Category Archives: Leadership
We are almost through 2019 and are just have a few months left before we find ourselves in the year 2020.
In the last 100 years, we’ve experienced these tremendous advances in the working environment:
- More women in business, both as executives and business owners
- Better laws to protect people from various forms of discrimination
- Technological advances to make work easier, work remotely, and communicate faster
- Harassment movements have culled many leaders of sexual impropriety from their positions
- The speed and transparency of the internet has magnified the poor leadership behaviors in many companies like Volkswagen, Wells Fargo, Enron, and countless others
Despite these achievements, it’s quite disturbing to see the following behaviors with old or new applications that still remain fairly prevalent in today’s workforce:
- Age discrimination
- Workplace bullying
- Focus on short-term quotas or profits over culture
- Gender pay gap
- Abusing technology to micromanage the workforce
At the core of each of these lies the uncomfortable truth – some leaders will still choose whatever means necessary to accomplish their goals no matter the cost.
Sometimes these might look like organizational goals, but have an agenda of the leader’s own that underlines the behavior, like winning at all costs, meeting quota, getting in line for a promotion, or covering up their own insecurities, just to name a few.
And some of these behaviors are organizational, created by a team of leaders for a more malignant purpose.
Aren’t we supposed to be beyond these behaviors with all the advances we’ve seen in the workplace?
Unfortunately, the answer is “we should be, but we’re not”. Granted, there will always be problems and issues as long as humans behave in ways that still get results. Once a behavior doesn’t get the desired result, that behavior will change for the most part.
But it can only change through the following steps:
- Leaders need to be more self-aware and not justify poor behavior
- Employees must speak up when issues are discovered
- Leaders must give absolute safety without any ramifications to employees raising concerns
- Leaders must fix employee concerns and not brush them aside
- Employees must hold themselves accountable to a right company culture and policies
- Leaders must hold themselves to a high standard of behavior as well as being held accountable by their people
- Employees must move or leave organizations and find ones that exhibit better workplace traits
These are only a few ways that these changes can be implemented, but they’re a good starting place for many.
Things are improving, but we must not let any individual or groups of individuals create a workplace that continues to operate under a model that isn’t congruent to the methods that some of the best and most profitable companies have proven to result of great leadership and positive culture that leads to success.
If you have a receptionist at your organization, you should give them a call just like you were a customer.
As you interact with them, ask yourself how they represent your company and brand.
A while back, I called an acquaintance at their work to check in on them. They were having some private issues not disclosed to the public, and I wanted to see how they were doing.
The woman who answered the phone was very abrupt and gruff in her tone:
“Hi, who is this?” I informed her who I was.
“What company are you from?!” As it was a personal call, I told her I wasn’t representing anyone.
“Who are you looking for?!” I told her in a calming manner.
“What is this regarding?!” I let her know it was a private matter.
“I need to know what this is regarding.” I repeated myself and in an even calmer tone.
“Sir, I need you to tell me what this is regarding!” I informed her it was a private matter and the individual I was calling would know why.
She then promptly said “Well I need to know why you’re calling, but will try to give him the message,” and promptly hung up.
Whether this person sees herself as the gatekeeper to those in the office, the way she reflected the company would have had me go elsewhere for my needs if I was a potential customer.
If your receptionist, whoever he or she is, does not exude a pleasantness that personifies their brand, they should be retrained, or most likely let go.
And that goes for your automated phone tree as well. Many times companies that claim to have superior customer service fail in this regard when the phone options don’t create a positive customer experience.
Brands can be hurt when the wrong people touch the most customers.Tweet
Back in 2011, an article in The Wall Street Journal talked about achieving a level called “work-work balance”.
The writer laid out the possibility of a proper balance in the workplace to allow for innovation, thereby achieving the harmony of “main work duties with more experimental side projects”.
However, I believe there should be a different application to the term “work-work balance”. That is:
How does an organization achieve harmony and equilibrium in the ability to have the right mix of strategy and initiatives versus the actual work needing to be done and people there are do accomplish it?Tweet
That goal is a constant daily struggle for employees as well as leaders in any company, yet it needs to be thought of and worked into strategic planning and culture.
When the work-work balance is off, companies either overwork their people which leads to job hacks and eventually disengagement, or stay stagnant and their people’s skills deteriorate through lack of stretching or utilization of their talents.
A proper equilibrium in the work-work cycle is having the right strategic plan in place through the current workforce to enable the company and everyone in it to stretch and grow. And when the initiatives get 1 or 2 steps ahead or behind, then the culture of the organization should kick into action to either lay off the speed, or augment the current workforce and workflow, or push some of the secondary plans ahead that weren’t mission critical at the time.
Companies that get too far ahead of themselves become “top heavy” with pushing ahead and will eventually soon stumble. Those that find their pace has slowed down will find it harder to maintain speed and agility, and their employees will usually be a step behind that pace as well.
Leaders should thoughtfully observe their work-work harmony both in the long-term planning and the short-term tasks that run the organization. Balance might not be constantly attained, but the ability to step it up or lay it back when needed is crucial for keeping as consistent a momentum in your goals and mission.
What are some ways you can help your organization achieve a “work-work balance”?Tweet