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Stuck Plumbing?

Stuck Plumbing?

Dear Dr. Sylvia, I am a newly named director in a major tech company. We have been around for many years and have so many systems in place. However, what cannot be programmed (wish it could be!) are the human beings who surround me. Here is my dilemma: my boss is a mixture of a micro-manager and a hands off do-it-yourself type. The combination is crazy making. She is, in your pattern terms, a persecutor always looking over my shoulder to see what is not being done right, and an avoider who hates conflict. Now I have studied your patterns and I am a bona-fide avoider, especially of speaking up to power. And my boss is very powerful. They even say she could be the next CEO. I am working at transforming my avoider pattern and becoming an initiator and it works with many. However, with her I tread lightly. Example: If I ask her for help when I have been at a meeting and I need to report back and I am not sure what to do she always says “I was not there so I can’t help you.” And with that she waves her hand and dismisses me. I do not think she has my back and I am fuming inside. It makes me nervous to say something to her and I feel all my upset at her and at myself, backing up inside. Suggestions? Signed, Need to flow freely Dear Flow, The combination of looking over your shoulder and ignoring your needs can be crazy making. I certainly understand. However, the ball is in your court...
What Scores Over Hard Work, Knowledge and Attitude in Meetings?

What Scores Over Hard Work, Knowledge and Attitude in Meetings?

We all know that it takes lots of good effort to make a meeting be successful. However, so many times meetings just fall short and people leave feeling like they have wasted those hours when they could have been getting real work done. In our Total Leadership Connections Program™ we spend a half day dissecting what makes a meeting work. It is like creating a Broadway play. A meeting needs creative scripting to keep everyone interested. It needs to include both facts and have a place for individuals to use their intuition. Meetings need time for discussion and that discussion may lead to conflict. Whoever is facilitating the meeting should have learned the skills for mediating the tension of opposing points of view. Where meetings fall short. The differences are tabled because there is a nervous need to avoid hurt feelings. Not a good idea! Collaboration is not for the weak of heart. Collaboration is about speaking out and listening to others. Hey, leading a meeting takes lots of knowledge of how we communicate and how to get the most from all participants. It means everyone needs to be included and not just let the extroverts take charge. Running a well- crafted meeting is truly like being the conductor of a symphony orchestra. I have run across a mathematical formula to score what is actually happening in meetings. WORTH a LAUGH. It goes like this: Give each letter of the alphabet a number. A=1, B=2 all the way up to Z=26. Now, put in the concepts you think are part of what goes on in a meeting. For example:...
GUTSY WOMEN for FREEDOM

GUTSY WOMEN for FREEDOM

We all know about George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and John Hancock. They are reminders of how determined we must all be when freedom is put in harm’s way. I have always wondered about the women of the Revolution. In school all we were taught was that Betsy Ross was known for sewing the American flag. Now, that in itself is a marvelous undertaking. However, there were so many others who we need to know and honor. So I did some research and felt a swell of pride about the courage and the well…GUTSINESS for so many who risked their lives and did not hold back out of fear. Here are some of our heroines: Like Deborah Sampson cut her hair, bound her breasts and put on a uniform to fight next to the men. Like Ann Bates, a Philadelphia school teacher who changed her name and sold supplies to the British as a way to spy on them and bring information back to General Washington’s troops. Like Nancy Hart. She was known as a woman of fearless spirit and a hot temper. One amazing account of Nancy’s life was the evening that six British soldiers stopped to find a Whig leader. They demanded she cook them dinner and stacked their weapons in a corner. As the soldiers were getting a bit tipsy on wine, Nancy began to pass the muskets through an opening in the cabin wall to her daughter. When the soldiers noticed what she was doing she picked up one of the guns and warned them she would shoot, which she did. One man was killed and...

Can BAD People Be Good leaders?

When Tom was fired from his CEO position there were lots of heads shaking side to side wondering what happened. Tom was a charismatic kind of guy who was always telling funny jokes and encouraging everyone to do the best they could do. He was both cheerleader and coach. So what happened? Let’s face it. Business can be brutal at the top rungs. The rules of the jungle often apply and if it is eat or be eaten…well the answer is obvious. While Tom was seen as a ‘good guy’ by most of the world, in the inner sanctum of senior leadership he was known to bully, intimidate and often twist the truth. He wanted success and his non-verbal mantra was ‘success at any cost.’ How did it happen? Tom started to meet with a few shady characters who saw his yearning for power and prestige and just like the charlatans from days of yore, who told that egotistical emperor that they would design a cape so beautiful only the pure of heart could see it, these folks sold Tom a bill of goods about products that were destined to fall apart too soon. The fall from grace. Tom would not listen. He made bad decisions and while the company was making money faster than anyone ever dreamed, the cribs for small children, poorly designed to save money, were causing tragedies to occur. You have to go upriver far enough to see where problems begin. Tom’s bloated pride and disdain for others who did not agree finally brought him down and cost the company a bundle. Too much ego...
How to Make a Mean Boss Marvelous

How to Make a Mean Boss Marvelous

Dear Dr. Sylvia, My boss is the nastiest, mean woman I know. I cringe every time she says “Good morning.” Now, please don’t get me wrong. I really like most people. I would probably like her if she were not my boss. She is so particular and there is nothing I can do right. For example: she was an English major in college (she LOVES to tell us this) and while she is head of I.T. she speaks like a Shakespearean actor. Even a simple email saying “I will be done with my part of the project by the end of the day” will be sent back as “The word ‘finished’ is more specific and appropriate than ‘done’.” I want to tear my hair out! (Oh, and she thinks exclamation points are overly dramatic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)! If she sees a speck of dust on a desk she runs over to wipe it off…and never says anything, just snorts!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (I must say using these exclamation points is making me feel so much better)! Any suggestions? Signed !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  _____________  Dear Exclamation Point, First, here is my best question, “Who else in your life was a perfectionist where nothing you did was ever good enough?” Take some time and answer this before you read the rest of what I am about to write. You see, sometimes we overreact when a person in present time, sets our teeth on edge and it is really a memory from the past. Before you say “No” and delete this post, just give me a minute. Look, your mean, woman boss may be annoying, may be impossible. And then...
Toxic Woman at Work

Toxic Woman at Work

Dear Dr. Sylvia, The past few weeks have been like living in a super hot hell. There have been a ton of arguments and drama, mainly because one woman wants her way and is dividing our staff (we only have 20 people working on-site). There is Team A (Suzie’s team) and Team B (my team). It is evenly split with 10 for Suzie and 10 for me, Samantha. No real work is getting done. The issues are so stupid I don’t even want to mention them. It is, so my friends at other organizations tell me, not that different from what they have experienced. However, it is getting worse. Untrue comments are flying around (on both sides I might add) and the two of us are having a meeting with HR at the end of this week. HELP!!!!! Signed, Sad in Seattle ___________ Dear Sad, Without many details I will have to do some guessing. I also will dig down into what is usually underneath the ugliness of opposing teams when you are really all in the same organization, on the same team. Here is one way to think about what is going on. Loyalty and passion to one person can turn perfectly reasonable people upside down. Arguments and drama, shrill or silent, sabotage relationships and work effectiveness. Unspoken and often deeply invisible thoughts are activated when debates about who is right become overheated (thus you are right about living in a very hot hell!!). Stress moves through very quickly and without awareness outdated, ingrained behavior patterns learned early in life take over. This is what we will tackle...