Tuesday, August 29, 2017

One-Faced Leader

I hear a hell of a lot of noise in the world of leadership. Fancy titles, and years of doing the same thing over and over without changing with the times...er...I mean, lots of experience...do not equate with one of the easiest ways to be effective.

Be real! 
Be you!
Stop trying to sound like something you're not!

Regardless of the terms in the glossary of your certification credentials handbook of choice, I beg you to only use them when you're taking your favorite certification exam.

No one else cares about them, and quite honestly, no one should. 

"Jargon, in any field, becomes the cover that hides rampant incompetence of leaders everywhere. 
Leadership is not about words, 
it is about connecting with the people 
in your organization and making 
a difference for them, and your company."
- Jay Kuhns

Not About You
Time and again we hear the pundits espouse the power of listening, connecting, engaging, and working closely with our teams. 

Yet the reality is far too often a constant reminder from leadership that they are the "smart ones" and the rest of the team should be grateful that they are in place to save the day.

Pass me my barf bag.
These are the same leaders who are mocked behind their backs for being so embarrassingly out of touch with their own corporate cultures that the team wonders what they actually do all day.

How About You
There should only be one face that leaders wear. It should not be covered in fancy titles, corporate jargon or illusions of power shown only in the workplace. Instead, it should be one that is authentic, consistent, and unafraid to be seen where it matters most...

...on the front line.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Vulnerability - A New Leadership Competency

I've been working for a long time. Well, actually, for a really long time, and most of that has been in leadership. Some of the "virtues" of leadership I learned early on were to never show weakness or be indecisive, because...

weakness = career over
indecisive = zero respect

I'm guessing that mindset is not unique to the healthcare industry.

However, I would suggest there is a different competency out there that is a far cry from the commonplace failings of weakness and the inability to make a decision.

- "open to criticism"

New Leaders
Once upon a time I was a new leader eager to climb the corporate health system ladder. I wanted to try new approaches, use new technologies, and take risks. For some reason I've always been enamored with risk!

...which doesn't make me sound like an HR guy...but whatever...

What I often ran into though was a large group of old-school leaders: bright, successful people who had no interest in doing anything differently, ever.

I quickly grew frustrated with what turned out to be my perception of these folks...what they considered their "strengths" I considered to be an "out of touch" view. What they thought of as "steady and consistent" I soon labeled as "stale."

Fast forward to today...am I'm asking myself if the young leaders in the world of work look at you and me that way?

Are we out of touch and stale?

New Expectations
I'm convinced now more than ever that not only is effective leadership about staying current with industry trends, technology, and employee expectations as they shift and modulate over time. But also to show something else...

...our vulnerable side.

How many of us equate being vulnerable with weakness? 
How many of us see a direct link between loss of credibility and being vulnerable?
How many of us are obsessed with maintaining our perceived power as leaders?

Consider the impact of being real and showing our human side to the employees in our organizations. Do you think they will connect with us more? Might they see beyond our fancy job title and lofty position on the maze of boxes on the org chart?

Maybe, just maybe, they will believe in us and want to stay and be part of something special.

How About You

How do you show your human side at work? Perhaps embracing vulnerability, and leveraging it as a true leadership competency is the missing piece in your approach.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Generation 'Leadership-Do-Your-Job'

"Parents [and leaders] often talk about the younger generation as if they didn't have anything to do with it."
Haim Ginott

The People
I'm not a big fan of focusing exclusively on one generation or another when I think about job satisfaction, leadership behavior, or strategic workforce planning. However, there are some realities to the world we live in that can not be ignored.

For example, there are a heck of a lot of people turning sixty-five every day (as in, 10,000!) We affectionately call these folks baby-boomers and seem to hold them in high regard. 

Deserved for some, but not for all.

We also have another group of employees that are making a huge impact in our hiring, leadership development, and retention activities.

There are a heck of a lot of them turning twenty-something every day. We not-so-affectionately call these folks millennials.

This negative stereotype speaks volumes about the insecurities of the leaders uttering them.

The Research
Glassdoor has published an interesting report on recruiting and retention statistics for 2017 that is loaded with neat little facts, 

What I found most impactful includes:

- we need to respect our employees
- we need to focus on creating an amazing place to work to retain our employees
- we need to be progressive, competitive, and thoughtful on pay, benefits and culture

Do Your Job
So, what does all of this *new* insight tell us? It's quite simple actually.

1. Leaders are focused far too much on themselves.
2. Leaders spend too much time labeling others.
3. Leaders are threatened about their positions so anything new or different is bad.
4. Leaders lose good people because they don't practice the values that they preach.

You aren't that special..but your team members are. Stop talking, start showing them how much they matter to your company.

How About You
I know every leader isn't stumbling around like a management dinosaur. But if the Glassdoor report tells us anything, it's that there plenty of those dinosaurs left alive who are still tearing down their organizations from the inside out.

Don't be a dinosaur.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Give Me Your Soul

Loyal - "unswerving in allegiance"

There was a time when employees were thankful to have a good job, working for a good company, one that would 'take care' of them for the duration of their career. It seems to me however, there was an imbalance between the organization and the employees who worked hard for those companies to grow and prosper.

It's as if the popular mindset of employers as all-powerful beings that controlled one's entire future was real. Did those loyal employees actually feel that way; or, was it some sort of cultural power play that tricked employees into believing they had to feel loyal or some grave outcome would surely befall them?

While I have tremendous respect for those individuals who feel so deeply connected to the mission of their organizations that they couldn't imagine leaving, that is not what I see playing out in the contemporary world of work.

I think we've had our view of the employer / employee relationship completely backwards for years. 

Yes, bold leadership is absolutely essential if an organization is going to be successful. 

However, the burden on leadership is not only to be provide effective decision-making, but also to be equally as focused on their relationship with the people on the team.

When leadership believes they are always the smartest people in the room, that organization has begun a death spiral. 

Arrogance never plays well.


How About You
When we ask our employees to give us their souls, we sure as hell better be prepared to give them everything we have in return. That does not mean imparting our wisdom as if it is some sort of divine message.

Rather, it is a mandate that we stay connected, listen, respect, support and by all means ensure that our team feels valued. Absent that, we will be just another organization that had great potential, but the leadership team screwed it up.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

"Who" Is Your Recruitment Strategy

I hear lots of discussions that go something like this...

P1  "So, what is your recruitment strategy?"

P2  "What do you mean?"

P1  "You know, are you using LinkedIn more, or spending money on Indeed?"

P2  "Oh, yea, we're looking into that, and definitely use LinkedIn. Yes, we're obviously doing that. So, what are you doing?"

Me  Take me now, Lord.

All too often talent acquisition leaders get caught in the trap of narrowly defining their strategies as a series of "whats." Sure, we need a well thought out plan, but what is missed repeatedly is that the organization's employees are the heart of any contemporary approach.

What recruitment video is on our website? (as in only one...fail!)

What digital application process will we use? (and how can we force it to mirror our broken manual process...fail again!)

What steps can we take to get the Marketing Department to pay attention to us? (even though Marketing Departments do not understand employer brand...a fail hat trick!)

TA leaders have a unique opportunity to differentiate themselves from their competition if they use a "who" vs "what" filter as they develop their recruitment strategies. Consider for a moment the pride that you feel in your team, your company, and the difference you make. You have stories to tell! 

Stories are not "what" things...stories are based on people, the "who" making the magic happen each day.

When leaders focus on profiling their employees on videos and blogs, and distributing those stories across a variety of social channels guess what happens?

The competition has a heart attack, and you get the candidates you need!


...and only requires one thing...


How About You
Is it time to have a very different conversation about your strategic plan? I'd love to help. Oh, and don't worry, I have enough courage for the both of us.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.