It’s easy to be a leader when things are going right. In fact, it can be downright awesome—especially if your team members are fully engaged, communicating well with each other, and taking responsibility and accountability for their respective roles.
But when your team is faced with serious conflict, wherever that comes from, you need effective leadership skills to hold them all together as a unit. So what leadership skills are required when your team is running into tough times? Here are seven you can call upon.
Grit: Grit is defined as courage, resolve, and strength of character, but the final blend of those characteristics yield a quality that is perhaps best summarized by one word: toughness. Good leaders hold the team together in tough times by staying committed to the vision, purpose and values of the team and the organization.
Grit can also be looked at as ‘tough love with discipline.’ We don’t often use the word ‘love’ in the workplace, but when we strip everything away strong leaders care about their team and deal with each member with compassion and concern. That is an expression of love. leaders want to hold their team relationships intact, so they work hard at a) trying to understand what is going on within their team, and b) fix what appears to be broken or weakened and a way to do this is with tough love coupled with personal discipline.
Positive Optimism: Grit is mostly present-filled while optimism is future oriented. An optimistic leader who has a positive view of the outcome is creating a mental construct for the team to pull through, because they foster the belief that something great is on the other side of the chaos.
Leaders who are positively and optimistically looking ahead and guiding their teams to a new or better outcome do so with hope. Think of Martin Luther King who continued to beat the drum of hope in his famous Dream speech. He painted a picture of a new awakening in America and leading people to a newfound freedom based on the human dignity of each individual.
Strong leaders are optimistic, hopeful and act with positivity.
Realistic Pragmatism: While leaders need to be gritty and optimistic, they also need to be practical. This means that leaders ought to keep hope and optimism tethered to the ground. How do they do this? Simply by using their head – using their intelligence coupled with sound judgement and their experience to navigate their way through the given circumstance.
This is not a time to fall prey to Pollyannaism or put on rose colored glasses. To look at the future with rosy Pollyannaism while dealing with the present can lead to unnecessary and costly mistakes.
Now we know that leaders can correct mistakes, but not being real and not using a pragmatic approach can do more harm to a team’s psyche by unleashing a cynicism, distrustfulness, and incredulity. These psychological factors are much more difficult to eradicate than fixing material and quantifiable mistakes.
Selfless Actions: Selflessness is all about caring more about other peoples needs and interests over one’s own. Good leaders don’t try to save their own skin first, they serve others first. This doesn’t mean they don’t look after their own interests. They do so with their team members interest in mind first.
Good leaders keep their ego in check, act with humility, yet with a confident attitude. Robin Sharma once said, “Leave your ego at the door every morning, and just do some truly great work. Few things will make you feel better than a job brilliantly done.” And for leaders dealing with difficult issues within their team they need to work brilliantly without an overbearing ego.
Encouragement: There are two approaches to developing encouragement. A good leader encourages both self and the team.
Sometimes a leader needs to encourage his own psyche to be up for the challenge of developing team effort. A Leader can and does have feelings of anger, frustration, and disappointment when things are not going right. This is when leaders encourage themselves with positive affirmations or seek help from a mentor or coach.
Then there is the time when leaders need to help the team find the drive to make it through the rough spots. In this situation the leader focuses on the team’s strong points in order to uplift motivation and performance levels. Here the leader’s work is all about bringing the best out of their team members. In essence the leader is showing that each member is valued and cared for. Sometimes encouragement can be as simple as wandering around the group, patting some backs, and giving smiles or saying friendly words. Here the word, ‘kindness’ comes to mind. Encouragement is often expressed through simple acts of kindness and good leaders find ways to express kindness often as they know it is a motivational force.
Preparedness: A good leader never finds their team unexpectedly thrust into bad times without some prior preparation. A good leader has a plan to cover all the possibilities and knows what to do if things don’t go exactly the way they were hoping.
Now preparation doesn’t automatically guarantee success, but the lack of preparedness can certainly increase the likelihood of mistakes or downright team process failure. The trick that leader’s face is to prepare for potential team breakdown while still staying relevant with the present. Dealing with daily realities often make it difficult to focus on what might go wrong, but spending some time strategizing about the possibilities make the seemingly impossible, probable.
Being prepared also means that the leader needs to keep current with leadership techniques. This includes reading about leadership, taking leadership courses and honing leadership skills. The quickest way to get stuck in the past is not to continue to learn and refresh leadership skills. When leaders take continuous learning as one of their habits gain they valuable insights into their own behaviour and the way it affects others as well as how to encourage growth within their team.
Acute Listening: During rough spots team leaders need to acutely listen to their team members. The leader should have two listening antennas up. One to listen to what people are actually saying and the other to listen to what they are not saying. And it is the latter where the leader must pay particular attention.
Often behind what is not being said lurks elements of fear. Fear about the changes that are taking place, job security or dealing with ambiguity and uncertainty about their role or responsibilities.
A danger point for the leader is to make assumptions about what is not being said without checking for understanding through paraphrasing and feedback techniques. Another danger for them is to lead with too much talking. A leader who always talks isn’t listening and when the leader is not listening vital information is missed. As Peter Drucker said, “Listening (the first competence of leadership) is not a skill, it is a discipline. All you have to do is keep your mouth shut.”
As always, stay safe, be well, and become your best self.
Thanks for reading,
PS. Learn to Become A Leader – Find the leader within you.
When it comes to internet marketing there is good news and bad news. The bad news is that there are more than 3 mistakes that internet marketers make. The good news is that you will learn how to avoid three of them here.
First things first. It would be in your best interest to learn all you can about making money on line. The more you know about the topic the better you will succeed. Next you will need to test out what you know and learn. Keep the winning strategies and discard those that don’t work for you.
You’ll need to find out what works for you and what doesn’t. Unfortunately, there isn’t a ‘one size fits all.’ Now here are the three common strategies that leading internet marketers employ.
Watch The Competition.
A key to internet marketing success is keeping an eye on your competition. It doesn’t matter which niche you are in whether it is in the make money on line niche, health niche, or the pet niche, to name a few. You should always check out what your competitors are up to. That means checking out their websites, Facebook page, or follow them on YouTube. And, if they have an email list, subscribe to it and what they are up to.
If they promote through a niche site, review their blog posts, watch the kind of products they recommend, read their newsletters. Leave nothing to chance. Search out everything they have. That is where there is a gold mine of information. Use it to your advantage.
As an internet marketer you will always have competition within your niche. If you don’t then there may not be any money to had in it. Tread carefully into that market and question whether you should be in the niche at all.
Competition keeps us awake to opportunities. Keep a close eye on your competitors and outsmart them. Better yet, be original and passionate about your own niche. Describe your own vision and goals for success.
Very Few Get-Rich-Quick
This reminds me of a story I use to tell those who are starting a bricks and mortar business. There are times when the stars seemed to be aligned for the strange and off-the-wall product. Who would have thought that a “Pet Rock” would have made millions for someone or walking a leash without a dog would bring people to your store. These things are flashes in the marketing world and often die out quickly.
So too it appears that every day thousands of beginners come online hoping to make easy profits. They are drawn to the internet marketing lifestyle where they are free from a boss and want to work their own hours. The freedom they imagine is so sweet that they can almost taste it. Remember though the bees that make honey also sting.
Often beginners are taken up with the flashy cars, big mansions, and bling that sales pages offer – just buy this product or this latest way to make a quick buck and you will be like me, the sales page tells you without telling you.. What often these people don’t tell you is that what they have from a material perspective has taken them years to develop. If you just follow their advice you can be just like them – watch that catch phrase because in most instances their advice doesn’t work.
Here is the harsh reality, making money online takes tremendous effort, know-how and time. In today’s on-line-business things change almost in a blink of an eye. You must always be ready to adjust, shift course. In other words there are lots of detours along the way and you better be prepared for them.
Sipping cocktails on the sun kissed beaches of the Caribbean becomes a reality only when you’ve given massive effort into your business. It takes time to build a passive online business… and even then, you still have to be open for the unexpected change.
Just think of the effort a passenger airplane takes to get off the ground, and then cruses for a while and if the pilot isn’t alert to what the dashboard is telling him, it could come crashing down. That’s like your business it takes extensive energy to get it up and running, and then you coast for a bit but if you don’t watch your internet business dashboard it could quickly come crashing down
The bottom line here is don’t expect fast profits with affiliate marketing, you’ll be sorely disappointed. Expect to work at it for 3 to 6 months or longer before you see money coming in regularly. In fact it may take a year or two before you earn enough to leave your day job and tell your boss “I’m out of here.”
The real question now for you is, “Do you have what it takes to wait that long?”
Internet Marketer Leaders Have a Strategy
Successful internet marketers have a vision, set goals, and develop action plans to execute. This is all about planning where you want to go and how to get there. It is a crucial element for affiliate marketers. You need to know what products you’ll promote, how you will generate traffic, who your target audience is, how you build relationships with them and how get them ready to buy.
Contrary to public opinion sales people don’t sell anything. People buy, and the buy for their reasons and not yours. Your job is to find out what their need or problem is and then find a solution. And the best way to do this is to ensure you have a solid plan and strategies to engage them.
Steven Keague once said, “Proper planning and preparation prevents poor performance.”
So, create a plan. Stick to it. Adapt where necessary and promote well. Don’t go in blind. Too much is at stake. You could potentially lose your shirt.
This doesn’t mean you don’t take action. You do so by doing your homework and being prepared for the unexpected that will eventually come your way.
And, If you are just starting out don’t be afraid to reach out to those who are successful. They are willing to help. Yes, you may have to invest, but your investment might pale against what you could potentially lose in the long run.
One of my mentors is Trevor Carr. Trevor is someone who learned from his mistakes and now successfully coaches others. Trevor is a guy you can trust. He will show you how he succeeded as an internet marketer and take you by the hand, so to speak, and help you succeed just as he has helped hundreds of others succeed.
Use these three strategies and you will find your affiliate marketing journey will be smoother and much more rewarding.
Thanks for Reading,
It’s a common knowledge that mobile applications can make lives easier and convenient for people from all walks of life. Business people and executives are also not the exceptions to it. From scheduling an important business meeting to purchasing an order, mobile applications can save a significant amount of time by cutting down the time spent on small tasks in regular life. Thus, it enhances the general productivity.
However, not all apps have the same potential and this is why, it is really important to research which ones provide the best result. So, this article tells you about top productivity-enhancing apps available in the market for both Android and IOS platforms
Communication is the key to success of any organization. Slack’s comprehensive and easy to use platform enables organizations to establish a healthy infrastructure of seamless communication. Slack offers multiple communication channels to the users. You can either organize conversations in a message-forum style format, video messaging or through file sharing and notifications.
It allows your employees to stay connected with each other all time by avoiding the time-consuming email drafting process. The best part of using Slack is it is highly user-friendly.
With Slack you can:
CamCard could be an excellent resource for the professionals who often lose business a card from a contact. It’s business-card app that allows you to promptly capture the contact information. This app takes capture image of your contact information, read the contact and save it to your smartphone so that you can access the information anytime you want.
It also enables a business to exchange electronic business cards, add notes, important reminders, fetch crucial information from the cloud and perform searches when necessary.
So, instead of wasting your precious time hunting through wallet, start utilizing this app to adapt paper-less approach and enjoy your increased efficiency.
Camcard can read business cards in 17 languages and is used by over 100 million users. It also as a Premium yearly subscription.
Its features include:
Box is a total cloud-based file sharing platform which has taken the benefits of all the similar services but eliminated their drawbacks. The employees of your organization can store and share files with each other instantly. It comes with the instant file-transfer capability.
Box also allows its users to edit and comment on the files, making collaboration on project a cake-walk. The developers of this app has put a serious effort on the security feature of this app as encryption-key management features ensures an utmost data security.
More than 25 million users and 225,000 companies use Box.
With Box, you can easily
Trello comes directly from the house of Atlassian. Trello is a comprehensive, powerful and Kanban-style designed tool for managing any level of project tracking. The best part of using this tool is that it is easy to use so that each of your team member can use it without experiencing any sort of difficulties. It comes with hundreds of pre-built templates to make your team’s work convenient.
It is a visual tool for organizing your work and life.
Trello has more than 35 million registered users who organize their projects at work, at home or anywhere in between.
With Trello you can:
This is one of my favorite apps because it works will all my calendars including shared calendars, iCloud, Google Calendar, Yahoo Calendar, Microsoft Outlook, iCal, Cal Dave and subscription calendars are all supported. I can visualize my busy schedule using colors and emojis, while having a clear and detailed overview based on day, week, month or year.
WeekCal has over 4 million users.
Some of its many features include:
Let me know what you think about these 5 productivity apps.
Thank you for reading,
Richard P. Fontanie
Okay Folks, I’m going to go on a bit of a rant here. It’s about ethics, legality and respect. It has to do with my novice experiences in the world of internet marketing. I’m finding a lot of examples where product creators tell me that what they have developed is legal and ethical. Sometimes it’s from promoters parroting the creators.
First though I want to state that there are many ethical internet marketers. They do provide good value for money and promote their products with integrity and honesty. That being said there are those who have questionable ethics, stretch the legal limits and consequently lose my respect. Here are a few examples:
Not too long ago I purchased a product that from my point of view was unethical and a scam. In essence the product was an e-mail gathering process whereby the creator knew full well that anyone who clicked the button on his squeeze page would not get what the promotion said he would receive. He knowingly sent unsuspecting people to a place where they received nothing for their effort. However, he gained with his effort. He got email addresses for his list. Looking at it objectively it was legal (or maybe bordering legality), but again from my vantage point unethical and a scam.
Another example is when a product developer devises a way to get commissions through the so-called underground. You get emails and commissions by under cutting established rules, for example accessing emails on YouTube without the owner's permission. I am told this is legal; but is it ethical? Whenever I see the word “underground” on the sales page now, red flags go up.
You see, I think ethical standards suggest getting permission before underhandly building a business on the back of someone else’s hard efforts. This is bit tricky though because new products are most often fashioned after someone else’s idea. For example, shoes are shoes, but factory x constructs shoes better and have greater value than its competitors. That is factory x’s competitive advantage. And that is legal, ethical and allowed in today’s marketplace.
In the internet marketing world we often see something different. The difference relates to not adding value but using someone else’s product, service, or copy without adding value – just piggy backing on it for one’s own gain. However, you can do this if developers give you a license to take their stuff which allows you to put it out there for public consumption. Even then it’s still best practice to reference where the work came from, unless otherwise indicated.
I’m not talking about PLR or to use Trevor Carr’s concept of “Pimping”. With PLR the creator has given permission to use or change the product. Trevor’s concept is about using the idea then adding to the concept to make the PLR your own – to change and add value. Another example is when writers let you use their copy for your blog with their permission. All perfectly legal, ethical and respectful. But, even in the latter case you should always change and make it your own.
By the way, I highly recommend Trevor Carr IM. He is strong on ethics, respectfulness, and gives you the straight goods. His program “Breakthrough” Training Program is jammed packed with training, resources, coaching and weekly mentoring to help novices become successful internet marketers.
Then there are promoters who essentially steal another promoter’s review copy. They add a few words to make it look like their own, but in reality, it is almost verbatim from another source. They do this I think out of speed in order to meet a deadline. I recognize that there is not much one can say about the workings of a product that is much different from another reviewer’s comments. The workings of the product is what makes the product and there is basically one way to describe it. But I think there could be a bit more creativity and personal touch to the review. In other words make the review your own. Add some value to your review. Just adding your own bonuses doesn’t necessarily cut it. Ask yourself: Is copying someone else’s review ethical?
Finally I have experienced situations where vendors have a way to “Get Support” attached to their product. This is for purchasers who have difficulty implementing their product. The problem occurs when, after several attempts, their “Support Team” doesn’t respond to the query. An oversite? Too busy to respond? Don’t care? A problem with their Support Team? Unethical? Or, what? You decide.
To wrap up, be careful out there and be a leader in raising the bar in ethical, legal and respectful internet marketing with what and how you produce, promote and review products and services.
Enough ranting for now.
Take Care. Be Safe. Be Well.
Thank you for reading,
Leadership is often defined from a pyramidal perspective where power is driven downward. It is often exhibited by a “I know best” attitude and an ego centric stance. In these circumstances power is gathered and centralized and leaders exhibit authoritarian and dictatorial stances. They use fear tactics while seeking fame and fortune at the expense of others. Such leadership is often based on our lower nature of greed, egotism and self-aggrandizement.
From a historical perspective when we look at leaders who follow this path what has been the result? Wars, empires of wealth, isolationism, divisiveness, domination over the many by the few, highly bureaucratized institutions, ghettoes, and on a personal level, abusiveness, bulling, selfishness, and moral and ethical decay.
Not all leaders who are at the top of the pyramid act in this way. However, these leaders must also be continually vigilant else they may find that their power slowly corrupts both themselves and others.
What would happen if we turned the pyramid into a circle where power is shared, egotism is curtailed, cooperation and collaboration is promoted, diversity is viewed as strength and respected, and competition operates from a co-opetition frame where everyone wins. Some people would say such a model is too Idealistic and liberal and on a macro level engenders egalitarianism, socialism and even communism.
Leaders of a dictatorial nature would rile against such an approach and use fear tactics and their usurped power to block it. They would claim it wont work and say look what we have built using the pyramid model – highly successful nations, institutions, scientific and technological breakthroughs. Ah yes, maybe so, but for whom and at what cost? Perhaps for the 1% who are at the top, where the rich become richer and the poor become poorer.
Let’s pull this apart a bit further. I suggest that pyramidal approaches are primarily head approaches, whereas circle approaches are primarily heart approaches. If we see them only in this way, however, as one or the other – we don’t leave room for a third way: the combination of heart and head. Tommy Spaulding, in his book The Heart Led Leader, pointed out that there is 18 inches from the head to the heart and so the route to use both is short. He also pointed out that those who use a balance of head and heart achieve more within their organizations than those who don’t.
The heart is where we often place emotions, while the head is confined to rationality. We feel with the heart and think with the head.
In selling we know that ‘emotions or feelings’ sell. Marketing and salespeople appeal to the heart and then rationalize their products by isolating their benefits. People often buy with their heart reflecting an instinctual or impulsive buyer. They buy ‘want’ rather than ‘need’. It’s the head that moderates and controls the ‘want’ and pushes us to purchase based on ‘need’ rather than ‘want’.
People respond when they are approached empathetically, listened to, and dealt with patiently. Yet, many leaders feel that if they lead with their heart, people will take advantage of them - a sure sign that they are losing control.
Control is the headwaters for unbridled power. An over controlling leader stifles creativity, initiative and ingenuity. The over controlling leader doesn’t allow individuals to grow, make mistakes and learn from them. When a leader understands that his/her power comes from those whom he/she serves then he is ready to share power and in the sharing the circle burns brighter and true allegiance develops for the leader and for each other. Together a strong bond of collective power emerges. And, as that collectivity binds, the leader, if he is a true leader, recognizes that he hasn’t the power but that he has nurtured a power of the whole and humbly accepts that.
Hang on to a single flaming candle and we have one candle power that will light up a small space within a room; share the flame with others and we can light up the whole room. If leaders want to grow their influence, they need to share their power. I suggest they can do this more effectively in structures that are circular in nature. What do you think?
Thank you for reading.
Leadership development encourages leaders to become inspired and motivated to continue their very best. This motivation helps them to attain goals they made for themselves as well as the company.
Unfortunately, many company leaders don’t fully appreciate or understand this. Why? Perhaps because they have problems with other company leaders, or perhaps they think that leaders are just born, and so developing leadership programs is a waste of time and money. I would like to give those that think this way a number of benefits for developing a leadership program. A leadership development program will:
In the end a leadership development program points to a culture of success – where everyone wins.
An important factor to remember when developing a leadership program is that it is just not for those in leadership positions – but should be designed to also engage those who are not in a formal leadership position. Out of this pool will come the organization’s future leaders.
What are the tips to effectively train your employees and leaders to work in conjunction with each other? People in the leadership development field agree leaders need to be effective and can be that way with self-motivation. While there are numerous studies about the benefits of self-motivation, very few leaders actually follow the advice.
If you’re creating a leadership development program for your employees, here are six tips to ensure the training is effective for all involved.
Inform People To Think Ahead – If they can do this, they have the foundation laid to become a great leader. It’s easy for them to take on bigger, harder problems or contend with challenges that arise. By thinking ahead of time, they make careful plans to ensure mistakes are mitigated.
Inspire Leaders To Learn About Themselves – This allows them to know what their strengths and weaknesses are, and come up with ways to move past, manage and address them. They can even find ways to better their strengths.
Inspire Leaders To Share Experiences With Others – Leaders who are directly involved with employees and share their experiences tend to be more effective in boosting company morale and keeping employees with the company.
Encourage Them To Pursue Additional Learning – The effective leaders know that constant learning is necessary. They understand that new things hit the market every day and that they need new skills to stay relevant and ensure the company meets its goals. In leadership development training, participants should be inspired to continue their learning, which could open up another world of opportunities they never believed was possible.
Inspire Them To Think Positive – Leaders are often faced with negative feelings and thoughts. In order for them to think positive, they need to face the negative emotions and admit that they too make mistakes that aren’t always in the best interest of employees and the company.
Well-developed leaders inspire others to become leaders; and, strong leaders are self-motivated learners who model positive behaviors and ethical values providing shining examples for others to follow.
Thank you for reading,
Richard P. Fontanie
If you were to build a house, you would begin with a blueprint. This blueprint proves useful because it contains more than directions on how to build a house. It also describes the finished house.
So, what does this have to do with leadership?
Recently a colleague of mine asked an audience of leaders to tell him the characteristics of an ideal leader.
Their answers were (in the order collected):
A good listener, enthusiasm, passion, shows appreciation, a visionary, role model, trusting, integrity, organized, knowledgeable, credibility, persuasive, charisma, team building, clarity of purpose, problem solver, attitude of service, leads by example, patience, willing to act without complete knowledge, understands followers, consistent, empowers other people, and adapts to change.
I'll add that this is essentially the same list that I received from other audiences when I asked this question. From this comes some useful insight.
Actually, applying these characteristics requires more strength than not.
And that's interesting because many popular representations of leadership emphasize at least one of these "hard" characteristics. In fact, these characteristics are the refuge of those who lack the strength (or the skills) to apply the human side of leadership.
Would they list characteristics from the "soft" list or from the "hard" list? Could you become more effective by improving upon any of the "soft" characteristics? And how about the other leaders in your organization? Do they truly maximize human potential?
People want leaders who treat them with genuine compassion, courtesy, and respect. They want leaders who help them become more successful. They want leaders who inspire them with a vision for a better world and show them how to go there.
See also my articles on A Manager's "Soft Stuff" Is Their "Hard Stuff." and under the tab Leadership Qualities on the side bar
Thank you for reading,
Richard P. Fontanie
(From a soon to be released e-book – How To Become An Influential Leader)
A note before reading. Shadows can reflect both positive and negative aspects of leadership. Shadows used in this article reflect the darker or negative side found in LeaderManager behaviour.
In the article Workplace Culture I explored how the Shadow in the workplace affects workers and in Wellbeing under Spiritual Discoveries I linked the concept with our inner selves. This article explores the role of the leader or leadership team in removing the shadow.
LeaderManagers need courage to bring the shadow out into the open and give people reason to hope, but that hope needs to become reality for the shadow to be lifted. When LeaderManagers bring the shadow to light they cut through the stereotypes, biases, myths and tensions found within a given community or society. In the process they promote change, and that change often has repercussions.
From a socio-political perspective we see examples of the difficulty in speaking the ‘truth’ and the upheaval it generates. Take for example, the reactions Martin Luther King experienced in bringing the shadow of racism to the fore, or Mahatma Gandhi in freeing India from British rule, or Nelson Mandela in loosing the chains of apartheid in South Africa, or Agnes Macphail, the first woman elected to the Canadian Parliament, or Rosa Parks, who moved from the back of the bus to the front of the bus, or currently Pope Francis who has embarked on a renewal within the Vatican. Consider also that these men and women of courage achieved or are achieving societal or institutional change through peaceful means.
However, most LeaderManagers are not societal change agents – they are the necessary force that guide change within the workplace or within local community organizations and institutions. They too need courage to speak the truth.
What do these people do to lighten the darkness?
Champion a new or renewed vision and engage workers and communities in the process. Often workers are kept in the dark as to where the organization is going and are just expected to do and not question. It’s like the manager of one organization I worked for who said, “It is not for us to question why. It’s for us to do and die.” A harsh statement if there ever was one. Needless to say workers in that organization were unhappy, disengaged and looked for a way out of the organization. A clearly stated vision engages workers around a sense of purpose with which they can align their own sense of purpose. When one’s sense of purpose is aligned with the organization, commitment, engagement and loyalty follow.
Redesign structures which encourage collaboration and cooperation. Highly bureaucratic structures reflect stultified silos which are not conducive to people working effectively across boundaries. This came to my attention once again when I heard, “l don’t care what you say, I report to another VP.” Structures that encourage collaboration and cooperation are flat where employees understand their boundaries and where the boundaries don’t bind them in effectively working with others. Employees of flat organizations don’t hide within the silos they know that the vision of the organization can only be achieved by people working together for the benefit of the whole.
Make processes fluid and open. In line with collapsed silos these LeaderManagers work at developing more open and fluid processes. Processes can either cause “red tape,” or encourage “green tape.” Rigid organizations usually have too much “red tape” which inhibit workers from effectively doing their job. “Red tape” occurs when the leadership team reacts to one-off or exceptional situations with new rules and regulations which in effect slows down the whole of the organization. It’s like one grain of sand in the inner workings of a time piece. The small grain slows the whole mechanism and on occasion even causes it to stop. The time piece works well when nothing gets in the way of the wheels of motion. So too organizations will work well and move forward when their processes are fluid allowing people to get on with their work.
Open doors to a set of positive values. Such values could include compassion, joy and honesty. A compassionate workplace gives new meaning to work; a joyful workplace makes it a fun place to work; and an honest workplace opens the door for greater justice, trust and cooperation.
Organizations have values whether they are stated or not. People who are sensitive to the vibes of an organization can feel its values. Now add to the mix the behaviour workers exhibit. They will reflect what the organization believes to be of value. The darker shadow always reflects negative values, the light always reflects positive values. Positive values are those that move an organization forward. These are the values that LeaderManagers must champion as they help organizations move out of the shadow.
Find solutions to problems, not bigger problems. Problems always have a cause and an effect. Strong LeaderManagers go to the cause of the problem and find ways to solve it. In the process they don’t create bigger problems than the one they are attempting to solve. A concrete example of this occurred in a correctional centre where a problem occurred on the food serving line. About a month prior to the occurrence a certain food type was served that caused severe diarrhea among the inmates. They were promised that that food type would not be served again by the Director of Custody. Unfortunately he didn’t tell the cooks his promise. You guessed it. A month later the food type was on the menu. The inmates went on a sit-down strike. The custodial staff wanted to go into the cell block with clubs and shields, but the LeaderManager found a peaceful and more lasting solution. He sat down with the leaders of the inmate community and sorted out a solution that included bringing them into the kitchen and showing them what was available. The solution, extra baloney sandwiches. The problem was solved without causing a bigger problem. LeaderManagers find solutions without creating bigger shadows.
Thank you for reading,
Richard P. Fontanie
We normally view time and change in a linear fashion sequentially described as past, present and future. This article discusses change, not as a sequential series of events in time but as an unending spiral of flow that is always evolving in the present. It suggests that when leaders and managers view change in this way, they may be able to more readily deal with the pushes and pulls that it produces.
The spiral of change in the ever present now is the evolutionary process of growth and development. It is rejuvenating, affirming, denying, reconciling and birthing new actuality. It isn’t static, but ever changing, evolving, transforming and taking place in the now – in the present state – in an unfolding now.
Within the spiral, there is no past or future state. The future state only exists as a vision or a picture in the mind of someone who tries to paint possibilities or opportunities in an evolving present state. There is no past state, only a continuing present state. When we talk about the past, we talk about a former present state unfolding. We describe it in the present as memory. Everything exists in the present – an affirmed presence, a transformative present and a transformed present. There is only ‘nowing’ the unfolding memories, possibilities and opportunities.
The Affirmed Present State. In the affirmed present state a leader or group of individuals recognize that something is not right, and that something needs to change. They see possibilities and try to articulate a vision of what might or can be. The future is hidden in the present state, as is the past. They plant a seed of possibilities and rally a core of people around them to achieve those possibilities similar to a gardener who plants a seed and sees a flower or a person who looks at a caterpillar and sees the possibility of a butterfly.
The Transformative Present State. During the transformative present state leaders and leadership teams champion the possibilities – they incubate and forge the dynamic forces to make new things happen. The transformative state occurs in the ever-present state – it occurs now. Deniers want to hang on to their memories of the past. These I call ‘hangers of memories’. Champions of change and hangers of memories cause unsettling forces which result in the disruption of the transformative present state. In the unfolding present, champions of change nurture the seed of possibilities while hangers of memories cling to the status quo.
The New Transformed Present State. In the new transformed present state a new entity or dynamic emerges. To keep to the analogy the plant emerges out of the ground and blooms; the caterpillar becomes the colorful butterfly; and both are realized and affirmed in the continuing present state. The birthing process becomes actualized and what was deemed as a future vision is recognized as a new but continued affirmed present state, that is until a new leader or group see new opportunities and possibilities of a different vision, and then the unfolding of the spiral of change begins anew, but always in the present.
The present affirmed state, the present remembering state and new transformed present state don’t follow a logical sequence as one step leading to another. It is like a spiral where the ‘now’ of the present merges with the now of the memories and the now of the possibilities; where the spiral is slippery and people fall forward and slip back, take detours and come back to the incline of the spiral, get stuck in memories, get fired up in the excitement of what could be; and, where passion burns at both ends of the push and pull, eventually evolving into a new dynamic only to become affirmed, denied and renewed again, yet always presently moving forward with possibilities and bringing memories in its dynamic present unfolding flow.
The spiral of change is a philosophical departure from how we normally understand the dynamics of change. It may help us deal with those who wish to hang on to the memories and those who want to move to a new reality too quickly. Since change always happens in the present - in the now – we can help people clarify and deal with their memories, not as something in the past, but as pictures in their mind occurring in the present. So rather than shutting down people who want to hang on to the past as if it was a period of time, we expose their memories as something real for them in the present; help them let go of those elements of the memory that are not helpful; and, let them vision the possibilities of a new memory. We can also help those who pressure to move too quickly to understand the disruption it causes for those who are struggling with their memories and the impact that moving too quickly has on the transformative present state.
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Thank you for reading,
Richard P. Fontanie MSW
Marcel Schwantes in an article for Priority's Learning Link focuses on one of Steve Job's strategies that separates leaders who achieve success from those who still don't get it. You can read the full article here