The Mysterious Case of Disappearing Respect

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A colleague of mine, Kelly (Allen) Vandever, Leadership & Communications Speaker, Trainer and Coach. Host of the Leadership Podcast Permission to Speak recently posted an excellent article. Rather than regurgitating the article, you can read it in full here “Respect” In a nutshell, the article is about a manager lamenting the fact that her direct reports do not turn projects in on time or at all. She asked a colleague to step in and the colleague advised her that she has lost the respect of her direct reports. Well if they haven’t, they certainly will now by asking a colleague to step in and do her job. Did the respect mysteriously disappear or did she ever have it? The article is well-written and makes some important points about the mysteries of management.

  • Inform your reports about the “why” of a project. Check! This helps them to take the mystery out of the big picture and to see how important their position is to the larger goals of the organization.
  • Make it OK to Push Back. Check! Creating an environment that allows for back and forth commentary and analysis is healthy and productive. Nothing mysterious here.
  • Be Respectful of Your Employees. Duh! Err I mean Check! It’s no secret that basic, human respect is Management 101.

In the article, Kelly goes on to make some other important points.

What else could the manager do to ensure that she gets the job done through her people, and not “mysteriously” lose respect in the process?

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Spooky Team Members

Zombies WEBDo you have spooky team members who haunt you with their behaviors and communication styles? You know, those team members who frighten you because of their aggressive nature. Another spooky team member might be the one who is so flighty you expect to see them flying around the office and they don’t even need a broom! Or how about the strong, silent, team member? You know, the one with the face made of stone. No one can ever tell what they are thinking. Are they plotting, are they happy, or are they hiding some deep, dark and dangerous secret? Or how about the team member who is so literal, will not make a move unless there is a rule involved? Yes, the ones, who take so long to make a decision that you think if you walk by their office, you will see cobwebs growing around them. Here’s the really scary part, one of these is you!

No matter which one is you, you must know how to handle the other spooky types. So who should change, you or them? Well no one needs to change or morph into some other haunting entity or become a skeleton of yourself. Rather, the idea is to adapt. Let’s look at each of these characters and see what might work to help these spooky types interact with one another without creating a horror movie.

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Understanding Teams – Yours and Theirs

Understanding TeamsRecently, one of my executive coaching clients was pulling his hair out over people in one department who were always complaining about his team. His team complained about the other team – of course. His team is essentially sales and the other team is policies, procedures, and compliance. You might as well try to mix oil and water and try to make a soufflé. What is it that has these teams all in a twitter?

Sales people are typically, not always, but typically a little more loose with rules and procedures. They just want to go out and influence people to buy so they can get paid. And yes, typically they do make more money than the “policy and procedure (P & P) enforcers.” The green-eyed jealousy monster starts running amok through the P & P team. The P & P people feel they work harder, are under more stress, and are constantly correcting the mistake of the sales team. The sales team doesn’t like rules; they take too much time to comply with and they need to be out selling. They reason, that if it wasn’t for them the P & P team wouldn’t it HAVE a job!

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Showing Teammates the Love, Oops, Sorry HR, I Mean the Appreciation

Team SuccessWe all know that no one individual is totally responsible for the success of an organization or for any project. We also know tht we can’t do everything. It’s not just the time factor, but that we simply do not possess every talent or skill needed for projects to run today’s increasingly complex organizations. Rather a team of diverse people with diverse talents, skills, and attributes are required. Moreover, we are constantly reminded of how much we should appreciate our teammates and their particular brand of talents. Why are strengths so important?

Why Strengths Are Important

Unless you’ve been under a rock, you are no doubt aware of the work Gallup conducts in the importance of strengths. An article by Tim Clark succinctly explains the study’s findings:

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Are Your Employees Holding You Hostage?

ArragantIf you hire that candidate, I’ll quit!

If you don’t pay me more, I’ll quit!

More than you might think employers cow down to these demanding employees. It’s not just inexperienced managers who fall prey to such threats, it’s well-seasoned, ought to know better, executives as well. Having said that, it is always wise to consider both sides of an argument.

If, in fact, the employee has been treated unfairly, then corrections need to be made. Not only is it the right thing to do, the organization’s reputation is at stake. Former employees talk and if he word “on the street” is that your company is not a good place to work, you will not be able to recruit top level employees.

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Bob’s Ok, He’s Just Weird

Flex MusclesAn executive recently complained to the superior of a fellow executive in the same company that Bob, not his real name, was often insubordinate, sat on people’s desks, flexed his muscles, and was a know-it-all. Bob’s boss replied, “Bob’s OK, he’s just weird.” The executive, a client of mine, relaying this story to me felt confused because she saw this person as being condescending, but yet couldn’t understand why she felt that way and so blamed herself. When I asked this executive if she would let her son speak to her that way, she replied, “Good grief, no!” Why is this situation any different?

It just so happens that my client has her eyes on the CEO position when the current CEO retires in a few years. If Bob’s behavior is allowed to continue, do you think he will stop just because this person is now the CEO? Bob will take great pride in his ability to talk to such a superior in this manner, belittle the now CEO, behind her back of course, and generally help lace the organization’s culture with this condescending behavior company wide. The behavior now becomes accepted and the norm. What’s a budding CEO to do?

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Career Strategy Scenarios

Career DecisionThose on executive teams often have goals and ambitions to be the CEO of the organization. You may be such an individual. Once a speaker colleague was trying to decide what to speak about to a group. She made this comment, “I don’t know if these people even have dreams.” My head spun around about 3600. What? Everyone has dreams. But even some executives will sell their own teammates short thinking that they are the only one on the team with the CEO dream. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is dangerous territory. Why?

When considering that you are the only one with ambitious goals, you may well have slumped into complacency not to mention being a bone head. Sorry, it had to be said. This type of thinking tells me that both you and my colleague have no empathy for or are not reading the pulse of others, even the ones on your own team. Everyone has dreams of some sort. Maybe they aren’t the dream of becoming a CEO, but they may want to use their position to obtain other dreams. If you find yourself with these types of thoughts, here are some ideas to help get you back on track.

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The Two Faces of Leadership

Two Faces of Ldrshp

Many organizations implement leadership development programs. Often times these are part of a succession plan. This is one face of leadership. This is the “younger” face of leadership if you will. This is the face belonging to those who are ambitious and want to climb the corporate ladder, but who still need skill building training, activities, and additional experience. These programs often consist of topics such as:

 

  • Communication
  • Handling Difficult Situations
  • Coaching/Counseling and Mentoring
  • Disciplinary Challenges
  • Legal Issues Such as Sexual Harassment and Discrimination
  • Leaderships Skills
  • Performance Management
  • Project Management
  • Motivating Employees
  • Budget and Finance

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