(570) 636-3858 info@ceoptions.com

Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Knowledge of human relationships no longer belongs only to the psychology crowd. It belongs to all of us. Every leader or emerging leader in today’s workplace needs to look below the surface and answer the age old question when someone shoots himself in the foot “Why did he just do what he did?” We need to know why she just put her foot in her mouth. Why they have “egg” on their faces. If you are ever to deal with office politics (and that takes place whether you are in a traditional corporation, an entrepreneurial start-up, a family firm, or a non-profit association) you better get a handle on what makes people tick. FIRST, look inside. That’s right. Look at what flips your lid, what sets your blood boiling, what makes you madder than hell. Once you can begin to name the people and situations that get you hopping mad you can decide what to do about them. NEXT, pay attention to those around you. How do they respond when someone sets their teeth on edge, when they feel torn to shreds, when they feel like a knife was shoved in their back? Once you have learned to look at the interactions that occur in all human relationships and figured out how to decode the mixed messages that are always at the heart of office politics you become the real leader you have always wanted to be. That’s right! Learn to see how behavior patterns you learned (and everyone else has also) in your original organization, the family play out at work and you are in the driver’s seat....
Leadership Training: Work is NOT a Rehab Facility

Leadership Training: Work is NOT a Rehab Facility

When you have a lazy employee, one who has excuses for everything, who acts like a victim when you point out work not done that needs to be done and all they do is make excuses; then what? I am asked all the time in my coaching sessions, “When do you finally let someone go”? Let’s go back to yesterday and the employee who could not get work done because the cat was sick. The first thing you do is ask accountability questions. Remember, I suggested you go into a room with a door and close the door. This is not to keep anyone captive. It is to create a contained space where there are few distractions, few ways to wiggle out of the “face the music” moment. Leadership development training programs should all have a module where you have to practice asking the tough questions and then sit in silence waiting for answers and not help to rescue the other person. Okay, if the questions fall on deaf ears, then what. REMEMBER THE RULE OF THREE Sometimes it does take a bit of remedial work to get the point across, so give the employee a second and a third chance to step up to the plate. However, by the third meeting if nothing is really changing and the “cat” is still sick, then it is time for action. Performance improvement plans work. They are like a red flag that time is running out. Make them factual, specific, with time lines. And you can “unhire” if you must. Often employers who are caring and helpful have a difficult time...

Leadership Development: Breaking the Mold with Giants and Glee

  San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy refers to his team, now getting ready for the World Series as a “bunch of misfits.” Huh? They played super ball in their series against the Phillies. Misfits?   Switch to Glee, the hit TV show that is capturing the minds and hearts of our nation; the story of a high school singing club full of misfits. These kids get along best with each other, having to do end runs around the popular kids.   Back to the Giants; lots of those who played so well in the series that just ended were cast out of other teams. Their visionary General Manager caught lots of flack all the while saying stuff like, “there is a plan, you’ll see” and he had to believe in those he chose to join the team. Not surprising that their informal song became Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin”; and they are doing just what the song suggests!   The common theme is that those who seem at odds with the traditional image of success can make it happen, can come in first; and win our hearts in the process. This is more than merely the David and Goliath saga; it is the beginning of a trend that will become more and more important in the coming years.   Thanks to Wall Street, our celebrity addicted culture, and down and dirty dealings in the political arena we are seeing that what looks good on the surface is not to be trusted. The tide may be turning to those who are real, who have true grit, play their hearts out,...

Workplace Conflict, Men, Women, and the Family

  Yesterday I talked about the tension at work where men are searching for ways to navigate that tough middle road between being a great employee or business owner and a father who is present for his children.   I saw this dilemma first hand at an off-site with a national sales group. Picture the scene: the team of 22 from a sales organization was at The Country Place Retreat Center to have some fun on our outdoors team challenge course and to take advantage of our new program called “Build and Give” where they would put some two wheeler bikes together that would then be donated to charity.   In the process they would learn about themselves, how the program “Ouch! Handling Conflict at Work” would help them talk together differently.   The women in the group came to me and requested time to put together a surprise skit for their male colleagues. They asked if I could “keep the guys busy” for about an hour while they pulled together their material.   I asked the men to gather to discuss their special issues with workplace conflict. They wanted to know why the gals were not included. Earlier, one of the men had said “NO one really understands our work-life balance issues” so, this was to give them time to think, feel and say whatever they wanted.   Off we went to the great room to sit in a circle and have time to “just talk“. Was I in for a surprise!   After just a few minutes they felt safe enough to dig deep. Here is the...

Leadership and The Velveteen Rabbit

  Anyone remember this really cool kids book? It came to mind yesterday when I was tired and felt “used up.” I complained to Herb, my husband with a litany of “blah blah blah, my hair, my face, wrinkles around my eyes, and more blah, blah, blah.”   He looked at me with his bemused smile and said “That’s all good, you are a velveteen rabbit, it’s what life is meant to be, to use us up before we exit this play called life.”   Not only did it not help, it made me madder. So, I did what any self respecting person would do, I look for some chocolate to sooth my troubled brow. Except, I’m on an amazing eating regime that is truly taking years and pounds from me; and there was no chocolate in sight.   So I got ready to use another ploy always in my back pocket; I would go shopping. And I did. I headed straight for the Barnes and Noble in town and got me a new copy of “The Velveteen Rabbit“.   I bought it, sat down with a cup of tea sweetened with the stevia I never leave home without (if you don’t know about stevia check it out; no calories, actually good for you and gives the taste buds a real lift).   The rabbit in this book is a stuffed and loved one that truly is used up, used up by the loving touch of its childhood owner. It should be on the reading list of every leadership development program, every executive education workshop. It made me stop...

The Compass of Leadership

What happens when as leaders we get stuck in our own stuff, when we have lost our own way? Where do we turn? How do we ask for help? After all leaders lead, they don’t follow!   The best time for growth is when we find ourselves in a pile of manure, and I agree with that concept. Actually growth and change do seem to come more effectively when we have been put in difficult situations more than when we are relaxing at the pool with a cool tropical drink in hand.   In our Total Leadership Connections  program we use film clips to underline the issues encountered while in leadership positions. One came to my mind while doing executive coaching with a brilliant woman who was so burned out she could not, literally could not remember how to get to her best client’s office.   Needless to say, that scared her to the point of going home, getting in bed and deciding between calling a physician for medication and calling me for clarification.   I was the first responder. I listened to the specifics of the situation while tracking her underlying fear that had less to do with work and more to do with some personal turmoil that had been going on for many, many months.   I suggested she watch an old film, “Mr. Holland’s Opus”. The back story has to do with a music teacher whose son is born deaf. Talk about trauma and tragedy.  The scene I specifically hoped my client would relate to is when the school principal tells Mr. Holland she is worried...