Are you a trustworthy boss?

I recently received a call from a new boss who wanted to know what type of “penalties” he should apply because his employees were not responding to his emails fast enough.

The more important question would be why are they not responding? Are they unclear about his request and timeline? Are they incredibly busy handling his clients’ needs? Does he have a bad tendency to make all his requests “Urgent?” Although his employees might not see his management style as autocratic now, it won’t take long for them to stop trusting him if he relies upon “threats” to get the job done.

The bottom line is that in order to build a company of loyal employees, you need to create a level of trust between you and each of your employees. Continually threatening people with loss of jobs, perks, or being written up, will only cause them to lose their trust in you. It’s hard for employees to do their work when they are fearful.

Emails. If you need to send additional requests, mark them “Second Request,” THIRD Request,” or FOURTH REQUEST at the beginning of the subject line. If it is Urgent, do the same. However, don’t use these terms often or they lose their attention grabbing effect. Normally give them at least 24 to 48 hours to respond. If it’s not urgent, provide a suggested “due date” for their response.

Pick Up the Phone. If it is truly urgent or complicated, or you don’t have strong writing skills, call them. Person-to-person dialogue often prevents misunderstandings. It’s your responsibility as the boss to exercise persuasive listening skills to ensure your employees understand what you are requesting.

Quality of Work. If someone does not have the skills to do the work, simply sending it back along with an implied or even overt threat will not get you the quality of work required. Take time and walk them through exactly what you need, and the format you need it in (e.g., Word, Excel, numbers, graphs, columns, etc.). Keep your requirements simple if someone is developing their skills.

A woman with specialized technical skills was hired by a company to help them avoid lawsuits. However, her manner of interacting with the management team had them failing to respond to her demands. Instead of her boss talking with her and offering her guidance, he simply waited until the lawsuit had been averted and fired her!

Coaching. Simply getting what you need from someone and firing them without warning only compels others not trust you or your leadership style. If someone needs help to improve interpersonal, management and/or project skills, provide them with the necessary training. Arrange for their own coach (from outside the company) to help them excel in their current position or as they move through a necessary job transition.

Bottom line? When people are not responding in a respectful manner and are busy taking copious notes, there is no trust. Work with your business advisor and take an objective look.  What do you need to transform in your approach and management style to be a leader who elicits trust, a leader others want to follow.

(c)Jeannette L. Seibly, 2012

Not Producing Intended Results?

Leaders often are perplexed when a project or plan is not working. Everyone wants to change the goal. The plan was created to achieve a specific goal; changing the goal is a strange way to produce those intended results! A compelling goal that is well-crafted requires commitment, focused actions and the right people. Too often the success of any team effort is contingent upon the leader’s people, project and profitability skills. Leaders often derail a team by failing to include others, building upon their ideas and staying focused on the ultimate goal of a profitable venture.

Difference of opinions. Many groups crash when they don’t take the time to effectively work through differences of opinions. Team members must be heard; otherwise, they can become trouble-makers! Productive discussions, sometimes seen as confrontational, are required to build better outcomes, uncover overlooked problems and build agreement.  Team leaders and members need to provide on-the-spot training to show others how to use persuasive listening skills to encourage everyone’s contributions.

Doomsday conspiracy. When people on a team are not committed to the plan designed to achieve the goal, or the goal itself, the project will fail, for either reason. A conspiracy of nay-sayers will evolve to rationalize their point of view when leaders don’t listen. Every member of the team has the responsibility for ensuring others’ concerns are addressed.  Many people view change as difficult, not necessary or are fearful of an unknown outcome. As the leader, it’s your role to facilitate actions and conversations to support the intended results, while positively impacting the bottom line, client relationships and a positive workplace.

What’s in it for me? Employees today want to know what’s in it for them. It’s important to provide insight into how their contributions are part of the solution. Start by sharing the situation or problem needing to be resolved, along with the proposed goal and plans to achieve the goal. If it impacts their potential bonuses and/or paychecks, share this in a positive manner. Honesty is key.  If they are not readily agreeable with the goal or project, they may be hearing it for the first time and need additional time to process it. Remember, you’ve been thinking about it for hours, days, or months!

©Jeannette Seibly, 2012

5 Attitudes to Fast Track Career Derailment

Wonder why so many business professionals, executives and biz leaders are included in the ever increasing statistic of job shopping? These qualified professionals live under the false illusion that finding the perfect career or job will automatically have them earning mega-bucks, working for a great boss, while having fun in life!

  1. I can do anything. Sixty-three to seventy-nine percent of the workforce toil in jobs that don’t fit them. They continue seeking similar work with similar responsibilities only to achieve similar dissatisfaction.  (Think, do the same thing over and over, yet expect different results). Or they leap into a different type of industry that poorly suits them while arrogantly thumbing their nose at their past employers. Stop blindly seeking job satisfaction at the expense of your resume. Build bridges, don’t burn them.
  2. Gimme, Gimme. Most people jump for extra pennies or dollars in their paycheck, but leave those jobs because they are unhappy! Job gratification is personal. Satisfaction can be achieved meeting deadlines within budget, completing work to customers’ needs, etc. Your fulfillment comes from within you by building on your strengths to stretch your skills. 
  3. Grass is Greener. All companies have similar problems. The list is long: bosses who are poor managers; compensation and benefit packages that need improvements; economic focuses on financial results that negates a balanced work-life style. Job fit is critical to minimize these concerns. Employees (and executives) in the right job are much more productive and tolerant than others with the same challenges.
  4. Not My Problem. If you’re someone who creates elephants for your bosses and co-workers, or is continually putting the monkey on someone else’s back, no one wants to hire you! Learn how to handle issues by turning monologues into dialogues with the right person who can make the difference. Be part of the solution. Clean up your elephant tracks. 
  5. More is Better. A bigger company does not mean it is better run, regardless of their bigger budgets! Don’t assume your boss will be more understanding or the tools you need to do your job will be readily forthcoming. Millions of dollars are spent each year obtaining more certifications and more education, hoping this will transform people into fitting their work requirements. If people are not in jobs that fit them, additional education will not transform them into rock stars.

Rather than believe you’re stuck in a job or career, recognize you’re there because of your unwillingness to make an actual and real difference! Only you are responsible for your work-life happiness!

It’s an attitude. The time is now! Take charge of your career. Professionals who hire a career advisor have a competitive edge, with their current employer or their next one. They don’t wait for someone else to show them the right direction. They take a qualified assessment to clarify job fit. The assessment determines thinking style (major component in job satisfaction), core behavior (how they use their job skills vs. how the company needs the job done) and occupational interests (little or no interest equals poor quality, iffy results). They learn to how sell themselves in a biz savvy manner (http://TimeToBrag.com). They write down the top three qualifiers for their next job. The result? New opportunities appear quicker. They are sought after by their next employer or boss. They are on the right track to fulfill their career goals. (http://SeibCo.com)

©Jeannette Seibly, 2012

Leaders! Learn to lead in 3 steps.

There are leaders amongst us today who achieved their status by domineering, controlling and scheming how to use the organization’s resources and connections to their own advantage. For them, it’s not about serving their clients or employees or other benefactors. It’s about “what’s in it for me.” They falsely believe this makes them successful long term leaders. The truth?  It’s a short term fix, with long term consequences. Career derailment is inevitable.

Want to learn how to be a good long-term leader? Want to possess skills and attitudes that consistently work? First and foremost, hire a business advisor to help you see what you’ve been unwilling to see about yourself. To do what you’ve been unwilling to do. Remember, long term executive savvy requires a higher quality of leadership competencies and expertise.

1 – Straight talk. Attempting to out-talk or manipulate people into thinking the way you do is not the mark of a true leader.  Listen to others’ ideas and build upon them. Understand there is always more than one way to achieve the required results.

2 – Goals. Set true and compelling goals on behalf of the company. This is different than focusing on your own personal financial or professional gains. One Regional Manager wanted his people to get out there and sell so he could purchase his dream sailboat. Needless to say, this manager’s self-serving attitude permeated the team and discouraged them from playing full-out. Their buy-in was to achieve the company’s sales goals, not rack up big boy toys for him. His career as a sales manager sunk. Be prepared to understand and communicate what is in it for your team. Focus 100% on your employees winning. You are only as successful as your people!

3 – Elicit the best in others. Lying, playing people against each other, and using punitive threats to get your way or achieve goals does not bode well in the long run, although it may appear to provide needed short term gains. This type of leadership style creates havoc, litigation and bad will with internal and external clients. Learn how to manage people or hire someone else to do it for you. Learn to talk straight and tell the truth appropriately. It will make a difference in people wanting to work with you. It will build your career as a leader.

©Jeannette L. Seibly, 2012