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

Advertisements

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

Managerial Monsters in the Workplace

Devil_Deal_CI grew up with a different generation of monsters. The monsters in the movies and television of my day had the same objective as the ones today, to shock and terrify. They strive to literally frighten you out of your mind. Please indulge me for a moment as I ask you to play a game. Answer this question “If my manager were a monster, who would they be?” To play along with me you must have a picture of your current manager, a manager from the past or a manager you heard about from someone else.

I grew up watching a program called Shock Theater. The hosts were zombie musicians who were probably the inspiration for the look of Michael Keaton in the movie Beetlejuice. The program was a prelude to the Creature Features segments on late night television. There were six favorite monsters or categories that dominated the movies in my childhood; the Wolfman, Dracula, the Mummy, Frankenstein and various reptiles or mutated animals that were exposed to radiation. For this segment let’s concentrate on the top four; Wolfman, Dracula, Frankenstein and the Mummy.

My favorite character was Lon Chaney, Jr. who played 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 was always seeking a cure and looking for sympathy from anyone who would listen to his tale of woe and help rescue him from his fate. He wanted to be different but was overpowered by the curse. Have you seen the Wolfman Manager in your organization? They appear to be nice, but are tormented by their role. They blame something or someone else for their cruel behavior. They were forced to be tough and it was agonizing for them because it was, out of character and against their temperament. In the presence of their boss, they would reluctantly turned into something horrible, to become consistent with leadership expectations.

Then there was Dracula, the vampire. He was charismatic, smooth talking and mesmerizing. He spoke with a distinctive accent and people were drawn to his charm, appearance and professional demeanor. He was royalty; after all he was a Count. But Dracula was still a blood sucker planned to render his victims hopeless and under his control. His intent was to drain others until they were no longer of use to him, other than to locate another food source. 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.

The Mummy was cursed to guard the tomb or temple of his beloved. He was slow of foot, but was loyal, relentless and powerful. I’m speaking of the older version played by Boris Karloff. The newer version with Brandon Fraser is a stylized adaptation, but the plot is the same. There is a creature driven by an overpowering love and allegiance for the object of their affection. This person within your organization has an undying love for the status quo and will destroy anyone who tries 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 to seek revenge against their enemies.

An organization began a process of offering 360° feedback to its managers. The managers enlisted the help of their peers, direct reports and their supervisor. When they received less than flattering commentary, they smiled and thanked everyone for their contributions. Over the next several months, the Mummy Manager did everything within their power to slowly, relentlessly, strike back against those who offered disparaging feedback. The mummy within the organization is wrapped up, as a metaphor for hiding either their identity or their intentions.

Lastly, there was Frankenstein, named after his creator. He was a collection of body parts, that were sewn together to create a living breathing inhuman being. Frankenstein’s monster was depicted as mindless and easily irritated. He was created to be controlled and to demonstrate the power and influence of the scientist. He was the earlier version of the zombie. Frankenstein became identified with his creation. When the Frankenstein Monster saw his reflection and what he had become, he became angry. He realized how different it was from everyone else and that people were afraid of him. He was deliberately created to be controlled as an example of his creator’s intellect and power. He ultimately turned on his master.

The Frankenstein Manager appears in many organizations as the protégé who was shaped, mentored and created in the ruthless image of their sponsor. Eventually, the protégé will turn on its creator, causing much instruction in its wake. They emulate the same selfish tendencies observed in their Pygmalion. After the monster received or learned all they could from their master, it may cast the mad scientist mentor aside.

Each generation has its own monsters; whether it is the Wicked Witch of the East, Aliens, the Predator, Jason of Friday the 13th or Freddy Krueger from Nightmare on Elm Street, they can be compared to the leadership styles of many of the leaders seen in organizations around the world. The traits of these frightful creatures are found in the leadership practices of some managers who believe they must resort to fiendish tactics or insensitive methods in order to get results. Where there is a monster, there is fear. Where there is fear, there is an antidote or a strategy possible to eventually relieve people from the threat of the monster and the power it has over the employees in the workplace.

Copyright © 2015 Orlando Ceaser

Communication Excellence – A Competitive Advantage

We should help our young people become better communicators as a part of their educational development, while helping ourselves improve in this area. This should begin in our homes, and shift to the schools, work, community, places of worship and other organizations.

There are statistics that indicate that 85% of success will be attributed to communication skills. Correct speech builds confidence and youth won’t feel self-conscious in the presence of individuals with strong verbal skills. Leadership qualities blossom in the portfolio of a strong communicator. If communication skills are solid, youth can concentrate on the content of their conversations, articulating their dreams and the ideas they want to present. If communication skills are solid, adults can broaden their career opportunities.

Improving communication skills is a phenomenal benefit and competitive advantage. Improved speech at an early age actually making life easier for everyone. Students don’t have to think as much about choosing the right words for speaking clearly will come naturally for them. It is easier to have excellent speech and shift to colloquialisms, then to always speak in colloquialisms and try to shift to excellent speech.

People will jump to conclusions, make snap judgments and make decisions about someone based on their speech. They will rightfully or wrongfully gauge intellect, display bias about where someone were born and raised, gauge economic status, and achievement potential. Companies will hire, promote or allow employees to speak for the company in a meeting or to the media, based on their ability to communicate. These subjective and objective reactions may not be fair, but are indicative of the power of communication skills.

People are resistant to broach the subject of speech correction. This tendency has to change, so that we can radically assist our youth on their path to excellence. I don’t know if this reluctance is due to a lack of confidence, individuals discomfort and knowledge about what is correct speech or if they feel it is not important enough to address. Clearly the data suggests that communication is an area where improvement could be emotionally and financially beneficial.

There are several skill areas essential to master. They are conversations, group presentations, punctuation and written communications. As youth grow older they will get into the intricacies of verbal and non-verbal indication (body language). Mastering these areas will contribute to other parts of their intellectual endeavor such as improving math, science and reading skills. Focusing on these areas early in life will help children form habits that will make communicating easier.

More people should pay attention to individuals whose professions rely on effective speaking. If children use them as a mirror, they could elevate the quality of their communications. Youth would make their career choices and competitively pursue more promotional opportunities. Adults will grow in confidence, credibility and grow in their organizations as communication excellence contributes to their leadership abilities.

Athletes are a prime example of individuals receiving different careers options because of their competence in communicating. Effective communications through their fluid speaking ability could lead to a career in broadcasting. Here are a few examples of athletes who combined athletic excellence with effective communication skills to add another source of income and another career.

  1. Michael Jordan as a pitchman for several products
  2. Michael Strahan, a professional football player who became a sports announcer. His personality and communication skills enabled him to be a co-host on a talk show and opened the doors for numerous commercials
  3. The Rock, a famous actor, at one point in his career was a college football champion and a professional wrestler. His personality and indication skills enabled him to take on many roles due to his ability to communicate.

We should be impressed by people who immigrate to another country unable to speak the language. Many come to the United States and assume English as their second language. Many of the older generation would listen to the radio and watch television, using these as venues to practice and learn English. I admired their persistence and dedication and the quality of their speech after working tirelessly to master the language. We would use them as motivation to improve communication skills.

What is wrong with communication excellence?

Some people feel it is the duty to attack communication excellence. Youth should beware of people who ridicule them because of their dedication to speak a language in the way it was designed to be spoken. Speaking right should not be given a derogatory label. Youth should not have to fight for their freedom to pursue excellence in speech. Youth should not apologize for achievement (excellence does not deserve sympathy or ridicule). Unlocking their leadership greatness will give them the necessary perspective, drive and credibility to lead their peers to share their commitment to excellence.

Effective communication should be seen as a vehicle to achieve goals and fulfill dreams. Achieving their dreams is the objective for youth and adults. Being able to communicate at a high level will work to their advantage. It is therefore, helpful to emulate the articulation of professional communicators, i.e. teachers, actors, newscasters, television and radio personalities, lawyers, spokespersons and politicians to help improve communication skills. There is also value in joining speaking organizations such as Toastmasters International to gain real world speaking experience and coaching in a nurturing environment. Additionally, Local schools and junior colleges also have speech classes which can help students and aspiring professionals.

As adults, we should not abandon the practice of improving our speech. It is never too late to speak better. We will serve as a model for people who watch and listen to us. Diligence in communication can have a powerful effect on the job. People in leadership position will select people they feel have the power to communicate corporate messages to employees. We noted that statistics have indicated that 85% of the skills necessary to be promoted on the job are related to your communication skills. This statistic alone underscores the importance of communicating with excellence and its value as a competitive advantage.

Copyright © 2015 Orlando Ceaser

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

Under New Management – A chance to decline or a chance to shine

new-mgmt

The sign has three words, “Under New Management.” We often see the sign in the window of a retail establishment. What does this sign mean to you? Does it conjure up images of change and great expectations? Are you saddened that a great institution will never be the same, gone the way of the dinosaur? Does it make you think hopeful thoughts about the future, casting aside the circumstances of the previous administration? Do you instantly wonder if new people with more money, resources, business acumen, talent and operational expertise, will make the business successful. Under New Management can bring opportunities, as well old problems and new obstacles.

Your opinion about an “Under New Management” sign is based on being connected to the previous management; as a patron or participant in their business. If you were dissatisfied with the prior regime, this sign may give you words of encouragement that things will be better. If you are on the inside, and not in the inner circle, this may mean greater opportunities for advancement. If you are on the outside, you are hopeful for a better return on investment or an increase in quality and customer service.

When new management arrives on the scene, there are new people to handle the day-to-day operations. The communications industry, especially radio, is notorious for bringing in new ownership, followed by new management. Radio personnel are often under the specter of change. When rumors start about a potential acquisition, panic leaps into the hearts and minds of everyone, except those personalities who view themselves as untouchable. These individuals, due to their notoriety, can be classified as employable, because of their ease of finding another job.

It is customary for most industries to experience change. Will that change be in products or services or the management structure, personnel or brand identity? In radio the change could be in their format? Will the station go from all news to a talk radio or country music format? What will the new manager think is the financially prudent format to recoup their investment? What changes could “Under New Management” bring to your company or industry? How could your life be changed?

“Under New Management” is a sign that could be hung after a merger and acquisition. Those in positions of power and leadership may worry the most. Many times the higher up you are in an organization the more worried you are of losing your job, status, influence, mentors and advocates. But, there are those on the outside of power, looking forward to the opportunity to shine. They want a clean slate, audiences before a new panel of judges.

Some of my greatest opportunities were, “Under New Management.” I recall making a speech before a large audience after a merger. I was approached by one of the sales representatives from Puerto Rico, excited about my message. She said,” I never knew you could speak like that! We have never heard you on the big stage before. Why haven’t you been on stage in this type of setting?” I smiled and thanked her, realizing that there was something special about the opportunities provided by being, under new management. There can be many career benefits brought on by a change in management. Ambitious personnel should strategically plan for a jump start, a new start to their careers and seize the new opportunities.

“Under New Management” could provide an environment where people can feel courageous enough to explore new areas. It could be seen as a chance to overcome mistakes made earlier in one’s career. New management may have a policy of mistake forgiveness, like the accident forgiveness features in some automobile commercials. It is true that negativity never gets amnesia in some organizations. It has a long memory for mistakes, even though the clarity of its memory may be very vague.

I spoke with the manager who applied for re-entry into her former company. She was cleared for rehire, but someone mentioned a problem they had with her almost 20 years earlier. He couldn’t remember the specifics, only that it was unpleasant. This company was under management, however there were lingering problems of old biases from the people they maintained.

New management can therefore, lead to the continuation of old stereotypes and biases from the remaining managers. It may also replace old unconscious biases with a new set of preferences and biases. But we must be optimistic and strive for the excitement and new energy to commit to build something new and magnificent. We must build an organization that allows us to make the most of the honeymoon period assigned to “Under New Management,” to impress upon everyone the desire and willingness to serve in order to achieve high expectations.

“Under New Management” is not the answer to all problems and it is incumbent upon everyone to bring their best and be hopeful that the environmental change will be a breath of fresh air. They must work to help provide fertile soil for people to grow to their fullest potential. They must work diligently to give the new managerial structure a chance to succeed and flourish.

Copyright © 2015 Orlando Ceaser

Motherhood and Leadership

Mothermirrorlion1

You and I are probably very similar. My early exposure to leadership principles came from my Mother. I would imagine that I am not alone. Usually we tend to think of leadership as a masculine trait, but the seeds of leadership in many homes were actually planted by the Mother.

Mother initiated our leadership education. She was the driving force behind our early physical, mental, educational and spiritual development. Mother planted the seeds of leadership by modeling behavior, holding us accountable, introducing us to new experiences, coaching and encouraging us, cultivating gifts and pushing us out of the nest to participate and get involved in our surroundings.

Mother allowed us to explore different activities to find our talents. We were creative around her and she celebrated our ingenuity. Many of us have memories of our Mom taking us to the park, shopping and various school and church programs. She was eager to compliment us when we did something well and quick to discipline us when we were out of line. She was so proud of us. By supporting our interests she identified our gifts and bolstered our confidence.

We were her team. The climate in her leadership environment allowed us to blossom as we outwardly and subliminally listened to the valuable messages. We were constantly infiltrated by leadership qualities that emerged as she navigated the parenting process.

  1. Setting the vision for a possible future
  2. Establishing values and beliefs
  3. Providing direction, opportunities and resources
  4. Encouragement and reinforcement
  5. Discipline, feedback and developing healthy habits

Setting the vision for the future

We were told we could be anything we wanted to be. We were challenged to be and do our best. If we were going to be a janitor, we were told to be the best janitor. Education was strongly touted as the key to our future, as something no one could take from us. When I finished 8th grade, Mother asked, “What is next?” High school was the correct response. After high school, she asked, “What is next? I responded college, as we had discussed so many times since 8th grade. It was drilled into me at an early age that I was someone special and she saw me reaching my God given potential.

Establishing values and beliefs

The rules and regulations of life, the values and beliefs to guide our behavior and understanding of the world, were initially from our Mother. The stories she read, the lessons we learned in her presence and the experiences we received during playtime. She was the moral and religious center of the home. She showed what was important by how she spent her time and through the chores she distributed and the discipline she delivered. She practiced what she preached and walked the talk. My Mother was a continuous learner and went back to school and became a Registered Nurse. Additionally she gained a BS degree after all of the children finished school. She was always active in community, school and church affairs.

Providing direction, opportunities and resources

We were instructed in the ways of approved and acceptable behavior. We were warned about actions that would not be tolerated. We were not going to embarrass and shame her or the family. My Mother was a stickler on manners and polite behavior. We had standards of good conduct which was anchored in the Golden Rule.

Mother gave us opportunities to express our opinions and grow our talents. I had a number of jobs through the years. I worked as a shoe shine boy, a paper boy, shoe salesman and shoveled snow to make extra money. I learned the value of hard work and how to handle money. I also benefitted from collecting money from her Avon customers. I could always count on her doing anything to see that I had what I needed. She paid for my art supplies, new clothes to march in a parade and prepared me for many other school projects.

Encouragement and reinforcement

When we fell she picked us up and made us feel better. She always knew what to say when we were hurting. She was our biggest fan. She had confidence in us. My Mother had many children and she treated us all differently and there were no favorites among the children. If she was leaning toward one of the others, she was open to talk about it. My Mother told me I was the Chosen One. My response was chosen by whom to do what? It was her way of letting me know there was a purpose for my life and I had to find out what it was. When others seemed to abandon us, Mother was always in our corner offering words of support, guidance and forgiveness.

Discipline, feedback and developing healthy habits

Mother was known for providing simulations to prepare us for life in the real world, although we did not call them simulations. She gave us positive and reasonably realistic feedback when we did well. She checked our homework to make sure it was done and done correctly. She did not let us off the hook. She held us accountable for our actions and helped lay down the law and maintain the order.

When we broke the rules, the punishment usually fit the offense. She wanted us to get in the habit of doing our best and acting properly. There was a saying and a television program that said, “Father knows best.” If that was true Mother knew that and all the rest.

My Mother challenged me to learn and present a very long drama poem when I was ten years old. The Creation by James Weldon Johnson was in her English literature text book when she was in night school. She worked with me and checked with me until I mastered the piece. I began performing it in church services all over the city for many years. She brought out my gift of public speaking and made me comfortable in front of crowds.

I realize that some may have a different opinion of their Mother’s role in sowing and demonstrating leadership principles into their lives. Some may have received examples of how a leader should not perform. Nevertheless, we know the value of strong leadership in altering the course of lives and organizations.

When we search our memories and review the books, theories, seminars and the performance of actual leaders, let us not forget where many were first exposed to lessons on leadership. We should recognize and celebrate the awesome contributions of Mothers. They should be honored for the role they play in developing leaders of today and leaders of tomorrow. During the time we spent on our Mother’s knee, in her lap or at her feet, we were overtly or covertly immersed in the relationship between Motherhood and leadership.

Copyright © 2010 Orlando Ceaser

Pursuing Your Purpose in 2015 – a format for fulfillment

niche (1)

The teacher arrived at the author’s booth at the convention. She perused the books and educational resources on the display table. She previewed the posters and listened to the motivational CD’s that were present. She turned to the author, looked him in the eyes and asked a poignant question,” Why haven’t I heard of you? Why don’t I know you? These resources are exactly the kind of help I need to work with my students.” This scene was repeated by a local television actor on a network show. He was on a program, with the author, speaking and mentoring to students at a high school. While waiting for the session to begin, the actor reviewed the author’s latest book. “Man, why haven’t I heard of you?” he said.

Most of us are not fortunate enough to be challenged to live out our purpose in this manner.  The situations are real and reflect a question we should ask ourselves. Have the right people heard of us? Have they been exposed to our purpose and message? The objective is not necessarily notoriety. But wants to know if we are doing what is required to pursue our purpose. Are we doing what is necessary so that a wide range of people can benefit from the talent and skills we have to offer? I attended a Big-Money Speaker conference conducted by my coach James Malinchak. He suggested that we could use our financial success as one way to determine the level of service we are providing to others. Therefore, if we are pursuing our purpose and utilizing a format or system for fulfillment, we should see this reflected in how we measure success or influence.

We should constantly work to pursue our purpose. This begins with the identification of why we are on this planet. This can usually be suggested in our talents and the passion that we have for certain activities. In my case, it is reflected in the dedication and persistence in spreading the word around the world about leadership, excellence, motivation and utilizing our gifts. My keyword for 2015 will be ubiquitous, which means to be widespread. But, widespread does not mean everywhere or to everyone, it means that I must be widespread within a targeted area of emphasis, within my niche. We can’t be all things to all people or we will eventually dilute our impact and burn out in the process.

We should develop a format for fulfillment which will include a system we will follow to reach our goals. This system or process will be followed routinely as a discipline focusing on our purpose. I created The Know System™ in my book, The Isle of Knowledge, as a way to stay focused on making the right decisions to reach your goals. Great coaches will tell us to pick a niche and focus our attention in that specific area.

We should be determined to be “Known in our niche and famous in our family.” We should work strategically within a targeted area to meet the key customers and prospects and make them aware of our products and services. This awareness could be from attending and running workshops and conferences, conducting podcasts and webinars, or writing articles and blogging. We want to be perceived as an expert in our given area. Therefore, writing a book on the subject, may be appropriate, to establish us as someone who knows more about the subject then most people.

To be famous in our family includes your intermediate as well as our extended family. Are our relatives aware of our job and our purpose? This awareness will enable them to ask questions out of curiosity and to increase their knowledge. They can be inspired by the way we live and come to us for career advice. Our extended family may include friends, acquaintances, business contacts and people we meet at networking events. Do they know who we are? Do they know what we stand for? Do they know our purpose and the products or services we provide? We can use this phrase as a reminder to use the influence we were placed on this planet to acquire and deliver. We must be driven to be known in our niche and to be famous in our families. This will push us toward our responsibility of activating our talent and using it so that we are fulfilled. Our niche and family members may be able to help us achieve our purpose.

I am the entrepreneur mentioned at the beginning of this article. The words stated by the teacher and the actor are being used as a mantra to drive my behavior and performance. I am committed to entertain, educate and inspire action in people to achieve outstanding results. This compels me to deliver the messages and develop the resources to enable people to do their jobs, pursuing their purpose and making a difference. I am hopeful that these messages and resources will help people unlock their leadership greatness and develop a format to fulfill their dreams and provide the level of service necessary to enrich the lives of others. Please contact me if you have any questions about the content of this blog post, my speaking topics and the motivational resources of Watchwell Communications, Inc. I can be reached at Orlando.ceaser@watchwellinc.com, www.OrlandoCeaser.com and http://www.watchwellinc.com.

 

Copyright © 2015 Orlando Ceaser

Leadership and the Ozone Layer – Channeling the heat

O3Logo(1)

Managers often talk about the heat generated in many organizations by their superiors. A solar fire storm comes down from on high, whenever Senior Leaders are dissatisfied with results. These measures vary within companies, but usually relate to financial outcomes.  When pressured, these leaders want immediate improvement. Their words may be indelicate with crude language and their words and demeanor may be threatening.  This intimidating method of getting higher performance has been successful in the past and is a knee jerk reaction to falling profits.

Employees of these fire wielding executives need an ozone layer, like the one that circles the Earth. Science classes from the past and the current discussions on climate change make us aware of the ozone layer. The American Heritage Science dictionary defines it as “A region of the upper atmosphere containing relatively high levels of ozone, located mostly within the stratosphere. It absorbs large amounts of solar ultraviolet radiation, preventing it from reaching the Earth’s surface.” It is essentially a protective layer that prevents the full burst of the sun’s rays from striking the Earth. The earth’s ozone layer does not filter out all of the heat, just the harmful ultra violet rays.

The ozone layer in our context can also be described as a supportive culture that protects employees from intimidation and excessive pressure from people in authority.  In my book, Unlock the Secrets of Ozone Leadership I assigned five attributes to Ozone Leadership. They are;

  • Protective
  • Selective
  • Corrective
  • Effective
  • Directive

These attributes lay the premise and the foundation for the philosophical rationale behind Ozone Leadership. Like the Earth’s ozone layer, a business ozone layer administered by an Ozone Leader working effectively, can protect the organizational culture. The results are greater productivity, higher morale, which holds everyone, including, leadership accountable.

Middle managers jobs are based on their ability to implement strategy and tactics to achieve share holder and stake holder value. In organization where senior leaders employ an intimidating management style, their managers may be required to serve as the ozone layer for their people.

Managers as effective leaders must regulate the heat to see that if falls appropriately. They know their personnel and realize that some individuals in the organization may need a hole in this ozone layer to feel the additional heat. If they are not performing properly they cannot be pampered and allowed to give less than their best. Some people may need to be shocked into working at expected levels. This must be done in the context of a respectful workplace and honoring them without bullying, intimidation or harassment. There may be a window in the ozone layer to allow them to be excised from the organization, as skillfully as a surgical strike with a laser beam.

When the solar winds cascade down the leadership chain the Middle managers feel the full brunt of the energy surge. One manager recalls being told, “If you are not tough enough to get the job done, we will replace you with someone who will.” Threats are generally a part of the vocabulary of solar expectations. Fear is believed to be a potent motivator. For years we have learned that the KITA (Kick in the Ass) approach only works temporarily and the stick part of the “carrot and stick” approach also has limited sustainability. When people can leave an organization, they will leave if their current organization abuses these methods.

The middle managers know their people are hard working and that some of the shortfall in performance is a shared responsibility. Leaders and the rank and file may have under estimated the size of the challenge. It is therefore, a shared responsibility to fix the problem. Local leaders modify the threats in the message for they realize the negative effect it has on morale and productivity. They know from recent literature that positive expectations and clear focus will allow people to think better. What are needed are calm minds to solve the problems. These leaders therefore, form a force field around their people to shield and buffer them from a direct hit. They usually channel the heat. They;

  • Gather their teams together and explain the dire situation around performance
  • Evaluate the current state to determine how they got there
  • Brain storm ideas and establish a list of things they should stop or start doing
  • Work to develop strategies and tactics to improve sales and financial performance
  • Adjust the tone of the demands from Senior leadership, while developing solutions to address the concerns of upper management

The company achieves its objectives due to the passionate, insightful work of the managers and their teams. People recognize that they dodged a solar bullet and everything is fine until the next crisis. When Senior Leadership sees the positive results; the reversal of negative trends, increased market share, they are pleased and complimentary. However, they are convinced that their firebombing directives caused the change. Senior leadership are prepared to reach for the flame thrower and use whatever draconian methods necessary to keep their organizations focused on reaching the results required to keep share holders happy. Therefore, with the next crisis they can be predicted to respond the same way, but with greater intensity. To minimize potential over reactions, it is incumbent upon the Ozone Leader to equip the team to minimize deviations from the corporate goals and objectives.

Solutions

If the practice of leaders in your organization is to respond the same way to every crisis, the objective should be to eliminate or minimize the number of crises. It is incumbent upon leaders to keep their teams always anticipating competitive and market pressures to prevent the initial crisis. Otherwise the fire drill will repeat itself and they may not be able to blunt the impact and consequences. This will require a change in mindset at all levels of the organization. All leaders, including middle managers should control the area within their jurisdiction. They should;

  • Ensure that their people exceed their stretch goals (effective)
  • Conduct simulations and “What if” drills to anticipate competitive responses
  • Ensure that employees are clear on the leader’s expectations (directive)
  • Eliminate competing priorities, being selective in what affects their time (selective)
  • Be willing to change course and admit when the leader makes a mistake (corrective)

All followers should:

  • Develop a “What else” mindset directed toward other things they should do to tackle or prevent a problem. This mindset will also help generate and evaluate alternative solutions
  • Monitor competitive activities
  • Ensure that customers are steadily assessed and surveyed to determine their level of satisfaction
  • Highly value customer service and customer surveillance as a high priority to provide the kind of market intelligence needed to make better decisions

The ozone layer mentality should be a part of the corporate culture. This will prevent the untoward effects of leadership striking the panic button and forgetting everything they learned about motivating people and driving behavior. Or it will ensure that local measures are put in place to achieve the objectives of senior leaders without torching and scorching the very people responsible for correcting the problems and creating the solutions.

Leadership needs to construct an environment of innovation and a culture that inspires people to give their best and offer solutions with fear of reprisal and ridicule. Trust and respect will go a long way toward eliminating a culture of fear and intimidation and ultimately produce the ideas and innovations needed to exceed objections.

Copyright © 2013 Orlando Ceaser

Learn more about Ozone Leadership by ordering my book The Secrets of Ozone Leadership which is available at www.orlandoceaser.com and www.amazon.com. The information is available in a hard cover, e-book and as an audio book, which is also available on iTunes.

The Impact of Personnel Decisions on Employee Morale and Team Performance

Fashionably_Fired

People are fired every day. The remaining employees were witnesses to the personnel decision and the aftermath. Coworkers may not be familiar with the whole story. They may suspect a person had performance issues, but were not aware of all of the particulars. However, they will form an opinion. Their opinion can affect their morale and the overall performance of the team.

The grape-vine and the rumor mill are the primary sources of information. It may present a jaded, slanted, one-sided day and misguided view of what happened. If they only hear the side of the affected person, the company may not get a proper hearing. Employees may see their peer escorted from the building or received a phone call about an employee’s departure from the organization. Their interpretation of the event will send a buzz of communication throughout the company.  How management responds to these events will keep people focused and committed to the company and its goals and customers.

There are a series of personnel issues that management has to address. There are situations when a person violated company policies in an egregious manner. They may have a person in a job well over their heads. The situation is complicated when the person is personable with a long career with the organization. If they were no longer able to keep up with the workload, the job separation may have been a humane decision.  Termination was an act of mercy, putting them out of their misery, whether they saw it that way or not.

Some people will not discuss their status change with their peers or drag the company name in the mud. However, in an effort to look like a victim, some will blame the company for unfairness and cite a history of false claims which have nothing to do with their situation. They portray themselves in a positive light.

A sales representative was fired from her company for just cause. In order to save agents and preserve their ego she spreads lies to her peers. Additionally, she contacted the customers in her territory and made unfair, untrue accusations against her management and the organization. This caused a reduction in sales, as she was truly liked by her clients.

Human Nature

Human nature causes many of us to preserve our ego when we leave an organization on bad terms. People will rarely acknowledge their role in a termination. It is unusual to hear people say;

  • I was in over my head
  • I no longer had the necessary skills to perform the job
  • I lost my passion
  • The job had passed me by
  • I’ve violated company policy and was caught

It is more convenient to paint themselves as a victim and the company as the villain. Sometimes, people are fired for cheating or violating some of the companies’ rules and regulations. Invariably, Management will hear stories about the manager being a jerk, unfair and untrustworthy. If the person was highly regarded by their peers, there is a drop in trust and morale. Some people feel that if the affected person could be terminated, their own position may be very shaky or tenuous at best. “If they could let her go, I better watch my back.”

When people do not trust the company to do the right thing and feel decisions are made in a vindictive manner, employees will work out of fear. This fear increases anxiety and does not necessarily give the best performance and may show up or breakdown in other ways.

Professional Etiquette

Employees do not have access to the whole story, for it is not their business. However, if someone was struggling on the job, as a peer, they may have wondered, why the person was hired or why it took management so long to get them. If the person was not pulling their weight or were violating policies, their peers are usually the first to know. Many times after a person is terminated, the co-workers would ask, “What took you so long?” To which I would respond, “If you knew the person was a problem, why didn’t you come to us?” They would usually answer that it was not their job and they did not want to be responsible for someone losing their job.

Respect for employees and potential legal issues for the company, are good reasons to not discuss everyone’s performance issues. The best thing an organization can do is to discuss their overall personnel philosophy. If people trust the company and believe the company has their best interest at heart and act in a fair and impartial manner, they will assume the personnel decision was made for the right reasons. Companies candidly state they do not discuss individual performance levels of employees with their peers. However, they want everyone to know that personnel decisions are not made in a haphazard manner. They have a respectful workplace with an open door policy to allow all employees to discuss their performance with their manager and the Human Resources Department, when necessary. Some companies will allow employees to go over their supervisor to discuss performance with higher levels within the organization. This is a cultural matter which varies within companies and departments.

A Trusting Culture is the Key

I believe that prevention is the best intervention. This also applies to morale issues regarding terminations. The best response actually occurs on the front end. Within a high-performance culture where leadership is transparent and respectful, people are less likely to panic when someone is terminated. When a company has firmly established core values, people know what is expected of them. When these values are communicated, a culture develops that creates an environment of trust. David Horsager, in his book, The Trust Edge, says,” Everything of value is built on trust, from financial systems to relationships. He states eight components of The Pillars of Trust. They are clarity, compassion, character, competency, commitment, connection, contribution and consistency. When these eight pillars are strongly present, employees have to trust in their organizations.

The more employees know about the values behind decisions, the more trust and relaxation are present in the face of job actions. They realize that a termination or resignation is the result of an exhaustive, extensive series of events and soul-searching that may lead to the end of employment. Employees also realize that if they perform their jobs to the best of their ability, they will be treated fairly. They also, know that when people leave the organization, it is probably for a good reason.

Copyright © 2014 Orlando Ceaser

Free e-book, Leadership Greatness through High Performance Poetry, http://www.OrlandoCeaser.com

20% savings on all items on the site through December 31, 2014