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Conscious Communicator Tip #42How 3 Communication Sins Impact Performance Management

The more I deliver my signature talk at conferences and client training sessions, the more I learn about The 7 Deadliest Communication Sins’ impact on the work environment.

In facilitating a recent training for a client, we discovered a powerful relationship between three of the seven deadliest communication sins.

Many organizations struggle with people effectively engaging in performance conversations. This client’s environment was similar.

During our discussion we discovered a correlation between these communication sins:

  • † Lack of Specificity
  • † Lack of Immediacy & Promptness
  • † Lack of Directness & Candor

There is a tendency for managers to struggle around performance conversations with direct reports. Reason being, is that often performance expectations at the beginning of the performance period are too general and vague, steeped in a Lack of Specificity.

This makes it very difficult for a leader to have a direct, candid conversation around performance results because there is a strong likelihood original expectations are understood differently by each party.

Therefore, the leader engages in a Lack of Immediacy and Promptness procrastinating on writing the performance review because difficult discussions with a direct report have ensued in the past where performance is debated from much different perspectives.

This then causes a Lack of Directness & Candor when it comes time for the actual performance discussion, if and when it occurs.

Additionally, due to a leader’s personal issues around self-esteem and the need for being liked, many organizational leaders are afraid of having a direct, candid conversation with specificity around performance expectations on the front end.

This leads to a Lack of Immediacy and Promptness (procrastination) and a Lack of Directness & Candor when it comes time for the performance conversation.

In organizations where this dynamic is the norm you will find a workplace with much drama and defensiveness.

Two resources can help you break through this work environment challenge:

1)     Download my FREE Report How to Transform Your Workplace from Drama & Defensiveness to Initiative & Ownership at www.RevolutionaryLeadershipCoaching.com

2)     Request a complimentary Revolutionary Leadership Strategy Session at www. www.RevolutionaryLeadershipCoaching.com/freestrategysession

‘til next time, make it a great week!

skip weisman, transforming leadership and workplace communication to deliver champion level results


The 4 Truths About Workplace Communication for High-Levels of Teamwork & Productivity

The last few weeks have been very active for me in terms of business development. It seems as though people are starting to pay more attention to the communication challenges in their workplace. Maybe they’ve just started to wake up to the reality and the frustrations. Who knows why, but I’m always happy to add value where I can.

Many of the discussions have been focused on similar issues and they got me thinking.

So, you, again are the beneficiary. If you lead a company, a department, a division or just a project team, here are 4 truths of communication for you to think about as you move forward:

  1. The most vital workplace communication issues are about people, not technology
    Don’t let people blame technology or hide behind it as an excuse for communication breakdowns because we have to communicate the old fashion way more often if we want to build a team grounded in high-levels of trust.
  2. Workplace communication issues must be addressed promptly, directly, and respectfully or they will get worse
    I can speak to this strategy from many personal experiences early in my leadership career in professional baseball, and I’m also sure you don’t have to take my word for it. You probably do not need to look too hard into your own situational experiences to know this to be true.
  3. Leadership communication drives workplace communication 
    Too many leaders continue to be a “do as I say, not as I do” leader. Too many lead the charge in organizations violating the corporate values they helped to create and expect everyone else to adhere to.
  4. Workplace communication can always get better 
    When we stop believing we can improve, we stop being a leader others are going to want to follow. Champions on the athletic field know there is always another level they need to work towards on the way to winning that championship. What about you?

Hope these 4 truths of workplace communication help make you an even better leader. If you’d like to learn more about these 4 truths, download this free, 15-minute audio report at this link or just hit the play button below:

’til next time, make it a great week!

skip weisman, transforming leadership and workplace communication to deliver champion level results

 

 


3 Reasons Employees Undermine Co-Workers, Stab Each Other in the Back and Act Passive Aggressive

As a subscriber to this blog you are probably familiar with my 2011 report on The 7 Deadliest Sins of Leadership & Workplace Communication, which has become a live workshop/seminar and webinar.

The more I deliver this workshop and webinar, and the more conversations I have with business leaders who are asking me to help them fix the negative, toxic work environments created by these 7 communication sins, the more I’m beginning to develop even greater insights into how they infiltrate a workforce and the impact they have.

Just this week I’ve had conversations with 3 prospective clients that were dealing with a workplace with teams of employees violating Communication Sin #3, A Lack of Directness & Candor. This manifests in employees undermining their co-workers, stabbing each other in the back or throwing each other under the bus (use whatever metaphor that fits), and acting in a passive-aggressive manner that erodes the trust necessary for a high-performance, positive workplace.

In order to solve any problem we need to first identify its cause, here are 3 causes for why this phenomenon occurs in work environments:

1) Low levels of self-esteem
Low self-esteem is an epidemic in today’s society. Self-esteem is hard to measure directly and can best be measured by one’s actions, such as:

  • One strong indicator of low self-esteem is an inability or unwillingness to deal with issues directly at the source and a propensity to find alternative inappropriate ways to communicate (e.g., talking behind people’s back, putting other’s down to make themselves look good, etc.). These inappropriate outlets for communication both, unintentionally and intentionally (depending on the situation), erode the trust necessary for healthy, respectful and trusting relationships.
  • Low self-esteem also manifests when people react defensively when challenged or offered constructive feedback.
  • Another indication of low self-esteem is an individual who seems to lack any semblance of self-awareness and is not willing to look at ways to grow and improve. They often have the belief that “I am who I am, take me or leave me.” This is a destructive self-defense mechanism.

2) Lack of communication skills
When human beings lack confidence in their communication skills it is difficult for them to communicate in a way that supports their ego. People lacking effective communication skills are challenged to frame the conversation properly and apply language that both supports and respects the other individual whom they need to confront while also supporting and respecting themselves. So, instead they will:

  • Avoid the direct and candid conversations necessary to build trust between them and their teammates;
  • Talk to everyone about the issue except the person they need to, so everyone knows what’s happening and it always will get back to the subject, undermining trust between the two individuals, and the others;
  • Procrastinate on confronting issues allowing them to grow, fester and create building resentments between those directly, and indirectly, impacted.

3) Enabling of the behavior

  • Because low self-esteem and a lack of leadership communication skills is also rampant among even the most sophisticated and educated business leaders, they, too, engage in the above behaviors and often fail to address these damaging communication issues within their own work environment. Thus, they perpetuate.
  • Unless and until these issues are confronted, they will persist. Business leaders that are aware of these communication issues taking place in their work environment and are either unwilling or unable to address them, are enabling the behavior, and are teaching all those in the work environment that the behavior is acceptable. Thus, it perpetuates.

If you are experiencing any of the above workplace communication challenges and would like help in addressing them in a direct and respectful manner, click this link to learn about and schedule a private, 1:1 Leadership Communication Strategy Session.

’til next time, make it a great week!

skip weisman, transforming leadership and workplace communication to deliver champion level results



 


These 2 Different Leadership Styles Cause the Same Negative, Toxic and Unproductive Workplace Cultures

While evaluating my most successful workplace transformation client projects in preparation for my newest seminar on employee engagement, I made a discovery.

I’m sure other thought leaders have already come to this place but for me it was quite a revelation and those in the workshop found it of tremendous value in evaluating their leadership styles and the work environment it has created.

What I discovered is that two diametrically opposed leadership styles, lead to very similar and very negative, toxic, non-productive workplace cultures.

Let’s take a deeper look:

Leadership Style 1: Command and Controlcommand and control leadership style leads to negative, toxic, unproductive workplace cultures

This leadership style is one in which the leader rules with an iron hand with a very structured workenvironment in which employees need to do things according to specific guidelines. Here is a list of characteristics of the command and control leader:

  • Demanding standards
  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Offers an open door with a closed mind
  • Rarely accepts feedback
  • Rarely accepts others’ ideas
  • Micro-manager, too much accountability and too little trust
  • Feedback mostly/always critical
  • Little praise & rewards
  • Gives impression (via communication style) that efforts/results “never good enough”
  • Behavior/performance standards applied inconsistently
  • Defensive when challenged
  • Mistakes not tolerated
  • Places blame vs. solution focused
  • Reacts harshly to bad news
  • Often communicates with inappropriate tone and body language

Leadership Style 2: Avoid and Let Goavoidance leadership style leads to negative, toxic, unproductive workplace cultures
(something I also call the “avoid & tolerate leadership style”)

This leadership style is one in which the leader takes a laissez-faire, hands off approach that offers an unstructured work environment in which employees need to figure things out on their own. Here is a list of characteristics of the avoid and let go leader:

  • Unclear standards
  • Unclear expectations
  • Offers an open door, listens to ideas but fails to act on them
  • Gives lip service to other’s ideas
  • People pleaser
  • Defensive when challenged
  • Often asks for other’s ideas, tries to be inclusive but little follow through and often does their own thing anyway
  • Too much trust, not enough accountability
  • Wants improvement but doesn’t implement accountability, feedback & development systems
  • Sometimes plays favorites, different rules for different people without justification by performance/position
  • Avoids/Ignores addressing behavior/performance issues
  • Behaviors/performance standards applied inconsistently
  • Let’s things go “until” exploding with inappropriate tone & body language

I’ve had the challenge of working with both types of leaders and the work environments created by each style.

The amazing realization in evaluating these projects is that both leadership styles, as different as they are create the same negative, toxic workplace cultures.

Below you will read the type of workplace culture that manifests from both the “command and control” as well as the “avoid and let go” leadership styles.

In these workplace cultures, employees:

  • Have feelings of fear, insecurity & uncertainty, permeate work environment
  • Create bureaucracy & information control systems to create “job security”
  • Are mostly just task oriented
  • Do the minimum; rarely go the “extra mile,” on their own
  • Need constant reminding, oversight to get tasks done and meet deadlines
  • Will not make decisions or try to solve problems
  • Have a “Not my job” attitude
  • See things as “us vs. them”/“win/lose”/zero sum
  • Throw their co-workers “under the bus”- look for ways to lift themselves up by putting others down
  • Are compliant with job requirements, but little creativity, innovation & contribution
  • Absenteeism / turnover high
  • BMW present (bitching, moaning and whining)
  • CYA – Cover You A!#@# attitudes

If any of those characteristics are present in your work environment it may be worth a conversation to discuss which leadership style is causing the challenge, click here to schedule your private, 1:1 Leadership Communication Strategy Session .

If you have noticed a similar experience in your work environment with one or more of the two leadership styles I outlined above, please leave a comment below and add to the discussion.

In my next post I’ll be writing about what I call “The Goldilocks” approach to leadership so that organizational leaders can create that “just right” workplace culture.

’til then, make it a great week!

skip weisman, transforming leadership and workplace communication to deliver champion level results


3 Leadership Communication Secrets That Will Increase Your Bottom Line – And Why They Work

Former presidential speech write James Humes is often quoted as saying “the art of communication is the language of leadership.”

Although some might argue there is science behind communication and they would be correct, communication, and more specifically leadership communication, is more art than science.

Leaders must communicate consciously if they want to get the most out of the people they lead. Far too many leaders, the 44% that recently reported they were unhappy with employee performance, practice unconscious communication.

For leaders desirous of raising the bar on performance in their organization here are three proven communication strategies that will transform your work environment:

1) Define and Communicate Your “Championship Game”

From the first day of training camp everyone that is part of an athletic team at any level from little league through the professional ranks knows the ultimate objective and vision for their team (organization) is to reach the Championship Game (for baseball it’s the World Series, football The Super Bowl, soccer it’s the World Cup, etc).

It is the inspiring vision to win the championship that keeps everyone focused, doing the right things for the right reasons so they can contribute to the team’s success, while also being able to reap the well-defined, and not so-well defined, individual and collective rewards and opportunities that come with their contribution.

Many managers complain about having to light a fire under their people to motivate them to follow through on anything beyond the minimum job requirements. Investing some time and energy to identify ways to communicate to motivate in a way that inspires their people and lights a fire within them, is a much better use of a managers efforts.

This approach can will make a difference in a very short amount of time (for a specific formula on how to make this happen visit www.EmployeeMotivationEquation.com).

2) Address issues promptly, directly and respectfully

Communicating in this manner eliminates three of The 7 Deadliest Sins of Leadership & Workplace Communication I wrote about in the eponymous white paper report (available free at www.HowToImproveLeadershipCommunication.com).

Too many organizational leaders take too long to address issues, respond to questions, and suggestions from their team members, peers, superiors, etc. This is procrastination. It is unprofessional, offers an air of incompetence in decision making and damages respect and trust.

The best leaders address issues promptly.

Even better leaders address issues promptly and directly to the individuals to whom they need to be addressed to. They confront issues head on at the source. Because of a lack of positive influencing communication skills, less adept leaders fall into the procrastination pattern for fear of confrontation, or practice an even more trust and respect damaging practice of addressing issues generically in team meetings that should be more directly delivered one-on-one to individual perpetrators.

They fear the confrontation often because they have experienced previous attempts escalating into conflict or negative interactions, which have caused defensiveness, hurt feelings and resentments.

Much of this can be due to the leader’s inability to address confrontational conversations in a respectful manner. This again, reverts back to a leader’s skill level in positive influencing communication skills.

Champion level leaders have the communication skills to do all three extremely well. They address issues promptly, directly and respectfully and get the results they need while, most importantly, building a team culture of mutual respect with high levels of trust leading to high levels of performance.

3) Create a Forum/Outlet for Two-Way Communication and a Feedback Loop

Communication is always among the top three issues or problems identified by employees in organizations. The challenge with this generic, vanilla statement is that there are too many aspects of communication to fix the problems.

It must be more clearly defined.

In a recent client project three different teams in one focus group identified communication as an organizational problem. Yet, each defined it differently from a completely different context.

One simple way to resolve this issue is to create a formal forum for communication that includes a two-way feedback loop.

This sounds much more complicated than it really is. It simply means that regular, structured meetings are facilitated to bring issues, problems, ideas and suggestions to the fore for company leaders to address and respond to.

There are four key steps for doing this successfully:

1) Schedule meetings at regular and consistent times

2) Invite a cross section of participants representing the various departments, divisions, etc.

3) Collect ideas, chunk them into related categories and prioritize

4) Create a system through which company leaders can respond to every item in a reasonably timely manner.

Often company leaders are leery of developing this type of communication process for fear of the meetings devolving into gripe sessions. These fears are valid and can be eliminated by doing these three things:

1) Setting clear guidelines at the outset,

2) Ensure that all ideas and suggestions are articulated in a positive, constructive manner, and

3) Following through with prompt feedback on all ideas so that those contributing feel as if their contributions were taken under consideration and were valued (it is perfectly okay to say “no” to an idea as long as it comes with a credible reason).

Organizational leaders that have chosen to consistently implement the three above suggestions have been able to generate dramatic results, such as:

• $900,000 in waste eliminated within 12 months of implementation

• 300% increase in pre-tax profits over a five-year period

• 100% increase in pre-tax profits within four months of implementation

• 65% permanent improvement in workflow processes and 22% waste reduction within 12 months.

• 800% improvement in sustained workflow processes and a 29% decrease in annual operating expenses

With results like that no business leader in Western civilization can argue that they can’t invest the time, energy and resources to learn how to implement these three simple leadership communication strategies of champion leaders outlined above.


If you’d like to learn more join me on for a FREE Teleclass on November 17th titled:

“3 Simple Secrets to Increase to Your Bottom Line: How Maximizing Motivation, Trust & Commitment in Your Workplace Makes the Difference in Today’s Challenging Economy!

Register here

Or, if you’d like more specific and direct help to improve your approach to leadership communication to transform motivation, morale and performance in your organization, feel free to schedule a private, one-on-one strategy sessionTo get your private, one-on-one private, strategy session go here

’til next time, make it a great week!

skip weisman, transforming leadership and workplace communication to deliver champion level results


Organizational Change Is Good, Pt. 1: It’s Inevitable, So Why Not Embrace It and Even Be the Catalyst for It?

To mimic Gordon Gecko from the late 80s movie Wall Street, “Change is Good!

That is a belief those of us hoping thrive in the 21st Century must embrace.

It’s crazy not to.

Change is inevitable.

Change is constant.

From the day we are born, we are changing. We’re always getting older. Each day our bodies evolve. Cells in our body are constantly growing and dying.

Every day the world changes. Some days the sun is shining, other days the clouds cover the sky and rain falls. Sometimes both of those happen multiple times in the same day.

I began thinking about this upon returning from our 2 1/2 week European vacation in early September.

While in a foreign country with a culture foreign to my own I was forced to change my lifestyle for 2 ½ weeks.

When it was all said and done the trip was a catalyst for three specific, personal changes.

The changes I made were conscious choices, and all, thus far have been for the better.

These changes were made at the age of 51.

If I can do it, so can you.

These were not big changes or anything that are life transforming, but they’ve been good.

The first was that I decided to drink a beer for the first time in more than 20-years.

I had never been a big fan of beer. Like most people, in college I drank a lot of it. After college I rarely drank any, so maybe its been close to 30 years since I had actually had a glass of beer.

But, when you are in Germany, the birthplace of beer, I think (beer experts, if it’s not the birthplace, forgive me, but it’s pretty close), its tough to spend 2 1/2 weeks in the region without indulging.

I was quite proud of myself, as I literally held out for 16 days. Our final night in Munich I decided to take the plunge. I had watched, in disbelief, my wife and one of my best friends down 2-3 litres of beer per night. So, on our final night I decided to grab my own liter of HofBrau Haus beer. Then, I had a Bavarian soft pretzel that was almost bigger than my head and finished the night with my second liter of beer in 20 years.

So, I guess I’m no longer anti-beer, and I’ve even had a few since coming home.

There are two other related changes:

  1. The first is water with “gas.”
    Throughout central Europe the natives drink water with carbonation. After having a cup of it at a McDonalds in the Frankfurt hotel after we landed in Germany and drank about two sips, I repulsed all offers for “water with gas” for the first week. Then, one day during our second week decided go give it a try, once again.  It wasn’t so bad, this time and I continued ordering it for the remainder of our trip. I have continued the practice since returning home, drinking Pellegrino sparkling water 80% of the time.
  2. The second is regard to ice cubes and chilled drinks.
    I am here to report that there is not one ice cube in all of central Europe. Europeans like to their drinks barely chilled. They drink their hard and soft drinks only refrigerator cooled and don’t worry if they get warm before finishing. Very un-American.

But, I adapted. Since returning, I have cut my usage of ice by about 80%. I’m told, by my new European friends and a holistic doctor in my networking circle, that its better for our bodies not to drink freezing cold soft drinks.

Anyway, 3 big changes in my personal life that have now become a habit after just about 3 weeks.

These changes have been good for me.

Change can be good.

It’s just a matter of being open to the possibilities. Of just being open to what might be.

When it comes to change in the workplace realize that company leaders rarely make changes just to make changes. There should have been significant forethought prior to announcing the change.

And, with technology, change is happening every 90-days.

The train is rolling down the track. Stop digging your heals in causing your shoes and socks to burn up.

Instead grab the controls and find the way to embrace the changes and make ’em work for you and your teammates.

Doing so will make it easier (and happier) for everyone.

Ask yourself this question, “how can I embrace this change, enjoy it and contribute some ideas that will allow me and my teammates to integrate these changes even faster?

That is a much different question than most people ask when faced with change in the workplace.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

’til next time, have a great weekend!

skip weisman, transforming leadership and workplace communication to deliver champion level results

 


Lack of Confidence Causes the Costly “Avoid & Tolerate” Leadership Style

It was the summer of 1995 and I was in the middle of my 10th season leading a professional baseball franchise.  When I was forced to face my shortcomings as an organizational leader.

After a very destructive altercation between key members of our organization’s leadership team, I had to address the fact that I was steeped in a leadership style built on “avoiding and tolerating”, challenging employee performance and behavior issues.

You may be familiar with the leadership style some might call “Ostrich Leadership.” This is leadership style where the leader puts his/her head in the sand, wishing and hoping problems go away or take care of themselves, or that others will address the issue.

I was the type of leader who would avoid conflict at any cost. And, the cost can be exorbitant. For me the cost was two very good employees and a wife. My first marriage came to an end two years after the incident I described above, as my wife was the instigator.

During a seminar where I was discussing my challenge as a leader with this “avoid and tolerate leadership style”, another experienced business owner admitted he too had a similar problem. In a room filled with 50 other business professionals, he shared that his avoid and tolerate leadership style had cost him about $5 million over the last 10 years of running his business.

What might it be costing you and your organization?

Even though, consciously we know, these situations rarely resolve themselves and usually only get worse; we continue to avoid addressing them. Then, we are forced to tolerate the impact on ourselves, and our organizations.

There are also costs to employee morale and motivation, as well as employee retention. It’s not just the leader that has to deal with the impact of these issues going unaddressed. Everyone on the staff feels the stress. This type of leadership behavior erodes trust in every work environment.

The cause of the avoid and tolerate leadership style is a lack of self-esteem caused by a lack of self-confidence in very specific areas of leadership, and leadership communication specifically. Usually because leaders want to avoid having difficult or challenging conversations with team members regarding performance and behavior issues.

Leadership is a “soft” skill. Yet, we promote people into leadership and management positions based mostly on their performance in the areas of their hard skills.

It’s time for business leaders to acknowledge this fact and begin assessing an individual’s “people” skills when considering moving someone into a management position. And, then, offer the proper training and development so they can confidently lead their teams in a positive and productive manner.

Otherwise, the “avoid and tolerate” leadership style will continue to cost business billions of dollars a year. There are six critical skills leaders must become competent in, in order to gain the confidence to lead their teams effectively.

  • Emotional Mastery
  • Visionary Leadership
  • Motivation Strategies
  • Leadership Communication
  • Problem-Solving, Decision-Making & Priority Setting
  • Delegation

Join me on June 2nd for a free teleclass on “The Critical Skills for Confident Leadership” – grab you seat on that call now at www.SecretsOfConfidentLeaders.com


Skip Weisman, The Leadership & Workplace Communication Expert, works with leaders and their teams to improve bottom line results through better communication, collaboration and teamwork in all types of work environments.

Skip just created a new FREE training series entitled – “The  Critical Skills for Confident Leadership” – includes a Teleclass and a series of 3 short videos on Leadership Communication – to learn more and register go to www.SecretsOfConfidentLeaders.com


Happy New Year! Make 2011 the Year “Avoid & Tolerate” Leadership Comes to an End

In the summer of 1995, as I was in my 10th year of leading a professional baseball franchise, I was forced to face my shortcomings as an organizational leader.

What I learned after a very destructive incident between key members of our organization’s leadership team is that I had developed a leadership style built on “avoiding and tolerating” situations.

Some might call it “Ostrich Leadership,” where the leader puts his/her head in the sand wishing and hoping they would go away and take care of itself.

Those situations never do, they only get worse. The perpetrators involved in these situations never solve the situations they just get better and more entrenched with them. Usually throwing gas on the fire.

In my most recent Tele-Seminar “The 6 Simple Steps to Become the LEADER of a Champion Organization” I spoke about this “avoid and tolerate” leadership style and the pain it caused me in those challenging years before I got help. (if you missed it download the mp3 audio recording of it by completing the form on the right ).

Over the final six years of my baseball career I turned around that ‘avoid and tolerate’ leadership habit, and you and your organizational leaders can, too.

Whether you are the type of leader that sets New Year’s Resolutions or not, why not commit to raising the bar on how effectively you address real issues in your organization.

As a matter of fact, why don’t you just a moment, pull out a pen and piece of paper and write down the 3 things you are avoiding and tolerating addressing in your organization as we start the new year. Think of how freeing it would be to start the New Year with a clean slate by getting those things cleared up.

It’s my belief, based on work with my best clients over the past six years, that there is no greater gift you can give yourself, your employees and your organization’s best customers.

You may want to listen to the tele-seminar on “The 6 Simple Steps to Become the LEADER of a Champion Organization” – just complete the form to the right and you’ll get access to the recording for free, that’s a great place to start…now…also…

Because January is the best time to create momentum on making the New Year all it promises, I’d like to continue to offer subscribers to this blog an opportunity for a 2011 Strategy Session.

In this Strategy Session we will discuss your organization’s situation and identify specific decisions you can immediately implement to set up 2011 to be a Championship year for you and your team.

Click this link, answer 6 simple questions (a couple allow you to just select a number from 1-10) and we’ll schedule your Strategy Session within the next 10-days.

Between this blog, a new series of Tele-Seminars and regular monthly Strategy Session opportunities, I have created an aggressive program for 2011 to help you make it your organization’s best year ever.

I look forward to a fun and exciting journey with you this year. Thank you for being on the bus!

’til next time, make it a great week!
skip weisman, helping leaders motivate employees to improve organizational performance


Champion Leadership Tip #36: Great Leaders Address Issues Promptly

Last week I had lunch with the executive director of a growing regional not-for-profit for whom I had closed a “Champion Organization” development project in March after six months. We met so that he could update me on the agency’s progress and identify issues to be addressed moving forward.

Just as he sat down I showed him the “Champion Organizations” plaque I was going to present to him and his agency and he said, “that’s great, thank you, and now I’m in the middle of an issue that is challenging that Champion Organization.”

It turns out one of the key executive team members with whom I worked during the project was having challenges leading his team members.

For a number of reasons, all personal issues, he stopped following the systems, processes and agreements we had put in place to ensure the positive, successful growth of the agency and its personnel.great leaders address issues directly and do not procrastinate.

Over lunch we spent some time discussing a strategy to immediately address the issue. The individual will be returing from vacation this week and a 1:1 conversation is going to take place between the executive director and this senior position on his staff.

After the conversation the executive director will make a decision whether this individual will continue with the agency. Due to issues among the operation of the agency prior to our “Champion Organizations” project the transgressions must be dealt with in a serious manner so that a message can be sent that this effort is not just a passing fad.

Individuals who are direct reports of this senior leader have worked under others in that role in which issues were allowed to linger, which caused significant morale, motivation problems among the staff and negatively impacting customer service within the community.

I am confident my client, the executive director, will effectively address the issue and make the right decision moving forward. It will not be easy, either way, but a decision and a strategy is what is necessary to bring the situation back to equilibrium.

How many times are significant issues brought to an organization’s leader with hard evidence from numerous sources where the situation is allowed to fester and continue, negatively impacting employee morale, employee motivation and productivity throughout the organization, department, or division?

Great leaders address issues in a timely manner with respect and empathy after accumulating hard, factual evidence from reliable sources, and then make decisions accordingly.

It is a habit that must be developed in anyone desiring to lead teams and organizations. It is what being a leader is all about. It was a lesson I learned the hard way (losing my first marriage over a simillar situation) but that’s a story for another day.

Have a great week!

skip weisman, helping leaders motivate employees to improve organizational performance


Another Individual Mistake Sabotages “Teamwork” in U.S.-England Tie at World Cup

Teamwork never breaks down.

Teamwork never fails.

This again was proved in Saturday’s U.S. vs. England World Cup tournament opener.

Despite outstanding teamwork that allowed the stronger team from England to control the ball for 57 percent of the game, they left their opening game with a disappointing 1-1 tie.

The reason? A misplay by England goalkeeper Robert Green on a shot by Clint Dempsey of the U.S. allowed the tying goal late in the first half.

It’s plays like this that continue to reinforce my belief that breakdowns in what many consider “teamwork” rarely are the cause of achieving desired organizational performance results.

Teamwork is a buzzword in corporate america that continues to ask employees to strive for. They strive for ways to breakdown silohs that build up due to competition over resources between divisions and departments.

Yet, these requests, proclamations and teambuilding initiatives continually fail. They fail because the focus is mis-directed.

Teamwork fails in organizations and in athletics not because people do not understand the importance of working together so that “Together Everyone Achieves More.”

Teamwork fails for three reasons:

  1. The rewards and benefits of giving of oneself for the betterment of the group/team are not strongly enough aligned for the individual to do so;
  2. The rewards and benefits of giving of oneself for the betterment of the group/team actually create greater competition for resources between those who are supposed to be working together to share those resources.
  3. One individual on o the team “drops the ball” (or fails to perform the necessary task or assignment) as England Goalkeeper Robert Green did in attempting to protect his goal against the U.S. in their opening World Cup match yesterday;

On athletic teams, when team members fail to perform to expectations and make mistakes that cost their teammates there is usually tremendous despair on the part of the teammate who didn’t perform.

In today’s Wall St. Journal, Robert Green was quoted “It was obviously a horrible mistake, a terrible mistake,” said Mr. Green, bobbing his head incredulously after the game. He blamed neither the controversial new ball, the bounciest ever, nor the slickness of the pitch, and said his teammates left him alone after the mishap. “People don’t say anything. You know you made a mistake. You’ve got to deal with it.”

Yet, in many business situations, few individuals who fail to support their team members in situations when teamwork is required feel as though they’ve let anyone down.

This is due to one of three reasons:

  1. They are performing only in their own self-interests and don’t care about contributing to successful team/group effort
  2. They truly have a blind spot and do not realize the negative impact of their parochialism, or
  3. Others in the environment. like the team leaders, are enabling the negative behavior and avoid issue and tolerate the outcomes of this behavior

If your organization has team members who are not contributing to the ‘team’ effort there are reasons that need to be addressed before morale and motivation decay and decline. Leaders of high-performing athletic organizations do not tolerate this behavior and you shouldn’t, either.

’til next time, make it a great week!

skip weisman, helping leaders motivate employees to improve organizational performance


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