative measures to work around the obstacles. Innovation and flexibility are requirements in these changing times and versatile people with compensatory abilities are in great demand.

Work versus Resistance

The other major component related to the heart is the blood pressure equation. Blood pressure exists in the Circulatory System and serves as another way of illustrating the concept of motivation. Blood pressure in the body can be displayed in a simple equation.

CO (Cardiac Output) X TPR (Total Peripheral Resistance) = Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is a function of cardiac output (CO) and total peripheral resistance (TPR). CO is the work the heart performs, when it beats. The heart works against TPR, resistance in the arteries. If the heart works harder, this will increase blood pressure. If the resistance goes up, there will be an increase in blood pressure. The resistance is like the drag that an airplane experiences in flight. It is like the head wind that causes friction that could slow down the plane.

Work X Resistance =  Success (Quality of life, performance, results, etc.)

The equation can also apply to life. If quality of life or success is the goal of motivation, we can say it is influenced by the amount of work we do in the face of the internal and external resistance in our environment. If we want to improve our quality of life or success, we have to be motivated to do more work or reduce the resistance or competition.

Resistance is an obstacle and can represent people, environment, lack of resources, competition, peers, attitudes and other circumstances. As the resistance increases, we must counteract by working harder and more efficient. If we can reduce the resistance, we minimize the barriers to our quality of life, but we must still do the work.

Leadership should recognize and reward, motivated performance and establish an environment of positivity, optimism and development. Workers must ensure that their communication arteries and career arteries aren’t clogged with bad habits, unhealthy attitudes (entitlement and negativity) and a failure to give their best performance.  We must also encourage each other to greater performance levels of excellence.

When we speak of motivation from the heart, the correlation between how the heart works and what is needed today is very strong. We must be heart smart in developing ourselves and the people around us. We should look to the heart and emulate the qualities of automatism, conductivity, contractility and compensatory mechanisms. We should also remind ourselves of the blood pressure equation and the relationship of work and resistance. We can influence success, quality of life, performance and results by affecting the quality and quantity of work we produce against the various levels of resistance.

Global Warming in the Workplace

heat_cycle1

“It is getting hot in here.” Can you feel the heat? The heat is rising in workplaces around the globe. Competition is intensifying. Competition for customers, products, services and career opportunities is heating up. Heat is also known as pressure, when it flows from higher levels of management as edicts, high expectations and strongly worded challenges to the people in the hierarchical structure below. The heat also flows from peers, internal standards and the family values

The list of individuals sweltering under the blistering temperatures in organizations is increasing. Companies are falling by the wayside due to heat stroke and the casualties of progress. The business landscape is littered with the fallen logos and share prices of former titans of industry. Innovation and new methods of distribution have led to the demise of companies that could not adjust and keep up. Companies that were once household names, no longer exist. So, now the companies that are still standing, have survival paranoia hanging over their heads, as they reflect on the cost of failure.

Companies have restructured, attempting to do more with less people and resources. Survivors of downsizing are dealing with survivor’s guilt and an increased workload. When employees demonstrate that they can function with fewer co-workers, relief does not seem to be on the near horizon. Employees want to save their jobs, even if they are unfulfilled, because it is hard to find a new job in the current employment environment.

The heat at work is beginning to move into homes as tensions mount due to the lack of attention overworked individuals display on the home front. Schedules at home are equally chaotic and hectic and have become the new normal. These factors have created immense pressure on relationships. The heat is spreading like wildfire. The pressure of life and the heat of each day confirm that global warming is prevalent at home and in the workplace.

Promoting individuals to management, who are not well schooled in leadership, can negatively affect the environment. Veteran managers with too much on their plates can become impatient when they are under fire to produce. Employees who want to grow, but barely have time to catch their breath, because all of their time is task time and nothing is left for personal development. If there is no positive end in sight morale and engagement will become areas of concern. The thermostats within organizations indicate that engagement levels reflect the temperature and pressure of working in today’s climate.

When there is a problem or discrepancy between expectations and results, leadership may react by raining down heat or turning up the heat. Merely emphasizing this lack of achievement will also be seen as bringing on the heat. Heat really means high expectations. This terminology is well accepted in companies everywhere.

Leaders will exercise their positional and personal power to get results. Ideally, the manager may not let unproductive heat go through unfiltered to their people. They may stand in the gap and become the ozone layer for their people. This filtering philosophy will only let the productive, constructive and inspiring heat reach their people. This heat will cause the manager to hold strategy sessions to determine the reasons for the discrepancies and propel them to devise an appropriate course correction.

Brainstorming and strategy sessions will result in recommendations for getting on the right course. In makeshift war rooms, teams are working diligently to yield revised tactics. These new marching orders are the result of analyzing the strategy and competitive response, gathering data on customer acceptance and revising resource allocations. The successful implementation of strategy changes will hopefully put the team on the right track. The new results will please leadership and the entire team.

Ironically, whenever another problem occurs, the leaders believe the heat administered the first time was the reason for the change in behavior and production. Therefore, as part of a vicious cycle or continuous loop, heat is again acomponents3dministered until expectations are reached.

The astute ozone leadership practitioner will help his team establish an early warning system, with a feedback mechanism, to serve as indicators of impending change. This metric will alert them to changes or malfunctions in the strategy at the earliest possible moment to minimize any surprises. Veteran and new employees will receive training on strategy execution and how to assess progress to minimize problems in reaching their goals. They will know the early warning signs that strategy and tactics need to be adjusted.

Global warming within the workplace has a number of origins. Some of them are due to a direct reflection of new technologies and distribution channels, as well as the competitive nature of the most industries. It is also a function of the realities of the current lifecycles of products and organizations and the internal drive and survival instinct of employees.

ozone_cover

Ozone leadership can be further explored in the book Unlock the Secrets of Ozone Leadership. The book, keynote address and workshop espouse the five principles of this leadership model. The five components are directive, protective, corrective, effective and selective. When leaders have a mindset incorporating these five components they are more inclined to focus on developing people and developing the business. The implementation of these principles in the program would do its part to counteract global warming within your workplace.

Copyright © 2015 Orland Ceaser