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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...
What To Do When You’ve Said Too Much

What To Do When You’ve Said Too Much

Dear Dr. Sylvia, I read your post yesterday in Examiner.com about anger and by the time I was finished I was sad and depressed. You see, I have come to realize I have a problem with saying way more than is necessary when I get upset. At work they even sent me to an anger management class after I slammed my computer shut and stormed out saying I would probably never come back. EXCEPT I am a highly paid VP and I am super good at my job as a market analyst and I love my job. I even love the company I work for. Funny that I don’t show anger at home, only at work. What is that about? I almost ruined my career and in the process almost ruined some deep and important friendships at work. I am usually a mild tempered really good guy. Any suggestions on how to get the ‘egg off my face’ and how to clean up the mess I left behind? Signed, Keeping Quiet ________________ Dear Quiet, If anger repair could be measured in terms of fixing houses someone could make a fortune. It is amazing what many of us do when we are angry. We blow up, we expand the argument, we gossip, we judge, blame and attack (what I have named JUBLA). Anger decisions mostly backfire. And then we must live with the regret and as you say with sadness and depression. Sadly, many of the wounds we inflict when we are angry are not readily healed. Some of us blame ourselves, mostly we blame others because it is so much...

FREEDOM for the FOURTH

What does real freedom look like? It means being real, being who you are and not being afraid to express yourself in a healthy, positive way. Let’s celebrate FREEDOM this year in a new and powerful way. Let’s give each other the nod of approval that we can just experiment and be whoever we are without feeling judged. Now, that would be FREEDOM! Think of it this way. As a kid we were all GUTSY, male and female. We spoke out. We said what we saw before someone told us to be quiet, be good, behave. Think for a minute about one of your GUTSIEST moments. Take a few minutes and write it down. Practice telling it on the FOURTH. Tell it to family, friend, the checkout gal or guy at the market, the person who hands you the food at the convenience store. TELL IT TO SOMEONE. My grown daughters hate it when I tell the following story. They say “Mom, it is just over the top. Scale it down, shush it! And I say to them “When you are GUTSY sometimes you just gotta let loose!” Hang out with me. I wrote the book GUTSY because I had to. I became super sad thinking about how I used to sell myself out to be quiet, be good, and behave. I stayed in a marriage too long to please someone else. I was suffocating and was ready to go down with the ship rather than make waves. I used to keep my hands in front of my chest to protect myself. It often felt like I had been...

Take the Best Route from Management to Leadership

“How does a manager become a leader?” you ask. This is one of the most important questions in all of business. What the work world needs today are more leaders who can take charge in a strategic way and help everyone in the company have a “go for it and grow from it” mind set. Here are some vital differences: Management: Tell and Do…………………………….Leadership: Ask and Advise Management: Transactional………………………….Leadership: Strategic Management: Complete the Goal…………………….Leadership: Maintain the Vision Management: Control…………………………………Leadership: Connect Management: Do What I Say…………………………..Leadership: We’re in It Together So, what happens when a manager becomes a leader? There is an in-between time that is both energizing as well as challenging. Stan is a perfect example. When he was promoted to vice president of operations he knew he had to make some basic changes to the way he responded to his team. He was on a high speed highway in a shiny vehicle with brand new tires! And he was raring to go! He had his checklist: moving from control to passion, objectives to vision, stability to change, results to achievement, planning details to setting direction, short term to long term thinking. And then…………………….There was that day he knew leadership demanded more. It was at a meeting where concerns and complaints were as abundant as a tropical summer downpour. Initially he went to his knee-jerk behavior of shutting down the discussion. He hated conflict and had a pattern of being a lifelong avoider. He was comfortable in the world of right and wrong, pointing the finger of blame and moving on. He knew he was being tested and realized...

Leadership and Hidden Sources of Conflict

One day at a senior staff meeting Michael expressed strong doubts of George’s idea to acquire another company. Michael and George started to raise their voices, much to the surprise of the rest of the management team. Michael was so angry he was physically shaking; he nearly lunged at his colleague. He knew even as he stood there that his behavior was irrational – way out of proportion to the situation being discussed. He excused himself, went into his office and closed the door. After some deep breaths to calm down he started to write about what had just happened. As he wrote a memory seized him and he remembered an incident with his older brother (someone just like George). He was nine years old and no matter what he said he could never get his older brother to really hear him. The two boys were always competing for being the best, the smartest, the winner. And here he was, in this meeting feeling that his co-worker George was winning and he would end up being the younger brother who could never be first, never be listened to. Later that day Michael took a risk and went to talk with George who had stayed in the meeting dumbfounded with Michael’s reaction. Listening to Michael was a turning point in the relationship with the two men. Not the touchy-feely types, they were both a bit shy. However, finding out that George was not the source of Michael’s upset, was gratifying. They made an agreement to really hear each other and when in the heat of a discussion the situation seemed to veer off course they would stop...

Patterns, Habits and Leadership Development

Do you work? Actually I mean do you have a job? If your answer is yes keep reading if not, well keep reading anyway. You never know when this type of information will be helpful. Think about what you do in the morning after you brush your teeth, shower and do all the morning getting ready for the day rituals. Many of us grab the car keys and off we go to the office. Others walk into a room with a computer and off we go to the office. Now think about it for a minute. What exactly do you do every work day? Do you drive to work using the same route all the time? Do you switch on the car radio to see where the traffic tie-ups are? If you have a home office do you start by checking emails? Or maybe get the news of the day to see who was shooting someone overnight (this has become a major pattern in our world!) OK. You know what you do. My suggestion is to do something, just one small thing in a different way and I promise you it will possibly make you see solutions to work problems from a different and more helpful perspective. You see, if you take a new route to work (even if it makes you a few minutes late…. Or maybe even early) or if you start by NOT checking you email and listening to a song on iTunes and then checking your email, you are training your brain in new ways of responding. TRAIN YOUR BRAIN to expect the unexpected. Simply pattern interrupts are a gift you give yourself and they only take a few...